Jun 282011
 
There are times when I want to be all fancy and dress up.  I wake up and actually blow dry my hair and maybe even throw in a Velcro roller or two.  Some eye shadow is swiped on and lip gloss abounds.  I walk around until my lunch break feeling very fine about myself. 
Of course, at lunch, when I hop on my Precor 100i (aka the machine of torture) to work out and then hop back off after 40 minutes of hell to hit the showers, all my hard work goes to pot and I look sort of like a drowned rodent the rest of the day. 
Luckily, people at work have stopped questioning me long ago as to what happened at lunch.  Now I get “gym day?”  Yup.  In fact, when I DO look semi-put together in the afternoon I get “Ooooohhhh, not going to the gym today huh?” accompanied by a smirk. 
Hence the days I get up, shower, pull my hair back and throw on some foundation and mascara and call it a day.
This recipe is more akin to the wash and go simplicity but with the fancy taste of the eye shadow/Velcro roller day.  The best of both worlds.
I think I spent about 20 minutes on the entire recipe but the melty, sharp cheese and the salty Canadian bacon topping my juicy chicken breasts definitely screams blow-dryer.

Grilled Chicken and Canadian Bacon with Melted Gouda

Serves 3

Ingredients

3 skinless organic chicken breasts (about 3oz each)
Cooking spray
Sea salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste
3 tsp coarse ground mustard
3 slices Canadian bacon
3 ounces shredded Gouda

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium high.  Spray chicken breasts with cooking spray and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Cook for about 7 minutes, flip and cook an additional 7 minutes or until cooked through.  During the last few minutes on the grill, spray the Canadian bacon with cooking spray and place on grill to heat through. 

2. Spread 1 tsp mustard over each chicken breast, top with 1 slice Canadian bacon and 1 ounce shredded Gouda.  Close grill lid until melted.

Nutrition Facts

3 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 240.7
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 5.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g
Cholesterol 95.1 mg
Sodium 702.9 mg
Potassium 349.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Sugars 0.6 g
Protein 32.5 g


Vitamin A 3.7 %
Vitamin B-12 15.7 %
Vitamin B-6 29.9 %
Vitamin C 1.9 %
Vitamin E 1.8 %
Calcium 21.4 %
Copper 3.2 %
Folate 2.7 %
Iron 5.4 %
Magnesium 9.7 %
Manganese 2.0 %
Niacin 55.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 9.3 %
Phosphorus 39.5 %
Riboflavin 12.9 %
Selenium 38.3 %
Thiamin 17.5 %
Zinc 14.7 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 Posted by at 1:41 pm  Tagged with:
Jun 152011
 
 Before I get into the recipe I want to mention, first, that I am so thankful for each and every comment on my site, and second, even though I use blogger I continue to have problems commenting on other sites with blogger as well as a few others.  Many times I will try and comment anonymously and just put my name and site, or I will try and email you directly, but there are a few sites that I can’t seem to do either since there is no option to comment anonymously or email available.  But please know I am reading as much as possible even if I don’t comment! (Dover, if you read this, this is why I haven’t commented!)

Upside Down Fresh Berry “Cheesecake”

What?  Cheesecake for breakfast?  On this site?  Okay so this isn’t the traditional cheesecake you are thinking of.  Of course you probably knew that.

There is cheese and there is a crust (on top, which is why it is upside down) and there are fresh berries and a creamy-sweet sauce; which is why this is also perfect for dessert.  An additional plus side? NO baking and takes about five minutes to assemble.

The base of this recipe is not cream cheese, but instead, glorious FARMER cheese.  It is gluten and carb free with just the right amount of fat which makes it simply delicious.  The texture is thick and dense but a tad less creamy then a block of cream cheese.
Blending the yogurt, strawberries makes a wonderfully sweet and creamy sauce and when topped with firm, ripe berries no sugar is needed.  I do add a touch of stevia but if you like less sweetness simply leave it out, more add a whole packet.
I love the taste of ground flax which is why it is my “crust”.  It has a slightly nutty flavor and holds together nicely when packed due to the fat content or it can be left crumbly on top of the berries if you prefer.  On top of the taste, there are almost too many health benefits to list aside from lots of fiber; according to Worlds Healthiest Foods  it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid, is great for protecting bone health, controls high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, is an anti inflammatory, protects against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.Taste, protein and health benefits. Did I give enough reasons to love this recipe?

