creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac

I have made guac many times before, but have recently updated my recipe with a couple sweet tweaks here and there. The ‘new & improved’ version, so to speak!  In my opinion, making that perfect guac, honestly has a lot to do with finding the perfect avocados.  Catching them at the right time, is key.  They need to be ripe and ready to go, but not starting to go brown inside.  Sidenote: how many times have you bought avocados and thrown them out???  They go fast!  There lies the fine line. The second point to securing amazing flavour is mincing your fresh garlic, rather than just chopping it up.  I find this makes a huge difference is giving it so much more flavour.  Garlic breath beware!

My new version of homemade guac is creamier, yet still a little on the chunky side.  You know…kinda like ‘crispy’ and ‘saucy’ wings…I like a happy combo of both.  The generous amounts of squeezed lime juice and cilantro make it so FRESH!  I love that guac is so filling and serves so many purposes.  Throw it on some meat, use it as a dip for veggies, top off your fav kind of eggs…or just gobble it up on it’s own!  Whatever the case may be, chances are you will be adding it to anything and everything in sight.  It is so good and highly addictive…I fully ate almost the entire batch (and it was a huge batch) all by my lonesome!  Okay…enough chit chat.  Here is is…

Note:  I have made changes/additions below that differ from my original recipe.

creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac
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Recipe type: Condiment, Side
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 4 +
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados (ripe – soft, but not too soft to the touch)
  • 2-3 small white onions – finely diced
  • 6 plum tomatoes – finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2-3 limes – freshly squeezed juice
  • fresh cilantro – chopped (lots!)
  • coarse sea salt – several pinches (I used rosemary & lemon)
  • ground black pepper – generous amounts
  • ground cumin – a pinch or two
  • ground cayenne – a pinch or two
  • hot sauce or chopped jalapenos – to kick it up a notch (optional)
Instructions
  1. peel, cut and de-pit avocados, into a medium-sized bowl
  2. add in onions, tomatoes, garlic and lime juice
  3. using a fork, begin mashing all the ingredients together
  4. then, add in cilantro, sea salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and hot sauce/jalapenos (optional)
  5. continue the mashing process until you have reached your desired consistency
  6. enjoy!
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mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa

Fresh. Sweet. Crunchy. Summery. Fully loaded with flavour.  There are many words to describe this little number that I could go on forever.  It turned out so amazing, because it has several wonderful ingredients that compliment one another so nicely.

The inspiration for this recipe really came from the simple fact that every time I walk into our local veggie/fruit market, the pile of ripe mangoes are right in the doorway, staring directly at me, totally screamin’ pick me.  It’s really funny, because I think each time I stroll through that doorway, I actually do stop…give one of ‘em a squeeze, but end up setting them back down and continue on my merry way into the shop.  Reason being…I LOVE mango…but to be honest I don’t eat loads of fruit, so this salsa is a real treat.

So good in fact, that you can eat it on it’s own.  That’s what ‘the duster’ did!  It could also serve well as a yummy condiment to pretty much anything.  We are absolute guacamole fans, so we plop that on just about everything we make on a daily basis.  The beauty of this salsa is that it offers a nice change from our usual.  A perfect match for grilled fish, pork or on eggs (like I had this morning)!  Why not even throw some on top of a bed of greens and grilled chicken and call it a day?!?  The options here are really endless.  Do you have a bbq to attend this weekend?  Are you hosting Father’s day brunch?  Family gathering?  Regardless…give it a go!!!

P.S.  The strawberries were a last minute addition to this recipe, but I just couldn’t resist because they are local now (Ontario grown) and super scrumptious.

Makes a large serving.

mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa
Recipe Type: side, condiment
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 2-3 ripe mangoes – cubed
  • 1/2 pint of fresh strawberries – cubed
  • 4 mini cucumbers – cubed
  • 3-4 ripe avocados – cubed
  • 1/3 large red onion – finely diced
  • 1 orange pepper – cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 lemon – juice freshly squeezed (can add in some zest if you wish as well)
  • 1 lime – juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 small navel orange – juice freshly squeezed (optional)
  • lots of fresh cilantro – chopped
  • sea salt and ground pepper – to taste
  • fresh ginger – grated (optional)
  • splash of olive oil
Instructions
  1. take all ingredients from the list that need cubed and chop them into fairly small bits.
  2. put them in a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  3. next, add in the garlic, grated ginger, freshly squeezed lemon/lime and orange juice and a splash of olive oil.
  4. lastly, add in lots of freshly chopped cilantro and sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.
  5. stir all ingredients together and allow to cool in fridge before serving.
  6. enjoy!
Notes

