All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

ginger and strawberry jam

A chilly, damp day today.  When I opened the fridge, I could smell those Florida strawberries, fragrant and sweet.  So, of course , I made a fresh little pot of jam.  And just for fun, I added a spicy slice of fresh ginger root -  mmmmm, smells wonderful!

The directions are here:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 20, 2017

stove top chicken thighs in spicy tomato sauce

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been - mostly political, which often sends me instantly to my bed for a nap.  I tinkered with the Paleo diet after noticing the poundage was creeping up, but I missed too many foods .  Sensible eating seems to be the best way for me to go. I was delighted , however, with the thumbs up for chicken thighs , which I have always preferred over the chicken breasts.

This is one of the Paleo-friendly recipes I came up with and have now made 3 times in the last month:

Stove top chicken thighs :

3 or 4 good sized chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 sliced onion
1 sliced red or yellow sweet pepper
1 cup diced canned tomatoes (I used the one with basil and oregano)
1 cup pitted black kalamata olives
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon thyme
kosher salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium.
Add the chicken thighs.
Add the sliced onion, peppers, tomatoes, olives, water, and thyme and salt and pepper.

Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook another 20 minutes, covered.  Cut into the chicken to make sure there is no pink - if it is, cook another 15 minutes, covered.  I served with very fresh skinny asparagus topped with lemon juice and olive oil.


This is a Paleo treat I nibbled on whenever I wanted something sweet - homemade Paleo peanut butter cups.  I found it on Pinterest:

Be well - and carry on:)

Friday, March 10, 2017

poached eggs with asparagus

I woke up at 5 am, hungry and as always, happy to see a new day.  There's always a thrill to rummage through the fridge, wondering just what might be perfect for this beautiful new day.  A fresh bunch of new skinny asparagus winked at me through the thin plastic bag. And?   Gently simmered in a little water until it was just tender.  Drained and set aside.      And what else?

Those marvelous eggs from Locally Laid, somewhere in Minnesota.  Ah, here it is - PO Box, Wrenshall, MN, also gently poached until the whites were opaque and the yolks a little firm when I pressed a fingertip to them after draining off the water, and set them on a plate.  A little cheese sauce, I think.

Add a little cheese, as always, here a half cup shredded sharp cheddar and mozzarella, salt and pepper, a little cream, in a small saucepan and set on very low heat until melty, and DONE.  Even though it melted, there was a milky residue in the saucepan, which I drained off.  It was too early to forage through the cookbooks for a proper creamy sauce.  A sprinkle of Italian parsley topped it off.

Note:  I tested a proper white cheese sauce later :
  3 T. butter
1.5 T. flour
Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk in the flour on low heat.
Add 1/4 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup cheddar, and 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper.
Whisk until the sauce is smooth.  Drizzle over the eggs and asparagus.

All in all, a perfect breakfast on a very cold morning (8 degrees) . Here's to a beautiful new day!

Monday, March 6, 2017

quick chicken soup with greens and rosemary

A few days ago I started a vaguely paleo/keto low carb diet, after a unfortunate side view in the mirror and trying on pants that were a little too tight.  Lots of protein sits well with me, and so do vegetables, and if I have a sudden desire for sugar or pastry, I eat a demitasse spoon full of my homemade marmalade or strawberry jam.  I even bought an old scale at my favorite Goodwill, just to show I'm serious.

I do use a lot of eggs on this diet, so when I emptied the egg carton last night, that meant no frittata this morning.  I had leftover chicken, and loads of greens, so a quick chicken soup was in order.  I'd bought thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken that had very little flavor, so I bumped it up with lots of herbs and sweet butter.  Here and now, I vow never to buy them again - the bone-in with a jacket of skin and fat has a lot more flavor.

And I have news!  In eleven days heading back to New Hampshire (from Minnesota) for a week to visit family, and finally meet my new grandaughter!  I'm over the moon with excitement!

Here's this morning's soup:

Quick Chicken soup with greens and rosemary
Serves 2.

1 leek white, washed and sliced
1 - 2 sliced carrots, peeled
1 clove garlic
3 cups light chicken stock
1 heaping cup leftover chicken, diced
1/2 teaspoon thyme (I use dried)
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
nice sprig of fresh rosemary

Simmer until the carrots are soft, then add:

1 heaping cup broccoli rabe, sliced or 1 heaping cup torn kale
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
salt and fresh pepper to taste

If you want to sneak in some leftover pasta, that would work, too.

Here's a quick peek at my favorite birds - crows!  They sit on the flat rooftops of the apartment building, and swoop down to snack on the seeds and bread a neighbor puts out, then sit in the high trees and converse in their crow-talk, which can sound like a creaky door, to a ha-ha-ha, and I think I heard one whistling the other day.  It's hard to get a picture because they fly away if I get too close. This is snuck through the window screen 30 feet away.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

kale, bacon, and boursin frittata

Ah, February.  While it does bring snow, and not as many of those subzero nights, it also seems to be the month I notice my clothes are a little tighter - which brings the inevitable diet.   I usually go on a modified South Beach/Keto/Paleo diet -high protein with low carbs, and try to step up exercise.  This time I have even more motivation:  a trip back to New Hampshire in two weeks to visit my son and family, and finally get to meet my new granddaughter!  Yay!!

This frittata is somewhat flat - not fluffy and high as many quiches are, but incredibly easy to throw together.  I try to keep a few pieces in the fridge at all times, so I don't have a snack attack while I'm standing by the warm pastries at my nearest convenience 
store.  I don't add a lot of cheese, but you're welcome to add more if you want.  Note that you need to prep the kale and bacon ahead of time.

Bacon,Kale, and Boursin frittata

Preheat oven to 340F.
Butter a glass pie dish, set aside.

In a large bowl combine:

4 extra large eggs
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
a handful of cooked bacon, crumbled or torn into small pieces
a heaping handful of tiny multi-colored tomatoes
1 cup blanched kale
fresh rosemary, stripped from stem
salt and pepper
1/2 cup crumbled boursin cheese (you can also make your own boursin with this recipe)

Pour into prepared pie dish, add the boursin on top, and bake for 35 minutes, or until the egg mixture is firm and fully cooked.

Let cool before cutting into slices.

That's it - easy as can be!  Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

skinny fresh strawberry muffins (with a lemon glaze)

A week or so ago I had to fess up to the fact that I had gained a little weight. I don't have a scale, but I could tell by the fit of my clothes that it was time to be a little more careful about my eating.  I wasn't really eating more, but getting less exercise because of an ankle injury.  

I've been eating mostly fish, chicken, and all sorts of salads, but today longed for a nice sweet muffin ,  Most of my muffins have a lot of sweet butter, but I do make a lemon low fat muffin, that would go nicely with the last of the strawberries I got a few days ago.

It was just perfect with a last minute lemon glaze.  And they passed the "give the leftovers to the carpenters" installing a new outside door.  They were thrilled (and hungry).

Fresh strawberry muffins

Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease or butter regular size muffin tins (I also did a few minis)

1 heaping cup strawberries, cut into slices or diced
2 cups King Arthur flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
zest from a lemon (about a teaspoon)
1 cup plain yogurt (I used Chobani)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 extra large egg
1 t. vanilla
1 t. fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water ( my batter was a little stiffer than usual, so I just added a little water)

Place the dry ingredients in your mixer bowl and mix briefly.
Add the lemon zest, yogurt, canola, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice in mixer bowl and mix slowly. Fold in strawberries.  Add the water if your batter is too stiff.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups 3/4's full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until muffin tops bounce back when touched.
Remove to a cooling rack.

While still warm, you can brush them with a quick glaze:

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

I'm loving making up salad bowls - this is my latest after a trip to Whole Foods where I finally found large arugula leaves!  Tossed in some water canned sardines, 1/2 piece of good bread , diced, and a strong garlic-lemon salad dressing. 

Happy February!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

poached salmon and noodle salad bowl

If you're a fish lover like me, you always make sure you have a stash of tinned sardines and mackerel in the pantry, and at least one of those packages (found at Target, of all places) of frozen salmon.  If you have leftover baked salmon, all the better. 

And so it was today, waking up with my fish craving.  I'm catching up to the bowl craze because it's so much fun to assemble from leftovers: the fettuccine was from two nights ago, the salad dressing mixed up for today's lunch (I thought I was having a romaine salad so I made it up last night).

Poached salmon and noodle salad

The dressing:
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 medium garlic, peeled and pressed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon capers
scant teaspoon dry tarragon
Fresh dill if you have it (I didn't)

Mix together and set aside.

I-2 cup leftover noodles or fettuccine
1 cup or more flaked leftover salmon, or thawed and poached or cooked in a skillet 
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

Drizzle the salmon, greens, and noodles with the dressing and toss before serving.

No politics today, just a reminder to Keep Calm and Carry On.