Tag Archives: mint

Cumin, Honey, and Mint-Marinated Lamb Chops

The weather this weekend was perfect for grilling.  With company coming over for an early dinner, I felt the urge to try something new.  I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and tried cooking lamb for the first time.  Big risk, big reward.  This meal was a huge hit!

Although this was my first attempt at cooking lamb, I am actually a big fan of this delicious meat.  I remember my mom cooking lamb chops as a kid.  I love ordering lamb shanks at my favorite greek restaurant.  But my husband has always been hesitant about trying lamb.  However, a few months back, after being served lamb at a friend’s house for dinner, he quickly became a fan.

This dish is great because it is super quick and easy.  The hardest part is making sure you have enough time to marinate the meat.  So planning ahead is key.  But the good news is that the marinade does all the hard work, leaving the meat sweet, tender and delicious.

Ingredients

1/4 cup chopped mint, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 lamb loin chops

Cooking spray

Preparation

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well.  Place lamb in a single layer in a shallow dish; rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of lamb.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Prepare grill.

Place lamb on a grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill 4 minutes in each side or until desired degree of doneness.  Garnish with fresh mint.  Serve immediately.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light via MyRecipes.com

I served the lamb with a side of couscous and grilled veggies.  It was the perfect way to round out the meal.  I chose to garnish the lamb with some freshly chopped mint to help bring out the flavors of the marinade.  Plus, you can never have enough mint in my book.

As we move into the warmer months, I have a feeling we will be doing a lot more grilling.  And after the success of this lamb dish, I think we will be adding this new protein into our rotation.

Your turn:  Are you a lamb fan?  What are some of your favorite ways to prepare it?  Looking forward to some delicious recipes :)

 

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How Is My Garden Growing?

Back in November, I posted pictures of our new venture, a garden plot in the community gardens.

And I am happy to report, our garden is growing quite nicely!

Lookin’ pretty good right?

But really, I can’t take much credit for this wonderful masterpiece.  Like I mentioned when we started this new hobby, my husband has been a HUGE help!  And he continues to do all of the hard labor (love you baby!).  We do take turns watering, although Freddie ends up doing most of it since he is the expert.  But I have to say, my watering skills are steadily improving :)

Since planting our garden, we have taken up composting as well.  It is a great way to improve your soil as well as recycle your food scraps.  And now, composting is one of my favorite things!  It has taken my passion for not wasting to a whole new level.  I feel good about putting whatever parts of our produce that we don’t use back into the ground from which it came.

And really, it’s super simple.  Each time I prepare food and have any leftover food scraps from my produce, I throw it in my compost pail.  We picked up this really cool one from Bed Bath and Beyond (with a trusty 20% off coupon of course!).

It looks great on our countertop and has a carbon filter to control the food scrap odors, so it never gets stinky.  Once our pail gets full, which is almost every day with all the produce we eat around here, we empty it into our compost bin at our garden.  There are lots of different compost bins you can use.  We happen to like one similar to this.

To be honest, the whole “transfer the food scraps into the bin filled with worms and bugs” thing isn’t the part I look forward to the most.  Actually, Freddie usually does it for me because it’s way to “ewwie” for me.  It’s totally a boys job, cause it can get pretty gross.  But the result is definitely worth it.

So without further ado, let’s look at all the cool stuff that’s growing in our garden!

We have officially grown our first strawberry!  This is my most exciting achievement.  I eat strawberries all the time.  So to be able to pick them fresh daily will be a real treat.  Can’t wait until more start popping up!

Are these gorgeous or what!  They almost don’t even look real to me.  I have had some yummy salads in my life but I have the feeling I am graduating to a new level of deliciousness.  And paired with the strawberries…my favorite salad just got better!  PS:  I am currently looking for homes for our overabundance of fresh lettuce…any takers?

Ladies and gentlemen…we got broccoli!  And as one of the green veggies we enjoy eating the most, these are going to make a nightly appearance on our plates.  We still have some time before they are ready to harvest, but the good news is, we are on the right track!

And look who happened to show up uninvited?

A stowaway, leftover from the previous gardener.  But, being my favorite herb, I am not at all disappointed.  The only trouble with mint is that it tends to try to take over the garden.  It grows like a weed, literally.  So we are going to have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.  But I see lots more Lemon Iced Tea in my near future…yum!

Everything else is coming along nicely as well.  Or should I say, everything except the spinach.  Although, we haven’t given up hope…yet.  We still have our fingers crossed that something might sprout up soon.  But really, 9 out of 10 on our first gardening experience ain’t bad!

I am so glad we decided to take on this new hobby.  I have learned so much and feel more accountable for the food that I eat.  I enjoy watching our crops grow, change and flourish.  Mother nature is sure a marvel for which I am extremely grateful!

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Lemon Iced Tea

There is nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of iced tea.  And even though we are in the dead of winter, and it would make more sense to be enjoying a warm cup of tea, here in California, our weather is still in the 70s.  So iced tea is definitely in order.  Rough life, I know.

As I have mentioned before, I am a sucker for tea.  But as a breastfeeding mom who is doing her best to stay away from caffeine, it can be hard to find a fix for my cravings.  So the best thing to do is to take matters into your own hands, and brew your own!

Ingredients

2 large lemons

1 1/4 cup pure cane sugar

1 cup fresh mint leaves

6 decaf black tea bags

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Preparation

1.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove bright yellow peel from lemons.  Combine lemon peel and sugar in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and still in mint.  Cool to room temperature; strain.

2.  Steep the tea bags in 4 cups of boiling water, covered, for 5 minutes.  Then remove tea bags.  Stir in syrup, lemon juice, 4 cups cold water, and ice cubes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Real Simple

I was inspired to make this recipe after I had some leftover mint from my dinner the other night.  Having made this before, I was excited to put the mint to good use.  The mint is such an unexpected hint of flavor.  It takes this otherwise ordinary tea recipe and puts it over the top.  I chose to use only 1 cup of mint leaves because that is what I had on hand.  But if you are looking for a stronger mint flavor feel free to add more.

Whether it’s lunch time, teatime or dinner time, this Lemon Iced Tea is sure to be a big hit!

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