Pan Seared Citrus Scallops with Mango Quinoa

Scallops with Soy and Cilantro

It’s been so long since my last seafood post!  That’s largely because I don’t crave seafood in the winter, but also because I don’t like cooking seafood in larger quantities.  Reheating fish (in my opinion) never tastes as good unless repurposed into some other dish, and as you can tell from my previous posts I’m not into high-maintenance cooking.  So while this recipe might deviate from my typical “bulk/freeze mentality” entries, I promise it is just as simple to make.  This dish is the perfect easy-entertaing yet elegant meal that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Sea scallops are typically larger than bay scallops, so you will only need 4-6 per person.  I remember that little fact because you’d think sea scallops would be smaller (and bay would be bigger), but they aren’t…good one, right?  However you choose to remember the difference, your local fish monger – or good frozen seafood section – will be able to help you figure out how many you will need per guest.  Scallops are definitely a treat due to convenience, expense, and delicate silky wonderful taste, so let’s cook them right, shall we?

Ingredients:

-1 lb Sea Scallops, fresh or thawed

-olive oil

-citrus seasoning blend

-1 lime

-1 cup mango, fresh or frozen

-1 cup quinoa, uncooked

-1 zucchini, chopped

-1T garlic, minced

-reduced sodum soy sauce

-Worcestershire sauce

-fresh clinatro, for garnish

 Easy Pan Seared Scallops

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.  While the quinoa is cooling, pour 1-2T olive oil to a small bowl, and sprinkle over 1T citrus seasoning blend.  I like this McCormick fiesta blend – it has a great bold flavor, and I can use a ton of it without having too much sodium (I do add my own salt).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, dip each side of the scallop in the oil/seasoning blend, and cook in the skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  They cook pretty quickly, but I’ve found that medium heat gives you enough time to get that good crisp sear on the outside without overcooking them.  I like to plate the scallops over a mix of soy and worcestershire sauce, some freshly squeezed lime juice, and a cilantro garnish.

Citrus Scallops Lime Cilantro

When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, add the mango, chopped zucchini, garlic, and a little soy/worcestershire sauce, and stir.  I also added some chopped (turkey) bacon to mine… because scallops and bacon…and also some more lime.

Spicy Scallops and Mango Quinoa

How long does quinoa take to cook, 20 minutes?  So all in I’d guess this recipe took about 25 minutes to make. Rachel Ray would be so, so, proud.  If, for some reason, you’re not sure that you’ll have 25 minutes to prepare a meal for your guests, you can absolutely make the quinoa the day before!  This cuts the cooking time down to about 6 minutes, plus a quick prep.  So in that case, 10 minutes stand between you and a brag-worthy meal.  Trust me, you can do it!

 

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Earth Day Project: Seed Bombs for Bumblebees

Seed bombs for bumblebees

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to use today’s post to talk a bit about your friendly neighborhood BUMBLEBEE! These fuzzy little flyers are one of our ecosystem’s most important native pollinators, but unfortunately, their population numbers are in dangerous decline.

With their large furry bodies and general foraging habits, bumblebees are uniquely effective pollinators, helping to produce flowers, fruit and food for hundreds of different species, including people! Yet many of our native bees are facing dramatic population declines due to habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, and introduction of diseases.

Want to help? Today I’ll share a bumblebee-friendly project for Earth Day that you can make yourself to help restore helpful habitat for native pollinators: Wildflower Seed Bombs!!!

earthday seed bombs
A “seed bomb” is a little nugget made from clay and soil that contains plant or flower seeds. They can be lobbed over fences, tossed out windows, dropped on the ground or planted directly in your yard. Soil or compost acts as a growth medium, while clay holds the bomb together and protects the seeds from blowing or washing away on the surface of the ground. For our bumblebee bombs, we want to use seeds of native flowers that will be attractive and useful for our insect friends.

To make a batch, you will need:
– natural clay or clay powder (I purchased mine from Amazon here)
– seed starting soil or compost
– native wildflower seeds (I made my bombs with Aster, Coneflower, Snapdragon, Butterfly weed, Columbine, and Coreopsis)

When choosing your seeds, there are a few important things to consider. First, you’ll want to pick seeds that will attract and feed bees. Here’s a fun fact: Bees prefer flowers that are purple, blue, and yellow, since they can see the world in UV! Second, you want to choose plants that are native to the region where you live. There are a lot of great resources online to help you determine bee-friendly local plants, but if you are interested to read more, I recommend checking out the Xerces Society website!

making seed bombs
Now for the fun part – getting your hands dirty! In a container, mix together your clay powder, soil, and just enough water to create a muddy paste. Many seed bomb recipes recommend a 5:1 ratio of clay to compost, but the clay that I used directed a 1:1 mix, so thats what I did and it worked out well for me.

Grab a dime-sized amount of the mixture, and press in a few seeds. Exactly how many seed you want to use in each bomb depends on the germination rate of each species, but if you don’t want to get technical, just throw in 2-5. Less for larger seeds, a few more for the tiny ones. Then roll into a tight ball.

guerilla garden bombs
They kinda look like little deer poops, right? It’s okay- it’s for a good cause! Now leave your bombs out in the sun or a warm area to dry, this may take a day or so.

If you’re making these for your OWN guerrilla gardening interest, then you’re all done! Bombs away! But I plan to give some away to friends and family on Earth Day, so of course I had to package them up adorably…

seed favor supplies
I grabbed some scrap fabric and cut it into small squares…

seed ball packaging
…placed a handful of seed bombs onto each square…

wrapping up seed bomb favors
…then tied them up with twine into little bee bomb bundles! (how do you like THAT for alliteration!?) I also think these would make awesome favors for a spring wedding or garden party!

give out seed bombs for earth day
My seed bomb arsenal is ready. Bonus: these babies will also be helpful in supporting butterflies and honeybees (which face their own plight from the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder). Plus they’re pretty! :)

HAPPY EARTH WEEK!

P.S. – In case you were wondering, Bumblebees are non-aggressive and rarely sting people!

DIY Running Stitch Throw Pillow

DIY running stitch pillow

I have really been loving the look of hand embroidery lately, and when I saw this cool throw pillow at Anthropologie I knew I wanted to make my own version for our house. Gotta love a good Anthro hack!

The DIY version takes a bit of time (think a good Netflix binge amount of time) but it couldn’t be easier! You really don’t need any embroidery or sewing experience to try this one, I even started with a ready-made pillow sham.

hand embroidered pillow

Start with a basic white or other solid colored pillow sham, some embroidery floss in cool colors and an embroidery needle. These kinds of needles are a little bit bigger than your typical sewing needle and have a larger eye.

running stitch

Start out by threading your needle and tying a double knot on the opposite end. Working from the inside of the pillow sham first, poke the needle up through the fabric near the seam.

You only need to learn one type of stitch for this project. It’s called the running stitch. Basically, you are just going down through the fabric and then coming back up again a short distance further. You can even make several stitches in a row and pull them all through at once as shown in the photo above. If you’ve never done this stitch before, you will get the hang of it really fast! Trust me.

running stitch embroidery

Continue with your running stitch until you reach the seam on the opposite end of your pillow sham, ending on the inside. Then cut about a 3 inch tail, separate the threads in the floss into two halves and tie a knot to secure. Trim off the excess.

Keep on stitching lines in the same fashion, changing colors and spacing as you like until you have covered the whole front of your sham. You can finish here or add some extra embellishment by tying on some yarn tassels or pompoms to the corners! I went with oversized blue tassels made in the same way as we showed you in this past post.

DIY tassel pillow

I stuffed my stitched sham with a down pillow insert to make it extra comfy. I love it on my favorite vintage pink chair!

Lighter Brunch Quiche

Vegetable Pie Recipe

Breakfast post alert!!! (Surprised?)

The weather is warming up, and restaurant patios are opening.  We all know what that means…brunch season is here!  I love a good breakfast/brunch outing, but I also love eating healthier and that can be tough when you’re out with friends.  Thankfully, cooking healthy is easy, affordable, and contrary to popular belief, FLAVORFUL.  Bring the BYOB to your place for a change, and serve up this lighter spin on a brunch staple.  Throw whatever vegetables you have on hand into this lower-fat version of a classic quiche, and enjoy an extra mimosa (or two three) instead!

Egg White Quiche Recipe

Ingredients:

– 1 Wholly Wholesome Organic Whole Wheat Pie Shell

– 1 16 oz. carton of egg whites

-10 oz package of mushrooms

-4 cups raw spinach

-1 bell pepper

-1T minced garlic

-½ T olive oil

-reduced fat feta, asiago, or other cheese to top

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your pie shell out of the freezer, and let thaw.  I placed mine on my preheating oven, to help speed up the process.  Next, chop up your vegetables – including the spinach – and heat a large skillet on the stove over medium heat.  Add olive oil, minced garlic, and vegetables – sautee until the peppers are soft and the spinach has wilted.  Remove the sautéed veggies from the heat, and let cool until at room temperature – be sure not to mix anything that is too hot with raw eggs, or else you might start cooking them!

Whole Wheat Breakfast Quiche

When cooled, add the veggies to the thawed pie shell and place on a baking tray. Carefully pour the egg whites over the veggie mix – it will look like you won’t be able to fit all of the egg whites, but you will!  Cook for 30 minutes, then shut the oven off and keep the quiche in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes.

Low Calorie Brunch Recipe

You can enjoy this quiche warm, room temperature, or my favorite, cold!  It’s a great make-ahead dish, and can even be frozen after it’s cooked! I know that you can freeze casseroles and other dishes with cream and cheese, but I prefer not to when it comes to egg based recipes.  I did, however add some crumbled feta to my serving…because you just can’t have a quiche without cheese.  I picture this quiche on a brunch table with fruit, some grilled/roasted asparagus, and a strong cocktail.

Low Calorie Vegetable Quiche

Now, if you’re NOT looking for a lighter recipe, substitute the egg whites for 4 eggs and about half a cup of cream or a cup of crumbled/shredded cheese.

Top 5 Posts: Winter


What to do with Lemons is a fledgling blog. Katie and I are still VERY new to this amazing community and we are constantly learning. It’s exciting! As we head into our third full season of blogging, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the past season and see which posts readers have liked the most! We plan to do this at the end of each season so that we can continue to grow and evolve our little corner of the internet and hopefully share more things that you will love!

So, without further ado, our Top 5 Posts of Winter 2015:

#5) Double Take: Easy Game Day Appetizers

Superbowl Snack Ideas
In our “Double Take” features, Katie and I each test out the same idea separately, then come together to create our post and see how differently (or similarly!) we each interpreted it. In January, we each set out to make an easy appetizer for Superbowl Sunday! Katie made a Chicken Vodka-Parm Dip and I made a baked pepperoni roll. Both turned out to be great crowd pleasers! Yum.

#4) Soft Pretzel Twists with Spicy Cheddar Cheese Sauce

pretzel twists and cheese sauce
Another delicious appetizer, in February I tried my hand at making this ballpark classic, and it turned out great! I actually get cravings for these all the time now…

#3) Perfect Fudge Brownies

Heart Brownies for Valentine's
Katie was actually a bit famous for these babies back in college, so it took a bit of convincing to get her to share her recipe online! This time she cut them into perfect little hearts for Valentine’s Day. <3

#2) DIY Constellation Tights

hand-painted star tights
This project was a little collaboration with our good friend Ashley of AU Gold Standard. I had a lot of fun making AND wearing these, so I was so happy to see that our readers liked them too!  Of course they feature my own astrological sign, Pisces!  What’s your sign?! *wink wink*

#1) Washable Pet Travel Mats

flannel pet travel mats
And finally, our most viewed post of this Winter was the easy-sew Washable Pet Travel Mats! If you can’t already tell, I LOVE my cats! I often make special projects just for them. These soft flannel mats are great for pets and hold up really well through wear-and-tear and frequent washings. I love anything that makes my fur babies happy, and I’m so glad to see that we have many animal-loving readers out there too!

We love to hear your feedback, so tell us if you have any favorites too! I hope you’ll keep coming back to visit and help us towards our top five posts of Spring 2015! And don’t forget, if you have an Instagram, let’s be friends! You can find us at @whattodowithlemons

Classic Gooey Lemon Squares

     Lemon Squares for Easter Spring is here, and here at WTDWLemons we are excited.  This week, I’m sharing an appropriately lemony inspired recipe that will brighten up your palet and have you smiling for spring.  (Insert something whitty about lemons and the blog title, here.)

What to do with Lemon Juice

I’ve been making these bars for years, and I have no idea where I got the recipe from.  It’s possible I made it up, it’s possible that I did not.  I do know that the extra lemon juice and vanilla were personalizations, but as for the rest of the recipe…we can all just thank the dessert gods for this one.

Classic Lemon Bar Recipe

In any case, these squares are classic, and a necessity to any springtime celebration.  In the words of my Dad, these bars don’t stand a chance when it’s time for dessert.  Make these, eat them all, make them again, and maybe share.

 

Ingredients:

For the base:

-1 cup flour

-¼ cup powdered sugar

-½ cup (one stick) butter

-1t vanilla extract

For the lemon custard:

-1 cup sugar

-4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

-2 eggs

-½ t baking powder

-¼ t salt

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.  To make this recipe, we will start with the base.  Cream together the flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well blended.  Gradually add in the flour until you have a sticky, cookie-like batter.  Using a greased spoon or floured hands, gently press the batter into the lined pan until you have a thin, even layer.  Bake for 10-12 minutes – don’t worry about underbaking here, as we will be adding the lemony goodness and baking again!  Warning: This is not the easiest thing to do.  The base layer for these bars is thin by design, so there isn’t much batter to go spread around.  If you’d like a thicker base, simply double the ingredients and follow the same instructions.  In any case, it will be hard to spread – keep some extra flour on the side to coat your hands while working.

Cutting Lemon squares

After the base has cooked and while it is cooling, we’ll make the lemon layer.  Add all of the custard ingredients to a bowl, and mix until frothy and light in color and texture.  I used my stand mixer for both portions of this recipe, but a hand mixer will do just fine.  Pour the lemon mixture over the slightly cooled base, and bake the squares for another 18-22 minutes.  I’m a chronic underbaker by choice, and opt for colser to the 18 minute mark.  You’ll notice that the top layer will puff up a bit and brown in the oven – don’t panic! The brown color is coming from the caramelization of the sugar and lemon juice, and the poof will de-poof.

Classic Lemon Square Recipe

Allow the bars to fully cool; before cutting – I even throw mine in the fridge for an hour or two.  They are sticky, but it is so worth it.

Best Lemon Bar Recipe

Upcycle Old Greeting Cards

DIY greeting card bookmarks

Today’s upcycling project comes from the crafty repertoire of a FABULOUS Great Aunt of mine. This is a woman who’s homemade flair puts Martha Stewart to shame (sorry Martha, you know I love you!) Never one to waste a beautiful piece of paper, my creative Aunt will often put an already used greeting card to use as part of an even better NEW card, bookmark, tag, or other paper craft. She will then tuck these into some snail mail to make someone’s day!

how to re-use greeting cards
If you’re anything like me, you might have some little box tucked away holding sentimental and pretty things that you just couldn’t bring yourself to throw away. Or if you are my co-blogger Katie, you might have five or six such boxes…haha! Anyway, if you’ve got one, pull it out. If you don’t have one, maybe you should start one, because these things can come in handy!
Grab a few pretty cards that you don’t mind cutting up, and make something new.
bookmark making supplies!
A few other supplies you might want for this project are a hole punch, a glue stick, some string or ribbon, and maybe some charms or beads.

Just get creative. Cut out images or shapes from the cards, layer them up with pieces of paper or cut out words and phrases, write on them, draw on them… whatever feels right and looks great! Then punch a hole in the top and tie on some ribbon. This is a great way to utilize little scraps. You could even make a tiny tassel for one of your bookmarks!

upcycle old greeting cards into stylish bookmarks
Sometimes it feels great to make something new from recycled materials, especially in April in honor of Earth Month! Tuck these little creations into snail mail or tie them on packages. One more cute and creative way to show someone that you think they’re awesome!
kitten birthday tags!
Bonus: pink kitten birthday tags! So cute.