Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goroccan Quinoa Salad

This salad came from me being unable to decide on what salad to make for a potluck. I narrowed it down to a feta pear Greek style and a Moroccan. So I just took the best of both and tossed it in a bowl. So is born the Gorroccan Quinoa Salad. 


1 cup quinoa (uncooked)

2 cups water
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt 
3 teaspoons cumin 
1.5 cups black beans (rinsed)
1.5 cups corn (I just tossed frozen in)
1/2 a small red onion finely sliced then chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered 
1 barlette pear chopped 
1 cup crumbled feta 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander) 
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint 
1 cup toasted slivered almonds 

Bring water to a boil in medium sauce pan, add quinoa. Reduce heat and cook until soft. 

In small bowl combine oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, cumin. for your dressing. Set aside.

Add all other ingredients except herbs and almonds  to cooked quinoa.Drizzle with dressing and toss well. Refrigerate

Add herbs and  right before serving. Because mine was a potluck I just set the herbs and almonds on top to stir in right before serving. Add some warmed buttered pita for a great meal.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jolly Rancher Candy Coral

I saw this done on Cake boss with some fancy special candy sugar. I decided to experiment with Jolly Ranchers and was very pleased with the result. These I made for my sons sponge bob cake, stay tuned for the end result in a few days!

Various colored of jolly rancher candies (about 5-6 per piece of coral)
Ice - small chunks is best so if your using cubes you need to smash them up a bit. 

tall mason jar or a glass would also work
piece of parchment or wax paper the size of your jar
1-2 small pots
rubber spatula

Sort candies, peel wrappers off, and place in small pot. I would have two because it takes a bit to soak one color out.

On med-low (on my stove I started at 4) start to heat your candies. While they are heating line your jar with paper and fill it up to the top with loosely packed ice.

Once candy has just started to melt and bubble a bit turn it down to low setting. It burns very easy so you want to watch it closely at this point.

Stir with rubber spatula until all candy is melted and it is runny.

Now quickly because it hardens very fast, pour over top your ice. You want to go sort of back and forth a bit to get a good base for it to sit on. Making sure you have no gaps and nice and solid on what will be the bottom.

Now set it aside, place the pot in the sink with hot water to melt out the unused candy. Run your spatula under cold water and the candy will come right off.

Start on your next color as this one is setting.

Once it is cool to the touch on the top and feels hard you can gently turn it over onto a plate. The ice should seperate but if it "grew" around a piece just run it under tepid water for a minute and it should come out, don't try to pry it out or you will break your coral.

 Set your coral aside to dry on parchment and admire your hard work LOL so pretty!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dill and lemon baked salmon

I usually do this one on the BBQ but the day I made this it snowed so we did it in the oven.


One whole salmon  - you can remove the head or leave it on I like food that is not looking at me
1-2 lemons sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 sliced onion
6 or so cloves of garlic
Large bunch of fresh dill - you could use dry if you wanted


Clean salmon inside and out, remove head and tail if preferred.
On top of a sheet of foil larger then your fish, place one layer of lemons, onion, dill, and garlic.

Lay fish on top
Inside fish place another layer of lemon, onion, dill and garlic

Repeat on the top then place a layer of foil and roll edges to make a nice package

Cook 45 minutes in a 375 oven or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily.

To serve I find the easiest method is to slice down the backbone but not too deep so you cut the bones off, then across to make fillet sized piece, slide off the spine. Run your finger lightly over it to make sure you didn't miss any small pin bones but most should stay with the spine

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quinoa and seafood teriyaki stirfry

MM I love throw together meals that turn out amazing! This was my lunch adventure on the rare days my kids get mac n cheese. Also a great way to use up left over quinoa. You don't have to add the seafood but I am the only one in my house who likes shrimp so I take advantage of the cooking just for me moments. This will make one lunch sized serving but obviously you can add more for a whole family meal.


3 stalks asparagus chopped
2 green onions ends and stalk, diced
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 clove fine diced garlic
1 cup crab meat
1 cup shrimp
1/2 cup quinoa (precooked!)
2tbs olive oil
Teriyaki sauce to taste


In wok heat oil
Add veggies and cook until half done (I like mine a bit crisp still)
Add seafood cook until shrimp turns nice and pink
Add quinoa and teriyaki sauce
Heat until warm through
Drizzle with more sauce if you like and serve

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Borscht and beet painting

I loath beets but I love borscht. It's the dill 100% I could eat dill by the spoonful I swear. So really I should just call my borscht dill soup to be completely honest. Although borscht is fun to say and makes me feel smart. Anyway if you love dill you will love my borscht and if you love dill and beets you will really love it :)


3 beets
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
3 cups cabbage
3 cloves of garlic
3 potatoes
1 lonely onion
1 bunch of fresh dill
1 can of diced tomatoes
tomato paste* (optional and I left it out this time even though its in the photo because I honestly had no room in my crock pot it made no difference to the taste so I am going to deem it unnecessary)
3 cups water
salt/pepper to taste
dry dill to taste

Beet painting - One toddler, pile of beet peels, piece of paper (and some stain remover)

This is what I really love about this soup. It is so cheap to make and its a great way to use up veggies. It's also a good vegetarian meal if you add some biscuits or buns with it.

Peel, wash, dice, chop etc all veggies including the fresh dill and garlic.

This is when you introduce the beet painting to your rambunctious toddler to keep him busy.

I don't obsess over the size other then the carrots because they take so long to cook I make them on the small size. You can also shred them to speed the process.

Place in crock pot and top with tomatoes and three cups of water

Cook until the veggies are soft, I cook mine all day (8-10 hours) on low
Once veggies are fork soft I use my braun hand mixer to puree. A food processor or blender would also work.

Once its all pureed then I season with salt/pepper and more dry dill to taste then I cook it another hour or so to let the flavors really blend checking it from time to time to adjust the seasoning.

Serve with sour cream and more dill if you like it as much as I do

And proudly display your beet art!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The cookie experiment ~ lazy chocolate nutty muncher cookies

Most people who know me well know that the one thing I love more then cooking is a bargain. I normally cook from scratch but when I saw Duncans Hines Devils food cupcake mix on sale for .24 cents a box well I couldn't resist. So I bought oh 20 boxes. So far we have made cupcakes with them, go figure. But I have always heard you could make cookies with the mix so this was my first attempt. I decided to attempt to healthy them up and give them more of a crunch. So is born the lazy nutty muncher chocolate cookie. Something so easy needs a long name, right?

Ingredients (are you ready for this?)

1 box cupcake mix (or I am sure regular cake mix would work too)
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
Nutty stuff: In this case I used 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds, slivered almonds and golden raisins

Dump everything in a bowl. No really that is what I did see photo evidence.

Stir (I know very technical)

Drop spoonfuls on parchment lined pan, or oil it - I figured I would up the lazy factor of these. Now mine made 19 cookies, I figured the points (for weight watchers) at 2 points each for 20 cookies. Now if you left out the nutty part you would have 1 point cookies.

You could also stretch it to 24 cookies because mine spread quite a bit and some were rather large. In which case I would count even the nutty ones at 1 point because I grossly rounded up to make an even 2 points.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Okay you need to keep an eye on these they burn easily. I would check them at 8, I took them out when they were firm on top and they were already starting to brown too much on the bottom.

(and as an added bonus for my American friends you now know that
"petits Gateaux Au Chocolat Noir" is Devil's food cupcakes in french)

Curried coconut pork loin

I wanted to make something crocked with pineapple and coconut and think it was a success. The coconut flavor is very mild and not overpowering. It has a nice sweet and spicy taste without being sour. Perfect over rice :) I made it with pork but it would be great with chicken too.


1 large pork loin, trimmed of fat and cubed (really any kind of pork would work as long as its lean)
1 can pineapple tidbits drained (save liquid!)
1 cup light coconut milk
1 large green & 1 large red pepper diced
1 white onion rough chopped
1 finger of fresh ginger fine chopped or sliced (or powdered would work too)
3 gloves garlic diced
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of red chili and garlic paste - or to taste (omit if you don't want it spicy)
1/2 teaspoon srarchi hot sauce - or to taste (omit if you don't want it spicy)


Prepare and add veggies and pineapple to crock.

Trim and cube pork leave on cutting board or put in small bowl. Add all spices to the flour and mix well.

Dust over pork and toss to coat well. Put flour coated pork on top of the veggies in crock.

Mix 1 cup reserved pineapple juice with 1 cup coconut milk add the chili paste and the hot sauce mix well and pour over top the meat and veggies. It will seem like a lot of liquid but it thickens perfectly.

Cook on high 1-2 hours until it is good and hot, turn down to low for 3-4 hours. Or this can be cooked on low 6-8 hours or to speed things up on high for 4 hours.

mmmmmm serve with rice

weight watchers points - 12 servings in a 6 quart crock pot (2 cups each serving) 5 points a serving (without rice)
with rice (1 cup white or brown) 10 points