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Showing posts from May, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

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Let me count the ways I love my berries. Strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry sundaes, strawberries and whipped cream. Then there's strawberries with cereal and milk for breakfast or topping custards, puddings, and tapioca. Who can resist Belgian waffles or a yummy fruit salad? Strawberries with bananas, pineapple and sliced kiwi.
Strawberries also make a handsome garnish for salads and fruit punches. Garnish tip: Leave the caps and stems on. Slice sideways not quite to the caps and gently fan the berry slices for a pretty display.

Try a simple fondue dessert by arranging the berries on a dessert plate with a variety of dips like sour cream, melted chocolate, whipped cream, coconut, and chopped nuts. The more elegant French version is to serve the berries with a small bowl of Marsala wine and a mound of granulated brown sugar. The berry is dipped into the wine and then into the sugar and popped into the mouth. Washed down with a sip of the wine. Yum.

And strawberries…

What's in your freezer?

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What's in a person’s freezer says a lot about them. Love meat? Betting you have a steak or two. Hate shopping? Exactly how long do you think that old bag of veggies from Giant will last — you know, from before Giant changed its logo? Value freshness? Your freezer is likely empty except for ice cream (preferably Häagen-Dazs).

As you can see from the picture. I love love love my frozen fruits and veggies, and my freezer shows it. I have bags of frozen peppers, corn, green beans, frozen peas. For those diet smoothies I love so much, I keep a couple of bags of frozen berries (which also make for fun ice cubes in my water bottle). My son JP is fond of frozen diet meals for lunch and my husband is addicted to fruit sorbet. We buy fresh most of the time so sometimes it does look a little barren in there, especially right before we go grocery shopping.

And tucked in the back, inside a Tupperware snap on lid drink cup is some limoncello, leftover from a backyard fiesta that ended in a blur (…

Nuant: A Nutty Nifty Gifty

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It started a few weeks ago. I made a batch of cashew brittle for a friend with a bad back, remember? Just last week a second buddy had surgery and in two weeks yet another pal o' mine is scheduled for a procedure. Homemade candy makes a thoughtful and yummy get well present. And this particular recipe is as easy as it gets.

When my children were young 'uns, I liked to make this candy for them. Not that candy is ever really good for you but ... using honey and nuts and good quality chocolate makes these bite sized confections a step better than fillers and waxy chocolate found in commercial brands. Not to mention, the husband (AKA Farmer Paul) doesn't complain about the bits and pieces (they call them seconds in the candy trade) that aren't pretty enough to make the nifty gifty boxes.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED NUANT
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon or orange juice 1-3/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate 4 ounces white chocolate 2 wooden spoons 12 x 12 candy bo…

Gobble Gobble All Year 'Round

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Turkey is good for you. A great source of B vitamins that give you energy and also help your body cope with stress — something most of us need on a daily basis. Here's the short list of B vitamins found in turkey: niacin, B6, and B12. All of them little bodyguards for your sanity. Turkey's vitamin cocktail also helps patch up DNA and that will keep your cells in good repair.

Not to mention, turkey is one of the leanest meat sources around. Four ounces of turkey breast, even served with a small piece of yummy skin, has less than 1 gram of saturated fat. That’s nothing compared with the 4.5 grams found in the same amount of flank steak or killer ham with up to 5.5 grams of fat. And the leftovers make great sandwiches in a hurry -- yummy enough to keep me away from the deadly drive-thru window that got me needing the Flat Belly Diet! in the first place!
SPICY ORANGE-PEPPER TURKEY BREAST 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1/8 teaspoon cumin 1 tablespoon oliv…

And now for something completely different ...

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Experimenting in the kitchen is one of my favorite things to do. Two ripe avocados have been hanging out on the counter all week waiting to be sliced and eaten with the chicken salad I never made. Two packages of low fat cream cheese, a box of almond crisp cookies and lemon yogurt two days from the best used by date -- necessity is the mother of invention.

