FRESH Finds for Spring


By Alisa Murray –

Spring is here, and I have more fabulous finds for you to make and enjoy! Fresh from my garden, I have made my lovely Chicken Soup that goes great with sandwiches, scones or even a salad.

Right now, the tomatoes are amazing in the garden, as are the greens. And now is also the time to replant and prepare your garden for herb growing that will last throughout the entire summer. Many of our herbs are hearty and can live through even the coldest of our months, but often I will replace the basil and parsley as they need a fresh planting for the best plant growth.

The salads we make this time of the year should be light and filled with good things for our bodies, such as fresh vegetables and nuts. You’ll have fun making my Spring Pea and Couscous Salad – even if you opt to leave off the ham and add in some fruit!

Our skin is begging for moisture as we enter out of the winter climates and back towards days more sunny and warm. To help with all of the changes, I have created an Amazing Anti-Aging Eye Mask and a Grapefruit Sugar Scrub. Enjoy!


Alisa’s Amazing Anti-Aging Eye Mask

Vitamin E oil and egg whites are the key ingredients in this eye mask. Both are staples in many over-the-counter products to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is so easy to make your own using the same basic ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 Egg Whites, whipped
  • 1 Capsule of Vitamin E Oil

Blend the oil into the egg whites, and then using a makeup brush, gently place under the eyes and on the forehead where you see wrinkles. After about the amount of time it takes to enjoy a cup of tea, rinse that baby off and voilà!


Alisa’s Pinky Grapefruit Sugar Scrub

You can brighten up your face complexion by using a rejuvenating scrub. I love to try new ones each spring, and I make them up and keep them in the refrigerator. They usually keep for a week, so you can use more than once, or use on all of the rough parts that have been covered up over the cooler months. They are so easy to make and so affordable that it seems silly spending lots of money on store bought when you can easily make them yourself! One of my favorites is my Pinky Grapefruit Sugar Scrub.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients together, and then place in a glass jar for keeping. Use in the tub, all over your face and on any rough spots and rinse. The juice will act as an astringent, and the oil will soften as the sugar pulls off all of the drab, dry skin leaving you just glowing!


Alisa’s Fresh Caldo de Pollo Soup

I can think of no better time of the year to whip up a bowl of soup brimming with fresh veggies than in the spring. When paired with homemade crackers or an applewood bacon cheese melt, it is filling and healthy.  When Brian and I were first married,  all he liked was white meat, but over the years, he has changed to also like darker meat, and this soup is so much richer when
using both.

Ingredients

  • 7-8 Chicken Thighs, skinned
  • 6 Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • 2 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Diced Zucchini
  • 1 Diced Yellow Squash
  • 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Jars Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Handfuls of Cilantro

Place the chicken and spices with a dollop of olive oil in a pan and cook.

Remove the chicken from the pan and cool. While cooling, place all other ingredients in the same pan – you don’t want to lose that yummy stuff on the bottom – and let them start to cook. When the veggies are a little soft, pour the vegetable stock into them and another jar filled with water. Dice the chicken, and then add it in and toss a handful of cilantro. Simmer until chicken and veggies are done. Spoon into bowls and top with more cilantro and cheese if desired. Yum!


Spring Pea and Prosciutto Salad

My Spring Pea and Proscuitto Salad is a light salad that is perfect with a bowl of Tomato Basil Soup. Sometimes I leave off the ham, while other times I add red pepper flakes to make it more spicy. This is such a basic dish that it can be manipulated based on what you have fresh in the house. For example, you can add almonds, mandarin oranges and cranberries to change it entirely to something sweet.

Ingredients

  • ½ Cup Uncooked Couscous (not pearl couscous)
  • ½ Cup Water or Chicken Broth
  • 16 Ounces Frozen Peas (about 3 cups)
  • ½ Cup Chopped Parsley
  • ½ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ Cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans

In a medium saucepan, bring the liquid to boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the couscous, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While the couscous is cooking, heat a large pot of water to boil. In a medium bowl, create an ice bath with lots of ice
and water; set aside. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water and let blanch for one to two minutes or until the peas turn bright green and are warmed all the way through. Drain in a colander, and immediately drop the peas into the ice water bath so they stop cooking. Drain from ice water before adding to salad.

In a serving bowl, combine the fluffed couscous, peas, parsley and feta.