homemade

Pesto Mayo

To say my family is obsessed with this condiment is an understatement. Even my folks love it, and they are quite linear with their food choices.

For someone with a soy allergy and other food sensitivities, pesto and mayonnaise can be a challenge to purchase on the shelf of a grocery store. However, making mayo and pesto at home doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

My version of pesto is different. No cheese. No nuts. Which I can have neither of but this version is delicious and has full on flavor. My mayo recipe is simple, fast, and tangy. Blend them, and well, it’s become a staple in our house.

At times I use my pestle and mortar to make the pesto but this recipe we are doing it the less arm workout way.

Ingredients for the mayo:

1 cup light tasting olive oil or garlic infused olive oil

1 free range egg

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 to 1 1/2 tsp all-seasons salt (Simply Organic can be found at Publix and Amazon) or you can use pink salt and ground peppercorns.

*seasonings are personal. Start with 1 and add after you blend if you so desire. Adding is easier than taking away*

Directions

In a blender add 1/4 of the oil, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and seasonings. Keep blender on low. If it’s too fast, the whole thing will break once you start to add the rest of the oil. Blend until it begins to thicken. Don’t shut off the blender. Open the circular part of the lid at the top of the blender and slowly pour in the rest of the oil.

Once blended in shut off the blender and stir. This is the time to add more seasonings. Keep in mind the taste will increase over a resting period in the refrigerator. I usually wait 12 to 24 hours before use.

Ingredients for the pesto:

Fresh basil

Two cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 to 1/3 cup extra light olive oil (you can use a bit less if using it immediately in the mayo)

A few mint leaves

1 sage leaf

1/4 of a lemon

Dash of pink salt and crushed peppercorns

Teaspoon of Primal Palate Amore seasoning or any Italian seasoning

Directions

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add, but you can't take away.

When ready mix the two together in a bowl. Here is where it is up to how much of each you desire. If you want it for just a sandwich or wrap mix together a small batch, that way the both remain separate and can be used for other dishes.

This recipe is an allergy friendly recipe. One you can involve the kids, especially when you can use your own homegrown herbs. As a veteran homeschool mama, this is a great lesson as well and teaches them how to make food on their own.

Products used in this recipe:

Air Fryer Purple Potato Fries

Potatoes.

Good or bad?

Which food lifestyle do they belong in?

Who. Cares.

Diet culture has deemed potatoes as bad. What I’ve learned about purple potatoes is they are higher in antioxidants than russet, Anthocyanin is a pigment that creates the purple color in the potatoes and acts as an antioxidant. High in potassium lowers blood pressure. Though smaller, they make stellar french fries. They are medium starch and add a vibrant twist to potato salad.

Today is all about the french fries. As it should be.

Ingredients

1 bag of purple potatoes

Light tasting olive oil or garlic infused oil

CampMix - salt, pepper, white pepper, garlic salt, celery salt, and garlic powder

Sometimes I add chopped fresh cilantro but its optional.

Directions

Put your potatoes in the refrigerator. They will cut easier. Skin and everything.

Cut the potatoes. I use a fry cutter, but a person can cut them with a knife. However, the fry cutter is pretty fabulous to have. I will list what we use at the end.

Preheat the air fryer to 370

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the potatoes. Shake. Coat the fries in seasonings. Shake. Add more if desired, but it’s better to under than over season depending on your salt and spice level. You can add as you go.

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 20 minutes. Every 7-10 minutes shake the potatoes in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook. 

My son’s friends enjoyed the purple fries; it was a conversation piece.

For me who suffered from various digestive issues, the purple potatoes do not cause me distress like the russet. I also made a garlic aioli for the fries.

*Please note that all air fryers cook differently. I have an XL air fryer. Adjust as you go*

Products used in this recipe:









Dairy & Soy Free Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The best thing about cooking is the creation of a recipe and the joy it brings to my family and friends. These pancakes are fluffy and delicious. Easy but does have a few ingredients and ones that can be used with other recipes.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink fine salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/4 coconut milk (Califia Farms Go Coconuts: coconut milk and coconut water blend)

3 tablespoons of Earth Balance Soy Free butter spread (melted)

1 egg (free range)

Nestle Toll House Allergen Free Simply Delicious Semi-Sweet Baking Chips (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In the center of the dry ingredients add the egg, coconut milk, melted butter. Whisk until smooth. Add chocolate chips. I used somewhere between 1/2 to a 1 cup.

Heat cast iron skillet to 3. I have an electric stove therefore temps will vary. Also, you can use a griddle or frying pan, medium heat for those. I add a bit of butter in the pan. I scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter. Spread it about if you want a thinner pancake. Once the sides start to brown ever so slightly, and the mixture bubbles a bit in the center it’s time to flip. Cook until golden brown. This recipe makes between 6-8 pancakes.


Products used in this recipe:



Simple Chimichurri

Garlic. Cilantro. Red pepper. Be still my culinary heart. A little Instagram photo love below.

It’s a versatile sauce — meat, fish, or vegetables.

Ingredients

1/2 cup light tasting olive oil (garlic infused olive oil is an option)

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 red pepper

Fresh parsley

Fresh cilantro

Lemon juice (preferably fresh)

Salt & pepper

Directions

Chop 1 cup of cilantro and 1 cup of parsley. I use herb scissors to pre-cut before putting them in my food chopper.

Add garlic, red pepper, and seasonings. I go by taste with the salt and pepper. Palates are different.

Chop.

Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon in.

Chop.

Taste.

Add more salt and pepper if need be.

Products used in this recipe







Air Fryer Curry Fries

Due to the popularity of my I Speak French Fries recipe here is a marvelous add to it.

I could eat curry fries everyday. Seriously. Beyond delicious.

Ingredients

3-4 russet potatoes

Light tasting olive oil or garlic infused oil

Curry powder (Primal Palate)

All-seasons salt (Simply Organic)

Directions

Put your potatoes in the refrigerator. They will cut easier. Skin and everything.

Cut the potatoes. I use a fry cutter, but a person can cut them with a knife. However, the fry cutter is pretty fabulous to have. Especially for a teenager and his friends. I will list what we use at the end.

Preheat the air fryer to 380

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the potatoes. Shake. Coat the fries in seasonings. Shake. Add more if desired, but it’s better to under than over season depending on your salt and spice level. You can add as you go.

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 25-30 minutes. Depending on the desired crispiness. Every 7-10 minutes shake the potatoes in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook. 

Dipping the fries in curry aioli was quite euphoric.

*Please note that all air fryers cook differently. I have an XL air fryer. Adjust as you go*

Products used in this recipe:





Air Fryer Jicama Curry Fries

My two top recipes of 2018 were I Speak French Fries & Jicama What?. Not just here but on Pinterest. I decided to do both with the curry seasoning I purchase from Primal Palate. Plus, I made a curry aioli.

The above air fryer recipes for potatoes fries and jicama fries will be the same with this recipe, you are merely changing out seasonings.

These fries were teenager approved.

The jicama fries are a tinge sweeter but nothing wrong with that. Works perfect with the curry.

Ingredients

1 Jicama

Light tasting oil or garlic infused oil

Primal Palate curry powder

Simply Organic all-seasons salt

Directions

Preheat the air fryer to 385

Peel the jicama skin. I used my chef knife and cut a thin slice to create a flat surface. I found it peeled more comfortable after a bit of refrigeration. It also worked better with the french fry cutter. Again you can slice them without the fry cutter, but it's an excellent kitchen contraption to have.

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the jicama. Shake. Cover the jicama in curry powder and all-seasons salt. Shake. Jicama soaks in the seasonings, but it’s better to season as you go than over season. Some like salty and crispy others like less salt and not full-on crispy. 

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 30 minutes. Depending on the desired crispiness. The jicama takes a bit longer. Every 7-10 minutes shake the jicama in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook. Have a taste and determine if you’d like to add more seasoning.

The jicama has more texture and bite to it but not the crunch like potato fries.

Next up will be the curry potato fries.


