Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo

This is a dish that Greg and I make frequently. We stand together, each chopping away at a vegetable or fruit, and create this bowl of beautiful tastes and colors. We top it onto chips as we make the rest of our meal, and then we enjoy it as a topping on veggie or fish tacos. Every single time we make this, we each take our first crunchy bite and declare it as our favorite food ever. And every single time we make this, we get into a conversation about just how good real food tastes and how lucky we are to eat food this good and healthy for us. I hope we do that forever.

We are lucky to eat food this good, especially this time of the year, using seasonal and local ingredients. For this batch of pico, we brought home most ingredients from Three Springs Fruit Farm and we’ve actually made it twice this week. Once for fish tacos and another time, sweet potato tacos. 

With just nine total ingredients, this dish is so easy to prepare and is also so versatile. The base of tomato, red onion, jalapeno and cilantro works so well for switching up the fruit seasonally. We often make it with mango and have done it with just peach, too. But for this batch I added blueberries and loved it. This pico adds just the right freshness, crunch and sweetness to a taco and is great with just chips, too. 

The color, smell and taste of this is truly special and I have a hard time believing that you wouldn’t declare this as your favorite food ever on your first bite either. Make it while we are lucky enough to have fresh summer fruits and veggies, enjoy every bite, and be reminded of just how good real food tastes!

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Peach + Blueberry Pico de Gallo
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Ingredients
1 generous cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 large peach
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 small red onion (or about 1/2 cup)
1 small jalapeno
Handful of fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
Evenly dice the tomatoes and peach. Finely dice the onion and jalapeno. Roughly chop the cilantro. Combine everything in a bowl, along with the whole blueberries, with olive oil, salt and pepper and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Notes
*My tomatoes were multi-colored mini heirlooms but any cherry or grape tomato will work fine.
* I used a yellow peach but a white one would work great as well.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie

Hey guys! Has it really been over a month since I last posted? Sorry for the silence, but it has been one heck of a month! So many things to do, and I guess blogging has fallen to the end of the priority list. To be honest, I still have some busyness coming up, so I can’t promise how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully I can get things together and start sharing more frequently soon!

But for today, I’m sharing with you something that I have been making consistently, almost everyday, even through the busy times. Blueberry, peanut butter, banana power smoothie.* I have even hauled my blender across the state twice, on a train, to continue making this smoothie. Truly my current obsession.

This smoothie is as tasty as it is healthy. I call it a “power smoothie” because of all the goodness in it. Let’s go over that:

Coconut water: Full of potassium and very hydrating.
Almond milk: I use vanilla, unsweetened. Besides adding a delicious vanilla flavor, it’s high in calcium and vitamins B and E.
Banana: More potassium! and so much more!
Blueberries: Antioxidants!
Peanut butter: Protein!
Chia seeds: Full of nutrients, antioxidants, protein, fiber and more. Eat chia seeds!
Spinach: Full of all the good stuff – nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

And that’s it. All real, whole foods that bring so many good things, and when combined, become a creamy, tasty treat! 

I’ve been making this for breakfast daily. I honestly never thought that just a smoothie would be enough for me for breakfast, but this one is. It keeps me full and I know that it’s probably the healthiest meal of my day – a great start. 

While each and every ingredient included in this smoothie is important to make it just what it is, if I had to stress one to absolutely not leave out, it would be the chia seeds. If blended long enough (I blend my smoothies a long time!), the chia seeds make the smoothie super thick and creamy, and it almost reminds me of ice cream. I like this smoothie so much more since starting to add chia seeds and it’s all because of that creamy, dreamy texture. A smoothie that reminds me of ice cream – can’t pass it up. 

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Blueberry, Peanut Butter + Banana Power Smoothie
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Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup almond milk
1 banana
1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Large handful spinach
Instructions
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend, until completely smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Inspired by a smoothie sold at the Cedars House Cafe!

Springtime Strawberries

I recently found myself home with 8 quarts of springtime strawberries. And not just any strawberries, the best strawberries, thanks to the wonderful and generous Three Springs Fruit Farm.

What does one do with enough strawberries to overtake half a fridge? 

Most we ate just fresh. There is nothing better than fresh, local springtime strawberries, just as they are. 1.5 quarts were lovingly washed, sliced and sent to be enjoyed by Greg’s PhD committee members. My good vibes for Greg were sent in with those strawberries.

And, I made these muffins. Some of the best muffins that I have ever consumed. Roasted strawberries, ricotta cheese and lime zest, in a muffin, together. They’re heavenly.

They were a bit time consuming, but when I was given a day off of work due to lots of rain, I got to muffin making. And strawberry photographing. I turned on some music, put on my favorite comfy dress, opened the windows for Ivy cat, and made muffins all day long. It was great. And therapeutic.

I highly suggest you make these muffins if you get a chance. They are so, so tasty. Use local strawberries if possible. Take your time, enjoy the process. Enjoy the muffins!

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Click here for recipe.

Creamy Vegan Herbed Hemp Dip

How are you? It’s been awhile since I’ve last shared with you, but I’m back today with a recipe that I’m thrilled with. And, today’s recipe – creamy vegan! herbed hemp dip goes perfectly with the everyday oven fries I shared with you two weeks ago!

This dip (or spread) is inspired and heavily adapted from Edible Perspective’s Hemp Seed Dressing recipe. I saw Ashley’s recipe and immediately fell in love. Who knew that blending hemp seeds creates a creamy base perfect for making dressings, dips and spreads! This is it. This will be the base to any creamy dip or dressing I need in the future. Thank you Edible Perspective!

Today’s recipe is my ode to french fries dipped in ranch dressing, a lifelong favorite of mine. I’ve kind of stopped wanting to eat ranch dressing in the last few years though, due to its long and unnatural list of ingredients. I’ve tried my hand at homemade ranch dressing using things like sour cream and mayo, but am always disappointed when I have a ton of those ingredients leftover with no use for them.

While this recipe does not taste like an exact replica of the ranch we’re all used to, it’s a substitute that I’m actually even happier with. It tastes herb-y and delicious, makes a great dip and spread, and it uses real, natural ingredients that I keep on hand. This hemp seed dressing solves all my french fry + ranch problems and is to me, life changing.

It also goes great with fresh veggies, spread on sandwiches or drizzled in wraps!

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Creamy Vegan Herbed Hemp Dip
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For the dip/dressing
1/3 cup water
Juice from 1 lemon (or lime)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 cup hemp seeds
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Small pinch of paprika
Small drizzle Worcestershire (optional)
Handful fresh dill
Handful fresh chives
Instructions
Place all ingredients, except fresh herbs, into a blender. Blend on low speed for ~30 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. Scrape down sides of blender, add fresh herbs* and blend for an additional 30 seconds, or until fully incorporated.
Enjoy as a dip, dressing or spread!
Notes
Recipe inspired and heavily adapted from Edible Perspective's Hemp Seed Dressing (link in post).
*Some people prefer a more subtle herb taste, so start with a small amount of fresh herbs and add more as desired.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Everyday Oven Fries

Dreaming Foodie readers, let me introduce you to one of my all-time favorite side dishes. One that Greg and I consume multiple times, every single week. One that we never get sick of and that is always as good as the last time. Healthy, oven-baked french fries. Fries that you can feel good about eating all the time!

This recipe has been years in the making. I have been trying for so long to get the right recipe for homemade fries, made in the oven, and this is it. This will be it for me, forever and ever. For a basic, everyday oven fry recipe, this one wins for me in texture, taste and technique. These fries are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They taste salty and peppery and have a gentle kick from a touch of paprika. They are simple to make, with just a handful of ingredients and a bit of preparation. You need to try these fries – you will love them!

First let’s talk texture. These fries get their crispiness from a quick boil before they are baked. I simply cut up the potatoes, place them in a large pot with water, bring it to a boil and boil for just 5 minutes. This exact method evolved from many other methods I’ve tried over the years. This is the one that works for me and that I’ll continue to do. It’s easy and takes very little time. The 5-minute boil is imperative to this exact recipe. I made many fries in the past that I did not boil and they have not come out as well or nearly as crispy. The boiling changes everything.

The taste of these fries is incredible. I took everything I like about different fries and put them into one. They are salty (who doesn’t love salty fries?), they are peppery, a tiny bit garlic-y and onion-y (from garlic powder and onion powder), a tiny bit spicy (from paprika) and herb-y (from parsley). This is a combination that I just love – nothing fancy or exotic, just yummy basic fries, made with ingredients that are always stocked in my pantry. 

The technique is simple. Cut potatoes, boil, drain + rinse, brush with olive oil + sprinkle with seasoning, bake 40-45 minutes. It’s that easy. I show in two photos below how I cut my potatoes. I used to cut oven fries thin, but found out that thin fries will break with the boiling step. For this recipe, the fries need to be sliced thick, like very large steak fries. They need to be able to withstand the boiling. From start to finish, the fries will shrink, so if you think they look large once they are cut, don’t worry, you won’t think that once you are eating a crispy, delicious fry! 

A few more notes on this recipe – for Greg and I, I usually use 3-4 medium to large russet potatoes. That makes a ton of fries – two full baking sheets, so for lighter eaters, I would plan for 1 medium-large potato per person. They do make good leftovers, and are awesome reheated in the oven. The seasoning amounts I provide will be good for 3-4 medium-large potatoes. If you’re feeding a crowd, double or triple the amounts as needed!

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Everyday Oven Fries
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Ingredients
3-4 medium potatoes (I like russet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
Preheat oven to 400*.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together all spices. Set aside.
Rinse potatoes. Cut into very thick slices. I usually get 10-12 slices, or fries, per potato.
Place sliced potatoes into large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil. Boil exactly 5 minutes.
Drain and rinse with cold water. Let potatoes cool slightly, just to the point that you can easily handle them.
Arrange evenly on baking sheets, so that no potatoes are touching.
Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with spice mix.
Bake for 40-45 minutes in oven, or until crispy and golden brown.
Enjoy!
Notes
3-4 medium to large potatoes with make two full baking sheets of fries. As part of a meal, I would plan for 1 large potato per person.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/