Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spicy Orange Shrimp and Snow Peas

Have you ever experienced one of those stop-in-your-tracks, must-have-it-now cravings? Well, that's me every single time I think about chinese takeout. It's my one weakness that I've absolutely loved since I was a kid. We only had takeout when something fun was happening: a birthday, a visit to my Aunt Nancy's, a girls-night out with my Mom. It was something we always had to celebrate! 

It's certainly great for celebrating considering most of it has enought MSG to keep our bodies well salted for literally days. In my efforts to continue to be a healthy gal, I try not to order it often now! While I do splurge now and again, I've been trying to recreate my favorites at home. Today's recreation was a spicy take on shrimp and snow peas mixed with my personal favorite, orange chicken. I did a combining of the two for a much healthier, affordable and delicious recipe! You can certainly sub out some of the spicy stuff if that's not your thing. Swap the chili oil for stir fry or peanut oil, swap the chili sauce for honey and leave out the chili flakes. That will give you the same dish, just without the spice. 

orange shrimp
I love plating and garnishing my homemade dishes. It makes it feel like restaurant-quality! 

Keep in mind, this sauce I've created can be used on any of your favorite proteins. Whether it's tofu, chicken, pork or beef, this makes a great, less-guilty sticky-style sauce that will curb your takeout cravings. 


For the Shrimp and Snow Peas:

1 bag raw, deveined, tail-off shrimp (I used small 60-80 count because they are always $5 at Walmart!)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1-2 spring onions 
1 bag fresh snow peas 

orange shrimp recipe
Sauce necessities!

For the Sauce:

1/2 sugar free orange marmalade (could use sugared but makes it lighter with this kind!)
1/2 sweet chili sauce
1/4 low sodium soy sauce (add more if you like salty food - I am not a fan of super salty)
1 splash (probably 2 tbsp) rice vinegar
1 tbsp chili oil 
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1 - 2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in a splash of cold water


1.) Thaw frozen shrimp in collander by running cold water over them for 3-6 minutes. Place in a quart size ziploc bag. Set aside.

2.) In a small mixing bowl, add orange marmalade, chili sauce, soy sauce,  rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and chili together. Whisk until combined. Pour 3/4 of the batch over the thawed shrimp the bag. Marinate for approximately 30mins to an hour. Reserve the last 1/4 for the cooking process.

3.) Drizzle medium size skillet with stir fry oil. Add two cloves of minced garlic over medium heat. Sweat the garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in snow peas. Saute for 3-4 mins so they are still crisp and keep their bright green color. Take out of pan and set aside. 

shrimp and snow peas recipe
Garlic sauteeing!

4.) Over medium high heat, dump marinading shrimp and excess mix from the bag into a skillet. When shrimp begin to turn pink, stil continuously adding the remaining sauce. 

shrimp and snow peas recipe
Raw shrimp mix!
5.) When shrimp are almost done - completely pink and firm throughout, dissolve one tbsp of cornstarch into a splash of cold water. Bring the sauce to a boil with the shrimp and add cornstarch. Turn back the heat and allow to thicken. May require doing this once or twice. 
shrimp and snow peas recipe
Perfectly bubbly sauce!

5.) Serve shrimp over top of garlic snow peas and enjoy! 

In Good Taste,

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

The spontaneous summer torential downpours and steamy sun are finally starting to pay off here in Southern Maryland as gardens begin producing the fruits of all our spring labor. Well, really my Dad's spring labor considering he is the one who planted our garden. Even if it is at my house, it's definitely his baby - I'm just lucky enough to be the closest one to reap the benefits. Win, win if you ask me! 

The first things to produce in my backyard have been the cukes and zucchini. Oddly enough, both are my absolute favorite things we grow. I was over visiting my parents and noticed a large loaf of something wrapped in foil in the fridge; a spark of excitement hit as I prepared myself for a snack (because there is nothing like a snack from your Momma and Daddy's no matter how old you are!). Zucchini bread! Mom and I sat down and had two big hunks, slathered in butter for lunch and I knew I had to give my hand at recreating this tasty treat. 

If you haven't had zucchini bread, you may think it sounds gross. Vegetables in what is supposed to a be a delicate, sweet bread? What? Don't let that get in the way of trying this recipe out. The zucchini works to both retain the lush moisture of this loaf as well as keep in perfectly bound together. Not to mention, it adds a great deal of fiber and vitamins. The zucchini is grated in this recipe so there is no strange textures or chunks for all you picky eaters out there. In fact, you literally cannot taste the veggie at all. After talking with my Mom and reading a few recipes, I decided to make one up and give it a try. My secret ingredient here is a cup of applesauce to add even more fiber, natural sweetness and nutrients. It also works to keep the loaf perfectly moist! Most recipes call for enough ingredients to make two loaves but I prefer to make only one so that is what this recipe will yield!

If you caught my last post, you know I've got a lot of cooking on my summer agenda. I thought I would kick of my culinary adventure by hopping right into a brand new recipe which I've penned as the first in my personal handwritten collection! 


  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Wesson Blend Oil (Vegetable Oil - could also do coconut)
  • 1 Snack Size Cup Apple Sauce (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 Cups grated Zucchini 
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar 
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour (could use whole wheat, white, etc)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 - 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger

This is my first handwritten recipe for my collection! Yay! 


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grate 1-2 medium zucchini. Keep in mind one medium size grates to about 1 cup. 
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in mixer. Eggs, oil, applesauce. 
  4. Cream in the sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices. 
  5. Slowly add the flour in, about 1/2 cup at a time until batter forms.
  6. Add in grated zucchini, mix well. 
  7. Grease 1 loaf pan with Pam-like non-stick spray. 
  8. Pour in batter and bake at 325 for approximately 1 hour. 

This makes an amazing breakfast with a little butter and cinnamon sprinkled on top. It is a perfect pair to steaming cup of coffee or spiced chai. I like to heat a piece in the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm it but it is certainly fine cold, too! 


Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Grandma's Box

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't inherently drawn to anything and everything edible. Food has fascinated me from my first memory; the magic and art of its adaptability, the way it draws us together, the intricate processes of its sourcing, how we each interpret it differently - there is something about it that has undeniably preserved my childlike sense of wonder. 

Our history with food as Americans, at least in my lifetime, has seemed to dull the sparkle of what once was nothing less than the purest of arts. I've heard my Grandma recite how she could awake in the morning and make a fresh batch of biscuits without laying a finger on a measuring cup. Who in my generation can do that? I can't even tell you what's all in a homemade biscuit. I understand that times have certainly changed since Grandma could sling Crisco and flour together and magically make perfect biscuits seven days a week. Women are no longer confined to simply domestic duties, we've seemed to part with the majority of our agricultural roots and well, life just moves faster now. Fast and convienent foods have taken center stage in our diets as a culture, leaving the days of kitchen DIYs a thing of the past. Rarely do you see my generation passing handwritten recipes to family, give culinary gifts at holiday celebrations and tucking our baking tips in to novels we lend to our friends. While the technological revolution has been a wonderful part of my generation, its obvious that our instant-gratification needs are spilling over to our culinary (or lack there of) creativity. We've become accustomed to having what we want immediately. 

In an effort to slow down in my own life, I have been thinking a lot about how my love for food could help me do just that. My Grandma gave me a box of old recipes that she's written and collected over her lifetime. From Wisconsin to New York to good ole St. Mary's County, Maryland, this box is a curration of culinary creativity spanning from people all across the United States. As I thumbed through the sticky, plastic sheeted recipe cards, I noticed that so many of the recipes take not hours but days. Days devoted to one dish. 14 day pickles, 90 day wine, 3 day ice box cake, etc. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around tending to pickles for 14 days. 

Here's the first look at some of the recipes I will be crafting from the box. 

Over the course of this summer, I will be making at least one recipe from my Grandma's box each week and sharing them with you right here. In between, I'll also begin to write down my own recipes and start currating a collection that I can someday pass down to my children. As a writer, I cling to the preservation of written word as not only a creative outlet but more importantly, as the purest form of pickling history. See what I did there? A little kitchen wit to get you excited for my summer behind the stove! 

Love these little vintage recipe cards I scored for $0.25 at at yard sale!

I hope you come by each week and check out what I've brought back from my culinary past. Who knows? Maybe you'll want to whisk through yours, too. 

In Good Taste,