Tuesday, November 25, 2014

mr big's food diary #2 - real food at work


Food Diary Two

So it has been a few weeks since my last confessional er um I mean update in my food change. 

I have certainly made great strides in my daily food change when I would typically have a few Coke a day and eat what some people (yes you Lindsey) would call the devils food. 

Over the past few weeks I have managed to cut down, not completely, but cut down my Coke consumption. You know, some people have their morning coffee ...

On the food front I have made the best strides as I have all but eliminated gluten (aka bread) from my typical lunch options. This has been surprisingly difficult as I have realized that 70% of what I was eating was some form of bread. Donuts, bagels, cereal for breakfast and then lunch was a combo of sub sandwiches, pizza or burgers with bun. 

What has assisted most has been to simply not visit the lunch spots with menus that will tempt me to the dark side. So rather than the Potbelly, Jimmy John, Portillos, Chick Filet, etc, I am now frequenting Chipotle or Jason Deli. Both if these spots have gluten-free breads for the sandwiches and they don't have the dreadful but always delicious french fries. 

This week I have been traveling every day which means eating out for EVERY meal.  Fortunately I've been traveling to BBQ land in Kansas and Missouri so my go to meal has been meat and veggies. I swear - I have been ordering veggies every night at dinner.  In future I'll make sure to take Lindsey-esque photos of this. 

So the food change is real. It has not been 100% but it has been a huge adjustment that I am looking forward to continuing.


ahhhhhhhh i love you babe!  ...even though you beat me by 1.5 points last night in our fantasty football game.  i think you cheated. 

and i SWEAR, i do not call it "devil's food"!!!!!

hahahahahahahahaha.... i like to be naughty with food too;)

i am so happy he's home! 



why are we cutting back on wheat?  nerd out with me and read this lovely article: glyphosate and wheat

Sunday, November 23, 2014

a wholesome threesome for turkey day

bow ties + moto jackets = dakotah's sweet style

do you have your recipes all set for thanksgiving?

here is the lovely threesome i cooked up this weekend while talking, sharing tips and giving away recipes to my community. THIS is officially my favorite new weekend activity!

dakota's farmer's market = home of the lake county food patriot = townsfolk who are voting for local, good food sources with every dollar they spend.


whether you are ready or not for turkey day, these recipes will surely rock your hungry mouth and save you time.  i heart recipes that you DUMP into a pot or processor and it does the work for you.

it's like one stop shopping.

a turkey day (any day) raw stuffing 
serve as a side dish, spoon over turkey, plop it on mashed potatoes or spoon into endive cups (choose any green leaf can work as a wrap) or make spring/eggrolls!  YUM.

1 c soaked raw almonds (soaked overnight in water and drained)
2 c soaked raw pecans (soaked overnight in water and drained)
1 c organic carrots diced
1 c organic cremini mushrooms sliced (optional)
1/2 c organic onion diced
1 c organic celery diced
1 organic apple or pear
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c raisins or 3-4 pitted medjool dates chopped (optional)
5 sprigs fresh rosemary leaved(stems discarded) finely minced
small handful of fresh parsley leaves and stems minced
2-3 sprigs fresh oregano leaves (stems discarded) minced
10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves (stems discarded) minced
8-10 fresh sage leaves minced (stems discarded)
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp truffle oil
3-4 T of organic vegetable stock
juice from one lemon
sea salt and pepper to taste

DUMP everything into a food processor and pulse into a nice even chop. no processor?  dice, chop, mince and mix everything up yourself into a large bowl (it'll just take you longer).

the best cranberry relish evah (make it ahead!)
inspired by jamie oliver

1 bag fresh cranberries
1/2 c coconut sugar/nectar/honey (whatever sugar floats your boat)
1 organic apple peeled & diced
1 organic pear peeled & diced (optional)
1 organic orange (zest & juice)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger 
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
1.5 c white wine (i used kim crawford's savignion blanc) i usually use port but this works so well too!!!!

