Friday, January 31, 2014

Sharing a Plate of Fun

This is one of the most wonderful finds for this week. If you miss taking a look, you will really miss out!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Get Your Glow On with Spinach

Spinach is one of the world's healthiest foods. I use it in almost everything I cook and it's also one of my favorite salad ingredients. Plus, it makes a quick and easy garnish on all kinds of food. Today I found a website that has an abundance of information on spinach, so rather than try to distill the facts, I'm going to direct you to this site. I had no idea just how amazing spinach is for your, get your glow on with some spinach today.

Spinach and Nutrition

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slim Salads and Fruitful Sides

This beautiful salad serving is a dieters dream. It's so appetizing that it fills you up just looking at it. The baby arugula is topped with thin slivers of red onion and some fine crumbles of tomato basil feta cheese. Add a quick squeeze of Meyer lemon juice and that's it. Fabulous!

With a few things on hand, this salad plate takes about 2 minutes to prepare. Its fresh look, a new take on plating, is what makes this so special. I hope the next time you are out you'll pick up a few of these slim serving dishes and make them your new go-to for salad and sides. It's a tiny trough with tasteful appeal.

slim salad serving of arugula red onions feta with almonds and blueberries

slim salad serving of arugula red onions feta with almonds and blueberries plated

Don't limit this lovely serving dish to salads. It can be
 used for many foods. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hope you are inspired to try something like this
yourself whether you are eating alone or with a crowd.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spicy Pork and Baked Bean Soup with Veggies and More Pork

Well, I can't say I've ever made this. Pork and Bean soup...but it was quite good and feels like a warm hug in a cozy setting. I think everyone has their favorite pork and bean recipe but this was a new twist for me.

I did slow cook the pork and all the ingredients for hours and hours. Nice chops atop some spinach and carrots. Then I added some canned baked beans, brown sugar, vinegar, dijon mustard, ketchup, black pepper, green pepper corns, red pepper flakes, a few squeezes of sriracha and thyme to the mix. It's tangy and tame at the same time. It's worth giving a try. If you don't eat meat...go for veggie beans and add in tofu.

Pork chops in Crock Pot

Pork and Bean Soup with Veggies

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Entertaining Simple Pleasures

This sounds easy enough. My research shows this is what consumers are looking for. Crafted, clean, fresh, homemade, nourishing, healthful ingredients that bring great taste to the table, evoke trust, show social concern, respect the growers and satisfy our emotional needs.

The first time I experienced this kind of delicious delight I was about nine. I had a wonderful friend whose mother canned her own strawberry jam and whipped up fresh buttermilk biscuits like you've never tasted.

We got up early to go to a horse show of rodeo and barrel racing and this was set out for our pleasure at the breakfast table. They were unassuming people with a love of all things true. They rode their horses with a solid knowing of the partnership between the horse and rider.

This same kind of reverence went in to the food they prepared. They were what some would call all-natural. No make-up, no BS, homegrown goodness. I never forgot this experience. When I cook, I always aspire to bring this ingredient to the table. True Love.

After years of all the fuss and fanfare of buzzwords in the food community—natural, artisan, local, authentic, farm-to-table, gourmet, new American, modern, fusion and sustainable, we've come full circle to a plate of simple pleasures.

My friends mother never knew the impact she had on me that day. It was her normal, everyday love that was folded in to my heart.

The next time you prepare a meal, matters to someone that you cared enough to take the time to offer them some wholesome goodness. It goes a long way when you feed a soul...simple as it may sound, it's a tall order for those that have been caught up in trying to impress.

If you are going to theme a meal adventure with your regional fare, make sure the garniture is golden.

It will shine bright for years in the heart of those you feed.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Light Snacking of the Healthy Kind

When food is artful it tastes better.

As I mentioned yesterday, I need to give my taste buds a rest and this was the first thing I wanted to eat. I went for a light, healthy snack.

This yogurt and juice smoothie in a small cordial hit the spot. A side of roasted almonds was the perfect complement.

Sometimes you might think eating healthy and light will not satisfy but it does.  Make a nice presentation for yourself. Sit down to enjoy every single bite and in many ways it will be more satisfying than an entire meal.

Cordial glasses served on a slate tray makes it seem special, the same way small plates are engaging.

This is light, lovely and most of all, healthy delicious.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Time-Out for Taste Buds

Time-Out from Food Plate
I have had very little appetite the last three days. Not much appeals to me. It happens.
So, I'm taking a little time out to reset my taste buds.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Do you Eat @ Your Desk?

Eating in front of computer
70% of Americans eat at their desk several times a week. How about you?
Eating this way is convenient if you want to keep working, but it's not healthy.

It promotes mindless eating. Not only that, you eat more than you would if you took the time to step away and enjoy your food.

I've read that your desk is 400 times more dirty than your toilet. Now add in your phone, your mouse, your fingers to food ratio and it's getting pretty gross.

If you work on a laptop you don't see the reality that others experience...look at your keyboard—is it clean, are there crumbs, do you have splash marks on the keys and screen...think about it.

When was the last time you cleaned it?

TIP: Unless it is absolutely essential, which I can't think of when that might be, I encourage you to stop eating while at your computer.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cut Calories by Cooking

trimming your waistline
It's that time of year. Diet commercials abound.

You want your jeans to be a little looser and easier to zip into. When you like to cook it seems like a year round battle but I'm going to give you a little good news.

Cooking actually cuts calories, and the more you do, the more you lose, or at least offset some of your intake.

These activities average 26-102 calorie burn. The low number is for 15 minutes of activity and the high number is for an hour.

Shopping for food, putting away groceries, food prep and cooking, setting the table and serving food, and last clearing and washing the dishes.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pot Roast and Noodles

Pot Roast and noodles is something my mom made quite often. I've never made it so I thought I would give the crock pot another try. Simple, simple. Carrots, celery, red peppers, shallots, and mushrooms on the bottom with the roast on top. I did sear the roast in a pan before putting it on the slow cook. I again used the high setting. Cooked for four hours and it was all juicy tender. Rather than leave it in larger chunks, I did an easy shred of the beef. I went all the way with moms tradition, using packets of onion soup mix for flavoring. You don't need to know anything about cooking to do this meal and it's quite satisfying overall.

The nutty thing was it did taste good but something in my memory was a bit haunting. I have no idea what it was, but it was heavy on the emotion side of things. There was enough here for me to eat for a couple of days at least, and the second serving I made into more of a soup. But I had to freeze the rest, until whatever it was became clear to me. Was I missing mom, was I reliving a memory, was it too close to some emotion I had not dealt with...hmmm, maybe it was none of that. Sometimes food is like that. It creates a strong tie that you may not be aware of for years and years. The taste and smell linger long after the event. I don't know if you can relate, or if you have some of those memories yourself. One thing is for sure, I was back at the kitchen table of my heart and it stirred something up. Just before I put the lid on I sprinkled in some thyme...maybe that was the trigger?

Pot Roast with Noodles