Just because, I looked up the nutrition info on a Cheesecake Factory Strawberry Cheesecake and Ifound the following information on My Fitness Pal. Obviously the sugar content is incorrect so I’m wondering what else might be incorrect but even if it is close, WOW, look at these stats.  733 cals, 32 g fat, 29g Saturated fat, 66g carbs, 0g fiber, 425mg sodium (protein and sugar not provided).  
I continued looking and found something even more disturbing on Livestrong the Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.  For one serving 1,326 Cals, 70g fat, 40g saturated fat, 700mg sodium, 136g carb, 0g fiber (protein and sugar not provided).  Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen.
I think my version is even better because I can enjoy it guilt free!

Upside Down Fresh Berry “Cheesecake”

Gluten and Sugar Free, Low Carbohydrate
Serves 1


Ingredients


1/2 block farmer cheese
1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 packet Stevia (or whole packet if you like sweeter)
3 fresh strawberries
1 Tbsp ground flax
1/3 cup fresh berries


Directions


1. Blend the yogurt, stevia and 3 strawberries in a small blender or magic bullet.  Layer the farm cheese, ground flax, yogurt/stevia mixture, and berries on top.

**Tip:  Mix up a few servings of the strawberry-yogurt sauce at a time and keep it in the fridge.  This will save time in the morning!

Nutrition Facts

 1 Serving
 Amount Per Serving
9.6 net carbs

Calories 292.7
 Total Fat 11.1 g
Saturated Fat 5.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 35.0 mg
Sodium 462.3 mg
Potassium 127.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Sugars 9.8 g
Protein 28.1 g

Vitamin A 8.1 %
Vitamin B-6 1.8 %
Vitamin C 43.4 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 13.0 %
Copper 2.2 %
Folate 2.3 %
Iron 3.2 %
Magnesium 1.4 %
Manganese 11.3 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.6 %
Phosphorus 1.1 %
Riboflavin 2.7 %
Selenium 0.7 %
Thiamin 1.9 %
Zinc 0.6 %


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 Posted by at 1:14 pm
Jun 052011
 
A quick post to say hello!
Tonight is one of those nights that I just didn’t feel like cooking dinner after a fabulous, but very busy, weekend.  Friday night was pizza and a movie night, Saturday I had some much needed girlfriend time; pedicures, dinner, cocktails and dancing.  We had such a great time! And today was errands and catching up on housework. The plan was to make something with some ground beef but instead I threw together some rotisserie chicken, creamy but light farmer cheese, crunchy broccoli and juicy tomato on a bed of fresh spinach. The result was so satisfying that I just had to snap a photo and share.
How was your weekend?
What do you do for dinner on nights you don’t feel like cooking?
Quick Rotisserie Chicken and Broccoli-Spinach Salad
Serves 1
Ingredients
3 cups fresh spinach
2 oz farmer cheese (such as Friendship)
1 cup raw broccoli, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
3/4 cup cubed rotisserie chicken
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Dressing of choice,  I used my favorite balsamic vinaigrette
Directions
1. Layer all ingredients on a salad plate and enjoy!
 Posted by at 9:48 pm  Tagged with:
Jun 022011
 
