Quick Pickled Red Onions

I loooooove vinegar- anything sour, really. So when I received some beautiful, large Weck jars as a wedding shower gift last year, I learned how to “quick” pickle vegetables and haven’t needed store-bought since! I love knowing exactly what goes into them, especially because it’s hard to find them without added sugar. I have found that home-made have so much more flavor! This recipes subs traditional white granulated sugar out for pure maple syrup, which lends a tiny bit of sweetness without overpowering the bite of the vinegar that I love so much. I have these big boys at home, but any kind of canning jar will work!

Making these is so easy and fun, and having vibrant, flavorful pickled veggies on hand makes dressing salads, tacos, breakfast sandwiches, etc. up so easy! I call it “quick pickling” because it doesn’t involve the whole canning process (putting jar in boiling water to seal out excess air). I love this method because whatever you’re pickling is ready to enjoy as soon as the next day! They keep for about 2 weeks, although my pickled red onions never last that long.

You can apply this method to just about anything- Jalapenos, cucumbers… even carrots, green beans, or cauliflower! You can play around with different spices such as turmeric, and add fresh or dried herbs. You will be amazed at how easily these quick pickled red onions come together and how fancy they make your meals look!

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

3 medium-sized red onions

1 C distilled white vinegar

1/2 C water

1 T salt

1 t black peppercorns

3  cloves garlic

3 T pure maple syrup

Method:

Slice onions and add to jar. Add vinegar, water, salt, and peppercorns to  medium sauce pan and bring to low boil. Peel garlic cloves and add to boiling mixture, turn off heat, and add maple syrup. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Pour mixture over sliced onions. It should completely cover the onions. If you’re a little short on liquid, add more vinegar.

Seal tightly and store in fridge. You’ll notice the liquid turns a vibrant red and this is how you know they’re ready to enjoy!

Tip** I usually try to make these a couple days before I want to use them, but they should be good 24 hours after making.

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

I will start by saying that this recipe is magical because it’s the ONLY way my husband will consider eating brussels sprouts. Yes, he is a grown man. When we met, Matt convinced me that he wasn’t a picky eater, but as the years went on, it became  clear to me that this was just a courting strategy. The man has a list of things he really dislikes, and most of the time I’m nice enough to avoid them in my recipes. Brussels sprouts are probably #1 on that list. However, there is a pizza place down the street from us that makes Detroit style pizza, and they have one non-pizza item on their menu; brussels sprouts salad. I’m pretty sure Matt didn’t know exactly what he was eating the first time we shared it as an appetizer, but now that he associates brussels sprouts salad with pizza, it’s fair game.

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I used my food processor to shred fresh brussels sprouts as the base for the salad, and then just added whatever I had sitting in the fridge. Fresh cranberries, parsley, radishes, and a simple balsamic dressing made for a vibrant and fresh salad that I will now be making all the time! The one thing I wish I remembered to add would be slivered almonds for a nice crunch, so I’ll be sure to include those next time. Pecans or pine nuts would also be great in this.

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This salad will be a great side dish for holiday parties, but is simple enough for any weeknight meal! You can add your protein of choice on top- grilled chicken or crumbled bacon would be delicious- and swap out the vegetables and fruit based on  what you have available. It’s very versatile and colorful. In fact, with all that red and green in there, I couldn’t help but notice it looked a lot like Christmas…TOO SOON, I KNOW.

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Brussels Sprouts Salad

Makes 4-6 servings

For the Salad:

6 C washed fresh brussels sprouts, shredded

1 C sliced radishes

1 1/2 C fresh cranberries (chopped apples would also work)

1/3 C finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1/3 C slivered almonds

For the Dressing:

1/3 C balsamic vinegar

2 T dijon mustard

2 T honey

1/3 C good quality olive oil

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Assemble salad by layering shredded brussels sprouts with sliced radishes, cranberries, parsley, and almonds.

Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad. Enjoy!

Tip** If you won’t be finishing the salad in one sitting, keep dressing on the side or leftovers will be soggy.

Chia Berry Jam

I’ve been looking for something to step up my breakfast game, but have always been intimidated by the whole jam-making/canning process. I came across some chia seed jam recipes on Pinterest and it sounded so easy, I had to try! Because this recipe uses frozen fruit, it’s something you can make and enjoy year-round, swapping out fruit depending on the season. Since I made it the other night, I can’t stop looking for things to put it on! It’s amazing on toast, oatmeal, yogurt, pizza…just kidding. I haven’t tried that yet.

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Why bother making your own jam? This jam takes about 2 minutes to make, requires zero cooking, and the inclusion of chia seeds makes it extra good for you! Chia seeds are full of antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and have a considerable amount of fiber, helping keep you full longer throughout the morning. I used equal amounts of raspberries and blueberries in this batch, and the color is so pretty. You can use sweetener such as pure maple syrup like I did, or leave it out depending on your diet.

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S/O to my sweet husband for photographing my jam when he was supposed to be reading for class. He also made dinner tonight. How lucky am I? How boring must his reading be?

 Chia Berry Jam

12 oz frozen blueberries

12 oz frozen raspberries

1/4 C chia seeds

1/4 C pure maple syrup or honey (optional)

Method:

Let berries partially defrost. Place in food processor or blender and pulse for 20 seconds. Slowly add maple syrup or honey if using, and pulse until combined. You can keep mixing for a smoother consistency if you’d like, but I kept lots of full berry chunks in mine. Add chia seeds last, mixing until evenly distributed. Store in airtight jar or container in refrigerator and enjoy!

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I spooned some chia berry jam on top of my oatmeal this weekend, and it was soooo good with peanut butter, bananas, and coconut!

 

Ice Tray Herbs

I may be happily rushing into Fall with my chunky sweaters and blanket scarves without looking back, but I will miss having fresh herbs around. I have tried growing them inside in the cooler months, but the small amount of natural light we get in our current place isn’t up to my plants’ high standards, so I had to get creative. If you’re looking for a way to capture any fresh herb’s fresh, vibrant flavors without drying them, HAVE I GOT A SOLUTION FOR YOU.

Making ice tray herbs is one of my favorite tricks for many reasons:

  1. I hate tossing food, and this is a great way to save herbs from going in the trash
  2. Fresh herbs get pricier when the weather turns, so this trick saves $$
  3. Combining herbs with oil makes for a great soup starter, can be tossed in skillet when searing meat, etc.
  4. You can make them whenever you have extra herbs around, and separating them into Ziploc bags and labeling them greatly satisfies my mild OCD

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All this kitchen hack requires is an ice cube tray, some extra virgin olive oil, and whatever extra fresh herbs you have laying around. I have done this successfully with rosemary, thyme, and parsley. You can try this with any herb, but I would probably stay away from cilantro. Cilantro is good on virtually anything, so using it up fresh should never  be an issue 😉

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I don’t have a recipe because this one is easy, so here are the steps:

  1. Start with a clean ice cube tray
  2. Wash and gently pat herbs dry and give a rough chop
  3. Fill each cube with about 1 t of fresh herbs
  4. Top fresh herbs with EVOO and place in freezer for about 2 hours, or until they easily pop out of tray
  5. Transfer ice tray herbs to Ziploc bags (labeled, so you know what they are in a couple months)
  6. Toss into anything that needs a fresh herb boost! Can be thawed in microwave if you want in liquid form to brush on meat

**Tip: Use within 6 months for best flavor

You’ll thank yourself later, trust me. Enjoy!