>Quick Kitchen Clean

>It’s pretty easy to keep your kitchen running smoothly, without it having to feel like a huge chore all of the time, though this doesn’t stop the eventuality of having to do a big clean in the  kitchen. At least if your kitchen is tidied up, then it’s not a complete disaster zone, and it’s useable for surprise visits from company. 😛

I like to start my quick cleans (which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45, depending on how often it’s done, and how big your kitchen is) by getting all of my cleaning products together. My basic list would look something like this:

  • Dusters: Swifer, microfiber dusting cloths/mops
  • Trash / Recycling bin
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Kitchen Cleaner
  • Sponges, paper towels, cleaning cloths
  • Scrubbers
  • Gloves
  • Dishsoap

Personally I am a big fan of Mr. Clean Antibacterial Multi-Purpose Spray and Windex Multi Surface Cleaner With Vinegar. But really the cleaning products you choose are entirely up to you. ;]

Now for actually cleaning your kitchen:

  • Get all of your supplies out
  • Fill your sink with hot soapy water
  • Scrape all of the food off of your plates, into the garbage can (or compost bin)
  • Put the dishes that need to soak into the water
  • While the dishes are soaking, go through your kitchen, cleaning up trash from the counter, floor, cupboards, etc.
  • If your garbage stinks, sprinkle some baking soda in it, and it will help dissapate the smell
  • Now focus on the items that don’t belong in the kitchen, put them in a basket or a box, so that you won’t have to run back and forth to and from the kitchen while you put them away.
  • Load your dishwasher, or wash your dishes by hand.
  • Wash down the countertops, appliances and sink.
  • Sweep, mop or vacuum.
  • Take out the trash.

And there you go, you’ve just quickly tidied up your kitchen, and it looks great.

Well that’s it from me for now, but the next time I’m on, I’ll write up a guide for doing a spring clean in the kitchen. 😉

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>Easter Dinner Ideas Cont.

>Some other Easter Dinner ideas, that just came to mind at a different time. 🙂

A yummy vegetarian recipe to try would be the Pralined Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 sweet potatoes or yams, pre-cooked
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar OR maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg (optional)

Preparation:

Peel sweet potatoes and mash together with orange juice, ginger powder and salt. Spoon into casserole dish or deep baking pan. 

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, pecans, sugar and margarine until well combined. Spoon this mixture over the sweet potatoes. 

Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and nutmeg, if desired. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. 

This recipe is high fiber, unique, but rather tasty if you are one for Barley and Feta Stuffed Artichokes . 🙂 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Preparation:

In small saucepan with lid bring water to a boil. Add barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Set aside. 

Rinse artichokes. Cut off stems at base and remove small bottom leaves. Stand artichokes upright in deep saucepan, just large enough to hold snugly. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 to 3 inches boiling water to artichokes. Cover and boil gently for 35 to 45 minutes or until artichoke bases can be pierced easily with fork. (Add more boiling water if necessary.) 

Remove artichokes from saucepan; turn upside down to drain and cool. When cool, gently spread artichoke leaves to reveal center cone of leaves. Pull out center cone; discard. Scrape out any purple-tipped leaves and fuzz from each artichoke center; discard. 

Combine cooked barley, cucumber, bell pepper, almonds and green onion in medium bowl. Mix together remaining ingredients and toss with barley mixture. Refrigerate barley for 30 minutes. 

Spoon equal amounts of chilled barley mixture into centers of artichokes and serve. Makes 4 entrée servings. 

Some other must try recipes:

 Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts with Orange Raspberry Glaze

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast

Ingredients: Orange-Raspberry Glaze

1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme

Preparation: 

1. Preheat grill to medium heat.

2. In small bowl, combine raspberry preserves, orange marmalade, shallot, garlic, vinegar and ginger until well blended.

3. Grill boneless-skinless chicken breasts, turning occasionally and brushing with glaze, 15 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center registers 170°F. Note: Do not brush during the last 5 minutes of grilling. 

Makes 4 servings 

 

Grilled Pepper and Sage Boneless Chicken Breasts 

Ingredients: 

2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

Preparation: 

1. Preheat medium-hot grill.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cracked black pepper, sage, garlic, olive oil and salt until blended.

4. Grill or broil chicken, turning occasionally and basting mixture, 20 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center registers 170°F. Note: Do not baste during the last 5 minutes of grilling. 

