Meatless Monday: Red Chile Sauce


After soaking the dried chiles over night, I pulled the stems off and popped them into the blender with the rest of the ingredients

Hear me out.  It’s not that hard.  Buy some dried, whole chiles. Soak them.  Combine with a few ingredients, puree, strain and Voila!  You’ve got a delicious sauce that isn’t just for meat.  Of course you can use with meat but the possibilities are endless!  Tucson Tamale Company has a wide selection of delicious tamales and they sell them in stand alone stores, at several grocery stores and the ship nationwide!


3 oz dried Red chiles

1 Tbsp EVOO

1 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp oregano

1/2 onion finely diced

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place dried chiles in bowl and cover with water.  Be sure to fully submerge chiles by placing an additional bowl on top.  Allow them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain chiles.  Remove stems. If you want a mild level of heat, remove seeds.  Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, sauté EVOO, garlic oregano and onion until soft.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, add chiles and sautéed ingredients to a blender with 1 1/2 cups water and blend.  Adding additional water to achieve your desired consistency.
  5. Push blended mixture through a fine mesh sieve into the sauce pan.  Warm over medium-low heat, season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Serving suggestions: Spoon over tamales, eggs, roasted chicken, roasted vegetables.  Or add it to rice or soups.  You can even mix it in to hummus to add a little something special.  Oh, and I’ll post a picture of the finished product after I make another batch.  Ryan got to it before I could capture it.

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Meatless Monday: Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut Scones

IMG_1288I love my Crockpot and will try just about any recipe in it.  When I saw this recipe I thought to myself: Oh, I hope this is good.  I posted it initially not having tried it, which I don’t normally do. But I made an exception because it looked like fun to try.

The execution of the recipe is straight forward and simple.  One note, I have a large oval shaped Crockpot so the dough does NOT cover the entire crock.  That didn’t seem to matter.  The texture was perfect in my opinion.  I am a fan normally of thick dense cream scones.  The almond flour in this recipe gives you that same dense texture.  In addition, the outer edges have a nice crispiness that is delicious.  And the flavor is divine.  Sweet but not too sweet.  And, if you use fresh berries, just be sure to be gentle with them so you don’t crush them.  Enjoy!

If you have any thoughts on your experience, please put them in the comments section below!

Crockpot Grain Free Blueberry Coconut SconesIMG_1291

1 egg
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar
1½ cup Almond Flour
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz Fresh Blueberries
¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder

1. Line a 4 qt crock pot with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl beat egg, sugar, and coconut oil until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the blueberries. Mix thoroughly. Add the blueberries and gently fold them in.

3. Press the batter into the parchment lined crock pot and cook on high for 2 – 2.5 hours or low for about 5 hours or until the scones are baked through. You will know when the center is firm.

4. Turn off the crock pot and remove the lid to allow the scones to cool completely before removing. Let them cool at least 30 minutes.

5. Then slice and serve.

6. Store uneaten scones in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.

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Meatless Monday: Sesame Noodles

You’ve got to love a dish that can be almost anything: lunch, dinner, snack, vegetarian, vegan, clean, hot, cold and IMG_1285kid friendly.  I’ve made the base recipe several times in the last couple of weeks with different variations and they have all be delicious.  My copy of Clean Eats has been getting a workout with the kiddos being at camp.  That’s where this recipe comes from and you won’t be disappointed.

Now, you don’t have to make the recipe “clean” but I did.  The noodles for the recipe are delicious and I feel a great addition to your noodle repertoire.  I found mine on “Thrive” market, but you can find them at International markets, Whole Foods or your local Co-Op.


Noodle base:

1 package King Soba Black Noodles

1 medium carrot, grated

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 roughly chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds


1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp wheat-free tamarin (soy sauce)

1 red chili (optional

2 garlic cloves

1 inch chunk ginger

Optional “mix-in” ideas: chicken, smoked salmon, edamame, cucumber, bell pepper, and radish


Have all the mix-in items prepared and the dressing blended before cooking the rice noodles, so the noodles will still be warm when you combine everything.

In a blender or small bowl, puree or whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Cook the rice noodles according to the directions on the package (being sure NOT TO OVERCOOK THEM!), then drain them well and transfer them to a large bowl.  Toss the warm noodles with the mix in items.  Dress the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat everything thoroughly.  Serve immediately.  If you have any leftovers, you can reheat them or eat them cold.

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Meatless Monday: Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

The name alone had me wanting one.  I am a fan of the breakfast cookie.  Plus, the kiddos love them too.  I IMG_1270found this delightful recipe on a new to me blog called: Love and Lemons.  Take a look around on this blog, it is pretty darn creative.  And, you can buy an actual cookbook, which is always tempting.  As you may remember, Ryan and I are trying our darnedest to eat clean, so this recipe fit the bill.

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

1 cup oat flour (made from 1¼ cups whole rolled oats)*
1 cup (additional) whole rolled oats* (see note)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely shredded carrots
2 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 5 tablespoons warm water
½ cup almond butter
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup nuts and/or seeds (I used walnuts + pepitas)
½ cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Use a food processor or a blender to process the 1¼ cups rolled oats into a fine flour and measure out one level cup.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, the remaining 1 cup whole oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt. Fold in the quinoa and then the shredded carrots, stirring until the carrots are completely coated with flour.

4. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir well to incorporate. Stir in the flaxseed mixture.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in just until combined. Stir in the walnuts, pepitas, and cranberries.

6. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter for each cookie onto the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
When cookies are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.
*Be sure to use certified gluten free oats to make these gluten free.

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Meatless Monday: Not Your Mama’s Brownies

When I saw this recipe, I thought to myself: “Heck yes!  I’ll be making these!”  I posted the link a couple of Black Bean Browniesweeks ago and just had the chance to make them.  If you’ve never heard of “Mindy Body Green”, check the site out.

I found the recipe on MBG.  Though hubby and I are trying to eat clean and fuel our bodies with nutritious foods, a treat on occasion is not a sin and I feel will curb any binging that may result from a complete abstention from sugar.

After making this recipe I can confidently say that this will be added into the rotation.  And, we keep them in the freezer.  Hubby keeps all desserts in the freezer.  Normally, I do not support this practice, but in this case it works!

Better for You Black Bean Brownies


1½ cans cooked (unsalted) black beans, drained and rinsed
1¼ cup ground almonds
12 medjool dates*
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 heaped tablespoons cacao powder
3 chia eggs **
Optional topping

chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Place the drained beans and dates in a food processor and pulse a few times, then blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for another minute.

2. Line up a baking pan with parchment (I used an 8-inch-square cake pan) or grease it with coconut oil. Pour in the mixture and distribute evenly into the pan.

3. Sprinkle walnut pieces on top (if using) and bake for about 25 minutes until flaky on top but still gooey in the center (the brownies will firm up as they cool). Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Store in an air-tight container for up to a week in the fridge.

*if the dates aren’t soft enough, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and discard the water before using them.

** Add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup with 9 tablespoons of water and let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes until the chia seeds have absorbed the water and formed a gel-like consistency.

Note from the original author:

If you make these, tag me in your creations on Instagram using #beyondthebowlbyriri

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Meatless Monday: Millet Polenta with Marinara

Millet.  I’ll be honest, when I first saw it, it reminded me of bird seed.  And, it kind of looks like Quinoa at first glance.  But it is quite delicious and there are Millet Polentamany ways to cook up this delicious little grain.  With an easy internet search, I found basic recipes for two ways to cook it.  Plus, at the end of the article, there are several suggestions for other sites with more recipes.

After getting back from Idaho, I had to take stock of what I had in my pantry



and found I had some staples for a quick and easy meal, so I got to work.  My idea, was to use the “creamy” version of the recipe offered and make it into polenta squares and serve it with marinara, spicy sausage and what else? A Big Salad.  I didn’t have any parmesan so I used nutritional yeast instead and it was delicious!  Why do I have millet in my pantry you ask? Well, before we left for vacation, I bought some to experiment with and just didn’t get around to do the research to make something.  So, with some time and motivation, voila!

Millet Polenta with Marinara


1 cup millet

3 cups water (or you may use broth)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp EVOO



1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese)1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (optional)

1 jar marinara, or 1 1/2 cups homemade marinara

enough Italian Sausages to feed your family


  1. In a medium sauce pan, toast the millet until fragrant (it is nutty in aroma)
  2. Add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes; stirring every few minutes.  With a few minutes left, add the garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare an 8×8 square baking dish with EVOO
  4. Take the polenta off the heat and stir in Nutritional yeast (and herbs if using them) before transferring the mixtures into prepared pan to cool.
  5. While the polenta cools, grill the sausages if using them, and warm the marinara.
  6. Once the polenta has cooled, use a knife to cut squares or triangles and place them on a plate, spoon the warmed marinara over the polenta and serve!

