Saturday, January 10, 2009

Walking on Sunshine - Moroccan Orange Salad!

What are your thoughts about the food pyramid? You know what I’m referring to; that triangle shaped guide instructing us to eat X many veggies and X much protein, etc. per day. There are other guides, too. How about the one that is a divided plate indicating how much of your plate should be consumed by this or that food group? The divided plate one actually makes sense to me, and I subconsciously call upon it when I am serving my family.

One thing that I’m kind of, um, neurotic about is that my kids eat fresh fruit every day. Do you have any, shall we say, issues like that? Years ago, I told my hubbyman that the kids will snack on whatever is most conveniently available. If junk food is out, I contended, it would get eaten ... not because it was desired, but rather because it was easy to get. I didn't even want to start my snackers on that path, so began my quest for easy, accessible fruit. During the drizzly winter months, we rely heavily upon apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges. Come summer, our bounty explodes with bulging bowls of berries in all colors and varieties, and we experience magnificent melon mania until Fall. We eat 99.9% of all the fruit raw, and fresh fruit definitely has a foothold in making appearances at meal time, too. Oh we have the occasional potato chip and I, myself, have been known to crunch on a Frito, but for the most part, we want fruit.

It could have gone the other way, for me at least. When I was a kid growing up in Indiana, our annual school fundraiser was to sell ...wait for it, wait for it ... are you ready .... we had to sell crates of oranges and grapefruits. Good Lord, whose idea was that? Out of all the fundraisers on the planet, why oh why did they choose that? Yep, while other schools were out selling wrapping paper or popcorn or whatever, my school insisted on selling cases of oranges and grapefruits. (Okay, stop laughing.) The crates would be delivered in the throes of winter, supposedly bringing a bit of sunshine to all the folks trudging around in 3 feet of snow. Uh, yeah. Right. (Okay, you can join me in a major eye roll here.) I DREADED this every year. First off, I was such a shy little sprite, the thought of going around selling stuff was just wwwaaayyy outside the box for my little introverted persona. Then there was also the fact that those crates were unbelievably heavy and there was no way my little elf self would be able to lug those things around especially with 3 feet of snow. Thankfully for me, my parents never pushed me into childhood sales, and so I was spared having to hit the street and sell, sell, sell. Also, thankfully, my love of citrus was not deterred by the annual trama selling fest.

Despite all of that, now that I live in an area where I don’t feel sunshine on my face for extended periods, I find myself wanting some citrus sunshine during the winter. Popping a juicy orange segment into my mouth does bring a smile to my face, and perks me up. Today’s salad is a perfect example. Moroccan Orange Salad is very lovely and delightfully refreshing. The photos just don’t do it justice. It’s warm sunny orange color really perks up the plate, and it pairs perfectly with the heavier foods typically consumed during winter. Light and refreshing, bursting with dates, pistachios, and toasted almonds, it is loaded with those friends we hear so much about these days ... anti-oxidants. Give it a try the next time you serve steak, or kebobs, or even roast chicken. Plan your pyramid or plate to have meat, veggies, carbo’s, and Moroccan Fruit Salad. It’s sure to please the grown ups and kids alike.

Here’s all you need:

4-6 seedless oranges
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup dates – chopped
2 T toasted almond slivers
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered sugar, divided

Peel the oranges taking care to remove all of the white pith. I used a knife.Check out the thickness of the pith! What a rip off! I thought I was buying giant oranges; turns out I was just buying pith. Slice the oranges into rounds, and place into a large bowl. Be on the lookout for little fingers and big ones, too, sneaking orange segments as you prepare this. Save all the juice that may have squeezed out during the peeling process. Add in the chopped dates, cinnamon, juice, and ½ of the powdered sugar. Gently toss to combine.You can serve immediately or put in the fridge to serve later. At serving time, sprinkle with the remaining powdered sugar if desired.Try a bite ... Mmmm ... start humming the song “Walking on Sunshine”. Do you like pistachios? I do.Oh yeah, look at all those little sunshine juice cells just waiting to burst out! The combo of cinnamon and orange flavor is amazingly good and very refreshing. The dates and the almonds add great texture as well as lend their yummilicious flavors. And the colors ... wow! This salad would be great all year long. And, like many of the recipes at It’s All Gouda, this is gluten free, all the way, baby!

23 comments:

Marjie said...

I love oranges, too! We have a lot of canned fruit in winter, some with meals, some just for snackage. Lots of snacks hereabouts are homemade bread and such - wait, you're not surprised about that? (sigh) You know me too well.

