Friday, January 27, 2012

Meyer Lemons!

The other night I was strolling down the decidedly non-gourmet aisles of Cub Foods, when what to my wondering eyes appeared, but a small, lonely, misplaced bag of Meyer Lemons! 

I didn't even know we could buy them in Minnesota.  I tried to grow a Meyer Lemon tree at home once, but it didn't survive the dry winter air in my house.  Since these are not waxed, I am excited to use them in a special lemon poppyseed muffin recipe.  For once I won't have waxy zest!  As you can see from the picture, they are a much deeper yellow than the standard grocery store lemons.  I used one in a batch of guacamole tonight, and in my opinion, they smell and taste exactly like old-fashioned lemon drop hard candies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Desperate for Green

Ah what I won't do for a little bit of fresh, green goodness during a Minnesota winter... like potting fresh grocery store herbs meant to be eaten.  Yes, my friends, these were spendy bedding plants.

I bought these large white ceramic pots from Ikea for $2.99 each (the same price as those ridiculous herbs).

Then off I went to the shore of our backyard pond to scrape up a few shovelfuls of pea gravel from under the snow.  Are you picturing me out there, scraping in the snow, suburban neighbors wondering if maybe I need one of these sun lamps for S.A.D. (maybe I do)?   After my snowy trek, I lined the bottom of the pots with the rock for drainage.

I lucked out and found one proper basil plant in the floral section of my local grocery store.  What a beauty.  Now I'm just hoping these little guys will survive, especially the thyme, so I can use it for my broccoli soup!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lunch Box Superfood

Hot lunch is served only once a week at my kids' school, so I'm always working to dream up easy, nutritious lunch ideas that they'll eat.  One of my favorite lunches is a chicken salad packed with protein, fruit and veggies.  It's like a meal-in-one for lunch!  Let's break it down.


3 ribs of celery
1 large apple or 2 small apples
handful of baby spinach
handful of craisins
handful of slivered almonds
canned chicken breast (12.5 oz) or leftover cooked chicken (chopped)
1/2 cup mayonaise

One of the kitchen gadgets I value most is our apple slicer.  We use it all the time, so much in fact, that this is my third one.  I've broken inexpensive ones and expensive ones alike, so now I just buy the economy model. One of these days, I'll find an uncrackable, all-metal model at a garage sale.  I buy organic apples and leave the peeling on because that's where the majority of the nutrients are. 

Slice the apple, celery and spinach.  I buy the jumbo box of organic baby spinach from Costco, and I sneak its green goodness into recipes as often as I can.  To slice the baby spinach, roll the leaves like you're rolling a cigar and cut the rolled bundle into thin ribbons.

In a mixing bowl, shred the chicken with a fork.   Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

For lunch boxes, spoon into thermal containers and refrigerate overnight. 

Or simply serve it up and enjoy immediately!