One Step Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

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The weather has been so nice out lately and a green healthy chilled soup was exactly what I needed to finish off the weekend! This recipe is incredibly easy and is the perfect amount of cool, fresh and crisp. It’s a nice way to end a warm day (or start the day!)…It even becomes a nice healthy portable lunch if you put it in a mason jar and top with some nuts & beans. So basically you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in 5 minutes, really?!… 

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Basil Tofu Scramble

Basil Tofu Scramble

Hi everyone. What do you think of FLB’s new ‘do? It’s a work in progress but I am hoping this new layout will be more visual and more user friendly for you all.

Basil Tofu Scramble 2

Yesterday was a holiday and I love nothing more than spending the day in the kitchen when there is no agenda :). So I whipped Scott and I up some brunch that was inspired by one of our favorite organic cafe’s, The Plant. We are just a little bit obsessed with the basil tofu scramble at this cafe so I decided to try it out for myself. It was super easy and super tasty – we had it for brunch, but it would be great for dinner as well! I served it with a side salad and a recipe to come – sweet potato and brussels sprouts hash. Let’s just say, we were both wishing I made made a bit more! Oh and you can find the homemade pesto recipe here.

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Dip In: My Favorite Dips, Sauces and Spreads

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Below I have created a list (and links) to my favorite dips, sauces and spreads. So go ahead, dip in and enhance your meals with these simple recipes. The best news of all… every single one of these recipes is vegan and gluten free for those who have any dietary restrictions!

1. Pesto. My husband and I are obsessed with pesto. It is not an exaggeration when I say that we put it on everything! Bread, eggs, sauteed veggies, pasta, salad dressings, pizza, etc. I usually just whip up some of this homemade pesto once a week and let it sit in the fridge for us to find the lucky item to put it on. It is oh-so good and fresh.

Pesto

2. Hummus. I put pesto on pretty much everything and I put hummus on almost everything. I love to add a heaping spoonful to a salad, use as a spread for a sandwich and of course have with veggies or crackers when I need an afternoon pick me up.

Hummus… 

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Yellow Gazpacho

Yellow Gazpacho

Nothing says summer like a chilled soup…or sweet corn, or fresh tomatoes… so what do you get when you combine all those things? This delicious yellow gazpacho!

I saw this recipe and was immediately drawn to it because 1. I love anything related to Spain. 2. To me it is beautiful and simple, which I am always drawn to 🙂 and 3. Who doesn’t love a little twist on anything traditional, right?!

Scott and I enjoyed this last night paired with my Tofu, Peanut Butter and Roasted Tomato Panzanella and we had summer screaming from our happy kitchen. So fresh, so simple, and so beautiful.

Enjoy the final days of summer and the delicious flavors that come with it!… 

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Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

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My favorite recipes are those that come about as a result of using what I have on hand. I tried a casserole recipe last week that had a bit of basil in it. It was a total flop which is why I will not be sharing it with you until I figure out how to make it great… Anyway, I had a ton of extra basil on hand that I did not want to waste. Coincidentally, I had an amazing dinner with friends this weekend and they requested that I do a post on dressings. Hence the birth of this delicious basil vinaigrette…. 

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Top 7 Summer Salads

As we move from Spring towards Summer, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Summer salads. These are a perfect starter or a side dish for those hot summer nights. Click on the link below the photo to take you to the recipe.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Tabbouleh (cracked wheat salad)

Arugula Salad with Peaches

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Caesar Dressing

Homemade Caesar

Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin

Red Pumpkin Curry

Scott and I hosted a dinner party last week as part of a reunion for some friends that went to Turkey together and also as a birthday celebration for my friend Brittany. We decided that it was the perfect opportunity to test our our recently learned Thai cooking skills :). The real standout of the dinner party was the red curry. We had to modify from what we made in Thailand because we simply couldn’t find all the right ingredients here so this is the version that will likely work for most of you and it was oh so tasty. Serve over rice or with some noodles (or both!) and you are set. Lucky for us, we hosted 7 but made enough food for almost twice that… and the leftovers were just as tasty.

Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut cream – we were told in Thailand that coconut cream is a must in curries… I will test it out with other types of coconut milk and report back.
  • 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste (can find a vegetarian version if you would like)
  • 1 lb pumpkin, cut into 1 in cubes – any yellow flesh squash will work
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, even thinly sliced
  • 2 cups or 1 can baby corn, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs basil – thai basil if you can find it
Instructions
  1. Pour half of the coconut cream into a pot, over medium heat. Add the red curry paste and mix well. If your mixture starts to splatter too much, turn down the heat. Stir continuously to prevent the bottom from sticking and burning. When the reddish oil starts to form, stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the pumpkin and stir to coat with curry sauce. Add the rest of the coconut cream and water. Season with salt; start at ½ tablespoon and taste. Each curry paste has a different salt content so you really need to taste it. Simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add sliced red pepper, corn and basil. Turn off the heat. Stir to submerge the basil in hot curry to keep the leaves bright green. The leaves will stay bright green for 10 minutes or so. Serve while hot.

 

Avocado Cabbage Rolls

There is nothing I love more than some good spring rolls! However, it is not always easy to have rice paper at your disposal. Tip: order it from Amazon and just keep it on hand because there is nothing better than a nice homemade spring roll when you have a craving. You can enjoy the pleasure of putting whatever you want in it and they are a total crowd pleaser for a dinner party appetizer… and if you are my like my husband it can be fun to make it the size of a small burrito :). Anyhow, I saw this recipe on Whole Living and thought it was a great way to still get the look, feel and taste of a spring roll but with a little more ease. It is a bit messier who cares about a mess when peanut sauce is involved, right?! Feel free to play around with the filling – I’m sure they would be awesome with the spring roll filling as well!

Average Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce – found here!

2 cups watercress, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

2 cups jicama, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch basil, stems removed

1/2 bunch mint, stems removed

1 avocado, pitted and mashed

Salt

4-8 cabbage leaves (depending on size and number of rolls you want to make)

Directions

1. Toss watercress with carrot, jicama, basil, mint, avocado, and salt.

2. Roll in cabbage leaf and serve with peanut sauce.

Photo Credit: Whole Living

 

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Years ago I tried spaghetti squash and was not a fan, so I have not touched it since. But the other day at work a few friends and I were talking about cooking (yes we work at a fitness studio and talk all day long about eating – you build up an appetite with all that thigh work, right?!) and they both mentioned delicious spaghetti squash recipes. So I was inspired to give it another shot – thank you Colin and Susannah! I figured I’d ease in since I was a little skeptical and go with pesto because in my opinion, pretty much anything would taste good with pesto on it… I am happy to say that I am now a spaghetti squash convert and you are likely to see more recipes to follow. Welcome to your gluten free “pasta” heaven!

For new and improved recipes, please visit The Simple Kitchen!

Pesto Spaghetti Squash
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 small spaghetti squash (or half of a large spaghetti squash)
  • 1 cup Homemade Basil Pesto, or store bought
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375. Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile make pesto according to directions found here.
  3. Once spaghetti squash is done remove from oven and let sit until it is cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.
  4. Mix squash with pesto and arugula. Arrange on plates and top with tomatoes and any other garnish of choice (basil leaves, pine nuts, etc.).

Homemade basil pesto recipe can be found here.

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

Eggplant Parmesan CasseroleI had been eyeballing this dish for a while and given the fact that I just had some delicious leftovers for lunch, I am happy I tried it!!!

This gives you the feel of a lasagna but is lighter as it has less cheese and no noodles. I got the original recipe from Martha but of course modified it to add a few extra veggies in :).

I hope that you enjoy it!

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Olive oil, for baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs (can use egg replacer for a vegan version)
  • ¾ cup plain dry breadcrumbs, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large eggplants (2½ pounds total), peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) homemade or store-bought chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced (approximately 2 cups)
  • 10 oz kale or spinach or combination of both
  • 4 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella or parmesan or a combination (can use non dairy cheese for a vegan version)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of oil in a pan, add onion and cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and kale or spinach and cook until greens wilt. Set aside.
  4. One eggplant is done, spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then the mushroom mixture. Add 2 more cups of sauce. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, then sprinkle with basil and mozzarella. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.