Sunday, November 23, 2014

Easiest Herbed #Potatoes Ever! #SideDish #vegetarian

These potatoes are great, whether you're making them for a big holiday meal or a regular ol' weeknight dinner. And they're supremely flexible—it's really more of an approach to potatoes than a real recipe. You can use any thin-skinned taters: fingerlings, red, yellow...they all would work well. 

You can also use any fresh herbs you'd like. This time, I used parsley and scallions. (Scallions are technically a vegetable, but the greens can be treated in cooking as you would an herb). Both parsley and scallions are delicious, as well as excellent sources of Vitamin K. Chives, thyme, oregano, and dill would all be fantastic options; just use what you have on hand and what matches well with the rest of your meal.

Steaming is an extremely simple way to cook veggies. Steaming is also very nutritious, since cooking potatoes fast and in a small amount of water allows them to retain more of their water-soluble vitamins than, say, boiling (which can leach nutrients into the water). 

serves about 4-6 people
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh herbs
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Depending on the size of the potatoes, you might need to halve or quarter them—just make sure they are a uniform size, so they finish cooking around the same time.

Using a steamer insert or a steamer pot, fill the pot with water to about a 1/2 inch below the bottom of the steamer. Place the potatoes in the steamer. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot. Cook until the potatoes are tender—about 20-25 minutes, depending on size. The potatoes are ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork.

Drain the potatoes and remove the steamer insert. Return the potatoes to the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir gently with a large spoon (being careful not to break the potatoes) or cover the pot and agitate to make sure the potatoes are well-coated. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.

Serve with chicken or beef or lamb or fish or an omelet—these potatoes are a versatile side dish that would work for practically every meal!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

#Crockpot Caramelized Onion & Beef Soup #PotRoastSoup

This soup takes time, but all you really need to do is some slicing and dicing—the slow cooker does the rest. You don't even have to peel the potatoes! Because it cooks for so long, you end up with a fantastically flavorful soup. It has all the flavors of a great pot roast, but without the work of making a gravy. 

It's a great dish to make and freeze during your pregnancy because it's a very nutritious postpartum meal. After the blood loss of childbirth, it's crucial to eat iron-rich foods, like beef. The Vitamin C in the soup's vegetables will actually help your body absorb that iron, as well as promote wound healing.

serves 6 to 8
  • 4 large onions, quartered and sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces (I use my kitchen shears)
  • 2 cups diced thin-skinned potatoes (about 5 or 6 medium)
  • 2 or 3 large carrots, diced
  • 8 cups beef broth (homemade or a low-sodium boxed version)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • salt and pepper, to taste

At night: Before you go to bed, prepare your onions for caramelizing, just as we do in my Foolproof Caramelized Onions. Grease your Crockpot with some extra virgin olive oil, then dump in all of your sliced onions. Pour the rest of the oil on top and toss onions until they are coated. Set on low and cook for eight to 10 hours—they cook while you sleep! 

In the morning: Place the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker and give it all a big stir. Set the Crockpot on low and cook for another six to eight hours. When you get home at the end of the day, dinner will be ready and waiting (and delicious!). 

If you'd like, you can chill the whole pot and allow the fat to solidify. Using a large spoon, lift the hardened fat off of the soup. 

Serve with a side salad and some crusty bread and you'll have a wonderfully satisfying and comforting meal. Remember that old ad about Chunky soup: the soup that eats like a meal? Yeah, that's totally what this soup is.

This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simple Whole Wheat Crêpes @KingArthurFlour #Vitamix

I haven't blogged in a while. I'm not even sure why, exactly. I do know why my blogging stopped in the first place. My father was gravely ill; he finally stabilized enough to go to rehab and, eventually, to come home. But his illness was a life-changing event, for him and for all of us who love him. 

At first I didn't have the time or energy or will to blog. Later, writing up recipes just felt unimportant in this big, overwhelming life.

But still I cooked. Still I photographed my food. Something in me didn't want to let this blog go. And, now, I'm ready to be back. 

So, without further ado, here's a very simple recipe to get me back in the swing of things. It's a recipe I know by heart, a recipe I make at least once a week. I use white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur's organic version) because it has a mild flavor but is still more nutritious than regular all-purpose flour. I just throw everything in my Vitamix and it's incredibly easy.

yield: about 20-24 crêpes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • cinnamon and/or vanilla (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. The batter should be thin. Let it sit at least 30 minutes—or even overnight. I often get my batter ready in the evening and then just cook the crêpes in the morning.

When it comes time to cook your crêpes you can do it the traditional way, in a crêpe pan. Here's a great step-by-step tutorial. However, I got this really cool electric cordless crêpe maker as a gift and IT IS AWESOME. It makes super thin, delicate crêpes. It's just a great little appliance—holiday gift list, anyone? 

