Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balsamic Orange Pork Tenderloin & Toasted Pine Nuts

I don't think I've ever followed someone's recipe except when I was at work were I was forced to do so.  I've always used recipes as guidelines or inspiration to create my own spin on it.  The other day I taped an episode of The Chew.  Michael Simon had a segment on there where he made grilled pork kabobs and then drizzled a pine nut sauce with raisins, orange zest, garlic and parsley on them.  All week I had those pork kabobs on my mind so today I decided to make them...and of course, couldn't follow the recipe and had to make it my own.  Here is how I did it:

I sliced 1" pieces of a Pork Tenderloin and seasoned them with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper.  Sauteed them in a skillet with olive oil, browning them on each side. Then I drizzled this warm Balsamic Orange and Toasted Pine Nut Sauce over them. Really good, really light and full of flavor!

Balsamic Orange & Toasted Pine Nut Sauce

3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Orange, Zested & Juiced
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro and/or Parsley,Chopped

In a small skillet over medium high heat, add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Pine Nuts and fry.  When the nuts become golden brown, remove from heat and add garlic.  Allow the oil to cool, add Orange Juice, Orange Zest, Balsamic Vinegar, Cilantro and/or Parsley.  

Transfer cooked pork to plate, drizzle with Balsamic Orange Pine Nut Sauce.  Season with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and cracked fresh Black Pepper.

Cooking healthy sure isn't boring...
Stormy



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cilantro Gremolata Poached Tuna & Tuscan Green Beans


Poaching your own tuna will give a light non-fishy flaky tuna that doesn’t compare to canned tuna.  Tuna is 32 calories per ounce with no fat so it’s a great protein source that is low calorie.  
Purchase tuna steaks.  You can get them in the freezer section or use fresh from your fish market.

I love these Tuscan Green Beans and they make an excellent side dish that is full of flavor and different.  Today I had some green beans in my fridge that needed to be used up so I decided to make these as a bed to my Poached Tuna Salad that I made with Gremolata to give it a flavor punch without adding mayo.

Gremolata is a condiment that is used in Italy that is typically served with veal.  Plus it's normally made with Italian Flat Leaf Parsley but I had fresh Cilantro on hand and it was excellent.  (Remember...use what you got!)

It only takes 20 minutes to poach the tuna and it's well worth the effort.  Here is how you do it:


I like to use chicken broth with my water so it will give it a little more flavor, however you can use vegetable broth if you prefer.  Use what herbs you have on hand.  This is what I used today.  The purpose of adding these aromatics to the broth is to boost the flavor.
 
Poached Tuna
16 oz Chicken Broth, No Salt Organic
1 Cup Water
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Rosemary
Garlic Clove, Smashed
Sliced Red Onion
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

In a medium sauce pan, bring chicken broth, water, pink sea salt, herbs, garlic clove and red onion to a low simmer.  Add tuna steaks and let simmer, turning over half way to cook evenly on both sides.  Simmer 20 minutes until tuna flakes.  Transfer to a plate to cool.  

Flake Tuna and add Cilantro Gremolata - toss together and set aside.  Prepare Tuscan Green Beans.

Prepare Cilantro Gremolata

1 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
1 Lemon, zested
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Mix together in a small bowl.  Yields approximately 3 tablespoons.



Tuscan Green Beans

1lb Fresh Green Beans, Washed & Trimmed
24ct Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, Sliced in half
3 Cloves Garlic, Sliced
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Herbs de Provence or 1 Spring Fresh Rosemary
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

In a large skillet over medium high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Sauce garlic until light brown then stir in Cherry Tomatoes and either a sprig of Rosemary or I love to use Herbs de Provence, it's a beautiful flavor.  Cook covered for approximately 3-5 minutes until the Tomatoes melt into the Olive Oil and then add the Green Beans.  Toss in sauce and cover.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Green Beans need to be tender yet crisp.  Not over cooked.  Serve immediately.

To serve together...Plate Tuscan Green Beans, Add Poached Tuna & Cilantro Gremalata.  A wonderful pairing. 

Stormy

Balance is Key

I believe in balance in everything I do and it impacts the way I feel.  Being a true Libra, I have to find balance in my life.  If I don't it's out of whack. If I'm out of decision on something, I can't move forward and feel good about it until I make a decision.   I also believe that balance is the key to eating healthy.  Forget the prepackaged vacuum sealed food programs, the frozen dinners under 400 calories, don't eat your proteins with carbs or don't eat fruit with anything else, make sure to weigh your food, portion control to the size of your fist, don't eat fat, eat fat free blah, blah, blah.  We need to live and find balance in our lives and going on a diet is not fun, no matter how you spin it.  

