We are healthy eaters, most of the time. Vacation is another story. When we went to the beach for a recent weekend getaway, I packed a ton of food to help us stay on track. I figured the more good food we had with us, the less tempted we’d be by the chips and cookies that usually figure heavily in our travels. Full disclosure: we still treated ourselves to one dinner out (mmmmmm shrimp po’ boy) and some chips while we were on the road. And I had an ice cream float one night- it’s the beach! I consider it a success, both the food and the trip overall. The key was bringing healthy foods we couldn’t resist.
Slow cooker kalua pork
This super simple slow cooker pulled pork recipe is such a treat. It is one of my favorite recipes to serve at a big gathering, to take on a road trip, or just to indulge. The flavors are inspired by the Hawaiian method of roasting a pig in the ground. I’ve actually roasted whole pigs in the ground several times and it always comes out amazing. This slow cooker recipe is amazing too. It is juicy, tender, and flavorful.
I have a major sweet tooth. Going sugar free is a real challenge for me. This tasty banana “ice cream” hits the spot. It has only three ingredients and is super simple to make. Really you just need frozen banana. I added peanut butter for flavor, which might be my favorite add-in for banana ice cream. Cocoa powder and almond butter are great too. I added coconut milk to make it easier to blend in my not-so-powerful mini food processor. If you have a powerful blender, you probably won’t even need the milk. This couldn’t be any easier or healthier given how indulgent it tastes.
Fennel and orange salad
This is hands down the best fennel dish I’ve made. The salad is bright, crunchy, and sweet. The fennel adds just enough licorice flavor without being overpowering. I started with a recipe from my favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, and substituted a few ingredients. I’ve posted a few recipes from Smitten Kitchen before: Garlic & Butter Roasted Mushrooms, Deb’s Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix, and Strawberry Summer Cake. I can always trust Deb for a fantastic recipe. I think we are foodie kindred spirits. I served the salad with cod roasted in lots of lemon juice. It was a light, refreshing, and fulfilling meal.
Home rendered lard
I have a confession to make. My lard didn’t come out pure white. “Oh no!” you’re thinking, “I expected so much more from you!” Well, maybe you weren’t thinking that, but I was thinking it about myself. I know what went wrong, so I hope you will still trust my tips on rendering your own lard. I blame it on my 11-year-old slow cooker. It has been cooking too hot lately and I vowed to replace it soon. But we ran out of lard and I decided it was time to make it again, overheating slow cooker be darned! The result was lard with a yellow tint and porky flavor. Fat that has been cooked more gently renders into white lard with little flavor, which is perfect for baking. The more flavorful and colorful lard will still be excellent for savory applications, but will lend a pork flavor to everything.
Easy seeded vinaigrette
Salad dressing is so easy to make, I stopped buying it at the store long ago. This recipe is one of my favorites. It is tangy, bright, and has a nice crunch from the poppy and sesame seeds. I adore the delicate flavor, texture, and appearance of poppy seeds. The dressing is good on any salad and can also be used as a marinade. This week, I served it on a salad of strawberries, cucumber, red onion, and mint.
Kick up your salad a notch
Growing up, my parents served a garden salad with every dinner. It usually had lettuce, carrots, and miscellaneous other veggies. It was fine. Even good. But I got bored. I rebelled against the salad for many years after leaving home, focusing on other types of vegetable preparations. Recently, I’ve fallen in love with salad all over again. It started with a beautiful head of green leaf lettuce I bought at my local farm club. It tasted so fresh, crispy, and bright. Combined with fermented carrots and my homemade mix-and-match dressing, it was truly delicious. We planted a lot of greens in our garden this year, as well as in the Aerogarden. Now we have enough to harvest fresh garden salads a few times a week.
I came up with a list of ideas for making a scrumptious salad on the fly. Start with a head of fresh lettuce, spinach, or one of those super convenient salad mix bags. Then add in one or more from the list, and walla! Better than most salads you get in a restaurant.
Aerogarden report: 40 days in
This is our second go-round with the Aerogarden. Round one was a fantastic success. We grew our first set of herbs in it for almost a year. This time, I decided to document the growth of the garden along the way. We planted seven different herbs in in it: dill, cilantro, parsley, tarragon, lemon balm, shungiku, and mitsuba. Some of them are familiar to us, others new adventures. The Aerogarden website offers a lot of different herbs. You can also grow tomatoes, peppers, flowers, and other plants.
In this post, I'll tell you a bit about how the garden works and what we chose to grow.
Image from the Aerogarden website
Almond baked flounder
You know you should be eating more fish, right? This recipe is mild, easy, and delicious. I used flounder but you can use any thin fish fillets. I’ve always loved fish coated with nuts, but it’s a little labor intensive and sometimes the coating doesn’t stick. This recipe eliminates those issues by simply sprinkling the nuts on the fish before serving. Simple fix. I don’t know why I never thought of it.
Did you know that if you mix chia seeds with liquid they will gel and turn into a pudding-like substance? I capitalized on this to make a tasty, hearty breakfast pudding that fits within the Whole 30 diet. It can be made with any kind of fruit added. Bananas are my favorite so far, with blueberries a close second. The texture of banana works well with the texture of the pudding. This pudding is enjoyable to eat with its funny consistency and it fills me up for a long time.
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.