Category: eat less meat
Friday, July 19
A month or so ago, a company reached out to see if I could attend a fun event in Los Angeles, where I would have the chance to meet and interview Alison Sweeney. Because of the move I couldn’t go to the event. And then, the very day of that event, I received an email from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council to see if I would like to interview (you guessed it) Alison Sweeney! For real, the gods want us to be besties. Hopefully Alison gets the memo, too!
Our family loves blueberries, especially Miss Cate, so I was more than happy to work with the Blueberry Council and ask Alison a few questions! July is National Blueberry Month. (I think we should all eat lots of muffins to celebrate.) The council and Alison Sweeney are spreading the word about how dynamic blueberries are and how they can add energy and flavor to our daily routine. To find out more about these Little Blue Dynamos, click here to visit their website!
As I was poking around the blueberry website myself, I came across a recipe for a Blueberry Breakfast Salad. I was intrigued by the idea of getting greens into our breakfast routine and clicked through. The recipe for the salad dressing caught my eye and I knew I had to give it a try. People, this dressing is SO GOOD. The salad was good, too – I loved the sweet crunch of granola mixed in. However, the dressing is the real find here. It is surprisingly savory, with just a hint of sweetness from the blueberries. Nate and I had several salads this week! (See recipe below!)
Back to my new best friend Alison. Here is our interview!
Jane: What is your favorite savory dish that uses blueberries?
Alison: Hands down – Blueberry Turkey Burgers! My kids love the tangy blueberry surprise, such a burst of flavor in the burger. Plus, you feel very “Master Chef” preparing them – blueberries are the secret ingredient!
Jane: How do you fit in exercise as a busy, working mom? (I know that question seems so cliché, but I really am so curious what your techniques are!)
Alison: You must make it a priority to take care of yourself. Put your workouts on the calendar to ensure you make time to work out. Sometimes I’ll have time for a quick run, other times I’ll be able to take a spin or yoga class. If I can’t work out, I make sure I adjust my nutrition accordingly.
Jane: Kids will be kids…how do make sure they eat their healthy foods? (Again, sort of cliché, but would love your insight!)
Alison: Getting my kids involved in the kitchen is really important to me because eating habits form at a young age. One of our favorite hot-summer-day activities is making smoothies. Not only are they nutritious, they’re also easy and fun. Here’s a quick and easy blueberry smoothie recipe we love.
Here are a few more tips from Alison about kid-friendly recipes (something I am always thinking about!):
Now, for real, go eat some muffins and put this recipe in your recipe box!
Blueberry Breakfast Salad
From the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
- Mixed, torn salad greens: 2 pounds
- Blueberry Vinaigrette: Recipe follows
- Fresh blueberries: 4 cups
- Fresh orange sections or canned mandarin oranges, drained: 4 cups
- Granola : 2 cups
Toss salad greens with 1 1/2 cups of the Blueberry Vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens among eight large plates. Arrange 1/2 cup orange sections and 1/2 cup blueberries on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with 1/4 cup granola. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and serve immediately.
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons minced shallot
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until mixture is smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Makes 2 cups.
Thank you to the Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post. I was compensated for my work but, as always, all opinions are my own.
Posted by Jane Maynard at 11:15 am 4 Comments
Categories: eat less meat, featured recipes, Healthy Eats, Recipes, side dishes, the goods Tags: blueberries, healthy eats, healthy food, salad, sponsored |
Wednesday, May 8
One of the delicious dishes we were treated to at our latest book club was an asparagus and spring onion tart, as made my dear friend Barbara.
LOVED THIS TART. The “shortcrust” was delicious, the top had a pleasant chewiness thanks to a melted Parmesan cheese, and all the flavors blended really nicely together. Of course we all begged for the recipe. Barbara had found the recipe in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, which she happily shared. She’s not one to keep secrets when it comes to good food!
You all may be wondering (as I am) what the difference between a quiche and a tart is. If anyone has a good answer, please feel free to share! Tarts may be savory or sweet, while quiche are savory, but beyond that their “official” definitions are almost identical. So, I say just call it whatever you want!
