My dreams have been so vivid lately, it is getting harder and harder to tell the difference between dreams and reality. I am not sure if it is the excessive stress I have been under… More
The weather here has been perfect for our gardens! Sunny days, rainy evenings, and cool nights. It has been years since we have had such a nice summer! I remember this time last year sitting on my porch sweating. It was such a hot, dry summer last year, I totally gave up on the garden.
This year is so different. I find myself running to keep up with the veggies coming out in the garden, especially the cucumbers. It has been years since we have had such a great harvest, I have had to go back into my archives for recipes to use them all!
Here are 4 fairly easy ways to use up those cukes and enjoy the taste of summer!
- CUCUMBER WATER – there are so many benefits to adding some sliced cucumbers to your water bottle everyday. Other than the taste (which is delicious) it really has a lot of health benefits! Read more here.
- REFRIGERATOR PICKLES – just 10 minutes and you can jam 4-5 of those cucumbers in a jar and have pickles the next day! This is the fastest and easiest way to use them up and enjoy them all summer long! Have friends that like pickles? Get the recipe here!
- CUCUMBER SALAD – this is a great make ahead side dish recipe for BBQs, pot lucks or even weeknights dinners. Get the recipe here.
- HOMEMADE DILL RELISH – want to enjoy your cucumbers all winter long? Why not make your own dill relish? This tangy recipes full of dill is so much better than store bought! Learn how to make it here.
I hope these ideas help you out when you are staring at that huge basket of freshly picked cucumbers!
When I crave comfort food, pasta is always the first thing that comes to mind and Lasagna is the pasta of all pasta’s in my opinion!
It has been 3 days since we had to put our oldest border collie down and the pain still runs strong through the house. It is hard to try and feel normal with so many triggers. There is just so many memories from the past 13 years. Damn you cancer….damn you!
I thought I would make some “comfort food” tonight for my husband and I, but didn’t want to give in and buy pasta (or look in the back of the cupboard since I am sure there is still some penne back there I am trying to forget about!)
Zucchini is coming out fast and furious in the garden, and although I have diced and frozen quite a bit for future stir fry’s and zucchini meatballs, I also want to eat as many fresh garden veggies as possible. Hence…..the Lasagna Zucchini.
Zucchini is a really watery vegetable, so I halved, oiled and salted a fairly large zucchini and stuck it on the grill for 5-10 minutes a side on medium low heat. If you don’t have a BBQ or just want to use the oven, I would suggest 20-25 minutes on 350 c. This will soften it up nicely and give it some flavour. When it is done, let cool a little and scoop out the seeds and make a nice hole for your filling! My zucchini was quite large so the seeds were pretty big, but if you have smaller zucchini’s, I would put the “scoopings” back in with the meat!
The meat filling was nice lean turkey, seasoned with onion, garlic, italian seasoning and red wine vinegar. Stuff meat into the zucchini, top with marinara sauce and cheddar cheese and pop right back on the BBQ or in the oven for another 10 minutes or until heated all the way through. I topped with ricotta and basil to complete the beautiful lasagna flavoring!
Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini
- 1 large zucchini or 3 small zucchinis halved, oiled and salted, grilled or baked for 20-25 minutes
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 cloves diced garlic
- 2 tbsp italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Marinara sauce
- Cheddar cheese (low fat)
- Ricotta Cheese (low fat)
- Fresh basil for serving.
There isn’t an exact science to this recipe. Just grill a zucchini, stuff a zucchini and bake a zucchini. The of course, eat a zucchini!
This was perfect as a comfort dish and really had all the goodness of lasagna without the pasta. It is a great healthy, low carb, gluten free option when you just need to stress eat!
It was a really hard weekend at our house. Friday we had to put our little 13 year old Border Collie down because of cancer, and both of us just walked around in a cloudy haze all weekend not sure what to do with ourselves. By Sunday night, I figured we needed something to get our minds off of the pain and we decided to make a nice dinner together!
It was nothing romantic, we actually ate in front of the TV, but just the act of slicing, dicing and frying together in the kitchen brought some “normal” back into our house.
A couple weeks ago I had picked up some authentic Indian curry powder from the market and I was just itching to try it! I had some frozen shrimp in the freezer and the snow peas are in full harvest right now, so coconut shrimp curry was a no brainer!
Jack shelled and deveined the shrimp while I chopped the veggies, and once that curry powder hit the hot oil, the house seemed to come alive! It is amazing how food can do that, change your mood with just one smell!
The curry turned out amazing and made enough for leftovers today!
COCONUT SHRIMP CURRY
- 16-24 Raw shrimp, deveined and shelled
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 tbsp diced fresh ginger
- Carrots, sliced
- Snow peas
- Red and yellow pepper, sliced
- White or brown rice (optional)
Prepare rice as per the package. Devein and shell thawed shrimp and cut veggies. I never add amounts for veggies to a recipe. I figure everyone has a different opinion of how much they want and “too many” vegetables isn’t usually a problem! I used 3 small carrots, 2 cups of peas and 2 peppers, but more or less can be used!
With any curry, you want the spices to hit the oil, so heat oil and add onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes until soft. Add spices and let cook for another couple of minutes. Your kitchen will immediately smell incredible!
Add shrimp and carrots until shrimp is no long translucent, then turn down heat, add peas, carrots and coconut milk. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. It will thicken slightly, but this recipe is thin so it can make its way through the rice and veggies!!
The flavours were beautiful, the aroma was lovely and the feeling of being “normal” again was priceless!
