Posts tagged ‘healthy’

Summer BBQ

Everyone has a slightly different meaning of appropriate cook-out foods depending on your cultural and regional backgrounds. Growing up in NJ, a summer BBQ always meant hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and chips. To my husband, who was born in Brazil, no cook-out is complete without linguica (Brazilian sausage) and short ribs. I have also heard that BBQ and cook-out can signal two totally different affairs if you are from the southern US.

No matter what, it is hard to disagree that anything off the grill just screams summer. My husband got a new Weber charcoal grill for his birthday yesterday, so we are excited to have many grilled treats this summer. Here are some of my favorite summer recipes for the grill. These are all perfect for any special graduation celebrations or Memorial Day BBQs coming up!

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Homemade Shake Shack – Two Ways

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Fingerling Potato and Asparagus Salad

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Grill Basket Veggie Panini

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Sweet Potato Grill Fries

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Greek Herbed Turkey Burgers

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Grilled Pizza

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Beer Can Chicken

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Drunken Grilled Fruit

May 23, 2014 at 7:43 am 1 comment

Slow Mornings

One of the benefits of this little extended vacation before residency starts is the slow mornings. While our days seem to be filled with endless piles of paperwork (marriage license hiccups, name changes, residency paperwork, apartment applications… it never ends!), we have been starting each day slowly with really good coffee. I got Dan a Beehouse pour-over coffee dripper and burr coffee grinder for Christmas, and we have been enjoying getting good use out of it these past few months. We first got hooked on this coffee-brewing method at The Thinking Cup near the Boston Commons. Dan was intrigued by the science behind it – they used kitchen scales, electric kettles with thermometers and long spouts, and timers to brew the perfect cup of coffee. While we don’t get quite that fancy at home, we have found that pour-over coffee is worth the extra few minutes, when you have them.

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From some reading I have been doing for this blog post, I have learned that this coffee brewing method is originally from Japan and has taken off in the US because of the low cost of the associated equipment. While espresso is a much more well known international coffee style, there is a high cost of equipment for DIYers. Pour-over kits can be assembled gradually, and the parts are relatively inexpensive. A good coffee dripper will run around $15-30, and you can be as fancy or as simple with the grinders and kettles as you want.

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The magic of pour-over coffee comes from the small brew method and slow pour. As a coffee-enthusiast, you can control every step – from the bean (we prefer a light roast with more earthy flavors), the coarseness of the grind (we find that a medium grind works well), the temperature and amount of water, all the way up to the length of brew time. Each cup that you brew is unique, and somewhat maker-dependent, which can be both a good and bad thing depending on who you ask. The most important thing we have learned making this style of coffee is the slow pour, as this is what sets it apart from regular drip coffee. American coffee machines, while noteworthy for their convenience, work by pouring a single batch of boiling water over the coffee grounds and then dripping through the filter. This initial boiling water bath can create bitterness that many dislike about American drip coffee. It also does not fully utilize the flavors from the coffee beans as it creates a thick cake that prevents all of the grounds from soaking. Making pour-over coffee allows you to hand pour the hot (not quite boiling) water over the beans in a pulsatile method. (source) The resulting cup of coffee is free of the bitterness that many people dislike about American-style coffee, and is rich and flavorful with a smooth finish. Even my Dad, a dedicated milk-and-sugar kind-of guy, will happily drink pour-over coffee black.

There are plenty of great informative articles out there, from the history of pour-over coffees to comparisons of different drippers to the basic how-to instructions for how to make the perfect cup of coffee. If you enjoy a good cup of coffee or are looking for alternative ways to brew yourself a single cup of coffee, I would highly recommend making the small equipment investment! We have started with a basic dripper and coffee grinder, and currently use an electric kettle to boil the water and a spouted Pyrex measuring glass for the pour. Eventually, we may expand our gadgets but are more than happy to enjoy our simplified, homemade version for now!

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If you are not a coffee fan but are still looking for a slow morning treat, then try out these muffins! I adapted the recipe from my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine to use some dying bananas, and have been greatly enjoying the subtle chocolate flavor and how it compliments my coffee! Do not be intimidated by the name – these muffins are not overly sweet or heavy, and the cocoa comes across more in color than taste. If you are looking for a more decadent treat, try adding chocolate chips or walnuts for a more dessert-like breakfast muffin!

Question: What is the best cup of coffee you have ever had?

