Monday, May 30, 2011

Refrigerator Slaw

After our recent cold spell the 80 degree weather couldn't feel more perfect. It finally feels like summer is making its way to Grand Rapids. With the rising temperature I always begin to crave my Great Aunt Ruby’s Refrigerator Slaw. It’s a very easy dish that can be made many ways, but I always like to go back to her simple recipe.

As a child my sister and I would spend part of our summer vacations visiting my Aunt in Kentucky. She usually made simple southern food that always tasted amazing. When the weather started to warm up she would begin to make batches of her Refrigerator Slaw and keep them in mason jars. I really can’t remember one meal when she didn’t pull out an ice-cold, freshly made jar.

I personally love to eat this as a light snack. But it’s a wonderful side for BBQ, hamburgers or brats. I hope you enjoy.

start to finish: 20 minutes
  • 2 to 3 large bell peppers, diced (any color you like)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 large hot house cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine bell peppers, onion and cucumber in a large bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, water, agave, dill, salt and pepper.

Pour the liquid over the mixed vegetables and stir. Cover and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.

If you like the idea of using mason jars:
Divide the mixed vegetable's between the jars, then pour the liquid over the vegetables, dividing evenly. Seal and refrigerate overnight, occasionally stirring by rocking the jar from top to bottom.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Parsley Mediterranean Grille

I crave Mediterranean food all the time. I really enjoy eating dishes that feature fresh lemon and parsley. Both have such nice bold flavors and Mediterranean food really seems to use these ingredients well.

When I’m in the need for a Mediterranean fix I will visit Parsley. Parsley is more of a fast food style dining experience but the food is pretty delicious. It’s located in downtown GR across from the GRAM in a neat, clean, new establishment.

The service is very good but you might have up to a 15 minute wait, due to your meat being grilled fresh with each order. They have a variety of options for the gluten and dairy-free and the staff has been very knowledgeable in my experience. My favorite dish is the Chicken Kabob dinner. The chicken has a nice char and they serve it with very a flavorful garlic dipping sauce. Yum yum. Your breath will not thank you but your belly will. :)

It’s a bit pricier than the average fast food shop, around $30 for two, but the food is fresh and worth it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Easy Jambalaya

Grand Rapids has been having a bit of a cold spell this week, so I thought a little warm soul food would be perfect to heat things up. I love one dish meals, they scream comfort food to me, and since I’m craving a little spice and a little rice, Easy Jambalaya it is. This really is an easy meal to make and if you don’t like shrimp or sausage, this also works well with chicken or tofu.

There are two items I’d like to make a special note of in this jambalaya. First, Al fresco Chicken sausage. This is a wonderful, natural, gluten & dairy-free product. It’s one of the few gluten-free sausages I can find locally. They have a variety of flavors to choose from and I used my favorite tonight, the Sweet Italian Style Chicken Sausage. Second, Spicy V8. When used in moderation, this is a great product. It’s gluten-free and it really spikes up a dish, adding flavor and zest. If you are not a fan of V8 you can sub a different variety of savory tomato juice or chicken stock, but I really enjoy what the Spicy V8 brings to the table.

Hope you enjoy!

note: If you don’t appreciate heat, even in small doses, just skip adding in the cayenne pepper. :)

Serves 6
Start to finish: 1 hour
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme (or sub 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, optional (more or less to taste)
  • 12 oz. package precooked gluten & dairy-free sausage, ½ inch slices (I use Alfresco)
  • 28oz. can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups gluten-free chicken stock
  • 1 cup Spicy V8
  • juice of two lemons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 lb precooked shrimp (thawed, chopped, tails removed)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute onion, pepper and garlic until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper, dried thyme, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, fresh thyme and mix well. Add in chicken sausage and allow to warm through, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, add the rice and mix well. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Once the rice is tender, turn off the heat, add in the shrimp and allow to warm for about 3 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lemon Avocado Sherbet

Thanks to my most recent fruit feast, I have been on quite the avocado kick. I simply cannot say enough great things about this amazing fruit. It’s nutty, smooth and flavorful, it has a rich and creamy texture, it’s simply delicious. In keeping with this theme I decided to move avocados into the desert menu.

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine shared an avocado desert recipe that I knew I had to make for myself. Desert can be one of the more challenging items to make gluten & diary-free but this is quick, simple and tasty. With summer fast approaching it’s the perfect light and refreshing delight. Enjoy!

adapted from: the Ultimate Mexican supplement, Better Homes and Gardens 2010
  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and cut up (1” pieces)
  • 2 cups original almond milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
  • zest of 1 lemon

In a blender, combine avocado, milk, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cover and blend until extra smooth. Pour mixture into glass baking dish, cover and freeze for at least 6 hours. To serve, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mango Avocado Smoothie

As part of my yoga journey this week I entered into a fruit fast. For three days I feasted on only fruit; apples, bananas, oranges, mangoes, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, coconut, etc. This is not my first fasting experience but it’s always amusing to find how anxious I can become before the fast begins. “Will I be starving? Will I feel exhausted? Will I be able to work, yoga, think?!” Each time I discover the same thing, it’s never as hard as I believe it will be! Fasting is an interesting process. It challenges you both physically and mentally as it cleanses your body from the inside out.

During these three days, mango avocado smoothies have been my go-to. Besides tasting amazing, the avocado gives me the energy I need to stay focused and make it through the long work day. Simple but delicious.

Serves 1
start to finish: 5 minutes
  • ½ ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup cold coconut milk
  • ¾ cup cold mango juice (or papaya juice)
  • 1 fresh mint leaf, (optional)

Combine avocado, mango, coconut milk, mango juice and mint into a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy! note: if the smoothie feels too thick, add a little cold water and blend until you reach your desired consistency