Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring has Sprung here on the Farm and the Weekly Menu

I am having a lot of fun walking around our new yard.  Seeing what was planted by the previous owners and making plans for changes and additions that we will want to make.  One of the things I want to do is to plant some tulip and daffodil bulbs.  Our old yard had tons of them and I am missing them very much this Spring.

There are some beautiful things in this yard.  Olive trees, weeping cherry trees, lots of hostas and day lilies, lots of shrubbery and bushes.


One of my favorite things right now is this tree that is blooming outside of our sunroom.  I don't know what it is but it has the sweetest little flowers on it.  If any of you recognize this tree could you please identify it for me?

We spent the majority of the day yesterday working in the yard and it is looking pretty nice.  I don't know if I mentioned to you that we built a new home for the chickens.  By we, I, of course, mean Frank.  We had downsized them when we moved last year and put them into this house and yard.

The yard was fine but the coop was way too small and we had no way to add light or heat to it in the winter months.  It was a long hard winter for my poor ladies.

As soon as the weather broke, Frank got to work, rectifying this sad situation our hens were in .  We bought a pre-made shed and he adapted it to work as a chicken coop.


Now,  that is more in the style to which they had become accustomed.  They are happy, happy hens and they are showing their appreciation by giving me tons of eggs.  Stay tuned for egg recipes folks!!

This afternoon we are singing at the 4 pm Mass then we are heading over to our friend's the Pryrt's for pizza before a large group of us attend a comedy show this evening at a local theatre.

Tomorrow, Frank has confirmation practice with our great nephew, Dylan, whom he is sponsoring. The confirmation ceremony is on Monday evening.  Tuesday is our Anniversary.  This year marks 25 wonderful years together.  Time certainly does fly by.  We will enjoy a quiet evening at home since our eldest, Amy, has put together a dinner party at our favorite local restaurant for next weekend.

Thursday is Frank's birthday.  We will celebrate that along with our anniversary over the weekend since we have choir Thursday evening. 

Friday, Frank and I are attending a mushroom seminar at a local nature park.  Hopefully we will find a lot of mushrooms and I will be sharing mushroom recipes with you next week.

For sure, I, and many others, are sharing tons of #MexicanRecipes all week long so that you are ready for Cinco de Mayo...unless, like us, you are traipsing through the woods hunting mushrooms LOL.

So here is the Weekly Menu.....enjoy and please stop by and visit during the week.

Saturday 
Pizza and Comedy with friends

Sunday
Pot Roast 
Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Green Beans

Meatless Monday
Spring Vegetable Quiche
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Tuesday
Beef Pot Pie

Wednesday
Chicken Salad with Orange and Fennel

Thursday
Sesame Crusted Pork Chops
Orange and Sweet Potato Stir Fry

Friday
Out for dinner after Mushroom Hunting



Friday, April 28, 2017

Beet and Carrot Smoothie to Finish Up #RecipeMakeover Week

Today is the final day of this wonderful #RecipeMakeover event hosted by the lovely ladies over at ThePinterTest Kitchen.  It is also the last day to enter to win the fabulous gifts being offered by our gracious and generous sponsors.  You can learn all about our sponsors and enter the drawing by going over to my Welcome Post.

One of our sponsors, Barleans, sent me a wonderful package of their Digestive Blend, chock full of flax, chia, coconut, pumpkin and quinoa.  Perfect for sprinkling on salads, yogurt and oatmeal.  You can add it to your baked goods for an extra nutritious punch.  I decided to add it to this smoothie, perfect for grabbing as you head out the door to work.


The recipe I am sharing is perfect for smoothies for two.  You can always halve the recipe if you are not forcing having your husband eat healthier along with you.


I had some leftover beets that I had roasted for a salad (that recipe will be coming shortly)  and some leftover carrots from a package of frozen that I had heated up for dinner the night before.  I added in a crispy and sweet apple and some apple juice so no additional sweetener was required. 


I topped this with 4 tablespoons of the Barleans Digestive Blend and a cup of ice and set my heavy duty blender to puree.


I thought the earthy goodness of this smoothie might be too sophisticated for young palates but to my surprise the Little Angel Face loved it!  I was happy to share this nutritious, delicious breakfast with her.  Thanks Barleans! 



Thank you Allison and the other ladies of The PinterTest Kitchen for all of your hard work putting together this wonderful event.

Beet and Carrot Smoothie
makes 2 servings

2 c. roasted beets and carrot mixture
1 c. apple juice
1  apple, cored
4 T. Barleans Digestive Blend, if desired
1 cup ice

Place all ingredients into a heavy duty blender in the order listed and puree until smooth.  Print Recipe

Let's see what the others are sharing on this final day







Thursday, April 27, 2017

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake #RecipeMakeover

On this, Day 4, of Recipe Makeover week I decided to share with you a way to enjoy the ooey gooey goodness of baked Spaghetti that gives you and your family an extra serving of vegetables and is gluten free. This dish is so delicious that even your most die hard carnivores, pasta lovers and veggie haters will happily gobble it up.


I love using Spaghetti Squash in place of pasta.  Does it taste like Spaghetti? Nope but in my humble opinion it tastes just as good as spaghetti.  Especially when you add delicious flavorings, melty cheese and yummy broccolini and mushrooms.


You can prepare it in about the same amount of time as it would take using pasta by cooking the squash in the microwave.  While the squash is cooking, saute the broccolini and mushrooms with some crushed red pepper and garlic in a little olive oil.


Remove it to a bowl and allow to cool before adding the cheeses and Italian Seasonings.  Stir to combine and set aside while you shred the "spaghetti" from the squash.


Add the squash to the vegetables and toss to combine.  


Place the vegetable filling into the scraped shells and sprinkle with more cheese.


Bake for a few minutes to warm through then put under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese.


I adapted this recipe from one found at Eating Well.   They called it Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini.  I added mushrooms, used fresh mozzarella, substituted red wine for the water and used Tuscan Herb olive oil to saute the vegetables.

Thanks to the ladies over at The PinterTest Kitchen for hosting this great event.  Don't miss out on the great giveaway our sponsors are having.  You can enter over at my Welcome Post.

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake
adapted from Eating Well

1 (2-3 lb) spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
1 T. Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
1 bunch Broccolini, chopped
6 oz. sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper
2 T. dry red wine
6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 t. dried Italian herbs
pinch of salt
couple of grinds of black pepper

Place squash, cut side down onto a microwaveable dish.  Add a little water to the dish and cook on high temperature until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes.  

While squash is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the broccolini, mushrooms,  garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, add the wine and continue cooking and stirring until broccolini is tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl to cool, then add the 2/3 of the mozzarella and 2 Tablespoons of the parmesan cheese, herbs, salt and pepper.  Toss to combine, set aside.

Using a fork, scrape the squash from the shell in strands and add to the vegetable/cheese mixture. 
Toss together loosely and then divide between the shells, and sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Bake in a preheated 450* oven for about 10 minutes, just until heated through and then place under a broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Print Recipe

More Wonderful Recipe Makeovers



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Healthified Swiss Steak #RecipeMakeover

I know that when I say Swiss Steak it envisions a piece of steak, often cubed for tenderizing, smothered in a heavy gravy that may or may not contain mushrooms.  Very delicious but not very healthy.

This recipe I am sharing with you today is a win on so many levels.  You start off with round steak which is one of the leanest cuts of beef.  We are going to cook it low and slow in a crockpot so that it is fork tender.  It is smothered with veggies instead of gravy and what gravy there is is light and bright made with the juices from the veggies and a little water added prior to cooking.


Serve it all up over some pasta made with brown rice instead of flour.  Your family will never know that the pasta is made from rice if you don't tell them and they get the added benefits of whole grains that are gluten free if that is an issue in your family.


A group of us are getting together all week, under the direction of Allison of The PinterTest Kitchen, to share recipes that are healthier but still amazingly delicious.  We are also hosting a giveaway that you can join by going to my welcome post.


You will find many more wonderful healthy and nutritious recipes following mine.


Swiss Steak
adapted from BHG

1 Round Steak, approx. 1-11/2 lbs.
1 T. coconut oil
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 t. dried thyme

Cut steak into fourths and trim fat from meat. Season with salt and pepper and brown in hot oil in a skillet over med high heat. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Pour diced tomatoes into the hot skillet used for the meat and deglaze, stirring to loosen up brown bits stuck to the pan.

Place the onions, celery and carrots in bottom of slow cooker, season with salt and pepper. Top with the meat and any drippings on the plate. Pour tomatoes over the meat and vegetables, sprinkle with the thyme. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs.  Print Recipe



More Recipe Makeovers



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin #RecipeMakeover

Welcome to Day 2 of Recipe Makeover Week.  A group of us were invited by Allison and the ladies of  The PinterTest Kitchen to post healthy recipe makeovers this week.  In a nutshell she wanted us to share "better for you, more nutritious meals" and left it up to us what that would look like.

