Sunday, March 19, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 11


Welcome back + Happy Sunday Fun Day! 
  • Each Sunday #SettheTable2017 begins 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 selfy-ishly lighting it up.
  • #CatchmyGrit on my Instagram 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:

Introducing a new chef, blogger, cookbook author today into the mix! Meet Sarah Britton - I love her from head to toe. Her new cookbook (which my Dad bought first!), Naturally Nourished, is all about me and you: Busy people who need easy, clean recipes whose cooking methods/ingredients also "rollover" into other weeknight meals. I adore her first cookbook, My New Roots and Sarah also has a Healthy Vegetarian Recipe App that I have started to use (literally, I downloaded it an hour ago). I'm pretty jazzed to bring some of her meals into the mix and get my family eating more vege... Well, at least I'll be eating more vege...

This week, I have "rolled over" a few of last week's meals into this week. It's a new habit that is saving me time and money, not to mention getting me sanely to my kids sporting events... and myself to pitching lessons.

*Note: The first underlined/linked recipe name corresponds to one of two chefs:
1. Jamie Oliver online recipe or to his Ultimate Recipes App (J)
2. Sarah Britton - My New Roots Blog or to her RecipeApp (S)
Both of their apps help me to stay organized (their grocery list features are rad); However, IF I am unable to find a recipe/cooking technique online, I have linked to a similar recipe for those not using the apps.




*Here is a handy conversion link for any of J's online euro measurements (both apps use USA measurements).
*Read up on how to cook with oils.
*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 (harmful to your gut microbiome + mycobiome) on your plate. 
*Avoid artificial colors and preservatives - Check your labels, grocery stores offer a variety of clean brands for all --> MoreGutsMoreGlory I SAY! 

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





I clearly am not following recipes to the "T" here. This looks nothing like the Singapore noodles I meal planned. I usually don't set out to do that. Cooking decisions are often a whim, feeling out what I want to do, letting "gumption" take hold, assessing what my eaters will be open to.


This dish is another perfect example of my evolving cooking style. This was supposed to be Mexican Inspired Tomato soup. And I felt like doing something different. Recipes inspiring recipes...



Taco Tuesday was also "Pi Day" and so of course, I made a "Taco-Pi" (which is really just Mexican lasagna in a pie dish...)

Taco-Pi

1 onion diced
2-3 carrots diced
2-3 celery ribs diced
16 oz jarred roasted red peppers diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup basmati rice
2 x 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb grassfed organic ground beef
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/2-1 Tbsp each of chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano
1-2 tsp each of tumeric, curry (optional)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
corn tortillas
8 oz shredded cheese 

Start a kettle of water on boil (about 3.5 cups). Sauté a soffritto of onion, carrots, celery, red peppers and garlic low and slow for 20 minutes or so. Add the rice (I might add the rice later next time). Make a well (push the vege to the sides) and place the meat in the middle of the pan, breaking up until cooked through. Add the taco seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add the diced tomatoes and pour in the boiling water. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is el-dente tender (still has a little bite to it). If too much liquid remaining, remove the lid and let the liquid evaporate for a bit too.

Using a pie dish, begin layering tortillas, cheese and taco meat until you reach the top and finish off with cheese. I cut the tortillas into strips and even made a fun criss cross, woven pie top... but then forgot to take a picture and I covered it all up in cheese. Doh!

I have to say, the leftovers (much like lasagna) were ridiculously good.



Leftovers for lunch sans ramen noodles. I found these spirulina "nut" ovals at TjMax... I really like them (nobody else will touch them). I spread a layer of sun dried tomato garlic cheese and then topped with the browning avocado + cilantro leftovers. Gawd it was so good.



St. Patrick's Day Dinner... Definitely not traditional... but I did make mashed potatoes (spiked with parmesan shavings, rice milk, salt and pepper)! The Sticky Chicken with Sweet Tomatoes and beans is one of MY favorite tray bakes. The kids still steer clear of the beans and tomatoes, however love these green beans I make (I can still remember when they would whiiiiiiiiiine about green beans...). 

Melt: 3 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + zest from half a lemon + pinch of salt and pepper + 1/2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning. Combine and melt it all in a small saucepan and pour over the cooked beans. It's the Balls.


To the mullies we go...
xoxoL




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chef's Tasting Table Day 8 // Real Shamrock Shakes


Jump UP! It was a really good day in the lunchroom (here is the video link if you can't see it above).