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Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens (April 2014)

makes 12 large muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 eggs

3 tbsp melted butter

2 overripe bananas, mashed

handful walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 12-muffin tray; set aside. In a stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine milk, yogurt, eggs and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients in the stand mixer; stir until just moistened. Add the mashed bananas and mix until combined. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then use butter knife to loosen. Store in air-tight container.

April 23, 2014 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

Change of Seasons

The weather is finally starting to warm up in the New Jersey, getting me excited for grilling season! While many people think of seasons in terms of weather, I often think in term of food seasons. The fall and winter are roasting seasons, perfect for root vegetables and hearty meals; the spring and summer are grilling ones, great for fish and grilled peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing I like better than both cooking and eating outdoors when the weather allows. However, I will miss my oven, which usually goes neglected from May through September to keep the house cool. If you are looking for a final oven meal to warm up with during cooler early spring nights, this one is a great staple!

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I found a basic roasted chicken recipe in one of my mom’s many food magazines. (Being on this extended vacation is seriously great for my cooking creativity!) I tweaked it slightly to use up what I had on hand, but have so many ideas for variations! I used red onion and thyme as called for in the original recipe, but decided to use chicken thighs and baby bella mushrooms for a bit more flavor and earthiness. I think that shallots or Vidalia onions would actually be even better than the red onions, and that a little more garlic would be welcome. I would also love to play with the herbs, switching out the thyme for rosemary or basil. If you aren’t a mushroom person, you could easily leave them out, or add some cherry tomatoes in their stead. Since I am currently cooking for 4-6 people on a regular basis, I couldn’t quite make it a one-skillet meal, but think this would be an easy task if cooking for one or two! Just throw some cubed potatoes (parboiled to make them cook at the same time), vegetables (I love asparagus and Brussels sprouts in the oven), and the chicken thighs into an oven safe skillet and bake!

Question: What is your favorite “food season?”

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms and Red Onions

serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 – 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (organic if possible)

1 red onion, sectioned

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, halved

salt, pepper and thyme to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Heat olive oil over high heat. Quickly sear the outside of each chicken thigh over high heat. Add red onion sections and mushroom halves, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and thyme. Place skillet in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken thighs are cooked through. Remove and allow to cool prior to serving.

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April 14, 2014 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

Five Life Lessons Learned in the Kitchen

Hello! This is Jen, back for a quick post born out of a slow and reflective Saturday. My sister has done an AMAZING job with her last few posts, and has been brainstorming a few more ideas she has to share. I am so happy to share this creative arena with her, and am proud of her recent accomplishments in obtaining her board certification in Music Therapy! We are looking forward to a family Thanksgiving this year, that I will be hosting in Boston for the first time! I am sure that my sister and I will tag team a few posts featuring some of our family’s favorite holiday recipes and some that we are looking forward to trying! For now, I am excited to share some reflections that cooking has taught me about life.

1. It is okay to eat pizza and drink beer at the end of a really long week.

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Currently, my fridge looks more like memories of my fiance’s college beer fridge than my normal, well-stocked produce preserver. This is a result of a LOT of recent traveling. Last week alone, I drove 650 miles, interviewed at 5 residency programs in 4 cities, and picked out the menu for my wedding. By the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted. After a really brief trip to the gym, all I could think of doing was ordering a pizza, having a beer, and not moving for at least 12 hours. That is what I needed to recover in preparation for another tiring round of interviews, and so that is what I did.

Too often, I become regimented in life, and in eating. I feel guilty about my only vegetables for the day coming in the form of baby carrots on the fly or on top of my take-out pizza. I feel guilty for not filling my free minutes and hours with friends I haven’t talked to in weeks or chores that are slowly piling up. I am learning that, every once in a while, it is ok to just let go. Eat pizza. Sleep in. And refresh and recover, so that the minutes you do spend with friends and family are more enjoyable.

2. The more you learn, the more you realize that there is to know.

While I have spent a lot of time cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, there is still an entire world of cooking knowledge that I have yet to acquire. Similarly, I have spent the last 8 years of my life in higher education pursuing the now-near goal of becoming a physician. However, I know only the tip of the iceberg about medicine and patient care. I will spend the next 3 years in residency learning how to be a family physician, and then the rest of my life reading, practicing and growing that knowledge base. One question answered means that ten more are raised, both in and outside of the kitchen.

3. Some of the best meals, and the best parts of life, require patience…

Original photo from Frugal Feeding, click through for the recipe

Some of the best things that have come out of my kitchen involve slowing down and paying attention to details. I love making homemade pasta and ravioli, and continue to hone my skills in this art. My most exciting purchase this fall is a pasta drying stand – I have only used it once, but it has so much untouched potential! Since incorporating meat back into my diet, I have also fell in love with braising techniques. My fiance proudly advertises that my version of this Greek Lamb with Orzo by Frugal Feeding is better than a local restaurant’s.

Similarly, as with these meals, some of the best things in life are worth waiting for. Right now, I seem to be in a season of waiting. Waiting for my fiance to hear back about medical school acceptances. Waiting to finish my last year of medical school. Waiting to match at the right residency program. Waiting to get married. Waiting to start the next chapter of my life. All of these are incredible blessings, and will be worth the wait. Cooking slowly and waiting for the delicious results has taught me the importance of patience in the process.

4. And sometimes you just need instant gratification.

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While homemade pasta and braised lamb have their place, so do quick meals and snacks. In this season of waiting, I have learned that there is also a place for instant gratification. This weekend, I needed to get my hands dirty in the kitchen. With an empty fridge and no desire to get out to the grocery store, I looked to my pantry for something quick and easy to make. I settled on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Healthy Nutella. If you haven’t made your own nut butters before, try it now. All you need are 15 minutes and a food processor! I love this drizzled on apples, but would also be great on toast in the morning!

5. You have to learn how to go with the flow.

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In my need for instant gratification today, I decided to make Apple Butter Bread. I had some leftover Homemade Apple Butter that I knew would not get eaten on time, but no eggs and no loaf pan. Instead of finding another recipe, I simply replaced the egg with ground flax-seed, and turned the loaf cake into muffins by reducing the cooking time to 20 minutes. The result? Delicious. Sweet enough to be a dessert, but also healthy enough (sans glaze) to sneak into breakfast. Not only does this flexibility matter when cooking and baking, it also matters in life. Even the best planned schedules fall prey to life. Responding calmly and thinking of alternative strategies can help even the worst days run more smoothly.

Question: What life lessons have you learned in the kitchen?

November 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Cucumber Grilled Cheese

Ok, so here’s my first attempt at a recipe post. I have made this sandwich for lunch three times this week and bragged to Jen about it so she encouraged me to share it as my first post!

So, who doesn’t love grilled cheese? There is something so remarkably comforting about a simple grilled cheese sandwich, especially when paired with a bowl of tomato soup. I also love the flavor combinations of Greek food, especially Tziki sauce.  I was inspired to make this sandwich from a post I saw on Pinterest.

I love to make my own Tziki dip, but who wants to do all that work for a quick lunch sandwich, so I came up with a cheater to still get the flavor.  This sandwich combines all the flavors I love, pumpernickel bread, cucumber, dill, and goat cheese, which packs a punch with flavor.

To begin, I weighed my goat cheese on a kitchen scale.  It is easy to completely load or sandwiches up with unnecessary fat and calories, and until you have a great understanding of servings, this is the easiest suggestion to monitor calorie intake.  You may be surprised with how much you end up with, a serving often being larger or smaller than you think. After weighing out an ounce of cheese, I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds to make if more spreadable. You can skip this step if you leave the cheese sitting on the counter for a little bit, but let’s be honest, who thinks that far ahead? I know when I’m hungry, it is time to make that sandwich and eat it!I This makes the cheese wonderfully spreadable. Then layer the cucumbers up on top of the cheese. This is the fun part. No measuring, just as much as you desire. Nobody got fat by eating too many vegetables! I personally prefer my cucumbers sliced very thinly so I can pile them up higher and feel like there is more on there, but feel free to cut to your desire! I also peeled my cucumber, simply because it is on it’s way out of being good (frugality at its finest!) On this particular sandwich I photographed I do feel like I would have liked more cucumbers. Live and learn!

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On the other piece of bread I make my quick tziki. I simply spread a thin layer of greek yogurt on the other piece of bread, sprinkled some onion powder and dill.  These flavors combined with cucumber very successfully imitates the tziki flavor, though I will post the recipe at a later time, being that it is one of my favorite dips to make for veggies. After the sandwich was assembled, I sprayed both sides with cooking spray.  This way, you achieve the buttery flavor on the outside without loading up on the calories of spreading butter all over.  It also helps crisp up the bread.  I cooked my sandwich on my George Foreman grill because I like the lines and even texture it gives, but there is nothing stopped you from throwing it in a frying pan the old fashioned way!

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I will work on more appetizing pictures. My sister is an incredible photographer. I am an amateur with an Iphone 5 haha

I accompanied my sandwich with a bunch of plain baby carrots.  For me it added the crunch and sweetness I needed to feel completely full and satisfied.  If you are counting calories or doing WeightWatchers, this entire sandwich is 7 points, mostly due to the pumpernickel bread which is 2 points a slice, but feel free to find a different brand!

Goat Cheese and Cucumber Grilled Cheese

serves 1, 7 points total

2 slices pumpernickel bread

cucumber (however much you desire)

1 ounce goat cheese

1 tsp Greek yogurt

1 tsp dill

1 tsp onion powder

2 sprays cooking spray

October 25, 2013 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

Simple, Healthy, Delicious

If you haven’t noticed, I am rather passionate about those three words in the title. Food should be simple, healthy, and delicious. Simply put. I often feel like a broken record, but there are times where even I forget that. When life gets busy, take-out seems easier. Healthy seems to fall by the wayside. Delicious seems like a luxury.

I have been doing lots of reading and research for school about talking with and educating patients about nutrition and developing healthy lifestyle habits. It is remarkable how ineffective we as a medical community have been at focusing on prevention of chronic disease! As I read more about the “standard American diet,” often pithily labeled the “SAD” diet, I think that the lack of nutrition in the average diet can’t all be related to lack of access or knowledge. I often think that healthy eating, generally, feels the opposite of the things above. Prepping fruits and vegetables does not feel simple. It is time-consuming and takes planning and thought. Kale also isn’t always the most appetizing, even for the biggest veggie enthusiast. So… how do we find a way to unify these words again?

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Take some short cuts every once in a while! I recently discovered the pre-cut items at Trader Joe’s and have instantly fallen in love. (I know, I catch on slowly.) Broccoli slaw, spinach, kale… you name it! Cut, washed and ready to go, there isn’t an easier way to get greens on your dinner plate! While the bag of kale will be marked up compared to a bunch of it, the time savings is often worth it. So that takes care of the simple, now what about the healthy? Trader Joe’s (and Costco!) also have a great line of flavorful chicken sausages that add tons of interest to any simple meal! I really like the Chipotle Mango Chicken sausage, but my favorite is the Spinach and Red Pepper Chicken sausage (from Costco). There is so much flavor packed into each bite of these sausages that a lot of the work in finishing off your delicious meal is done for you! Try out the recipe below- packed with protein, fiber, and flavor, there is no better quick fix to get greens on your weeknight dinner table!

Are you as convinced as I am that food should meet all of those three criteria? Then share with me your tips and tricks for making healthy eating simple and delicious!

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Chicken Sausage, Kale and Quinoa Salad

serves 4-6

1/2 white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1 cup quinoa

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken)

1 cup water

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 package pre-cut kale

5 Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Chicken sausage links

Parmesan cheese, to serve

In a medium saucepan, saute garlic and onion in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Add the quinoa, then stir for about 3 minutes or until the quinoa is well toasted. Add the water, broth, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, steam the kale until just before it is soft. (I microwaved it with a bit of water for 3 minutes). Also cook the chicken sausage links in a frying or grill pan until crispy on the outside and heated through. Slice the chicken sausage links into bite-sized rounds. Stir together the quinoa, cooked kale and chicken sausage until well-combined. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

June 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm 3 comments

Salad Weather

Summer happened overnight in Boston, it seems. It has been warmer here than it has been in Southwest FL for the past few days! Now that is hot. When my thermostat reads 88F INSIDE the house, there is absolutely no way you can convince me to turn the stove on for longer than absolutely necessary, let alone even think about using the oven. I have survived 4 Boston summers with no A/C, but if it stays this hot for much longer I might break!

To beat the heat, I end up eating a lot of salads in the summer. While I love my leafy greens, salads don’t have to be so monotonous. Here are some of the things I have been making lately:

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A lovely, multi-colored, Mexican-inspired salad that is sure to brighten up any meal. I mixed mine all together right away and have enjoyed it for lunch for the past few days. You can eat it plain, serve it as a side for taco night, or even fill a tortilla with it! For those of you afraid of the long ingredient list, most of the work is just simple veggie chopping! Jicama is the most unfamiliar ingredient, but is a wonderful, naturally sweet, tropical starch-y vegetable that adds great crunch and flavor. I can see this recipe easily becoming a summertime lunch staple! I think it would be fun to turn it into a layered jar salad the next time I make it!

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Who said fruit salads are just for dessert? This Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad also makes for another great lunch salad! The lemon-basil dressing is refreshing, and the blueberries and mangoes are unexpected but delicious. This is a must-make for any fruit lover!