• I made this salsa yesterday…and then let the flavours meld together in the fridge overnight! It is even tastier the next day!!!

triple love salad

I was at work, on my break, when I received a text from our friend Stew.  No words…just a pic of his lunch.  I responded with “mmmmm…looks yummy, what is in the salad?”  He replied…”bacon, garlic, tomato, red onion, olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper.  So good!”  I continued on the conversation, by declaring, “oh my!  you are making me hungry!”  Then the bell rang.  Break time was over.  The afternoon continued on…In the meantime, I honestly couldn’t get the image of this dish out of my head.  What a fab combo of ingredients, I thought.  In there, were 3 of my top 10, all-time fav foods…bacon, avocado and roasted garlic.  Triple love…hence the name.  End of the day came, and I text-ed back once again…”I am fully making a version of your salad tonight!”

Btw…I love it when my friends send me pics of their paleo(ish) meals.  Kinda nerdy you might say…I say nothing short of wicked!  I get so happy when I see people enjoyin’ and lovin’ amazing food!!!  Sooooo…on my way home from work, I decided to make a pit stop at the market near our house to pick up a few of the ingredients I didn’t already have in the kitchen.  I was good to go with most of it…which was a bonus!  I stuck to to most of his recipe, but decided to switch it up a tiny bit, based on things that I needed to use up…plus some leftovers aka…shredded chicken from the night before.  Fully inspired by Stew’s salad, while adding a few things and subtracting a couple…this is the concoction that I came up with.

triple love salad
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Recipe type: appetizer, side
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • shredded chicken (leftover from whole cajun chicken the night before. Also see, dutch oven chicken)
  • bacon – cooked and torn into bits (use as much as you desire here)
  • 2 avocado – diced (chunky)
  • 1/2 red onion – thinly chopped
  • tomato medley – quartered (one container contains various types)
  • roasted garlic cloves – I did these on the same pan as the bacon!
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon and 1 lime – freshly squeezed juice
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • fresh cilantro – chopped
Instructions
  1. arrange slices of bacon on a tin foil-covered baking sheet and cook for 25-30 mins at 375 heat – keep an eye on it, as thickness of the bacon can vary cooking time
  2. when cooked, set aside to cool
  3. in the meantime, quarter the tomatoes, thinly chop the red onion, and peel and dice the avocado
  4. put all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. next, tear up the bacon slices into and shred the chicken into pieces
  6. then, add the protein into the mix
  7. drizzle with lots of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice
  8. sprinkle with sea salt and group pepper
  9. garnish with freshly chopped cilantro
  10. use tongs to mix thoroughly
  11. plate and enjoy!
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Modifications:

  • I omitted using balsamic vinegar, because I left it at work! Lol!!!
  • Instead, I added in freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice (wanted to use them up!)
  • Also, added in some chicken, because I had made a whole chicken the night before.
  • Finally, I added in some fresh cilantro, just because I LOVE it so much!  (I know Stew definitely
  • wouldn’t as he is NOT a cilantro fan!!!)

I totally encourage you to try this one!  It is so fresh, easy and a solid addition to our weekly repetoire… that is forsure!!!  Devour with love…

roasted beet and avocado salad

Wow! Just look at the vibrant colours in this dish! I have to say that Fall has some of the yummiest and most versatile foods in it’s season. From various types of squash, to boatloads of apples, and from brussel sprouts to swiss chard…you just can’t beet it! Beets…with an earthy flavour, this very nutrient dense vegetable can be eaten raw, boiled or slow-roasted.

