New Favorite

Spring Bliss Bowls

Spring Bliss Bowls are so yummy that I made it twice within two weeks. There were so many ‘wows’ in this recipe. Wow, I have NEVER used pesto on rice…it’s amazing! Wow, I’ve NEVER roasted radishes…they are delicious! I roasted all vegetables on the same cookie sheet and it worked fine. You can also add protein such as sliced chicken breast if you like. If you don’t like the vegetables in the recipe, change it up. Any combination of vegetables will be great. Go for it!

SPRING BLISS BOWLS

INGREDIENTS:

serves 4

1 cup short grain brown rice
extra virgin olive oil
seasoned salt and pepper
10oz. bag cauliflower florets, trimmed into similar sized florets
3 small golden beets, trimmed, peeled and chopped
1 bunch radishes, trimmed then halved or quartered if large
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed then chopped into 2” lengths
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, divided (recipe recommends Buitoni-I used my homemade pesto)
2 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup pepitas/pumpkin seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line two half sheet pans with foil, spray with nonstick spray, and set aside. (I used one cookie sheet vs. two).
  • Add brown rice plus 1-3/4 cup water, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkling of seasoned salt to a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. (Refer to the cooking instructions on your particular bag.) Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, turn heat down to low, and gently simmer for 40 minutes. Taste – if rice is still crunchy, add 2 Tablespoons water then continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove pot from heat then let sit
    and steam with the lid on for 7 minutes before fluffing and cooling slightly. Once slightly cooled, stir in 1/3 cup pesto.
  • Meanwhile, add cauliflower to a medium-sized bowl then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Spread onto one half of the first sheet pan then oil/season beets in the same bowl and spread onto the other half. Roast for 15 minutes then stir.
  • While the cauliflower and beets are roasting, oil/season the radishes then spread out onto one half of the second sheet pan. Roast for 10 minutes with the beets/cauliflower then stir. Add oiled/seasoned asparagus to the remaining empty half of the second sheet pan then roast with all the other vegetables for 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Breakdown of cooking times: Cauliflower/beets: 35 minutes. Radishes: 20 minutes. Asparagus: 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining 1/4 cup pesto to a small dish with chicken or vegetable broth then stir to combine.
  • Scoop pesto rice into four bowls then top each bowl with a quarter of the roasted vegetables. Drizzle with pesto sauce then top with 1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds, if using, and serve.
  • For Meal Prep: Let all components cool then portion into containers, cover, and refrigerate. Microwave for 1-1:30 minutes or until warm then eat.
  • Notes
    I like to keep each vegetable separated in case they cook quicker or slower than the other vegetables.

Recipe adapted from IowaGirlsEats

Family Favorites

Lemon Bars

Who doesn’t love a lemon bar?  I associate Lemon Bars with Spring, warmer weather, longer days, and early spring flowers.  The tart filling paired with the shortbread crust. Yummo!

LEMON BARS

Shortbread Crust

Lemon Filling

2 cups granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  • Make the crust: Mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to completely combine. The dough will be thick. Press firmly into prepared pan, making sure the layer of crust is nice and even. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the warm crust (not all the way through the crust). A new step I swear by, this helps the filling stick and holds the crust in place. Set aside until step 4.
  • Make the filling: Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
  • Pour filling over warm crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles. (Give the pan a light tap with an oven mitt to test.) Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. I usually cool them for about 2 hours at room temperature, then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until pretty chilled. I recommend serving chilled.
  • Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving. For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Freezing Instructions: Lemon bars can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Cut the cooled bars (without confectioners’ sugar topping) into squares, then place onto a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour. Individually wrap each bar in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place into a large bag or freezer container to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator, then dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Recipe from SallysBakingAddiction.com


 

Gluten Free · Holidays · New Favorite

Strawberry Honey Goat Cheese Bites

Spring brings wonderful strawberries to the markets. Honey goat cheese pairs beautifully with strawberries and with a hint of honey drizzle, you have a very simple, delicious appetizer (or dessert). Yummy!

STRAWBERRY HONEY GOAT CHEESE BITES

1 dozen large strawberries
8 oz. package Honey Goat Cheese (I use Haystack)
Honey

  • Wash, stem and halve strawberries.
  • Allow them to dry on paper towels.
  • Place a small piece of Honey Goat Cheese on top of strawberry and drizzle with honey.
Garden · Home

Springtime in the Rockies

The first day of Spring brings to mind our favorite things: flowers, sunshine, rain showers, sounds of children playing outdoors, and baseball. Iowa Springs means crops being planted, morel mushroom hunting in local Timbers, and one of my favorite flowers, Bluebells.  Bluebells grew wild in the timbers of Iowa, but they grow in the shade of my Colorado home now. In Colorado, the first day of Spring could find 36″ of snow on the ground or summer-like temperatures. Crazy as it sounds, it’s one of the many things I love about Colorado.

Springtime in Colorado also brings back memories of the old song ‘When Its Springtime in the Rockies‘ recorded by Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and many more. The song was written by Robert Sauer /Lyrics by Mary Hale Woolsey in 1929. I’ve included the lyrics below and hope you enjoy the link to YouTube above.

