By doing research for my blog, I hope to learn about making better food choices for my family and me. I want to eat foods that contain the least amount of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, preservatives, sugar and salt. It is going to be a challenge, since I am a junk food junkie at heart, the cost of organic foods can be considerably more, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! With that in mind, it’s my goal to prepare meals that are delicious, simple and healthy. I am not a doctor or nutritionist, just an ordinary wife and mother, sharing my journey with you!
Rena, The Healthy Food Blogger
When I was growing up, Chinese barbecue pork was known as char siu. We would eat it as a side dish or as an ingredient in won ton soup. My mom never prepared it, so it was always restaurant made. Well, for some unexplainable reason, I haven’t had it in a few years. Since I had a frozen pork tenderloin that needed to be used, I searched the internet for a char siu recipe. After reading several recipes, I decided to try the one by Recipe Tin Eats.
As you know, one of my goals is to prepare dishes with less sugar. The first five ingredients contain considerable amounts of it. Since I wasn’t using large quantities and they were only used in the marinade (on a large piece of meat), I thought it would be fine. The changes I made to Nagi’s dish were reduction in the amount of honey and elimination of the red food coloring. Even though I cooked a larger piece of tenderloin, not all of the marinade was used. I have to tell you that the meat was so tasty and delicious! My husband, who is my biggest critic, was very happy with this pork dish. You won’t be disappointed!
Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork
- ¾ tablespoon organic brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
- Sea salt (optional—since I only have reduced sodium soy sauce at home, you may want to add a pinch)
- Place the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix together and simmer for 30 seconds. Set aside and cool.
- Place the pork and marinade in a ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Rub the sauce into the meat. Refrigerate overnight.
- Take the tenderloin out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Place roasting rack on top of rimmed pan.
- Put tenderloin on top of rack and set aside the reminder of marinade.
- Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches 145º, approximately 40 minutes. (Roasting time will vary depending upon the size of tenderloin). Halfway through the cooking time, baste the pork with the sauce.
- After pork reaches 145º, baste the it with remaining marinade, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is nicely charred and caramelized.
- Let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
This healthy and delicious vegetable side dish reminds me of summer! It is full of wonderful flavors…tangy lemon juice and zest, salty Pecorino Romano, fresh basil with a subtle buttery taste…not to mention the English peas and sugar snap peas! In just a few minutes you get a wonderful dish that everybody will love! This terrific recipe came from Williams-Sonoma.com.
Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil & Pecorino Romano
- 1 tablespoon organic butter
- 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 pound English peas, shelled
- ¼ cup water
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 lemon
- Fresh basil, approximately 4 sprigs torn into pieces
- Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, approximately 1 ounce
- Using a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the sugar snap peas and the English peas. Pour in the water. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover. Cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir on occasion, until water has evaporated. The peas should be tender crisp and bright green.
- Remove pan from heat. Grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Add the juice of ½ lemon and the zest. Then salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Finally, add the grated cheese and the basil.
Record temperatures are occurring across the country. Yesterday in Las Vegas, it was 115° F! The temperature at 9:00 p.m. was 107° F. So I was delighted when I received my Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker from Amazon.com.
You can find popsicle recipes all over the internet. But it took a recent show on Rachael Ray that made me finally buy the molds. The guest on her show used watermelon and kiwi purees with mini chocolate chips to make them look like “real” slices of watermelon. I bought the chocolate chips, but the chips sank to the bottom. I was lazy and didn’t want to wait for the puree to get partially frozen to add the chips. I loved the taste of the watermelon, which was refreshing and sweet. The kiwi was a nice artistic touch, but it was tangy and tart! My daughter will be coming home in a week from her internship in Washington, D.C. and I know that she will just love the “plain” watermelon popsicles! Needless to say, I look forward to experimenting with different fruits to make naturally sweet, tasty and healthy ice pops!
- 3 cups watermelon puree
- ½ cup kiwi puree (approximately 4 kiwis)
- Sweetener (optional) for kiwi
- Popsicle mold + popsicle sticks (10 3 ounce individual molds)
- Using a blender, make the watermelon puree by cutting up the melon into large chunks (1″ x 2″) enough to make 3 cups.
- Rinse out the blender and place chopped up pieces of kiwi into it. Puree the kiwi.
- Pour the watermelon puree into the mold, leaving ¾” free for the kiwi puree.
- Cover the mold and place in the freezer for 1 to 1¼ hours.
- Add the kiwi puree to the top of the mold. Cover and place the popsicle sticks in the slots. Freeze until hard.
- To remove the popsicles from mold, place the mold container in a large container or a sink filled with warm water for about 20 seconds. Gently remove and eat immediately or cover each popsicle individually with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for quick, easy, and healthy breakfast recipes that can be prepared ahead of time for the busy work week. Well, I just found a delicious one from Health.com! It uses a sautéed mixture of onion, mushrooms, and red bell peppers with chopped parsley and basil; but I substituted it with frozen organic spinach for added nutritional value. It’s one of those recipes that you can change some of the ingredients to suit your tastes. What was really important to me, I found that they can be stored in snack bags (even frozen) and reheated in the microwave! I am so glad to add some tasty variety to my morning breakfast meals!
- 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ chopped medium onion
- ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- ½ cup chopped frozen organic spinach, thawed
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 large organic eggs
- 2 tablespoon organic nonfat or whole milk
- Preheat oven at 350° F.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add the spinach and stir. Finally, salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with oil. Add the vegetable mixture.
- Using a 2 cup glass measuring cup with spout, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper. Pour into muffin cups. Bake for approximately 17 minutes.
- Using a small spatula, gently remove frittatas from muffin tin. Serve immediately.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for simple and healthy salmon recipes. A few weeks ago, I came across Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe for “Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary” on the Food Network website. I have been dying for the opportunity to try it. So on a recent to Costco trip, I was able to purchased some Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway. It is rated by the Seafood Watch as a “good alternative.” I have their app on my cell and I don’t buy any fish unless it is recommended by them.
As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients at home—even the fresh ones, lemon and rosemary. Apparently, capers don’t go bad, because they are in a brine of vinegar; so I was all set to prepare this delicious dish! What makes this recipe dummy proof is that you cook the fish in foil packets in a pan over the cooktop or just on the grill. It comes out very moist and tasty! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary
- 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
- ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
- ¼ cup lemon juice ( about 1 lemon)
- ½ cup Marsala wine or white wine
- 4 teaspoons capers
- 4 pieces of aluminum foil
- Brush the tops and bottoms of the fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place each piece of salmon in the center of the foil—large enough to fold and seal.
- Place two slices of lemon on each fillet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons wine, and finally, add 1 teaspoon capers.
- Wrap up the fish tightly in the foil.
- Over medium-high heat in a large pan or over the grill, cook the fish for 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon. (I cooked my fish for 8 minutes, because it was thinner).
- Serve immediately in foil packets or remove from packets, making sure you pour all the juices over the fish.
I am always looking for deliciously simple fresh salads to prepare. So when I came across this recipe by Maria Helm Sinskey on the Williams Sonoma website, I was excited, because I had some left over goat cheese in the refrigerator. I rarely eat goat cheese, but I had brought it for my daughter, when she came from college.
The Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix is a wonderful blend of organic baby red and green romaine, oakleaf, and chard. It also contains organic Mizuna, arugula, frisée, radicchio, parsley, cilantro, dill, and baby spinach. This salad is incredibly easy to make, because there is no chopping or measuring and tastes great with the addition of goat cheese. It’s the perfect healthy side dish to prepare during the busy work week!
Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese
- 1 (5 ounce) package Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix
- Organic extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Organic sugar
- White wine vinegar
- Fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- Place salad mix in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil. Gently toss, then drizzle wine vinegar and mix again.
- Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
- Sprinkle with goat cheese and toss. Serve immediately.
It’s been awhile since I have roasted a pork tenderloin and I don’t know why. It is so easy to prepare and comes out tender and juicy. Just make sure you use meat thermometer—I just brought my first digital one and love it! The rub I used is used is a mixture of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground pepper. I inherited my mom’s seasoned cast iron skillet, so I had the perfect pan to sear and roast the tenderloins. I adapted my recipe from the kitchn, which was originally posted in August 2010. It is such a tasty and delicious meat dish, but I did reduce the amount of chili powder, since my husband doesn’t like his food too spicy!
Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
- 2 to 2½ pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons organic high heat canola oil
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Trim off any excess fat and pat dry the pork. Mix spices in a small bowl. Rub the spices onto all sides of the meat.
- Heat and spread the oil on a large cast iron skillet. Sear all surfaces of the tenderloins. Transfer to oven. Roast the meat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140°F to 145°F.
- Transfer meat to cutting board or platter. Cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes to let meat rest. Slice thinly and serve.