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Archive for the ‘Dairy’ Category

Lemon Cream with Blackberries

I used to bake a dessert nearly every week, but I’ve grown tired of cupcakes, pies, brownies, cookies, and the like. I’ve always considered my family’s diet healthier than most, and we’ve continued that trend into 2012, modifying it a bit by cutting back on baked treats. My alternative, and our family’s new favorite dessert, is lemon cream with blackberries. It’s so lemony, perfectly sweet, and made with only four ingredients. It’s quick to throw together, easy to adjust, and can be made with whatever berries you prefer. It’s a lighter dessert that satisfies the sweet tooth without making you feel heavy or guilty.

LEMON CREAM WITH BLACKBERRIES
Serves 2
Downloadable PDF of Lemon Cream with Blackberries

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the following, stirring until smooth:
    • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
    • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 3-4 Tablespoons sugar, adjusting to your preference
  • Thaw 1 cup frozen blackberries in microwave using microwave safe bowl
  • Divide most of the blackberries (reserving a few) evenly between two clear glasses
  • Top the blackberries with the lemon cream, dividing it evenly between the glasses
  • Spoon the reserved blackberries over the top, letting the juice drip down the lemon cream
  • These can be made ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to eat, or you can serve them immediately.

The lemon zest and juice add a wonderful fresh, brightness to the cream. The Greek yogurt turns very smooth and creamy with the lemon juice whipped in, making it taste like fresh lemon cream once you’ve added just the right amount of sugar. I tried it with thawed frozen strawberries last night. It was good, but I prefer the blackberries. They’re so dark, adding a beautiful color contrast to the cream, and they’re not too sweet or too tart. I think tonight I’ll be trying this with blueberries! Blueberries and lemon are always a tasty combination…

Downloadable PDF of Lemon Cream with Blackberries

While I haven’t been blogging much (a two-month hiatus!), follow me on Pinterest to see all the recipes I’ve been collecting from around the web and the ones I’ve tried!

Are you eating healthier foods in 2012? We’ve added legume night to our weekly menu. Last week I made these vegetarian “Snobby Joes” recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen and they were awesome served on steamed, buttered whole wheat hamburger buns.

What are your favorite healthier desserts? It’s fair to say this lemon cream with berries has become my new favorite. Or sometimes I simply want a glass of chocolate milk for dessert 🙂

Any new favorite health websites or blogs in 2012? I have been enjoying the posts by Heather Morgan at her Muffin Top Makeover blog. She’s hosting a virtual Healthy Living Book Club with a different book each month in 2012. Check it out!

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Lemon Zest and Quinoa

I often don’t spend much time on side dishes when cooking dinner for my family. I usually put most of my attention towards the main dish and stick with steamed or roasted veggies seasoned simply with salt and pepper for the rest of the meal. A few nights ago, however, I decided to use the rest of the red quinoa that was in my refrigerator. In a desire to dress it up a bit, I came up with a lemony quinoa mixed with crumbled feta. It was delicious!

LEMONY QUINOA WITH FETA AND ALMONDS
Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

  • In a medium saucepan, combine:
    • 3/4 cup red quinoa
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Turn heat off and let quinoa sit a few minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid, if any is remaining.
  • Stir in:
    • Zest from one lemon
  • Serve 1/2 cup of the lemony quinoa on a plate or a small bowl.
  • On top of each serving of quinoa, sprinkle up to:
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (I use reduced fat)
    • 2 Tablespoons slivered almonds

Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

Couldn’t be an easier, tastier side dish to fish or chicken. It would also be wonderful with some fresh chopped parsley, but my parsley is just starting to grow back after it quit growing during the 80-some days of triple digit heat we’ve had so far (I think I read yesterday marked 87 days, or today will?).

The lemon really makes the quinoa pop and the feta adds a nice creamy texture while the almonds add a light crunch. All in all, it tastes very fresh and delicious. This will be on the regular side dish rotation from now on.

Downloadable PDF of Lemony Quinoa with Feta and Almonds

In other news, I found that a couple of friends “pinned” a couple of my recipes to Pinterest, as did someone else not too long ago! I was very excited to see my posts pinned on a few boards here and there – thank you for liking them enough to pin them! If you haven’t checked out Pinterest yet, it’s quite addicting!

What are your favorite quick and easy side dishes?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

With my new life counting calories, I have a new favorite breakfast that falls within my 350 calorie goal for the first meal of my day. After my morning work out that lasts between 30 minutes and 2 hours given the day, I look forward to this meal. It’s sweet, fresh, and makes me feel fully recovered from a tough workout, but not like I’ve eaten too much even on days when I don’t work out at all.

BLUEBERRY PECAN YOGURT

Served alongside 1 cup Smart Balance brand Fat Free Milk with Omega 3’s and Vitamin E (110 calories) mixed with 1 teaspoon Hershey brand Special Dark Chocolate Syrup (17 calories) makes a total of 342 calories. With about 22 grams of protein between the yogurt, milk, flax meal, and pecans, this keeps me full until lunch. The live bacteria in the yogurt and the omega-3 fats in the flax meal and the milk all help to keep my digestive system calm, which is an excellent way to start my day.

Blueberry Pecan Yogurt

This morning I walked the Pup for about 15 minutes through the neighborhood. It was too hot outside to take him further. So, I brought him home and then I set off for my own walk, which was about 40 minutes of alternating a brisk walk with a jog. Now, it’s off to the grocery store before spending the afternoon making pepperoni rolls from scratch for the kids. Tonight is the 6th grade dance, so E is going to her first dance with a friend of hers. That means B gets to have a friend over since she’s not old enough for this dance. I have a house full of kids tonight, one sleeping over, and a 6th grade dance amongst it all. That means they get a fun dinner of whole wheat pepperoni rolls with a tad of spinach rolled up in them as well!

Have a wonderful weekend!

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Sometimes my kids just want chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. It’s a kid classic comfort food dinner that my kids occasionally crave after some of the more adventurous dinners they love.

They gave me the request for this meal when they came for their weekend visit on Friday. With that in mind, I headed to my local farmer’s market early Saturday morning to buy the week’s necessities. While I was still in recovery from Thursday’s trip to urgent care, I managed to get everything I needed for the week, including a pound of chicken from Smith & Smith Farms, 1/2 pound of aged cheddar from Full Quiver Farms, and zucchini and onion from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

Chicken

Cheddar

Zucchini

It makes me happy to show my stepdaughters that we can make homemade chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese from items found at our local farmers market. It lets them know there are a variety of places their food can come from, and how much fresher it tastes than the stuff out of a box in the frozen section of the grocery store, with a much smaller ingredients list (not to mention they can pronounce the ingredients). I’m not militant about everything that goes in their mouths, but I do like to ensure the majority of what I feed them is prepared at home with fresh, quality ingredients.

FARMERS MARKET CHICKEN NUGGETS
Downloadable PDF of Farmers Market Chicken Nuggets

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut 1 pound chicken breast into bite-sized pieces (about 2-inches)
  • In a medium bowl, mix together:
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
    • 1/2 Tablespoon Original Mrs. Dash Seasoning, or to taste (or use your own mix of seasonings)
  • Toss chicken nuggets in bread crumb mixture until well-coated
  • Place on lightly greased baking sheet
  • Spray lightly with olive oil
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • Turn nuggets and bake another 10 minutes or until cooked through
  • Serve with favorite dipping sauce

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FARMERS MARKET CHEESE SAUCE FOR PASTA
Adapted from this recipe at Every Day Health

  • In a medium saucepan, heat until simmering:
    • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
  • In a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together:
    • 1/4 cup milk (again, I use unsweetened plain soy milk)
    • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic (or 1 large clove fresh minced garlic)
    • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • When milk is simmering, add flour mixture and whisk until smooth and milk has thickened
  • Add:
    • 1/4 pound shredded aged cheddar
  • Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth
  • Pour over 1 pound whole wheat pasta (I prefer corkscrew pasta so the ridges get filled with the sauce), and toss to coat

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FARMERS MARKET ZUCCHINI WITH ONION SAUTE

  • Thinly slice 4-5 small zucchini
  • Place zucchini in a colander, salt with kosher salt, and let sit over a bowl until it releases some liquid
  • Once some liquid has been released, rinse zucchini and pat dry
  • Chop 1/2 yellow onion
  • In a large saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Cook chopped onion until soft, a few minutes
  • Add zucchini slices and cook until heated through
  • Add:
    • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh sage
    • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram
  • Cook a couple minutes longer, stirring to mix the seasonings well with the zucchini

Farmer's Market Kids' Feast

Younger B exclaimed happily when she tasted the zucchini, immediately asking what was in it that made it so good. She was thrilled to hear it was the sage and marjoram (thank you GG for the starter plant!) from our front porch – my only two potted herbs thriving in the intense heat. Everyone in the family loves this comfort-food meal. It’s delicious and filling without all the junk food fillers.

What’s your family’s favorite comfort food dinner?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

When I asked the girls what flavor of frozen yogurt they wanted to try first with the new ice cream maker, strawberry was a top pick. I’ve never been a fan of strawberry ice cream, and this frozen yogurt is so much better than that nasty fake strawberry flavored ice cream.

STRAWBERRY FROZEN YOGURT

  • In a blender, add:
    • 10 ounces frozen organic strawberries
    • 3/4 – 1 cup milk, as needed (I used light vanilla soy milk)
    • 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup sugar (because it just didn’t need a full half cup of sugar)
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add:
    • 2 1/2 – 3 cups of plain, nonfat yogurt, enough to equal 4 cups when mixed with the strawberry mixture
    • I used Brown Cow Natural plain nonfat yogurt
  • Blend until smooth
  • Place mixture in refrigerator to cool thoroughly
  • When ready, pour into ice cream maker and make according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Took mine about 10 minutes to freeze.
  • Pour frozen yogurt into large bowl with tight fitting lid and place in freezer until firm.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Yum! The kids LOVED it! Tasted like summer-ripe strawberries, wasn’t sugary sweet, and has zero fat. I’m in heaven.

Though, I may rethink my idea of heaven after I try the batch of mango-lemon frozen yogurt I’m about to make in a few minutes . . .

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Salmon Spread on cracker

After a morning of:

  • 5 sun salutations (these are the most effective way for me to warm and stretch every muscle before a run),
  • followed by a run of 2.5 miles (still building to the 3-mile mark),
  • then taking the Pup to the dog park for a couple of hours,
  • watering the plants and herbs (which are finally giving up their will to live in this 3-digit weather),
  • and scrubbing the entire downstairs, doing laundry, and vacuuming the whole house,

all I want is one of my favorite, no-cook-on-a-hot-day, quick lunches for a light mid-day meal before tackling the rest of my day.

Salmon

Cream Cheese, Horseradish sauce, Dill

Salmon Spread

CREAMY SALMON SPREAD WITH HORSERADISH
From REAL SIMPLE MAGAZINE’S Dinner Tonight: Done! recipe book

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine:
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I use fat free)
    • 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    • 4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly
  • Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices and fresh veggies.

The recipe book calls for salt and pepper to taste, but I never add any. To me, the horseradish and rich flavor of the smoked salmon and the bright, fresh dill are enough.

This is my favorite summer lunch served alongside a bowl of Pacific Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup.

Salmon Spread on cracker

This is also a great make-ahead lunch to take to work to change things up a bit from take-out or the daily sandwich. Just be sure to include an ice pack if you don’t have a refrigerator at work to stow your lunch bag.

What’s your favorite no-cook lunch?

Off to sip an espresso latte while figuring out what to make with three large bags of organic carrots . . . any suggestions?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Kitchen Aid

The best friends a girl could ask for (who I miss dearly!) got together and gave me a check with the directive to use that check to buy the lovely KitchenAid beauty you see above. I’ve been dreaming of this mixer for a couple of years, but even more so when my hubby offered for me to leave my day job and work from home, cooking and blogging (he totally benefits from this arrangement – for instance today he got fresh chicken chili for lunch and homemade whole wheat French bread).

I did some sleuthing online and found the beloved KitchenAid on major sale. Sale enough that I could add in the ice cream maker attachment as well!! I put it to work as soon as I could, meaning, the next day, after the bowl had time to freeze 😉

Making Frozen Yogurt

I found a basic frozen yogurt recipe online at Yogurt Everday and adapted it to the one flavor I crave all the time: coconut. With mini chocolate chips and slivered almonds mixed in. My all-time favorite frozen treat.

COCONUT FROZEN YOGURT
Adapted from Basic Vanilla Frozen Yogurt from Yogurt Everday

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the following:
    • 3 cups Fage brand 0% Greek yogurt (all I ever keep stocked in my fridge)
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • Mix together until sugar is dissolved
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before pouring into ice cream maker
  • Once thoroughly chilled and ice cream maker is ready (the attachment and I had a slight disagreement about fit, which took a good 15 minutes to resolve), pour yogurt into ice cream maker; follow instructions for use according to your ice cream maker
  • Mine took less than 15 minutes to freeze
  • Pour frozen yogurt into a large bowl with a tight-fitting lid
  • Mix in:
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Once add-ins are mixed in thoroughly, place lid on frozen yogurt and place in freezer another hour until frozen more solid, or serve immediately (like I did)

Yogurt
Yogurt mixed with sugar and coconut extract

Coconut Frozen Yogurt
Coconut Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Chips and Slivered Almonds

That’s the best picture I could get to show you because I couldn’t wait to dig in to this dessert. It. Was. SOOOO. Good!!! I am so excited to be able to make a variety of frozen yogurts at home now. I’ll have to make something really yummy for my best-friends-a-girl-could-ask-for when they finally get to come visit.

This morning, I put this new kitchen power tool to work again, this time making whole wheat French bread (that I’ve made before). It was definitely easier to make with this workhorse.

Mixing Bread

Tomorrow, I just may put it to work whisking egg whites for little meringue cookies. Maybe . . .

The list could go on and on! Now, as I leave to go tackle dinner, imagine the smell of fresh French bread wafting through the computer into your house. Nothing says home like the smell of fresh baked bread. I love being home after years spent in the car and working nearly 60 miles away. I miss my coworkers a ton (I now spend the majority of my time talking to a puppy instead of another human).  But for now, the newness and excitement of being home with time to jog and cook and sleep past 4:30 a.m. and do laundry and buy groceries before the weekend madhouse has not worn off. Not yet. Hubby’s right. No matter where I am, I will forever remain constantly in motion and always busy – which is how I plan to keep my KitchenAid as well 😉

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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