Up to this point I had never made stuffed cabbage as all the recipes I found were fairly labor intensive.  First there is the chopping of the veggies, then the boiling of the leaves, the cooking of the rice and the searing of the meat; only to then have to be assembled and cooked again. And then what if I didn’t even like it?! 
Sometimes I still wake up in the middle of a night with a cold sweat and the fading memory of one certain kohlrabi gratin that took three days to make and one minute to throw out.  I still feel ill from the WASTE.
In the spirit of keeping it simple I came up with this recipe.  No precooking necessary, can be assembled the night before and is ready when you get home.  I literally threw this thing together at 9pm and I think it took all of ten minutes.  It can’t be messed up!  Don’t worry about the size of the cabbage rolls and how much you fit in there.  If you don’t have any pre-cooked rice simply throw some dry in and add enough water or broth to match package cooking directions.
This came out great.  It is so worth the minimal effort and I’ll definitely be making it again.  Reminiscent of a lasagna with the tomato, mozzarella and ground meat I found it to be nice and hearty.  Next time I may try it with some ground beef.  This was also a great way to get my daughter to eat some veggies.  I simple scooped out her portion and used some rice cheese instead of the mozzarella due to her dairy allergy.
Easiest Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Ever
Serves 8
Ingredients
8 Napa cabbage leaves
1 lb ground turkey (use soy crumbles for meatless)
1 jar pasta sauce
1 onion
1 big zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 clove garlic
Italian Seasoning
1 cup precooked brown rice
8 oz shredded, part-skim mozzarella (sub Daiya cheese here for vegan)
Garlic powder
Directions
1. Roughly chunk the onion, zucchini, squash and garlic and process until finely chopped in food processor; pour into large bowl with turkey, ½ the pasta sauce, and rice, season with Italian seasoning. 
2. Roll a scoop of the turkey mixture into each of the 8 cabbage leaves and place in a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray; spread any leftover turkey mixture over the top and pour the remaining ½ jar of pasta sauce over the top.  Add a bit of water to the jar (about ¼ cup or less), swish around and pour over the top of the cabbage/turkey rolls.  Season with Italian seasoning and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.
3. Top with mozzarella and garlic powder.  Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
8 Serving
Amount Per Serving
Calories 268.5
Total Fat 11.4 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 56.4 mg
Sodium 694.4 mg
Potassium 588.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 20.7 g
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 20.9 g
Vitamin A 23.1 %
Vitamin B-12 3.9 %
Vitamin B-6 11.9 %
Vitamin C 29.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.8 %
Calcium 22.7 %
Copper 9.9 %
Folate 7.9 %
Iron 12.2 %
Magnesium 10.4 %
Manganese 20.1 %
Niacin 8.1 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.8 %
Phosphorus     19.9 %
Riboflavin 9.6 %
Selenium 7.5 %
Thiamin 7.1 %
Zinc 7.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
May 272011
 
I have a secret to share…….
Much to my initial shock, the growing season for most farms here in Florida is actually over the winter.  I quickly found this out when I decided to join a CSA/farm share and was informed that pickups started in November.  Being a northeastern girl by birth I always assumed that it started in spring and ended in fall.  That is when my dad did his gardening after all, and what inspired my love of the earth and fresh foods.  He had raised gardens flanked by trellises for peas.  I always felt as if I were walking into the Secret Garden; cool mornings with dew glistening on leaves, gorgeous blood-red tomatoes, peas that snap when you bite into them, watermelon heavy and bloated with white bellies and sweet juice, blackberries so juicy they stain your hands and face as you pick them and eat them off the bush.

The wonderful thing about Florida is that, not only do we have all these wonderful fruits and veggies down here, there is also the prevalence of southern greens!

They, of course, are grown in the north as well, but greens aren’t ingrained in the traditional northeastern food culture.  I didn’t know what I was missing; collards, kale and mustard.  What a travesty! 

Though the warmer weather offers much variety, it also poses some additional challenges. The summers bring more pests and the intense heat dries the soil and withers the crops. 
Alas, yesterday, as my csa season came to a close and I picked up my very last share of vegetables.  While I was there, I paused to reflect on what I gained through this experience; a sense of community with my fellow members, chatting and sharing recipes at our Thursday pickups and through our farm-to-table potluck. The event was held at the farm; the quiet of the expanse of land filled with vegetables, sounds muffled by the soft ground, broken only by the laughter of children.  We gained a sense of being closer to the earth; getting our hands dirty; pulling our own potatoes and sharing foods that came from the earth and we made with our own hands.
My daughter and I sought out farmers markets and visited other farms, we met the actual farmers and their animals; goats, chickens and cows all roaming free.   

I learned about the growing season; about vegetables I didn’t even know existed and challenged myself with creating recipes, that didn’t just include them, but featured them.  
I learned a fraction of what the small organic farmer endures for the love of whole foods.  In the Florida summer, though the season is ending for me, for the organic farmer the work does not end.  The fields need care and seedlings are planted in preparation for the new growing season.  There are few nights and weekends off and the labor is manual and intense.  I can sympathize that the seductive pull of growing genetically modified crops is strong.  In the short term, more crops can be planted per acre, weeds can be killed by spraying herbicide rather than by hand or by laying out mats, pesticides can be used, farmers can even take a summer vacation.  But at what cost? 
Is it a coincidence that the rise of food allergies has a direct correlation with the emergence of genetically modified products? Do we really know all the repercussions of tampering with nature? I’m not sure if these questions will be answered in my lifetime but what about my daughters?  The only thing I can control now is ensuring I know where my food comes from, developing relationships with the people growing and raising it, and sharing the wonderful, amazing experience with my two year old daughter in the hopes that she will carry it with her through life.

p.s. I must share that there are some farmers that still do grow a few crops in the summer but as a whole, it is just much harder between the heat and the pests. 

To close out my story, I will share a recipe that embodies everything I learned.  My new friend Wendy, also an organic farmer, dropped me off two of these purple heirloom tomatoes at my front door (one of the benefits of knowing and loving your farmers). Sweet, juicy and the best part…purple! I pared it with some organic, grass fed and free range beef and some goat cheese from goats I personally met. 

Purple Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Burgers on Open Faced Portobello with Balsamic
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 lb organic, grass fed beef
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste
3 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp organic ketchup
Canola oil spray
4 Portobello mushrooms
4 thick slices tomato
4 oz fresh goat cheese
2 cups spring mix
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium high.  Mix beef, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard, Worcestershire and mustard in a medium bowl.  Divide into four sections and shape into equal size burgers.  Season mushrooms with salt, pepper and garlic powder; spray both beef and mushrooms with oil.

2. Add burgers and mushrooms to the grill.  Reduce heat to medium; grill 4 to 5 minutes per side.

3. Place each mushroom on a plate, top with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup lettuce, 1 burger, 1 slice tomato and 1 oz goat cheese.  Serve with grilled asparagus.
Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 423.1
Total Fat 30.1 g
Saturated Fat 13.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 11.9 g
Cholesterol 98.1 mg
Sodium 648.8 mg
Potassium 459.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 27.4 g

Vitamin A 27.6 %
Vitamin B-12 45.3 %
Vitamin B-6 20.7 %
Vitamin C 8.7 %
Vitamin D 4.4 %
Vitamin E 3.7 %
Calcium 8.3 %
Copper 20.3 %
Folate 5.4 %
Iron 19.1 %
Magnesium 9.0 %
Manganese 6.6 %
Niacin 31.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.8 %
Phosphorus 26.7 %
Riboflavin 27.0 %
Selenium 37.7 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 32.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
 Posted by at 3:46 pm  Tagged with:
May 182011
 
Spanish Tortilla is simply a potato and egg omelet cooked with olive oil.
 
 
Ever since that spring day at the farm when we celebrated the warmer weather with a farm-to-table potluck, and I had the good fortune of trying a fellow member’s Spanish Tortilla, I have wanted to try my hand at making it myself.
 
Especially since I had pulled two boxes of potatoes out of the ground with my own hands.
 
 
Life started getting in the way and I simply couldn’t find the time until I ran across Megi’s post for a Spanish Tortilla on her blog, Linden Tea.  It looked so mouth watering that I couldn’t wait another minute!
 
Out my box I selected the best of each; Purple, Yukon gold and New potatoes.  There were so many that in the end a full extra pound of potatoes was added to fill out the recipe.  I just couldn’t leave any behind!  This change pleasantly shifted the focus of the dish from a lighter breakfast-egg dish to a more weighty dinner-portion dish centered around the potatoes.
 
 
 
Potatoes get such a bad rap but when they aren’t processed, deep fried in oil and are eaten in moderation, they are actually really healthy!  They are a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.  
 
 
A hint of garlic and some green spinach sounded like it would hit the spot for a complete dinner.  I used a mixture of both fresh and frozen.
 
 What a treat!  Slow cooking the onions and potatoes over low heat adds a subtle carmelized sweetness and the spinach was a nice earthy break in the texture.   

Rustic Spinach-Garlic Spanish Tortilla

Altered from Linden Tea
8 Dinner Portions
(0r 12 Appetizer Portions)
 

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, Purple and New Potatoes)
2 large onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry if frozen), chopped
8 farm fresh eggs, room temperature

Directions

1. Slice the potatoes with a mandolin (Do not peel, skins add a rustic texture and extra fiber!).  Layer in a Dutch oven; seasoning with salt and pepper between the layers. 



2. Slice the onions a bit thinner with the mandolin, layer on top of the potatoes, seasoning as well.  Press garlic cloves and layer on top of onions.  Spread gently and evenly. 



3. Pour olive oil over entire mixture.  Cover and heat over medium heat.  Simmer until onions have reduced and potatoes are soft but not cooked through; about 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Drain excess oil.



4. Preheat oven to 350.  Pour 1/2 onion and potato mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread spinach evenly, season with salt and pepper. Layer second half of onion potato mixture on top.



5. Whisk eggs and pour over slowly and evenly.  Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes until golden and bubbly. 

 

Nutrition Facts  
8 Servings  
Amount Per Serving  
   
Calories 237.2
Total Fat 10.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.5 g
Cholesterol 136.9 mg
Sodium 225.1 mg
Potassium 843.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 1.4 g
Protein 8.6 g
   
Vitamin A 47.5 %
Vitamin B-12 5.9 %
Vitamin B-6 19.7 %
Vitamin C 56.6 %
Vitamin D 7.4 %
Vitamin E 4.6 %
Calcium 7.9 %
Copper 12.8 %
Folate 20.0 %
Iron 12.1 %
Magnesium 13.6 %
Manganese 26.9 %
Niacin 9.0 %
Pantothenic Acid     4.6 %
Phosphorus     18.8 %
Riboflavin 13.2 %
Selenium 2.2 %
Thiamin 9.9 %
Zinc 7.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.  

 
May 042011
 
Day four of my detox has arrived and other than a slight headache yesterday I feel fabulous.  After finding cane sugar in our vegan pea protein powder I typically use for my daughter’s smoothies (and had wanted to add to mine) I am on the lookout for sneaky hidden sugar.  Curses to the salt and sugar that lurk in every corner.  I will be diligent in my search and will leave no box, bag or container unturned to scour the ingredients.  At least there are no ingredients to read when you go buy some kale, oranges and mushrooms.  Mmm….mushrooms.
 
Say I were a tasty grilled Portobello mushroom.  What recipe would I want to be? 
 
Hide me in a bun you say?  NO!  I will BE the bun!  I will show my meaty, moist and flavorful self in all my glory on the outside of the sandwich!  And inside?  I want tart, sweet balsamic vinegar, creamy cashew cheese, fresh basil and tangy sundried tomatoes.
 
And oh what a sandwich I will be!
 
 
Portobello Mushroom, Cashew Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sandwich with Fresh Basil and Drizzled Balsamic
Serves 1
**4 WW Pts Plus
Ingredients

2 Portobello mushrooms
1 oz cashew cheese 
3 un-sulphured sun dried tomatoes
2 leaves fresh basil
Good quality balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
Handful of fresh lettuce
Olive oil spray

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat; spray both sides of portobello with oil, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Grill about six minutes per side.

2. Meanwhile, soak sun dried tomatoes as mushrooms cook, about 12 minutes. Remove from water and chop.

3. Lay grilled portobellos on a plate with top sides down.  Drizzle with balsamic. Layer one side with cashew cheese, sun dried tomatoes, basil and lettuce.  Top with other Portobello.  Enjoy with a fresh salad.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
**4 WW Pts Plus
Amount Per Serving

Calories 139.5
Total Fat 8.7 g
Saturated Fat 5.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 22.4 mg
Sodium 462.7 mg
Potassium 327.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 8.2 g

Copper 16.1 %
Phosphorus 14.8 %
Riboflavin 18.7 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Apr 072011
 
If you follow me on twitter or facebook you may know that I’ve joined up with a fabulous new website called Honest Cooking.
 “Honest Cooking is an international online culinary magazine with the ambition to truly change the face of online food media. We feature over 50 of the world’s most interesting food & beverage writers, bloggers, photographers and Chefs, in a magazine that aims to become the leading and most inspiring place for serious culinary debate, salivating recipes, interesting food news and international food-fun. We want to be smaller, quicker, funnier, smarter and more interesting than all of the current established food websites.”

My focus will be on sustainable eating and will include a recipe as well. I’m so excited to join up with them. Please check them out and here is my first article!
 Cajun Shrimp ‘n Cheesy Quinoa with Swiss Chard
 Every other week I get an email from my CSA/Farm Share of the vegetables available for me to pick up at KYV Farm. A farm share, also called Community Supported Agriculture or CSA, is where you buy a “share” of the expected crop from a local farm in your area as well as a possible variety of other food items such as farm fresh eggs, artisan breads, meats, etc.

In my case, my daughter and I go to the actual farm every other Thursday to select my specified number of veggies separated in bins, visit the chickens and talk to the actual farmers growing the food we eat who we now consider to be friends. Some additional alternatives that may be offered by the farm are to pick up pre-selected boxes of vegetables and food items dropped off at specified places throughout the community that may be more convenient for you than going to the actual farm. Additionally, mine offers events such as Farm-to-Table member pot lucks and you-pick opportunities to pick your own produce.

Last Wednesday’s letter listed Swiss chard and what came to mind was a recipe review of Baked Polenta with Swiss chard and Cheese, focusing on only that particular ingredient.

However, when I was given some shrimp along with my farm share vegetables, it morphed into my very own recipe. With my hands on the fresh ingredients, my train of thought switched from the above labor intensive polenta bake to an easy southern favorite. You’ve heard of shrimp ‘n grits right?

I decided to one-up this staple recipe by making a simple sauté of locally caught shrimp and local organically grown Swiss chard served over a cheesy quinoa rather than grits. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually a seed even though it is commonly called and ancient grain. It is gluten free, has tons of fiber and protein and is a wonderful substitute for any dish calling for rice, couscous, pasta or grits. Even just typing this, my mouth is watering. The quinoa was so creamy and cheesy and the addition of the briny, Cajun spiced shrimp and sautéed Swiss chard completed the whole package.

Let’s talk shrimp.

The best resource I have found to consult when looking for the most sustainable seafood choice is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Website. They even have a handy downloadable pocket guide and a smartphone application. In regards to shrimp in particular they state that shrimp are resistant to being overfished as they grow quickly, have short lives and lots of young.

The best thing is to avoid any imported shrimp and check to see what shrimp is available. Monterey Bay states that in some cases it is better to buy US Farmed in Fully Recirculating Systems or Inland Ponds or Wild-Caught depending on where and the type of shrimp. Check your pocket guide to be sure.

Cajun Shrimp ‘n Cheesy Quinoa with Swiss Chard
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Cajun seasoning, to taste (start with ½ tsp and add from there)
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup sliced green onions
1 lb Swiss chard, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into strips
1 cup quinoa** (truRoots)
2 cups broth or water
¾ cup shredded cheddar, (Organic Valley White Cheddar)
Splash of milk to loosen quinoa if necessary

Directions

1. Heat water or broth, about 1/8 tsp seasoning and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until thickened; about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheddar, add a splash of milk if needed and set aside.

