Monday, April 22, 2019

Smooth and Creamy Avocado Dip

My focus in recent months has been on healthy eating and transforming my life in drastic ways. In January, I landed in the hospital for a week after spending four days horribly ill, unable to function and barely able to walk on my own. While my doctors are still trying to uncover the cause of my ongoing struggle with dizziness, imbalance, facial pain and difficulty finding strength to walk some days, a diagnosis of diabetes and anemia during my hospital stay has catapulted me into a total lifestyle overhaul. It has been the most difficult thing I think I've ever had to deal with in my forty-four years on this planet - scary as hell. But, I've been dedicated since that moment back in early-January to making healthy choices every single day and making the most of my new reality.


I've always loved salads and raw vegetables. (I'm so grateful for that now since those foods make up seventy-five percent of my diet every single day.) I buy pretty much the same items at the grocery store for myself week-after-week now. I know what works for me. I'm coming to know what foods do and do not spike my glucose levels. And, I know that these are ingredients that will be on my plate going forward for years to come.

So, finding creative, new ways to prepare or use those ingredients has become a daily challenge for me - one that I'm actually embracing with joy.  And, since avocados are something that I'm encouraged by my doctor to eat pretty much every day, turning them into a dip for my raw veggies only made sense.

And, this dip couldn't be easier. You'll need a blender or food processor to make it since you're looking for a super-smooth texture. Once you've got that ready, it's just a matter of tossing in some basic healthful ingredients and whirling it all until super creamy and luxurious.

I use this as a dip. But, you could drizzle it on tacos or it can be drizzled on a Buddha bowl (just thin with a bit more water). Yum!

The flavors are bright and vibrant. The dip turns out smooth and almost buttery. And, it lasts for a couple of days in the fridge, so make enough for tomorrow's lunch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Creamy Tortellini and Sausage Soup

There's little more comforting to me than curling up with a steamy bowl of soup on a brisk evening during the chillier months of the year. If you poke around a bit, you'll discover a hoard of soup recipes here on Joyously Domestic. I tend to rely a good deal on homemade soup for dinner in the colder months. Thankfully, my family is on board and for the most part, they share my soup obsession. We typically have soup on the menu two or three times a week this time of year. And, the soups are usually a mix of classic stand-bys {our favorite Potato Soup or BLT Soup} along with lots of experimenting with new recipes.


Recently, I tested this Creamy Tortellini and Sausage Soup. It was a big hit. I'm already planning to put it on the menu again in a couple of weeks.

It comes together in about 45 minutes. Besides your purchase of the sausage, tortellini and spinach, I'm betting you probably have the remaining ingredients on hand.

All that's missing once this pot of deliciousness simmers up is a crusty loaf of bread for dipping.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Spooktacular Halloween Bark Lollies

We've always been a family that has enjoyed making cutesy homemade treats for the holidays. Halloween is no exception. With four out of our five kiddos being between the ages of sixteen and twenty-eight now, it's down to just our eleven-year old who's even remotely interested in working on these goodies with me these days. {I'll take it while it lasts.} Making bark for any occasion is a perfect project for kids. No baking. No exact recipe to follow. And, they really can't mess things up too much.


Whether you need a sweet treat for the classroom, something to share at work or an edible party favor to serve up at your Halloween bash, making these suckers is super simple and so fun. They can be served as-is on a platter or be individually wrapped up with a cute ribbon in a clear cellophane bag.

The sky is the limit on embellishments, too, for these festive, spooktacular lollies. So, don't be afraid to use what you love and go crazy.

Yields 16 suckers.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Cool and Creamy Chili Dip

These Baked Sweet Potato Chips and I go way, way back. Many, many years ago, I used to order these as an appetizer at a now-closed restaurant in Indiana. Once a year, my four closest friends from high school and I would meet up for a girls' night at this particular place. The spot was over an hour from my house, so that yearly occasion was about the only time I ever went there. I would crave these during the months in between each visit, so I started making them at home.


It's actually a very simple recipe that requires just sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper for the
chips component. The key is getting the chips as thin as possible - either by using a spiralizer or kitchen mandolin, or by using a thin-bladed, sharp knife.

And, as amaze-balls as the chips are, please hear me when I say that the dip is essential. After a good deal of trial and error, I was able to recreate the dip from the restaurant just as I remembered it. And, it must not be skipped. {Did that sound too demanding? Sorry. I'm just really passionate about the dip, people.}

I often whip these up for us on movie or t.v. night just as a snack. But, they are great to serve alongside sandwiches or burgers, too.

Serves 2

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hydrating Green Juice {No Juicer Needed}

You've probably assumed that making fresh juice at home requires some high-powered juicer contraption. And, if you've ever purchased good-quality fresh juices - with legit, real ingredients - at juice bars or cafes, you know just how expensive they can be. So, I was intrigued when I came across versions of this Green Juice on Instagram {thank you, Life Is But A Dish and Eating By Elaine}. I've enjoyed several batches over the past few weeks, and wanted to sneak this post in here on the blog before everything turns to pumpkin spice, casseroles and cozy soups as we are set to welcome fall.


This juice is so simple and quick to make. Whether you make a batch to simply sip on during these final warm days of summer or want to hydrate after a good workout, this recipe/method to making juice at home is worth checking out.

Even though you don't need a juicer, a good-quality blender is needed. And, you'll need an avenue in which to drain the juice and get rid of the pulp after blending. I used a few coffee filters and a fine mesh sieve. The gals who inspired me to make this recipe use nut milk bags. They can be ordered online and would probably work even better. But, if you don't want to make the investment {or wait}, my method did the trick.

The foundation of the juice is celery, green apples, cucumber and lemons. From there, you can add in greens, fresh herbs, spices, etc. I like a little sprinkling of cayenne pepper in mine and, also, tried some agave added in for a little extra sweetness once. It's all about figuring out what you like as you experiment with making this.

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Yields 2  - 3 servings.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Black Bean Tostadas with Salsa Verde

My obsession with making tostadas at home runs deep. This recipe is one that I fall back on time and time again. {Frankly, I'm not really sure why I haven't shared it with you over the course of the six years I've been blogging.} Tostadas are a great meal option for several reasons. They provide an opportunity to have a meatless meal that is still satisfying and packed with good nutrition. Also, they are pretty inexpensive to make. The preparation of the beans is mostly hands-off, so there's not a ton of work that goes into the main component of the recipe. And, cooked beans hold well on the stove and, also, reheat well. {A lifesaver for families who may not always get to eat at the same time}.

 

We aim to eat together as much as possible, but it's just not always realistic with a hubby who often works twelve-hour shifts and teenagers with full schedules. I'm often keeping food warm for those getting home late. I really do cleave to recipes that work within the realms of our hectic lifestyle. Tostadas fit the bill.

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THE RECIPE:

I prefer using a package of dry black beans that I soak overnight and cook the next afternoon for this recipe. I, personally, just find this method is totally worth the effort. However, starting from canned black beans is totally fine if you're in a pinch or don't want to mess with soaking dry beans.
I, also, like to fry soft corn tortillas at home myself. But, crispy tostadas are easily found in the supermarket. They're already fried and ready to go.
I do like to make salsa verde from scratch. But, there are several store-bought varieties that are good, too. If you do make it yourself, know that the leftovers keep in the fridge for use throughout the week. {It's great with chips. }
Once the beans are done, I get all of the garnishments prepped and waiting on stand-by. {The sky really is the limit on what you include for this aspect of the recipe - lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, black olives, shredded cabbage, onions - whatever your family likes.} I often have the garnishments ready in my vegetable tray that has little compartments for the different items. The fried tortillas keep well in the warm oven. The beans do well on warm on the stove. {Just add a splash of hot water if they get a little dry.}

With a dinner as simple to have on stand-by as this one, I'd say you're ready to add Black Bean Tostadas to your regular recipe arsenal.

Yields 12 servings.
{NOTE:  Leftover beans freeze well.}

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Confetti Sweet Corn Soup with Baked Tortilla Strips

Should you find yourself wandering through life as a person who relishes soup year-round {as I do} or someone who is simply getting that "is it soup season yet?" itch this time of year, my Confetti Sweet Corn Soup may be right up your alley. It really is the perfect transitional soup for the lingering weeks of summer and the early days of autumn. Sweet corn is divine this time of year. And, this soup really celebrates all that we love about corn fresh from the garden or farmer's market.


The base of the soup is a simple medley of sautéed onion, red bell pepper and jalapeño {use as much or as little per your heat preference} that gets friendly in the pot with some dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and salt. From there, a little sprinkling of flour helps with thickening as some good-quality chicken {or veggie} stock joins the party.  Most of the corn kernels {once removed from the raw cobs} get added right in while some get whirled up in a blender or food processor with a touch of milk before being added into the soup.

One of my secrets is to toss in a few of the stripped corn cobs while the soup simmers. This little hack brings some intense corn flavor to the party. {Just carefully remove and discard after they've done their job.}

To finish, I like to top the soup with some baked tortilla strips that are made pretty easily from soft corn tortillas, non-stick spray and a little salt. This step is totally optional {you can even utilize store-bought tortilla chips as a topper}, but they are worth the few minutes of work.

Trust me.

One thing I'd like to note is that after testing this recipe four times in the past couple of weeks, I think I've come to the conclusion that the richness and sweetness {so-to-speak} level of the end result when making this recipe seems to really depend on how sweet and intense the corn is that is used. Obviously, we all know that sweet corn can vary in taste, sweetness and even tenderness. So, there can be variations in the end flavor profile {or "corniness"} each time this soup is made based on the batch of corn one uses.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Adult Margarita Watermelon Wedges

Happy summer. It's hot and getting hotter. We're always looking for ways to stay cool and chill during the summer. This recipe is specifically for the adults at your next pool party or cookout. {Sorry, kiddos.} Combining the refreshing aspect of ice cold watermelon with the components of a margarita couldn't be easier. You do most of the prep ahead of time. And, you can bet that everyone will hover around when you bring out a tray of these babies.


To make these, you'll be slicing up half of a watermelon into small wedges and inserting popsicle sticks {or something similar} into the rind ends. Follow those easy steps up by drizzling on some tequila, triple sec and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Store in the fridge until you're ready to serve. {I even like to pop the tray of wedges into the freezer for about thirty minutes prior to service so that the wedges are super duper cold.} Right before serving, garnish the fruit with the salt/sugar/lime zest combo. That's it.

Yields about 20 wedges

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Asian Roasted Broccoli and Carrots

I've struggled posting new recipes in recent weeks. We're in that end-of-the-school-year frenzy and things have been CRAZY. Band concerts. Conferences. Sports banquets. Field trips. Graduation. Open houses. Field days. Two kiddos have birthdays within two weeks in our house this time of year. And, we just added a new driver in the house - our son turned the big ONE-SIX. {Plus, it's softball season, so my behind is parked in a lawn chair at a ball field quite often these days.} I'm happy for things to be winding down. {Tomorrow is the last day of school. Hallejulah.} I always have more time in the summer to cook and blog. So, look for me in your inbox and newsfeeds a little more often.


For this new post, it's all about roasted veggies - broccoli and carrots to be specific. Charred, roasted broccoli has been like, my love language lately. Roasting vegetables is a thing of magic. And, it's so dang easy.

Truth be told, the Asian glaze really steals the show here. Like, I cannot wait to slather this stuff on grilled chicken and shrimp this summer. The ingredient list for the glaze consists of stuff that many cooks probably keep on hand and it takes like, 2 minutes to whip up.

I was inspired by a recipe from a few years back posted on Damn Delicious. It's genius and I'm so glad that I finally decided to try it out after eye-balling it for quite some time.

NOTE:  I like my roasted broccoli pretty charred on the exterior and still a little crisp inside. If you prefer yours a little more tender on the interior and less charred on the exterior, I recommend cutting the pieces a little smaller than shown here and giving the carrots about a five minute head start in the oven before adding the broccoli.

Yields 2 - 4 servings.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin with Potatoes

Let's hear it for pork on pork action, first of all. If you're a meat-lover, this is a spectacular and pretty easy recipe to have in your arsenal. For starters, I love when roasted meat recipes don't require any stove top pan-searing prior to roasting. This is one such recipe that simply gets prepped in mere minutes, then tossed straight into the oven - without searing.  You'll be floored at how little work and effort can yield such amazing results.


The dish requires minimal ingredients, gets cooked all in one skillet and is pretty fail-proof so long as you keep an eye on the internal temp of the meat.

Serve this up alongside a salad or vegetable for an easy-peasy meal. It's simple enough for weeknights, yet special enough for Sunday dinner.

Yields 6 servings