Hello…

…2016!

Hello on a different note, not like the Hello Adele sings, the melancholy of that song…aint nobody got time for that!

A happy hello, a hello like a bright shiny sun that shines back at me while contemplating my new year…..

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The Dallas Farmer’s Market is my 1st stop grocery store. Its that special place I buy quality, organic, real foods, that dictate my menu’ of the week and to grab a bite of something new! If you haven’t been you need to, there are so many things going on down there, wine tastings, walk about’s with the chef, cooking lessons are just a few and some cool new shops and eateries! Its my way of getting out of my weekly routine, seeing new faces, making a bit of conversation with some vendors that believe in what they do and have passion for what they sell. IMG_2426

The roof top of South Side on Lamar Lofts is beautiful. The view, the whole downtown, it helped me with perspective. Putting it all together, what I like to do, what I want to do, breathtaking, both the rooftop view and rereading everything on my “what makes me happy to do” list, lol. IMG_2597.jpg

Discovering Opening Bell Coffee, a cozy coffee shop downtown that makes an awesome almond mylk cappuccino and sells the most delicious gluten free cinnamon rolls in the world! makes all the difference in life!

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Joanna Bondy, Stocks & Bondy , shared her story at the walk about with the chef this month. She said “…at 52 years of age I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.” Pure inspiration, I needed that. I needed that sunny day downtown, I needed that perspective from the rooftop and I needed and enjoyed a special, longed for treat with a good friend.

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I am doing just that.

Judi XO

 

 

 

 

Chicken salad

I love roasted chicken and when I wind up with left overs I make Chicken Salad!
I really don’t measure my ingredients, depending on how much chicken I have I toss it all together,

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, skinned, boned and chopped into cubes or small pieces.
  • Celery, chopped, I like my salad loaded with celery!
  • Onion, white, yellow, red, use what you have!
  • Green Onion, gives a great taste, yes, use it along with another onion above!
  • Mayonnaise , this is my recipe, it is super easy and quick and there is NO comparison to the store bought junk!
  • Dijon Mustard, use just a little to give a twist of flavor, (optional).
  • Salt & Pepper, I usually season the chicken before i mix the ingredients together, just a dash or two.

*It’s as easy as that! It only needs a few hours to settle and cool in the fridge.

I love my Chicken Salad topped with hemp seeds or a little gommasio, on greens such as spinach, kale or served in endive leaves.

*In my cover photo, fresh spinach and steamed baby broccoli.

Buon Appetito!

Hunger Games

On the way home during my lunch hour or after my work out I think of the last few leftovers and what ever else I have in the fridge. The creativity that comes over me has a certain way of satisfying my hunger. Strangely even when the fridge is nearly bare I am able to throw together some pretty tasty meals, I love the way they turn out! These are my hunger games. Meal planning isn’t all about fixing 6 lunches and dinners during the weekend, not for me anyway. Its about utilizing the food I buy and preparing it with the time I have. I use some time on the weekends to make something that takes a lot of time or even just poach some chicken breast and clean some greens. In the mornings before work, I  steam or prepare my vegetables or thaw something from the freezer, soup, meat sauce, meat or fish and then my hunger and creativity take over each day.  For example throwing a potato In the oven for an hour in the morning and using leftovers to make a meal is fast, healthy and delicious….

Baked potatoes make awesome lunches & dinners and are a healthy carbohydrate and starch.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/506461-carbohydrates-in-potato-starch/

Scrub the potato, rub it with a little EVO, prick with a fork and throw it in the oven for about an hour at 350F.

I use half of a baked potato per meal.

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Half a baked potato w/butter, salt & pepper, pulled pork w/ a tbsp or two of Annie’s BBQ sauce,

a dollop

of sour cream and lunch is ready!

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I tried out Annie’s Organic BBQ sauce and everyone seemed to like it.

 This BBQ sauce is a tangy, spicy mustard flavor, less sweet tasting.

(I personally will try making my own sauce in the future, I prefer a slightly sweeter taste.)

I read a few reviews on the sauce, pros and cons, here are a couple;

http://voices.yahoo.com/organic-food-review-annies-naturals-smokey-maple-bbq-876807.html?cat=22

http://www.bbqsaucereviews.com/annies-smokey-maple-bbq-sauce-35/

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The other half of the baked potato,

I mashed it on my plate with a dab of butter, salt and pepper,

I added some poached chicken breast, steamed broccoli and cauliflower,

grated aged cheddar and a drizzle of EVO.

A delicious, quick, nutritious, easy to fix, meal.

Buon Appetito!

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(Photo left)

A baked sweet potato, quinoa, stewed lentils, parmiggiano, EVO, salt & pepper – judifood:)

Spaghetti anyone?

Since the beginning of Autumn I have been enjoying roasting all varieties of squash. Insistently trying to find a similar flavor to the Italian pumpkin I was used to preparing steamed, in bianco, in my minestrones and was the pumpkin I used in my delicious pumpkin & bacon sauce. The pumpkin or “zucca Mantovana” I was familiar with was a green, grey color not very tall, or big, for that matter, with a stern, bright orange pulp.