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Meatless Monday: Patriotic Edition

For the last several years, we have spent the 4th of July in Idaho.  We attend a really fun parade in Hailey, ID, Haily 4th Paradeprepare a red, white and blue feast, light sparklers in the front yard and then enjoy the beautiful fireworks display put on by the Sun Valley Resort.

My niece, Indira, has really come into her own when it comes to desserts, so I let her take the reins on that.  And this year is no different!  She has chosen to make_______

For the main meal, we wanted to choose something that we could work on before we left for the parade in Hailey,  that includes meat, but the sides are meatless all the way:

Melon, Berry and Feta Salad

What I love about this salad, is that you get to experience melon in such an interesting and fun way.  Food and Wine does a fantastic job of putting together lists of recipes that you can pick from…it makes this cooking thing a snap!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced preserved lemon peel or lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 green melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 orange or yellow melon (about 1 1/4 pounds)—halved, cut into wedges, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup blackberries
2 ounces feta cheese, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons snipped chives


In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, preserved lemon and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the melon slices and blackberries on a platter. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit. Garnish the salad with the feta and snipped chives and serve.
Delicate, berry-scented rosé Champagne: NV Gatinois Brut Rosé.

Baby Potato Salad With Radishes and Celery


3 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 celery hearts, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
8 small scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (1 cup)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Slice the potatoes 1/2 inch thick.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the potatoes and celery. Let stand at room temperature until cool, about 30 minutes. Just before serving, fold in the radishes and scallions and season with salt and pepper.
The potato salad without the radishes and scallions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before adding the radishes and scallions.


Captain and Poopsie: Take the Passport to Dry Creek Festival By Storm!


Getting their wine passports are Captain, Abe and Tracy Elsenraat of Columbia. MO; also dear friends of ours

Rewind to February 1st…Captain and Poopsie were getting ready to enjoy a day of skiing in none other than Ketchum, ID.  It was Poopsie’s first snow adventure in a long time…Poopsie could barely contain herself…

Then, the texts started.  “At 9am Pacific, the site will open and we can purchase tickets for the “Passport to Dry Creek” Festival. Let’s all order tickets at the same time before it sells out!”


Brad and Tara Hochstetler of Traverse City, MI and our dear friends!

That is unless the site crashes.  Thank goodness our friend Tracy volunteered to buy all of the tickets and we could pay her.  Phew!  Captain and Poopsie have skiing to do!

Hotels are researched, dinner reservations are made and outfits are coordinated…looking good in Napa and Sonoma Valleys was an important aspect to Poopsie.


The Barrel Room at Pedroncelli

Our focus: Passport to Dry Creek was the perfect opportunity to learn about wine, eat delicious food and ride around all day on a party bus with the coolest driver ever!  We wound around and up and down the beautiful roads between Napa and Sonoma Valleys and made it to our first winery: Pedroncelli.  It was the best introduction to the day!  The owner greeted us and talked about the house that his father was born in, he grew up in and that now serves as offices for the winery operations.  The Sauvignon Blanc was Poopsie’s second favorite of the day and the food was delicious.  We could have stayed all day!  If we had, they probably wouldn’t have been so nice to us.  There were over 40 more wineries to visit!


Trattore Winery

See how beautiful Poopsie is?  Isn’t Captain a hunk?  Oh, and the beautiful grounds of Trattore winery are too shabby either.  Each winery stamps your “passport” so you can keep track of where you go.  The “Red Tractor” Rhone Blend at Trattorie was one of our favorites.  It is highly recommend by all members of our party.  Plus, they make amazing olive oils too.  The story is, when the owners bought the land, they found olive trees on it and so resurrected them and now have successful harvests to make tasty olive oils and olive wood cutting boards too.  It was a beautiful tasting room and friendly atmosphere.


No, Poopsie didn’t drink the WHOLE bottle, but she could have!

Poopsie can’t help but to love an Indiana connection, so when she saw that “Kokomo” was on the tour, she made it a point to check it out and buy a mixed case.  Captain and Poopsie have some friends who love wine just as much as we do and told us about Kokomo last winter.  The owner, is from non-other than Kokomo, IN, and went to Purdue and Poopsie will forgive him for that because she’s all about Big Ten love.  The food was amazing and provided Poopsie’s FAVORITE Sauvignon Blanc of the day.  Oh, and the band playing at Kokomo played a beautiful version of Purple Rain as a tribute to Prince, who had recently passed away.


Salmon and arugula dish paired with a Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. Delish!

As we moved through the two-day festival, the food was eaten and discussed, the wines were tasted and analyzed.  We all became well versed in the terminology and our own personal preferences.  Though many pictures and notes were taken, it doesn’t do it justice.  The Blanc de Blanc at Fritz Winery was divine.  In addition, the grounds on which the winery was situated were beautiful!  Fritz is built into the side of a hill.  We entered through a cave!


Tracy and Martha at Ferrari-Carano

By the end of the two days, we had reconnected, caught up and bonded over a beautiful combination of food and wine.  Inside jokes were created and shared and our friendships made stronger.  We’ll definitely go back again.   Though we don’t often get together, we talk often via texts and share our lives digitally.  Poopsie is certain that we will again join together for food, wine and lots more fun.

Next week’s post focuses on the next phase of jet setting: San Francisco. Put on your seat belts!  Captain and Poopsie drive into the city, meet up with some other fun friends and enjoy sports, history and fashion!!!

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TBT: Greek Spinach and Feta Pie


It’s Spanakopita.  I’ve posted it before, but my husband’s darling niece, Indira, loves it IMG_1204and requested it a couple of days ago, so I enlisted her help to make this delicious recipe.  She buttered each layer of phyllo as I placed them on to the baking sheet.  It was well worth it.  I served it with lamb kefta, which is technically a Lebanese dish, (but who’s keeping score? Both are in the Mediterranean area!) and a fresh Arugula salad.

This morning, I made an over easy egg and put it on top of a warmed piece and felt like I was brunching, minus the Champs, pretty clothes, flowers in a vase and all of the kiddos running around.  Oh, and this one is a hit with the kiddos.  My husband’s other niece, Zyra, ate a piece this morning with such quickness that I questioned if I had even given it to her.

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Meatless Monday: Confetti Giardinera

I’ve never made anything like this before now.  I saw the recipe paired with a IMG_0377sandwich called a Brat Reuben…a what? You say?  Yes, a brat nestled in a bed of corned beef.  What could be better?  While Ryan heard brat Reuben and fell in love, I saw the picture of the relish that goes on top and said WOW!!!  It is called Confetti Giardinera and I couldn’t wait to take on the challenge of making it.  I found it on Food and Wine

Confetti Giardinera


3 jalapeño peppers, cut into 1/4-inch diceIMG_0365
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small cauliflower, cut into 1/4-inch florets
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. In a bowl, toss the jalapeños, bell peppers, onion, celery, carrot and IMG_0375cauliflower with the salt. Add cold water to cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
    Drain the vegetables and rinse well; pat dry. Transfer the vegetables to a 2-quart jar.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with all of the remaining ingredients. Add the vinegar mixture to the jar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate the giardiniera for 1 to 2 weeks before serving.

I completed the first step on below on April 1st.  I chopped and added all of the veggies to the bowl and covered it with salt and water.  Note: Instead of the green bell pepper I used a yellow bell pepper.

The next day, after going to Barre 3, a birthday party at Pump It Up (our 5th in a IMG_0376matter of three weeks at Pump It Up) and Costco with the boys, I came home and proceeded with the next steps.  After a good drain, I turned the veggies on to a jelly roll pan lined with paper towel and dried them.

I then mixed the pickling mixture and set it aside while I filled the jars with the veggies.  NOTE: I used large wide mouth jars and used the ENTIRE pickling mixture recommended for the entire recipe, in one jar.  So, make sure you have plenty of all of the ingredients.

After pouring the pickling mixture into the jars, I placed the lids on and put them in the fridge for two weeks.

Two weeks later we had our house warming party.  Following an afternoon of St. Germain cocktails and Shandys, a brat Reuben sounded good…with my Confetti Giardinera on top of course.

Assessment of the final product:

Delicious!  Ryan has eaten the majority of the 3 jars and I will have to make more to share with our friends.  Ryan has also requested an entire jar of pickled jalapeños.  I’ll share that recipe when I make it too.  If there are any other pickled vegetable recipes you’d like to divulge please add links to the comments section below.


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