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.
“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there” Richard Bach.
My friends, I am using the law of attraction to bring warm weather into my life. This morning I heard on the news that so far this year we have doubled the amount of snow this area gets on average and there are still 36 days of winter left. We are due to get another blizzard with “significant” accumulations tomorrow. Me no likey!
I have been following the Law of Attraction principle for a few months now. This belief is based on the idea that people and their thoughts are made of pure energy and for that reason we can attract positive or negative into our lives just by focusing our thoughts in either direction. This concept is fascinating to me. Although there are many skeptics out there, it is our human right to believe in what we want and to follow ideas that make us feel good. While I understand it has nothing to do with weather, the thought itself makes me feel good and that’s all that matters.
This bean stew also makes me feel really good. Mostly because it warms my chilled body and tastes insanely good. Since it’s nutritiously good for you, it also makes me feel good about eating it. And it’s makes for killer lunch leftovers the next day.
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp dry rosemary
- ½ tbsp red chili flakes
- 1 lb pinto beans, soaked overnight
- 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
- 1 chicken bouillon (use vegetable bouillon for vegetarian version)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch Oven, add garlic, onion, celery, bell pepper, rosemary and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is soft, about 7 minutes.
- Add beans, chicken bouillon, cover with water and simmer for about 1½ hours until the beans are very soft.
- Stir in kale, season with salt, pepper and cook another 10 minutes.
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
Hope you all had a great weekend.
Today we start a Vegetarian Week Challenge. I asked my meat loving husband to join me and eat meat free for a week. While he didn’t receive the idea with enthusiasm he loves me too much to say no. Since I do all the cooking around here, he kind of has no choice. Sometimes us girls have to use “the powers” to get things done around here. :0) I then threw in another bombshell. I informed him that we might have a vegetarian Week once a month, but that didn’t go too well.
Oh well!!! At least I tried…
Although we don’t eat much meat to begin with, poultry, especially wings, is something Kurt loves this time of the year. I am hoping that with recipes from some of my favorite vegetarian bloggers, a few cooking magazines and a combination of my own skills I can make this week a tasty meatless experience for him.
To kick of the week on Sunday night I made my version of Ribollita, the Italian bean and cabbage soup, minus the bread and chicken stock. To my satisfaction Kurt LOVED it.
Success!!!! This is going to be a breeze or I maybe just jinxed myself. Wish me luck.
VEGETARIAN WEEK MEAL PLAN
|Monday||Mixed Greens Salad with roasted vegetables and cottage cheese.||Dr. Praegers California Veggie Burgers, served with baked potato fries.|
|Tuesday||Roasted Butternut Squash Lentil Stew (prepared Sunday)||Rosemary Mushroom Chickpea Ragout over toasted Garlic Sourdough.|
|Wednesday||Leftovers from Tuesday’s dinner||Falafel Burgers served with Roasted Beetroot Salad with Blue Cheese Crumbles|
|Thursday||Loaded Salad, romaine lettuce topped with tomatoes, cucumbers and egg salad.||Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale & Gruyere Cheese Panini|
|Friday||Mushroom Barley Soup||Vegetarian Gyoza with Ponzu Dipping Sauce|
- 8 ounces dry cannellini beans, soaked overnight or boiled for 5 min and let stand for 1 hour
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, chopped
- ½ celery stalk, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
- ½ head cabbage, sliced into ½ inch slices
- 1 vegetable bouillon
- Half 14.5-ounce can chopped diced tomatoes, organic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- Rinse and drain the soaked cannellini beans and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and saute carrots, celery and onions until well-cooked, 8-10 minutes.
- Add potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, bouillon and the beans. Add enough hot water to cover the ingredients in the pot, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 1 to 1½ hours adding more water if needed. You want the mixture to be soupy.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve topped with shaved parmesan cheese.