Welcome to my blog!My name is Melody M. Nuñez, and I’m an artist and a writer. Please look around my website and make yourself at home. I post new blog entries weekly, and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog and come back often! To learn more about me, please view the “About” page…
Category Archives: recipes
Summer is nearly here, and that means “salad season” for some of us. Salad is often seen as a healthy food, but depending on what is IN and ON your salad, that may not be the case. For example, a salad of iceberg lettuce covered with pre-made dressing can be virtually worthless nutritionally. Not only is iceberg low on the “nutrient Richter scale”, many dressings are loaded with bad fats and sugar. Another pitfall? Not getting full enough from a salad – particularly if you’re eating it as an entree. And finally, there’s the humdrum factor. Another salad? Bor-ring.
I’ve been eating a number of salads lately (as part of my Rebuilding – From the Inside Out) and have been pretty pleased with how nutritious, filling, and varied they’ve been. I thought I’d share some salad tips, along with a few lunchtime snapshots – in case you’re interested in adding more salads to your diet or need to get out of a salad rut.*
Tips for Snappier Salads
1. Include a variety of veggies. I often start with packaged mixed greens, and then add to it. I often use radishes, carrots, celery, cucumber, and green onions in my salads.
(Ingredients: mixed greens, carrots, radishes, celery, hardboiled egg, fresh cooked salmon, cucumber, avocado oil dressing, pepper)
2. Forgo pre-made salad dressings and use oil and/or citrus juice for a healthier option. I like using avocado oil or an olive oil/lemon juice dressing. I also use orange juice to dress salads with fruit in them, and plain lemon or lime juice works well on a variety of salads. It takes a bit of getting used to, if you’re used to bottled dressing, but isn’t a big deal once you commit.
3. Add some protein to your salad – this will help keep you full longer. You can include nuts, fish (canned, wild-caught salmon is a great option), hardboiled eggs, cheese, and more!
(Ingredients: mixed greens, radishes, canned salmon, grated parmesan, avocado oil dressing, pepper)
4. Don’t be afraid to mix veggies and fruit in a salad. For example, blueberries, strawberries, and clementine sections are great in salads.
(Ingredients: mixed greens, strawberries, white cheddar, walnuts, orange juice dressing)
5. Try new things! Changing things up will keep you from falling into a rut, and that is always a good thing. I plan on working some almonds into salads soon, and will look for things that are in season at the farmers market for some added oomph. :]
Do you have favorite ingredients you like to use in your salads? Do you make your own dressings? Please share! I’m interested in trying new things, and I’ll bet others here at my blog are, too. Thanks!
*Ingredients in salad at the very top: mixed greens, cucumber, celery, radishes, carrot, nitrate-free bacon, avocado oil dressing, pepper)Tweet
I opted to make muffins for this month’s recipe, and these Orange Cranberry muffins are tangy, fresh and sweet! Inspired by a muffin I really enjoyed at Panera some time ago, I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com. I particularly like that the recipe calls for dried cranberries, as it can be difficult to find fresh or frozen cranberries if it’s not fall or winter. These muffins are yummy on their own, but would also be tasty with butter or fresh whipped cream.
Orange Cranberry Muffins Recipe
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for preparing the muffin tin
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping the muffins, if desired
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Put the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Remove berries from the heat, and set aside to cool and plump.
Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, orange zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.
Yield: 12 muffins
Note: I liked the dried cranberries, but will probably try fresh cranberries next time. Please keep in mind that you’ll want to increase the measurement of cranberries if they’re fresh, since fresh berries take up more room in the measuring cup than dried…
I’m posting this recipe now, in late December, for those of you who ring in the New Year by eating Black-Eyed Peas. A Southern thing, I know this practice extends to other regions, too. Though I think of this as kind of a summery salad because there’s no cooking involved, and the ingredients are light and fresh, this side dish – which can also be eaten as a dip, on baked potatoes, or on salad greens – is a yummy addition to the menu no matter the season. Big thanks to my friend, Barb L., for sharing this recipe with me!
FYI: I cut this recipe in half, since it’s just me and hubby, so the photos below include the half-size portions of ingredients and a single serving of salad. :] However, the ingredients list includes the amounts for a full-size batch.
Black-Eyed Pea Salad (aka Wilcox Salad)
4 cans white shoe peg corn, drained (or use a mixture of white and yellow corn, like I did)
2 cans black-eyed peas, drained
3 avocados, diced
1-2 bunches small green onions, diced
leaves from one bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I used white)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Chill overnight. If you prefer, you can omit the avocado when making the salad, and can add it to the bowl when you give the salad a final stir before serving. That’s what I opted to do when making the batch I photographed…
Do you eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day? Or do you eat other goodies to celebrate? Please post a comment and share.
I’m wishing you all the best in 2013, dear readers!
Welcome to a new installment of Another Look! This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries. I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before. Today’s category is Autumn - and could also be recipes! Just click on the name of the post to link over to the original post…
I hope you’re enjoying Autumn thus far, dear readers. Will any of you be dressing up for Halloween this year?
This month’s recipe is bound to be a hit with those of you that like fruity desserts. This was my first time making it, but it won’t be my last – yum! It’s tasty all on its own, but is also excellent served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I found this recipe on page 205 of the Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook, but made a few changes. She calls it Easy Cranberry Apple Cake, but I included more apples than cranberries so I changed the name a bit for this post. Apparently her recipe is based on a recipe from Sarah Chase’s book Cold Weather Cooking. So, you’ve got options if you want some variations on the recipe. Here’s what I made…
Apple-Cranberry Cake Recipe
6 ounces fresh cranberries*, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the cranberries, apples, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.
Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Note: I couldn’t find any fresh or frozen cranberries at the grocery store, so I used a 14 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce instead. I put all the cranberry sauce into a colander, and washed away all the “sauce” until just the berries remained – this left me with approximately 6 oz. of berries.
Though this recipe is a cake, it’s baked in a pie pan, and I’d like to thank my friend, Beth, for loaning me her 10″ glass pie pan. Thank you, my friend! :) Here are some cake recipes from past months, if you’re interested: Triple Chocolate Cake, Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, and Ida’s Coffee Cake! Please let me know if you have any questions, dear readers. Happy Baking!
I LOVE corn bread – it’s one of my favorite baked treats from childhood. Unfortunately, I’d lost track of the corn bread recipe from years past, and was on the hunt for a new one. I’d tried a handful of different recipes, and finlly found “the one” online. Submitted to allrecipes.com by Nicole Callen, it’s the perfect corn bread recipe. It’s sweet and buttery enough to eat plain, but of course it’s scrumptious if you add butter and/or honey, too!
Corn bread is delicious and can be paired with just about anything (at least it can be if you love corn bread as much as I do!). It can be enjoyed during any season, but is particularly good during cold weather. I’ve recently made this corn bread along with a yummy turkey chili, and with a soup made with lots of veggies, white beans, and ground sausage – yum! What hearty meals, and both the chili/soup and the corn bread can be reheated well and enjoyed as leftovers.
Corn Bread Recipe
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cornmeal
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and milk in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture and flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately, mix well.
2. Pour batter into a greased 13” x 9” x 2” baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.
Helpful hints: If you’d rather make corn bread muffins, the recipe makes 20-ish muffins and the baking time should be reduced to approximately 15-17 minutes. If you make a half recipe, you can bake the corn bread in an 8” square pan as shown in the photo below.
I hope you enjoy baking and eating this cornbread as much as I do, dear readers. Happy Baking!
Fudge is always a welcome treat, but I usually only make it around the holidays. This recipe is the one my mom made when I was growing up, and it’s dee-lish! Perfect for sharing with family and friends at gatherings, it also makes a nice holiday gift for friends and co-workers. This recipe includes nuts, but they can easily be omitted for folks that don’t like nuts or are allergic.
Chocolate Fudge Recipe
18 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
1 TBSP vanilla
2 sticks margarine or butter
1 large can of evaporated milk (12 oz.)
4 ½ cups sugar
Yield: 5 pounds of fudge
Directions: Place the first five ingredients into a very large bowl, then set aside. Put the evaporated milk and 4 ½ cups sugar in a saucepan and boil for a full 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over the other ingredients and beat thoroughly. Pour the fudge into a 13″ x 9″ pan lined with wax paper. When cool, cut fudge into squares. Store in refrigerator.
I hope you enjoy this fudge recipe, dear readers…