#kitchentherapy for the holidays: FUN YUM

One of the saddest days in my life was when my nutritionist said I would do well do stay away from a list of things like gluten and soy and cheese and corn.

“Corn?” I said, giving her that look you give someone when you want your super-cool Ninja powers to cause them to think about what they’ve just done and immediately apologize. “Yes, corn,” she said, without so much as a flinch. “ALL corn?” I asked, hoping she’d say something like “just CornNuts and candy corn.” Instead, she nodded and said,

“Yes, all corn.” No tortillas, no chips, no corn casserole at Thanksgiving or cornbread with my chili when the nights get cool. She also said to refrain from sugar, so candy corn was even off the list.

Seriously, it was a very sad day. That is, until I found beauty in things like rice chips and lentil chips and jicama used as taco shells. I’ve still not figured out what to do about the chili, but I’m not quite as sad. So when you come to CasaRock, we’ll fire up the telly and watch great things and nosh on good things. Everything in this collection is something that works well on its own or as a friend to something else. And everything is fun. I’ve included some tips on how to make things for folks who might need to be staying away from things like – sigh – corn. And if your menu needs some tweaking, I promise I’ve got you and will take care of you – because I want you to have as much fun as the food.

The great thing about these recipes is that they’re wonderful all year ’round. Virtually dog-ear this post so you can enjoy it over and over again. Enjoy!

 

SALSAS AND DIPS

Triple Threat of Fresh and Easy Salsas: Mango, Raspberry, and Avocado Tomatillo

salsa-party

All three of these are easy to make – so dish them all up for your friends and family. My personal favorite is the mango salsa, because I adore sweet and hot doing a tango together. If you need to step away from corn chips, use rise or lentil chips instead.

 

Amazing Cranberry Salsa

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This on a chip. This served over cream cheese on a chip. This paired with brie. This as an alternative to cranberry sauce on a turkey sandwich. This by the spoonful. This. This. This. And thank you.

 

Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa (with a Skirt Steak Taco Bonus)

roasted-tomato-salsa

A road trip with the remarkable Sarah Harmeyer of Neighbor’s Table led me to Uncle Les and his beautiful bride in Ohio. We stayed up until the wee hours sipping wine and gorging on this salsa. Then they gave me a can of Skyline Chili (which I’ve built a little shrine to in the pantry – though I should go ahead and attempt a 5-way).  Yes, there’s a taco recipe along with the salsa. Uncle Les says it’s great too.

 

Avocado Cream Dip

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So, yesterday I told you about being less than fully honest with my husband about the green-tinted mystery pasta sauce. I mentioned then that the sauce also makes a great dip. I want you to see that I’ve overcome my less than honest ways – here is proof that this stuff is unbelievable as a dip. It pairs so well with the roasted tomato chipotle dip. Make them both and invite everyone over. Including me.

 

 CRUNCHY MUNCHES

INCREDIBLE Sweet, Salty, and Spicy Snacks: Tijuana Tidbits and Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

sweetsaltyspicy

Neither one of these last long at CasaRock – because they’re both that good. The Tijuana Tidbits are filled with all sorts of amazingness, and the pretzels are addictive. While the Tijuana Tidbits are a little more difficult to modify for a special diet (though you can swap out rice chips for the tortilla chips and chopped up rice cake for the popcorn with pretty decent success), the Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels are a cinch to make with gluten-free pretzels!

 

PERFECT SALADS

Fig Salad with Prosciutto  fig-salad

This may look too pretty to eat, but go ahead. The vinaigrette is sweet and tart and so good, you’ll want to make it and keep it around.

 

Wedge Salad with Coconut Ranch Dressing 

salad-with-coconut-ranch

It’s not often that I leave a restaurant and obsess about something on the menu to the point where I stay up all night looking for just the right recipe to make the dish at my house (right now, I’m still on the hunt for the tomato quiche recipe from Condessa in Antigua, Guatemala – I don’t even LIKE quiche so much and I dream about this thing and want it in my life and want to share it with you and the restaurant manager just laughs that horribly secretive laugh when I beg for the recipe and possibly bribe with a few dollars, and this confession has grown long and awkward). This salad is all about the dressing – because the dressing is THAT good, and it’s dairy-free!

 

YES, SOUP FOR YOU

Salmorejo (Gazpacho’s Sexy Sister Soup) 

salmorejo

This recipe take a bit of time to make, but holy wow. It’s a chilled tomato soup that is unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I may have eaten mine and everyone else’s when in Spain last year. Then I had to come home and make it for anyone who would pay attention. Please come over so I can make it for you.

 

REFRESHMENT

Easy Sparkling Mint Lemonade 

sparkling-mint-lemonade

Two words: Topo Chico. It’s the Mexican nectar of the gods, and every home should have beautiful green bottles bubbling over with it. It’s the secret ingredient in this insanely simple drink that everyone likes, no matter the time of year. I can drink a gallon in one sitting. OK, perhaps that’s exaggerating. I can drink two quarts in one sitting. But if you’re here, I promise to share.


So, you’ve got desserts, breakfast treats, supper mains and sides, fun things – and tomorrow it’s my #kitchentherapy cranberry-filled recipes. Then I’ll be stepping away from the hub-bub of social media to savor cooking and time with folks while I do a little writing. But I’ll be thinking of you, and hoping you send a note saying you’ll be in town. Because CasaRock has a place set just for you, you know. You are welcome here. Whosoever, come.

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About Ronne Rock

Ronne Rock’s heart finds its strongest beat where beauty and pain collide – because hope always finds us in the shattered places. There’s more than 30 years of marketing and communications experience in her bones, and she finds great joy in sharing leadership wisdom as a regular contributor to Orange Leaders and QARA. But more often than not these days, she's with the vulnerable in difficult places around the world, gathering stories that change stories. Find Ronne's words in "For You, Love" the prayer journal that invites you to respond, and in Everbloom, a collection of stories from the Redbud Writers Guild. She is currently writing, "Building Eden: Principles of a Grace-Filled Leadership that Restores and Redeems." 

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