Saturday, February 25, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 8


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.


Linguini Alla Puttanesca

Festive Fiesta Taco Tuesday (with Vegan Nacho Cheese

Rich & Creamy Fish TrayBake (adding catfish & shrimp; subtracting mussels, clams and flounder. I may smash it with Keralan's Fish Curry TrayBake - easy on the curry.) 

Home-made Pizza with 3 Toppings


*Here is a handy conversion link for any 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 gut microbiome --> More Guts More Glory I SAY!


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


I was highly skeptical of this vegan cheese sauce made from potatoes and carrots (I threw a purple carrot in there for more color).


This sauce is the bomb. Seriously. SO EASY. All you need is a food processor or high speed blender. I already have it written down so I don't have to look it up on my phone.


Taco Tuesday was a total cluster. My parents came over and tried the sauce; They loved it. Abbie wouldn't even try the sauce and literally just looked at her plate the entire time before she was picked up for basketball practice. Serenity now. Tommy wolfed down his salad to get to the nachos. He at them no problem, but was not impressed. Mac hadn't even gotten home from his friend's house when I took the picture and Chris was out of town... Needless to say, I was not happy when I took the picture. Mac came home, tasted the sauce and said, "This is so good. It tastes like... like... like something from an Italian restaurant... like... Maggiano's."

To the Mullies... Geronimo... I needed that! Thanks Mac!



The next night = Chili con queso... just mix your taco concoction with the sauce. There are no words. 

Just make it.


Cucumber and watermelon radish bites with chili con queso and avocado.



The before picture.

Yea, I know what you're thinking... Chicken in milk = Not a chance. Trust me! Jamie's recipe is so easy and I made it even easier (Cuz I'm a slacker). Place the following in your slow cooker (And I did not sear the bird beforehand):

1 3lb organic chicken
Organic rice milk (poured in half way up the crockpot - I did not measure it)
1 entire bulb of separated & unpeeled (yipeeee!) garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stick
10 sage leaves or so
Zest from two organic lemons
A generous amount of sea salt and pepper all of the top of the bird

Cook on high for at least 4 hours. (Mine was in from 2:45pm to 7:30pm).

I was so excited I forgot to take a picture of the finished crock, but I did save the Instagram story video:



I ladled some of the gorgeous sauce over the top of the pulled chicken...


Everyone... totally bonkers. 

I just keep telling myself that someday... someday... Maybe we won't need ketchup on the table?


My new set the table trinkets - When you have your own initialed little plate, it makes eating salad more fun. 

This week, I'm playing Gloria in the kitchen (It was turned UP and pulsing out of my swagger van's radio rather obnoxiously Friday morning). 

It'll get us in the mood to
lift 
tone
burn
cook
eat
in no particular order
with others
and 
preferably more often.

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 7



Birds.

Picky eaters.

One week at a time.  

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 (which keeps the collections exclusive) I have linked to a similar recipe.

(FYI I did not get to my chicken recipes last week... So I'm trying again.)

  • Miso roast Chicken with Asian Greens (or this Chicken in Milk - It's ridiculously good.)
  • Poached Chicken with Vege Broth (Chicken noodle soup) - I'm using the leftover chicken and carcass to make it.

*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!


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




The Vietnamese Salad "slaw" was so good (but too spicy for the kids). My parents liked it and they brought over some stuffed peppers! I loved having slaw leftovers all week. Next time, I will use some chili sauce with less kick. I subbed in pistachio nuts (instead of peanuts), added avocado chunks and did not make the fried shallots (just didn't feel like it).


When I have made "hot pockets" before, I always buy the refrigerated croissant rolls. This was the first time I have ever made the dough from scratch. And it reminded me of the pastry doughs my girlfriend Terri taught me how to make when we have cooked together!

Homemade dough still does not = easy in my mind. I just don't practice enough... that's changing.

Trust me, this dough was really simple to make and I'm glad I did it... cause now I'm thinking about all the other stuffings I can put inside!! Watch Jim Gaffigan's Hot Pocket skit to get in the mood to make your own.

Here's Jamie's simple dough (with the 1/4 tsp Tumeric powder taken out) and what I did to make my hot pockets.

3 Tbsp organic pastured butter (room temperature)
1 cup sprouted organic flour (we gave regular flour a go! Eeeek!)
pinch of salt
1.5 Tbsp water
(egg wash = 1 egg + 2 Tbsp milk)

Using your fingertips, gently rub the butter and flour and salt together until it resembles fine bread crumbs. This is SO fun for kids to do with you! Stir in the water to the flour until a soft dough is formed. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and stick in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to firm up (I only did it for 15 minutes and it was fine). Divide into four equal pieces and roll out into circles. Place a few spoonfuls of leftover taco meat in the centers. Fold and seal them with a fork, brush them with egg wash and cook at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. I also melted a little cheese on top.


Prairie Wind Family Farms Watermelon radish wedges = a little color! Can't wait for my CSA to start up again!!!! Tommy ate all of his with ranch. Mac tried to tell me he couldn't eat his because of his braces. Didn't work, he ate them. Abbie was at basketball. And I just realized that Chris was out of town for every dinner I made. Crazy week!


This was our hodge podge leftover night. Abbie really hates leftovers. For whatever reason, she did not like much of what I made. Even ice cream bribery couldn't get her to finish her plate that night.

Speaking of ice... The Diamond is thawing FAST with this insanely, amazing weather. 

I'm dreaming about Summer barbecues and bikinis.


To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL




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! They taught the kids fun facts about beets, watermelon radishes and rainbow carrots, three vegetables all grown and sold on their farm.

Skoop and the Chef Ann Foundation Organization teamed up to launch the Project Produce Grant Program which awarded Diamond Lake District 76's West Oak School $2500 in funds to help give all students access to more fresh produce and food education during the school day.

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