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The last summer salad I made to go along with these delicious Chipotle Shrimp Burritos with Avocado Crema. I would highly recommend these burritos – simple, spicy, and flavorful. I cheated on the avocado crema and simply mixed a store-bought packet of guacamole with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, some extra cilantro and lime. To balance out the spicy shrimp, I kept the salad on the lighter side. This literally came together with the odds and ends left in my fridge, freezer and pantry from the week! The palmitos are acidic, soft, and refreshing. The edamame provides protein and substance, and the corn has a great natural sweetness. The dressing is heavy on lime, giving it a nice, fresh summer flavor. It reminds me of a grown-up version of succotash with a little South American flavor. It could easily be made into a main meal by adding some avocado and increasing the portion size!

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Question: How do you stay cool on hot summer days? My favorite response from a friend: “I eat popsicles in my underwear.”

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Palmitos Succotash

serves 3-4 as a side dish

1 can hearts of palm (palmitos), drained and sliced

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions

2 ears corn, steamed (about 1 1/2 cups if using frozen)

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, minced

3 scallions, greens and whites, sliced

3 limes, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder (or to taste)

Cook the edamame according to package instructions. Allow to cool. Steam the corn for 3-4 minutes. Once cool, cut the kernels from the cob. Mix the corn, edamame, and sliced palmitos together in a bowl. Add the sliced scallions and minced cilantro. Whisk together dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and garlic powder, then stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

June 3, 2013 at 5:20 am 1 comment

Spring Cleaning Granola

Please excuse my splotchy spoon...

Please excuse my splotchy spoon…

Man oh man is this stuff tasty. I have had a craving for some good, healthy granola ever since returning from Florida. I have had some early mornings lately and my breakfasts have been, well… sad. An afterthought. Something to hold me over until lunch. After a day off, I decided that I couldn’t continue to neglect my favorite meal for much longer! Since oatmeal takes too much time in the morning and hot breakfasts on increasingly warmer mornings are sounding less appealing, the thoughts of granola came to my mind.

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Now I may have mentioned this in other posts before, but homemade granola simply cannot be beaten… once you get it right. It is harder than you’d think to get the wet to dry ratio to give you just enough crumbles and clusters! Too far one way and the granola is dry and lifeless, and too far the other and the result is tacky and hard to store! Once that problem is solved, the combinations of granola goodness become endless. Even better, you can control the amount of sugar you add so you can avoid the cloying sweetness that plaques many store-bought varieties. This batch of granola essentially served as a spring cleaning for my pantry, using up bits of bulk good items bought for other purposes and since forgotten. I will post how I made it below, and then write out what I think is a pretty good bare-bones builder for a make-your own granola!

Question: What are your favorite fruit & nut combos for granola?

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Spring Cleaning Granola

based on a friend’s favorite granola recipe

(note: makes a very large batch, recipe can easily be halved)

dry ingredients:

6 cups oats

1/2 cup lightly salted sunflower seeds (if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt to the wet ingredients)

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

3 cups chopped peanuts

wet ingredients:

3/4 cup maple syrup, 1/2 cup mixed in and 1/4 cup reserved

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tbsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar

mix-ins:

1 cup dried fruit (I used a combo of dried blueberries and chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds)

Mix together all wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Next, mix the wet into the dry ingredients until small clumps form. Spread evenly on a lightly-greased rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 325F oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola, and bake for 15 more minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup over the granola, stir, and bake for 5 final minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the tray. Once room temperature, stir in desired dried fruit.

Bare-Bones Granola Builder

dry ingredients: 

3 cups oats

1/2 cup seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia)

1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnut)

wet ingredients:

1/4 cup oil (canola, vegetable, olive, grapeseed, coconut)

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar)

2 tbsp brown sugar

Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves)

Pinch of salt (if nuts not salted)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond or anise, if you want to try something fancy!)

mix-ins:

1/2-1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, cherries)

Mix together all wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Next, mix the wet into the dry ingredients until small clumps form. Spread evenly on a lightly-greased rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 325F oven and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola, and bake for 15 more minutes. Add the remaining maple syrup over the granola, stir, and bake for 5 final minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the tray. Once room temperature, stir in desired dried fruit.

April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Homemade Fish Tacos

Nothing screams springtime like fresh ingredients and brightly colored veggies. As soon as the first warm day hits, I am craving salads, slaws, and anything on a grill. These fish tacos fit the bill perfectly! My boyfriend and I recently returned from an amazing Florida vacation, where we visited my grandparents and extended family, explored Ybor City in Tampa, and replenished our Vitamin D levels on the beach.

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All of the sun kicked my veggie cravings into overdrive, and so I jumped at the opportunity to make a fun lunch for my grandparents!

Fish tacos, yum.

Fish tacos seem to have become rather trendy these days, and come in several varieties. My requirements for a good fish taco are as follows: good grilled fish, not the fried stuff. Traditional corn tortillas, not flour. Avocado, in some form. Lots of cilantro. And a good, tangy, fresh cole slaw. Hold the mayo.

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Simple, right? Still, many places don’t hold a candle to this homemade version. This recipe was inspired from bits and pieces of many that I have read, taking my favorite parts from all. Feel free to do the same with mine, or try out my version to let me know what you think!

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Don’t recognize this picture? Then you aren’t following me on Instagram! Search for homemadeadventure for previews of upcoming food finds!

Fish Tacos

serves 4-6

16 corn tortillas

for fish:

1 lb white fish fillets (use what is local to your region – I have used Cod in NE and tilapia in FL both with great results)

spices: paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper

for slaw:

1 small head purple cabbage, finely sliced (you can also use green, but the color makes these fun)

1 bunch scallion, whites discarded

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp lime juice (I used from a bottle, but fresh is always fun!)

3 tbsp cilantro, finely minced

1 jalapeno, finely minced (use 2 if you like more heat)

for avocado cream:

1 avocado

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1 tbsp minced cilantro

Assemble slaw first. Slice cabbage and scallions finely, then mince garlic and jalapenos. Combine with lime juice and minced cilantro. Add a pinch of salt if desired. Combine and refrigerate while preparing other components to allow flavors to combine.

Next, combine avocado, greek yogurt, and remaining cilantro in a food processor. Combine until very smooth. Cover in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Wrap corn tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm while cooking fish. Alternatively, place tortillas individually on a warm griddle after cooking fish for a crispier taco.

To prepare fish, begin by washing filets and patting dry. Season both sides with aforementioned spices according to taste. (More cayenne for the spice lovers, more paprika and chili powder for a deeper and sweeter flavor.) Salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add fish filets but do not crowd the pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until fish is flaky and cooked through.

To assemble tacos, take warmed corn tortilla and spoon avocado cream across the bottom. Top with slaw and a small piece of fish. Fold in half and enjoy immediately!

April 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm 1 comment

Winter Comfort Food

If seasons had personalities, I have decided that winter is mean and spiteful. It always decides to dump 18 inches of snow on you when you least expect or want it, canceling flights and travel plans and trapping you inside! Then you are cooped up and cold from all of the snow shoveling, there is nothing to stand between you and your insatiable carb-y comfort food cravings. Not like this happened to me recently or anything…

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Comfort food does not have to be a diet deal-breaker, however. Take this rice bowl inspired by Post Punk Vegan Kitchen for example! The brown rice provides a starchy base to give the dish a healthy weight. The black-eyed peas and soy chorizo come together to give the warmth and heartiness that marks all good chilis. The original recipe doesn’t call for the chorizo, but I splurged at the grocery store in my pre-blizzard stocking up. I love the added flavor and texture that it gives the beans, which I successfully cooked in my slow-cooker! (Seriously, this trick is life-changing. Play around with this tutorial. You may never buy canned beans again!) The greens add volume and nutrition that is missing from many comforting favorites. My favorite part, however, is the hot sauce! I interpreted the sauce to use what I had on hand, and I could literally eat this from the food processor. I love anything spicy! There is so much flavor and heat to this dish that you don’t miss the cheese that marks many heavy winter favorites.

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You can’t get me, winter blues!

Question: What do you crave when it is cold and snowy?

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Spicy Winter Greens with Black Eyed Peas and Rice

inspired by PPK, serves 4-6

Beans:

1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked in 4 cups water with 3 bay leaves for 5 hours on low in a slow cooker

1 package soy chorizo, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp liquid smoke (optional)

Crumble the soy chorizo into a hot frying pan and brown. Add the drained cooked beans, chopped parsley, and liquid smoke and stir.

Greens:

1 lb bunch collard greens, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

salt to taste

Saute red onion in olive oil until soft. Add half of the greens and all of the water and heat until wilted. Add the other half of the greens. Season with vinegar, garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat until greens are soft and water is evaporated.

Hot Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot

1/3 cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

Drain cashews. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

To serve:

Fill bottom of bowl with 1 serving cooked brown rice. Top with greens and beans. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp hot sauce. Enjoy!

February 21, 2013 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

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