Posts by admin:

    Vegan Dumplings with Stir-Fried Veggies and Spicy Mango Sauce

    April 9th, 2019

    Spring is officially here! Even though the temperatures have been very volatile,  I’m choosing to embrace April.

    Now that we’ve been in our new house about 18 months,  I feel like I’m able to manage decorating for every season and holiday. I’m currently setting up my home to look like spring and Easter.

    Do you like doing that? What inspires you?

    If you’ve been following me for a while you would know that I love cooking according to the seasons. Local produce and colorful meals make for inspired meals.

    Thanks to Nasoya for challenging me to create a completely vegan meal.  10 years ago I went vegan for 2 years but then I got pregnant and craved meat.

    Fast forward to now and I occasionally prepare meatless meals especially ones with tofu.  I have an awesome tofu press that removes excess moisture in a tofu block.

    Nasoya recently came out with two kinds of organic vegan dumplings:

    • Tofu Vegetable dumplings
    • Thai Basil Vegetable dumplings

    They are found in the refrigerated section of the health department in the grocery store near the tofu. Here’s a few facts about them:

    • Ready-to-cook
    • Fresh
    • 6 grams of plant-based protein
    • Great as appetizers, snack or meals.

    I decided to try the Thai Basil Vegetable dumplings because they sounded the most intriguing. I made an easy lunch dish to share with my husband.  Each package makes about 3 servings of dumplings but it can easily be for 2 people.

    Where to Find Nasoya Dumplings

    These products are very easy to find but if you have problems, check Nasoya’s store locator. Again, they will be in the refrigerated section of your natural product section. I have seen them at Wegmans and Giant Food, but you can also find them at Acme, ShopRite, and Weis stores. Want to try them?

    Nasoya coupon

    Dumplings with Stir-Fried Veggies and Spicy Mango Sauce

    by Noelle Kelly

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 20 minutes

     

    Ingredients (2 lunch servings)

      Dumplings

      • 1 package Nasoya Thai Basil Vegan Dumplings
      • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
      • 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

      Stir-Fried Veggies

      • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped
      • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped (white section)
      • 1/3 cup grated carrots
      • 1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced
      • 1 garlic clove , minced
      • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

      Mango Sauce

      • 1/2 cup mango pulp ( or 1 yellow mango, peeled and fruit removed)
      • 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
      • 1 Tablespoon red chili garlic sauce

      Assembly

      • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

      Instructions

      Dumplings

      Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add sesame oil. Remove dumplings from packaging and add to skillet. Fry on one side for 4 minutes and then flip the dumplings so they cook on the opposite side for an additional 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cover pan to allow water to finish cooking the dumplings for 4 minutes. Remove dumplings to a bowl.

      Stir-fried veggies

      In the same pan, add the sesame oil and heat on medium heat. Add the veggies and seasonings and stir-fry veggies for 8 minutes. While they cook, make the mango sauce.

      Mango sauce

      Add all mango ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

      Assembly

      Divide veggies between two plates. Add dumplings over veggies and drizzle with mango sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

      Powered by Recipage

      No Comments "

      Rack of Lamb with Roasted Rutabaga Medley

      March 28th, 2019

      Thanks to Superior Farms for sending me different cuts of lamb to cook with. I was very impressed with the flavor and the way it was packaged.

       

      How to not over cook meat

      Growing up my mother would alternate making different cuts of meat but specifically she would make lamb for Easter. I really did not learn how to cook any cuts of meat other than making sure it was not red.

      Wait. Overdone meat? Yep, everything was WELL-DONE.

      When I got married 10 years ago I was taught and enlightened to the fact that I had not been enjoying meat the way it was intended.

      Fast-forward to my current kitchen situation and I am equipped with my trusty Therama-pen and I can confidently say that I have hardly overcooked my meat.

      This is one of the reasons why I have not cooked or handled certain meat.

      Lamb – a whole new experience

      I have had some experience hearing about the difference between lamb from New Zealand, but I had not been convinced about American lamb. All I tried to explain to my husband is that the lamb flavor could be very pronounced. Can anyone relate to lamb tasting too….LAMBY or GAMEY.

      According to Quora, “The ‘gamey’ taste in sheep comes from the lanolin. … Lamb has a mild gamey taste, and mutton(sheep over a year old) is more gamey. However, hair sheep such as Katahdin or Dorper sheep do not have the gamey taste even as they age due to the lack of lanolin in their fat. Hair sheep meat is mild and delicious!”

