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Posts tagged “Ginger

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.

We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.

My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home  … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. If you don’t have a bread machine or bread attachment for your mixer, see King Arthur Flour for traditional bread-making instructions.

  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
  3. Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
  5. Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.

Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyShow & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Black Grape, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.

So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!

  • Mixed greens
  • Black grapes, sliced or halved
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • milk or rosewater, to thin

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious SundayAll my Bloggy FriendsTuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.


Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a thai-style curry soup with my aubergines … aubergine, isn’t that a fabulous word? It sounds so fancy and cultured to me. Usually I just use the word “eggplant”, but it doesn’t carry the same elegance that these beautiful purple vegetables really deserve.

Anyway, I came home from yoga class the other night STARVING and decided to begin the creation of the Thai curry soup. Somehow thought this would be a quick thing to do … I started up the grill because I’m really loving the smoky flavor from the grill and set a bunch of lovely vegetables on there for their “fire” roasting. Yes, I really did start up the grill just to roast vegetables. It didn’t take long to roast them … but then I got busy with other things and with the kids.

Hours later (just before bedtime), I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of my curried red pepper aubergine soup. It’s not that the soup really takes that long to make … it’s just that … well, I’m a mom … and I’m easily distracted (look! facebook!) … and my kitchen was already a mess so there was a bit of work to do there too … oh well, it got done eventually and I did get a bowl of soup and now I have a delicious soup I can quickly reheat for lunches this week.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Yields a little over a quart of soup.

  • 3 good-size Japanese Eggplant (the long skinny dark black purple kind of eggplant … or 1 large globe eggplant) … yielding about a cup of eggplant after roasting (a little more or less is fine)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 hot red pepper (or if you don’t want your soup to be spicy, use a bell pepper in place of the hot pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 of an onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice … to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Garnish: plain lowfat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and fresh parsley or better yet, cilantro!

Directions:

  1. Poke the eggplant all around with a fork. Light up the grill and when the coals are hot, set the eggplant and the peppers right over the hot coals to roast. (A gas grill would work fine too … you COULD even roast them in the oven if you prefer …) Here’s a shot of my eggplant and peppers on the grill. I used these 3 eggplant, the red bell pepper, and one of the hot peppers in this soup. The other two peppers I’m going to put in a salsa (I think …)
    Roasting Eggplant & Peppers on the Grill
  2. You don’t want to burn them, but the skins of the eggplant will turn dark and the pepper skins should turn black. Turn the peppers and eggplant over to make sure you roast all sides. The peppers will be done very quickly. Pull the peppers off the grill and let them cool while you finish cooking the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it is limp and soft.
  3. The peel on the peppers and the eggplant should come right off after roasting. Pull off the peel, chop off the top stems from the eggplant, and put the “good parts” of the peppers and the eggplant in a blender or handi chopper. Puree them until smooth.
  4. In a saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, soft and starting to brown. Stir in the eggplant/pepper paste and the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together till it’s well mixed, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the flavors have had time to “meld”.
  5. When the soup is done, puree it in a blender (or use an immersion blender). I’ve heard of people cracking the glass of a glass blender with hot soup, so you might want to let it cool a bit before blending it if you are using a glass blender.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. This soup reheats nicely in the microwave.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

My yoga friend brought me a little bag of tamatillos from her garden, but they weren’t that intense tart green like you think of when you see tamatillos–several of them had turned a light yellow color. She mentioned to me that she had cooked hers down and they were really sweet. That made me think of this tomato jam that Melissa over at ChinDeep had posted. In just an instant, I knew what I was going to do with the tamatillos.

I thought about making tamatillo jam, but I only had a few tamatillos and I have a huge box full of tomatoes from my Mom’s garden … so the tomatoes and tamatillos partied together in this spicy sweet jam. It’s a unique condiment … sort of almost like ketchup, but sweeter and spicier. Melissa suggests lots of wonderful ways to use it:

“Slather some on a toasted garlic bagel with cream cheese, dip your french fries in it, spread it on a thick slice of sourdough bread and top with gooey soft boiled eggs, place a little dish of it next to a cheese and cracker tray, use it as a sandwich topping with ham or turkey and fried onions, use it as a glaze for fish, chicken or pork. Top rosemary scones with a bit of chevre, tomato jam and crumbled bacon for a standing ovation.”

The only way I’ve tried this jam so far is on crackers with some cream cheese. That was wonderful. I have so many more things yet to try …

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

This is a cross between two of Melissa’s recipes: tomato jam and spicy summer garden jam. I did cut the amount of sugar considerably because the tamatillos really were quite sweet, and the tomatoes were too.

  • 7 tomatillos (about 0.425 lb), outer shell and the stem core removed, then chopped
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1.7 lb after they are peeled and cored), then chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped fine (use more or less depending on how spicy hot you want your jam)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on how sweet your tomatoes and tamatillos are … )
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Chop the tomatoes and tamatillos and put them in a saucepan.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until the jam is thickened to your liking. I cooked it for about an hour and by then it was plenty thick.
  3. I pureed about 1/3 of the jam in the blender, then stirred it back into the jam. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Melissa tells me it will keep in the fridge for two weeks.

Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Tastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad

With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!

