Strawberry-Nectarine Sauce!

I love the dish a friend gave me – a heart shaped plate, engraved with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, which reads as follows:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.

But love will last forever!

And another friend gave me the beautiful bowl with Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God!

Even in the kitchen, I can praise God! I love these practical reminders of His Word, which encourages and reminds me of God’s love and how He wants us to put it to practice.

So what did I make today for a special Sunday brunch?

I went ahead and used the strawberry-nectarine sauce I created Friday on the fruit salad, as well as on the English muffins! Talk about delicious….

1 lb. of chopped strawberries

5 chopped nectarines

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 cup refined white sugar

a healthy dose of ground ginger

I put the 5 ingredients in a pot and let it cook down for about 2 hours, and then let it cool, before pouring it into a blender, and then back into the pot, where I placed a package of pectin, which allows the sauce to become denser, more alike to a jam. Needless of its consistency, I admit that I couldn’t reach well enough to lick the pot it cooked in, but I cleaned it off and enjoyed the spoonful, as it was quite tasty.

What can you do with a mix such as this? I have no qualms about doing a sweet and savory mix, so when I went to scramble some eggs this morning, I popped an English muffin in the toaster and toasted it twice, yes twice. There’s something quite yummy about slightly overly toasted bread in the morning, and placed a dollop of the strawberry-nectarine sauce right smack in the middle, and licked the spoon before washing it!

For the scrambled eggs, first I cooked 1/3 cup of a white onion; then in a bowl placed 3 eggs whisked with a little bit of almond milk, a heaping tablespoon of bacon bits, two handfuls of organic mozzarella cheese, freshly grated black peppercorn, and finely chopped some fresh broccoli.  Love making a healthy portion, as it leaves leftovers for the week.

When the scrambled eggs were done, I put a heaping tablespoon and then some on top of the English muffin and the strawberry-nectarine sauce. It was delicious.

A side was a mix of fresh fruit, including strawberries, pineapple, grapes, nectarines, and tomatoes, and a spoonful of the sauce on top, alongside a cup of coffee. It was spectacular! Brunch is one of my all times favorite meals to put together, as it’s a fast and filling meal that you can create with any ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator.

Have a blessed Sunday afternoon!

Saturday Brunch….all about the greens and fruits in the fridge!

It’s Saturday morning and I woke up with lots of energy, so I started cleaning, organizing, and washing clothes….then at the first promptings of hunger, went to the kitchen and decided to make my crust-less green veggie mini quiches, while waiting for the washer and dryer to finish its work.

What exactly did I put in these mini green wonders? Everything but the kitchen sink! In true fashion, it’s all about what you have handy.

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 10 oz. box of frozen chopped spinach (easier than chopping fresh spinach any day!)
  • 6 finely chopped portabella mushrooms
  • about a cup of chopped fresh broccoli
  • Italian sea salt and freshly grated black peppercorn
  • a handful of frozen peas

How does this start? I begin by cooking the onion with a dash of sea salt and freshly grated black peppercorn, while the frozen spinach cooks.  Once the spinach is done, I drain it and add it to the onion and allow it to mingle, while adding in the fresh broccoli and portabella mushrooms.  I let it cook for about 2 minutes or so, until the broccoli starts turning that bright beautiful green color, and turn off the heat.

In two separate bowls, I add

  • 4 beaten eggs
  • at least 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup organic shredded cheese (whatever kind you have in your fridge)
  • and then I choose one bowl into which I add bacon bits and more cheese, while in the other bowl, it has more veggies than the egg and milk mixture.

Then using a cupcake pan, with a large spoon, I fill them up to a little over brimming, as when this cooks, it will decrease in size as the eggs cook.  It’s good to leave them in a 350 degree oven for at least a good 45 minutes, so that it’s well done and not runny.

I typically take it out of the oven and choose to wait at least a good 15 minutes, as when it’s just taken out, it’s piping hot and will disintegrate should you choose at that time to unmold them. I use a knife to first cut around and then a nice large spoon to take them out.

The day before I had gone to my neighborhood Aldi’s, and saw that the nearby French bakery, Bonjour! was open…..so after loading the car with my groceries, I ran over to see what they had….and ended up purchasing two amazingly decadent French croissants….yes, totally decadent.

So once the mini quiches were not as hot, I sliced a croissant and in went a mini quiche, creating a new style of breakfast sandwich, which was gone in just a few minutes.

The pleasure of not having to run out the door for errands led me to take my time and get creative with the fruits at hand, so I cut up a large kiwi, sliced strawberries, and created mini skewers with red grapes and fresh pineapple pieces.

End result? A delicious brunch, with plenty of leftovers – as you will have at least a dozen mini individual quiches that you can eat as a snack, as a meal with a side salad, with fruit, or use any bread to create a sandwich, or eat them as is, either hot or cold.  I love having these, as it’s a super fast meal to put together any time.

I hope you will make these for you and your family.  They are a treat, as you’re having a meal which is healthy (healthier if you leave out the croissant, of course!) and very filling.

Have a great Saturday!

 

A Memorable Brunch – enjoying the additional last day of February 29th, 2020

I love inviting people to join me in a good meal.  Something good happens when you put great people together around a table for a meal.  There is laughter, encouragement, stories, pictures, and even fashion shows….yes, it was an Event of all Events….brunch started at 11 and guests didn’t depart till almost 7pm….the Brunch of all Brunches! And so much fun, enjoying my friends, some of which I have known for over 25 years….that’s the best part.

And the food….yes, I woke up early, so I could pop the scones in the oven…made three different kinds – blueberry-lemon, 3 cheese, and almond-pistachio scones…..I give a huge shout out to Sally’s Baking Addiction! (www.sallysbakingaddiction.com) I had not made scones in a while and ended up using one of her suggestions to Grate Frozen Butter! Yes, I did not understand that concept until I used it, and tried the scones and me, oh, my…it makes a Huge Difference! Though I did end up using almond milk instead of heavy cream and they still turned out pretty good.

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I took 2 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s organic Superfruit spread and beat it with one 8 oz. package of cream cheese, and that became a way to elevate the taste of the scones, as I did not add much sugar to them – I actually used Swerve instead, so they were not uber sweet. The cream cheese mix just added a layer of sweetness to the scones, and that really made the cheese scones shine, as they were sliced in half, with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese in the middle and a dollop of the cream cheese – talk about scone sandwich heaven! Delish.

But there was more than just scones to share….I made two different kinds of quiches – a spinach quiche and a veggie quiche.  Out of the two, I adore the spinach quiche, as it’s about 1 1/2 lbs of spinach!

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Why do I love quiche? Let me count the ways! You can have quiche for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All you need to do is heat it up and in less than a minute, accompanied by a green salad or fruit salad or a croissant, or a scone, you have a quick delicious meal that satisfies.

This is a crust-less quiche – I started making quiches without crust a few years ago, as it helps to decrease the amount of calories. Here’s the recipe for my spinach quiche:

Chop one medium onion, and cook on stovetop till translucent. Use a dash or two of sea salt and freshly grated black peppercorn as per your taste; I added a heaping tablespoon of real bacon bits. When I drained the spinach, I mixed those ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, I used 5 eggs mixed with almond milk, and an estimated two tablespoons of heavy cream, alongside 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.  Mixed all the ingredients together, placed in the ceramic pie plate, and into the oven it went for 1 hour and 15/20 minutes at 350.  You will want to not open the oven during this time, so save this for last, as typically I will bake everything first, and put the quiche to bake last.

This was so yummy….I love spinach!

You can use the same basic ingredients and then add whatever veggies you have – for the other two quiches, I used a pint of chopped portabella mushrooms, onions, bacon, and fresh broccoli, as well as shredded 3 kinds of different cheeses.   The quiches were accompanied by a green veggie salad and a fruit salad.

 

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Last but not least, I made chocolate cupcakes, using coconut oil, Swerve and maca in this outrageously light and fluffy concoction that paired with a hot cup of coffee made my tummy happy!

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I dipped the chocolate cupcakes into a hot bowl of chocolate ganache, using Venezuelan and Colombian dark chocolate, alongside a bag of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips and using almond milk to melt it all together. After visiting Whole Foods last week, a small packet of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut and Almond Butter caught my eye, and as I was looking to take the ganache to a different level, I added it in and made sure it was well incorporated. I sprinkled a little bit of organic coconut sugar on top…..I had one this morning and it was really delicious with a hot cup of Café Bustelo.

I love brunch, as there are innumerous options of what to make that can later become easy meals to put together.  What did you do on February 29th?

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Tomato, Carrot and Onion Couscous…..with Chicken and a Zucchini side dish, accompanied with a Bacon Cheese Biscuit!

ImageIt was the perfect afternoon to make some home-made comfort food!

I took one tomato, four carrots and one large onion, chopped them all and broiled them with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for about 10 minutes.  Then they went into a pot with one 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, along with some sea salt and pepper, and about two cups of low sodium chicken broth, and allowed it to cook for at least one hour for the flavors to come together.  In the meantime, I took chicken thighs, and broiled them covered in that vegetable mix for approximately half an hour, till the chicken was cooked through completely.  Found a box of couscous, which was placed in a pan and covered with approximately one cup of the vegetable mixture; the couscous cooked rather quickly.    

While the chicken was cooking, I took out two cups of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1/4 cup of chopped unsalted butter, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and about 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese and mixed it well.  Lightly tossed some sea salt on top of the mix and a dash of black pepper and kneaded the mix well together, and then with a rolling pin, rolled it out and decided to make unstructured biscuits and just took pieces of the mixture and stretched it out with my hands. No cookie cutter for this cheesey biscuit!

The best part of this meal? I’ve got left-overs!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Bacon goodness in Scrambled Eggs and an Everything-in-the-fridge Biscuit!

ImageI love making my own biscuits and this past weekend, I wanted a homemade brunch. Finding out that now I have become lactose intolerant, I now have to figure out ways to replace milk with other products…..and the first one that I am trying out is almond milk.  I am glad to say that so far, so good! I have not had any negative reactions. Had a cup of Nespresso coffee with the almond milk and it Worked!! Hallelujah! Happy Camper on that note!

I have an upcoming dinner that I am creating for a friend that requested “everything bacon!” So I decided to try out different things, beginning with biscuits.  Looked in the fridge and put everything and then some in these lovelies.

Not only did I use parmesan cheese but I also shredded about half a cup of sharp cheddar. Also sea salt and pepper went into the flour mixture, along with finely chopped bacon and ham, of course!! Talk about savory, savory deliciousness…and yes, I did use some of the almond milk in the biscuits.  I took some to a couple of people for them to try out and they all said the same thing…..”Delicious!”

So since I am in the midst of creating the menu for this upcoming “bacony-goodness” birthday dinner, I am open for suggestions for the appetizers. I was all excited about bacon wrapped figs or dates, but I was told no way by the birthday boy……so now I am seeking suggestions…..and will continue to surf to find some yummy bacon goodness for savory appetizers.

 

Olive Tapenade Mini Sliders with Dijon Mustard Potato Salad

Image I really love olives….in any way, shape and form!

First I made a simple green and black olive tapenade…with just a large spoonful of light sour cream….and Voila! a yummy tapenade made in the food processor in just seconds using pulse, which I spread on the bread for the mini sliders…

And yes, of course I included some green and black chopped olives in my lean hamburger meat….as well as 1/3 cup of Panko and one egg white to bind it all together….out of 1 lb. of meat, I made a dozen mini sliders…..super delish nice and hot on the cold olive tapenade….those amazing flavors coming all together….outrageously olivy! That’s all I can say….

But what about the potato salad, you ask?  I had a couple of red potatoes, which are softer than regular white baking potatoes and boiled them till they were cooked through but not falling apart. After taking them out of the boiling water, shocked them in an ice bath, while I prepared the yummy dressing.

Out came the Dijon mustard, low calorie mayonnaise, a dash of cayenne, cumin, a dash of turmeric, a dash of black pepper and 1/4 cup of crushed bacon.  Mixed this together, chopped the potatoes into bite size pieces, and mixed in cherry tomatoes…..let me tell you….this was amazingly flavorful and this plate was just right!

So sharing Psalm 128 is superbly apropos….

Psalm 128

How joyful are those who fear the Lord – all who follow his ways!

You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!

Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.

Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees (!!) as they sit around your table.

That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.

May the Lord continually bless you from Zion.

May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.

May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.

May Israel have peace!

Have a blessed evening!

Sriracha-Kimchee & Louisiana Hot Sauce Marinated Chicken!

ImageYes, I like to live dangerously!!

Having purchased a bottle of Sriracha and another of Kimchee sauce, I decided to mix it with Louisiana hot sauce!  If you’re wondering if I tried it before I marinated the chicken, I will tell you that all I had to do was lightly sniff it and almost choked in the process!

So I added in fresh lemon and lime juice, chopped some onions, found some bacon and decided to add that in to cut the spice a bit, and baked it on low for about 2 and a half hours.  Let me tell you that it did not take the roof off my mouth!  Because it cooked on low and for a while, it really gave the chicken a lovely crunchy taste….really good with asparagus, lightly cooked in 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter with fresh lemon juice……so good!

Can’t wait to go now and have some leftovers……. 

Early Saturday Breakfast: Strawberry & Muenster Cheese Mini Sandwiches!

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Remember that yesterday I shared with you how my Tomato Soup Biscuits came about? Biscuit left-overs provoke me to think out of the box…..yesterday not only did I purchase those lovely vegetables to make the absolutely-aromatic-fill-your-tummy-with-goodness-tomato soup, I also found that they had the most extraordinary bright red, juicy strawberries!

Knowing that I had Muenster cheese waiting for me in the fridge, out came the strawberries, left-over tomato-soup biscuits, awesome cheese…..what better combination for a mini-sandwich breakfast, accompanied with freshly grated lemon-ginger-honeyed hot tea???

I like to keep a lemon and fresh ginger in the freezer as it makes it so easy to grate….so one lemon was grated as well as one healthy heaping spoonful of freshly grated ginger went into 2 cups of boiling water, with the fresh lemon juice of the grated lemon, and a friendly drop of honey made this beyond delish….a wonderful accompaniment to the light strawberry-Muenster cheese mini sandwiches for Breakfast!

Have a Fantastic Weekend!!

Best comfort food for a chilly day in Miami? Why, Tomato Soup, of course!

ImageWoke up to 56 degrees……but in Miami, that feels like it’s a lot colder than it really is! I bundled up to go to work, in Boots, Sweater, Scarf and Coat.  Yes, it was That Cold to me.

On my way home, I passed an open field where they were selling fresh fruits and vegetables….so I stopped and walked right up to the stand where they had some gorgeous colorful vegetables. My grumbling stomach said…it’s time to make Tomato Soup!

I purchased some large tomatoes, a poblano and vidalia onions.  Couldn’t wait to get home in order to start creating a new style of tomato soup.

As soon as I walked into my kitchen, out came a large cookie sheet, where I spread out the tomatoes, poblano pepper and vidalia onions to broil them first. Into a stovetop pot went garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, dash of kosher salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and the juice of one lemon, as well as two cups of low sodium chicken broth.  As soon as I could smell the lovely aroma of the broiled tomatoes and the vidalia onions,  the tomatoes were peeled, and then were chopped up with the vidalia onions and the poblano pepper, and all went for a swim with the rest of the ingredients in the stovetop pot. After a good 20 minutes, small batches of the soup went into a blender, where it liquified the vegetables together….such an amazing aroma came from this light and superbly flavorful soup.

But there was something missing…..I always keep my biscuit mix nearby, so in went one cup of the tomato soup, as well as half a cup of parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup of chopped bacon.  In just 12 minutes at 400 degrees, the tomato soup biscuits were done!

Yum……now where did I put my soup spoon????