Stuffed Sweet Potato

Sometimes the best tasting things are those you create when you have yet to go grocery shopping for the week and only have random ingredients to choose from. 🙂

Yellow Sweet Potato + black beans + Cilantro + creamy avocado sauce = Surprisingly Delicious

Not only delicious and easy to make, but lots of nutrients and good-for you-stuff wrapped up into one meal!

Thought I would bring some to the party. What party? Well, Fiesta Friday of course! Its been a few weeks, but I am excited to be back with my fellow party-goers….can’t wait to see what you all have brought! 

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Fresh Basil, Garlic, & Tomato Mini Pizzas with Homemade Sauce

Sometimes Often, lunch can be a difficult meal for me. When you are eating low-gycemic and using fresh ingredients, there are many typical lunch ideas that don’t fit the bill. Plus, who doesn’t get tired of eating the same thing for lunch each day?

So, recently I was looking for something different, delicious, and easy to make. This is what resulted. 🙂 Loved the taste of the homemade sauce mixed with a little bit of cheese, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil!

Simple recipe; lots of taste!

Hope my friends and fellow foodies at Fiesta Friday will enjoy this! As always, thank you Angie and co-hosts!

Fresh Basil, Garlic, & Tomato Mini Pizzas with Homemade Sauce

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortillas (or a gluten free equivalent)
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • Red cooking wine (optional….I like the rich taste it adds)
  • Crushed red pepper (if you want a kick to it)
  • Honey
  • Fresh garlic, minced
  • Fresh Basil
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Tomatoes

Directions:

  • Combine the tomato paste, honey, garlic, and cooking wine in a bowl. (I encourage you to experiment and see how much of the different ingredients suits you and your family.)
  • Layer the sauce onto the tortillas.
  • Cook in oven for about 10 minutes, putting the cheese on for the last minute or two, so it can melt.
  • When the cheese is melted and the tortillas have hardened, remove from oven and garnish with tomatoes and basil.

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Creamy Avocado Tuna

Last weekend Doug and I went to a care giver core training, which is part of the process for us to get licensed as foster care parents. It was literally 24 hours of training in 48 hours…..it was encouraging, exhausting, great, hard, and very helpful. Some of the things I found most helpful-

  • We met and connected with some wonderful people who are going through this foster-adoption process and will be a part of our support team as we go forward.
  • We got to hear from parents who have already been through this process and have adopted their children.
  • We heard a lot about trauma and grief and the impact it has on the children that the Lord will hopefully bless us with.
  •  We learned a lot about behavioral issues and discipline and how the normal strategies parents use will not be effective. So, they taught us different techniques and the importance of not focusing on the behavior but rather what is going on beneath it, which was very helpful.
  • We got to meet and hear from some of the children who have been foster-adopted and are now a part of their forever family. That was really special.

Our next step forward is getting assigned a case worker and getting our home study done, which will consist of 4-5 visits before we will be officially licensed as foster parents. So, we are in the waiting process right now…but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been totally busy, because preparing takes a lot of time and energy….thus, my lateness to Fiesta Friday.

Busy, yes. But not too busy to do some cooking! 🙂

This recipe is one I randomly came up with the other day, and it has become one of my hubby’s most favorite things to eat. Awe, that makes my heart happy. 🙂

I was trying to think of a healthier way to make tuna, because to be honest, Doug and I cannot do tuna with hardly any mayo. It needs to be really moist. That is when I thought of using one of the avocados we had sitting in the fridge, which are really good for you and full of good fat. Like all my experiments, I honestly didn’t know how it would turn out, but I am pretty sure that we will never make tuna the way we used to anymore. 🙂

Creamy Avocado Tuna

*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 small can white tuna
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • celery, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red wine vinegar

Directions:

  • Slice the avocado in half, keeping both sides intact.
  • Take as much of the inside out without making it weak, because you are going to use the shell to put the tuna into.
  • Mash the avocado. Mix it in with the tuna, mayo, and a little bit of red wine vinegar. Add the celery and cherry tomatoes.
  • Put tuna in into the avocado shell, and you are ready to eat!

Angie, thank you again for all you do to make Fiesta Friday happen! And another big thank you to the co-hosts!

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Mexican Kale Salad with a Chile & Honey Oil and Vinegar Dressing

So, WordPress tells me it is my anniversary…my 1 year anniversary on the blogosphere. Wow. A lot has happened in that time. I can’t help but giggle when I look back at my very first post ever. The small beginnings of my adventures in “Creating Beauty in the Kitchen.” 🙂

I have learned so much since then. I have really grown, not just as a cook, but as a person. This blog has been a big part of my story. And never once did I think I would have any followers, outside of close family and friends. But I am so glad that I do, because I have learned so much from you all! You have encouraged me and challenged me!

