Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen Produce~ What to buy

It seems like almost every day I have a discussion with someone about the cost of organic produce and food. With many children, teachers and staff heading back to the classroom I thought it would be the perfect time to post this.

This is my go to list from Environmental Working Group

Clean 15

If the cost of organic produce does not fit into your budget or isn’t available in your neighborhood here is a list of the “Clean 15” fruits and vegetables. The following is a list of vegetables and fruits with the lowest pesticide residues, which was posted by the Environmental Working Group on their website.

Here is their list of the “Clean 15”:

1. Onions
2. Avocado
3. Sweet Corn
4. Pineapple
5. Mangos
6. Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Cabbage
10. Eggplant
11. Cantaloupe
12. Watermelon
13. Grapefruit
14. Sweet Potato
15. Honeydew Melon

The Dirty Dozen posted by the Environmental Working Group

Now for the list of the “dirty dozen” that you should spend your hard earned money on. Recommended by the Environmental Working Group here is the list of vegetables and fruits with the highest pesticide residues. Let’s go shopping!

Here is the list of the “Dirty Dozen”:
Organic Blue Potatoes

1. Celery
2. Peaches
3. Strawberries
4. Apples
5. Blueberries
6. Nectarines
7. Bell Peppers
8. Spinach
9. Cherries
10. Kale/Collard Greens
11. Potatoes
12. Grapes

Hmmm what about tomatoes? I will need to do some research, of course home grown is always best... Have you seen this list before and what are your thoughts?

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Waldorf Salad for Two or More

 I was visiting my parents out in the Pacific Northwest and it was the hottest day of the year, but hey no humidity!!!  I love living in the Carolina’s however it was a nice escape from the long humid summer.  
Waldorf Salad 

While we were heating up the house making Lemon Spaghetti with Chicken, we were trying to decide on a side dish that was cool and would complement the pasta. Mom had a couple of apples and some celery that she needed to eat before they spoiled and suggested that we make Waldorf Salad, one of my favorites.

I rummaged around in the kitchen and  here’s what Mom had on hand; several  medium sized red apples, a couple of stalks of celery, a bag of shelled pecans (Walnuts are in the recipe but pecans were delicious), Sour Cream, Mayonnaise and fresh lemons.

Here’s what you need for this version of Waldorf Salad:
3 medium sized red apples
3 Stalks of celery (you can use less, I just love the crunchiness of the celery)
1/3 cup shelled chopped pecans
¼ cup raisins – Optional or add more
1 Tbsp Sour Cream – you can use plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
Juice squeezed from 2 small fresh lemons
1 tsp of honey
Medium serving bowl and small mixing bowl

Mom started peeling the apples, Molly jumped in to dice them and I started cutting the celery.

Now it’s your turn and it’s simple really; just peel, chop and mix:
Peel, core and cut the apples into bite size pieces, rinse, dry and chop the celery into bite size pieces and toss in the bowl. Add the nuts and raisins.
Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise; lemon juice and honey then toss with the apples and celery until coated.

Simple, sweet and crunchy! Enough for four or two hungry people…

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Be My Eyes", Turkey Sliders and Book Club

Time for June book club post!  
Turkey Sliders, Broccoli Salad and Corn
Our hostess, Karen welcomed us into her beautiful home with Blueberry Vodka Coolers, her new favorite summer cocktail and now ours! Not to be outdone by Karen’s picnic inspired meal; turkey sliders, corn on the cob with a side of coleslaw broccoli salad.

Blueberry Vodka Cocktails
Karen and Jim's Oasis

Pina Colada Fluff
 And for desert, ok wait for it… Karen made the perfect desert; light, sweet and fluffy Pina Colada Fluff. If you love marshmallow, coconut and Pina Colada’s look no further than Mom on Timeout’s recipe for Pina Colada Fluff. Yes this was unbelievable yummy, thank you Karen!

Do I even have to tell you how delicious our picnic inspired meal was? I didn’t think so.

Over the last several weeks we have been melting in 100 decree heat and rain showers, however much to our delight on book club night the sky’s cleared and we were able to enjoy Karen’s beautiful garden, 85 decrees almost felt like fall. Lot’s of laughs with great friends, fantastic food, refreshing blueberry cocktails. We dined and chatted on Karen’s back deck, surrounded by birds, flowers and lush woods. Karen and Jim, great job on the back yard, it is an oasis and none of us wanted to leave!

Our book for June was “Be My Eyes”  by Dustin Stevens, a journey of self discovery and a road trip from Petersburg Virginia to  Eureka California. Eureka is known for Humboldt University, the gold rush and Timber.

The main characters in the book are Cole and Ruby, who embark on a cross country journey and experience the beauty and solitude of the American landscape. Dustin writes about the sometimes bleakness of the countryside, the people Cole and Ruby encounter along the way. I felt that the bleakness relates to the empty places we carry within us, some more than others can’t seem to let go of the sadness.

To Kill a Mocking Bird is one of Ruby’s favorite books and the mocking bird plays a significant role in Ruby’s life. You will just have to read the book to learn about her and Cole’s journey.

So finally here are the recipes, compliments from our hostess Ms. Karen C. 

Turkey Sliders with Guacamole and Pepper Jack Cheese
2 lbs of ground turkey
1 package of dry onion soup mix
1 package of dry ranch dressing
8 ounces of Pepper Jack Cheese, sliced to fit the rolls
2 medium tomatoes thinly sliced

The night before cooking, mix the turkey with the seasonings, make the sliders, store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Should make about 24 Turkey sliders.

Ready set cook:  Heat a hot skillet or grill and over medium heat cook 5 to 7 minutes, flip then cook another 5 to 7 minutes until done, if you like the cheese melted place a thin slice of Pepper Jack Cheese on each slider 1 to 2 minutes before done.

You will need about 24 Kings Hawaiian Rolls or your favorite rolls

Guacamole spread - always best to make right before you serve, you can add a dash of fresh lemon juice to keep the Guacamole from turning brown

2 medium Avocados
1 to 2 teaspoons of Mayonnaise with Olive Oil
½ tsp of garlic powder
½ tsp of onion powder
½ tsp of chili powder, add more if you like a little more spice
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the avocado and scoop out the avocado, place in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Add the Mayonnaise, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, then mix.

Place the cooked turkey slider on the bottom half of the roll, top with cheese, slice of tomato and Guacamole. They are so yummy that they slide right down!  

Broccoli Slaw Salad

This salad was fresh and a perfect compliment for the turkey sliders and corn on the cob. Keep it simple, yet delicious and purchase the fresh organic salad mix at your local grocery stores, most markets carry the salad blends.
September’ book is “The Goldfinch” Donna Tartt

 Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cooking with Kary: Lizards first sighting Spring 2012!

Flash back Thursday....Can't have a garden without the critters! Cooking with Kary: Lizards first sighting Spring 2012!: Lizard sighting! I was so excited when my hubby yelled for me to step outside on the back patio and I was greeted by one of my resident c...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cooking with Kary: Pesto with fresh basil

Yes I have fresh basil from my garden~Cooking with Kary: Pesto with fresh basil: I love fresh pesto and it is really easy to make. I was in the market this week and they had a great selection of fresh basil and I decided...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lemon Spaghetti with Giant Shrimp by Giada, cooked my Kary

Giada's Lemon Spaghetti with Giant Shrimp

I was watching Giada a couple of weeks ago prepare her Lemon Spaghetti with GiantShrimp recipe and as with all the recipes she shares my mouth started watering, even though I had just finished Sunday breakfast. I knew this was a recipe I was going to make next time fresh shrimp was on special at my local market.

Giada's Lemon Spaghetti with Giant Shrimp and Capers

You know I always try to buy what is on special, in season and fresh. As it happened my local market had 6 lemons for .99 cents, a great deal and fresh shrimp. I already had spaghetti in the pantry and capers in the fridge. There was fresh basil right outside in my container garden and fresh Parmesan just waiting to join in.

I purchased one pound of fresh shrimp which probably was about ¾ pound once I cleaned and deveined them. I cut the remaining ingredients in half, my Hubby Doug prefers equal part shrimp to pasta, well not exactly but you get the picture.

I also changed Giada’s preparation process up just a little. First I zester the lemon and squeezed the lemon juice, my lemons were small so I used 2 lemons, then whisked with the Olive oil, and added the Parmesan.  Here is a link on how to Zest a lemon.

Next I put the pot of water for the spaghetti on the stove to boil, heated a medium skillet and crisped up the capers, once they were done, about 2 to 3 minutes I removed the capers from the skillet and cooked the shrimp, per Giada 3 minutes per side. I boiled the spaghetti per the package directions.

From there I followed Giada’s instructions and in a large serving dish tossed cooked shrimp, spaghetti and lemon/Oil/Parmesan, adding a little of the pasta water. Then I topped it with the fresh chopped basil and cooked capers.

If you love lemon you are going to go crazy for this dish, Doug said it was truly one of the best shrimp recipes I have prepared. I had about 1 cup of left which will be great for lunch.

Next time I am going to toss in some fresh spinach, can you imagine how great that will taste… Thank you Giada, another fantastic recipe!

Just cook something! Cheers~ Kary~