Fresh Fruit & Veggie Salad

Sometimes – like after a night of beer tasting – you just need a meal that feels a little detoxifying.

I’m not talking about juice here (as much as I love it!), but something more substantial. Real, whole food.

So, I made this salad for lunch. It’s a totally adjustable recipe, I just used what we had and what was on sale. BUT blueberries would take it to another level. Bell peppers would add crunch! Tomatoes? A sweetness. And peaches would be crazy delicious. Experiment, and share your favorite combo!

P.S. Can you tell I’m ready for Spring? Farmer’s Market, where are you?

Fruit and veggie salad

Fruit & Veggie Salad

Serves two

Mixed greens

Baby spinach

1 apple, chopped

1/2 cup shredded carrots or carrot chips

1 cup chopped strawberries

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

A handful of raw nuts (I used a natural walnut and almond mix)

 

Once all of the prep work – washing and chopping – is done, divide it between two bowls and enjoy!

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Lemon Blueberry Bread

I’m going through a blueberry phase. Luckily, this latest craze of mine is much less expensive (and healthier) than some of my other obsessions (I’m looking at you, La Criox – and you, Lululemon).

I’ve always liked blueberries, but this month I’ve taken it to another level. In fact, I’m currently eating them in my overnight oats.

Fortunately for us blueberry-lovers, they’re considered a “superfood.” They are packed with antioxidants, and are said to protest against cancer and heart disease. Their copious nutrients also improve brain health.

Blueberries

Anyway, they were on sale the other day, so of course I stocked up. And the second I placed them in the basket, I thought of this Lemon Blueberry Bread! I made it a while ago, at home with my mom. It is SO good – light but rich – and it brightens up the dark, cold days. I could eat the glaze by itself (and I may have stood over the sink, licking the bowl…).

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Via Eat Yourself Skinny

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray bread pans with non-stick vegetable spray – three medium loaf pans or four/five smaller.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and milk. Gently fold in the blueberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk one cup confectioner’s sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice together until all blended together. Allow loaf to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from pan and drizzle glaze over top. Enjoy!

Lemon Blueberry Bread 2

The Easiest Healthy Chili

Is January over yet? Because I am SO ready for Spring.

I can totally handle winter when the joy of Christmas season is surrounding me, but after? I turn into the I’m-always-cold Grinch. And don’t even get me started on driving in freezing icy conditions!

Of course, it isn’t quite as bad when you can stay inside and snuggle up with a warm bowl of soup or stew – like chili!

This chili recipe is the absolute easiest winter dinner ever – and it’s an often requested family favorite. I really have no idea where it originated – it’s quite possible my mom made it up. It’s simple and healthy, and definitely tastes homemade. The ground turkey breast is lean but will still satisfy meat lovers, and the beans make it protein-packed.

It’s a lot of fun to include a mini toppings bar with this – for instance: avocado, cheese, Frito’s, Saltines, or oyster crackers. You can serve it on top of rice to make it more hearty as well.

Easy Chili

The Easiest Healthy Chili

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey breast (I use either 93% or 99%)

2 15 oz cans of (plain) tomato sauce

1 can of red kidney beans

1 can of black beans

1 can of white beans

1 packet chili seasoning (I like to mix 1/2 packet of the spicy with 1 whole regular packet)

Directions:

In a large pot, cook the ground turkey breast, breaking it up as it cooks. Once it’s browned, add in the tomato sauce, beans and seasoning. Bring to boil, stirring, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add any extra seasoning to taste – and enjoy!

Chocolate Cake & Red Wine Frosting

I’m practically drooling on my keyboard while posting this.

I mean, chocolate and red wine are my favorite things in the world. Probably even ahead of my other obsessions, like booties and babies and anything gold. So together, in a cake? Absolute perfection. It might be torture recalling how amazing this cake was, but I’ll do it for the sake of baking.

I was deciding between several chocolate cake recipes – like this one or this one – for Ryan’s parents 28th anniversary, but decided to try Jenna’s because of the frosting (and the interesting amount of buttermilk). It was definitely worth it! The cake was moist and the frosting to-die-for. Even someone who claims he doesn’t-really-like-frosting-that-much was begging to lick the bowl! The original recipe specified the Barefoot Wine brand, but I used a different Pinot Noir and it turned out just as well.

I can’t wait for another occasion worthy of this rich cake (But who am I kidding? Sometimes surviving Monday is reason enough).

PS – don’t forget that it’s required to drink a glass of the wine you are cooking with ; )

choc cake

Chocolate Cake with Pinot Noir Frosting

Via EatLiveRun, Yields one 2-layer cake

Cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp Pinot Noir wine
  • ¼ tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9” cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine well.

In another bowl, blend together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy but be sure not to over-mix.

Divide batter between your two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges of the cakes have separated from the pan and the cakes are light and springy. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto parchment paper to cool. Let cakes cool for at least one hour before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter until soft. Mix in the powdered sugar slowly, followed by the cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and Pinot Noir. Spread a layer of frosting between cake layers, then frost all over the top of the cake and the sides. I think it’s easier to frost the cake if you spread a THIN layer on first, then stick the cake in the freezer for maybe thirty minutes. Spread your final layer of frosting on top for a smooth look! I used cookie cutters to get the sprinkled numbers on top.

Chicken Pot Pie

I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t a get-home-from-work-and-throw-something-together kind of recipe.

BUT it’s totally worth it. I mean, it’s the perfect meal to make ahead for company, or for several meals during the week. I spent last Sunday afternoon doing this, and then we were set for the next three nights (for two of us)! If you have a bigger family, I’m willing to bet this will get you a solid two nights worth of dinner. And, it’s kid friendly for sure.

I recommend starting with cooking the chicken in the oven. While it’s in there, chop the onion, carrots and potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they are barely soft (a fork can pierce them). Blanch the carrots – throw them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes so they barely soften. And bake the biscuit dough. You’re through the woods once these steps are done – the rest is just putting it all together.

Chicken Pot Pie - Veggies

As I type this, it happens to be 2 degrees outside. So, there’s never been a more timely recipe! This will warm the house while cooking (plus make it smell amazing) and warm your belly!

Enjoy! And please share any modifications/additions you make.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

•3 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on

•3 tablespoons olive oil

•Salt and ground black pepper

•5 cups chicken stock

•2 chicken bouillon cubes

•12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

•1 cup chopped yellow onion (a little less than 1 onion)

•3/4 cup flour

•1/4 cup heavy cream

•2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes

•1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)

•4 Yukon gold potatoes, boiled until barely soft

For the biscuits:

•2 cups flour

•1 tablespoon baking powder

•1 teaspoon kosher salt

•1 teaspoon sugar

•1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

•3/4 cup half-and-half

•1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

•1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Shred/cube the chicken into small pieces.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or so, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the chicken, carrots, peas, and potatoes. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.