It is hard to believe that before I began this blog, I hated vegetables. And though I try not to use the word “hate” all that much anymore, in this case it is absolutely necessary. 🙂

But now eating a delicious, fresh salad can taste as wonderful to me as a piece of dessert. Seriously. That is exactly how I felt the other day at lunch when I created this plate of yumminess…

I love fresh ingredients, and nothing tops them off better than a homemade dressing!

Mexican Kale Salad with a Chile & Honey Oil and Vinegar Dressing

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

For those of you doing Beachbody’s 21 day fix meal plan, it counts as the following per person: 2 greens, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1-2 orange

Ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Avocado
  • Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded or you can just rip pieces off
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Chile Powder
  • Honey
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red wine vinegar

Directions:

  • Put all the vegetable and beans together in two separate bowls or plates.
  • Make the dressing using the chile powder, honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Play around with the amounts of each, in order to make it to your liking.

Enjoy!

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Quinoa with Spicy Chickpea Gravy

For quite some time now I have really wanted to cook something with chickpeas. Would you believe that I had no idea what they were until some of you introduced me to them?

I created this gravy to put over quinoa, and I don’t doubt that it would go great with chicken as well. I still haven’t experimented much with Indian cuisine, so the inspiration for this gravy came from some Indian spices. I had no idea what I was going to put into it until I was finished…love when that happens. 🙂

It came out thick, which I prefer, but you could easily add more liquid to it.

Quinoa with Spicy Chickpea Gravy

*created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water for quinoa + 1 cup for gravy
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp white cooking wine
  • 1-2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 -1 tsp ginger
  • Black pepper

Directions:

  • Measure out and rinse the quinoa.
  • Put 2 cups of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water.
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, chop up the onion and saute them in a bit of olive oil.
  • After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, blend them in a food processor with one cup of water until it gets the consistency of gravy.
  • Add the blended chickpeas into the pan with the onions. Now add all your spices, the olive oil, and the cooking wine. Cook on medium to low heat, stirring regularly.
  • When everything is ready, serve the gravy over the quinoa.

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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I needed to come up with a large dish for our church potluck tomorrow…and that is where one of my favorite staples comes in. Quinoa!

When I began cooking it, I didn’t know what exactly I was going to do, but I knew it needed the flexibility of a cold dish. I always get to church early in the morning for a second music practice, so bringing something hot just doesn’t work.

I love the way this turned into a delicious Mediterranean salad!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 4 cups water
  • Black pepper
  • Tomatoes
  • Lots of fresh basil
  • 3 lemons for juice
  • A little bit of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 fresh cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:

  • Put 4 cups of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in 2 cups quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water. (You may want to check on it a few times. If all the water soaks up too soon the quinoa will become really crunchy.).
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Let quinoa cool and then put it into a large serving dish.
  • Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper. Stir thoroughly.
  • Cut up the fresh basil and tomatoes. Add to the quinoa, mixing.
  • Finally, add the quinoa and you are ready to serve this yummy dish.

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Quinoa & Tomato Salad with a Lemony Avocado & Cilantro yogurt dressing

You know I am a quinoa lover. And if you don’t, well now you do! 🙂

Yes, I have eaten it for breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Dessert?! Not yet! 😉

This was my lunch today….so simple….so good for you….and so delicious!

Quinoa & Tomato Salad with a Lemony Avocado & Cilantro yogurt dressing

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white quinoa
  • 1 avocado
  • Tomatoes (cherry or larger)
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Lemon (for its fresh juice & zest)
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (1/2-1 cup) (Make sure it is gluten free if that’s what you need…I’ve read differing things about it.)
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Measure out and rinse the quinoa.
  • Put 1 cup of water into a saucepan and boil.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add in the quinoa until it begins to boil again.
  • Reduce to medium heat, place a lid on the saucepan, and let simmer for about 12 minutes or until it has sucked up all the water. (It took me 14 minutes).
  • When this is finished, take it off of the heat, stir it, cover again, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare the dressing by chopping up the fresh cilantro and combining it with the honey, yogurt, and avocado.
  • Zest part of the lemon and add the zest into the dressing, stirring well.
  • Chop up the tomatoes and set aside.
  • When the quinoa is finished, place it in a serving dish with the desired amount of tomatoes. Take the lemon and squeeze its juice over the salad.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, adding more fresh cilantro to the top if desired.

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