Monday, August 21, 2017

Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca


Agua fresca is served at food stands throughout Mexico and is the perfect foil to spicy dishes. It's also one of the most refreshing drinks and excellent for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 10 minutes
Serves: Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:

4 pounds of watermelon
1 large cucumber
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 cups water
Sweetener as needed (sugar, Stevia, etc.)

Directions:

1. Remove rind and seeds from watermelon. Cut into cubes.
2. Peel cucumber and cut into chunks.
3. Puree fruit in a a blender until smooth - this can be done in batches if necessary.
4. Add water to fruit and stir well. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
5. Add lime juice to taste. Many times the fruit is sweet enough that very
little sugar is needed, use as you desire.
6. Serve over ice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blueberry Bruschetta


While bruschetta is most often served as a savory preparation, it also makes a lovely and lighter dessert. The smooth cream cheese is a perfect contrast to the sweet-tart berries. Grilling is fairly quick and can be done on a traditional grill or in a grill pan on the stove top.

Blueberry Bruschetta
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes
Serves: 24

Ingredients:

1 French baguette (about 18 inches in length)
1/4 cup butter - melted
8 ounces low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Combine blueberries, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and toss well to coat. Set aside in
the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Slice baguette into 24 slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Slicing on the diagonal provides
more surface area.
3. Brush each slice with butter and grill until lightly toasted on both sides.
4. Spread cream cheese on each bread slice and top with a spoonful of blueberries.
Garnish with mint if desired and serve.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Veggie Wednesday: Summer Veggie Melt and Tribute

Summer Veggie Melt

This is both a tribute and an homage to the now-closed Moravian Book Shop Cafe. I was recently in Downtown Bethlehem after not having been for several years and was surprised at the new shops, the old ones that were still there, and the ones I loved that are now gone.

My oldest daughter and I went into the Book Shop fully expecting to have coffee in the back at the Cook Shop, but found ourselves instead at the Colony Meadery. As intrigued as I was, (and still am, and plan to purchase several types of mead there in the near future) I had a moment. It's like that moment when you realize your prized stuffed animal that you've had since you were a wee child has gone missing. I didn't cry, though I truly felt as though I might. I adored that place so much.

Not only did I spend many hours there with my mother when I was a child, all of my children have had lunch there with me at one time or another. In fact, this was where I took each of my girls for "just us" lunch dates where they had my undivided attention. This is also where I sat with Kathy Lauer-Williams of the Morning Call for my interview that led to a half-page article about my time blogging with Disney.

I could write on and on about this, but I won't. I will share with you my recipe for the melt I had there each and every time I visited.

Summer vegetables are something we look forward to each year and this melt is full of garden-fresh goodness. Topped with cheese and only lightly cooked, the vegetables retain their crispness and the herbed mayo adds a layer of flavor underneath. They may look very 'handy' but a knife and fork is in order for eating them.


Summer Veggie Melt

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 12 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 whole wheat pitas - uncut and unsplit
4 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon freshly snipped herbs such as dill, basil, oregano or thyme
1 medium zucchini - thinly sliced
1 medium summer squash - thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper - thinly sliced
1 large tomato - thinly sliced
1 small red onion - thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded, about 1 cup
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Directions:

1. Combine mayo and herbs and stir until well blended. Spread 1 Tablespoon on top of each
pita.
2. Layer each pita with squashes, pepper, tomato and onion. Top with a 1/4 cup of
shredded carrots and 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
3. Microwave on 50% power for approximately 2 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.

Alternately, you can place the pitas under a broiler for several minutes or in a 350F
degree  oven until cheese is melted.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lemon Dill Shrimp Soup


I don't usually serve warm soups in the summer, but once in a while a day will present itself cooler than usual and then I feel comfortable serving this one. The bright flavors of dill and lemon complement the shrimp well. This can be served as a first course or as part of a light lunch.

Lemon Dill Shrimp Soup
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken stock
1 cup uncooked farfalline (little bow ties)
1 medium lemon
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped dill
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
12 medium shrimp - shelled and deveined
salt, pepper and seafood seasoning to taste

Directions:

1. Heat stock to boiling in a medium stock pot.
2. Cut lemon into slices and add to stock with pasta. Cook until pasta is tender - about
7 minutes.
3. Add herbs and shrimp and turn heat to low. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp is
done.
4. Remove lemon slices and add salt, pepper and seafood seasoning to taste. Serve with 3
shrimp atop each bowl of soup.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fruit and Grain Bars

Fruit and Grain Bars

My kids love fruit and grain bars for after school snacks, but they can be quite pricey. This homemade version is a substantial savings over the store-bought kind, and because they're made at home, I'm more aware of exactly what's going into them. Try an organic cake mix and organic fruit spread. Don't be tempted to add more fruit spread, the amount called for is just right and too much will make the bars difficult to cut.


Fruit and Grain Bars

Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 35 minutes
Serves: Makes 20 bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix (oz.)
2 cups oats - quick-cooking
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1 cup jelly, jam, preserves or fruit spread

Directions:

1. Mix together cake mix, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar
2. Add egg and melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
3. Divide batter in half and spread half into bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking pan.
4. Spread fruit spread on top of crust to the edges.
5. Crumble the remaining cake mixture over the jelly and press lightly into jelly with
hands.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
7. Cool well and cut into 20 bars.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Veggie Wednesday: Artichoke Bruschetta Topping

Artichoke Bruschetta Topping

I love bruschetta in just about any form and topped with artichoke is one of my very favorite. One made with pantry ingredients is even better. This one goes together easily with ShopRite Imported Artichoke Hearts, ShopRite Diced Tomatoes and a few other pantry ingredients to make one fabulous topping. Eat as-is with crusty bread or add to grilled chicken, fish or pork. Any way you serve it, it's sure to be a delicious addition to your pantry staples recipe repertoire!