Makes 2 to 3 servings 

 

Fruit Glazed Ham

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 6 to 8 pound fully cooked boneless ham
  • 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 2/3 cup flaked coconut

 Preparation:

  1. Place the ham in an open roasting pan.
  2. Cover loosely with foil.
  3.  Bake in a preheated oven at 325° for 2 hours.
  4.  Meanwhile, mix the crushed pineapple, orange marmalade, lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger together in small saucepan.
  5.  Cook over medium low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6.  Remove from heat; stir in the coconut.
  7.  Spread the glaze over the ham.
  8. Bake for 20 more minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand for about 10 minutes before slicing.

>Easter Dinner Ideas

>Hey, I know it’s been awhile, almost a month. Shame on me!
But here I am again, so let’s see what we can whip up shall we?

So, Easter’s just around the corner, and no matter how you celebrate it, you want to make the day or night memorable, and bring the people you care about together.

So here are some recipe ideas that you can use to add to your lunch or dinner plan. 🙂

Who likes a little lamb? This Roasted Rack of Lamb recipe is absolutely scrumptious. It’s also perfectly complimented by Cabernet Sauvignon. :]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (7 bone) rack of lamb, trimmed and frenched
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Move oven rack to the center position.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss in 2 tablespoons olive oil to moisten mixture. Set aside.
  3. Season the rack all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy oven proof skillet over high heat. Sear rack of lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside for a few minutes. Brush rack of lamb with the mustard. Roll in the bread crumb mixture until evenly coated. Cover the ends of the bones with foil to prevent charring.
  4. Arrange the rack bone side down in the skillet. Roast the lamb in preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you want. With a meat thermometer, take a reading in the center of the meat after 10 to 12 minutes and remove the meat, or let it cook longer, to your taste. Let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes, loosely covered, before carving between the ribs.

*Allow internal temperature to be 5 to 10 degrees less than you like because the meat will continue to cook while it sits. Bloody rare: 115 to 125 degrees F Rare: 125 to 130 degrees F Medium rare: 130 to 140 degrees F Medium: 140 to 150 degrees F

*Serves 4

Another lovely lamb recipe is a nice Grilled Lamb with Brown Sugar Glaze. This also goes well with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Boston Ice Tea or a Beer. :]

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 lamb chops

Preparation:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, ginger, tarragon, cinnamon, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Rub lamb chops with the seasonings, and place on a plate. Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat.
  3. Brush grill grate lightly with oil, and arrange lamb chops on grill. Cook 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.

Some other recipes that would be good to make..

A Cashew Mushroom Loaf [Meatless Meatloaf]

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 ounces cashew nuts
  • 4 ounces fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 medium parsnips, cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (gas mark 4 or 180 degrees C).
  2. Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Grind the cashew nuts, then mix with the breadcrumbs. Mix in the mashed parsnips, rosemary, and thyme. Add the onion, being sure to scrape all the juices into the mixture.
  3. Dissolve the yeast in the water and mix into the vegetable nut mixture. Season well.
  4. Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the chopped mushrooms until soft. Grease a 2-pound loaf pan, then press in half the nut mixture. Cover with a layer of mushrooms and top with the rest of the nut mixture.
  5. Press down well. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. When cooked, remove the pan and let stand for 10 minutes before turning onto a plate.
  6. Serve hot or cold. Slice loaf to serve. Serve with vegetables or a crisp green salad.

*This makes about 6-8 servings, and takes an hour to cook.

 

Almond Baked Cod

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb true/pacific ling cod
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup slivered roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

Preparation:

  1. Cut fish into serving size pieces.
  2. Spray 12 x 8-inch ovenproof pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Coat fish with flour and salt mixture; place in single layer in pan.
  4. Pour butter, lemon juice and peel over fish; bake 20 to 25 minutes in 350 degrees oven.
  5. Sprinkle with slivered roasted almonds and chopped green onion.

 

Carrot and Walnut Cream Muffin

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 5 2/3 tbsp sugar, granulated
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 10 tbsp raisins, golden, plumped, drained
  • 3 2/3 tbsp margaine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk, low-fat
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp orange juice concentrate, no sugar added
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp cream cheese, light
  • 2 oz walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sour cream, light

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups; set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar and baking soda; stir. Add carrots and raisins, stir to coat. Stir in margarine; set aside.
  3. Combine buttermilk, egg substitute, orange juice and vanilla; stir into flour mixture.
  4. Fill each cup about 2/3 full. Combine cream cheese, walnuts, sour cream and remaining sugar.
  5. Top each portion of batter with an equal amount of cheese mixture.
  6. Bake in middle rack for 20-25 minutes, golden brown. Remove from pan to rack and cool.

