Almond Plum & Chicken Stir Fry

IMG_0751Hi all– As a kid, I remember going out to my Grandma Rose’s backyard.  Her tiny house was on a big lot, planted with corn and sunflowers, rhubarb and a grape arbor,  and fruit trees, several fruit trees, including plums.  We’d go out and feed her chickens and pull from ripe fruit from the trees.  I wish I could do that with her again…

So in honor of luscious summer plums, here’s a plum-y chicken stir fry, that’s fast and fresh. No oven involved.  Good for summer cooking…

ALMOND PLUM & CHICKEN STIR FRY
2 large chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2  cups rice
splash olive oil
2 purple plums, pitted & sliced
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup whole roasted almonds, cut in half
1 cup water
3 tab. soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced

Cut the chicken breasts into nice polite chunks and brown them in a hot pan with olive oil. Meanwhile, put the rice on to cook, according to the directions on the package*

When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, combine the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger and garlic.  Shake it all well, until it’s thoroughly blended.

Pour the soy sauce mixture into the hot pan over medium heat and stir it with the drippings from the chicken for a minute or two until it thickens into a pretty sauce.

Then add back in the chicken, plums and 2/3 of the chopped green onions. Let it simmer a couple minutes to meld the flavors and soften the plums just a bit.  Then stir in the almonds.

When the rice is done cooking, spread it onto a large platter and top with the chicken and plum stir fry.  Top with the remaining green onions.  Fast and fresh– summer eating.

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Blueberry Yogurt Cake

IMG_0815Hello from here–  Enjoying a quieter weekend here– Got up this morning on a sunny Saturday and popped this in the oven  for our dessert tonight.  And there’s some leftover on the plate in the kitchen that would be warm and toasty around the edges heated up for breakfast tomorrow.  (kind of blueberry pancakes in cake form– is that enough justification?)

BLUEBERRY YOGURT CAKE
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tab. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries*

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Stir together the four, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the eggs, yogurt and oil.  Finally fold in the blueberries.

Spray a 10 cup bundt pan with cooking spray and scrape the batter into it.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40  minutes,  until it’s golden and firm to the touch.

Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes and then turn it out from the pan onto a pretty plate.

I would totally eat this for breakfast– but served with whipped cream and more berries it would make a perfect summer  dessert.

*You can use frozen berries, but do not defrost them before you stir them into the batter, or they will discolor the cake.  And the cooking time will be a few minutes longer.

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San Francisco with the Grand-girls (or Fun in SF with kids)

IMG_0671 Two girls by the fanciful fence of the Mission Playground, SF

Hi there–  Just back from a rollicking trip to SF with the grand-girls!  It was a whole lot of swinging, sliding, singing, dancing, jumping, story reading, ice cream licking fun…

Before we started off we wrote up our TRIP RULES:
#1. Play on at (at least) 3 playgrounds
#2. Take Harry the Dog for a walk daily
#3. Eat 5 ice cream cones
#4. Give 10 hugs every day
#5. No grouching allowed

Here’s the highlights:

IMG_0130     IMG_0144 IMG_0200     IMG_0179On a cloudy day we hiked down the trail to Funston Beach– a off leash dog beach, where you’ll meet every size and shape of dog you could imagine!  Dog watching, hill climbing paradise!

IMG_0303     IMG_0319 10527271_10103303559986113_5510079715396104629_n-1     IMG_0342There was the big day out at the San Francisco Zoo! Love zoos and this is a perfect one– not too big, not too small, lushly landscaped and easy access to all those animals–  Oh the giant giraffes, the tumbling otters, the stately gorillas…  Throw in a playground set in three world biomes and a carrousel and it was a super day out!

IMG_0408      IMG_0411Harry the Dog and the grand-dgirls had a running good time one evening at Crissy Field, in the shadow of the gold Gate Bridge.  (In the first picture they are pretending to be exhausted after running non stop all evening)

IMG_0437     IMG_0463 IMG_0466     IMG_0449We launched out on a foggy morning hike along the Land’s End Trail– catching glimpses of the Golden Gate through the shifting fog.  Loved all the ocean views, forested pathways and wild flowers.  (The dramatic pose on the bottom left are hikers being frightened in the scary forest–???)

IMG_0539    IMG_0640 IMG_0537     IMG_0532 My personal fave was taking the 2 grand-girls to meet their cousin Mae–time for playgrounds, ice cream (one of sweet Mae’s first words!) and reading books…

IMG_0618     IMG_0615 IMG_0627     IMG_0630We happened into a sunny day for our wave jumping at Ocean Beach.  What started as just getting ankles wet quickly degenerated into full scale bathing in the sea.  Great soggy fun!

IMG_0690     IMG_0688 IMG_0698     IMG_0701One sunny afternoon in SF found us back in Golden Gate Park for a stroll around the lush flower gardens.  The girls picked out favorite Dahlias and named them after people in the family.

IMG_0718     IMG_0719Our last morning, we took the muni into town and explored Chinatown, while we shopped our way along the streets, picking up treats to take home to the family.

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Thanks Aaron & Jessica for the great “hang-out” time.  And thanks Ani & Brian for planning so many great outings and cosseting us at the Casa Heung.  And thanks Charlotte & Maryann for being cheerful, excited, curious, enthusiastic travel buddies.  Loved it!

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Blackberry Iced Tea

IMG_0061Hello there–  Looking for a summery drink for our bridal shower last week and wandered across this fruity iced tea.  After a little smashing, steeping and blending, we ended up with pitchers full of slightly sweet, summer fresh tea.  We set out sugar and sweetener for those who wanted it, but I liked it just as it was–with lots of ice and a few berries and a sprig of mint to top it off.

BLACKBERRY ICED TEA
3  black tea bags
4 cups water
2 cups blackberries*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tab. mint leaves, chopped
2 cups cold water
more berries & mint leaves for garnish

In a large heat proof bowl, put in the blackberries, sugar and mint leaves.  Blend them with a stick blender (or in a regular blender–or smash them to bits with a lot of pounding with a wooden spoon!  — and then pour them in the bowl).

Then bring the 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add the tea bags to the heated water and let them steep for 5 minutes.  Then remove the tea bags and pour the tea over the berries.

Let the tea-berry mixture sit for 1 hour.  Then pour it through a strainer to strain out the uncrushed berry bits/seeds.

Add 2 more cups of cold water, cover the bowl and set the whole thing in the fridge to chill.  Serve the berry tea over lots of ice and garnish with each cup with a couple berries and a sprig of mint.

Makes about 8 glasses of very tea.  Hope you like it!

*2 cups of berries is about 12 oz. (2 6 oz. packs)

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The Forest Feast– Erin Gleeson

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Hey there–  I’m not an impulse book buyer.  Usually I read reviews, probably check on it at the library, or borrow it from a friend.  But when Ani & I ran across this bright and beautiful cookbook, I couldn’t resist scooping one up!

Erin Gleeson has produced possibly the most beautiful cookbook on record!  Filled with vivid vegetarian dishes, as wonderful to the eye as they would be to your tastebuds!  She lives in a wooded rustic home and that is reflected in the book along with her simply beautiful painted illustrations, brilliant photographs and handwritten notes throughout.  The recipes couldn’t be more straightforward or simple.  No fancy dishes that require a culinary education, just luscious colorful plates of food stunningly presented.  It’s a supremely browsable book, as well as a call to rustle up some beautiful food.

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Thai Cole Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing

 

IMG_0051Hello all– I was excited when I came across this recipe– so many of my favorite flavors tumbled into one crunchy, bright, cheerful bowl of slaw!!  I’m a cole slaw fan–  but add in peanuts, honey, sweet chili sauce and cilantro– better yet!

OK, is can see you’re saying–“too many exclamation points!”  But try and maybe you’ll exclaim as well.  It really is a scrumptious addition to any summer meal!!

THAI COLE SLAW WITH GINGER PEANUT DRESSING

Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce*
1 tsp. ground ginger**
2 cloves garlic, minced fine

Add all ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake, shake until it’s all well blended.

Cole Slaw:
4 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrot, peeled & grated
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut to tiny bright bits
1 cup edamame
2 green onions, green parts, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Add together all the ingredients for the cole slaw and pour over the dressing.  Mix to coat it all well.  Set it into the fridge until your ready to eat.  Then stir it up again for get all that dressing that’s settled to the bottom and eat up!

*The recipe I worked from called for 1 tsp. of Siriacha sauce– but that’s a little too much heat for wimpy me.  I like this sweet chili sauce a lot.
** You can used fresh ginger if you have it on hand (I didn’t).

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Blueberry Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_9689Hello friends–I’m admitting I have a minor addiction.  When I pass through the market and blueberries are on sale (again!) I can’t pass by without dropping a box in my cart.  I know that in a few weeks the price will jump up to it’s winter peak and stay there until next summer.  So I’m getting my fill now.  Blueberry cobbler, blueberries in salads–and what’s better than a blueberry muffin?!  Loving those blueberries.

BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK OATMEAL MUFFINS
1 cup oatmeal*
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil**
6 oz. carton of blueberries

Stir together the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the buttermilk, egg and oil.  And lastly, fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners.  And pop them into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until they are golden and firm to the touch.

Eat at least one right out of the oven when they are their hot, tender best!

*I used whole old fashioned oats, but quick (1 minute) oats are great too.
*The recipe I worked from called for melted butter, but I substituted canola oil and it worked just fine.  But you can butter it up if you like!!

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