Nov
11

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

The people of Denver rock my world. They are active and healthy and they eat differently than people do in the midwest. I talked with a guy who cooks his quinoa in stewed tomatoes and adds a variety of different veggies (oh, and a secret ingredient he claims) which gave me the inspiration for this quinoa dish. I have a secret ingredient too, red wine. But I think the biggest secret, the one that sets this recipe apart from others is cooking the quinoa in the stewed tomatoes. 

Stewed Tomatoes with Kale & Quinoa
 
Ingredients
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale, de-stemmed & roughly chopped
  • ⅔ cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a food processor (or a blender), pulse the chopped tomatoes until they are a a liquid consistency (similar to salsa).
  2. In a large pot, stew the tomatoes for 5 minutes and then add the wine. Put on low heat and continue stewing uncovered.
  3. In a separate pan, sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes and then add them to the stewed tomatoes.
  4. Add cinnamon, cumin, agave nectar, salt, & pepper to the mixture.
  5. Add the quinoa to the mixture and turn up the heat until the mixture to comes to a boil and then turn the heat down and cover the pot. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Stir the kale into the mixture and allow it to wilt down for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve.

I was craving something hearty and savory this morning so I made this dish for breakfast But I’d eat it for lunch too… and then again for dinner. No matter what time of day, this dish is sure to offer warmth and comfort on a chilly autumn day.

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

Stewed Tomatoes Quinoa & Kale

Love

Crista


Sep
22

Have you ever made apple crisp in a skillet?
We just recently did it for the first time ((using apples fallen from our tree)) and we were super impressed with the result. The apples cooked thoroughly and quicker than they would have in a traditional baking dish. apple-crispapple-treeapple-tree
Isn’t this apple tree gorgeous? 

apple-treeapples-from-treeapple-crisp
For the apple crisp, we used the Apple & Pear Crisp recipe that I made last winter but we didn’t any pears this time. I will say that the pear + apple combination was the bomb… but I will also say using homegrown apples was the bomb. 

apple-crisp
To help you avoid guilt and allow you pleasure while eating this apple crisp, here are 6 benefits of eating apples. How’s that for an excuse to have dessert?
(I had this apple crisp for breakfast, whoops)

Love

Crista


Sep
21

I can’t stop won’t stop.
ANOTHER post featuring ((drumroll)) ……TOMATOES!!!!

mushroom caprese-3

mushroom caprese-4
Here we have a Caprese Salad made with mushrooms instead of mozzarella cheese, which happens to be a legit substitute. ((keeping it raw and dairy-free!))
I’ve made it before ((and I’ll make it begin)) but I don’t remember where I got the idea…..

mushroom-caprese-salad
Ingredients used: home-grown tomatoes, sliced baby bella mushrooms, fresh cut basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper. 

mushroom-caprese- salad

Don’t act like you’re not impressed. (i still am….)

Love

Crista


Sep
19

Every time I step foot in to the garden ((which is every few days)) I found a new harvest of heirloom and cherry tomatoes ready for picking, they are ripening faster than we can pick them. I’m not complaining, we haven’t run out of ways to use them. The genius that is my mother-in-law ((am I scoring cool points??)) showed me how to make pizzas on the grill ((I told you she’s a genius)) with homemade dough, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. The dough that we used was spread quite thin so these “pizzas” ended up more like a flatbread. Whatever, they were awesome. Check them out:

margherita-flatbreadmargherita-flatbreadmargherita-flatbreadmargherita-flatbread
After one side of the dough was grilled, we flipped it and then added the ingredients. Because we spread olive oil on the dough before grilling, the dough maintained a chewy, yet crunchy texture and had a rich flavor.

When grilling pizza, it is important to keep the hood of the grill closed as much as possible, this is how you get the cheese to melt (if you are using cheese).

margherita-flatbreadmargherita-pizzamargherita-flatbread
What I liked most about these pizzas/flatbreads is that the tomatoes cooked minimally, allowing a full burst of the natural flavor (that you only get with home-grown tomatoes). We didn’t even have to add much salt to the pizzas because the tomatoes were naturally salty.

