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 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:
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:
Nov 302010
 
We had mojo turkey left over from Thanksgiving and I wanted to make a soup. 
Typically I use carrots, celery, onion and white beans with poultry seasoning.  This time I decided to kick it up a notch because I had cubanelle peppers from my CSA and the mojo turkey.  It was a really nice change to my typical way.  I loved the spices with it!

I know it sounds like I lot of ingredients but once I got the prep work out of the way it was easy.  I pre-chopped all the veggies and put them in a big bowl, opened the cans and lined those up and mixed my spices in a small bowl.  This way I wasn’t scrambling around as I made the soup.

 

Turkey Fiesta Soup
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
2 onions, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup corn kernels (I used left over grilled corn)
5 cups cooked turkey, cubed (Mojo rotisserie chicken can also be used here)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained) (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes)
1 15 oz can black beans (undrained) (I used Eden Foods Organic)
1 15 oz can black beans and rice (I used Eden Foods Organic)
8 cups chicken broth
6 bay leaves
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the peppers through celery and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Discard bay leaves and serve.
 Posted by at 3:01 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 032010
 
I have been dying to try the Turkey Pumpkin Chili from Cara’s Cravings for ages.  I was so glad I did!  It really easy to make in the crock pot and the pumpkin gave it an interesting flair that made you go hmmm.  Delicious!
We had two of Chris’s fraternity brothers in town for the night and the chili came out so well that between all of us (any my portion for lunch the next day) almost every drop was eaten!

I made a few subs and additions due to what I had on hand and topped it with some non-fat plain Greek yogurt, diced culantro (a variation of cilantro with a similar taste) and some veggie tortilla chips from Native Sun.  With the additional ingredients I threw in some extra spices as well, just to taste.
Tips:

A tip with spices so you don’t have to measure is to just eyeball it but go easy on the salt at first, taste it, adjust the spice and taste again.  Continue until you are at the right level for you.  Just don’t be afraid to experiment!  
A prepping tip for the Crock Pot is to mix your spices in a small bowl; in a large bowl add the prepped veggies and required cans of ingredients the night before so all you have to do is brown the meat and throw everything in.

Turkey Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Chili
Serves 6
Slightly altered from Cara’s Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients
*Amount of spice is estimated

*Coarse ground salt and fresh ground pepper
*2 tbsp chili powder
*4 tsp cumin
*2 tsp cinnamon
*2 tsp oregano
*1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized peppers, diced (I like to use 1 red and 1 green)
3 mild chili peppers, diced
3 cups black beans (I used some I had cooked in the crock pot but you can use canned as well)1 cup frozen corn kernels
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can pumpkin puree, or 2 cups homemade

Directions

1. Mix the chili powder through red pepper flakes together in a small container.  To a large bowl add the onion through pumpkin puree.  Mix well. (Both can be prepped the night before, covered and placed in the refrigerator)

2.  Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat; add the ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up with a slotted spoon. Season with salt, pepper, and about 1/3 of the spice mixture.  Use slotted spoon to transfer turkey to Crock Pot (so remaining fat stays in the pan); add the vegetable mixture, sprinkle with remaining seasoning and mix well.

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with your favorite chili toppings – cilantro, green onion, cheese, sour cream, etc.
Nutrition Facts

6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 315.4
Total Fat 6.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 53.3 mg
Sodium 150.0 mg
Potassium 818.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.3 g
Dietary Fiber 12.2 g
Sugars 6.5 g
Protein 25.4 g

Vitamin A 242.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 17.2 %
Vitamin C 123.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 6.0 %
Calcium 7.7 %
Copper 17.5 %
Folate 41.5 %
Iron 27.6 %
Magnesium 24.3 %
Manganese 33.8 %
Niacin 9.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 8.0 %
Phosphorus 19.5 %
Riboflavin 8.7 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 23.4 %
Zinc 9.3 %

 Posted by at 3:03 pm  Tagged with:
Oct 072010
 
Last night I came home to flowers and a wonderful card from my hubby, Chris, who also planned a sunset picnic on the boat for our 9th anniversary.  He packed up the soup and wine for us and rice pasta for our daughter and we headed out to the boat. 
I am so grateful to have such a sweet and thoughtful hubby.
I love you babe!
Other than my 2 yr old trying to throw my camera over board and having to go peepee and insisting she climb up on the edge and try to drown herself it was very romantic!
All kidding aside how can I not be loving life having an amazing family to share this sunset with?
As a side note Chris and I are heading to St.Augustine Saturday night and our daughter will be staying with Nana and Papa so we are looking forward to that!
Now….THE SOUP
The photo doesn’t look like much but I think this might be the best soup I’ve ever made. 
Packed with veggies, the sweet potato and white wine sent it over the edge.  Each bite had that carmel-y chicken taste from cooking the chicken directly in the pan and saving all those lucious brown bits and just a bite of sweetness from the potato.  
Don’t be scared of the long ingredient list.  Just season and brown your meat, throw in whatever chopped veggies you have on hand to soften, pour in some broth and any beans you have handy!  (Just be sure you have that sweet potato!)

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Chicken and Beans
Serves about a zillion people
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb organic, free range chicken thighs
1/8 cup white wine (estimate, eyeball it)
2 onions, chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
7 small carrots, chopped
1 bunch of celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth 
7 cups stemmed, chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
1 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Poultry seasoning


Directions


1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Season the chicken thighs with coarse salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add to the pan and cook until the bottom begins to brown, 3-5 minutes.  Flip and brown on the other side, an additional 3 minutes or so.  Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate to rest.  Pour a splash of white wine in to deglaze the pan, scraping most of the brown bits from the bottom. 

2. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery, season with poultry seasoning and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, bay leaf and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.


2. Add beans and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and vinegar.

 Posted by at 1:06 pm  Tagged with: