I must confess that this was not my idea. In fact, my dad was approached in the grocery story by a woman who gave some of the best cooking advice ever – this makes perfect corn every time and leaves you with no excuse not to enjoy delicious fresh produce with dinner.
Easy Ears of Corn
Ears of Corn (as many as you want, just wash before using and cook each individually)
1. Cut off the base of the corn, just removing enough so that you can see the corn kernels at the bottom of the ear. Do not remove corn husk.
2. Place 1 ear of corn on a dish. Microwave for 4 minutes.
3. Remove from microwave with a hot mitt (it will be really hot). Squeeze the ear of corn out the base of the husk and you are ready to serve. You don’t even need butter!
This dinner is super simple and makes a perfect weeknight dinner. By using a frozen veggie mix and pre-marinated tofu, you save lots of time and can have dinner ready in 15 minutes.
Thai Style Veggies and Rice
1 (6 ounce) pack of Thai style marinated tofu, cubed
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup carrot, diced
3 Tablespoons crushed garlic
1 (12 ounce) package frozen veggie mix, thawed (I used Seapoint Farms with Broccoli, Edamame, Green Beans, Spinach and Asparagus)
2 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice, warmed
Cilantro to top (Optional)
Soy Sauce (Optional)
1. Heat grapeseed oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu, onion and carrot, cooking 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender and tofu is just beginning to turn golden. Add garlic and frozen veggie mix. Cook for 7 minutes, or until warmed and tender.
2. Spoon warmed mixture over warmed rice. Sprinkle cilantro on top and drizzle with soy sauce if desired.
These are the perfect lunch time or after school snack. They aren’t as big as a granola bar, but have the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The blend of apricot, mango, and coconut make this a great vegan, gluten-free treat!
Apricot-Mango Granola Bites
1/2 cup roasted pistachios (unsalted), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup crispy brown rice cereal
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dried mango, diced
3 Tablespoons apricot jam
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a glass 8-inch square baking pan with foil and coat it with coconut oil.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients (the first 8 ingredients above) in a medium bowl. Mix in apricot jam and agave nectar and toss to combine, coating the ingredients thoroughly. Spread mix in the prepared pan. Coat another piece of foil with coconut oil and firmly press a small pan on top of the granola mix to pack it into the pan (this helps compress all of the ingredients and makes firmer granola bites). Remove the top layer of foil and place into oven.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
4. Lift the baked square out with the foil. Cut into sixteen squares, then allow to cool completely before removing the foil.
Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo is a great read that is packed with personality. The novel centers around the DeLuca family – Olivia and her three daughters who work together at their wedding dress shop, Sposa Rosa. Olivia and her husband came to America after World War II looking for a better life and had it until he passed away fourteen years ago. With stubborn determination, Olivia transforms their tailor shop into a designer wedding dress boutique that she runs with her three daughters, Valentina, Connie, and Rita.
Working with demanding brides, the DeLuca ladies have great insight into weddings and the stress that comes with them, but are thrilled for Valentina who is planning her own wedding. Valentina is to wed Michael, a boy who grew up in the same Astoria, New York neighborhood, and has been her knight-in-shining-armor since childhood. After designing and making the perfect dress and planning a dream wedding and honeymoon in Venice, Valentina is ready to walk down the aisle in Italy. An unpredictable tragedy, however, shakes the DeLuca clan to the core, and forces them to reassess what family really is.
I honestly felt like someone had been secretly watching family get-togethers hosted by my Italian-American in-laws – the characters are warm and relatable and endearingly blend Italian phrases and fragemented English idioms. The novel is well written and addictive – Chiofalo has true voice – and is ideal for a book club as it has recipes that are mentioned in the story and has a great book discussion guide. This is a great read with lots of heart and Italian flair.
Catholic for a Reason IV: Scripture and the Mystery of Marriage and the Family was such a treat and is the perfect way to study Catholic teachings and traditions as rooted in the Bible. I loved this book and have been sharing it with dozens of people!
The fourth book in the Catholic for a Reason book series, this particular one focuses on marriage, family, and theology of the body. Each chapter is written by a different leading Catholic author and features discussion questions making it ideal for a small group study or book club. While the chapters are independent and can be read individually, there are themes that are common throughout the book, so the chapters tend to echo sound Catholic practices throughout.
Leading Catholic authorities like Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Jeff Cavins, and Edward Sri are just some of the writers featured in this excellent resource. The writing is filled with voice and very approachable (as a result, it doesn’t come across as a scholarly work, but more like a friend guiding you through a scripture study). Chapters focus on issues such as Marriage Preparation, the Covenant of Marriage, Natural Family Planning, Adoption and the Role of Love in the Catholic church.
This is a rich, informative read and it is packed with information and insight. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the teachings of the Catholic church, and while I haven’t read the other books in the series, if they are anything like this one, I look forward to reading them.
These muffins are delicious – they are packed with fruits and veggies, but have the perfect amount of sweetness! They taste like a pina colada and have a light, fluffy texture. These are the perfect snack for days when you need a burst of tropical flavor.
Pineapple Coconut Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons flax seeds
1/4 cup water
1 cup peeled zucchini, shredded
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained of most juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with 12 liners and set aside.
2. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Mix the remaining ingredientsin a smaller bowl. When all the wet ingredients are mixed, blend them with the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Mix just to combine.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes or until golden and a fork inserted into the center of a muffin comes out cleanly.