When looking back, I have so many fond memories of my mom’s amazing cooking. Ah, all those delicious Sunday meals. I specifically remember her making boiled beets for my dad and brother regularly (at that time, they were the only ones that liked them…everyone else thought they were weird because they made your pee turn pink/red! haha). Some say that this may be linked to an iron-deficiency…hmmmm…

Anyways, as I stood in my kitchen the other day, scrubing my stained hands like crazy, I was flooded with emotion. As I was doing this, I could vividly see her doing the exact same thing, back in the small town home I grew up in. It is funny how different experiences, scents or songs, for example, can make you think of people dear to your heart that have passed on. Beet-stained fingers made me remember how much my mom loved cooking for her family and how hard-working and dedicated she was. She always wanted others to be happy and always went above and beyond. Miss you so much mom ~xox~ Extra love was poured into this dish, as I attempted making beets for the first time. It definitely won’t be the last either. Roasted enough to have for leftovers as well…

Serves 2-4
Roasted Beets
Ingredients:
  • olive or coconut oil
  • bunch of beet – trimmed and washed
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

  • pre-heat oven to 375-400 degrees
  • trim and wash beets thoroughly
  • cut 2 large pieces of tin foil to make a double pocket for roasting
  • using a silicon brush, coat the layer or tin foil with oil
  • arrange beets on the tin foil
  • coat with more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • fold sides together tightly and then tuck in the ends to close the foil envelope
  • place on baking sheet and roast for 1-1.5 hours (depending on size and number of beets)
  • use a fork to check if they are done
  • let cool for 15 minutes and remove skins
  • enjoy!

Lemon & Thyme Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • boneless pork chops (I used 3 small ones)
  • coconut oil
  • 1 lemon
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

  • brush both sides of pork chops with coconut oil
  • on high heat pan-sear pork chops until brown on both sides
  • reduce heat to medium
  • cut a whole lemon and squeeze juices into the pan
  • wash a few sprigs of fresh thyme and add for flavour
  • finally, add salt and pepper to taste
  • let cook on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes (do not overcook)
  • when done, let stand before slicing
  • enjoy!

Salad

Ingredients:

  • large handful of mixed greens – I used a sunflower mix (sunflower, radish, mustard and shungiku)
  • 1-2 large avocado – sliced
  • handful of pomegranate seeds – I bought them out of the fruit, in a container! =) less mess…
  • 1-2 carrots – shredded – I used rainbow carrots (purple, orange, red varieties)
  • 6 roasted beets – sliced
  • lemon and thyme pork – sliced

Prep:

  • on a plate, arrange a large handful of mix greens
  • using a peeler, add some shredded carrot to the mix
  • next, add a layer of sliced avocado
  • then, place strips of sliced pork and top with roasted beets
  • sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh thyme
  • enjoy!

Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice
  • a couple small spoons of grainy mustard
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

When making salad dressing…I honestly usually just “wing it”! These are the basic ingredients that I use, whisk everything together and then usually use my taste buds to gage when it is done to my satisfaction. Play around with different dressings and have fun with it. ENJOY!!!

guacamole with some bite

Can you believe that up until a couple years ago I had never tried an avocado?  Yes…you heard me right, NEVER!!! Not even in guacamole.  Now I honestly go through them like they are going out of style.  “An avocado a day, keeps the doctor away!”  Okay maybe that is a bit much, but they are a scrumptious way of getting healthy fat into your diet.  After deciding to embrace the Paleo lifestyle, I have become more open and willing to try new foods, which I previously wouldn’t.

There are so many different ways to prepare dishes containing avocados.  For me, I love using my avocado slicer (see my fav stuff), and adding it as a topping on an omelette or scrambled eggs- delish!  For work,  I will often take and dice them to lay on a bed of mixed greens or just have as a side, drizzled with balsamic.  More recently, I have started to make a big batch of guacamole  to use during all meals as an on-hand-ready to go dip or spread for just about anything.  It is extremely satisfying and if you want a bit more “texture”, get creative and add finely diced celery, cucumber or different kinds of peppers into your guacamole.  The possibilities are endless! It is one of those recipes where taste testing, eyeballing and improvisation work extremely well.  Below you will find the basic guacamole recipe that we use frequently when cooking Paleo styles.

guacamole with some bite
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, snack, condiment
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados
  • 1/2 red onion- diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes- diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1/2 lime- squeezed
  • ground pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro- chopped (optional- taste can be strong for some)
Instructions
  1. halve and scoop avocados into bowl
  2. finely dice tomatoes and red onion, then add to mixture
  3. add garlic, chili flakes and ground pepper
  4. squeeze in lime juice and add cilantro if desired
  5. mash all ingredients together to preferred consistency (smooth or chunky)- potato masher works well here
  6. enjoy!
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