In between bouts of completely losing my appetite, I have managed to find some time to whip up some new dishes to share. While the nausea I had experienced the first 3 months of pregnancy lifted a number of weeks ago, I all of a sudden had zero desire to eat … or cook for that matter. I had about a week and a half of some intense eating once I felt I could keep food down, but lately I struggle to feel like eating. Maybe it’s the pregnancy, maybe it’s the slight wave of heat we’re getting – which isn’t really hot, so let’s hope it’s not the heat. To get through this, we’ve relied on old stand-by recipes or quick meals like nachos or roasted chickens from the store, just so we wouldn’t have to think about the process. Because when I don’t feel like eating, I definitely lose the desire to be in the kitchen.
This dish begins with some inspiration from a recipe we’ve made a few times when we need dinner in our bellies in little time and with almost zero effort: a pesto that also uses arugula and avocado. If you have a food processor or blender, there’s no chopping involved – your hardest job would be to pit and peel the avocado. Your pasta “sauce” will be done within a fraction of the time it takes your linguine to boil. And hungry bellies and busy peeps love meals like that. But, we found enough spring in our step to add some sauteed spring vegetables to the mix; because this time of year I seriously can not get enough asparagus. Give it to me in the morning, afternoon, and evening everyday while it’s in season and I wouldn’t complain one bit.
Linguine with Arugula & Avocado Pesto and Spring Vegetables
Pesto Recipe Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
The ingredient list may look long, but this dinner comes together in the time it takes you to boil the water then your pasta. Delicious served with some grilled shrimp or fish.
1 lb gluten free linguine (or your favourite long pasta)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen (thaw first)
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
1/4 cup parsley
2 Tbsp goat cheese (or more if you prefer)
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 big handfuls arugula
1 cup fresh basil
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Boil pasta according to directions until al dente. Save a cup of the pasta water before draining. Meanwhile, heat the Tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Toss in the garlic and chili flakes and saute for 30 seconds, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the asparagus to the pan and saute for another 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add the peas, green onions, salt and pepper to the pan and saute an additional 2-3 minutes or until the peas are heated through and the onions are wilted.
While the vegetables are sautéing, make the pesto: add all the pesto ingredients (avocado through pepper) in a food processor or blender and blend until everything is fairly smooth.
When the pasta is cooked, add the pesto and half of the sauteed vegetables with the pasta and mix until everything is combined. Add a bit of pasta water if the “sauce” seems too thick. Pour into a serving dish and top with the remaining sauteed vegetables, the parsley, and crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.
I’m fairly certain this happens every year around this time, but I have had very little motivation to write or even be indoors sitting at a computer. With our short summer season, everyone up here in the North tends to try to squeeze every last ounce out of the warm, sunny days. And now that we also have to take some time to engage in planning for a new addition to the family, I find I have just a little less time now for blogging. But I have lots I want to write about and enjoy the process, so I’m taking some time this morning before the sun really heats up the air to share a tasty summer side with you.
This (not-so-good-for-you) potato dish is inspired by one of my close friends, who I have been thinking of a lot lately. She made a variation of this last year when we were all camping – and I must admit that I preferred it to the slow-charcoal-grilled steaks that were serves alongside them. I must have devoured nearly a pound of potatoes that night. I could recall exactly what she put in them – and I’m sure it was the fact that we were eating them outdoors, after a long day of lounging in the sun with icy beverages and good friends – but these are my closest approximation of her delicious potato side.
Barbecued Chipotle Bacon Potatoes
Inspired by Shannon Damaskine
Note: Obviously these could be made over a campfire or even in your oven. If you’re doing over a campfire, just try to put it on an area with indirect heat – otherwise the flames may burn your potatoes before they’re cooked. And if using the oven, cook the potatoes at 425ºF for approximately 45 minutes. You can also use all butter or all olive oil on the potatoes … or even better: use the fat from the bacon you cooked.
2.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 small onion, sliced
6-8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp chipotle chili powder (use less if you don’t want them too spicy, more if you can handle the heat)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
Preheat your BBQ to medium. Lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil on the counter.
Scrub the potatoes, then slice then in half vertically. Cut each half into thin slices (approximately 1/8″ thick). Combine the potatoes and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl or on the aluminum foil. Wrap the potato mix tightly in the aluminum foil, making sure that all the edges are sealed tightly. (I’m sure there’s some art to this, but I’m really terrible at judging the amount of foil I need for a pack of potatoes – so I always end up using two sheets of aluminum foil. Probably better to go with 2 small packets instead).
Roast the potatoes on the BBQ for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked through, turning the package from time-to-time to prevent the potatoes from burning.
I’ve got a great salad for you today. It’s easy to prepare, would travel well (if you don’t mind slightly brown avocado), and with enough beans, makes a perfect summer lunch. I also feel like we have lots of catching up to do. If anyone has noticed, I’ve been rather sparse with posting the past few months. It’s not that I meant to neglect you, it’s just that I basically haven’t done much cooking during that time. So it’s hard to blog about recipes if I don’t have any to share. And why haven’t I felt like cooking you may ask? it’s because we’ve been busy baking … a little bun in the oven.
That’s right friends, this girl is officially pregnant! It’s been an overwhelming couple of months: with nausea and exhaustion taking over my body like a foreign invader, plus the added emotions of our struggles over the past year and a half (read some of our story here). But I am officially at 16 weeks (well … quite over that now, but still in the 16-week mark for a wee bit longer), and I’m feeling confident in sharing our wonderful news with everyone who reads the blog. We are over the moon about this, but I’ll probably keep posts regarding the pregnancy to a minimum here … however, if you’re interested in keeping up, I am certain there will be LOTS of over-sharing over at Life of George. (in case you are a family member/friend who is on Facebook, please respect that we’re not posting anything on there at this time. Thanks!)
And since our baby is apparently the size of an avocado this week, and we call him/her our “Little Bean” I thought it would be fitting to share a recipe that ties into these references . Or maybe it’s extremely morbid that I’m eating avocado, little beans and baby greens? Either way, this salad is delicious! And hopefully with my new-found increase in energy over the past few weeks, regular posting will commence again soon.
Avocado & Little Bean Salad with Baby Greens
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp agave syrup
splash of gluten free soy sauce (seriously, a splash, don’t over do it)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salad for Two
4 handfuls of baby greens – I used arugula and spinach
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 – 1 cup of navy beans (use lots if you’re serving as a meal, but you can use less if this is a side)
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Whisk together the first 8 ingredients of the dressing in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until everything is combined. Set aside.
Combine the lettuce, avocado, beans, and green onions in a large bowl. Drizzle over about 2 Tbsp of dressing (or more if you like) and mix gently to ensure the salad is dressed – I find using my hands for this prevents everything from becoming mushy. (Store any unused dressing in the fridge for up to 1 week) Dish out salad between 2 bowls and top each serving with the parmesan cheese.
Serves 2. Obviously the ingredients in the salad can be increased to serve more people. The dressing should make enough for 4-6 servings.
I’m heading to Winnipeg for a conference today. I’m quite excited since I’ll be seeing some old friends while I’m in town – and after booking my flights about a month ago, I was shocked to realize it’s been 3 years since I was last there! So I tacked on a couple of extra days so I could squeeze in as much visiting time as I can.
One thing I’m not excited about is traveling while being gluten free. Edmonton was easy because we were staying with family the entire time; but the first few days of this trip I’ll be shacking up at a hotel. And I’m not quite sure what will be available for gluten free options. The main area I get stuck while traveling is when it comes to snacks or a quick meal while flying through airports or throughout the day in a city where I don’t have access to my own familiar grocery. So I figured I’d make some gluten free power bars to prepare for the trip.
I was excited to make some “3-Ingredient Energy Bars” that I had pinned a while back. They clearly had dates, almonds and cranberries in them, and looked easy enough. However, when I clicked the link, I had to continue to click onto other links for the “recipe” only to discover that I was eventually led to an Amazon search results page for energy bars. Blah. Obviously I didn’t really need a recipe, but I was wondering if the bars were cut up right after being mixed, or maybe refrigerated or frozen prior to cutting into individual pieces. Clearly upon mixing up my own power bars, it was obvious I couldn’t just cut them up right away. And I was beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have just made little power balls instead and been done with it. But bars are so much easier to pack. So I froze them for a little bit, and voila! Easy cutting for this girl. I also decided to take much creative liberties with the recipe, since I couldn’t actually see the recipe anywhere, and added some extra flavour with some cocoa, maple syrup, and vanilla. I love these so much, I’m not sure they’re going to make it through security at the airport!
Gluten Free Cranberry, Almond & Date Power Bars
Possibly inspired by Raw Energy by Stephanie Tourles – however I have no proof my Pin came from that book
1 cup roasted, salted almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 15 dates)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on level of sweetness desired)
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, blend until everything is mixed and the nuts are coarsely ground (I was actually going for a fine grind, but my food processor was being a jerk … so coarse it is). Turn out the mix onto a sheet of plastic wrap – mould into square about a 1/2″ thick. I believe pressing this into a square pan would have been easier, but I don’t have such a pan, so I free-styled it. Cover the mould with more plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.
Unwrap date mix, then cut into bars – whatever your size preference.
Makes approximately 16 power bars.