IMG_2228

WHEN IT’S SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES

When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies In the rockies, far away

The twilight shadows deepen into night,
The city lights are gleaming o’er the snow
I sit alone beside the cheery fire dear
I’m dreaming dreams from out the long ago
I fancy it is springtime in the mountain
The flowers with their colors are aflame
And ev’ry day I hear you softly saying
I’ll wait until the springtime comes again

When it’s springtime in the rockies
I am coming back to you
Little sweetheart of the mountains
With your bonny eyes of blue
Once again I’ll say “I love you”
While the birds sing all the day
When it’s springtime in the rockies
In the rockies, far away

Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Spring Garden Vegetable Soup

Can you tell I’m in the mood for spring? My past two recipes have been all about it! This Spring Garden Vegetable Soup has also been in my ‘must make’ stack.  I like the versatility of this recipe, easily adapting to Vegan or Vegetarian (using vegetable stock and omitting the cream and chicken) and it is Gluten-Free.

This soup is light and, oh, so healthy.  Daughter Sarah served a small bowl to 10-month old grandson, Evan, and he really liked it!  I served the soup with the not-so-healthy baked Red Lobster Biscuits (which Evan DEVOURED) but a hearty whole-grain bread would be wonderful paired with this soup.

SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH


6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
4-6 cups water (to reach desired thickness)
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside
8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Cream to taste (1/4-1/2 cup)
Optional: 2-3 cups chopped chicken
  • In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the leek, stir to coat with butter and let cook until just soft.
  • Add the celery and carrots to the pot, stirring to coat with butter and cooking until soft.
  • Add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside).
  • Add the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through. (Optional: Add cooked chicken at this point).
  • Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through. Add water to reach desired thickness.
  • Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from ALANNA’s TIPS

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Lemon Asparagus…Springtime treat!

What is spring without fresh asparagus?  Asparagus and fresh lemon and a drizzle of good olive oil and, voila, you have lemon asparagus!

Healthy, easy, yummy!

LEMON ASPARAGUS

One pound fresh asparagus
One lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of sea salt

  • Thinly slice the lemon.  Arrange in one flat layer on a baking sheet.
  • Toss the asparagus with the olive oil until evenly coated.
  • Arrange asparagus over the lemon slices.  Sprinkle with salt.
  • Broil for approx 6 minutes (in our oven) or until asparagus spears get a few browned and crispy areas.

Recipe from two-tarts.com

Family Favorites · My Roots · Vegan · Vegetarian

Springtime memories of Mom….gathering and cooking Morel Mushrooms

Mother’s 1968 Morel Mushroom BountyOur Iowa farm was near a large wooded area known as Ferguson’s Timber. This timber was my Mother’s favorite place to hunt those fabulous, spring Morel Mushrooms. She would go to the timber every day she could to hunt and gather the mushrooms to cook, freeze and share with friends and family. My Mother had a keen eye for Morels and taught my sister, brother and I that Morels look like a sponge and are easy to distinguish from other mushrooms; however, she was quick to show us the poisonous ‘false morel’.

1968: I display 2 large morels (love the skinny body and clothes choice!)

Morels are found throughout the midwest and in parts of eastern Europe. My ancestors, in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) would have gathered these mushrooms in the old country and were probably thrilled to learn that they also grew in their new home, Iowa.

There were two primary recipes my Mother served for these small gifts from heaven:

  • Fried Morels:   After washing and trimming the mushrooms, Mother would cut the mushrooms in half, dredge in flour and brown them in butter, adding salt and pepper.  The result was a wonderful browned, crispy, savory Morel.
  • Scrambled Eggs with Morels:  After washing and trimming the mushrooms, Mother would brown the chopped mushrooms in butter until soft then pour beaten eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper, over the mushrooms and cook until hard.   The mushrooms add an earthy, wonderful flavor to ordinary scrambled eggs.

Unfortunately, Colorado is not a natural source for Morels and I have been craving Morels since my Mother became ill in the mid-1990s.  She  would lovingly gather and freeze Morels to cook when I would come home to visit. I was delighted to find dried Morels in our local Savory Spice Shop, www.savoryspiceshop.com.

Dried Morels from Savory Spice Shop

Close up of dried Morels

Reconstituting dried Morels

I have saved these earthy morsels for my spring craving.  Mother’s Day is approaching and it’s time to honor my Mother and this spring family ritual. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

The following recipe is adapted my Mother’s recipe using olive oil instead of butter and adding a pinch of Herbs de Provence.  More Morels, please!

SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MOREL MUSHROOMS

Scrambled Eggs with Morels

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2-1 ounce dried Morels, reconstitute per directions (or 1-2 cups fresh Morels), chopped
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon water
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of Herbs de Provence

  • Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan.  Add chopped morels and brown for 5 minutes or until cooked through/soft.

Saute Morels

  • Whisk eggs with 1 teaspoon water.  Add salt, pepper and herbs.  Add eggs to mushrooms and cook until eggs are to your liking.
New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Strawberry Spinach Salad…rite of spring

What says Spring more than fresh spinach and strawberries?  I have a lonely bunch of spinach that popped up volunteer in my garden in late March.  The strawberries at the market are beautiful, so time to celebrate spring with this luscious salad.  I opted to top the salad with red onion and walnuts today but top with other items to make your salad unique!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

12 ounces fresh baby spinach
2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
Optional Toppings: sliced red onion, walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, chopped fresh broccoli, blanched sugar snap peas,

SESAME-POPPY SEED DRESSING:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

  • SALAD:  Combine baby spinach and strawberries in a large bowl; toss with 1/2 cup Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing just before serving. Service with remaining dressing and toppings.
  • DRESSING: Pulse first 5 ingredients in a blender 2 or 3 times or until smooth. With blender running, add oil in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds; chill 24 hours.