How to make Ketchup–D.I.Y. Ketchup

How To Make Ketchup--DIY Ketchup

How To Make Ketchup–DIY Ketchup

 

We were out for breakfast with some close friends of ours when I discovered that my daughter loved ketchup.  Not in a normal kind of, oh this tastes great on potatoes, sort of way, but a, let me dip anything I can find on my plate and eat it, sort of way.  Up to that point she had never even tried ketchup.  We had been to plenty of restaurant’s and I always shied away from allowing her to have any ketchup. Not because I don’t like it, but because the ingredient list is terrible–full of stuff I can’t pronounce, let alone identify–other than high fructose corn syrup.  The only reason I even allowed her to have it that day was because, we were out, she was getting antsy, and one of the little girls in our breakfast party was eating it and Page wanted to eat it too.  The moment she tasted it, she went from being antsy, to calm and focused on what she could find on her plate to dip into it!  She ate her entire plate of food! All because she was introduced to this condiment called ketchup!  So what’s a mom to do?  Well if you’re me you make the condiment yourself.  As with most things that I make myself, this ketchup was very easy to make–easier than I thought it would be.  You will need a few lazy hours at home in order to make this, but that’s just so you don’t burn down the house, you cook it on a low simmer for a few hours, you could even do this in a crock pot, and the result is deliciously homemade ketchup, with no refined sugars!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours mostly non active

Makes 2 cups of delicious ketchup!

Ingredients:

28 ounce can of Whole peeled tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano tomatoes)

5 tablespoons of tomato paste

2  cloves of garlic (minced)

1 small onion chopped

1/4 cup of maple sugar (can sub brown)

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of  olive oil (can substitute grape seed or safflower oil)

20 whole cloves

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Ingredients for the spice packet

1/2 teaspoon rainbow pepper corns (can use just black)

1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds

1/2  of  one cinnamon stick broken into two pieces

1/4 teaspoon of all spice berries

1 bay leaf

cheese cloth

kitchen twine

Directions: Wrap all of the ingredients for the spice packet in the cheese cloth, and tie tightly with kitchen twine–make sure to leave at least 4 inches of extra twine on the end and set aside.

Add the oil and the cloves to a pot and heat just until the oil begins to bubble.  Turn off the heat, and let the cloves steep in the oil for 10 minutes.

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Strain the oil through a sieve and discard the cloves.  Add the clove oil to a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, add onions, garlic and saute until onion is translucent.  Add in the tomato paste and cayenne and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the onion/tomato paste mixture into a blender/processor along with the canned tomatoes-juice and all–and blend until smooth.  Pour this mixture back into your sauce pan, submerge the spice packet into the pot, wrap the excess twine around the handle of the pot. Bring  the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, simmer until the mixture is dark red and has thickened about 1.5-2 hours.  Mixture should be reduced by half.

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Remove the spice packet,

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Strain the ketchup through a sieve, pushing solids through with a spoon:

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The ketchup should be nice and smooth:

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Let the ketchup cool to room temperature before transferring to an air tight container.

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Refrigerated, this will keep for 1 month.    As a base ketchup this is pretty amazing! It taste  just like the bottled stuff.  For a twist you could add 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder to half a cup of this ketchup for some pretty amazing curry ketchup!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan, Lemon and Red Pepper Flakes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan, Lemon, and Red Pepper Flakes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Parmesan, Lemon, and Red Pepper Flakes

 

 

I was at the farmers market this past Sunday, doing my usual weekly shopping.  One of my favorite vendor’s had these beautiful stalks of brussels sprouts.  I got so excited about them that a woman, who was also shopping, pulled me aside and whispered : “How do you cook those?” This isn’t the first time this has happened to me,  believe it or not, people stop me all the time, either at the farmers market, or at Whole Foods, to ask how to cook a variety of vegetables. The funny thing about people asking me cooking questions is that they almost always whisper the question?  I don’t understand why they whisper the question! I want to tell them, “you know you’re not the only person on the planet who has no idea what to do with ((insert name of vegetable here)).”   I shared this recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with the  the lady at the farmer’s market. It’s simple, easy and so delicious.  It’s one of my absolute favorite ways to cook and eat brussels sprouts.

 

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound of brussels sprouts halved

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

3 tablespoons of olive oil ( or ghee or coconut oil)

Sea salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes to a medium sized bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl add the brussels sprouts, oil and sea salt, toss well making sure that all the brussels sprouts are evenly covered with oil.

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Place on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven.

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Cook  for 10-15 minute, or until the brussels sprouts take on a significant amount of color and they become crisp and tender. Sprinkle the sprouts with  half the cheese and cook for another minute or two, just until cheese melts and becomes crisp, remove the sprouts from the oven, transfer them to the bowl with the lemon juice and the red pepper flakes, toss well to coat the brussels sprouts with the lemon juice, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, serve immediately and enjoy! These are crispy, tangy with a little kick! They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal!

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Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes!

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash

 

From time to time, I crave a meal with a deep rich wine sauce. When that happens I turn to Julia Child’s beef bourguignon recipe, or my version of it.  If you have ever made beef bourguignon, then you know the sauce that accompanies the beef is everything for that particular dish! The beef, as succulent as it is, is nothing without that sauce, and that sauce was made to adorn a potato mash! The year that I had Page I decided rather than running from house to house to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, it would be easier on her, and my husband and I,  if we just stayed home and made dinner ourselves. My best friend agreed and we divided the dinner duties. Instead of a massive turkey, I roasted a chicken, she made a few sides, and I baked a cake. One of the sides she made was a potato and cauliflower mash. It was delicious, and Page loved it! It was hearty and everything you’d expect when eating mash potatoes and at the same time it had the added bonus of cauliflower. When I was making my beef bourguignon, and anticipating the yumminess of the sauce, I knew that this cauliflower mash would go perfectly with the sauce. If you’re on a low carb diet, you can omit the potatoes, and whip the cauliflower in a blender. For this recipe, I opted to not whip the mash, I wanted the hearty texture, so I used a potato masher instead. If you want a more creamy texture, just throw all the ingredients in a blender after cooking them.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower (about 5 cups)

2 medium potatoes (2 cups cubed)

4 tablespoons of grassfed butter

2 tablespoons of half and half (optional)

1 head of roasted garlic

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:  Add the cauliflower and potatoes to a pot and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, and cook until potatoes and cauliflower are fork tender.  Immediately drain the water from the cauliflower and potatoes, then add in, butter, half and half, roasted garlic, sea salt and pepper.

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Mash with a potato masher until well incorporated, or add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, then enjoy!

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Roasted Garlic-How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic

How to Roast Garlic

Can you image cooking without garlic? I can’t! I love it! Garlic lends so much flavor to a savory dish, it’s hard to imagine not having it to use. I love garlic in every state, raw, blanched, powdered, and roasted.  Each has it’s own unique flavor. Roasted garlic is so delicious, and there are so many uses for it. I add roasted garlic to a plain tomato sauce to instantly take it from bland to fantastic! I add roasted garlic to one of my favorite roasted eggplant dishes. I spread roasted garlic on a good piece of crusty bread and dip it into a balsamic, red pepper, and olive oil vinaigrette, and of course, I add roasted garlic to mashed potatoes, or my cauliflower potato mash! There are a plethora of uses for roasted garlic, (like using it for my Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken recipe), once you learn how to roast garlic, you will wonder why you’ve been cooking without it!

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Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time:30-45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large bulb of garlic

1 teaspoon of olive oil

sea salt and black pepper to taste (optional)

1 sheet of foil–must be big enough to fully enclose the garlic

Directions: Pre heat the oven to 400F. With a knife slice the top off of the garlic. Place the garlic inside of the foil, pour the oil over the top of the garlic, making sure to cover all exposed garlic. add sea salt and black pepper if using:

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Fold all sides of the foil, making sure that the garlic is fully enclosed. Place the garlic bulb in your oven:

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Cook  for 45 minutes, or until garlic is beautifully golden brown:

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Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove by squeezing, or by removing each individual clove of garlic with a pairing knife, and enjoy!

Ground Chicken and Cabbage Curry

Ground Chicken and Cabbage Curry

Ground Chicken and Cabbage Curry

Do you ever pull out something for dinner and then have no clue what you’re going to make with it? I do…all the time! Most of the time it works out, but working out on some days can be relative. Success for me is getting a nutritious meal on the table on most days. This Chicken and Cabbage curry recipe  almost didn’t come together. I pulled out the ground chicken, but all I had to go with it was the cabbage. I didn’t have any fresh onion, no fresh garlic, none of the ingredients one needs to make something taste good. My fridge was empty because I had put off grocery shopping, and now I had to pay the price. I turned to my cupboards for help. I had a bevy of ground dried spices, curry, onion powder, ground ginger and garlic.  From those dried spices, this meal was born, and let me tell you what a delicious meal it was! It is one of my husbands favorite meals. I’ve made this with fresh onion and garlic, but the dried spices give this much better flavor.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground chicken

1 tablespoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of curry powder

1 teaspoon of ground ginger powder

2-3 tablespoons of  olive oil, or ghee

1 small head of cabbage, chopped roughly

4 tablespoons of freshly chopped cilantro

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a pan add dried spices and  heat for 20 seconds or just until spices become fragrant. Add in ground meat and brown. Once meat has cooked, add in the cabbage, and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until cabbage wilts a bit.

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Remove from heat, top with cilantro and serve as is, or over a bowl of brown basmati rice and enjoy!

