Category Archives: Recipes

Journey Journal: Days 84-87

Day 84: Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday to “My Journey To Lean” blog! It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since I started this blog–and even longer since I first started blogging.(July 28, 2005 was my first ever blogpost!…almost 8 years ago now!) Lots has changed since it started, but I’m still enjoying the journey, and I hope you are too!

Bryan made up some scrambled eggs and warmed up some leftover ham with a little maple syrup for breakfast before work. It was really good.

For lunch, I had the ham and bean soup we made yesterday with a side salad. The soup was started by making ham broth out of the bone from Sunday dinner’s baked ham. After simmering for several hours, I discarded the bone and strained the broth (yielded about 12 cups), reserving as much ham as I could. Then I sautéed onion, carrots, and garlic in some olive oil with salt, pepper, a couple of bay leaves, crushed red pepper, and worcestershire sauce in the stockpot. I added about half of the broth back in, along with the ham meat (about 2 c.), a bag of frozen kale, and 1 cup each of dry red beans and dry Northern beans, and let it simmer for about 4 more hours, till the beans were perfect.

Had an adventure this afternoon when Bryan’s keys fell out of his pocket onto the carseat (after he had locked the car door). Oops. Then we realized we hadn’t made a copy for this car’s keys yet. Oops again. Fortunately, we were able to use a couple coat hangers and screwdrivers to get the keys. I’m actually surprised this was the first time we’ve had to do this–too bad it was one of the colder days of the year, and his jacket got locked inside the car with the keys (of course).

Day 85: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Long, busy day. We’re hitting crunch time with various deadlines at the office, and I’m working diligently on my multi-tasking skills. For lunch, the whole office headed to Brick Street Cafe for a special celebration lunch for Katie, our bookkeeper who is retiring after this week. She is an incredible asset and will be greatly missed! After work, I ran home for a quick supper of scrambled eggs and grilled ham (this time using cane syrup–actually turned out even better than the maple). Then I was off to meet a bride, her MOH, and her mom for a flower consult for her wedding this August! Finished the day with a cup of TAZO Zen green tea.

Day 86: Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another busy day. Another ham soup lunch. And actually had ham soup with salad and a hearty bread for dinner too. And finally made it to Goga today–especially enjoyed the lymphatic massage and infrared sauna portions!

Day 87: Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lunch was a chunk of hearty bread, a freshly sliced tomato, and some warm ham with spicy mustard. It hit the spot! Mom arrived for a brief visit tonight! Had the last of the ham and bean soup with a side salad and the last of the hearty bread for dinner. It really hit the spot. And it’s always good to have mother-daughter time! Finished the day with a French Press of Columbian coffee, a handful of almonds, a square of dark chocolate, and good conversation with mom.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Bars (and a Guilt-Free Chocolate Treat!)

The most important ingredient in chocolate is not milk, but cocoa! And the more cocoa the better, if you ask me. Dark chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes, but I prefer somewhere between 70% and 85%. That percentage is the percentage of cocoa to total ingredients. Since I’m trying to be dairy-free right now, I didn’t want to have to stop eating chocolate in general, so I’ve been doing a little research and here are a few bars that fit into this new-to-me lifestyle:

My Favorite Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Bar!

My Husband’s Favorite! (I like it too!)

My Favorite Organic Brand! (I also love the Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar from Green & Black’s.)

And if you’re wanting a high-protein snack with a little chocolate kick, consider chopping up about 3 or 4 squares into these “Raw Cookie Dough Bites” from A Dash of Compassion‘s blog. The recipe in the link makes about 12 one-inch cookie dough balls. I used honey instead of agave nectar, and they were deliciously guilt-free! Plus, they make a great on-the-go breakfast, if you’re in a hurry, since they’re just nuts, oats, a little honey, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and some dark chocolate. Feel free to substitute raisins for the chocolate if you want them to be even more nutritious!

Homemade Bread and Apricot Butter!

With this new job change, I’m closer to home and able to come home at lunch. During my week off between jobs, I let my domestic side come out a bit and started baking bread again. I got this recipe from my friend Gina and have started experimenting a bit. The first time I made it, I used 100% whole wheat flour. It was hearty and tasted very European. The next time I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups of bread flour. This yielded a softer, yet still hearty bread with a nice crust. I’m trying this one again today. On Sunday, I also made some apricot butter (my favorite part is flambéing the apricots). Check out the recipes below.

 

Book Review – A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

Molly Wizenberg has as definite a way with words as she does a way with food! As author and creator of the popular Orangette food blog. This book is captivating, free, and written with an excellent style (though a few of her stories contain a little adult content that may be TMI for younger audiences). Regardless, the recipes are fabulous and the auto-biographical content leading up to each recipe is entertaining and heartfelt.

Molly shares the recipes that stood like snapshots in her memories of key events throughout her life, from trips to Paris to her first apartment, from her first boyfriend to meeting her husband, from cooking with her dad to cooking for her dad on his deathbed. She shares recipes that range from sweet cakes to tangy salads, from soups to custard-filled cornbread, and everything in between.

Probably my favorite part was her chapter called “The Change Thing,” in which she shares her fear of change and her intense struggle with it, from each semester at college to bigger life changes. She writes, “I love the concept of routines. For some people, like skydivers and storm chasers, it may sound like torture, but for me, it’s reassuring” (p. 253). I can totally relate to this. And then I laughed as I read her follow up comment on the next page, “I am happy to report, though, that in recent years, I’ve been working on getting friendlier with change, and with its cousin flexibility. Growing up has helped a lot” (p. 254). So true.

This was another one of my “Summer Reading List” books. Personally, I can’t wait to try her “Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Glazed Oranges and Crème Fraîche” on pages 88-89 and her “Red Cabbage Salad with Lemon and Black Pepper” on page 222. And the one I’m really looking forward to trying is the “Little Corn Cakes with Bacon, Tomato and Avocado” on page 304.

Published by Simon & Shuster, 2009. 320 pages (plus a “Reading Group Guide” at the end).

Recipe: Italian Beef Stew

Combine 1/4-1/3 c. cornstarch, salt, pepper and garlic powder (to taste). Take 1 lb. of stew meat (or a beef roast cubed into 1-2″ cubes) and roll in cornstarch mixture.

In a large stockpot, melt 1 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Sear meat in hot oil 2 minutes per side or until browned.

 Meanwhile, roughly chop 1 small red onion, 2 carrots, 4 cloves fresh garlic and 2 unpeeled gold potatoes. Once meat is browned, add chopped vegetables to pot. Cook for 2-5 minutes, then add 1 cup red wine and deglaze pot (I used shiraz).

Add 12-15 oz. of beef broth, a 6 oz. can tomato paste, 1 tsp. crushed rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. dried thyme. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour. When ready to serve, chop about 8 leaves of fresh basil and a large handful of fresh spinach leaves and stir into pot. Serve hot by itself, over rice, or with a nice, crusty loaf of bread.

Serves 4.

What to Do When Your Friends Go “Gluten Free”

I’ve had several friends recently find out they are either sensitive or allergic to glutens. Some just get worse headaches when they eat glutens and others found out they have a severe case of Celiac’s disease. There’s Gluten in SO many things now! But it can be done! It helps to remember that potatoes and rice are still okay. Most all-natural meats are GF (beware processed meats in general anyway, but especially when your Dairy Free or Gluten Free – they can be filled with additives). And, of course, fruits and veggies are always a win! Below are some resources I’ve gathered to use when I take treats to their house or have them over for dinner.

Some GF-Friendly Sites I Like:

 Most grocery stores have their own Gluten Free section now. If you haven’t tried Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), it’s great! It’s a whole grain that’s gluten free and contains protein as well as Omega 3’s. And it can be served savory or sweet, hot or cold. It cooks kind of like rice, in about 15 minutes. Here’s my favorite recipe for breakfast: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/warm-and-nutty-cinnamon-quinoa-recipe.html.

You might also look into “Paleo Diet” or “Primal Blueprint” (aka Cave Man Diet) – they are heavy on meat and veggies and almost eliminate grains, so you could find some options using those too. I have a couple friends on Primal, and they have a really good grain free pizza crust that uses almond meal, egg, and parmesan cheese.

And, yes, they can still eat dessert! A couple of my favorite GF-Friendly desserts are the Flourless Brownies from Whole Foods Recipes and a No Bake Chilled Double Chocolate Torte recipe from Oh She Glows.

One thing I try to remind my newly-“GF” friends is to look at all the rich things God has given them to enjoy instead of focusing on what they can’t have. After all, they’re not the first people to have been given a food restriction (remember  Adam and Eve in the Garden – they were given a whole garden and told to avoid ONE tree). So, enjoy the “garden” and praise God for all His rich blessings!

What GF-Friendly sites or recipes are your favorites?

Memorial Day Feast…Good Enough for Any Special Occasion

We had company this weekend, so I planned this special dinner, but it never worked out to make it (it’s fairly heavy and takes about 4 hours to make). So, when our friends (and mentors) from church texted me on Sunday night, I asked if they had anything planned for Memorial Day. We ended up having a delicious dinner and played a game of Dominion while eating dessert and sipping coffee. What a fun night! Here’s the menu:

They brought a salad and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream and we made the following dishes, along with coffee and iced tea:

I forgot to take a picture the night of, but here’s a picture of the leftovers with some steamed broccoli and fruit salad:

Bryan told me I could make this dish anytime I want (actually he told me about six times over the next three days). That’s a definite win… (*scurries to write down recipe*). And we had plenty of leftovers for several meals. So rich and delicious!

Note: It did take a while to make, but most of that time is inactive time, so you can do something else while it simmers away on the stove for three hours. When the ribs have 30 minutes left, start your risotto recipe and finish it  while your sauce reduces (you may want to add a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce after it’s reduced for a while; put 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch in a small ball and stir in 1/4 c. of the hot broth until it’s smooth, then add the cornstarch mixture back into the sauce pot). While your sauce is reducing, start the carrot dish (takes about 15 minutes total).

Bon Appetit!

Recipe: Kale and White Bean Soup by Melissa McKinnon

Kale and White Bean Soup

by Melissa McKinnon

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • water (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon (or 2 cubes)
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, with liquid

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, shallot, garlic, olive oil, carrots, salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent, stirring regularly.
  3. Add tomatoes, potato, and kale and cook 3-5 minutes, until kale begins to wilt.
  4. Cover with water, just to the top of the vegetables, add bouillon, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low, add beans with liquid, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are tender but still firm.
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a hearty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe: Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing by Melissa McKinnon

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance mayo
  • 1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
  • ¼ tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp. capers

Making the salad:

  • Whisk together dressing ingredients from above vigorously (so as to emulsify the oil).
  • Combine shaved parmesan, shredded carrots and/or peppers, sunflower seeds and slivered onions (or whatever your favorite salad toppings are) to crisp salad greens.
  • Toss salad with dressing to coat.
  • Top salad with grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, or beans for an added boost of protein. Or, if you’re not in the mood for salad, try using the dressing as a marinade on fish or chicken before baking and serve over rice or couscous.
  • Serve salad within one hour of coating with dressing; store in fridge if necessary. Or make the dressing ahead and keep in your fridge for a week or so.

Weekly Basket and Meal Plan

St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a day of Irish inspired feasting, recognizing the patron saint of Ireland for bringing Christianity to Ireland. There is wearing of green and talking of leprechauns and eating of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage.

This Week’s Basket from Milk and Honey Organics included traditional Irish ingredients, like Local Green Cabbage and Red Potatoes, Jumbo Carrots and Yellow Onions, along with some other seasonal goodies, including Parisi Farms Turnip Greens, Parisi Farms Beets with Greens, Cherry Tomatoes, Bananas, Valencia Oranges, Braeburn Apples, Rio Red Ruby Grapefruit, Shallots, and Boston Butter Lettuce.

This Week’s Meal Plan:

Recipes for this Week’s Meal Plan that aren’t on the M&H Blog‘s Recipes Archive Page: