Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankfulness Week - Day 2

 
Tonight's Sunset
I am thankful for the perseverance, luck, persistence and good old fashioned hard work that has landed me in the job that I enjoy and affords me the flexibility to help family when they are in need.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Butternut Squash Salad

I posted the ingredients to today's challenge earlier today - Butternut Squash, Dill, Pecans & 5 Spice.

Keeping it simple for #MeatlessMonday 

Adorable little squash, I peel it over a paper towel 

To cut down on the moisture that exudes out of the flesh once you start peeling it 

All done and I even kept all my knuckle skin, this time 

Skins and seeds are treats for the Girls tomorrow 

The color of the flesh is radiating nutrients 

Diced the same size so they cook evenly

Dill oil - 1/4 cup Grapeseed oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon No Salt seasoning 

Blended in my NutriBullet 

Mixed in with the diced squash and spread on a 1/2 sheet pan in a single layer, into a preheated 425° F oven for about 20 minutes then turn over and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until fork tender 

In the meantime, I saute the pecans in coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of 5 Spice seasoning 

Rinse and spin baby greens 

Add baby hot house cucumbers, cipollini onions, radishes, scallions and homemade dijon and dill dressing (grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar, No Salt seasoning, dill, dijon in a mason jar 'all shook up') 

Dressed greens topped with roasted butternut and topped with toasted pecans 

A tasty meatless dinner for the first Cooking Challenge, can't wait to see what everyone makes using these ingredients.

Thankfulness Week - Day 1

I am Thankful that even when stumbling blocks appear in life we have the fortitude to move forward without complaining because there is always someone who has more challenges and still faces them with grace. I learn from people like that every day.

What are you Thankful for this year?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Leek, Potato & Corn Soup (Meatless Monday Meal)

It might not look like much but the flavor is addictive and the aroma intoxicating. I shares this Meatless Monday meal in a vlog but here is the written recipe

Recipe:
  • 3 large leeks cut into half moons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of good Veggie Base, I use Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (they even have Vegan Organic bases, here is the extensive selection)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon No Salt McCormick's seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill
Clean thoroughly the leeps, since they grow slowly, dirt gets trapped between their layers. The most effective way to remove that dirt is to cut off the dark green portion of the leek (it's too woody for cooking) then cut the leek lengthwise and then chop into half moons. Place the cut pieces into a bowl of water and agitate to rinse, replace the water and repeat as needed till you no longer see any soil. I use a salad spinner for this process and it works nicely.
Once the leeks are clean, saute them in Coconut Oil with onions and no Salt Seasoning (or salt & pepper if you are not counting your sodium intake), Once the onions and leeks are translucent but not brown, add 3 smashed garlic cloves (no need to chop because everything will be blended together),
Dissolve the veggie base in water you will be adding to the soup, then add diced potato. Let cook till potato is fork tender, add sour cream or yogurt and blend off the heat then add 2 cups of frozen corn. Taste for seasoning, I always add fresh cracked black pepper at this point.
Garnish with dill and croutons and enjoy.

I showed the step by step in the following vlog:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Simple Project Each Day - Livingroom Cleanup


I admit it, we got lazy the last couple of weeks with Paulie's health challenges and wound care that the living room started resembling something out of Hoarders episode. Today my patience ran out so I used my lunch break from work to tackle it and shamed myself publicly by posting the before and after. I am committing, once again, to complete a project each day to continue this motivational momentum. Tomorrow I address the kitchen... now that will be a job and a half.

Weeknight Gourmet - Lamb Chops


Spoiled hubby my making a weeknight gourmet dinner of lemon parsley lamb chops over ricotta garlic mashed potatoes. Both plates were cleaned and it was a fraction of the cost had we gone out to a restaurant. Sometimes it pays to learn a few good techniques so you can reproduce your favorite flavors at home.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tapas Dinner for Meatless Monday

We opted for Tapas tonight, bite size morsels of flavorful treats from savory to sweet 

I was inspired for the entire meal by the gorgeous thickly sliced portobello mushrooms from the market which were fried in coconut oil with fresh cracked black pepper resulting in what looks and even tastes like 'bacon' but without any animal protein 

Accompaniments of pimento stuffed green olives that are....wait for it... LOW Sodium! 

Two small wedges of cheese - a lovely light brie perfectly paired with slices of Asian pear and Mediterranean Cheddar full of herbs and spices 

Capping off the meal with a quick and easy Cheesecake dip of 3 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Agave again inspired by the fresh Raspberries from the market

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

These are the mini versions with #Wilton Fall Leaf Sprinkle 
And the Big Muffin in #IKEA muffin liners with a Maple Agave & Orange glaze topped off by a pecan half

Recipe:
  • 2 Ripe Bananas (mashed with a fork)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Honey (use the measuring cup for oil first then honey comes out easily)
  • 1 1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling in a Can
  • 1/2 cup sugar (white or in the Raw)
  • 2 1/2 cups AP (All-Purpose) Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice (your reference)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Orange Zest (approximately one medium size orange)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts* (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup raisins*
* Optional

Preheat oven to 375° F. If making muffins, line your muffin pans with paper liners for best results and easy removal. If making bread, spray pan(s) with cooking spray or butter generously.
In one bowl, combine all the wet ingredients starting with ripe bananas and including the spices. In a separate bowl combine all the try - flour, baking soda & baking powder. Combine both both wet and dry, mixing just enough to incorporate. Do not overmix. For muffins, use an ice cream scoop for even distribution.
Bread bakes for approximately 40 minutes or till a thin skewer comes out clean when tested.
Muffins bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a thin skewer comes out clean when tested.
Take out of pans, let cool before applying glaze.

Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Agave or Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of Orange Juice (use the orange you zested earlier for the batter)
Mix till sugar dissolves and the consistency is that of thin milk shake. You can either drizzle the glaze or turn the muffins upside down and dunk the tops into the glaze. Set aside on a cookie sheet to dry, decorate with a pecan half or fall color sprinkles

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Dinner


Thinly cut bone in pork chops, seared and covered in homemade apple, cranberry, chestnut and Chambord chutney along with smashed potato, peas and Cheddar Bay biscuit. Now that's a home cooked meal.
Smashed potatoes - boiled till fork tender then pressed in a frying pan to sear each side then sprinkled with chopped parsley 
Cheddar Bay biscuits right out of the oven 

Looking pretty on the new white bone china plate 

Closeup of the biscuit 

Petite peas

Monday, October 20, 2014

Henry Park Vernon CT


What an amazing view from the top 

Purple filter makes it look magical 

No need to go North, we have all the colors here 

Something very cozy about a pile of leaves, makes me want to launch at it 

Last of the kohlrabi from the garden since we are expecting a frost

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Perfect Birthday!


It's official, Google knows EVERYTHING! lol

My morning bath was enhanced by coffee, a fresh cheese pastry from Collette's around the corner and a couple of scratch tickets from hubby (I won $25!)

Once I was squeeky clean and dressed I got my card which made me snort and a new green pan to test drive on my YouTube channel (I love to cook if you hadn't noticed)

We packed the car, camera bag (#Nikon D3200), dogs, drinks and a great attitude and headed to Bigelow State Park in Union CT. Apparently, October 15th is Ladybug day, no doubt they were enjoying the 78° F weather and a light sprinkle before the cool of the pending fall/winter. 

Leaves changing color and a light breeze stilled enough for this mirror photo 

Have I ever mentioned how much I love moss? No, well I do.
I requested no cake, cupcakes or ice cream so I capped off the night after a beautiful day out with a Banana, Carrot, Orange & Peach drink which was pretty much perfect.
Thank you to everyone for the wonderfully heartwarming Birthday wishes on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It really was a PERFECT Birthday. Never stop celebrating each one, none of us are guaranteed another.