Category Archives: Vegetables

Fun Colors of Spring and Oven-Roasted Carrots

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It’s been a fun few days since I blogged about my blue nails.  If you missed it, check it out here! 

Thursday morning, after the blog post, my friend Bonnie arrived at Community Bible Study sporting fabulous blue nails in honor of my blog post and our friendship!  So fun!  Thank you, sweet Bonnie!

It wasn’t long after we finished Bible study on Thursday that I received a “challenge” from my cousin Jill.  She posted, “The blue is gorgeous!!! I wear blue on my toes often. I dare you to try purple sometime!”  Then Jill sent me this photo.

Jill adores spending time at the beach and so, of course, she has to keep those tippy-toes looking pretty!

The next picture came from my friend Darcia.  We were talking on the phone when she said, “I LOVE your blue nails!”  We laughed and she said, “I have my toes painted WHITE and I absolutely love them.”

In this age of instant photo-sharing, Darcia zipped off this photo to me. I hope she heard me say, “It might show up on my blog!” 😜

Saturday I spent lunchtime with dear girlfriends and my sous-chef dish-washing mom.  Before we said goodbye that afternoon, the conversation turned to my “blue nails”.  Our friend Joan said, “Here, everyone put your hands together.”

Red, blue, peach, and natural, a rainbow of color!  This is a fantastic picture of our friendship.  Diversity reigns and each one of us brings something special to our friendship. The love of Jesus is what truly binds us together. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Speaking of color, our lunch hostess Joyce, served the most incredible roasted carrots with our Hot Chicken Salad.  Did you know that before Dutch farmers bred orange carrots to honor the House of Orange in the 17th century, these root vegetables were white, yellow, green, red, and even black?  Recently, carrots of many colors have come back into flavor.  While traveling in England a few years ago we saw white, yellow and black carrots at the Borough Market in London.

After feasting on these incredibly tasty roasted carrots at Joyce’s, I couldn’t wait to check out my fridge to see if I had any carrots at home. Yep, five. Only five carrots in the crisper drawer, but that was enough to roast for our dinner!

True to Joyce’s description, these take just minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to roast.  Peel carrot, slice into chunks of similar size, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast!

I used a blood orange infused olive oil, cracked pepper, sea salt and a sprinkle of parsley.  Seriously, I can’t wait to make these again.  They are so good that we had to count them out into thirds so that my carrot-loving husband, sous-chef dish-washing mom and me could each have exactly the same number — they are just that good.  And sometimes we are just that silly at dinner!

You can use your imagination and drizzle with just about any flavored or plain olive oil you may have on hand.  I’ve cooked carrots in an orange juice and butter mixture so I thought the blood orange infused oil would be a perfect combination.  It is!  Try it, you’ll like it!

May your spring be bursting with color!

Happy Roasting!
~Catherine

Roasting Carrots and Other Fun Colors!
 
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After roasting carrots, you won't want to serve them any other way.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Ingredients
  • Fresh carrots
  • Olive oil*
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Pepper
  • Chopped parsley* Optional
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Peel and slice fresh carrots into equal sized pieces.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.
  5. Spread on baking sheet.
  6. Roast for 20 minutes or until carrots are slightly browned and tender. Do not over-cook.
  7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
Notes
*Flavored olive oil works well.
I've used blood orange infused olive oil that is fantastic.

 

Bacon and Brussels Sprout Gratin

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Brussels Sprout Gratin

Happy New Year!  Who doesn’t like to start the new year with some healthy new recipes?  I cooked up this skillet of Brussels Sprout Gratin earlier this fall.  The recipe came from Guy Fieri.  Well, not to me personally, but via the Food Network!  The bacon – well that is my addition.  Yum.

I’ve made this a couple of times to make sure it is blog-worthy.  From the first time we ate it we loved it!  I hope you do too.

Sliced Brussels Sprout

I always remove the outer leaf and slice off the bottom of the Brussels sprout. Once done these can be placed in a food processor with the slicer blade, sliced by hand or with a mandoline.  In seconds a whole bag of Sprouts is sliced and ready for the skillet.

You do not have to use a cast iron skillet, an 8″ x 8″ baking dish will do fine.  I just love using my cast iron skillet because it makes the cheese a little crispy wherever it touches the cast iron.  The skillet also creates a bit of crunchy crust to the bottom of this dish.

 When I mentioned I was blogging this recipe tonight to my brussels-sprout lovin’ husband he quickly said, “are you making that again soon?  I hope so!”  Well, I wouldn’t want to disappoint my honey.  I’ll be making this again this week!

Happy Cooking!
~Catherine

P.S. Don’t let the heavy cream scare you away from this recipe. It’s only a cup and it takes this recipe right over the top!

Bacon and Brussel Sprouts Gratin
 
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Loaded with a delicious blend of flavors this awesome side dish will have 'em coming back for more!
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pounds brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • ¾ cups grated sharp Cheddar
  • ¼ to ½ lb. cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Shave the brussels sprouts horizontally into ⅛-inch slices with a sharp knife, mandoline or slicer blade in a food processor. Add to a bowl. Add the Cheddar, cooked, crumbled bacon, flour, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the mixture to an 8- by 8-inch baking dish or cast iron skillet, packing it in. Pour over the heavy cream.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan and oil and pour over the brussels sprouts mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered until the brussels sprouts are tender, the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
The bacon is optional and you can use more or less depending on your taste. The recipe is still excellent without the bacon.

 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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I’ve been cooped up at home with mono for the
past three days,  so with all that free time,
I’ve cooked up quite a few recipes I’m excited
to share (avocado brownies being my favorite)!!!

But today I’m sharing homemade hummus!  I love hummus with pita chips or celery sticks and carrots.  It’s a great healthy snack and a tasty addition to a salad!  There are all different kinds of hummus flavors that I like, but I went with Roasted Red Pepper.  I think next time I’ll have to do a garlic lime hummus or taco spices maybe.  It’s really easy to put your own spin on this recipe with whatever spices and flavors you want to use.

I started with two cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), one jar of roasted red peppers, and some olive oil.  I had that in the food processor ready to blend, then I started to get creative. I had about half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil in the fridge.  That when in.  Then a couple teaspoons of garlic.  Half a cup of lemon juice.  Then I decided to turn up the heat.  So, I tossed in a jalapeño pepper and two heaping tablespoons of cayenne. Some salt and pepper to taste, and it was done!

I love to cook this way.  For something like hummus, you don’t need a recipe.  You can be spontaneous and imaginative and just get completely carried away with flavors.  The important things are chickpeas and olive oil (and in my opinion garlic), but after that, it’s your recipe!

I’m giving you the recipe for my hummus, but I hope you use it as more of a guide to creating whatever you want with the things you already have in your fridge!  That’s what makes it fun!

Thanks for reading!

Abby Hughes

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
 
This is a versatile recipe for hummus that's great for a snack, on a salad, or as an appetizer.
Author:
Recipe type: Healthy Snack or Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: approx. 24 oz.
Ingredients
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans
  • 1 small jar of fire roasted peppers
  • ½ c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 to 1½ jalapenos roughly chopped with seeds
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic or 3-4 cloves
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs cayenne pepper optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Scrape the sides as necessary.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings or flavors as desired.

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

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The frost is almost upon us!  That means it’s time to harvest the herbs!


I work at The Celtic Cup Coffee House in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee.  I don’t have my own herb garden, but The Celtic Cup does.  I love getting to use the fresh herbs when I bake quiches, casseroles, and savory scones.

Today I harvested all the basil for the winter months.  If you’ve never processed herbs before, you probably think it’s really complicated.  At least, that’s what I used to think.  I know there are a couple different ways to do it.  Drying herbs actually does take a while, so I prefer freezing them.  I think it preserves the flavors better, too.  It’s really a lot easier and faster than I imagined.  All you have to do is snip the entire plant, wash, pluck the leaves, and freeze  on a towel-lined sheet pan.  After about half an hour, the leaves should be stiff enough to store in a plastic freezer bag for the winter.  It’s that simple!

While we’re on the subject of basil, last week I made some delicious parmesan baked tomatoes.  I love how all the local markets are just bursting with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this time of year.  I bought some beautiful plump red tomatoes and thought I would get creative.  All they needed was some leftover basil pesto and a hearty sprinkle of cheese.  Voila! Parmesan baked tomatoes! So fast and simple, but delicious and comforting.  They taste like pizza!  You can make them as a side dish or just a healthy snack.

I’m not religiously gluten free or anything, but I think I feel better when I stay away from bread.  So, to accompany the tomatoes, I baked some chicken and made fresh broccoli salad.  This broccoli salad was at my friend’s wedding last weekend.  It was so good I had to make it for myself.

Together it was the perfect guilt free/gluten free dinner!  It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so I hope this meal will find it’s way into your week as a tasty and stress free option!

Abby Hughes

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes
 
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A quick and tasty side dish or snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Thick slice the tomatoes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan
  3. Spread about a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of basil pesto on each slice.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is lightly browned (about 4 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Broccoli Salad
 
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A light brunch or dinner side.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
  • ½ c. roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white distilled vinegar
  • ½ c. mayo
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Small dice red onion.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mayo, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onion, craisins, and sunflower seeds.
  5. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

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