For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Sally of Bewitching Kitchen. Sally is Brazilian and a biochemist. She has a beautiful smile, an awesome kitchen, and mad cooking and baking skills! I feel like we have a connection as we both went grey early. :)
She has TONS of delicious looking recipes, like this Cauli-Couscous, this simple non-roasted “roasted” broccoli, this ultimate Apple Cake and this granola. She is also a champion bread maker and I am so impressed by all her Brazilian Food!
I ended up choosing her Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing – definitely a winner! I changed it up a bit – I used a blender for the dressing as I’m too lazy to chop things that small), added orange zest and added toasted almonds instead of seared scallops (shellfish = bad for me). I expected it to be fairly spicy, but it wasn’t – just really tasty!
Bewitching Kitchen’s Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (I used 1 orange plus the juice left in the membrane from the segmented orange)
Zest of 1 orange
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 avocados, sliced
2 oranges, cut in segments
Mixed greens (I used power greens mix)
Toasted Almonds (Optional – I ran out of time and didn’t toast mine, but I definitely recommend it to take the flavour to the next level)
- Simmer orange juice in a small saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 2 Tbsp. It should take a little over 5 minutes. Let cool.
- Roast jalapeño directly over a gas flame (I used my BBQ), turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. Let cool; remove stem, skin, and seeds.
- Place shallot, vinegar, reduced orange juice orange zest, olive and the jalapeño in a single serving blender container (i.e. magic bullet or similar) and blend until all chunks are gone; season with salt and pepper.
- Toss avocados, orange segments, salad greens, and vinaigrette in a bowl. Serve with toasted almonds if desired.
Sally, it was a joy to read through your blog! I love how your fun personality shines through in all of your posts and your wide array of recipes!
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes below:
So the morning that Mr. Bean and I were supposed to head out on vacation, I fell off my bike on the way to work and had a wonderful crash. Thankfully, there were people who saw my crash and they took me to the hospital to get stitched up, plus Mr. Bean was home so he was able to pick me up and take me to the dentist to fix my broken t00th. Great way to start a holiday, eh?
Having your face and mouth busted up means no solid foods, so it’s a good thing I brought my blender with me! Here’s one of my favourite dessert creations. It would also be really good with peanut butter or chocolate ice cream!
Dairy Free Banana Almond Butter Milkshake
1 – 2 spoonfuls of almond butter
1 large scoop of vanilla coconut ice cream
2 large ice cubes (you could use more ice cream instead of ice cubes, but this helps lighten it up a bit)
- Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth, adding more ice cream/ice or almond milk to get the desired consistency.
When was the last time you were on a liquid diet? Let’s Commiserate!
For August’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Kirsten of Troyer’s Loving Life. Kirsten is a stay at home mom who lives in Washington State with her husband and two daughters. She shares stories, moments and recipes from her life and journey as a daughter of the Most High King.
She has tons of delicious recipes – even including some gluten free ones! The following recipes caught my eye – creamy avocado dressing, Vegan peanut butter cups, Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Fusilli with Sausage, Zucchini and Cheese. When I was on holidays, we needed to bring a dessert to a dinner party, so I made a variation of Pioneer Woman’s Peach Crisp and it was a success! I was also feeling really ambitious, so on a hot day I made her Strawberry Watermelon Drink, which was super refreshing!
I did make a few modifications to the crisp to make it more “me friendly:” made it gluten and dairy free, didn’t add the maple cream sauce (although I’m sure that would be absolutely heavenly), reduced the sugar and used the fruit I had on hand. We served it with coconut ice cream and it was delicious! Definitely a keeper!
Gluten Free Vegan Peach Blackberry and Blueberry Crisp
3/4 c. Gluten free flour blend (I used Bob Red Mill)
1/4 c. almond meal (could use more flour)
1/4 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (or other fat – coconut oil would probably work as well)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of Allspice or Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Juice and Zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp. maple syrup
5 – 6 c. of fruit (I sort of eye-balled it and used two sliced peaches, ~2 c. of fresh blueberries and ~3 c. of fresh blackberries. I didn’t skin my peaches, but if you want to, Kirsten has really good directions with her recipe.)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, almond meal, oats, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and Salt.
- Cut in margarine using a fork or a pastry blender (or go really old school and use your fingers, like me) until it is a moist, coarse meal.
- In a separate bowl, mix together fruit, lemon zest and maple syrup. Pour into a 8 x 8″ pan. (I also put some into muffin cups so that I would have some available to take photos of in case nothing was left over after the dinner party.)
- Sprinkle topping over fruit and press down lightly.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 30 – 45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. (The muffin tins took about 35 minutes total)
- Let cool slightly before serving warm with the maple cream sauce or ice cream.
Strawberry Watermelon Drink
Strawberries (I used less than 1/2 a pint)
Watermelon (3 – 4 2″ frozen chunks)
Fresh Basil Leaves (I used 2)Ice (if not using frozen watermelon)
Vodka or other hard liquor (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add additional basil/ice if desired.
- Enjoy on a hot day!
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking below!
For July’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Emily of Life on Food. Emily moved around the States a lot growing up, she even spent a semester in Paris (lucky!) and now spends her time looking at buildings (slightly jealous – part of me has always wanted to do things related to architecture). She love cooking from scratch and experiencing life with her Husband, who loves to help her. Lucky girl! :)
I had a bag of peaches that I bought at the farmer’s market this week that I needed to use up. I looked at Emily’s delicious peach recipes: Peach Mango Lassi, Peach and Blackberry Crisp, and Peach and Blueberry Buckle. In the end, I chose the buckle as it looked amazing and is the easiest to send along with Mr. Bean to work.
I made a few changes, like making it gluten free and using less sugar. I meant to make it vegan, but I couldn’t find coconut yoghurt at the store and didn’t have time to go to the health food store, so I said “what the heck” and used goat yoghurt and an egg. I used some almond flour to add some protein to offset some of the sugar, so it totally makes this a legit breakfast. :)
Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Peach Blueberry Buckle (with Vegan Option)
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. potato starch
1/3 c. each almond, rice and millet flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. dairy free margarine
1/2 c. coconut palm sugar (heaping)
1 egg or egg replacer
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. yoghurt (I used goat, for vegan use coconut)
4 peaches, cut into 8 slices
1 pint of blueberries
1/2 c. sliced almonds
- Preheat oven and line an 8 x 8″ pan with parchment paper
- Whisk together all the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat the margarine and sugar together until fluffy (2 – 3 min). Add the egg, vanilla and apple cider vinegar and beat until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add half the flour, then the yoghurt and the remainder of flour, mixing well between additions.
- Fold in the sliced peaches and blueberries. Scrape into your prepared pan and smooth out.
- Sprinkle the sliced almond over the batter.
- Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until multiple toothpicks come out clean.
- Cool slightly before serving.
- Enjoy with or without (coconut) ice cream!
Please check out Group D’s recipes below!
For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Erin of The Spiffy Cookie! She literally has the cutest little cookie figure – especially the one that has its eyes closed! Erin is definitely a smart cookie – she has a PhD in Microbiology! Plus, she thinks chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination ever!
She even has a whole list of gluten free recipes! I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person who struggles to get up more than 30 minutes before I need to get out the door! She has so many delicious looking recipes like these Avocado Brownies, Raspberry Mango Margarita Pie, Banana Foster Muffins and these Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfaits.
In the end, I chose her Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars. I made them gluten free, vegan and reduced the sugar in half. Even then, I found them to be quite sweet, although the glaze is good as it adds extra moisture.
They were delicious! The best part were the apples, especially since they got drenched in the glaze. Yum! I sent them along with Mr. Bean to work and his coworkers loved them! They didn’t last very long!
Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars
1/2 c. each brown rice, sorghum and millet flours *(if you don’t have one of these flours, just use more of what you have)
1/2 c. each tapioca and potato starch
1 1/4 tsp. xathan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp raisins, finely diced
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (use soy free buttery spread to make soy free)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter (I used Adams all natural crunchy)
2 eggs or egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder + 1/4 c. almond or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1+ c. finely diced apples
Almond Milk (I used 4 tbsp as my peanut butter was really quite hard
2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. almond milk (my peanut butter was fairly hard, so I added an extra tablespoon of milk)
1 c. sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper (I used a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet).
- In a small sauce pan, melt maragarine and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Shift the flours and whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the diced raisins. Set aside.
- Add eggs one at a time to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Pour peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients, add the apples and stir until combined. Add extra milk if necessary to make the batter more easily spreadable.
- Transfer batter onto prepared pan and spread the batter into the corners.
- Bake in oven for ~20 min for a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet or ~30min for a 13″ x 9″ pan. The bars should be slightly golden on top and edges are slightly brown.
- Remove and place on a rack to cook.
- As the bars cool, prepare the the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, peanut butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add more milk/sugar to get it to the correct consistency for drizzling.
- Drizzle the glaze over the bars and cut into squares.
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!