The only way to make a healthy lifestyle work is to find balance.  But you have to mindful of what you put in your mouth.  Eating processed foods are not good choices but there will be times when you don't have any other option and if you eat processed foods, then choose wisely.  Fat free packaged foods are filled with unnecessary ingredients that bring absolutely no value to your body.  So what's the point?  

I decided to eliminate wheat from my diet after doing some research on my inflammation I was experiencing and then I read the book Wheat Belly.  That is when I started to eliminate most processed foods because almost everything processed contains some form of wheat plus a list of other ingredients that you can't pronounce.  I always read the ingredients and make sure they are whole ingredients.  

I enjoy cooking and I don't find it daunting to cook with whole foods and frankly it's not that difficult if you learn how to keep fresh ingredients on hand to pull meals together.  My goal to help educate people on how to cook using whole foods, nutrient ingredients and high quality products.  By slowly eliminating items from your pantry and replacing them with the right ingredients, you will begin to build a healthy pantry.  Then when you make your grocery list, it will consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and meats.  Eventually your grocery bills go down, no trips through the drive thru and you will be eating balanced healthy meals each day.

Becoming a "Healthy Foodie" is where you want your mind set.  Reach for natural foods and good quality products to make you feel better and be more energized.  Balancing your proteins, carbs and fats are important and of course eating vegetables at every meal is always good for fiber.   Brighten your foods by using fresh herbs, they will transform any dish and variety of spices will turn boring vegetables into flavorful vegetables.

Diets Don't Work - Balance Works

Gift yourself a Twist of Life and find balance.  Quit obsessing over dieting and learn to eat and live with balance.  If you have oatmeal for breakfast, have a salad for lunch, for dinner have vegetables and protein.  Don't repeat the same meals in the same day, balance it out.  If you have something with more calories at one meal, eat less on your next meal and try to eat vegetables maybe in a salad, grilled, roasted or sauteed.  Balance it throughout the week so your body processes it the correct way and not store it.  Cook with nutrient rich oils and eat healthy fats such as avocados and nuts.  Just make sure you put food in your mouth that has a purpose.  It will make all the difference in how you feel.

Thanks for stopping by...Stormy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Egg in a Hole!



Learning to swap out bread is the key to my journey of not consuming wheat products.  One of my favorite morning breakfast items was egg and toast.  So I had to find a way to improvise that was healthier option that provided fiber. 

I had some eggplant in the fridge that I was going to use to fill with the spaghetti sauce I made yesterday but I wasn't hungry after eating the my late afternoon snack of Savory Stuffed Banana Peppers so this morning I thought I would try out this eggplant to whip up a quick breakfast.  BINGO!  Worked like a charm and very tasty.  Actually better than the bread I used to have instead. Who would have thought...

I just cut off a couple of slices of eggplant, cored the middle and cooked it in some coconut oil, a little of my Summer Salt Blend Seasoning (I'll post that soon - just my all purpose seasoning mix I keep on hand with Himalayan Pink Salt) and then I added a an egg in the middle after I flipped the first side.  I put a lid over it to cook it slowly on lower heat to cook the top slightly.  Added some chopped cilantro and a little garlic chili sauce for dipping.  (Got to have a little spice.)

This was very easy to prepare -  low carb, protein and fiber.  Poured a glass of iced coffee with coconut milk hazelnut creme and breakfast was served in less than 10 minutes!  

Out the door for a busy week...Stormy

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Savory Stuffed Banana Peppers

Lazy Sunday afternoons...I just love them.  Late breakfast with coffee, reading and resting.  Around 3pm it's always time for an afternoon snack.  Sunday nights I always cook a meal my son adores - so I have to get my fix of something I can eat and I don't dig into what he's having.  Having a teenage boy is challenging - they are hungry every 3 hours, kinda of reverting back to baby days.  Except they eat the entire house!

Since I was making spaghetti for my son this evening, I decided to use ground turkey I had on hand and mix up a stuffing for some banana peppers that were needing to be used up.  I sauteed some red onions, garlic and ground turkey, added some fresh rosemary and diced tomatoes then let it simmer for about 30 minutes on low. 

I cut off the top of the banana peppers and pulled out the seeds.  Then I stuffed it with the meat mixture.  Sprayed them with some olive oil and threw them on the grill until they were charred on each side.  That's it - Sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese on it.  It was super tasty and just the right amount of food late in the day.  

I've learned that cooking healthy doesn't mean you have follow recipes and go out and buy a big list of ingredients.  Use what you've got - make it work!  Learning to cook without recipes is the key to making your life easy.  

Stormy

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Grilled Artichoke Pesto Stuffed Baby Portobellas


June is wedding season...times for showers, ladies luncheons and outdoor weddings.  One thing I have learned over the years in catering is that woman like something light, full of flavor and elegant.  These Baby Portabellos are stuffed with a savory flavor packed punch of Grilled Artichoke Pesto.

I love these Grilled Artichokes as an antipasto but I decided to use them to make a pesto and stuff them with these little portabellos.  I've made artichoke pesto before with just artichoke hearts but taking my antipasto artichoke recipe and using them to make the pesto made this dish really stand out.  

This might seem a like a lot of steps but it's really not that difficult and the flavor is worth all the effort.  Make these Grilled Artichokes - Keep them in a jar in your fridge.  Add to salads or a GF pasta dish.

Marinated Grilled Artichoke Hearts
1 lb Artichoke Heart Quarters
1 Garlic Glove, Minced
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
1 Tbsp Red Onions, Diced
3/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp GF Tamari Sauce
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Drain artichokes or thaw from frozen.  Blot dry with a paper towel.
Over a medium high heat grill, grill the artichoke hearts until slightly charred.
 Transfer to a bowl and while still hot or warm, toss in all the ingredients and mix well.  Allow the artichokes to marinate for at least 4 hours.  Serve room temperature.  Toss with other grilled vegetables or add to GF Pasta.

Grilled Artichoke Pesto
1 Cup Grilled Marinated Artichokes
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Cup Pecan Pieces
2-3 Garlic Cloves (Depending on size)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a food processor, add Grilled Marinated Artichokes, Fresh Basil, Parmesan Cheese, Pecan Pieces and Garlic Cloves.  Pulse LIGHTLY - these don't need to be over processed, you want a chunky consistency.  Once ingredients are combined, transfer to a bowl, then add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, season with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

Stuffed Baby Portabellos

Remove stems from the Mushrooms (toss or add to your eggs the next day).  Toss Mushrooms with olive oil and place in a baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and stuff with a generous scoop of Grilled Artichoke Pesto.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.  That's it!  No longer and don't stuff prior to baking or you will not experience the full flavors of the pesto.  

For a ladies luncheon, I served these on a bed of lightly dressed baby kale & greens then I garnished it with some pickled red onions.  These were a big hit and I have to say, probably one of my favorite dishes.  It's perfect as an appetizer, salad, side or vegetarian entree.

Stormy

Zucchini Carpaccio

Sometimes don't you want a salad that is more than mixed greens and salad dressing without adding a bunch of calories and fat? Well, I decided to change it up a bit and make a carpaccio style salad with Zucchini, Fried Capers, Arugula and Grape Tomatoes. I drizzled it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Sherry Vinegar, then garnished it with fresh Basil, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

Zucchini – Is a cucumber like vegetable that is actually, botanically considered a fruit. This slender shaped fruit has many health benefits and one zucchini is 25 calories, ideal stomach filler for those looking to lose weight. Zucchini helps to cure asthma and fight against cardiovascular disease containing Vitamin C which is an anti-inflammatory property.
This vegetable is high in Potassium, Folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.
Capers on the other hand have been used throughout history to promote healthy liver function. They contain two bioflavonoids, rutin and quarcetin which have strong antioxidant properties. They are high in sodium which need to be used sparingly and can be used in place of salt in a dish.

Having an outdoor dinner party?  Serve this as a light first course.  Arrange on a large platter or make  individual small plates for your guests. Super simple with a great presentation!

Zucchini, Sliced Super Thin (I used a mandolin slicer - $10 Tuesday Morning)
Fresh Arugula
Capers
Fresh Basil, Chiffonade Cut
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Sherry Vinegar
Grape Tomatoes
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Fry capers in olive oil until crispy and transfer to a paper towel to blot dry.   

Slice Zucchini on mandolin and arrange on platter or plate.  Arrange Grape Tomatoes in the corners for color.  Sprinkle with fresh sliced Basil.  Toss Arugula with Olive Oil, squeezed lemon, Sherry Vinegar until lightly coated.

