Monday, February 19, 2018

Set the Table 2018 | Week 6


Love Yourself First = A Valentine's Day week recap!


The following meals were created over three nights. The first night began with a side dish batch of lentils and rice.

Here is how the "planned-overs" went down. 

...So much better than "left-overs" don't you think?"

Thanks for the awesome rewording Mark! (Must give props to my super cool friend from Slow Food Canada.)

Lentils and Brown Rice

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or ghee
2 large yellow onion
1 cup red lentils
1 cup brown rice
3 1/2 cups water/vegetable stock/chicken stock
(if using water add 1 tsp sea salt)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 black pepper

In a medium saucepan or dutch oven, saute the onion in the oil low and slow, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown and caramelize. Remove half of the onions and set aside on a plate. Pour in the water/stock and to the saucepan with 1/2 of the onions. Bring to a boil. Add the lentils, reduce heat and cover, simmering for 15 minutes. 
  1. In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add the lentils, reduce heat, and cover, simmering for 15 minutes. Then add the rice, salt (if only using water), pepper and thyme. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the caramelized onions. Place a paper towel over the pot, Cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
Lentil n Rice Meat Balls

Cold leftover lentils and rice (at least 1.5 cups)
1 lb grass fed, organic ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 pasture raised, organic egg
a handful of parmesan shavings

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl. With clean hands, mix up the ingredients until well incorporated (all squishy-wishy in the fingers). *If you make the lentils and rice the same day, do NOT mix the cold meat with the warm rice, this will begin cooking the meat and encourage bacteria to form. To cool the rice down quickly, spread on a baking sheet and put in the freezer until cool). 

Form mixture into balls as large or as small as you'd like. Place meatballs in a cast iron pan and cook for 40 minutes. They should be browned and cooked through. We made meatball sandwiches!


Tomato and Meatball Goulash (Memories from my Grandma Dorothy's family table)

2 small carrots diced
1 onion diced 
2 celery ribs diced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grass fed butter or ghee
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 14-17 oz can of diced tomatoes 
2x's the amount of diced tomatoes inVegetable, Beef or Chicken Stock (Use the tomato can/box and fill it twice with water and a heaping Tbsp of Organic Better than Boullion Stock.)
1/2-3/4 cup dry small shaped pasta (think macaroni, orzo, ditalini or bow tie shaped pasta - Try it gluten free!)
Parmesan cheese shavings or any type you have on hand!

In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium/low heat, add the oil and saute the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic (soffritto). Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and beginning to brown. Add the stock and and can of tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to package instructions (Pasta should be soft in 10 minutes or so). Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with your cheese of choice! Add more water if needed.




********************************************************************************
  • Each #SettheTable2018 post features a delicious family table recipe(s) to inspire your meal planning for the week.  
  • #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!  

And yes that heart necklace made it through a burnin hot Valentine's Day Pure Barre workout!

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).

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Set the Table 2018 | Week 5


    A Warm Chickpea and Brussel Sprout Slaw

    1 14 oz can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed and dried in a towel) or Cauliflower (cause my friend Christina just reminded me that chickpeas aren't Whole 30... Boy I'm excited not to have to do this next week... lol)
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp chili powder
    Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

    1 8 oz package of brussel sprouts (ends trimmed and discarded)

    Equal parts (about 1-2 Tbsp each) of:
    Organic (Whole 30 approved) Dijon mustard
    Organic (Whole 30 approved) Spicy brown mustard
    White vinegar
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Dried parsley (fresh would have been even better but I didn't have any on hand!)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Gently dry chickpeas in a tea towel (lay chickpeas on one half of the towel and fold the other half over the tops of the peas to remove moisture. This will help toast them up in the oven.) Place the chickpeas in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, sea salt pepper and olive oil. Toss to evenly coat. If using Cauliflower, toss in the same mixture. Roast either the cauliflower or the chickpeas for 10 minutes, toss and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until crispy. Remove from pan. Using the slicing mechanism on a food processor, shred up the brussel sprouts. Using the same pan as the chickpeas/cauliflower, evenly spread out the sprouts. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast for 10-15 or until the sliced edges begin to brown a little bit. In a large serving bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Add the roasted chickpeas/cauliflower and brussel sprouts. If needed, season to taste with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.



    ********************************************************************************
    • 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!  

    My Mom recreated our favorite french onion pot roast, potatoes and carrots (Check out this great French Onion Soup Pot Roast Recipe) from my childhood and brought it over for dinner. It was a perfect pairing with this delicious, zingy salad.

    The funny part was she thought we were coming over to her house, and I thought I was hosting... So, we both set the table! In the end, they ended up coming over to my house and Chris did the dishes.

    We sure make a good family food team!


    We are SO LUCKY to live next door to each other!

    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).

    Friday, February 9, 2018

    Chef's Tasting Table Day 13 // Cherries + Cacao






    With the Winter Olympics opening ceremony tonight and Valentine's Day around the corner, our Chef's Tasting Table landed with perfect timing yesterday!

