Fire-in-the-Hole Pico de Gallo

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Okay, I’m from Texas.  I like spicy.  I’ve had spicy.  This is definitely spicy.  I’m not kidding when I tell you this is the hottest pico the gallo I’ve ever tried.  So if you don’t like such a kick, definitely take my advice in the ingredients list and cut the number of peppers used in half.  However, if you like that extra flame… this stuff is where you should be putting your time.

Pico de gallo is a fresh salsa that is very easy and fast to make, and works as a great add-on for many Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes, as well as a dip on its own.  It’s a quick snack for game day and an easy, delicious way to pack more veggies onto your plate!  So grab a bowl and get chopping, because this is one recipe I’m very glad to have around.

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Fire-in-the-Hole Pico de Gallo

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: None   Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3-4 cups

 

Ingredients

2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced & seeded

1/2 red onion, diced

2 serrano peppers, finely diced (adjust to temperature preferences… this is called fire-in-the-hole with two peppers for a reason!)*

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Prepare all veggies as indicated in the ingredients section.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir all of the vegetables together until they are well-combined.
  3. Squeeze the lime juice and sprinkle the sea salt onto the mixed veggies and give it another good stir, incorporating the flavors all over.
  4. Serve as a topping to some grilled chicken or as a dip for your favorite chips!  If not serving right away, store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

*Keeping the seeds with the serranos and adding them in with the rest of the recipe will make it even spicier.  You have been warned…

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Guac of Shame

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Story behind the name of this:  It’s really just guacamole.  But my friend Adrienne, who happens to be vegan, suggested the name after she and I had spent about 3 hours working n replacing buttons in the UT costume shop one afternoon.  We couldn’t stop laughing!  Yes, we were loopy.  And yes, most of our conversations were food-related because, well, why wouldn’t they be?  I always like talking with her because we respect each other’s chosen lifestyles and understand the other’s reasons for why they eat what they do.  And isn’t that what it’s all about, in the end?

Anyway, this recipe is the bomb and necessary for almost any Tex-Mex occasion.  Or football games.  Or just an excuse to eat more avocados, because they aren’t a “shameful” food to eat at all.  To top it off, this recipe is also vegan.

Guac of Shame

Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: None   Total time: 5 minutes

Yield:  Varies depending on avocado size, though usually about 2 cups

 

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

1/3 cup diced tomato

1/3 cup diced sweet onion

2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

Juice of 1/2 lime

Sea salt, to taste

 

Directions

1.  Prepare tomatoes, cilantro, and onions as indicated.  Remove skins and pits of avocado, and mash in a mixing bowl.

2.  Mix in the prepared veggies with the avocado.

3.  Squeeze the lime juice into the mix and sprinkle in any sea salt, if you’re using it.  Mix thoroughly once again, then serve.

PRO TIP:  If you are not serving right away, save the pits of the avocados and store them with the guacamole in the fridge until you do serve it, because they will help prevent the avocado from turning brown.  Nothing bad will happen if you eat brown avocado/guacamole, but some people find it less palatable when it changes color like that.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo

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Pico de gallo is a chunky salsa of sorts that is very popular in Tex-Mex cuisine.  It’s super easy to make, but makes a dish taste and look extremely fancy!  Give it a shot and enjoy the fresh taste this baby has to offer.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: None   Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups

 

Ingredients

1 cup pineapple pieces, diced small

1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

1/2 cup tomatoes (I used cherry), diced

2-4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (remove the seeds if you want it to be milder, leave them in for HEAT)

Juice & pulp of 1/2 lemon

 

Directions

1.  Prepare all ingredients as indicated above.

2.  Mix them all together in a bowl.

3.  Serve immediately if necessary, but if time allows, let it set in the fridge for a few hours so that the flavors really mix.  If you have leftovers, the flavor only gets greater with time!  You can use it as a salsa on its own or as a topper to any recipes you want to jazz up.

Dairy-Free Country White Gravy

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Because you can’t have Southern favorites like Chicken Fried Steak without this gem.

Dairy-Free Country White Gravy

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook time: 5 minutes   Total time: 25 minutes

Yield: A little more than 2 cups

Ingredients

1 lb bacon

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 cup water

4 tbsp potato starch

1-2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

Black pepper, to taste

 

Directions

1.  Cook the bacon.  You just need the grease from it for this recipe, so save the bacon for something else.  I’m sure you won’t mind.  If you’re making my Chicken Fried Steak recipe, the grease left over from cooking the steaks will work perfectly (and probably better).

2.  Add coconut milk and water to the bacon grease, still cooking on medium heat.  Keep a whisk going through it as you add the starch, 1 tbsp at a time, to the liquid.  Mix in the chili powder and salt, along with as much pepper as you want (it’s hard to have too much) and whisk together evenly.

3.  The gravy will thicken quicker than a traditional recipe, but if it’s having trouble for whatever reason, stop whisking for a few seconds and allow it to sit on the heat.

4.  Once desired gravy consistency forms, remove from the heat and throw this onto whatever you want!

Dark Chocolate Icing

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It’s no secret that I’m a chocolate lover.  Here is a super easy icing recipe to finish off anything you desire!  It’s a great partner to my Vanilla Cake recipe… hint hint.

Dark Chocolate Icing

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cool time: 20 minutes   Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 2 cups

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut cream

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup cacao powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp palm shortening

1/2 tsp sea salt

 

Directions

1.  If you can’t find plain canned coconut cream, this recipe may take two cans of regular coconut milk.  If using the latter option, separate the cream from the top of the coconut milk. It is usually already sitting on top of the can.

2.  Whisk together coconut cream and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar in a mixing bowl.  Once well-combined, add coconut milk (this will be pretty watery if you took the cream out of the same can) and other 1/2 cup of coconut sugar.  Continue whisking until integrated again.

3.  Incorporate salt and cacao powder.  Mix thoroughly again.

4.  Add palm shortening last, whisking in 1 tbsp at a time.  It will take a minute or two to break up the chunks.

5.  Place in the fridge and let set for 20 minutes before frosting. It will still be thinner than a traditional icing, but this just makes it easier to pour on top of your dessert.  Throw it on top of whatever you want and place back in the fridge for an additional 20-30 minutes for it to soak into your baked good and solidify even more.

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Spicy Cranberry Salsa

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For Thanksgiving, my aunt made this AWESOME cranberry salsa that I could not get enough of.  After getting the recipe, I realized it was chock-full of processed white sugar and decided to touch it up just a bit.  So, this is very similar to the one found here, just Paleo-fied and actually Whole 30-friendly as well if you opt to leave out the honey like I did – that is just an option in case you want to sweeten it up more.

Spicy Cranberry Salsa

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook time: 0 minutes   Total time: 10 minutes

Yield:  About 3 cups of salsa

 

Ingredients

12 oz fresh cranberries

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh green onions (mine was about 6 large ones)

1 jalapeño pepper

Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on flavor preference

1 large, ripe banana

Extra honey, if desired

 

Directions

1.  Make sure all ingredients are cleaned thoroughly.  Chop up the green onions and cilantro into smaller pieces so they fit into your food processor with the other ingredients.

2.  Blend all ingredients, except banana (and honey, if you’re using it), until everything is chopped into small pieces.  Break banana into 1″ long chunks and add in about 1/3 of the banana at a time, blending everything well after each addition.

3.  Taste the salsa after the banana is integrated and if you want a sweeter outcome, add honey in 1 tbsp at a time until you like the flavor.  This is purely optional, just for taste preference, and should be omitted completely if you’re on the Whole 30.

4.  Once all of the banana (and possibly honey) is added in and everything is blended well, you’re done and you can store it in the fridge or serve immediately!

 

Refined Sugar-Free Marshmallows

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I. Love. Marshmallows.  When I got the idea to make a “cleaner” version, I was shocked to see just how much granulated sugar and corn syrup is used in a traditional recipe!! Though marshmallows are always going to be glorified sugar cubes, here is a version (adapted from this recipe) that uses lower-glycemic and more natural forms of sugar to top off your sweet desires!

Refined Sugar-Free Marshmallows

Prep:  20 minutes   Ready in: 8 hours   Total time: 8 hrs, 20 min

Yield: About 3/4 cup mini marshmallows

 

Ingredients

1 packet unflavored gelatin

2/5 cup cold water

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup grade B maple syrup (or agave, if you want the final product to have a lighter color)

Pinch of sea salt

1 tsp vanilla

Tapioca starch, for coating

 

Directions

1.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1/5 cup of cold water with the gelatin and set aside.

2.  Mix other 1/5 cup water with coconut sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a pot on the stove.  Heat on low until the coconut sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat and allow to warm for about 2 more minutes.  It will begin to simmer and this will mean it’s time to stop.

3.  Take sugar mixture off of the heat and pour into the mixing bowl with the gelatin.

4.  Whisk contents of the mixing bowl together, slowly at first so it’s evenly distributed and then quickly until the consistency becomes very thick and jelly-like, which will take about 15 minutes (I’d recommend using an electric mixer, unless you’re trying to make some gains on those forearms).

5.  Once the gel has formed, add in vanilla and mix that in thoroughly.

6.  Generously coat a casserole dish or other pan with edges with tapioca starch.  Pour the marshmallow gel into the dish and top with more tapioca starch.

7.  Allow the gel to sit, uncovered and in room-temperature, in that dish overnight so that it dries out and will hold form.

8.  The next day, cut the sheet of marshmallows into pieces as big (or small) as you want, then coat with more tapioca starch.  Serve with whatever your heart desires! *I’d recommend plopping a few in my Superfood Hot Cacao recipe 🙂