Drizzle Olive Oil, squeeze lemon and drizzle Sherry Vinegar lightly over sliced Zucchini.  Place dressed Arugula in the center, garnish with Fried Caper Berries and season with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

Try it - You'll like it!  Stormy

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pan Fried Tacos

Gluten free living doesn't mean you have to give up everything!  Living in Texas we love our Mexican food.  Fresh Avocados, homemade salsa and hand fried tacos for dinner.  Very satisfying...

Look for all corn tortillas and check the ingredients to make sure that your getting healthy ingredients and not lard.  For this dish  I used ground bison that was supposed be a hamburger patty but I decided to crumble it up and use it as taco meat filling.  I browned it in a cast iron skillet (thank you mommie) and some diced red onions.  Then I added my homemade Sazon Seasoning (which means seasoning in Spanish).  It's a mixture of whole Cumin and Coriander Seeds toasted then ground fresh and combined with Smoked Paprika, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Garlic Powder.  Being able to control the ingredients in my seasoning is key.  There are a lot of packaged seasonings that have hidden wheat gluten and extra preservatives that I don't want in my food.  This Sazon Seasoning is very flavorful and better than any little packet of taco seasoning you get at the grocery store.

Then I added some of my homemade authentic Fire Roasted Mexican Salsa that I made over the weekend.  I roasted on the grill some ripe Roma Tomatoes, Onions, Jalapenos and Garlic Cloves.  Then I processed it in my food processor, added some Chipotle Sauce, Fresh Cilantro and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt.  De-lish!  This sauce is great to add a little punch to the meat while it's cooking.

Then to make the tacos, just take a warmed White Corn Tortilla, fill it with the Ground Bison or Beef mixture (you can use ground turkey too if you feel like it) and toss in some dairy free cheese.  If you have to have cheese.  If not, leave it out.  You probably wont even miss anyways!

In a saute pan, add some coconut oil and fold the taco over in half.  Place it in the saute pan and cook on each side until until it's browned.  Transfer to a paper towel too blot off any excess coconut oil.  

Serve with fresh Avocado, Cilantro and more Fire Roasted Mexican Salsa!

Sazon Seasoning
Yields 5 oz Jar

3 Tablespoons        Coriander Seed, Whole
3 Tablespoons        Cumin Seed, Whole
3 Tablespoons        Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoons        Garlic Powder
3 Tablespoons        Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Fine Ground

In a small sauté pan over medium heat add coriander and Cumin Seeds.  Toast seeds to bring out their essential oils.  Watch carefully so they don’t burn and move the pan around to keep the seeds moving so they are not exposed to too much heat on one side.  

Once they are toasted grind them in a mortar or coffee grinder.  Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Mix together well and store in a jar in a cool dark place.  This will keep for months.

 Fire Roasted Mexican Salsa
 Yields 2.5lbs

12        Tomatoes (I prefer Roma since they are usually ripe and firm)
3         Jalapenos, Fresh Whole
1         Chipotle Pepper
1 c       Fresh Cilantro, Stems Removed
3         Garlic Cloves
½ tsp   Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Over a hot grill roast the Tomatoes and Jalapenos until completely charred.  Transfer to a food processor and add the Garlic, Chipotle Pepper, Cilantro and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt.  Process until chunky.

Enjoy!..Stormy

  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thai Omelette

I was surfing around the web this morning and ran across a site called Nom Nom Paleo.  It's a blog about the new diet paleo which is a diet plan that doesn't consume grains or legumes and focuses on grass fed beef, free range poultry and wild caught fish.  I have to say that I don't believe in some of that philosophy on the fats they consume and I believe in eating some grains.  However there are some good recipes I've scouted and put my own spin on them.  This is one of them.  The Thai Omelette. I put my own spin on it by adding some red curry paste, fresh basil and a mixture of freeze dried chives, shallots and garlic that I keep in my fridge.  It was a very flavorful omelette and I will be making it again and maybe stuffing it with some chicken to make it a little more filling.

Here is how you make it:

2 Eggs, Whole Organic Free Range
1/2 tsp Thai Fish Sauce
1/4 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste
Squeeze of Half Lime
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, Chopped
2 Tbsps  Fresh Cilantro, Chopped (reserve 1 for garnish)
1 Tbsp Freeze Dried Chives, Garlic & Shallots (I use Lighthouse Brand)  or you can just use Scallions
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

In a small bowl, add eggs and mix with fish sauce, red curry paste and squeeze of lime.  Polk the egg yolks and mix well.  Then toss in the fresh herbs and mix together.

