Sunday, July 29, 2012

Junque Food - Yummy Mom's Mo' Relish

Isn't this gorgeous?

This relish is bounty of nature's goodness. We used to call it Moe's Relish, after a family friend who made it for my mom several years ago. Since we haven't had it in awhile, and my Mom made this yesterday, I decided to switch it up and call it Mom's Mo' Relish.

It is totally worth the extra apostrophes, I promise.

The beauty of this relish is that it's very versatile. This particular relish was make with zucchini, yellow squash, red and yellow bell peppers, celery, carrots, onion, and a few tomatoes. All finely chopped. A wee bit of olive oil, and your choice of vinegar.  This one has apple cider vinegar, but I believe it was originally made with Balsamic vinegar.  Spices are simple: basil, salt, pepper, maybe a little garlic. If you need to cut the bite of the vinegar, a tiny bit of honey or stevia will help it out.

See what I mean? You can totally use whatever you have on hand to make Mom's Mo' Relish. You can mix it up if you want, adding cucumbers, or get a little wild, and dice up a hot pepper or two. Change the spices to ones that you enjoy. It is literally a universe of veggie goodness in a bowl for your culinary pleasure.

What what do you do with it when you've made up a bowl of this garden goodness?

I am so glad you asked that question... (heh)

Mo's original relish was a condiment used for sandwich wraps. A tortilla, your choice of lunch meat, and a little cheese, then slather the relish on, wrap it up, and YUM!

But what if I'm attempting to do the Paleo Diet thing, Mrs. Junque? I can't have the tortilla, the lunch meat has nitrates in it, and the cheese is right out!!!

Well, yes, that's true. And we did pause for a bit, thinking about all the things we could put this relish on. We finally decided there wasn't much you couldn't put Mom's Mo Relish on.  I mean, really. Think about it!

Last night we had it on top of baked fish. Totally. Nummy.

This morning we are going to put it in an omelet.  For realz!

Grilled chicken?  You betcha!

So, if you can't find anything to put Mom's Mo Relish on, then you aren't thinking very hard.

This stuff is the cat's meow, y'all.....give it a try!

Junque Food - We've become smoothie monsters!

Why is it I never take a picture of the marvelous smoothies DaHubster has been serving lately?  Probably because I've been sucking them down too fast!

He drinks them for breakfast, and I usually have them as a morning or afternoon snack.

They are pretty easy to make. There are multiple recipes out there, but I find that they are basically the same. Most of the Paleo recipes have a green tea base. So I brew up a pitcher of green tea, and stick in the fridge, it lasts most of a week.

We also use an egg protein powder, mainly because it's cheaper than using eggs. It also helps my squick-y factor knowing there's no raw eggs in my smoothie. We use this version of the egg white protein powder:
Eggwhite Protein - 100% Pure Unflavored 1 lbs, though I see there are many varieties that are also flavored. I might have to to talk DaHubster into trying a vanilla or chocolate the next time we order it!

After that, the fun begins. We almost always use bananas and strawberries. We buy 2-3 bunches of bananas at a time, and slice them and freeze them for easy use. Same with strawberries. It's just passed strawberry season for us now, but I stocked up, and we froze and dehydrated a bunch for awhile. I wish we'd gotten more!

If you want a smoother smoothie (heh), go for some coconut milk. 1/3 to 1/2 a can is all that is needed for a blender full of smoothie goodness.

Just a note for those of you who are trying  out the Paleo lifestyle: make sure you read the label on cans of coconut milk.  Thai Kitchen brand is the only in-store brand that I've seen that is 100% coconut, with no preservatives. Usually, the preservative is Guar Gum, which in the scope of things, isn't so bad, but if you looking for pure, Thai Kitchen is probably your most affordable bet. Unless you go organic, which is too rich for my blood right now. Or make Coconut milk yourself, which I haven't yet tried to do.  But here's a recipe for those of you that want to try! :)  Gluten Free Coconut Milk from Elana's Pantry

Unsweetened cocoa powder is another thing we've tried. Just remember a little goes a looooooong way.  It gets bitter if you use too much. Try a half teaspoon first, and add more if you like.

If you want more nutritional goodness, try some crushed or powdered flax seed.

And for those of you that want a sweeter smoothie, add some honey. I did that in the beginning, when my tongue was still craving sweets. Lessen the amount of honey over time, and watch your taste buds come to life with the natural flavors of the fruits you put into your very own homemade smoothie!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Junque Yard - My Daily "Salads"

I call them salads. I don't know what else to call them. They don't have lettuce or spinach or any leafy greens, though, so I don't know if they count as salads.

I'm gonna officially call them my Junque Salads, because the ingredients change with whatever I have floating around in my fridge, along with whatever I harvest from my garden.

Cucumbers are a must. I will be picking my first from the garden this week. I have my eye on two very sweet looking cukes that are just starting to plump up.

Banana peppers are a usual staple. I've been harvesting them for a week or so now. I hate hot and mild ones, and both are yummy.

My purple bell pepper plant is going gang busters! I can't believe I've got colored peppers already this summer.

I bought a bag of scapes from the farmer's market two weeks ago, and I'm still using them. OMG the best of both onions and garlic, in a little green tube. NOMMINESS!

Carrots are a must, and I always try to have some in the house. The carrots I planted a couple of weekends ago haven't started making an appearance yet, but when they do, their thinnings will make for yummy greens in my salads.

Green beans, broccoli, onions, kohlrabi....whatever else is hanging around gets chopped and thrown into the mix.

Dressing is simple, a little apple cider vinegar, a little olive oil, and a lot of spices. I'm partial to a little bit of salt, pepper, oregano, and Mrs. Dash.

You might ask, "Why no leafy veggies?" To which I answer, because this is what I take to work, silly person.  And I don't want to eat wilted veggies for lunch!

And you might say, "So why don't you leave off the dressing and mix it when you go to eat it at lunch time?"

And I'll reply, "Don't bore me with petty details, you whippersnapper!

The honest answer is that I get bored of leafy veggie salads quickly. This way, I can make it a day or two ahead of time, and have a few meals out of it. The dressing acts as a marinade, and all the veggie's and spices' have blended flavors.  I just throw a couple of slices of turkey or chicken breast on the top, and I'm ready to go to work with little to no effort in the morning.

It's all good.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Junque Yard: Things. They are a'Blooming!

'Maters! They are a'comin'

Tiger Lillies and the season's first Black-eyed Susans.

Day Lillies

Tiger Lily - close up

First Cukes of the season. Thanks to my neighbor, who gave me the starts

Banana favorite

Purple Bell Peppers, ready for picking.

One more tiger lily, because I love them...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Junque Food - staving off the boredom of salads

I always say that I love me a salad that I don't have to make. That rule gets relaxed in the spring when I pick my first greens from the garden. But it's short lived. I really do get bored eating salads quickly.

And I'm not talking potato salads, cole slaw, or pasta salads. Those are temporarily off the menu while I try this Paleo Diet thing. And if you haven't read me gushing about my personal experience with Paleo diet, click here: Do you eat what you grow?

Ok, back? Good.

So back to salads. I needed to wrap my brain around the fact that salad doesn't necessarily have to mean leafy greens. Particularly for lunches at work, where the leafy greens tend to not stay fresh and crisp by lunchtime.

Since my body craves "crunchy" I've been making salads that have whatever fresh veggies that I have around. Here are some of the things I've been using, in various combos:

sliced or julienne carrots
banana peppers
brocolli florets
slived green onions
crushed garlic

And I usually toss it with a red-wine vinaigrette and a splash of garlic-red chili sauce. Occasionally I'll sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top for a little extra Oomph. Even though that's not Paleo, but it sure is tasty!!

I also made a pretty good better-for-you cole slaw this week. I had a bag of pre-shredded cabbage that I mixed with onion, garlic and a little more carrot than the teeny amount that comes in the bag. I dressed it again with the red wine vinaigrette in stead of sour cream and mayo. It was pretty darn good!

And the red wine vinaigrette turned the cole slaw a pretty shade of pink, too.


Share with some of your favorite non-traditional salads, please!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Junque Yard - veggies and fruits galore!

I need to brag just a little. I just bought nearly a metric ton (slight exaggeration) of fruits and veggies. Some from the farmer's market, some from a local discount grocery store, and some from a local restaurant supply chain store that had some good sales. You tell me if I did a good job

From GFS (the restaurant/party supply store:

  • Two 5lbs bags of natural frozen chicken wings.
  • Two 4lb crates of fresh strawberries
  • Various 1lb containers of spices.
 Total spent = $45.00

From Sav-A-Lot (discount grocery)
  • 2 huge bunches of bananas
  • 2 cantaloupes
  • one bag of sweet onions
  • 2 bags of carrots
  • 4 kiwis
  • one bag of grapes
  • 2 whole chickens
  • 2 packages of 1/2 ground beef & 1/2 ground pork
  • 1 large package of diced fresh beef for chopsuey
  • one cabbage
  • coffee
  • 12 avocados
  • one pineapple
  • and probably some more things I'm forgetting
total spent = $65.00

From the Farmer's Market 
(I should preface this by saying it's still early in the growing season here in the Midwest, and therefore there isn't a lot of harvesting veggies available)
  • bag of green beans
  • bag of scapes
  • 2 seedless cucumbers
  • several bunches of small onions
  • several heads of garlic
  • one large head of kohlrabi
  • one small container of early tomatoes
total spent = $15.00

That's a grand total of $125.00.  I feel like I did great, and got a lot of bang for my buck. What do you think?