Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Possibilities are Endless

Well I haven't written in a while, but I have a great reason!  Next week we are moving into a new house! It is a cute little cottage type home with a huge sun room, lots of closets, first floor laundry, and an AMAZING kitchen!  I can't wait to get into our new kitchen and start sharing some more of my recipes with you!

I have also been approached by a few people asking for recipes and tips and tricks on how I have started to convert my family into a more healthy eating routine.  I am hoping to start sharing some of these tips, tricks, and recipes with you here while I write and get my ebook published.

I will leave you all with one of my favorite tips.  Invest in a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.
A CSA is where you buy a share of a farm.  We are purchasing our first share in the spring for next summer.  We are getting a half share, since it's only me and my two guys, and will pick it up every other week.  The farm we are going through also offers an egg share, dairy share, meat share, among others, that you can pick and choose from.  We will most likely add an egg share and possibly their baked goods share to our farm share.  Anyways, back on topic, they go out and pick produce for you and you pick it up later that same day.  It's essentially a grab bag full of freshly picked produce! I am so excited to use this as a tool to introduce produce we would have otherwise over looked at the grocery store.  If you visit www.localharvest.org you can find CSA's near you!  This is great for the environment because it gets you to enjoy locally grown produce instead of produce that has been shipped from other states or countries. Plus I'm sure those farmers won't mind showing off the farm and animals to little kiddos that come help pick up their weekly shares!  This is also a great way to encourage yourself to try out something new in the kitchen, whether it be canning or a new technique.  Either way it will be fun!  We also plan to grown a small vegetable garden in our backyard of things that we eat a lot of; peppers, cukes, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, watermelon, etc.  I might even try to grow potatoes! I have all winter to plan for my garden.

I hope you found this tip helpful! Stay tuned for some more. :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Herb Crusted Pork Loin, Cheesy Potatoes, and Maple-Ginger Glazed Carrots

Tonight Kevin was home from work at his usual time, so I was able to make a super yummy (and a little more time consuming) dinner!  I made one of our favorites, herb crusted pork loin!  I also tinkered with two new recipes, cheesy potatoes and maple ginger carrots.

I will start with the cheesy potatoes!

28oz bag of frozen potatoes (your pick hashbrowns, cubed)
1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used my own homemade stock! I will post a recipe soon!)
1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk, it's the only kind we buy for our little guy)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a 9x13 glass pan.  When using greek yogurt you must use glass, NOT metal.  It will have a weird reaction with metal and your food will taste like crap.  Don't have a glass pan? Go out and spend the ten bucks on one. Seriously, you need one.  I have two pyrex 9x13's that I use all the time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake it for an hour and 10 minutes(this may vary depending on your oven) 

Once the potatoes were in the oven, I started on the pork loin
When I make this I usually just throw my favorite spices on it with some olive oil, but I actually measured them out this time. 

Pork tenderloin (We buy the big pork tenderloins in the bag when they are on sale for $1.99/lb and the hubby cuts it into three evenish sections and vaccum seals it with the foodsaver)
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp kosher salt

Rinse your tenderloin off first and pat it dry.  I usually use a metal 9x13 pan for my tenderloin.  Mix together the oil and all your spices in a separate bowl, then pour it on the tenderloin (in the pan!).  Massage the oil mixture to coat the tender loin completely and you are ready to go!  Cook it at 350 degrees for about an hour or until your meat thermometer reads at least 145 degrees. 

To round up this meal I made maple ginger glazed carrots. 

8 medium size carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
2 tbsp real maple syrup, not that crap in the woman shaped bottle
1/2 tsp ground ginger

I boiled the carrots in salted water for about 15 minutes, or until they were tender-crisp. Mix the maple syrup and ginger together and pour it over the carrots. Super fast, super easy, and super delish! 

The finished product! Even Owen enjoyed it! He LOVED the carrots. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad

Tonight  I had to dig through the fridge and figure out something quick and easy to make for Owen and I for dinner.  Kevin is at an ambulance meeting tonight, so it's just me and the little guy.  I realized I had a rotisserie chicken that needed to be broken down and turned into something.  I love buying rotisserie chickens when I go grocery shopping.  They are very versatile and can be made into a lot of different things!  Tonight I used it to make a Curry Chicken Salad.  

3-4 cups cooked, diced chicken (or the meat from one rotisserie chicken)
1 cup chopped pecans ( or any nut you prefer)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
OR use one cup grapes, halved, instead of the dried fruit

1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
a pinch of garlic salt (I used a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch or salt)
1/2 tsp mango chutney  OR a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 TBSP  Curry powder

First I stripped the chicken from the bones and took the skin off and diced it up.

Here are the ingredients I used.  With the mango chutney, you can use that or cayenne pepper.  I found the mango chutney in the condiment aisle at the grocery store near the mustards.

Next I mixed up the sauce.  If your sauce turns out too spicy, add a little more Greek yogurt.

Then I chopped up my pecans ( you can use cashews, walnuts, almonds, whatever you prefer) and mixed up all my ingredients. 

Voila! I served it in whole wheat pita pockets.  For my 1 year old, I served it with pita chips and grape tomatoes.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Culinary Bucket List

Here is a list of my current aspirations in the kitchen.  I will be adding to this list, along with removing/crossing items off this list. I hope this inspires others to try things they never have!

Make pasta from scratch
Make pita bread from scratch
Make fresh mozzarella
Make stock (Chicken, beef, veggie, mushroom)
Buy a candy thermometer
Make caramel corn
Make caramel
Make flatbread
Buy a WOK
Buy a professional chef knife set
Gain sweet professional chef knife skills
Make a tart
Make vanilla extract
Make tortillas
Replace all plastic containers with glass containers
Make successful crackers (Failed Attempts: 1)
Make mayo
Make Ommelette (Failed Attempts: 2)
Make soft pretzels
Make artesian bread
Make a braided breads
Make sourdough starter
Make sourdough bread
Make soaked grain pizza dough
Make soaked grain bread
Make soaked grain pancakes
Make buttermilk
Cook a whole chicken
Cook a whole turkey
Host Thanksgiving
Make German potato salad
Make granola bars
Make granola
Make Christmas cookies with Owen
Have Christmas cookie decorating party
Break down a whole chicken
Make pie crust
Make chicken pot pie
Make dried fruit
Make fruit snacks
Replace Teflon pans with Stainless Steel pans
Make baby food
Grow a sustainable garden
Grow fruit trees (lemon, lime, peach)
Grow raspberry/strawberry plants
Grow an herb garden
Learn to can
Make dumplings (German, Chinese)
Make the switch to clean eating
Make eggrolls
Make hamburger and hot dog buns
Make popovers
Make English muffins
Cook live lobster
Make & Can tomato sauce
Roast garlic
Make Jambalaya
Make successful tzatziki (Failed Attempts: 1)
Make Foccocia bread 
Refinish Cast Iron pans
Get more cast iron
Use cast iron more
Make corn bread from scratch
Make beer bread from scratch
Obtain a copy of Julia Child's Cookbook

Welcome to my world

On an average day these are my job titles:  nurse, mommy, wife, pharmacist, housekeeper, dog walker, marathon runner, chef, baker, student, teacher, chauffeur, therapist, daughter, sister, aunt, advocate, crazy person, and many, many more.  

See my 1 year old son, Owen, was born with 5 different congenital heart defects, causing his heart to be too small on one side.(That is a whole different story, read it here: www.owenscloud.blogspot.com)  What does that mean? He is living with half a heart.  Yep, my life is straight up stress. We are talking more stressful than being locked in a cage wearing Lady Gaga's meat dress with 5 starving tigers.  One thing that has helped me relieve some of the everyday stress is to be a straight up homemaker.

Before Owen was born, I was working at least a 40 hour work week, but because of his heart defects, I am now a stay at home mom and my husband works a lot.  Owen can't be in daycare, so I run our household (and my photography business) in all my newly-found free time.  I have always loved cooking, but since Owen was born, I have delved into areas of the culinary world I never would have tread before. (Thank you Food Network!)

Join me in my adventures and bear with me, as it is bound to get a little crazy!