My Cup Runneth Over

One of the first things I do every morning is read from The Daily Word, and I often return to it throughout the day, reflecting on the message.

The message on Friday, August 2:

Prosperity
I happily share my abundance with others.

Created as a reflection of God, I already have everything I need. Like an overflowing cup of tea, I am filled with more than enough. I am prosperous because I am one with God, the infinite source of all that is. When I align my mind with this truth, I feel abundant and find joy in sharing with others.

In order to ensure that I have plenty to give, I replenish my cup by taking care of my physical, mental, and spiritual needs. That way, I am not depleted and am able and eager to share from my abundance. I nurture the gifts that God has given me so they can grow. My cup runneth over, and I have plenty to share with others.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.—Psalm 23:5

The highlighted a reminder to myself to continue with my spiritual reading, walking, yoga, healthy living.

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Garden of My Summer Dreams

August one
Wondering
If creating
The garden
Of my summer dreams
Is worth the work
The wait and the weeding
I know
My garden
Tells a story
Waiting all winter
January, February
March, April
To plant
In May
The tomatoes
Jalapenos
Basil
Eggplant
Lettuce and celery
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Hundreds of zinnias
Dill and cilantro
Then one day this

And on another day

Last night
Celery for our corn crab cakes

Dill, parsley and chives for our cucumber soup with walnuts

And this morning
A place to practice
My yoga

Namaste

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Dill

I love dill. I used it in salads, on salmon, and with pickles.

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The First Jalapeno Pepper

I am always so grateful to see my garden plants producing healthy produce.

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Goya Four Bean Salad

I made this to bring to an Independence Day Party. Simple. Delicious.

Ingredients

1 can (15.5 oz.) GOYA® Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz.) GOYA® Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz.) GOYA® Chick Peas, drained and rinsed
1 can (15.5 oz) GOYA® Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. GOYA® Minced Garlic

For the dressing:

3 tbsp. GOYA® Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. GOYA® Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 cup GOYA® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve!

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Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

What is so special and delicious about last night’s dinner (pictured here) is not the baked beans, nor the grilled bison burger on a roll slathered with Tahini Butter, nor the freshly made dill pickles from yours truly, but it is the Steamed Sweet Potato with Tahini Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds—a recipe from the NYTimes magazine. YUM!

A few weeks ago, Susan handed me the magazine section and said “This sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Would you make it for me? For us?”

And I did and I can’t wait to make it again.

Quoting Samin Nosrat (writing in The New York Times Magazine):

Carla Lalli Music, a food writer and editor, is vehemently opposed to roasting sweet potatoes. “I don’t understand why people are constantly roasting them,” she says. “Roasting just makes them more fibrous and leathery, and they never, ever really get crispy.” Instead, she posits that steaming performs a kind of alchemy on sweet potatoes that roasting never does — the moist heat fluffs them into absorbent clouds. And to make up for the inherent blandness of the cooking method, she slathers them with a rich tahini butter spiked with soy sauce, which immediately melts into a mouth-smacking sauce. Her simple recipe ends with a shower of golden sesame seeds and a torrent of lime juice. Try it — every bite will surprise you with crunch, salt, umami and acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the pillowy potatoes.”

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Preparation

  1. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness; the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.
  3. Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

 

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Greek-Style Watermelon Salad

A new favorite! Perfect for summer picnics!

Quoting Mark Bittman, The New York Times/Cooking:

It’s not an immediately obvious combination – watermelon, cucumber, olives and feta – but one bite will leave you convinced that this savory-sweet summer salad is something truly special. The astringent punch of the olives and feta provides a sophisticated counterpoint to the watery mellowness of the melon and cucumber. With a hunk of bread, it’s a lovely light lunch; with practically any grilled meat or fish, it’s an ideal summer supper.

I served it with grilled wild salmon and grilled chicken breasts with Harissa.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • cup pitted kalamata olives
  • cup crumbled feta (I used goat cheese.)
  • Some chopped parsley and mint
  • Olive oil and red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl combine 3 cups cubed watermelon; 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped; 1 small red onion, sliced; 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives; 1/3 cup crumbled feta; and some chopped parsley and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and serve.

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Israeli Couscous, Bean and Tomato Salad

Simply delicious.

Quoting Martha Rose Shulman writing in The New York Times/Cooking:

Finely chopped tomatoes seasoned with garlic, balsamic vinegar and basil serve as both dressing and vegetable in this main dish salad.

I’ve been making tomato concassée all summer and using it as a sauce for pasta and fish. I decided to use it as a stand-in for salad dressing in this hearty salad, a simple combination of cooked Israeli couscous and beans. I used canned pinto beans, and they were just fine. Chickpeas would also work. Use lots of basil in the mix. The red onion contributes some crunch. You can add a little celery if you want more texture. Make sure to use sweet, ripe, juicy tomatoes. I love the finishing touch of the feta, but it is optional.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound ripe, sweet tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups chopped)
  • 1 plump garlic clove, puréepureed with a little salt or put through a press (I minced the garlic.)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (or other beans of your choice) (if using canned beans, drain and rinse)
  • 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • ½ to ⅔ cup chopped red onion
  • cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Romaine lettuce leaves for serving
  • Feta cheese for topping (about 1/2 cup, optional) 

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine finely chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Add beans and Israeli couscous and toss together. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (or longer).
  2. Meanwhile, place chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, drain and rinse. Drain on paper towels and add to couscous and bean mixture. Add basil, chives, and pepper, and toss together.
  3. Line plates or a platter with lettuce leaves. Top with salad. Sprinkle feta over the top and serve.

Tip

  • To cook Israeli couscous: Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the couscous. Toast the couscous, shaking the pan or stirring often, until it colors very lightly and smells aromatic and toasty, a bit like popcorn. Immediately add 2 quarts water and salt to taste (be generous, as if you are cooking pasta) and boil 10 minutes, until the couscous is al dente; it should not be mushy and there should still be plenty of water in the pot. Drain through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Tap the strainer against the sink to drain well, then return the couscous to the pot, cover the pot with a kitchen towel, and return the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes.

 

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Moroccan Pot Roast

You will love the way your house fills with the aromas of coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon!

Ingredients

For the spice mix

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) crushed red pepper flakes (or if available, Marash or Aleppo pepper*)

For the beef

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound or 1.35 kg) beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh parsley

For serving (optional)
Couscous
Glazed carrots

Directions

1 Make the spice mix: In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and pepper.

2 Heat the oven: Set an oven rack near the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (or 160°C).

3 Season and sear the meat, then add vegetables, spices: Sprinkle the roast all over with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot with a lid, heat the oil. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Add the onion, carrots and bay leaves to the pot. Stir in the spice mix.

4 Braise the meat: Add the water and pomegranate juice to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in a 325°F (or 160°C) oven for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

When the meat is fork tender, remove it from the oven. (If it is not tender enough, leave it in a little longer.)

5 If serving with couscous and glazed carrots, prepare these when the pot roast is close to being done.

6 Finish the sauce: Transfer the meat to a platter and cover loosely with foil.

Set a strainer over a bowl and pour the sauce through. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and skim off the fat from the liquid. Add the lemon juice and taste. Add more salt and pepper, if you like.

 Serve the pot roast: Slice the meat and serve in shallow bowls on top of the couscous and carrots. Ladle the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with parsley.

Note: I did not strain the sauce. It did not need it. I served the carrots from the pot and made “Ancient Grains.”

Based on a recipe from Sally Vargas.

 

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The Best General Tso’s Chicken Recipe–Baked, Not Fried!

Just look at this photo!!!

YUM!

A healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken.

Ingredients:

4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite-sizes pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil baking dish. I used a 10 X 12.
  2. Place chicken in large bowl and mix with cornstarch.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together chicken stock, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, paprika, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.
  4. Pour over chicken and marinate for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Pour this mixture into baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, and bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions–if desired.

 

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