Some Life Stuff & The Best Pickles

So what have you been up to? We’re just living life over here. The days run into weeks and the weeks into months. Funny how that happens. I heard a quote on parenting once and I just love it so. I’m pretty sure I’ve shared it before. And I don’t know where the quote came from so I could give credit where it’s due, but I just don’t remember.

“The days are long but the months are short”

It seems that time passes in the blink of an eye sometimes so I’ve just been enjoying my kids and hibernating because the weather is unbearable.

BUT Guess what? We’re finally moving back to Florida! I have tickets booked and suitcases packed! Well, nothing packed actually, but we have our flights scheduled! I absolutely cannot wait to never experience a Michigan winter ever again. And to be close to family again, of course. 42 days to go but who’s counting? ME! So more on that stuff later and I’ll even bore you with a recap of what we’ve been eating, too. But first.

The pickles I’ll be eating until I turn green blue in the face. I’m not sure why what’s an expression and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t go in this instance but I’m sticking to it. Anyway. They’re garlicky, they’re salty, they’re refreshing. Um, did I mention they’re perfect? Yes.

I’m not a cucumber fan. I just find them kind of boring. I’ll eat them but I don’t go out of my way to buy them or cook with them. They just seem… meh. So over the summer one of Pierre’s co-workers sent him home with a ton of cucumbers from his garden. I wasn’t going to turn them away so I decided to make pickles! So happy I did that. Now I go out of my way to buy cucumbers and make pickles 3-4 times a month. My 2 (almost 3 WAAAHHHH) year old will eat the whole jar in one sitting if I let her. No utensils necessary. So here are the step by step photos of how we make them! So easy that Eva could probably make them with minimal help.

Add 20-30 black peppercorns at the bottom of a quart-sized mason jar. Don’t count mine.

untitled-14 Cut up a cucumber in the size and shape you like your pickles. This is just one medium pickle but the jar can hold up to two. I’ve crammed a ton of cucumbers in the jar and it works just fine. I toss the ends.untitled-15 Next, let your toddler SLOWLY add the cucumbers one by one to the jar while you take deep breaths and try not to cut in because you have no patience. untitled-17 untitled-18 untitled-19 Chop up a garlic clove in the meantime. Anyway you want.untitled-20 Add 1 tbsp kosher salt.untitled-22 Add 1/3 cup of white vinegar.untitled-23 Fill the rest of the jar up with plain water, give it a quick shake and place it upside down for 24 hours. I put mine in a bowl just in case the jar leaks but mason jars have a nice tight seal so it hasn’t happened yet.untitled-25 untitled-26

 

After 24 hours turn the jar right side up and place in the fridge for another 12 hours before you dig in. True be told you can probably eat these after the first 24 hours.

THAT’S IT. Please tell me you’ll make these.

The Best Pickles

1-2 medium cucumbers, sliced to your desire
20-30 whole black peppercorns
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup white vinegar

Add all the ingredients to a quart-sized mason jar, shake and leave upside down for 24 hours. After 24 hours return the jar to right side up and store in the fridge.

Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce

Let’s make boozy cranberry sauce! Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake Saturday

I’ve mentioned that turkey isn’t really my thing. When it comes to Thanksgiving I eat it but always drown it in cranberry sauce. I didn’t grown up with it as a regular side to my family’s Thanksgiving meal and when I discovered it was in love. The first time I tried it was when I met my mother-in-law just after mine and Mr. HC’s engagement. She made this recipe that called for the stuff from the can and let me tell you, I LOVED IT. I’ve asked her to make it every year we’ve been together for Thanksgiving. I know, crazy considering it’s the canned stuff.

Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake SaturdayLast year we ventured away from it and I made cranberry sauce from scratch and you can imagine what happened when I tried the real stuff. I was over the moon obvi. The tartness and texture is perfect and it really goes with everything. Can we make cranberries an all year thing? Why do I have to wait for Thanksgiving to cook with them? I’m not sure what possessed me to add whiskey to my cranberries this year but I’m glad I did. It adds a really nice depth of flavor that’s unexpected but in a good way. And the pineapple! So good. If you close your eyes you can pretend you’re in the tropics. That’s what I’ll be doing.

Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce
Yields 3-4 cups

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups whiskey, I used Jack Daniel’s
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple**

Add all the ingredients to a pot over medium heat. Mix everything together and cover. When it starts to boil remove the lid (being very careful not to inhale!) and reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake Saturday

Stir occasionally as the cranberries and pineapple begin to break down. Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake Saturday

The sauce will look like this about 45 minutes in.
Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake Saturday Throw it in a large mason jar and serve warm. Whiskey & Pineapple Cranberry Sauce // Pancake Saturday

Just like the pilgrims did it.

*This recipe makes a tart, savory cranberry sauce. If you prefer a sauce add 3/4  – 1 cup of sugar. You could also leave the sugar at 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

**I don’t live anywhere near the tropics so I used pineapple slices from a can. About 6 rings cut into medium chunks. You could skip the cutting part and just buy pineapple chunks, drained.

Healthy Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie

Okay, I haven’t posted in a little while so I bring you a peace offering in the shape of a cookie. But not just any cookie. This is a cookie you can whip up in 5 minutes, less if you don’t cook it, which is totally acceptable and basically eating raw cookie dough (minus the raw egg). And you don’t have to share.

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Now, let me tell you why this is healthy. First, you’re going to swap butter for coconut oil (bonus points if you use organic). Second, you’re going to use whole wheat flour instead of white flour. And if you’re following a vegan diet you can use vegan chocolate chip. I’m giving you options, man.

