Fridge Pickled Cucumbers

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Last Monday my copy of Nom Nom Paleo Ready Or Not finally arrived. I am so excited it’s finally here. I pre-ordered it because I love the blog and their first cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans.

I love the way the cookbook is set up in 5 sections, Get Set, Ready, Kind of Ready, Not Ready and Beyond Ready. The Get Ready section is the building block recipes you need to be ready to cook at any time. It is sauces, dips, dressings and some other things you can use to make other things section.

The Ready section is for those days you have time to spend a little more time in the kitchen. The prep time for the recipes in this section is a little longer. The recipes are a little fanciers, “company is coming” kind of recipes. There are also deserts in this section.

The Kind of Ready section is where I sit most of the time. I have a few leftovers, some kind of homemade dressing or sauce in my fridge. This section shows you how to re-purpose those bits and pieces into new and delicious, quick and easy meals.

The Not Ready section is the section that doesn’t need pre-made components or a lot of time to make. Its goal is to get food in your face before you cave and call for take out.

The Beyond Ready is 4 weeks of pre-planned menus and grocery lists so you can rock the kitchen for a whole

As usual almost all the recipes are Whole 30 and Paleo compliant. If you can’t tell which one are compliant there is a special by diet index int the back that lists them all. Easy peasy.

The food is, as usual, delicious. Nom Nom Paleo Ready or Not is going to be used a lot in my kitchen.

I chose this recipe for my first recipe from Nom Nom Paleo because I love pickles, especially tangy pickles. Most recipes for refrigerator pickles are for bread and butter pickles which are sweet. These pickles are not sweet. They are tangy and with a slight sour note, which I absolutely adore.

Quick Fridge Pickled Cucumbers

from Nom Nom Paleo Ready or Not

1/2  large cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Put cucumber slices in a pint jar.  In a small bowl, combine the apple juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, salt, pepper  and pepper flakes, if using.  Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.  Pour brine over cucumber slices, making sure all slices are covered.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 weeks.

 

A Small Batch Thanksgiving — Balsamic Honey Brussels Sprouts

711Today has been a rough day.  It started with a trip to the vet with my beautiful Budgie, Annie, to confirm what I already suspected.  My Budgie boy has  fatty liver disease.  Annie’s liver cells are slowly, thank God, being replaced by fat cells which will eventually cause liver failure.  There is no way to stop it or treatment to slow it down.  All I can do is make sure to trim Annie’s beak when it over grows ( a symptom of fatty liver disease is an over grown beak.  Healthy parrots never need their beaks trimmed), so he can continue to eat and make him as comfortable as possible when the end comes. Right now you couldn’t tell Annie is sick, he is eating and squabbling with his cage mates and doing what happy Budgies do.  So I am going to keep on caring for him and loving him just like I always have.

It’s always hard for me to mentally deal with a sick animal.  I always feel like it’s my fault they are sick.  I could have done something to prevent their illness.  In my head, I know that isn’t true but it takes longer to convince my heart that there is absolutely nothing I could have done to prevent Annie from getting fatty liver disease.

So after getting home from the vet I sat with Annie for awhile and gave him a special treat then I went to kitchen and started cooking and baking. I don’t know why but the kitchen is my happy place. When I am there nothing seems too overwhelming or out of reach. The kitchen is the only place I have total control. I made a batch of birdie bread for the birds, gerbils and rats and a wonderful dinner for me. The dinner included these wonderful roasted Brussels sprouts. I am going to include them is my Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar so I substituted apple cider vinegar. You could substitute any vinegar for it, except maybe, distilled white vinegar.

Balsamic Honey Brussels Sprouts

3/4 – 1 lb Brussels sprouts

1 1/2 TBS olive oil,

1/2  tsp kosher salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise.  In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with  1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to coat thoroughly.  Transfer the Brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Place Brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add remaining 1/2  tablespoon olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey and toss to coat evenly. Taste and season with kosher salt if necessary and serve.

Hummus, 2 Ways

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One thing the pressure cooker is awesome at, among many things, is making dried beans in the fraction of the time it takes on the stove.  It takes less than one hour to cook most dried beans even if you forget to soak them, which I always do.  Seriously, it takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook chickpeas, my favorite bean, on the stove.  It takes 40 minutes to cook chickpeas in the pressure cooker if I forget to soak them and 15 minutes if I remember to soak them.  WOW!!!

So I have been cooking a lot of chickpeas lately and  making a lot of different things with them.  My favorite chickpea dish is hummus.  I like the fact you can make a simple hummus and it is as delicious as a complicated, fancy hummus.  There are so many variations online and I am sure you could come up with many more. Here are my two favorite variations, one simple and one fancy.  I don’t remember where I found the pumpkin hummus idea but it is really good and perfect for the fall weather that is up on us.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker to make your chickpeas, feel free to use a good brand of canned chickpea instead or cook your own on the stove.

Small Batch Hummus

2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, reserving the liquid

2 TBS olive oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ to ½ cups parsley

Drain the chickpeas reserving the liquid.  Place the chickpeas in a blender or  food processor.  Add the olive oil, garlic and parsley. While pulsing the blender, add the bean liquid one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. 

Pumpkin Hummus

1 15 oz can chickpeas (2 cups)

¼ cup chickpea liquid

6 TBS pure pumpkin

2 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS olive oil

1 ½ TBS tahini or natural peanutbutter

1 large garlic clove, minced

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

Drain the chickpeas reserving the liquid.  Place the chickpeas in a blender or food processor.  Add lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic and spices.  While pulsing, add the chickpea liquid one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Bacon Ranch Salad

1110Before I started eliminating processed food from my diet, Suddenly Salad Bacon  Ranch pasta salad appeared on my table almost weekly.  It was quick, easy and, best of all, cheap.  What more could you ask for?   I was really disappointed that Suddenly Salads couldn’t be part of my diet anymore.

What I didn’t know then is that homemade Bacon Ranch pasta salad is just quick, easy and cheap as the boxed stuff and best of all, devoid of unnecessary chemicals the manufactures feel need to be there.

Last week I gave you a recipe for a homemade ranch dressing mix.  You can use that here.  You could also buy a package of Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix or use already prepared ranch salad dressing mix here also.  Also, feel free to add or eliminate any vegetables you want.

Bacon Ranch Salad

Ingredients

1 cup dry shell pasta

½ cup frozen peas

1/3 cup real mayonnaise

1 ½ tsp ranch dressing mix

1-2 baby carrots, shredded

1 TBS bacon bits

¼ tsp onion powder

Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan. Add shell pasta and carrot; boil for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together, the peas, ranch mix, bacon bits, onion powder, and mayonnaise. Mix well. Add pasta and carrots. Stir together until everything is coated. Chill and serve.

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

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Now that you know how to cook quinoa, I thought you might like a recipe using it.  I like to cook the quinoa until it is a little brown and crispy.

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well

1/ cup water

1/2 tsp olive oil

1 TBS butter

8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

1 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the water and quinoa.  Bring the water to a boil; reduce the heat to medium.  Cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.   Meanwhile, thinly slice the mushrooms.  Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Melt the butter.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Saute the mushrooms until they release their juices and camelize, 10 -15 minutes.  When the quinoa and mushrooms are done, combine them is a big bowl and stir to combine.