Easy Garden Fresh Bruschetta

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Easy Garden Fresh Bruschetta

This  recipe is loosely based on one my sister-in-law makes!  It is so good that it makes me want to slice the bread even thinner so I can eat a gazillion of these without getting full.  The olive oil makes you feel like you’re eating something indulgent, but it’s a wonderfully fresh and healthy treat.  It’ll also make great use of that abundant summer garden harvest.

 

 

Easy Garden Fresh Bruschetta (Nut-Free)

Ingredients

    TOPPING
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped - seed if you like
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
  • SPREAD
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 loaf french bread (bake using your own recipe or use Pillsbury French Bread)

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine tomatoes, celery, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, mustard and salt. Refrigerate.
  2. Slice bread into 1/2 inch slices and grill on low for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Turn and slather with spread. Grill an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Cover with refrigerated tomato mixture and serve.
  5. Makes 6ish depending on how much topping you use.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2016/07/55629/

Easy Cucumber Salsa

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Easy-Cucumber-Salsa

 

The recipe is a new spin on an old favorite – salsa.  Plus, it takes advantage of that huge crop of cucumbers we’ll be seeing in late July.  I love Cucumber Salsa – maybe more than regular salsa.  It’s the hint of lime, I think.  It gives it a little taste of something different.  It’s cool, refreshing, and (of course) nut-free, too.

 

Garden Fresh Cucumber Salsa (Nut-Free)

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, chopped, seeded, and peeled
  • 1 tomato, chopped (seed if you like)
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Lime Flavored Tortilla Chips

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except chips  in a medium size bowl.  Refrigerate one hour.  Serve with chips.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2016/06/cucumber-salsa/

 

Sam’s Club & Walmart: Hershey-Ets 1lb Tin Starting at $15.98! (Nut Free)

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Hershey-ets are a favorite in the nut allergy community. Why?   They’re safe for kid with peanut and tree nut allergies!  Hershey has excellent labeling and manufacturing practices, so we all feel safe with these.  And if you’re looking to stock up on them, a couple places carry these tasty chocolate treats at very reasonable prices.

Sam’s Club – If you’re a member, you can snag a 1lb Tin of Hershey-ets for $15.98.  Shipping charges do apply if this isn’t available for pickup at your local club.

If you can’t pick them up at your local Sam’s Club, try Walmart.  They have the same 1lb tin of Hershey-ets for $18.44 with free in store pickup (subject to local availability) or they ship free with orders of $50 or more.

Note: Always call manufacturers to verify processing has not changed.  What may be true today may not be true tomorrow.  Specific packaging of the tin may be done differently than the candy cane Hershey-ets, this post may be old, etc.  

Groupon: Corso’s Cookies Deals! Halloween Bouquets and More! (NUT FREE)

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Halloween can be incredibly stressful for people with nut allergies.  I should know.  I’ve spent the last 8 years not only in reaction prevention mode, but inclusion mode.  I’ve never wanted my son to feel like he didn’t have as many opportunities as kids who didn’t have food allergies.  We trick-or-treat.  We buy safe treats.  In addition, we make our own treats and crafts.  And for the last couple of years, I’ve bought both kids Cookie Bouquets from Corso’s Cookies.  The kids LOVE these cute novelty cookies.  They’re yummy frosted shortbread cookies and they’re NUT FREE.  Check out the statement about nut allergies on Corso’s page.  Isn’t that great?!?

For a limited time,  Groupon has a couple of different offers to save on Corso’s Cookies:
$19 for $40 worth of cookie gifts, favors, and bouquets$29 for $65 worth of cookie gifts, favors, and bouquets

Groupon details: Promotional value expires 150 days after purchase. Amount paid never expires. Limit 2 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. Limit 1 per order. Valid only for option purchased. Online only. Must use promotional value in 1 order. Shipping not included. May only ship to one address per order. May not be combined with any other offers.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes (Nut Free Recipe)

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Lemon Curd Cupcake

 

In the summer, I only consider making two types of dessert –  No Bake and Light Desserts.  What I mean by light isn’t necessarily low calorie or low sugar – although I certainly do make both.  What I’m talking about is fruit based desserts.  It’s the time of year when fruit is locally grown and fresh, in season, and above all else, plentiful.  Why wouldn’t I take every opportunity to incorporate it wherever I can?!? You should, too!

As you know, one of my big pregnancy cravings has been lemon.  While I haven’t abandoned all reason and simply taken a big bite out of one (although I probably could and I wouldn’t even flinch), I’ve infused lemon into just about anything possible, desserts especially, and this is one of my favorites: Lemon Curd Cupcakes.   They’re light with a wonderful lemony taste that isn’t overpowering at all. These are ideal if you need mini cupcakes for a summer party and a perfect finish for a dinner like grilled chicken, vegetables, and fruit salad.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups all -purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temp)
  • 2 egg yolks (room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cups unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice fresh squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Whisk the first four ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time until mixed well.
  6. Add the yolks one at a time until mixed well.
  7. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest until fully mixed.
  8. Begin slowly adding the lemon juice on low speed and mix.
  9. Add the dry ingredients and milk.
  10. Begin with the dry ingredients and alternate with the milk into the butter mixture then increase the speed to medium.
  11. Incorporate all together, scraping sides.
  12. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-24 minutes.
  14. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
  15. Frosting
  16. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together until stiff peaks form and all ingredients are well incorporated.
  17. Fill your pastry or ziploc bag with frosting and decorate as desired.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2015/06/lemon-curd-cupcakes-nut-free-recipe/

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Cannoli Cupcakes (nut free recipe)

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Best Cannoli Cupcake Recipe

 

When we went on vacation last year, we polled our friends about great eateries they thought we should check out along the way.  More than a few recommended a couple of bakeries.   Yeah, thanks guys. I said FOOD not DESSERT.  You know how it is, though.  When you’re on vacation, dessert IS food, and we made sure to stop by both recommended to us.  I have to say that we were not disappointed.  The first had all sorts of different cupcakes, gourmet cupcakes, based on different desserts.  These were not your standard white cake with buttercream frosting cupcakes – although I’d have been just as happy with that!   Sheesh.  Oh no, they had things like Black Forest Cupcakes, Andes Mint Grasshopper Cupcakes, Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes, and these delicious doubles – Cannoli Cupcakes.  Now, if you know anything at all about my husband, know this:  He l-o-v-e-s cannoli.  We never set foot in any bakery that sells them and leave without a few. When we’re on vacation we tend to leave with a few more than ‘a few’ of just about everything.  We left with 6 and went back the next day for 6 more, then 6 more before we left for our next destination. By the time we went in for the last 6, we were a little embarrassed.  Like most people, I don’t really like being embarrassed a whole lot, so I came home determined to recreate our favorite vacation dessert.  And after a few tries, I got it!

Friends, these are truly decadent desserts and among the very best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten.  You certainly don’t need a special occasion to make them, but they’ll absolutely hold their own if you choose to make them for an event of some sort.

Cannoli Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cupcake
  • 3 C flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • Filling
  • 1/2 C ricotta cheese
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1/4 C small chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Frosting
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 C unsalted butter, soft
  • 4 TBSP heavy whipping cream
  • 3 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 C zest of an orange and lemon
  • 1 C chopped semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    Cupcakes
  1. -Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. -Line cupcake tins with paper liners.
  3. -Cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. -Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
  5. -Stir in the vanilla.
  6. -Sift the flour and baking powder together.
  7. -Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  8. -Mix well.
  9. -Add the milk slowly until the batter is smooth.
  10. -Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  11. -Scoop the batter into the lined cupcake tins until 2/3 filled.
  12. -Cool for 10-15 minutes.
  13. -Remove the cupcakes from the tin and place on a wire rack until completely cooled.
  14. Filling Instructions and Addition
  15. -Add all the filling ingredients (except small chocolate chips) in a bowl and mix well.
  16. -Stir in the small chocolate chips.
  17. -Scoop out with a small spoon or cupcake scooper a hole in the middle of the cupcake.
  18. -Fill in the hole with a spoonful or two of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  19. -Spoon the filling until it equals to the top of the cupcake.
  20. Frosting
  21. -Cream the butter and powdered sugar until creamy.
  22. -If it doesn't cream add the heavy whipping cream.
  23. -If it does cream test to see if the frosting can form and keep a stiff peak.
  24. -If the frosting can't form and keep a stiff peak then ADD 1/2 C powdered sugar.
  25. -Test again.
  26. -When the frosting can form and keep a stiff peak ADD the fresh orange and lemon zest.
  27. - Stir to mix well adding the cocoa powder.
  28. -Ad the chocolate chips.
  29. -Stir to mix well.
  30. -Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag with a frosting tip.
  31. -Frost the cupcakes in a circular motion.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2015/05/cannoli-cupcakes-nut-free-recipe/