Artichoke Bruschetta Topping
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 can (14.5 ounces) ShopRite Imported Artichoke Hearts - whole
1 can (14.5 ounces) ShopRite Diced Tomatoes with Oregano and Basil
1 clove garlic - minced
1 green onion - sliced, green and white parts
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
3 Tablespoons ShopRite Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
pinch of sugar
pinch of Kosher salt

Directions:

1. Drain artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Chop artichoke hearts well.
2. Combine remaining ingredients, tasting for seasoning - only add sugar if necessary.
3. Refrigerate for at least one hour to let the flavors develop before serving.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp Rolls

There's nothing quite like a fresh lobster roll on the shores of Maine, but when you can't get there and you can't afford lobster to make them at home, shrimp makes a delicious second-best. Bright lemon zest and parsley combined with creamy mayo and spicy Old Bay are a most delectable way to serve up these shrimp rolls for a light lunch.

The mayo in mine is decidedly heavier-handed, but that's only because I have a few mayo addicts who wouldn't eat them any other way. Add mayo a tablespoon at a time until you find the consistency that you like.

Shrimp Rolls
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp in-shell
1/4 cup celery diced small
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon Old Bay or other seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley - chopped
1 teaspoon salt
6 small potato rolls (hot dog size works best)

Directions:

1. Cook shrimp in-shell in boiling salted water until pink - about 3-4 minutes. Drain and
rinse in cold water.
2. Remove shells from shrimp and cut meat into chunks.
3. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, seafood seasoning, lemon zest, parsley and salt and
stir well. Add celery and shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate up to 24 hours or serve
immediately.
4. Spoon into rolls and serve.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Lunchbox Apple Pies

Lunchbox Apple Pies

It's closing in on school time and thoughts of packing lunches are upon us yet again. Before you purchase store bought hand pies for your child's lunch, give these a try. Not only can you choose what type of apples you really like and how much cinnamon you prefer, you totally are in control of the sugar content. Every mom likes that!

Lunchbox Apple Pies

Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Serves: Makes 12 pies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter - softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ice water
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups peeled, cored and diced apples - about 2 medium
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar


Directions:

1. Combine flour, salt and butter and mix together until crumbly. Add water and stir
until doiugh forms. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add apples and cook
until apples soften, about 5 minutes.
3. Add brown sugar to apples and cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and any juices
from the apples begin to thicken, about 5 more minutes.
4. Remove apples from heat and stir in cinnamon.
5. Let dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 12 rounds with a 4-inch biscuit cutter.
6. Place dough rounds onto greased baking sheets. Top half of each round with a
tablespoon of apple mixture. Fold opposite end of dough over apples and seal with hands
or a fork.
7. Cut a small slit in the top of each pie to vent steam.
8. Combine egg, 1 tablespoon water and granulated sugar until well blended and sugar is
dissolved.
Brush on tops of each pie.
9. Bake pies in a 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool
completely before storing in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Red, White, and Blue Recipes

Labor Day in the United States marks the last of the "Red, White, and Blue" summer holidays, and these recipes are perfect when entertaining even the most patriotic of people.


Red, White, and Blueberry Lemonade

Sweet blueberries and tart lemonade meet to make a very refreshing summer drink with patriotic garnish perfect for summertime Red, White, and Blue holidays.


Red, White, and Blueberry Lemonade

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup to 1 cup lemon juice (depending on tastes)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup starfruit slices (about 2 starfruit)
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries (about 6 large strawberries)
water

Directions:

1. Combine 1 cup water, sugar and 1 cup blueberries in a small saucepan.
2. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until sugar is dissolved and blueberries start
to soften and leach their color.
3. Strain blueberries and cool the sugar water mixture.
4. Combine lemon juice with sugar water and add enough water to make 2 quarts of
lemonade.
5. Serve with the extra cup of blueberries, the starfruit, and strawberries for garnish. You can freeze blueberries as well to help keep drinks cool.





Cheese crackers never looked so good. White cheddar cheese flavors these easy
crackers. A simple paprika oil provides color, and served with the right dip, these are
just the right touch for any Red, White, and Blue party.



Cheddar Stars
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 25 minutes
Serves: 6-8 (2 dozen crackers)

Ingredients:

1 stick butter - softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon paprika

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cream together butter and salt.
Add shredded cheese and blend well.
3. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon or hands until a stiff and smooth dough forms.
4. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with a 2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter,
re-rolling dough as needed.
5. Mix together oil and paprika.
6. Set crackers on an ungreased baking sheet and brush half of the crackers with the oil.
Bake for 8-10 minutes being careful not to overbrown.
7. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Eat within 1 week.

Red ripe tomatoes, creamy white cottage cheese and tangy bleu cheese crumbles
blended with bacon and horseradish make this one delicious dip. Serve with Cheddar Stars.


Red, White and Bleu Cheese Dip
Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 5 minutes
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 cup bleu cheese crumbles
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 pound pork or turkey bacon - fried crisp and crumbled
1 large tomato - seeded and diced fine

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients and chill until serving time.