Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A New Look at Potato Salad

If you follow this blog you know that I like potato salad. It seems that most people eat potato salad mainly in the summer months.  But in my family, it's an 'anytime' food.  We even eat it at Christmas dinner.  I asked my sister why we have potato salad for Christmas dinner.  Her reply was, "I don't know.  We just do.  We always have and we always will."  Enough said.  Our potato salad is normally laden with mayonnaise and eggs.  While it is good, sometimes change is also good. 

It's still officially summer and we have a few more opportunities for picnics, potlucks, and dinner on the ground.  I thought I would bring out my new potato salad recipe.  This one is made sans mayonnaise and eggs.  This recipe is based on one found on the blog, Olive Tomato.  I added red bell pepper, because it gives the recipe a nice bright color, a little crunch and a few antioxidants don't hurt either. For acidity, either red wine vinegar or lemon juice can be used.

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Serves 4 to 6.


2 pounds potatoes, Yukon Gold or Russet
½ small red onion, chopped
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste


1.  Wash potatoes, place in a sauce pan and cover with cold water.  Place a lid on sauce pan and cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

2.  Drain and cover with cold water.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into cubes, about ½-inch.  (Peeling is optional.)  Add onion and bell pepper to potatoes.

3.  In a small bowl, combine Italian seasoning, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice.  Gently stir the dressing into the potatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Fun with Healthy Food' Day

I was recently asked by the Lancaster County Extension office to help with their 'Fun with Healthy Food' Day.  I jumped at the chance.  Any time I have an opportunity to push food, I'm on it.  My colleague stated that she wanted them to cook and to have fun doing it.  The great thing about cooking and kids, they see cooking as fun.  They love getting in the kitchen and cooking. 

We started off the day with hand washing. Cleanliness is the first step to preparing food.  The kids got to use GloGerm to see how good they were at hand washing.  

Next on the list was pancakes.  We made whole wheat pancakes and the kids thought they were great.  Of course, we let the kids add bananas, chocolate chips and blueberries.  After all, no one said healthy had to be boring.

Lunch was vegetable pizza.  It took a little cajoling from the leaders to get a few more vegetables on some pizzas.  We started with a ready made crust, added purchased tomato sauce, and vegetables.

For dinner, we decided to make salads.  We started with a base of romaine and red leaf lettuces and let the kids add various toppings, like hard boiled eggs.  We even made our own salad dressing, Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip and a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.  Kids had a great time making the dressings and thought they were out of this world.

Crafting is also a part of this day.  We decided to craft a centerpiece.  Out of what got it - fruit.  We made apple turkeys.  Or at least that is what we called them. 

Before you little ones head back to school, give some of these ideas a try.  Bet your kids will think these foods are great!

Enjoy the last few days of summer.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!

It's been a while since I have posted.  I could tell you that I have been on vacation.  But the real truth is I've just not been in the blogging mood.  It just hasn't been there.  But at some point, you just gotta pick up and go on.  For my return post, I decided to focus on berries.  And yes, they are attached to a cake. 

I first found this recipe in an old Gourmet magazine, and thought it would make a good blog.  The recipe is for lemon sun cakes with berries and cream.  It just sounded so cute!

It makes six little cakes.  They are baked in small brioche molds.  If you don't have them, use a muffin tin.

I served my cakes with black raspberries (because I have a back yard full of them), blueberries, and red raspberries (because they were on sale).  Strawberries would have also been good in this mix.  These fruits contain a group of compounds, anthocyanins that are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors of fruits, vegetables, and grains.  Some research shows that these compounds may reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.  My philosophy is that if you can prevent diseases and enjoy it at the same time, it's a win-win situation. 

For a full serving of fruit, serve with ½ cup of berries.

Lemon Sun Cakes with Berries and Cream

Serves 6.


¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup whole milk
3 cups mixed berries
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup chilled heavy cream


1.  Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously butter molds and place on a baking sheet.

2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cream butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg and beat until combined.  Add vanilla and lemon zest.

3.  Add about one-third of the flour, followed by one-half of the milk.  Repeat until all
the flour and milk have been added.  Divide batter amount the molds, filling each mold about two-thirds full.  Bake until edges of cakes are golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  Cool cakes in molds on a rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from molds and cool completely on racks.

4.  Combine sugar and cream.  Beat until soft peaks forms.