Healthy Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie
Makes one deep-dish cookie (Adapted from Love From The Oven)

1.5 tbsp organic extra virgin coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
Chocolate chips to taste

Melt the oil in a small bowl, add the sugars and vanilla and stir. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Mix everything until it’s well incorporated. You can pretty much just, ahem, eat it at this point. I mean, why not? Or you can put the dough into a ramekin and cook in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Balsamic Lemon Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Happy October! How many times have you heard that already today? OR “HOW IS IT OCTOBER ALREADY?” OR “Where has the year gone?” You’re welcome.

Let’s balance out those sliders, shall we? This is a perfect side dish, it’s delicious, healthy, and couldn’t be easier to prepare! You can just go ahead and add these to your ‘new fall recipes to try’ list, I know you have one. If you don’t like Brussels sprouts (WHAT?) then you can try this with carrots, just as delicious.

Balsamic Lemon Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Serves 2 – 4

1lb Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and cut in half
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the sprouts cut-side down. Add the remaining ingredients to a small bowl and stir, set aside. After 4-5 minutes check to the make sure the sprouts are caramelizing. If they are turning brown, gently toss them in the pan and allow to cook another 5 minutes. Add the balsamic and lemon to the sprouts and turn the heat off immediately. Stand back, this will steam quite a bit! Stir everything together and allow the mixture to bubble and reduce with the heat remaining in the pan. Serve immediately. untitled-23 untitled-25Perfect for FALL!

Peach Salsa

IMG_5246We’ve been experiencing really lovely weather. It’s chilly overnight into the early morning, somewhere around 45-50F, and then some sunshine and breezy, warm temps in the afternoon, around 73F. The leaves are changing and it’s beautiful! Fall is definitely my favorite season.

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It’s sad having to say goodbye to summer but it’ll be back.. eventually. If you remember all of my complaining last year you’ll also remember that we had to wear coats into JUNE. I’m trying not to focus on that, though. Here’s a recipe to help you use up some of those last summer ingredients you may have laying around and maybe use the grill one last time.

Peach Salsa
Yields approx. 3 cups

2 semi-ripe peaches (make sure they aren’t too soft), pitted and chopped
1 lime, zest & juice (all I had left was a lemon but you can use either, I’d prefer lime)
1-2 tbsp frech cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup which onion, chopped small
1 jalapeno, chopped (if you want to make this a little spicy leave some of the ribs and seeds. Remove them completely for a milder salsa)
salt, to taste
D7K_7824Chop everything up and mix it all together in a bowl!

D7K_7828This is delicious all alone accompanied by chips or served over grilled fish or chicken. Pierre and I devoured this!

 

Avocado + Roasted Chickpea Spaghetti

This pregnancy has really beaten me up so far. I was very sick in the beginning but it is tapering off some. The sleepiness and exhaustion? Wow. I could sleep all day long and lay around and do nothing.

Maybe it’s from all the carbs? It seemed that for the first 9 weeks that’s all my body wanted. Pasta, baked potatoes, pizza, a loaf of bread. Really exciting blog stuff, huh? I’m happy to report that the last two weeks or so I’ve been actually craving vegetables and salad. YAY!

I made this pasta when I was still on my carb kick but I’d make it again and again even if I wasn’t.

Avocado + Roasted Chickpea Spaghetti
Serves 2 – 4

1/2 lb – 3/4 lb uncooked pasta, I used thin spaghetti
1/2 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 cup zucchini, thinly sliced whatever shape you like, lightly sauteed with cooking spray and salt
1 large avocado, about 3/4 cup of flesh
1 garlic clove, grated
1 lemon, juice and zest
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt, to taste
Olive oil

Toss the chickpeas in a very light coating of olive oil and salt and roast in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta until tender. Drain but reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water, return to pot, toss in a light coating of olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl mash the avocado to your desired consistency. Add the garlic, lemon juice and zest. Slowly add the water while stirring until it reaches a smooth texture, add salt to taste. Add the pasta, zucchini, basil and chickpeas and stir.

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Serve it up pretty for your husband with bread on the side.

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Or in a heaping mess for yourself.

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Either way this is amazing.

*This can be made vegan by using a vegan pasta product

BBQ Tempeh Burgers

This was delicious! I’ve never been crazy about barbecue sauce because they tend to be sweet but sometimes it just really rounds out a hot summer day. I found this recipe and couldn’t get it out of my head. I modified it slightly and it did not disappoint.

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BBQ Tempeh Burgers
Serves 4

8oz tempeh block, thinly sliced on a diagonal (about 1/8 of an inch)

BBQ Marinade
1 cup your favorite bbq sauce
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Sriracha Ranch
2 tbsp Ranch dressing (I use Bolthouse Greek)
1/2 tsp sriracha

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Toppings

  • Your favorite burger buns
  • Avocado, thinly sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Lettuce


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Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and add the sliced tempeh, making sure its completely coated. Leave to marinade in the refrigerator for 2 – 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lay the tempeh on a foil lined baking sheet making sure not to crowd it. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until it’s caramelized. It’s okay if it’s dark in some spot, the sugar in the barbecue sauce will darken quickly.

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Add the tempeh to your buns, top with veggies and don’t you dare forget that Sriracha ranch!

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Eva was popping the tempeh like candy, she loved it! 

D7K_7384*You can make this vegan by using vegan cream cheese or vegan mayonnaise for the sriracha sauce.