Frozen grapes :: The perfect figure-friendly treat for those hot summer days

If raisins are nature's candy, are frozen grapes nature's perfectly bite-sized popsicles?

I've been hearing about frozen grapes for years. I was a skeptic. Truth be told, they didn't sound very appealing to me. (No pun intended there!)  And yet, for some reason I thought I should try them. I took some red and green grapes, pulled them from their stems and placed them in a Zip Lock bag. A couple of hours later I had these perfectly little frozen treats. The frost looked lovely. Quite pretty in fact. I bit into one of the frozen fruits and was quite surprised with what greeted me, it was as though I was tasting a bite-sized grape-flavored Italian ice. I prefer the red ones myself - but I prefer them when they're not frozen as well. Frozen grapes also make a wonderful iced garnish to your beverage or cocktail without watering down your drink. So, really, these little frozen treats are perfection any way you look at them!

The green grapes may discolor a tiny bit as some of mine did. This is normal and they are still perfectly alright to eat.

All images property of Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

Healthy Fast Food? Can such a thing exist?

Palmwich™ makes it possible! It hardly seems possible that something that looks this good and tastes as good as it looks - trust me on this one - could be considered as fast food. Well, it is and it isn't. It's fast in the sense that you can order your food and in a few short minutes, it's there, gorgeous, and ready to go. But this isn't fast food. Fast food has such a negative connotation to it after all. And we hate to be lumped into the same category as those folks. What we have here is Real Food. It's fresh and wholesome and so good for you. Most importantly it's absolutely delicious. Look at the color of the Mediterranean Chopped Salad in the picture above. When have you ever had fast food that looked like that? Look at the colors. And yes, that's kale. Incredible, right?!

Remember a while back I said I had a new project and I would share when I could? Well, I can now! I was brought on to over-see all the PR efforts for this new company called Palmwich™. Getting the word out won't be hard. Getting people to try us out won't be hard. Getting people to return? A cinch! You'd never in a million years think this was fast food. It's really delicious.

The new restaurant just opened in Darien, Connecticut and is the first ever Real Food Drive-Thru of its kind. We see it as a delicious solution to the real-life problem of finding healthy food on-the-go. Palmwich unites two things rarely seen together, Real Food and Drive Thru!

We have a creative and inspiring menu that offers hand-held sandwiches, chopped salads, and sippable soups that are easy to eat on the run, consumers seeking a more nutritious option will be able to select from a variety of items that are wholesome, natural, freshly made and delicious.

The Darien location is drive-thru only to accommodate today’s busy lifestyle with the understanding and knowledge that we can’t always slow down to eat a proper meal. Sometimes the only way is to eat on the run. Palmwich is not “fast food.” but real, house-made food that’s served up quickly with a menu that outshines the competition in taste and nutrition. There’s no longer a reason not to eat well even when you’re on the go.

In creating each and every Palmwich Real Food and drink item, we are mindful of portion size, nutritional content and using all-natural ingredients—and nothing else. We offer gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan selections. We use only natural sweeteners; our meat is sustainably raised and hormone-free; and our breads, salad dressings and sauces are house-made, every time. We’re proud of the Real ingredients that go into each and every Real Food item on our menu. We guarantee you will taste the difference! Pretty amazing, huh?!

Our portable grilled Palmwich Pockets are delicious and house-made—four of which are less than 400 calories. We offer Sonoma Chicken, Tuna Nicoise, Mediterranean Veggie, Chicken Burrito, Cheddar Burger, Pizza Primavera and Beef and Broccoli. Our Chicken and Cheddar and Pizza Kids Palmwich Pockets were created with children in mind. Our Spoonable Salads are chopped and ready. Our Caesar, Mediterranean Kale, Asian and Garden salads are as fresh as can be. Protein can be added to any salad with steak, chicken or hardboiled egg additions. Sippable Soups are vegan and need no spoon! Sip Carrot Ginger, Tomato Basil, Ten Vegetable or seasonal selections easily on the go. Plus hearty, Savory Sides, Quinoa, Chick Pea and Orzo, can be combined with a Palmwich Pocket or Spoonable Salad to make a Palmwich Pair or enjoyed on their own as a light meal.

Re-fuel and power-up with Palmwich’s own freshly made, vitamin-rich GreenSqueeze fresh juice, a delicious blend of kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, apple and lemon, or one of our house-made Energy Bars, an all-natural balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Choose from Banana Walnut, Cranberry Almond or Peanut Butter Chocolate— or go ahead and try them all! As the weather heats up, cool down with an Organic Frozen Yogurt, with or without all-natural toppings.

We will be offering breakfast and taking online orders soon.

I hope my local friends will stop by and check us out. I promise you will not be disappointed!

For more information, please visit out website

Summer Sandwich for a Saturday or Sunday Afternoon

This could very well be the easiest and best tasting sandwich you have ever had. Think of it as a salad in really great bread. But there are a few things you must do to make this sandwich a success. Otherwise it will be an ordinary sandwich. And that's not what I'm striving for here.

First. You must get yourself to your local farm or farmer's market. They're everywhere this summer - The farmer's markets, that is! You'll find grocery store produce practically inedible once you get your veggies from the farm. This is how our tomatoes and lettuce and cucumbers and all the other deliciousness is supposed to taste!

After you've gotten all the veggies that your heart desires you'll need some really good bread. With the emphasis on really good. I am a bread snob. I make no apologies for this. Many local bakers sell their wonderful breads at farmer's markets. Really, farmer's markets are one stop shopping... you should be able to find everything you need from meat and fish, eggs, cheeses, breads, veggies, soups, and some of the best desserts ever.... But I digress... If you can't get a good bread at your farmer's market, then head to a bakery. But please please please do not go to the grocery store for this unless your grocery store sells local breads... and many of them do.

You'll want a fat, flat crusty bread like a ciabatta or eve a softer focaccia. Cut the bread in half through the middle and lay both halves on your work surface, crust sides down. On one half drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, infused or plain. Now start layering all your veggies... anything and everything you wish! We used mixed lettuces, thinly sliced fresh red tomatoes, thinly sliced fresh cucumbers, crushed and chopped Greek olives, thinly sliced pepadews and fresh mozzarella. We added some more olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper to taste. We placed the other half of the bread on top of the sandwich and pressed it down. You can use something heavy to hold it into place if you wish. When you're ready, cut the sandwich into as many pieces as you'd like. Serves 4-5 large sandwiches or more as mini sandwiches. You can add anything you would like - fresh basil, onions, peppers... The options are endless. Use an infused olive oil or add some pesto to the bread. Swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or a spreadable herb cheese like Boursin.

Go ahead and make this. You'll thank me when you do!



Oh cherry, c'est parfait!

Property of The Entertaining House/Jessica Gordon Ryan

Have you tasted the cherries lately? They are unbelievable! Sweet, like nature's candy. They're loaded with fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. 1 cup, without pits, has only 77 calories. Are they not the most perfect sweet, ever?

We simply cannot get enough of them around here.

The bowl of cherries in the picture above didn't last long. We've filled and emptied our bowls since. We're nearing the end of our cherry supply. Today I needed something a little sweet, and a little crunchy. I made some granola that I tossed onto some Greek yogurt along with some of the cherries. It was divine!

Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House

The granola is all made and ready for snacking. I can add dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc) and even a few chocolate easy, healthy snack to satisfy a sweet tooth. But we all love it best on top of yogurt, low fat ice cream and frozen yogurt!

Muddle some cherries in seltzer water, add some cherries to your yogurt, frozen milkshake or smoothie. Cherries, once pitted and halved, freeze beautifully! They're wonderful for baking in muffins and quick breads as well. Freeze some now while they are in season! And when they're all gone, don't forget to add them to your shopping list!

Granola is super easy to make. I make all sorts of variations.
This is a basic recipe that I adapted from Ina Garten.

4 cups oats (not quick cook)
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 almond meal - If you want almond slivers or slices add 1 cup
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/2 cup of good quality honey
1/3 cup of canola oil

Mix ingredients in a large bowl using a rubber spatula so that you can keep scraping down the sides of the bowl. When all the ingredients are combined spread onto a 9x13 jelly roll or rimmed cookie sheet.

Place in a 350 degree oven and cook, stirring mixture every once in a while, for about 30 minutes until the mixture has turned a lovely golden brown. Note: the honey and coconut may cause parts to get darker, this is just the sugar caramelizing... do not toss this thinking that you've burned it!

Below is the granola while it is being made, and just prior to going into the oven.

You may want to add Greek yogurt, oats, honey and almost to the list with the cherries on it!