I’m thinking grilled pizzas would be fun to make for an outdoor event/party instead of grilling dogs & burgers.
Roll out some dough, set out a buffet of ingredients and allow guests to choose which toppings they would like on their pizzas.

Wouldn’t that be fun???!!!

 

Love

Crista


Sep
12

Jalapeno Kale Salad
Last week I got to visit my family in Indiana. The initial reason for my trip was to visit my grandpa was in town for the week (with his new girlfriend!) But I also got some quality time (shopping) with my mom. It was fun to visit and catch up and spend some time running around the house (and watching Mickey Mouse) with my 2 year old niece, Claire.

Colorful Kale Salad w/ Jalapeños // peace. love. quinoa

My mom makes a salad at least once a day whether it be for dinner or packed in her lunch. Whenever I visit, she seems to have various salad ingredients on-hand and can always whip up a quick meal. Together, we put together this salad using a few ingredients that she had and a few ingredients that I had packed. In a previous post, I mentioned that we’ve got hundreds of cherry tomatoes in the garden, so I picked a bagful (my mom LOVES tomatoes!) and took them with me, along with some jalapeños and a cucumber.

Jalapeno Kale Salad

In this salad, we used a baby a kale & greens mix, avocado, cherry tomatoes, carrots, butter beans, dried cherries, and jalapeños. I would have NEVER thought about slicing up a jalapeño and adding it to a salad had my grandpa’s new girlfriend not suggested it. My family was brave enough to try the salad only because they did not know what our secret ingredient was.

Jalapeno Kale Salad

Often times, I see people pick jalapeños out of our garden and just take a bite – it seems as though the peppers aren’t as spicy/hot when grown in a home garden. If anything, they pack flavor and that’s exactly what they did for the salad. You can see in the photos, I chose to slice the peppers very thing, long-ways but I think I would enjoy them chopped as well. 

Would you be brave enough to add jalapeños to your salad?

Love

Crista


Aug
26

With more tomatoes growing in the garden than we know what to do with, I decided to make this Tomato Chutney when I came across the recipe. I absolutely love jams and jellies and chutneys but I’ve never made an attempt to make any of them until now.

Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. assorted tomatoes (of choice)
  • 1 large onion, chopped into eights
  • ½ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • large pot of boiling water
  • large pot of ice cold water
Instructions
  1. Cut a large “X” on the bottom of each tomato. Working in batches, place the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water.
  2. Blanch for 30-60 seconds or until skins start peeling off. With tongs, pull the tomatoes out of the boiling water and immediately drop in to ice cold water; drain.
  3. Remove the skins of the tomatoes and discard. Remove the core and discard. Quarter the tomatoes and set aside.
  4. Pulse the onions in a food processor until chopped. Add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices and continue pulsing until the tomatoes are chopped.
  5. Pour the mixture in to a large pot along with all other ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour or until mixture is thick and reduced, stirring often.

tomato chutney

This chutney can be used in a variety of different ways, here you see the chutney served with crackers, I can imagine a cheese would have sat well with the cracker + chutney. I can also imagine this chutney would be delicious served on top of a fresh fish filet or Fried Green Tomatoes. When I visit Indian restaurants, they always serve a variety of chutneys with their appetizers.

I can’t wait to share a few ways I’ll be using this tomato chutney in the near future.
How would you serve this chutney?

Love

Crista


Aug
16

peach & tomato skewer peach & tomato skewer peach & tomato skewer-4 peach & tomato skewer

You know those sayings… “they’re like two peas in a pod..” or “they go together like peas and carrots..”

((can you tell I watched Forrest Gump last night?))

I say we make a new phrase, “they go together like purple haze tomatoes and fresh ripe peaches.”

I’m honestly not sure there is a better fruit/veggie combo than this one.
But then again, those Purple Haze tomatoes would be good with a variety of different things, they’re good on their own – they taste sweet like candy.