We had near 100% participation in the tasting and the blender was cleaned out! The majority of the students enjoyed it, which was awesome too.

The luck of the Irish was with us:)

At the last tasting event, a few 7th grade girls had a suggestion for me. "Why don't you try hiding the ingredients from us so we'll be more likely to try it?"

So that's exactly what we did. When the students came up to grab a cup, the ingredients were under a tent. (No pretty vege arrangement, it was a very bare table!). This tactic effected the 7th and 8th grader participation dramatically. And I noticed some of kids come through the line that had not in the past in all of the grade levels.

Now that was super great idea. Thanks girls!!!!

After everyone tasted, the lunchroom tried to guess what was in the smoothie. There was a ton of good guessing and it was fantastic to talk about the spinach (from our 1st tasting event) and the avocado (from our 3rd tasting event) and use them in an entirely different way.

Minds blown. Minds opened. Minds a little & a lot more excited to try new foods thanks to the Chef Ann Foundation Project Produce Grant funding!

Bring that luck HOME today and blend up some of this liquid gold:

D76 Diamonds Real Shamrock Shakes
Inspired by this recipe

1 ripe avocado
1 ripe banana
1 big handful of spinach
15 fresh mint leaves
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup milk of choice (I used rice milk)
1 cup ice
honey to taste (at least 2-3 tbsp for kids' palattes)

Blend until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of honey at a time until you've hit your sweet spot. You can also add more milk or ice to thin it out. Add a squirt of real chocolate syrup and enjoy!





To the mullies we go...
xoxoL




ps

I warmed up some shake making skills in Tommy's 2nd grade classroom on Thursday.  We were onto to something good if over half of the kids wanted seconds! Thank you for having me Ms Duffy!!









Sunday, March 12, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 10


Setting the table one sprig at a thyme...  Welcome back + Happy Sunday Fun Day!
  • Each Sunday #SettheTable2017 begins 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 selfishly 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, I have linked to a similar recipe.



Real St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Shakes!!
Inspired by this recipe
Dairy free - gluten free - refined sugar free
Chris, Mac, Abbie and Tommy approved

1 banana
1 ripe avocado
10-15 fresh mint leaves
1 cup frozen or fresh organic spinach/collard/kale/mustard greens blend (use whatever you have on hand)
1 cup milk of choice
1 cup ice
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
2-3 tbsp honey (add more to taste if needed. I tried stevia and honey is preferred)
real chocolate syrup (A good way to get your kids - really anyone - to give it a chance)


*Here is a handy conversion link for any online euro measurements (the app uses USA measurements).
*Read up on how to cook with oils.
*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 gut microbiome + mycobiome --> MoreGutsMoreGlory I SAY! 


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





Abbie liked the soup... Halleluia!!! It's raining peas...


The pea soup recipe is a major major keeper. The leftover usage is endless... casseroles, chicken bakes, lasagna... it's the balls baby.



A soffritto Taco Tuesday!!!! This mixture had no meat in it and nobody made a peep. Terri you would be so proud!!!

Finely chopped mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery + your favorite taco seasoning (I use salsa, chili powder, cumin, paprika, tumeric, curry, oregano, salt and pepper). 

This meatless taco filling is awesome served cold for leftovers. I chopped up an avocado and a cucumber, spooned some ranch over the top and ate this several times with some tortilla chips for a snack. 


I love when I get helpers:)




It turned into a cooking, yoga, pure barre grooving laughing extravaganza... We attempted some head stands too:) 



I didn't even take the salmon skin off.




Here's a quick synopsis of what I did with Jamie's "Rich and Creamy Fish Traybake" app recipe (Sorry, this special recipe is no.where.to.be.found online. But, here's a similar fish traybake recipe that you can make minus the spice if you prefer it calmer for your table):

Thaw and chop up some catfish + salmonshrimp (enough to fill a plate).

1 carton of grape tomatoes (halved and smashed)
2 zested lemons
5 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 bunch of picked thyme leaves
sea salt & pepper
- Melt a few tablespoons of butter and sauté in the above ingredients for a few minutes.
- Add 7 tablespoons of white wine and simmer for a few minutes (and maybe pour yourself a glass?).
- Pour in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, half n half or coconut milk and simmer for a few minutes.
- Dump in the raw fish and mix it all up.

