Pumpkin Deviled Eggs

October 1, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Snacks

Pumpkin – in shape and flavor – deviled eggs.

Pumpkin Deviled eggs

Deviled Eggs with a splash of pumpkin!

October begins today, and you can tell by all the pumpkin recipes on food blogs everywhere. I love fall flavors, and especially pumpkin, so I decided to try pumpkin puree in deviled eggs.

Turns out, pumpkin and eggs are heavenly together!

You just decrease the amount of mayonnaise in your usual deviled eggs and swap it with pumpkin puree. And, we had some season’s end okra in our garden, so the tips made perfect handles for the pumpkins. You could use any green veggie – string beans or green onions or even a piece of bell pepper.

I won’t say how many the Hubs and I ate, but let’s just say this became our dinner after the photo shoot. Just a sprinkle of chili powder on top and these babies are perfect for a fall appetizer, snack, or == ahemmmm  == dinner.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

— posted by Donna

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Low Sugar Baked Apples with Coconut Walnut Stuffing

September 29, 2014 in Desserts, Healthy Fare

Baked Apples just scream out “Fall is here!”

Baked Apples

Low Sugar Baked Apples

I make baked apples every fall for two reasons: (1) they are soft and velvety and comforting and (2) they make my whole house smell delicious!

This version of Baked Apples (and, Yes, I do make a different version every time I make them, depending on my mood) has no added sugar except what is in the sweetened coconut. The sweetness level was just perfect in them, and so I plan on making these again and again this fall. Especially when my neighbors drop off excess apples on our doorstep.

When the air turns crisp and cool, I become a bit nostalgic. I grew up in southern Arizona, so fall leaves were a rarity for us kids. But, there was one place we could always find them: my great grandma’s house! We would load up in the station wagon and drive the 3 hours to her house. There was, of course some unpleasantness, as is expected when you load six siblings into a station wagon. ((Mom, she’s touching me! Mom, he’s looking at me! )) But, it was always worth the trip. You see, my grandma had about a dozen huge pecan trees in her back yard that made a crispy brown leaf ocean from fence to fence. We would rake them up into piles and then the fun would begin. We would jump into them over and over again, howling with laughter. Sort of an Old School ball pool, for you youngsters who can’t envision this scene. And then we would gather up all the leaves and hunt for the pecans. If there were pecans left on the trees, we would shake the trees until they fell off.

I used Braeburn apples for this recipe, which have the perfect sweetness and hold together well while cooking. If you want sweet baking apples, you could also use Jonagold or McIntosh.

Fall is here, y’all – so let’s embrace it! Find a pile of brown crispy leaves to fall over backwards into! Bust out the cardigans! Cook some stews and bake some apples!

– posted by Donna

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One Pot Poached Salmon with Fennel and Citrus

September 23, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Poached salmon with a soft buttery texture and citrus and fennel.

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

One Pot Salmon with Citrus and Fennel

Poaching is an under-utilized technique, IMHO. Poached fish is especially lovely because of the delicate flesh of the fish. Nothing is worse than dry, overcooked fish.

I recently fell in love with Coconut Milk Poached Fish, and decided to try another poached fish – my favorite: salmon.

Salmon is delicious infused with citrus flavors, and lemon alone is good, but the addition here of oranges and grapefruit make this salmon dish so flavorful.

When fall begins, I find myself longing for slow cooked food. This is a simple dish – and I just served it with crusty French bread for a complete meal.

One Pot Salmon

One Pot Salmon – Before

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20 Minute Meal: Spicy Asian Green Beans and Shrimp

August 29, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Green beans and shrimp for the Win!

Spicy and Asian is a good way to go with fresj=h green beans

Simple, easy and a perfect match of flavors and textures.

If you have a bounty of green beans in your garden right now – or you see a table at the Farmer’s Market piled high with green beans, do I ever have a dish for you!

This is a simple but stunning dish – and takes 20 minutes, max. The flavors of this sauce are clean and powerful, sweet and tangy. You could pretty much saute strips of leather in this sauce and they would be yummy!

Green beans are one of the healthiest things you can put in your mouth – so packed with nutrients. Healthy and yummy is a win-win!

 

– posted by Donna

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Peach Caprese Salad

August 11, 2014 in Healthy Fare

Why should tomatoes have all the fun?

Peach Caprese Salad

Peaches are a wonderful substitute for Tomatoes this time of year!

Peaches are so fabulous this time of year, and I thought they might be a great addition to a caprese salad. I just love, love, LOVE caprese salad. In any way, shape or form. But the other day I did not have any toemotes on hand. I did have peaches, so. Peach Caprese Salad was born!

My favorite way to eat a ripe juicy peach is to hold it over the sink and eat, letting the juices drip down through my fingers – on down to my elbows. Summer bliss!

This is really a great combo – ripe peaches,fresh mozzarella,mint leaves and a drizzle of really good olive oil. Tomatoes are really fruit, after all, so why not try peaches as a sub in?  According to Science Bob, both tomatoes and green beans are fruits. Hmmmm . . . . the green beans will have to await another discussion. The drizzle of balsamic vinegar, slightly reduced, is a perfect match for the sweetness of the peaches. And mint stands in for the basil here. Let’s just call this a Summer Caprese.

