Tag Archives: Fruit

White Summery Sangria

Happy Memorial Day!  It’s also my two-year anniversary with Fritz, and his sister Eber’s birthday.  A giant day of celebration all around.  Even though we are hundreds of miles apart, Fritz still managed to be his adorable self and texted me a picture of pancakes that he made “for me”, but sadly, had to eat alone.  Is that cute or what?

We are also celebrating around these parts by having a backyard summer BBQ–I made my standard summer picnic pasta salad which my family has never had before!  Weird, because I’ve been making it for years–just never made it around here, I guess.  Dad went fishing and brought home some lovely rainbow and brown trout this morning, and I made a tarragon/lemon/garlic mayonnaise to grill it with–you’ll see that tomorrow.  Most importantly, Mom and I decided to make a summery white sangria to celebrate.

It started off being red (cherry, strawberries), white (wine), and blue (blueberries) for Memorial Day, but we wanted to add some citrus, too, so now it’s just a gorgeous rainbow.  You can admire mine, or there’s still time to run to the grocery store and get the stuff to make your own.  Up to you!

White Summery Sangria

  • 1 bottle dry white wine (chardonnay, pinot grigio, etc)
  • 1-2 C of orange juice
  • 1/2 L of club soda (or one or two cans)
  • 2 T sugar (adjust to taste–it all depends on how sweet you like your drinks!)
  • Fruit–whatever you like!  We used 2 lemons, 1 lime, 1 C blueberries, 10-12 big strawberries, and a handful of cherries

Wash and slice the fruit, layering and arranging them in a large pitcher (we actually used a small 1-L pitcher for the table, and a large plastic one for “refills” later). 

Pour the orange juice and wine over the fruit and gently stir.  Add sugar according to taste. 

Chill the sangria in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.  Right before, pour the club soda over the top, give it a mix, and enjoy.  All these pictures are pre-club soda, since we haven’t had dinner yet!

It is so refreshing, light, and delicious.

A perfect summer drink that also makes a beautiful centerpiece for a nice dinner–you can arrange leftover limes and lemons on the table for gorgeous look, too.  We’ll be slicing lemon to be served with the fish, and it’ll look great next to the sangria.

I also like the white sangria better than the traditional red–it just feels lighter and brighter.  It reminds me a bit of Fritz’s favorite summer drink, a gin and tonic (or a G&T, if you’re in the know).

We also celebrated Memorial Day by going to my hometown’s parade this morning, and we ran into some friends there.

Hi Sarah, Josh, and Cora!

I love this parade because it goes by literally in a flash–small town, small parade.  I used to march proudly in this parade with my girl scout troop–go Brownies!

Hope you have a beautiful Memorial day, and happy anniversary to the best husband, student, dentist, brother, son, friend, cat owner, and all-around good guy I have ever known:

And of course, happy birthday to Eber:

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Roasted Chicken with Mango Chutney

Today was a weird day.  I woke up, admired the sunshine streaming in through the window, went to the kitchen, turned on the tea-pot, started washing dishes, and then fainted.

Whoops.  Turns out I’m a little dehydrated!  Needless to say, it turned into an amazing day when I walked into the bedroom, fainted again, and Fritz leapt into Super-Hubby mode.  He tucked me into bed, turned on the fan (and then the heat blanket…I couldn’t control my body temperature), put No Reservations on his laptop for me, made me banana pancakes, and most importantly gave me about 24,904 gallons of water to drink.

Aside from the fainting part, I could live with that every morning!  I think with the gym and the blood donation yesterday I didn’t realize how little water I had to drink–and you can’t depend on being thirsty to tell you that.  Apparently you only feel thirst when you are already dehydrated.  You learn something new every day, you know.

Needless to say, I had a very relaxing morning–until I started feeling better, and then we did three weeks worth of laundry in two hours.  Impressive, right?

I also took some free time to catch up on some picture editing so that I can blog a few posts during the week without having to spend a ton of time going over the pictures.  On Friday, we had a roasted chicken with mango chutney, and it was drool-worthy.  We ate the chutney the next day with pork chops, and it really elevated the chops from standard dinner fare to gourmet cooking in 30 seconds flat.  Not bad!

For the roasted chicken I used the CIA method that I’ve blogged about before.  As always, I ended up with an incredibly juicy, crispy chicken–made even better than before because of my new roasting pan that we imported from Canada.

Actually, Fritz’s mom gave it to me, and I carried it home as my carry-on after Christmas.  But doesn’t it sound cool to say it was imported?  Either way, it’s the best roasting pan I’ve ever used and it definitely turns out a beautifully cooked chicken every time.  Thanks!  See for yourself:

The chutney itself was fun to make–I got mangos on sale at the store, but they were already ripe and needed to be used quickly.  Fritz loves chutney, but I had only ever had peach, so I thought it’d be nice to try a new fruit.

Mango Chutney (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 ripe mangos, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely
  • 1 T fresh chopped ginger (or grated)
  • sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 C water

Start by heating a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add a dash of canola oil, and cook the onions until softened.  Next, add in the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for a few minutes.  Finally, mix in the mango and the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Cover and cook on low until thickened.  I removed the cover for a few minutes to really thicken it up.

Serve hot over the chicken with a hearty grain–we used brown rice, but it would also be amazing over bulgar wheat.

Isn’t it just gawgeous?

This chutney was a decided success–the chili flakes gave it an unexpected spiciness, and it wasn’t too sweet.  I actually liked it better with the pork than the chicken, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying it with the chicken.  It was still great.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows around here, though.  I’ve had a difficult time getting motivated for school work–I haven’t even bought my books yet. I know Fritz feels the same way, so this week I’ve decided I’m really going to sit down and get some things accomplished.  What do you do when you are having trouble getting your butt in gear?

