I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mother's Day 2013 Recipes

I don't have a lot of money, but I am a good cook, so I usually make some kind of dessert for family parties, holidays, birthdays, etc.  I asked my mother what dessert she wanted me to make her for mother's day and she sent me a link to a grapefruit and lime cake with a citrus glaze from the Tasty Kitchen website.  I was a little skeptical of a grapefruit cake, but the choice was hers, so I said okay.  She then gave me the best compliment by saying, "You know what? I don't want to go out to eat this mother's day!  I want you to cook the meal, because I love your cooking."  I must admit that my cooking seems to have gotten better lately-well, except for the fact that I burned the rice a little bit tonight...  I was really touched by my mom's compliment and started looking for the perfect recipe.  She requested a chicken dish and I knew it needed to include some lemon juice, since we already had a lot of lemons.  I wanted something special that would take a little more care than my usual quick fix dinner recipes and yet wouldn't be so complex as to be confusing.  Here's a tip: food companies often have the best recipes and who wouldn't trust a recipe from a butter site?!

From the Land 0'Lakes website, I made Roasted Honey Mustard Chicken & Vegetables.  The only changes I made was that I used boneless chickens breasts instead of bone-in ones and I didn't measure out the lemon juice, but just used all the juice I could squeeze out of one.

Ingredients:
Chicken:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 ground pepper
4 chicken breasts
1.5 lbs. small, new red potatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" strips
1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges

Glaze:
1/2 cup honey mustard
Juice of one lemon

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
3. Place chicken breasts in a large casserole pan and brush them with the butter mixture.
4. Add the bell pepper, onion, and potato pieces to remaining butter mixture and toss lightly to coat.
5. Place vegetables on top of the chicken in the pan.  Bake 40 minutes.

Aren't they pretty?  They look almost like an abstract painting! And I almost forgot to include the red bell pepper!  I was just about to put the pan in the oven when I remembered that I had forgotten a vegetable.  I almost decided to leave it out, except that I remembered that I did a similar thing to a brussel sprouts recipe a few days before and the result had been disastrous.  Fortunately the bell pepper took no time at all to slice and it tasted really good once cooked!

6.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and then drizzle over chicken and vegetables.

7. Continue baking for 20 or 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and the potatoes are tender.
I love honey mustard and my mom really loved this dish.  I am glad to say it was everything I wanted!  The meal was pretty simple to make-I would say the only hard part is remembering to put the glaze on and to increase the temperature.  The dish was delicious-tangy, moist chicken and flavorful vegetables.  I couldn't decide if I liked the potatoes or the onions more-the potatoes were very tender, but I just love roasted onions!  Although the recipe involves pretty simple ingredients, it would be a great dish to serve company.  My family is going on a vacation in July and my mom suggested I remake this dish for my relatives one night.

Now for mom's dessert: Grapefruit and Lime Cake with a Citrus Glaze from the Tasty Kitchens website.

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
3 teaspoons grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons lime juice
lime zest from one lime
1 teaspoon vanillla
1/3 cup milk

Glaze:
2 T grapefruit juice
1 T lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
3. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and combine well.  Beat in eggs one at a time, continue to beat for 2-3 minutes.
5. Add yogurt, juices, zest and vanilla and mix well.


(Isn't that beautiful and artistic?  It's how a lime looks when it's been zested!)
6. Starting and ending with flour, alternate adding flour and milk to the creamed mixture.  Mix well but don't over-beat.
7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and put it into the oven.  Bake for 25 minutes, turn pan 180 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

Glaze:
1. Combine all ingredients well.
2. Pour over hot cake and wait for the cake to cool and the glaze to harden before serving.

The result is a loaf cake with an oatmeal cookie like color, covered in a sour-y sweet glaze.  The original recipe says the glaze is optional, but it really is not.  The glaze adds a lot of sweetness and flavor.  The cake would have been very bland without it, in my opinion.  It wasn't my favorite cake that I've ever made, but it was incredibly moist and light, which are qualities I like.  What I really like is the fact that my body still felt good after I ate it.  Later that night, I had a very rich coconut cupcake and while it had the wow intense flavor factor that the grapefruit cake lacked, it was so rich that one bite was enough and I ended up throwing half of the cupcake away.  It was so rich that after eating just half of the cupcake, my stomach felt really gross, so in the end, I preferred my cake, because I could at least finish my portion!  How my body feels after I eat is very important to me, just as important as how the food tastes.  It has partly to do with being in recovery from an eating disorder and partly just personal preference.  If I feel physically bad after eating something, then I will tend to obsess over what I ate and will feel incredibly self conscious, self aware, and almost guilty.  If my body feels physically well after eating something, then I am more relaxed and carefree.  I don't know if it is "normal" or not to pay so much attention to one's body, but part of my recovery is learning how to be more aware and mindful of my body and how it feels.  When I used to restrict what I ate, I constantly ignored my body's hunger signals until I no longer knew what being hungry felt like. Being aware of my body makes me feel like the whole person I am.  I recently helped out with a service at my church about appreciating our bodies and one point that impressed me was that our bodies are not just meaningless cages for our spirits, but are equally important parts of our being.  In order to grasp the wholeness of our being, we must strive to have our bodies be in harmony with our spiritual side.  The body is not worse or better than the spirit-it is not to be condemned or worshiped-but needs to be given proper respect and appreciation.
But now I will stop preaching and let you drool over this piece of slightly odd, slightly sweet. but still satisfying piece of cake.

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