Thursday, November 26, 2015

Recipe: Harvest Fruit Salad

I made a fantastic top-of-my-head Harvest Fruit Salad for thanksgiving, and everyone LOVED it. In a meal full of rich, dense, salty flavors, this salad felt like a palate-cleanser between courses. Very bright and refreshing, tart like cranberry sauce and serving a very similar purpose.

Keep in mind, this recipe is a bit of a work in progress. Besides being a dump cook, I also made a recipe twice this big for 15 people and it turned out to be way too much, though no one was upset being sent home with leftovers! Scale up at about half an apple (or pear) per person, and you should be good, even with some leftovers.


Salad:
2 Honey crisp apples
2 Granny Smith apples
2 Some other kind of apples (I tried to get the ones that are pink inside but no luck; make it flavorful and visually appealing)
1 Pear
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup candied walnuts, for garnish

4-6 lemons, probably

Dressing:
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup canola oil (avocado or a light olive oil would be good too, as would almond oil)
Almond extract (maybe 1/2 tsp?)
2 tsp Honey
Salt (small sprinkle)
Nutmeg
Coriander
Ginger
Lemon juice reserved from the apples

Instructions: 
1) Zest lemon, and add it plus all the dressing ingredients to a blender, minus the lemon juice. Pulse it, then let the lemon infuse while you do the rest of the salad.

2) Juice 2 lemons into a small to medium mixing bowl. Dice the apples & pear into small cubes. After each fruit, toss them with lemon juice, strain, and reserve the liquid for the next fruit. When your juice doesn't easily coat the fruit, add the juice of another lemon. Be liberal with this, you still need lemon juice leftover when you're done.

3) Toss the apples & pear with dried cranberries and almonds.

4) Add the lemon juice from washing the apples into the dressing blender, and emulsify. Adjust flavor to taste; you may need to add the juice of another lemon.

5) Toss the salad with the dressing. To serve, garnish with candied walnuts (or uncandied, for that matter) and maybe a sprig or two of mint for color.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Menu: Nov 9-15


You know how I said we'd already planned half our menu for this week? Yeah. Guess what we forgot?

Incidentally, this week was not difficult for menu planning at all, so I'm just going to save those ideas for next week. And it's an easy one too, I guess we just weren't feeling too complicated today.


What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: Steak & eggs, Breakfast hash, english muffins, oatmeal.

Lunches: Mini pizzas, leftover soup (tortellini and Tuesday's chicken), burritos, sandwiches.

Snacks: Applesauce, fruit (oranges, grapefruit, apples & nut butter).

Dinners:
Monday: Mr. Moon's hosting again so we're taking advantage of his meal being free! I'm kind of hoping they have a nice wine-free special because I'm getting a little worn out on ravioli. [Out]

Tuesday: Thai Chicken Soup [chicken; soup; Thai; rice cooker]

Wednesday: Spaghetti, with fresh mozzarella and homemade sauce [vegetarian; pasta; Italian]

Thursday: I got sick last week so we're trying CanapĂ© dinner again. This time featuring caprese salad and who knows what else. [small plates; date night]

Friday: I've had a craving for butternut squash so, it's Curry squash soup [vegetarian; crockpot]

Saturday: Chili & hot dogs [leftovers; freezer]

Sunday:  Hey guess what day we missed making a meal plan for? We'll do it on the fly I guess. [ ]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other resources!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Menu: November 2-8


Why was menu planning so hard this week? We were struggling to come up with something suitable for Saturday night, but kept coming up with things that were not too difficult but a higher difficulty than we wanted for a late night dinner.

Which now that I say that, I'm thinking of making some sort of difficulty level for menu items. Fridays & Saturdays have the potential to be a late night, so we like to have dinner in the crockpot or at least fully prepped so all we have to do is heat it or even just walk in the door and eat. Monday & Tuesday nights we have to work around whatever Mr. Moon's evening schedule is, plus knowing there's an early morning ahead so we don't want to risk dinner being too late. On-Call shifts we basically treat as if he's working, as far as dinner prep goes. So besides just working with a "Weeknight vs. Weekend" kind of difficulty level, it's "I don't want this to take more than ten minutes" and "30 minute meals are okay" and "early morning/double shifts = something ridiculously easy" and "day off = something new/more complicated/ prep & cook & eat all at once" and then there's of course date-night dinners where we make something complicated and fancy.

On top of difficulty level, it was trying to keep some variety in our menu. Not having pasta, rice, or chicken two meals in a row. Not having two meals that are basically the same thing with just a different starch or a different meat, let alone in a row. So we ended up with Saturday sandwiched between chicken & rice (Fri) and beef & barely soup (Sun) and burned out on curry and a week full of soups and pasta so of course we kept coming up with things like curries, pastas, soups, or rice with chicken in them. Infuriating.

Anyway, so we have 5 of our menu items set for next week already, all but one of which are work-night dinners. And one of them is a F/S dinner so that's good. Hopefully that will make next week a little less frustrating to set up.

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PS I promised to tell you how savory french toast went: It didn't lol. We bumped it for something else because plans changed and then I wasn't feeling well. Oh well!
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What's on the menu?

Breakfasts: egg sandwiches, oatmeal, frozen egg burritos.

Lunches: quesadillas, grilled cheese & tomato soup, chili nachos.

Snacks: fig bars, v8, apple sauce.

Dinners:
Monday: Meeting Mr. Moon at work for dinner. [Out]

Tuesday: Pork Chili Nachos [Pork, leftovers]

Wednesday: Tortellini soup (seriously if this gets bumped again I'm cutting it completely) [pasta, vegetarian, soup, easy]

Thursday: Date night! CanapĂ© dinner & a movie in our "home theater" [fancy]

Friday: Chicken, broccoli & rice casserole [chicken, casserole, rice]

Saturday: Barbacoa tacos [beef, crockpot]

Sunday: Lamb & Barley soup [lamb, soup, crockpot]

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What's on your menu this week? Need planning ideas? I'll be linking up at orgjunkie.com, if you need other ideas!
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