Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Liebster Blog Award- Spreading Some Sunshine this Spring Break

This past week, my family and I have been Spring Breaking on Hilton Head Island, taking time to soak in some rays (a way to get some Vitamin D right?!?) and play in the sand.  An extra ray of sunshine was added to my week when Amanda at The Red Table honored me with a Liebster Blog Award. I had previously seen other blogs that I follow receive this award and thought to myself what a terrific compliment it is to be recognized by a fellow blogger.

If you have not heard of the Liebster before, it is an award given by other bloggers as way to highlight “worth-reading” blogs that have less than 200 followers (the actual word Liebster is German for “beloved” or “dearest”). I appreciate it so much Amanda- you really did brighten my week!

In order to spread some more sunshine, the Liebster Blog award has a few rules:
  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to them
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
  • Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 other blogs of 200 followers or fewer that you feel deserve recognition
  • Let your selected bloggers know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog
Here are my Liebster Blog Award selections (in alphabetical order):

A Kitchen Addiction:  I love her passion for cooking healthy meals
All that I’m Eating: I think the heading to her blog says it all: “The best food is simple and with quality, seasonal, local ingredients. With cooking experimenting is essential and variety is vital”
Berry Sweet Vegan: this blog teaches little tricks to vegan cooking and I love the “chef soundtrack” that is added to each post
Busy Vegetarian Mom: every featured recipe is one that I would like to try!
From Scratch Club: I am not sure how many followers these gals have but I am a total From Scratch Club groupie and wannabe! By reading this blog, I live vicariously in their world and am inspired by their connection to their community.

Until next time…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Kaleidoscope of Colors with Kale and Kumquats

Kale has recently gained popularity with more people being open to trying kale chips. It is so exciting to me when I hear others talk about their experience tasting a new healthy food and realizing that they actually like it! 
Kale isn't new for my family but kumquats are. I had read about these tiny citrus gems but never had an opportunity to try them until now. Kumquats are about the size of a grape, and like the Meyer lemon, the entire fruit is edible. The skin is surprisingly sweet and the interior intensely tart. 

Kale and kumquats are nutrition powerhouses, both offering loads of dietary fiber, vitamins C and A, calcium and copper. Kale is also high in magnesium and vitamins B6 and K. Together these two foods are powerful protectors against cancers, cataracts, heart disease and bone degeneration.

Kumquats pair so nicely with fresh chopped kale tossed in a simple vinaigrette. The colors are brilliant and the flavors explode with each bite.

 Kale with Kumquat Salad
1 bunch fresh kale (Yellow Wood Farms)
8-10 kumquats
2 Tbsp fresh lemon Juice
3 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black pepper

 1. To remove stems: with one hand, hold leaf stem and with other hand, grip kale leaf and slide hand backwards. The more tender leaf part should seperate easily from the stem. Rinse then rough chop leaves & discard (compost!) the stem.
2.  Rinse, then slice kumquats into circles.
3. Combine all ingredients into a bowl, mix, let marinate for at least 15 minutes.
until next time...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pure Maple Syrup Reloaded: Pork Tenderloin with Pecan, Orange, Maple Glaze

A few weeks ago, in a post titled Mrs. Betterworth It, I wrote about delicious maple syrup bran muffins and why using real maple syrup is so much better than the fake stuff. This post ended up not being as popular as other posts… a shame since these muffins are really super good... perhaps it was a result of a poor title choice, going too far with my pun.
This week's recipe of Pork Tenderloin with Pecan, Orange & Maple Glaze also calls for pure maple syrup and combines an interesting blend of seasonings that give the dish a Moroccan flair. The chopped pecans provide a nice crunch and the cayenne just enough heat. This one is a keeper and I hope you enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Pecan, Orange, Maple Glaze (recipe adapted from BHG, Sept. ’11 issue)
1 pork tenderloin
salt & pepper
¼ cup pure maple syrup (Morris Maple Leaf Farm, Lake Odessa, MI)
¼ cup orange juice
½ tsp. ground cumin (Penzeys Spices- not local but THE place to get all spices)
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 cup pecans, chopped (Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, Nevada, MO)

1. Place pork in an oven-safe dish; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Mix together maple syrup, orange juice, cumin and cayenne; pour over pork.
3. Coat with pecans; bake at 350 F until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Remove from oven, let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.

until next time...

Monday, March 5, 2012

SuperFast Supper: Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice

I am like a kid in a candy shop each time the current issue of Cooking Light arrives in my mailbox. I can’t wait to pour through the pages to see what types of recipes will inspire me to get in the kitchen and cook. Last month’s issue of Cooking Light (January/February 2012) featured Shrimp with Lemon-Saffron Rice in the “SuperFast 20 Minute Cooking” section.  The dish sounded tasty, healthy and easy to make, all important criteria in my opinion.  

I made this dish using local and organic ingredients whenever possible and it turned out terrific:

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot. Add ½ cup each chopped onion & bell pepper, cook 3 minutes. Add 1 minced garlic clove, cook 30 seconds more. Add 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, cook another 30 seconds.  Add 2 cups rice, ½ cup water, 14 ounces broth, 1 ½ tsp. oregano, ¼ tsp each: salt, pepper, saffron and paprika. Cover, reduce heat and summer until rice is cooked. Stir in 1 cup frozen peas and 2 ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice to finish.

Dinner is truly complete in 20 minutes, even when using “real” rice. The meal includes lean protein, several vegetables, and seasonings known to have health promoting properties. A super fast meal for those nights when you need (or want) something quick but want to keep it healthy.
until next time...
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