Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Plums

The family I work for gave me a huge bag of red plums from their backyard tree last week, so over the weekend I found some delicious plum recipes on the internet.

I discovered plum bread. I never knew there was such a thing as this and I was skeptical about how it would turn out, but I'm glad I tried it. Forget pumpkin and zucchini bread, this sweet bread is my new favorite.

It's easy to make it dairy free by using Smart Balance Light and soy yogurt. You can also substitute applesauce for the yogurt. If you use greek yogurt (I did), there is much less lactose in it so it shouldn't be bothersome unless you are highly sensitive. I'm sensitive to lactose but I can eat about a cup of greek yogurt with a lactaid pill and be okay.

You can also cut the sugar by using half sugar and half SPLENDA, or use all SPLENDA. I recommend using a sweetener even if your plums are very sweet, but this would still be a good bread with less sugar.

I also made a balsamic plum reduction sauce to go with a pork tenderloin. Since my husband hates anything with vinegar, I reduced the two tablespoons of vinegar the recipe called for with a teaspoon of vinegar. It smelled just right and tasted amazing to me, so I didn't want to add any more than that.

Eric and I took some pictures of our dinner with our new camera. I'll get better and more creative with it as I keep practicing!

Plum Bread


1 1/2 cups pitted, chopped plums--keep the skins on!
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup Smart Balance Buttery Spread Light, softened
1 cup sugar--I used 1/2 SPLENDA, 1/2 white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs--you can use 4 eggs whites, or a combination, for less fat
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup of plain or vanilla soy yogurt--actually, any fruity flavor will do!
Sprinkle of brown sugar (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil spray or Smart Balance.

2. After chopping your plums, sprinkle them with 1 tablespoon of flour and toss to coat then set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs with a wire whisk until smooth. Add the yogurt and mix until well combined.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly stir the dry mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.

5. Once smooth, fold in the chopped plums and pour batter into the loaf pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Let cool for another 30 minutes before slicing, but enjoy that first warm slice before it cools completely. Bet the taste will surprise you!
What it looks like right before the oven.

Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Plum Reduction


1 pork tenderloin
sea salt and black peper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 small plums, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons blueberry juice--I think a berry jam would work here. I used the blueberry fruit and syrup from the fruit on the bottom yogurt.


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Rinse the pork tenderloin then pat dry and season each side with sea salt and black pepper. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet until hot, then sear the tenderloin for three minutes on each side before transferring the pork to the lined baking sheet. 

3. Roast the tenderloin for 15-20 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked, let stand for five minutes before slicing.

4. While the pork is cooking, begin the reduction sauce. Add the plums, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and juice or syrup into a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat, until ingredients are well blended and plums are soft, about 5-10 minutes.

5. Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepan and simmer until reduced and thickened, another 5-10 minutes depending on how much liquid you have added. Spoon the plum sauce over the sliced pork medallions and enjoy with Herby Quinoa. Share with your hungry Chihuahua!

Mia's favorite spot--right by the stove.

Balsamic Plum Reduction

Friday, July 13, 2012

Herby Quinoa

Did you know that quinoa is a seed? It comes from a type of plant called a goosefoot, or Chenopodium, a species of annual herbaceous flowering plants. It looks like this as a plant:

I made the following quinoa recipe to go with our Turkey Meatballs last night. It's not my recipe, but I tweaked it a bit to fit my likes and needs. I feel that quinoa by itself is too bland, but I love it mixed with other flavors. This a flavorful side dish to compliment meatballs or steak.

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon Smart Balance Buttery Spread Light
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 14.5 oz. can (or 2 cups) vegetable broth
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/4 teaspoon lime juice (optional)

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance Buttery Spread in a saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast, stirring often, for about five minutes. This is what uncooked quinoa looks like:

2. Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Start to caramelize onions (see step 3). Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa has sprouted and liquid is absorbed. It should look like this when it is done:
3. While your quinoa is cooking, in a separate pan, melt 1 teaspoon of Smart Balance Buttery Spread over medium low heat. Add onions and cook for about 5 -10 minutes.

4. In your saucepan of cooked quinoa, toss in caramelized onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, and lime juice and mix thoroughly. It's so delicious!