Gazpacho Andaluz

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

La Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain

After a few years of tweaking, I’ve finally perfected my recipe for Gazpacho Andaluz, a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold. You’ll love this easy, naturally gluten free and vegan recipe!

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Don and I took an amazing trip to Paris and Madrid in 2013. I hadn’t been back to Madrid since college. So much of the city had changed, yet the food stayed the same: gazpacho, paella, sangria, patatas bravas, tortilla espanola.

For me, gazpacho is summer in a bowl.

As soon as we got home, I started experimenting with different combinations of vegetables to make my gazpacho taste exactly as did in the Plaza Mayor. I needed to recreate that experience of sitting under a misting umbrella with cobblestones underfoot and a sangria in my hand. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what ingredient I was missing. Finally I realized that the secret ingredient to Gazpacho Andaluz is white balsamic vinegar! 

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I made Gazpacho Andaluz a few weeks ago when I was a guest chef at Mandarava Kitchen. Newburyport Olive Oil graciously contributed their robust white balsamic vinegar to cook with that night. It definitely elevates the flavor! If you haven’t tried their oils and vinegars, it’s quite an experience! I have a few more favorites, which I’ll be sharing soon in my next recipe post from our Mandarava tapas menu.

It only takes 15 minutes to make this soup without a stove or pot in sight. Don’t peel anything and only cut each veggie into chunks. Let the blender do the work for you! Once you quickly chop each ingredient, toss it into the blender. When the soup is ready, the only clean up should be a cutting board, knife, blender and spatula — don’t leave behind a drop!

This type of gazpacho is the traditional preparation you would experience if you visited the southern region of Andalusia in Spain. Gazpacho is particularly popular during hot summer nights because it is refreshing and cold. The color is perfection.

Gazpacho Andaluz - Under the Monkey Bars blog

Photo credit: Meg Manion Photography

Gazpacho Andaluz is a recipe that the whole family will enjoy. You can make it ahead and store it for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Serve it as is or with toppings to stir in, such as cucumbers, peppers, red onion, parsley, and croutons. It’s the perfect summer recipe for a no-stress dinner.

When I studied abroad in Madrid during college back in 1998, my Señora Encarna would say, “Cómelo todo!” at dinnertime. It translates to, “Eat it all!” I sometimes say it to my monkeys with a smile, remembering that incredible experience. That’s why I include “Cómelo todo!” at the end of my recipe posts as a tribute to the lovely lady who made sure I was well fed all those years ago in Spain.

Try this Gazpacho recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments or click on the stars to review it. Cómelo todo!

Gazpacho Andaluz
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Ingredients
  1. 2½ pounds tomatoes (about 8 medium)
  2. 2 medium cucumbers
  3. 2 small sweet red peppers
  4. 1 yellow or white onion
  5. 3 cloves garlic
  6. 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  7. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1-2 tablespoons of honey or agave
  9. 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  10. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  11. Freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash the vegetables and cut into chunks, leave the skin on the cucumber.
  2. If you're using a large high speed blender, everything should fit into one batch. Otherwise purée in small batches until smooth.
  3. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  4. Let sit for several hours or overnight in the fridge. The garlic flavor will become stronger over time. Serve chilled.
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients when possible.
  2. - Yields 48 ounces.
  3. - This gazpacho will keep for 4 days.
  4. - Newburyport Olive Oil's white balsamic really boosts the flavor in this recipe.
Adapted from Farm Girl Fare
Adapted from Farm Girl Fare
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Khaki’s Bomb Balm Skin Care Giveaway

Khaki's Bomb Balm Giveaway - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I’m super excited to share with you the most AMAZING organic skin care products for Under the Monkey Bars first GIVEAWAY! Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’re giving away a set of Khaki’s Bomb Balm ANTI-AGING skin care products.

I know. It’s so exciting I can barely contain myself. Can you tell by all the caps?!?

I’ve been using 10 of Khaki’s Bomb Balm products for 6 months now and my skin has never looked better. I actually got a compliment the other day that I’m “glowing” — and I’m not even pregnant.

I went in to see Khaki at her Face Food Skin Care Studio here in Newburyport for a complimentary consolation back in November. I was having a heat induced reaction to the antibiotics I was taking to treat Lyme. After trying at least 5 products without any improvement (including prescriptions), I was shocked at how quickly Khaki’s handcrafted products cleared up my skin.

Khaki's Bomb Balm Giveaway - Under the Monkey Bars blog

The giveaway features Khaki’s anti-aging skin care set, which retails for $85. I use all 4 of these products daily and absolutely love them: Grapeseed & Grapefruit Cleansing Milk, Anti-aging Rosehip Lavender CreamDusk Radiance Treatment Serum, and Raw Honey Almond Exfoliant. Wait till you open the cream! I can no longer buy skin care products without pressed flowers. It’s just so luxurious!!

Khaki’s Bomb Balm is a completely natural, vegan friendly line of products that you can feel good about using. She’s an esthetician who creates small batch skin care products out of real food right here in Newburyport! Plus, it warms my heart that I’m supporting a local Momma of two little monkeys.

I love winning stuff. Seriously. Did you know that about me? And I actually do win things. But you have to enter the giveaway to win! So fill out the entry form below and cross your fingers. Someone is going to win these luxurious products just in time for Mother’s Day!! The winner will be announced on May 4th.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup recipe - Under the Monkey Bars blog

I always crave soup this time of year. This Potato Leek Soup really warms both the heart and soul. You’re going to love it!

Seemingly French inspired, this soup is actually an Irish recipe. I found it about 4 years ago after taking the advice of one of my doctors to cook with my roots in mind. I’m Irish, so we’re not shy with potatoes at our house. Potatoes get a bad rap but they’re actually pretty good for you because of their fiber, protein, vitamins B6 + C, and potassium.

