Pasta Salad

I am going to give you a super simple pasta salad recipe here. It is perfect for any potluck, family gathering. Plus, it is so simple. The homemade dressing is a basic Italian dressing seasoning. I was looking in the store at ingredients in most Italian dressings, and they contain everything from processed sugar to dyes. WHY?! So, if you want to ditch the processed ingredients, this will be your new favorite dressing.

Pasta Salad

For my pasta salads, I use an organic rigatoni pasta. I think the dressing coats the noodles best, and it has the best noodle-vegetable ratio.

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp paprika or turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian Herbs (or 1/4 tsp of each: basil, marjoram, oregano 1/8 tsp of each: rosemary, thyme)
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white, really any vinegar works here)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

And get creative with your Vegetables, throw whatever you have in the fridge in with the pasta. All of the measurements are for 1 box of pasta worth of noodles. I prefer the vegetables to be dices in about 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 bag snap peas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 box rigatoni pasta (or gluten free pasta)

You really cannot mess up this recipe. It is perfect to use up left over vegetables, or to have a fresh side salad for dinner. I hope you love the dressing!

Love, Liv

Hearty Sweet Potato Soup

People. It is cold out. I am over this polar vortex. It has been colder in Wisconsin over the past few days than it has been in Antarctica. You read that right. Colder than the place that has snow year round. I think people live here because they are frozen to the ground, and cannot leave. I need a warm an sunny beach vacation, because I am not about this cold life.

Since, we are all frozen, and cannot leave our houses; I have been making lots and lots and lots of soup to keep warm. This is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink creations, and is sure to warm you up. Plus, it is super easy to dump everything in, let it simmer, and in 30-45 minutes you have dinner. YAY!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can black beans
  • kale
  • 1 1/2 tbsp herbs de province
  • 2 tsp each: rosemary, basil, tumeric, marjoram (or 1 drop of essential oil if you have them)
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: 1 cup quinoa

Directions:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat
  2. Add sweet potato, squash, onion, garlic, quinoa, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock
  3. Let simmer until the sweet potatoes and squash are fork tender
  4. Add herbs, black beans, and kale. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes
  5. EAT!

It is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner, or a make ahead meal to eat throughout the week. This soup is hearty, and keeps you full. Plus it tastes delicious.

Stay warm, and send me warm thoughts!

Love, Liv

 

 

 

Refrigerator Pickles

Who does not love fresh pickles? My husband and I love anything pickled. Seriously anything. A few weeks ago, we were craving those salty, crunchy, delicious bites. So, I have a recipe for you all that requires NO sugar, fresh dill, or crazy ingredients.

For this recipe, I used dill seed, not dill weed. They are definitely not the same thing.  Dill seed are the little seed of the plant. While, dill weed, are the leaves of the plant. Dill weed goes great in potato salad, and dill seed is great for this recipe. It is not too hard to find dill seed in your local grocery store. Next year, I plan on drying the heads of dill, and making my own dill seed and sill weed. Stay tuned for the journey.

Refrigerator Pickles

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill seed
  • 2 1/4 tsp pickling spices
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 dried chilies (or 1 and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tbsp salt

This is probably one of my easiest recipes yet.

  1. Bring vinegar and water to a boil.
  2. Add salt, dill seeds, and pickling spices.
  3. Place garlic, cucumber, chilies into a jar.
  4. Pour liquid into the jar. Mix.
  5. Shake jar once per day.
  6. Let sit at least 3 days. For the best flavor wait at least 7 days.

I hope you find this recipe delicious as we do. Let me know how your batch turns out!

Love, Liv

Spring Quinoa

Guys! Spring is here. Unless you live in Wisconsin, where we get 12 inches of snow in April. Either way, you are wanting some spring flavors in your life-this is an amazing recipe.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Serves: 6-8

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1 medium Cucumber
  • 1 bag Frozen Peas
  • 6-8 sliced Radishes

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 2 tbsp. Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chopped Tarragon
  • 1 Shallot
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. Rinse and strain quinoa.
  2. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Simmer for 12-15 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and add frozen peas.
  4. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes
  5. Combine in a small bowl olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Mix
  6. Add tarragon and shallot. 20180324_192031_HDR.jpg
  7. Add chopped asparagus, sliced radishes, and sliced cucumber to quinoa.
  8. Mix dressing and quinoa.
  9. ENJOY!

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It is a great salad warm or cold! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.

Love, Liv

Date Protein Balls

I love snacks. I am constantly snacking, and I need snacks that fill me up. These date protein balls are sure to satisfy. This recipe is full of protein-without sugar, grain, or dairy. They are great for a pre-workout snack. Or just a filling afternoon snack. Plus, it only takes 3 ingredients to make!

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  • Prep time: 10 Minutes
  • Makes 15-20 quarter size balls

Ingredients

  • 1 c. chopped dried dates
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (or almond butter for whole30)
  • 1/2 c. chopped roasted almonds

Medjool dates are my favorite dates to use. They basically become caramel when you put them in the food processor.  Make sure you remove the pits! Find a natural peanut butter that has no extra sugar added -OR- you can make your own! (recipe here).

Directions

  • Roast almonds
  • Remove pits and chop dates
  • Add peanut butter

Dates and Peanut Butter

  • Combine. I used a food processor. It makes it easy, with no mess.
  • Roll in Chopped almonds

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You can use a food processor to chop the almonds. I rough chopped them. The variation of sizes helped to coat the date and peanut butter mixture to make it less sticky.

Keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. They are so good, you will probably have them all eaten before then.

 

Enjoy!

Love, Liv

Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter. Need I say more?

It is so simple to make your own, and cheaper to make it at home. Making your own peanut butter give you control of what ingredients you include. This peanut butter is the BEST peanut butter I have ever tasted. IT ONLY NEEDS 4 INGREDIENTS. So. Simple.

Let’s talk peanuts. I used unroasted, and roasted them at home.

Roasting Peanuts:

  1. Melt 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Pour over peanuts.
  2. Mix in Salt
  3. Roast

They roast best in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, mixing them about half way through. The longer you roast the peanuts, the more robust, deeper peanut flavor you get. Try to find someone who roasts and distributes peanuts locally if you cannot find unroasted peanuts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. peanuts (it was about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

 

  1. Grind peanuts in a food processor. If you roast your own peanuts, let them cool for about 8 minutes. If your peanuts are a little warm, it makes for creamier peanut butter.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Grind the peanuts until they are roughly chopped. This took about 4 minutes for my food processor for creamy peanut butter. After about 2 minutes it was looking like chunky peanut butter.

    Peanuts
    This is what the peanuts looked like after about 1 minute in the food processor
  4. Once the peanuts are roughly chopped, add melted coconut oil and agave nectar. (If you roasted your own peanuts, don’t add the coconut oil.) Continue processing. It will start to come together as peanut butter.Peanut Butter
  5. Store in the refrigerator
  6. BONUS! I added 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla for extra flavor.

You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 months

Final Product

It takes 30 minutes to roast, cool, and make your peanut butter. It is SO worth it. Try it, and let me know what you think!

 

Love, Liv