As for fundraisers, they never had those when I was a kid, and I wouldn't let my kids participate. My attitude was, "I pay out the wazoo for school taxes and private school tuition. You figure out how to operate on what I already pay, without me horning in on the privacy of neighbors."

The local high school here sells oranges and grapefruit for band fundraisers, too. Must be a northern thing.

Tatersmama said...

Mmmmmm, that looks SO good! *slurp*
I love my oranges and when I was a kid, I would eat them over just about anything! Lobster and oranges.. yeah that was me. (although not together and not at the same time...blech)
And pistachios? Man, now I KNOW I'm going to try this recipe!

Jeena said...

Fabulous fruit salad and with all my favourite flavours too. Lately I have been sprinkling cinnamon on everything sweet.

I know what you mean about the fruit thing, I make sure we always have fresh fruit to eat - funnily enough the same kind as you mentioned. :-)

Cheryl said...

I have to admit I dont eat as much fruit as I should. If you would make that for me I would wolf it down!

Tatersmama said...

What gets me is that my daycare parents are asked to provide 2 pieces of FRESH fruit daily, and they come in with those darned fruit leathers!!!
"Oh... but it's made of fruit, so I thought it was okay".
Grrrrrrrrr

Maybe I need to stipulate that it's got to have a STEM on it, to prove that it's grown on a tree or bush.
*sheesh*

noble pig said...

I hate the food pyramid. It's all wrong...too many grains.

The salad looks awesome, love the citrus.

Lisa said...

This sounds so good. I am thinking you could use clementine sections also because they have much thinner skins and pith.

Pam said...

I agree with you. I never buy junk food, if it's not there, you can't eat it! I always have a drawer full of fruit in the fridge.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Paula, I love everything about this! I have all those ingedients, I'm so happy! A nice light desert, thank you!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

beautiful salad, and you know that you can do something with the peel too (as i just learnt from a friend yesterday).

you've given me so many ideas, if only i had the time to make and eat them all...

Grace said...

i think i eat more fruit than anything else--my pyramid is more like deformed rhombus. :)

Cathy said...

My fruit consumption goes way down in the winter when the farmer's market is closed. Not good.

This salad looks wonderful, so fresh and flavorful. And healthy too. Citrus sunshine, I like it!

My grandson's last fundraiser was selling cookie dough. I've got enough in the freezer to last a year.

Aggie said...

I have been craving a citrus salad of some sort...I am totally making this!

I have the same obsession...lucky for me, my kids love fruit and they are starting to snack on veggies too. My 22 month old daughter, no joke, will eat 4 clementines a day....that is in addition to the banana and apple slices she normally eats too. She loves her oranges!!

The Blonde Duck said...

How neat! It's so colorful and pretty!

Bellini Valli said...

This would definitely add some sunshine to my day Paula. What did our kids sell as fundraiser.....pizzas, cookie and muffin doughs.

Pam said...

So light, refreshing and juicy. A wonderful salad Paula.

I always serve fresh fruit with every meal and fresh veggies for lunch and dinner. I also offer them for snacks.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Orangages are up there at the top as far as favorite fruits go. Something about cold weather makes me crave them even more. This looks like an fantastic salad. I might just surprise my mob with this, they would love it.

Our school must have been really bad...lol...we had to sell World's Finest Candy Bars.

Sara said...

This looks really delicious - I've been using dates more often in my cooking, they really add a lot of flavor!

Bridgett said...

Lately I am trying my hardest to slowly change the way my son eats, so I appreciate your quest to constantly incorporate fruit into your eveyday diet. I had a good laugh with the fruit fundraiser as we had to sell candies or something for class trips. I am not sure the fruit would have sold too well!
Your salad looks gorgeous and actually it fits what I have been craving lately.

Jan said...

I have to admit, I love fruit on a hot summer's day, but it seems to lose all its appeal in winter. I am big on fresh veggies though. That said, your fruit salad does look yummy.

Darius T. Williams said...

Look at that salad...looks amazing. And I love oranges. I can eat like three cans of those mandarin oranges in like one sitting...no lie - lol.

RecipeGirl said...

Hey, a salad my kid will eat! Wonderful :)

We eat tons of fruit all year long here in SoCal. We're lucky to have great access to it. My kiddo has always been a fruit muncher and I'm adamant that he eat it every day too. Now veggies are another story!

Gloria said...

Paula I love this salad, so fresh and look nice!! Gloria