The crêpe maker company didn't pay me to write all that good stuff, it's all the truth. But, um, if you buy it through my link I will get a commission from Amazon. Full disclosure, y'all.

I often make a double batch of these crêpes, so we can have some for a weekend breakfast and then have the rest during the week.

My son eats these crêpes rolled up and dipped in maple syrup for breakfast or spread with raspberry jam and folded in a Thermos, for school lunches. I like mine with fruit, jam and crumbled goat or feta cheese. My husband like his crêpes with Nutella. 

You can also make savory crêpes. Try adding snipped, fresh chives or dried herbs instead of the sugar and cinnamon. Fill with ham and cheese, ricotta and parmesan, sauteed mushrooms and onions. Any wonderful combination of deliciousness will do!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Red, White & Blue Crepes: Happy July 4th! @driscollsberry

If I were a responsible food blogger, I would've posted this idea at least a week ago. But...I'm a health coach who just happens to blog...and life has gotten in the way of that. Between a family illness, the end of school, and the start of camp, this is just the first moment I've been able to blog in a while. But, better late than than never, right?

This made for a fun Independence Day breakfast today, but it is a yummy meal any day—and would make just as good of a dessert as a breakfast. And, hey, the United States isn't the only country with red, white, and blue in its flag, so this could work for our readers from all around the globe!

Thanks to Driscoll's, I still have a bunch of coupons for berries (from when I entered my Strawberry Shortcake with Mini Strawberry PopTarts in the company's contest). Fresh berries are the key to this light, refreshing, and nutritious meal!

It's simple. All you need:
  • your favorite crêpes (here's my recipe for simple whole wheat crêpes
  • raspberry fruit spread or jam
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • crumbled feta cheese
Spread a teaspoon or so of jam onto the crêpe. Top with a handful of the mixed berries. Sprinkle the cheese over the fruit. Roll up and enjoy!

Of course, you can switch up the flavor of jam, you can use different berries, you can use goat cheese or ricotta. Play around to figure out what you like the best. And enjoy the holiday weekend!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake w. Mini #Strawberry PopTarts @driscollsberry #strawshortcake

Driscoll's berries gave a challenge to a bunch of food bloggers: come up with a delicious and creative twist on a very classic dessert. Strawberry Shortcake. 

I decided to play with the traditional stack of biscuits, whipped cream, and strawberries by swapping out the biscuit and putting in a PopTart. Not the super-junky, overly-sweet, artificially-flavored PopTarts you buy in the supermarket. I'm talking about a homemade version with actual strawberries! Then you top those with whipped cream and more, we're talking about a yummy new twist on a classic, am I right?

serves 4
  • 1 lb. strawberries (I always get Driscoll's organic—yes, even when I'm not writing about Driscoll's)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry 100% fruit spread
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 pie crust dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 Tbls + 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp + 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or plain sugar)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To make the PopTart filling, chop about five strawberries. Place these berries, the fruit spread, and the sea salt in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Roll out your pie dough. Using a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter, cut out 16 circles; you may need to roll out the excess dough and re-cut in order to use all of your dough and get enough circles.

Place circles on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Spoon about 3/4 teaspoon of the strawberry filling onto each of half of the circles (remember, the other circles will go on top of these!). 

Take your tablespoon of heavy cream and, using your fingertip, brush the cream around the edges of the dough. Place the other circles on top and press down the edges to seal in the filling. Cut a hole or an "X" on the top of each mini pie. Again, use your fingertip to brush cream over the tops of each pie, then sprinkle one teaspoon of vanilla sugar over the tops of the tarts.

NOTE: If you don't have vanilla sugar, it's super easy to make. After you've used vanilla beans for a recipe, keep the pods! Just stick them in a container of sugar and the flavor and scent infuses your sugar. It's pretty much all I use for baking.

Back to the PopTarts: bake for 20-25 minutes, until the mini pies are golden brown.

In the meantime, whip your cup of cream and two teaspoons of sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form (my whipped cream is a bit over-whipped, you may notice in the pix. Mea culpa. Still tasted delicious, I'll have you know!). Then hull and slice the remaining strawberries. Once the PopTarts have cooled, top with a layer of berries, a dollop of whipped cream, then another PopTart, berries, and cream. Voilà! Strawberry Shortcake with a fun new twist.

Shortcake may get a bit messy, but it sure tastes amazing!

Disclosure: I received coupons from Driscoll’s Berries in order to develop a recipe for their Strawberry Shortcake contest. All photos and opinions remain my own.

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