In a small saute pan over medium heat, add extra virgin coconut oil and then add the egg mixture.  Let the mixture sit for a second and then move the pan by tilting it one way.  The mixture will move down and when you tilt the pan back, the liquid will run down and start to form adding to the other cooked part.  Then tilt the pan again and more liquid will run, tossing it to turn it over and then take a spatula and turn it over completely.  Transfer to a dish, garnish with remaining cilantro.  Serve with fresh sliced avocado.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Benefits of Avocado Oil

It's confusing when trying to follow the right steps towards wellness with so many opinions from so many different angles.  What I mean by that is we are programmed by so many different diets out on the market and so many experts convincing us to use this and that.  My rule of thumb is what is natural, organic and has the most nutrients is the best rule.  What value does it bring me to my body to consume it?  That's what you should ask yourself.

One thing I haven't purchased in a few years is salad dressings.  I prefer to eat salads with a dressing that I can control what goes into it.  There are so many ways you can spin a salad dressing by adding different herbs, spices, vinegar and oils.  My friends and family always go nuts over the salads I make and my secret is...the dressing.  Store bought dressing are laced with unnecessary ingredients that don't have any nutritional value what-so-ever.  Plus they don't compare in flavor.  Not even close.

The first I came across Avocado Oil was at a friend of mines house a few years ago.  Her mother lives in Cabo and brought some to her.  I was looking on her table and found this pretty little green bottle.  I asked her about it and she said, "OMG - it makes the best salad dressing."  Evidently the Aztecs have been using Avocado Oil forever.   I was intrigued by it and did some research when I go back home.  I purchased a bottle of Organic Avocado Oil and I have been in love since.  It's rich, full of flavor and has a high smoke point.  

Avocado Oil isn't widely used but its gaining momentum.  In this fat obsessed world we live in, people are looking at every drop of oil they consume and more health enthusiasts are turning to Avocado Oil.  It's more than 50% monounsaturated, extremely high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and vitamin E, making it a heart rich ingredient.  Which helps reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure, and help prevent many diseases.  

Avocado oil is a great source of lecithin, which promotes fast healing and better skin quality. This yellowing fatty substance acts as a super emulsifier and lubricant. When applied topically, lecithin forms a protective covering on your hair follicles and your skin’s surface, effectively preventing the loss of moisture due to wind and climate damage. Avocado oil is also high in sterolin which can be used as a softener or moisturizer in hair and skin care.

So when you reach for some oil to cook with or add to a dressing, think about adding an oil that is nutrient rich.  Same amount of calories as other oils, but more nutrients.  That's the key!

You can purchase Organic Avocado Oil from Mountain Rose Herbs online.  It's an extremely popular item and they sell out frequently - but well worth the investment. 

Stormy

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coconut Banana Nut Pancakes & Strawberry Mango Salsa

A while back I posted a recipe for Caramelized Banana Pancakes w/Blackberry Sauce and loved the way they turned out, they are excellent but I was a little disappointed that they didn't flip well and were still a little dense.  So I've been playing with the pancake recipe and added more almond flour to get a more consistent batter for pancakes.  I've also switched it up a bit adding coconut flakes, cinnamon and a variety of nuts.

This morning I made this version using a bright right mango that I've had setting on the counter waiting to eat.  This salsa doesn't have any oil or acid from lime juice or vinegar.  It doesn't need it - it's just a nice medley of fruit, fresh basil and flax seeds.

Here's the recipe:

Pancakes
1 Banana, Ripe Mashed
1 Egg, Whole Organic Free Range
Pinch Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1 Tbsp Coconut Flakes, Unsweetened
1/2 tsp Flax Seeds
Few Chopped Nuts (I used walnuts)
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Topping
Mango, Ripe, Diced
Strawberries, Ripe, Sliced
1/4 tsp Flax Seeds
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil, Julienned

In a small bowl, mash bananas well, add the egg and mix together.  Add Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, Almond Flour, Coconut Flakes and Flax Seeds.  Mix together well.

In a small saute pan over medium heat, add some coconut oil to lightly coat the pan.  Add approximately a couple of tablespoons of batter and spread out to keep the middle from being too thick.

