Side Dishes

Zippy Tomato Salad

For those who have a lot of what Summer had to offer with tomatoes, try adding a flavorful oil, such as Black Cumin Oil (health benefits below) and a zesty twist on traditional balsamic – such as Fig or Date Balsamic.  Toss along with Pink Himalayan Salt – to taste – and devour!

Yummy and perhaps under known benefits if Black Cumin Oil:  antioxidant, antispasmodic for those unruly muscle spasms, antiviral properties, anti-hypertensive, as well as an anti-inflammatory.  And gues what? It tastes amazing!

Fresh Green Beans with Parsnips

If you have never tried cooking up parsnips, this is a great recipe to start with!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 lb. Fresh Green Beans, washed, snap of woody ends

1 Medium Sized Parsnip, peeled (just like you would a carrot), cut into bite sized pieces

     *I like to cut the parsnip in half lengthwise, then crosswise before chopping

1 T. Olive Oil

2 T. Butter

Salt to Taste

Heat the oil and the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the beans and the parsnips and cook, stirring occasionally, and salting according to your preference.  Cook until the parsnips can be pierced easily with a fork.  It takes me about 10 minutes.



Spicy Baked Beans

There are a million different recipes for baked beans but I swear by using pork and beans for a finished product that leaves the beans tender and not tough.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 Cans of Pork and Beans, drained (always check the labels for sneaky gluten)

2 T. Finely Chopped Onion, OR 1 T. Grated Onion (you’ll get the flavor without the bits)

1-2 tsp. Chili Powder

Pinch of Allspice

Pinch of Smoky Paprika (like Spanish Paprika), optional (but you’re missing out big time if you don’t give it try).

1/4 C. Ketchup

1/2 C. Packed Brown Sugar

2 tsp. Spicy Mustard (my favorite is the horseradish kind)

2 T. Honey

2 T. Molasses

1/2 tsp. Granulated Garlic (but garlic powder will work in a pinch)

1 T. Tapioca Starch

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all ingredients, cover and bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour or until heated through and the sauce has thickened.  On convection bake this only took 30 minutes.



Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw

Need to whip up a quick salad for supper or a BBQ style picnic?  This simple recipe harnesses the benefits and the yummy tart factor of apple cider vinegar.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

14 Ounces of Shredded Cabbage (about 1 small head of cabbage or you can cheat and use pre-shredded cabbage)

1/4 C. + 1 T. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 T. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Celery Seed

1 C. Mayonnaise (though Miracle Whip will work in a pinch)

1 -2 T. Grated Onion (why you wonder?  My sister-in-law introduced me to this method shared from her mother that gives you flavor without the big onion punch that some find off putting).

1/2 tsp. Dried Dill

Freshly Cracked Pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and place in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


This is my Great Grandmother’s mixing bowl!  


Broccoli with Carrots and Almonds

An easy side dish, you can whip this baby up in a hurry!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 Large Bunch of Broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces

4 Large Carrots, cut into thick strips (or julienned if you prefer smaller strips)

1 T. Gluten Free Soy Sauce IMG_3129

1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 T. Sliced Almonds

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pan.  Sauté the veggies with the almonds and soy sauce, stirring frequently for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the vegetables look lightly caramelized.  Do not overcook.

Try with my Pork Chop and Pear recipe!


I’ll bet you there are a thousand ways to make hummus.  I’ve eaten it garnished with cumin, mixed with roasted peppers, and even blended with great northern beans.  I grew up in a home where hummus was a staple and to this day, even my Dad, my husband, and I all have our own variations of this family favorite.  Because I love, love, love lemon, mine is a bit hardy on the citrus but the fun part is that you can adjust the seasoning, the consistency, and even some of the main ingredients to make this dish your very own.  Here is how I, the Arabian queen of this castle, make it.

Here’s What You Will Need:

2 Cans of Garbanzo Beans (15 ounce cans) – don’t drain them yet

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 tsp. Salt

2 T. Fresh Lemon Juice (it really does make a difference but don’t feel bad if you use bottled lemon juice – I do it all the time!)

2 Heaping T. of Tahini (this is just sesame paste and can usually be found in the health food section or the the ethnic foods section of the grocery store, and sometimes even over by the peanut butter)

1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, optional

1 T. Dry Parsley

Red Cayenne Pepper, optional

1-2 T. Olive Oil, reserved for drizzling

To your blender or Vita-Mix, add one undrained can of garbanzo beans, one drained can of garbanzo beans, and the tahini.  Blend, blend, blend to your desired consistency.  I like mine smooth but when my husband John makes it, he purposely leaves it a bit chunky.

IMG_5240 IMG_5241

Add the salt, garlic, and lemon juice.  Stop and stir as needed if the mixture gets stuck.  If the finished product is too thick for your preference, add some water, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.  This will make about 3 cups!

Add the parsley and sesame oil last, blending just long enough to mix it in.

You may certainly serve it in a bowl like a traditional dip but in my family we spread it out on a plate like the one pictured and then drizzle it with oil. If you’re wondering where the parsley is in my finished product, I was out.  Shocking.  So instead, I sprinkled it with red cayenne pepper.


Add some fresh vegetables, corn chips, or gluten free sesame crackers and you will have a snack or an appetizer that will beat the band.

What to do with all that squash?

So they were in season in November and you bought them.  Beautiful, each gorgeous little squash had a place of importance in your kitchen and got everyone in the holiday spirit.  But now it’s time to say goodbye.  Believe it or not, you may have overlooked one of the easiest side dishes in your kitchen.  For small winter squash such as Delicata, Kabocha, and Acorn, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3

  1. Wash each squash with a scrub brush.
  2. Halve, scoop out seeds, cut into manageable chunks (no need to peel).
  3. Lay out on a greased cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, liberally sprinkle with salt, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until you can pierce them with a fork (about 20-25 minutes).

Ready for the oven, this process took only minutes!


Roasted and ready to eat…skin and all.


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