Cucumber-Onion Salad Encore

Cucumber-Onion Salad Encore

This recipe for cucumber-onion salad was passed down from Grandma to Mom to me and my siblings. It's easy, inexpensive, non-dairy, healthy, and keeps well.Thanks to our weekly CSA share, the vegetable bin is overflowing with cucumbers. So cucumber-onion salad is gracing our table almost daily.  Because today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by not experimenting with a new recipe, I’m rerunning this one that was first featured on Down the Gravel Road in July of 2012. It’s easy, it’s tasty, it’s non-dairy, it’s low-cal, and the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes. No wonder this recipe has been consistently discovered and repinned on Pinterest since the day it first appeared there.

Cucumber-Onion Salad

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced into thin rings*
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Place vegetables in a small serving bowl. In a smaller bowl or measuring cup, mix vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well and pour over vegetables so they are completely covered with liquid. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. This salad can be stored for several days or a week in the fridge.

I try to make it at least 8 hours before serving so the flavors can meld and the vinegar has time to pickle the vegetables a little. Also, more cukes and onions into the brine after the original veggies are gone. I usually do that once before discarding the brine and making a completely new batch.

*I used red onions, which is why the salad looks so pretty in the picture, but any type of onion is fine.


Family Camp’s Brown Sugar Snaps

Family Camp’s Brown Sugar Snaps

These Brown Sugar Snaps are easy to make dairy-free, but way too addicting to have in the house.Galavanting from here to there and back again doesn’t leave much time for cooking. So today, because of present galavanting at Shadow Valley Family Camp, this recipe comes from the camp cookbook. A dairy-free fix would be easy with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and coconut or cashew milk. But even if there was time to fiddle with the recipe, I wouldn’t dare…because having a batch of Brown Sugar Snaps in the house would be way too tempting.

Family Camp Brown Sugar Snaps

Warning: These cookies are addictive. Unless you like to live dangerously, don’t read another word.

Truth be told, all the food at Idaho Family Camp is addictive. Every time a nummy recipe is posted, I’m enabling an addiction. Usually it’s my addiction. But post-wedding and post-family camp, inundated with veggies from our CSA, and deep into a twelve step, healthy eating program (which means Hiram puts the key to the padlocks on the fridge and pantry twelve steps up on a ladder I’m scared to climb), I’m feeling strong enough to resist temptation.

I’d never tasted these before or even heard of them before this summer. Brown sugar snaps are sort of ginger snap meets snickerdoodle, molasses crinkle meets sugar cookie. And as mentioned before, they’re addictive. Very addictive. Give them a try and leave a comment with your description. But remember, you’ve been warned. So don’t blame me when you can’t stop eating them!

Brown Sugar Snaps

2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 sticks butter
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Add: 2 eggs and beat again,

5 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough into balls, dip in sugar, and place on a cookie sheet. Turn oven down to 375 degrees just before putting in cookies. Bake about 9 minutes. Cookies should have nice deep cracks. You will need to reheat the oven to 400 degrees between pans.



Non-Dairy Strawberry Crisp

Non-Dairy Strawberry Crisp

Today's recipe for strawberry crisp is the latest in a long series of fruit crisp recipes at Gravel Road.Just a few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for low sugar rhubarb crisp. Until today, it was the most recent installment in a Gravel Road unintentional series of crisp recipes such as blueberry crisp, apple crisp, and strawberry-rhubarb crisp.

But not anymore. Because strawberries were on sale at the grocery store last week, so I bought several boxes to make strawberry-rhubarb crisp. The son-in-law is not a big rhubarb fan, though he said he thought a strawberry crisp would be just fine. Here’s the recipe I fabricated, and which he said was mighty fine.

Strawberry Crisp

6 cups washed strawberries, hulled & sliced
1/3 cup softened, non-dairy, softened non-dairy shortening substitute like Earth Balance
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 375°. Place strawberries in 2 quart baking dish. In medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle on top of fruit. Bake for 30-45 minutes until fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.
Hot Bacon Dressing

Hot Bacon Dressing

Looking for a good, simple salad dressing recipe for summer? This one's easy and adds just the right zing to fresh greens.The cooks in the house are gradually getting used to the new meal routine. We even had time to do some menu planning before grocery shopping, so we’ve been enjoying having the ingredients needed for evening meals on hand. One of my cooking nights was really easy–just a big salad to be topped with pork slices cut from a couple left over brined pork chops grilled by the Man of Steel a few days earlier.

My daughter suggested topping the salad with hot bacon dressing using a recipe she found at The Pioneer Woman website. The original recipe involved bacon bits and caramelized onions. But because our salad already was sprinkled with onions and topped with pork slices, we skipped those ingredients. Below is the recipe that was perfect for our big salad of romaine, sweet peppers, onion, toasted pecans, and strawberries. Served with non-dairy lemon scones, we all gave it a thumb’s up.

Easy Hot Bacon Dressing

3 tablespoons bacon grease
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Diijon mustard
dash of salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk and stir on medium heat until ingredients boil. Pour into a pitcher and set it on the table. (I doubled the recipe because our salad was really big!)


Low Sugar, Non-Dairy Rhubarb Crisp

Low Sugar, Non-Dairy Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb season means rhubarb crisp. Man of Steel means making a low sugar version of this delicious dessert.Rhubarb season is here and the crop is bountiful. After picking and freezing three bags full, just enough remained to make a small rhubarb crisp. With the Man of Steel watching his sugar intake, I decided to see how much sugar could be cut from the recipe in my 1977 Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Below is the adjusted recipe, which the Man of Steel and I agreed was still a bit on the too sweet side. However, when I took a small helping down to Mom, she made a face and said it was too sour. So adjust the sugar to your taste buds and enjoy rhubarb season.

Low Sugar, Non-Dairy Rhubarb Crisp

4 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup unbleached flour1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°. Place rhubarb in an ungreased baking dish (10x6x1 1/2″ baking dish). Measure brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix well. Cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over rhubarb. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until topping golden brown and rhubarb is bubbly. Serve warm.


Buttermilk Brownies

Buttermilk Brownies

These buttermilk brownies can be mixed, baked, and frosted in 40 minutes flat. The butter doesn't even need to be softened!A couple weeks ago, our Connection Group prepared the meal for a church fundraiser. I was in charge of dessert–buttermilk brownies with ice cream, as well as non-dairy buttermilk brownies without ice cream for those who needed that option, and Rice Krispie treats for the gluten-free, dairy-free contingent.

The brownies were a hit, and I was assigned brownie duty for all upcoming fundraisers. In case you’re looking for an easy recipe that will please a crowd, here’s the dairy version as the non-dairy recipe has appeared on Gravel Road before.

Dairy Free Buttermilk Brownies

1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon soda
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°. In saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Stir in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add cocoa mixture. Mix till well-blended. Pour into a greased 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Immediately pour frosting over bars. Spread evenly. Cool and cut into squares.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In saucepan, mix 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons cocoa. Cook and stir until boiling. Remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour over bars as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.