Saturday, March 31, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Just Dandy Smoothie

Boy oh boy do I love me a green smoothie! There is just so much nutrition in kale and dandelion greens for so little calories. I do recommend purchasing dandelion greens in a well stocked market. Rummaging through the back yard can yield greens contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers and microbes unsuitable for consumption.
3/4 cup dandelion greens
1 cup kale
1/2 scoop protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen, fresh, halved strawberries
1 tsp Splenda Blend
3/4 cup water

Put everything in the blender and spin until smooth.

Calories: 218      Total fat: 2g        Sat fat: .1g
Carbs: 42g         Protein: 12.8g     Fiber: 7.1g

When I buy bananas and it starts to look like they may get too ripe faster then the family can eat them, I cut them in half - wrap 'em in plastic and pop them in the freezer. Strawberries on sale? Buy extra, rinse, dry, halve and put them in a ziplock freezer bag. That way I have them whenever I need a smoothie fix. And I'm getting them at the best price. Muy RTB.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Accident Soup

Pretty much what it sounds like. I made a bonehead mistake and was too cheap to throw away the ingredients.

My hubby, Monsterfink, gave me the bestest anniversary gift ever - a three compartment crock pot !  Knew what I wanted in the first two sections but decided to wing it on the third. I had never used kasha before but had some in the pantry so I threw it into the third section with chicken broth and a handful of legumes I had laying around.

Then I set the crock pots on low ... and went to bed.

Never having made kasha and not bothering to look it up, I didn't know it was a relatively quick cooking grain. Early the next morning when I pulled the finished product from the pots, the kasha was an overcooked and mushy mess.

If a veggie gets overcooked, I puree it and make soup so I busted out the immersion blender. Added enough almond milk to make it soup, then seasoned it Moroccan (thank you Google!) and it still needed something to offset the heat of the cayenne. Added a few teaspoons of sugar and nom, nom, NOM!

Serves 2

1 1/2 cups overcooked kasha
1 cup cooked lentils
3 cups almond milk, original
Moroccan seasoning to taste
Kosher salt to tast
4 tsp sugar
chopped parsley for garnish

Put the kasha and lentils in a medium saucepan and add half the almond milk. Puree together with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Then whisk in enough of the remaining almond milk until it is the consistency of cream soup. Turn the burner on low and heat the mixture until hot but not boiling. Start whisking in the Moroccan seasoning and salt. Taste, reseason, whisk and taste again until it is to your liking. Then whisk in the sugar. Ladle the soup into 2 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.

Per serving:
Calories: 354       Total fat: 4.9g       Carbs: 59.8g       Protein: 15.2g       Fiber: 13.3g


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Brapple Berry Smoothie

As my exploration into the world of green smoothies continues, I find that you can blenderize just about any veggie. The leafy greens go right in raw but the more hearty varieties like carrots need to be steamed first and cooled. I usually cook off a whole pot and toss it in the fridge. That way it's ready to go side dishes as well as smoothie fodder whenever I need it.

The local supermarket had a great sale on broccoli so, of course, I had to put it in a smoothie. And I'm not a snobby I-only-eat-the-florets-foodie cause the whole bunch costs less then just buying the tops. Plus, the stems have their own benefits like fiber and minerals. This one didn't exactly turn green but it does have enough of the green stuff in it to count.

1 C broccoli, steamed and cooled
1 C strawberries, sliced
1 apple - whole, red variety, cored
1/2 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp Splenda blend
3-4 ice cubes

Toss everything but the ice in the blender and spin till smooth. Add ice and spin again. This is a pretty thick smoothie - do yourself a favor and get the extry big smoothie straws. If it's a little too thick to blend easily, add 1/4 cup of water and it'll smooth itself out. The strawberries can be tossed in fresh but the berry flavor is much stronger if you freeze them first - I rinsed, dried and halved mine before freezing so they'd be ready to go. The first batch when the strawberries weren't frozen had a faint broccoli flavor, not unpleasant, but not something you could sneak past a non green eater. The second batch with the frozen strawberries was muy yummy and there was no broccoli flavor at all.

Calories: 276
Total fat: 1.8g
Carbs: 52g
Protein: 13.5g
Fiber: 11.5g


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Go Naked!

A miracle has happened. My junk food loving family is eating something good for them. Something I can eat even when I'm not having a cheat meal.

There's less than 2 dozen locations and we're lucky enough to have one in our town. The crust is a mix of 10 grains and seeds - cheese is part skim and toppings are hormone & antibiotic free. And it tastes good! It's not just my foodie nutball self who thinks so, my picky 6 year old and meat lovin' hubby like it too. It's not exactly the same flavor as the local pizzerias, more like an artisan crust in a trendy high end place. But affordable.

The whole ad campaign of "Go Naked" is a lot of fun too. They have it on T shirts and those rubber bracelets. Of course, my daughter was delighted they were giving the bracelets away for free so she has several different colored pieces of rubber that say "go naked". Can't wait for that call home from school.

