Perfect Poaching

Perfect Poaching

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s focus is on: POACHING

Poaching is method of cooking that is perfect for bringing out the best in delicate foods such as eggs and fish. Some people expand that to include chicken and shellfish and even fruits, but I stop with the eggs and fish, personally. I adore poached salmon and am sharing a favorite recipe with you today.

And here’s a TRICK:

To keep your poached foods submerged, press a sheet of parchment paper right onto the surface of the poaching liquid. Works great! Just make SURE you use parchment, NOT wax paper, ugh! Guess how I know this??

And a TIP:

To poach flawlessly, you will want to make sure your liquid temperature is somewhere between 160 degrees and 170 degrees. To eyeball that temp, without having to resort to thermometers, look at the water (or wine or broth). The liquid should look like it is JUST about to break into a simmer, but not quite. Almost like it is ready to show some movement, but it hasn’t quite yet. I know you know what I mean. That’s poaching temperature.

And your RECIPE from the original Saving Dinner book:

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Poached Salmon with a Creamy Horseradish Sauce
Serves 6

6 cups water
2 lemons, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 (6-oz.) salmon steaks or fillets
1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
3 teaspoons prepared horseradish (not creamed)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped

Combine first 4 ingredients in large skillet; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salmon, cover, lower the heat some more and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and let stand for 8 minutes. Remove salmon to serving plate; set aside.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce: In a bowl, combine last five ingredients (mayo through green onions). Serve with salmon.

 

Achin’ for some bacon?

Achin’ for some bacon?

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a trick, a tip and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s focus is on: BACON

The Chinese started enjoying salted pork bellies in 1500 BC. The Romans and the Greeks also enjoyed eating this preserved pork product.

In 1924, the first packaged and sliced bacon was patented by Oscar Mayer, and the world would never be the same.

Oh, bacon. Those of us who are living a Paleo lifestyle, well, we go through pounds of this stuff each month. Known as the candy of meats, bacon is one of those foods that basically just makes life better. The average American eats 17.9 pounds of the stuff each year!

All bacon really is, is cured, smoked pork. But, depending on where you live, bacon comes from a different part of the pig. Here in the US, the bacon we know best (long strips of meat) comes from the belly. In the UK, back bacon reigns supreme (a cut from the shoulder) and in Canada, bacon is little round cutlets from the loin. Those long strips of bacon are enjoyed in the UK and in Canada as well, but each country has its own national treasure.

As yummy with eggs for breakfast as it is with slices of tomatoes on toast, or crumbled into a Caesar salad, bacon is just a wonderful food, all around.

Think you know all you need to know about bacon? Well, how much have you experimented with your cooking methods? In your trick and your tip, I’m going to try and inspire you!

Your Trick:

Ever try cooking your bacon in water? It’s a great method that allows for more even cooking. Put your bacon in a skillet and enough water to cover the strips, bringing it to a boil. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium. When the water has mostly cooked off, reduce the heat again to medium low, flipping the strips of bacon and cooking until perfectly brown and bacony! This prevents your bacon from burning while waiting for the fatty bits to cook properly.

Your Tip:

Not in a hurry for your bacon? Heat your oven to 350, and roast your strips of bacon on an aluminum foil-lined pan for about 12 to 15 minutes. You can put it on a rack if you like. For a special treat, put some maple syrup and fresh ground black pepper on the bacon strips before cooking.

And your Recipe:

Maple Bacon and Cauliflower Stir-Fry
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 pounds bacon, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large Onion, chopped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 cups cauliflower, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups spinach leaves

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together first 7 ingredients (bacon through crushed red pepper flakes); spread mixture on a large cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until bacon and vegetables are cooked and crispy. Drain off excess bacon fat and serve over spinach.

Crispy bacon strips

Orange you getting hungry?

Orange you getting hungry?

By: Leanne Ely

 

They’re juicy and sweet, they’re featured in fruit baskets everywhere and they’re the unofficial poster-fruits of cold prevention. Let’s talk about oranges!

Oranges are an excellent snack, but they’re not quite as easy to peel as a banana when you’re on the go. But what they lack in peel appeal, they make up for in nutrition. (Tip: Oranges are easier to peel if you roll them around on a flat surface with the palm of your hand to help loosen the peel from the fruit!)

So sweet and juicy, oranges are one of nature’s most indulgent desserts.

Sugary sweet and readily available year-round, oranges are a taste of sunshine anytime you need one. We’re very lucky, considering that once upon a time, oranges were very expensive and, as such, were enjoyed by the wealthy and only eaten by paupers on very special occasions.

Now we know that oranges are full of Vitamin C (one orange gives you more than 115% of your daily recommended dose of the stuff!), but why is Vitamin C so important? Because it’s great for our immune systems, it can reduce the risk of colon cancer and it can prevent colds. And scurvy (though that disease doesn’t seem to be a very big concern anymore! LOL).

But did you know oranges also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol? If that’s news to you, then you’d also probably be interested to know that oranges have also been shown helpful in aiding against Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, cataracts, gingivitis, cholera, MS, gallstones, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and arthritis.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional benefits we can gain from these beautiful orange orbs:

Cancer prevention. Besides that Vitamin C helping to reduce the risk of colon cancer, citrus fruit can also protect against esophageal, stomach, laryngeal and phayngeal cancers. The beta-cryptoxanthin in oranges can help protect against lung cancer.

Antioxidants. There are more than 170 different phytonutrients in an orange and over 60 flavonoids. These have anti-tumor and antioxidant properties.

Fiber. An orange can give you 12.5% of your daily recommended amount of soluble fiber. That helps keep your blood sugar levels in check and helps keep you regular!

Kidney stone prevention. Eat an orange every day to help prevent the formation of painful kidney stones.

In addition to all of these nutritional benefits, oranges are also a rich source of calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, folate and thiamin.

Health benefits aside, oranges are high in sugar, so don’t overdo it on your daily fruit consumption!

Anyone else craving an orange right now?

When it comes to selecting the perfect orange, make sure you select organic oranges, especially if you’ll be zesting them. And avoid oranges with any trace of mold. Eew!

The oranges you bring home should be nice and heavy for their size that means they’re juicy!

Here is a fantastic recipe using oranges from our new Holiday Bundle!

Summer Bundt Cake with Topped with Sugar Glaze, close up, square

Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Serves 10-12

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons orange zest

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter and flour a standard bundt pan, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and cream cheese on medium speed. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the orange zest and sugar to the butter and cream cheese mixture, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.

On medium speed, beat in one egg at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract and orange juice.

Add dry ingredients all at once and beat on low speed until completely incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs.

PS–To get more amazing holiday recipes, just like this one, check out our Holiday Bundle featuring BRAND NEW seasonal recipes!

The 3 best shrimp to buy (and which to avoid)

The 3 best shrimp to buy (and which to avoid)

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s Focus is on SHRIMP

Everyone loves shrimp. It’s easy to prepare, it’s versatile and it’s delicious. Shrimp is the most eaten seafood in the United States. Probably because it’s found in virtually every type of cuisine imaginable, from Asian stir-fries to Indian curries. But shrimp is one of those controversial foods that should only be eaten if it’s of a certain quality.

Allow me explain.

Shrimp isn’t a terribly nutrient-dense food, but it is a great source of protein and a good source of calcium. It contains iodine, omega-3s, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It also provides us with selenium, an important mineral that’s good for your mood, your cardiovascular system and your heart. And—bonus!—selenium in shrimp is known to be quite well-absorbed by the human body.

However, it can be difficult to find high-quality shrimp and shrimp that has been caught in a sustainable way.

See, you don’t want to be eating farm-raised shrimp. And you especially don’t want to be eating foreign farm-raised shrimp.

Why?

In Latin America and in Asia, where there were once nice happy little shrimp farms, there are now shrimp factories. Shrimp are crammed into ponds of roughly 15 square feet. These shrimp farms are generally swirling with feces, antibiotics and chemicals. I would say that farmed shrimp from Asia and Latin America (tiger prawns and black tiger shrimp) are the number one type of shrimp not to buy.

Imported wild shrimp, though, aren’t a good choice either. That’s because they’re fished by large trawlers that disturb all kinds of sea creatures by scraping along the floor of the ocean.

Wild caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico have been compromised with the oil spill. We’re being told that they are safe for human consumption, but I’m not 100% convinced.

So, which shrimp do you buy?

Your best choice would be California coonstripe shrimp, Oregon bay shrimp and British Columbia spot prawns.

If you can’t find any of those options and you must have shrimp, search for US-farmed shrimp that come from a farm that uses a full circulation system. Read your labels or ask the fish monger. And yes, the responsibly farmed shrimp are going to cost more—that’s just the way it is!

shrimpsnappeastirfry-1

Now it’s time for your Trick:

When marinating shrimp (if you ever eat shrimp again after reading this!), leave the shell on so that every bit of the marinade is absorbed. Use the shells to make stock by boiling them with garlic, onion, celery and carrots, along with your favorite spices. Use it for chowders or soups.

And your Tip:

You absolutely must not overcook your shrimp or it will be rubbery and gross. Once the shrimp is pink, it’s done.

And your Recipe:

Shrimp and Snap Pea Stir Fry
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 large jalapeno, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cups trimmed sugar snap peas
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons coconut aminos

INSTRUCTIONS:
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. To the skillet, add the garlic, onion, jalapeno, salt and pepper and shrimp. Cook for 10 minutes, until shrimp is opaque and curled into a “c” shape. Place shrimp into a bowl. Heat the remaining coconut oil in the skillet over high heat. To the skillet, add the remaining ingredients (carrot through coconut aminos) and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. To the vegetables, add the shrimp and stir. Serve warm.

6 Essentials for at Home Smoothies!

6 Essentials for at Home Smoothies!

By: Leanne Ely

 

Smoothies? They’re fantastic.

I drink one every single day.

Smoothies can pack in a lot of nutrition when you don’t have a lot of time to make a full meal.

Now, smoothie bars are popping up ALL over the place, but you can set up your very own smoothie bar at home for a mere fraction of the price.

Here’s how:

Equipment. The only piece of equipment you need is a good blender. I adore my Nutribullet, but the brand doesn’t matter too much as long as you buy the best blender you can afford. You need to be able to pulverize ice cubes, greens, and nuts to smith-ereens. There’s a reason these drinks are called smoothies and not lumpies. Yuck. Oh, that blender should also be easy to clean.

nutribullet

Basic ingredients. You need a good variety of fruit (fresh and/or frozen) and some greens (also fresh and/or frozen) on hand. You also need ice cubes, protein, fiber, and liquids like coconut water, coconut milk, and almond milk. I always have blueberries, strawberries, bananas, spinach, and avocados in the house for my smoothies. When it comes to protein, I only use Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein. Don’t bother with the powders full of synthetic ingredients. If you don’t have any good protein powder on hand, use nuts or Greek yogurt for that protein punch. I use Saving Dinner FiberMender or chia seeds for my smoothie fiber add in. And my liquid of choice is always coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.

smoothiebar5

Add ins. If there are certain things you like to add to your smoothies, keep those items either close to the blender for easy access or with your refrigerated smoothie ingredients. Some ideas for add ins or flavorings? Ginger root, pumpkin pie spice, coconut oil (sounds crazy but it’s a great way to get in some good fat!), and walnuts.

Set up: Have all of your smoothie ingredients located conveniently. You know, so you actually use your home smoothie bar! Put your smoothie ingredients all on the same shelf of the freezer and have a smoothie section in the main area of the fridge. You can also put your pre-measured fiber and protein powder or nuts together in a bag or con-tainer so you can save a step by measuring them every single morning. Try taking some time once a week to put your smoothie ingredients in freezer bags (except the liquid and/or ice), so you can just dump all your smoothie stuff in the blender in the morning without having to measure/rinse/scoop.

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Recipes. You will need some delicious recipes, which should be kept close to the blender. I have you covered there with some of the collections we’ve put together, and I’ve added a couple of smoothie recipes for you below.

Smoothie it. Add your liquid first, then put your other ingredients on top. Stuff the blender full with spinach leaves (you won’t even taste them). If you expect you’ll have trouble with any bitterness of the greens, start with a handful and add more as you get used to the taste.

That should be all you need to get your smoothie bar functioning. Have fun, and bottoms up!

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Here are three delicious smoothie recipes.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Pie Smoothie
Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/4 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup blackberries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup spinach
1 tablespoons chia seeds
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner FiberMender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:
In a blender, place coconut milk, water, coconut cream, blackberries, spinach, chia seeds, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner
Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.

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Cherry Chip Smoothie
Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/2 cup dark cherries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:
In a blender, place coconut milk, water, cherries, frozen spinach, cacao nibs, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is
preferred.

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Vanilla Blueberry Smoothie
Serves 1

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
4 ice cubes
1 scoop Saving Dinner All-in-One Vanilla Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Blend together almond milk, frozen blueberries and ice cubes until almost smooth. Add Saving Dinner All-in-One Vanilla Smoothie Mix and Fibermender; blend until combined.

 

Poolside snacks for the kids

Poolside snacks for the kids

By: Leanne Ely

You get the towels ready, the sunscreen applied, and settle down to enjoy a few minutes of sun while the kids play in the pool only to hear, seconds later, the familiar refrain, “Can I have a snack?”

Swimming seems to make children hungrier than anything else, and you can be almost guaranteed that if they aren’t asking for something to eat while they’re in the pool, they’ll be asking for something as they’re getting dried off.

Stay ahead of the game this summer by stocking up with healthy poolside snacks that you can easily grab to keep your kids nourished as they play. To help prevent you from falling into the trap of tossing packaged processed food products at them, I have some great suggestions for you for healthy poolside snacks for the kids. (Note: these snacks are great for kids any time, but they are convenient for the pool.)

Strawberry Banana Smoothie made with fresh Ingredients

Smoothies. Whip up some fruit, yogurt, and (if you have a good blender) try to sneak in some spinach (they’ll never know!) to be served poolside. This snack gets bonus points because they can sip on their smoothie as they go in and out of the pool without getting their hands dirty in between. I’ve added a bonus smoothie recipe for you below!

Apple slices with nut butter. For something a bit fun, spread peanut butter (or almond butter) right on the apple slices and let the kids skewer them for easier (less sticky) poolside eating.

Hard boiled eggs. The ultimate grab and go protein. When my kids were small, I always had at least a half dozen boiled eggs in the fridge at a time for easy and portable snacks.

Veggie sticks. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers…with or without dip (try hummus or a nice creamy cheese for some extra protein), your kids will eat their veggies poolside because of the aforementioned level of hungry they will be!

Sandwiches. Put together a little assortment of sandwiches and/or wraps for the kids to nosh on when they get out of the water. Egg salad is a summertime favorite—just be careful not to leave them out in the sun too long! (Tip: bring a cooler out on the deck.)

Frozen grapes/cherries. If it’s a hot day, everyone will enjoy snacking on a handful of frozen grapes or cherries!

Muffins. There are a million (or more) recipes floating around for muffins and quick breads that are healthy for your kids (I’ve included one at the bottom of this article). These types of snacks, when baked with wholesome ingredients, are an excellent little nutrition boost for your kids. Make a great big batch and store them in the freezer so you always have a nice fresh snack for the kids.

Meat and cheese. Put together your own homemade version of those horrible processed packaged lunch things you see at the grocery store. All you need are uniformly shaped bits of nitrate-free deli meat, cheese, and whole grain crackers. Kids love stacking these things together. Add some fresh berries, and you have a perfect mini meal.

Trail mix. Raisins and other bits of dried fruit, seeds, nuts, coconut, a bit of dark chocolate…whatever you have in the cupboards that looks like it would work in a trail mix, pop it in a container and away you go.

Fruit. Of course, bananas, apples, watermelon slices, peaches, strawberries, etcetera, all make delicious and portable sweet snacks in the summer time.

Keep your kids well fueled with healthy snacks like these when they’re playing near the pool (or anywhere!) this summer.

Berry Banana Blast Smoothie

1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt
1/2 cup water (if needed to thin out smoothie)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder

Place banana, strawberry, spinach, and water in a blender. Blend 15 seconds, then add ice and protein powder. Blend 30 seconds or until thick.

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins
12 muffins

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
1 medium carrot, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix all the dry ingredients (flours, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, allspice and ginger) in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg lightly and mix with oil, milk, vanilla and yogurt. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir. Add the carrot to the mix. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes. To make sure that they are ready, you can insert a toothpick in the center of the muffins and see if it comes out clean.

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