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Blueberry Lemonade




This week I have a recipe for vibrant blueberry lemonade. It’s simple to make, looks gorgeous, and unlike some lemonades, it actually tastes like lemons. For simplicity’s sake, I blend the sugar with the lemons and blueberries. This evenly distributes the sugar without having to make simple syrup first. By adding some lemon zest in, it amps up the citrus aroma, giving you plenty of lemon flavor without making it too tart.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 4" strip of lemon zest (just the yellow part)
  • 6 ounces blueberries (use your favorite berry)
  • 4 cups still or sparkling water
  • ice

Directions

  1. Put the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and blueberries in a blender or food processor. Blitz until the mixture is smooth.
  2. If you want your lemonade to be pulp-free, strain the mixture through a tea strainer, otherwise pour the mixture into a 2-quart pitcher.
  3. Add the water, and stir to combine. Fill the pitcher with ice and serve.
Yield: 4 servings












Spring Veggie Quinoa


I don’t know about you, but the warm, bright spring weather always has me craving lighter fare. While pasta is in heavy rotation during the winter months, I’m just not feeling it as much in the spring. That’s where this spring veggie quinoa comes in. It is very similar to a baked pasta dish with veggies and cheese mixed in, but it is lighter, healthier, and seems much more fitting for the season at hand.

I threw this meal together on a gorgeous sunny day when some family and friends were visiting. For many, it was their first time trying quinoa and it received rave reviews across the board. Quinoa is a protein-packed whole grain (technically a seed) that is similar to pasta but with a slightly nutty flavor. If you are new to quinoa, this dish is a great way to experience it. Enjoy!

Spring Veggie Quinoa
By Annie
Serves 8-10
Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked quinoa
4 cups vegetable broth
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
1 small onion, chopped
6 ounces (about 2 cups) button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 ounces (3/4 cup) Gouda, shredded
1 ounce (1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, divided


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, replacing the water with vegetable broth for cooking. Once cooked, set aside.

Add the asparagus to a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook just until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Mix in the mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, blanched asparagus, sautéed veggies, tomatoes and spinach with the shredded Gouda and half of the Parmesan. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a lightly buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve warm.

Spicy Stir Fried Orange Chicken




A quick and easy stir fried chicken dish served on a bed of rice noodles. The spicy heat comes from Chinese chili paste so it is very easy to regulate the amount of heat or even leave it out altogether if you prefer. There are enough strong flavours of orange and ginger to carry the dish without any heat at all but I just love it with a little kick! ;)

Spicy Stir Fried Orange Chicken

Serves 4

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in cubes
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp peanut oil
Salt and pepper to season

In a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, season and stir fry the chicken and garlic in the oil until almost completely cooked. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

To the wok or sauté pan add:

¼ cup rice wine or Chinese cooking wine
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup orange juice
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chilli paste


Bring to a boil and return the chicken and garlic to the pan along with:

1 tbsp grated ginger
Zest of one orange
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 red pepper diced

To thicken the sauce, add a slurry of:
2 teaspoons corn starch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

(NOTE: You may not have to use all of the slurry. Use just enough to bring the sauce to the proper consistency.)

Finally toss in 2 large oranges, cut in sections

Serve over rice noodles and garnish with fresh chopped scallions.

Stir Fried Vegetables in Blackbean Ginger Sauce


We had this delicious side dish at dinner last night and it was a big hit with all. The kids scarfed their vegetables down and asked for the leftovers in their lunch for school today!
Stir Fried Vegetables in Blackbean Ginger Sauce

2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp peanut oil

In a wok over high heat, lightly saute the garlic in the oil before addding

1 1/2 cups sliced fennel
2 carrots thinly sliced

Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding:

1 cup white asparagus, cut in 1 inch lengths

Cook for an additional minute before adding:

1 cup snow peas
1 large red pepper diced
1 cup water chestnuts

Toss together well, then add, all at once:

1/2 cup blackbean sauce
3 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh greated ginger root
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Toss well then thicken the sauce with a slurry of

1tsp cornstarch dissolved in a little water

Toss well and serve with a garnish of sesame seeds.

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