Monday, January 25, 2010

Roasted turkey

What a beautifully delicious turkey this was! I had this guy in the freezer since the week before Thanksgiving and he was taking up way too much room. So we decided to roast all 18 pounds of him. He was great as dinner last Sunday, in soup, as a supplement to the doggies' everyday kibble and as a late night snack.

I attempted to defrost it but it was still pretty frozen when it went in the oven.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

After we rinsed and patted dry the 18 lb. turkey, we place it in a roast pan on a rack, breast side up. We quartered 4 medium onions, putting half of the chunks in the cavity of the turkey and half around the turkey in the pan. We also cut up two large stalks of celery and 2 large carrots for the pan (make sure the neck and giblets are in the bottom of the pan too). We put 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary in the cavity and rubbed the entire turkey with salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons dried thyme. We poured 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Covered and baked the bird for 3 hour 1/2 hours. Uncovered, basted and cooked for 1 1/2 more hours. Basted periodically (you can add more water if the bottom of the pan dried out).

Save the pan drippings to make the gravy. Add some sliced mushrooms to the drippings and let simmer for 8 minutes before you add the thickening agent.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cauliflower Salad

This recipe is from the February 2010 edition of Womens Day. At first I was a little intimitated by the mayo dressing but yesterday while I was at the West Shore Farmers Market looking at vegetables, I saw a nice head of cauliflower, remembered this recipe and made it last night. I just had a big bowl of it for lunch and the sweet and salty taste is so good.

1 head cauliflower, chopped
6 oz. dried cranberries
1 1/4 cup salted peanuts
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients together well. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Turkey Corn Chowder

Ok, this isn't on my 20 Healthy Foods list but I made it on Monday and had to share it... Turkey Corn Chowder. My mom and I roasted a turkey on Sunday and had lots of meat left over and I've been wanting to try this recipe. The chowder I made was inspired by a recipe I found from a Parents Magazine newsletter I got but I modified it with turkey and by adding zucchini.

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken breast, shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed and divided
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups milk (you can also do 1 1/2 cups milk & 1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream if you have it)

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, zucchini, 1 package of corn, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. While mixture simmers, combine the remaining corn and milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add milk mixture to pan; simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Adam wants to make sure I include in this post that he said this soup is really good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

Continuing on with healthy food, sweet potatoes are sooo delicious and good for you! I have been making this sweet potato and black bean salad for a long time. I found it in a Martha Stewart Everyday Foods Magazine. They recommend serving it alongside roasted pork but I think it's a good side for almost any meat. You can eat it warm or at room temperature.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes - optional but I recommend. It's good with the lime!
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime), plus wedges for serving
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped - I added too much this time. 1/4 onion is more appropriate
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro - I didn't use any this time but I highly recommend it!

Place sweet potatoes on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil. Season with red-pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Roast on lower rack, until tender, tossing once during cooking, 25 to 35 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk lime juice with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Add sweet potatoes, beans, onion, and, if using, cilantro; mix gently to combine.

SPs in olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes waiting to be roasted.The dressing.

Final product.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just Beet It!

The second healthy food on my list are beets. Just look how beautiful the color and texture of a beet is:

I'd never really worked with beets before. I do not like pickled eggs and I believe that's how most people consume beets but I just can't go there.

Instead I found a beet and horseradish dip in the January O magazine and thought I'd give it a try. You're probably thinking, that doesn't sound good (because that's what I was saying) but turns out it's pretty tasty! The horseradish is very subtle.

1 medium beet
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt - I used sea salt so I added a pinch more
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped chives or dill - I did not add herbs simply because I didn't have any on hand.

Peel then grate beet on the largest grating blades of a box grater. Mix all ingredients together. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving to let flavors meld. Keep refrigerated. Serve with chips or, as my one taste tester suggested, with sliced baguette. May by even good served atop a steak!

I just love the pink color!

Why the beet is good for you:

  • high in folic acid
  • high level of anti-carcinogens
  • contains betacyanin which is the red pigment that is obsorbed in the blood stream and can increase the oxygen carrying ability of blood
  • high in good carbs and low in fat

Just be careful.... even though the color is pretty they have evil intensions... they stain your hands and clothes very quickly!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My First Blogiversary celebrated with Blueberry Orange Muffins

This time 365 days ago I sat down to write my first blog post on Hope in the Kitchen. 187 posts later, I am thrilled with the results. I've tried cooking some things I've never cooked before, visited some great restaurants and met some fun people. I hope my writing has been a source of entertainment for you all, if nothing else.

It is my 2010 New Year Resolution to publish more posts. Since I've met Adam, our lives have been so wonderfully busy. And then we added to our little family when we brought Baxter home 6 weeks ago. I just get caught up with the greatness of my friends, family and boyfriend, that I don't make time to cook. I'm going to work harder to spend more time in the kitchen with my trusted (and handsome) assistant and our little (but growing quickly) pup at our feet waiting for scraps to fall (sometimes directly into his mouth).
I want to do a series on 20 Healthy Foods. I was thinking 20 Foods in 20 Days but then I got to thinking harder, and more realistically, then reconsidered. So this 20 foods project will be featured along with a recipe but it may take more more than 20 days. These 20 Healthy Foods series is inspired by an article in Oprah's January 2010 edition of the O Magazine.
Today is the first day of 20 Healthy Foods and I am featuring blueberries, which are packet full of wholesome nutrients. Maybe muffins aren't the best way to eat these sweet little bluies, but I couldn't resist the recipe.
In addition to containing high levels of age defying antioxidants, from O I've learned blueberries contain anthocyanins, a plant compound that may have antidiabetic effects. Also, through new research, blueberry nutrients have showed to protect heart muscle from damage.

So this morning I was feeling extra ambitious and surprisingly woke up at 6 am to make blueberry orange muffins. These rather healthy muffins are less sweet than traditional blueberry muffins and have a rather long and diverse ingredient list. The use of brown sugar makes the sweetness more pleasant than white sugar.
Adapted from Eating Well.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used Dole frozen blueberries, thawed)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffin tin with liners.

Whisk all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Whisk egg, egg white and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, oil and vanilla; whisk until blended.
Make a well in the dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Bake until tops are golden and spring back when touched lightly, 20 minutes - be sure not to overbake because they will get very brown very quickly. Carefully remove muffins from pan and let cool on cooling rack.

Made sure not to let too much of the liquid from the bag of frozen berries into the batter.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Photos

In addition to the special treats in my previous post, we celebrated the last hours of 2009 with some delicious drinks in holiday glasses...

Some of us grew a bit bored of waiting for the mindnight hour to arrive...

Some of us enjoyed a game of Parcheesi. We made up the rules of blockades, giblets and prawns as we went along...

Then the new year finally came!

We celebrated with friends...

Happy New Year to all!

Can't wait to see what 2010 brings! :)

I resolve to write more blog posts. You?

Looking for delicious snacks?

Look no farther! Here are three yummy and easy snacks that are perfect for parties or as an anytime snack.

With the help of Our Best Bites, one of my new favorite food blogs, I made two special treats for our New Years Eve party: a cheese ball and cinnamon bun popcorn.

First, the cheeseball:

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
2 tsp. seasoning salt
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained very well
1/2 c. chopped walnuts - the original recipe calls for pecans but I only had walnuts

*The recipe also calls for 1/4 cup chopped green pepper, but I didn't have any so I omitted it

Mix all ingredients except the nuts together. I started with a spoon but found that using my hands was most effective. It's very important to mix everything very well so you don't get a mouthful of pineapple or green onions :)

Form into a ball. Place nuts on a plate and roll the ball to coat. You may need to press the nuts into the cheese to help them stay put and ensure the cheese ball is fully coated. Refrigerate until serving.

Next, the cinnamon bun popcorn. Oh sooo good! I was originally going to bag this up for party favors but decided to leave it out in a big bowl.
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels or I used microwave popcorn)
1 C pecan halves, roughly chopped
1 C brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 C karo syrup
1 stick real butter (1/2 C)
1 t vanilla
1/2 t baking soda
3 squares almond bark (about 4 oz) - I used the white chocolate wafers from the bulk bin but because there was hardly any left, I had to use some dark chocolate on some of the popcorn. See pictures below.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more.
Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise.
Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks.

And for the buffet table centerpiece, I made a chocolate covered strawberry tree. I didn't have enough strawberries to fill the tree so we had to lop off the top of the styrofoam cone so it looks more like a squat shrub. I got the inspiration from a blog called Everyday Celebrating. Check it out!

You make your chocolate covered strawberry with good dipping chocolate, put a styrofoam cone in a pot or urn and use toothpicks to secure the strawberries and kale. So easy and fun!

Most of the stawberries were flat where the stem was so they would lay point up while the chocolate hardened. Some did not and they have a flat side and don't look all that pretty but they still tasted delicious!