2. Meanwhile heat 1 Tbsp oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom skillet. Season shrimp with ¼ tsp Cajun seasoning, add to pan and cook until shrimp is pink; about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip once add green onions and cook an additional 2 minutes or until cooked through. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.

3. Add Swiss chard and remaining 1/8 tsp seasoning to heated pan and stir. Cover and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add shrimp back to pan and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

4. Top ¼ of the quinoa mixture with ¼ of the shrimp and chard mixture.

**Quinoa cooked to package directions with 1 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup water.

Nutrition Facts

4 Servings


Calories 447.6
Total Fat 14.8 g
Saturated Fat 5.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.3 g
Cholesterol 246.1 mg
Sodium 1,145.8 mg
Potassium 1,150.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 40.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 4.7 g
Protein 38.6 g
Vitamin A 148.8 %

Mar 232011
 
What I love about blogging recipes is the daily challenges and wins.The challenges make the wins so much sweeter. There are days when a recipe I fully expect to come out perfectly is just not that great and other times when a recipe turns out so much better than expected. Those are the days that get a food blogger super excited about posting and sharing. All I can hope for is that one person be inspired to eat healthier or try something new or enjoy one of my recipes. We bloggers are people lovers.

I even dream food and cooking now. It’s better than laying awake at night thinking about global warming or nuclear reactors or tsunamis or, what used to be my big one, dog fighting. (I’m still very angry at Michael Vick and conspirators.) Ok, so granted I do have a few nightmares about Monsanto and pushing their genetically modified garbage on us in the name of “feeding the world” when it’s really about big business and how they can make the most money and hold our government in a vice but at least I feel like I can use my small space of the internet to stand on my soap box about it.

I digress; here is what we had for dinner.

For this one I would love to share what went into each taco and the exact serving size but it’s so hard to judge since my hubby and I both use different size tortillas, like different toppings etc. I very rarely do this any more but I’ll just give you the general idea and leave it to you to be creative.  The only thing I did measure out was the avocado-honey sauce.  A little sweet, a little tart and really creamy.  Enjoy!

Pan Seared Shrimp Taco with

Avocado-Honey Sauce and Fresh Cilantro

 
Ingredients
 
Avocado-Honey Sauce:
1 Avocado
1 Tbsp honey, or to taste
1/3 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 lime, juiced
Water (to thin)

 

1 lb fresh shrimp
Cooking spray
Jerk lime seasoning
Fresh lime
Splash of beer

 

Tortillas
Topping Ideas:
Cilantro
1 tomato, chopped
Shredded, reduced fat Mexican blend cheese
Additional sour cream


Directions


1. Blend the avocado honey sauce ingredients in a small blender. 


2. Season shrimp with jerk lime seasoning and squeeze juice of half lime over.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, spray with cooking spray.  Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes per side or until outside is golden and shrimp is just cooked through.  If needed, add a splash of beer to degalze pan and prevent burning.


3. On each tortilla place shrimp, 2 Tbsp avocado honey sauce and optional toppings desired.

Mar 202011
 
I feel like I’ve been out of it for a few days.  I’ve had a whole mess of stuff going on so I’ll just put it all in one big post.
Thursday
Thursday my daughter and I visited the farm and I got this huge kohlrabi, kale, onions.
Cabbage, spinach and Swiss chard.
Friday

Cooked up a few recipes.

Saturday
Saturday I cleaned out my closet.
Here is the evidence.
 
I did a quick bit of shopping and picked up these cute owl plates.
And attended an AWESOME arm balance workshop with Kathryn Budig.  Aka the naked Toesox yoga girl.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but she turned out to be a very  knowledgeable teacher who was able to convey the mechanics of each pose in a basic and down-to-earth manner.  This is not an easy task.
I had my darn camera but forgot it in the car.  Bummer as we did some really cool poses.
Sunday (Today)
Today was the back bending workshop and I remembered the camera.
Here she is teaching us.
This is Justine.  She attends all the yoga stuff with me.
Next time she is in town I will definitely attend her workshops again.
Well this was my weekend in a nutshell.
What did you do this weekend?
 Posted by at 7:33 pm  Tagged with: