Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trying out a new grain for dinner: Bulgur

I decided to be brave tonight and try something new. That something is: a salad with the whole grain bulgur as the main ingredient. I found the bulgur salad recipe in the June issue of the Cooking Light magazine. It was the first time I had ever looked through this magazine and I have to say I loved it! Almost every single recipe in the magazine sounds delicious.
I have made a few of the recipes in the magazine already and they are all very tasty. The best part is that all of the recipes were easy to make, even for a new cook like me. Recipes that require me to have two or three pots on the stove all cooking at once really stress me out! Thankfully, the bulgur salad recipe doesn’t really require any cooking at all! Another plus, I didn’t end with a kitchen full of dirty dishes because this recipe doesn’t require a ton of different kitchen tools to make it. This is a big deal to me because we don’t have a dishwasher (we are working on this – we are planning on remodeling the kitchen soon so there is room for a dishwasher).

Here’s the recipe from the Cooking Light Recipe site:

Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley, and Pistachios


  • 1  cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1  cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced nectarines (about 3)
  • 1/2  cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I used dried parsley instead)
  • 1  tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3  tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (I used red balsamic vinegar instead)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios (I did not bother chopping the pistachios and I thought it tasted fine)


Combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Stir in nectarines and remaining ingredients except nuts; toss well. Sprinkle with nuts.
One of the changes I made to the recipe was I used red balsamic vinegar because I did not have any white balsamic vinegar. I thought the salad tasted great (and my husband really enjoyed it too!) but I plan on making the salad again with the white balsamic vinegar to find out how much of a difference there is in taste between the two vinegars. Also, there is a note in the magazine that states the salad can also be made with apricots, peaches or figs if you don’t have nectarines available. My husband loves apricots so I’m sure we will be making this variation on the recipe soon.
All in all, this recipe is definitely a keeper. I plan on cooking with the bulgur more often because it is just so easy to prepare.  I also like the fact the salad is only 188 calories per serving, which is about ¾ of a cup.
Hopefully, if you make this recipe you enjoy it as much as my husband & I did!

Friday, September 11, 2015

It’s Apple Cider Time!

I am craving some fresh pressed, tasty apple cider.   I know cider mills aren’t found in every state in the U.S. but if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that does have cider mills then this might be your favorite time of the year. B & I visited Goodison Cider Mill, located in Goodison Village, MI a few weekends ago. We planned it out so that we could go for a six mile run on Paint Creek Trail which is an 8.9 mile long trail that runs from Rochester, MI to Lake Orion, MI.
1/2 Gallon Jug of Fresh Goodison Apple Cider

It also happens to go right through Goodison Village where the cider mill is located. So, we parked near the trail and run our six miles and then walked over to the cider mill. We figured since we had just burned all those calories during our run that we had earned the right to have some cider & donuts. I normally don’t like donuts, but, the donuts from Goodison Cider Mill are the best and they are the only place I will eat donuts from! They have three kinds of donuts: plain, cinnamon & sugar and glazed blueberry donuts. Their glazed blueberry donuts are AMAZING and I have never found them at any other cider mill. I also happen to think their cider is the best around as well, though I may be a bit biased, as I have been going to this cider mill since I was a kid.   My favorite way to drink the cider is to heat it up for a couple minutes on the stove with some nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves added to it. It is just such a nice treat on a chilly fall day. B’s favorite way to drink cider on a chilly fall day is also a nice treat. He likes to heat it up as well and then add some spiced rum to it. :)
Mug of Warm Apple Cider
 Cider is also used a lot in cooking. It pairs very well with pork dishes; it can be made into apple cider syrup (for pancakes!), put into stews, breads, soups and whatever else your imagination can think of!
Anyway, since it has been a few weeks since we drank the last of our cider I am already thinking about going to get more cider.  The cider is only available for a few months a year so I always try to make the trip out there a few times each year. It is about a 40 minute drive one way to get to Goodison Cider Mill but it is totally worth it. There is another cider mill that is about 20 minutes from my house but they aren’t as good so I don’t even bother going there.

Side note:

I am planning on running a half marathon in the spring. So, hopefully, someday soon I will be able to start running the trail at its start in Rochester then run to the trail’s end in Lake Orion and then turn right around and run all the back to Rochester again! If I can do that, that’s about an 18 mile run, then I think I will be ready to run that half marathon!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Welcome to Hazel's Spot

I decided to start writing a blog because I am a newlywed that is trying to learn how to cook, Flexitarian style. It would be awfully easy for me to cook up a boxed processed meal for my amazing husband & me for dinner every night but I don’t want to do that! Instead, we would rather eat healthy food that actually has some favor to it! I get bored easily when it comes to food and it is a lot more fun to try to make a different, new recipe every night for dinner.

I am constantly buying new cookbooks and lots of cooking magazines to try and feed my addiction for new recipes to try and cook. There is special emphasis on the “try and cook” part of the last sentence because I don’t always succeed in making a perfectly delicious meal. Hopefully, as time goes on I will be able to call myself a gourmet home chef! I just need to keep reading the how-to cookbooks and watching the how-to cooking demonstrations on YouTube.

I hope to become a gourmet home chef by staying true to my beliefs. That means, buying fresh, organic whole foods as much as I can. Also, I try to only buy meat products that come from farms that practice sustainable farming methods.

I also intend on writing some reviews of food products I find in my favorite grocery stores and local farmer’s markets that I think are worthy of a mention. I might even comment on some of my favorite restaurants as well, because we don’t always have time to cook.

I hope you will join me on my “learning to cook adventure” and I encourage comments or feedback on any of the posts I publish!