About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets with Sweet Fruit Salsa

This appears to be Recipe Week on The Country Belle. So I thought I'd throw another one at you. This main dish has become one of the favorite around my house. And it's very quick to prepare, so it's just right for a healthy supper even when there is soccer practice or swim team or Boy Scouts in the evenings. (Oh, why do all sports practices have to be at the dinner hour??? But, I digress).

When I can find fresh wild Alaskan salmon, it is what I use for taste and health reasons. But that's only available during the summer season. The rest of the year, I purchase fresh farmed salmon fillets from the butcher. Frozen salmon just doesn't stand up too well in this recipe.

Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets with Sweet Fruit Salsa

Salmon Fillets
kosher salt
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

one mango, chopped
fresh or frozen blueberries to equal the chopped mango
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
cilantro to season
Stevia (or sugar)

First make the fruit salsa. Chop one fresh mango and mix with an equal amount of blueberries in a glass bowl. I use frozen blueberries from my blueberry-picking forays over the summer. Since this will sit on the counter while you prepare the salmon (or go to soccer practice), it will have plenty of time to thaw and let the flavors meld together.

Add to this the chopped red onion and lime juice.
Sprinkle with stevia (just a little - it's 40x sweeter than sugar) and cilantro. Since the recent hot summer weather has zapped the cilantro in my herb garden, I am using dried cilantro.

Here's the finished fruit salsa.
Now just put this to the side while you prepare the salmon. It's super easy.

Put a little olive oil in your frying pan. Heat to medium-high heat. In the meantime, remove the skin from the salmon fillets. I usually do this most easily with a paper towel and slowly pull the skin off. Not too fast, or it will pull off half your salmon, too.

Sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. When the oil is hot, sear the fish on both sides. I cook mine for 5-6 minutes per side (I don't enjoy the texture of raw or undercooked fish), but if you like it less done, 3-4 minutes per side is fine. Flip it just once during cooking. Here's where my handy dandy fish spatula comes in.

I'm not a sucker for one-use kitchen tools because they create a lot of clutter. But this one's a keeper.

Then serve the salsa with the salmon fillets. Here's the finished product.
Round it out with brown rice and broccoli or a green salad. I always feel good about serving this meal because it is so healthy. And everyone - regardless of age - loves it.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Carrot Souffle

Yesterday I promised you some recipes, so I'm going to start with a great side dish I made for a potluck baby shower last weekend. Keep it handy because it works very well with Thanksgiving dinner, too, and you and I both know in our adult world, that November date is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER AND WILL BE HERE - LIKE - TOMORROW.

The great  thing about Carrot Souffle is that no kid will know he's actually eating carrots. And that they can be good for him. Imagine.

I will admit it has a little sugar, but I've reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe that came from my friend and neighbor Kathy. No one's the wiser.

And my dear friend had me scrubbing, peeling, and boiling a pound-and-a-half of carrots before I put everything together in the recipe. No thanks. I'm not lazy. But I am busy. So I take a shortcut in my version that I think will work perfectly with your schedule, too! In addition, I try to healthy it up by adding whole wheat flour, and it turned out great.

Here goes:

Carrot Souffle

2 cans sliced carrots (rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup butter
3 large eggs
1/4 c. all-purpose whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole or souffle dish. Bake for 1 hour, 10 minutes or until set.

It will be a little brown and crunchy around the edges (the best part - eat it before your kids can).

The texture is nice. It's officially a sweet side dish like a sweet potato casserole. But it could pass for a dessert. Yummy!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Busy Life

I know I've been a little scarce over the last week. Forgive me - I've been busy. I know you experience the same thing from time to time. Sometimes the activities and deadlines and "to-do's" pile up one after the other and you have to duck your head down and get busy until they're all done. That's been the case with me. Some of my activities over the last week or so can be qualified simply as "MUSTS." Others have been "PLEASURES."

It's much more fun to share the pleasures, so here's one:
My sister and brother-in-law's newest addition.

We've been expecting him for a while and he finally decided to join us a few days ago. I have been waiting to get my hands on him. There's no better feeling than holding a newborn who has been blanket-swaddled within an inch of his life.

I actually thought he might show up a couple of weeks ago when I had a cold. I was dosing myself with so much Vitamin C. Mr. Country Belle just laughed and said he knew what I was doing. I did, too. I didn't want to be sick and miss my chance to hold a newborn. (By the way, Vitamin C helps shorten the longevity of a cold).

I have also been cooking - chili for my sister's family, banana bread for my homeschool mom's group, and carrot souffle for another baby shower. I'll be sharing recipes this week.

I promise I'll stay in touch every week now. I just needed last week to get it all together!! I missed everyone and their comments and emails.