Tag Archives: asparagus

lots of spring veggies and a big ol’ ham

14 Apr

photo 2Easter Sunday was one of my favorite holidays this year. I got to spend it with my “family” away from my family. My best friend, her parents, and others all came over for dinner, after church, and I cooked a giant spread. It has been really nice having a family away from my family. I’ve always considered my friends my family and I am super grateful for them, the far and near ones. Holidays that I get to spend with them are even more special. This is the first Easter that really felt like Easter in a long time and it was so awesome. Nothing better than cooking a bunch of yummy veggies and big fat old ham to fill everyone’s tummies and to just sit and laugh and share stories. I couldn’t have asked for a better Easter.

NOW, onto the GOOD stuff. The food. I made a honey and orange glazed ham, roastedphoto 1 asparagus with coconut oil and lemon zest, glazed carrots, cheesy potatoes (which I WON’T post on here because they are NOT totally healthy and people will kill me haha ūüėČ if you want the recipe, just ask), and fresh green beans with bacon and balsamic. Don’t ask me HOW everything came out on time, but it did. BOO YAH! (and yes, I just said BOO YAH…..screw all that BOOM! stuff!) All of these recipes are REALLY easy. You can make these separately as side dishes as the season goes on and produce becomes fresher and more abundant!

ORANGE AND HONEY GLAZED HAM

  • one large ham, spiral cut, organic if possible, depends on your pricing because they can get expensive
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, or squeeze your own
  • zest from one orange
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Turn your oven onto 275 degrees, or follow the packaging instructions for your ham. Most spiral hams are fully cooked already, or partially cooked sophoto 2 you are basically reheating it and cooking it some more. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients for your glaze, and slice one of your oranges into thin slices, then zest the other and juice it into the glaze mixture. Place the slices of orange in-between the ham slices every few cuts, then pour some of the glaze onto the meat. Place in the oven in a roasting pan and cook for an hour and a half, or per your instructions. Every half hour, reglaze the ham until it is nice and bright pink, cooked through, and ready to eat!

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH COCONUT OIL AND LEMON ZEST

  • 2 bunches of fresh asparagus, green, white or purple (I used green)
  • one lemon
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted

photo 4Heat your oven to 350 degrees, (this can be done after the ham is cooked since the hame is still hot and the asparagus will cook fast. Or if making this as a side dish for another meal, and this is good with EVERY meal, then rock on and just go for it! Rinse and trim your asparagus. The easiest way to do this is to bend one piece of asparagus and see where it snaps. Then place them all on a cutting board and cut them all across that line so the ends are removed on all of them. I find no need to snap each one separately, they all tend to snap in about the same spot, easy peasy. Put them on a cookie sheet and drizzle the coconut oil over them. sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and toss around to coat evenly. Roast in the oven for about ten minutes and then watch them. I like mine where they are bright green, the tips are a little roasted and they are nice and snappy still. After they come out of the oven, juice the lemon on top and then zest the lemon on top. SUBLIME.

GLAZED CARROTS

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots, or regular carrots washed and cut
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 stick of grassfed butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Heat a pot full of salted water and toss your carrots in. Boil until they are al dente. Drain them. Next take the same pot and add your coconut oil andphoto 1 butter, melt it down, then add the brown sugar and pepper. This will make a nice glaze sauce. Toss your carrots in and cook them a couple minutes longer in the glaze to coat them. Growing up, we always made these with just butter, but I decided to twist it and use coconut oil as the main base, they were delicious and coconut oil is SO good for you. There are so many amazing benefits of coconut oil so adding it into your cooking is a really great idea and adds lots of flavor.

NOTE: There are a lot of articles going on about baby carrots and how they are washed in chlorine before they are packaged. Sometimes, when trying to save money and time, baby carrots are the way to go, but most of the time, I try to use real carrots. Give real carrots a try. You know what I mean….those long orange ones you have to cut and peel yourself….go for it. AND you don’t even need to peel them. Keep that peel on them. It’s good for you! Just scrub them down well!

GREEN BEANS WITH BALSAMIC AND BACON

  • 1 lb fresh french cut green beans
  • 1 lb bacon, you know what I use, that dang good stuff from Whole Foods, but use what you like
  • splash of balsamic
  • black pepper

photo 3Heat up a large skillet. Cut your bacon into cubes and toss in the skillet. Cook the bacon until nice and cooked through and crisp, leaving all of that amazing bacon fat behind. Toss in your green beans and give it all a nice stir. Tongs are amazing for this as you can grab and toss things together. Add the pepper, to your eye ball, about a pinch, but do not ADD salt because you will be adding the vinegar, and the bacon is salty. This will be way too much salt if you add extra salt to this recipe. Cook the beans until BRIGHT green and still crisp. Serve.

brunch. chocolate zucchini bread and cast iron skillet frittata

15 Sep

What a great week this has turned out to be and very much full of all kinds of lessons and moral tidbits. Yesterday I spent the day back with the most wonderful little girls ever. I am so happy and so excited for the next year or so to come with these little munchkins. They are two little girls who have changed my life over the last (almost) two years and I am so grateful to be back learning, growing, teaching, playing and cooking with them. I met with so many amazing people this week and finally closed a few chapters in my life. It’s been amazing. I’ve had the chance to pipe up for myself this week in a way I never thought I would and am really proud of myself for that. I’ve learned so much over the last couple months, about myself, my work, my future and my self worth. I am really blessed to have had these opportunities and can’t WAIT for the AWESOME times to come. I would say that’s quite a lot of lessons and growth opportunities!

So with all these lovely lessons, I decided to teach myself and experiment in the kitchen with some lessons of my own and also to go back to basics, like with the simple, yet delicious, frittata. I have a problem with buying tons of produce, with good intention, and then not finding the time to cook with it or make as many meals as I’d planned. Kale and raw spinach are no brainers, I can use those in everything or even juice them or make smoothies, so when I buy those and haven’t used them yet, I generally can use them up in the couple days before they turn. As for asparagus, I buy it like CRAZY. Most of the time I roast it with a little coconut oil, sea salt and pepper, but sometimes, I need a new spin on it, or just forget about it and then have to use it quickly. Same with tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes, especially heirloom cherry tomatoes, but I buy those and then eat a few and then have to quickly use them as well. This must all have to do with the fact that I am madly in love with grocery shopping so all of this amazing produce looks fabulous and then my time management and cooking skills don’t match up with the produce I buy ha! So, I wanted to use up some of the savory things I had and what better way then to make a frittata!?

On another note, for something less savory, I thought what could be better then CHOCOLATE!? I also had a ripe zucchini needing to be loved and so I thought I would try my hand at working out some kind of gluten free bread that doesn’t use the typical rice flour or potato flour. I saw a couple recipes online and then adapted them to make my own from what I have learned lately with gluten free baking. I am not a huge fan of all of the “gums” like sorgum or xanthan gum so I wanted to try something new and see if eggs and a small bit of coconut flour could hold this together. Plus coconut flour is relatively cheap and much easier to find then trying to make a blend of rice flour, potato flour, the gums, etc. etc. etc. That’s the hard thing about gluten free cooking, it’s not like when I used to eat gluten and I just tossed in all¬†purpose¬†flour, there’s a science to it and a mixture of lots of different flours sometimes. I like it simple.

CHOCOLATEY NUTTY ZUCCHINI BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pan with coconut oil so that the bread has a nice bed of oily goodness to lay on and not stick to. Shred your zucchini by placing chunks of it in your food processer and pulsing until you have nice shredded pieces, but not too fine. Lay out 6 paper towels on your counter, and dump all of your zucchini on them.¬†Zucchini¬†shockingly has a lot of water, so grab all that shredded zucchini in the paper towels and ring out as much of the water as possible in the sink. Dump the zucchini into your mixing bowl, add all of the other ingredients, along with 1/2 of your chocolate chips and mix! Now, the almond butter may be hard to mix in so make sure you mix everything extremely well. Pour the mixture into your greased loaf pan and smooth it out with your spatula. Top with the rest of the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, but until a toothpick comes out clean. Every oven varies so it could take longer. When done, let cool, turn out of the pan, slice and EAT EAT EAT! yum. This isn’t an overly sweet bread, but super yummy.

USE THOSE VEGGIES! FRITTATA WITH GOAT CHEESE AND GRASS FED PORK SAUSAGE

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon grass fed butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 lb ground pork breakfast sausage, preferably grass fed organic
  • 1bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup broccoli¬†florets
  • goat chevre
  • salt and pepper to taste, plus 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper for egg mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This is great, it’s a ONE PAN dish! NOTE: If you do not have a cast iron skillet, use a skillet that has a metal handle and can be put in the oven, Calphalon makes nice ones. Wash and prep your vegetables. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, trim the asparagus and leave the flowery tops and a couple inches of stalk. Trim into 1 inch pieces. Wash and trim your broccoli as well. Crack your eggs into your bowl, add the coconut milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and mix well.

In your cast iron skillet, add your butter and oil and melt. This will coat the skillet and a lot of it will sink in so your frittata is easier to grab out later. Cook your breakfast sausage down so it’s nice and brown and crumbly. NOTE: If you do not want any meat, just cook the veggies this way! Add your veggies and cook just for a bit till they turn green. Pour the egg mixture over your veggies until they are covered. Crumble your goat cheese on top. Also top with more cracked pepper and sea, kosher or table salt.

My sausage is from a grass fed farm called U.S. Wellness Meats. They are amazing. Order online and they ship right to you all packed in dry ice and ready to pop in your freezer. They are well priced and amazing quality for all kinds of meats.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. You’ll be able to tell it is done when the edges are crispy and it does not wiggle anymore. That means the eggs have set, are firm and ready to eat. Cool and cut into slices. This is a GREAT recipe for your weekly breakfast! ENJOY! YAY BRUNCH!

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