Asparagus and Spring Onion Tart
From Vegetarian Times, May 2013 issue
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (I just use salted butter)
- 2 large eggs, divided
- 1/2 pound trimmed asparagus spears
- 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups spring or green onions
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk or heavy cream
- 1 ounce (1/4 cup) grated fresh parmesan cheese (I might use a bit more myself)
Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Jane note: I use my pastry blender.) Beat 1 egg and 2 Tbs water in a small bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until dough comes together, adding 1 Tbs. more water if needed. Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour (up to 1 day).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 12-inch circle on floured surface. Press dough into 9-inch springform pan or fluted tart pan with removable bottom. (Jane note: Barbara baked and served her tart in a pretty fluted dish without a removable bottom. It worked very well.) Trim edges, prick bottom all over with a fork. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake 25 minutes or until barely golden. Remove beans and paper. Beat remaining egg and brush on bottom of crust. Bake 5 minutes more.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Drain and cut into 1 1/4-inch lengths. Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, cook 8-10 minutes until softened. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs and milk in bowl. Stir in onions and asparagus.
Pour filling into shortcrust and place pan on a baking sheet. (Jane note: line baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.) Sprinkle tart with parmesan cheese. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until tart is set in the middle and top is browned well. Cover edges of crust with foil if they start to brown too much before the tart is done. Pop out of pan and serve.
Monday, April 1
We had a few requests in the weekly menu comments yesterday for a special Easter-themed Call for Recipes. Specifically, what are we all going to do with the colorful hard-boiled egg bounty sitting in our refrigerators this morning?
Bonnie, a loyal commenter, said she trusts us more than she trusts Google or Pinterest, and I have to agree with her! That’s why I love this blog…because you all share your REAL menu plan ideas and recipes that have REALLY worked for you. So, yes, I’m sure there is a plethora of beautiful hard-boiled egg recipe collections out on the Interwebs today, but do we really trust them? Really truly? Not like we trust you!
So, please, share with us your best, tastiest, most creative uses and recipes for hard-boiled eggs! Bring it on!
Thursday, February 21
Before we get into the heart of today’s post, I need to whet your appetite. You do not want to miss today’s recipe. It comes from my sister-in-law Cora and is amazing. Appetite whetted? Good.
Way back in the day, I was an International Relations major at Boston University, with a focus on developing countries. When I met the folks at ONE about a year ago, I was super excited to get involved and help support their work, especially since one of their main focuses is world hunger. My food blogging and international relations lives were coming together in a very cool way. The folks at ONE have been amazing to work with, too. Win, win, win!
Today is Sweet Potato Day, a special day coordinated with ONE where a big group of loving, talented bloggers are all writing about sweet potatoes to raise awareness on the issue of hunger. Why the sweet potato, you ask? We are trying to make the sweet potato famous! It is nutritional and hearty and is saving lives in Africa, making it a worthy mascot for the cause! (Click here to read the Sweet Potato Day kick-off post I wrote for the ONE website.)
As part of the big day, I am sharing a keeper of a recipe with you below. It is so so so so good. These Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos come from my culinarily-talented sister-in-law, Cora. The first night she made them, she called me simply to tell me how delicious her dinner was. I knew I would have to make it myself pronto! Each element of this “recipe” is great on its own: the black beans are deliciously sweet, the sweet potatoes are simple and flavorful with a hint of spice, and the slaw is fresh and has bite. When you put them all together, you get something really special.
To support Sweet Potato Day, I hope that you will visit ONE’s website and see how you can get involved. There are two main issues I would love for you to check out. First, the budget. You can learn more on the budget issue and send a letter to your Congressperson on this page. Second, food. ONE has oodles of great info on food and hunger on this page, where you can also sign a petition to encourage world leaders to make hunger and food a top priority. We really can make a difference. I am blessed with abundance and want to do my part to help share the love. I hope you’ll join me!
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
From Cora Wallin
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes (see recipe below)
- Aunt Kathy’s Black Beans (see recipe below)
- Jalapeño Slaw (see recipe below)
- Shredded cheese
- Sour Cream
- Flour tortillas
Stuff all the good food above into your flour tortillas, eat, and enjoy!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
From Cora Wallin
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Olive oil
- Chili powder
Spread cubed sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes evenly, to coat. Sprinkle sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Mix and move sweet potatoes around on the sheet to coat with spices. Roast in a 350 degree F oven while you prepare the beans. Cook until soft then remove from oven, 10-20 minutes.