Cook on each side for a couple minutes until the pancake is cooked through.  Repeat and stack on a plate.  

Mix topping together and place on top of pancakes.

These pancakes are fantastic, filling and figure friendly!

Enjoy
Stormy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuscan Bean Soup & Poached Egg


It's already hot here in Texas being the first of June.  Sometimes it's nice to throw together a hot meal that isn't heavy but a little more filling than a salad.  Last night I was craving my Tuscan Bean Soup that I usually make with Escarole Greens but only had fresh Spinach instead.  It was good but I think it I do like it better with the Escarole.  

The other day I was on a blog called Hungry For The Truth - a blog that Stacy Morris from DDP Yoga who blogs about her weight loss journey and food connection.  I saw a similar soup where she added eggs.  I thought that would be great addition to my Tuscan Bean Soup so I gave it a whirl.  It was fabulous!

This soup is light, hearty and hits the spot, even on a hot day!  Here is how you do it:

1 Can Cannelini Beans, Drained and Rinsed Well
4 Cups Chicken Stock, Low Sodium
2 Strips Prosciutto, Diced
1/4 Cup Red Onion, Diced
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
3 Fresh Sage Leaves, Shredded
2 Handfuls Fresh Escarole or Fresh Baby Spinach
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Egg, Free Range Organic (1 per serving)

In a medium stock pot over medium high heat, add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chopped Onions, minced Garlic, chopped Prosciutto.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Then add the Fresh Sage, toss around for a minute.

Add the drained Cannelini Beans, Chicken Stock, Fresh Escarole or Baby Spinach and simmer until the greens wilt.  Season with Himalayan Pink Salt and Fresh Black Pepper.  

To Serve, portion soup in a bowl, add a cracked fresh Egg and push the liquid from the soup over the top to lightly poach the eggs.  

Delicious!..Stormy


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fennel & Ginger Root Tea Elixir

Giving up a cup of your morning coffee might be better for you than you realize and transitioning into a lifestyle of consuming food and beverages that have a nutritional value or serve a specific value is something to consider. 

Recently a friend of mine suggested that I start drinking Fennel and Ginger Root tea each morning.  After doing a little research, I've found that these two roots have incredible health benefits that I would like to share with you.  

Fennel Root - Helps aid in digestion, relieves bloating and gas.  It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol LDL levels, plus it helps reduce water weight which helps with weight loss.

Ginger Root - Helps fight respiratory problems, reduce inflammation, strengthens immunity, encourages normal blood circulation, reduces menstrual cramps and relieves stress.

So the next time your start a pot of coffee, start a pot of hot water and place some sliced Fennel and Ginger Root in while it simmers and sip it as some tea.  Don't add any sweetener as it doesn't need it and you don't either.  However a nice slice of lemon goes well.

Stormy

Seared Corn Salad & Avocado

Having great ingredients on hand make's it a lot easier to throw together a light lunch when your hungry.  I love the variety of mixed greens available at the grocer that are already triple washed so you don't have to do it.  My favorite combo is from Earthbound Farms - the Mixed Baby Herbs; it has Arugula, Spinach, Green and Red Oak Leaf, Romaine, Parsley, Dill and Cilantro.   Which makes it a great way to incorporate a variety of greens into your meal plans.  

I always keep a bag of frozen corn in the freezer and a couple of avocados on the counter in a bowl.  The key to picking great avocados is buying them when they are still firm - but the core comes out when you push it.  Leave it on the counter for 2-3 days and it's perfectly ripe!

I seared the Corn in a some Olive Oil, with some Red Onions, then I added some Whole Cumin Seeds and cooked it until the corn was seared.  Then I removed it from the heat, added some Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper.  Transfer to a plate to cool.

Once the corn is cooled, slice some grape tomatoes, toss with the corn and a little vinaigrette.

My vinaigrette was simple:

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard 
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Stevia
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch Ground Cumin
Pinch Ground Coriander
Himalayan Pink Salt 
Black Pepper, Freshly Cracked

Mix it up, dress your greens...lightly.  Then slice the avocado in half, remove the seed.  Place your dressed greens on the plate, add the avocado half, fill the avocado with the corn salad and enjoy!  How easy it that?