Cannoli Cupcakes Recipe

4 Light Fruit Vinaigrette Recipes

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4 Light Fruit Vinaigrette Recipes

 

Summer salads.  It’s the perfect meal on a hot summer day.  They’re light, fresh, and they don’t heat up the kitchen. I  don’t know about you, though, but one thing that can completely ruin a good salad (and good healthy eating intentions!) is the dressing.  I just cannot pair a heavy dressing with a light summer salad.  I have a few different vinaigrette dressings I use routinely and fruit is at the heart of them all.  They add a welcome sweetness as well as some additional nutritional benefits!

1.)  Orange Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions
In a small jar with a tight-fitting cover, combine the orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper. Cover and shake well until combined. To store, refrigerate for up to 1 week. Shake well before serving.

2.)  Strawberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a blender or food processor, mix olive oil, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, tarragon and sugar. Blend until smooth.

3.)  Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions
Whisk red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly stream olive oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking briskly. Beat lemon juice into the mixture.
Pour dressing into a sealable jar or bottle, seal, and shake until emulsified.

4.)  Blueberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until serving time.

 

Orange Creamsicle Poke Cake (Nut-Free Recipe)

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Orange Creamsicle Poke Cake
I sure hope you like citrus-y things because you’re stuck with them for the next couple of months!  Lemon, Lime, and Orange, in that order, are my biggest cravings with this pregnancy.  Most everything I eat has at least one of those in it.  Boy, if you only knew how much I generally dislike all of those.  Haha…I make my husband crazy with a bag of Starburst candies.  I usually pick out all of the strawberry, then cherry, then orange, THEN lemon…Yep, that’s my order for everything.  With any candy that has a lime flavor, it’s the absolute last thing I’ll eat.  IF I eat it at all.  I know…craziness.

Right now, though, I’m all about this cake!  I DO actually love Orange Creamsicles, pregnant or not, and this is the yummiest cake version of that childhood favorite of mine.  It’s a perfect spring and summertime dessert!

Orange Creamsicle Poke Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 White Cake Mix
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Oil
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 package Orange Jell-O
  • 1/2 cup boiling Water
  • 1/2 cup cold Water
  • 1 package Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 8 oz Cool Whip

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 13x9 pan with non stick spray.
  3. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, using eggs, orange juice (instead of water) and oil.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cake springs back when touched.
  6. Allow cake completely cool.
  7. Using a skewer, poke small holes all over the cake, piercing all the way to bottom.
  8. In a bowl, combine Jell-O and boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
  9. Add cold water, mix well and slowly pour this mixture over the entire cake.
  10. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
  11. Combine the pudding mix, milk and vanilla and beat well.
  12. Fold Cool Whip into the pudding mixture and use it to frost cake.
  13. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2015/04/orange-creamsicle-poke-cake-nut-free-recipe/

 

Note: This recipe can easily be made sugar free.  Use a box of sugar free cake mix, swap water for OJ, and use sugar free Jell-O orange gelatin, sugar free Jell-O vanilla pudding, and sugar free Cool Whip! 

S’Mores Cupcakes! (Nut-Free Recipe)

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S'mores Cupcakes

 

Summer’s coming and that means camping, hobo pies, and marshmallowy, gooey, chocolatey s’mores!  I can hardly wait.  Since I’m so impatient, I thought we could both use a taste of summer a little bit early.  And what better way to do that than with S’mores Cupcakes!  They’re chock full of everything we love about those tasty summer treats…and more…frosting.  Oh yes, S’mores with frosting.  Is there anything better?  I think not.   Well, one thing.  They’re completely nut-free!

 

S'mores Cupcakes

Ingredients

    Cupcakes
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs, room temp.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Mini-Marshmallows
  • 1/2 bag of Graham Crackers (from box like Honey Maid)
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup Salted Butter
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Marshmallow Extract
  • 2 Hershey Bars, broken into squares (garnish)

Instructions

    Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add your eggs, milk, and oil.
  5. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes.
  6. Set aside.
  7. Break graham crackers in half and place in Ziploc bag.
  8. Pound with blunt object (like rolling pin) until finely crushed.
  9. Scoop 1 tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs into cupcake liner.
  10. Place a scoop of chocolate cake batter onto graham cracker crumbs.
  11. Push 3 mini-marshmallows into the center of the cupcake.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool. Once cooled, put on wire rack.
  14. Frosting
  15. Place softened butter in mixing bowl and add the cocoa and powdered sugar.
  16. Mix on low until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary after each step.
  17. Add the extract.
  18. Add heavy cream.
  19. Fill Decorating Bag with frosting. You'll also need a Coupler and Wilton 8B Tip if you don't have them already.
  20. Pipe frosting around the top of cupcake.
  21. Garnish with graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows and a Hershey bar piece.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2015/04/smores-cupcakes-nut-free-recipe/

Note:  You can use Hershey’s Miniatures if you don’t have nut allergies in your home. They have more a more finished look.

Side Effect: Avocado & Tomato Salad! (Nut-Free Recipe)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Avocado Tomato Salad

 

I know I said that I was going to get this recipe posted for you yesterday.  Well, you know how I get sidetracked doing other things.  Last night was one of those nights.  My husband said, “I’m going to clean the outside of the windows.” and that was pretty much it for me.  He got a lot of yard work done yesterday , but my main goal was to finish washing the windows.  I needed help with it and I wasn’t even sure that was going to happen because it was getting quite late in the day.  Combine that with the fact that yesterday was our anniversary and no posting got done last night.  We cleaned, marathoned a few episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos with the kids that we’ve missed the last few weeks because we’ve been busy, and that was our night.  Well, that and pound cake with chocolate glaze and strawberries.  It was a wonderful day.

OK, so like I said, I told you I was making Avocado & Tomato Salad yesterday.  It is one of our favorite side dishes after all.   I bet you’re expecting me to say that I didn’t get around to it.  Wrong!  Can you believe it?  Yes, I got it done (thanks to ALDI) and took some pictures with my phone.  My phone.  Meh, I was in a hurry…and then I started feeling bad about my pictures.  You know what I thought, though?  “How many pretty pictures have you seen on Pinterest with recipes that turn out to be blah….or worse, disgusting.”  It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit.  Actually, I’ve always considered myself someone who can look at a recipe and determine, at least to some extent, its quality.  Not with Pinterest, apparently.  I’ve wasted good money on some nasty fails with stunning pictures over there.   So, all of this to say – the picture might not be great, but the recipe IS great.  I make this all the time, whether for just us or company, and it’s always well received.   Plus, it’s impossible to mess up.  No Pinterest fails here!  You’ll have to give it a try.  And if it matters to you like it does to me, this salad is completely nut-free.

 

Avocado & Tomato Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Avocados, diced
  • 1 pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or less depending on preference)
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk onions, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper together.
  3. Pour dressing over avocado mixture and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate one hour to allow flavors to blend, tossing periodically.
http://dontmakemenuts.com/2015/03/side-effect-avocado-tomato-salad-nut-free-recipe/

Note: For me, this is one recipe where I like to have ripe avocados.  It creates a creamier dressing with the olive oil vs. chunkier salad.  Either way, it’s very good, but there is some variability in the way it comes out depending on the avocado ripeness.