Ginger and Fruit Muesli

Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner introduced Muesli around 1900 for patients in his hospital, which required a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.  He had been served a similar dish when taking a long hike thru the Swiss Alps.   A healthy breakfast that sticks with you- yes please!

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I added ginger to get an extra layer of flavor, not to mention add nutritional values that ginger offers- digestive, sinus and more.  I am especially fond of a little kick start in my breakfast, like it gets the blood flowing and energy zipping!

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Ginger and Fruit Muesli

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon ginger
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 cups raw oats- not instant
  • 1 apple, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • 1 red pear, diced into ¼ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sliced cranberries

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, orange juice, ginger and salt together.  Add in the milk and yogurt and mix well.  In a separate large mixing bowl combine the remaining 6 ingredients, and stir in the yogurt mixture.  Cover and allow to sit 4 hours or overnight.  Stir well before serving.  Garnish with fresh mint or berries.

Serves 6 guests.

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This is a healthy, make ahead, easy dish to throw together for quick, on the go morning meals that are so easy to skip.   I made a batch and we had a few breakfasts with it while the rest went into Tupperware.  Slowly the Tupperware got emptied by me sneaking a spoonful here and there when those hunger pains struck.  Both filling and satisfying!

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Make your own Muesli by changing the fruit, or even adding different juices, it is hard to mess up Muesli as longs as you keep the oats to “liquid” in proportion.   Play with flavors and create your own!

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Late Summer Peach and Mint Bulgur Salad

We still have peaches filling the produce section of our grocery store with juicy, sweet smelling nectar.  I found this summer that I am definitely a peach person.  They just translate so well with other foods.  I love them with desserts and savory dishes, herbs, wines, fish, pork, chicken, vegetables, grilled, poached, raw, sautéed, flambéed.   It’s hard for a peach not to make anything better.

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Quick and easy, fresh and tasty.  All words that matter when we think about school kicking back in.   With peaches still hanging on to the season, I saw this salad and knew it would make a perfect cookout side, a last day of summer picnic lunch, or even an on the go salad.

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Thanks to Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced fresh peaches
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup small fresh mint leaves

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Preparation

In a small sauce pot bring 2 cups water and bulgur to a boil. Place cover on the pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook about 10-12 minutes until tender.

While bulgur is cooking combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Drain the bulgur from the sauce pot and give a quick rinse of cold water.  Add warm bulgur to the vinegar and oil mix and toss.  Allow to cool to room temperature and add the peaches and mint to the salad.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4-6

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Hold on tight to these last moments of summer; enjoy the longer days, the warm evening sunsets, and the family time.  Also- hold on to the peaches, as the perfect fruit will be gone soon.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Summer vacation has caught up with us, which is evident in the tightness of our pants.  Time to lighten up and hopefully we can knock these extra pounds off before football season starts.  With this goal, we really try to kick up the flavors in our dishes, which helps to satisfy the rumbles in the tummy that a diet brings. 

Lemon, Feta, Tomatoes, Basil…perfect blend of flavors!

For some people quinoa sounds a bit intimidating, even exotic, which may make it seem unapproachable.  The good news is that it is very simple to cook, almost as easy as rice.  It also is very versatile, and can be used in place of pasta or rice in many dishes; but gives you much more nutrients.   Read more about Quinoa here.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw quinoa
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon diced onion
  • 10 grape tomatoes, split in half
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade, sliced basil
  • 2 tablespoon crumbled feta
  • 4 cups arugula or preferred greens

Method

Cook the quinoa according to the packaging.  While the grains are cooking prepare the vinaigrette.  Combine the lemon zest, juice, vinegar and mustard in a mixing bowl.  Whisk aggressively while slowly adding in the oil.  After the quinoa is cooked, transfer it to a shallow container and pour ½ of the vinaigrette over the grains, mixing well.  Adding the vinaigrette to the quinoa while it is still hot will help the flavor steep into the grains.  Add in the onions, tomatoes, basil and feta as well, giving the chance for all the flavors to mingle and blossom.   Cool the salad until ready to serve. 

When ready to serve, toss the greens with remaining vinaigrette and assemble the plate by putting the greens on the plate, followed by the quinoa salad.

Serves 2-4, depending how hungry everyone is!

Healthy and tasty summer dish!

My mom, Queenie, was the one that taught me to put vinaigrette onto the grains (potatoes, pasta, ect) when they came out of the pot.  This trick, in my opinion is the secret to any great cooked salad. (Queenie, thank you)

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Cheers to the fast approaching end of summer!  Enjoy!!

Preserved Lemons and Curried Grains

The lemons are ready!  I have been preserving lemons for the last few months and they are perfect!  I used them for the first time last week in a warm grain salad.  The best way to keep your preserved lemons is in the same container they started in.  When you are ready to use some, take out what you need, rinse the lemons off with water and remove the flesh, the skin is what you want to keep. 

Preserved Lemons are ready!

Preserved lemons are very versatile- from vinaigrette to a cocktail! 

Remove the flesh and pulp. The skin is all you need.

The first dish for the lemons was inspired by not having much in the refrigerator- another busy week at work.  Perfect timing to as it was Monday!  Have you heard about Meatless Mondays- I’m pretty impressed about how this initiative has gained steam.  Meatless Mondays, is a nonprofit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Families across the country are joining in- whether their reasons are health based or financial based, 1/3 of the country has reduced their meat consumption in 2011.  Grains, tofu, soy are offering replacement proteins and a healthy alternatives.  This brings us to the popularity of grains- which can be seen all over the food magazines and in most restaurants.  Chefs are now wondering …what else can we do with grains?? 

Preserved Lemons Debut!

Here is the recipe that my preserved lemons made their first appearance-

All of this was in the kitchen- waiting to get used up!

Preserved Lemon and Curried Grains

  • 1 ½ cup uncooked spelt
  • 1 ½ cup uncooked kasha
  • 1 ½ cup uncooked lentils
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 24 oz. coconut curry broth
  • 6 tablespoon chopped preserved lemons
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 oz. roasted red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 ½ cup green beans, cut into bite size pieces
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes

    Preserved Lemon and Curried Grains Mise en Place

     

It’s pretty easy to cook grains- start by washing them off with water.  Put a pot on the stove and add the washed grains, add water or stock to about two inches above the grains.  Bring to a slow boil and cook until tender.  When the grains are a la dente, drain them from the pot with a colander.  You can cool them down and reheat them when you are ready to serve.  This is a great way to prepare meals for a busy week.

I had a few pots working 🙂

  1. Cook the grains to a la dente.
  2. Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium high heat; add olive oil, followed by the onions and garlic.  Sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the cooked grains to the pot and stir in broth.
  4. Mix in the lemons, curry, cilantro, roasted peppers and ground red pepper.  Allow to gently simmer, giving the flavors a chance to meld.
  5. Put the green beans and tomatoes into the pot about 15 minutes before serving- this will keep their beautiful, bright color. 

Add the bright veggies at the end so they keep there color and don't turn to mush!

Like with many other soups and stews, this dish gets better with time. Give it an hour or a day the flavor will deepen.  Another similarity to soups and stews is ingredients can be of the “clean the fridge” mentality- no beans? Use cauliflower- any vegetable or none will work!  The grains can also be switched up.

Flavorful and healthy- take that meatheads!

My favorite meals are alway the ones when I have “nothing’ to cook for dinner!

Preserved Lemon and Curried Grains

Cheers to Meatless Monday!