Friday, June 28, 2013

Things That I Know

1.  Today is my 5 year wedding anniversary! It really wasn't that difficult to reach this point considering I married my soul mate.  I thank the heavens daily that I met him. No, I'm not making him dinner.  I'm exhausted!  We are going out tonight for the first time since wee babe joined us 9 months ago.  I know, I know.  But she's sooo sweet it's difficult to tear ourselves away.  Here's to 70 more years (FYI: that would make my hubby 110- totally reachable with the help of vegetables)!

2.  Today is also my fantastic sister's birthday (ok, sister-in-law but we're closer than that).  Yes, we she shared her birthday with us AND did most of my wedding decorating and organizing.  That's just a peak at how wonderful she is.  Happy Birthday Sister!

3. I'm doing this tomorrow.  And I haven't started training yet.  Am I injury bound? Most likely.  The best part about this is I signed up last week, two glasses of wine into a fantastic girl's night, and I signed up on my iPhone.  Poor planning? Yes, that's the name of the game.  I was told that I would need to use these during this endeavor   But I can't do it.  Texture overload.  So I'm using these instead.  I will let you know how she goes.  Hopefully not from my hospital bed.

4.  My husband is not an egg fan.  Weirdo.  But he saw this recipe and asked me to make it. Can't wait!

5.  This looks and sounds divine!  Thanks Julia. 

6.  It's my birthday in two weeks.  Yes, I am a Cancer.  Forever and ever amen.  Which means that my birthday month begins  next week.  Plenty of time for you to buy me these or if you really love me, these.  Oh yes I would wear them.  Even with sweatpants.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

80--- Grilled Beet & Onion Salad

One delicious salad, two ways.  One fancy, one easy.  You choose.  Either way you have loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Grilled Beet & Onion Salad
Serves 2

2 medium beets, washed, stemmed and sliced into 1/4" slices
1 small yellow onion, sliced into 1/4" slices
Olive oil spray
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or chiffonade)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to a syrup*
1 oz crumbled feta cheese

Heat grill to medium.

Spray beet and onion slices with olive oil spray on each side.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place slices on grill.  Cook for ~ 15 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking (note: onion may cook more quickly then beets- remove when done).

For serving:
1) Stack beet slices alternately with onion slices.  Garnish with basil and feta, then drizzle plate with balsamic reduction.
2)  Toss together beets and grilled onions, top with feta and basil, drizzle with balsamic reduction.

*For balsamic reduction, heat vinegar in a small saucepan to a low boil.  Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir for ~ 7 minutes, or until liquid is thickened.  Remove from heat and allow to set (note: liquid will thicken more when removed from heat so don't wait until it is syrupy to do so).

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 139 calories, 5 g fat, 4 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber

Monday, June 24, 2013

20(ish)--- Vanilla Bean Yogurt Mousse

Making a traditional mousse is a bit of a pain in the rear.

And in this stage of my life (working mommyhood with a baby who's not a fan of sleep) I'm not down with extra kitchen frustration.

This is a bit lighter in texture than your traditional mousse.  I would place it halfway in between eating yogurt and whipped cream.  Well that doesn't sound half bad now, does it?

Vanilla Bean Yogurt Mousse
Serves 8

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups low fat plain yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 vanilla beans

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Scrape the insides of the vanilla beans and add to the sugar mixture, along with the bean.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to set for 30 minutes.  Remove bean pods, then transfer to a covered container and place in refrigerator until chilled.

After sugar mixture has chilled, whisk in yogurt.

In a chilled metal bowl, whip cream (with chilled beaters) until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in yogurt mixture.

Serve immediately!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

80--- Spicy Thai Cucumber Gazpacho

I love Thai food.  And there's something about Thai spice that doesn't kill me like Mexican spice.  Why is that?  

A cold cucumber gazpacho with a spicy Thai kick.  Sounds like summer to me!

Spicy Thai Cucumber Gazpacho
Serves 4

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
1/2 fresh habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth, chilled
1 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce

Combine cucumbers, green onions, garlic, and habanero in a food processor.  Chop until a puree is formed.  With food processor running, slowly add remaining ingredients.  Mix until combined.

Place mixture in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

*This is a lovely side dish to some grilled shrimp or a curry dish!

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 62 calories, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

80--- Kamut Fruit Salad

Let's talk about kiwis for a moment.  Why don't people eat the skin? Because it's fuzzy?  A while ago I determined that I would eat quite a few more kiwi fruits if I didn't have to peel them.  So I ate the skin.  And guess what? It's not that bad.  Leave the skin on in this fruit salad for a trial.  You won't even notice it!  One serving of kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange! And by eating the skin you get TRIPLE the fiber and EXTRA vitamin C.  How 'bout them odds?

Kamut is a wonderful, chewy, high protein whole grain.  Lots of fiber, straight from the earth, etc., so on, so forth.  It's such a lovely addition to a fruit salad!  You can find it in bulk at your local grocery or health food store.

Kamut Fruit Salad
Serves 6-8

1 cup dry kamut
3 cups water
2/3 cup fresh cherries, halved and pitted
2 ripe mangoes, diced (check out this link for instructions)
3 kiwi fruits, stemmed, and cubed
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 Tbsp fresh spearmint leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place kamut in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water.  Place covered in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to cook, place saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed and kamut is chewy.  Remove from heat and place into a large bowl.

Combine honey, lime juice and vanilla in a small bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds or until warm.  Drizzle over kamut, toss to coat.  Place kamut in refrigerator for one hour.

Prior to serving, add in fruit and mint.  Toss to combine.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 201 calories, 1 g fat, 5 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber

Monday, June 17, 2013

80--- Avocado Egg Salad

Using avocado in place of the mayo in egg salad.  It's been done before.  And it's really not that complicated.  Healthy fats, improved taste, what's not to love?

But I have a great little trick that goes with it, passed down from my grandmother.

Do you hate hard-boiling/peeling eggs? It's the guessing game, right? Is it done? Is it overcooked?  Yes, I know, there are tips and tricks out the wazoo (look up hard-boiled egg on Pinterest).  But it's still sort of a shot in the dark, right?  And then, and then, you have to peel them.  Ugh.

Well fret no more.  If you need chopped hard-boiled eggs for a recipe, you are not going to actually hard-boil them.  You are going to poach them in a poached egg pan.  Like in this one on Amazon.  

No mess, no fuss.

You're welcome.

Avocado Egg Salad
Serves 2

1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
3 "hard-boiled" eggs, chopped
3 Tbsp chopped white onion
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve immediately on crackers or toasted bread (bagel halves).

Nutrition Info per ~ 3/4 cup: 195 calories, 14 g fat, 10 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates

Friday, June 14, 2013

80--- Mojito Water

This one's for all you nursing mothers out there who really need a drink.

And this one's for all my patients out there who say that they don't like to drink water because it doesn't taste like anything.

And it's for everyone else who love mojitos but knows that for optimum health alcohol consumption should be in moderation. 

Mojito Water
Serves 4

1 liter (or quart) filtered water
1/2 large lime, sliced
~12 spearmint leaves

Place leaves in the bottom of a large glass jar.  Use a muddler or large spoon to muddle leaves.  Squeeze in lime juice, then add in remaining wedges.  Pour in water and place jar in refrigerator for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Enjoy cold with or without ice.

Nutrition Info per 1 glass: no calories, fat, protein, very minimal carb, no bad for you things (take THAT diet soda)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Things That I Know

1. Does anyone else get a big package of Restoration Hardware catalogs in the mail twice a year?  Seeing them in my mailbox makes part of me cringe... all those trees!!  But the rest of me smiles.  They have truly fantastic finds.  Like these.  I might need them.  

2.  This recipe made me a bit giddy. Come on over. And bring some wine.

3.  I've been on Pinterest again!How can we make this dream a reality?  WELL.  1) Move to a locale where the weather is nice enough for an outdoor shower for AT LEAST 7 months out of the year.  2) Live on the beach so I have a REASON to need an outdoor shower.  Easy enough, easy ENOUGH.

4.  Looking for a workout shake up? I did this and this last month.  And I do believe that I am seeing some results.  Next up: this and this and this.  Join me if ya dare.

5.  Anyone else habitually go onto Petfinder and look at dogs when they OBVIOUSLY don't need another dog?  Well I do.  Someone needs to go get this one.  And bring him to me.  PLEASE.

6.  Why yes, I DO have a thing for peanut sauce.  Especially when it's combined like this.  Must. Make. This. Soon.

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

Sunday, June 9, 2013

80--- Grilled Mexican Stuffed Peppers

I do realize that I make a lot of Mexican food.

It's easy.

It's brainless vegetarian cuisine (ala beans).

It's goooood.

The trick of this recipe is to NOT eat all of  the pepper  filling before grilling.  Best of luck to ya.

Grilled Mexican Stuffed Peppers
Serves 6

3 red bell peppers, halved, stemmed and seeded
Olive oil spray
Salt & ground black pepper

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz queso fresco, crumbled
3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, chopped

3 Tbsp ketchup (don't judge me)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash black pepper

Mix together all dressing ingredients and set aside.

Combine all filling ingredients, then fold in dressing ingredients. 

Heat a grill to medium heat.  Spray the outsides of peppers with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper.  Spoon filling mixture into each pepper, filling all void spaces.

Place peppers over direct heat on the grill and cook for ~10 minutes, until outsides are lightly charred.  Move peppers into indirect heat and cook for additional 10 minutes, until filling is warm.

Enjoy immediately.

Nutrition Info per filled pepper half: 223 calories, 10 g fat, 9.5 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fiber

Friday, June 7, 2013

80--- Gnocchi Nudo with Roasted Kale

Nudo.  Italian for 'nude'.

The gnocchi isn't actually nude.  But it appears that way from the light sprinkling of Parmesan and olive oil.  That light sprinkling is all that it needs to bring it to life.

And the kale?  Oh the kale adds more years to YOUR life.

The combination?  Heavenly.

Gnocchi Nudo with Roasted Kale
Serves 4

16 oz gnocchi (I like the mini gnocchi from Gia Russa.  Someday I will make my own.  Not today.)
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Dash ground black pepper
2 oz grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (I toast mine in a nonstick skillet)

1 head leafy kale, stemmed and chopped
Olive oil spray
1/2 tsp salt
Dash fresh ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

For the kale: preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet liberally with olive oil spray.  Lay chopped kale and garlic onto the baking sheet, then spray with olive oil spray.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through to prevent kale from burning.  Remove from oven when kale is crisp, but not brown.

For gnocchi: cook per package instructions, typically boiling for 2-3 minutes until they float.  Drain and rinse.

Place gnocchi in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.

To serve: scoop ~2/3 cup gnocchi onto a plate and top with roasted kale and 1 Tbsp pine nuts.  Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.  Enjoy.

Nutrition Info per 1 serving: 315 calories, 13 g fat, 12 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

20--- Rice Pudding Pops

I do love rice pudding.  But it's sort of a cold weather dish.  This makes it an all season dessert!

Rice Pudding Pops
Makes 6 in a standard popsicle mold

1 cup 2% milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup water, divided
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup short grain rice (sushi rice)
1/4 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring milk, cream, 1/2 cup water, scrapping from vanilla bean, and ground cinnamon to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover and allow to soak for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, soak rice in remaining 1/2 cup water.

Drain water from rice and add rice to milk mixture.  Stir in raisins, then return mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is softened.  Stir once during cooking to ensure rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Whisk in sugar, remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for ~ 5 minutes.  Divide mixture evenly among popsicle molds.  *I spooned in the rice and raisins, then poured in the liquid.  Use a long spoon or knife to evenly distribute rice and raisins in each mold.

Freeze for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Sunday, June 2, 2013

80--- Applesauce Granola with Quinoa

When it comes to granola there are two types of people in this world.

Those who think that granola is a hippie health food.

And those who think that it is too high in fat to really be part of the every day menu.

Truth be told, granola can be a health food.  It is laden with grains, nuts, and often fruits which are full of fiber, plant protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

However, it can also be laden with fat from the oil and/or butter used in it's preparation.

This granola has applesauce used in place of much the fat that would typically be added.  Keep in mind that SOME fat is still a balanced part of your diet- it's satisfying and the right kinds of fat (unsaturated) have many health benefits!

Applesauce Granola with Quinoa
Makes ~ 4 cups

1 1/2 cups quick cooking steel cut oats (Bob's Red Mill makes a variety)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa (any variety- I used a sprouted mixture)
3/4 cup chopped raw almonds
2 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp flaxmeal
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix together oats, quinoa, almonds, chia seeds, flaxmeal, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a smaller microwave-safe bowl, whisk together applesauce, honey, maple syrup, and oil.  Microwave for ~ 1 minute, until heated through.

Stir warm wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well coated.

Spoon mixture onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for ~45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure that the mixture at the edges of the sheet do not become overly brown.

Remove mixture from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

Serve with your favorite type of milk or spooned over Greek yogurt with fruit.

Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup: 309 calories, 12 g fat (11 g unsaturated), 8 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber