I’m in the middle of remodeling h-e-l-l. Actually, I shouldn’t complain, because it hasn’t been too bad, since we started with a small project first – the kids’ bathroom. Yet it seemed as soon as my husband and his friend, Guy, started working on one thing, they would break another. Like cutting into a pipe and flooding the bathroom, which meant that the living room ceiling had to be repaired and repainted. Then they, along with the plumber and electrician, used my two vacuums like shop vacs, and broke them both. Then the bathroom lighting had to be done twice. The toilet that wasn’t supposed to be installed by the plumber, was indeed installed, and was broken in the process. I’m not even going to tell you about the fight with the painter regarding his quote and the trim.
Then the kitchen remodeling started with a reminder call. But I didn’t even know we were on the schedule to get our counter tops done that day! First, I had to reschedule my daughter’s hearing test appointment. No biggie. Then I had to camp out with my dog, Nellie in our bedroom, because as soon as the workmen left to get something from their truck and came back into the house, she'd growl at them like they were breaking in. Such a silly dog!
It also meant no cooking for a few days, since we had to wait for the plumber to come and hookup the sink and the electrician to hook up the stovetop. Luckily, I have another wonderful recipe from the April 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living to fill in while my kitchen is closed for a few days. This one is perfect for Easter, parties, and picnic season – Beet Picked Quail Eggs with an amazing picture by Jennifer Causey.
Just because it’s Easter doesn’t mean you have to stick with chicken eggs. Any sort of eggs will do. Martha Stewart Living suggests getting quail eggs at dartagnan.com, but I’ve had good luck finding fresh and canned quail eggs at Asian markets. (My mom puts quail eggs in salads and quail eggs in pho soup are amazing.) Canned quail eggs are pretty affordable, too.
I love the idea of dying the egg whites with the beets. Some people use beets or other foods to dye eggs shells. Or they gently crack the hard boiled egg before dyeing to form a cracked pattern on the egg white. They use foods such as:
- Blueberries or red cabbage for blue
- Skins of red onions or yellow apples for green
- Skins of yellow onions or paprika for orange
- Carrots, turmeric, chamomile, green tea or orange peel for yellow
- Coffee or black tea for brown
- Grape juice for purple
If you’re interested in using foods or plants as natural food dyes, About.com has instructions on how to do so.
- 1 small red beet, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries 1 dried bay leaf
- 24 quail eggs
- Hot sauce, celery leaves, and flaky sea salt, for serving
- Bring beet, 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, coarse salt, juniper berries, and bay leaf to a boil in a small pot, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool completely. Pass through a fine sieve; discard solids.
- Cover eggs with 1 inch of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let sit 3 minutes. Transfer to an ice-water bath until chilled. Drain and peel eggs.
- Place eggs in a container. Top with beet vinegar. Cover; chill 4 to 5 days. Slice in half and serve with accompaniments.
- Serving size: 3 quail eggs
Recipe and photography used with permission.
Leave it to my friend, Holly Clegg, to come up with an Easter dessert that’s delicious, gorgeous and healthy. You can check out more of Holly’s trim& TERRIFIC® recipes at hollyclegg.com and The Healthy Cooking Blog.
Healthy Easter treats
Easter is around the corner and what a great day to spend with family. Around the dinner table or outside hunting Easter eggs, everyone loves to dive into a luscious, creamy dessert. The Heavenly Yam Delight is just that!
Easy to make, and layered in a trifle bowl, you may not have realized sweet potatoes could be an ingredient be in a delicious dessert. No one has to know that they are getting important vitamins, nutrients and fiber - but I can assure you it will be the hit of the family.
Heavenly Yam Delight
This treat is a sweet potato version of a favorite layered dessert. The perfect sweet to make when you’re in a hurry, wonderful!
Terrific Tidbit: 2 cups fresh cooked Louisiana yams = 1 (29-ounce) can sweet potatoes.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
- 1 (8-ounce) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
- 1 (29-ounce) can sweet potatoes (yams), drained or 2 cups cooked mashed Louisiana yams
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat oven 350F. In large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, pecans, and butter. Press into bottom of 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In mixing bowl, mix cream cheese and remaining 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until creamy. Fold in 3/4 cup whipped topping. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust.
- In mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and sugar until smooth. Spread over cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate.
- Serving size: 1/16 of recipe
- Calories: 205
- Calories from Fat: 57
- Total Fat: 6g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Unsaturated fat: 5g
- Sodium: 143mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 33g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 1mg
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 fat
Picture courtesy of Holly Clegg.
After a fun week at the Grand Canyon (more on that soon) I’ve come back with a cough I cannot shake and the desire to stay in bed watching The Tudors [affiliate code all day]. Luckily for all of us, Holly Clegg has stopped by with a guest post about Easter cooking and dining.
Easter table must have asparagus
The true sign of spring in the food world is the abundance of many fresh vegetables. Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring vegetables. It appears earlier, but they peak in May, so this favorite American vegetable (broccoli came in #2) is showcased this time of year.
This cherished culinary pleasure is so flavorful that you’ll find it in all kinds of dishes. When purchasing asparagus, examine the tips for signs of freshness as that is the portion most likely to break or spoil. Look for tightly closed tip and stalks that are not too dry. The young asparagus have purple tips and green stems and grow thicker as they ripen. If served cold, you can cook in advance, but be sure to shock them in ice cold water to stop cooking and keep flavor and color.
I like to roast my asparagus in the oven and then whip up this simple marinade for a delicious taste of spring! And, pick up my pink book, Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets To Sizzle At Any Age for your Easter basket!
Try different flavored seasoned rice vinegars to splash on flavor without the fat-roasted red pepper adds a touch of heat-which I like, too.
- 2 tablespoons NAKANO roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound asparagus, cooked and cooled
- In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except asparagus.
- In shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, lay asparagus and cover with marinade.
- Refrigerate in marinade to serve cold or serve with marinade for vegetable side.
- Serving size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 89
- Calories from Fat: 57 (64%)
- Total Fat: 7g
- Saturated fat: 1g
- Unsaturated fat: 6g
- Sodium: 151mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 6g
- Sugar: 4g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 3g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Dietary Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat
Weight Watchers POINTS = 2
Picture and recipe courtesy of Holly Clegg.
These days it's rare that I get a chance to watch Food Network. But I had a chance to check out some of the shows today with some wonderful recipes for Easter. (For more Easter ideas from Food Network, click here.)
First on Everyday Italian, there were two fantastic and easy recipes for lentil soup and lamb chops. The lentil soup can be made anytime, though traditionally in Italy it's made for New Year's. And with lamb being cheap for Easter, stock up!
Lentil Soup Recipe
Courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe Summary -
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
- 11 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2/3 cup dried elbow pasta
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- Add the lentils and mix to coat.
- Add the broth and stir.
- Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Grilled Lamb Chops
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe Summary -
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined.
- Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste.
- Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes.
- Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.
Having company or family over for Thanksgiving or Christmas is stressful enough without having to spend the whole day in the kitchen roasting a turkey and preparing elaborate side dishes. Spiral cut ham is a great option since it's already precooked and pre-sliced and can be heated up in a slow cooker. You can put your own spin on it by creating a spicy – and gluten free – beer glaze as an easy and healthy alternative to using the sauce packet. It requires very little prep time and only a small amount of attention.
This Mama’s tips
- You’ll need to make sure that your slow cooker is big enough – or your ham small enough – to use the lid. If it doesn’t quite fit, you can cover the top with several sheets of aluminum foil instead.
- If you cannot find chutney at your local supermarket, use a cup of mild mango salsa plus a cup of peach or apricot preserves instead.
- This is a great recipe for Easter, too!
- For a roasting rack, I use two small, round cake racks at the bottom of my slow cooker.
- During the holidays when spiral cut ham is on sale, buy an extra to freeze. Use this recipe at your Super Bowl or March Madness party!
Crock Pot Ham with Gluten Free Beer and Chutney Glaze
- 1 5 to 6 pound fully cooked, spiral cut ham
- 1 jar mango chutney
- 3 tablespoons spicy or Dijon-style mustard
- 24 ounces gluten free beer
- Trim off any excess fat. Place ham on a metal roasting rack or trivet in a 5-quart or larger crock pot or slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Remove tongs and metal rack from your slow cooker.
- Pour off and discard pan juice.
- Return ham to crock pot. If cooking on LOW, change setting to HIGH.
- Place chutney in a small bowl. Stir in mustard and beer.
- Pour chutney and beer mixture over ham into the crock pot. Cover and continue to cook for 30 minutes, basting every 5 minutes with the chutney and beer mixture.
- Transfer ham to a warm carving platter or a cutting board. Cover with foil and keep warm with a clean dish towel. Let stand for 15 minutes before uncovering and slicing.
- Spoon chutney and beer mixture over ham when serving.
- Serving size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 415
- Total Fat: 13g
- Saturated fat: 4.4g
- Unsaturated fat: 8.6g
- Total Carbohydrates: 18g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 51g
Weight Watchers POINTS = 9