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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dips, Snacks and Wings...for that big sports event coming soon

This is a big bowl, made by my sister who sells her creations on Block Island at the Farmers' Market and online at Pottery Gal... so to me it is a...wait for it... a Super Bowl!

Yes, you can chuckle or grimace, but I'm not a sports fan but I love all the food folks eat during that ginormous game that people get so excited about. So here are some suggestions to keep your sports fanatics happy as their team wins or loses...

Wings - Chicken or Tempeh



Whether you are an omnivore or vegetarian (or some version of a non-meat eater) these recipes for "wings" are both spectacular. Chicken wings, double baked to mimic the fried texture without the oil mess? I'll take it! Or these easy tempeh "wings" will tickle your tastebuds and leave the chickens to roost.

Dips

I can never get enough of a good dip, and it's always a great way to sneak some vegetables into your snacking so that you're not all, ahem, stopped up for days after the game, if you catch my drift. These are some of my favorite ways to eat veggies dipped in decadent and delicious dips.


Aioli is hands down my favorite dip ever. What's not to love - creamy garlic and lemony goodness that would make an old shoe delectable. Make it from scratch (my tips make it fool-proof) and triple the recipe 'cuz everybody always wants more!

Of course you have to have some sort of hot cheese dip so go all out with this jalapeño popper dip, full of lots of marinated jalapeño, cheese and a crunch topping. Make it in a pottery bowl that goes from oven to table, easy peasy!

So you have guests who are vegan or can't eat dairy - don't fret! Make the magical dip of Muhammara of Morocco and wow all your eaters. Roasted red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses is creamy, spicy and sweet and it will blow their minds!

Lastly, just for some color on the table (and anyone who is kind of health-food conscious) make this spinach and artichoke dip, with fresh spinach, parmesan, jalapeño and marinated artichokes. Do it a day or two in advance and the flavors deepen beautifully.

Snacks

Stuffed mushrooms, classic or tarted up are always a winner. Here I've got them with cheese and breadcrumbs or gluten free with quinoa and slow-roasted tomatoes. You can easily sub in sun-dried tomatoes and make the prep easier.


Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms


Classic Stuffed Mushrooms

Another easy favorite snack of mine is marinated olives that you make ahead of time. A few aromatics and garlic and you have a tasty bowl that looks gourmet but is so easy to prepare.


No matter what the game outcome, you know you'll enjoy yourself eating these tasty dishes. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Healthy Eating Made Easy - 20 Fun, Kid-Friendly Recipes

This blog started out because I was working in an office, with little to do, and boredom was getting the better of me. Five years and more than 600 (!!!) posts later, it's still here and I am strangely still committed to posting. There is no money involved, very few readers, and fewer comments, but I still enjoy doing it. Go figure.

Just for kicks this list came together and I thought, "hey, it's a new year, go for it!" I hope this sentiment lasts for many months and years to come. 

In no particular order (maybe because the photos coordinate better), here are some entrees, soups and salads. And in case you're wondering, the first photo is blood orange carpaccio with green olives. Just slice up peeled oranges, sprinkle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and green olives. It's amazing!

Happy eating!

Spinach Quesadillas - Hide greens in cheesy goodness and wash it all down with salsa. It taste delicious, it's a super fast meal and kids really do love it. And yes, it's healthy!

Pan Roasted Mushrooms with Wild Rice  - Pan seared mushrooms are gifts from the gods. Add garlic, parsley and wild rice and consider it a one pot meal!

Tortilla Soup - Mexican food if the spice is held down low goes over well with the youn'ins, so give them soup that they'll have fun dipping chips into and you can feel good about what is hidden in that tomatoey puree.

Seared Portabello Burgers with Wasabi Mayo - We are a big fan of mushrooms in our family and this is a quick, delicious and crowd-pleasing "burger". Leave out the wasabi for the kids but load up on it for the adults, it really make magic with the mushrooms.

Kale Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing - So you think you need to eat more kale, well good for you. Here's the salad to ease into that new resolution: cheese, honey mustard, and radishes. Yes, you can, and it's still healthy!

Chickpea and Tomato Tagine - Tagines are Moroccan for stews, but they usually include dried fruits of a sort that create a depth of flavor that adults will appreciate and kids will just slurp up.

Spicy Lentil Lettuce Cups - Lettuce subs for taco shells and the lentils spiciness can be adjusted so kids can have fun eating "cups made of lettuce." These are also great appetizers for parties (did anyone say Superbowl?)

Radish, Carrot and Snow Pea Asian Slaw - Never underestimate the power of visuals for getting people to eat food they think is "healthy." Pretty, colorful food will always lure people, so make your salads gorgeous and delicious like this one and you've won half the battle.

Thai Corn Chowder - Easy to make when you have Thai Kitchen Curry paste in your fridge. And while I meant to select vegetarian dishes only, this soup is wonderful without the shrimp, so ignore it if you like!

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms - Stuffed mushrooms are such fun little packages to pop in your mouth, and they are not just for parties and appetizers. Make it a meal using quiona and sun-dried tomatoes and it's a party in your mouth!

Fennel, Celery and Fresh Herb Salad - Crisp and cool, refreshingly sweet and tart, this salad is the perfect palate cleanser with any rich entree or a great accompaniment to a hearty soup.

Chickpea Soup with Thyme - Chilly winter days call for hearty warming foods and this soup has it all: great flavor, simple ingredients, quick prep. Add bread and you're set for those polar vortex blasts!

Naked Apple and Carrot Slaw - Making exciting salads in the winter time (when your resolution to eat healthy means more vegetables) can seem like a daunting task. Think outside the box with this apple and carrot slaw, only deemed a "slaw" for the cut of the vegetables. Let those sweet carrot and apple juices shine and be surprised how good "naked" taste!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate - Butternut squash is easy to love and makes for a silky soup base. If you can find pomegranates, grab them now, the season is short. But the little seeds or anvils are such fun as the garnish on this soup!

Waldorf Salad for the 21st Century - Apples, raisins, walnuts and cabbage, oh my! Yes, this is a winning combo especially with a honey-mustard dressing that the kids will lick off the plate. So trick them into eating some cabbage and feel good about eating winter vegetables and fruits!

Winter Vegetable Saute with Caraway - Cabbage when sautéed sweetens and mellows and red cabbage especially so. Here's a quick and easy cabbage and onion sauté that throws in some Scandinavian influences with a little caraway, one of my favorite flavors.

French Lentil Soup - It sounds so cliche and boring but once you make French Lentil soup again you will remember why everyone makes it - it's so delicious! Simple to make, easy on the palate and warming to your body and soul, don't forget the splash of vinegar (red or balsamic) since it is what makes this soup sing!

I hope this at least gives you some inspiration and ideas to build on as you incorporate more vegetables and lighter eating into your diet in 2015!

Hugs!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year! - Most Popular Posts of 2014

Welcome of 2015!! I hope you had fun cooking your way through last year and may this year be as good or better. Here is a look back at the most popular posts from last year. It's an odd assortment, if you can see a trend, let me know!


#10 Greek Scalloped Potatoes - Scalloped potatoes are rarely turned down, and why would they! Cheese, potatoes, what's not to love. But trick them into eating some greens in their potatoes along with some olives and feta cheese and you can almost lose the guilt!


#9 Tofu "Fish" Sticks - The one theme I see among these posts is the recreation of "junk food" kids love (see #8). Junk food taste good for a reason, even if it isn't the best use of our daily caloric intake. So make tofu "fish" sticks and make your kids and your conscience happy!


#8 Chickpea Nuggets with Dipping Sauces - Yes, "chicken nuggets" are the bane of a parent's existence since kids love them but you also wonder what is in them (even the "healthier" choices.) Wonder no more! Feed them these chickpea nuggets that are just as crispy delicious but full of good bean protein! And they can dip away in this homemade ranch dressing guilt free on your part!


