autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower
It’s the middle of fall, Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks, we’d like to make a start on Christmas shopping, and most of us are trapped in one sort of a lockdown or other. But there is nothing to stop you going grocery shopping, and then honing your chef skills.
These recipes have a kind of mid-autumn, pre Thanksgiving flavour. In one case I would strongly recommend serving a decent sherry or Madeira to go along with the cake. In fact, why not treat yourself to a decent glass of something any way. You deserve it, and you probably won’t be driving to work today.
(BTW for new readers, and if you just don’t know, if you click on the highlighted recipe name you will go right to that dish on the chef’s own website.)
First up this week, from Half Baked harvest we have this delicious looking 4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine Lasagna. How great would this be to make ahead for your Thanksgiving parties? (NB. Women should be very careful of too much sage.)
4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine Lasagna
Another pasta dish from Diane at In Dianes Kitchen; a very warming Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole. (Noodles are pasta too.) This is a very easy dish, even most of my fellow single men could make, (and most single men cannot cook).
Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole
Now a really pretty midweek dinner from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower; Honey Garlic Shrimp Farro Bowl with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. And how fabulous to serve this if you have friends over for a pre or post Thanksgiving lunch.
Honey Garlic Shrimp Farro Bowl with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb has a very seasonal dish in this Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole, (with marshmallows). Being English I’m not quite certain if this is an entree or a dessert. No doubt someone will enlighten me.
Candied Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole
Joy Wilson at Joy the Baker has come up with what has to be the longest recipe name ever, (and that’s saying something here), Dad’s Perfect Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Pie. You have got to make this just so you can tell your guests what it’s called.
Dad’s Perfect Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Sweet Potato Pie
And finally for this week. As you would expect from Heather Christo we have an extremely pretty dish, this time a Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake, which is both vegan and gluten free. How brilliant for afternoon tea around thanksgiving, although I’d serve this with sherry and not tea.
Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake
if you have never tried a good Maderia wine, then you have no idea the heaven you’re missing out on
roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer
So, what is it? Spend the days isolated in lockdown? Or do we get out into the yard, have family over, have friends round, or just enjoy ourselves in the warm summer sunshine?
I guess you all know which end of the spectrum I’d prefer. But then, at my age I’m not so risk-averse.
Should you wish to try some alfresco dining then I heartily commend these recipes to you.
Since we can’t go travelling the world, there’s a cosmopolitan flavour to the dishes this week.
First up, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, we have this Tuscan roast pork with apples. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Tuscany; Florence, Sienna, Pisa….. but the food there is fabulous. Amanda captures the atmosphere perfectly with this dish that would be great on any alfresco dining table.
Tuscan Roast Pork with Apples
Since you probably don’t want to go trogging off to stand in line at IKEA, I offer you this Swedish meatball pasta, from Chungah at Damn Delicious.
Swedish Meatball Pasta
From semi-professional taco eater Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb here’s a dish of Cajun shrimp and rice, cooked in a skillet, so easy and so delicious. Great with a salad. I’ve had a very similar dish in the West Indies, on a beach of silver sand.
Cajun Shrimp and Rice
To go along with any of the dishes this week, or as a fabulous, healthy meal in its own right we have this beautiful Mediterranean Salad from Heather Christo. She does make good looking dishes.
Our collection this week comes from Good Housekeeping Magazine their 75 quick summer dinner ideas for easier weeknights ~ weeknights? Hell! These dishes are great at any time. From this collection I’ve chosen to feature this grilled Moroccan steak and carrots. It’s worth getting the spices and doing this properly, you’ll love it!
Grilled Moroccan Steak and Carrots
And for desert, or as an alfresco brunch, we have this blueberry Dutch baby panckake from Andrea at Cooking with a Walflower. Fantastic with vanilla ice cream.
Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancake
an odd fact,
women like kale much better than guys do
our caveman ancestors didn’t have combine harvesters
My healthier living plan involves something like the Paleo diet, although not in a strict nor fashionable way. However, it does mean that there are some types of food that I’m not going to tuck into on a regular basis; dairy, eggs, and most especially wheat / grains and their products like bread, noodles, and pasta. (I love pasta.) However, my food guru tells me that long grain and wild rice as well as quinoa are good on even my pretty strict Paleo diet.
First up this week from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin I’d like to show you this Korean beef bowl recipe. This looks super delicious, and I would serve it with long grain and wild rice.
Korean Beef Bowl
I am really going to make this blackened shrimp kale caesar salad next week. One of the things I like about this dish is that it’s complete with so few ingredients. You can usually rely on Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats to have some very healthy, tasty, yet simple recipes.
Blackened Shrimp Kale Caesar Salad
Earlier this week I made salmon and asparagus in a garlic lemon butter sauce, cooked in a foil pack, the recipe from eatwell101. Let me tell you, it was simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. I can recommend this to you all. (That’ not my picture, but my dish came out looking exactly as per.)
Salmon and Asparagus in Garlic Lemon Butter
From Holly at Spend with Pennies I like this recipe for instant pot chicken and vegetables. I don’t have an instant pot, (we call them a pressure cooker), but I’m pretty certain I can make this dish in my little combination microwave / fan oven.
Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetables
This is a different take on a staple vegetable; from Dianes Kitchen why not try these herbed carrots? As a ‘wonder food’ carrots are a brilliant source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants.
Despite that I’m in England in winter I’m eating a lot of salad, and I am attracted to this brussels, butternut, and edamame salad with orange sesame sauce by Heather Christo. Her dishes always look so fabulous.
Brussels Butternut Edamame Salad
no longer on my menu
and I liked both
if music be the food of love, play on…..
At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that. For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.
But what to do? Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it….. If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.
Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections. Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.
First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak. Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata. If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.
Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak
From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto. Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat. (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)
Shrimp Étouffée Risotto
If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’ This from Brit+Cco. This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.
Linguini with Clams
Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes. To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio. This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.
Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio
Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie. Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.
Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night. I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.
Engagement Chicken Pasta
if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta. That will impress.
love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle
You might have read here that I made myself so ill through a combination of too much booze and not eating the right things at the right time, (and eating a lot of the wrong things, like processed food), that I had to spend a week in hospital. You know what? I would have gone on in the same old way if I hadn’t turned-up for a routine health check.
What has that got to do with a recipes post? From now on I am mostly going to post recipes that seem healthier and better for us in body, mind and spirit. Less fats, more lean meat and oily fish, and much more fruits and vegetables. It also seems that not all plant-based foods are good for us. That high-fructose corn syrup is very bad for us seems obvious, but corn oil, wheat, legumes…..? They’re bad for us too, generally.
So, I will try to avoid recipes that contain anything that’s generally on the minus side of the wellness equation.
First up this week from Dana The Minimalist Baker is her easy 30 minute Chinese Chicken Salad. I think this fits my healthy eating bill perfectly, especially as it’s soy-free ~ plus, just look at those colours. There are a stack of tasty-looking salad recipes on this site, it may well be that this is one of my new go-to sites.
30 Minute Chinese Chicken Salad
Next, from Heather Christo a vegan white bean sweet potato chili. This also has chunks of avocado, fresno chili, cilantro, and green onions. I need to eat less meat so this dish will be ideal when I really want a smoky chili, but shouldn’t eat any beef for a while.
Vegan White Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Chicken has to be part of my new way of living, but chicken can be bland and boring. Not so this roasted garlic butter chicken with lemon olive dressing, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. I think this dish has got so much going for it…..
Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken with Lemon Olive Dressing
Salmon has to be part of my wellness diet, and I really like the look of this baked teriyaki salmon from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin. I especially like that the salmon fillet is cooked in foil ~ I love cooking in foil. Erin also shows us how to make our own, healthier, Teriyaki sauce ~ brilliant.
Baked Teriyaki Salmon
Not many know that, until the end of WWII, pork was not much eaten in England. We English ate mutton, pork is actually a German staple. However, this recipe for the best baked pork tenderloin is positively part of my healthier eating plan. Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb tells us how to do it.
Best Baked Pork Tenderloin
As my new eating plan is kind of a modified Paleo Diet our collection this week is from Delish magazine; 40 Paleo recipes that will make you forget you’re on a diet ~ well there are diets and there are diets. I have chosen to feature this good-looking baked swordfish steak, and if you have never tried swordfish steak then you’ve missed out on one of the great things in life.
Baked Swordfish Steak
poor little Marmaduke can’t have his canned spaghetti any more.
I’ve been told some people are obsessed with bran muffins
Now I’m not certain what’s going on, but several of the cooks whose blogs I follow have posts about muffins this week. I looked it up, thinking it was National Muffin Week or something, but no, it’s seems it’s just one of those spooky coincidences that keeps happening for me right now.
National Muffin Day in the USA is actually February 20th.
Two interesting things; #1 here in England we do not eat a lot of English muffins. #2 I didn’t know there was a second meaning for the word muffin, or stud muffin at any rate.
However, be all that as it may, here are some cool muffin recipes, which I may have to reprise on February 20th, or not.
First up this week we have Heather Christo’s delicious looking almond poppyseed muffins, and being from Heather they are allergen free, vegan, and gluten free. All I know is they look very yummy.
Almond Poppyseed Muffins
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a recipe for ube mochi muffins. I have to admit the only bit of that I understand is muffins, but these little cakes look fantastic and I would be interested to try them.
