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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Recipe: German Pancakes with Crispy Plantains


I love to watch the show The Chew. In a few recent episodes the chefs cooked with Plantains, which got me a little curious to try them. I never really understood what the difference was between a Plantain and a Banana and had never really seen them used anywhere, I just saw them sitting in the produce section. The main difference is that a Plantain is higher in starch content and lower in sugar. They are not meant to eat alone like a banana but cooked in a variety of ways. They are firmer than a banana and the color is slightly orange. 
On my recent grocery shopping trip I decided to get one and experiment. I was pleasantly pleased with the result. They are fried in oil so this isn't something I'd make on a regular basis. 

My girls love German Pancakes so I thought pairing a German Pancake with some sweet, crispy plantains and some PB sauce would be perfect...however, I was the only one who enjoyed them since one daughter was working and the other slept in and hubby was gone! Here is the link to my recipe for German Pancakes.

Ingredients:

1 Plantain
brown sugar
flour
Oil (olive, canola, coconut)..I used a combo of olive and organic canola
Heat 1/4" of oil in a pan. Combine together equal amounts of flour and brown sugar. Peel and slice Plantains and toss in flour/sugar mixture. Place plantains in hot oil and fry on each side until browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. 
In a microwave safe bowl or on the stove, melt some peanut butter...I didn't add anything to it, but I suppose you could add some vanilla or something else to it. 

Top German pancake with Plantain pieces and drizzle with peanut butter. I made whipped cream too but I don't like that on pancakes so I opted to sprinkle just a touch of powdered sugar on top. 

It was a great way to "kick up" typical german pancakes. 


With Joy UNquenchable,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mahi Mahi and a Guest Poster

I have never had a guest poster before, never been asked to have somebody guest post on my little ol' blog...haha. That is until Julie emailed me. Julie is from Chicago Illinois where she enjoys spending time with her family. Check out the recipe she shares for Mahi Mahi (which I've never cooked with) and read a bit more about her. I love fish and am always looking for new recipes to try. I may have to give this one a shot. It seems like the perfect summer grilling recipe. Light, fresh and full of flavor.

Until recently, fish was never cooked in my kitchen.  No one in our house has an allergy or anything; I was just intimidated by the thought of cooking it, and therefore stuck to safer protein options.  I think as a kid I saw my mother lose one too many tilapia fillets to the grill grate, so I just grew up with the idea that fish was “too hard” for me to make.  Thanks to a wonderful neighbor and friend, I’ve been able to overcome that fear, and can now cook a mean fish fillet.  There is one small side effect to this discovery: my husband and kids have been eating seafood more than they ever thought they would this summer.

Contrary to former belief, fish is actually very easy to make, as long as you are attentive at the grill and spray it down with some kind of grill spray like PAM or sprayable olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grate.

The below recipe is one of the easiest and most flavorful I’ve come across since starting my love affair with cooking fish.  The fish seasoning can be varied depending on your family’s preferences.  I tend to add a little more cumin and a little less oregano to keep my two sons happy.  If mahi mahi is not readily available, I believe the seasoning and salsa will taste great on any mild fish.


Blackened Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

Ingredients
·            1½ teaspoons ground cumin
·            1 teaspoon garlic powder
·            1 teaspoon dried oregano
·            ½ teaspoon ground ginger
·            ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
·            ½ teaspoon kosher salt
·             ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
·             ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
·             2 tablespoons olive oil
·            4 mahi mahi fillets (4oz each)

·            1 can (14.5oz) Hunt's Stewed Tomatoes, drained, chopped
·            1 medium mango, peeled, chopped
·            1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
·            ½ cup chopped red onion
·            2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
·            1 teaspoon ground cumin
·            1 teaspoon minced garlic
·            1 lime, juiced

Directions
1.       Combine the 1½ teaspoons cumin, the garlic powder, dried oregano, ground ginger, smoked        paprika, salt and black and red peppers in small bowl. Stir in olive oil to make a saucy paste; divide  mixture in half and set aside one portion.

2.       Brush half of the paste on fish fillets; set aside. Lightly spray grill or grill pan with PAM. Heat to  high heat; when hot, add fish and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once.

3.       Meanwhile, combine drained tomatoes, mango, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, the 1 teaspoon cumin,    the garlic and lime juice in medium bowl; set aside.

4.       Remove fish from grill once it flakes easily with a fork. Brush remaining paste on cooked fish. Serve   with Mango Salsa.

Note
If you’re a more advanced chef, you can try grilling with woodchips to add even more flavor to the fish.
Let us know if you make any variations to the recipe, and how they turned out for you, whether it be a slight change in spices, cook time, or salsa ingredients.



About the Author
Julie S. is a Midwestern mom from Chicago, IL.  This summer you can find her cheering on her two favorite fish, her two sons, as they compete on the neighborhood swim team.  Now that she’s conquered seafood, her next kitchen goals include a paleo ice cream, and gluten free cake.  She writes on behalf of Hunt’s.  Check out the Hunt’s website for great tomato recipes and summer grilling recipes for your next family dinner.













With Joy UNquenchable,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sufficiency Vs. Scarcity

Several months ago I read an article in an Outdoor Photography magazine of all places that jumped out and made me go "WOW"! I don't often read through the articles, but something about this one caused me to take notice. Here is a link to the full article written by Dewitt Jones

You see, we live in an age of crazy technology where we are always aware of the constant change of trends, the newest products, the bigger and the better, the haves and the have nots, the who's and the "who-nots". From Facebook to Instagram; From Twitter to whatever else is out there. From thousands and thousands of blogs and websites and don't forget Pinterest! 

Sufficiency (or Insufficiency) and Scarcity are two words that seem to constantly be thrown at us in one form or another. Two words that jumped out of this article at me. I'm revisiting that article today and asking myself am I living life in Sufficiency or Scarcity, more-so in my mind than in the actual, tangible parts of my life. 



