Back-to-school meals are easy with kalua pork

August 26, 2014

Back-to-school time almost always means busy, manic schedules.

To make it easier each year, I gravitate toward easy-to-throw-together meals originating with a slow-cooked main, so leftovers easily morph later in the week into quickly prepared meals using few, simple and delicious ingredients.

Kalua Pork is a family favorite and an absolutely wonderful way to make many great meals fast. Below are some recipes to help you answer that endlessly asked and panic-inducing question, “What’s for dinner?”

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Get a simple, affordable steak fix from the grill

July 29, 2014

No matter who you are or where you live at one point or another during the dog days of summer, your mind will turn at some point toward grilling.
Regardless of what you cook, be it strictly vegetables or meat or some amalgamation of both, the undeniable allure of cooking over flame is a strong one.
Steak, grilled to crispy outer deliciousness with a meltingly soft interior is often, for us, the way to go. A naturally easy and delicious way to grill most always involves minimal prep of both meat and marinade, allowing the delicious flavors of both shine through.

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It’s not summer without a fruit crumble

June 24, 2014

Now that summer fruits are in season, if you are at all like me, you are clamoring to enjoy them any way you can.

Fruit consumption goes way up for us this time of year. We try to cram as much delicious fruit into each meal at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with fruit for snacks in between. In years past, I’ve always felt a little guilty about all the fruit we consume. It’s just so simple, so fresh and so incredibly delicious that I get a little lazy on the rest of the food options available to us.

By Maria Nelson

By Maria Nelson

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Herbed chicken skewers are a summertime favorite

May 27, 2014

Herbed chicken skewers are an easy, grilled summer favorite to serve at parties this season. By Maria Nelson

Herbed chicken skewers are an easy, grilled summer favorite to serve at parties this season.
By Maria Nelson

With warmer, longer days comes the return of meals eaten al fresco. The highlight of our summertime dinner routine is eating outside as much as possible. Regardless of where we eat, on our deck, in the park or on the porch, the thrill of being outside relaxing and enjoying time together in the rarefied Northwest sun is wonderful.

There’s something about eating outside that just lowers the blood pressure, inviting us to slow down, be more present and enjoy the world around us in a way we don’t often have opportunity to do.

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Improve your chocolate chip cookies with browned butter

April 29, 2014

It’s hard to argue that few things are not improved by the addition of browned butter.

Over the course of the past few years, browned butter has pretty much taken over the world of baking. The thinking goes that any recipe that calls for butter can definitely be improved by the addition of butter that’s been melted, and milk solids that have been browned and caramelized. In my view, it’s pretty sound thinking. The alchemy that occurs when browning butter is nothing short of magical.

By Maria Nelson Kick your chocolate chip cookies up a notch by using browned butter.

By Maria Nelson
Kick your chocolate chip cookies up a notch by using browned butter.

Browned butter adds a salty complexity to baked goods and leaves the uninitiated wondering just what makes that cookie or that banana bread they’ve just devoured more amazing than anything they’ve ever had before.

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Get seasonal with spring greens, avocado and grapefruit salad

March 25, 2014

Spring is just around the corner. Can you feel it? Warmer, longer days, and daffodils and crocuses peeking through the soil all give me hope that winter day’s are almost at end.

Often, when I feel anxious for the beginning of a new season, the best way I find to welcome it into being is to begin doing so in my kitchen and, of course, by extension, onto my plate.

Spring Greens, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Spring Greens, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

A light, colorful salad is the epitome of spring, particularly if it includes small micro-greens, shoots and starts. Packed with nutrients, delicious to eat and beautiful to look at, micro-greens should be in everyone’s salad at one point or another. More readily available than they’ve ever been, they are perfect additions to smoothies, stir-fry, sandwiches or on fresh roasted fish as a garnish with berries.

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Recipe shows eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore

February 18, 2014

When I was growing up, my mother often served eggs for dinner. The idea that we could have what was usually a breakfast food for dinner was a fun and unique thing for us. For my mother, it was a great way to get a nutritious dinner on the table fast.

Baked Eggs with Polenta, Prosciutto and Swiss Chard

Baked Eggs with Polenta, Prosciutto and Swiss Chard

We had our fair share of waffles and pancakes for dinner, too, but for some reason, I remember the egg dishes the most. Most frequently, we had eggs in omelets, scrambled or my personal favorite, pan-fried in toad in the hole.

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Make a super bowl of tacos for game day

January 28, 2014

When the Seahawks played their first season in Seattle, I was 6 years old. To say it was a big deal to finally have a professional football team in the Emerald City is putting things very lightly. It was an epically huge deal. We lived in Ballard during those first years and every Seahawk Sunday the town basically shuttered its doors.

By Maria Nelson Slow-cooked shredded beef tacos are easy to make and are a perfect dish to serve friends and family while watching the Super Bowl Feb. 2.

By Maria Nelson
Slow-cooked shredded beef tacos are easy to make and are a perfect dish to serve friends and family while watching the Super Bowl Feb. 2.

Everywhere you went, the city was in thrall. It was nothing to see people walking down the street, transistor radios glued to their ears, neighborhood bars overflowing with fans, men, young and old huddled outside Sunday church services, listening quietly to car radios and cheering our beloved Seahawks to victory.

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Kick off 2014 with hearty, healthy soup

January 21, 2014

RecipeCauliflowerSoup 2014 copyI’m not one for making grandiose New Year’s resolutions as I often find that I’m rarely able to keep them. I do, however, love the start of a new year, and the fresh possibilities that exist therein.

Eating lighter/healthier is for me not so much a New Year’s resolution but rather one that I attempt to view as an ongoing daily one. I often fail in this attempt, but its appeal is ever present and I love the way I feel when I eat wholly and healthfully. More vegetables, more healthy fats and more whole grain are really the focus of our efforts around here these days and soup is, in my opinion, the perfect vehicle for their consumption.

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Tis the season for peppermint bark

December 17, 2013

If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has just about overwhelmed you and the thought of making one more treat or wrapping one more gift is more than you can bear, I hear you.

Every year, with the best intentions, I set out to make and bake an ambitious list of treats and goodies. Every year, I fail miserably to accomplish even a fraction of what I intend. Life, work, holiday merry making and all the other responsibilities just simply get in the way.

PeppermintBarkFood 2013120 copy

By Maria Nelson
Don’t let your sweet tooth go into the new year before trying this recipe for holiday crispy curnch peppermint bark.

I’ve made peace with doing less over the years, and as my children have gotten older I’ve realized that really the most important thing is just to make a priority of enjoying the season. Spending time together in the kitchen is a great way for us to do that.

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