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!