Sunday, April 24, 2016

You Look Good {a giveaway}

You look good.

Really.

You look good.

This is my protest to all of those bikini body/detox/deprivation/desperation/beat-yourself-up things that float around the internet when spring rolls around.

You look good.

Seriously.

We could all stand to add a few more vegetables to our diet. We could all use a brisk walk around the block. But, that doesn't matter.

You look good.

Cellulite dimpled thighs. Puffy tummies. Lines. Wrinkles. Gray hairs. Whatever.

You look good.
You do.

Believe it.

Repeat it.

Seriously.

Comment on this post with "I look good." and be entered to win this fun bath mat from Urban Outfitters.

That's it.

Just confirm that you look good.

Protest all that beat-yourself-up hype.

You look good.

And, you probably should eat a salad. (You know, that get more vegetables thing.)

But, a Cheese Burger Salad.

Of course. 


Cheese Burger Salad 
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons minced dried onions
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
3/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices 
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package chopped romaine hearts
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
dill pickle chips
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons water
optional: potato chips and/or bacon

Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Mix together the beef, dried onion, parsley and salt.
Divide into 16 portions.
Shape each portion into a ball and flatten to a 1/2 inch thick patty about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Place patties in hot skillet; cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the middle.
Remove burgers from pan and keep warm.
Add sliced onion to the pan and season with salt and pepper; cook 5-6 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, divide lettuce, tomato, pickle chips, burgers, and cheese between 4 plates.
Combine mayonnaise, ketchup and water and drizzle over salads. 
If desired, top with crushed potato chips or crumbled bacon. (Serves 4)

***GIVEAWAY NOTE***
I plan to keep the giveaway open for comments for a week or so, depending on response. I have a lot on my plate right now (pun intended), and will get back to all of you lovelies as soon as I can. 
Also, this giveaway is entirely my own promotion and in no way connected to Urban Outfitters. I just want you to know that YOU LOOK GOOD.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Three Things Thursday; vol. two

Two random things on my mind and one tempting recipe. Here goes round 2 of Three Things Thursday:

1)    Vanilla Almond Tea from Republic of Teas. If you see me at subbing at school in the morning with my steaming green travel mug, this is most likely what I am sipping. If I have a chance to run the couple of blocks home during the day, I will probably brew another mug to get me through the remainder of my classes. This is my mojo.

2)    Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Bagless Stick Vacuum. We live with 3 lovable dogs. 3 lovable, long-haired dogs. 3 loveable, shedding, long-haired dogs. If I fail to clean just one day, we have Texas-sized dust bunnies of dog hair in every corner of every room. This simple stick vacuum has been my savior. It isn’t much more than a dust buster on wheels, but it is lightweight and compact enough to store just steps away from my kitchen on our back stairs. It has reasonably good suction to corral those wads of floating dog hair and whatever leaves, dirt, and small twigs are pulled in through the puppy door. The attachments allow me to clean tight corners. When it gets full, I just dump the bagless canister and start over. I do wish it had a brush for rugs or upholstery, but the majority of our home is hardwood. This gem makes dog hair suck just a little less.

3)    Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach. In our house, we big puffy heart love perfectly seared scallops. The trick is to make sure the seafood is really patted dry and the pan is very hot. I always use my cast iron for the best sear.

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinach On My Plate Blog

(adapted from Cooking Light)

olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops, patted dry
kosher salt
1 cup onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine (I use Savignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.)
1 cup chicken broth
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups fresh baby spinach

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Season scallops with salt.
When pan is sizzling hot, add scallops.
Cook 2 minutes on each side.
Remove scallops from pan and keep warm.
Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté onion. 
Add pepper flakes and garlic and cook just until garlic is fragrant.
Immediately stir in wine; cook for 1 minute or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in broth and beans; cook until heated through.
Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve beans and spinach topped with seared scallops and with crusty bread on the side to dip into the brothy beans. (Serves 4)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Partnering with Hungry for Truth

Recently, I teamed up with Hungry for Truth and their efforts to open discussions about food between South Dakotans and the farmers who grow it. Our first collaboration brought me back together with a former On My Plate guest blogger, Peggy Greenway. Peggy and her husband are pork producers and South Dakota family farmers.

