FoodieAs we find ourselves half way through 2014 and smack dab in the middle of summer, I thought I would share a few of my favorite recipes and snacks that help keep me going and that are also great for those impromptu weekend cookouts.  As my husband would say, I’m one of his favorite “foodie” companions.  We have raised our standards for what good food means to us and that encompasses so many different aspects of what makes up a meal or snack for us.

Let’s start with re-sharing a few of my favorite side dish recipes that I have posted this year as quick dishes you can put together for a cookout or dinner which require you to “bring a dish” and without spending hours in the kitchen prepping rather than enjoying time with your friends –

  • Not Your Grandma’s Apple Salad – One of my favorite creations this year was my take on my Grandmother’s Waldorf Salad, but without all the bad ingredients that would turn me away from a side such as that these days.  It is great for a snack or on the side for a BBQ
  • Fire Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Balsamic Glaze – Another one of my new favorites and I do not even miss the dairy which would normally top this tasty appetizer.  I shared this with some girlfriends at a recipe swap and then we enjoyed the leftovers over the rest of the weekend at home.
  • Mango Cabbage Broccoli Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette – This super simple dish literally takes minutes to prepare.  The only thing that takes time is the homemade vinaigrette dressing.  This dish even gets better the longer it sits in the fridge before you serve it and to me it is fresh and clean eating.

Frozen BlueberriesHow about some snacking ideas??  Well I have a couple that I am loving these days one of which we can only stock up on in the summer from our favorite local and organic blueberry farm, Saladino’s Red Barn Farm where we never leave without literally picking buckets full of berries to enjoy each week and to freeze for snacking later.  I love to grab a bowl of them and enjoy them on my morning drive to the office as a sweet treat that reminds me of blueberry ice cream and since we do not eat dairy, that is a wonderful treat alternative.

Blue Diamond Toasted CoconutMy other new favorite snack option is from the Blue Diamond company that I got the opportunity to work with after FitBloggin13 last year in Portland, Oregon.  This year I was invited to be a part of their “Taste Maker” program and try out new flavors of almonds that they create.  And just in time for summer snacking they reintroduced me to the Toasted Coconut flavor which I just love.  It gives me the sweet and crunchy snack that I crave during that afternoon lull and also keeps me full between meals on the weekends when we are lounging in the river.  They also offer a Blueberry flavored almond which always reminds me of summer and it is also great for snacking!

Finally, I am a condiment LOVER!  I love the sauce that goes on fish tacos that normally contains dairy, I love spicy taco sauce that always has extra “junk” in it and I really love guacamole which when I began realizing that I loved it so much made it with ingredients from a packet.  GRACIOUS, I’ve come a long way since those days.

So here are a couple of my favorite condiment recipes that you can use to add some great flavor to your dishes.

Guacamole – Super simple!!!

Ingredients

  • Meat of 4 medium ripe HAAS Avocados (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons of organic medium heat Salsa (only the one with ingredients you recognize!)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican Spices (or Taco Seasoning if you must)
  • 1 teaspoon Badia Complete Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt/Cracked Pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 organic Lemon

Mash all ingredients in large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork.  Once everything is incorporated and avocado is mashed (clumps are ok) then transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.  I like to top mine with a little extra lemon just before I cover it to keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.

This week as my family enjoyed our weekly Taco Salad, I opted to concoct another favorite, Taco Sauce.  All made in under 5 minutes with ingredients I had in my pantry!

Hot Taco SauceHot Taco Sauce – Just enough for 2 flavorful servings

Ingredients –

4 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tupelo Honey
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Badia Complete Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

Combine all ingredients into small bowl and whisk together until combined.  If mixture is too spicy you may cut the spice with a little more honey.  Transfer to sealed container and refrigerate.  I loved that a little bit of this added SO MUCH flavor and I didn’t need to use much of it to enjoy my salad so much more!

So there you have it, a few of my “Foodie” favorites to help you as we head into the long 4th of July weekend and continue to enjoy the foods of Summer!  Wishing you and your family safe travels and happy eating!

xo

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