I can officially say that Spring has sprung here in New Jersey. This weekend was a dream come true with over 70 degree days and abundance of sunshine. Every season change is magical but the arrival of Spring is special. Waking up to the sound of the chirping birds is usually the first thing I notice. It doesn’t bother me at all, on the contrary it’s music to my ears. The trees are starting to bloom and the gloominess is finally gone. I love this time of the year.
We spent a good part of Sunday morning clearing our backyard of the massive amount of leaves that accumulated since last Fall. It took eight garbage bags to get it done yet we have a small backyard. Sometimes I feel as if all the leaves in the neighborhood make their way into our yard. Thankfully that project is done. For me this marks the official start to the barbecue season. That evening I made Peruvian chicken, garlic potatoes with fresh herbs and a BLT salad for our friends. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the deck, with wine and great company.
The only day off I had came and went faster than I could notice but it was just what I needed. Can’t wait till next weekend.
Until next time, I leave you with this bowl of ramen.
Ramen is insanely easy to prepare. You can add all sorts of ingredients, carrots, mushrooms, bok choy or pretty much anything you like. For me a hard boiled egg and Sriracha is a must!
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 1 hanger steak (about ½ lbs), sliced thin against the grain
- 9 oz ramen noodles
- 2 beef bouillons
- handful fresh spinach
- 5 button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 hard boiled egg, cut in half (optional)
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Add sliced hanger steak. Let marinade for about 15 minutes.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add beef bouillons and dissolve. Adjust salt to taste.
- Bring a separate pot of water to a boil, add ramen and cook a few minutes until the noodles are done. Drain. Set aside.
- In a hot skillet sauté steak slices until lightly brown.
- To serve, arrange noodles in a soup bowl, top with steak, mushrooms, scallions and spinach. Ladle enough broth to cover.
- Top with half an egg.
- Great with Sriracha.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a set of rules about what to eat and what not to. Healthy eating is not about dieting and deprivation. To me it’s more about the ability to make the right choices as well as exercise a good measure of self control. We try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, choose as many organic ingredients as possible and learn how to identify GMO produce. While our diet consists a lot of the good stuff there are times when we give in to the bad. And that’s ok.
Saturday night the family was over for a down and dirty roll up your sleeves type of meal. We made home made Margaritas and Hot N Juicy style shrimp boil. For those of you who have never been to Hot n Juicy, they serve bagged seafood swimming in tons of buttery seasoning made spicy to your licking. I can’t explain how good it is. It’s just is. I’ve mastered the seasoning and it’s now become a once a month thing for the family get together. My dad can sit there all night, just peel the shrimp and enjoy sucking the sauce out them. The six of us ate 8 lbs of shrimp and we’re not sorry. I’ll be good again tomorrow.
Saturday was a beautiful 65 degree day and a glimpse into what Spring is going to bring, but today the cold is back. It’s going to rain most of the week with a possibility of snow on Tuesday. So I made this delicious stew to warm up a bit. I love stews no matter the time of the year.
I made baked tortilla chips as well. Simply cut corn tortillas into eights, lay on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Bake at 350 degrees until golden.
The toppings are all up to you. Use whatever you like, avocado, radish, cabbage, red onions. All fantastic! I made crispy chorizo bits for an even more flavor.
This stew is great the day it’s made and even better the day after. It freezes well too.
- 2 lbs pork shoulder, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 can light beer
- 2 14 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1 chicken bouillon
- 2 whole pickled jalapeños plus the juice, fine chop
- 1 tbsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- cayenne pepper (optional)
- olive oil
- toppings of your choice
- Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot or a Dutch oven.
- Season pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown pork. (Don't overcrowd the pot, you'll end up steaming the meat instead of browning it) Remove to a bowl.
- To the same pot add diced onion, garlic and poblano pepper. Cook about 5 minutes.
- Add the beer, deglaze the pot and add the rest of the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 1 hour until pork is tender. Season with salt and cayenne to your liking.
Complacency can be boring, but yet it’s comfortable. It’s what we know. It’s what we are used to. Occasionally breaking the routine can be a good thing. When I got home after a long day of work I found myself reaching for the same old ingredients. I stopped and decided to get creative instead. I needed some change. I must admit, I have been feeling a bit off lately. Maybe I’m just tired, maybe i’m complacent.
My husband will be the first one to tell you I don’t like routine. Let me rephrase that. I don’t like routine all the time. I crave different. I crave adventure. Although I feel comfortable with routine, its the change that keeps me excited. I believe the change translates into my cooking style. Often people will ask me what type of food do I cook. The answer is always “all kinds”. I don’t stick to one cuisine, I experiment with various flavors. I guess you can call it international fusion. Yes! I like that.
- ½ pack soba noodles
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ onion, sliced thin
- ½ tsp crushed garlic
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 3 oz shiitake mushrooms
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- ½ tbsp miso paste
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs, hard boiled, sliced in half
- Cook soba according to instructions, drain, rinse and set aside
- In a small soup pot, heat olive oil, add onion, shiitake and garlic. Saute about 3 min.
- Stir in red pepper flakes if using, then add the broth.
- Bring to a simmer, add miso and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add carrots and cook another minute, just enough for the carrots to get softer but still have some crunch.
- To serve, add soba noodles to a bowl, top with the shitake broth, some carrots, green onions and egg.
- Enjoy with Sriracha.
Sometimes it’s great to let the slow cooker do all the work and that’s exactly how this dish came to be. Over the last week Briana has been very sick. In an effort to help her fight the sickness I made the ultimate get better dish, Chicken Noodle Soup.
Chicken soup is not only good for the soul, my grandma swears that it helps beat a cold as well. Who am I to argue with the woman. Since I was sick as well and had little desire to spend hours in the kitchen cooking the soup from scratch I turned to a reliable kitchen helper, my slow cooker.
Making chicken noodle soup in a slow cooker is a breeze. I might never make it the traditional way again. The trick is to add noodles in the last 30 minutes of cooking. I hope you make it. I know you will love it.
Have a beautiful weekend.
- 4 chicken breasts or boneless thighs
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 2 chicken bouillons
- ¼ cup white wine
- 5 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup noodles
- Set your slow cooker for 5 hours on high.
- Add onion, carrots, celery and herbs to the slow cooker.
- Lay chicken on top.
- Add bouillon, white wine and water. Cook on high for 4½ hours.
- Add noodles and cook another ½ hour.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Do you consider yourself a health buff?
I often ask myself this question only to realize how much I still have to learn. I am just as passionate about food as I am about the benefits that it can deliver. That is why I continuously educate myself on the subject.
It is estimated that 60% of disease is caused by the Standard America Diet, ironically abbreviated to S.A.D. If I was to list the factors that increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and intestinal disorders, S.A.D has them all: high in unhealthy fats, low in fiber, processed and overcooked.
I admire people who eat a raw diet with their glowy skin and remarkable levels of energy. Although I would love to be able to do so I can never eat a fully raw diet. I am just not satisfied, especially in the cold months of winter, unless I eat a hot meal. This doesn’t stop me from incorporating as much unprocessed fresh produce as I possibly can or want into my day.
In an effort to help you plan healthier meals and eat better I put together this great healthy recipes collection from some of the wonderful bloggers around. Enjoy!Read More