Tag Archives: carrots

healthy smoothie and leftover ham stewy soup

18 Apr

photo 1I can’t believe this semester is almost over. if you have ever been in graduate school, you will know how grueling it is. The term “poor graduate school student” really is true. Even if you are working full-time and going to graduate school, like I am, you still spend every dime you have to make sure that you can pave your way. With being in Hell, oops, I mean class, 3 nights a week, and trying to fit in homework and working out (which dangit, isn’t happening as much as I would like lately) in, and working full-time, I try and make meals that I can eat for a few days, or even for a full week. I prep all the berries I want to eat for the week, and any veggies, and make meals that I can eat throughout the week on Sundays when I can. This may not be the funniest post I’ve written, but it has been QUITE the semester. I just turned in two papers and am waiting on edits for my last paper. Then I can break lose and have fun again. SO….as I was saying, in order to make sure I have healthy, or relatively healthy food for the week, I make meals that are easy to eat for the week. That was the inspiration for this stewy soup! I also had saved the ham bone from Easter (this recipe was made closer to Easter than I am posting it now) and wanted to make sure to utilize all of that delicious meat and flavor from it! This soup is super yummy, I hope you like it and it makes a ton!

SPINACH COCONUT OIL AND BERRY SMOOTHIE

  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 8 strawberries, tops removed, use more if you’d like
  • 2 cutie tangerines or 1 large orange
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, local honey
  • you can add frozen blueberries or another frozen fruit if you like

This is SUPER easy. Add it all to the blender and blend away! You can add more coconut oil, or even coconut water if you need more liquid. This is aphoto 2 super fast, easy and yummy snack. The benefits of coconut oil are numerous. You can use it not only to eat, but as a conditioner for your hair, you can take a spoonful by mouth a day to aid digestion and skin and hair growth and strength, you can use it as facial lotion, body lotion, really you can use coconut oil for anything! LOVE it!

HAM AND BEAN STEWY SOUP WITH FRESH SPINACH

  • mirepoix (this is onion, celery and carrot diced up small. you can cut your own or trader joe’s and other stores have containers of it now!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • your ham bone with all that yummy ham left on it
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock or vegetable stock (I had my own frozen that I had made, but any organic would do well)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 can of black beans or another can or cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (if you don’t like thyme, omit this, but you can’t really taste it in the soup, it just adds something special)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo 3This may be the EASIEST soupy stewy yummy dish to make. It smells and tastes AMAZING. In a large pot, add your coconut oil and melt on medium to high heat. Next, add your mirepoix mixture and cook until the veggies are soft. Add 1 tablespoon of black pepper. Next, add your ham bone, then add your stock. The stock should cover the ham bone completely. Use your discretion. you may need two quarts, you may need 3, I needed 2 and a half to do this. Next, rinse and drain all of your beans and add them to the soup. Add all of your spices and bring to a boil. NOTE: do NOT add your salt and pepper to taste yet, the ham is salty, so you very well may not need more salt. Cook this down for 3-4 hours. You’ll notice it is done because all of the ham will be off the bones, and you will have to take the bones out. The beans will also make this soup rich and thick. It’s really delicious. Lastly, add your spinach. Now if you are like me and was putting this in the fridge right away for a later meal, add the fresh spinach and just stir it in, let the soup cool and put it in the fridge. No need to cook the spinach because it’ll get wilty and yucky. The fresh spinach will cook nicely when you reheat it. If you ARE serving this right away, then cook the spinach in the soup until it is bright green and a little wilty, but not mushy and gross. Serve up your soup and bowls and enjoy!

Advertisements

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.

corned beef, cabbage and pumpkin bolognese random cooking day

29 Mar

photo 5This last Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make one of my FAVORITE meals, corned beef and cabbage. I love St. Patrick’s Day! Green EVERYTHING. Green beer, green clothes, whiskey, people out having fun, it’s a really great holiday! It’s particularly fun in Chicago. On St. Patrick’s Day here, EVERYTHING and it’s mother is green. AMAZING. Seriously amazing….except the green beer, which if you’re like me and gluten and food coloring bother you, you end up puking on the side of a dumpster in the middle of the day….whoopsies!

I also, then decided to clean out my fridge and pantry, in some ways, and made pumpkin bolognese. For some god awful reason I bought a ridiculous amount of ground beef when it was on sale sometime ago and froze it. Like an ENTIRE freezer of ground beef. I don’t even like ground beef that much haha! So I had to find a way to use it! So….we have Irish and Italian here, best of both yummy worlds if you ask me.

FYI – If more of you lovely readers could spread my blog around (the earlier ones are WAY funnier), that would be great! I’m hoping to become rich and famous off of it so I can quit grad school. HAHA!

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

Ingredients:

  • 1 giant slab of corned beef, you can use your discretion here on how big you want it
  • 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 or more stalks of celery
  • 12 whole carrots (or whatever comes in 2 bags of carrots, you can also use a large bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 bag of red skinned potatoes
  • lovely whole grain mustard
  • 1 handful of while peppercorns
  • 1 stick of butter
  • kosher or sea salt and pepper

In a giant stockpot, put your celery stalks, 4 potatoes from your bag, cut into quarters, and about a handful or two of carrots, or if you are using wholephoto 1 carrots, cut them into 4 inch chunks; then add your corned beef in on top of your veg. Add your pepper corns, and one tablespoon of the whole grain mustard and cover with the 2 quarts of stock. Bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, turn the heat down to low. Cook for 4.5 hours. Once the meat feels tender and almost fork-pull-apartable (YES, that is a valid term, thank you very much), quarter the rest of your potatoes, cut the rest of your carrots, and quarter your head of cabbage. Add all those amazing veggies in and cover with water (the stock won’t be enough to cover all of these veggies). Cook for another hour to an hour and a half.

Next. Heat your oven broiler to high. Pull everything out and put it on a sheet pan. Yea, this is where the good part happens. Take all those veggies and the corned beef out and place on the sheet pan. Cut pats of butter and put them on the veggies, then put a nice, thick slathering of the whole grain mustard on the top of it. Put the veggies and corned beef under the broiler. The butter will melt into the veggies and the mustard will crust and seal into the beef. This doesn’t take long so watch it. Pull the sheet pan out, dust the veggies with sea salt and pepper. SERVE UP and enjoy the yumminess!

PUMPKIN BOLOGNESE

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
  • one large white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of organic pumpkin puree, or make your own
  • 1 large large large, or 2 small, cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato puree, or puree your own tomatoes in your food processor!
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • salt to taste
  • a large bunch of fresh basil, chiffonade that stuff!

photo 3NOTE: If you do not know how to chiffonade herbs, I have a video on my first blog post back in August. But, also, below, at the bottom, ¬†is a lovely blog post by The Pioneer Woman, she knows what’s up! WATCH it! East peasy, lemon squeezy.

Take your lovely large stock pot and heat it up. Add the tablespoon of olive oil. Heat that up. Add your onions and cook until translucent. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Next, add your garlic, cook it down a d bit and add the ground beef. Cook the ground beef and continuously scrape down your pan to get all of those lovely brown bits on the bottom.

Next, add your pumpkin and tomatoes, a pinch of salt, black pepper, chili flakes and oregano. photo 4Let this cook down together for about 15 minutes. While this cooks, chiffonade your basil. Add your basil and mix in thoroughly. Let this cook down again for ten minutes. Next, taste it and add salt and more pepper to taste. Let it cook about 10 more minutes.

Serve over your favorite gluten free pasta, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash and ENJOY! Also….you could chop zucchini and add that to this sauce too, that would be lovely! So would spinach!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/09/how-tochiffonade-basil/

sage and thyme

14 Nov

Sage and thyme are probably my favorite herbs. They are amazing and very “fall.” Thanksgiving is coming up next week and I wanted to make something that incorporated my favorite flavors. So I made thyme and sage stuffed chicken breast and a relish/compote to go along with it. Also, a nice and easy recipe for chicken stock. It’s getting to that season where everyone and their mother is sick, so make this, freeze some, use some for soups, stews, whatever have you. It’s really awesome to just make your own stock. It’s full of calcium, vitamins, minerals and lots of good for you yumminess!

Thanksgiving is pretty much the BEST holiday ever. All you do is cook and eat. AND remember what you are thankful for, which for me is so much. How could anyone go wrong, really? This year, I don’t have any Thanksgiving plans. Since my family lives on opposite sides of the country and I’m in grad school, I think it’ll just be me and Dexter Doodles the poodle chilling this year. But don’t worry, I’ll spoil that dog rotten with a Thanksgiving feast. Don’t think that just because it may only be me and the dog that I won’t cook a massive Thanksgiving. If you think that’s the truth, you don’t know me very well! I like cooking big meals, and more importantly, cooking for others. I cook like my Mom. Growing up it was my Mom, my brother and I and she cooked like we were a family of 20! I tend to be the same way. If someone that was cute, could make me laugh and would let me cook for them all the time came around, I’d be a happy girl! (and that boy would be stuffed to the gills with yummy food ¬†haha!) Here’s to cooking!

SAGE AND THYME STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST WITH HERBED COMPOTE

  • 2 large bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (yes, 1 stick, deal with it), softened to room temperature
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
  • 4 sage sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste for chicken

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Take both chicken breasts and reach your hands under the skin to loosen it. Take 2 tablespoons of butter and slide it under the skin, rubbing it into the flesh of the chicken. Salt and pepper your chicken and then slide 2 sage twigs and 5 thyme twigs under the skin. Salt and pepper again in necessary. Do this for both chicken breasts. Drizzle with olive oil and put in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or so until the skin is golden brown and then flesh temperature is at 162 degrees. Then let the chicken rest to cook to an even 165 degrees. NOTE: Kerrygold Grass Fed Butter is AWESOME! You can find it even at Trader Joe’s!

While the chicken is cooking, dice your onion and celery. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, or whatever is left from your stick, into a large skillet. Melt the butter and add your veggies. Cook until soft while adding your salt, pepper, fresh thyme, fresh sage, chopped and diced, and your dried sage. Taste to see if you need more seasoning. Add your raisins and cook until warmed through and the veggies are soft. NOTE: This could be an AMAZING start to a cornbread, glutten-free or non-gluten free stuffing of your choice; or gravy for your chicken.

Once your chicken is ready, top with the compote and eat! YUM! I made this with a side of steamed, then roasted, broccoli and candied carrots which are both super easy. For the carrots you peel and dice up your carrots into large chunks. Then you boil them until tender. Drain them and as they drain, take 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of black pepper and let it all melt into a sauce. Toss your carrots back in and there you go! I used to call this “carrots with chicken juice” when I was a kid for whatever reason so sometimes I make them alongside chicken! For roasted broccoli, you just steam broccoli until it’s nice and bright green, al dente. Then drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on a sheet pan, roast under the broiler until still bright green, but a little crispy and done!

While eating, count what you’re thankful for as well! I am thankful for my friends, my dog, my health, my job, my family, my ability to go back to school, NATURE, trees, gardens, love, and knowing that anything is possible if you set your goals high!

CHICKEN STOCK

  • 1 whole chicken carcass, or whatever bones you have left from roasting bone in chicken breasts
  • lots of water, to cover, depending on the size of your stock pot
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • sprigs of fresh thyme
  • sprigs of fresh sage
  • 1 onion
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1/2 bag of baby carrots or whatever carrots you have
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper

Roughly chop your veg, so basically, cut your onion in half, your garlic head in half, and your celery stalks in half. Place all of the ingredients listed in a stock pot and cover with water. Place on high to boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 8-24 hours (I leave mine on overnight), skimming the fat off the top for the first couple of hours.