>Lovely Foods -Inspire a bit of tenderness

>Okay, so I probably should’ve posted this up last week, as it would have been more beneficial, what with Valentines Day and such, but I guess better late then never! These are little romantic food ideas 🙂 They don’t take too much time to make, and they are all rather tasty. 🙂

Chilled Steamed Asparagus with Chervil Dressing

This simple, very quick, and easy to make recipe, is tasty and elegant. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chervil
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds tender young asparagus

Directions:

Whisk together the lemon juice, chervil, and egg yolk in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Cover and chill. Whisk for a minute or so just before serving.

Trim the asparagus of any fibrous ends and steam it in a vegetable-steamer over simmering water until it is crisp-tender and turns a bright emerald green, no more than 5 minutes. Remove to a colander and place under cold running water until it is cool. Drain the asparagus and chill it until serving time.

This should only take about 7-12 minutes to make.

Pasta with Pesto Sauce

– Again this is something that is easy to make, and won’t take long if you have a food processor, or a blender. It’s incredibly simple, but in it’s simplicity it’s divine. The fresher the ingredients, the better the pesto. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cups of fresh basil, washed and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup of parsley (flat-leafed is best)
  • 1/2 cup of coriander
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of pine nuts (optional, though they make the pesto better)
  • 1/2 tsp of coarse ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of shredded asiago cheese (or freshly grated parmesan)
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound (500 g) of pasta of your choice (I usually choose ribbed penne or bow tie pasta, but that’s just me, pasta is pasta.)

Directions:

If you are using a food processor put the first 7 ingredients into it, being careful not to let the pesto liquefy, then transfer it to a bowl and stir in the cheese and the oil.

If you are using a marble mortar, put the first 7 ingredients in it, and grind the mixture (depending on how big your mortar is, you may have to do this in sections), firmly crushing the ingredients against the sides of the mortar, rather than striking sharp blows with the pestle. When the mixture is ground, add the cheese, a bit of time, continuing to grind, and when it’s all worked in, add the oil in a slow stream, stirring with a wooden spatula.

The resulting pesto should be smooth and creamy. It should be poured over hot pasta.

If the pasta is cooked already and you are using a food processor, this should take about 10 minutes. If the pasta is not cooked, and you are using a marble mortar, this should talk about 30 minutes.

Honey Poppy Seed Cake

-Now I know this doesn’t sound all that romantic, but it’s really yummy. It also won’t leave you incredibly full and heavy feeling (unless you eat tons of it at once!) This cake can be made a day or two before you plan on dishing it up, so you don’t have to spend an hour and a half in the kitchen before you plan on eating it, and it will taste really refreshing you serve it cold. Though warm definitely gives it the ‘freshly baked taste’. Honey and poppy seeds are also known to be aphrodisiacs, so do with this what you will. 😛

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

In a small sauce pan cook the poppy seeds with the honey and 1/4 cup of water on medium for 5-7 minutes. Set the poppy seed mixture aside and let it cool off.

Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled poppy seed mixture to the creamed mixture, and add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the sour cream and vanilla.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Gradually add the poppy seed mixture to the dry ingredients, beating well. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into a lightly greased and floured 9 inch tube (or bundt) pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Depending on your oven you may have to give or take about three minutes, so check the cake by putting a toothpick into it, and if it comes up with nothing or almost nothing sticking to it, it’s done.) Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, give or take. Remove the cake from the pan carefully, and put it on a cooling rack.

>Thai Themed Dinner

>Drink – Lemon Soda (Num Ma Now)

Ingredients:

3 Lemons
500 ml Soda Water (Fizzy Mineral Water)
200 ml Water
150 gms Sugar
200 gms Ice

Directions:

1. Boil the water with sugar until it has completely dissolved, then leave it to cool. This is your sweetening syrup.
2. Squeeze the lemons to get juice.
3. Then mix the syrup with lemon juice, soda-water and stir it together. Add the syrup slowly to adjust the sweetness to your own tastes.
4. Put ice it to the glass and pour the lemon soda over it, its nice to present with slices of lemon and orange in it.

