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Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce

August 3, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream | Espresso and Cream

I mentioned last week, but my post-vacation self was in serious need of a little detox after our trip. For me, detox is never about juice cleanses or major restrictions, just focusing on putting as many nutrients into my body as possible in the form of veggies, whole grains and lots and lots of water.

Of course, being pregnant has made the whole “eating nutritious foods” fairly difficult, but I’m trying my best. This pregnancy has been rather strange; some days I feel almost normal and the next day I feel completely horrible. Most of the time I can count on feeling pretty good in the morning but I’ve been hit with morning sickness in reverse, feeling miserable as the day drags on. The benefit of having a rocky pregnancy past is that even when I’m feeling my worst, I still feel incredibly thankful for each day I have with this baby.

Baby Photo 10 Weeks

 

This past Friday we had another appointment and ultrasound. I was incredibly nervous; it had been 2 1/2 weeks since our last appointment, and this appointment, just shy of 10 weeks, felt like a huge milestone to me. We’ve never made it anywhere near this far with either of our two previous pregnancies, so it was hard to imagine going to the doctor and getting good news. Right before our vacation I got extremely worked up and questioned whether I should have taken our doctor up on her offer to do a scan before our trip, but Joe and I talked it over and felt strongly that God was asking us to trust Him, to go out into the unknown and wait until our trip was over to get our ultrasound.

When we saw our little one, who looks so much more like a baby now, on that ultrasound I was blown away. At 9 weeks 5 days we could see him/her moving around and got a video of the heartbeat, a strong 178! For most of this pregnancy I have held back on letting myself feel truly excited about this pregnancy for fear of getting my hopes up, but I finally feel as if I’m allowing myself to think about the future and what life will look like come March 2nd. For now, we are done with ultrasounds for a while. Our doctor offered to do another one in two weeks, when we will be at the 12 week mark, but I told her I was comfortable hearing the heartbeat on a doppler at that appointment instead.

I’ve said it a thousand times already, but thank you for your prayers. Every single e-mail I’ve received has been such a blessing. Some days I feel confident and secure, other days I have to pray through the fear hour by hour, and the e-mails that have been sent my way have meant so much on those tough days. Sometimes I wonder why we are being gifted this miracle. I don’t have a clue, because it’s certainly more than we deserve. My prayer is that this baby would be a constant reminder to many of God’s grace, compassion and ability to do miraculous things despite what science or statistics might say.

And because this post suddenly became extremely long-winded, I am rewarding those of you still reading with this amazing recipe. It’s one of my new favorite spreads/dips/sauces in part because of its versatility. I made a batch (it makes quite a bit!) and drizzled it over a bowl of whole wheat couscous and roasted summer squash for dinner the other night. My mom and Joe both had the same meal and raved about how delicious it was, mainly because of the sauce. Since that meal, I’ve also used this as a dip for chips and a spread for sandwiches. The possibilities are endless!

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream 1 | Espresso and Cream

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce, Dip, Spread
 
This sauce is great on pretty much anything, but my favorite way to eat it is on top of roasted veggies and whole wheat couscous or rice. It's absolutely delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups cashews roasted and unsalted (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Drain cashews from the water they have been soaking in. Place cashews, water, red pepper, garlic and salt in a high-powdered blender or food processor. Blend 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Caramelized Onion Bean Dip

October 10, 2011

A couple weeks ago when Joey asked how I wanted to celebrate my birthday weekend, the answer was simple. All I really wanted to do was watch the Gators play football and have a weekend filled with relaxing, exercising, and eating some great tailgating food.

For Joey, that meant me making his mom’s cheesy beef dip. I’ll admit that I had a hard time buying Velveeta at the store, but seeing his face light up when I served it for the game was priceless.

For me, tailgating food means lots and lots of raw veggies served with some type of hummus/bean dip and maybe something sweet on the side. So when I saw Jenna’s recipe for White Bean Dip with Pita Chips, I got to making my shopping list.

When I actually arrived at the store, the red onions were calling my name. I figured anything and everything tastes better with caramelized onions, including bean dip. So my version is slightly varied from the original I was inspired by. The results were outstanding, with a sweet-savory flavor profile and smooth consistency. And it makes a lot of dip, so be prepared to have leftovers or enough to serve a group!

Caramelized Onion Bean Dip
Adapted from Jenna at Eat Live Run  


Ingredients
*1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*2 cloves garlic, chopped
*Juice from 1/2 lemon
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
*2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained

Instructions
*In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are softened and caramelized, stirring frequently.
*Add the garlic to the pan during the last three to four minutes of cooking. Remove from heat.
*Transfer the caramelized onion mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin and beans. Process until mixture is smooth, about three minutes, adding extra oil if necessary to reach desired consistency. Serve with fresh veggies or pita chips. To store, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

Healthy Pumpkin Butter

September 18, 2011

Although it’s only the middle of September, the pumpkin eating is in full-swing over here. Since last week when I first spotted it on the shelves of the grocery store, I’ve eaten five 15-ounce cans on my own. Some might call it excessive; I call it celebrating fall.