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   Maybe a Kobocha squash? The taste isn’t quite the same though… maybe all fruits and vegetables don’t have the same taste grown in different places? I believe my assumption to be truth. My basil plant doesn’t have near the aroma or taste as my Italian basil plants did 😦

      Meanwhile, during my hunt I turned to a different squash and decided to give Spaghetti squash the Royal treatment! I was putting this squash to the Test. A sort of bullish expectation, taking out my my nostalgic upsetness on a squash that calls itself “Spaghetti”. Okay Mr.Spaghetti squash, lets just see what you are capable of!

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I roasted spaghetti squash and treated it as if it were real pasta, traditional spaghetti. Yes, the gluten full, wheat product I no longer consider as food for myself, and have come to the point that I do not miss it at all. I feel as if some foods are part of my past and I know how bad they are for me and I remember the bothersome side effects they gave me. No remorse. Serenity, peace and knowledge that I eat food that is good to me and for me 🙂

[How to roast spaghetti squash, here  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash-178036 ]

So Spaghetti squash, time to show me your stuff!

Ok, so, my 1st Test was Spaghetti squash “In bianco” or ” white or plain”. In bianco, is a condiment of butter or extra virgin olive oil. The butter either browned alone, with a few sage leaves or added in small pieces cold (it melts directly on the pasta itself or spaghetti squash in this case). With or without a grating of parmiggiano, you decide.

I used browned butter and sage leaves and yes, parmiggiano. I treated my Spaghetti squash as a plate of pasta. I warmed my previously roasted Spaghetti squash in the microwave for 40 seconds, added a dash of salt & pepper and poured the browned butter & sage on the squash, mixed with a fork and added the parmiggiano on top. (For even more flavor the spaghetti squash can be put directly in the pan of browned butter and sage to warm up.) PASSED!

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Test #2

I made Pesto, a somewhat lighter version, due to flavor as I spoke of above but a Basil Pesto none the less. ( I will take the time to write out my Pesto recipe in the future, I make it without measuring the ingredients so I will have to take some time to measure and write it down next time!) Spaghetti squash with pesto, Passed!

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Test #3

“Al Pomodoro”, w/tomato. To make it a quick try I used what my children call The World’s Best Tomato sauce. After years and hours of pealing and deseeding tomatoes, making my own tomato sauce, which I happen to LOVE, my kids tell me that Mari’s tomato sauce is the best. Ofcourse my next move was to ask Mari her trick! So to find out she uses tomato paste. Yep, just tomato paste. No fresh tomatoes, no sautéed vegetables, not even onion or garlic. Just a tablespoon butter melted in a small pan a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a little broth, fresh cream or a laddle of the cooking pasta’s water to liquify the sauce enough to serve it over, in this case, Spaghetti squash. A grating of Pariggiano and there it is, The World’sBest Spaghetti squash al pomodoro!! PASSED!

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Test #4

“Alfredo”, with broccoli and shrimp. I sautéed a clove of garlic and a small piece of onion, chopped, in a tsp or so of butter, I added a few broccoli florets and a few shrimp, salt & peppered, then added approximately 1/4 c heavy cream and a grating of parmiggiano. When warm and bubbly I added the spaghetti squash to the pan and cooked at low heat until warmed. Topped with parmiggiano and WOW, delicious! PASSED!

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The next Test? Spaghetti squash and meatballs…. and maybe even with my Pumpkin & bacon sauce 🙂

Buon Appetito!

3 Bean Soup

I continuously find myself thinking of fixing something of which i do not have all the ingredients to make. And also responding to myself saying “I need those ingredients…” in order to make dinner, in order to have something I can quickly warm up for lunch this week, I make excuses to myself when I very well know that I have food in the house I could use to make something but, but, BUT my mind wants to try that recipe that calls for 3 eggs and I only have 2 left or I am out of some ingredient that can’t be substituted (I don’t like to substitute). I know we won’t die of hunger, I’m just fascinated with recipes and food I guess…

I have very full cupboards. About every type of nut & oil that exists, herbs and spices, if they are out there, I have it. Every type of flour, including the ones I don’t use often and personally don’t consume. My freezer at the moment, just off the top of my head, has multiple containers of 2 types of soup, meat sauce, frozen vegetables, asparagus, brussel sprouts, other herbs, salmon, tilapia, ground turkey, not to mention whats in the pantry and fridge…..

So today I decided to “use what I have” and make soup with my leftovers. Without needing any other ingredients and using what I have. I love doing this, it makes things special and somehow things turn out perfect 🙂

I had a handful of dried chickpeas, a couple handfuls of cannellini beans and kidney beans weighing 1 lb all together. I had a quart of Turkey breast broth left over from Thanksgiving weekends Turkey Potpie preparation and some bacon.

[Ok, so, I have said I don’t eat red or white meat, which since the beginning of this year is true, BUT, she’s (me), trying new things and she even had a couple spoons of chili Jeff made last night. So things might be changing, but thats to see and will be another post if so.]

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My 3 Bean Soup

  • 1 lb.  dried Cannelini, Chickpeas and Kidney Beans (soaked overnight and rinsed)
  • 2 Red potatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a large Onion, chopped
  • 1 large Carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick Celery, chopped
  • 3/4 lb fresh bacon or pancetta, chopped
  • 1 Qt. Turkey Breast broth
  • 2 Qt. Spring Water
  • 3/4 tsp Thyme
  • 2 twigs Rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

Salt & Pepper to taste

In my 9 Qt. Alluminum pot I sautéed the chopped bacon and let cook until the fat was melted but not yet crisp, then I added the onion, carrot and celery that I chopped using the grater disc with my food processor and let sauté until the onion was transparent, then added the chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary twigs and lightly salted and peppered the ingredients.

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[By this time Jeff, Joe and Kyle had come downstairs to see what I was up to, the smell  had lingered upstairs and caught their attention.]

I added the beans, ( soaked overnight and rinsed), then the diced potatoes and let sauté a few more minutes. I added the Turkey broth and 1/2 a qt. of  water and let boil at medium heat about 15 minutes and then added another 1/2 Qt. Water. I added water as it cooked. The soup simmered about 1 1/2 hours, until the beans were soft. I let the soup cool about a 1/2 hour and used my hand immersion blender to puree or cream the soup a little, just a few pulses and it was ready and delicious!

* If you do dairy, I recommend 3 Bean Soup with grated Parmeggiano.

Buon Appetito!

Meal Planner satisfaction!

My companion has come a long way, I’m sure he had NO idea what he was getting himself into when he commited himself to a relationship with me. He knew I loved to cook that I was a healthy eater and preferred homemade to dining out etc but….little did he know that I would get him to cut the diet soda, I would throw away that year supply tub of spreadable plastic he had sitting on the refrigerator door and propose grains, fruits and vegetables he’d never wanted to try nor even heard of before in his meals. FYI, his definition of fruit is applesauce and he hates bananas. How was this relationship going to work? I wondered myself. Meanwhile, I taught him the difference between applesauces and he buys natural applesauce and reads labels.

His first outstanding proof of love was not only saying “yes” to an evening “Dinner for Two” Cooking Course based on Kumquats at Central Market and actually showing enthusiasm and excitement to something I thought to be an incredible way to have fun on a Friday night, also for  the fact he’d never even seen a Kumquat before none the less had any idea it was a citrus. He hates citrus fruits, but he was a good sport and actually looked forward to our evening! (Here is where he gained extra points major time!)

(I was new here in Dallas looking for places to find a few ingredients I couldn’t find at local grocery stores in town and found this “Central Market” Grocery Store that offered some pretty cool things on and off the shelves!) Check it out ttp://www.centralmarket.com/Home

My Mr.Wonderful usually comes with me to Whole Foods grocery shopping on the weekends. When we go, we stop for a bite also and enjoy what is going on, a little music, new foods to sample etc. He seems to enjoy it and has found things he likes or would like to try too!

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/?reloaded=true

Last week at Whole Foods there was a Sale on Tuna steaks!

Tuna $6Jeff agreed that these sounded like a good choice for one of our meals this week! Big step for one who doesn’t like fish either! Our plan was to grill them!

Tuna grillHe prepared the Weber and I prep’d the steaks- Super Easy!

I wet the steaks with Evo and topped them with some herbed salt I brought with me from Italy . Similar to an Herb de Provence salt.

prep'dWe cooked them about 3 mins per side. The steaks were about 1 1/2inches thick.

I steamed some Asparagus, Jeff’s pick of vegetable for our steaks 🙂 (He is really opening up to trying new vegetables!)

I prep’d a quick little sauce using:

  • 100ml Evo, 1/3  lemon squeezed, 1 small clove garlic, parsley and pepper.

I used my hand emulsion blender to blend the ingredients and Ta-da!  Buon Appetito!

P.S. Jeff liked it!

Stewed Lentils

Stewed lentils, Lenticchie Stuffate in Italian,  are amongst one of my favorite foods. And are soooo good for me! Lots of protein!

My recipe comes from my life in Italy:

soffrito

Sautee’ the vegetables in the evo until onion is translucent. Add the rinsed Lentils to the pan and let sautee’ a couple minutes.

Put the sautéed lentils and veggies in the crock pot on high and add 3 cups vegetable broth, tomato sauce and thyme.

Cook for approx. 1 1/2 hrs. Add more broth if needed until lentils are soft, mixing occasionally. Lentils 1

http://www.livestrong.com/article/41517-lentil-nutrition-information/

2 Poached eggs, steamed Bok Choy and stewed lentils, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, YUM!

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Buon Appetito!