So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad. Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • Mixed greens
  • Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
  • Peaches (1 peach per person)
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces.  (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl.  Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This is a #peachlove post.

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Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …

This recipe was also shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous FridaysSummer Salad Sundays and Scrumptious Sundays.


Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream

Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream

I was at the grocery store last week and they had these HUGE locally grown cantaloupe … my daughter had been staying with her grandparents for the week and would be coming home soon and she loves cantaloupe, so I bought one, brought it home, cut it up, and had this gargantuan tub of pretty orange cantaloupe chunks in my fridge to greet her upon her return.

She was quite pleased to see it and munched away at her cantaloupe. But, well, it was a HUGE cantaloupe and she didn’t make much of a dent in the big tub at her first munching. I expected she would have more later, but she didn’t. A day passed, then another, and she didn’t touch the cantaloupe, though I asked her if she would.

It became clear to me that I need another solution for using up this cantaloupe. I had seen a cantaloupe sorbet that was quite beautiful … I briefly considered that, then thought, no, I want something more creamy. With ginger. Yes! Ginger would be perfect with cantaloupe.

So this ginger cantaloupe ice cream is what I came up with. It’s quite healthy for you with loads of vitamins from the cantaloupe plus ginger is so good for the sinuses and digestion … but the most important thing is it’s totally delicious. The ginger is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet mellow cantaloupe flavor and I really like the cream taste and the hint of rum.

Even after making this, though, I still have a big pile of cantaloupe pieces in my fridge. Would anyone like some cantaloupe?

Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream

Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream

  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 2 thin slices of fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of cubed cantaloupe
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup whipping cream (I used 1/4 cup to keep my ice cream low in fat, but if you want it extra-creamy, add a little more)
  • 1/4 cup golden rum (optional, but it helps the ice cream from freezing too hard and adds a nice flavor … if you want the rum flavor without the alcohol, use 1 teaspoon of rum extract)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, stir together 1 cup of the fat free half & half with the sugar and cook over medium heat just until hot. While the milk and sugar are cooking, in a small mixing bowl, beat the egg till it is fluffy and a consistent yellow (that is, no blobs of egg white floating about).
  2. In a slow stream, add about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg, whisking or beating constantly as you do. Beat it a little more just for spite, then add it back into the saucepan in a thin stream (while whisking) and heat at medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
  3. Blend the cantaloupe, vanilla, ground ginger, and whipping cream in a blender until smooth. Mix the cantaloupe mixture with the cream mixture, pour into a jar, cover and refrigerate until it’s nice and cold.
  4. Just before freezing, add the rum and shake it well (or stir), and pull out the two ginger root slices. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Eat it straight away, or put it in the freezer for an hour or two to firm up a bit more. Either way, it’s lovely.

Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresTastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

It’s hard to choose, but I think this is my favorite of all the recipes I made for my party last Saturday night. It’s a rich, decadent, creamy no-bake blueberry gooseberry mini-cheesecake made with nonfat greek yogurt and light cream cheese. The graham cracker crust is made with candied ginger, egg white and just a bit of butter.

Well, okay, you do bake the crust, but the creamy ginger yogurt filling is not baked. The gooseberry sauce is cooked on the stove and it’s quite simple to make. Then you mound fresh, sweet blueberries over top.

This cheesecake is the most Bohemian, Ally-style cheesecake I have ever made. If you have ever run across my friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. She has this bold style of cooking, food styling, and photography that transcends amazing. So I’m dedicating this recipe to my dear friend Ally.

Each part of this recipe is quite simple, so I suggest making this in steps. I made the crust and the gooseberry sauce one evening, and set the yogurt to drain overnight, then mixed up the filling in the morning. This was done days before the party, so at party time, I just pulled it out, put on the sauce and the berries, and cut little slices for the friends who wanted to try the cheesecake. Seriously, serve this in little slices. It’s really rich.

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

a.k.a. Bohemian Blue Goose Cheesecake

Adapted from Food & Wine. Makes a 7-inch cheesecake with a pretty thick crust. If you want a larger cheesecake, double the yogurt filling recipe. There will be enough of the crust (although the crust will be thinner) and plenty of gooseberry sauce to make a normal-size cheesecake.

Crust:

  • 10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (if you want to make your own, here’s a recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger sugar (the sugar that falls from the ginger pieces when you make candied ginger … you can substitute white sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg white

Filling:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated  ginger
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 of a lemon

Gooseberry sauce: (makes more sauce than you’ll need for the cheesecake)

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups of gooseberries, cleaned (snip off the tough stems of the berries)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Topping:

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Mint leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 7 inch springform pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.
  2. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the graham crackers with the candied ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the butter and egg white and blend until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Set the crust aside to cool.
  3. While the crust is baking, set the gooseberries and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing a few of the gooseberries with a spoon to release the flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds (they will thicken the sauce). (If you don’t have chia seeds, you can use cornstarch or tapioca to thicken the gooseberry sauce–chia seeds are just a very quick, healthy way to thicken things.)
  4. Now for the filling! First you will make a “cheese” out of the greek yogurt. Take a coffee filter and place it in a strainer or funnel over a tall mug or something to catch the juices. Put the yogurt in the coffee filter and set it in the fridge to let it strain overnight.
  5. In the morning, mix the yogurt cheese with the cream cheese, honey, ginger and lemon zest & juice till smooth and well mixed. You might need to use a blender to get it smooth. (I did!) Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out to cover the crust. Cover and store in the fridge till serving time.
  6. Just before serving, spread the cheesecake with a layer of the gooseberry sauce, then add a tumble of blueberries (as many as you like). Serve in small slices because the taste is really rich, and garnish with a mint leaf or two, if you so desire.