My favorite way to eat pumpkin is spread atop peanut butter toast. And although I would gladly eat it plain, I find most people prefer to have their pumpkin sweetened and spiced up a bit. Pumpkin butter over the commercial variety has always been a bit sweet for my liking and generally negates the healthy elements of pumpkin puree.

This Healthy Pumpkin Butter is the best of both worlds – slightly sweet and chock full of spice, it functions well as a spread, dip, stirred into oatmeal or when stirred together with vanilla yogurt and topped with granola.

Healthy Pumpkin Butter
Ingredients
*28-ounces pumpkin puree
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1 tablespoon honey
*1 tablespoon stevia or other natural sweetener

Instructions
*Combine all the above ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and cooked through. Be careful to stir frequently so as not to burn the pumpkin. Remove from heat and transfer to a sealed container. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

Spinach-Basil Pesto

March 28, 2011

What a weekend! One of Joey’s groomsmen drove down from Minneapolis to Des Moines for the weekend to spend time with us before the wedding. He travels quite a bit for work and is one hard guy to get a hold of so we were lucky to have a whole weekend with him. Most weekends when Joey and I are together, we tend to go to the same restaurants because we know what we love. But having a guest here this weekend we managed to try three new restaurants in one weekend!

Big thumbs up to Gusto Pizza and Drake Diner. Thumbs down to India Star: delicious Naan but terrible service and average grub aside from the bread. Moving on…

At the end of last week, I found myself with an unusually full fridge. Typically, my fridge looks a little bare, and a messy fridge full of leftovers that won’t get eaten drive me crazy. However, I also hate letting food go to waste, so when I found a carton of fresh basil and a bag of spinach on its last leg in my fridge, making pesto was the only thing to do.

My earliest memories of pesto revolved around pricey clam shell containers of herbs in dubious amounts. However, along the way I realized that pesto is pretty much the most economical things you can make. Leftover herbs, leafy greens, nuts and cheese can easily be blended into a pesto paste that is incredibly versatile.

Spinach-Basil Pesto

Ingredients
*2 cups spinach
*1 cup fresh basil
*1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1/3 cup chopped walnuts
*1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
*2 cloves garlic
*Olive oil
*Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
*In the bowl of a food processor, combine spinach, basil, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, lemon juice and garlic cloves. Process with on-off turns, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until ingredients are starting to combine.
*With food processor running, drizzle olive oil until desired consistency is reached (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil).
*Serve tossed into pasta, spread onto bread, as a sandwich spread or dip for veggies.

Happy cooking!

Madison

Make-Your-Own Nut Butter

May 4, 2010

 Hi, my name is Madison and I love peanut butter. I also love ketchup, and it’s a well-known fact in my extended family, since every time we eat either turkey or ham, I go searching through the fridge of the aunt and uncle’s house I am at in search of ketchup to bring to the table.

Unfortunately, this is one duo that does not work well together. Though when J. returned from Europe in January, he did bring me back a chocolate bar that incorporated both. Let’s just say I am not going to be trying to sell any of you on that combination any time soon.

But what I really intended to discuss was homemade nut butter. A trip to the peanut butter section of the grocery store will most likely yield some non-peanut butter impostors: soy nut butter, almond butter, mixed-nut butter. They are, of course, impostors in the most wonderful sort of way. Along with the delicious, unusual taste comes an equally unusual and not so delicious price tag. Does anyone really think it’s a good idea to shell out $10 (yes, $10!) for a small jar of nut butter? Not this girl, especially when it’s so easy to make yourself.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing with this recipe, using peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (pictured). I love the taste of walnuts, though if you aren’t a walnut-lover to begin with I don’t think walnut-butter is going to change your mind. The process is simple, really. And unlike the labor-of-love homemade pop tarts of last week, this nut butter recipe can be completed and consumed in under 12 minutes. Grind up the nuts in a food processor, add a little oil and salt, process some more, and then a little more until you are left with a creamy nut butter better than anything you might buy on the supermarket shelves, for a whole lot less.

Homemade Nut Butter

Ingredients:
*16 oz. (about 4 cups) toasted, unsalted nuts of your choice (I have tried this with almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts and had success with all four, or you could use a combination)
*3 to 4 Tbsp. oil (I used light olive oil)
*1 1/2 tsp. salt (regular, table salt)

Instructions:
*In a food processor, process the nuts for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and becomes slightly pasty.
*Add in the oil and salt. Continue to process for 3-5 minutes more, scraping down the sides frequently, until creamy and smooth, with just a slight texture remaining.
*Refrigerate until ready to use.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

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