Aunt Kathy’s Black Beans
From Cora Wallin, slightly modified by me
- 2 (16oz) cans black beans, mostly drained
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 bay leaves
- 2 T fresh, minced garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/3 onion, chopped
Sautee onions. Combine all ingredients, including sauteed onions, in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 16-ounce package cabbage and carrot coleslaw
- 1 jalapeño, sliced thin and chopped (add more if you want it hotter)
Mix all the ingredients except the coleslaw together in a large bowl. Add coleslaw and toss to coat.
Be sure to visit the other blogs taking part in Sweet Potato Day! I have listed them all below. There is a lot of love and deliciousness in these posts. You will be well fed.
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos from This Week for Dinner
Truffle Sweet Potato Frites from Savory Sweet Life
Sweet Potato & Chicken Sausage Stew from Chefdruck
Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits from Food for My Family
Sweet Potato Burgers from Cutie Booty Cakes
What’s Gaby Cooking and Sweet Potato Day
The MIssion List and Sweet Potato Day
World Moms Blog and Sweet Potato Day
Go Graham Go and Sweet Potato Day
Cranberry Sweet Potato Crumb Cake from Barbara Bakes
Bourbon and Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes from Boston Mamas
Documama and Sweet Potato Day
Sweet Potato Bread Pudding from Eat the Love
Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potatoes and Sausage from Kitchen Gadget Girl
Sweet Potato Love To Help End World Hunger from Love That Max
Celebrating Sweet Potato Day with Mom Trends
Sweet Potato Chili from Righteous Bacon
Cooking Sweet Potatoes for Picky Eaters from Rookie Moms
Sweet Potatoes and Global Health from Third Eye Mom
Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Kielbasa ONE Skillet Bake from Tickled Red
Sweet, Dude, Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash from Helen Jane
Oh My Sweet Potato Apple Bake from Bowl Licker
Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin from Non-Reactive Pan
Sweet Potato Fries from When You Wake Up a Mother (also found on Million Moms Challenge)
Friday, March 23
Yesterday I shared my friend Natalee’s apple ham panini with you. Now it’s time to talk about the second panini flavor she shared with me, which was equally delicious.
Enter the spinach mushroom panini with feta. This is a nice vegetarian option that is full of flavor. There’s a little prep work involved, but it’s still easy, I promise! And the flavors are all just so yummy together. Mmmmmm. Natalee made these paninis for our friend Ana, who is a total foodie. Ana said it was the best panini she ever had. Now that I’ve set your expectations really high…whoops…here is the recipe!
Spinach Mushroom Panini with Feta
From my friend Natalee
- around 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Sliced mushrooms (8 or 10 ounce package)
- Small bag of spinach (6-10 ounces or so)
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and Pepper
- Sliced bread of your choice
Sautee the mushrooms in olive oil in a large sautee pan, until moisture is released and mushrooms are cooked through. Add spinach, tearing up the leaves a bit as you add them to the pan (if you feel like you need another swig of olive oil added to the pan, go ahead and add it). Cook until spinach has wilted, then add feta to taste – we found adding a lot of feta was better. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir.
Use mushroom mixture as filling for the panini and cook paninis as you normally do, in a press or with two frying pans.
Tuesday, August 30
Last time I tried to make a nice, homemade dinner that involved some effort, I threw my sciatica into a tizzy. I could barely walk to the dinner table to eat! So, until baby boy arrives in a few short weeks, I’m trying to take it easy in the kitchen. Which is nice in one way, but at the same time I am really craving some good home cookin’ right now. I’ll have to put my mom to work when she comes to visit next month!
What this “taking it easy” business means is that, even though I have menus planned each week, there are plenty of nights where I’m plum worn out and things don’t go as planned. Last night was no exception. But we were all starving, so I grabbed the Costco orange chicken out of the freezer along with the Trader Joe’s dumplings and got “cooking.” Since rice, chicken and dumplings don’t have any vegetables, I grabbed a bag of green beans that we received from our CSA last week and decided to sauté those up.
Nate is a big fan of green beans, so I’m always hoping I cook them well since I know they are one of his favorites. Last night he kept saying how good they were, so I decided they were blog post-worthy! And they were really easy. Which, for me, was the best part!
Easy Asian-Style Green Beans
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- A bunch of fresh green beans
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Soy Sauce
- White Sugar
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that has a lid. Add the green beans and sauté over medium heat until they brown on the sides a bit. Reduce heat to medium-low and put the lid on the pan. Let cook a few minutes until they are as tender as you want them to be, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, splash evenly with soy sauce, sprinkle with salt and pepper and about 1-3 teaspoons of sugar (just to cover the beans evenly). Stir and serve!
Thursday, July 28
The first time we had burrata was at Cafe Borrone. Burrata is an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream (source Wikipedia) and that is just what it tastes like…a super creamy and light mozzarella. It has an outer mozzarella ‘shell’ which is filled with this delicious creamy cheesiness. YUM. The owners of Cafe Borrone first had burrata on a trip to Italy and immediately knew they had to make it themselves when they got back to the States. When Nate and I had their burrata, it was served alongside grilled peaches and tomatoes with a toasted baguette. And it was downright heavenly.
Cafe Borrone’s burrata platter.
Last week I had some nectarines that needed to be eaten pretty quickly, so I picked up a package of burrata at Trader Joe’s. I roasted the nectarines in the oven (grilling would work beautifully as well) and served them alongside the cheese, with fresh baguette. It was delicious. Roasted or grilled peaches are also amazing and of course grilled or roasted tomatoes would be great with burrata, too! The possibilities are endless!
Roasted Nectarines/Stone Fruit (to serve with burrata, other cheeses…or ice cream!)
You could use peaches, apricots, plums or pluots instead of nectarines…whatever sounds good to you or whatever you have lying around the kitchen, just go with it!
Cut nectarines in half and remove pit. Place in oven-safe dish. Drizzle with a bit of melted butter. Roast in a 350-degree oven until fruit is soft and looking a bit carmelized. Here’s where I stink…I can’t remember how long I roasted them for! Probably 10-20 minutes…but I promise next time I roast some stone fruit, I will come back and update this recipe with an accurate cooking time.
You can peel the fruit prior to roasting or afterwards…or not at all. Whatever you prefer. I peeled mine after they roasted – one of the nectarines peeled easily and the other one was more stubborn.
Serve with burrata or other yummy cheeses. Or top with ice cream for a wonderful dessert!
Thursday, July 21
Last Friday night I did something I haven’t done in a while…I actually picked up a magazine (in this case Martha Stewart Living) and read it cover to cover. And I’ve decided I should do that more often because I was inspired to make a fabulous dinner on Sunday night. Of course, by the end of preparing all the food my sciatic nerve was literally screaming at me and I hobbled around the rest of the night (yes, I’m officially a hobbling pregnant woman…no more heels for me, boo-hoo!), but our dinner was worth the pain.
One of Sunday night’s creations was a Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber. There was a recipe for this salad featured in the magazine that involved making a fancy basil oil. I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I simplified things a bit in my preparation. I loved the salad – super easy to prepare and the oh-so-summery flavors all blended so nicely together. I wasn’t entirely sure what the girls would think. They love watermelon, and this savory twist on a favorite fruit seemed a bit risky. But I’ll tell you what…every person in the family happily gobbled down the salad! It was a great success! Will definitely be adding this salad to the rotation, at least during the summer when all of these lovely ingredients are fresh and in season!
Watermelon Salad with Tomato and Cucumber
Adapted from a recipe in the August 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living
- Half a watermelon, cubed (I know, so exact…my watermelon was medium in size)
- 2-3 handfuls of small tomatoes, or 2-3 larger tomatoes sliced into wedges (I used a bunch of baby tomatoes we have growing on the back porch)
- One cucumber, chopped into bite sized pieces
- Olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons)
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Basil, about 5-10 leaves chopped
- Original recipe calls for 4 oz crumbled goat cheese – I left this out because we were having another cheese-based side dish, but also I just wanted straight up produce in the salad
Combine the watermelon, tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to cover the fruit and veggies. Sprinkle with the chopped basil, about 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly and serve!
Tuesday, June 21
When I discovered my next Newman’s Own “Own It” recipe challenge with Martha’s Circle involved utilizing one of their salad dressings, I immediately knew what I was going to make. Back when I was first married and still learning how to cook, Nate’s Gram Maynard was the one to teach me how to make potato salad. I loved her potato salad. Simple and classic, it always hit the spot. Not too sweet and not filled with too many surprises. (I’m not a big fan of surprises in potato salad.)
Gram had a trick, one that I have never forgotten and have always used since. Once the potatoes are cooked and cut, instead of using vinegar, she would toss the potatoes in Italian dressing. You get your vinegar in there, along with a bunch of built-in seasonings. It’s a genius idea that I absolutely love.
Since I needed to also add a “twist” to my potato salad recipe, I decided to go for a healthy twist. In fact, I went for three healthy twists on this classic!
- Replace the bulk of the mayonnaise with fat-free yogurt…less fat and the health benefits of yogurt to boot!
- Leave the skins on the potatoes…that’s where are all the vitamins are!
- Throw in some cauliflower…easily hidden, most people won’t even know it’s there (Nate didn’t notice after eating a whole serving) and this nutrient-packed veggie adds an additional healthy kick to the salad.
And guess what? This healthier version of the classic potato salad tastes just like…potato salad! Go figure. Seriously, it tasted just like the much less-healthy version I used to make. These twists are here to stay!
Classic Potato Salad with a Healthy Twist
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- 3 pounds potatoes of your choice (I used russet this time around)
- 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped small
- 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, chopped then steamed
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Newman’s Own Lighten Up Italian Dressing
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup fat-free strained Greek yogurt or other thick yogurt
- 1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
- 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
Chop unpeeled potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add to a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and lightly boil 5-10 more minutes, until potatoes are easily pierced by a fork but not falling apart. Drain potatoes and put in refrigerator until cool. Feel free to fish out potato peels that have fallen off any potato pieces…some of them may do that after cooking.
Mix together the potatoes, eggs, cauliflower and onion. Pour Italian dressing over the mixture and toss to cover.
Mix together mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, dry mustard, salt, pepper and paprika. Add to potato mixture and stir to combine.
P.S. Part of my participation in this project with Martha’s Circle was my recipe featured in a Newman’s Own advertorial in Everyday Food (kind of like the last recipe I did with them, which appeared in Martha Stewart Living).
CHECK. IT. OUT. My name, blog, recipe and photo are on the inside front cover of the July issue of Everyday Food! Somebody pinch me! Get out there and get a copy for your scrapbook!
Tuesday, April 26
A while back I shared a video showing how to make 60-second Brussels sprouts (thanks once again to my culinarily-geniused friend Lindsay for sharing that with me so long ago). The idea behind the recipe is that you slice the brussel sprouts thinly, allowing them to cook quickly (hence the 60 seconds), which keeps the sulfur from emerging and stinking things up.
Nate’s parents were here for Easter and Nate’s dad loves Brussels sprouts. Pat was telling me how her niece Morrigan recently roasted Brussels sprouts with maple syrup, and that they were deeeeee-licious. I then told Pat about this quick cooking technique, which she had never tried. We decided to combine the two ideas and created a very delicious side dish for our Easter feast last week.
It’s quick, it’s easy, and the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup complements the flavor of the Brussels sprouts really nicely. I may never use lemon again!
60-Second Maple Brussels Sprouts
- 15-20 Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff!)
- Salt & pepper to taste
To see how to prepare the Brussels sprouts, click here and watch this handy dandy video. Here’s what you do in words: cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise, cut out the core, then thinly slice the sprouts, so it looks like sliced cabbage for coleslaw (see photo above).
Heat the olive oil and butter over high heat in a large skillet, preferably with high sides. Once the pan is hot, add the maple syrup, stir quickly, then add the Brussels sprouts. Cook them for 60 seconds, stirring throughout the cooking time. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, then serve immediately.