Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

This past weekend, we visited a friend. They had a gigantic bag of rhubarb on their counter. Of course, I had to comment because I'm in constant rhubarb envy. However, we finally had a turn ... after two years after planting my first rhubarb, I finally saw life this spring. Maybe in another two years, I'll finally get a harvest!

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

After talking a little too much about their rhubarb, they felt bad for me and decided to offer me the entire bag! I realized I was probably a little too pushy about it but they got it from their grandma and they were seeing her the next day and going to get another bag of this size (it was about 5 lbs of rhubarb!). I had to take them up on the offer! Thanks guys!!

Because of our expanded garden, we aren't doing a CSA and therefore not getting amazing bulk fruit. I used this opportunity and use a huge chunk of the rhubarb to make jam for the year. Well, that got me through about 3 pounds. So, I decided to make a simple syrup for some cocktails .. rhubarb and blueberry margaritas or mojitos anyone?! I was down to the last little bit and I decided that I would save it for the weekend and make rhubarb salsa. After getting everything done for the afternoon, I still had about 45 minutes to spare before I needed to pick up Gabriel from school. The bag of rhubarb was just staring at me. It would be nice to just be done with it, but I didn't have the rest of the ingredients for salsa.

My little lightbulb went off and I decided to quickly throw together a barbecue sauce. I seriously threw it together too! Everything all in a pot and done! Best part is, I love it! It's sweet, it's tart, it's a little spicy. I had some leftover walnut burgers in the fridge so I chopped them up, added the barbecue sauce and we had walnut barbecue for dinner and in case you're wondering, dinner paired great with the rhubarb blueberry mojito!

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Makes 2 1/2 cups

4 c rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c onions. diced
2 cloves garlic. minced
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
6 T ketchup
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T worsteshire sauce
1 T dijon mustard
1 T liquid smoke
1 T smoked paprika
1 t tabasco (more if you want the heat)
1/2 t pepper

Put all ingredients into a pot. Cook over medium heat until rhubarb is so tender it turns to mush as you stir it.

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Smoky Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (Nut-Free and Soy-Free)

So, I have a confession. I was slowly poisoning my husband! Seriously, this is real life and not some Lifetime movie!

At the end of my pregnancy, I was getting really lazy with my cooking and when I get lazy, I turn to cheese meals. It's quick, easy and my pregnant self love it! However, Paul being slightly lactose intolerant (he can have cheese but the milk and cream make his tummy turn), could not handle all the cheese. For about three weeks, we couldn't figure it out. We thought he gained a gluten intolerance, we thought he had eczema, our heads were spinning! We were trying tons of different things. Then it dawned on me, we had been eating an extreme amount of cheese and I hadn't been making him salads for his lunch. This meant he was eating leftover cheese dinners for lunch. I was poisoning him!

So, we went dairy free and after three days he was back to normal. Phew! After about two weeks, I slowly added a little cheese back in and he was back to normal. This little ordeal got me back in love with my vegan cooking ... especially on Mexican nights!

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (Nut-Free and Soy-Free)

I have been making vegan nacho cheese dip for over a year. Sometimes I would add cashews and sometimes tofu. Hands-down, this is the best and easiest way to make it. It's so easy! I (almost) always have all the ingredients on hand and it only takes about 15 minutes to put together. What else can a girl as for. Instant, healthy, easy nacho cheese dip ... and without poisoning anyone! Now, I have been making double batches because I have been putting it on just about anything I can. It's a great bonus too because as I'm trying to get back in shape, post-baby, it's a quick and filling snack that I love munching on.

Easy Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (Nut-Free and Soy-Free)

Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (Nut-Free and Soy-Free)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 c diced potatoes (unpeeled)
1/2 c diced carrots

2 t jarred jalapeños, diced
2 t juice from jalapeños
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t onion powder

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook potatoes and carrots until they are tender. Drain when done.

In a bowl, put all the ingredients. With your immersion blender, mix until smooth.

Serve right away or refrigerate. When you are ready to warm it up, keep it covered while you warm in the oven. Enjoy!

Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (Nut-Free and Soy-Free)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Garlic Scapes and Chive Flower Pull-Apart Bread

Spring is here ... so they say!

It may be April, but we are still getting light snow a couple days a week and then a mix or 50º-60º weather for the rest of the week. It is a strange season, for sure! Every time it hits even 45º, I get excited for the garden to start, partially because my seeds are growing so well in the basement and I'm antsy to transplant and the other reason is that I can already see my chives and garlic coming up so nicely! Both plants are already about 6-7 inches tall. This is my first year planting garlic and I can't wait for first harvest!

For me, spring equals garlic scapes and there is nothing better. The thought of scapes got me remembering a bread that I was addicted to last spring.  Mix garlic scapes with carbs and I am one happy girl!

Garlic Scapes and Chives

Now, if this weather would just cooperate so I can really see my plants grow, we're in business. Until then, I think I'll be making a loaf with fresh garlic and some chives that I have in the freezer from last season.

If you love scapes too, don't forget to try some Garlic Scapes Hummus or Garlic Scapes Pesto this season!

Garlic Scapes and Chive Flower Pull-Apart Bread

Garlic Scapes Pull-Apart Bread

Makes one loaf

Bread Ingredients:

1 c milk
1 egg
1/2 c mozzarella cheese
3 c bread flour
2 t organic cane sugar
1 1/2 r dried oregano
1 r salt
1 r active dry yeast

Garlic Butter Mixture:

1/4 c butter, melted
Diced garlic or chopped garlic scapes to taste (we like a LOT of garlic flavor!)
1/4 c chive flowers or sliced chives.

Optional: Parmesan cheese for topping.

Add bread ingredients to bread machine and set on dough cycle. If you don't have a bread machine, mix them all together and cover with a towel. Let dough rise until it doubles in size. Punch it down.

When finished, place dough on lightly floured surface and pat to 1/2+ inch thickness. Cut dough into about 32 pieces.

Mix garlic butter together.

Dip dough chunks into the garlic/scape mixture and place them butter-side down in a bread pan. Continue dipping and layering dough with butter side down until all dough is in the pan. If you would like, sprinkle the top with a little parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375º for 15-25 minutes or until it starts turning brown.

Invert onto a serving dish and serve warm (but it's still great cold).

Garlic Scapes and Chive Flower Pull-Apart Bread

Garlic Scapes and Chive Flower Pull-Apart Bread