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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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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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and a Cinnamon Topping

It was a really busy week….filled with both some very difficult things and some very wonderful things. Things which kept me out of the kitchen and away from the craft room.

But in the midst of what happened to be a very good day today, though full from 7:30 am until 9:00 pm tonight, I found an hour to bake something for Fiesta Friday! I literally had just enough time to get these muffins done before I needed to walk out the door again. This girl just couldn’t miss out on the party!

When my friend and I walked in the door tonight, I loved the smell that greeted our noses. It smelled like Fall. It smelled like cinnamon. It smelled like sweet potatoes.

I had no idea how this recipe was going to work out…as usual, I was making it up as I went along. 🙂 Let’s just say this: my sweet potato-hating-hubby really, really liked them. My friend really liked them. And I really liked them!

Will you like them too?! I sure hope so, because I am bringing plenty to the party! 🙂

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips and a Cinnamon Topping

  • Servings: 14 Muffins
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*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients for Muffin:

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Ingredients for Topping:

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cook 1 Medium sized sweet potato. You can just do this in the microwave for 5-7 minutes. Take out the insides, mashing them well.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients for the muffin batter in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Then combine all of them together, mixing well.
  • Line a muffin pan with papers, or grease it well.
  • Pour the batter into each slot, 3/4 of the way full.
  • Combine the honey, grapeseed oil, and cinnamon for the topping.
  • When this is made, pour some over each muffin.
  • Bake for 20- 25 minutes.

Angie at The Novice Gardener has made Fridays all the more fun for all of us! Thank you for that Angie! And to your co-hosts for the week…thank you as well! You are appreciated!

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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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Baked Sweet Potato with Chocolate Sauce and an Almond Crumble

I love sweet potatoes.I always have.

I love chocolate. I always have.

But sweet potatoes and chocolate together?!

I never, ever would have guessed that these two things taste amazing when they are combined!

When I cooked my hubby this the other day for lunch, somehow I ended up making myself this rich and delightful sweet potato that you see here.

You have to try this! And as encouragement for you to do just that, I am bringing it to the party this week. Fiesta Friday…don’t we all look forward to this day each week? Thank you sweet Angie…the creative brains behind this! And thank you Selma and Elaine for co-hosting! You both are two very lovely ladies who I enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potato with Chocolate Sauce and an Almond Crumble

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Cocoa
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Honey or Agave
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Almond Flour
  • 1-2 tsp Pure Almond Extract

Directions:

  • I took the quick route and cooked my sweet potato in the oven for 5 minutes. Check on it at that point and if it is not cooked enough then cook for a few more minutes.
  • Make the chocolate sauce by combining cocoa, grapeseed oil, vanilla, and honey/agave. I am not putting amounts here, because it just depends on your tastebuds and how sweet you want it. Stir well. When you get the flavor you are looking for, you can microwave it for 20 seconds if you want it to be warm.
  • Make the crumble topping by mixing the almond flour, some grapeseed oil, some honey/agave, and almond extract.
  • Pour the chocolate sauce over the warm potato and then sprinkle the crumble on top.

Enjoy!

Come join the party: foodies, writers, photographers, artists…all are welcome!

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Crusted Zucchini with a Sweet & Tangy Lemon Cheese Sauce

After being here for 3 weeks, my mom left to go back home. It meant so much that she would fly all the way here and help us with our move into our new house. She painted my hubby’s office for us, she helped me unpack, she cleaned, she cooked…what a blessing! Thank you mom! And we just had a whole bunch of fun together! We laughed, we laughed, and we laughed!

I am a bit late getting a post ready for Fiesta Friday because I was so tired last night that I fell asleep at about 7:30. As I was closing my eyes the idea of getting on the blog and posting for FF floated into my head, but it just as quickly vacated the premises. 🙂 We had to wake up at 3 a.m. yesterday to bring my mom to the airport, and that was way earlier than this girl is used to getting up. 🙂

Here is a pic of us at the airport saying, “See you later,” as my mom would say. 🙂 We miss her already!

I cooked this recipe while my mom was still here. It was inspired from a fellow foodie blogger, Cathy at Food Radical. When she made this summer squash appetizer I knew my family would be seeing something like it in our own house soon! 🙂 Thanks Cathy for the inspiration!

Crusted Zucchini with a Sweet & Tangy Lemon Cheese Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4 people
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*Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients for Zucchini:

  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggs for dipping

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk (the thick part)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • Fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 lemon for its juice

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease a large baking sheet.
  • Mix the two flours and the cheese together.
  • In another bowl, put your two eggs for dipping.
  • Dip the slices into the eggs and then dip them into the bowl of flour, covering thoroughly on both sides. Set each piece onto the baking sheet.
  • Let cook in the oven until the pieces are tender and golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining all the ingredients for it together in a large mixing bowl. Heat on the stovetop on low to medium until the zucchini is ready.

Angie at The Novice Gardener has turned Friday into a day that we bloggers look forward to here on the blogosphere! Thank you for that Angie! Fridays would not be the same without “Fiesta Friday!” And so sweet of Hilda from Along the Grapevine to co-host with Angie this week! Thanks Hilda!

