Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Chef's Tasting Table Day 6 // Beet Hummus + Rainbow Carrots



A humble beet...


Gets roasted!





video


We all got BEET red for Valentine's Day!

Meet Jeff and Jen Miller, the owners and farmers of the beautiful Prairie Wind Family Farms located just 8 miles from West Oak School! West Oak School purchased their beets using the Chef Ann Foundation Project Produce Grant. They taught the kids fun facts about beets, watermelon radishes and rainbow carrots, three vegetables all grown and sold on their farm.


video






video


In addition to Jen and Jeff, Mary and Executive Chef Silvio from Preferred Meals joined us and spoke to the kids. Chef Silvio got the students thinking about the ratio of vegetables and meat in our grocery stores, in our diets and on our plates:
  • There is so much more vegetable variety than meat at the grocery store
  • Vegetables detoxify our bodies and give us essential nutrients and antioxidants 
  • You can eat both raw and cooked vegetables (meat mostly cooked)
  • Vegetables are much less expensive than meat
  • Preparation methods are endless with vegetables
  • Vegetables include essential proteins too
It was so FUN hearing Jen, Jeff and Chef Silvio speak to the students about their food passions, farming, cooking, and eating vegetables! Most especially sharing their knowledge of beets, watermelon radishes and rainbow carrots - three vegetables that most students had never seen or tasted before. Thank you SO much for volunteering your time to be with me in the lunchroom, the kids LOVED meeting and interacting with all of you. 


The kids were pretty enthralled watching the beet hummus come together in the food processor.
And the ruby red hummus certainly stretched a lot of students out of their food comfort zone. 

When's the last time you had anything that RED, which was NOT a fruit or colored by Red #40? 

Creamy Beet Hummus
Inspired by this recipe

1 small beet
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans drained (reserve some juice!)
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large garlic clove (or two small ones)
1/4 cup chickpea juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Combine first six ingredients into a food processor and blend. While blending pour in oil and reserved chickpea juice. Stop after 30 seconds and scrape the sides. Blend for another 30 seconds or until super smooth and creamy. 

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus and Honey

4-5 roasted beets diced
Zest + juice from 1/2 orange
Zest + juice from 1/2 lemon
3-4 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.






CRUNCH!

See you back in the lunchroom on the 28th!!

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL

ps

The beautiful rainbow carrots can be found at the new Mundelein Jewel-Osco Store. A BIG shout out to Dan, the produce manager who finds any vege or fruit for me that is unavailable from our local organic farms. THANK YOU!!






Sunday, February 12, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 6

Are you excited to cook this week with me or what?


Mac: "Mom, you're so embarrassing."
Me: "I know. And all this excitement makes the food taste better, ya know."

  • Switcheroo - Each Sunday #SettheTable2017 post will now begin with the upcoming week's game plan followed by a picture recap of last week's chaos. Warning: Selfie videos and picture shenanigans keep me cooking and laughing... C'est la vie, I'm lighting it up.
  • #CatchmyGrit on my Instagram stories throughout the week to capture the fun, the food and the family table reactions (good and bad).
  • New to this series? Here's the STORY behind my #SettheTable2017 food adventures with Pure Barre Kildeer.
Up this Week:
*Note: The first underlined/linked recipe name corresponds to the Jamie Oliver Ultimate Recipes App to help me stay organized (his grocery list feature is rad); However, IF I was unable to find Jamie's app recipe online (which keeps the collections exclusive) I have linked to a similar recipe.

  • Flamin' Jamaican Jerk Patties (or this yummy mini beef wellington recipe) + Tomato Soup (the soup is the lovely pureed leftovers from my lasagna sauce last night.) + Salad
  • Poached Chicken with Vege Broth (Chicken noodle soup) - I'm using the leftover chicken and carcass to make it.
Valentine's Day Dark Chocolate Strawberry smoothie (from nutritioulicious.com)
*Here is a handy conversion link for the online euro measurements (the app uses USA measurements).
*If possible, buy antibiotic free meat (Here's why I try to know where my meat is coming from).
*Use the EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines to save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides on your plate. 
*Avoid artificial colors and preservatives - Check your labels, grocery stores offer a variety of clean brands to help protect your family's microbiome --> More Guts More Glory I SAY!

May your inner athlete find the force this week. Play this music fuel for cooking gumption: Imagination - Gorgon City + I'm Coming Over - James Hersey (Please do),


Wrap it up with last week's family table action:


Leftover Super Bowl Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread Muffins and Honey Butter (I minced two fresh red fresno chilis, instead of chipotle peppers, and it worked great). Of course, the kids and Chris asked me to make them without the peppers next time... I could hardly even taste them...


"Mom, how many brussel sprouts do we have to eat?" 

Five. 

They ate them so fast you'd freak. Next time I'm upping the BS ante. 

Make Jamie's Parmesan Brussel Sprouts and let me know how they go down!




The diced portabella mushrooms and onion "well" around a square of grassfed organic beef.


Cook tacos and jam on Tuesdays. 


It's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's just Mommy again up on her chair.


PPP (Pasta + Parm + Peas) and leftover grass fed organic beef hotdogs + sprouted buns from the Superbowl party.


We only got 10 minutes together on Thursday night... Basketball practice came too fast... Dinner came too late. 5 - 3 = 2 left at the family table and more one-on-one time with Mac.


I remembered to use the almost.gone.bad.zucchini in my fridge.


Saturday Night Live Lasagna Love. Salad course first.


To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL






Sunday, February 5, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 5

It's Superbowl Sunday Fun Day! I can't wait to plank myself on the couch and watch the big game!


  • Here's the STORY behind my #SettheTable2017 food adventures with Pure Barre Kildeer
  • Each Sunday meal plan post begins with a picture recap of the week before (Who knows what may have happened during the week's chaos!) followed by the upcoming week's game plan. 
  • #CatchmyGrit on my Instagram stories throughout the week to capture the fun, the food and the family table reactions (good and bad).

Get creative with leftovers; I cubed up some of the chicken for the Green Goddess Salad and made soup out of the leftover tray bake vegetables (I thawed out some chicken stock from the freezer). I heated everything up together, whizzed it and threw salt and pepper in to taste.

video




The Green Goddess Salad dressing was a new taste for the table. Chris powered through, Tommy and Abbie couldn't get past the green color... Mac liked it, but prefers my ranch still. I ate most of the Goddess dressing myself.


The kids didn't complain when I served it to them the next day with grilled cheese. I am so happy to have a family table approved leftover  SOUP option for my tray bakes!!! VEGGiE SCORE!! (And they didn't even need the bacon.) Do you spy the cookies on the plate? They are included below in this week's plan!



I didn't make the creamy mac and cheese. The kids just wanted simple PP (Pasta and Parm) - Mac learned how to make pasta.



The table approved my new Taco Tuesday concoction (Alexandra's Kitchen chickpea taco bowls inspired me): 

1 large onion 
8 oz of mushrooms (portabella or cremini) 
14 oz boxed or canned chickpeas
1 lb grass fed, organic beef

Saute the onion first in olive oil until translucent, then add the finely chopped mushrooms and chickpeas. Saute until cooked down. Next, use a potato masher and pulverize the chickpeas into the vege until they are unrecognizable. Then, push the vege to the rim of the pan, place the beef in the middle and break it all up into small bits. Once it's all cooked through, proceed with your normal taco seasoning (I use salsa, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, turmeric, curry powder, coconut sugar and some water - all eyeballed to taste - you can do it that way too).

Everyone said I could make it that way again. Either, I'm getting better at cooking or my family's taste buds are starting to expand... Either way, it's a major VEGGIE SCORE!!


Abbie requested scrambled eggs twice after dinner last week - She wants to learn how to make them all by herself. So I'm teaching her. That face of panic (because she was spilling in the above pic) was there most of the time. And I was like, It's OK, It's OK!!! The second night, her panic was replace by a super wide smile. "Mom! I didn't spill! I did better this time!" And I said, "YES! It's like playing basketball. Missed baskets are OK!!"




The Quick and Easy Tray-baked Cod bake made a decent premier:) I forgot to buy potatoes so I swapped in cannelini beans instead.


Up this week:
*Note: The first linked or underlined recipe name corresponds to the Jamie Oliver Ultimate Recipes App to help me stay organized (the grocery list feature is rad); However, IF I was unable to find his app recipe online (which keeps the app collections exclusive) I have included a similar link.

Salmon Fish Fingers - Meatless Monday + roasted broccoli

Get Stuck in Nachos (made with mushrooms + chickpeas + grass fed beef) - Taco Tuesday - ( or try Nachos 4 ways) + salad

Home-Made Lasagna (using diced mushrooms seasoned like Italian sausage & zucchini ribbons) + green beans

Mega Homemade Cheeseburgers (or try his Insanity Burger - Watch the first time we made it here) + roasted potato fries + peas

6 Ridiculously Healthy Three Ingredient Treats (Found on Pinterest from Listotic.com)



*Here is a handy conversion link for the online euro measurements (the app uses USA measurements).
*If possible, buy antibiotic free meat (Here's why I try to know where my meat is coming from).
*Use the EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines to save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides (new link!) on your plate. 
*Avoid artificial colors and preservatives - Check your labels, grocery stores offer a variety of clean brands to help protect your family's microbiome --> More guts more glory!


To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chefs Tasting Table Day 5 // Cabbage + Apple + Carrot Slaw







With Superbowl Sunday coming up this weekend (hollah chili, hotdogs, pulled barbeque chicken and pork, sausages, fried chicken, corned beef...well really, any grilled meat will do!), what better way to get some VEGE in than by eating and learning about COLESLAW!

I had a very special guest with me today - Meet Charlotte, the Assistant Farm Manager from Prairie Wind Family Farms! She spoke to the kids about how much fun her crew team has together when they harvest cabbage from the fields. It was certainly some "catchy" food education to pair up with Superbowl food conversation... Sign us up for some cabbage football!

video

The kids are getting pretty excited to talk about the new food adventures we're going on!

video

This is one delicious, sweet slaw folks - Get your kids in the kitchen! What could you have them do? For older kids, teach them safe knife skills and have them help you chop up the vege. Younger kids can be taught to safely cut with a pairing knife. It's ok to have vege that's different sizes! All ages love to measure and whisk up the wet ingredients in a bowl - Pump up those math skills!

Big love to the Chef Ann Foundation Project Produce Grant for making this possible with District 76!

The students were inspired to pair it up with their chili today in the lunchroom; Many had never thought to combine the two before and it was really fun to watch some of the students taste test! Thanks Preferred Meals - What a perfect pairing!

Cabbage, Apple and Carrot Slaw 
(divide in half for a smaller football crowd)

1 head of green cabbage
2 carrots
4-5 apples
1/4 c apple cider vinegar 
1 c mayo (I used egg-free Just Mayo brand for school allergy concerns)
1/3 c honey
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp pepper

Finely slice (using a knife or food processor) the cabbage, carrots and apples. In a separate bowl combine the vinegar, mayo, honey salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Refrigerate for at least an hour and serve.

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL