Recipe: “Detox” Juice …

I don’t like Halloween.  It isn’t because of the commercialization of the holiday.  It isn’t because of its religious (or non-religious) roots.  It even isn’t because I don’t like dressing up in costumes.  I don’t like Halloween because it’s typically about now that I come face to face with the remains of a 5 pound bag of candy.  I typically have will power for about a week but it’s just about now that the siren song of a miniature Snickers or Reese Cup is too much for me to bear.

I am positive Halloween is determined to give me diabetes…..

So aside from forcing The Partner to take the candy to work for his co-workers I will be sipping on this delicious “detox” juice.  By no means do I think that sipping on this delicious concoction will purge me of all my sugary wrong doings but it will at least make me feel better about my sinfully delicious (and tooth decaying) past……

busybee-detox-smoothie-crop

2 medium carrots
1 lemon – peeled
1″ piece of ginger
1 stalk of celery
1/2 an apple
2 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp organic bee pollen*

Blend with around a cup of water and enjoy!

*If you are prone to allergies you may want to omit the bee pollen as it could cause an allergic reaction.

Now great!  I may be back to normal just in time to gorge myself at Thanksgiving.

[photo & recipe credit: whole food lab]

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Recipe: Chicken, Feta & Peach Spinach Salad with Warm Orzo ….

While I am in the UK, I thought I would share with you one of my new favorite weekday meals.  Yes, the title is a mouthful, but this light and easy salad is the perfect way to use up the last of your peaches and leftover chicken.  Leave the orzo out and serve as a first course or leave the orzo for a satisfying but not weighed down main course……

chicken peach feta salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

– 9 oz of triple washed spinach (one bag)
– 1 large ripe peach, cut into half wedged
– 2 cups roast chicken, shredded
– 1 half of a medium sweet or red onion, sliced thin
– ½ cup of Danish Feta, cubed
– 1 cup of cooked orzo
– Vinaigrette dressing

Directions:

1. Cook 1 cup of orzo according to directions of package.

2. Divide spinach into four bowls and set aside.

3. In large bowl, combine chicken, feta, onions, and orzo. Top with vinaigrette* to taste and gently toss. Fold in peaches being sure not to bruise the fruit.

4. Scoop combined mixture on top of spinach, salt and pepper to taste.   Enjoy!

* I rarely make vinaigrette these days thanks to my obsession with Brianna’s Real French Vinaigrette. However, if you prefer, feel free to make your own dressing. I like this dressing recipe.

[recipe & food styling: courtney lake]

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Breakfast for Dinner: Bacon & Potato Frittata ….

There is something deliciously naughty about having breakfast for dinner.  It’s like wearing your PJs all day or when you opt for a “liquid lunch”.  Frittatas have long been a staple of my weekend entertaining thanks to their ability to be made in advance, eaten at room temperature and the almost limitless combinations of ingredients.  Plus, it’s a one pot meal if you have an oven-proof skillet and I don’t think there is anything prettier than a cast iron skillet fresh from the broiler with a perfectly golden and puffy frittata placed on a table.

Okay, my mouth is watering ……….

Bacon & Potato Frittata

Frittata

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes (Yukon Gold)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 stripes of chopped country bacon (ham can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Directions

  • Preheat oven to broil setting.
  • Place bacon on baking sheet and broil until crisp. Remove and place on paper towels to drain.
  • In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. Set aside.
  • Heat 12-inch, oven safe sauté pan over medium high heat. Add butter & olive oil to pan and melt. Add potatoes and onions to pan and sauté until onions are translucent and potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Cut or crumble bacon and add to pan.
  • Pour egg mixture into pan and stir with rubber spatula. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top.
  • Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy. Remove from heat and let sit for 3-5 minutes to allow eggs to set.
  • Sprinkle with chives and cut into 6 servings. Serve immediately.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to wipe the drool from my chin and figure out if I can justify popcorn and ice cream as an adult substitute for dinner.

For other recipes, you can see all my random kitchen musings here……

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Recipe: Quick Quinoa Bowl …..

I love Summer holidays, in particular the Fourth of July.  The thing that I loved most were the cook-outs and barbecues that would gather all my friends and family.  What I didn’t love was a fridge jammed packed with tupperware that would never be eaten.  Truth is, my family was (and still is) not one to really eat leftovers.  I don’t know why but trying to get them to eat leftovers is like trying to get Amanda Bynes not to take selfies on Instagram — in a word difficult.  This year, I am determined not to be stuck with piles of food that will go to waste, so I created this simple recipe that I am calling the Quick Quinoa Bowl.  It uses all the items we typically have leftover after the 4th; veggies kebabs, roast/bbq chicken and garnish/salad greens and puts them over a bed of quinoa.  It’s delicious, healthy, quick and best of all, my family will be none the wiser that they are consuming leftovers….wins all the way around in my book…….

Quick Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients

–       1 cup quinoa

–       2 cups chicken broth or water

–       1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

–       2 cups roasted vegetables* (leftover kebabs are great)

–       ½ cup baby spinach

–       3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

–       ¼ cup feta cheese, optional

Directions

– Place quinoa in fine mesh strainer & rinse thoroughly before cooking to remove any residue.

– If preferred, toast quinoa in dry skillet prior to cooking to bring out the grain’s natural nutty flavor.

– If not roasting, combine quinoa and chicken stock/water in large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.

– Divide spinach among bowls and spoon quinoa over.  The heat of the quinoa will wilt the spinach.

– Place roasted vegetables and chicken over quinoa, sprinkle with feta and garnish with parsley.

Notes:

* If you are not using leftover vegetables, then I suggest the following mix:  2 squash prepared, 2 carrots, 1 red bell pepper, 2 white onions and 5 stalks of asparagus.   Cut vegetables into 1” pieces and place onto large baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.  Bake at 450 degrees until vegetables are tender, approximately 20 minutes.

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Recipe: Better Banana Nut Bread ….

I love banana nut bread.  I could literally eat it for breakfast every day which is why I stopped making it…..because while it tastes delicious there is something to be said for fitting into one’s jeans (or through a door).  Now before you think this is some recipe about how I modified the original to make it healthy, it isn’t.  Actually I think I found the least healthy but albeit delicious recipe for Banana Nut Bread thanks to America’s Test Kitchen.

The issue I always had with making the bread was that it was dense…..like your second cousin who got held back in kindergarten for eating crayons and paste dense.  While yummy, my bread was a dense brick which I couldn’t figure out how to correct.  Fortunately, this recipe creates a beautiful crumb with bread that is solid but flavorful.  It’s what I proudly call ………

Banana Nut Bread

Makes 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 large very ripe bananas (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled (see note)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray 8 1⁄2 by 4 1⁄2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl.
  • Place 5 bananas in microwave-safe bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in plastic with paring knife. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer placed over medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (you should have 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup liquid).
  • Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1⁄4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash with potato masher until fairly smooth.
  • Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts, if using. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  • Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 55 to 75 minutes.
  • Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on wire rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTES

– If you used frozen banana, skip the microwaving section of the recipe.

– I prefer the taste of pecans to walnuts but feel free to use whichever you prefer

– Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top otherwise you will end up with scorch marks

Banana Nut Bread 2

Make it this weekend and serve with an iced latte for the perfect quick breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.  But be sure to do some exercise afterwards because I can’t be responsible for you fitting into your skinny jeans later…….

Have a great weekend!

[recipe courtesy of america’s test kitchen // food styling: courtney lake]

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Recipe: Green Juice……For Beginners…..

Sluggish is the best way to describe how I have felt for the last few weeks.  Tired, cranky and just out of sorts…..I think it may be due to stress (duh) but also my “wonderful” diet of fast food, fried food, Coke and my all too often visits to the potato chip aisle at my local corner mart.  I have balanced my diet on the backs of the Unholy Trinity of caffeine, chips and cupcakes.  This has to stop!

Enter my new (err…old) juicer that I received last year as a Christmas present.  We had a pretty intense love affair which slowly waned as they so often do with my kitchen gadgets.  However, feeling the way I did, I thought it was the perfect time to reacquaint myself with this nifty gadget and introduce juicing as part of my regular diet.  Before anyone gets into arms – this is not a “diet” per say.  I am not trying to lose weight, but looking for a fast and nutritious way to add more fruits and vegetables to my lousy diet.  And should it help me lose my “man paunch” in the process, more power to the juice!

I tried a few green juice recipes and felt like I was drinking lawn clippings, so I modified the one I liked best to create the “Mean Green for Beginners….”

Green Juice Before

Ingredients:

  • 5 kale leaves (stalks removed)
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup green seedless grapes (approx. 20 grapes)
  • 1 small granny smith apple
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1/2 cup water (if using a blender)

Directions:

If you have a juicer, follow the directions from the manufacturer to juice the ingredients.  If you are using a blender, core and cut apples.  Place grapes in blender first, followed by the apples, cucumbers, spinach and then kale.  Add water to thin out.

Makes two servings.

Green Juice After

I found this recipe to be easy to palette thanks to the addition of the fruit as well as not too filling.  But more importantly, I found myself energized!  It was pretty miraculous how quickly my energy levels changed once I added the juice as part of my afternoon regimen in lieu of my lunch Coke.  My 2pm power nap (perks of working for yourself) was a thing of the past and I could power my way through dinner and beyond!

Right now, I am a lean working machine thanks to this mean green concoction!  Do you have a favorite juice recipe?  If so, share it with me as I would love to have more in my arsenal.

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Mixology Wednesday: Kaffir Lime Sour With Ginger…

On Easter, the Partner and I hosted an Easter potluck for a group of our friends.  Everyone brought a little something and I ended up making coconut cream cupcakes but what was the hit of the party were the delicious cocktails the other half was mixing at the bar.  We recreated our Palm Springs experience by having greyhounds  but decided to add another cocktail to the menu, a kaffir lime sour with ginger…..

Kaffir Lime Sour Pic

This tart and citrus concoction was the perfect foil to the mountains of food we consumed – it is light, refreshing and bubbly thanks to a splash of sparkling water.  I think this may be my go-to drink as the weather heats up!

Bottoms Up!

Kaffir Lime Sour With Ginger

Ingredients

– Ginger Simple Syrup

Hanger One Kaffir Lime Vodka

– 1/2 lemon

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 1/4 cup fresh grated ginger

– sparking water

Directions:

1) Make the ginger syrup: Combine grated ginger, sugar, and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature for at least one hour; strain out solids if desired. Ginger simple syrup will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

2) Make the cocktail. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine 1¾ oz. lime vodka, ¾ oz. ginger syrup, and fresh lemon juice. Shake vigorously and pour out into an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling water to taste.

Recipe modified from Sauver.com.

[photo credit: Anna Stockwell]