Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Let's continue warming ourselves up with lovely veggie soups this week.  Best of all, you can put the soup into a freezer bag, seal tightly and freeze for future use.  Just zap and sip!

Every single time I make Cream of Broccoli soup I look at it and say ‘I’m not gonna like this’ – but I always do!  I guess it’s not so purty as you’re making it but it turns out great.

So yes, you suppose correctly.  Pretty much any kind of vegetable can be made into soup, there is more or less a basic pattern to it but they all taste great.  And to make really great soup you do need some way to puree it; either with an immersion blender (also called a stick blender) or a regular blender, but the regular blender is more of a hassle.

For those of you who are a certain age group, you will be required to sing along with Dana Carvey - …choppin’ broccoleeeeeee…choppin’ broccoliiiiiii, -  during the cutting of the vegetables.

I also secretly chopped up some zucchini and threw it in with the onions because I needed to cook it soon and because the Kid doesn’t like it – what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.  Since you’re going to puree it, you could sneak all kinds of stuff in there.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
serves 4-6

1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

16 oz broccoli florets, fresh (or frozen and thawed)

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

4 cups chicken or veggie broth

1/2 cup milk or cream or half & half

2 tbsp sour cream

salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook three minutes until soft, add the garlic.

While onions are cooking, roughly chop up the broccoli and throw into the pot, and sauté in the onions and butter for a few minutes.

Add the broth, cover and simmer.  For fresh broccoli, cook about 10-15 minutes and for thawed broccoli, cook about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the milk, cheese and sour cream into the pot and puree until smooth.  If you like your soup a bit thicker, combine 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a separate dish and mix into the soup until thickened.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with a little dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese if you’d like to appear all fancy and gourmet.

1/2 cup of soup = 1 vegetable serving and 1/4 fat serving, don't you think?

Print the recipe:  Cream of Broccoli Soup

Monday, February 25, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

Is it just me or do you HATE eating salads when it's freezing outside?  Losing weight has made me cold all the time so this week, let's review some WARM COZY VEGGIE SOUPS....aaaaahhhhh that sounds so warm and filling....

This soup was so delicious that the three of us ended up eating it all in one sitting.

I have labeled this as 'easy' but the peeling and cutting up of the butternut squash was a pain.  If you are in a hurry you might want to buy it frozen, (as long as it doesn't have preservatives and stuff added to it) or find it already cut up in the produce section.
Next time I make it I might experiment with roasting it or putting it in the crockpot to soften it up.  Has anyone else tried that?

This soup would be great on all Stages of P10.

Simple Butternut Squash Soup
serves 4-6

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock or broth

salt and freshly ground pepper

parsley for garnishing

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and gently saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the squash and stock and stir well, bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender or carefully transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.   If soup is too thick, thin with more broth or add a splash of cream or milk.

Season to taste and serve hot.

We enjoyed this garnished with Parmesan cheese and toasted hulled sunflower seeds.

1/2 cup of soup = 1 veggie serving

Print this recipe:  Butternut Squash Soup

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cheesy Crust Pizza-grain free!

What better way to wrap up pizza week than with my favorite recipe for pizza - enjoy!
PS:  run to the store, grab what you need and make this for dinner tonight!

This is the best grain free pizza crust I have tried to date AND BEST OF ALL - you can hold it like a regular crust pizza and it tastes like one too.  My family could not tell the difference and for those of us craving pizza, this recipe will make you happy and satisfied.

This recipe is courtesy of Free Coconut Recipes and not only does she post the recipe, she also made a video to show how to make it which was very cool…I’m not quite that cool yet.

Here’s the link to Free Coconut Recipes' Gluten Free Pizza Crust.

I have posted the same recipe below with my little tweaks, one of which is that I took the recipe and used 1 1/2 times the ingredients and that was enough to fill a large square baking sheet, which comes out to about 12 pieces of pizza, which is just right for us. 
But you could make extra dough and make personal sized pizzas if you'd like...

I was in a hurry so I just threw on sauce, cheese, cooked organic ground beef and some fresh chopped ham.  But next time I’m definitely gonna charge this up with some freshly sautéed onions and garlic and veggies.

Also – I’m going to make this crust and then slice it up to use as bread and see how that works…

Cheesy Pizza Crust-grain free
Makes 12 pieces – one large baking sheet

3 cups (12 oz) whole milk organic mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 large organic eggs
3 tablespoons flax meal
3 tablespoons coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper out for baking sheet.
Coat hands with olive oil.

Mix cheese, eggs, flax, coconut flour, and baking powder together until a sticky wet dough is formed. Spread with a spatula (or your hands) to 1/4 inch thickness on a baking sheet lined with one piece of parchment paper.

Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Halfway through the baking process, flip crust over by sliding it off the baking sheet with the parchment paper, placing the second piece on the sheet, and turning the crust over unto the new sheet and peeling the old paper off. Return to oven until done baking.

Remove from oven, slide off of parchment paper, and flip over again for cooling. Once crust is cooled, top with sauce, cheese, pre-cooked veggies or meats (see below). Set crust with toppings under the broiler on high for a minute or two until cheese is melted and bubbly. Slice and serve.

2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz pizza sauce
Choice of veggie toppings-cooked: bell peppers, onions, garlic, spinach, olives, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
Choice of meat toppings-cooked:  ground turkey, diced chicken, diced nitrate free sausage
Fresh or dried basil
Fresh or dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sorry I started slapping on sauce before I remembered to take the picture of the crust!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pizza Quiche

Continuing on with pizza week - let's start Wednesday off with a slightly less easy recipe but still, delicious and it made GREAT leftovers - even for breakfast... 

This was a great warm dinner and an even better reheated lunch the next day.  I had a packet of Boboli pizza sauce in the freezer that I defrosted and used for a topping, and the funny thing is, it was too sweet for our tastebuds.  I used extra garlic and red onions and that was very good.  Pretty much anything you'd use on a pizza would be good in this except for maybe pineapple.

Pizza Quiche
makes 8 servings

1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp oregano
6 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese ( 1 1/2 cups)
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, mashed or minced
7 eggs

3 links organic chicken sausage, cut into small chunks
Olives, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms...

Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl combine cottage cheese, baking powder, salt and oregano.  Mix in the cheeses, onions and garlic.  Then stir in the toppings.

Beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl and slowly stir them into the other mixture until completely combined.

Pour  into a 10” pie plate greased with olive oil.

Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, until puffy and lightly browned. A knife inserted into the center of the quiche should come out clean. Let rest for 15 minutes.  Serve with a drizzle of marinara sauce.

Print the recipe:  Pizza Quiche

Monday, February 18, 2013

Grilled Portobello Pizza

This week let's talk is one of my triggers.  I can't resist it, and don't tell anyone else, but back in the days of my first marriage when I hated life and loved cheese, I would order a Pizza Hut small six-cheese pizza and eat it about a food coma! 
Of course now I love life and still love cheese but I don't get it from Pizza Hut.

Let's start off our Monday with an easy way to get your pizza fix - completely vegetarian!

Today's recipe is courtesy of Cindy Elder - she is an experimenting machine!  She's always throwing stuff together and coming up with neat ideas.  I LOVE this one!  And like she says, you can change it up any way you'd like and come up with your own version of...

Grilled Portobello Pizza
makes 1 serving
recipe courtesy of Cindy Elder

Try this pizza different ways - Asian, Italian, Mexican, curry, chicken...endless possibilities. Like the potato topper phase years ago!

1 portabello mushroom
1 cup assorted veggies, chopped
1/2 tablespoon butter
Garlic powder or other seasonings
1 tablespoon cheese, grated
Wash mushroom and remove stem. Put in the oven under the broiler, at high (but not highest) heat, and let it cook on both sides.

Meanwhile, sauté veggies in butter, (to your taste; I used red onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and later added chopped tomato) seasoned as you'd like (I used garlic powder) for about 5-6 minutes.

Remove mushroom from oven, turn upside down, carefully spoon veggies on top (inside the cap); return to oven and heat for another 5 minutes or so.

Add grated cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chocolate Chiapioca Pudding

Let's continue with this week's 'Ideas with Chia' - here a dessert you'll love!

I loves me some chocolate pudding and I'm also interested in using chia seeds so I was eager to try this recipe.  I have a mixer at home and I'll use it at the drop of a hat so I did a cheater version and put everything in the mixer bowl and just turned it on every five minutes until it was ready.

I can't really tell you how much sweetener to use - it's a Jersey, but really, it's personal preference.  And I kept adding agave and it just didn't taste right, so I added some Truvia and that did it for me.  Wait until it thickens up a little and add the sweetener, mix, taste and then see what more you'd like to do. 

OH - and guess what else?  I had this after dinner one night and I had energy to get up and go - so out I went grocery shopping - and I also did a lot more chores around the house that night than I usually would so this will give you some 'get up and go'.   Best of all, the Kid, who continually mocks my chia gel ate a big bowl of this and thought it was tapioca - so neener neener on her!

One morning I had forgotten to make a new batch of chia gel for my smoothie so I plopped in some of this pudding instead and it worked just fine!  Pudding Smoothie, anyone?

It tastes better than it looks!

PS:  Isn't 'chiapioca' a cute word!  I can't take credit for it though, I got that from Robert on the WB Facebook site. 

Chocolate “Chiapioca” Pudding
makes 4 servings
adapted from Maria's Delicious and Nutritious Journal

3/4 cup chia seeds

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
    (or use plain almond milk and add a little more vanilla extract)

 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of salt

sweetener of your choice (agave nectar, Stevia or Truvia) to taste

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together and then let the pudding set up for a few minutes.

Stir the pudding every five minutes.

After sitting for 20 minutes the chia seeds will thicken up and it resembles tapioca pudding.

Print the recipeChocolate Chiapioca Pudding

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chi-Asian Salmon

Let's continue with an entree we can make this week to go with our 'Ideas with Chia'...

Normally Bubba doesn't care for salmon so I've been racking my brain to find something so deliciously Asian that he can't help but like it.  I also took the liberty of removing the skin from his piece of salmon and turned out that was most of the problem right there, just couldn't appreciate a nice crispy piece of salmon skin.  So, if someone at your table is complaining, try removing the skin and see if that helps them (it's a texture thing).

This was just a great quick and easy dinner and while the salmon was marinating I roasted some broccoli to go with it.  I almost thought about making Tamari Broccoli but even I managed to realize that was a bit overboard.  Balance, balance, balance people!

Oh, and coconut sugar is my new favorite thing BECAUSE it's pretty much the brown sugar substitute of the P10 party!  So I gotta say you do want to use coconut sugar instead of just any sweetener 'cause you wanna get that awesome brown sugar/tamari thing going on.

Or, you could serve this nummy piece of fish over a bed of cool crisp greens and add a sliced avocado.  Shoot, now I gotta go make this again so I can try that....

Chi-Asian Salmon

4 pieces of salmon, about 6 oz each (or one large fillet if you prefer)
3 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chia seeds

In a small bowl mix the sugar, tamari and rice vinegar.

Pour the mixture into a ziplock bag and place the salmon in the bag. Marinate the salmon for 20 minutes.   (this would be a good time to start some veggies roasting in the oven).

Turn the oven on to the broil setting. Cover a baking sheet with foil and put the salmon skin side down on the foil.

For the smaller pieces, broil for about 8 minutes;
for the large whole filet, broil for about 15 minutes or until the fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily on a fork.

Sprinkle the salmon with chia seeds and serve.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ideas with Chia...

OH NO - I'm back up on the bandwagon, gonna do a little preaching about CHIA.   If you're not using chia seeds already, you SHOULD BE.  Check out the info below and think about how you can incorporate chia into your everyday meals.  I scramble chia gel into eggs, mix into my smoothies and anything else it will mix into!  My husband has noticed the difference in energy in the mornings.

and absolutely NO side effects!
<-----Yes, this picture IS embarrassing, but I do it because I love you....

Chia seeds…yes, the same ones.  Yes, really - the same ones we used to smear on little clay sheep and Tweety Birds and such a waste!  Of course, if our mothers had caught us eating them we’d probably have gotten smacked. 

There, there now, I thought the exact same thing you’re thinking right now but once I tried them and got used to it I was hooked and you will be too.  They have SO many health benefits and are easy to use.  First and most important of all – their texture is similar to sesame seeds, crispy and chewable, not at all like the nasty blackberry seeds we all hate to get caught in our teeth.  And it has a mild taste so hopefully it shouldn’t really bother you. 

And, I’m here to tell you that you can believe the hype.  I put a heaping spoonful of chia gel in my morning smoothie or eggs and I can tell the difference in energy levels and fullness.  For a mid afternoon pick me up, I eat  a spoonful of solid coconut oil rolled in chia seeds and that’s a great combo to feel full and get energy. 

This is the article I read that turned me on to eating Chia - The Chia 'Cheat Sheet' and Ten Raw Chia Recipes

The following information is excerpts from the article BUT please click the link and read all about it, I just hit the highlights.

Why would you want to eat Chia?

Chia seeds are said to have:
*2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
*5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones,
*2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
*3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
*3 times more iron than spinach
*copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential fatty acids

They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre. Like flax, chia is highly hydrophilic: the seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly - in under 10 minutes.

Which medical conditions can Chia help relieve or support?

Chia is reported to be beneficial for a vast range of issues, for example:
*weight loss/balance
*thyroid conditions
*celiac disease
*acid reflux
*lowering cholesterol

The Basic Gel

To make a basic chia gel, simply add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture well, to avoid clumping, then leave it in your fridge, in a sealed jar. This will yield around 17oz of chia gel. You can begin to eat the gel almost immediately if you like. Just 10 minutes is enough time for the gel to be formed. More of the nutrients will be easily accessible after a few hours however, so many people like to make up a batch like this and leave it in the fridge. It will stay good for about three weeks. Then you can just reach into the fridge and take out some of the ready-made gel whenever you need it. You might add it to smoothies, mix it with salad dressings, puddings or granola, or simply take it by the spoonful.  

Whole Seeds
You can also sprinkle the dry seeds onto salads or add them to granola mixes. You may also want to experiment with grinding them first in a coffee grinder, to make a 'chia flour' you can then add to smoothies, soups and so on.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chocolate Pudding

As I was making this I was reminded that these are all items I use in smoothies (well, maybe not the lemon juice) but I was curious to see how this recipe would turn out.

It certainly was easy - except for the part when the phone kept ringing while my hands were covered in avocado.  I made this in the blender and poured it into ramekins.

NOTE:  Please for Pete's sake use a less ripe banana then I didA regular yellow banana would sure taste a lot better.  Both Bubba and Kid said 'dang, there's an overripe banana in this, isn't there?'  :(
But otherwise, this turned out pretty good!

Chocolate Pudding
serves 4

1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons agave
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of cocoa
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks

Add ingredients to the blender in this order, blend until smooth.

Pour into 4 ramekins or small bowls and refrigerate for one hour or until set.

Wait for your family to be freaking out over getting to have pudding and don't tell them what's in it.

1 serving = 1 serving fat and 1/4 serving fruit

Print the recipe:  Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pots de Creme

This is my 'go to' dessert for when I attempt to make a romantic dinner.  It's a a lovely, elegant dessert that looks difficult but is easy to make.  You just have to remember to make it earlier in the day because it takes 3-4 hours to chill in the fridge. 

To get ready to roll, make sure the eggs sit on the counter for a bit to come to room temperature.  Then, make a small pot of coffee double strength - for example,  2 cups of water and 4 scoops of coffee.  You can freeze the extra to make coffee ice cubes for cold drinks.  Also go through your cupboards and see what assorted wine/martini glasses you have.  You could even use non-cute ones, but any small glass containers will make this look so fancy!

picture courtesy of Ree Drummond
Oh by the way, you pronounce Pots de Creme: “Po de Krehm”

Need to chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving

Pots de Crème
courtesy of Pioneer Woman Cooks!
makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups  semi sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 oz strong HOT coffee
Whipped cream

Begin by throwing chocolate chips into the blender.  Crack in four eggs right on top of the chocolate chips.  Add vanilla and a healthy pinch of salt.

Put on the lid and turn on the blender.  As soon as the mixture is blending, remove the circular disk from the blender lid and slowly pour in 8 ounces of strong, HOT coffee.

The mixture will slowly expand and rise in the blender…just make sure you keep it in a slow stream and you’ll be fine.

picture courtesy of Ree Drummond
After you’ve added all the coffee, continue blending for a minute or two (no chocolate chunks left), then turn off the blender.

Now, traditionally, Pots de Creme is served in little “pots", but let's use assorted wine/martini glasses instead. Just pour the mixture into all the glasses, leaving plenty of room to add whipped cream later.

Now place the glasses into the fridge for 3 to 4 hours at least so the mixture will firm up.
Top with whipped cream before serving.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Dessert Sauce

Sliced apples and bananas with
Dark Chocolate and Coconut Dessert Sauce
 Gee oh boy oh yeah....can't wait for Valentine's Day...(yes, Sheldon, that's sarcasm).  But if you're thinking about treats and want to make sure you can enjoy yourself, try this recipe out!

Don't be fooled by 'makes one cup' because I cut up a plate full of apples and bananas and we still have plenty left over....I also think this would be awesome over pancakes.  How about serving it along with either Orange Cake or Mexican Chocolate Coffee Cake...oh let's just face it.  I'd probably put this on vegetables if I thought my family wouldn't stage an intervention.  I think I'll try this over Greek yogurt.

Notes and stuff: 

use at least 60% cacao dark chocolate - I used dark chocolate chips

Double boiler - no need for fancy equipment, just use a saucepan with boiling water and set a glass/ceramic bowl on top (like Corell - remember that?)  I still have one:

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Dessert Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

8 ounces dark chocolate (at least 60% cacao), roughly chopped
1 cup coconut milk, canned

Gently melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler until smooth; remove from the heat. Meanwhile, put coconut milk into a small pot over medium heat and keep stirring it in the pan until it steams, don't let it boil.  Remove from the heat immediately and let it cool for a few minutes. Then slowly and gently mix the milk into the bowl of chocolate until smooth and well combined.  

If you are going to use it shortly, set the bowl back on top of the warm water in the saucepan to keep the sauce warm and drizzly.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Let it cool before putting in the fridge.
To reheat, gently stir the sauce on low heat gently until it is warm and serve.

Nutrition:  per serving (about 2 Tbsp): 90 calories (70 from fat), 7g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 1g protein, 9g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 8g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium

So lovely....