guacamole two ways

lovely guacamole

We are blessed to be friend with some Canadians who spent 15 years working and serving in Mexico. While they, they adopted a love for all things Mexican, including the food, and we were double blessed recently to be invited over for a fiesta with lots of scrumptious south of the border food on the menu. I was asked to bring guacamole, and with my hat in my hand (these folks know their Mexican food!) I prepared two different avocado dips, and would like to share the recipe with you below. You may only find avocados in your combo box from time to time, but you can find many of the other ingredients for delicious guacamole most weeks!

Smooth and Simple Guacamole

lovely guacamole

2 ripe avocados
juice of 1 small lemon
2 cloves lovely garlic
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)

1. Peel and pit your avocados and place the flesh in your food processor.

lovely guacamole

2. Peel 2 (or three if you really like garlic!) cloves of your lovely garlic. Add the cloves, the salt, and the juice of your lemon (being careful not to include the seeds) to your avocados in the processor.

lovely guacamole

3. Process until completely smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Thick and Chunky Guacamole

lovely guacamole

2 ripe avocados
juice of half a lime
1 clove lovely garlic
2 green onions, white and green parts (not the middle, light green, woodier part, discard that)
1 small tomato
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Peel and pit your avocado and place the flesh in a large bowl. Set aside.

lovely guacamole

2. On a chop board and with a good, sharp knife (watch those fingers!), dice the lovely garlic cloves (peeled first) and the whites of the green onions very fine. Add to avocados.

lovely guacamole

3. Dice the green parts of the onions and the tomatoes, but in larger pieces, more like pea-size, and add those to the bowl as well.

4. Add all of your seasonings, as well as the lime juice.

lovely guacamole

5. Stir all of your ingredients together with a spoon until they are evenly distributed. Next, use a potato masher to mash everything together.

6. When you’ve reached a good consistency, and the ingredients are well-married, taste and check for saltiness. If you are adding fresh cilantro, chop and fold in now.

Both guacamoles do well being prepared an hour or so ahead of time so they chill nicely and all the flavors of the citrus, vegetables, and spices have a chance to marinate. But if time is a wasting, you can serve them immediately! Guacamole is a fabulous and healthy dish that can be served as a garnish for any Latin American food or can be eaten as a dip with chips, pretzels, or raw veggies. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

locals’ only black bean soup


lovely salad

I was so excited when I got my first local box and found some beautiful black beans among its contents. The past few years as life has been too busy I got into the bad habit of buying canned, pre-cooked beans, but I am making a real effort to cook them from scratch again, both because they taste better and because we are trying to source more of our food locally. Plus, a pantry shelf lined with glass jars of dry beans in all colors is a beautiful sight in my opinion.

lovely salad

Aside from the spices, the recipe below is made with entirely local food, most of it from our local box. I made the soup with bacon and chicken stock, but it is very easily transitioned into a vegetarian meal for those who prefer to eliminate or limit their meat consumption.

Local’s Only Black Bean Soup

lovely salad

(the following amounts are for four servings of soup, which is just right for our small family. The recipe is easily doubled)
1 cup dry black beans, soaked in 3 cups cold water overnight
3 slices bacon (or 3 tblspoons of olive or grapeseed oil)
2 large cloves garlic
1 small onion
1/2 orange carrot
1/2 yellow carrot
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ceyenne pepper (this makes the soup what I would call “medium” heat)
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Sour cream and cilantro to garnish

lovely salad
lovely salad

1. If using bacon, cook slices until crispy in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Remove bacon and set aside.

2. While bacon is cooking, put garlic, onions, and carrots in food processor and dice until fine.

lovely salad

3. Add garlic and veggies to bacon grease (or heated olive oil if you are not using bacon) and cook for five minutes.

4. Stir in all spices and simmer for 1 minute.

lovely salad

5. Add beans and 4 cups of the broth. Cook on slow boil until beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more broth as needed to keep the mixture at soup consistency. Stir occasionally.

6. When the beans are tender, blend half of the soup. I use a hand blender that goes right into the soup pot, but you can just as easily put half the soup in the blender or food processor, as long as you are careful you do not burn yourself.

lovely salad

7. Garnish with bacon crumbles, sour cream, and cilantro

lovely salad

Serve this soup over rice or with tortilla chips or, if you feel like baking, these delicious corn bread muffins. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

african sweet potato & peanut stew

Even if you not a vegetarian this is a great recipe using loft sweet potatoes.

It even tastes even better the next day (f you have any left-overs)!

1/2 cup water
3 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 small carrots, thinly sliced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 cup dried garbanzo beans or chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender.
4 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp curry powder

Heat the soy sauce and water in a large saucepan.

Add the onions and sweet potatoes, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are softened.

Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook another three to five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, water, beans with any liquid, herbs, peanut butter and curry powder.

Stir to mix, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.

Sprinkle more fresh herbs on top, and serve hot over brown rice.

– Carol likes experimenting with new recipes for her family in Cambridge.

finishing off the food

Well, we’ve worked our way through much of the bag already, which is probably good, as the next one is just a day or two away.

Eggplant went on pizza, zucchini in muffins, one sweet potato and the tomatoes for baby’s pasta sauce, apples and carrots have gone toward weekday lunches, melon for breakfasts and popsicles, and garlic here and there. Which left only:

– beans, which were steamed on Sunday night and eaten with slow cooker chicken and rice


– cilantro, half of which garnished our coconut-peanut slow cooker chicken and half of which we’ll add to some sort of taco-ish meal tomorrow night


– beets and sweet potatoes, which we’ll leave for awhile until I’m feeling inspired. The lovely thing about root vegetables is they’re happy to wait.

Beet greens, on the other hand, need using up sooner than later. Here are a couple of ideas. If they begin to take a turn for the worse before you can figure out how you want to use them, you can always just wash, stem and steam them, squeeze out the excess water and stuff them in the freezer. Then add them to lasagna or anything you might otherwise add frozen spinach to.


I have also pureed beet greens after steaming (with a little of that lovely purpley steam water) and frozen them in ice cube trays. I sneak a cube into my son’s food here and there — in with a bowl of carrot puree or even into a smoothie. Poor kid

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.