Once done, drain through a mesh strainer into another large stock pot or a couple large bowls. Then put in mason jars, or another container, and freeze! You can use this for anything and it’ll have amazing flavor!

garden patch farms and some lovely veg

29 Oct

Went to an absolutely amazing farm last Saturday – Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen, IL. This place is everything I would ever want in a farm visit. Is it weird to say a farm was dreamy? Because it was.

Garden Patch Farms has pumpkins (yay! We all know my love for pumpkin), gourds and all of the lovely things for Fall, but they also do seasonal things like strawberries, peaches, plums, apples…. you name it, they have it. The BEST part? You get to go out into the fields and pick your own crops! I handpicked kale, swiss chard, turnips, dill, and hot peppers. I then also was able to pick up apples, purple cauliflower, carrots, pickles, fresh eggs from the chickens and other yummy produce from the Farm Market that is adorable! It looks like a little barn and not only has produce, but honey, jams, jellies and sauces. It’s precious. There also are beautiful large mum plants right now that would look amazing on a front porch or deck for the holidays. You also get to talk to Farmer Earl, his grandson, Tony, and anyone else that works on the farm while you’re there. Which makes the experience that much more rich. (Below, at the end of the post is a link to their site.)

The best part was that the food was amazing when I cooked it up at home. As most of you know, food really is the cure to my spirit and imagine having fresh food and being able to pick my own!? I need to live on a farm……no, but seriously. If I could go outside and grab whatever I wanted to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, I’d be in heaven. That’s what this farm is, heaven. I’ve never been to another farm where you can go and pick your own veggies, and fruits when in season. All of the other pumpkin farms I have been to are super cheesy with the corn mazes and fees to get in and all of that jazz. This is an amazingly simple, fresh, adorable and wonderful place. Next time I go back I may just try and pitch a tent and live in the corn field. Think anyone would notice!!?? HAHA!

From all of this lovely produce, I made a couple things. From the carved pumpkins picked up, I used the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds that turned out awesome. For those of you that don’t know the benefits of pumpkin seeds, they are an amazing source of fiber, vitamin E and zinc. They are a great snack by themselves or are awesome sprinkled in oatmeal, on top of pumpkin bread before it bakes, added into pumpkin seed brittle….the possibilities are endless.

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS WITH TRUFFLE SALT PAPRIKA AND PEPPER

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pumpkin seeds, or whatever you have from your pumpkin you carved and cleaned out
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon truffle salt
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground

First, blast some music. This is fun. Get your dance on while you’re cooking. As in, Luke’s Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake It).” You know you want to. It’s so much more fun to cook with music. Ok, I know that 1 tablespoon of truffle salt sounds like a lot, and that stuff is seriously expensive, but it’s worth it and a lot of the truffle flavor cooks off when you bake the seeds. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Rinse your seeds and make sure almost all of the pulp is off of them. The easiest way is to dump them all in a¬†colander¬†so you can rinse them and pull the pulp off at once. Some pulp isn’t bad because it adds flavor.

Once they are rinsed, do NOT pat them dry. They will stick to whatever towel you use and then water will dry off in the oven anyways. Add the oil and give them a good stir on a big sheet pan. Next add your truffle salt, paprika and pepper and mix them all together so they are all coated evenly. Pop those puppies in the oven and bake for about a half hour. Keep an eye on them, because they could either roast quickly, or slowly. It depends on your oven. You want them to be crispy and golden brown.

NOTE: Savory doesn’t have to be the way you go. You could add cinnamon and sugar, or any other herb combinations. Truffle salt just seemed like an amazing idea to me!

Next I cooked up some swiss chard. Can you believe this is the first time I’ve ever eaten swiss chard?!? I’m such a kale fanatic, but when I saw these beautiful leaves growing on the farm, I had to grab them and figure out what to do with them! They actually turned out pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

SWISS CHARD WITH PINE NUTS AND CURRANTS

  • 10 large leaves of swiss chard, stems cut from the chard and put aside
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Take your currants and put them in a bowl with the hot water. This will help them plump up. Wash and strip your swiss chard of the stems. Chiffonade the leaves by placing them all on top of each other, rolling them like a cigar and chopping them into 1 inch sections. Then, chop the rolled section in half the other way, to split it in half and make more manageable pieces. Next dice the stems into 1/4 inches. They’ll remind you of celery. Turn your large skillet onto medium/high and add your oil. Heat it up, add the stems and garlic. Cook until you can smell the garlic. Add your pine nuts and toast them until golden brown.

Next add your swiss chard and currants. Constantly mix to cook the chard until al dente and heat up the currants and add the balsamic. This should take about 5 minutes or less, depending on how you like your greens. I like mine with some bite, others like them mushier, but mushy sounds pretty yucky if you ask me. After you are done cooking it all together, serve it up and ENJOY! But, please remember, this is not a save and reheat dish, so chow down and get your greens in!

ROASTED TURNIPS AND CARROTS

  • 5 turnips, peeled
  • 8 large carrots, peeled (these were super thick amazingly awesome carrots from the farm)
  • 2¬†tablespoons¬†olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

So the best part about this is I used the same pan as the pumpkin seeds, unwashed. I thought the little bits of truffle salt left over would be amazing on these!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops and bottoms off your turnips. Then chop into 1 inch cubes. Do the same with your carrots. Put them on the sheet pan and cover with oil. Mix around so they are fully covered. Next add your salt and pepper and do the same, mix them around. Make sure they are in an even layer and pop in the oven for about 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. You want a nice brown crust and the veg to be cooked through. Once cooked, turn your broiler on high to get a crispy crust on the veggies. Broil them until a nice crunchy brown color is on top. Salt and pepper more if needed and serve!

http://www.gardenpatchfarms.com/

pumpkin kale CRAZY

14 Oct

So since I started this blog around the fall time, pumpkin and kale are taking it over! Particularly pumpkin. I’m trying to devise a way to make pumpkin zucchini bread right now….. But in the meantime, I made pumpkin chili last week and this weekend I’m making pumpkin beef stew and cast iron skillet gluten free corn bread! YUM! The great thing about pumpkin is when you add it to chili, stew, whatever have you, it is subtle, and doesn’t overpower. It just adds extra good for you vitamins and yumminess! I also made pumpkin soup this week! I have a problem……HAHA!

Cooking is really a stress relief for me. It eases my soul. The last week has been really long and arduous. I haven’t had much time for my 1/2 marathon training runs or yoga, or anything really. I have had a ridiculously long, boring paper due, getting last minute things for my family and whatever else done for my brother’s wedding, have been working on my relationships, yadda yadda yadda and it’s just been long and tiring. Oh well. BUT this week should be really exciting! My little brother is getting married to probably THE nicest, smartest, most wonderful girl he could ever ask for. I am so so SO happy for them. I can’t wait to finish with this coming up week and get into the wedding fun!

Today it’s a rainy day outside in Chicago and it definitely is the perfect¬†metaphor¬†for last week, rainy and cold. But, everything happens for a reason and I am hopefully getting stronger as days go on, stronger in my runs, stronger in who I am and stronger in anything else that comes my way. It’s amazing what you can learn in your lifetime, even in a couple months of a couple weeks!

The nice thing, if you know me, is that I love to cook, and I can always go back to the kitchen to give my brain a reset! Last weekend, and yes, I know I’m behind, I made a REALLY yummy pumpkin chili for dinner and then ate it for a couple lunches. I really love food like that lately that I can make for dinner and then eat for a couple meals. Granted, I hate leftovers, so it has to be something that reheats well! Stews, soups, caseroles and chilis tend to do that nicely. Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of salad, A LOT, during the week, but it’s nice to have something warm and comfy! I also am REALLY into juicing lately. It’s so nice that when I don’t use an entire bag of kale and it’s about to go bad, I juice it! So far my favorite juicing combination is kale, spinach, apple, celery, ginger and beet! If you don’t have a juicer, you should get one. It’s a nice way to get good nutrient in your body, give you some energy and use up produce you wont eat in time! I generally drink a glass of the green juice in the morning. YES, I know, green juice? Gross, right!? NOT AT ALL! Something about juicing it really makes it taste amazing, all those flavors, yum! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a way to get your veggies in, don’t let it take over eating good healthy, raw or cooked veg, it is just a nice way to start out the day. If I remember to drink a glass of green juice that I make when I wake up, with my breakfast, it gives me that little boost in the morning and is healthier than coffee! SO eat your veggies people, particularly pumpkin haha, and enjoy these recipes! Trust me, more pumpkin recipes to come for sure!

SPICY YUMMY PUMPKIN CHILI

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or what have you
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1-2 zucchini cut and cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4-5 Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 can pumpkin pur√©e
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Wash and prep your veggies. Chop your onions and bell pepper and dice your garlic super fine. In a dutch oven, or large pot, heat your oil and toss in the onion, zucchini and bell pepper with the garlic. Cook until almost soft. Throw in the ground beef and italian sausage. Cook until brown, breaking up as your go. Once that is ready, add your can of pumpkin, tomatoes, spices and stir until combined. Let that cook down a bit, stirring¬†occasionally. Then rinse your black beans and add those. NOTE: If you don’t eat beans, don’t add them! It’ll be yummy without! Also, use whatever meat you want, turkey, beef, pork, the list is endless, and that’s the great thing about chili! Taste for salt and pepper and spiciness content, add more if necessary. Let cook for about 15 minutes after this and then serve it up! It’s REALLY yummy with fresh avocado on top!

PUMPKIN BEEF STEW WITH ROOT VEG

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or whatever oil you’d like) and 2 tablespoons grassfed butter
  • 1 lb beef stew meat (or more if you;d like)
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or whole wheat or regular, spelt, whatever you use)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 lb bag of carrots, this is about 10 carrots, regular size
  • 1 bag of red skin potatoes, about 15 potatoes, medium sized

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat your pot on high heat and add your oil and butter, this is a LOVELY combination. Add your stew meat and dump in your flour. Stir around so you coat the meat and it make a thick roux with the oil, butter and flour, coating the meat and browning it. Add your beef stock and pumpkin, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil. While this is coming to a boil, roughly chop your carrots, onion and halve or quarter your potatoes. Turn the heat off the pot once it boils and add all your veggies. Stir together and put in the oven, covered, for 2 hours, checking occasionally to stir. You also can check seasoning levels and add more salt and pepper as needed. NOTE: If you gravy is too thin as it cooks and you want a thicker gravy, make a slurry. You take the flour of your choice, like coconut, spelt, whole wheat or white, and add water to make a thick paste, add it to your stew and stir it in. The slurry will make it not lumpy and thicken your stew gravy.

Once the stew vegetables are fork tender, your stew is done! Check seasoning and serve alongside some YUMMY gluten free corn bread! I actually pour my stew over a bed of fresh baby kales, but you know me, I LOVE kale. You can eat it plain, or have it over some yummy kale of fresh spinach. It will lightly cook the kale or spinach from the heat and add some extra veggie yumminess! ENJOY on a cold rainy Sunday and heat up throughout the week for yummy lunches!

ROUX

Here is a GREAT link to making roux! Basically, you take dripping from a roast and add flour to make a basic slurry to create gravy, but it also gives you an idea of how it can work in other dishes! Rouxs are great for making cream sauces, gravies, yummy things like that!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/good-eats/white-roux-recipe/index.html

chowder. drunken roasts and daring greatly

4 Oct

OK. SO I REALLY should be writing a paper right now, on infancy cognition and object permanence, but taking a break for the blog seems like such a much better idea! I mean how many observation papers do we have to write? They all seem to encompass the same points. Drilling it into us I guess so we can be the best child care providers ever since we go into therapy, teaching, etc. Anyways.

