2014 Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

November 26, 2014 in Entrees, Healthy Fare, Holidays, Side Dishes, Techniques

We all need some 11th hour inspiration from time to time. If you’re still working out the kinks in your menu, here are some  favorite fun ideas.

What sweet little Thanksgiving Turkeys.

 

For starters, if you have a lot of kids in attendance, here are a few fun ideas to keep them occupied AND make some great contributions to the feasting table. As per the picture above, try making some adorable candy turkeys. Check out the video below:  Read the rest of this entry →

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Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Pine Nuts, Lemon and Parsley

November 19, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

This wild rice and salmon dish is a perfect salad for your Thanksgiving lineup.

Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Lemon, Parsley and Pine Nuts

Wild Rice Salmon Salad with Lemon, Parsley and Pine Nuts

To mangle Robert Burns, the best laid recipe plans aft gang agly . . . but also sometimes turn out deliciously regardless. My original thought with this dish was to make a sort of wild rice maki, that would be fitting on a Thanksgiving table, rolled up in slices of lox-style smoked salmon. Round 1: Tastes great, but sliced salmon won’t hold the shape together well enough. Round 2: Chopped up salmon and mixed it into the rice, and tried using nori to wrap the whole mixture up. Not sticky enough to work. Round 3: Decide the tasty rice mixture does just fine all on its own. Tossed in a bowl it is!

As it stands, the salad is gluten-free (some would consider it grain-free as well, as wild rice is actually a kind of grass) and dairy-free, though I have it on good authority that some crumbled chevre in the mix is a lovely addition as well.  Read the rest of this entry →

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Winter Grape Salad Recipe with Toasted Walnuts

November 16, 2014 in Healthy Fare, Side Dishes

 Winter Grape Salad – a blend of sweetness and crunch.

Winter Grape Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate

Winter Grape Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate Seeds

Thanksgiving sides are on my mind these days, and on the minds of most of American cooks preparing for the Big Kahuna meal of the year: Thanksgiving Dinner.

One of my favorite childhood food memories is the fruit salad we made every year for Thanksgiving. You know the one: fruit cocktail (with some extra pineapple tidbits thrown in, and maybe some coconut) and then that very famous whipped topping stirred in. I liked to pick through the bowl while spooning my serving to look for the maraschino cherries hiding behind the pear chunks. So, every year since my childhood (NOT saying how many that is, BTW) I put a dish at my table that has some sort of fruit in it on Thanksgiving Day.

I wanted to update this fruit salad – so I subbed a fabulous new Australian style yogurt for the whipped topping, and I must say I like this version better.  Noosa is a brand I tried in Seattle at the International Food Blogger Conference in September this year. It is an Aussie yogurt – and so delicious that I swooned. Truly, truly smooth and creamy and so flavorful. I recommend you drop whatever you’re doing and run to the nearest grocery store to buy some. I used the plain Noosa in this – for the tartness, but their other flavors would work well, too. I must try the coconut with this STAT.

The Hubs is addicted to the Strawberry Rhubarb Noosa because he grew up with a mom that made fabulous rhubarb pie. He will even clean out the garage if I promise to buy him some of this. Takes him right back to his childhood!

For crunch I added walnuts – toasted first, of course. Toasting nuts is something I learned to do from other food bloggers – and now is a routine step in all my recipes using nuts.

SO pretty for your holiday table!

(( Read to the end of this post to see what is reflected in the spoon in this photo!))

– posted by Donna

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Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

November 6, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Desserts, Healthy Fare, Holidays

A beverage that’s both refreshing and still very much flavored by fall.

Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

Fresh apple cider is always an autumn treat to look forward to, but I thought I’d try jazzing it up in a very simple way. This may be the perfect beverage for a Thanksgiving table – still full of classic fall flavor, but a cool, refreshing counterbalance to the hot, hearty and often rich holiday fare.

Getting to test drive a Nutri-Ninja Duo blender thanks to the team who hooked us up at IFBC this year was a total bonus. And yes, I will totally vouch for its design, ease of use and efficiency. This recipe uses 14 ice cubes, and it was rendered into delicious slush in seconds flat, thanks to the blade that spirals up the center of the pitcher.  And for extremely easy cleaning, that blade lifts right out – no having to scrape tediously around it at the bottom. But no matter what blender you have, this might be your next autumnal addiction.  Read the rest of this entry →

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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 Pecan 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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