    I love how it all came together: Sue - my school nurse sidekick - inspired me a few weeks ago when she forwarded me a yogurt and cherry smoothie drink recipe. Then, I remembered how Northwestern Performance Nutrition posted about using tart cherry concentrate with their athletes and also how the Olympic athletes are using tart cherry (and beetroot) concentrate and their performance training (article). Here is a recent instagram post where a Mackenzie Wilson, an NU cross country student athlete topped yogurt and bananas with a drizzle of the tart cherry concentrate - YUM! 

    Want to learn more? Here is another great article about cherries and the science behind why tart cherry concentrate has risen to "super endurance food" status (article). We also talked about cherries natural melatonin levels and I was pleasantly surprised how a few students knew about melatonin and how it helps you to sleep! 

    In honor of Valentine's Day, I added a little raw cacao powder to the drink and garnished with some cacao nibs. Many students remembered the chocolate avocado pudding I made last year with the cacao powder and I knew I had to bring it back in a different taste context. I wanted them to experience the true bitter and pure dark chocolate taste along with the tart/sour and sweet taste of the cherries. 



    A Tart Cherry + Cacao Booster Drink

    2 cups milk of choice (I used organic rice milk) or water
    1 cup frozen black cherries
    1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    1 Tbsp Tart Cherry Concentrate
    1-2 dried pitted dates
    1-2 Tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)
    1 tsp white chia powder (optional - I did not use this in the school tasting but put it in my drink yesterday!)


    Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Garnish: Fresh Cherries + raw cacao nibs. 


    SO GOOD!!!

    I'll see you back in the lunchroom in March for a super fun, GREEN taste:)


    To the Mullies we go...
    xoxoL


    ps
    All ingredients were found at Jewel. Thank you Dan for your help sourcing the large amount of cherries!

    Sunday, February 4, 2018

    Set the Table 2018 | Week 4


    Baller[inas]:
    1. Don't take themselves too seriously in the kitchen.
    2. Keep balls as mascots on counters. His name is John y'all.
    3. Cook like an athlete. Keep practicing, you'll get better n better baby.

    Happy Super Bowl Sunday FUN DAY!!!!



    Coconut Cream of Soffritto and Mushroom Soup

    2 organic celery ribs diced
    2 large organic carrots diced
    1 yellow or red onion diced
    1 tsp dried thyme
    2 cloves black garlic (regular garlic is just fine too) minced
    1 package antibiotic free bacon (bake at 375 degrees on a baking sheet over parchment paper for 20 minutes) place on a paper towel, let cool and rough chop (Totally optional - Make it meat free!)
    8 oz package of cremini mushrooms sliced
    2/3 cup white or balsamic vinegar (or white wine) - I eyeballed this... 
    1 can full fat organic coconut milk 
    1 can water
    sea salt to taste (don't be shy - especially if you leave the bacon out)
    freshly ground pepper
    1 cup frozen peas (optional)

    Cook the bacon. Drain most of the grease from the parchment paper into your small dutch oven/soup pot over medium/low heat. Add the diced celery, carrots and onion (soffritto). Season with sea salt, pepper and thyme. Cook low and slow, mixing everything up occasionally until the vege begins to caramelize. Add the minced garlic. Cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add the sliced mushrooms and season again with sea salt and pepper. Pour in the vinegar or wine. Cook low and slow, mixing everything up occasionally until mushrooms and completely cooked down and there is only a bit of liquid left. Pour in the can of coconut milk. Fill the empty can with water and add into the pot. Stir. Add the chopped bacon and frozen peas. Season to taste with sea salt. Option: You can also puree (with or without peas) before adding the bacon with an emersion blender; I would leave the bacon bits out and add them as a garnish.

    Smashed in the Pan Potatoes 

    3lb bag of organic red potatoes
    Ghee
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Smoked garlic seal salt (or sea salt + garlic powder)

    Wash the potatoes and add them to a large stock pot. Fill with water, add a good palmful of salt to the water and bring to a boil (Leave the lid lightly vented over the pot). Boil until the potatoes are soft when you pierce them with a fork or knife. Drain. After the above bacon has been cooked (and the grease drained into the soup pot to cook up the soffritto), smash the potatoes (with the back of your hand or with a meat mallet - Tommy's idea) until they are a 1/2 in thick or less into the parchment paper. Generously sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for another 25 minutes or until they are nice and crispy on the top.




    Tommy and I started our kitchen game night here:














    Wholy Cow Good 
    (Yea yea, I know... I promise to put away my holiday plates soon...)

    ********************************************************************************
    • 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!  

    Tommy figured out that he liked the soup better when you dip your finger in the the ketchup first and then eat a spoonful of soup. I was equally horrified and proud of his food creativity. He still isn't a fan of potatoes ("They're too smooooooshy inside Mom.").

    I anticipated that both of the boys would be anti-soup,"It's too chunky Mom! And we hate mushrooms!" Mac is beginning to trust me more and he finished his entire bowl. I loved watching him eat the mushrooms with an eye brow raise. As for Tommy, I admit, I might have bribed him with a little shopping trip to get more cozy sweat pants (this kid loves his blankets).

    Tommy ate his entire bowl. I guess I just had to wait until he was eight.

    What else can a rhyming baller[ina] ask for!?


    Set, sit, sip, savor, and stay longer love bugs (say that as fast as you can lolololololol).

    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).

    Sunday, January 28, 2018

    Set the Table 2018 | Week 3




    Need some motivation to eat more vege?

    This pleasure dressing will have you asking for more. I promise.

    Last night, I asked Tommy what kind of salad dressing he would like to make from scratch as we watched Chopped on TV. He said, "Ranch and that carrot ginger stuff I like."

    So this is what we came up with together.

    And he made himself an entire bowl of salad so he could have more dressing. 

    Which is a lovely, real food miracle.







    Tommy's Carrot Ginger Dressing

    4 small carrots diced
    1 in knob of fresh ginger (peeled)
    1/2 garlic clove
    1 lime's juice
    1/4 c avocado oil
    1/4 c rice vinegar
    1 tsp toasted sesame oil
    1/2 c plain coconut, almond OR organic soy Or grass fed, organic regular yogurt
    pinch of sea salt (at least 1/4 tsp)
    Need it sweeter? Optional: 1/2 orange juiced or a few tsp's of raw honey or powdered stevia to taste.

    Place all ingredients in a nutribullet, food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy with your favorite vege. Try it on a taco! 

    Warning: Unexpected, enthusiastic salad eating and second helpings of vegetables may occur. 

    Wholy cow 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!  
    Set, sit, stay and sip longer together.




    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).

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    Chef's Tasting Table Day 12 // A First Citrus Tasting



    All smiles from our awesome Principle, Mr Willeford!! I love when he walks in and asks, "So what so we have going on today Mrs Shifley!?"


    Big volunteering love out to my Mom, Mrs Prezell (a retired Kindergarten teacher of over 30 years who won't be staying out of the classroom anytime soon); It was her second time out to help inspire fun food education with me! Thank you so much!!

    Speaking of love, I channeled my friends from Slow Food Canada by wearing this lovely handmade apron from the Eating Heritage Festival in Moncton I attended last May. Aprons hold the most wonderful food + friend memories, don't you think?!



    Seconds please Mrs Kruckman! 


    The naval Cara Cara variety is darker in flesh, almost a dark pink. A delicious and surprising difference to the other varieties. Slightly sweeter, less acidic with almost a hint of a blackberry or raspberry to it. SO good and NO SEEDS!!


    The blood orange is simply gorgeous inside. In all four of the lunches, several kids commented, "There's not really blood in this, right!?" Hahahaha, no my sweet darlings, no:)

    I explained how the dark red flesh speckles was due to special antioxidant pigments found in other flowers and fruit but very uncommon in citrus. This dark red color develops at night during low temperatures and sometimes it can even show up on the outside rind!


    The Minneola is a cross between the tangerine and the pomelo and some people call it the "honeybell" because of it's characteristic knob at one end of the rind. Who knew!? It is the juiciest of the four varieties, the sweetest and the truest "orange" in color. Some kids thought it was the most tart out of all of the oranges. This was the variety that many tasted first as it was the most common looking; I believe it was probably less "risky" for them to try before the new ones


    The Pomelo, a member of the grapefruit family, was a first taste for almost everyone, including myself. Some pomelos can grow to be the size of a watermelon and how cool for the rind to be greenish! The thick pith was very spongy and its surprising texture was a frequent comment and question thrown out by the students. Also, many kids who admitted to not normally enjoying grapefruit were pleasantly surprised that the Pumelo was sweeter. Many students shared that they liked it "the best" which was so cool and some even commented, "I don't even need sugar sprinkled on top!"

    Fist pump.


    WOW what a ridiculous Chef's Tasting Table success!!!! We have decided to make this theme a yearly tasting every January; What a wonderful way to bring the sweet tropics to the lunchroom in the middle of a cold new year!

    The students LOVED comparing and contrasting the differences in the citrus varieties. The color and taste was so vibrantly different between the four varieties. I have to give huge props to Dan the produce manager at Jewel Osco on Maple Ave who helped me choose these beautiful varieties. Thank you so much for your help! 


    And last but not least, thank you Sarah for helping me lift all of these heavy boxes in my swagger van!!! Don't forget to say hello to Dan and Sarah if you stop by to grab some citrus from them!

    I have never seen so many kids "run around the bases and jump on home plate" - I LOVE when real school food scores lunchroom home runs!!!

    See you in February my little love bugs:) 

    To the Mullies we go...
    xoxoL