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Pico de Gallo & Bean Tostadas (Vegan)

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods, Holidays, Vegetables On May 1, 2017 0 Comments

Thinking of a quick, no-brainer recipe for Cinco de Mayo? Make these organic & delicious vegan tostadas. You’ll probably have to double or triple the recipe because these starters will vanish in no time!

Be sure to use Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®. This bean product contains meat or animal fat products. Anything you make with these beans will taste wholesome and natural.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (with pulp discarded)
1/2 cup finely-chopped red onion
1 teaspoon finely-chopped Serrano chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (you may add more, to taste)
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
One 15.4-ounce can Amy’s Vegetarian Organic Refried Beans®
12 blue or yellow corn, flat tostada shells
Avocado slices (from 1 avocado), optional
1/2 cup grated, dry cheese (Cotija, Parmigiano Reggiano or other variety)

Make Pico de Gallo Salsa:
1. In a 1 to 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, onion, Serrano chile pepper, salt and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust chile pepper & salt levels.

2. Set Pico de Gallo aside, covered.

Warm Up The Refried Beans:
1. Meanwhile, transfer the refried beans to a small saucepot.

2. On medium-high setting, warm up the beans, stirring constantly.

3. As beans warm up, if consistency is too thick or dry, add a little water.

Assemble Tostadas:
1. When beans are hot, spread about 2 tablespoons on each tostada set on a serving platter.

2. Top the beans with 2 tablespoons Pico de Gallo Salsa.

3. If desired add 1 or 2 thin slices avocado, followed by a sprinkle of grated cheese.

4. Serve with Margaritas or Tequila shots – Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Fruit & Greek Yogurt Blintzes

In Breads, Crêpes, Pancakes & Puddings, Fun Foods On December 4, 2015 0 Comments

Blintzes are also known as blin or blintchik (Russian names for crêpes). They are thin pancakes that can be filled with sweet or savory ingredients.

For this recipe, I made mini-blintzes, topped them with fresh Greek yogurt and added a fresh fruit compote. Enjoy these blintzes at breakfast or brunch. They’re fun to eat with Mimosa or coffee.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes for the blintzes
Prep time: 10 minutes for the fruit compote
Makes: 12 three-inch blintzes

Ingredients For the Fruit Compote:
3/4 cup chopped, fresh peach, nectarine or strawberries (you can combine 2 or more fruits together)
1/2 cup chopped, fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup water mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch or unbleached, white flour

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart saucepot.

2. Bring ingredients to a boil; boil and stir with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes, or until fruit mixture thickens.

3. If a creamier texture is desired, mash the fruit with a potato masher.

4. When fruit is tender and liquid has thickened, transfer the mixture to a glass or porcelain bowl to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the blintzes.

Ingredients for the Blintzes:
1 large egg
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (whole, low fat or 1% milk fat)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup unbleached, organic, all-purpose white flour
1-1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Greek yogurt (whole, low fat or nonfat)
1/3 cup honey, for drizzling
3 springs of fresh mint

Directions to Prepare the Blintzes:
1. In a 1-quart mixing bowl, combine the egg, milk, 1 tablespoon of the oil, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. Using a whisk, blend the ingredients together until a smooth batter has formed.

3. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to a 12-inch, nonstick skillet set on high heat.

4. As soon as the oil is hot (it should not smoke), reduce heat to low.

5. Using a ladle, gently pour the batter onto the center of the skillet to form a 3-inch blintz (pancake).

6. Continue forming the blintzes, spaced 1 to 2 inches apart. You will not use all the batter for the first batch.

7. After cooking for 1 minute or until the batter starts bubbling, using a spatula, gently turn the blintzes over.

8. Cook the other side of the blintzes for another 30 seconds or a little longer, taking care not to burn the underside.

9. Transfer the blintzes to a serving platter; set aside while preparing the remaining blintzes.

To Serve the Blintzes:
1. Transfer the yogurt to a small bowl and give it a stir.

2. Top each blintz with yogurt, some fruit and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Flaxseed Bread with Guacamole Romano & Tomatoes

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On November 7, 2015 0 Comments

One of my favorite recipes published on this website is the Guacamole Romano.

To make this appetizer even more exciting, why not spread the guacamole on toasted Flaxseed Bread with Honey and Sesame Seeds (previously published on this website). Add some chopped tomatoes and you’ve just prepared a highly nutritional appetizer. You can even enjoy this fun food for breakfast or lunch.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 yellow tomato, pulp discarded and tomato cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 red tomato, pulp discarded and tomato cut into 1/4-inch pieces
8 to 10 slices Flaxseed Bread with Honey and Sesame Seeds, toasted
One Guacamole Romano recipe
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro leaves

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes; toss in a little salt, to taste, and set aside.

2. Spread a heaping tablespoon of guacamole on each toast.

3. As you prepare each toast, set it on a serving platter.

4. When all toasts have been spread with guacamole, divide the chopped tomatoes and top them evenly over the toasts.

5. Garnish toasts with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Halloween Oatmeal Bars

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Fun Foods, Holidays On October 23, 2015 0 Comments

These oatmeal power bars are a fun treat to make for that Halloween bash! One look at the ingredients and you’ll approve – no sugar or flour. These bars are so scrumptious and healthy that you won’t have to stop reaching for a second, third, fourth … Happy Halloween!

Prep time: 15 to 18 minutes
Bake time: 10 to 12 minutes
Makes: 24 bars

Ingredients:
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted, slivered almonds
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
2/3 cup raisins
Dash salt

Toast the Oatmeal:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place oatmeal in an 18 X 12-inch rectangular baking sheet.

3. Toast the oatmeal for about 5 minutes.

4. After 5 minutes, stir the oatmeal – this prevents blackening at the edges of baking sheet.

5. Toast the oatmeal for an additional 5 minutes; stir once more.

6. When oatmeal has turned light golden brown, it is done.

7. If needed, toast the oatmeal for an additional 2 minutes. Set oatmeal aside in baking sheet to cool on counter.

8. Keep oven constantly heated at 350°F.

Prepare the Syrup:
1. In a 1-quart sauce pot, heat together the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and vanilla until mixture is warm and runny; set it aside.

2. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the toasted oatmeal, almonds, sesame seeds, raisins and salt.

3. Gently stir in the warm syrup mixture until all ingredients are combined.

4. If the mixture is too loose and grainy, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons maple syrup to combine and amalgamate the ingredients.

5. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

6. Transfer the oatmeal mixture to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

7. With wet hands, pat the mixture to form an 11 X 7-inch rectangle in center of sheet.

8. Using a knife, gently cut the oatmeal mass into 24 bars.

9. Bake the oatmeal bars for 10 to 13 minutes or until they turn golden brown.

10. Set oatmeal bars aside in baking sheet to cool completely.

11. When bars are cool, carefully cut through the squares to loosen them. Serve immediately or store the oatmeal bars in a glass jar in refrigerator.

12. Halloween oatmeal bars will keep, refrigerated, up to two weeks.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Ricotta Tzaziki Dip with Crackers

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods On July 15, 2015 1 Comment

Because I’ve been teaching art and culinary courses (which I absolutely love) all summer, I didn’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen. When I tested this amazingly quick recipe at home, my husband said it was fantastic. I think you should be the judge – enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:
1 pound (16 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh dill weed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green onion, root and dark green tops discarded; flesh cut into 1/4-inch thick circles
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 Persian (small) cucumbers
One 6-ounce package crackers (any variety)
Fresh mint leaves (for garnish)

Directions:

1. In a 2-quart bowl, combine the ricotta, dill weed, garlic, green onion, lime, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a dash of black pepper; set aside.

2. Cut off tips from one cucumber. Peel the cucumber and cut the flesh lengthwise in half.

3. Cut each cucumber half lengthwise in half once more (you have made 4 spears.

4. Cut the spears horizontally into 1/8-inch pieces.

5. Stir the cucumber pieces into the ricotta mixture; set aside.

Assemble, Garnish & Serve the Ricotta Tzatziki Dip:

1. Transfer the crackers to a serving platter; set aside.

2. Take the remaining cucumber; cut and discard tips.

3. Do not peel the cucumber, but cut it into 1/8-inch thick circles.

4. Place each circle on a cracker.

5. Mound a small dollop of the ricotta tzatziki on each cucumber circle.

6. Garnish with fine slivers of mint leaves and/or dill weed (cut the slivers with shears).

7. Serve immediately.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real