BIG LOVE!! #FRUIT FEST

As the summer temperatures and humidity skyrocket on the outskirts, my palate takes a nose-dive with my food choices. I’m less likely to cook heavy meals. I crave the light and easy.

Moreover, I tend to increase the amount of fruits in my daily dietary plan. Thanks to my neighborhood farmer’s market, I’m able to access relatively inexpensive fruits that are locally grown.

WATERMELON BALLS WITH CHERRY
WATERMELON BALLS WITH CHERRY

These wholesome foods help to replenish what I lost via perspiration and otherwise during the sizzling days.  Fruits are loaded with nutrients like fibers, vitamins, potassium and others which are beneficial to the body.

You could say, these fruits and I have a great kinship.

LIGHT BITES #CANNED WHITE TUNA/GRAPES

I confess; I’m not a huge lover of tuna fish. However, because of  to the hurricane season, I stored a few in my pantry. I’m so glad I did. Decided to pair same with some refreshing chopped green grapes. I also added diced onions, a splash of vinegar, a fresh squeeze of  lime, and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

I couldn’t pass up on nature’s butter (avocado). With a few  pieces of cheddar cheese and some crispy whole-wheat crackers my light lunch was complete.

SOMETIMES, ONE HAS TO BACKPEDAL ##OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD ON RYE

Had a perfect plan. You see, in my mind’s eye, I had the ideal lunch. It was basically some left-overs from the week-end. I had previously roasted a couple of chicken breasts bone-in with a delicious grape sauce.

ONE OF THE ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST BONE-IN ON GRAPE SAUCE
ONE OF THE ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST BONE-IN ON GRAPE SAUCE

I devoured one  and saved the other. So, I decided to have same this afternoon. However, there went my palate. You see, the weather in my neck of the woods (South Florida) has been all over the place. A couple of days of ago, it was in the 40’s (now, that’s winter for us here). Now, on this day, this beautiful day, it feels like summer; temperatures are close to eighty.

Like the weather, I couldn’t help myself I felt the urge to scrap my original plan and transformed my meal to a summer-like chicken salad. Thus, I grabbed my handy food processor and removed the flesh from the chicken bone. Then, I tossed same inside the processor and pulsed my way.

In a bowl, I combined parsley, a few grapes that were going ‘south’,but still had life. I also incorporated a dollop of sour cream along with a little light mayonnaise. Chopped chicken was added to bowl with a pinch of cracked black pepper and salt and a fresh squeeze of lime.

PREPPING FOR OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD
PREPPING FOR OPEN-FACED PARSLEY/GRAPE CHICKEN SALAD

All ingredients were combined and served on toasted rye bread. In addition, I had some super sweet grape tomatoes on skewers. By the way, they were excellent buys. Got a bunch of them on sale for $1.50.  For drink, I chugged down some home-made cranberry and ginger drink with a garnish of fresh mint. Oh, I was tempted to put a splash of vodka, but, changed my mind. Enough of the backpedaling.

FINISHED DISH.....READY FOR ACTION!
FINISHED DISH…..READY FOR ACTION!

Guys, as always, be kind to your loved ones as well as your beautiful palates.

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.

 

FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FOODIES…..HAVE A JOYFUL/HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Today, I’m thankful for life. I’m grateful and thankful for more than enough to sup for yours truly and to extend to others. I pray for those without sufficient. May they find a way out.

Guys, on this day, I made pumpkin/root ginger pancakes…just what my stomach needs on this crispy morn. Temps are in the late 50’s to 60’s. Now, that’s ‘winter-land’ Florida style.  I made home-made cranberry sauce the previous day, so, I’m ‘rocking’ it as the perfect topping for my cakes. Of course,  I had to heed to the craving of a few pieces of crispy bacon along with fresh grapes and orange slices.

GUYS, AS ALWAYS, BE KIND TO YOUR LOVED ONES AS WELL AS YOUR BEAUTIFUL PALATES!!

A NAPA-INSPIRED DISH – ORANGE/LEMON ROASTED CHICKEN WITH A PAIRING OF PINOT GRIGIO(FR. CALIFORNIA)

Yippee! Based on reports in the media from the local Vintners’ Association in California, it’s now harvest time in the Napa Valley area. And, that’s spectacular news for the area. You see, on Sunday, August 24, 2014, the wine region was rattled by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake.

Thankfully, there were no known deaths caused from this earthquake. However, dozens were injured and I certainly wish them a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, for this famous wine-producing region which yearly generates close to $1.4 billion also suffered losses. Example, Cult 24 Wine Bar lost close to $50,000 worth of bottles of wine. Moreover, some tasting rooms had to be closed temporarily to tourists.

The good news is that the area has and is already bouncing back. The vineyards and the grapes didn’t suffer great impact. I can only imagine how anxious the growers and operators have been throughout this ordeal. Being a wine lover, my heart goes out to these dedicated and passionate people. They toil for hours in the vineyards so I can visit my neighborhood store and fetch me a bottle of my favorite.  Further, the fabulous news is that the price of wine will not be increased due to this earthquake.

As a  result, I thought it was befitting that I paid homage to these beautiful folks in the Napa area. I did so with a meal that in my mind’s eye would be perfect on a menu at one of the eating establishments in the locale.

Therefore, I made an Orange/Lemon Roasted Chicken” I served the entrée with a side dish of sweet potato salad, garlic green beans and broccoli. Of course, I paired this Napa-inspired dish with an inexpensive Californian wine (Pinot Grigio) Salud! And what do you know? We finish the dish with sweet/seedless California grapes.

Ingredients for Orange/Lemon Roasted Chicken:

*Garlic (crushed)

*Chicken (legs/thighs)

*Olive oil

*Salt/cracked black pepper

*Lemon (slices)

*Orange (1 – juice)

Method

1. Chicken parts (legs/thighs) were seasoned with salt, pepper and crushed garlic. This was done a couple hours before cooking.

2. Chicken parts were drizzled with olive oil. Then, slices of lemon were placed on chicken along with extra garlic.

3. Chicken parts were then placed in heated oven and roasted at 425 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes.

For Orange/Lemon sauce:

1. The juice of orange along with half of lemon with a splash of honey were placed in small stock pot. Water was added to a teaspoon of flour and mixed and then added to ingredients  for thickening.

2. This  was simmered on low heat until it became a sauce-like consistency.

3. Approximately ten minutes into completion of roasting time of chicken, orange and lemon sauce was then brushed on chicken parts.

The dish was a hit. The savory, tart and slightly sweet combination was just what me and my loved ones’ palates needed. We were satisfied and contented as we  watched the ducks waddled their tails. We sipped on pinot grigrio and nibbled on California seedless grapes. Now, what more could any one else ask for?