Lowfat Bluberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsMy Sweet PartyScrumptious Sunday, Crazy Sweet TuesdayHearth & Soul Bloghop, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, and Cast Party Wednesday.


Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Of all the things I made for my first blog-iversary party, I think these meatballs were the biggest hit. My friends were asking me if the recipe is up on the blog. Now it is!

I was really excited that my daughter tried them … she said they were good, but a little too spicy for her taste. (My girl does NOT like spicy food at all.) She was wishing her friend who loves Asian food had been able to make it to the party because she thought she would have LOVED them.

These little meatballs really aren’t very spicy, in my opinion, but if you or your party guests are sensitive to “heat”, you could use less of the hot chili sauce and more hoison in the meatball sauce. I was worried the meatballs wouldn’t be salty enough because there is no salt in the balls, but slow-cooking them in the sauce made them just perfect. I have to thank SouthernCookingLight for the awesome recipe. I had intended to make feta-stuffed greek meatballs (which would have been awesome too), but when I saw these beauties with all that yummy ginger in there, I just HAD to make them.

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Adapted from SouthernCookingLight

For the meatballs:

  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 1 – 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or venison (I used venison)
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the garlic, water chestnuts and onion into fine bits. Mix with the remaining ingredients till well blended. Form 1” balls and place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for about 15-20 minutes, until done.

For the sauce:

  • 2/3 cup hoisin sauce (you can use bottled hoisin or make your own … recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tblsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup Thai Chili Sauce

Combine ingredients for sauce and pour over the meatballs in a crock pot, then cook at low heat for 6 hours. (Or you could heat up the sauce and meatballs in a saucepan on medium heat till heated, about 20 minutes.)

Asian Ginger Party Meatballs

Hoisin Sauce

Recipe from CDKitchen

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter or black bean paste
1 tablespoon honey or molasses or brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
20 drops chinese hot sauce, habenero or jalepeno
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl till well blended. At first it might not seem like the peanut butter is going to mix with the rest of the liquids, but keep whisking, it will.

That’s it! Store in a covered container in the fridge. It keeps pretty much indefinitely and is a great sauce to have on hand.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Skinny BloghopScrumptious SundayEveryday Mom’s Meals, and Thursday’s Treasures.


4th of July Fruit Kebabs with Dipping Sauces

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

After the rainbow fruit kebabs we made for my daughter’s birthday, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to do a 4th of July version with red, white and blue. We were having trouble figuring out what to use for the white, though. Are there white fruits? I suppose you could use apples or bananas … at the time, we couldn’t think of any … so we ended up going with angel food cake for the white … you could also use marshmallows.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

But then if you have cake, you want a dipping sauce, right? Something wonderful to dip it in or to drizzle over it to make it more dessert-like.

Three options occurred to me:

  1. Whipped cream: so you have a berry shortcake on a stick
  2. Strawberry (or blueberry) yogurt: a healthier option for dipping. You could even mix your own using plain yogurt and  crushed strawberries and honey
  3. Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce: oh yeah! the take-it-over-the-top, make-it-flippin-amazing option (this was my favorite … can you tell? The way the sauce soaks into the cake and contrasts with the fruit is just oh so wonderful.)

I am guessing you probably don’t need a recipe for #1 and #2, so I’ll just give you the recipe for #3. These 4th of July kebabs are a great project to do with kids … it’s a good pattern recognition exercise for little ones.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

Red, White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce

The sauce is, incidentally, the very same dressing I used on my Red, White & Blueberry Salad.

  • Blueberries
  • Angel Food Cake, cut into squares
  • Strawberries, washed and cut in half
  • Wooden skewer sticks

for the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge.

Skewer the fruit and cake on the wooden skewers to make a red, white and blue pattern. My daughter says the way to do it is to start with blueberries, then cake, then a strawberry so that you end up with a strawberry on top.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.

Fourth of July Fruit Kebabs with a Honey Lime Ginger Yogurt Sauce

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad

on Mixed Greens with Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad with Pinons & Goat Cheese

Hey guess what?  I’m guest posting on Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen today … it’s a yummy salad I made with my mulberries.

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Go on over to Carrie’s blog and check it out!

Mulberry, Goat Cheese & Avocado Salad on Mixed Greens with Pine Nuts & a Ginger Grapefruit Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFoodie Friends Friday, EveryDay Mom’s Meals and Summer Salad Sunday.


Red, White, & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

My foodie friend Justine over at Full Belly Sisters has been making red, white and blue foods like crazy lately … which got me thinking … I need to make a red, white and blue salad! It’s been in my head for a week, waiting to come to life. I’m so glad I finally took time to make it today (even though my son was upset with me for making something for myself since we had agreed to go out for lunch today … hey, it’s just a salad!)