Yesterday, I shared a healthier version of a Strawberry Orange Muffin with you, swapping out some of the regular flour for whole wheat and adding a protein packed streusel to the top.  I also shared a giveaway that we are having to celebrate this week so make sure you link back to the Welcome Post in order to enter.

Today, I am sharing a recipe for Pork Tenderloin.  Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut that cooks up quickly and is perfect for a healthy meal during the busy week or for an impressive meal over the weekend when you are entertaining family or friends.


This recipe from Rachael Ray is tender and deliciously seasoned with fresh herbs.  Serve this up with a nice salad and a side of Baked Sweet Potato Fries and no one will even realize that they are eating a meal that is low in fat and healthy.  The USDA has lowered the safe cooking temperature for a pork tenderloin to 145* which gives you a beautifully moist and medium rare finish.

I adapted this recipe slightly by halving the ingredients to serve 6 people and changing the preparation a bit.

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Rachael Ray

1 pkg of pork tenderloins (there will be 2 in the package)
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. good olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 t. kosher salt
several grinds of fresh cracked pepper
leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary
leaves from 2 sprigs thyme

Trim all silver skin from the tenderloins and place onto a rimmed baking pan lined with foil.

Place the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme in a blender or food processor and pulse until a coarse puree.  Massage into and onto all sides of the pork tenderloins.

Roast in a preheated 500* oven for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 145*.  Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  Print Recipe



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More Recipe Makeovers


Monday, April 24, 2017

Strawberry Orange Muffins #RecipeMakeover #MuffinMonday

This first day of Recipe Makeover by the ladies of The PinterTest Kitchen just happens to fall on Muffin Monday, a group led by Stacy of Food Lust People Love.  So naturally, the first recipe that I a sharing today is for a delicious and healthier muffin that I adapted from Eating Well.

Recipe Makeover is a sponsored event.  You can read all about our sponsors and enter to win a fantastic giveaway over at my Welcome Post.  Our sponsors are very generous.  Not only did they supply great items to be raffled off to you, our readers, but Barleans also sent me some butter flavored coconut oil and a package of their Digestive Blend.  I am under no obligation to use these products for recipes developed for this event nor did I receive any monetary compensation from this or any other of the sponsors.  All opinions are 100% honest and mine.



I did choose to adapt the recipe from Eating Well slightly by substituting the butter flavored coconut oil for the canola oil in the original.  Only 2 Tablespoons were used in the nut streusel so there was not a pronounced butter flavor but there was the satisfaction of using a product that has different nutritional value,  according to livestrong.com:
 Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides, and this type of saturated fat could be beneficial for increasing energy without raising blood sugar levels, notes nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden.
The article went on to say that a combination of both types of oil, coconut and canola, in moderation provides the best health benefits to your diet.


Other components that makes these muffins healthier is using lowfat buttermilk instead of milk and butter in the batter.  It also swaps out some of the AP flour to White Whole Wheat flour which has the same nutritional properties as regular whole wheat flour. Adding fresh fruit juice, fruit and nuts to the batter also gives you sweetness with a minimal amount of added refined sugar.  I chose to not add any additional oil to the batter for the muffins as included in the original recipe.  I found that they still baked up moist and tender and released easily from the pan.


The final result?  While these were not the most beautiful muffins I have ever made, they were one of the tastiest.  They were light and moist and I loved the nutty streusel topping.  


This is a muffin that I can enjoy guilt free for breakfast or a snack and feel good about serving to my family and friends as we visit over a cup of coffee.  Life doesn't get much better than that!



Strawberry Orange Muffins
adapted from Eating Well

Streusel Topping

3 T. raw almonds
2 T. All Purpose Flour
2 T. brown sugar
zest of one orange
pinch of salt
2 T. coconut oil, melted

Batter

3/4 c. All Purpose Flour
1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
Juice of 3 oranges plus low fat buttermilk to equal 1 cup
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 qt. strawberries, chopped

For Streusel

Place almonds, flour, brown sugar, orange zest and salt in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the coconut oil. Set aside

For Batter

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together the brown sugar, orange juice/buttermilk mixture, egg and vanilla.  Add, all at once to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  The batter will be thick at this point.  Stir in the chopped strawberries and their juices until combined and divide between a 12 cup muffin pan that has been liberally treated with baking spray.  Sprinkle the streusel over the batter and bake in a preheated 400* oven for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely on the wire rack.  Print Recipe

More Amazing Muffins





#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.



