Tag Archives: DIY

Amazin’ Asian sauce: stir-fry, broth bowl, & egg roll in a bowl

homemade stir-fry sauce, crack slaw

This started out just being a homemade stir-fry sauce, but I’ve found that the leftover stir-fry makes a great broth bowl (curry optional), and the sauce also works for egg roll in a bowl. (Sometimes also called “crack slaw” because it’s so addictive.) So it’s really an all-purpose Asian sauce: that’s what makes it amazin’!

You could, of course, also use it in a meatless main dish or veggie side dish. And made with tamari or coconut aminos, it’s gluten-free.

You might want to make a small batch, first, to figure out how you want to adapt it to your taste; feel free to improvise on my recipe! Then make a larger batch to keep on hand in the fridge for easy, throw-together meals.

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Dairy-free Ranch Dressing (Dump Ranch)

Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

If you’re not avoiding dairy, my Buttermilk Ranch Dressing recipe is a delicious option. If, however, you have a milk allergy, living the Paleo diet, or doing a Whole30, this Dairy-free Ranch Dressing is a fantastic alternative. And in fact, I think I might just like it better than the traditional recipe!

This was inspired by and is a slight variation on what the blogging duo Whole Sisters call “Dump Ranch.” As in, you just dump it all in a blender and mix!

Made with the lesser amount of coconut milk, it makes an addictive veggie dip…

veggie tray with dairy-free ranch dressing

 

I’ve added it to one of my variations on tuna salad

tuna salad with ranch dressing

 

It’s also great drizzled over fresh summer tomatoes, sprinkled with bacon!

paleo-dinner-bacon-pork-chop-asparagus-tomatoes-600x430

 

And schmeared on a burger!

burger with ranch dressing

 

I don’t have a pic but it’s aMAZing drizzled over hot broccoli! It melts quickly, blending the flavors into every tiny crevice. Yum!

I’m sure it’ll be great on salad, too; just haven’t got to that yet!

Here’s my spin on it…

Dairy-free Ranch Dressing or Dip

(aka, “Dump Ranch”)

• 1 & 1/4 c. mayonnaise

— (OR 1 c. light olive oil, 1 egg, 1 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. salt)

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or other light-colored vinegar)

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

• 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, or other milk of your choice (1/4 c. for dip)

• 1 handful fresh or frozen parsley, coarsely chopped

• from 1 pinch up to 1/8 t.  dill, fresh or dried (adjust according to your love for dill)

• optional: snipped fresh chives and or fresh basil to taste

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Note: Do NOT use less vinegar. I tried that once, and the mixture did not emulsify.

If you have a stick blender / immersion blender, just blend everything together in the carafe till well mixed. (Chop the basil coarsely before adding. I use one large leaf.)

I use this stick blender and the carafe that came with it, and this works great. I don’t bother to bring the egg to room temperature.

If you don’t have a blender, use already-made mayo, mince the herbs fine, then just whisk everything till well blended.

Refrigerate for one hour at least, if possible. Four is better. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.

Makes about 16 oz of dressing, or 14 oz of dip. Lasts in fridge up to one week. (But it’ll probably be long gone before then!)

(Stick blender link goes to my Amazon store; I get 4% – which doesn’t affect your price at all. I only list products that I actually use and love.)

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Dairy-free Ranch dressing - dump ranch

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Foolproof, easy, 4-ingredient mayo

breadless-blt-27s-cu-400
homemade mayonnaise: paleo/whole30 mayo ingredients
I’ve been meaning to try to make my own mayonnaise for ages, because it seems impossible to find a mayo that’s both sugar-free and not made with canola. Most, if not all, canola is genetically modified. And sugar in mayonnaise?! Yeah, you’d be surprised. Read labels next time you go to the store.

But I thought homemade mayo surely had to be tricky. Perfect temperatures and/or timing, danger of the emulsion breaking, that sort of thing. Turns out… nope! I tried this recipe and method from The Healthy Foodie, and it’s so easy it’s ridiculous! Worked the first time, and every time since then. All that’s necessary is a stick blender, and a jar that’s the right size. It might also be just as doable in a normal blender, but I haven’t tested that.And, yes, for those who care: this is Paleo, and Whole30 compliant.

Perfect for my gluten-free, grain-free “BLT’s without bread“! A super-easy, low-carb Paleo snack or meal. Quick, too, if you have already-cooked bacon on hand — and you should!

I go crazy for these when good tomatoes are in season! But they’re still pretty tasty when the only decent tomatoes available around here (<sarcasm> yay, winter in Kansas! </sarcasm>) are grape tomatoes.

Plain ol’ mayo needs no herbs, but if you want to bump up the flavor a bit, add a pinch or two of your favorites. I’ve included my suggestion in the ingredients list….

Easy homemade mayo recipe

  • 1 large egg, taken straight out of the fridge (no need to bring to room temp)
  • 1 cup very-light-tasting olive oil (NOT virgin), or other flavorless oil of your choice
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons lemon juice, rice vinegar, or other pale vinegar of your choice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon salt (start small; mix; taste; adjust if necessary)
  • Optional bonus: flavor it with a pinch of dill and a few pinches of fresh chives – YUM!

Put it all in your carafe or jar, blend holding the stick still till the mayo-in-the-making reaches almost to the top of the oil, then move up and down a few times till all oil is incorporated. Yeah, it’s that easy.

Here’s the original mayo recipe, with detailed instructions. This works great in the beaker/carafe that came with my blender (below), but if you’re just using a glass jar, the size of the jar matters, so I recommend looking that up in the original recipe.
Note: when freshly made, it tastes kinda oily. If you’re going to immediately blend it into a salad dressing or slaw mix, that won’t be a problem. But if it’s going to be a star player, a chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight will be a good thing.
P.S. My old Braun stick blender (also called an immersion blender or hand blender) went kaput this week, so I just ordered a new one from Amazon – Cuisinart this time. I consider it an absolute essential in the kitchen! The price goes up and down on Amazon, so if you want one and it’s currently over $45 — and you’re not in a hurry — put it in your cart and leave it there. They’ll send you an email if the price goes down!

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Thinking of going Paleo?

Check out my 20-Day Countdown to a New Way of Eating!

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Emergency, quick, easy BBQ sauce

Emergency BBQ sauce recipe
Everybody’s got a bottle of BBQ sauce in their fridge, right?

Except, of course, if you’ve already been to the store, and the meat is in the oven, and you don’t want to go back out again. True story.

But a little desperation is often the beginning of a great new recipe.

A little googling turned up a recipe which claims to be “A Very Popular BBQ Sauce.” It looked quick and simple, so I used this as the starting point for my DIY BBQ sauce. I needed to scale it down, cut back on the sugar, and replace the hot sauce. I was very happy with the result! I think you will be, too.

(Note: Unless you’re using homemade ketchup, there will still be sugar and/or corn syrup in the ketchup. To avoid corn syrup in store-bought ketchup, look for the word “Simple” on the front label — and check the actual ingredients list on the back. Even if you use store-bought ketchup, this recipe still has waaaaaay less sugar than anything you can find at Kroger, and is cheaper than anything you can buy at Whole Foods!)

(Oh, so you’re hardcore on sugar, huh? Here’s a sugar-free ketchup recipe.)
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Emergency easy BBQ sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/4 c. maple syrup, and omit water)

(If your taste is accustomed to very little sugar, start with just 3 T. sugar or syrup.)

3 T. red wine vinegar (or sub up to 1 T balsamic)

2 T. water

1-1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or more if you like it, or optional if you don’t have it)

1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon adobo sauce, or more if you like it spicy (optional; adds heat and smokiness)

1/8 t. salt

If you’ll be applying the sauce to meat that’s going back on grill or oven, you can just mix it up and add it in/on.

If serving as a condiment, it will benefit from a brief heating….

Put everything in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir till well combined and cook for one or two minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Too sweet? Add a splash of vinegar. Too vinegary? Add a pinch or two of sugar. Too plain? Add salt till it tastes better, and/or add more onion, paprika, or Worchestershire.

Remove from heat and let cool.

photo credit: The mofoJT via photopin cc

12 homemade Christmas treats that aren’t sweets

allpurpose-spice-rub
If you LOVE to make homemade food gifts, but have some giftees who are diabetic, gone paleo, eating low carb, or just not sweet lovers, here are some DIY food options for them:

treats that aren't sweets - sugar-free dry rub
A sugar-free dry rub for rotisserie-style chicken — highly rated on AllRecipes.com.
Garlic hummus (from yours truly). I suggest gifting this with some homemade seasoned pita chips.
My buttermilk ranch dressing: No nasty chemicals, no sugar, made with yogurt.
Personalized coffee blend, from Martha Stewart. This page includes a downloadable printable for the label. Of course!
I’m not a fan of olives (so don’t make this for me), but for those who do like them: olives with fennel seeds and orange, from Martha Stewart.
Fajita marinade for steak or chicken, using Pioneer Woman’s “Beef Fajita Nachos” recipe.
Giada’s marinara. Gift it with a package of cheese tortellini and/or homemade garlic bread. (Not low carb or paleo, I know. But better than store-bought!)

Pickled red onions. These make a beautiful jarred gift. They’re a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches. Fancy-up your green beans or sweet peas instantly. Some folks like them atop a hamburger or roast.
And when the onions are gone, you’re left with a lovely pink vinegar to use in slaw or salad dressings.
Feel free to improvise on the sugar and spices. I’d use half this much sugar, and just a few generous pinches of thyme and some fresh-ground black pepper.
(A note to diabetics and low-carb-ers: This is one recipe where I’d go with sugar, honey or maple syrup over artificial sweeteners. Splenda doesn’t always work well with vinegar, and if you’re using these as a condiment, the amount of sugar actually ingested is very minimal.)

Homemade taco seasoning. No sugar, no MSG, no gluten, no cornmeal filler.
And for a baker’s dozen, the last item is a sweet, but it’s sugar-free, and not very sweet-tasting: sugar-free chocolate bark with your choice of toppings.

Homemade olive oil butter spread

Olive-Oil-Butter
olive oil butter spread
photo by Kitchen Simplicity
I recently got some not-so-great news about my cholesterol, so I’m trying to cut back on dairy fat. We use real butter — I always trust a “whole food” more than a food full of man-made chemicals — but still, it is dairy fat. So I was happy to see this recipe from Kitchen Simplicity, which replaces part of the butter with healthy, monounsaturated, Omega-3-rich olive oil! 
I tried this afternoon. It’s quick and easy to whip up, and it is nice and spreadable straight out of the fridge, like margarine. She says it doesn’t taste like olive oil once you spread it on toast. I disagree, so I wouldn’t use it for cinnamon toast. But with the strong influence of Mediterranean tastes in Wichita restaurants (mostly Lebanese), it’s not unusual to be served bread before a meal with a dipping sauce of olive oil and zahtar (or za’atar) seasoning, so when I tasted this spread on whole wheat toast, that’s what I thought of. And I just happen to have some in the cabinet, so I sprinkled a little on. Mmm!

Olive Oil Butter Spread

  • 1 cup softened (not melted) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or half this, if using salted butter)
Whip butter until loose. Slowly beat in olive oil, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until fully incorporated and smooth (mixture will be runny). Beat in salt. Pour into storage container and refrigerate until set.
Here’s the original post from Kitchen Simplicity.