DUMP everything into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  stir & cook to dissolve sugar.  once the cranberries begin to burst (about 5 minutes) bring the heat down to a simmer and continue stirring until the liquids reduce (about 10-15 minutes).  let cool before serving or before covering and freezing.  (thaw overnight in your fridge to serve)  cranberry relish makes a lovely housewarming gift in a cute mason jar!

a pomegranate + apple + mango salsa (raw) or chutney (cooked)
inspired by realfoodwholelife's 52 new foods recipe

1-2 pomegranates, seeds removed (approx 1 cup). 
1 organic honey crisp apple diced
1/2 organic pear diced
1 c mango (thawed from frozen or fresh)
1/4 of a red or white onion diced
1 carton of grape tomatoes 
juice from two lemons or limes (either will work great)
1 T coconut nectar or honey or brown rice syrup or maple syrup 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
(1.5 c white wine - for making chutney)

first, marinate the onion in lemon/lime juice for 20 min to an hour at the bottom of the food processor or blender then DUMP everything else into the bowl and pulse to desired chunky-ness.  serve with organic tortilla chips. to make it a chutney: place all ingredients + white wine and cook it down low and slow until you get your desired consistency. i like to divide this recipe amount in half: keep one portion a salsa and make the other half into a chutney. no processor?  dice it all up and mix!

it's sheer heaven on top of your favorite piece of meat OR sweet potato latkes! some girlfriends and i ate them so fast the other night i didn't have time to take a pic!  here they are staying warm in the oven:

simple sweet potato latkes

organic virgin coconut oil
4-5 organic sweet potatoes (peeled & grated - i use my food processor!)
1/2 an onion chopped or sliced super fine
3 organic, pastured eggs
some cinnamon shakes (about a tsp maybe?)
a healthy pinch of sea salt
fresh ground pepper

combine all ingredients in a large bowl. heat a large pan (cast iron works great) on med heat and melt 2 T coconut oil. spoon patties onto the pan. cook 3-6 min per side and flatten with spatula.  season with s&p.

now go eat this lovely food with your family & friends, sip limoncello and find those lucky pennies!! 

happy happiest thanksgiving to all my gobblers!!

to the mullies we go...



i'll be back at dakotah's farmer's market dec 13th to cook up a lovely risotto with the cheese peddler + a dairy free risotto too!! my santa apron is just itching to come out and play!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

N is for noodles - a chicken (or turkey) noodle soup

i made this pot of loveliness on tuesday for my kids and wonderful babysitting-in-laws.  i had pitching lessons so they got to be with the kids with chris out and about.  i even prepped some manchego grilled cheese sandwiches:)

how did it go?  well, mary and larry LOVED both the soup and sandwiches.  the kids politely declined my soup and gobbled up all the grilled cheese. 


i reheated the soup for next day leftovers and gave all three of them a nice large bowl with calm, simple instructions: if they wanted any of the organic potato chips i had to share, they would have to eat the entire (freaking) bowl.

they licked their bowls clean.  mac and abbie even complimented my soup.  they also tried to leave some vege in the bowl... 

"i'm done!"


my shady food blackmail tactic worked.  and boy do i.love.my.chips.

to the mullies with chicken noodle soup 

2 T coconut or extra virgin olive oil
6 organic rainbow chard ribs chopped (i reserve them when i make sautéed greens or smoothies! kale - hello 52 new foods challenge! - or celery works well here too).
1/2 organic red onion
4 small organic carrots
2 cloves of garlic
pinch of dried thyme
sage salt
2 qts organic vege stock
1 tsp organic chicken bouillon (optional)
1 soup bowl full of organic frozen peas
1 soup bowl full of gluten free pasta (i love the tinkyada brand)
2 handfuls of shredded organic chicken or turkey (hello leftovers from earlier in the week)

heat oil in a large stockpot over med-low heat.  add chopped chard ribs, onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, sage salt & pepper.  stir, sauté and cover low and slow until onions are translucent and just beginning to caramelize (20-30 min).  dump stock + bouillon and bring to a boil.  reduce heat, throw chicken in, cover and simmer for a short or long bit.  when you are 15-20 min from serving, bring heat back up and add peas and gluten free pasta.  season to taste.  the noodles and chicken will continue to break down with every leftover reheat... it just gets better and better.

from start to finish, you could totally make this soup fast, in 30-40 minutes.  however, i think the deliciousness factor went up 10 fold because i took my time with it.  i slow cooked the soffritto, simmered the stock, vege and chicken for a while (probably over an hour!), and then had it for two days of leftovers. the chard adds depth that celery can only wish it had!

when i got home, the noodles had blown up big sitting and cooling in the pot... i think that's my favorite part.  I had my last bowl yesterday for lunch and it was so tasty and thick and wonderful and oh I miss it in my fridge so much already.  

warm your little hearts up!  i think i'll be making it again with our turkey leftovers as it'll sure pair well with our weekend football fixins.

happy friday you foodie freakos,


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

a pusher love girl soup

i had two lovely debuts last saturday:

#1 my lovely homemade food rev banner - i know, i'm nuts... but i have a lot of fabric scraps and my brother in law kevin made me a super rad stencil, so i just HAD to.  (thanks a bazillion mom for teaching me how to sew such a long time ago!)  abbie's leapard duck tape holds it up quite well. ha!