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Grilled Pork Chops with Spicy Mustard Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops With Spicy Brown Mustard Salsa

Grilled Pork Chops With Spicy Brown Mustard Salsa

One of my favorite restaurants to eat at, when we are in Los Angeles, is Cafe Brazil. It’s a small restaurant, with seating for less than 50 people but the food is fantastic. If you’ve ever watched any dating show, then you’ve probably seen this restaurant several times, dating show’s love to film dates there. It holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first restaurant’s  that my husband I would frequent when we were dating.  His mom lived in LA so we’d go up for a visit, and then grab lunch or dinner before heading back, sometimes with mom in tow.  The food there is pretty straightforward as far as food goes, meat, beans and rice, fresh tropical juices.  Simple as can be, but the food doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good.  One of my favorite entree’s there is grilled pork chops with beans and rice, and a simple tomato and onion salsa, to which they add fresh parsley and a spicy brown mustard vinaigrette! So what’s a girl to do when a craving for Cafe Brazil strikes? Get in the car and drive there, or make it herself! I obviously chose the latter!

 

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Prep time: 5-7 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Total time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

Ingredients:

Salsa:

1/2 cup tomatoes chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons of parsley

sea salt to taste
Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon spicy mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt to taste

Pork chops
2 thick pork chops

1 teaspoon garlic powder,

1 teaspoon onion powder,

1 teaspoon paprika,

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

sea salt to taste

Directions: Combine the ingredients for the mustard vinaigrette and set aside.

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Combine the ingredients for the salsa, top with the vinaigrette and set aside.

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Combine the seasoning for the pork chops, then rub generously into pork chops

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Grill chops for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through–do not over cook, pork chops dry out quickly.  Once chops are done, top with spicy salsa and enjoy!

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Coconut Cream Banana Pudding

Coconut Cream Banana Pudding

Coconut Cream Banana Pudding

 

I love dessert, but I’m one of those rare people who can consume just a few bites and be completely satisfied with a dessert.  I don’t like to make whole cakes, pies, or a complete pan of any type of dessert unless I’m taking it to a party.  At home it will just get thrown in the trash.  I’m a single serving dessert kind of gal.  One serving desserts make me happy, their super delicious, quick and easy to make, and always satisfying without the guilt and temptation to eat more. This Banana Coconut Cream dessert is exactly that.  It’s light, takes minutes to make, and is gone just as quickly.  The key to this dessert is refrigeration. Unlike whole milk cream, you don’t need to whip coconut cream for it to set into pillow like mountains, just put it into the refrigerator and  The coconut cream will set up nicely. If you want to make this for an after dinner snack, put the cream into the refrigerator at least an hour before you want to make this.  The best part of this dessert–besides the fact that it’s out of this world delicious–is that it only requires four ingredients, and you don’t have to cook any of them!

 

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: none

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup of coconut cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of maple syrup–can sub agave

2 bananas( one smashed with a fork, the other sliced)

5  ginger snaps roughly crumbled (can sub with graham crackers, or granola, or vanilla wafers, or nuts)

 

Directions: Smash banana, with a fork and set aside.  To a small bowl add the coconut cream, vanilla extract, and maple syrup, mix well, cover and refrigerate  until coconut cream has set–meaning it’s firm like a custard.  Once set, remove from the refrigerator, and fold in the mashed banana. If you’re short on time, you can fold the mashed banana into the cream when you add the vanilla and the sweetener.  Check out the video below  to see exactly how I put it together.  If you like this dessert then you’ll love my Banana Marshmallow Split, it’s also a single serving dessert, super easy and delicious!

Click on the link to see how I put this dessert together: https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=6LHcyfEoQg8

While you’re at it  click here to subscribe to my channel.

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Pineapple and Coconut Cream Creamsicles!!!

Pineapple and Coconut Cream Creamsicles

Pineapple and Coconut Cream Creamsicles

So it’s official, the Zoku Quick Pop Maker is my new favorite kitchen gadget! It has become my daughters favorite too.  Although I’m pretty sure that she is more a fan of what comes out of the quick pop maker than the actual quick pop maker.  We have been making all sorts of popsicles since we got it.  Page is a big fan of the creamsicle–she is her mother’s daughter after all, but she is also a fan of simple juice pop’s.  Pineapple is a favorite of hers, she just loves it.  I decided to pair it with coconut cream, and let me tell you—THEY ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

1 cup of Pureed pineapple

1/2 cup of coconut cream

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of maple syrup or your favorite sugar

Directions: Add the cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a cup, mix well and set aside.  If using classic pop molds, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.  Divide mixture evenly among molds and freeze for 6-8 hours or until frozen solid. If you are using the Zoku Quick pop maker, Pour  the pineapple puree into the molds and allow to set for 2-3 minutes.  At the 2 minute mark siphon out the remaining unfrozen puree with a straw or a unused infant aspirator–I purchased one just for this.  Zoku sells a tool kit for $20 which includes a siphon tool, but the aspirator is $3 and does the job equally as well.  After you have removed all of the juice, pour cream into the molds, and allow to set for another 4-5 minutes, then follow the directions for removing the pops.  If you aren’t going to eat the pops right away, you can store them in sandwhich size zip lock bags and place them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.  These never last longer than a few hours in our house, so I can’t say how long you could store them that way.  If you like these, you’ll probably love my Orange creamsicle, and Strawberry Creamsicle recipes too.

Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup–It’s gluten free!

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup

Last week I was out with my husband running errands and we were trying to decide on lunch.  He wanted something filling, and I wanted a really great salad.  As easy as salads are to make and obtain, very few match the salads that I make myself.  I knew it would not be easy to find a place to eat in which we would both leave happy.  After verbally running through a list of eateries, my husband saying no to some, me saying no to others, we both compromised and settled on Panera. I ordered my salad, and after some time mulling over the menu, my husband ordered a bowl of lemon orzo soup.  The ceasar salad  I ordered, was not as great as the  Ceasar salad I make at home, but I was expecting that. However, my husband really enjoyed his soup.  I didn’t taste the soup, but it looked really good, and since he enjoyed it, I decided I would try to make it at home for him.  He is such a big fan of soups in general. When I make soup, which is not often, he rants and raves, because to him, soups are a big treat. The key to any great soup is the broth.  I made some broth with the leftover carcass of a roast chicken that we had for dinner.  I will share that recipe and two other ways to make chicken broth with you later.  For this soup use the best organic chicken broth that you can find.  I used a gluten free orzo for this, you can leave it outfor a paleo version of this soup, or use a regular pasta orzo for an authentic Lemon chicken orzo soup.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or 4 cups of pre-cooked chicken cubed

1 cup of diced carrots (3 medium carrots)

1 cup of diced celery (4 celery stalks)

1 large onion diced

2 large cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 cup of spinach finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro

3-4 Tablespoons of Lemon juice less or more depending on your taste

6 cups of organic chicken broth

1/2 cup of orzo gluten free brand

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoon of olive oil

 

Directions: Season chicken with sea salt and black pepper and set aside. In a stock pot heat oil, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute until onions turn translucent, add chicken stock, and chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. image Add in orzo and cook until orzo is al dente (10 minutes), then stir in spinach, cilantro and lemon juice, turn off fire, serve and enjoy! image image

Orange Creamsicles

How to make Homemade Orange Creamsicles–How to make Half and Half bars

Watch my How to Video above, there is a cameo appearance by my daughter Page

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Another favorite frozen treat of mine when I was a little girl was orange creamsicles. We used to call them half and half bars, because that’s exactly what they were, half juice pop and half cream center.  Whatever you call them, I think we can all agree that they are super delicious. Unfortunately creamsicles are not made the way they used to be made, they have a ton of ingredients in the boxed versions in the store, none of which contain real juice or cream. This recipe takes care of that.  I used freshly squeezed orange juice for these, but if you can find some fresh juice in the store that does not have added sugar and preservatives, then go for it.  If you decide to squeeze the juice yourself, just make sure that the oranges that you’re using are very sweet, that way you don’t have to add sugar to sweeten the juice.  If heavy cream isn’t your thing (my vegan friends) don’t fret, I’ve done these with coconut cream, and they are just as yummy if not more.  Lastly, I purchased the Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make these, it’s the only way to get a true half and half bar, with that creamy center filling, but if you don’t want to spend the $25 (for a single), $38( for the duo), or $50 (for the triple) pop maker, you can still make these, but you’ll have to blend the mixture, or just pour half juice and half cream into regular molds, ( I used Zoku Classic pop molds), you’ll get a verticle half and half bar–still delicious.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:
1 cup of freshly squeezed organic orange juice
1 cup of heavy cream or coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Directions: Add the cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a cup, mix well and set aside.  If using classic pop molds, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.  Divide mixture evenly among molds and freeze for 6-8 hours or until frozen solid.
If you are using the Quick pop maker, Pour the orange juice into the molds and allow to set for 2-3 minutes.  At the 3 minute mark siphon out the remaining unfrozen juice with a straw or a unused infant aspirator–I purchased one just for this.  Zoku sells a tool kit for $20 which includes a siphon tool, but the aspirator is $3 and does the job equally as well.  After you have removed all of the juice, pour cream into the molds, and allow to set for another 4-5 minutes, then follow the directions for removing the pops.
Orange Creamsicle

Orange Creamsicle

image If you aren’t going to eat the pops right away, you can store them in sandwich size zip lock bags and place them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.  These never last longer than a few hours in our house, so I can’t say how long you could store them that way. These are the Orange and Coconut Creamsicles that I made using the classic Zoku popsicle molds: