Sunday, May 24, 2009


This guacamole is great in bean dip, on haystacks, in sandwiches, as a dip for chips, or just by itself!

Mix together: 
1 avocado, mashed
1/2 tomato, diced (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Bean Dip

Sometimes I just throw together whatever I have on hand in the way of beans, sauces, and veggies for a bean dip, but that is never as tasty as a well-thought-out layered bean dip. I made this one last week and it was a big hit!

Layer the following in a flat dish:
3 cups refried beans (I used the recipe posted below, but you could use your own or canned refried beans)
1 cup sliced olives
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, diced (Better yet, use the guacamole recipe from my blog)
1 cup white cashew cheese sauce
1/2 cup mild salsa

This recipe can be varied in a lot of ways. You can add chopped raw onion if you like that, use medium or hot salsa, or anything else that sounds good to you!

White Cashew Cheese

This is one of my favorite cheese sauce recipes. It makes a great addition to bean dip, haystacks, lasagna, or any number of other dishes. The key is to blend it perfectly smooth. This usually takes about 2 minutes, depending on your blender. After you have blended it, dip your finger into the sauce and rub your thumb and finger together. If it still feels grainy or gritty, you need to blend it longer. If it feels silky smooth, then you are done!

Blend smooth:
1 cup water
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup cashews 
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. yeast flakes
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Keep refrigerated.

Refried Beans

This time my goal was to create a refried bean recipe that would taste great and could be used as a base for bean dip. My husband doesn't like cumin, but the addition of cumin would add a kick to it that a lot of you would enjoy. Feel free to tweak the seasonings to your taste. 

Fry in a little oil until soft: 
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic

Meanwhile, mash: 
3 cups cooked pinto beans (including liquid)

Stir into onions once they are cooked and add the following: 
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. lemon juice 
2 Tbsp. yeast flakes
1/4 tsp. paprika

Heat until bubbly, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Boston Baked Beans

I admit, I love store-bought canned sweet baked beans. Here's my re-creation of them. I like them every bit as much as the ones I buy. Some people may want to reduce the sweetener, depending on your taste.

Soak overnight:

2 1/2 cups navy beans.

Drain and rinse. Place in crockpot with enough water to cover. Add:

2 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 onion, chopped fine.

Cook until beans are soft.


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 Tbsp. mustard

Cook on low for 3 hours.

Cabbage Salad

This recipe is from my mother. It has been a favorite for years in my family. It's always sure to please at any potluck or family gathering. Even those who don't care for cabbage enjoy this!

Combine in salad bowl:
1 head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup minced onion
1/3 cup shredded carrot
Two 3-oz packages Oriental flavor Ramen noodles, crushed

Mix the following for the dressing:
1/3 cup oil (I use olive oil-doesn't matter much)
2 Tbsp. honey or sugar
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
Seasoning packets from Ramen noodles (above)
1 tsp. salt

Pour dressing over salad and let refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, top with:
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds

Strawberry Jam

It's strawberry season in California! A neighbor of mine has a strawberry farm, so I am enjoying farm fresh berries. I've just dusted off my jam recipe, and I'm getting ready to make some next week.

This is the greatest stuff to have around in the winter. I have successfully increased the recipe up to 14 cups of strawberries, and it still works great.

Bring to a boil:

2 cups crushed strawberries (you can also use raspberries or apricots)
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
2 Tbsp. "No Sugar Needed" fruit pectin (I got it at Walmart)

Then stir in:
2/3 cup sugar

Cook until it thickens. Pour into sterilized jars. Top with sterilized lids. Place in canner and cover with water. Bring canner to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool and seal.