Sunday, November 19, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 46






I don't know about you, but I always have more butternut squash than I need after roasting one.

Here's my latest butternut inspiration, and just in time for Thanksgiving! I was inspired by Jamie's Harissa Squash Salad and tweaked it into this loveliness.

I decided not to list the exact amounts of salad ingredients because I didn't measure them myself when I put it all together. SO, I am challenging YOU to make a salad with gumption too.

Trust your instincts and build your plate exactly how YOU want. You can high five me later.

A Grateful Butternut & Brussel Salad 

Roasted butternut squash
Instanbul spice blend (Raid your spice cabinet and sprinkle a little bit of each of these following: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, coriander, basil, minced bay leaf).
Avocado
Pomegranate seeds
Feta cheese
Fresh lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Mixed salad greens
Roasted brussel sprouts (I found them already halved + seasoned at Trader Joe's!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Halve your butternut squash, scoop out the pulp and cut into half and crescent moon chunks about 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick. (I leave the skin on because it's easier to take them off after roasting). Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and whatever "Instanbul spices" you have on hand. Roast for 40 minutes. Let cool.

On another lined baking sheet, toss the halved and seasoned brussel sprouts with some extra virgin olive oil and spread out evenly. If unseasoned, toss with sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes - toss and roast for another 5-10 minutes or until leaves and edges begin to char. Let cool or serve over salad hot... just depends on how your timing assembly goes. It's all good!

Spread the salad greens over a large platter or serving plate. Using clean fingers, pinch off chunks of butternut squash from the skins and distribute as many squash "lumps" as you want over the salad. The more the merrier!

Slice in the avocados and generously sprinkle the pomegranate seeds (I probably used a cup or so) over the top. Squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the salad (I used an entire lemon) and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil (a few tablespoons). Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Lastly, evenly distribute the feta cheese and top with the roasted brussel sprouts.

Enjoy setting your table with this colorful show stopper! I am forever grateful to be sharing it with you for Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble

***************************

    Week 46's Game Plan:


    • Taco Tuesday
    • Pork Tenderloin & Chutney
    • THANKGIVING
    • Leftovers for dayzzzzzzzzzz


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


    Gawd I love making French Toast.



    Taco (chicken fajita) Tuesday had the family table all over the place, and eating at different times. I sat down with Tommy boy after his basketball practice and in between my pitching lessons:) 





    Super happy with the Pollan Family Table's Linguini with Spinach and Parmesan Breadcrumbs recipe. Everyone adored it and I will happily be making this again! It reheated really well for leftovers.


    Happy HAPPY Thanksgiving to YOU and YOURS.

    Set the Table.
    It all starts at home plate.


    To the Mullies we go... 
    xoxoL



    ps


    My Top 11 #SettheTable2017 Topics:
    1. Study: Eating Food with Fewer Pesticides Boosts Women's Chances to Conceive.
    2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
    3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
    4. Stay on TOP of the Global Food Revolution Newsfeed.
    5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
    6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
    7. Buy Antibiotic Free and Know the Source of Your Family's Meat.
    8. The EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines helps you save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides = Antibiotics harmful to our gut microbiome + mycobiome.
    9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your gut, your "second brain" happy + healthy.
    10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
    11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

    Sunday, November 12, 2017

    Set the Table 2017 | Week 45




    It's time to SPICE UP your Thanksgiving family table planning!

    Spiced Mango and Orange Chutney
    Inspired by Emeril Lagassi's Mango Orange Chutney

    1 diced red pepper
    1 diced onion
    1/2 jalapeno minced
    1/2 knob fresh ginger minced
    1-2 garlic cloves minced
    1 small mild red chili pepper
    1/4 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout seasoning
    1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
    1/2 tsp sea salt (salt more to taste)
    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    2 large oranges (zest first then slice off pith and segment/dice)
    3 cups frozen mango
    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup coconut sugar

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine diced red pepper & onions, minced jalapeno & chili, ginger, garlic, curry, ras el hanout, cayenne, sea salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pepper and onion soffritto evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. In the meantime, add diced oranges, mangno, vinegar, sugar to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Remove soffritto from oven, toss, spread evenly again and roast for another 5 minutes.

    Once soffritto is finished roasting in the oven, add it all into the simmering mango pot. Simmer gently uncovered for 30-40 minutes and reduce until it becomes nice and thick like jam. Remove from heat, mash down the bigger chunks of mango if needed, let cool and serve. Or store in refrigerator until your big lovely dinner.


    Cooking from scratch = Throwing a change up.

    I don't do it every night... But ohhhhh when I do, gurrrrrrrrrl is it GOOD.

    ***************************

      Week 45's Game Plan:


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



      This dinner was off the cuff. I had some dried mushrooms and felt like stretching my table with a meatless pasta dish. I think I was the only one who ate the mushrooms:) Made a little stroganoff sauce with this and it turned out pretty good.




      This One Pan Fabulous Fish is simply Fab. I still can't believe how easy, fast and delicious it was. It's been my most requested recipe off my instagram stories (just direct message me for it and I'll send it to ya). Jamie's meal and method is officially part of my monthly meal repertoire (that's a hard word to spell). 



      I couldn't resist - Our Taco Tuesday matching, cozy slipper shot. 


      Sideways - I turned the leftover mushroom stroganoff into a pot pie:) 


      This is my dear friend and epic sous chef Jenn. She joined me in preparing last night's surprise 28th dinner party last night! I'll be her sous any day.



      Check out this rad charcuterie! Thanks for heading that one up Jenn!


      Surprise Corey!



      Now let's set your birthday TABLE!!!! 
      My friend Allie (aka wife of the year) hired me over 6 months ago to cook a surprise birthday dinner and boy did we have a great time! Go Big Ten! Northwestern all the way...


      My Three Sister's Gazpacho and Succotash Salad has never looked or tasted so good! I'll be sharing this recipe in the coming weeks!



       Grill master Jenn. Gurl, you cooked those to perfection!


      "Porked out waffles" with the lovely spiced mango & orange chutney!
      (My dear Christina, our championship dish lives on and on and on and on... )


      CHEERS!!!!!! I am officially ready for the holiday season!!!!!

      Set the Table.
      It all starts at home plate.


      To the Mullies we go... 
      xoxoL



      ps


      My Top 11 #SettheTable2017 Topics:
      1. Study: Eating Food with Fewer Pesticides Boosts Women's Chances to Conceive.
      2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
      3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
      4. Stay on TOP of the Global Food Revolution Newsfeed.
      5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
      6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
      7. Buy Antibiotic Free and Know the Source of Your Family's Meat.
      8. The EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines helps you save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides = Antibiotics harmful to our gut microbiome + mycobiome.
      9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your gut, your "second brain" happy + healthy.
      10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
      11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

      Sunday, November 5, 2017

      Set the Table 2017 | Week 44


      Simple Potato Soup

      Chicken or Vege Stock
      Organic potatoes
      White balsamic vinegar
      Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper
      Organic bacon (optional)
      Irish cheddar (optional)

      Fill half of your soup pot with stock. Eyeball how many potatoes will fit in the pot and still be covered with liquid. Rinse and peel your potatoes. Quarter the potatoes. Add them to the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked through (You should be able to pierce the potato chunks with a fork with no problem, like a pillow!). Using a hand held emulsion blender, blend until silky smooth (or transfer to a high speed blender). Add sea salt and pepper to taste. How do you know how much to add? Take a spoonful of unseasoned soup and taste it. Then take another spoonful of soup and add a pinch of salt to it. What a difference right? Season the soup pot with generous palmfuls of salt until you get it to taste like that original, perfectly salted spoonful. As for the white balsamic vinegar, add a tsp or two at a time and stir in. Taste. When you get it right it'll just POP in your mouth. Trust me, go for it. (I added between 2 and 3 Tbsp's I think.) A little acid will surely brighten up the soup. Hey, it got people like my Mom (who hates potato soup) to fall in love with this simple comfort food! MAJOR SCORE!

      ***************************

        Week 44's Game Plan:




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


        Literally... wrapped Tommy up...


        I turned the potato soup into a cheese sauce for our Halloween Taco Tuesday. I sort of forgot to soak the cashews (damn!) but had plenty of potato soup leftovers. I had made a vegan cheese sauce before from potatoes and carrots so I figured this little "change up" would work out just fine.

        To my leftover potato soup, I added lemon juice, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast from last week's Raw Cashew Cheese recipe to taste.

        Not to shabby my pretties... not too shabby!


        I was gone from my family table two days this week for a downstate trip to the Action for Healthy Kids IA/IL School Wellness Conference. Here was the first slide of our presentation - The West Oak School Chef's Tasting Table adventures with Sue Kruckman (School Nurse and Wellness Committee member).

        We begin this year's Chef's Tasting Table series on Thursday at West Oak!




        Around 20 family tables of 20 people wined, dined and raised their paddles for Pilot Light Chefs on Friday. I am an Advisory Board Member for this incredible Chicago food education organization and I was honored to volunteer as Table Host for Chef Paul Kahan (Pilot Light Chefs Founder, One Off Hospitality) and Chef Ryan Pfeiffer (Chef De Cuisine, Blackbird).  

        It was an incredible, awe inspiring night of food and wine. Our fundraising goal was obliterated (I cannot WAIT for the final numbers...) All proceeds will directly fund and support teacher institutes, common core aligned food ed lessons, and portable kitchen units that are reimagining curriculum around food in the classroom. 

        Good food education is magic. 

        And I believe 

        in

        Magic.


        Set the Table. 
        It all starts at home plate.


        To the Mullies we go...
        xoxoL



        ps


        My Top 11 #SettheTable2017 Topics:
        1. Study: Eating Food with Fewer Pesticides Boosts Women's Chances to Conceive.
        2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
        3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
        4. Stay on TOP of the Global Food Revolution Newsfeed.
        5. Robyn O'Brien: Why Our Food Is Making Us Sick.
        6. Kimbal Musk Wants to Reengineer the American Stomach | Why Food is the New Internet. 
        7. Buy Antibiotic Free and Know the Source of Your Family's Meat.
        8. The EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen produce guidelines helps you save money + reduce the pesticides and herbicides = Antibiotics harmful to our gut microbiome + mycobiome.
        9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep your gut, your "second brain" happy + healthy.
        10. Why, When and How to Eat Wheat.
        11. Why do Some People do well as Vegans and Vegetarians (Clues from the Magical World of Genetics).

        Sunday, October 29, 2017

        Set the Table 2017 | Week 43


        Using this awesome Prairie Wind Family Farm produce in this week - Especially for Taco Tuesday. I'll be trying out Sarah's sweet new recipe.

        Check it out: Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Cheese

        ***************************

          Week 43's Game Plan:
          One sweet meal goal this week!



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


          The Hoisin Bok Choy Noodles made into two leftover meals... First it went into "chicken noodle soup." I made stock with frozen rotisserie chicken bones & vegetable scraps (I had saved them in a gallon freezer bags instead of throwing them out).


          Lunch plate love! I had chopped up kale I needed to use, so I blanched that in salted water + juice from one lemon. Added the leftover noodles, two eggs (whisked up) and some freshly ground pepper. OMG did it turn out well. The eggs and lemon juice cooked into this salty, almost ricotta like texture.


          I had leftover roasted butternut squash from last week, so I took half and added it to a simple hummus recipe and put the other half into muffins. Pumpkin and butternut squash are pretty similar in my book! 


          Taco Tuesday!


          I had to do something with the leftover stock, and fresh CSA potatoes, so I made silky, creamy potato soup!! My Mom liked it and she HATES potatoes (except for french fries of course!). 

          Stay tuned for week 44... gonna post this recipe next Sunday FunDay! 


          It all starts at home plate.


          To the Mullies we go...
          xoxoL



          ps


            Thursday, October 19, 2017

            Set the Table 2017 | Week 42



            Fruit & Vege Salsa

            1 lemon juiced

            1 lime juiced

            1 apple diced

            1/2 cucumber diced

            1 tomato diced

            1 pear diced

            1/4 melon diced

            1 peach or tangerine diced

            1 small onion (red or yellow) small diced

            1 bunch cilantro minced

            1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

            1/2 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)

            a dribble of raw, local honey (optional)


            Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Keep refrigerated. The juices will continue to be drawn out the longer it sits. I drank the juice out of the bowl it's so good! Enjoy within 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

            ***************************

            Week 42's Game Plan:


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



            Italian baked rice = BALLS. Abbie even said it was better than she thought it would be (cuz she "hates" rice currently). Chris was like, "Whoa babe, make this again!" And so I shall. This recipe's not on the internet yet folks. But here is a link to some more great one's I'm looking forward to making soon.




            Hoisin Bok choy rice (I subbed in noodles) was a decent hit given the kids aren't used to the flavor of hoisin. Abbie tried it. Mac, Tommy, me and Chris had a healthy portion with the leftover Italian baked rice. Mac even wanted it for lunch the next day. Pretty excited about these two recipes from Jamie's new cookbook!


            I love taking pics of my eggs whites before they go into the weekend waffle batter. It's like looking at the clouds and trying to decide what you see:)


            Saturday morning waffles and coffee - I could not resist taking this pic while making some coffee.


            A festive 40th birthday family table at Monteverde. Happy birthday my dear Christina!


            I am a thunderbolt
            It all starts at home plate.


            To the Mullies we go...
            xoxoL



            ps