Here I Go Again

15 Jun

 

NO EXCUSES-Referring to why there was not a scheduled update posted. Actually I cannot think of any legitimate reason why, other than I finally said yes to every invitation I received and threw my To Do List in the trash-of course I am doing double time now trying to catch up. But I have to admit the change of pace was certainly enjoyable-although I do feel just a little bit guilty, but I will get over it!

It all began with a two-week plus stay with my son and his wife at their beautiful log cabin home in up state New York doing all the things that I love to do. Just hanging with the kids-son/wife. Checking out new foods at local restaurants, meeting some great people at their church and although it snowed all day on Easter Sunday-did I mention that we were kind of in the woods-but we made Easter Sunday service and had a wonderful Easter dinner with my Daughter-In-Laws sister and her family.

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Had a great time antiquing and found some antique rolling pins for my collection and a few old cookbooks. It was also fun traveling around in my son’s new truck checking out the beautiful old fashion country barns built by the Amish that my son is interested in and by the end of my stay I was a pro at shimming up to my seat in the truck and slowly sliding out of it and I didn’t feel the pain in my back until I arrived home and to make matters worse, I fell asleep on a heating pad and burned my back.

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A sample model of the type of barn that my son is interested in, however his will be a three bay with a lean to for his boat. I was amazed at the beautiful construction and the fact that the frames are delivered on a flat bed and the Amish builders travel with it and construct it on your property. Like I said my visit was very interesting and I loved it.

My daughter and my granddaughter had an appointment at Ithaca College on Monday. The college is not to far from the cabin, so they planned to stay the night. On Monday afternoon I would join them on the trip home. My daughter-in-laws sister and her family joined us for Sunday evening dinner that I was delighted to prepare.

Pork Tenderloin is one of my favorite go-to meats because there are so many ways to prepare it and it takes 30 to 45 minutes to cook. It is a great dinner to prepare for guest and every one seems to enjoy it. I prepared the following menu for Sunday’s dinner.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin-with Apple, Raisin, Pecan Bread stuffing.

Apple Gravy

Green Bean Amandine 

Homemade Apple Sauce

Lemon Meringue Pie

A pork tenderloin serves 3-4-I usually cook 3 or 4 tenderloins when I am having a dinner party.

Stuffing

1 ½ to 2 cups of dried bread cubes

Season to taste with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and parsley

This amount is to be used for each tenderloin, how ever if using prepared stuffing mix such as Pepperidge Farms, which is already prepared with some seasoning I suggest that you do a taste test first before adding additional seasonings.

Sauté diced celery, onions, mushrooms and shredded carrots in a skillet that a small amount of butter or Smart Balance has been melted-the amount of ingredients to be determined by the number of tenderloins used an to your particular taste.

Add mixture to bread cubes with cubed apples and raisins and pecans (optional) and add 1 slightly beaten egg.   Add 2 tablespoons of butter or Smart Balance to 1-1 ½ cups of apple juice and heat in a saucepan until butter is melted. Cool to the touch and add to bread cube mixture and blend well.

Butterfly tenderloin by slicing down the center, but not cutting all the way through-I use my electric knife. Stuff tenderloin mounding on top and tie with cooking cord in three places or use metal pins-the type used at Thanksgiving for a turkey-to hold the stuffing.

Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray and place tenderloins side by side in pan.   Sprinkle left over stuffing in pan. Cover stuffing on tenderloins with a piece of foil and cook in a 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking for 20 more minutes or until a meat thermometer registers the meat at 170 Degrees F. Slice and serve with gravy and the following sides.

Apple Gravy-heat the desired amount of apple juice. Add 3 tablespoons cornstarch in ½ cup of additional apple juice and bring to a slow boil. To thicken, add more cornstarchs to cold apple juice to thin add more apple juice. For a darker color you can add a few drops of Gravy Master usually displayed in the spice section of your super market.

 

Green Beans Amandine-cook the amount needed-1/2 cup per person of fresh green beans that have been trimmed-remove end stems-with a small amount of water in the microwave until crisp-do not over cook as this is to prepare the beans for the next step.

 

Heat equal amounts of olive oil and Smart Balance or butter in a skillet until blended. Add 1-2 teaspoons of chopped garlic and green beans and sauté turning often. Add a small amount of salt to retain color and pepper to taste. Add almonds. If desired you can toast almonds in a dry skillet before adding.

 

Homemade Applesauce-Put 6 to 8 apples and 1/3 cup of water or apple juice into a saucepan, cover and cook over moderate heat without stirring until apples are mushy.

Shake pan from time to time to prevent sticking. Add 1/3 cup of sugar-exact amount will depend on the taste and tartness of apples. Add a pinch of salt, stir just to blend and cook for a minute or two longer.   Remove from heat and whip with a spoon to a stiff sauce. A small amount of ground cinnamon may be added for a darker and spicy flavor.

Slow cooker/ Crock Pot method-add 6 to 8 apples quartered, pared, cored and coarsely chopped, ¾ to 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and 1 cup or less of water or apple juice to Slow Cooker/Crock Pot, stir to combine all ingredients and cook on low 5-6 hours.

Note: It is a little tricky to write a recipe for applesauce, because the type of apple used makes a difference as does the age-older apples need more moisture. As always with all recipes, let your taste be the guide.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie 

¼ – cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

1 ¼ cups sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1-½ cups boiling water

3 eggs separated

1/3 cup strained lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

Baked 9-inch shell

1/3- cup sugar

Blend cornstarch and sugar, and salt into saucepan; add boiling water gradually and blend thoroughly. Cook over direct heat, stirring constantly, boiling until thick and clear, about 3 minutes. Beat egg yolks and stir in a little of the hot mixture; pour back into saucepan, stir to blend and cook 2 minutes longer with constant stirring. Remove from heat; add lemon juice slowly in small portions. Mixing well between each addition. Add butter and lemon rind, mixing well. Pour into cooled pie shell. Cool. Beat egg whites until stiff, add the 1/3-cup sugar gradually, and continue beating until thick and smooth.

Pile lightly and quickly over pie filling so as to touch edges of crust all around. Bake in 350 degrees F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cake rack before cutting.

I hear you-yes it is easier to buy a Jell-O Lemon Meringue Pie Mix and sip up a pie in no time, but it will not taste like this pie.

 

 

Next a Mother’s day treat from my daughters a week-end at a great Bed and Breakfast in Newport Rhode Island. We had a wonderful time visiting all the beautiful shops and having dinner at some of the best restaurants.

The highlight was our stay at the Almondy Inn Bed and Breakfast, simply relaxing and enjoying the Victorian décor and delighting in the beautifully presented healthy breakfast each morning and the meet and greet wine and cheese at 5:00 P.M.

The Innkeepers Evelyne and Herber Valkenberg go above and beyond to make your stay comfortable and memorable. If you are planning a summer get-a-way I would certainly recommend the Almondy Inn in Newport Rhode Island. Another plus, the Inn is located a hop, skip and a jump-a short block from Thames Street and the harbor the hub of Newport attractions and the trolley tours to the famous Newport Mansions.Photoshoot 013.jpg

The foyer and the entrance to the living room is so unbelievable elegant and so welcoming.

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The elegant dining room where guest meet in the morning to start their day enjoying a beautifully served healthy breakfast.

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I am sure that I have enticed many of you with the wonderful photos of the Inn and I think it is worth sharing the following information:

Almondy Inn
25 Pelham Street
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Toll Free 1-800 478-6155

I was like the Energizer Bunny because my activities didn’t end. I continued with a sleepover for my grandson’s 13th birthday. We always have fun playing all the Wii games that he brings. We have a long-standing tally sheet where we list the winner for each game and at the end of the year the loser has to do something extravagant for the winner. I am saving my pennies, because it is a no brainier who the winner will be.

Then it was show time and although my granddaughter attends a girl’s private school, she performed in a musical at a local boy’s private school. The musical was wonderful and so professional. Honestly, I am kind of a musical nut, which probably stems from my teenage years when in high school I belonged to the Drama Club and was a wannabe actress. It rubbed off on my daughter who was very active in high school and now my granddaughter who is actually very talented in that field and has appeared in many musicals and I bet you can guess who her biggest fan is.

It is amazing how talented kids are and how hard they work to produce these wonderful shows. Actually, this performance was much more entertaining than some of the professional productions that I have seen over the years, and I have seen many. I urge you to support your local schools’ productions. I guarantee you that you will be amazed.

 Fairfield College Preparatory School’s Presentation of

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

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To round out the remainder of my lackadaisical but busy schedule I celebrated a belated Easter celebration with all the fixings, including an Easter egg hunt at my daughters, attended two family birthday parties and enjoyed a wonderful evening at the Schubert Theater in New Haven enjoying the Broadway show Matilda with my Theater Arts enthusiastic grand daughter.

 

CREATIVE CORNER-In the Creative Corner this update is Tracy from New York who shared a photo of her Chocolate Dipped Ritz Cracker and Peanut Butter Cookies.

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Simply sandwich peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers and dip into melted chocolate-I use Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips because it contains 60% of Bittersweet Chocolate, the heart healthy kind. I heat chips in the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds. The chips will retain their shape until stirred. Repeat process until all chips are melted. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening for every 2 cups of chips.   Microwave an additional 30 seconds on 50% power. Stir until completely smooth. My go-to chocolate, I use it for every thing. I go through a few 3-pound bags every month that I purchase at BJ’s.

I have been over indulging on these cookies because dark chocolate seems to be very healthy and to make them a more healthier I use whole grain Ritz. Did you know that research shows that people that eat chocolate 3-times a week live a full year longer than people whom don’t. Also eating chocolate is like eating broccoli because they both have flavonoids, the most effective antioxidants in fighting heart disease. The most recent studies have shown that people who eat chocolate daily are happier than those who don’t eat chocolate, because chocolate contains theobromine a chemical that produces feelings of euphoria. OK Tracy from New York, I will take 2 tonight and call you in the morning!

If you have a creative recipe, craft or idea and would like to share it with our readers you can send a photo with or without a recipe to my E-mail contact listed on the left of the home page.

 

Notice: I am in the process of updating and redesigning my web site with a new and user friendly Home Page, which will include more recipes with, photos and hopefully more input from readers. I will continue to post personal photos pertaining to my home and garden and interesting subjects and the gallery will also feature my Creative Corner photos, many which have appeared on Google and Bing.

Seems like yesterday that I introduced my food column Cooking For Today to the local newspaper as a weekly in 1988 and after a short hiatus I continued with the column until 2008 when I introduced my web-site HealthyCookingForToday.com. Producing the site has been a very rewarding experience and the research that I do motivates me and makes me accountable for my own health. I do as the nutritional researchers say-“Eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat poultry and fish and eat red meat in moderation, choose whole grains for fiber, keep hydrated by drinking at least the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day, exercise at least 30 minutes a day, get 6-8 hours of sleep and have at least 2-3 glasses of red wine a week. Also have a hobby, read to keep you mind active and be social. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?

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