Second month blogging – Blog updates

May blog updateSo happy to see my blog grow this past May! I hope each person that has visited has left with a recipe or idea for something they would like to cook (or have someone cook for them) in the future.

In the past month I spent a little extra time and effort to make my food photos look good. My sister Colleen messaged me saying that she loved my blog and recipes, but thought the photography could use some improvement. Let’s be honest, she was right. Taking good photos of the food didn’t seem important to me in the beginning, I mean the recipes are great so people should just cook them right? Well, not quite. I realize now without a good picture of the food people will be less likely to visit my site and get the recipe for these great well-balanced plates.

So, this past month I paid more attention to my photography and it has been a lot of fun! I used a few different DIY sites to help me set up some great photos without a large cost. I will make sure to get a post up soon for those of you interesting in making your own indoors lighting set-up and background boards.

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Walnut crusted pork with honey balsamic glaze

Walnut crusted pork and sweet potato apple hash

Walnut crusted porkhoney balsamic glazeThis post was created around my desire to cook the honey balsamic glaze I saw in this Fried Caprese Bombs post, developed by host the toast main blogger. I stumbled across a picture of these on reddit and really wanted to try the glaze. I also want to try the Caprese Bombs, might try a baked version in the future. Anyway, so talking about the glaze and pork lead to a suggestion for a walnut crust and goat cheese and here we are today with a delicious dinner.

I modified the glaze since I was running low on balsamic vinegar. Feel free to follow the original which calls for ¾ Cups balsamic, I did ½ cup balsamic and ¼ cup red wine vinegar and it had fantastic flavor, so go with whatever is in your cupboard.

I highly recommend that you pair this pork with the sweet potato and apple hash I posted earlier. If you do, then I would also recommend serving the pork with some crumbled goat cheese, between the deliciously sweet glaze (that I would like to put on vanilla ice cream in the future) and the sweet tasting hash the salty goat cheese is a great balance.

Hope you like this dish! The little extra effort is definitely worth it, and walnuts are great for your health, so enjoy.

Total cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Sweet potato and apple hash

sweet potato and apple hash

Sweet potato and apple hashI started making this hash a few years ago, I often serve it as a side dish during dinner or even brunch. If I am making it for brunch I will add some crumbled bacon into the finished product. I have also served it with mozzarella and prosciutto on the side as a lunch dish and it is pretty delicious. You can use this base as a side dish on its own or modify it with extra vegetables you have on hand.

This side dish will pair perfectly with tomorrow’s main dish to create a well-balanced dinner plate.

Total cooking time: 45 minutes

Servings: Four

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Caramelized onion and ham omelette

Onion and ham omeletteMaybe you have some leftover caramelized onion from making the grilled cheese with caramelized onion or steak, sweet potato fries, broccoli, and caramelized onion. Well if you do then this breakfast will be incredibly quick and delicious. If you don’t then caramelize some in the morning and use the leftovers for dinner, just don’t let this vegetable candy go to waste.

If you can’t tell I really do love caramelized onion, so it’s great to have a way to incorporate them into breakfast. This is great any day of the week but I made it on a Sunday morning before going grocery shopping, best not to go to Trader Joe’s hungry or I’ll come home with more desserts then one person can justify.

Total cooking time: 10 minutes

Servings: One serving, but very easy to double, triple, etc.

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Spinach salad with homemade dressing

Spinach-saladHow about a nice fresh spinach salad just in time for a great summer lunch? Sounds, tastes great to me! This spinach salad and homemade dressing was paired with the grilled cheese with caramelized onion and I loved every bite of both.

Make this on a Saturday like I did and have a nice well-balanced fancy feeling meal without an overwhelming amount of effort. I just wish I had an easily accessible patio to head out to for lunch, but my 4th floor apartment doesn’t lend itself well to heading outside for lunch. If you are so fortunate please take advantage and enjoy this salad outside in the sun.

Total cooking time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion

grilled cheese

Grilled CheeseSo this post is all about balance. This grilled cheese with caramelized onion is very rich so I paired it with a nice big fresh spinach salad with homemade dressing for a great Saturday lunch. Spoiler alert: I will be posting the salad and homemade dressing recipe on the blog tomorrow! So stay tuned (or sign up to follow the blog).

The sandwich is inspired by one of my favorites on the Panera menu. I’m happy to make it at home now since it’s way easier to control the portion and ingredients. A half sandwich is just 250 calories, so I don’t feel guilty if I pair it with a nice big salad for a filling and indulgent feeling lunch.

Hope you enjoy!

Total cooking time: 30 minutes if you are caramelizing the onion; 10 minutes if you are not

Servings: 2

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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One pot chicken and rice

Chicken and riceWho doesn’t love a one pot dinner? Or really, who doesn’t love only having one pot to clean after dinner? Truthfully I cooked this in one large skillet, not a pot, but don’t hold that against me.

This chicken and rice is simple and delicious. Have a nice relaxing drink on hand to have while the rice simmers and you are ready for a great night. This keeps very well for leftovers the next day or two, so feel free to double this recipe. You can also add a bit of saffron if that is something you keep in your kitchen, it’s not necessary for a delicious dish, but it does add great flavor so feel free to try it both ways.

Total cooking time: One hour, with plenty of time to relax while the rice cooks

Servings: Four servings

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Chicken and vegetable skewers

Chicken and vegetable skewersChicken and vegetable skewers are here, hooray. This is my first skewer post this season, but it won’t be my last. Skewers are a great way to portion out both meat and vegetables, and the seasoning combinations are endless. I am looking forward to trying out some Grilled Moroccan Vegetable Skewers from Natasha’s Kitchen soon.

These skewers have one of my favorite simple seasonings; they have a nice fresh garlic and lime flavor to them. The following recipe is for the oven, but I will start grilling soon. If you want to grill these instead of roast them in the oven then follow the recipe and switch the cooking method to the grill.

Total cooking time: 40 minutes

Servings: Four lunch servings

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Chocolate covered strawberries – Super simple!

Simple chocolate covered strawberries!

chocolate covered strawberriesJust in time for Mother’s Day, or for the end of a long Monday, super simple chocolate covered strawberries. I love chocolate covered strawberries but I hate paying over a dollar for one single one, it’s just so overpriced, so making simple ones at home is my best answer.

These strawberries are so simple, all you need is three ingredients and a microwave. They keep well in the fridge, but you shouldn’t leave them out a room temperature for too long. Go ahead and make these for your someone wonderful this Mother’s Day (Mom I’ll make them for you this summer) or make them for yourself as a “treat yo self” night. Please read that like Tom from Parks and Rec, thank you.

Total cooking time: 5 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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Quinoa Cakes!

Quinoa cakes

Quinoa cakesThese make a wonderful healthy breakfast or anytime snack. These have no flour and no butter, but plenty of taste and texture. The flavor is a mild sweetness that pairs great with maple syrup, fresh fruit, or a touch of Trader Joe’s coco almond butter (I am obsessed with this stuff) and the texture is like a pancake corncake hybrid.

I like to double or triple the recipe if I have a little more time because these do freeze and reheat really well, so you can make a big batch on Sunday and have leftovers for breakfast during the week. To reheat you just use the defrost setting on your toaster followed by the regular setting.

The good sister and aunt that I made these for my sister and nephews last Christmas when staying at their house, and I am happy to report these were kid friendly. I love making these because they taste like a treat on top of being a nutrition powerhouse. Feel free to make them guilt free for yourself and your loved ones!

Total cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled etc.

Ingredients needed for this well-balanced plate:

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