Scarcity = Lack, want, insufficiency, shortness of supply

Sufficiency = meet ones needs, adequate, the quality of being enough.

I believe that even more than being tangible realities, these are mindsets that we choose to adopt. As someone who loves  enjoys technology, computers, my camera and the internet, if I'm not careful, the first can rear its ugly head and make me forget the second!

When we live with a scarcity mindset, we forget to enjoy life. We don't have people over because we're afraid our house or our food isn't good enough. We miss all the amazingness around us because we are focused on what we don't have. We don't enjoy our "staycation" or the beauty in our own cities because we wish we were in Hawaii. 

Another word found in this article Dewitt Jones was FOMO: the Fear of Missing Out! Ouch! Below are a few quotes from the article that I thought were very powerful. He also quotes Lynne Twist from her book "The Soul of Money" 



"When we hit abundance with a scarcity mentality, that's what we all slam into. There's more around us than we could ever use, yet we keep on grasping, grabbing, fearful that we'll miss the next new thing." Dewitt Jones


"Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency...sufficiency is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough." Lynne Twist


How about changing FOMO in to JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out)



"to be content with what I have and where I am and who I am, knowing there was more (more technology, more gear, more images, more love, more gratitude, more _______) always out there waiting." Dewitt Jones



"Sufficiency resides inside each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way that we think about our circumstances". Lynne Twist

So as you go about your weekend and into the next week ask yourself which mindset you're resourcing. The next time you are afraid of missing out on something because maybe the finances just aren't there or you're afraid of having someone over because you don't feel your home is adequate. The next time you compare your home decor or your clothes closet, your camera lens (cough cough...that's me) to someone elses, give scarcity a swift quick in the rear! 


With Joy UNquenchable,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cake

How have I not posted this recipe?! It is one that we make quite often in our house as it satisfies everyone, even those who are not vegan! If you did not see the word "Vegan" you wouldn't know the difference! It is moist, dense, full of flavor and just all out amazing!
As I've shared before, over the years I've discovered many new recipes thanks to the many friends with varied food preferences. This recipe is a hit and can be made without the cocoa for a vanilla cake or add 1 c. mashed bananas instead of water and reduce sugar to 2/3 c. for a banana version. But let's stick with chocolate right now, because I just LOVE chocolate.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1 Tbs. vinegar
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla


Instructions: 

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Bake in a 350 oven until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Time will vary. Makes 1 layer cake, or 12 cupcakes. Typical time is 15-25 minutes. Mini-cupcakes take much less time, between 8-10 minutes.

And of course I could only find one picture using this recipe. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

A Milestone: Graduation and a Party to Celebrate

Our family experienced a milestone last week. Our oldest daughter graduated from High School. She also graduated with a 2yr. AA degree from our local Community College. She's worked hard the last two years to achieve this and I am so proud of all her hard work. 
As our children get older I realize how quickly time seems to go by. A friend once shared that "we have 18 summers with our kids before they move on or become so busy with friends etc." WOW...I wish I had thought of this when my girls were little. It makes you want to take advantage of every summer you have with them. 
Our youngest just turned 15 in March and she has just started her Drivers Education (another milestone around the corner). I will miss the days of having time with them in the car to talk and hear all they have to say. 
(the girls created two garlands using fabric from a friend...love how it turned out)
To celebrate her graduation we had planned a party for last weekend. It's always hard trying to nail down a date that you think will work for most people. Our June has been slammed with events and that only left one weekend available which happened to be our town's celebration weekend...but that's when it had to be. We scheduled for Sunday and set out to plan. I love the internet and all that is available on it for ideas, however, it can also be discouraging when you see how "all out" some people seem to go. Our budget just isn't an "all out" budget especially with my hubby recently starting a new job, but we did have creativity going for us and we ended with a great party full of beauty and yummy food.

(I couldn't find enough tablecloths to borrow so I opted for some butcher paper (that I already had) decorated with twine, daisies from my yard and crayons for people to doodle)
The first thing we did was ask around for some supplies, then we searched our house for things we could use. I might have spent $15-20 on decor. We chose simple dishes and beverages that go far and weren't costly. I did purchase a few items (bubbles and a bouncy ball) for any kids that might come and need some entertaining. 
(wish I had taken pictures of the beverages filled up....so pretty)
Food:
Corn Salad
Texas Caviar and Chips
Chili
Pasta Salad
Carrots with Hummus
Mini-corn muffins (I cheated and used a box mix)
Pizzelles (if you're italian, Bratseli if you are Swiss)
Mini cupcakes
Lemonade (regular and blueberry)
Flavored water (flavored with lemon/peppermint leaves, lemon/blueberry/choc. mint leaves)
Bottles of water
When it comes down to it, people are not coming for the decorations, perfect home or even the food, they are coming to fellowship with you and enjoy your company and celebrate the life of another. It's okay to let go of some expectations. My goal was to keep it simple, clean what needed cleaning, not worry about perfection (people will more than likely not notice the things that are bugging us). To me, it wasn't worth stressing over, I wanted to enjoy the weekend, enjoy the day. 
(we used items from around our house...scrapbook paper, fabric, frame that I haven't refinished)
The weather was beautiful. We enjoyed a bit of our towns celebration then spent the rest of the time getting ready for the party. I got an early start on decorating tables so all that needed to happen was for them to be moved to the yard. When the day ended cleanup was quick and I was thoroughly satisfied with how it all turned out. I was thoroughly exhausted but content. 



It doesn't have to be fancy, it doesn't have to be catered, it just has to come from the heart and make you feel happy and content (not anxious when the credit card bill shows up).

With Joy UNquenchable,

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