Stormy

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Flax, Nuts & Fruit

Did you know that not all Oatmeal is Gluten Free?  Well...it's true so just because you are eating oats doesn't mean it's GF.  Unfortunately most oats are cross contaminated with wheat, barley and/or rye which occurs during harvesting, transporting, milling, processing and packaging.  The good news is there are reputable companies out there that produce GF oats in fields and packaging facilities that are GF facilities.  I prefer Bob's Red Mill brand. I'm just gluten intolerant but some of you might have Celiac's Disease and you might want to consult with your doctor before consuming oats.

Preparing oatmeal from whole form brings a much more hearty and flavorful oatmeal.  I like to add a mixture of nuts for crunch and added nutrition, flax seeds for Omega 3 which is a key source to fight inflammation and heart disease.  Add some Himalayan Pink Salt to the water before boiling. 

Instead of butter, use extra virgin coconut oil.  Consuming at least 1 TBSP of coconut oil daily will help aid in improving your metabolism and digestion, decrease blood pressure, increase your immunity system.  Not to mention the coconut oil adds a wonderful richness and healthy fat so you feel your are not being deprived.

I use Stevia extract as my sweetener and omit brown sugar and honey.  Stevia extract contains no sugar, calories and is about 300 times more sweet! 

Throw in some berries some freshly grated orange zest you have a healthy, nutrient packed breakfast that will stay with you for a few hours.  

Look for Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Gluten Free Oats.

Very satisfying and better than those packets you microwave.  It only takes about 15 minutes and it's worth the effort.

Thanks for stopping by...
Stormy



Grilled Broccoli & Cabbage Salad w/Smoked Salmon

Some days you just want to run through that drive thru on your way home from work. It was a long day, your tired and you just don't want to deal with it.  But you have to stop and think...How hard is it to throw together a salad, I mean really... 

Yesterday was one of those days. I was driving home and I decided I would stop at one of my favorite specialty food locations and pick up something to go with a salad so I didn't have to do too much to put together a nice  nutritious meal.  I'm not talking about a grocery store, I'm talking about seeking out places that make exceptional food and you can order it to go.  We have a great little BBQ place next door to work where this guy built his business by smoking high quality meats starting in his backyard.  His business grew through word of mouth and then his wife kicked him out of the backyard and told him to get serious about it.  I'm sure glad he did because he smokes the best BBQ I've ever tasted in Texas and everyone knows we are know for our BBQ.  

He smokes a salmon that is so succulent that it just melts in your mouth and I couldn't resist last night.  It was perfect.  I came home, fed the dogs, tossed some cabbage and broccoli with some sesame oil and fired up the grill.  While I changed clothes, I let the cabbage and broccoli cook on the grill.  Then I grabbed a nice glass of orange cinnamon iced tea and sat outside  until they were done cooking.

Then I chopped them up, thew together a vinaigrette and tossed it together.  The salmon was to die for and the salad was a nice crunchy side dish that pulled it all together.  Not to mention how good it was for me.  Much better than a drive thru and more satisfying.

Here is the vinaigrette I threw together:

Dijon Mustard
Lime Juice
Rice Wine Vinegar (unsweetened)
Sesame Oil
Honey 
Garlic Chili Paste

I tossed in some fresh cilantro and red onion.  Make sure to lightly coat the salad and not drown it in the vinaigrette.  It doesn't need much.

Tip of the week:  Seek out places that make handcrafted high quality ingredients and start putting them in our list to turn to when you want something good for your and tastes great without having to be sucked into the drive thru.

Stormy
  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Roasted Beet & Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

This week I'm focusing on the value of food that I put in my mouth.  I mean, have you ever stopped before you shove something in your mouth and asked yourself "What value does this bring to me when I eat it?"  If you haven't, maybe you should.  It's a simple little challenge that has a big impact.  

Stop, look at what your eating and if it's processed food, high in fat, has no nutritional value, then maybe you should be saying to yourself...."Back away from the Devil..."  Really...Bad food is really the Devil and if you fall into the arms of Devil you fall right into the place he wants you to be...addicted.

I love to grill Sweet Potatoes and the other day I had some beets so I wrapped them in foil and put them on the top shelf of the grill at 400 degrees.  It took about 30 minutes to  roast and then I peeled a sweet potato, sliced it into 1" thick slices, tossed them with Avocado Oil, sprinkled a little Himalayan Pink Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper on them and grilled them on each side until there were grill marks and they are still slightly firm.  

I mixed up a vinaigrette with Dijon Mustard, Champagne Vinegar, Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar, Avocado Oil and seasoned it with Himalayan Pink Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper.  