If you have yet to join the party, please do! Whether you are a foodie, a writer, an artist, etc…..all are welcome! It is always so much fun to see the variety of things people bring!

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Mexican Egg & Vegetable Breakfast Casserole

“Since we spend so much of our lives eating, preparing to eat, and cleaning up after eating, shouldn’t we put some effort and attention into making mealtimes some of the most pleasurable and memorable parts of our lives?”

This is a quote that really stood out to me from a book I am reading and loving called Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home by Emilie Barnes.

So when I woke up on this holiday today….way too early mind you….to a house with everyone else asleep, I thought about this quote and decided to have a little fun in the kitchen for my family.

I am sure you aren’t surprised that the recipe I came up with has a Mexican flare to it…I am pretty sure my family wasn’t surprised either. 🙂

While my hubby and mom slept peacefully upstairs, I put the casserole in the oven, brewed my mom’s coffee for her, got the tea ready, made sure the table was nice, and put the candle on. I wanted my family to be blessed when they came down the stairs.

And I really think they were….other than the fact that they were both deeply asleep when I went to tell them breakfast was ready. 😉 My mom is still laughing at meeting my hubby in the hallway, both of them half asleep. 😀

Mexican Egg & Vegetable Breakfast Casserole

*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and fourthed
  • 1/4 onion diced
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp honey
  • 1 flour tortilla, toasted (Omit this to keep it gluten free, or use a gluten free tortilla.)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  • Pour a little bit of olive oil on the sweet potato and bake it in the microwave for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, take the sliced zucchini and diced onion and saute them in a skillet with some olive oil.
  • Toast the tortilla and rip it into little pieces.
  • When the sweet potato is done, carefully pull chunks out of it, leaving the skin behind.
  • Put your eggs in a large mixing bowl with the chili powder, cinnamon, honey, tortilla strips, black beans, sweet potatoes, and the rest of the vegetables. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into a casserole dish and bake on 350 degrees. Depending on the size dish you use, the cook time will fluctuate. I used a small, deep dish, so it took about 45 minutes. It would be much better to use a larger, wider one where the cook time will be much less, probably around 20-25 min.
  • Serve with fresh tomatoes and cilantro.

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Lemon Rosemary Cheese Stuffed Mini Portabellas

“Let’s get some more mushrooms!” Those were my mom’s words when we went to the store yesterday. I guess I got her hooked on stuffed portabellas! 🙂 This time, instead of doing it with a Mexican flare, I tried something rich yet simple: creamy cheeses mixed with the delightful tastes of lemon and fresh rosemary. These are my favorite! Wow! Mom really liked them, but still loves the guacamole stuffed ones the best. 🙂

There is nothing like fresh ingredients, is there?! I love walking into my back yard and being able to grab some fresh rosemary! 

Lemon Rosemary Cheese Stuffed Mini Portabellas

  • Servings: 1 package of mini portabellos
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*Created by Lori at creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 package mini portabella mushrooms
  • 3/4 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Romano cheese
  • Lots of fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Wash the mushrooms and take out the stem. Set aside.
  • Wash and chop up the rosemary.
  • Combine the cheeses, rosemary, and juice from the whole lemon into a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to whip it up.
  • Stuff all the mushrooms with the cheesy mixture.
  • In a large skillet, add some olive oil and your mushrooms.
  • Cook on medium heat until ready.

Enjoy!

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KPO Stuffed Mini Portobellos

Mom and I love mushrooms….though we don’t eat them very often because our hubby’s really, really don’t like them. So when you have a mother-daughter time, what’s a girl going to do?! Well, eat some mushrooms of course! 😉

Not just any mushrooms. Stuffed ones. Stuffed mini portobello ones. Stuffed mini portobello ones with a Mexican flare! 😀

These came out great. I don’t need to tell you that her and I ate every last one. 😉

Because this was a special mom-daughter treat, I named this recipe after my mamma! 🙂 ❤ you mom!

KPO Stuffed Mini Portobellos

  • Servings: 2-4 People
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*Created by Lori at Creating Beauty in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 container mini portobello mushrooms
  • Queso Fresco
  • 1 avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 half mini lime
  • 4-6 fresh cloves of garlic
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Honey
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Wash mushrooms and pull out the stems.
  • Stuff them with a little bit of the Queso Fresco.
  • Put a little bit of olive oil in a skillet and saute the garlic.
  • Take the garlic out of the skillet and put a little into each mushroom, set any extra aside for the guacamole.
  • Put a little more oil in the skillet if needed, and place the mushrooms in it, cooking on low.
  • While they are cooking, mash the avocado and mix it with lots of fresh cilantro, lime juice from the lime, some of the garlic, and a little bit of honey.
  • Wash and slice the tomatoes.
  • Keep an eye on the mushrooms, checking to see whether you need to turn the heat up higher.
  • When they are ready, take them out of the skillet, putting some guacamole in each, along with a slice of tomato.

Enjoy!

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