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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Raspberry Almond Honey Muffins

Picture me singing to the tune of “These are a few of my favorite things.” Ready? Ok, here goes…..

“These are a few of my favorite muffins”:

You all know I love creating fun, new muffin recipes. Well this one has been added to my list of favorites! I love fruit in my muffins…this one was no exception!

Raspberry Almond Honey Muffins

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
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*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh Raspberries (Use frozen if needed…you will just need to add a little extra cooking time.)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Then combine all of them together, mixing well. Add in the raspberries.
  • Line a muffin pan with papers, or grease it well.
  • Pour the batter into each slot, halfway full.
  • Make a little hole in each one and pour a little bit of honey into it.
  • Now pour more batter to cover the honey, leaving the batter 2/3 of the way to the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Black Bean & Squash Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce

If you have been around my blog for a while you know that I love Mexican food! I mean, I love it! I’ll take eggs with a Mexican twist, something with cilantro and avocados for lunch, a Mexican casserole or fajitas for dinner. Long gone are the days when I wouldn’t eat Mexican food at all and my hubby was forced to find a friend to go have some Mexican food with.

So no surprise then that I recently created a new enchilada dish, which of course I have to bring to the party. Fiesta Friday requires at least one yummy Mexican meal! It is a “Fiesta”, after all! 🙂

I have always been a meat eater. I still am. But what is different is that I am also a vegetable eater now. There are plenty times that there is no meat in something I cook and I am completely content with that. Long gone too are the days when this girl would never eat vegetables. Many of you have taught me that vegetables can be delicious! Thank you for that!

This reformed meat-only girl 🙂 loved these enchiladas! So did my hubby!

I am so thankful to my friend, Jamie, for sharing a recipe with me for red sauce! I hadn’t been eating enchiladas because the sauce is not low-glycemic. But, I was able to take the recipe this friend gave me and make it without anything that would be considered high glycemic. (If you are reading this, thank you Jamie!!) 🙂 We love the sauce!

Black Bean & Squash Enchiladas with Homemade Red Sauce

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients for Enchiladas:

  • Flour tortillas (could easily be substituted with corn for my gluten-free friends)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 onion chopped up
  • 2-3 yellow squash, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder (we like mild, so if you like hot increase this up to a couple tbsp.)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chicken stalk (or vegetable stock)

Directions:

  • Begin cooking your squash on medium in a frying pan in a little bit of olive oil. When they begin to get tender, add in the onions, garlic, and black beans. Cook until everything is the consistency you like it.
  • To make the sauce, heat the oil on medium high, adding in the tapioca flour. Stir for about a minute. Stir in the spices, and then pour in the chicken stalk. Reduce heat and whisk until it gets to the desired thickness.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a baking dish.
  • In each tortilla, put a few spoonfuls of the bean and squash mixture. Then add some fresh cilantro. Fold up the tortilla, trying to keep everything inside. Do this until you have made all the enchiladas.
  • Pour the sauce over the enchiladas.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes.
  • When you take it out of the oven, add the cheese and more fresh cilantro.

We are beginning our second year of Fiesta’s together! How exciting!! Angie, thank you! And Sonal and Josette….so fun that you are co-hosting! Thank you!

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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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Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

One of Hubby and I’s most well-loved appetizers is Wheat Thins dipped in cream cheese that is covered with raspberry chipotle sauce. Have you ever had it?! I can’t express how good it is! Truly!

The problem? Wheat Thins are high glycemic, highly processed, and the chipotle sauce is full of refined sugar. Ah, a challenge! 🙂

I actually hadn’t felt that sort of challenge rise inside me, or even the desire to try to create new recipes in quite sometime. Though that is not the reason why I haven’t been blogging for the past two months, the fact that I was so excited about creating something of my own again, got me praying about and thinking about whether it was time to come back. So, here I am. I still don’t fully know what it looks like for me to be “back,” but I do know it will be different than before. It will mean less blogging. It will mean less visits to your blogs, though I will still visit! I truly have missed you all…many of you have become dear friends from around the world! 🙂

Okay, so back to Wheat Thins with raspberry chipotle covered cream cheese 🙂 ….. or in this case, what I created with this yumminess in mind: Cheese stuffed chicken with homemade raspberry chipotle sauce! (Gluten free with no-refined sugars, of course!)

The cheese in the middle? Half cream cheese, half Monterrey Jack, and a little bit of almond milk to smooth it out. I truly had no idea if this combination would taste good, but it absolutely did! Really nice taste and texture…loved it!

I cut up some fresh yellow squash and carrots, letting them soak in olive oil, 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed dried chipotle peppers, and a little bit of honey before I cooked them. I wanted to carry over the “chipotle flavor” into the vegetables.

Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large, dried chipotle pepper
  • Raspberries (I didn’t measure….maybe one cup.) Use fresh if available, if not you can use frozen.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp almond milk + some almond milk to mix with the cheeses.
  • Cream cheese
  • Monterrey Jack cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Put a chicken breast (one at a time) in a large Ziplock bag and using a meat cleaver, tenderize the chicken and flatten it out. When finished, place on a large plate. Do the same thing with the second chicken breast.
  • Now you want to start preparing the sauce. In a food processor (I use a Ninja), add the raspberries, chipotle pepper, water, honey, almond milk, tomato paste, olive oil, and garlic. Once thoroughly mixed and chopped up, put on the stove in a sauce pan and heat on low.
  • To prepare the cheese, you will want to melt the Monterrey Jack a bit, so that it softens up. I placed it, along with the cream cheese, and some almond milk into a mixing bowl and used a hand mixer to combine all the ingredients, making it smooth.
  • Now you are ready to stuff the chicken! Place a layer of the cheese onto each piece, then fold the pieces in half.
  • Once your sauce has been cooking for about 2 minutes, pour some over the chicken. Save the rest, keeping it warm, so that you can poor more over the chicken when it is finished cooking.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. (That timing worked great for us, but it depends on how thin you got your chicken and how much you stuffed it.)
  • When ready to eat, pour more of the sauce over the chicken if you would like. We did, and loved it!

This recipe is definitely another keeper in our house! I will probably experiment with the sauce some more, because it didn’t taste like what you get at the store, but we still loved it!

A couple weeks late, but Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it!

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Coconut Shavings

Almond Joys have been my favorite candy bar for so long now that I can’t remember when that even started. But do you know what I would probably love even better? A “Walnut Joy!” 🙂 Chocolate + Coconut + Walnuts!? Yum! This very combination was the inspiration for these cookies.

I was a little hesitant…..coconut flakes in a chocolate chip cookie? Never heard of such a thing! Would it even taste anything like I imagined it would?!

Well, yes my friends, it did! I absolutely loved these! And I am hoping you….my Fiesta Friday friends….will love them too! 🙂

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts and Coconut Shavings

  • Servings: 24 Cookies
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*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Chopped walnuts (as much or as little as you would like)
  • Shredded, dry coconut (as much or as little as you would like)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine all the wet ingredients in one bowl, and the dry in another. When both are mixed well, combine them together.
  • Add in the walnuts and chocolate chips, making sure they are spread throughout.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Try to make each cookie the same size so that they all cook evenly.
  • When putting the dough on the baking sheet, smooch it down a bit, rather than leaving a ball….it cooks better that way.
  • Cook for 7-10 min depending on how you like them.

As always, a big thank you to Angie at the Novice Gardener! Fun to have Julianna at Foodie on Board and Hilda at Along the Grapevine co-hosting the party this week! Thanks ladies! And if you don’t know what this party is that probably means you should join us! 🙂 All are welcome…not just foodies! Click on the icon below. 

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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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Lemon Sour Dough French Toast with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

I LOVE french toast! There is something about the smell of it cooking on a Saturday morning…still in your pj’s, coming down the stairs with your slippers on, a cozy blanket welcoming you as you wait for this delicious treat. For some reason it makes me smile. It brings out the kid in me. It makes me think of family.

I thought it would be fun the other day to add a little twist to our normal recipe…some fresh lemon, along with some homemade syrup. The combination of lemon and strawberry…wonderful!

This french toast was delicious! And I will honestly say that even without the lemon, I love this recipe more than any other I have ever had.

So to my Fiesta Friday family…stay in your pj’s, curl up with a fleece blanket, smell the aroma of the french toast cooking, and enjoy a big plate!

Lemon Sour Dough French Toast with Homemade Strawberry Syrup

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients for French Toast:

  • 6-8 pieces Sour Dough Bread (This is a low-glycemic bread. Use a gluten free bread if needed)
  • 4 Eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Honey
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Lemon for Fresh Lemon Juice

Ingredients for Syrup:

  • Strawberries
  • Honey

Directions:

  • Combine the strawberries with the amount of honey you want in a food processor to make the syrup.
  • Combine eggs, almond milk, honey, vanilla, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
  • Grease a frying pan.
  • Dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides.
  • Cook on each side until slightly browned.
  • Serve on plates, adding butter if desired, along with the syrup.

A BIG thank you, as always, to Angie at The Novice Gardener and her co-hosts this week! 

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