Cupid’s Breakfast Salad

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~ Happy Valentine’s Day! ~ 

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This Valentine’s Day we’re thinking outside the chocolate box. Cupid is no dummy when it comes to starting the day off right. He has plenty of opportunities to eat sweets and goodies, but knows he’ll need to stay healthy and full of energy for the task at hand.

After all, being the symbol of love and master of attraction and affection is no easy task.

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Cupid’s Breakfast Salad is balanced beautifully with all kinds of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats.

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There’s even a little bacon on top to add a bit of salty, smokey, goodness.

Cupid knows that bacon spells L-O-V-E.

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His dressing is made with tart cherry juice, the deep and romantic color of the heart. Tart cherries reduce inflammation, lower the risk of stroke, fight that tummy jiggle, and are loaded with melatonin to give a peaceful start to the day.

Cupid wants only what’s best for you when it comes to matters of the heart and health.

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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ―Virginia Woolf

Cupid’s Breakfast Salad

2 Cups of Packed Organic Spinach, stems removed

1 Organic Red Chard Leaf, stem removed and sliced

1/2 of an Organic Avocado, cubed

1/2 of a Small Organic Apple, cubed

1 Organic Clementine, peeled with a knife, sectioned

4-5 Organic Strawberries, cubed, plus some for garnish

1 Slice of Organic Bacon Cooked Crisp, crumbled

4 Organic Pecans, sliced lengthwise

1 Medjool Date, seed removed and diced

Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.

Cupid’s Tart Cherry Dressing

4 teaspoons of Organic Lemon Juice

3 teaspoons of Pure Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

1/2 Cup of Organic Tart Cherry Juice

2 1/2 Tablespoons of So Delicious Greek Style Raspberry Coconut Milk Yogurt

Grated Rind of 1/2 of a Lemon

Pinch of Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Rind of 1 Lemon

Place all ingredients in a jar and screw lid on tightly. Shake until emulsified.

Spicy Sausage and Bean Soup & Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

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I could live on soup.

In fact, as long as I had a nice variety, I literally would eat soup every day of my life for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have no idea why I feel this way about soup, but really, what’s not to like about it? Your options are endless. You can make a light soup or a hardy soup. You can make a puree or you can make one with all kinds of yummy texture and flavor. All I ask is that you don’t eat it out of a can.

Soup is easy to make yourself (not as easy as opening a can…but not much harder)  and the payoff is huge. Just the fact that you’ve created something delicious from scratch all on your own is a plus. The fact that you can control what’s in it…that’s the important part. No chemicals, creepy thickeners, hidden allergens, or crazy genetically modified who knows what for you. Just simple organic ingredients that are beneficial for the whole family.

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup 

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, chopped

1/2 Cup Celery, sliced thinly

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

About 2 Cups of your favorite GF/DF sausage, sliced (I used Hot Italian Pork & Sweet Italian Chicken)

4 Large Tuscan Kale Leaves (rib removed) rolled, cut in half, and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/2-1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)

1 15 oz. Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

8 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot and heat. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, sliced sausage, kale, thyme, and red pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the onion and celery are becoming translucent. Add the beans, broth, and Old Bay Seasoning and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

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Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

*Super easy and a perfect way to use up leftover hamburger buns.

2 Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter Spread

Garlic Powder

Dried Oregano

Open the buns and spread with butter. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and dried oregano. Place under the broiler until golden.

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The Race Is On

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DSC_5006Remember when I told you I was going to have a huge organic vegetable garden this summer?

I even started some of the longer growing seeds indoors for the first time. I had visions of canning and freezing and having all kinds of wonderful veggies and herbs to use throughout the winter.

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All was going well, they were beautiful, we bought the supplies to make three large raised gardens, I replanted the seedlings once they were strong enough into their secondary pots…

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And then they all died.

It was quite disappointing.

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The thought of going through that all over again and then possibly losing them all in a massive downpour (which are common in NH) was just too much. We’ve only lived in this house for 7 months and we have been busy. Seriously busy. There’s a lot that goes on when you move 3,000 miles across the country to a new area and new home. Plus we’re having visitors for summer and fall…so I decided to set the garden aside until next year, when I could really give it some special attention.

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Unfortunately, now I’m kicking myself for not starting the organic garden. Not only is purchasing all of our organic vegetables a large expense every week,  for some reason the organic produce in the grocery stores here doesn’t last nearly as long as it did on the west coast. A lot of it comes from California so I’m guessing by the time it gets here, it’s already at least 5 to 6 days old.  Organic produce that’s already a week old! Certain things are also hard to find, like a simple red bell pepper. Very frustrating.

I’ve learned the hard way that we need to eat them up as quickly as possible. Throwing away organic vegetables is a pricey, awful, feeling.

So the race is on.

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When I get home from the store I make a huge salad, put it in an airtight container, and I eat salad every day for lunch and sometimes dinner until it’s gone.

Have you tried Schar’s gluten-free table crackers?

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I put the other vegetables in a zipper bag with a paper towel and that seems to hold them for a just a couple more days so we can have fresh vegetables with other meals.

Here’s the Trader Joe’s goat Gouda I’ve been telling you about.

