Category Archives: Recipes

Leg of Lamb Mosaic: Elegant Easter Dinner!

Butterflied Lamb, Stuffed w/Carrot, Spinach, Garlic, HerbsLamb can be a welcome change from typical roasts; perfect for special occasions. This lamb recipe is big on flavor, presentation, and economy; Leg of Lamb is usually better-priced than other cuts.

With some prep done ahead of time (like roasting the red peppers before-hand), it’s not too much work all at once. The whole recipe could be prepared the day before and refrigerated, then roasted on serving day; in such a case, the overnight chilling may make it take a bit longer to cook.

Serves 8 or so, depending on size of lamb, and appetites.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 to 5 lb. leg of lamb, boneless*
  • 6 or so red peppers (or 1-2 c. roasted red peppers)
  • 4-5 med. lg. carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (or substitute 6 oz. spinach)
  • 1/2 c. or so of diced onion (half of one small onion)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. parsley
  • 1/4 c. fresh rosemary and mint, if available
  • 1 c. chicken stock

 PREPARATION

1. Ahead of time, prepare roasted red peppers. Roast in iron pan, at highest oven temperature: > 6 or so red peppers (as many as might fit in the pan)

2. Check them every 20 minutes or so. As the tops get slightly blackened, turn them to get the other sides cooked as well. When skins have darkened, set the pan aside to cool. Remove skin and seeds when cooled.

3. Set red peppers aside.

4. Also ahead of time, pre-cook the carrots, by steaming or microwaving until somewhat tender. Set the cooked carrots aside. Use: > 4-5 med. lg. carrots, peeled

5. Prepare the Swiss Chard  by removing the tough inner rib (or substitute spinach): > 1 bunch of Swiss Chard (or 6 oz. spinach)

6. Also ahead of time, prepare a seasoning spread of the following, mixed together and set aside: > 1/2 c. or so of diced onion (half of one small onion) > 2 large garlic cloves, minced > 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper > 1/4 c. parsley > 1/4 c. fresh rosemary and mint, if available

7. Prepare the lamb. Use: > 4 to 5 lb. leg of lamb, boneless

8. Open the fatter parts of the lamb up by slicing cross-ways, almost all the way through, spreading the “butterflied” piece open. Pound the meat until flattened, with a meat-tenderizing hammer.

9. Spread the pounded, butterflied lamb with: > The seasoning spread (of the chopped herbs/garlic)

10. Add the following ingredients onto the lamb in layers: > The trimmed Swiss Chard (or spinach) > The cooked carrots, left whole > 1-2 c. roasted red peppers, wrapped around the carrots

11. Starting with the smaller end, start rolling the lamb up, and tie it with kitchen string. Roast at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hrs. (to 130 degrees internally, when tested with a meat thermometer). Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Add the following to the drippings in the pan, making au jus: > 1 c. chicken stock

12. Serve the lamb with a simple side dish of rice or red potatoes, and perhaps a sprig of spearmint or rosemary. Also popular: A little side dish of spearmint jelly.

*If boneless leg of lamb is not available, it’s not too difficult to cut the meat off of a semi-boneless leg of lamb. Even if it ends up as two pieces, it still all gets tied together and works out anyway.

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Frittata: Great Brunch! (Spinach, Artichoke or Green Chile)

I’m rounding up favorite recipes for the brunch we’ll be having for our annual Easter Egg Hunt. Thought I’d share this one with you! Even though I don’t use much flour these days, in this particular case, the flour helps the dish to hold up, and to cut easily into small serving pieces. For gluten-free, check the note below on making the frittata “omelet-style”.

Make Frittata w/Spinach, or Frozen Artichoke Hearts (Or Green Chiles!)This simple recipe is good for serving a crowd, when one doesn’t want to deal with last minute preparations. A bit of flour in the mix helps the dish hold up. Packaged, grated cheeses are convenient, but cost a bit more, and the choice of cheese is limited. An alternative to grating: slice through a chunk of cheese, stack it and cut through it again to get smaller pieces. It works just as well as the grated cheese.

 Fancy chefs may like making their frittatas more like an omelet is made, as the eggs cook just the right amount, and the toppings are broiled, with bubbly, melted cheese. For that method, eggs are whisked with a bit of water, and added to a hot, oiled skillet. The cooked layer is lifted to the top with a spatula, and fillings of choice can be layered on next, with cheese on top. The whole pan then gets broiled until the cheese is bubbly. A glorified omelet, really, but it looks especially appetizing with the broiled cheese on top.