‚ÄúIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,¬†because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;¬†who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while¬†daring greatly.‚ÄĚ Brene Brown, from Teddy Roosevelt’s 1910 speech

These last two weeks I’ve not only dived head first back into working with the lovely gals and school, but into Brene Brown’s book,¬†DARING GREATLY.¬†This book is changing my life. You should read it! It’s changing my life. Really. Everyone goes through ups and downs in life, but it’s always nice to know that someone is there with you along for the ride. Brene is great at that. She makes you re-realize (is that a word!?) that you are human; and lately, since turning 30, I have been on a gratitude journey about realizing that I am lucky to be here, human, loveable and everything happens for a reason. BECAUSE it really does.

I have a couple days off of work so I’ve been doing some discovering in the kitchen again. I feel at home when I am cooking, just like I do when I go to yoga class (thank you CorePowerYoga). Soup has really been my thing the last few months. Don’t ask me why. I’m known as the “cupcake queen” by my family, but for some reason I’ve become the soup nazi. That’s all.

SPICY ROASTED CORN CHOWDER WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 pound¬†butternut squash, cubed into small piece
  • 1 pound¬†frozen roasted baby corn kernels, thawed (Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 quart chicken stock (homemade if possible or organic/free range)
  • 1 teaspoon¬†chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh¬†savory¬†herd
  • 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s taco seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • more salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven, or large pot, chop and add your bacon to medium/high heat. Cook the bacon until crisp. Take the bacon out of the pot, leaving the lovely bacon fat and drain on paper towels. Chop your onion and add the chopped onion and half of the cubed butternut squash. NOTE: Trader Joe’s, Whole foods, lots of places now sell butternut squash already cut and prepped, this is GREAT! Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, chopped thyme and savory and cook the veggies for about 10 minutes or less until soft.

In your blender, while the veg cooks, add 1.5 cups of the corn and 1 cup of the half and half to your blender NOTE: you can use coconut milk if you do not eat dairy, it’ll be just as yummy. Place the corn and milk in your blender and blend until fairly smooth. Add the rest of your milk, a little salt and pepper and blend. Pour into your pot over your veggies. Mix together. Next, add the chicken stock, taco seasoning, parsley, the rest of the squash and simmer. The simmering will thicken the soup a little and cook the rest of the squash. Add your bacon back to the soup. NOTE: If you do not like spicy, this soup would be just as lovely without the taco seasoning. ALSO, if you want extra flavors, you can add black beans, sweet potato, anything goes really. This is a Fall soup with a southwestern twist!

Ladle into bowls, top with sliced of fresh avocado, tortilla strips, whatever you’d like! The avocado is nice because it adds a little cooling element. ENJOY!

POT ROAST WITH ROOT VEGGIES AND CABERNET

  • 5 lbs of beef roast (I got mine at Trader Joe’s…I know, not grass fed, but good on a budget and it was a GREAT cut of meat)
  • 3 cups cabernet (feel free to DRINK the rest of the bottle)
  • 1/2 a bag of baby carrots
  • red or yukon gold potatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh savory herb
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Wash, prep and cut your veggies. In your crock pot, add a layer of onion, potato, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Next add your beef roast, then top with the rest of the veggies. The amount of veg you use will depend on the size of your crock pot, so section those out accordingly. Pour the wine, salt, pepper, and savory herb in.

Cook in low for about 6 or so hours. Honestly, you could leave this go while you’re at work and come home to dinner! Your house will smell lovely! The roast is done when it is able to be broken up with a fork. Plate up and eat! The potatoes are good with a little added salt, pepper and a small knob of grassfed butter (Kerrygold). The lovely sauce and juice from the meat can also be made into a gravy by take about 2 cups of it and adding it to a sauce pan. If not gluten free, add a tablespoon regular flour and mix until thickened, add salt and pepper to taste. IF gluten free, add a tablespoon or more, until thickened, of coconut flour, salt and pepper to taste and then pour your gravy over your meal! YUM!

Cinderle's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

chicagoplayproject

Just another WordPress.com site

oliveyounannyblog

Just another WordPress.com site

In Pitch

Words from a working girl

ProKine Performance

Move like a PRO.

Fit For Real Life

Body. Mind. Movement.

%d bloggers like this: