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Cleansed...Palate and All

>> March 23, 2011


Have you ever noticed that as a vacation begins to creep closer and closer, your daily life gets harder and harder? 

Why is this - so that the vacay seems that much more enjoyable?
Do you think the travel companies purposely make life harder right before you leave for a trip so that you like it that much more? That would make sense. Although if this were true, I think I should know about it because I work for a travel company. 
If this phenomena is real, then I’m in the throws of pre-vacay chaos. I’m convinced that my email volume has doubled and I’m in more meetings lately, while time has not increased - it in fact has shrunk. Daylight Savings time kills me every single time...never fails. At any rate, vacation is looming and I couldn’t be more thrilled!


Amongst all of the recent chaos I’ve noticed that the weather continues to warm up each and every day, I find that I’m increasingly being drawn to sorbet’s, and granita’s...anything that’s cool, light, and refreshing.
I’ve made several different flavors of ice cream’s in the past, but this was my first attempt at a sorbet. Originally I intended to make a lime sorbet, but got all the way to the farmer’s market and lo and behold - there are no limes. Not sure how that happens, but my plan was instantly thwarted.


I landed on blood oranges as a substitute because I’m so intrigued by them. They’re so bright and sweet, and I find them to be so beautiful. I absolutely love cutting them open and exposing their red interior which is such a stark contrast from their bright orange outer exterior.


On the whole, the sorbet turned out to be quite lovely. It has a great texture, and bright refreshing flavor. I’m excited to explore different flavor variations and combinations in the future!
Blood Orange Sorbet
2 Blood Oranges (zest of)
3 Blood Oranges (juice of)
2 Cups of Simple Syrup*
1 Cup of Water
3 Tbs Vodka or Gin (optional - though this helps with the texture)
Zest the two oranges, and then finely chop the zest and set aside. Juice the 3 oranges, and pour the juice through a mesh strainer to remove any pulp that may be floating around. 
Combine the juice, zest, simple syrup, water, and gin or vodka (I used vodka). Refrigerate until the mixture is completely cool - then transfer the blood orange mixture to an ice cream freezer, and freeze according to the ice cream maker’s instructions. Once the ice cream maker is finished, transfer the sorbet to a plastic container and freeze so that the sorbet firms up completely. 
*Simple Syrup: 1 Cup Water, and 1 Cup Sugar - stir until dissolved, boil, and let cool. I felt that the sorbet was a bit too sweet. The next time I make this I’ll pull back on the sugar.



>> March 20, 2011

This dish was a fantastic end to an amazing weekend! The weather was beautiful, and Saturday was one of the hottest days that we’ve had lately. Josh had board exams Saturday morning, so I had the first half of the day to myself! I decided to do it up right, and spend some me time at the spa! It was amazing! We finished the day with a run by the river and wings at Taco Mac - hello awesome day!
I had dinner at my Aunt’s house a few weeks ago and she served traditional Linguini & Clams and I remembered how much I love this dish! It’s such a classic and the simplicity of the dish is so refreshing. 

I couldn’t find a recipe that I was completely happy with, so I decided to do a hybrid of several recipes that I found. I also opted for a whole wheat linguini because, well ya know - that whole health kick thing.

So without further adieu: 
Linguine & Clams
1 lb Whole Wheat Linguini
2 lbs Fresh Little Neck Clams, cleaned and scrubbed of excess dirt
2 Tbs Olive Oil + Extra for drizzling
6 cloves Garlic, crushed or minced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1.5 cups White Wine
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the linguini until just al dente, then drain the pasta well.
While the pasta is boiling, heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic and cook until almost browned, then add the crushed red pepper and cook for another minute. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits, and bring to a simmer. Add the clams and cover while the wine mixture is simmering. Cook until the clams have opened, 5 - 9 minutes and discard any clams that don’t open.
Toss the linguini, the clams, and the cooking liquid together. Squeeze lemon juice over the pasta and toss  with flat leaf parsley for garnish; season with salt and pepper as needed.
If the pasta seems dry or sticky, toss with reserved pasta water and/or olive oil.


Slightly Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Healthy-ish Bread

>> March 19, 2011

banana bread
Yikes! That title is a mouthful, no? But have no fear - the recipe is crazy easy to make.

I’ve been trying to clean up my act lately, like my whole act. I’ve been working on working out, eating healthier, hydrating more, and staying well rested. You could say this is a better-late-than-never New Year’s resolution of sorts.
I’ve gotten the inkling to change some things up because I have a several friends who overhauled their lives and are reaping the bountiful rewards. I dig rewards, especially the skinny kind.
banana bread

My diet overhaul has mainly centered around journaling and planning ahead for each meal/snack that I have throughout the day. In the past I’ve planned dinner for the week ahead of time and have largely left lunch to whatever fast food tickles my fancy (no bueno), and as for breakfast...we’re just now getting reacquainted, it’s been a few years.

While planning meals for the next week, I remembered a pretty tasty banana bread recipe that also happens to be one of Josh’s fav’s! Score!

I tend to shy away from baking bread for several reasons:
  1. bread is scary
  2. my oven isn’t that reliable
  3. breads take FOR-EV-ER to make
  4. they’re messy
  5. oh, and one last thing - bread is scary.
Not to worry, this is a simple quick bread recipe that I modified to healthi-fy it up a little bit. And it’s super delectable!
Banana Bread

Slightly Whole Wheat Banana Oatmeal Healthy-ish Bread
adapted from heatherhalesdesigns

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
3 Whole Bananas, smashed (very ripe)
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats (plus more for sprinkling)
1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce

Combine dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl. Combine all of the wet ingredients, including the banana into a smaller mixing bowl and gently stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until just until the mixture becomes uniform.

Pour into a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan, and sprinkle with a few oats.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes


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