To accompany the perfect pair, I added fresh mint and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Love

Crista


Aug
08

We have sooooooo many tomato plants this year, seven to be exact.
(Hey! That’s a lot of tomatoes!)
Despite a little scare with a hornworm on one of the plants, every single one of our tomato plants is healthy and producing. Our cherry tomato plant has at least 50-75 tomatoes on it, no joke! 

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

I found another hornworm yesterday, but I didn’t get my panties in a bunch this time. I pulled him right off and squished him before he had time to do much damage. Wanna know how I knew he was there? I saw a moth fluttering away from the tomato plant as I approached – dead giveaway. 

tomato hornworm

I am in LOVE with Fried Green Tomatoes,
(The Southern & Whiskey Kitchen hooked me with their Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches)
but never knew they were so easy to make.
I guess the trickiest part is finding the green tomato? Grocery stores & markets sell ripe, red tomatoes not greens.

fried green tomatoes
 Fried Green Tomatoes make for the perfect side-dish to any southern comfort-type meal OR you could use them in a sandwich. We made a meal out of these Fried Green Tomatoes, Black-Eyed Peas, Jalapeno Cornbread, and some Sweet Tea. Yum. 

fried green tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 green tomatoes, cut in to ⅛-inch slices (we used an heirloom tomato)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons regular unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegan butter (Earth Balance) for frying
  • dijon mustard (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a shallow, wide dish, whisk together the almond milk & lemon juice. Set aside.
  2. In another shallow, wide dish, combine cornmeal, sugar, black pepper, and seasoned salt.
  3. Dip the tomatoes in to flour, then the milk mixture, and finally the cornmeal mixture; turning to coat each side.
  4. Melt vegan butter in a frying pan over medium heat. In a single layer, put the breaded tomato slices in the pan and fry until golden brown; turning to cook each side.

 Serve with dijon mustard or ​a chutney.
fried green tomatoes

Love

Crista


Aug
07

I have an announcement to make.
I GREW MY FIRST CUCUMBER EVER.
Save the applause for later, I have a recipe to share.

cucumber
But before I share that recipe….
Have you ever seen a YELLOW watermelon?
No? Me either.
Not until today.

yellow watermelon

When I was cutting open this watermelon, I had no idea it would be yellow.
I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a pretty pink watermelon, that was until I tasted it. The yellow watermelon is actually sweeter than a pink watermelon (can you even imagine that?) and less juicy which means it’s less messy.
I like.

Mint Plant
So I made a salad, a really good salad…. using that yellow watermelon, quinoa, and 2 ingredients fresh from the garden: {my very first} cucumber and mint. The kind of salad that is filling, refreshing, and perfect for a summer afternoon.

I made my salad with the yellow watermelon but you could certainly make this with a pretty pink watermelon. *smile*

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad // peace. love. quinoa

Cucumber Watermelon Quinoa Salad
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups watermelon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the lime and honey. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the watermelon, cucumber, quinoa, and mint. Toss.
  3. Drizzle the lime-honey mixture over the salad and serve immediately.

 

Love

Crista


Aug
06

We are finally reaping the benefits of growing a garden!
We have successfully grown onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and even a cucumber (that the bugs didn’t attack).
garden-salsa

tomatoes

jalapeno peppers

garden onions

garden

Chris gets excited about the tomatoes and peppers because he LOVES to make salsa. He’s pretty good at it, his salsa is ALWAYS delicious. Look, anything that comes from a home-grown organic garden is bursting with flavor & gratifying.  You see in the photos, Chris gathering all of the necessary ingredients for his {what he likes to think of “famous”} salsa. 

garden vegetables

garden-salsa

Christopher's Spicy Garden Salsa
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large tomatoes (or a handful or small tomatoes), chopped
  • 2 jalapeno or serrano peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro
  • the juice from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the processor until you’ve reached desired consistency.
  2. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
  3. Serve immediately or store chilled for 3-4 days.

garden-salsa

Love

Crista