I lidded the pot and cooked on low for about 20-30 minutes on the stovetop, mixing every 5 minutes or so, checking the fish until it was almost completely cooked through.

In a separate bowl, mix: 1 cup breadcrumbs (regular or gluten free) + 1/2 bunch thyme leaves + a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil + 1 cup parmesan cheese (mix it all up) and sprinkle it evenly all over the top of the fish bake.

Bake without a lid at 425 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese gets melty and the bread crumbs begin to toast up.


I was the only one who ate the scallions side dish. They were delicious.


Another dinner winner for Abbie. Two in one week = pretty rad.


Chris really liked the fish (and gave me the wrong finger up a second before). Tommy and Mac's thumbs were sideways to down. I loved it all.


And brownies... beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous brownies (with coconut sugar). 

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL




Sunday, March 5, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 9


Welcome back + Happy Sunday Fun Day!
  • Each Sunday #SettheTable2017 begins 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, I have linked to a similar recipe.


  • Rich & Creamy Fish TrayBake (Benched last week. Adding catfish & shrimp; subtracting mussels, clams and flounder. I may smash it with Keralan's Fish Curry TrayBake - easy on the curry.) 
  • Get Stuck in Chili Nachos - (Beef Tacos) (Taco Tuesday was benched last week.)






A Sunny Side-Up Super Food Salad 

Red Romain Lettuce
Watercress
Sprouts
Cilantro (rough chopped)
1 diced onion + 2 minced garlic cloves sauteed on low until translucent (about 15 min)
Raspberries
Blueberries
1-3 eggs sunny side up (I was hungry!! When the onions were done, I cooked them in the same pan.)
Sea Salt & Pepper

Layer all ingredients however which way you want! I got half way through eating it and realized I didn't even think about a dressing. I would have used fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of extra virgin olive oil but it was just too good naked and I didn't want to get up off my chair.

*Here is a handy conversion link for any online euro measurements (the app uses USA measurements).
*Read up on how to cook with oils.
*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 gut microbiome --> More Guts More Glory I SAY!


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





The broth was the leftovers from the previous week's Jamie's Chicken in Milk recipe = Best bone broth ever. I transferred everything from the crock pot into that white pot and kept it in my fridge until I was ready to make it last Monday. Here's what I did: I spooned off the fat from the top and reheated it. I then scooped out the discarded bones, skin, garlic cloves and cinnamon stick and dumped in the leftover pulled chicken, frozen peas and un-cooked noodles. In a small pan I also made a quick soffritto out of 1/4 of a celeriac diced (I ran out of celery so why not use the root?), 1 onion diced and some carrots diced + a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt n pepper. Easy comfort food.




I have not made homemade pizza in a while and boy o boy did this one turn out. We are no longer a 100% gluten free household, but I still really enjoy cooking gluten free and it mixes up the grains in our life. Here is my recipe for a gluten free crust (that you would never believe is gluten free).

1 2/3 c (350g) of Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix (It's non-dairy too for you lovely vegans.)
1 tsp sea salt
-- Mix up in a stand mixer

1.5 cups hot tap water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
--Mix up in a separate bowl or large measuring cup

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Start up your stand mixer on low and add the wet ingredients. Mix until dough is smooth. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread the dough out like frosting. Cover with a kitchen towel or saran wrap and rise in a warm location for 30 minutes (I use my fire place if it's cold outside). Pre-bake the naked dough for 8-10 minutes. Take out and spread your pizza sauce and cheese over the top. Bake again for 8-10 minutes. Lift out the pizza from the pan and it's super easy to cut on a board! (Recipe inspired by Kelli and Peter Bronski)




Abbie thought the puttanesca was "kinda good" (she likes linguini/spaghetti noodles better) so you know this recipe is a winner. 

Mac and Tommy were both gone when I sat down and I missed them before I had to leave for my pitching clinic. Busy busy busy... 

I realize looking back on the week that we did not have one dinner where everyone was present. It makes me sad + mad, but that's the reality of our busy family schedule. 

Every evening we sit down, we are are one day older, one day closer to high school, one day closer to college... closer to who knows... 

We sit down to slow down and get closer.

Setting the table for now.  
For me + you.
For us.
For ever.

Catch my grit. 


To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL


 ps

Congratulations to our Chili Cook off 2017 winners last night! What a night and thanks for rocking your crocks in our hot garage. We love you all!!!