Products used in this recipe:










Easy Curry Aioli

Ingredients

1 cup garlic infused olive oil

1 free range egg yolk

1 tsp spicy brown mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 to 1 1/2 tsp all-seasons salt (Simply Organic can be found at Publix and Amazon)

*seasonings are personal. Start with 1 and add after you blend if you so desire. Adding is easier than taking away*

1 to 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (Primal Palate)

Directions

In a blender add 1/4 of the oil, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and seasonings. Keep blender on low. If it’s too fast, the whole thing will break once you start to add the rest of the oil. Blend until it begins to thicken. Don’t shut off the blender. Open the circular part of the lid at the top of the blender and slowly pour in the rest of the oil.

Once blended in shut off the blender and stir. This is the time to add more seasonings. Keep in mind the taste will increase over a resting period in the refrigerator. I usually wait 12 to 24 hours before use.

It works perfectly with salmon, jicama, and potato fries.

Sweet. Spice. Salt.


Products used in this recipe:






Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

When I first met my husband, he wooed me with tacos. He knew the path to my heart.

Fish tacos have become my top choice. White flaky fish such as wild caught cod. I have used halibut in the past. A bit spendy but worth it.

We love spicy, and I don’t hold back when I make fish tacos. If you favor a milder taco, you can eliminate the jalapeño. I can’t tolerate corn, and most flour tortillas contain soybean oil; therefore, we use fresh romaine. Works just as well, even the crunch is there. Healthy fats from the fish and avocado are great for the body.

This recipe is easy and quick. Let’s get to it!

Ingredients


1 lb wild caught cod fillet

1 tsp light tasting olive oil or garlic infused olive oil

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 - 1 jalapeno pepper, slice, remove seeds for less heat

1 chopped poblano

1 chopped red pepper

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro

2 limes

Salt and pepper or CampMIX to taste

1-2 avocados, sliced

Directions

In a food processor add garlic, jalapeño, red pepper, poblano, cilantro, salt and pepper, and squeeze of lime. Your chops and slices don’t need to be perfect because they are all going in the food processor, they just need to fit. Once chopped put them to the side.

In a skillet, I use cast iron, heat olive oil. Add fish. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Squeeze half a lime on the fillet. Cook fish on near high heat.

Cook the fish until it’s flaking and falling apart. I add the pepper/cilantro mixture and another squeeze of lime. Sauté over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Mix everything well. Taste. Season or add more lime.

The aroma of garlic and spices is intoxicating. Add avocado slices and/or Jalapeño or a green chili sauce/salsa. Avocado smash would also work. I posted the quick recipe on my Instagram and Facebook page.

Messy and delicious! Enjoy!

Products used in this recipe



Easy Homemade Teenager Approved Marinara Sauce

My son LOVES homemade basketti sauce.

He's 18 and doesn't say it like that anymore, but his love of marinara remains. Logan could probably eat it daily. It's an easy, quick recipe and perfect for noodles, zoodles, or pizza.

I started my own herb garden three months ago -- grew from seed babies -- and was eager to use fresh basil, sage, and oregano in the marinara sauce. Something is rewarding about using your own homegrown herbs.

I'm shocked I haven't killed them yet.    

Knock on wood. 

The seasonings I use are from great businesses. If you know my recipes you know I use CampMix with everything. Adds flavor and kick to all dishes. 

Primal Palate seasonings are soy and gluten-free and kosher. 

Let's get to the recipe. You don't need an overdrawn story about marinara sauce. And I have some in my refrigerator begging to be used.

Ingredients

28oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons of light tasting olive oil or garlic infused olive oil

4 tablespoon of minced garlic

Chopped fresh basil and oregano (handful)

*CampMix (a blend of garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, and white pepper) 

*Primal Palate Garlic & Herb 

*season to taste*

Instructions

Place oil and garlic in a medium saucepan. Saute over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle, roughly a 1 minute.

Pour the tomatoes into the saucepan, basil and oregano, and seasonings, stir to combine.

TASTE AS YOU GO. 

I add quite a bit of the CampMix. We favor garlic and pepper, but some don't. It's all about your palate.  

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the sauce is bubbling too much -- Jackson Pollock your floor and stove --, reduce the heat.

It saves beautifully in a mason jar.

My homemade bread recipe would work perfectly with this delicious sauce. *wink*

Products used in this recipe

 

 

 

 

 

Soy Free Simple Bread

Somedays I want bread.

*gasp*

Somedays I want avocado toast not avocado smash on sweet potatoes or squash or bark.

Bread. White bread because my IBS isn’t all that fond of wheat anything. It’s a complicated relationship.

Toasted ever so lightly with delicious avocado smash with a runny yolk egg. Mmmmmmm, I know what I’m making for lunch.

Most bread out there in the United States are made with soybean oil. Great. I’ll die. The only bread at Publix I can consume is sourdough, but the ingredient list is extensive. No thank you.

My magnificent husband was on a bread mission. One he could make bread at home, and it is soy and dairy-free.

He succeeded.

Ingredients


1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons light tasting olive oil (you could also use garlic infused olive oil)
6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth (arm workout). Stir in enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled which takes about 1-1/2 hours.
Punch dough down (think about that annoying co-worker or your sister-in-law). Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9x5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Behold the glory!

Perfect for avocado toast. The bread soaked up the yolk.

Nirvana!

Products used in this recipe

Crab Pizza

I looked at my husband the other night and expressed my craving for pizza and crab cakes, but I didn't want to make both. 
How about crab pizza?
He raised his brow. I sensed his skepticism which made me want to make it all that much more. He suggested we make our pesto pizza for back up. 
Just in case.
I agreed but was confident the crab would taste delicious. 
In the end, I was right.
Duh.

My husband uses Bobby Flay's Pizza Dough Recipe. I am looking into a coconut flour recipe for my gluten-free people. Cauliflower crusts are quite popular, but I am unable to eat those. I did find a few gluten-free premade crusts at our local Publix in the frozen section. 

The crab mixture is easy with minimal ingredients. I did have a bit of pesto leftover and added a spoonful. Chopped red and yellow peppers add color and flavor to the mixture.

Ready for the oven.

The result?

It tasted exactly like a crab cake. The crispness of the crust and saltiness of the crab was the perfect combination. The added peppers give another depth of flavor. And let me tell you, the leftovers were an amazing breakfast.  

There is a sprinkle of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar Cheese. Don't be afraid of the cheese/seafood horror show. It's allowed with specific recipes. This particular cheese is a chameleon. It blends with whatever you add it to. I've mentioned it in previous recipes. I didn't use much, and I'd deem it optional. 

The pesto pizza was just as delicious. Not everyone loves seafood. 

Either pizza works for any gathering or football party. 

I live the most healthy lifestyle I can but you know what somedays I want carbs and cheese. I'm not going to shame myself for it. 

My body is an evolving creature and what works on Monday doesn't work on Thursday. I keep the medical profession on their toes. But that is for another day. Let's get to the important stuff.

Ingredients for Crab Mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

8oz crab lump meat (Pay the extra money for excellent crab meat. Publix and Whole Foods are my choices if you don't have a fresh seafood place near you)

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 yellow pepper (chopped)

1/2 lemon

A spoonful of fresh pesto (optional) 

Garlic infused olive oil (you can use light tasting olive oil) 

CampMix

Simply Organic all-seasons salt

Directions

In a bowl at crab meat, chopped peppers, squeeze of the lemon, and seasonings. Mix. Taste. If you want more seasonings or lemon add it in. Everyone's palette is different. 

With a brush or spoon spread the olive oil over the dough on a pizza pan (we use the Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick Bakeware 14-Inch Pizza Pan) covering every inch. 

Spread the crab mixture. Allow room for a crust. 

Bake for *20 -25 minutes*. 

*We use an electric oven. Gas ovens may be different.* 

This is why I love cooking. 

Experiment with different ingredients. Laugh and share stories with my boys. All of our conversations gravitate to the kitchen. Logan is hopping up in the counter. Plotting world domination. Phil is discussing his day. 

It's our happy place.

Products used in this recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Hummus - Cannellini Beans

Most associate hummus with garbanzo beans, I use cannellini. For whatever reason, my digestive system favors them over any other white bean. And avocado. I know. Travesty. But who am I to argue? 

Hummus is the universal food.
Dips. Wraps. Burgers.
Perfect substitute for mayo which I discovered while making a salmon salad  --  think tuna fish sandwich. 
That's for my next recipe.

My spicy hummus recipe is quick and easy. Four ingredients. Less than ten minutes. Cost is low. Why buy premade? You know who made it and when. You know the ingredients.

You don't have to use garlic infused olive oil but it does amplify the flavors. And really why not?

Drain the beans. 

I use my little food chopper.  

Puree setting. 

Always. Always. Always taste. 

Everyone's palette is different. We love spicy but others may not. We love garlic but others may want to ease back on it. My goal is to set a foundation and people make the recipe their own.

My husband loves broccoli and red pepper slices or with pita bread. I eat it alongside my salmon filet with a spinach salad. The options are endless.

Ingredients

1 can of cannellini beans

2 tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil

1 tablespoon of Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa

1/2 - 1 tablespoon of CampMix (garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, and white pepper)

Instructions

In the food processor add the beans, oil, salsa, and seasonings. Puree setting until all is blended. Taste. Add more salsa or seasonings if so desired. 

Use immediately or refrigerate.  

Boom!

Done!

It's not zero carbs but it's also not horrid carbs. I could think of worse carbs to consume. 

This recipe is soy-free. Vegetarian-friendly. Low-cholesterol food. High in protein, magnesium, and fiber.  

Products used in this recipe

CampMIX

 

 
 

Paleo Cucumber Dill Ranch Dressing - Tzatziki Inspired

I stand with the refrigerator door open. What to make? Not in the mood for chicken or fish. I want something light. Salad? Yes but I don't want a vinegarette. I made mayo the following day, my eyes move to the fresh dill, lemon, and cucumber. 
Tzatziki inspired. 
In my pantry, I have organic lite coconut milk. A staple for our family. 
I've made this ranch before but not with cucumbers.  

Oh. My. Goodness. 

I could live off this dressing. Dip jicama fries in it. Or turmeric chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

The added cucumber reminded me of my favorite gyro place in North Carolina. Perhaps, my next recipe. Hmmmmmm.

Let's get to the deliciousness.  

Ingredients

For the mayo

1 cup of light tasting olive oil

One free range egg

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1/2 of a lemon

CampMIX or Simply Organic All-Seasons Salt (I use both) or any seasonings of your choice. 

For the dressing

1/3 cup of the paleo mayo

1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)

1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons of fresh dill

1 clove of garlic

1/2 medium peeled cucumber

Instructions

Make the mayo: In a blender add 1/4 of the olive oil, egg, mustard, squeeze in lemon (watch out for those seeds), and seasonings. Blend on low. Once blended open the central part of the blender and slowly pour in remaining olive oil. It will start to thicken. Stop the blender. Give it a little stir. Taste and decide if you want to add more lemon or seasonings. Put the mayo in a container, cover and put in the refrigerator.  

Make the dressing: In a food processor, I use the KitchenAid Mini Food Processor, add mayo, coconut milk, lemon, dill, garlic, cucumber, and seasonings. Pulse a few times until the cucumber is chopped into tiny bits. Taste. Add any additional seasonings. If you want a thicker dressing, add a bit more mayo.

I like mine thinner. Reminds me of the homemade ranch I had as a child. 

My husband added a homemade pita triangle and turmeric chicken to his salad. Can't forget the sliced black olives. Another family staple.

This dressing is soy, gluten, and dairy-free. Vegetarian-friendly. Versatile. Simple and delicious.

Products used in this recipe. 

  

Air Fryer Crab Cakes - Obsessed

My first encounter with crab cakes was six years ago. At the time I wasn't a seafood chick. My husband was always trying to get me to order something different beyond the norm. For our anniversary dinner, I agreed and ordered the crab cake sandwich. 
First, bite, and I was in love. The sweetness of the crab meat and bite of the spicy coleslaw. Oh, my. 

Over the years I've worked on perfecting my crab cake recipe. Adding and subtracting ingredients. Changing up spices. Taking out store bought mayo and breadcrumbs and making my own. My cast iron skillet was my go to, but since upgrading to the GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL, I'm able to make more crab cakes. I can comfortably fit 4-5 in the basket. And olive or avocado oil isn't splattering all over my oven and floor. Bonus. 

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The texture reminded me of a deep fried crab cake but without the grease or fat. I enjoy crab cakes alone. Sometimes I'll make a garlic aioli to dip mine in. My husband prefers the sandwich, and on this particular day, I had leftover basil pesto. I also the toast the sourdough slices for him.

Mmmmmmm, now I want crab cakes.

Personally, I enjoyed the air fryer crab cakes more than the cast iron skillet version, but my husband would beg to differ.

I guess he better learn how to make his own crab cakes.  

Ingredients

For the mayo

1 cup of light tasting olive oil

One free range egg

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1/4 of a lemon

CampMIX or seasonings of your choice. Sometimes I add cayenne pepper or dill. 

For the breadcrumbs

1/2 loaf of cubed sourdough (I purchase mine at Publix because it's soy-free) 

Dash of salt and pepper. 

Olive oil

For the crab cakes

8oz crab lump meat (Pay the extra money for excellent crab meat. Publix and Whole Foods are my choices if you don't have a fresh seafood place near you)

3/4 cups breadcrumbs

3/4 mayo

A handful of chopped scallions

Instructions

Make the mayo: In a blender add 1/4 of the olive oil, egg, mustard, squeeze in lemon (watch out for those seeds), and seasonings. Blend on low. Once blended open the central part of the blender and slowly pour in remaining olive oil. It will start to thicken. Stop the blender. Give it a little stir. Taste and decide if you want to add more lemon or seasonings. Put the mayo in a container, cover and put in the refrigerator. 

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Breadcrumbs: Cube your bread. In a large bowl add bread and pour olive oil over the bread until every piece is coated. Combine the mixture and breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 390. Spread them out on a cooking sheet. Bake until golden brown.

Allow those to cool. 

Pour the bread into a food processor. It will grind up in different sizes, which I like.

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On to the crab cake mixture: In a bowl add the crab lump meat, breadcrumbs, mayo, and chopped scallions. 

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Mix. Make four patties out of the mixture and carefully put them in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 370 for 13 minutes or until golden brown. 

Use a spatula to remove the crab cakes from the basket when done. 

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On this occasion, I made two in the air fryer and two in the iron skillet. 

Either way, the result is pure deliciousness. 

As I always say make this recipe your own. It's the joy of cooking. Creating and tasting. It's a bit different than the normal crab cake recipe but who the heck wants to be normal? 

Enjoy!

 

Hello? Is It Cheese You're Looking For?

March 7, 2017, USA Today published an article titled Cheese is so addictive, one doctor calls it 'dairy crack'. I 100% believe it. There is something about cheese when it's listed on a menu. A gleam in one's eye. The giddiness inside.

My relationship with cheese is complicated. When I was young whether my grandma was visiting our home or my family was visiting hers, she'd cook delicious food for us. Every single meal. Most contained cheese. One of the favorites was her fried macaroni and cheese. Nothing fancy but she made it with love. The crispy noodles mixed with creamy cheese was on another level for a nine-year-olds palette. I've mimicked the recipe, but it's not the same. It's not my grandma's.

I decided to create my own.

Soy-free. Lactose-free. Vegetarian-friendly. No noodles.  

What the heck is it?

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.

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Activate watering of the mouth. 

Spaghetti Squash. Cheese. Basil.

The trifecta of awesomeness. 

As I've stated in a previous recipe I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics.

The end result is cheesy goodness.

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Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash

3 tbsp of Earth Balance Soy-free butter

3 tbsp of ap flour or your flour of choice

2 cups of coconut milk (I use VitaCoco Original)

1 tablespoon of Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Cream

A handful of fresh basil leaves

3/4 tbsp CampMIX or create your mixture of garlic salt, salt, garlic powder, celery salt, black pepper. I recommend tasting as you go. 

1 block of Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar (Shred the entire block) 

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 390.

Mince basil leaves. 

In a medium saucepan or cast iron pot on low-medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in flour until small lumps form. Add coconut milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Add seasonings salt, basil, whisk and simmer for about 2 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Add the cheese and whisk until smooth. 

Add spaghetti squash. Stir and blend carefully.

In an 8x8 Pyrex dish pour in the cheesy awesomeness. A 10" cast iron pan is also an option.

I have an electric oven--miss our gas oven--I cook the squash for 5-7 minutes. Then I switch to broil on high. Check every couple of minutes until golden brown.

This entire dish is 5-6 servings depending on the portion size your spouse or children dish out. My husband dishes heavy.

The leftovers are perfect to fry up the next day. Too bad I never have any leftovers which I guess is a compliment.

Now go make this dish and make it your own.         

 

 

 

Fresh Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese - The Ultimate Comfort Food

Pesto. 

It's a favorite in our household. I recently posted my Pesto Spaghetti Squash recipe and though I did post my pesto recipe I have a different I use for pesto grilled cheese. Who doesn't love gooey grilled cheese? I have fond memories of my dad making me a grilled cheese with Velvetta when I was young. I'd dip mine in Ketchup just as he did. My son did the same. 

There is something about the buttery toasted bread and melty cheese which brings warmth and happiness to my soul. My husband loves grilled cheese with soup. Especially when he is feeling under the weather--mancold--he requests my grilled cheese for every meal. 

My pesto is different because I don't use pine nuts, parmesan cheese, or any other oils besides light tasting olive oil. Most pestos at local supermarkets contain ingredients myself or my husband cannot have. The mint and Meyer lemon add a twist to the original. Sweet and citrus.     

My pan of choice is the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, but I did recently purchase the Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler and will have to test out the panini action on it. An air fryer is also a great way to make grilled cheese. I set my air fryer at 360. Cook until golden brown.   

My husbands favorite part of the grilled cheese is that I sprinkle CampMIX on the outside of the sourdough bread. Adds a little something. Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar is OUR cheese. It blends perfectly with whatever you are cooking, lasagna, tacos, or pesto grilled cheese. It's creamy but has a bit of a bite like parmesan but without the stink--my dad's observation.

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First bite?

Euphoric. 

The mix of fresh basil, butter, seasonings and the blend of delicate but robust cheese, oh my goodness. I could eat this every day.

The perfect comfort food.  

Next up on my recipe list is Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake. Yeah, it's kind of amazing. Especially for those who crave mac and cheese but the ingredients from back in the day don't work anymore. I have you covered. Also, an excellent comfort food dish.

I don't feel I have to go into great detail on how to make a grilled cheese. I tend to keep my electric stove about six because the cast iron heats up quickly. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

A few mint leaves

Squirt of Meyer Lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

* I stick with sourdough bread because Publix makes it without soybean oil. But you can use whatever bread you want. *

Happy rustic cooking! 

 

 

    

 

  

I Speak French Fries

My son is a die-hard french fry fanatic. Since he was little, it was all about the french fries and ketchup. Ore Ida was our go-to brand until I started to read the ingredients. In 2015 I was diagnosed with a soy allergy, on top of already having a sensitivity to lactose. Did I mention I have IBS? Good times. My initial thought was, what the hell am I going to eat? Soy is in almost EVERYTHING. Even vitamins and seasonings. The IBS peppermint oil capsules I was taking had soy in them. Really? 

Since then I've educated myself about food, as has our son. When he read soybean oil on the ingredient list for Ore Ida french fries, Logan no longer wanted to eat them, and we didn't blame him. 

                                                                Ew

                                                                Ew

Our solution was simple. Make homemade fries in our air fryer

We searched on Amazon for a fry cutter and found this beauty.

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New Star Foodservice 43204 Commercial Grade French Fry Cutter for $89.95. We could hand cut the potatoes, but we decided to go this route. Easy to cut and easy cleanup. Worth the investment. 

Let's get to the good stuff. How to make delicious homemade french fries with a bit of olive oil and seasonings.

I use russet potatoes. Skin and everything. Put your potatoes in the refrigerator. They will cut easier.

For two people I use three potatoes really, it depends on the size of the potatoes. When our son has his friends over the teenagers can quickly go through 5lbs of potatoes. The homemade fries are a huge deal for them.

You'll get an arm workout. But the suction cups help a great deal. I tip the bowl into the fry cutter; the potatoes fall right in. 

Preheat the air fryer to 380

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the potatoes. Shake. Add your favorite seasoning. I prefer CampMix (my go to), but you can use season salt or just salt and pepper. It depends on the level you enjoy your fries. Some like salty and crispy others like less salt and not full-on crispy. 

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 25-30 minutes. Depending on desired crispiness. Every 7-10 minutes shake the potatoes in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook. 

I add a dash of salt and boom! Delicious homemade fries without all the ick ingrediants.

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Is it more work than popping fries in the microwave or oven? Yes. But I feel there is value to homemade meals. You know what you are eating. You're feeding your body a better way. It's also fun when the family gets involved. For us, cooking together is our time to talk about our day, discuss life, or sing weird songs. We have food fights. We get messy. We have fun and enjoy one another. Cooking for my boys brings me happiness, it's also an excellent stress reliever. My recipes may not look fancy. I don't do the videos. My camera is six years old. But I cook from the heart, and I want to share my joy with you. 

If you make one of my recipes, please let me know how it turns out. What personal touch did you add? I'd love to see your photos. 

Now get yourself an air fryer. Trust me; you'll thank me later. 

What You'll Need:

Air Fryer - preheat 380

A way to slice the potatoes into even cuts

1 bag of russet potatoes - use as many as you want

Light tasting olive oil

Seasonings of your choice (Uber fan of CampMIX)

Products used in this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Feed Me Pizza And Tell Me I'm Pretty

Pizza.

Oh, how we love thee.

But most pizza joints use soybean oil in their dough.

My husband can't have tomatoes. I can't have lactose. Yes. We are walking food messes.

Publix does have pre-made dough but, you guessed it, soybean oil. Sigh.

That's it.

I had decided to make my own pizza. I'm not a measurement rule follower but with pizza dough, I had to be. Bobby Flay's recipe was the perfect find.

We don't have a stand mixer but our hand mixer worked great. 

While the dough was doing its thing, I shred the cheese and made the pesto. 

Since my husband can't have tomatoes, I  made a pesto with black truffle sea salt. For the cheese, I used free of lactose Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar Cheese. It has a parmesan taste to it. A bit sharp but not overwhelming. Another lactose-free favorite is Applegate Provolone.  

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top basil leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Black truffle sea salt is strong. You won't need much. Blend. After I dry blend, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I have found that this method blends better. Especially if some of the basil leaves don't fully chop up. 

Add the olive oil. Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

The pesto can sit while your pizza dough is completing its awesomeness.

When the dough is ready per the Bobby Flay recipe, preheat your open to 400 degrees.  

With the pizza ball of dough, I used a flour covered wooden roller and sprinkled a bit extra on the counter. When it's rolled out, put it on your pizza pan.  

Spoon and spread the pesto over the dough. My dough was not a perfect circle on my pizza pan. Oh well. Imperfect works better for me. Sprinkle on cheese. We went heavy in that department because it's too good not to. 

Cook until the cheese is brown and bubbly, which is 20-25 minutes.  

The end result was beyond delicious. 

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The earthiness of the basil but the subtle bursts of garlic and the black truffle sea salt blend awesomely with the cheese. 

The crust was crispy but not break-a-tooth crispy.

No chewiness. 

A welcomed add to the football season food rotation. 

Ingredients

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash of malabar black pepper 

Dash of San Francisco Salt Co. Black Truffle Sea Salt

Dash CampMix (optional)