Anyway, if a Naked Pizza opens near you, give 'em a try. It's nice to see a reinvention of a standard and if we foodies don't support innovative concepts like this, all we'll be left with is more hockey puck fast food burgers. {shudder}

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My new favorite toy!

I love this salt and pepper grinder from Crate & Barrel! It's so rare I find something that is exactly what I want it to be. I knew I wanted a device that not only ground peppercorns but salt too. It had to be electric so it could be used one handed with the "clean" hand while cooking. Adjustable grind size and and easy to refill would be great bonuses.

This little baby delivers every on every one of those details. AND the adjustable grind is a dial, not a click so it adjusts to the exact size needed. I replaced the white sea salt that came in it with Himalyan pink salt from Trader Joes. Oh, the way the pink salt tastes on popcorn...

I had been looking for a grinder like this for a while and didn't notice it on the top shelf of the kitchen gadgety section of the store. I'm 5'4 and top shelves thwart me on a regular basis. But my hubby at 6' has no such issues and is an all too willing lackey in my foodventures.

The black part is rubbery so it's non slip and all I have to do it push the silver tab on top one way for salt and the other way for pepper. It's like I've died and gone to a perfectly seasoned heaven.


Monday, March 19, 2012

The Crack Heard Round the World

On Saturday, March 10th Whole Foods had it's parmigiano reggiano wheel cracking event!

Because of my food geekery, I arrived early to be right up front. Understand that I acted as if this was a celebrity showing up at a local food store. Some of the other shoppers were a little unsure of the strange blonde snapping pics with her iPhone like it was a Hollywood event. 

There was a wonderful store employee giving out samples  of this king of cheese. And an even more wonderful employee with samples of pargiano reggiano crisps! I almost hugged her when she offered me one.

Instead of a long winded narrative about what I saw,
 enjoy the pics and click the video link at the end to see it for yourself!

Wheels are about 100 lbs. each

Official stamp is the only way to be sure it's the real deal

Words cannot describe.....think I'm gonna faint!

Just when I think I have the strangest job, I see this and feel better

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mortadella Pate with Grilled Bread

I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more cookbooks. The poor Rubbermaid thingie that houses them in my walk in closet is all but collapsing and there is just nowhere else to put them. Plus, I tend to cherry pick what recipes to make out of cookbooks; only doing those I know I can pull off really well.

That being said, Chef Anne Burrell has a cookbook. She seems real, like when the judges on Next Food Network Star complimented her dish, her response was "yay!". But anyone who has seen her cook knows that under the friendly persona and colloquial vernacular is a tough as nails chef who gets the job done.

I wonder sometimes if my own high energy personality and penchant for announcing "awesome!" when things go well makes me something I shouldn't be professionally. But when I watch Chef Anne, I see alot of myself. Only with funkier hair...and waaaaaay meaner cooking skills. And so, I had to get her cookbook. But I decided to join the 21st century and got it for my IPad Kindle app. No cookbook to store - life is good.

Looking through it, I realized I was starting to cherry pick again and decided to push myself out of my comfort zone. At the risk of being a little too Julie and Julia, I decided to make every recipe in the book.

Let's see, what's the first recipe...Mortadella Pate, which Chef Anne describes as a bologna cloud.

I HATE bologna.

But I made it anyway and it was good - I'll definitely make it again for a catering or dinner party. The grilled bread though...was...just...divine! There was no recipe, it was just pictured with the pate. Hubby picked up a good bread at the store, it was rubbed with a garlic clove - brushed with olive oil - toasted on a really hot grill plate and crunchy heaven was born! It looks rustic and fancy at the same time and will go with any schmear. Think I'll go make some more now...


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Hot Pink Health Smoothie

Leafy greens like kale and collards are the hands down kings of nutrition with Andi scores of 1000. But we're gonna ease into this whole leafy-green-in-the-smoothie-thing nice and easy like, since my family and most of my coworkers recoil in horror at the color of my smoothies with the deep dark leafy ones.

Cabbage has a score of around 405. Not quite the powerhouse the others are but still a workhorse nutritionally. And it doesn't change the color (or taste) of the smoothy for those a little squeamish about the green.

The recipe on today's post is my version of this cabbage smoothie recipe. I only modified it because I didn't have the raspberries onhand and I like to eat some protein with each of my meals. That's what great about smoothies, unlike other things in life, they are infinitely adjustable.

2 C cabbage
1/2 large fresh banana, frozen
1/2 C strawberries, frozen, fresh
1/3 C cherries, whole frozen
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 1/2 tsp Splenda Blend
3/4 C water
3 or 4 ice cubes

Put it all in the blender (except the ice) and, well, blend. I had to turn off the blender, push the food down toward the blade with the back of a wooden spoon and turn it back on to get everything liquified. When it's all smooth, toss in the ice and let 'er rip until it's a smooth, frosty-pink treat.

Calories: 268
Total fat: 1.2g
Sat fat: 0.2g
Polyunsat fat: 0.3g
Monounsat fat: 0.1g
Carbs: 46g
Protein: 20g
Fiber: 8g


Friday, March 16, 2012


I can't begin to explain how much I love popcorn. It doesn't matter if I'm hungry or not, if there is popcorn around I will cram it in my gob until it is gone.

But popcorn's a whole grain, so it's all good, right?

Well, yeah. But we gotta go a little easy on the butter and air popping is way less costly calorie wise than oil popping. Which means we can spend more calories on cramming popcorn in the mouth!

One of my favorite ways to eat it is Crab Popcorn.

Air pop your favorite popcorn - I get mine from an Amish store here.

Spray popcorn with butter flavored Pam

Shake on as much Old Bay as you can handle

Try not to make more than you should eat - it's crazy good.

Per cup:
Calories: 40
Total fat: 0.8g
Sat fat: 0g
Carbs: 6.2g
Protein: 1g
Fiber: 1.2g


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Cake

This was the rush jobs to end all rush jobs. I was having some family over for an early dinner and wasn't going to do a big dessert thing. All the prep for dinner was done the day before so throwing together the meal was going to be really easy. Meaning I had time to think about not doing a dessert thing before they got here.

And, suddenly...


So. ummmm. WHAT do I have in the house!? Cocoa! Yes! Everyone loves chocolate. And, uhhhhh, foil wrapped chocolate coins? (why do I have these ?) And the makings for frosting in the cupboard because I'm in the middle of taking the Wilton course at Michaels.

Cake! I'll made chocolate cake but instead of a cup of boiling water, it'll be a cup of coffee to make it extry chocolately (for culinary reasons, NOT because I had old coffee sitting in the pot from breakfast). And buttercream icing but...plain buttercream is going to be BORing with such a chocolately cake. 

**looking around the kitchen wildly and spotting a box of Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies** Got it!! Tint the frosting green and flavor it with mint and the whole darn cake will taste like a giant Girl Scout cookie. Niiiiice.

Cake takes just a wee bit of time to cool and I ended up with half an hour to frost, write on it and decorate (yes, unwrapping chocolate coins and sticking them on a cake counts as decorating as long as Cake Wrecks doesn't find out).

I wish it looked more finished. But the great thing about any relative older than me is that they beam with happiness and talk with pride about anything I do the way they did when I was 5. And I love it. Not even gonna try to deny it. And the cake did end up tasting like a big Thin Mint, so we all had seconds.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Groovie Smoothie

It's started innocently enough. A way to help get in my 5 servings of fruits & veggies a day that tasted good and was quick to make (and consume). Portable even, for the on the go gal that I am.

But, it's become so much more.

The smoothies have taken over...can't stop imagining different combinations or looking for recipes to include whatever produce is on sale this week. I've been drinking them almost every day for a week and today I had 2!

But smoothies don't have to be evil calorie filled nightmares made with unfoods like "smoothie mix". They can be groovy harbingers of nutritious love, man. Take the one I had for breakfast - 4 servings of fruits & veggies, live yogurt cultures, protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals galore. Healthy also doesn't mean tasteless and boring...

Smoothies can be bright:
orange, peach, ginger
or decadent:
chocolate, peanut butter, banana
or sexy:
hot pink berry
or adventurously nutritious:
blueberries, collards, ginger
Whatever you like, whatever you have on hand - you can make a smoothie out of it. Oh, and I plan on it! Stay tuned for Smoothie Saturdays - a different smoothie recipe every week. Until I get this eating jag out of my system or my family pries the blender out of my hands. Whichever comes first.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grains & Greens Soup

This recipe is of the I-gotta-lotta-leftovers to use variety. It went from rummaging through the fridge to bowl on the table in 15 minutes.

1 1/2 quarts hot broth (I used turkey)
4 cups chopped rainbow kale
2 cups chopped dandelion greens
1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley
1 cup cooked Kashi 7 grain pilaf
1 seasoned, cooked and diced 96% fat free turkey burger

Heat up the broth in a large pot and add the greens including the parsley. Simmer uncovered until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Add Kashi and turkey burger and simmer until ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 entree sized servings.


              Per Serving:

             Calories: 370
             Total Fat: 7.6g
             Sat Fat: .8g
             Carbs: 50.8g
             Protein: 26.5g
             Fiber: 9.9g


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Play with Your Food !

Food is fun, it's life itself. And life should be lived in color! And texture...and above all, life should be tasty.

Of course, what one considers beautiful and succulent causes the person next to them to make the ewface and stare in shocked disbelief. Not that this has EVER happened to me...especially not during an avocado eating jag that resulted in ice cream. (See, now you just made the ewface!)

But for every avocado ice cream or collard green smoothie there are apple cobbler a la mode cupcakes and home made soup. I love jumping in the car for a foodie excursion to break up my routine. And it's amazing what can be done with what's on sale at the local supermarket, farmer's market, micro dairy, farm or specialty store. (Gotta fund the foodie fun somehow and saving $ on groceries goes a long way.)


Trying new things is what makes life worthwhile and it's about time I tried something new that didn't involve food. Something I have enjoyed from others for years but have been just too chicken (mmmm chicken) to try before now: blogging !

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...