Cherry Sorbet

Really dull post title, but it gets to the point. Tonight I’m sharing with you a recipe for fresh cherry sorbet. Hooray for bonus posts! On Friday evenings, when everyone else is probably out doing extrovert things… I mean. Anyway.

I had intended to have two sorbet choices for you, but today did not exactly go as planned and I haven’t had the opportunity to even get the peaches cut! I might work on that after I’m done writing this. Hmm. But the cherry sorbet was soooooo good. SO GOOD. Like, I didn’t realize how something that’s basically fruit and water could be so good. Also, I used some of my allotted kitchen time to make risotto on the stove for the first time and that was well worth it, just saying.

So. Cherry sorbet. The most obnoxious part about the process was cutting up all the cherries… I don’t have one of those cherry pitting gadgets, but I might have to pick one up because it took me nearly half an hour to pit and chop two pounds of fruit. If you don’t have a gadget, I recommend turning on a favorite album or podcast because you’re gonna be slightly bored. A few other notes on the recipe…I substituted half the water with Ningxia Red, a superfood antioxidant drink from Young Living, and I used Swerve as my sweetener. But I will give it as is for you to play with how you wish.

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Cherry Sorbet

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh cherries

1 cup filtered water

2/3 cup sweetener of choice

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

 

Stem the cherries and remove the pits; you can also chop into smaller pieces if you wish. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix all ingredients and cook for 10-15 minutes until cherries are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. I kept the pan in the fridge for about 4 hours. Puree the mixture and pour it through a fine mesh strainer into an ice cream maker. Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (for example mine said to churn for about 15 minutes), then freeze, also according to instructions.

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It really was delicious. I ended up having a serving for breakfast the day after I made it. Why not?

Hope your weekend has started off right and I’m off to make some peach sorbet…or maybe popsicles because I just got a set of BPA-free molds! Who knows. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, there is a 1000% chance that I will end up renting Infinity War on Amazon and crying into a glass of wine. Because I don’t want to wait till my Blu-ray arrives to rip out my heart again. But I digress.

Happy Friday and happy cooking!

Food is a Lifestyle: an essay (of sorts)

As I sit here drinking Mountain Dew Baja Blast and chowing down on Nacho Fries from Taco Bell, I was inspired to write about healthy eating. Hah. Jokes. Actually I was inspired to write about eating in general, and how it is a lifestyle. Or it can be. Really, this wasn’t inspired by my silly Taco Bell run (the Nacho Fries are exceptional, btw), but more so something I wrote on my personal Facebook page yesterday.

Healthy eating is difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s so hard to wade through all the diet rules and advice that threaten to choke you with their insanity. There’s a reason it’s so hard to “diet” the way most people do it. Starving yourself and constantly depriving your body doesn’t really get you anywhere good, and in my experience, it hurt my mind. I was bored and frustrated all the time. I tried keto, paleo, vegetarian, even thought being vegan would be better for my body for awhile. Nothing stuck past a few weeks, even if I occasionally saw results. But food is a lifestyle, and that’s especially true for me. My life revolves around food and drink because I love cooking and trying new things. Because I don’t actually have any food allergies, and only a tiny intolerance towards gluten, there is a whole world open to me of things to play with and eat in my kitchen. (That’s half the reason I started this blog in the first place!) I’m not going to force myself to avoid pasta and bread forever, nor would I ever give up cheese. Hello, Wisconsin! <—That would be a tv show reference.

The point of all of this is to say that eating healthy can be done. There was a time when I was so frustrated by trying to diet that I essentially gave up creativity in the kitchen and hated being in there so much that we ate a lot of boxed food and also went out a lot. While I enjoy going out (lots of stuff to try!), that wore on my body too. I just couldn’t win. But then I realized that I was just trying to be someone I’m not. And somewhere in my internet explorations I came across the 80/20 philosophy…and it clicked. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. A lifestyle. I love food, and I could very easily make it love me again. Or something. The way I use the 80/20 philosophy is that roughly 80% of the time, I consciously prepare and consume whole foods, mostly veggies and lean protein and whole grains, and the other rough 20% is for the rest of the time when we get Domino’s Pizza, or I get Taco Bell, or there’s a fun new soda or chip flavor to try. You get the idea.

At the heart, it’s a mindset where you allow yourself to enjoy your food and drink, and therefore enjoy your life too. No freaking out over calories or that one night you had one too many deep fried cheese curds at the bar. It freed me up to realize that one unhealthy day or weekend does not mean I’ve totally lost all control and everything went to hell. It just means I’m capable of enjoying myself and still can be in control of my overall health and wellness.

To be honest, I could probably go on about this for a long time, because I’ve become very passionate about it. Also, intermittent fasting rocks. Also, I don’t have a recipe for you today. I promise these essay posts won’t be super frequent, but this was just on my mind and since it’s about food, I decided to share it.

Food is a lifestyle. And I like it that way.

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday and watch for a bonus post later this week where I will share a couple recipes for sorbet!!

The word of the day is Shrimp

Titling blog posts is an obnoxious endeavour. I don’t want to just name the recipe, ya know? And I mean the shrimp was actually eaten yesterday, so it’s not really the word of the day today. Anyway.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, so I wanted to try to be a little fancy in what I cooked for dinner. Usually we just do tacos of some sort, because I’m obsessed with tacos and Taco Tuesday is a pretty serious thing here. But he doesn’t love them nearly as much as I do (which is a bad life decision, but I digress), so I chose to make something involving sausages and shrimp. I roasted Johnsonville Firecracker sausages and red potatoes in the oven, which turned out pretty amazing, and made a shrimp salad on the side. Double protein, baby. Honestly, the salad would have been enough to fill me up, but I really like the spicy sausage, and it turned out to be a good meal! Also, we totally watched Muppet Treasure Island while I was making dinner, because that’s one of his favorite movies. Did you know Hans Zimmer composed the score? I’ve watched it so many times and didn’t realize that till last night because we don’t usually just let the credits play. So that’s your random fact of the day.

Also I am so terrible at ratios and measuring for recipes.

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Shrimp Salad with Zoodles

Ingredients:

1 package precooked shrimp, thawed

1 large cucumber, sliced and halved

1 can diced tomatoes (you can use fresh, this is just what I had on hand!)

1-2 cups spiralized zucchini (I don’t even remember how many zucchini this was)

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Feta cheese for topping

Olive oil (or avocado oil) and fresh lemon juice whisked together for dressing

Salt and pepper to taste, if you wish

 

Basically, just toss all ingredients together in a bowl and serve. Chill for an hour or so if you wish; the flavors melded together so nicely over night in the fridge when I stole a bite while filling my water bottle. But it was also great served without extra chilling.

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I am also just now realizing that we are still using the Christmas/winter dishes…oops. Well whatever, they’re nicer than any others we have.

Homemade Citrus-based Dressing

Can I just say that I really love La Croix?  It’s super refreshing and I honestly can’t figure out why so many people hate it. Except for the mixed berry or whatever; that one just tastes odd.

Also I haven’t quite decided which kind of beans I like better, black beans or cannellini beans. Both are so delicious and versatile. Black beans usually mean tacos, but white beans are so good in almost anything else. Like a cold salad. With mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a citrus-based dressing. That may or may not have wine in it. I mean, I made tuna steaks tonight, and some pretty groovy red potatoes (sorry, I may have watched Austin Powers earlier), but the bean salad was the star of the show. It just was. Mostly because of the dressing. But also the beans. I dunno, it was just perfectly summery and I loved it.

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Homemade Citrus-based Dressing

(adapted from the March 2018 issue of Shape Magazine)

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 medium grapefruit

1 small shallot

Olive oil

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Squeeze of fresh orange juice

White wine

Pink Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions: Blend all ingredients together, adjusting the ratios as you see fit. Will keep in the fridge for a few days. (I got a little less than 1/2 cup juice from my grapefruit and used about two tablespoons olive oil and maybe just over a tablespoon of wine. I don’t measure. It’s a bit of a problem.)

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Okay so this is a suuuuuper loose recipe. The one in Shape suggests pomelo or tangelo in place of the grapefruit even. And white wine vinegar, not just white wine, but I somehow do not have any (just red wine vinegar and I didn’t think that would work too well) so I splashed a little wine in instead, which makes it not really a vinaigrette but eh who cares. Also it suggested lemon zest, but I just skipped that step tonight. Also, I toyed with the idea of adding a bit of jalapeno and avocado, which I might try next time. Homemade dressings are so fun.

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See, the salad really was the star of the show. I probably overcooked the tuna. That tends to happen. But it was tasty and the leftovers are being crumbled up and added to the salad for my lunch at work tomorrow and served with a side of my actually rather delicious fiber crackers (more on those another time). Because I can.

