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Archive for the ‘Fruit’ 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 ūüôā

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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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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Some of my summer favorites:

Sweet Corn and Poblano Chilaquiles

1. Easy, but tasty breakfasts like poblano and sweet corn chilaquiles or a soft egg over pan-fried sliced turkey and a corn tortilla. After so many years of rushed mornings of smoothie breakfasts in the car while driving an hour to work, now that I have time to make breakfast every day and enjoy it, I take advantage. I’ve taken to eating breakfast on the front porch while the Pup hangs out, playing with his tennis ball and watching the neighborhood – one of his favorite past times. While the afternoons have been dangerously hot, the summer mornings have had a slight breeze and a comfortable temperature. I nice cup of hot Earl Gray spiked with a touch of lavender enjoyed on the front porch is a perfect start to my summer day.

Lunch

2. Easy no-cook lunches. From an easy smoked salmon spread on crackers or crusty bread to the simple summer sausage, sharp cheese, and seeded flat bread above, these lunches let me feed the family lunch without taking much time from my day so I can stay on task with my daily to-do lists. I have a habit of making to-do lists longer than I have hours in the day to finish them. With a side of fruit and cut-up veggies, lunch is done and I’m back to work.

Tofu with Walnuts

3. Tofu crisped perfectly and tossed in a brown sauce with various mix-ins over brown rice. This one has chopped walnuts served over brown rice with peas. I’ve played with the seasonings for the cornstarch mixture the tofu is tossed in as well as the sauce to make different versions so we don’t feel like we’re always eating the same thing. I’ve used snap peas and carrots, the walnuts above, and just a couple nights ago used steamed broccoli. This meal is easy, versatile, light but filling – a great option the night after splurges such as pizza or burgers or steak fajitas, and tofu is super cheap (my grocer sells 16 ounces for $1.67!), making it way more affordable than Chinese delivery and much healthier (and tastier) made at home.

Halved Cherries

Peach halves

4. Desserts made from fresh summer fruits like peaches and cherries. My hubby, however, prefers something with chocolate! Can’t blame him, but I can’t let the fruits of summer go by without some desserts that remind me of the fresh produce and home-cooked dishes from my childhood at my grandparents’ house in Missouri. They had a wonderful garden!

Fried Green Tomatoes

5. Fried green tomatoes. Dipped in a vibrant sauce or stacked on a sandwich, I don’t care. Summer to me isn’t complete without fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomato BLT at Kerbey Lane Cafe is my favorite summer lunch. Ever. My homemade fried green tomatoes are dipped in a whisked egg then into a 1:1 mixture of flour and cornmeal seasoned with salt and pepper, then fried in canola oil in my iron skillet. It really only takes minutes for a small batch. Add ground cayenne or smoked paprika or oregano and other herbs to the cornmeal mixture to change up the flavor.

I could add coconut frozen yogurt, anything with mangos, cool smoothies on hot days, orange glazed beets, fried chicken, and summer veggies. Probably my favorite part of this summer has been the opportunity to change careers and spend more of my time at home with my family, something I haven’t had while working long distance from home since I married.

What are your summer favorites?

~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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Rustic Cherry Tart

I like to use the word “rustic” since it adds charm to what would otherwise be a blatant display of my lacking both a pie pan as well as artistic talent (I don’t make leaf-shaped pie crust decorations or anything remotely more advanced than what you see above). But this little rustic beauty is my pride and joy because it tastes like heaven. The sweet cherries, a hint of vanilla, and the flaky pastry crust make me swoon.

I’ve never been happier for my kids to NOT eat the fruit I bought them for their snacks this past weekend. If they had, I wouldn’t have this delectable dessert.

Halved Cherries

Lemon Half

Line Cherries on pastry

Rustic Cherry Tart

RUSTIC CHERRY TART
Downloadable PDF of Rustic Cherry Tart

  • PASTRY CRUST
    • In a large mixing bowl, mix together:
      • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      • 1 Tablespoon sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Add:
      • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, either chopped or grated into the bowl
    • Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse, moist sand
    • Add:
      • 1 egg
    • Mix together just until mixed
    • Add:
      • Ice cold water, 1-2 teaspoons at a time
    • Mix dough after each addition of water, adding water only until the dough pulls together
    • Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes
    • Cut parchment paper to fit just inside a rimmed baking sheet (mine measures 15″ x 10″)
    • After dough has chilled, remove from plastic wrap
    • Anchor parchment paper on your counter
      • I do this by laying the empty plastic wrap (used side up) horizontally lengthwise on the counter (parallel to the counter top) and place the parchment paper on top of the plastic wrap. The plastic wrap clings to the counter and¬† holds the parchment paper in place so it doesn’t slide as you roll the pastry dough on it.
    • Sprinkle the parchment with a bit of flour
    • Place disc of dough in center of parchment, sprinkle with flour, and roll to fill most of the parchment
    • Slide the parchment with dough onto the baking sheet
    • Either top and bake right away, or place back in refrigerator until ready to use
  • CHERRY FILLING
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Stem, pit, and halve:
      • 2 pounds dark red cherries
    • To the prepared cherries, add:
      • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
      • 4 Tablespoons sugar (less if your cherries are super sweet; mine were only so-so)
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • Stir to coat the cherries thoroughly
    • Arrange cherry halves on top of the prepared pastry
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
    • Let cool slightly before cutting

Rustic Cherry Tart

Now all I need is a tall glass of iced lemonade to drink alongside slices of this cherry tart and my summer will be complete. If you want a less rustic look, just roll out the pastry and place in a tart pan.

Downloadable PDF of Rustic Cherry Tart

What’s your favorite summer-time dessert?

~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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Mango Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Last week I made fresh mango jam out of 4 ripe mangos that needed to be used before they went bad. Not in the mood to drink a massive smoothie, and knowing even the kids couldn’t slurp that much down, I decided to cook the mangos into a jam. And that was a good idea. Little B was in love with it. She asked for the mango jam on crackers for a snack every couple of hours, and even took a little container of it to her mom’s with a fresh packet of crackers. It tasted so fresh and clean, and was so easy to make that it made me wonder why I hadn’t been making tiny batches of my own jam before.

I remember canning season at my grandparents’. The seemingly endless buckets lined up outside the house full of vegetables to be canned. I was a snapper. I snapped green beans. LOTS of green beans. Little hands were good at such things and it kept us out of trouble and out of the hot kitchen where the canning was happening. I never helped with the canning process other than cleaning and snapping veggies, so it’s really a mystery to me. I’ve never researched it, having no garden of abundance of my own leading me to explore such a storage option. Despite all the vegetable canning, I don’t remember jam being made or fruits preserved like the vegetables.

With the memories of snapping veggies in my head and no experience making a jam or fruit preserve, I googled a few recipes. I was in shock after seeing the amounts of sugar noted in all the recipes.¬† And had no idea where to buy pectin (and wasn’t going to pick up any anyway, since I was still in recovery and therefore, in my pj’s). I briefly debated in my head if this was a good idea, and decided, “what the heck.” (I attribute an exaggerated lassaiz faire attitude to the medicines I was on during recovery.)

MANGO JAM

  • Peel and rough chop:
    • 4 ripe mangos
  • In a skillet, add:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
  • Bring water and sugar to a rapid boil
  • While water boils for a few minutes, mash the mangos with a potato masher
  • Pour the mashed mangos into the water
  • Return to a boil
  • Reduce heat to a simmer
  • Let simmer, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes – 1 hour or until reduced to a thick jam
  • Pour into jar or other container and let cool
  • Once cool, cover with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate

Mango Jam

I filled two 32-ounce Corningware dishes with this jam. Including the small amount I sent with the kiddo to her mom’s, the first 16 ounces only lasted a few days. I really enjoy having this fresh jam on my morning toast. But what I was most excited to make with it was thumbprint cookies.

Drop cookied dough by rounded teaspoons

Indent cookies

Fill indented cookies with Jam

MANGO JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Adapted from Health Meals in Minutes recipe card
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Downloadable PDF of Mango Jam Thumbprint Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      • Original recipe called for 2 cups all-purpose flour, but I like adding whole wheat where I can
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Add and mix well:
    • 1/3 cup ground almonds
      • I ground a few handfuls of whole, raw almonds. This gave me more than 1/3 cup, but I’ll use the rest later as a crumb topping for fish.
  • In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together:
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
      • I use Smart Balance brand 50/50 butter sticks with Omega-3
    • 1/3 cup sugar
  • To the creamed butter and sugar, add:
    • 1/4 cup milk
      • Original recipe calls for skim milk. I used unsweetened plain soy milk, since that’s what I keep on hand.
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Beat mixture until light and fluffy
  • Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until a dough forms
  • Drop dough by rounded teaspoon-ful onto prepared baking sheets
  • Using the back of a non-bulky 1/4 teaspoon, make an indention in the tops of the cookies
  • Fill each indention with 1/8 teaspoon of the jam of your preference
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Place baking sheets to cool on wire racks for a few minutes, then slide parchment with cookies onto the racks to cool completely
  • Store for up to 1 week in an air tight container

Mango Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Serve for dessert, or with a hot cup of tea or coffee. I managed to bake these, cool them, and stow them away before the girls woke up this morning (they tend to sleep in quite late during the summer). These will be a nice treat for their dessert after dinner tonight!

Speaking of, it’s about time for me to get started making dinner: a comfort food meal of mashed potatoes, carrot sticks, green bean casserole, and almond crusted tilapia – yum!

Downloadable PDF of Mango Jam Thumbprint Cookies

~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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Peaches

My father-in-law came over early this morning with a gift of fresh peaches – from Fredericksburg. Yum! He had picked them up the day before and decided to bring some to hubby and me when he came over this morning to help us paint the trim on our front porch and fix our broken doorbell. How better to repay him than to immediately turn these beauties into baked peaches with an almond-oatmeal crumb topping!

Peach halves

Peach Filling

Crumb Topping

BAKED PEACHES WITH ALMOND-OATMEAL CRUMB TOPPING
Downloadable PDF of Baked Peaches with Almond Oatmeal Crumb Topping

  • FILLING
    • Wash and remove seeds from:
      • 8 fresh peaches
    • Cut peach halves into small slices and place in a medium mixing bowl
    • Sprinkle the following over the sliced peaches:
      • 1 Tablespoon sugar (more or less depending on how sweet your peaches are)
      • 1 Tablespoon flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Toss peaches to coat
    • Pour into a lightly greased deep baking dish
    • Set aside while preparing the crumb topping
  • CRUMB TOPPING
    • In a small mixing bowl, stir together:
      • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
      • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
      • 2 1/2 Tablespoons white sugar
      • 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
      • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix in:
      • 1/4 cup softened butter
    • Mix until well combined. Add:
      • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
    • Spread crumb topping over peaches
    • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes, until filling is bubbly and almonds in topping start turning a golden brown

Crumb Topping

Many thanks to my father-in-law who not only fixed our doorbell and offered to help hubby paint the trim on our front porch, but also brought these fabulous peaches! They made the perfect dessert: sweet and fruity with crunchy almonds. I had just mentioned to hubby the night before that we were out of desserts and I was going to have to bake something on Monday (we always have dessert). Making this instead of cupcakes was such a treat!

Downloadable PDF of Baked Peaches with Almond Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Is dessert a must in your house like it is in ours or is it more for special occasions?

~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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