Ube Mochi Muffins
And I thought I should include a recipe for ‘space muffins’ for those of you who would like to ingest their marijuana. Personally, I cannot see the attraction, but then I have enough of a problem with booze.
Now for something else completely different we have these pizza muffins from In Dianes Kitchen. Now that is a good idea for a pre-prepared snack or for something to take to work for lunch.
Gingerbread Apple Muffins
Our last collection this week is from delish magazine; 52 muffins to make your morning a little more enjoyable. From this great collection I’ve chosen to feature the chocolate lover’s chocolate chocolate-chip muffins by our friend Averie Sunshine.
Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins
One cannot think well, sleep well, love well, if one has not dined well.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part in maintaining good health. Along with plenty of fresh air and exercise it can help you look and feel your best.
This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the optimal amount of food and drink to maintain a healthy body weight. You also need all of the essential vitamins and minerals, else you could get quite sick.
Maybe the hardest part of a healthy diet is the sheer quantity of water we should really drink, and for the average person this works out to 8 x 8 ounce glasses of water, (green tea, fruit tea, herbal tea, coffee without sugar), which is half a US gallon every day, more if you’ve been boozing. In European terms this is 2 litres.
But today we are going to look at some great recipes for fabulous dishes ~ as a much healthier alternative than even the very best take-out.
First up this week we have hamburger steaks with a mushroom sauce from Holly at Spend With Pennies. While there is no way on this God’s Earth that I would buy a hamburger at a fast-food outlet such as McDonalds, I think a home-made burger can be fabulous.
Hamburger Steaks with a Mushroom Sauce
Another home-made alternative to unhealthy take-out; egg roll in a bowl from Well Plated by Erin Clarke. At one time I loved Chinese and Thai take out, but the muck is full of gluten and MSG, and I’ve seen out back of a takeout kitchen and hygiene is in a far country.
Egg Roll in a Bowl
Something that you certainly wouldn’t get from the average take-out; chinese mushroom dumplings with sweet chili ginger sesame sauce. Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has very descriptive names for her recipes. Good for her!
Chinese Mushroom Dumplings
Now Heather Christo always makes her food look fabulous, and this green thai currey with vegetables is no exception. Get yourself some lemon rice and a bottle of Tiger beer to go with it. Heather’s recipes are all allergy free, (for all I know they’re gluten free too).
Green Thai Curry with Vegetables
The Minimalist Baker’s recipes are definitely gluten free, and this easy 1 pot tikka masala looks far, far better than anything you’d get from any Indian take-out place.
Easy 1-Pot Tikka Masala
Our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 25 weeks of my favorite healthier weeknight dinners. From this 175 recipe collection I’ve chosen to feature baked parmesan chicken with lemon arugula. You can get Parmesan chicken as a take-out, but I wouldn’t.
Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula
It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.
Early December and it’s cold, dark, and drear in the run-up to Christmas. Today there is not much cheer around here, and anyway most people are busy making their arrangements for a great Christmas holiday.
Well, I’ll be on my own in the garret again over the Christmas holidays, so one of the things I should do is cook myself some great food. There are some very cool, very easy recipes in this post, and I hope that we can all enjoy them in the run-up to Christmas Day. I’m wondering if there’s going to be any great Christmas time TV.
First up this week, from Barcelona we have Ali at Gimmie Some Oven who has a healthier broccoli chicken casserole, made with pasta, tender chicken, and broccoli in a cheddar mushroom sauce. Despite everything this is a light and very healthy dish that’s really easy to prepare.
Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Now from Joy the Baker, something else with a broccoli theme; spicy broccoli pizza with homemade pizza crust. This is far, far better than anything you could buy anywhere, and a great pre-Christmas treat for your casual guests.
Spicy Broccoli Pizza with a Homemade Pizza Crust
Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker has a cool recipe for one-pot chicken soup with white beans and kale. This 30 minute recipe does look so easy to make, and it’s warming, healthy, and gluten free. What more could you want on a cold December evening.
One-Pot Chicken Soup with White Beans and Kale
Another great chicken dish, and this time the recipe is from the ever-delightful Heather Christo; creamy tomato baked chicken and pasta. I would use gluten free, or wholemeal pasta, but that’s your choice. Whatever this is a great midweek dinner.
Creamy Tomato Baked Chicken and Pasta
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest always gives us the longest titles for her recipes, this one is 30 minute Chinese egg drop chicken rice soup with garlicky chile oil. Say no more…..
Chinese Egg Drop Chicken Soup
The collection this week is from Country Living magazine; 85 easy Christmas appetizers that will delight all of your holiday guests. From this huge list I’ve chosen these deviled eggs with old bay shrimp from Carrie Purcell. But make your own choices fro your pre-Christmas drinks party and Boxing Day snacks.
Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp
some people are almost ready for Christmas