PULP TOO GOOD TO TOSS!! #CARROT AND BEET MUFFINS

I couldn’t bear to toss. I made myself beet and carrot juice. I incorporated finely chopped ginger root and a squeeze of lime. With a splash of water, all ingredients were placed in standing blender. This was blended and then strained so as to remove pulp.

BEET/CARROT JUICE
BEET/CARROT JUICE

Though most of the juice was extracted, I retained the pulp which still contained enormous fibers, beta-carotene, and other nutrients. I decided to make  carrot and beet muffins. I added shredded carrot to same and combined.

PULP FROM BEET/CARROTS ALONG WITH SHREDDED CARROT FOR MUFFINS
PULP FROM BEET/CARROTS ALONG WITH SHREDDED CARROT FOR MUFFINS

Other ingredients:

  • Whole-wheat and all-purpose flour (1 cup ea.)
  • Baking soda (1 teaspoon)
  • Baking powder (1 teaspoon)
  • Flax-seed (2 table-spoons)
  • Dark sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • Butter (1 stick)
  • Vegetable oil (1/4)
  • Salt (pinch)
  • Cinnamon (2 teaspoon)
  • Vanilla (1 teaspoon)
  • Raisins (1/4 cup)
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR BEET AND CARROT MUFFINS
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR BEET AND CARROT MUFFINS

Method:

  1. Butter, oil and sugar were creamed and then  vanilla added.
  2. All dry ingredients were combined and then gradually added to creamed butter and sugar.
  3. Pulp of carrots and beets along with shredded carrots and raisins were added and folded.
  4. Batter was then placed in sprayed muffin pan.MIXED CARROT AND BEET MUFFINS READY FOR BAKING
  5. Muffins were baked in a pre-heated oven at 370 fahrenheit until done.

    BAKED CARROT AND BEET MUFFINS
    BAKED CARROT AND BEET MUFFINS

ONE OF THE JOY’S OF SUMMER #CANTALOUPE AND MINT SALAD

As summer makes its merry and torrid way out, I thought I would pay homage in my way. And, what better way to do so than with one of summer’s favorite melons, cantaloupe. This musky-flavored fruit generally ripens close to the beginning of April and peaks in August. I was happy to secure one that was on sale for $2.50. Frankly, I knew the price could have been better; but, I went with it.

Based on studies, cantaloupes are rich in vitamins (A, K, B-6), calcium, magnesium,  potassium, beta-carotene, a great abundance of antioxidants and other nutrients that are excellent for the body.

Most times, I make smoothies with my cantaloupe; however, I decided to make my melon baller do the ‘talking’.

Melon baller used to scoop cantaloupe
Melon baller used to scoop cantaloupe

I decided to make a cantaloupe and mint salad along with thinly sliced ginger root. Melon was scooped in bowl. Then, thinly sliced ginger root pieces were added. A simple syrup was created consisting of a piece of crushed ginger root and a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of honey. After cooling, a squeeze of lime juice was added; then drizzled over scooped cantaloupe and ginger root.

Finely chopped fresh mint was then added and gently folded in. Fruit salad was then chilled in refrigerator and served.

MY MANGO STOOD OUT ##MANGO COCKTAIL

I love the taste of mango in a refreshing summer cocktail. It’s bold and upfront and center within a drink. And, it doesn’t take a huge amount to flavor a particular drink. A few pieces go a long way. The smooth and sweet characteristics make it perfect for an exotic drink on a sizzling day.

And so, this afternoon, my palate was in for a refreshing surprise of this amazing cocktail. I didn’t need to input any sweetener or sugar as my fruits provided the natural sugars. My blender was more than ready for a  few wedges of watermelon, the juice of an orange, chopped ginger root, water and of course pieces of mango.

With a few pulses of my standing blender I was greeted with a virtuous drink of mango cocktail. As you can observe, the mango overpowered the other juicy and tasty fruits with its golden appearance. And the taste was just as bold. The warm, sweet and ripe aromas were evident in my space. Just as I expected; the drink acquired the thick consistency I was looking for.

Cheers!