Besides being just the right colors for the 4th of July, it’s got just the right mix of sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy to make a super-delicious salad. Tangy goat cheese pairs so well with berries, sweet onions kick up the flavor just slightly, the pinons add a soft crunch and a slight sweet nutty flavor, and the lime and ginger yogurt dressing takes it over the top.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

And you know what else? Before eating this salad, I felt tired and run down. But AFTER eating this delectable salad, my body felt so refreshed, revived, ready to go! Besides, all those gorgeous colors are a feast for the eyes …

Red, White & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Fresh Sweet Blueberries, washed
  • Sweet onion, sliced  and roughly chopped
  • Pinon nuts and/or almond slices, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe below0
Fill the bowl most of the way full of mixed greens. Arrange/tuck a bunch of sliced strawberries and fresh whole blueberries amongst the greens, then sprinkle on the nuts and crumbles of goat cheese . Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

By the way, Justine at Full Belly Sisters made a Red, White & Blue Salad too! Go check out her version.

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Summer Salad SundaysScrumptious SundaysManic Mondays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Ginger Rhubarb Rum Cake

Ginger Rhubarb Rum Cake {Lowfat}

A while ago, I spent a day playing with rhubarb and one of the things I made was ginger rhubarb sauce … the reason I made that sauce was for this idea for a rhubarb rum cake I had floating around in my head.

The first time I made the cake, I was really unhappy with it. It just wasn’t the cake I had pictured in my mind. I gave it to the neighbor and she and her dad loved it, so I figured perhaps I was being too self-critical.

So I made the cake again, with a few improvements. I fed some to my friend and asked him for his feedback. He is not a huge rhubarb fan so he liked that the rhubarb was not “in your face” like so many rhubarb dishes are. I, on the other hand, AM a rhubarb fanatic so I love “in your face” rhubarb dishes, but that wasn’t what I was going for here. I was trying to let the taste of the ginger, the rum, and the rhubarb gently interplay with each other.

I was worried that the cake was too dense, but he challenged me there. Who says a cake has to be light and fluffy? After I tossed out that pre-conception, I fell in love with this cake. It’s moist and dense and flavorful. It does have that delicate interplay of rhubarb, rum, and ginger and they really play so nicely together. I’ve been eating this cake for breakfast all week. Yes, breakfast. What? Who says you can’t eat rum cake for breakfast? I replaced all of the butter in the cake with the ginger rhubarb sauce, used half whole wheat flour for fiber, added pecans and rhubarb, it’s even got yogurt in it. It’s really not so bad for you. I think it’s a very pleasant way to start your day… or if you prefer, you could serve it with afternoon tea or at a dinner party.

Ginger Rhubarb Rum Cake {Low fat}

Ginger Rhubarb Rum Cake {Lowfat}

Adapted from Squidoo

  • 1/2 cup ginger rhubarb sauce (recipe here … if you don’t want to make the sauce, substitute some applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Rum syrup / glaze (a.k.a. “cake paint”)

  • 1/3 cup ginger rhubarb sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup golden rum

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the rhubarb ginger sauce, honey & sugars to make a smooth mixture. Add in the eggs, vanilla, and yogurt and whisk till smooth.
  2. Add the flours, ginger, salt & baking powder and stir till everything is fully incorporated into the batter. Fold in the rhubarb & pecans.
  3. Spray your baking pan with cooking spray and then dust with flour. I used my grandma’s bundt pan (even though the batter filled it only about half-way), but you could also bake it in a 13x9x2 inch pan if you like. Pour the batter into your pan and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes. Test it with a toothpick to see if it’s done. Let it cool for 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven, then turn the bundt pan over onto a plate.
  4. Make the rum syrup by heating the ginger rhubarb sauce with the sugars and butter till hot and bubbly, then stir in the rum.
  5. Using a basting brush, “paint” the cake with the rum syrup several times, giving it several minutes to soak into the cake between paintings. My daughter helped me with this part. She loves painting things. She decided the glaze should be called “cake paint”.

Ginger Rhubarb Rum Cake {Lowfat}

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

I picked a big bunch of rhubarb when I went to visit my mom on Mother’s Day. She has these two huge rhubarb plants that always yield way more than you could ever eat. You can eat rhubarb to your heart’s content and still have more. The funny thing is even as much as I took, it didn’t even begin to thin out the plants.

Anyway, I decided yesterday I was going to cook my rhubarb … I chopped it ALL up and put it in a BIG bowl, looked on the Internet for some ideas, and then I started playing … the first thing I made was Royal Rhubarb Crisp, my very favorite thing that Mom used to make for us when we were kids. Then I made this sauce with intent to turn it into a rhubarb slushie, but my experiments went a different direction. This is a really versatile sauce … You can eat it like applesauce or use it in baking or make a glaze for a cake with it …  you can even put it in salad dressing! It’s not very sweet, though, so if you want it sweeter, add some sugar or honey or agave or whatever sweetness you use in your kitchen. I may try making a cocktail with it too … we’ll see if there’s any left for that!

Rhubarb from Mom's Garden

Ginger Rhubarb Sauce

  • 3 cups rhubarb
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 thin slices fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Pull out the ginger slices. Puree the sauce in a blender (or just use it as is). I blended mine up till smooth.


Baked Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast for Mom

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Mascarpone Cheese

My mom loves strawberries. I know this because I remember, as a child, she always wanted one of her kids to go to Dairy Queen with her on Mother’s Day to get her free sundae. And she ALWAYS got a strawberry sundae. So I always ALWAYS think of strawberries on Mother’s Day.

My mom doesn’t live anywhere near a DQ anymore. And my dad happened to mention to me last week that they really needed to stay home and plant the garden this weekend. So my daughter and I decided that we should go surprise them with a visit. After dance rehearsal on Saturday, we hopped in the car and drove up there. We arrived a little after 5:00, walked in the house, and it was empty. Heeeeeellloooo? Mom? Dad? Anybody home? No response …but their dog was there … and the front door was open … so I knew they couldn’t be toooo far!

Mom was down on the dock, checking the fishing lines. That’s my mom, always fishing. Or reading. Or gardening. And dad? He had gone off mushroom hunting. Mom tried to call his phone, but she was having trouble. So I called him.

He made it really easy for me NOT to tell him we were there at his house. He mentioned right away he was on his way home and told me about his mushroom hunt and how I would have to call mom on her phone … he asked what I was doing. “Oh, not much,”  I said. We talked for a while … and I managed not to say anything about us visiting … So he was a little surprised when he drove in … hee hee.

Anyway, I made them some thai curry for dinner last night … and then I made this for mom for breakfast today. Because she loves strawberries …  I think Mom really enjoyed it … And then we planted the garden together. It’s been a long time since I have helped with the planting of the garden.

I love you so much, Mom. There isn’t anything I can give you, let alone anything I can do for you to thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I feel like this is such a feeble attempt at saying thank you … but I just felt like the best thing I could do as a daughter on Mother’s Day was to just BE with you. That’s the best Mother’s Day gift I could think of. I can’t take you to Dairy Queen for your strawberry sundae anymore. But I CAN make you something wonderful with strawberries …

We ate breakfast on the patio in the sunshine, overlooking the lake. I think it was much better than Dairy Queen. I hope my Mom agrees …

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Almonds & Mascarpone Cheese

Baked Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast

Adapted from “From Valerie’s Kitchen

  • About 4 1/2 cups of bread, cubed (I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
  • 4 oz. Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup of chopped strawberries
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Sliced fresh strawberries

Directions:

  1. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass or ceramic (non-metal) pan with cooking spray. (The acid in the rhubarb will react with metal, so I like to use glass pans when I’m baking with rhubarb.) Make a layer of bread cubes in the bottom of the pan. Top with the rhubarb and the chopped strawberries, and add dabs of the Mascarpone cheese. Add the rest of the bread cubes.
  2. Mix up the “goop” … in a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add milk, vanilla, almond extract, 3 tablespoons sugar and spices. Whisk till smooth. Pour over the bread cubes in the pan, then gently stir to make sure all the cubes get moist. At this point, you can cover the pan and refrigerate for an hour or several or even overnight. I just let it sit for about 15 minutes, and gently stirred around the cubes again to make sure all the bread cubes got a good soaking. It made a little bit of a mess with the mascarpone, but now we’re going to add the topping so that will make it all pretty again.
  3. About an hour before you’re ready to eat, make the topping by melting the butter. Then in a small bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and almonds. Sprinkle this all over your french toast bake, then add fresh sliced strawberries to your heart’s content.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 40 – 45 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let the dish set for about 5 minutes after you remove it from the oven, then serve.
Mom got the first piece.

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked French Toast with Mascarpone and Cinnamon Toasted Almonds for my Mom

This recipe was shared at Mom’s Everyday MealsMealtime Monday,  Trick or Treat TuesdaysTotally Tasty TuesdaysDelicious Dish TuesdayCast Party Wednesdays and This Week’s Cravings: Eggs.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens

with Blue Cheese, Cinnamon Pecans, and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

It was a “make do with what you’ve got” kinda lunch day. I thought I would have a salad, but I didn’t have enough greens left to fill my bowl.

So I went scrounging in my yard for greens. My spinach is still too tiny to pick, so I came in with a bunch of dandelion greens and a couple flowers as well. I know, these common yellow flowers are not generally well loved. Most people don’t want them in their yard. But they do have a lot of health benefits, they cost nothing and they’re really quite tasty and beautiful. The only problem is the greens do tend to get bitter.

However, bitter greens in a salad are really lovely if you pair them with something sweet. So I went looking for something sweet. No berries left, but I did have some dried apricots and cinnamon pecans. I threw in some chopped chicken and tangy blue cheese and I had quite a nice, well rounded, tasty salad.

If you are averse to using dandelions in your salad, skip the dandelions and use different greens. Arugula mixed with some fresh spinach would be nice.

Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

Apricot Chicken Salad on Wild Greens with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

  • Mixed greens (I used spinach and dandelion greens)
  • Cooked chicken (leftover chicken or natural chicken nuggets), chopped … I think this salad would be incredible with some apricot-glazed chicken … as you can see, I used the chicken nuggets.
  • Blue cheese crumbles (just a few)
  • Fresh or Dried apricots, chopped
  • Cinnamon pecans (recipe here)
  • Snipped green onion
  • Dandelion flower petals (optional … only use these if you have a safe, chemical-free source of dandelions)

Fill your salad bowl most of the way with greens. Sprinkle the salad with chopped chicken, blue cheese crumbles, apricots, pecans, green onion and flower petals. Drizzle with Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette.

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container.

Wild Apricot Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese & Cinnamon Pecans

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursdays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Banana Colada Ice Cream with Spiced Fruit Compote

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spice Fruit Compote

The other day I was cruising around the blogosphere when I saw some coconut ice cream … I’m not much of a fan of that dried shredded coconut, but I love the flavor of coconut … and I thought: wouldn’t coconut ice cream be dreamy? Or better yet, coconut RUM ice cream? Oh and then you could go a step further and make it pina colada ice cream.

I didn’t want all the fat and sugar from the recipe I saw so I made up my own. It’s fruity with that creamy coconut taste and an underlying hint of banana … because frozen bananas have a luscious creaminess to them that no other fruit can quite attain.

And just for good measure (and a little color!) I added some more fruit on top.

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spice Fruit Compote

Banana Colada Ice Cream

  • 2 cups fat free half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 of a can of light coconut juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
  • 3 Tablespoons of coconut rum

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix half & half & sugar. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
  3. Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
  4. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the hot mixture into a blender with the vanilla, frozen bananas, pineapple orange juice concentrate and coconut rum. Blend until smooth.
  7. Put the mixture in the fridge until cool. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Serve topped with the honey spiced fruit compote

Honey Spiced Fruit Compote

This makes a small batch of fruit compote, just enough for about 2-3 servings, depending on how much fruit you pile on and how big your servings are. Mix up the fruits if you like — pineapple or mango would be wonderful too.

  • 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
  • 5 – 7 strawberries, tops removed and chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • A dash of each: nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced

Mix all the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes or so or until the fruits start juicing a bit. Pour over the frozen ice cream.

Banana Colada Ice Cream with Honey Spiced Fruit Compote

This recipe was shared on Newlyweds Recipe LinkyMelt in your Mouth MondaysFull Plate Thursdays, A Crafty Cook’s April Link Party, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger Sugar

Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger Sugar

This is so simple it’s not a recipe. The only hard part about it is making the ginger sugar and really it’s not that hard to do. The way to make ginger sugar is to make Candied Ginger … the ginger sugar is the sugar that falls off the pieces of candied ginger. It has a wonderful ginger flavor and you can use it in and on top of all sorts of things. This has got to be the best way I’ve found to use it, though … it’s just incredible.

I’ve heard others compare a broiled grapefruit to grapefruit creme brulee. The sugar caramelizes on top and the juicy warm tart grapefruit with it is just heavenly  … you can’t even imagine how marvelous it is till you try it.

Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger Sugar

To make this delectable dish, halve a grapefruit and set the two halves cut-side-up on a broiler-safe pan.

Sprinkle the halves of grapefruit with ginger sugar. It doesn’t need a LOT of sugar, just a nice little sprinkle. (Recipe to make ginger sugar is here.)

Broil for 5 – 7 minutes. Take it out and enjoy it right away … or let it cool a bit before you eat it. I just couldn’t wait–I ate it as soon as I got a few pictures taken. It smelled and looked SO good …

And then I tasted it … mmmm. Make sure to squeeze all the juice out at the end … you’ll want to savor every drop!

Broiled Grapefruit with Ginger Sugar

P.S.  If you don’t want to make candied ginger, I’ve also seen this done with brown sugar and fresh ginger.

This “recipe” was shared at Full Plate Thursday and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

with a ginger, cumin & cilantro scented yogurt sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

One of the most romantic meals of my life was on a Friday night when my date and I cooked this together. We drank wine as we cooked, I chopped the apricots & garlic & ginger and mixed up the sauce, he made the quinoa and broiled the salmon. When the salmon was done, he plated the salmon and quinoa in front of me, drizzled that heavenly sauce over it, and sprinkled on the toasted cashews … then refilled my wine glass before he plated his own. Just the way he did that totally melted my heart. Later I asked him for the recipe … and he gladly gave me the printout. I loved this meal so much I just had to make this again, wanted to share it with all of you here on the blog, and so I decided I would try making it for my children for a special Valentine’s meal. They both love salmon (my daughter moreso than my son, but he will eat salmon). I wasn’t so sure about the quinoa or the yogurt ginger sauce, but I thought I would give it a shot.

It was as I thought … while I was photographing the meal, my kids got in a fight. My daughter ran into her room. Our cat persistently tried to eat the salmon I was “shooting” and I had to push her out of the picture several times …

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce and our CAT

We managed to coax my daughter out of her room to join the meal. They both tried the salmon. My son immediately asked for garlic toast, saying “don’t we have some bread?” So I ended up cooking up some quick garlic toast for both of them. My daughter gobbled her salmon up before I could even glance over at her. My son inhaled the garlic toast, ate a few bites of the salmon, and then declared that his sister could have the rest of his. She said, “I can’t eat all of this …”, but she did eat some of his. Neither of them touched the quinoa or would even taste the sauce.

But they were happy that I had Valentine’s chocolates for them. My son said he would have been happier with smaller pieces of chocolate since I got him the BIG Reese’s peanut butter hearts (honestly, I would too … I like my chocolates in little bites!) So he’s trading in his chocolate for some licorice. LOL. My daughter was totally entranced with her heart-shaped Dove truffles in the fancy swirly tin. At least I got one thing right!

All in all, I would say this meal is probably much better suited for a romantic dinner with your sweetheart or for a fancy dinner party than for a Valentine’s lunch with a couple picky eating teenagers. But hey, I have some delicious leftovers. And now I can share the recipe with you … frankly, I think my kids are crazy. The tastes in this meal are phenomenal.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa and a Cumin Cilantro Ginger Yogurt Sauce

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

Adapted from Eating Well

You could shortcut the prep time by making up the sauce ahead of time, toasting the cashews and pre-chopping the garlic and apricot and things. Salmon cooks in a matter of minutes, so in the time it takes you to cook the quinoa, you could have dinner on the table.

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 5-oz. container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 2  cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less … I don’t think it needs quite this much salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (or lemon)

Quinoa ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or add an extra 1/4 cup of apricots … I only used cranberries because I ran out of apricots! But they did add a pretty splash of red color … and I liked the taste too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa

Salmon ingredients:

  • Salmon, cut into portions of 1/4 lb for each person. (You should have plenty of sauce and quinoa for up to 4 people. If you’re serving more, increase the recipe.)
  • Old Bay seasoning (I used this seasoning only because I expected my kids would skip the sauce and thought the fish could use a little flavor on its own … you really don’t need it at all.)
  • Salt & pepper

For garnish:

  • Roasted, salted cashews, toasted and chopped
  • Extra cilantro leaves

To prepare:

  1. First, make the sauce: Stir together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Don’t use your handi chopper to whir it all together–it destroys the thickness of the yogurt. You could use all plain yogurt instead of the greek yogurt if you actually STIR the sauce rather than whirring it like I did.
  2.  Next, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apricots, garlic, onion, ginger, and salt and sautee until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then stir in the quinoa. Cover, lower the heat to low, and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile rub the salmon with salt and pepper, sprinkle with seasoning (if using) and broil or grill until the salmon is lightly brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve the salmon drizzled with sauce, topped with cashews and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves, with the quinoa on the side.

Cashew Salmon with Apricot Cranberry Quinoa

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysLove your Heart MonthCast Party WednesdayThese Chicks Cooked Recipe SwapMidweek Fiesta, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Katherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Freaky Friday.


Kumquat Prosciutto Salad with Feta & Romano

and a Kumquat Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Kumquat Prosciutto Salad with Almonds, Feta & Romano Cheese

This is an intense salad, with bursts of contrasting flavors all over the place. Smoky salty prosciutto contrasting with the sharp cheese, nutty almonds, onion, and then those kumquats come along and blow your taste buds away. Top it all off with some a tangy sweet kumquat ginger yogurt dressing and oh my your taste buds will start dancing.

Not for the faint of heart … this salad is bold and feisty.

Kumquat Proscuitto Salad with Toasted Almonds, Feta, and Romano Cheese

First make the dressing and let it sit while you mix up the salad …

Kumquat Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

This dressing has an intense ginger taste. If you are not a ginger fanatic, or if you are not sure if you are, I would recommend seriously toning down the amount of ginger in the dressing.

  • 1/8 cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat or lowfat)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root (if you’re not a ginger fanatic like me, cut it down to 1/2 – 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon kumquat syrup (from making candied kumquats … you could substitute orange marmalade)

Mix all ingredients until well blended.

Kumquat & Prosciutto Salad with Toasted Almonds, Feta, and Romano Cheese

  • Mixed greens
  • Thinly sliced red onions
  • Thin sliced prosciutto
  • Kumquat, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Shards of fresh Romano cheese (slice off very thin slices of the cheese)
  • Toasted almonds

Fill your salad bowl about 3/4 of the way with the greens, then add the rest of the ingredients as you please. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy the party in your mouth.

Kumquat Prosciutto Salad with Toasted Almonds, Feta, and Romano Cheese

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper ThursdaysFit and Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Teriyaki Chicken with Basmati Rice, Broccoli & Carrots

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

In Albuquerque, there is this fast food chain called Teriyaki Chicken Bowl. We called it TCB. It’s not a New Mexican thing, really, but they are all over Albuquerque. We went there a lot for lunch. It wasn’t anything fancy: just some chicken, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower in a delicious sauce over rice. There was no ambiance or decor. Just a bit of chicken, vegetables and rice in a bowl. TCBs were always packed at lunchtime. You usually had to wait in line to get your bowl.

I haven’t been to Albuquerque in years, but I still remember the taste of that chicken.

When my son and I went to California last month, my friend served us this Teriyaki Chicken. My son loved it, and when we got home, he asked me to make Teriyaki Chicken. I was so excited that he was asking for something besides pizzas and burgers.

I found lots of recipes for Teriyaki Chicken and there were so many variations on the recipe … some were really complicated, some were overly simple. I settled on one I found at Itsy Bitsy Foodies. It seemed about right to me. And when I added the steamed broccoli and carrots, to me, it transported me right back to TCB.

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

Teriyaki Chicken with Basmati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

Adapted from Itsy Bitsy Foodies

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp ginger, shredded (You can substitute 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger but fresh ginger is SO much better.)
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil
  • About 5 drops of sesame oil
  • 7 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water
  • Steamed broccoli and carrots
  • Cooked basmati (or white) rice

Directions:

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the marinade over. I then dug my hands in there and squeezed the chicken to infuse the marinade into the chicken. Besides that I just like to feel my food. I know, that’s weird, but I love to get messy in the kitchen. (Yes, I always wash my hands after touching meat.)
  2. Allow the chicken to marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Start the rice cooking and the vegies steaming.
  4. Spray a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium, dump the chicken and sauce into the pan and cook the chicken for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Remove the chicken pieces from the heat.
  7. To the remaining sauce in the pan, stir in a drizzle of cornstarch/water mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly, until it boils and thickens.
  8. When the sauce is thickened to your liking, slide the chicken back into the pan and stir to mix.
  9. Serve the chicken on a bed of hot cooked rice, topped with steamed broccoli and carrots (and cauliflower if you like!). It’s also nice sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Teriyaki Chicken with Bismati Rice, Broccoli and Carrots

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsFat TuesdaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Wonka Wednesdays, Gooseberry Patch Inexpensive RecipesWednesday Eats,  Thursday’s TreasuresMidweek FiestaGooseberry Patch Trip Around the World and Fit and Fabulous Fridays.


Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

Sometimes it’s good not to have anything in the fridge to eat. It means I have to get creative if I want to have something good for lunch. I went into the kitchen at lunchtime, starving, completely ravenous, because all I had for breakfast was one of my little cranberry apricot energy balls, which seriously wasn’t enough …

So here I am digging through the fridge. The soup is gone. The ham is mostly gone … but there are two mostly-empty containers of salad greens that need to be used up … okay, then, a salad, but what to put on it? I pulled some chicken nuggets out of the freezer and looked for something to dress this up. In the fruit bowl are some forgotten tangerines … my daughter has me buy these big bags of “cuties” for her … she can eat a whole bag in one or two days, and then she wants more … but eventually she gets tired of them. At that point, there are usually a couple neglected tangerines left. This is one of those times. She has moved on to gala apples, and forgotten the tangerines.

So I settled on chicken and tangerines, and then started wondering what shall I dress this baby with? Scrounged some more and found a partly-emptied container of greek yogurt … yes! that’s it! yogurt and some freshly grated ginger … perfect.

Oh yes. Perfect.

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

Chicken and Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Salad Greens
  • Sliced Red Onions
  • Tangerines, peeled, separated, and chopped into chunks
  • Chicken nuggets or other cooked chicken, heated and chopped into chunks
  • Toasted almonds (yes, toast them … they are SO much better toasted!)
  • A bit of fresh dill for garnish

First make the dressing and let it set to mix the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with the organic greens, and sprinkle with remaining ingredients as you please. Drizzle with the Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing … or go ahead and DOUSE it with it if you so desire because this salad dressing is SO good for you.

Honey Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing

There is no fat in this dressing (unless there is fat in your greek yogurt) and it has all kinds of goodness for your body. This is like the healthiest dressing EVAH, and I can’t believe it only has 5 ingredients. I never make things with only 5 ingredients!

I need to warn you: I really love ginger. I love the spicy heat of it. So I used a LOT of it in the dressing and I loved the intensity of it with the sweet tangerines and the crunchy chicken and the toasted almonds. If you are not a ginger fanatic, or if you are not sure if you are, I would recommend seriously toning down the amount of ginger in the dressing.

  • 1/8 cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat or lowfat)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root (if you’re not a ginger fanatic like me, cut it down to 1/2 – 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Mix all ingredients until well blended. The dressing will not be smooth because of all that yummy ginger root in there. It’s okay. Chunky dressing is a good thing sometimes.

Chicken & Tangerine Salad with Honey Ginger Yogurt Dressing

This salad was featured by Bon Appetit Magazine.

This recipe was shared on Foodie FridaysKatherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hopTotally Tasty TuesdaysKM’s Honey Bloghop and Gooseberry Patch Inexpensive Recipes.


Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

My friend had an antelope roast to cook, and I suggested we make a cranberry roast, remembering one my sister made years ago for a Christmas dinner, but of course I didn’t have the recipe she used. So I googled it, found one I thought would be good, and emailed it to her. She cooked the roast for dinner on Friday night–we were invited to join them.

I noticed at the end of the recipe I had sent her, it said “serve with cranberry chutney” … hmm, cranberry chutney. And I happen to have some habanero jelly my other friend gave me … hmm … this sounds good.

This chutney was just perfect with the cranberry roast. I think it would also go well with beef, venison or pork. It’s also yummy spread on hot, fresh bread.

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 1/4 cup habanero jelly (or other pepper jelly)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced–optional. Depends on how hot you like it! You may want to see how hot it is with the pepper jelly first, than add jalapeno to taste.)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

Directions:

  1. Put onion, garlic, and candied ginger in a handi chopper or food processor and chop into tiny bits.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and cook on medium high heat for about 20 – 30 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat Tuesdays and Tastetastic Thursdays.


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