One Pan Dinner: Whitefish, Asparagus, Potatoes

Happy Friday and hooray for a bonus post! The other night for dinner, I wanted something light and fresh. Summer fare for me should be light and fresh. Would you agree? I never follow my own rules, but anyway. Hah!

Fish and veggies are a good light meal. Normally I would even suggest grilling the fish *and* the veggies, but our grill is in sad shape and anyway the gas was empty.

So, sheet pan dinner it was. I hate heating up the oven when it’s hot, but it wasn’t like I was going to be cooking for hours, so it wasn’t that bad. Not counting the fish thawing time, this meal came together in under 30 minutes. I cooked everything on a cooking sheet with foil for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. The best part about it was probably the glaze that I made. What’s not to love about butter and olive oil and lemon juice?

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Ingredients:

2 whitefish fillets

Asparagus stalks

Baby white potatoes, chopped in half

 

Glaze Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of half a lemon

Pink Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, finely chopped

Whisk all ingredients together and pour/brush over fish and vegetables arranged on foil covered cooking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

UPS broke my taco shells

I really never know how to begin blog posts. It’s not a letter or an email, but it feels like it needs an introduction of sorts. Yeah yeah, I’ve got an English degree, I probably should know these things. But I don’t. It’s just weird. I don’t want to be too informal, but I don’t want to say “hello and welcome” every single time either.

I’ll figure it out. Eventually.

Meanwhile, I haven’t been cooking all that much recently either (as I believe I said in my last post) but today I went major (and I do mean MAJOR) grocery shopping so here’s to some awesome experimenting in the kitchen in the next month!

Anyway, taco shells. I put in a large order of pantry items from Amazon Pantry a few weeks ago, and it arrived in two shipments over two days, and BOTH boxes were banged up really badly, despite reading FRAGILE all over them. One box had a bunch of packages of pasta, as well as the aforementioned taco shells. Fast-forward to yesterday when I was making turkey tacos with black beans and cheese, and I open the first box of shells to find mostly broken pieces. Stupid. I like saving the money with Amazon, but I’m not sure I’ll order hard taco shells again…so a word of advice to anyone else who thinks to do this. It’s one thing when chips are broken…shells, not so much. They worked as chips for a taco salad, but I still wasn’t happy. My Taco Tuesday experience was slightly dampened. #firstworldproblems

But hey, I made The World’s Best Black Beans yesterday. They were so good I almost ate all of them in one meal. Well not quite. But they were really that good. Also here’s my concise review for White Claw Hard Seltzer: It’s low calorie, low carb, and tastes like Skittles. I love all the flavors. Give it a try if you’re into that sort of thing; it’s a great refreshing beverage for the summer, especially if you’re not into beer!

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The World’s Best Black Beans (serves up to 4, probably)

Ingredients:

1 can black beans

1 tbsp freshly minced garlic (chopped is okay too if you want bigger pieces)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Dash pink Himalayan salt

Dash freshly ground black pepper

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp lime zest

Dash of cumin (optional)

Pour beans into a small pot on the stove and heat over medium heat, stirring to ensure even heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and add lime juice, lime zest, and cumin if using. Serve immediately, preferably in tacos, but would also be delicious over rice and topped with chopped cilantro.

 

 

Summer is for Grilled Salmon

It’s summer!! Time for swimming, baseball, fireworks, gardening, and all that jazz! Admittedly, not my favorite season, because I’m not a fan of hot weather, but I really really love the whole concept of al fresco eating, or eating outdoors. It’s fun to grill everything, and I do mean everything. A friend recently suggested I try grilling romaine, which I can’t wait to do. It’s on my list. I’ll probably blog about it.

Anyway, one of my favorite foods in all the world is wild caught salmon. This is something that even just a few years ago, I really never thought I would say. If I’m being really honest, I hated almost all seafood for most of my life, with the exception of canned tuna and some sushi. And salmon just topped the list of fish I thought I hated. It’s weird. But now it’s kind of my favorite and I could eat it every day.

So. Grilled salmon. I haven’t actually made it yet this summer, so this is more of a wishful thinking post, but once I go grocery shopping again, I’ll be grilling some salmon, romaine, and probably peaches with cinnamon because that’s another thing that rocks my socks. And we’ll eat al fresco while listening to the Brewers lose games they should easily have won, like Sunday against the Cards or yesterday against the Royals. <– That one really made me mad. Throwing one over on my man Hader isn’t nice.

What’s your favorite grilled summer food? Tell me in the comments here or on Facebook and if you include a recipe, I might even give it a try!