I FLIPPED MY PINEAPPLE TWO WAYS #GRILLED PINEAPPLE #PINEAPPLE JUICE

I was quite elated when I brought home my yellow/golden wonder. It was packed in a plastic container (canister) looking firm and clearly ripened to perfection. From the looks of it, it was already releasing juice due to it being peeled and cored. It was ready; ready to be used up in whichever way I desired.

PEELED AND CORED PINEAPPLE IN PLASTIC CANISTER
PEELED AND CORED PINEAPPLE IN PLASTIC CANISTER

With cutting board and a sharpened knife, I went to work. First I removable core and set it aside. I smiled; had plans for same. I also grabbed my handy grill pan and allowed it to slowly heat up. My grand plan was to grill a few slices and serve with one of my favorite ice-cream flavors, butter pecan.  Within a few minutes, I cut my golden boy into slices.

SLICED PINEAPPLE WITH CORE FOR GARNISH
SLICED PINEAPPLE WITH CORE FOR GARNISH

By then my grill was ready, so I placed three slices on same. It took approximately two to three minutes under low to medium heat to embed my grill marks.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE SLICES ON GRILL PAN
GRILLED PINEAPPLE SLICES ON GRILL PAN

I garnished my dessert plate with the core of the pineapple which I sliced in two halves. They reminded me of pillars. Between them, I placed a couple of the grilled pineapple slices along with a scoop of butter pecan ice-cream with a sprig of fresh mint.

GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH A SCOOP OF BUTTER PECAN ICE-CREAM WITH A SPRIG OF FRESH MINT BETWEEN CORE CUT IN HALVES
GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH A SCOOP OF BUTTER PECAN ICE-CREAM WITH A SPRIG OF FRESH MINT BETWEEN CORE CUT IN HALVES

Of course, I had more slices left on my board. So, I cut them in small pieces and placed them in standing blender. To that, I added minced root ginger along with fresh lime and orange juice and water. All the ingredients were blended and pureed to perfection.

FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE WITH GINGER ROOT, ORANGE, LIME
FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE WITH GINGER ROOT, ORANGE, LIME

IT’S A RE-RUN!! ##VEGGIE AND FRUIT JUICE FEST!

I couldn’t  help myself; I had these summer fruits and veggies peering at me. When I bought them, I had great plans and intentions for them. However, because of my crazy schedule, I had put off utilizing those wholesome products. Knowing that their shelf lives were quite short I took the plunge. I pulled my tired derriere from my favorite spot on my sofa and got to work. (N.B. My Facebook friend (Gloria) inspired me to embark on this juicing session. Thanks Gloria!).Yay!

It was the perfect timing. You see, today is officially the first day of summer. And like always, I love to take advantage of summer’s delights. I figured what better way to enjoy earth’s bountiful harvests then to express all the beneficial juices from them. Moreover, I could enjoy much-needed vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants in my body.

So, like a skilled knife-person I chopped my way to goodness.

SOME OF THE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES BEING PREPPED FOR JUICING
SOME OF THE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES BEING PREPPED FOR JUICING

Before that, I made sure to rinse fruits and veggies thoroughly with cold water. Then, I did a quick rinse with a little hot water so as to remove any residual dirt or pesticide.

I made three concoctions. One was done with a combination of watermelon,cantaloupe, ginger root, and a mix of citrus. Another one drink was carrots, beetroot, ginger root and a citrus mix. Also, the next was cucumber, ginger root, and lime juice. A splash of simple syrup was added to each juice.

I blended each drink to perfection; and then placed them in containers. The carrot, ginger, and beetroot version was strained in order to remove the left-over pulp.

Guys, I was proud of yours truly. Of course, I couldn’t resist. I had to sample my work. I grabbed a straw and sipped a combination of the watermelon and carrot/beetroot. I was in heaven.

HERB/CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

It seems like guacamole was on my mind. Maybe because I had a couple of the main ingredients (cilantro and avocado) on hand. Never went there though. Instead, I prepped a combination of chopped avocado and cilantro and sprinkled with a pinch of salt and black pepper with a squeeze of lime. I placed that to chill in the refrigerator for a garnish.

My intention was to cook a roasted chicken with a crust of herbs (cilantro/thyme), bread crumbs and cheddar cheese. And that’s what I did. With the drizzle of  olive oil, my crust was ready to be administered on my chicken parts (legs/thighs) when the roasting was completed.

CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL
CRUST MADE UP OF BREAD CRUMBS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, THYME, CILANTRO, OLIVE OIL

Chicken parts (legs/thighs) were seasoned with salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic from the previous night. Decided to cook my chicken in a cast iron skillet as it’s a great conductor of heat. So, after my skillet was heated stove top, a drizzle of coconut oil was added.  Garlic was removed from chicken parts and then they were dried with paper towel. Chicken were seared on both sides.

BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN
BROWNED CHICKEN PARTS READY FOR ROASTING IN OVEN

A splash of water was added to skillet along with thyme/cilantro. Chicken was placed in a heated oven on 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Chicken parts were turned once. Then, the herb/cheddar cheese crust was added to each piece. Skillet was then placed back inside oven for another five to six minutes under broiler.

CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER
CHICKEN PARTS WITH HERB/CHEDDAR CHEESE CRUST FOR COMPLETION UNDER BROILER

While chicken was completing I did a quick sauce of carrot and ginger root.

MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE
MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CARROT/GINGER SAUCE

Carrots, a small piece of ginger(a little goes a far way) were chopped and placed in a small stock pot along with a sprig of cilantro and water for approximately 12 minutes. These were cooled and placed in food processor along with a dollop of sour cream, pinch of salt and pepper. This was pureed to a thick but runny consistency.

CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR
CARROT/GINGER SAUCE IN FOOD PROCESSOR

After herb/cheddar crusted roast chicken was finished,

FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET
FINISHED HERB AND CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN IN CAST IRON SKILLET

it was served on carrot and ginger sauce with a garnish of avocado and cilantro.

PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO
PLATED DISH OF HERB & CHEDDAR CRUSTED ROAST CHICKEN ON CARROT/GINGER SAUCE WITH GARNISH OF CILANTRO/AVOCADO

Guys, the finished dish was amazing. All the flavors and spices came together in a very tantalizing way. By the way, I added a little Jasmine rice to the mix.(not in pic). After all, I had that beautiful bed of carrot and ginger sauce to soak up. The chicken parts were still crusty with the mix of cheddar cheese and cilantro. Nature’s butter (avocado) provided a smooth and velvety balance to the dish.

HOME-MADE DRINK OF THE DAY: CANTALOUPE/GINGER

Cantaloupes mainly hit the marketplace close to April. And they peak in the summer months of June through September. A few days ago, I was fortunate to garner one of these specimens. Took it home and decided to leave it on the counter for a few days.

Lo and behold, when I entered my kitchen, a fragrant aroma hit my senses. Without a doubt, that was a sure sign that my fruit was ready for consumption. I placed same in the refrigerator for chilling for a few hours.

Later on, I chopped the golden fruit in halves and just as I thought, it was super ripe and ready for my palate. Moreover, on a taste of a slice, I’m happy to report that it was very sweet and juicy. Decided to cut up a portion and paired it with finely chopped ginger root. With the addition of a pint of cool water and a squeeze of lemon, I had the perfect and refreshing drink of the day.

 

 

JOYFUL BERRIES ##CRANBERRY DRINK WITH A HINT OF GINGER ROOT

FRESH CRANBERRIES AND GINGER ROOT
FRESH CRANBERRIES AND GINGER ROOT

Yes, I still have some. Over the years, during the Christmas holidays when the marketplace is loaded with cranberries, I often purchase extra and store them  in the freezer. They come in handy throughout the new year for quite an extended time. The last holiday was no different.

Not only are cranberries refreshing, but based on studies these berries are loaded with health properties that prevent urinary tract infections and oral diseases. In addition, they provide an enormous amount vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body. Of course, I can’t say enough about root ginger. It aids with nausea, joint pains, indigestion and is excellent for flavoring dishes.

So, this morn, I paid a much-needed visit to my freezer and retrieved a bag of these antioxidant and fiber rich berries. Of course, it’s easy to purchase a store-bought version of cranberry drink at my neighborhood store. But, why should I when I can do my home-made concoction? And, the beautiful thing is that it only takes a couple of ingredients (cranberries and ginger. There are no preservatives.

Cranberries and finely chopped ginger along with water were placed in a stock pot. These were brought to a boil and simmered on low heat for approximately 12 minutes. After cooling, mixture was added to blender and pureed to a smooth consistency.  No sugar was added; however, any sweetener can be added for your taste preference.

I served my refreshing cranberry and ginger drink after chilling inside the refrigerator. It was tart and for me, just sweet enough.

A MID WEEK DISH THAT WILL HAVE YOU EATING IN MINUTES ##CHICKEN/ASSORTED VEGGIE STIR-FRY

We all have extremely busy lives. Hours are spent commuting back and forth to the ‘Grind’. We depart in the wee hours of the morn and arrive home at dark. Therefore, it’s not surprising that we often grab   prepared meals at the neighborhood eateries. They are fairly inexpensive, quick, let’s confess, tasty. We can’t avoid these fast food joints. They are at every nook and cranny within our neighborhoods.

But, lets face it, a diet that consist of these fast foods overtime can cause havoc on our cardio vascular health. A large percentage of these meals are loaded with saturated fats, high sodium and sugar. Moreover, overtime, these amounts put a dent into the food budget.

One great way to combat this is to cook your own food. It takes virtually minutes to prepare the pictured meal (stir-fried chicken/assorted veggies). Chicken tenderloin pieces were purchased. These were further sliced into strips and seasoned with salt, pepper and crushed garlic.

In a hot skillet, a drizzle of olive oil was added along with chicken strips. A little grated ginger and teriyaki left-over sauce was added.  Within a few minutes, chicken pieces were thoroughly cooked. This was set aside on a plate.

Next, an added drizzle of oil was placed in skillet. Then, assorted vegetables were added. On medium to high heat, a quick stir-fry was done, making sure to season along with salt, pepper, a slash of soy sauce, and dried basil. Cooked stir-fried chicken was added back to skillet and all the ingredients were combined.

A few minutes to towards the end, linguine pasta (took minutes to cook) was added and folded into stir-fried chicken and veggies. Meal was completed faster than it would take to place order and pick up at the drive through.

The beautiful thing about this dish is that I had control over the input of the ingredients which were wholesome and healthy. Moreover, I had left-over for next day and more time on my hand to do something with loved ones.

A FRESH/WHOLESOME WAY TO BEGIN 2015 – #SWEET POTATO/APPLE WAFFLES

Guys, it’s a brand new day and year within our midst. Many of us have plans and resolutions for this year. Of course, one of the popular ones is keeping fit and healthy. I’ve tried to incorporate same in my life-style the past year. It is difficult; however, I try to do it one day at time without depriving myself of any food group. I do believe in a fine balance.

Therefore, for 2015, I intend to continue on that path. There is always room for improvement; like including more fruits and veggies in the diet. So, on this day, the first of January, 2015, I’ve made yours truly some wholesome waffles. I used less of processed flour and incorporated sweet potato and apple and a little whole wheat flour.

Main ingredients for sweet potato/apple waffles
Main ingredients for sweet potato/apple waffles

So, with a little marrying of the dry (flour, sugar, baking soda,pinch of salt,cinnamon), and wet ingredients, I ended up with the following batter. By the way, I made sure to do a quick four-minute bake of my sweet potato in the microwave. I also shredded my apple and 1/4 tsp. ginger on a box grater. After crushing and cooling potato with a fork, I added both apples/ginger,potato to wet ingredients (milk, sour cream, vanilla,melted butter).

Batter ready for waffle iron
Batter ready for waffle iron

I made sure to spray my waffle iron with a little Pam so as to prevent sticking. My batter yielded six waffles. (I couldn’t resist taste-testing one). Anyway, guys, I served my sweet potato waffles with a few bites of left-over ham along with fresh grapes, strawberries, orange slices.

Completed sweet potato/apple waffles/ham along with fresh fruits
Completed sweet potato/apple waffles with garnish of fresh mint/bites of ham along with fresh fruits

Guys, that’s  what for brunch. As always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.