Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Houston, We Have A Problem.

I have recently lost some weight. Almost 25 lbs.  Without being hungry and without hours of exercise.  I am not telling you this to boast or brag.  Nor, am I fishing for complements or encouragement.  I am telling you because it has posed a problem.  I started this blog on the premise of posting "healthy" recipes and sharing my love of cooking/lists/eating.  But here's the deal. I have changed.  My habits, my lists, my diet...(meaning the food I eat to live) have changed.  I decided to take the Paleo plunge a couple of months ago and I am a convert. It wasn't such a far stretch for me considering I already steered clear of most carbs by following an "Atkin's-type" lifestyle. But cutting out legumes, quinoa and all grains has really changed my body. And my mind.
Now this in and of itself is no big deal. I mean, people change. Who cares, right? But when you start a blog, put it all out there by declaring your undying love of quinoa and then one day decide, oh nevermind.  Well, it tends to be a bit problematic.
For one, the things I have been cooking lately require no recipe and pretty much no imagination. For instance, meat. Grill, eat.  Bacon.  Crispy, done.  Eggs. A dozen different ways to make them but none requiring much skill. A few fresh greens. An apple and walnuts on occasion. And well, that about completes the realm of my culinary endeavors lately.
So much for captivating my blog followers. 
And another thing, I did have a pantry full of beans, brown/wild rice, organic quinoa and steel-cut oats...which I am sure my blog compelled you to stock up on too.  I thought I was eating healthy food and yet my body kept insisting I wasn't. I have since donated or removed all those ingredients from my home and in turn, completely thrown myself for a loop.  I am having to rethink my staples and recreate recipes without grains.  A bit more difficult than I expected.  Hence the recent diet of bacon and eggs.  
So here is what I am considering as a solution.  I am going to try recipes new to me, Paleo recipes, and give you some pointers, suggestions and reviews.  I am getting a bit board with my weekly meal plan and need some new ideas. (My poor husband, God bless him. The man is a saint.) I hope to post at least one new recipe a week.  (Starting next week. Sorry, just need to get some lists going first.)  Let me know what you think of the "new format" and feel free to chime in, ask questions or block me.  Whichever you see fit.  If you are interested in learning about eating in a more primitive way, here are some books and sites you might check out to get you started.  See ya next week!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

If Yan Can Cook...

So Can You.  One of my all time favorite cooking shows. For those of you who aren't familiar with my friend Yan, let me fill you in. 
Growing up my parents opted for us to not own a television for the better part of my childhood.  And by that I mean, our set went out and they just didn't buy another one until I was in 7th grade.  (Yes, I know, it is a miracle that I can function in society.)  However, that year Nintendo was wildly popular and I was in Middle School so it was time to give in. I think my parents realized the whole not having television in our house thing was starting to backfire a bit because my brothers were increasingly becoming mesmerized by television any time they had a chance to watch a show. It was like time stopped. They totally disengaged from their surroundings and were in a trance. So for Christmas we each got a TV. Which meant, I got my own and they had to share. Life is so unfair. Anyway, they didn't care much because they also got a Nintendo and that seemed to justify the sharing.  I was at the age where Saturday morning cartoons had lost the ability to hold my interest, and in fact I am pretty sure I never woke early enough to catch them anyway.  Most Saturdays were lazy, catch-up type days around our house.  Enter public television.  Yes, at age 12 I was watching KERA religiously.  I loved the cooking shows. Julia Child with her, "Bon Appetite", Martin Yan and "If Yan Can Cook, So Can You" and Justin Wilson's, "How ya'll are?" all became engraved in my memories from this time in my life.  I still love a day of nothing but cooking shows or cookbook reading.  I don't even try to explain it, it just is what it is.
So one of the things I loved about Yan was he really made me think "I could too".  His crazy good knife skills were a little scary to me (perhaps that was because there had been one too many knife injuries in our household requiring an ER visit) but getting into the kitchen, opening a cookbook and thinking I could make anything in it seemed to boost my cooking interest and confidence; if for no other reason than me just thinking that I could.  I don't remember my mom teaching me how to cook per say but she always gave me permission to "play" in the kitchen.  As a matter of fact, I remember a day she came home and said, "You made that? I don't even make that."  She was pointing to a 3-layer cake covered in seafoam frosting.  That's the kind of frosting made by beating egg whites then cooking them by slowly pouring boiling syrup into the whites while you continue to beat them into a foamy, sticky cloud.  I can't imagine the panic she must have felt knowing what disaster/injury could have been found instead of the beautifully frosted cake before her.  But she hid her panic and just went on and on about the cake.  No one told me that seafoam frosting was difficult to make.  It just looked really pretty and impressive.  I guess I was right.
My point to all of this is, You Can Cook.  Pick up a cookbook and find something you never would even consider trying to make and then set out to overcome your cooking fears.  Turn on Food Network and soak in some tricks used by famous chefs to navigate the kitchen then try them out for yourself.
(I personally wouldn't start with knife skills but to each his own.) It might take a little practice and a little time to become comfortable in the kitchen but that's ok.  And sure you may scrape off some burned parts, add some salt after the fact or simply utter the words, "I won't try that again".  But I have faith in you.  You can cook.  And who knows, you may even start to like it.
So today I am sharing a recipe that my aunt shared with me.  It is for a soup that will make you feel a little
chef-like having served it.  There is just something rewarding about totally deconstructing a raw food and then making something wonderfully yummy from it that makes you want to pat yourself on the back.  And this soup is sure to earn you such reward.  It would be a perfect first course for upcoming Passover/Easter/Spring meals.  I hope you give it a try and take some time to enjoy making it.  And remember, "If Yan Can Cook, So Can You."

Moroccan Carrot Soup

2 tbs butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 pound raw carrots, diced/chopped 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion;saute 2 minutes.  Mix in carrots.  Add broth; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes
Remove soup from heat.  Puree in batches in blender until smooth.  Return to same pan.  Whisk in honey, lemon juice and spices.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls.  Place a dollop of yogurt in the center of bowl and serve.

*Remember organic ingredients are best
** If you are short on time or hate chopping, buy frozen chopped onion and pre-sliced carrot chips to speed up the prep time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa

Ok, so today I am back with another quinoa recipe of sorts.  It is more of a dump this, dump that, mix, bake and serve type of recipe.  I have found this blogging recipes thing is kinda hard for a person who very rarely cooks with a recipe and never makes a dish the same way twice.  Hmm, maybe I should have thought this blog thru a little better before I started?  Too late for hindsight. Instead of beating myself up about presenting this to you in proper "recipe" format, I am just going to throw it out there.  Trust me, this dish is easy to make and tastes great.  How you get to that point doesn't really matter, does it?  We are going to pretend, at least for now, it doesn't. Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa

cooked chicken breast meat chunked or shredded- enough to feed your crew
cooked quinoa- more or less depending on your carb intake. I usually use 1 cup per 3 ck breasts
canned tomatoes- undrained, mexican recipe. I use one can for the ratio above but add if you need
shredded cheddar cheese- some to mix in and some to put on top
chipotle seasoning-I love Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle (season to taste)
1/3 block softened cream cheese or several The Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle wedges (see below)
chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a glass Pyrex that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, top with extra cheddar and bake at 350* until cheese is melted.  Serve with tex-mex condiments.

Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle for a Cheese Lover's Diet

I love to use these wedges in place of cream cheese.

Gluten-Free Moroccan Carrot Soup

Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa

Baby Bok Choy And Grass-Fed Beef Stir-Fry

Gluten-Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie

Crustless Quiche

Hearty Sausage, Kale and Potato Soup

The Best Brussels Sprouts Ever

No Cans Chicken and Rice (Gluten Free)

Last Minute Soup

Gluten-Free Cajun Quinoa

Pantry Staples

No-Bake Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Cake gluten-free

Flourless Chocolate Cake Gluten-free

i heart groceries' Texas Caviar

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