Desperation, not inspiration, is often the mother of invention in my kitchen!

Happy Peach Season, everyone!

– posted by Donna

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Grilled Fig and Halloumi Salad

July 25, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

This salad gives a whole new meaning to Grilled Cheese.

What's better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

What’s better than grilled figs and grilled cheese?

I just tried halloumi cheese for the very first time a few weeks ago and now I just crave it. When you sear or grill this cheese, the texture is truly remarkable: crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Another foodie milestone: halloumi cheese tasted. Check!

I used a Finnish cheese similar to halloumi,I used juustoleipa, a word that means “bread cheese.” If you live in my neck of the woods, I highly encourage you to check out Heber Valley Artisan Cheese  – and their juustoleipa alone is worth the drive!

The flavors and textures of this simple summer salad mix together perfectly. I like to grill the figs, but I cooked the cheese slices in a skillet over medium heat – to get a nice crust on the outside of the slices and melt the inside of the cheese. This is a salad I will make again and again – and will definitely try new ways to use grillable cheese!

Grilled Fig and Cheese Salad

Grilled Fig and Cheese Sal

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Japanese Crab and Cucumber Salad

July 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

Easy. Refreshing. Elegant. And stunningly delicious.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant.  Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

Light. Refreshing. Elegant. Crab and Cucumber in a match made in heaven.

This delightful crab and cucumber salad is simple and elegant and just stunningly delicious. I have made this salad three times this week alone – it’s that good. And, Okay, my garden is overflowing with cucumbers right now. So, yeah. Cucumbers on the menu every night. It is a very flexible salad – I have used the paper thin cucumbers as a base and then put different things on top – nectarine slices, feta cheese and green onions are two different combos I have tried. All yummy.

There are three ingredients plus a dressing so delicious I may have eaten half a bowl of it with a spoon. Not confirmed, just sayin’.

The key to the salad is the dressing – it is sweet, sour, tangy and smokey – full of umami and a perfect ying-yang dressing. The Japanese name for this salad is Sunomono – which literally means “Vinegared Thing.” I made a whole bottle of the dressing just to keep in the door of my fridge.

Also, the cucumbers have to be sliced paper thin so that they are soft and pliable. Use chilled cucumbers and crab (or shrimp!) and toss with the dressing at the last minute. Amazing. And Addicting.

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Curried Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney

July 11, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Healthy Fare

Easy Curried Chicken Salad with a touch of mango chutney. Summertime simple.

Curried Chutney Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad with Chutney and Craisins (I really didn’t plan for that much alliteration, I promise.)

You might have noticed I have a bit of a chicken salad fixation. I love the many variations on the theme, especially as a light warm weather meal. Great on top of greens, great on a sandwich, or all on its own. Creamy or not, savory or slightly sweet. In the latter category is one of my favorites: Curried chicken salad. Alas, so many of the ones I’ve tried go WAY overboard with the sweetness. A little is nice, but I don’t really want my chicken salad to taste like dessert. I discovered a creative solution to this that adds a tangy twist of its own recently – Zupan’s Market in Portland uses a bit of mango chutney as an ingredient, and that alone serves as the main touch of sweetness (the craisins add a tiny bit as well, but nothing else). Here’s my very simple version of their recipe:  Read the rest of this entry →

Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Skillet

July 6, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare

Don’t you just love zucchini season?

Zucchini Noodles Skillet

Thinly shaved zucchini is the pasta for this fresh summer “pasta” skillet.

Imagine all the best flavors of summer tossed in one extra healthy skillet. And then SEE ABOVE.

Some folks complain about zucchini stashed on their front porches, but I am not one of them. I just love zucchini season. It just tastes like summer to me – I love it raw, cooked, any which way. I crave Michael Symon’s zucchini Crudo salad.  And Oven Fried Zucchini Crisps are a real treat at our house! C’mon – I have even made Zucchini S’mores! Only a serious zucchini fanatic would make those!

And so my obsession with zucchini starts early this year- with this skillet.

You just shave the zucchini into thin planks and then treat them like pasta noodles. A few minutes in the skillet is all it takes to soften them perfectly for your dish. Add a few other summer veggies and – let’s just call it Summer in a Skillet.

Happy Zucchini Season, all!

– posted by Donna

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Balsamic Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Peppers and Mushrooms

July 3, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

Light and easy balsamic chicken salad recipe – can be grilled or broiled!

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad with Asparagus, Pepper and Mushrooms

I love a good chicken salad, especially any I can find that aren’t heavy with  mayonnaise-laden dressings. (Not that I have anything against good mayonnaise in the right place, either, but it really can weigh a dish down.) Back in the pre-Lily era, when I was working in West Hartford, CT, I used to frequent the Wild Oats prepared foods on an all-too-regular basis; his was before Whole Foods came to town, if you can imagine such a time. Seems positively Jurassic now.

Anyway, my favorite dish of theirs was a grilled chicken salad with a balsamic dressing. Perfect light fare, ideal for South Beach phase one, paleo, or low-carb in general – and perfect for any cookout if you opt for the grilled version. Read the rest of this entry →