Henry definitely hasn’t been doing anything productive lately.  Now that the sun is out, he just drifts from sunny spot to sunny spot, following the course of the sun throughout the day, leaving only to eat.  He really can’t wait for spring!

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Sweetheart Steel-Cut Oats for Two

There is nothing in the world like a great breakfast.  It starts off your morning right and lets you finish the day strong.  Since I’ve recently made the transition from rarely eating any breakfast to polishing off a giant bowl early every morning, I’ve seriously seen a difference not only in my energy level but also in my eating habits for the rest of the day.  I had heard it all my life, but breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.

Especially when it involves healthy grains and fruit.  Yum.

Fritz and I discovered steel-cut oats around Thanksgiving, and they now reign as our king of all breakfasts.  At first we only had them on the weekends, because they take too long to make when you have to leave the house at 7:30.  It was a sad time in our lives–until I realized I could make them in vast quantities, refrigerate the leftovers, and we could microwave them at our convienence.

So here’s a beautiful and fruit-filled sweetheart’s breakfast.  Either cut the recipe in half to serve just two, or keep it the same and refrigerate the leftovers.

Sweetheart Steel-Cut Oats (with fruit)

  • 1 C steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/2 C water
  • 1 C milk (we use skim)
  • sprinkle of salt (optional)
  • fruit to top–strawberries, banana, apple, sliced

Put the steel-cut oats and the water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Add the milk, and continue to cook until the oats are the consistency you want-about 30-40 minutes.  You can leave out the milk, but they won’t be as creamy (and my dad and the dairy industry won’t like you as much).

This makes four servings–add a sprinkle of salt to taste, and top with the sliced fruit.  If you are saving the leftovers, don’t add the fruit until you eat it.  I really piled on the fruit, and it was sweet enough for me to eat without adding any extra sugar, but be creative!  You can also add some peanut butter, or maple syrup, or anything else your heart craves.  Make it for your significant other, and bring it to ’em in bed topped with everything they love.

This just might be the perfect start to your Valentine’s day–and you won’t be snacking all day because it will definitely fill you up until lunch.

But be careful.  Steel-cut oats may change your life.

 

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Valentine’s Day Fruit Dip…or Dressing?

Today a beautiful thing happened. 

I had a free moment to reorganize some of my kitchen cupboards.  Like I said, it’s a beautiful thing.

But before I talk about that I’m going to share with you a recipe for a fruit dip that I made in the spirit of Valentine’s day.  Well, it was intended to be a dip, but it turned out runnier than I wanted–and today I discovered the perfect use for it: a dressing for a quick and beautiful fruit salad.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but I took what I had and looked for the best in it–and it turned out better than my original idea.  Kind of like a relationship, right?  And to think, I learned all that without marriage counseling.

My idea was to make a yogurt dip to be used in lieu of chocolate fondue for a healthier (and pinker) V-tine’s day treat.  This could still be accomplished beautifully with a little recipe-tweaking.  Don’t worry, I’ll let you know what to do.

Valentine’s Day Fruit Dressing

  • 1 C plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C milk (I may have used a bit less)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1-2 T brown sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
  • 3 strawberries, hulls removed

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.  I suggest adding the milk at the end, and slowly, so you can decide the consistency you like.  If you want to stick with the fruit dip idea, ditch the milk entirely.  You can also add some red food coloring if you want it to be pinker.

This truly tastes amazing.  The vanilla and brown sugar are the perfect complement to any fruit, without overpowering the natural flavors.  And the tanginess of the yogurt!  Don’t even get me started.  I made an impromptu fruit salad today of apple, banana, and strawberry, and drizzled this over in a sudden stroke of genius.  It was so delicious that it didn’t even occur to me to take a picture before I inhaled the entire bowl.  Perfect for the Valentine’s day sweet tooth without ruining my eating for the day.

So onto the cabinets!  They looked so nice and organized (and might I say crammed with ingredients) that I took pictures–and then I thought I’d share.  You know…just in case you’re interested.

This is our processed-food-and-non-perishable-cooking-ingredients cabinet.  Top shelf are mostly breakfast foods and snacks–two things in there that don’t belong there anymore are the Carnation Instant Breakfasts (I’m a big-breakfast girl now) and Bisquick (which should be in the fridge…oops).  However, I refuse to throw away food and I’ll use the breakfast shakes in smoothies or try to hide them in Fritz’s dinner somehow.  The middle shelf is all the canned stuff/pasta/rice noodles/pectin (in case I have a sudden urge to make jelly)/and spring roll wrappers that are just waiting for our Valentine’s day dinner-making date.  And of course, Grape Nuts courtesy of my dad.  I’m obsessed with eating 1/4 C in my plain Greek yogurt with a banana for breakfast.  The bottom shelf is my favorite–fun grains, rices, beans, and other exciting things to cook with. New on this shelf is some fun Chinese black rice Mom found in a specialty store that I’ll need to do some experimenting with.

Impressively packed, right?  This has been organized like this since we moved in, and it actually stays really nice for the most part.  Once in a while I need to shuffle some spices around so I don’t lose the little guys in the back.  On top of the cabinet are a few of the teas that I drink most often, for easy access.  The top shelf is beverage stuff on the left and dry baking ingredients on the right.  Middle is all my spices–which clearly I love.  I use all of them, but ranked among my most frequent are definitely cumin, thyme, and red pepper. Spices are free taste–no calories!  The bottom shelf is flours and sugars on the left, and all the wet ingredients I use–honey, PB, vinegar, jam, etc.  I’m most proud of the fact that I made a couple of the objects in the shelf–the mint jelly, vanilla extract, and a few of the spices were grown and/or prepared by yours truly.

Makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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