A Millie Favorite

A Millie Favorite

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Meyer Lemon

I have been struck by my new love affair of the Meyer lemon! It is so beautiful and sweet and will brighten you up on a cold January day. This little lemon is such a mood elevator that I just had to share it with everyone! 

After the holiday excitement and we settle into the cold winter months, looking forward to Spring, kids can become a bit moody. Their ability to play at the park, ride their bikes and do most out door activities become just a bit squalled. We as parents have to look for activities to keep them occupied, but do we ever stop and think about what foods may actually brighten their mood? 

Citrus has been known to give off a wonderful smell that can actually brighten one's mood. The vitamin-c is great to keep a cold at bay and the oils from the rind can clean one's kitchen better than any nasty bleach could. Yup, citrus is pretty amazing. 

However, the Meyer lemon is truly something to behold. It's color is a bit brighter than a regular lemon, the fruit is a bit sweeter and the smell is more subtle. Take just one look at this little guy and you are instantly transformed. You can't help but smile when you hold the Meyer lemon. 

I had to do my weekly grocery shopping last night and had no plans on buying lemons. As soon as I walked into the store, there was a big display of Meyers. My eye was instantly drawn. They looked so beautiful and compared to the regular lemons sitting next to them, they were even more striking. 

As soon as I got home, I just had to cook with them. So what to cook? Here is the recipe I came up with last night.

Cheers !

Meyer Lemon and Artichoke Pesto with Sauteed Asparagus: 
  • Two Meyer lemons
  • One bunch of asparagus
  • One can of artichoke hearts
  • Two tablespoons of butter 
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and cut the ends off your asparagus, then place in saute pan with butter. Cook till tender. Then chop your artichoke hearts into small pieces and place in processor. Add your pine nuts and squeeze lemons into the artichoke blend. Start to process, while drizzling your olive oil into the processor. This will emulsify your pesto and make it nice and creamy, adding your salt and pepper at the end. 

Place your asparagus on a beautiful serving tray and then drizzle the Meyer lemon pesto onto your dish. Serves six as a side dish or four as a main dish. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paula Deen!

Okay okay okay... did anyone who has ever watched Paula Deen, think to themselves "ooooohhh a hamburger topped with melted cheese, bacon and fried egg sandwiched between two sugar glazed donuts will be great for my health?" Probably not.

Mrs. Deen just announced that she has type 2 diabetes and everyone is all up in arms. "Of course she has diabetes" and "did she really think eating all that food would do her any good" and so on and so on. Well before we strike this sweet Southern woman down with a stoning of butter bricks, let's stop and reflect on ourselves.

This woman was broke, divorced and struggling to raise her children. She is from a small town in Georgia, where the food is delicious, albeit not so great on the waistline. She did what she had to do to make a life for her family and that was selling her delicious treats door-to-door.

We are all sitting here today judging this woman and laughing at her circumstances. However, isn't really OUR fault that this has happened. It was our craving for her foods that kept her popular and in business. We were the ones replicating her foods for our families. But none of us will admit that we are the true villains in this situation.

It took me a very long time to realize that certain foods can create a negative impact on my weight and overall health. I thought that I was doing really well, when in reality I was not. I had to change my entire outlook on food to see what it is like to be a healthy and thriving human being.

So in honor of Mrs. Deen and her delicious and amazing recipes, I will turn two of my favorites into healthier (and just as tasty) alternatives for your family to enjoy!


Original: Garlic Mashed Potatoes 
One of my all-time favorites by her, because she uses delicious cream and butter. Creating a decadent side dish great for holidays and special occasions.

Liz's take: Smashed Purple Sweet Potatoes and Sauteed Garlic

  • 2 whole purple sweet potatoes (loaded with nutrients)
  • 3 table spoons of grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and and cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
Bring medium-sized pot of water to a hard simmer. Peep and cut your potatoes into even-sized cube and add to the water, with a pinch of salt. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, drain and add back to the warm pot. Let the potatoes dry out for about 60 seconds. Add your oil and garlic and then smash. It is a very colorful and very tasty alternative the original. 

Original: Italian Pasta Salad
I love pasta salad, but have given this tasty treat up. Since then, I have been searching for a healthier, yet satisfying alternative and I believe I have found it! 

Liz's take: Italian Veggie Salad
Italian vegetables are some of the most colorful and flavorful. Full of good things like lictopine and fiber. 
  • 1 eggplant peeled and cubed
  • 1 zucchini cubed 
  • 1 summer yellow squash cubed
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 can of black olives, drained and halved
  • 1 can of green olives, drained halved 
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • dash of oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Grill or saute your eggplant, zucchini and squash till tender, but not falling apart. In a large bowl, toss in the rest of your ingredients. Make sure to incorporate all your ingredients well so it is all coated with oil and vinegar. Serve as a lunchtime meal or as a side dish! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

National Soup Month

The holidays are over, the lights have come down and now we are settling into the long cold month of January. I happen to be a January baby myself, so I do have a weird affection for the month.

Recently I saw that it is "national soup month" and that got me thinking about all the wonderful soups that I like to create for myself, my family and for my daughter's warm dinners. They can range from simple all the way to complicated and time-consuming. There are several types of soup. Bisque which has a shrimp, lobster or crab shell base, cream soup that have vegetables as the thickener and chowders. There are tones of garnishes, from noodles to white beans and you can come up with any color in the rainbow for your base. When you think about it, soup really is the ultimate in comfort foods.

Most people have a go to soup that they make that their family just adores. It cheers them up when they are sick, comforts them when it is cold and brings us together at the table after a long day out in the snow. However, I am going to challenge conventional soup theory here and share with you one of my favorite recipes. One that your children may just find fun and interesting.

Stay warm, cheers!

Apple and Parsnip Soup

  • 7 parsnips, peeled and washed
  • 3 apples, peeled and washed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heavy whipping cream for garnish
Bring the water and stock to a hard simmer, add a pinch of salt to the water. Dice your parsnips and apples into large dice (make sure all pieces are equal for even cooking time). Add to the simmering water and cover for about 25 minutes. Bring heat down and then slowly add to a processor. When you add hot things to your food processor it can explode, so slowly add. When the entire contents have been properly blended to smooth add back to the pot and bring up the heat then garnish with a splash of heavy cream and salt and pepper. Serve with a good salad and enjoy!