#7 Cauliflower (Gobi) Masala - Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, but not everyone shares my love. However, toss it with some Indian spices (masala) and fry it with some onions and you'd be surprised who comes around asking for more!


#6 Homemade Sushi - It's fun for each diner to make their own, so create a total mis en place of the assorted ingredients - cucumbers, shredded carrots, daikon radish, avocado, cream cheese, smoked salmon, scallions - and roll away!


#5 Foul - Moroccan Fava Beans - Expand your Moroccan horizons and try to homey and hearty dish of fava beans. Use the dried ones (soaked and cooked) or if you're lucky enough to find them canned, grab those. Of course if you can get them fresh you're really in luck! But make this dish, you will delight all who eat it!


#4 Beet Burger Sliders with Chipotle Mayo - I have to admit these did not live up to their hype for me. Next time I'd use less beets, the flavor was too strong. But my family liked them, so give them a go and see for yourself!


#3 Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting - When the kids want chocolate cake, go all out and make this version with buttercream frosting. Do leave in the coffee and make it decaf if the caffeine is a concern, because it lends a depth of flavor that will surprise you. If you're smart, you'll make it as cupcakes so that it's easier to give away, if you are that sort!


#2 Mahi Mahi Picatta - It is hard to go wrong with a Picatta sauce, especially if you are into briny tastes like olives, capers and lemon. I put it on everything but since Mahi Mahi is rarely seen in our house, I figured it would sound more enticing if it was Picatta'ed. Yup, right call! I guess everyone else thought so too.


#1 30-minute Spinach Pesto Lasagna - And the piece de resistance! Yes, you really can make delicious spinach pesto lasagna in 30 minutes (including cooking time). It's crazy easy and so satisfying for all!

Thanks for reading and happy eating!

Hugs!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Capellini in Herb Parmesan Broth with Seared Scallops

Broth soups are my favorite type of soups; light and delicate, but if done right, full of flavor. Recently a Savour Magazine recipe caught my eye - parmesan rind and fresh herb broth with capellini cooked in the broth to thicken it ever so slightly. This sounded like the perfect peasant food and I was really surprised I hadn't come across it before.

Of course you could eat this without the scallops and keep it vegetarian (and easier on your wallet). But we are loving scallops lately so I splurged. Other than making the broth ahead of time which takes an extra hour, this meal comes together really quickly. It feels decadent and yet its elegant simplicity at its best.

I usually don't serve bread with pasta, but you'll want to sop up all of the delicious broth, so don't leave it off the plate.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Satsuma Tangerines

Not being a huge fan of chocolate - I know, it seems impossible to fathom, but true - it's funny that my favorite dessert flavors are orange and chocolate together. To me they are the perfect combination. And the most perfect combination is when you put together juicy tangerines with dark chocolate. That's my idea of the perfect dessert!

What's so fun about this recipe is that there is no need to fuss with a double boiler. In fact, its inspired by the raw desserts I used to make as a raw food chef. Dipping anything really cold into liquid coconut oil instantly creates a hard shell, presto magic! And since cacao is considered a super food (along with its cousin coconut oil) some people would even consider these treats nutritious. Either way, they are delicious, so enjoy them guilt free!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mushroom, Chevre, and Smoked Salmon Buckwheat Crepes

French crepes seem such a mystery, and in many ways they are...until you live in a town with a creperie and you see them made before you eyes. Ahhh, the veil is pulled aside and all is revealed!

I don't know how authentic the crepe recipe is but the consistency works really well. The key is to make sure there are no lumps so the crepes spread evenly when cooking. Buckwheat is a delicious nutty grain so go with it!

Of course you can remove the salmon if you want to make it vegetarian. And if you have eagle eyes, you'll notice some green in the picture. There was some extra sautéed swiss chard so I added it. But it isn't necessary and I didn't want to over-complicate the recipe.