What the heck. Turns out that avocado puree, lemon yogurt and cream cheese make a subtle interesting blend of flavors. The pale slightly greenish yellow color might take some getting used to visually. But the taste? Yummy. And yeah, those are homemade candied lemon peels hiding behind the cheesecake, ready and waiting to be used as garnish after dinner tonight. Happy Mother's Day!
AVOCADO LEMON CHEESECAKE Crust 1 cup finely ground almond crisp cookies 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Thoroughly moisten the cookies crumbs with the butter. Press the crumbs in the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch X 3-inch…

There's Nothing Like Garden Fresh

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Every year, Frank the Rototiller Guy makes his late-April appearance in our garden space. I'm guessing in his younger years he wowed the ladies with his coiffed head of still thick hair complete with long sideburns eerily reminiscent of The King. He causes quite a stir in our neighborhood while he does a great job getting our soil ready for early plantings.

Farmer Paul wasted little time in putting down what plants flourish in the cooler spring days and nights. Yesterday, the cabbage patch went in. Not to mention the perennial bed and our herb border boasted the first harvest of the new season with ready parsley and ripe rhubarb. And so it begins ...
PARSLEY PANKO HADDOCK 4 six ounce pieces of boneless haddock fillets 1 cup panko Japanese style plain breadcrumbs 1/4 cup fresh finely chopped parsley (dried just won't do) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 cup plain yogurt 1/2 teaspoon citrus zest (I used lemon this time but lime, orange and even grapefruit works.)
Pr…

Chicken again?

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If ever there was a day that chucking the diet was tempting, today was the day. Flat tire, engine light on and then there was that pile of work toppling over on my desk. But John Paul weighed in at his physical on Monday eight pounds lighter and I'm down by a fair number flabby pounds so far.

Psyched to be making progress, we needed a healthy low fat, low cal meal in a hurry, and one that didn't make us feel deprived. This chicken tenders recipe cooked up fast, easy and delicious enough to feel like we were cheating -- the perfect way to cheer us through an otherwise crappy day. If I've said it once, I've said it fifty times -- chicken doesn't have to be boring.

ZESTY COCONUT CRUSTED CHICKEN TENDERS
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons drained crushed pineapple
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound chicken tenders
1 tablespoons honey
2 ta…

Cocoa Candy Time

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No special utensils are needed to make these scrump-dilly-umptious cocoa almond rum balls. Have your mini-food processor handy to fine chop the almond slivers and grind the vanilla wafers. A grater to get enough white chocolate shavings to roll the candies in for the finishing touch and you're good to go. You'll have approximately three and a half dozen yummy truffle-like sweets to give away ... or not!

COCOA ALMOND RUMMIES 1 cup almond slivers, finely chopped 1 cup finely ground vanilla wafers 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder 3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup rum 1/2 cup grated white chocolate bar for rollimg
Combine almonds, cookie crumbs, confectioners' sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix well. Add honey and rum and stir, making sure to moisten all of the mixture evenly. Form the mixture into one inch balls with your hands and roll them in grated white chocolate. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. If desired use individual candypapers…

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?

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Chicken is a staple for those of us trying to get healthier. Chicken day in and day out doesn't have to mean boring dining. Reasonably priced, low-fat, high-protein and it goes well with any side you can think of.

What's not to love?

Hadley asparagus time here in the Pioneer Valley means steamed fresh and slightly crunchy asparagus spears on the side. But if you're not lucky enough to have local asparagus where you live, some warm wilted arugula will add nice color and flavor. Drop a few raspberries in a glass of white wine and enjoy.

So why did the chicken cross the road? Answer: To get away from my hot skillet!

ROAST CHICKEN BREAST DIJON
2 boneless, skin on chicken breasts with drumette attached (5-6 ounces each piece)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup flour (oat or whole wheat)
dash of salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup white table wine
3/4 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 medium Yukon Gold p…