Add the folate, vitamins K, A + C, and fiber from the onion and leek, and this soup packs a nutritious punch! Think about Potato Leek Soup as healthy comfort food. You won’t believe how rich and creamy it tastes without dairy.

Potato Leek Soup is a staple recipe in our kitchen. The monkeys request it frequently and often pack the left overs in a thermos for school lunch. With 7 basic ingredients, the recipe is super easy to make and really flexible. Add an extra potato and some extra broth and no one will notice. We end up eating it at least once a month. Everything in moderation, right?

If you don’t have one already, this immersion blender is fantastic. It’s a lot faster than transferring the soup to a blender and then back to the pot. I make quite a few soups that require blending and absolutely love the speed and simplicity of it.

Try this Potato Leek Soup recipe and let me know how you like it in the comments or click on the stars to review it. Cómelo todo!

Potato Leek Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 leek, chopped
  3. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  4. 6 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  5. 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  6. Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the vegetables. Use only the white part of the leek.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until soft, 8–10 minutes.
  3. Add potatoes and broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring just to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft, 30–35 minutes.
  5. Purée with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth.
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients when possible.
  2. - Try different kinds of potatoes. We like a combination of yukon and russet.
  3. - Serve with a green veggie like kale salad, sautéed zucchini or green beans.
  4. - Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or scallions.
Adapted from Saveur
Adapted from Saveur
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Paleo Pumpkin Muffin Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars

I love muffins…always have. But delicious muffins without gluten, refined sugar, and dairy are few and far between. These Paleo Pumpkin Muffins though? Perfection.

I’ve been making these muffins for a few years with different variations. This version of the recipe strikes the perfect balance of ingredients. These muffins truly need a mix-in like raisins or dried cranberries so don’t skip that step. We like them best with a combination of both! 

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins travel well since they’re on the denser side. For muffins made with almond flour though, they’re more spongey than other recipes I make. The coconut flour helps to lighten it up and keeps the recipe grain free.

Even if you don’t follow the paleo diet, I’d still recommend giving this recipe a whirl. Paleo Pumpkin Muffins are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein.  They’re a great way to vary your diet or introduce new foods to picky eaters. The monkeys aren’t big pumpkin fans, but they cheer for these muffins. Probably because you can barely taste the pumpkin.

These silicone baking cups are my new favorite for baking. I line them up on a cookie sheet instead of using a muffin tin. The muffins end up browning on the bottom, and they pop right out of the baking cups. Totally genius! And easier to freeze too. 

When you try this muffin recipe, let me know how you like it in the comments. Cómelo todo!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
Yields 11
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  3. 1 teaspoon apple pie seasoning
  4. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  6. 3 large pastured eggs
  7. 1/3 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  8. 2 tablespoons raw honey, agave or pure maple syrup
  9. 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  10. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  11. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  12. 1/4 cup raisins
  13. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 11 muffin cups with paper or silicone liners.
  2. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it in a small saucepan and let it cool while you measure the other ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, apple pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, honey, cooled coconut oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until blended. Fold in raisins and dried cranberries.
  6. Divide batter evenly among prepared cups.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until set at the centers and golden brown at the edges. Move the muffins to a cooling rack and let cool for 30 minutes (flavor enhances).
Notes
  1. - Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
  2. - Try a combination of 1 tablespoon honey + 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  3. - We’re in love with the flavor of apple pie seasoning. If you don't have it on hand, use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger.
Adapted from Power Hungry
Adapted from Power Hungry
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/

Dinosaur Smoothie

Dinosaur Smoothie Recipe - Under the Monkey Bars Blog

Since I got my Vitamix last year, I’ve been making more smoothies than ever. I love trying different recipes. Over time, I’ve developed a few of my own. Our favorite lately is this Dinosaur Smoothie!

Did you read about my cleanse? This is the homemade smoothie I added to my nourishing cleanse. I started making it in the summer with coconut water for extra hydration. Now that it’s winter, I really love how it tastes with almond milk. They’re obviously really different, but the flavor and texture only changes a bit so use whatever you have on hand. 

The star of this smoothie is lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale. Those deep green leaves make the smoothie color super bright. Kale adds tons of vitamins to this smoothie including vitamin K, A, C, and manganese. It’s cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory, a natural detoxifier, and it helps support your brain, heart, and eyes. When you shop for kale, try to buy organic as it is one of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed crops. 

I love this Dinosaur Smoothie recipe because there’s no sweetener. Most healthy, non-dairy smoothie recipes call for honey, syrup, agave, dates, or nut butter. Pineapple sweetens up this smoothie naturally, while aiding heathy digestion. Did you know pineapple also supports a glowing complexion? More pineapple please!

Cut up a whole pineapple and freeze it into chunks. You’ll have plenty on hand for the next time you make a Dinosaur Smoothie. Use the hard pineapple’s hard to make flavored water. It’s one of the monkey’s favorites after school!

Try this smoothie and let me know how you like it in the comments. Cómelo todo!

Dinosaur Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 3 leaves dinosaur kale (lacinato), rib removed
  2. 5 chunks frozen pineapple
  3. 1/2 banana
  4. 5 oz coconut water or almond milk
  5. 5 ice cubes
  6. 4 inches of cucumber, sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. - Yields 16 ounces.
  2. - Buy organic ingredients when possible.
  3. - Freeze the other banana half for another day’s smoothie.
  4. - Substitute any leafy green for the kale: bok choi, swiss chard, curly leaf kale, spinach, etc.
  5. - Avoid almond milk that contains carrageenan. Always read labels!
Under the Monkey Bars http://underthemonkeybars.com/