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This quick-n-cool summertime salad could also be called “refrigerator salad” as it’s a great way to combine bits of leftovers for a satisfying, healthful entrée. Choose whatever veggies are in season and switch out the orzo with hearty grains like quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries or faro for a boost of fiber, protein and B vitamins. The secret ingredient is our Lemony Yogurt Dressing, which only gets better with a handful of chopped herbs and makes a great tenderizing marinade for grilled chicken.

Summer Sunshine Salad with Chicken, Orzo, Chickpeas and Lemony Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients

Dressing

1 (8 oz.) container Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Plain Yogurt
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of one lemon (about 2 Tbs. juice and 2 tsp. zest)
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed (2 tsp.)
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, lemon balm) (optional)

Salad

1 cup dry orzo pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 lb.
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 cucumber, sliced (1 cup)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (about 15)
5 to 6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 to 4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

Preparation

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients, adjust seasonings to taste and refrigerate until needed.
2. Cook orzo in salted boiling water, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. While the orzo cooks, poach chicken in a sauté pan filled with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cutting board.
4. Shred chicken using two forks and place in a bowl with orzo, garbanzo beans, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Divide evenly and garnish with green onions and avocado. Serve with dressing on the side.

Serves 4-6.

EZ TIP: Substitute rotisserie chicken from your favorite market for the chicken breasts.
EZ TIP: For tender, juicy chicken, double the dressing recipe and pour over 4 to 6 pieces of chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to eight hours. Grill or pan sear, as usual. Stir 2 tsp. garam masala into the dressing/marinade for a taste of India.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics.*

Tres Leches or “three milks” is a classic Mexican dessert traditionally made with yellow cake drenched with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream; topped with whipped cream and a cherry. We make ours in individual dessert cups (no sharing required!) and switch out the milks for our creamy goat’s milk yogurt and tangy kefir mixed with a splash of evaporated milk and vanilla. The result is a light and refreshing fruity dessert that’s a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

Individual Tres Leches Cakes

Ingredients

2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup Green Valley Organics Sour Cream
Juice and zest from one orange

“Three Milks” Mixture

1 cup Redwood Hill Farm Mango Orange Pineapple Kefir
1 6-oz. container Redwood Hill Farm Vanilla Yogurt
1 cup evaporated milk or soy, rice or almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

6 individual dessert cups or glasses

2 cups whipped cream
3 cups assorted berries and sliced fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi and mango

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom (not the sides) of a 9X13 baking pan.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer (hand or stand) until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes), add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add orange juice and zest and beat for 2 minutes.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness with a skewer or a toothpick; the tester should come out dry and clean.
5. While the cake cools, mix together the kefir, yogurt, milk and vanilla extract. When cake is cool, cut out 12 circles of cake using the glass as a guide.
6. To assemble, place one cake disc at the bottom of each glass. Poke holes in each piece using a fork and pour 3 Tbs. of the “three milks” mixture over the cake. Spread 3 to 4 Tbs. of whipped cream over the cake, sprinkle with fruit and top with a second cake disc. Poke holes in the second cake disc and carefully pour about 2 Tbs. of the “three milks” mixture over the cake. Top with whipped cream and garnish with fruit. Cakes can be refrigerated up to 8 hours before serving.

Makes 6.

Chef’s Quick Tip: Instead of baking a cake from scratch, grab a yellow cake mix (regular or gluten free) and mix in a 2/3 cup water, 1 stick softened butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 1 cup sour cream and the juice and zest of one orange. Bake according to directions for a 9X13 cake pan.

Make it Lactose-Free: Substitute Earth Balance Buttery Spread for the butter, Green Valley Blueberry Pom Açaí Kefir for the Redwood Hill Farm Kefir, Green Valley Organics Honey or Vanilla Yogurt for the Redwood Hill Farm Yogurt, and Soy Whipped Cream for the regular whipped cream.

*Recipes and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics and Redwood Hill Farm .*

Cool, creamy and velvety on the tongue, our chilled avocado soup refreshes with a satisfying tanginess from our Redwood Hill Farm Kefir…even on the hottest summer days. It’s perfect for a quick entrée soup for the family, or portioned into shot glasses and topped with grilled shrimp for a party-worthy appetizer.

Chilled Avocado Soup with Roasted Corn and Pico de Gallo Garnish

Ingredients

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 ears of corn, roasted on a grill and removed from cob or 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen and thawed

1 large tomato, halved with seeds removed
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp. seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper (to taste)
Juice from 2 limes
Salt to taste

3 ripe avocadoes, pitted and peeled
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup Redwood Hill Farms Plain Kefir
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbs. chopped white onion
2 tsp. seeded and chopped jalapeno (to taste)
Juice of one lime
1/3 to 1/2 cup warm water or gluten-free chicken broth
Salt to taste

Preparation

1. To roast the corn on the stovetop, heat oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add fresh or frozen and thawed corn kernels and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until the corn is golden and toasted. Set aside.

2. To make the pico de gallo, chop tomato in to very small pieces and mix with onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper. Stir in lime juice and roasted corn; add salt to taste and set aside.

3. To make the soup, place avocados, peas, kefir, cilantro, onion, jalapeno and lime juice in a blender. Puree until smooth. Add warm water or chicken broth to thin out the soup. Add salt to taste.

4. Divide soup between four or six bowls and top with Roasted Corn and Pico de Gallo Garnish. Serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

PER SERVING: 285 CAL; 8G PROT; 18G TOTAL FAT (2G SAT. FAT); 23G CARB; 1MG CHOL; 134MG SOD; 12G FIBER; 11G SUGARS

*Recipes and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics and Redwood Hill Farm .*

Can we get a YUM!? Yum! Green Valley Organics offers a lactose-free version of the probiotic rich drink called kefir, and the result is dreamy. In “Mom’s” house, the Blueberry Pom Acai version lasted less than a day – it was absolutely delicious and a big hit with the entire family!

Available in both Plain, which is a wonderful substitute for buttermilk or cream called for in recipes, and Blueberry Pom Acai, Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Kefir boasts Flourish® – a custom blend of 10 live active probiotic cultures for optimal digestive tract and immune system health, making it a delicious choice for anyone looking to pack more probiotics into their diet.

What are the benefits of choosing Green Valley Organics Lactose Free Kefir?

•Made with real dairy, lactose free
•Flourish® is the probiotic rich combination of 10 Live & active cultures
•Less added sugar than many kefirs
•Kosher certified and gluten free
•Organic and delicious
•Certified Humane®

To learn more about Green Valley Organics, or to locate a retailer near you, please visit GreenValleyLactoseFree.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Your guests will say olé! when they taste this quick-n-easy seared flank steak. It’s infused with south-of-the-border flavors of lime and garlic and is perfect served family-style for entertaining. Serve on its own paired with pinto beans and rice or with corn tortillas, lettuce, cotija cheese, pickled onions and radish slices for tacos, or substitute buns for the tortillas and make tortas. Either way, don’t forget to top it all off with lots of Creamy Pico de Gallo made with delicious lactose free Green Valley Organics Sour Cream.

Lime-n-Garlic Flank Steak with Creamy Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, divided (plus the zest) (about 4 to 6 limes)
3 cloves chopped garlic
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak or flatiron steak
3 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup diced white onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp. minced jalapeño pepper
1 cup Green Valley Organic Lactose Free Sour Cream
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Preparation

1. Mix together 1/4 cup lime juice, lime zest, garlic, oil and salt in a 9X13 glass baking dish or re-sealable plastic bag. Add steak, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to eight hours.
2. Halve tomatoes and rinse under cold water to remove the seeds and pulp. Finely dice the tomatoes and mix in a bowl with onion, cilantro, jalapeño pepper and remaining 1/4 cup lime juice. Add salt to taste.
3. Mix sour cream with pico de gallo, adjust seasonings to taste. Refrigerate until needed.
4. Heat a grill pan, cast iron skillet or outdoor grill to medium high heat. Add oil to pan or brush grates of the grill with oil. Sear steak, 3 to 4 minutes per side, for medium rare. Add 2 minutes per side, for medium. Flank and flatiron steaks are best when cooked medium rare to medium.
5. Allow the steak to rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy, tender steak.
6. Arrange on a platter and top with creamy pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

Serves 4.

Creamy Pico de Gallo

For a quick-n-creamy dip for chips or a topping for steak, shrimp or chicken, mix about one cup Green Valley Lactose Organics Lactose Free Sour Cream with your favorite homemade or store bought pico de gallo or red salsa. Green salsa works great too!

PER SERVING (4 oz. steak with 1/4 cup creamy pico de gallo): 343 CAL; 25G PROT; 19G TOTAL FAT (9G SAT. FAT); 8G CARB; 76MG CHOL; 134MG SOD; 2G FIBER; 1G SUGARS

*Recipe and image courtesy of Green Valley Organics.*

It was a distinct pleasure getting to know the fascinating woman and green pioneer behind Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, which has been a family-run business since 1968, before the green movement was even popular! Pictured above holding one of her “kids” on the farm, Jennifer is shown standing in front of one of the many solar panels that are used to power her home, the farm and the creamery! What an inspiration to those who wish to offer more sustainable solutions in their business model and practice.

An Interview with Jennifer Lynn Bice, Owner of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery

Tell us About Your Eco-inspired Company!

Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery is an actual farm and a creamery producing all-natural, delicious and unique specialty dairy products that are also Certified Humane®. Goat milk products include artisan cheeses, award-winning yogurt and probiotic kefir. Lactose-free cow dairy products, under the Green Valley Organics name, include yogurt, kefir and sour cream. Located in Sonoma County, about 60 miles north of San Francisco, both the farm and creamery are solar powered. Owned by Jennifer Bice after starting with dairy goats in 4-H, now three of her siblings also work full time in the family business.

How do You Choose to Go Green in Your Own Life?

With the science of climate change becoming more known all the time, I wanted to do anything I could to try to help and make a difference. Converting our farm, creamery and house to 100% solar was a big step. We also have installed two electric car-charging stations that operate from our solar system and both the business and I personally drive Prius cars. We are constantly trying to reduce our consumption of whatever and wherever we can, reuse where possible, and of course recycle extensively. We also use only 100% recycled paper in the office and use only 100% recycled and/or biodegradeable tasting supplies at demos and tradeshows.

Guilty Green Pleasure?

Getting into bed each night and sinking into my 100% organic cotton sheets….

Can You Offer Any Encouraging Words for Those With a Small Sustainable Business?

Think about the big picture but do the little things that really add up. There are a lot of good ideas and articles out there to help get you thinking about how and what you can do. Everyone and every business can do things that will make a difference!