When the Beets were done roasting, I peeled off the skin, diced them and then I cut the Sweet Potatoes in half and sliced up some Red Onion.  While the Beets and Sweet Potatoes were still warm, I tossed them in the vinaigrette and then tossed in a little chopped fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped Walnuts and a little Goat Cheese crumbles.
OK - this is probably my new favorite salad!  It's crunchy, sweet, salty, sour and fresh.  Packed with nutrients and fiber and incredibly filling.  I ate it with a piece of grilled chicken and ended up eating only the salad and didn't want the chicken.  

The next day I took the rest of it to work and it was a great lunch that stayed with me all day which is exactly what I need when I work around all kinds of food that doesn't bring good nutritional value to me.  

So next time you take a bite - ask yourself...

"DOES THIS BRING ANY VALUE TO MY BODY?"

You will be surprised to see how you feel when you eat it if doesn't.

Thanks for stopping by...Stormy

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mahi Mahi w/Grapefruit Fennel Serrano Vinaigrette

Light and refreshing, roasting some Mahi Mahi and then drizzling a refreshing vinaigrette over it makes this dish stand out.  I wasn't sure if my son would eat it but he loved it!  We served it on top of some seasoned brown rice but you could serve this alone with some other vegetables if you prefer.

If you don't like peppers, please don't omit it from the dressing...Just don't consume the sliced peppers when you eat it and you will be fine.  The Serrano peppers add an element of flavor that brightens this dish so don't leave it out!

Roasted Mahi Mahi
w/Grapefruit, Fennel & Serrano Pepper Vinaigrette

Mahi Mahi Filets
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Fresh Black Cracked Pepper
Smoked Paprika
1 Serrano Pepper
1/2 Fresh Fennel Root
1 Whole Fresh Grapefruit
1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp Balsamic Pomegranate Vinegar
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Honey
Himalayan Pink Salt
Cracked Fresh Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven or grill to 400 degrees.

Season Mahi Mahi filet with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, fresh cracked Black Pepper and Smoked Paprika.   Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top.

If cooking on the grill make sure to cook it indirectly.  Place on baking sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Slice the Grapefruit in half and squeeze out the juice of one half.  Segment the other half of the Grapefruit.  Transfer to a medium size bowl.

Slice Serrano Peppers thinly keeping seeds for a little heat.  If you don’t prefer the heat, then don’t consume the peppers.  Just use them to flavor the vinaigrette as it adds an element of flavor necessary for this dish without bringing on the heat.  

Thinly slice the Fennel Root and transfer to the bowl.  Add the Vinegars, Honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Himalayan Pink Salt and Black Pepper.  Set aside until the Mahi Mahi is finished roasting.

To serve; pour vegetables and vinaigrette over Mahi Mahi while warm and serve with seasoned brown rice as a base.

Enjoy...Stormy

Friday, June 1, 2012

Caramelized Banana Walnut Pancakes & Blackberry Sauce


I'm not a big fan of regular pancakes but was looking for something to eat for breakfast that was quick, satisfying and different than the norm.  I had a few ripe bananas on the counter and thought I would whip up a new recipe of banana pancakes using some almond flour and walnuts.  I had a few blackberries left in the fridge so I made a quick sugar free sauce to go on top.  OMG...These were really, really good!  They don't have much protein but you can make these and then have some protein on the side or a little later for a snack.

What you will need:

Caramelized Banana Walnut Pancakes
2 Ripe Bananas
1 Egg, Organic Free Range
1/4 Cup Almond Flour
2 Tbsp Almond Butter
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Handful Chopped Walnuts
Coconut Oil

Mash the Bananas, Egg and add the Almond Butter.  Mix together well. 
Add the Almond Flour and chopped Walnut, mix to incorporate.
In a small saute pan over medium heat, add Coconut Oil.  Drop approximately 2 tablespoons of batter in the center.  Do not put more than 2 tablespoons or it won't cook properly and you will have a failed pancake.  

I kind of made a small hole in the center so it would cook well on in the middle.  The edges tend to cook faster.  Flip and cook other side.

Blackberry Sauce
1 Cup Blackberries
2 Tbsp Honey

Mash blackberries in a small sauce pan.  Over medium high heat allow berries to cook down and juice up.  Add honey and mix together.  Take off the heat and set aside.

After you make you pancakes top them with the blackberry sauce.

Delicious!...Stormy