This frittata recipe serves 4-6 as a main dish, or more as an appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. Jack cheese or other favorite, divided in half (about 2 c. grated)
  • 6 eggs
  • 12 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • One 8 oz. bag frozen spinach
  • 1 c. or so grated Jack cheese
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes, sliced

PREPARATION

1. Prepare cheese by grating (or slicing/chopping): > 8 oz. Jack cheese, divided in half

2. Reserve approx. half of grated cheese for the top layer. Mix well: > 6 eggs

3. Add to eggs in bowl: > 12 oz. Ricotta cheese > One 8 oz. bag frozen spinach > approx. half of the grated cheese > 1/3 c. flour > 3/4 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. black pepper > 1/2 tsp. salt

4. Mix well. Pour into buttered 13×9″ dish, and top with: > 3 or 4 tomatoes, sliced

5. Last add: > Reserved grated cheese

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, until golden on top. Serve warm or at room-temperature. Cut into smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer.

VARIATIONS

Artichoke Frittata

Omit spinach and salt. Substitute: > Three 6.5oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained (or 1 bag frozen artichoke hearts plus 1/2 tsp. salt)

 

Green Chile Frittata

Omit spinach and Jack cheese. To serve, top w/cilantro. For frittata, substitute: > Two 7 oz. cans green chilis, drained > 8 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated

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Chicken w/ Sesame Orange Marinade (Easy Recipe for a Crowd)

I’m starting to plan for our annual Easter Egg Hunt on Palm Sunday, and think I’ll serve this, since it makes so much. Yes, it’s also nice to serve on a smaller scale (just reduce the recipe). But it’s ideal when you need a big batch of something, and don’t have a lot of time for preparation. Sesame oil is a key ingredient–it’s loaded with flavor, and is a healthier choice than many other vegetable oils. It’s the base of a great sauce!

Sesame Orange Chicken for a CrowdOccasions come up when a simple meat recipe is desired, to serve a large number of people. Boneless chicken thighs are a tasty, economical choice; creating a simple marinade makes preparations easier. The thighs can be partially cooked in the oven, then brought to the grill if desired, to add extra flavor.

This chicken will be tender and moist; it can be served with the homemade sauce, or on its own. 40 or so servings.

INGREDIENTS

20 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 c. hot water

3 TBS. salt

1 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

1 c. lime (or lemon) juice

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (or peanut oil)

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

2 TBS. lemon juice

1 1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. hot pepper oil (or 1 tsp. cayenne)

1 c. toasted sesame (or peanut) oil

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 bunch chives (or green onion), finely chopped

PREPARATION

1. In a 3-5 gallon bucket, or other large container, mix to dissolve: > 2 c. hot water > 3 TBS. salt

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well: > 1 c. frozen orange juice concentrate > 1 c. lime (or lemon) juice > 1/2 c. sugar > 1/4 c. white vinegar > 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (or peanut oil)

3. Let marinade cool off some; marinate in the above mix overnight: > 20 lb. boneless chicken thighs

4. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Finish on grill for extra flavor, or bake a bit longer, until done. Serve warm or cold.

5. To serve with the above sauce, add the following to a small bowl: > 1/2 c. frozen orange juice concentrate > 2 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/4 tsp. salt > 2 tsp. hot pepper oil (or 1 tsp. cayenne)

6. Slowly whisk in, in a slow stream, until incorporated: > 1 c. toasted sesame (or peanut) oil

7. Garnish sauce with: > 1 red pepper, finely chopped > 1 bunch chives (or green onion), finely chopped

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The Weatherman Says Drought, But Joel 3:18 Promises Water!

We went on a little tour of the Napa wine country this past summer, taking this picture of a fountain at one of the wineries. It was almost like a dream; we bought some cheese while there; it was still warm from being “pulled” that morning. We had some excellent bread and other snacks to go with that cheese, and had a beautiful view of the countryside.

Remember the Lord's Promises! ("In that day...")Even though a drought has been officially declared here in California, I post this picture on one of the (few) rainy days we’ve had this season. Perhaps the ravines will yet indeed run with water! After all, God promises.

In the bleakness of winter, it’s good to look back on a perfect summer day, and remember that God has even better things in store. We can rest in confidence, even if (or when) things look bleak. Because God ultimately pours out His blessings on those who love Him, working all things out for the good. What an encouragement.

Wallpaper: Desktop Backgrounds w/Verses

“In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” Joel 3:18

Below are links to a couple of computer backgrounds you might enjoy (similar to the above picture, but formatted to fit a desktop screen).

To use for desktop wallpaper, left click on appropriate monitor size, then right click and choose “select :

Desktop Background for wide monitor, w/Bible verse from Joel 3:18Click here for Background for wider monitors

Click here for Background for shorter monitors

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Banana Bread Breakfast Bars: Vegan, Healthy, Hearty

Breakfast-Bars-w-Quinoa-BuckwheatSome of us are really into soaking grains. Maybe this started because of some difficulties digesting wheat. Maybe it began after reading articles on how grains can be loaded with phytates, which interfere with absorption of nutrients.

For me, it was all the above. Plus, a savvy friend mentioned soaking oatmeal overnight in some yogurt (or lemon or vinegar), before cooking it. I was intrigued, since I’d been on the raw food band-wagon. At that point, I’d been soaking grains overnight, then eating them raw. As I researched the reasons behind adding yogurt (or lemon/vinegar) to the soaking liquid, I discovered numerous articles on how difficult raw grains are to digest. Maybe that explained, in part, why my iron levels were rather low, despite a “healthy” diet.

In the past year, since changing how I prepare grains, I’ve seen my iron levels improve dramatically. There have been other improvements as well; I am sold on the pre-soak method!

Part of the beauty of the following recipe is that it makes a big batch. I don’t go through the whole soak process daily–this batch lasts my husband and I over a week, which makes it worth my while. It can store in the freezer for weeks (or in the refrigerator, for a week or so).

For an easier recipe, the Oatmeal Breakfast Bar Recipe uses standard rolled oats, and doesn’t need to be processed, since the oat flakes are soft enough. And for an alternative to bananas, you might try subbing apples (plus extra cinnamon and nutmeg). That’s delicious too!

Makes 12-16 large bars.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/3 c. whole raw buckwheat groats
  • 1 1/3 c. quinoa (red or other)
  • 1 1/3 c. steel-cut oats
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. chia seeds (soaked in 1/2 c. water)
  • 3 medium bananas, lightly mashed (or thin-sliced) (or sub apples)
  • 1 1/3 c. diced dates, raisins, or other dried fruits
  • 2/3 c. coconut palm sugar
  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • 2/3 c. macadamias, cashews, or other favorite nut/seed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (or substitute spices)
  • 2 tsp. salt

PREPARATION

1. Soak the buckwheat, quinoa, and steel-cut oats for one day. The following day, rinse, drain, and let sit one more day in a large strainer, in dark cupboard. Use: > 1 1/3 c. whole raw buckwheat groats > 1 1/3 c. quinoa (red or other) > 1 1/3 c. steel-cut oats

2. After a day of soaking and a day of sprouting, process about half the mixture in a blender or food processor- this will make the grains into a “batter”. (The other half of the grains can stay whole, to give the bars more texture.) Process only about two cups at a time if using the blender (so the blender isn’t over-taxed). While processing, add the following, so mixture is liquid enough to process better. Use: > 1 1/2 c. boiling water > 1 c. coconut oil
Banana Bread Breakfast with Whole Grains

3. Set processed mixture aside; prepare other ingredients. Add chia seeds and water to a mixing bowl, letting the chia seeds absorb the liquid, stirring some if necessary. Use: > 1/4 c. chia seeds > 1/2 c. water

4. After chia seeds have softened, add to that bowl: > 3 medium bananas, lightly mashed (or thin-sliced) > 2/3 c. coconut palm sugar 1 1/3 c. diced dates, raisins, or other dried fruits > 2/3 c. macadamias (or other favorite nut) > 2 tsp. vanilla > 1 tsp. almond extract (or cinnamon and other spices) > 2 tsp. salt

5. Stir until the mixture is blended, then stir in: > The processed grains, plus the extra (that didn’t get processed)

6. Add mixture to an oiled 13″x9″ pan.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

8. Turn oven off, let finish baking with oven off for 25 more minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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“Lobster” Bisque- What’s More Romantic (& Easier?!)

Lobster Bisque might be the perfect menu selection for Valentine’s Day, if you’re not going to a fancy restaurant. If they have it on their menu, you can bet it’ll cost a whole lot more than what it takes for you to make it.

If you’re really pinching pennies, you can substitute langostino (not exactly lobster; more like a small crab) or shrimp. Definitely cheaper than lobster! (Even if lobster is so good…)

This recipe just happens to be low-carb and gluten-free. Not to be trendy, but mainly because this is how it tastes best- with just a bit of sauteed onion and tomato to give it body, and none of those flour-y thickeners that are sometimes used. This Lobster Bisque is also very easy to make, so the cook has enough energy left to still feel romantic. Perfect for Valentine’s Day! Serves 4-6.

(Lobster or) Shrimp Bisque- Simple RecipeINGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. or so shrimp heads, if available
  • 1 medium large onion, chopped
  • Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 12-oz. pkg. frozen Langostino (or sub shrimp, or real lobster)
  • 16 oz. canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. cream
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-4 c. shrimp stock (or sub chicken stock)
  • Fresh herbs (tarragon and thyme, or others)
  • Grated pink peppercorns (or chili flakes)

PREPARATION

1. Ideally, you might purchase head-on shrimp for previous meals; save the shrimp heads to make an excellent stock. The shrimp heads are particularly high in the esteemed nutrient “Astaxanthin“; plus, it makes super delicious stock. Prepare shrimp stock using heads of shrimp, covered in boiling water and cooked until flavorful. Use: > 1 lb. or so shrimp heads

2. Saute in some olive oil until translucent and soft: > 1 medium large onion

3. Process in blender (or use immersion blender): > Sauteed onion > 2 c. (16 oz.) canned tomato

4. To the processed onion and tomato, add and pulse/mix just until blended: >1 12-oz. pkg. frozen Langostino (or sub shrimp, or real lobster) > 1/2 c. cream > 1 tsp. salt > fresh herbs > 2-4 c. shrimp stock (or sub chicken stock)

5. Put back into soup pot, heat, and garnish with fresh-grated pink pepper (or pepper flakes) to serve

 

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Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries- Easiest Romantic Dessert

Chocolate Chips, Butter, Strawberries- Good!As is typical, I seemed to run out of time to make a fancy dessert for Valentine’s Day. I guess the good news is, it’s easier to burn off the calories from this dessert, than from one more heavily-laden with starch and fat and sugar!

We won’t be going to a fancy restaurant (so expensive), so I thought I would spice things up for our Valentine’s Day with an easy (but delicious) batch o’ chocolate-dipped strawberries.

This is a super simple recipe using whatever chocolate you have on hand. Just add a bit of butter to the chocolate, melt (in microwave, or gently, on stove), then dip.

I used 1 c. chocolate chips to 1/4 c. butter. (That works out to 6 oz. chocolate, if you’re using a scale, plus 2 oz. butter.)

It took just over a minute to melt this much in the microwave. I added a dash of almond extract too, since it seems to go so well with strawberries. (In my opinion!)

I was happy I’d found some good, organic strawberries at Trader Joe’s yesterday- they’re delicious. (Even tastier with chocolate on them.)

We’ll have a light, chocolatey dessert, which should leave us with enough energy to enjoy the rest of the evening as well. A great Valentine’s Day to you all!

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“Bulk Cooking”: Healthy, Easy Fudge, w/ Toasted Cacao Nibs

If the whole idea of buying bulk cacao nibs online on Amazon blows your mind, then stick to this Easiest Healthy Fudge recipe I made for my mum- it just uses regular ole’ cocoa powder, found at most any store…

I’ve had my challenges working with raw cacao nibs, trying to get them pureed into a smooth paste. If you want your nibs raw and chunky, make this Coconut Bark recipe. But if you aren’t a raw foods activist, and you’re in the mood for a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth fudge-like delight, fine enough to satisfy your inner chocolate lover, try the following recipe! Well, especially if you’re into getting nibs. (I prefer to buy these Certified Organic Raw Cacao Nibs, 5-pound bag, since I can toast them as needed; invariably fresher than other forms of chocolate, and the best price I’ve found.)

Toasted Cacao Nibs Creamy FudgeINGREDIENTS

3 c. raw cacao nibs

1 c. melted coconut oil

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. dates, halved

1/2 c. raisins

2 1/4 c. macadamias, roasted, unsalted (one 8-oz. package)

PREPARATION

1. Toast in oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes in iron pan; stir some. Turn oven off and let finish toasting for 10-15 minutes more: > 3 c. raw cacao nibs

2. Process toasted cacao nibs until quite smooth, then add: > 1 c. melted coconut oil > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. vanilla

3. Add to big mixing bowl with: > 2 c. dates, halved > 1/2 c. raisins > 2 1/4 c. macadamias (1 8-oz. package roasted, unsalted)

4. Spread in loaf pan, then refrigerate overnight.

5. Turn the solid fudge mixture out onto cutting board (run upside-down pan under hot water if necessary). Cut into slices; wrap each slice individually for longer storage; will last in refrigerator for a month or two.

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Borscht, Vegetarian Style, w/Beets, Cabbage, Potato

This soup can now be found in my ebook, Soup’s On. Alas, I couldn’t post the duplicate content, even on my own webpage, so… I’ll just sum up the recipe for you here. For more details, maybe you can get the book?! :)

Authentic Borscht recipes might use rye flour to thicken the soup, or even “Kwas” (a fermented rye brew). For those used to fermenting foods, it’s nothing too tricky; after rye flour and water ferments for a few days, the water’s poured off. The water gets fermented some more, which gives the soup its twang.Bowl of Bright Red Russian SoupSauerkraut (homemade or store-bought) can sub for the Kwas; it will give the soup a tangy kick as well. If using store-bought sauerkraut, do NOT purchase the one in a can. It really smells like garbage, and then you’ll think you don’t like it. The one in the jar should say, “naturally fermented”; once the product gets canned though, I think it’s subjected to too much heat in processing, which ruins it…

Add beef broth (and/or chunks of beef) for a hearty soup, if you want. But it’s good vegetarian-style too!

To make the soup, just bake (or slow cook) some beets until tender. Or cook them the old-fashioned way, in water on the stove top. Any way you slice it, they get rather messy. Oh well! Set the cooked beets aside.

You’ll also want to cook up some diced potatoes and carrot, in water to cover (again, until tender).

Grill some cabbage in a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil). Add 1 tablespoon or so of rye flour (or sub white flour), plus some caraway seeds (toasted first to bring out flavor). Slowly add some of the cooking water from the potato/carrot pot, stirring until smooth.

At that point, everything can go into the potato pot, including the beets (sliced in thin strips), plus some salt to taste. Add that “Kwas”, or a half cup or so of sauerkraut, or a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Serve it with some sour cream (or a dollop of coconut cream), and maybe a sprinkle of dill weed. Pretty dang good!

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Cocoa-Nut Fudge: Easiest Recipe for Healthy Snack Yet?!

My mom’s over 70 years old and doesn’t cook much anymore. When I was in town for Christmas, she still had some of the coconut oil I’d purchased for her earlier this year. I had stocked her up on the stuff after reading that coconut oil might help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. It had struck me, after a scare with mom last January (short-term memory loss with some complications), that indeed, anyone might be vulnerable to dementia of some sort. It hardly seemed a bad idea to take steps that might improve the condition (or even possibly prevent it).

Easy 4-ingredient Healthy "Fudge"So I threw together a concoction for my mom, using that coconut oil, plus a few other ingredients she had on hand. She’s not like me–she doesn’t order hard-to-find ingredients online, keeping crazy health food ingredients in stock. Her cupboard’s not stocked with palm sugar, cacao nibs, quinoa, amaranth and the like. (If you have a cupboard like that, you might want to check out my “Coconut Bark” recipe, using raw cacao nibs, or this Healthy Fudge recipe using toasted cacao nibs.)

After the typical holiday splurging, I’m actually craving healthy snacks. Like this one! It seems to be a good way to wean myself off the other chocolatey confections we’d been indulging in. This recipe can be multiplied, or adjusted to suit tastes. Add a dash of sea salt, or vanilla, or different nuts, as desired. Makes 8 or so 1/2″ slices.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 c. dates (Medjool or other)
  • 2/3 c. macadamias (or other nut)

PREPARATION

1. Mix everything in a bowl, and press into a small loaf pan (or other mold). Chill until firm, half a day or so, then cut into slices. It’s that easy!

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