This drink is delicious and refreshing, it’s not too complicated, and can be had at anytime, it’s definitely something the whole family would enjoy to drink. 🙂

Main Meal – Curried Coconut Chicken

Ingredients:


2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil and curry powder in a large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Stir in onions and garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.
3. Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes

If you like curried chicken, this recipe will drop you into bliss. It has the right amount of flavour, and it’s texture is great. You can modify this recipe with practically anything, to make it your own, by adding cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, or nearly anything else for that matter. It’s really yummy over rice, though it’s wonderful on it’s own too. 🙂

Dessert – Coconut Cake With Mango Sauce

Ingredients: Cake:

5 eggs, separated, with yolks and whites in separate mixing bowls
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup good-quality oil, like Spectrum’s Almond Oil (or use melted butter if you’re not worried about fat)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup white flour (or use light spelt for a healthier cake)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. coconut extract

Ingredients: Sauce/glaze:

2 mangos, cut into small cubes (or 1 1/2 cups frozen cubed mango)
1/2 can coconut milk
1/4-1/3 cup of brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp. coconut extract

Ingredients: Topping:

1/2 cup dried baking coconut, unsweetened

Directions:

1. Grease an angel food cake pan (or two round cake pans) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Separate the eggs, placing yolks in one bowl and whites in another.
3. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until they resemble whipped cream (about 3 minutes). Set aside until later.
4. Add the sugar, salt, oil and coconut milk to the yolks. Beat or stir well to mix in.
5. Add the flour and baking powder. (Tip: mix the baking powder into the flour while it’s still in the measuring cup so it gets distributed better). Beat or stir just until you get a good consistency (don’t over-beat). Now add the coconut extract.
6. Lastly, fold in the egg whites. You can use your electric beater again at this stage, but only briefly – enough to incorporate the egg whites. I find it best to simply fold the cloud-like egg whites in with a spoon until they’re well distributed. Don’t over-mix.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and an inserted fork comes out clean.
8. To make the sauce: Place all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process well, until sauce is smooth, or has just a few small chunks of fresh mango, as desired. Do a taste test for sweetness, adding more sugar according to your taste.
9. Place this sauce in a sauce pan, and heat it up. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add a little arrowroot powder or cornstarch dissolved in a few tablespoons of water (cook until sauce thickens, but not too long or you will lose the fresh flavor).
10. To make toasted coconut: Place coconut in a dry frying pan. Turn heat on high or medium-high. Stir coconut constantly, until it has toasted to a light golden brown and smells fragrant. Tip coconut into a bowl (otherwise it will keep on browning in the hot pan).
11. TO SERVE: Cut pieces of the cake and place on dessert plates. Pour the warm mango sauce overtop. Finish with a sprinkling of toasted coconut, and voila!

Here’s a tropical treat that looks and tastes like heaven! If you like mango and coconut, even though this recipe is a bit more work then what I usually put up, it’s absolutely amazing. The flavours also go rather nicely with the lemon soda! 🙂

>Beef Barley Soup

>Beef Barley Soup

Any type of beef will do for this recipe (leftover roast beef, browned ground beef, sliced chuck steak, etc.)

Beef Barley Soup is one of those soups that improves in flavor the next day. This is because the flavors have  more time to mix with one another, and infuse themselves into all the ingredients. If you decide to do this don’t freeze it right away, because the ingredients won’t mix. Feel free to freeze it after a day or two, if there’s anything left over. (:

Ingredients
A splash of olive oil
A pat of butter (optional)
1 large carrot
, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 cups of chopped, cooked beef, or similar amount of cooked ground beef
A splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Basil, oregano, garlic powder to taste
8 cups beef stock or broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes, including liquid
3/4 to 1 cup dried pearl barley (more barley will make the broth thicker).

Preparation
1. Heat the olive oil and butter in soup pot on medium low heat.
2. Add carrot, onion and celery. Add a dash of salt. Cook until vegetables are soft.
3. Add beef, basil, oregano and garlic powder. Continue to cook for a few more minutes.
4. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
5. Add remaining ingredients, bring soup to a boil.
6. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for at least an hour to allow the barley to expand and become soft.

You can go to this link to see more comments on this recipe:

http://terraspirit.ca/forum/showthread.php?tid=49