Pop over to the Hungry for Truth website to check out some information about raising pork and a recipe I shared for Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Pan Sauce.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin On My Plate Blog Hungry for Truth
 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Three Things Thursday; vol. one

In case you haven't noticed, I have been having a little trouble with updating this blog. I could make the usual excuses, but you have heard them all before. (...and probably don't care. You came here for a recipe, right? Well hold on, it will be up sooner than you expected.)

In an attempt to revive my neglected ramblings with some current info, I am going to implement a new feature: Three Things Thursday. On random Thursdays, I plan to simply list three things. Two of the things may or may not be food related; they may be things I love; they may be things I hate, or at least intensely dislike; maybe I will talk about something I want to know more about or understand better. There are no rules, except that the third thing will be a recipe. Maybe it will tie in with the other two things, maybe it won't. I want to keep it simple. I hope it will jump start real blogging for me (but, no promises).

So, here goes with my first Three Things:

1. Herbs on the window sill. It is that time of year when a few nice days cause me to break out the flip flops and get the itch to garden. Then, a Spring snow storm hits along with the reality of the season. Herbs on the window sill are the best remedy for me (and locally available at Solar Barn Greenhouse).

2. BeautiControl Ultra Care+ Daily Complexion Refiner, I have finally outgrown the oily skin of my youth, but it has unfortunately been replaced by a few dry flakes. This cleanser makes a difference for me. A big difference. It isn't too drying, and doesn't leave my face feeling greasy. I tend to alternate it with another basic gentle cleanser and use every other day for my best face forward. (If you want to get to know a BeautiControl consultant, drop me a comment. I know a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy. Or, something like that. Disclaimer: I don't sell it myself and receive no kickbacks whatsoever for mentioning it in this list.)

3. Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala. Chicken with a pan gravy that is perfect over mashed potatoes. These days, I tend to prep my chicken breasts as cutlets or paillards. The chicken breast is placed on the cutting board and held flat with one hand while a sharp knife slices horizontally the length of the breast. Two portions are formed with relatively uniform thickness. They cook quickly without drying out and provide a reasonable serving size.


Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala
(adapted from Cooking Light)

2 boneless-skinless chicken breast halves, sliced lengthwise into cutlets
4 teaspoons flour, divided
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup dry Marasala wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
fresh basil leaves

Season 3 teaspoons flour with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
Heat a large skillet and coat with olive oil. Add chicken; cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until done (don't overcook; these are thin pieces of chicken). Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.
Add a little additional oil to the pan. Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender, but not yet translucent. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and oregano. Saute until mushrooms have released moisture and are tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour and stir. Cook just a minute to remove the raw flour flavor.
Stir in wine and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add the chicken and tomatoes to the pan sauce. Simmer 2 minutes until chicken is heated through (turning chicken once).
Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes and garnish with fresh basil. (Serves 4).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beets > Cookies

Every other food blogger in the universe is sharing cookies for the holidays, and I am over here with some beets.

They are really good beets.

They are beets inspired by The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis. (Recommend!)

Those beets are described as Sweet and Sour, and are so very wonderfully so. Mine lean toward more of a balsamic marinated. Both are served on a luscious puddle of creme fraiche and herbs.

Given the life or death choice between these beets and a cookie, I am pretty sure that I would go with these beets.

I served them as a side for Thanksgiving, and I plan to include them in at least one Christmas menu, as well.

They are that good.

Really.

Beets > Cookies.



6 medium beets
olive oil
salt and pepper

Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)

1 (8 oz) tub creme fraiche
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, tarragon, or chervil

Peel beets and cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a covered baking dish at 375F until tender, approximately 1 hour.

Combine dressing ingredients. Toss with roasted beats. Allow to marinate while cooling to room temperature, stirring occassionally.

To serve, stir together creme fraiche and chopped herbs. Spread in a "puddle" on a plate or small platter. Arrange drained beets over cream. (Serves 4 to 6)


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Just Spiced.

Back in June, we celebrated National Doughnut Day. Today, November 5, we are told it is time to celebrate again. Two National Doughnut Days in one year? Who am I to argue?

For today's festivities, I made Spiced Cake Doughnuts. Not Pumpkin Spiced. Not Spiced Pumpkin. (There is a difference.) Just SPICED.

Several years ago, I was in enamored with all things pumpkin spiced. (And for the record, "pumpkin spiced" means that the spices used to flavor pumpkin baked goods are used. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, maybe a little ginger. No actual pumpkin is involved. "Spiced Pumpkin" includes the pumpkin, be it roasted, pureed, boiled, mashed, or a combination of any of those, AND the spices. Got it? NO real pumpkin in your pumpkin spice.) Anyway, I loved pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin spiced creamer, chocolate, cookies, and cakes. If it was seasoned with the spices of autumn, I was going to try it.

Then, one day, I had had enough. I don't know what happened, but pumpkin spice didn't do it for me anymore. Maybe it was the overkill of absolutely everything in the market place being labeled "pumpkin spice" from Labor Day through Thanksgiving. Maybe it was like the time that I realized that I do prefer butter to margarine. Just part of an evolving palatte. Who knows. I am just over Pumpkin Spice.

Thankfully, I am not over everything nice, as the Spiced Cake Doughnuts I made today are absolutely nice. No pumpkin required.

Happy National Doughnut Day, again.


1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk, plus 2 tablespoons
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon canola oil

Cinnamon Sugar for coating the doughnuts.

Preheat the oven to 325F.
Coat the doughnut pan with cooking spray. (I am quite liberal with coating the pan. There is nothing sadder than stuck doughnuts.)
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
Stir in milk, egg, vanilla and oil.
Beat together until well blended.
Pour batter into a zip-topped bag, manipulating batter to one corner of the bag. With the bag over the baking pan, clip one end. (Batter will start running out immediately.) Squeeze the bag to fill each doughnut cup about 3/4 full.
(You can skip the zip-topped bag, and just ladle the batter into the baking pan, but I have found the bag to be a less messy option.)
Bake 8-10 minutes until doughnuts spring back when touched.
While doughnuts are still warm, remove from baking pan and roll in cinnamon sugar (heat will allow the sugar to stick to the doughnut).
Allow to cool on rack, or enjoy will warm. (Yields 6 doughnuts)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Midlife Crises

Last week, I celebrated another birthday. It was a birthday that might mean I have officially hit middle age. It was also a birthday celebrated with multiple groups of friends and multiple dinners out, and some of the best blackened steaks, fettuccine, and bang bang shrimp I have had in some time. I also hit it big with home-canned pasta sauce, homemade wine, lots of silly cards, coffee, and purple hair.

Yep. I trudged into my first week of middle age with a midlife crisis that resulted in purple highlights framing my face.

As I have been busy catching up with canning tomatoes from the garden (and a large haul provided by friends), I have been wearing my hair up more often than not, and the purple isn't that visible. However, when I take the time to style and wear my hair down, I am often caught off guard when I pass a mirror and catch a glimpse. I. Have. Purple. Hair. It has to be a midlife crisis.

The drama hasn't been limited to just my brunette locks, I also had to mess with the recipe for a pan of Blondies. Friends were married the weekend before my birthday, and I helped with the wedding rehearsal supper. They had chosen a simple cookout menu and requested brownies and blondies for desserts.

Just like my hair, I couldn't leave those blondies alone. Chocolate chip bars were too simple. Butterscotch chips alone made them too sweet. And while white chocolate chips added some visual interest, they were also boring. Would it be a crisis to mix it up with ALL THE CHIPS? Well...maybe the crisis of middle aged spread after eating the entire pan.

Midlife Crisis Blondies - On My Plate Blog



1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but if you prefer a sweeter bar, milk chocolate would be good.)
1-1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1-1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line a 17x12 (half sheet) pan with parchment paper and coat any surface not covered by the paper (edges) with cooking spray.
Beat the softened butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and extract and combine well.
Gradually, stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add the chips to the batter.
Spread in the prepared pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
Cool in pan completely before cutting. (4 dozen bars)

And...just in case you were curious about what a middle aged woman looks like with purple hair...
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