For a sweet juicy snack pick cherries!

For a sweet juicy snack pick cherries!

By Leanne Ely

 

I just love the sweet, tart flavor of a juicy ripe cherry. But really, who doesn’t? Cherries are not only delicious, these delicate little fruits are also very healthy. If you suffer from gout pain, you probably already know that cherries can help prevent flareups but there’s much more to cherries than that.

Cherries are known to reduce inflammation in the body and if you eat them on a regular basis, you’ll find they can also help reduce muscle pain. Some studies have actually shown that eating cherries on a daily basis is similar to regularly taking ibuprofen.

Cherries are also a good source of vitamin A, E and C, and they’re a yummy way to get your fiber into you.

Tart cherries are available year round, and I use them frequently in savory dishes. During the summer when sweet cherries (also known as dark cherries) are in season, I am constantly snacking on them and tossing them into salads.

So what else is there to know about cherries?

Cherries

It’s time for your Trick:

Cherries bruise easily and they are very perishable. Cherries will only stay fresh in the fridge for a few days so eat them shortly after bringing them home.

And your Tip:

When shopping for cherries, look for fruit with the stem still attached. The stem should be nice and green and not wilted. A fresh looking stem is a sign that the fruit was picked recently.

And your Recipe:
Sweet and Tangy Cherry Baked Turkey Strips
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 pound boneless skinless turkey breast meat, cut into 1-inch strips
1/2 pound black cherries, pitted and chopped (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Add turkey, cherries, broth, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar; blend well. Bring mixture to a slow boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove skillet lid and stir in basil; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, in a cup, combine cornstarch and water; stir into sauce and cook just until thickened. Serve immediately.

I adore cherries and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is turning them into epic smoothies! Here’s my favorite Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe!

 

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:

poached-salmon-768x1024

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

Top tips for kale chips

Top tips for kale chips

By: Leanne Ely

 

There is a topic that keeps coming across my radar, both on Facebook, my email inbox, and even at the market when my fellow shoppers wonder what I’m doing with all of that kale (when my own crop has been harvested for the season, of course!): kale chips.

And, today, we’re going to talk kale chips with a trick, a tip, and a new kale chip recipe to try.

Kale, as you know, is a super food, and many people are jumping on the kale bandwagon (yay!). Kale chips are an easy-to-make snack food that is delicious and super good for you.

Be sure to buy organic curly kale. Kale is on the Dirty Dozen list and is one of those vegetables that should only be eaten when you can find it organic. (Curly is my preferred variety for kale chips—feel free to buy other varieties for other kale recipes!)

Now, it’s time for your Trick!

The secret to the best, crunchiest kale chips is to get them as dry as possible. So, after you soak your kale in a big bowl of water to remove the dirt and any bugs that might be lurking in there, spin the heck out of it. Any moisture on those kale leaves is going to lead to soggy chips. (And you don’t want that.)

Your Tip:

Cook a batch of kale chips before you start your dinner prep and offer them to the kids as a snack. This is a great way to get the veggies into them in a manner that might appeal to them! You don’t even have to tell them that the kale chips were part of their dinner 😉

And your Recipe:

Garlic Chili Kale Chips
Serves 4

1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
6 cups chopped kale

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl toss all the ingredients well. Pour kale mixture onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until kale is crispy. Serve warm.

Most of us aren’t getting enough veggies into us in the run of a day, and while kale chips are a great start, you can probably be doing more. We developed our Just Juiced Veggies to help you get in all a great dose of green veggies in one easy shot. Check it out here!

Kale Chips

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!

Healthy fall comfort foods

Healthy fall comfort foods

By: Leanne Ely

 

It doesn’t take long for those familiar comfort food cravings to set in with the onset of fall, does it? There are days that I would do just about anything for a big scoop of macaroni and cheese! But as much as I love mac and cheese, I just don’t eat that way anymore.

Lucky for me (and anyone else who loves comfort food), there are plenty of ways to serve up a comforting meal that isn’t loaded with calories and unhealthy ingredients.

Here are five ideas for comforting, nutritious foods for fall.

Two poached pears in red wine with cinnamon

Sweet potato casserole. I don’t know about you, but for me, sweet potatoes are one of the most comforting of all foods. See how to make my Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe here!

Shepherd’s pie. I like making a lean version of shepherd’s pie on a regular basis. Fun fact: Did you know that if you don’t use lamb, it is referred to as cottage pie? Ground turkey is a nice lean option for this comforting meal. But I often use ground beef or a mixture of whatever grounds I have on hand. If you use sweet potatoes as your topping instead of whipped white potatoes, and toss in as many healthy veggies in between as you can, you have a lightened up version that will taste every bit as comforting.

Meatloaf. A meatloaf is a perfect canvas to stuff with healthy ingredients. I love grating veggies into my meatloaf. Zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes… yum. Again, try to use a mixture of ground turkey and lean ground beef for a comforting and healthy meal.

Soup. Soup is a no-brainer when it comes to comforting meals. Try my Beefy Mushroom Soup recipe here!

Dessert. When it comes to comforting fall desserts, I suggest reaching for fruit. Try this recipe!

Cardamom Poached Pears

Ingredients:
1 pound pears (any kind), peeled
2 cups water
2 cups red wine
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions:
In a large pot, combine all ingredients except pears. Bring to boil over medium
high heat and then turn heat down to a low medium.

Add pears, cover and cook until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve pears with sauce that will have reduced.

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PS–My favorite fall month is Crock-tober!  I have an amazing deal on BRAND NEW crock cooker recipes right now!  Click here to learn more