One thing I hate buying at the grocery store is condiments. I always wonder what half of the ingredients are and it always freaks me out a little to not know what I am putting in my body!
I have been starting to make my own condiments lately and now with the veggies coming out in the garden…it’s relish time!!
My husband hates sweet relish, so I thought I would whip up some dill relish. The taste is far beyond anything you would buy in the store and you can alter it to you taste!
HOMEMADE DILL RELISH
Makes 3 small jars
- 4 pounds cucumbers. I used pickling cucumbers because they have less seeds, but any kind will work.
- 1 tbsp tumeric
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 2 cups cold water
- 1/2 sweet onion
- 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cups diced fresh dill
- 2 cups white vinegar
A food processor is almost mandatory for this recipe. I shredded 10 cucumbers in only 3 minutes!
After soaking, rinse well in a strainer and let sit to drain. To get all of the water out, place in cheese cloth (or a jay cloth since that was all I had!) and squeeze, and squeeze and….squeeze! You will be amazed at how much water comes out!
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes. Prepare your jars and lids by boiling for 3 minutes then place relish in hot jars. Make sure to clean the rims then put jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
I have been on a mission lately to find new and exciting recipes using the mint out of my garden. There is only so much tea you can drink 🙂 For my opinion on growing mint in your garden, check out My Love Hate Relationship with Mint!
I wanted to make pesto chicken this week and my basil supply is getting a little low. I have been using it so much lately, I am actually running out of leaves. So I started looking in the gardens for some pesto inspiration and stopped in my tracks when I came to the mint!
I was a little worried it would taste strange. I mean when you think pesto, you don’t usually think mint, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how good it was, I had to rush right to my laptop to tell you all about it!
GARLIC MINT PESTO
makes 1 small jar of pesto
- 3 cups fresh mint
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
Wash your mint leaves and put in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add walnuts, parmesan , garlic, salt and pepper. Blend away until chopped up into very small pieces. Add lemon juice and enough olive oil until you get the desired consistency. I like mine thick, but if you like it thin, just keep adding olive oil.
I hope you have a chance to try this recipe. It is so refreshing, I cannot wait to try it out with my pesto chicken!
Nothing is more beautiful than a bowl full of ripe, juicy blueberries, expect for maybe a bowl of warm blueberry crumble right out of the oven!
This recipe is healthy and easy so it is perfect for breakfast, dessert or make it in a large dish for pot lucks. It can also be made gluten free, and does not contain a lot of sugar!
I make this recipe in individual ramekins because there is just my Husband and I at the house, but even if I have company, I like to serve them like this. They are just so pretty! The colour of the blueberry sauce peaking out from the crumble after they are cooked is so bold and vibrant, it just screams freshness! You can serve with a scoop of ice cream or low fat frozen yogurt for extra special occasions!
BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE RECIPE
Serves 2 individual ramekins. Feel free to double or triple the recipe for groups!
- 1 cup of fresh blueberries, washed and check for stems
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 cup flour, corn masa, coconut flour, almond flour, etc. Any flour works here. Its job is to keep the crumble from getting too soft and oatmealy! I use corn masa because that is what I have in the house and it turns out perfect every time!
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 c. Wash blueberries and add white sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 of the cinnamon and mix. Let sit while making the crumble.
To make the crumble, add oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and the remaining cinnamon to a bowl. Melt butter and pour into dry ingredient. Mix together until you have a nice crumble. It shouldn’t be wet or too dry that there is dust on the bottom of the bowl.
Top blueberries with crumble and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top gets a nice brown colour and the blueberry sauce starts creeping up the side.
Hope you enjoy! I had this for breakfast today and am already planning on making it for dessert next week!!
BBQ Season + Garden Season = Stuffed Mushroom Season!
There is no finer thing than a warm and tasty stuffed mushroom right off the BBQ on a hot summers night! Pair it with a garden salad and a nice glass of wine, sit on the patio and watch the fireflies dance!
Ok, I could probably come up with another perfect scenario for a cold winters evening too…..I just loved stuffed mushrooms anytime of the year.
Summer time does produce the best ingredients for this recipe though, and I personally like to eat what is in season.
This recipe is always a hit at parties and BBQs. The woody flavour combined with the garlic pesto and cream cheese is to die for! It starts a flavour party in your mouth (wow, that was cheesy…..HA that’s punny!)
Ok, I am done now!
GARLIC PESTO STUFFED MUSHROOMS
- 6 medium mushrooms (or 12 small ones). I have tried different kinds of mushrooms and they are all good, so just grab what is fresh and available!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic pesto. I make garlic scape pesto that is amazing and uses the curly tops of the garlic plant. This is what gives mine a nice green colour. Again, any garlic pesto would work, but I highly recommend you try this recipe if you have garlic scapes available. Get my Garlic Scape Pesto recipe here!
- 3 oz cream cheese ( half a brick)
- 1/2 small onion
The nice thing about this recipe is you don’t need to mess around with the flavours. Let the pesto and cream cheese create their magic!
Scrub mushrooms really well and remove the stalks. Chop stalks into small pieces. Add 1 tbsp to frying pan and sauté mushroom stalks and onion for about 3-4 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat. Add pesto and cream cheese and stir until combined.
Use remaining oil to brush mushroom tops and bottoms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff pesto cheese mixture into mushrooms and pop on the BBQ or in the oven for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are soft and there is a nice crunchy layer on the top.
You can top with cheese at this point if you would like. I prefer them without because I feel it takes away from the cheese that is already in the mushrooms. You can also use a layer of bread crumbs for more crunch!!
I know what you are thinking and yes, they do taste as good as they look!