Monthly Archives: June 2013

Quick Bruschetta

One of my favorite restaurant treats in summer is Bruschetta. To me, the ripe tomatoes, basil, and olive oil on some nice crusty bread make a really perfect dinner. My family doesn’t agree at all. They think it makes a perfectly lovely snack before dinner. Without the tomato nonsense. My boys have no love for tomatoes. I can’t blame them. I really detested tomatoes as a child, too. I don’t detest them anymore

My tomatoes aren’t ready yet but my basil is, so I made a small amount of Bruschetta which was perfect for me and my husband to share late this afternoon. As the name says, it was very quick.

Quick Bruschetta
1 medium tomato, chopped
4-5 basil leaves, chopped
1 green onion, chopped – you can use garlic, too
Drizzle of olive oil
Dash of salt and pepper

1. Combine everything.
2. Serve on bread or eat as a salad.

I served my Bruchetta on some toasted Cheddar Garlic Bread from the Great Harvest in Columbia, MD. If you’ve never tried this bread, I highly recommend it. It’s so great with soup, salad, chili and if you brush it with olive oil and cut it into bread stick size pieces, it grills really well too!


Banana Smoothie Pops

Do you find your bananas getting ripe way too fast in the summer? We do. And really, how much banana bread can a woman be forced to make? Since I have successfully gotten my kids on the smoothie train, I decided to try my hand at freezing some banana smoothies in the cute little mold I got at some store at some point in the last few weeks.

If I had to review the mold, I’d give it a C-. It was pretty difficult to get the smoothie pop out of the mold. It could be that it was made specifically for freezing clear liquids and not smoothies. I set the mold in warm water for about 10 seconds. Then I pulled the handle and it came out. Empty. I ended up running a knife around the edge of the mold and working the pop out with the knife and then putting it back on the handle. I won’t fail the mold completely because it has a kind of drip tray thing with a spout that would be useful for serving juice pops to small kids.

Banana Smoothie Pops (6)
2 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup yogurt of choice. I used plain, non-fat yogurt
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Blend everything together until smooth.
2. Pour in mold and freeze for two or more hours.
3. Carefully remove from mold and serve

My test subject is not a huge banana fan and he had just eaten quite a large plate of Tofu with Roasted Cauliflower. He ate about a quarter of the pop, said it was good but he was full and put it back in the freezer.

I’m looking forward to trying out other pops in the mold.


Shrimp Spring Rolls

Summer is so hard for me! My kids are always hungry and I never seem to be able to make anything fast enough for them to eat. So, they roam around grumbling about how there’s nothing to eat or they dig into crackers, toast peanut butter, chips, anything fast. Then I get dinner ready and they aren’t hungry anymore. Then we end up eating very late and this whole sick summer cycle goes on and on and on…

I had to get my thinking cap on to try to come up with some easy things I can make FAST! I remembered that last year, the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from Washington made some really good spring rolls. I had never made them before I saw their recipe but they hit on all cylinders. Fast, healthy and hearty. Bingo!

Shrimp Spring Rolls (2)
2 Spring roll wrappers
10 medium shrimp, cooked, deveined and cooled
1/3 cup diced jicama
1/3 cup diced granny smith apples

1. Prepare the spring roll wrappers according to the package details.
2. Lay the prepared wrapper on a plate.
3. Lay 5 shrimp in the middle of the wrapper
4. Mix the apple and jicama and lay about half of it on top of the shrimp
5. Carefully fold the wrapper. Start at the top and fold down to cover the shrimp. Then fold in the sides and then very gently roll it down. If this doesn’t make sense, there are usually instructions on the packaging or you can look on YouTube.
6. Serve with the fold side down.

I enjoyed these without any dipping sauce. I liked the contrast of the apple and the jicama with the slight tartness of the apple being set off by the jicama. And both are nice and crunchy.

If you like the idea of spring rolls but aren’t interested in these ingredients, choose your own veggies and protein. Grab some broccoli slaw or julienne carrots. Slice up some avocado. Add chicken or fish. My plan for the week is to cook up a bunch of chicken and find some more easy recipes that I can quickly throw together in a flash for my two busy and hungry boys.

If you have ideas, please link to them in the comments!


Swedish Pancakes

When I was a wee child, growing up in Minnesota, occasionally, I would spend the night at my grandparents’ apartment. We would play cribbage or Uno. I would sleep on a day bed and for breakfast we would have Swedish Pancakes. They were made from a mix purchased at the local grocery store; Lunds. They were delicious! I can still smell the batter.

Swedish pancakes are more like crepes but slightly
thicker. Since they have no baking soda, they are flatter and more dense than traditional pancakes.

Since I have all this maple syrup, I decided to make my own Swedish pancakes and share this special childhood memory with my boys.

Swedish Pancakes (about 12-15)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour (I used half white and half wheat)
1 tbsp melted butter
6 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. But everything in the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Pour 1/4 cup batter into medium hot skillet.
3. Cook until bubbles start to appear, maybe a minute or more. They won’t be as puffy as the bubbles you get with regular pancakes.
4. Flip and cook for another minute.
5. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

I topped my pancakes with warm fruit. All I did was heat frozen fruit with a little corn starch. Everyone else had the maple syrup I’ve been telling you so much about. You can also serve them with Lingonberries if you can find them at the local grocery store. I can’t. And feel free to use all wheat flour or all white flour. They’re good either way.

It was a very successful breakfast and a great way to share a special memory with my kids. Isn’t it fun when food can do that?


Maple Glazed Salmon

As promised, I am finding some interesting things to do with all my maple syrup. Here’s an easy glaze for grilled salmon you might enjoy!

Maple Glazed Salmon
1/4 cup maple syrup
One to two oz vinegar of choice – I used rice vinegar because that was all I had
Two oz chopped cherries

1. Put the liquids in a measuring cup.
2. Add the chopped cherries until the total amount of stuff you have is 5-6 oz (depending on if you used one or two ounces of vinegar),
3. Blend it all until smooth.
4. Pour over uncooked salmon and marinate for at least six hours.
5. Grill to perfection!

Did you notice that I have a half a plate of veggies? And I’m happy to report that everyone had the same amount of veggies and everyone ate them all! The salmon had a slightly sweet flavor and I love the way the sugar made the meat charred in places. Yum!

I’m still coming up with new and interesting ways to use my maple syrup. Next up, something for breakfast!