Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pecan Crusted Scallops

We went to Aldi today and it strikes me as odd or perhaps apropos that I spent $60 on primarily cheese. And a binge purchase-- scallops.

I have been so hungry for scallops. I got twelve jumbo scallops for $10. 

I decided to crust them in pecans. Normally one would grind the pecans and mix them with good quality breadcrumbs but I went gluten free and just used pecans.

I found some recipes online but didn't like the sound of any of them so I used them as a base. I found one that served with orange butter (1/2 cup orange juice to 2 tablespoons butter). I wanted mango butter. So I took 2/3 cup of frozen mango chunks, thawed them in the microwave with water, and puréed them in the food processor. I added three tablespoons butter and processed it with the mango.

I put this mix on the stove so the heat would melt it partially but not reduce it to liquid completely.

Next I put 1 cup pecan halves into the food processor, figuring a touch of mango and butter wouldn't hurt. Ground those as much as I could.

To flavor my scallops and make them sticky for my pecans, I whisked together:
- three tablespoons honey
- about one and a half tablespoons Briana's Blush Vinaigrette 
- about one teaspoon ground ginger

(The inside of the scallops ended up tasting like maple syrup when they were done. Not sure why.)

I rolled each scallop into this sticky mess and pressed it into the ground pecans. I arranged them in a Pyrex dish, poured the extra goop on them and baked at 425 for twelve minutes.

I served with a nice dollop of the butter, put some extra butter on the plate for the Brussel sprouts and used my mother-in-law's leftover zucchini pie as a compliment. Really good stuff. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Turkey Meatloaf

LCombine and shape into a loaf. Bake at 350 degrees 50-55 minutes. Put meatloaf in bread pan. I greased mine with butter.

This is a test. I think it came out wet. But we shall see upon cooking.

- 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- about 2 tablespoons fresh chives
- about 2 teaspoons fresh dill
- about 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing

Before inserting into oven, I topped with less than 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and a line of Harissa down the middle.

Half way through cooking I noticed it was swimming in its own juice. I poured the juice into a little saucepan, added two tablespoons flour and whisked on high until bubbly. Reduced heat to medium, added 3/4 cup skim milk, whisked more and added an equal amount water once bubbly. Wanted 1/2 cup milk & 1/2 cup water but the child did the measuring. Came out lovely.

Nutty Granola

I'm a big fan of making homemade granola. Today I deviated from my normal granola routine and tried a simpler one. And even then I didn't follow directions. As usual.

Dry ingredients went into one large container:
- about 5 cups old fashioned oats
- about 1/2 to 3/4 cup Archer Farms deluxe mixed nuts, raw
- about 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts with sea salt
- about 1/2 cup raisins 
- about 1/4 cup craisins
- about 1/4 cup dried cherries
- about 1 tsp ground ginger
- about 2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Whisk in another bowl (or large liquid measuring cup):
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- about 1 tsp vanilla 
- about 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- about 2 tablespoons honey 

Mix liquids into a dressing, pour over par mixture and combine until evenly wet. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 400, stir, redistribute and bake about 10 more minutes careful not to burn the fruit and nuts.

We had ours for breakfast with plain Greek yogurt, honey and organic strawberries.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My first attempt at lentils/dal

I noticed a five pound bag of jasmine rice on clearance at Target last week. After my discounts, I would end up paying $1 per pound for this delightful rice. Could not resist. 

Then on another visit, I passed the dried beans. They were on cartwheel and chickpeas were on clearance. So I bought black beans, four bags of chick peas and a bag of lentils.

My friends from India had fed me dal and this was one of my only experiences with lentils. I decided to be brave. I decided to be adventurous. 

Tonight I made lentils.

And my fancy rice.

I served with a mini Lebanese pita because I didn't have naan.

Delightful. But I have a mountain of rice, lentils and my dal veggie mix left.

I started one cup rice in the steamer.

I boiled four cups water as instructed by the bag of lentils. Tossed one cup lentils into water, turned heat down, covered them and forgot them for 15-20 minutes. 

In my huge Le Creuset skillet, I dumped:
- one can garbanzo beans
- about 1 cup butternut squash
- one steam-in-bag Market pantry frozen cauliflower (four servings), chopped
- peas, about three servings

I periodically added water to keep everything wet and make a sauce. To give the sauce some texture I added:
- 4 ounces coconut water/lemonade
- 1/2 cup skim milk
(The milk added nothing. Leave it out and make this dish vegan!)

Once that got cooking I started adding my spices. I just tossed stuff in the pan, so measurements are VERY approximate:
- one tablespoon fresh chives, diced
- one tablespoon crystallized ginger, diced very fine
- two teaspoons ground ginger 
- almost one tablespoon garlic powder 
- one tablespoon plus curry powder
- about 1/8 teaspoon hot Indian chili powder
- two teaspoons cumin
- two teaspoons paprika
- two teaspoons cardamom 

Once that got saucy and delicious I plopped about 2/3 of my cooked lentils into it (the rest wouldn't fit) and voilà!

Monday, July 6, 2015


My interest in cooking has been reignited by my daughter's pediatrician appointment. She's no longer as active as she once was and her BMI is up to 26.

So I have been doling out all food from the kitchen and decreed to my husband NO SECONDS. I am the most active person in our household and my research shows that my daughter's calorie needs should be pretty similar to mine. I count my calories since I weight lift... And walk... And work retail.

We're focusing on increasing our activity as a family, recognizing proper portion sizes and making better choices when we can. 

Normal weight management wisdom says to use smaller plates for meals. I traditionally use smaller plates and have switched to regular dinner plates. Why? For plating. A larger plate allows me to arrange the food prettier and you enjoy looking at it more.

For instance:
This is a breakfast of 1/2 serving Oikos Greek yogurt, vanilla flavor, topped with PB2; a half a banana, sliced; and 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter mixed with 1 teaspoon local raw blueberry honey. The plating makes it look like a lot, but you could mix it all into one heap.

Today's lunch was repackaged leftovers:
A bed of shredded iceberg lettuce with less than a half cup watermelon gazpacho; a few tablespoons of leftover chicken salad made with cucumbers and Bolthouse cilantro avocado yogurt dressing; a tablespoon of hummus scattered around the plate and a green olive on each drop; and Simply Balanced organic blue corn chips with flax. I call this fruity chicken nachos.