#2 my delicious dairy free, gluten free cream of mushroom soup - it knocked people's socks off and i was shocked at how excited people were that it was df and gf! i had a good 10-15 people who could not have eaten it the "normal" way as they were either vegan, cutting out diary or living gluten free.  i hope you'll make it sooner than later in your kitchens whatever which way you like it... you could make it and replace that canned cream of mushroom soup from your favorite family recipe (green bean casserole much?  mmmmmm-kay?)  check out this great "toxins vs traditions" article by the food babe.

to the mullies with a cream of mushroom soup

a few T's of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3.5 c sliced cremini mushrooms divided
1 onion sliced thin
2 celery ribs sliced thin + leaves chopped
3 cloves garlic sliced thin
1/2 tsp dried thyme (1 T fresh)
2.5 T gluten free flour
1/2 c light coconut milk (you can add as much as 3/4 c here)
2 c organic rice milk (or almond milk)
2.5 qt (2 cartons) organic vegetable stock
sage infused sea salt (my dear friend terri also shows you how to make more homemade herbal salts here!  she knocks my socks off - i'm making every single one for my pantry!!!)
freshly ground pepper
freshly chopped parsley (optional as my kids would give me a thumbs down on the "grass")

heat oil in a large stock pot and add your 2.5 cups of the mushrooms, sliced onions, celery, garlic and thyme. (reserve 1 cup of sliced mushrooms to sauté on the side with oil + s&p.  you can add as a garnish later. however, if you have eaters who do not like the texture of whole mushrooms, simply skip this step). cook vege low and slow with the lid on until onions are translucent and juices have released (about 10-15 min). add 2 T flour to vege and mix for a few minutes - it should be clumpy and pasty = we are forming a "roux". slowly pour in coconut milk and stir until a smooth paste forms.  next, slowly pour in rice milk ad stir until mixture begins to thicken. pour in stock, mix and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. using a handheld immersion blender, whiz up until silky (or transfer to blender). season to taste with sage salt and freshly ground pepper. garnish with parsley + some sautéed mushrooms. enjoy a cozy crock or two with your friends and family.

see you again this saturday at dakotah's indoor farmer's market for three lovely thanksgiving inspired tastes:

pomegranate + mango + apple salsa (inspired by 52 new foods cookbook)
a raw thanksgiving stuffing/dressing (inspired by kimberly snyder)
apple + orange + cranberry relish (inspired by jamie oliver)



big huge thanks to ulysses and the other fab MHS national honor society volunteers who helped me cook up a storm and pass out greens from the fremont community garden!  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

a food revolution guest blogger today!

i'm a guest blogger today!

come hop over to the jamie oliver food revolution (USA) website today and read my full blown recap:  diaries from the chicago food day 2014.

it's a itty.bitty.detailed.foodrev.journal.entry for you.

well, maybe not so itty bitty...


Monday, November 10, 2014

inspiring eaters at dakotah's indoor farmer's market

i had some major butterflies in my stomach last week.  for i jumped out of my kitchen for the first time and got my feet wet cooking with induction while talking to strangers.  with a successful peterson garden project's cooking class under my belt + a night of cooking greens on my new portable induction cooktop, i was ready to take another 1st step and cook up some vege inspiration at dakotah's indoor farmers market!

do you like to eat sautéed greens? 

my kids & chris would still say "not reeaaaaally" (but i make them eat a few bites anyway).  i cooked up 5 rounds of sautéed greens last saturday and i'll be cooking up even more next weekend for dakota's farmer's market shoppers.  

so how did it go?  the majority of the market goers were definitely wary... but after they tried one bite, everyone finished their cup!  NOT.A.ONE threw the rest out!  (and i gave them the a-ok to toss it if they didn't like it!)  i turned a ton of people ON to these delicious lovelies and i felt like i won the lottery each time.  i brought 100 recipe cards and only brought 5 cards back home!  my favorite moment was when a mother daughter pair approached and the mother said, "oh, she'll ever try that, she hates greens." perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps a little out of defiance, the 18 year old picked a cup up, took a tiny bite and said,  "this is not terrible... wow.  ok, now don't get me wrong, i'm not going to eat an entire plate of this, but i can do this amount!"  and she finished the cup.  the mom took a recipe card home and i'm crossing my fingers they might cook it up together again soon.