Let's see what recipes the others are sharing for Recipe Makeover today

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Welcome to #RecipeMakeover Week and enter our Fantastic #Giveaway

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After a long winter of snowstorms, stews, and sweets, spring is the perfect time to get back to the basics - delicious, whole foods and dishes packed with fruits and veggies that are great for your overall health.

To eat a healthier diet, you don't need to make drastic changes (unless recommended by a doctor). It's not about denying yourself that occasional treat; it's about taking baby steps to reduce the amount of sugar, carbs, red meats, and empty calories in your meals.

This week, I've joined forced with 40+ of my food blogger friends to present #RecipeMakeover. During this week, we'll all be sharing our favorite better-for-you alternatives to unhealthy dishes. Follow along on any of the blogs below or with the hashtag on social media to find nutritious dishes that are packed with flavor.

A huge THANK YOU to our sponsors, who have made #RecipeMakeover possible! They've provided a number of awesome products that you can win by entering our #RecipeMakeover giveaway below. Just follow the instructions below, and you could win the following prize pack:
  • Butter-flavored coconut oil and digestive blend from our sponsor Barlean's - Barlean's butter-flavored coconut oil is an organic, dairy-free alternative that can be used as a 1:1 substitution for butter. Their digestive blend is an organic, vegan combination of flaxseed, chai seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a proprietary pumpkin blend, that is delicious sprinkled into salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and more.
  • Sampler pack of original, mesquite, and applewood Smokin O's from our sponsor Smokin O's - Instead of frying, choose a healthier cooking option like grilling! Smokin O's is an innovative new product that allows you to add a natural wood taste even if you are using a propane grill, and they work great in charcoal grills and smokers too. No soaking, no mess, no wait - just delicious wood flavoring from a 100% natural product with no binders or chemicals.
  • 4 flatbread pizzas from our sponsor American Flatbread - Choose from any of America Flatbread's 15 all-natural, handmade pizza varieties, available at your local grocery store. These pizzas feature 100% organically grown wheat crusts and are topped with fresh herbs, vegetables, and cheeses (no rBST growth hormone!). They’re all-natural, with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and handcrafted from scratch and par-baked in wood-fired ovens.
  • 5 containers (48 oz) of ice cream from our sponsor Turkey Hill - Ice cream for a health food event? Try out their line of no-sugar-added products for a sweet treat without the guilt or their line of light ice creams, which have a rich taste with a fraction of the fat. They also have a rainbow sherbet option, which is Vitamin C and naturally low in fat. These all make great dessert options for special occasions. Turkey Hill also believes in implementing green initiatives to cut down on waste, reduce packaging, and minimize outputs into the environment.
  • 15 tuna creations pouches from our sponsor StarKist - StarKist tuna pouches all have at least 13 grams of protein, and their BOLD line now includes three gluten-free varieties: Tuna Creations® BOLD Thai Chili Style; Tuna Creations® BOLD JalapeƱo; and Tuna Creations® BOLD Hot Buffalo Style.
  • Mueller Spiral-Ultra 4-Blade Spiralizer from blog hosts, The PinterTest Kitchen - this 4-in-1 gadget allows you to spiralize your favorite veggies, and it also has extra attachments for a juicer, mandolin and grater.
This prize pack is valued at over $200, and one lucky winner will get it all! This giveaway is open world-wide except where prohibited. A winner will be randomly drawn on April 29, at the conclusion of #RecipeMakeover, and the winner will be contact via email.
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Thank you to all of our participating bloggers. Click the links below to find out what recipes they're cooking up for #RecipeMakeover: 


The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchRosie Discoverscrave the goodZesty South Indian KitchenThat RecipeThe Domestic DietitianAuthentically CandaceEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Body RebootedCindy's Recipes and WritingsFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceFeeding BigNatural ContentsSeduction In The KitchenEveryday EileenFamily Around The TableFairyburgerJane's Adventures in DinnerKitchen Counter ChroniclesKate's Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin' MamasMeadoe Out on a LimbStrawberry Blondie KitchenMel ClaireCookaholic WifeFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook's HideoutTwo Lazy GourmetsInk and SugarCookingwithsapanaThe Chef Next DoorSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFrankly EntertainingPalatable PastimeOur Good LifeThe Food Hunter's Guide to CuisineA Day in the Life on the Farm

Stay tuned to see all of the delicious recipes bloggers create during #RecipeMakeover!