Unbelievably fabulous.

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I’ve learned my lesson and won’t be procrastinating on our organic garden next spring!

Organic Chopped Veggie Salad

Purple Cabbage

Romaine Hearts

Baby Spinach Leaves

Celery

Carrots

Sweet Petite Peppers

Roma Tomatoes

Dice all veggies (shred the carrots) and place in an airtight container.

Dressing

1 part Organic Olive Oil

2 Parts Organic Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Organic Oregano

Organic Raw Honey

Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

Place all ingredients in a canning jar, tighten the lid, and shake to emulsify.

Breakfast As I See It

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Sometimes, I think I cannot face another egg for breakfast.

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(Photo – digitalbusstop.com)

I require protein in the morning if I’m going to make it through the day with any amount of energy. But honestly, I can only handle so many mornings of eggs

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and protein shakes.

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I do like leftovers for breakfast but couldn’t find one single leftover in the fridge besides chili. Chili for breakfast is pushing it, don’t you think?

The cinnamon rolls would be fabulous though…but not much protein there.

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So I went with a turkey sandwich. I was able to fit all of the important things in like protein, vegetables, and a carbohydrates.

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The only thing missing was bacon, because we ate the rest of it yesterday on some fabulous BLT’s for lunch.

Now bacon is another story. Ahhh….bacon. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like it. And clearly, if you don’t like bacon – well, you’re just not going to be in my close circle of friends. Because bacon is a must if you’re going to enjoy life.

Have you tried the Applegate Sunday Bacon? So, very, good.

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If I thought I could live on bacon and peanut butter & chocolate pancakes every morning, now THAT would be my mainstay. But we all know what a daily diet of  bacon, chocolate, and peanut butter will lead to. An embarrassing trip to the cardiologist where I would have to admit that I’d been having a love affair with all the wrong foods.

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So to avoid that, “I wish I was invisible moment” with a heart doctor, I settled on a sandwich for breakfast this morning.

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~April’s Breakfast Sandwich~

2 Slices of Udi’s Gluten Free Bread

3 Slices of Applegate Organic Roasted Turkey 

Organic English Cucumber Slices

Organic Tomato Slices

Organic Broccoli Sprouts

Annie’s Organic Horseradish Mustard

Olive Oil Mayo

King Crab Salad with Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing

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A couple of weeks ago I Googled recipes for salad dressing made with avocados. I made the mistake of trying the recipe right before we were going to eat and the very expensive, organic dressing ended up being poured down the drain. It was too vinegary, too acidic, and I couldn’t detect avocado anywhere in the dressing except in the color. In fact the dressing had no flavor at all. I hated to waste two organic avocados but down they went.

So yesterday when I was contemplating what to do with our leftover Mother’s Day King Crab legs, I thought I’d give an avocado dressing another try.

This time, I made up a recipe. It took all of 5 minutes and it tasted fantastic.

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King Crab Salad

*Makes 2 large personal sized salads.

2 Handfuls of Organic Baby Spinach

1 Head of Organic Romaine Lettuce, sliced

A Few Slices of Organic Red Onion, thinly sliced

1 Organic Tomato, chopped

1 Organic Avocado, chopped

2 Medium Organic Carrots, grated

Juice of 1/2 Organic Lemon, for drizzling over the avocado after it’s on the salad

About 1 1/2 Cups King Crab, chilled

Gluten Free Croutons

Divide the first 7 ingredients between two plates. Top with the crab (I pulled mine apart into bite sized pieces), sprinkle with croutons. Top with Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing.

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Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing

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*Makes about 1 Cup

1 Organic Avocado

1 1/2 teaspoons of Organic Dry Dill, you can use fresh if you have it

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 teaspoon Granulated Sugar

Juice of 2 Organic Lemons

1/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk

2 or 3 Grinds of Fresh Pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

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Pretending It’s Spring

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There’s not much more we can do, really.

Well, besides maybe whine and complain. But I think we’ve already tried that and it didn’t work.

So all that’s left is…pretending.

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We woke up this morning to eight inches of new snow. Yep.

And we’re supposed to get six to ten more inches before the day is over. It’s snowing heavily right now at 2:30 in the afternoon, so I’m going to assume the weather forecast was correct. Luckily snow is beautiful. Can you imagine if we had to endure months and months of something ugly falling out of the sky every year? See, it’s not hard to find something in this weather to be thankful for. I’ll hang on to that and keep pretending that this will all melt next week and it will warm up to at least the high 50’s so I can start working in the yard.

Today I made Tony and I a colorful lunch to help us get through the pretending of spring.

This whips up very quickly (maybe 10 minutes at the most) and serves two. We had about a cup leftover. Perfect for a bed for an egg “sunny” side up in the morning.

Warm Spring Salad

Organic Olive Oil

1 Chicken Sun Dried Tomato & Basil Sausage (I used Alfresco), sliced lengthwise then chopped

1 Small Organic Onion

About 1/2 Cup Organic Red & Orange Bell Pepper, sliced

About 1 Cup Organic Broccoli Florets, sliced

Large Handful Organic Baby Kale, chopped

Large Handful Organic Baby Spinach, chopped

1 Can Organic Black Beans, rinsed & drained

Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salt & Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the sausage, onion, pepper, and broccoli until sausage is lightly browned and vegetables are al dente. Add the black beans, kale, spinach, and toss until kale and spinach wilt. Season with salt and pepper and a few splashes of your favorite vinaigrette.

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Baked Halibut and Sweet Potato Fries

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I only have one photo today of our lunch. Although I’m using it twice.

I took several but evidently something happened between taking them and saving them. When I went to upload, all were just plain white, except one. With all the positives of fantastic technology, also come a few negatives.

The fish was fantastically flaky and delicious. I’m sorry you had to miss it!

My husband has a huge aversion to oil. He hates greasy food and particularly liked this fish because “it gives you the sense that you’re eating something fried but it’s not overly oily”. I would have to agree with him. This meal feels like you’re really indulging, but in reality, it’s all baked and has very little fat. What fat it does have are pretty healthy fats; the mayo is even made with olive oil.

It feels like we’re finally settling in to our new home and getting into somewhat of a routine. The one thing we can’t seem to acclimate though, is dinner time. We’re hungry for breakfast a later time than usual, then end up missing lunch, and are ready for dinner around 2:30. That would be 11:30 Washington time, which I guess is actually lunch… See what I mean about time acclimation? Amazing how firm our inner clocks are set, isn’t it? This is why it appears that we are having dinner for lunch…because we are. It’s probably better that way anyway. Then we aren’t full when we go to bed and we can have dessert for dinner. See how that works out so nicely? Yay!

For those of you who are visiting for the first time, in November we moved almost 3,000 miles away from our home town in Washington State to southern New Hampshire.

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We love the new house, the neighborhood, the surrounding area, and the abundance of fresh seafood. I’ve probably eaten more mussels and clams in the last three months than I have in my entire life.

But I would have to say that the people of New Hampshire are what really have made all the difference and have taken the sting out of what would normally be a rather stressful experience. They are just so nice. I know it sounds odd, and maybe even kind of dorky…and you may think I’m exaggerating, but I kid you not. In the three months we’ve been on the east coast, I can say I have not seen one person in public be rude to another person, I haven’t seen anyone flip each other off in their cars or yell, people actually stop for you to cross the street whether you’re in a cross walk or not and they don’t get angry about it, and they don’t invade your personal space at the check out stand (all things that happen frequently in our home town). They stop and talk to you and shoot the breeze as if they don’t have any thing better in their day to do than really chat with you and find out how you’re doing. And they are incredibly patient people.

And these are the strangers, people we don’t even know!

Just a few days ago I stood in the gluten-free isle at Hannaford’s and talked to a couple from Massachusetts for about a half an hour (we’re only a few miles from the border).  The wife has Celiac and the husband does all of the cooking for her. I would say they were in their early 60’s. They were shocked to hear that we love the east coast so much and when I told the husband that I was amazed by how genuinely friendly people are, the man was taken aback and thanked me and told me that he considered that quite a compliment.

Moving almost 3,000 miles across the country and starting a new life in our mid 40’s has been an adjustment to say the least. But it is also a fantastic adventure and I’m incredibly thankful we were smart enough to set all the “what-if’s” aside and take the leap!

 “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

And I’m going to have to say, Amen Eleanor! Amen!

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Baked Halibut with Sweet Potato Fries

You can find the recipe for the sweet potato fries here.

You’ll want to start the sweet potato fries about 30-40 minutes ahead of baking the fish, which only takes about 20 minutes.

For the dipping sauces:

Tartar Sauce

About 3/4 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

2 Baby Sweet Gherkins, finely diced

1 teaspoon Maple horseradish Mustard (Dijon would be fine too)

About 1 Tablespoon Gherkin Juice

About 2 teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice

Dash of Tabasco

Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Red Sauce

1/2 Cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise

3 Tablespoons GF Ketchup

1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Dash of Kosher Salt

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

For The Fish

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

1 Halibut Steak, skin removed and boned

(This will depend on how many people you are feeding, you can also use any other type of firm fish that you like)

About 1 Cup GF Bread Crumbs

A Generous Pinch(s) of Kosher Salt

About 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

About 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

About 1/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter

About 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Baking Sheet, Cooling Rack, Aluminum Foil

Remove the skin and bone from the halibut if necessary, this will leave you with four pieces. Dry each one off with a paper towel and set on clean paper towels.

Place the bread crumbs, salt, oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish and stir with a fork until completely combined. Set aside.

Melt the butter and olive in a shallow dish in the microwave for about 30 seconds, not until it’s boiling, just melted.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a cooling rack.

Take the fish and roll it in the butter, then roll and cover completely in bread crumbs. Set on rack and repeat until all of the fish are dipped and covered in bread crumbs.

Next, take any remaining butter and olive oil mixture and drizzle it with a spoon over the breaded fish. Sprinkle a little more bread crumbs over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Don’t over cook or the fish will become rubbery. You want it to flake nicely with a fork.

Serve with the sweet potato fries, lemon wedges, and a dollop of both dips.