one step, one bite, one new recipe to work into the kitchen mix per week.  a perfect place to bring the 52 new foods cookbook and talk about cooking and eating better together in the food revolution!

the village homesteading mundelein group runs our fremont township community garden and there are a ton of greens and other produce still available and getting sent to our lake county food pantries. since the broccoli, brussel sprout, kale and turnip greens harvest is abundant (and not as popular at the pantries), i get to cook these lovelies up and inspire people to eat them!  

it's my new saturday hangout while chris takes the kids to ymca basketball games all morning (yes, he coaches all three of their teams).  sports + real food = team shifdog.
dakatah, you've cooked up something wonderful for our fair town and i'm thrilled to be gathering with you and the other wonderful vendors and community members to help #growmundelein.   

to the mullies with sauteed greens + bbq
1 T olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion sliced thin
2 garlic cloves sliced thin
1/2+ c vegetable stock
1 lb washed greens (kale, collard, broccoli, brussel sprout, turnip, beet, spinach, rainbow chard...)
splash of apple cider vinegar
sea salt & pepper
BBQ sauce (make your own or buy one like holcomb hollow's with clean ingredients!)

Optional additions:
1 can cannillini or white beans
nitrate/antibiotic free bacon or sausage
sesame seeds (pair with a korean bbq!)
red pepper fakes
be creative and add in your own with gumption!

remove middle stem/rib from greens.  dice stems like celery.  heat oil over medium heat and add ribs + onion.  sauté until onions become translucent and begin to caramelize (5-7 min).  add garlic and sauté for another min until fragrant (add tomatoes and/or mushroom here too.  sauté until juices have released).  add greens + stock + s&p and cover pan.  turn occasionally and cook for 5-15 minutes depending on toughness of greens (kale, collard, broccoli and brussel sprout greens take 5-10 additional minutes to wilt, so add these first before the more tender greens like spinach, chard, beet and turnip).  once all greens are wilted and still vibrant in color, add a splash of apple cider vinegar and stir to incorporate.  season to taste.  adding meat?  cook meat first in pan, then set aside and follow recipe.  need a bean fix?  add last, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for additional 5 minutes. plate with your favorite bbq sauce and dig in.  use local/organic ingredients whenever possible:)

i super love my new mobile cooking toy!!


Friday, November 7, 2014

tommy's feel better green smoothie

there is nothing better than having an excuse to stay in my pj's...  tommy asked for a green smoothie and i happily + shockingly obliged with some impromptu mullies video coverage. 

who would have ever thought?  

the recipe is in the video:)  don't get hung up on measuring... just dump it all in.  

as for this perfect song...  big thank you's to the icarus account.  i found these lovely musical artists on twitter, fell in love with their song and they gave me a double thumbs up to use it someday.  i had no idea what i was going to use it for and when i pasted all the clips together, i.just.knew.  thanks guys!

happy friday - happy weekend


Thursday, November 6, 2014

the peterson garden project - a fearless food kitchen 1st day

"The Fearless Food Kitchen is a home cooking school taught by neighbors, family members, elders, youth, chefs, farmers, entrepreneurs and others dedicated to sharing the valuable skill of home cooking.  Much more than nutrition, home cooking celebrates culture, history, family and community.

Be fearless with us and learn a skill that will influence your life, and the lives of others, for years to come."


cooking + storytelling = i'm hooked

can you remember being a kid in a kitchen?  do you remember what your childhood kitchen smelled like?  what is your food story? what are your food traditions?  what kind of food traditions do we want to create & pass down for our kids?  i shared some of mine, they shared some of theirs and we all gathered together to cook and eat three food revolution recipes.  that's right, we got to EAT what we COOKED!!!  i decided to bring a bonus dish of sautéed greens and made two homemade dressings:  my homemade ranch (scroll down, it's in there!) & a new gumption tahini dressing inspired by friend terri (i will let her share that with you soon!).  one of the participants chose to pair the tahini sauce with the greens and we all followed suit... oh.my.word was it delicious!

the mullies recipe notes:

minestrone soup: added 2 cups of gluten free pasta instead of 1 cup (i got a little dump happy and it resulted in more of a pasta dish which everyone loved just the same = drop the recipe perfectionism!)
everyday green chopped salad: added carrot ribbons (so fun for kids to to peel!)
simplest fruit salad:  made coconut whipped cream instead of yogurt!  whip up the solids from a chilled can of coconut milk (drain and reserve liquid) + vanilla (1 tsp) + maple syrup (to taste) and mixed in the fruit (strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes and an orange).

thank you jennifer & the food patriots for hooking us up and HUGE thank you's to the peterson garden project for the chance + opportunity to stretch my teaching wings outside of the mullies kitchen!  to lindsay shepherd (peterson garden program manager) and my lovely volunteers - you guys are fearlessly balls out and you can bet your garden bottoms that i'll be back!



how cool is my new hat!?  jill brought it to me fresh from the island of maui - so so proud of the island residents' YES moratorium vote!

Monday, November 3, 2014

mr big's food diary - getting on board

i'd like to introduce you to a new VIP guest writer in the mullies:

the one and only
the grand poo-bah
my vince vaughn meets chevy chase hubby of 14 years
mr chris shifley

this launches a new adventure starting here in the mullies.  i'm not driving it though... chris is at the wheel.  no editing except for basic punctuation (which clearly i have a problem with).

chris and i had just gotten back from his CDW employee health and wellness day where folks measure waistlines, take blood, ask questions... yada yada yada... basically, at the end you meet with a health coach and she tells you whether or not you're in the red zone in the major health topics of concern.  we went head to head in a husband vs wife health competition - his arse is still sore from the delicious beat down.

all kidding aside, deja vu alarm bells swept me back to sept 8, 2012.  but the difference this time is this: he's in charge of his boat, not me. i am not his mom (essential advice from my bunny!) and i'll do whatever he needs including offering up this blog space to spill his guts of fake food!  to CDW: thank you from the bottom of my food rev heart for the health data jump start.  to sheryl devore at the chicago tribune, thank you for writing that lovely article - nothing like a little print pressure to get him to walk.the.food.rev.talk.

hot diggity diz nawg welcome to his new hot column.

i'm on the edge of my seat to see where this puppy goes...


Mr Big's Food Diary - Day 1

This is just as much a story about eating better as it is about a love affair coming to a possible end. No not me and my wonderful wife of fourteen years, but rather between me and the food I love (I'll miss you most of all Portillos.)

As you all know, Lindsey has been holding her children food hostages (me included) for the past two years after making the choice to remove all foods with artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners and flavor in them.  Oh yea, and gluten.  Or as I call them, "foods I love". 

Of course, I am supportive of this new household menu and do my best to finish off what she serves up each night for dinner. The problem is when I'm not at home and working in a corporate environment with days spent sitting at the office or out if town traveling. Eating out at fast food or other Vernon Hills dietary gems (the aforementioned Portillos, Chili's, and numerous sub sandwich spots) may be easy for quick lunch breaks but tough to reduce the waistline. 

With Lindsey gaining more attention with her Jamie Oliver Food Revolution and articles in the Chicago Tribune, I felt it was time for me to finally get on board fully. So I'm going to attempt my own version of that "super size me" Morgan Spirlock tv show and try my best to follow the Lindsey rules for 30 days. 

It's gonna be a rough month with Thanksgiving and several business trips.

So here is where I start, the day after Halloween. 

Day 1
November 1st

No breakfast as I was racing around with kids basketball games all morning. After five hours at the local gymnasium, the kids and I had lunch at Jason's Deli as it has all kinds of options, great service and most of all they have gluten free products on the menu. I went with a turkey club and a few hard boiled eggs. 
After an afternoon of Legos with Tommy, I was off to O'Hare for a work trip. This trip allowed me to enjoy airport food which I'm not ready to navigate healthy options on my own yet. So I had Dinner at an airport bar and went with the chicken sandwich (no bread) and the best $8 Sam Adams bottle they had to offer.

Day 2
November 2 in Kansas City

I am realizing this was a tough weekend to begin this food change as I am spending it in BBQ country. 
The day was spent tailgating and rooting on the Chiefs as they beat the lowly Jets. I of course had all kinds BBQ meats but went light on the sauce and stayed away from all the other "fixins" as they say. It was a successful day of eating ....But the half dozen beers didn't help out much. 
Dinner was low key as I had some southern style Mac and cheese with BBQ burnt ends. Amazing... Just amazing.  

Day 3
November 3

Orange juice and gluten free bagel. 
Yes the bagel was dry and of course it was dense and not all that tasty but it fit into the plan so that's what I had. 
I am now on a flight back to Chicago after what I consider a successful trip as I absolutely ate "better" than I normally would.  

Two and a half days down.


to the mullies we go...


i'm not excited or anything...