      I learned something from that because I thought it was just me.

      Superior Farms

      Superior Farms is an employee-owned company based in California. They allow their lambs to pasture immense grasslands and are sustained on natural vegetation making them all natural with no added hormones. Superior Farms is the number one choice of top chefs allowing many to create fantastic dishes.

      They have existed since 1964 and are run by ranchers solely focused on raising their lambs with care. Many are also 4th generation ranchers really taking care of what they raise. The integrity of the product is attractive and shows how much they care. Everything is humanely handled and Halal-certified.

      Rack of Lamb with Roasted Rutabega Medley

      I only do what I know best. I create my dishes based on inspiration and what I have on hand. I created a nice rub to go on the 2-lb rack of lamb that I allowed to marinate over 2 1/2 hours. I really wanted to focus on a simple dinner that a family of 4 or 5 could enjoy over Easter. While we have little kids, we do not serve them anything different that we eat. Our 7, 6 and 3 1/2-year-old girls ate the lamb and savored each bite. They loved the outside of the lamb that had the rub the most!

       

      by Noelle Kelly

      Prep Time: 30 minutes

      Cook Time: 30 minutes

      Keywords: bake grill entree lamb rutabega Easter American spring

       

      Ingredients (4 people)

        Rack of Lamb rub

        • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
        • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
        • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
        • 1 teaspoon oregano
        • 1 teaspoon parsley
        • 1 teaspoon paprika
        • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
        • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

        Lamb

        • 1 rack of lamb, frenched ( bones are exposed)
        • This fed 2 adults and 3 toddlers.

        Rutabaga Medley

        • 2 cups rutabaga, peeled and chopped
        • 1 large orange bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
        • 2 small red onions, peeled and chopped
        • 2 cups green beans
        • 2 pinches of Himalayan salt
        • 1 teaspoon onion powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon black powder

         

         

        Instructions

        Rack of Lamb rub

        Remove excess fat from the rack until there is a thin layer of fat.

        Mix all the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the rub all over the rack of lamb. Place on a plate and cover with plastic and marinate overnight or for 2 hours.

        Remove from fridge and place on a large pan.

        Rutabaga Medley

        Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

        Mix all the veggies except the green beans together and spray with olive oil. The drippings from the lamb will be added to the veggies to finish cooking. Add the veggies to the lamb on its pan. The green beans will be added last.

        Cook the lamb for 20 minutes. Remove the rack of lamb from the pan and place on another small pan with green beans. Increase heat to 450 Fahrenheit and cook lamb for 10 minutes until internal heat reaches 145 Fahrenheit for medium doneness.

        Add the cooked green beans to the rutabega medley and mix well with lamb drippings. Allow the lamb to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into chops.

        Drizzle veggies with balsamic glaze.

        Serve with mashed potatoes.

        Powered by Recipage

        No Comments "

        Glamorous Phones Cases For Every Woman [Giveaway]

        February 5th, 2019

        Velvet Caviar recently helped me makeover my poor phone case situation from boring black to fun, flirty, and feminine. Thanks to Velvet for sponsoring this post and introducing me to durable and glamorous phone cases. 

        Protecting my Samsung S8 Phone

        When I first purchased my Samsung S8 phone last year, the only thought I had when protecting my phone was the standard durable boring phone case. Since having kids, I am the last person to think about pretty things. Everything is pretty much about my family and my home. 

        One thing I quickly realized is that when I went searching for my phone in my purse or any other bag, I always had a hard time finding it. A black phone with a black phone case did not make such a perfect match for a busy mother like me. I tried having an air vented pop out to hold my phone but somehow it was just not the right fit.

         

        Velvet Caviar

        When I was introduced to Velvet Caviar, my interest was piqued because all of a sudden beauty stood before me. A chance to beautify my phone and be feminine? This company is known for their colorful and durable phone cases available for various phone devices along with phone ring holders to match the phone cases. Pretty Yet Protective (TM) is their slogan but there is more that comes with that.

        They also offer fashionable beanies and scarves with fun pompoms along with portable phone chargers that keep your phone charged and going for the whole day! 

        I received the Dusty Rose Chrome Floral case with a mauve background inlaid with gold roses. Someone must have shared one of my favorite colors because I fell in love with it immediately. The case is in a matte finish and is easy to grip. The inside of the case is inlaid with a soft padding and the brand’s name etched in elegant lettering.

        The Nude Vintage Floral phone case came with a phone ring holder which is why I decided to use the case first so I could fully enjoy the Velvet Caviar experience. The phone ring holder is very sturdy and easier to hold. In fact, I could hold multiple items in one hand while holding the phone with the ring. I was seriously impressed.

        The phone ring has a 360 degree rotation and is capable and sturdy to become hands free. I was able to hold my phone through the clip and text with one hand while doing multiple tasks with my other hand. It has been great having in the kitchen, while looking at a recipe from my website. 

        As a busy mom, this was truly a plus. There is no need to worry about it getting in the way of your back pocket though. The ring easily folds and is not an issue for storage. I LOVE IT!!!!

        Important Facts + Giveaway

        There is a one year warranty on the phone whether you like it or not. There is free shipping and many ways of payment when it comes to ordering your phone.

        Want a chance to try this phone case? I am giving away the Golden Cheetah Galaxy case for the Samsung S8 plus a phone ring holder. Here is how you can win:

        • Leave a comment telling me how this case would change your life. (mandatory)
        • Share this post with your friends and let me know by tagging me @singerinkitchen or Opera Singer in the Kitchen. (optional)
        • Leave a comment on my Facebook or Instagram post. (optional)
        • Giveaway ends February 25, 2019 at midnight.

        No Comments "

        Suga by Foo – Seasonal Chinese Cuisine in Philly

        February 4th, 2019

        When I know date night comes around, my heart skips a beat. It skips an extra beat when I know I am going into the city. Having lived in Houston, I am very used to city life even when I lived in the suburbs. Since moving from Chester County to Delaware County, we are now closer to the city. Suga by Foo was a lovely experience and definitely one to check out in the city.

        Dining in Philly

        For those who get anxious going into the city, I totally get it. I finally feel like I have a handle on how to enjoy the city. I know the spots to park without breaking the bank and there are always an amazing list of restaurants to try. One of the places we decided to check out was Suga (SOO-GAH) by Susanna Foo.

        When I found out that Ms. Foo helped bring gourmet Chinese food to America and that she has won 2 James Beard awards, I knew my husband and I were in for a treat. The restaurant is tucked in the Rittenhouse Square district and is clearly an ideal place for a romantic dinner for 2.

        Since we had a show to attend to before we arrived before official dinner but perfect timing for happy hour from 5 to 7pm. 

        Dumplings

        We started out with the Dumpling Sampler which came out with 6 different types of dumplings and 3 types of sauces. This was definitely an ideal appetizer to share because it highlighted the popular wild mushroom dumplings. Each of them were unique and very savory.

        Our favorites? It was a tie between the wild mushroom and the lamb dumpling.

        Main Dishes

        Since it was our first time dining, we decided to try 3 different dishes that highlighted different parts of the seasonal menu. I ordered the Cilantro Sesame Chicken which came with thin strips of chicken mixed with julienne carrots, shitake mushrooms and cilantro. The menu indicated jicama and asparagus but unfortunately I did not realize the ingredient change until later. It was a simple but flavorful dish.

        My husband’s Braised Short Rib Noodle dish was hearty. I was tossed with eggplant, tomatoes and spinach along with freshly made noodles. It was nice to sample from each of our dishes because the unique Asian flavors in the noodle dish were magical.

        Our third dish was a vegetarian favorite of my husband’s: Ma Po Tofu. Ms. Foo’s version was definitely spicy with a fine mix of corn, black beans, scallions and Sichuan peppercorn. I added a side of brown rice with lentils that seemed to have a nice curry flavor to it. We definitely enjoyed the heat on the dish but it was not one to finish off the evening.

        Dessert

        By the end of the evening, we enjoyed a cup of coffee and shared a Ginger Asian Pear Sorbet that was spectacular. Each bite had a perfect blend of pear and ginger flavors that cooled off the palate after our delicious dinner.

        Specials

        If you are looking for an elegant Chinese experience, check out their upcoming specials for Chinese New Year where you can dine for $39 a person, 4 person minimum, on a special menu. It is bound to be a delicious culinary experience. We look forward checking it out again in the future.

        Suga by Foo

        1720 Sansom Street

        Philadelphia, PA 19103

        No Comments "

        Academy of Vocal Arts – Rusalka- {Review}

        February 3rd, 2019

        Last night my husband and I had the privilege of attending our first performance at Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. I have checked out two performances over the years at different locations on the Main Line, but never at its original location. Thanks to AVA for treating us to a special evening.

        photo by Academy of Vocal of Arts

        Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

        In 1933, Helen Corning Warden, a prominent member of Philadelphia society, realized there was a need for a school to train talented singers especially in light of the Depression era, so a school was created that would provide a tuition-free education for these professional singers. After 80 years, it is now a  prominent 4-year program that is highly coveted and very competitive. 

        Many of the singers selected in the program perform in almost 6 opera performances and go through rigorous vocal and language training to prepare them for the international and national world of opera. Many big names have come through AVA like Joyce DiDonato, Joyce El-Khoury, Angela Meade, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, and many more.

        Historical Landmark

        If you are not from the area, the academy is situated near Rittenhouse Square along a row of town homes. The area is so historic with amazing architecture at every corner. Once you go inside the academy, this historical landmark is a gem. Like many places, it used to be someone’s home complete with a musical room that is now the theater where the artists perform.

        As we walked through the home, it was not hard to stop through the corridors and rooms to stare at the architecture and art. It was truly walking through history. The theater is located in the back of the house where there are bas reliefs on themes from A Midsummer’s Dream located on the ceilings and walls. There are also carved wooden beams and a balcony that was simply captivating!

        photo by Academy of Vocal of Arts

        Rusalka

        We checked the closing night performance of Rusalka and I was simply smitten. As a soprano myself, I am very familiar with the aria “Song to the Moon,” but I was not really familiar nor had I ever watched a performance. Several roles were double cast but the main role and supporting roles were performed by the same artists.

        Kara Mulder performed the role of Rusalka and won my heart over as the sad water nymph who wishes to be human. The story is based on Slavic mythology but as we quickly realized, the story line was similar Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid. The Prince role was performed by Piotr Buszewski, a tenor with such beautiful high notes, it is no wonder he has won so many competitions.

        photo by Academy of Vocal of Arts

        The water nymphs at the beginning were lovely, combining and blending voices as though they were truly one voice. Even though the story line is sad, there is humor in several scenes with Jezibaba (Chelsea Laggan), the witch of the forest, who helps Rusalka become human. She is quite scary at some moments that she convinces the audience of her ultimate power. The interpretation of each artist is outstanding but it is clear that their big voices are no match for the hall.

        The set was simple but perfect enough to create a mystical forest and watery world of magic. With two intermissions, the sets quickly changed to create a story that pulled us in. I have never performed any Dvorak works but this opera has such beautiful melodies that transported me to the watery world of nymphs.

        The musical director was also the accompanist for the production and he lead such a great first-time production of Rusalka at AVA. I cannot wait to check out another performance at AVA because the caliber of the artists is amazing and knowing that they will be very well-known some day is just so exciting.

        Current Season 2019

        If you are saddened that you missed this performance, do not worry, the season is not over! Here is what is coming up next:

        Winter Recital
        Music director and piano: TBA
        February 12 and 14, 7:30 PM at AVA

         

        Così fan tutte – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the AVA Opera Orchestra. 
        Generously sponsored by the Gray Charitable Trust
        Conductor: Christofer Macatsoris
        Stage Director TBA
        March 2, 5, 7, and 9, 7:30 PM at AVA
        March 12 at Haverford School’s Centennial Hall

         

        Jubilate! A Concert of Sacred Music with the AVA Opera Orchestra
        Conductor: David Antony Lofton
        March 16, 7:30 PM at The Church of The Redeemer, Bryn Mawr
        March 17, 7 PM at The Church of The Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square

         

        Spring Recital
        Music director and piano: TBA
        7:30 PM, Tuesday, April 2 and 7:30 PM, Thursday, April 4 at AVA

         

        Roméo et Juliette – Charles Gounod with the AVA Opera Orchestra. First time ever at AVA!
        Generously sponsored by Judith Broudy
        Conductor: Steven Mosteller
        Stage Director: Jeffrey Marc Buchman
        April 27, 30 and May 2, 7:30 PM at AVA
        May 4, 7:30 PM at Central Bucks South High School in Bucks County (Concert staging); for tickets to this performance, please call AVA at
        215-735-1685 or 215-862-2526.
        May 7, 7:30 PM at Centennial Hall, The Haverford School

         

        Farewell Recital
        Music director and piano:
         José Meléndez
        May 10, 7:30 PM at The Church of The Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

         

        No Comments "