Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Set the Table 2018 | Week 1






Chicken and Sweet Potato Tray Bake with a Dijon Mustard Glaze 

1-2 Organic Sweet Potatoes sliced thin
1 lb Organic Chicken thighs
1/2 red onion sliced thin into half moons
Dukkah seasoning (Learn more about this cool, versatile spice blend here. Found at Trader Joe's!)
1.5 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tsp freshly minced rosemary)
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 glass roasting pan, drizzle a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Layer and alternate the sweet potato round and red onions and cover the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min. Remove from oven and liberally season the chicken with dukkah seasoning, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil on a plate. Remove the tin foil and place a wire cooling rack on top of the hot glass pan. Place the seasoned chicken thighs on top of the rack. Place everything stacked, back into the oven and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Christina's Dijon Mustard Glaze
1 Tbsp Ghee or Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Whole grain mustard (or increase dijon to 3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp White wine vinegar (or white wine if not following the Whole 30).
Sea salt to taste
1 Tbsp Freshly minced tarragon or parsley (decrease to 1-2 tsp if using dried herbs)

With about 15 min left in cooking time for the chicken, heat a small saucepan over medium low heat. Melt the butter. Add the mustard and white wine and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the fresh herbs until well combined.

Take out the chicken and unstack the rack from the pan. Place the cooked chicken thighs directly on top of the potatoes and drizzle the glaze evenly over the top of the chickens. Or, each person can glaze up their own home plate.

IF you have any leftovers, make this salad for lunch or dinner the next day. Or pair it up with eggs done your way for breakfast.

A Super Sweet Potato n Chicken Salad
Organic mixed greens
Leftover roasted chicken (cubed or shredded) & sweet potatoes (However much you want)
1/2 Avocado (flesh diced or sliced)
Halved grape tomatoes
Fresh basil
sea salt and pepper
1/2 Lemon's juice
extra virgin olive oil

Layer greens on a plate. Squeeze the lemon over the top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Next layer the potatoes, chicken, avocado, tomatoes and basil.


Mmmmmmm....  Wholy cow this eatin's good.

********************************************************************************
  • Each #SettheTable2018 post features a delicious family table recipe to inspire your meal planning for the week. This year, I am kicking it off with Whole30 friendly recipes that will either be one of my own creations or a handy link to someone else's that has inspired me. 
  • #CatchmyGrit on Instagram to follow the fun, the food and the family table reactions (good and bad) leading up to each weekend post. C'est la vie, I selfy-ishly light it UP in pics, videos and Instastories to keep truckin! 
  • New to this series? Revisit my favorite #SettheTable2017 recipe links here. Cheers to another year of sharing my crazy food adventures with Pure Barre Kildeer!  


It all starts at hOMe plate.


To the Mullies we go... 
xoxoL



ps

My Top 11 #SettheTable2018 Topics:
  1. A Scientist Explores the Mysteries of the Gut Brain Connection
  2. Will the Gut-Brain Connection Revolutionize Wellness?
  3. Come to the table - Join Slow Food USA!
  4. Stay on top of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Campaign.
  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. What is Organic Pasture Raised Chicken Good for?
  8. Shop with EWG "Clean Fifteen + Dirty Dozen" produce guidelines. Why? New research suggests pesticides/herbicides are linked to antibiotic resistance. Protect your gut microbiome + mycobiome.
  9. Avoid artificial colors and preservatives to keep 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).

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Honey I'm hOMe! Compass Hiking and Yoga Retreats 2018

I am so very honored and excited to announce I will be joining Kelsey Stoll, founder and leader of Compass Hiking and Yoga Retreats, as a hOMe Chef and Mind Body Eating Coach (Institute for the Psychology of Eating Graduate, May 2018).

I want to tell you why joining Compass Hiking and Yoga is such a personal, alchemic place to land in 2018.

Food

I love to eat. In fact, I've eaten every day since April 29th, 1977. And my powerful food revolution journey began in 2012; In case you're new to my story, you can catch up here! Over the past 6.5 years, I have been learning, cooking and teaching up a storm in homes, schools and community kitchens. Good food education = a life long passion.

Mountains

When I was 12 years old, my parents took us on our first road trip out west to Colorado to vacation with friends. I'll never forget driving into the mountains for the first time (in my parent's sweet "dust buster" mini van), listening to my super cool walkman. I remember the feeling of being swallowed  into a warm blanket of rocks and pine trees. So different than driving into the city (which I also love!). The energy was so much slower, calmer, almost dreamlike. I felt enveloped in a warm, nurturing "womb" - I never wanted to leave. Goo goo ga ga. I remember so clearly announcing to the entire car, "That's IT! I'm living in the mountains someday! Forget flat, boring Chicago!!!” 


I felt wonderful so high up in the mountains. More conscious, more connected to myself, to the beauty around me, to the aroma of the forest. I am ALWAYS that kid who would rather wander in the forest for hours than do anything else (even if it meant getting a little lost). It's magical being inside a forest, hiking on trail, climbing up or down a mountain. My heart sings, my face is in constant wonder. I feel truly alive. Even when I am home on the Diamond, my favorite mornings are when I look out my window and see a distant mountain range of clouds above the trees. The mountains call to me more than any other natural wonder.

Movement

Being a former college student-athlete, I was used to intense practices, running, cardio-workouts and weight lifting but never really thought that yoga was something I would enjoy regularly or that it would give me the same kind of physical benefits. I preferred fast and "hard core." 


A few years ago, I decided to start practicing yoga more regularly in several different studios. I had always admired yoga-ness and I was on a mission to find more grace, balance and "centeredness" in my life; I was sick of feeling like an animal on a hamster wheel running nowhere fast. I figured yoga could maybe help me slow down in my fast pitch life? Maybe, ya know, like, find that "zen" thing that everyone talks about? As I focused more of my workouts on yoga, my flexibility & strength started to grow but my ping-pong brain never seemed to settle down the way I imagined a "good yogi's" brain should.  

Then I found vinyasa hot yoga practice a little over a year ago. I was a little shocked at how much I enjoyed it. I certainly had no idea I was capable of sweating that much! I was also surprised at how I could get my heart rate up for an entire practice AND continue breathing slow and deep. I felt my younger college athlete come out to play with my present #thisis40. A love for intense exercise was found again in something paradoxically sloooooowwwwwww. 

Meditation

Around the same time, I began my hesitant journey into meditation by following a 21 Day Mediation Course. 20 minutes a day was definitely doable and a guided meditation really helped my crazy brain focus. I still wonder if I'm doing it "right." And even so, the rest of my day seems slower, more grounded, and less frenzied around managing my work & family life. The practice of meditation has become something I try to do every day like cooking and moving.

Mindfulness & Food

Last Spring, Kelsey approached me and asked if I would be interested in partnering with her for a Mindful Eating Series. It was one of my most powerful food education experiences to date because it added in a missing element: the power of our mind-body connection. I remember so vividly thinking to myself, "OMG this.is.it." THIS was the connection that I had found deep inside myself, and I wasn't alone. It clearly, profoundly resonated as I observed every participant's facial expression and listened to their personal food-life experience during those four amazing sessions. Without hesitation, I enrolled in the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and began my education into the realms of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition. I'm officially geeking out over humanity's gut-brain connection and I've never had more fun going "back to school." 

"Do what you love" they say.

I love to cook, eat, educate and set the table with candles, and beautiful place settings filled with colorful, soulful food.

I love to move, meditate and stretch my arms out into the big wide open. 

I love to communicate and connect with other humans (big and small) on a deep, shimmering level.

Do what you love. 

And inspire others while you're at it.

Join us in the mountains and compass hOMe.

For more information about our dynamic retreat experience, I invite you to link over and explore:

Compass Hiking and Yoga Retreats

Sold Out = Big Sky, Montana (April 26-30) + (May 7-10)

Reservations still available for:


While on retreat, I have planned deliciously balanced menus, full of colorful, flavor bursting, GORGEOUS food. I plan to share all of my simple ingredient, nutrient dense recipes so that you will be inspired to create a more nourishing hOMe plate in YOUR kitchen. I am a passionate food educator who believes that my secret sauce can be your secret sauce! 

Our dreamy Compass mountain kitchens will warmly and energetically entice you to watch, laugh, learn, taste, sip, relax and linger into a more nourishing and positive relationship with food. 

My mouth is already watering.



















To be free.
On top of a mountain.
Waterfalls.
Soul.
Safe at home.
Fresh, crisp air.
Nourishing real food.
Peace.
Sunrising Sunsets.
Flickering candlelight.
Step outside.
Reach inside.
Mindful meditation.
Evolution.
The perfect bite.
Transformative yoga.
Gratefulness.
Lingering.
A full night’s rest.
Restore.
Blue skies.
Ignition.
Laughter.
A full cup.
Friendship.
Emotion.
Close your eyes.
And exhale.

To the Mullies we go...
xoxoL


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 52



Cheers to taking the lid off and savoring into 2018.

Sitting and slowing down at the family table is always good idea.
Not one that I invented.
But a ritual I decided to nurture & create more often.
Lighting candles.
Unfolding napkins.
Savoring, feeling the food in my mouth.
Closing my eyes when I chew.
Loving and laughing with those I sit with.
Lingering longer.
Yes. Let's do more of that.

Say farewell to 2017 with a list of my year's favorite set the table recipes.

Red, White and Blue Cheese Christmas Eve Eggs
Grandma Millie's Kolaczki
Crockpot Cherry Chipotle Chicken
Creamy Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms by Deliciously Ella
Turkey and Mushroom Risotto
A Grateful Butternut and Brussels Salad
Spiced Mango and Orange Chutney
Simple Potato Soup
Tempeh Tacos with Raw Cashew Cheese by Sarah Britton
Fruit and Vege Salsa
Apple and Soffritto Puffs
"Vancity" Avocado Toast
5 Ingredient Breakfast Cookies
Summer Mac n Cheese - Herbed Orzo with Feta and Figs By Eddie McNamara
A Plum Pear and Pistachio Tart
Creamy and Pineapple Coconut Smoothie by Kimberly Snyder
Sizzling Seared Scallops by Jamie Oliver
Secret Ingredient Frozen Hot Chocolate by Sarah Britton
Mixed Noodle and Kelp Noodle Salad by Kimberly Snyder
A Jamaica to Chicago Jerk Sauce
Mom's Refrigerator Pickles
French Toast Waffles
I Lime You Very Much Frittata
A Taco Turkey Burger
A Party Time Tuna Salad
Sriracha Egg n Vege Salad
Porked Out Waffles
Rainbow Lasagna
An Easy Pasta n Crab Salad
Chimichurri
Chef Alek's Simple Asparagus Salad
Lemon and Herbes de Provence Summer Grilling Seasoning
Veggie Snack Platter by Thrive
Make Your Own Pesto
Tommy's Sweet Potato Gnocci
Avocado, Egg and Strawberries on French Toast
Taco-Pi
A Real Shamrock Shake
A Sunny Side UP Super Food Salad
Vegan Cheese Sauce 
No Bake Chocolate Chip Fastballs
Blueberry Protein Bars 
Salmon Fish Fingers by Jamie Oliver
Get Stuck in Nachos by Jamie Oliver
White Bean and Tomato Soup by Jamie Oliver


Begin again. 

Set the Table 2018 starts on January 14th with Pure Barre Kildeer.
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).

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Chef's Tasting Table Day 10 & 11 // A Celery Root Salad + Watermelon Radishes + A Very Berry Smoothie + Guava





Thank you Jennifer and Jeff Miller of Prairie Wind Family Farms for providing some of the gorgeous local and organic produce to our students! It's inspirational to watch the students try your watermelon radish, celariac, celery and spinach in the lunchroom. It's hard enough to inspire my kids at home and it's a thrill to experience first hand how much this impacts their willingness to try new tastes in and out of school.

Alice Waters of the Edible Schoolyard asked the Slow Food Community recently to reimagine the lunchroom as a school subject. YES!! The Chef's Tasting Table is definitely our kind of fun food education!


I could not do this without the support of Eric Rogers (Director of Finance) & Sue Kruckman (School Nurse and Wellness Committee Member). Thank you so much for being a part of our Chef's Tasting Table team - I am having the time of my food education life with you all!



Dan is the produce manager at Jewel-Osco on Midlothian and he is absolutely incredible to work with. I've learned so much from him about the seasonal availability of produce and he has really helped to broaden my knowledge of interesting and exotic produce to introduce to the kids and staff.

I had never tasted fresh guava before, or red cactus fruit... or dragon fruit... or kiwanu melon... I'm learning so much too!









Ms Curtis is our amazing lunch lady at Diamond Lake School and I'm just thrilled we piloted the Chef's Tasting Table with her this month. It was a huge hit and we'll be back in the Spring! Thank you for having us for the day!


Big love and thank you's to Kelsey and Wayne for volunteering their time with me in the lunchroom!! 

Here are the recipes and I hope you are inspired to try them at home or for your very own school food education tasting day!

Lemon Caper Celery Root Salad - This is Jennifer and Jeff Miller's go-to winter salad. With a nice, refreshing flavor, it pairs well with savory meats or serves as a fresh lunch salad.

1 lemon, juiced
1 head celery root, peeled
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flavored oil (we like walnut, garlic or tarragon)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup juicy capers, rinsed (or Chef Lindsey subbed in diced dill pickles!)
Generous handful Italian parsley, chopped

Peel the celery root and shred it. Stop halfway through and sprinkle with a tablespoon of the lemon juice to keep the root from turning brown. Shred the other half and toss with another tablespoon of lemon juice. Salt and pepper liberally and toss.

Whisk the remaining lemon juice with the walnut oil, olive oil, sugar, and vinegar. Taste and adjust. Toss with the celery root, capers, and chopped parsley. Serves 4.

(Lunchroom tasting recipe per lunch period - approx 90-100 servings per recipe)
6 lemons, juiced
6 head celery root, peeled
Salt and pepper
12 tablespoons flavored oil (we like walnut, garlic or tarragon)
1 1/2 cup olive oil
12 teaspoons honey
6 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cup juicy capers, rinsed
5 Generous handful Italian parsley, chopped


Have a Very Berry Holiday Smoothie

2 c water
2.5 cups fresh spinach
3 c frozen mixed berries
1 avocado (flesh)
1 ripe banana
½ lemon’s juice

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) until smooth. Optional: Add organic powdered stevia or liquid if banana is not ripe enough.

See you in January for our first Chef's Tasting Table of 2018!

It all starts at hOMe Plate!

To the Mullies we go...

xoxoL

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Set the Table 2017 | Week 51



Red, White and Blue Cheese Christmas Eve Eggs

Homemade Blue Cheese dressing (inspired by my friend Doniella!):
1 cup organic full fat greek yogurt
1 cup mixed gorgonzola & blue cheese chunks
1 Tbsp raw honey
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Two pasture raised, organic eggs
1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tbsp water
Sea salt and pepper
splash of extra virgin olive oil or small pat of grass fed, organic butter

Halved cherry tomatoes
Sliced cucumbers
Sliced scallions
Chopped cilantro
Sea salt & pepper

Mix up blue cheese sauce ingredients in a bowl. (You'll have leftovers to save for your next creation!) Whip up eggs, cream, water and salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour into a heated/oiled pan to make scrambled eggs. Meanwhile, chop up your organic vege.  Scatter cherry tomatoes on a plate. Pour the freshly scrambled eggs on top. Layer on cucumbers, scallions, cilantro and top with a generous dollop of blue cheese dressing.

Use your blue cheese sauce for another dish like this one from last night: Roasted sweet potato rounds, buffalo pulled chicken, blue cheese dressing, cucumbers, scallions and cilantro.


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

    Week 51's Game Plan:

    I'm officially on meal planning vacation! One more recipe posts to go for 2017 and I'll be back at it with Pure Barre Kildeer in 2018 with some fresh "change ups":) WHOOP WHOOOP!

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



    The kids were like, "Mom, this salad is out of control."
    And they still ate it.
    hee heeeeeeeee green meanies.


    Perfect Selfie ornament love!



    I wanna wish you and your beautiful family tables a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart! 

    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).