Monday, December 13, 2010

Creamed Pork Chops and Asparagus



















Just finding out today about an office potluck party that is happening tomorrow, I needed to make something good with just the ingredients I had on hand. I didn't want to go to the grocery store in 25 degree weather. Also, knowing that most office parties have plenty of sweets but less savories, I wanted to create something that could be served for lunch and not dessert.
Looking in my fridge, I noticed that I had some fresh pork chops waiting to be cooked, but it was only a package of 4. How am I going to make that stretch? Continuing to look, I noticed I had no milk! Great, now what? Wait! I do have sour cream and I know in cases of emergency, I have canned evaporated milk somewhere....Hold on! Don't stop reading! I know it may sound gross but it actually gets better and in the end, turns out yummy...soooo, continuing on, I had a package of hard boiled eggs from the deli and some frozen asparagus in my freezer. Now what can a girl make with all of this hodge podge? Take it in and spin it around- I remembered a creamed ham and asparagus recipe in one of my old cookbooks! If I took out the ham and replaced it with pan-fried pork chops and added different seasonings, maybe I could come up with a winning creamed pork chop and asparagus recipe! Well, here's my attempt and I have to say, I could hardly keep my husband out of it.


Creamed Pork Chops and Asparagus


1 package of 4 pork chops (antibiotic/hormone free)
1 TB olive oil
1 tsp butter (the real deal)
Italian seasoning (sprinkled over chops)
salt (Pink Himalayan is wonderful)
black pepper (black, cracked is best)


Place the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat when hot, place pork chops on oil. Cook on one side till browned (about 7 minutes) sprinkle salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings on the side up. After browning the first side, turn over and cook through. salt, pepper and season second side.


Take off the stove, and slice in thin slices. Turn slices and cube the meat. Set aside.


Creamed Asparagus


1 package of frozen or fresh asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup milk (I used evaporated, all I had!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 TB corn starch
2 TB milk
2 TB butter
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped


1. In a saucepan, cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender. Drain, and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan mix cornstarch with the 2 TB of milk. Add butter, salt, pepper, sour cream and remaining milk.
3. Let cook until the mixture thickens and bubbles.
4. Add the Italian seasonings, pork chops, eggs, and asparagus. stir well.

You can add any additional salt, pepper, or Italian seasonings to your taste.
Serve with buttered toast or biscuits.


I really hope you enjoy this spin on an old classic- creamed ham. The pork chops are an unexpected but tasty surprise!


Here's to making it work and having a Happy Holiday Season!
DandelionHeart

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tasty Tangerine Cake



















I am unsure if I should call this a 'cake' recipe. For most people, that means it's an indulgence of sugar. This cake is a little more on the healthy side with not too much sweetness but enough to get your sugar fix if your sweet tooth is hollering!
It's really more like a coffee cake and if you do not have tangerines, feel free to exchange a large orange for them. By using the entire fruit, skin and all, it gives this cake a really unique taste. I think it is perfect with a good rich, dark coffee or a hot cup of green tea. I hope you will agree!


Tasty Tangerine Cake

2 Tangerines
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9-inch pan or tube pan.

1. Squeeze tangerines and reserve the juice, place tangerines in a blender.
2. Blend entire tangerines with milk and eggs on high until smooth.
3. Pour tangerine mixture into a bowl. Add the flour and baking soda.
4. Mix together gently
5. Melt butter. Add the honey and butter to the tangerine mixture.
6. Add raisins and walnuts, mix well.
6. Pour into a well greased pan or tube pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top springs back. Pour reserved juice over hot cake and leave in the pan until almost completely cooled. Remove from pan and let finish cooling!

If you like, you can sprinkle powder sugar over the top to make the presentation prettier.

(Recipe modified from The Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan)


Nutritional Tip:

Tangerines are an excellent source of vitamin B and C Vitamins. During the winter months, in order to help fight off colds, it is helpful to increase your vitamin C consumption. Not to mention that Vitamin C makes your skin look fantastic throughout the year!

If you are going to eat cake you might as well eat one made with healthy fruit and less refined sugar. We all need to watch the amount of sugar coursing through our veins these days! We do not want to contribute to the diabetes epidemic spreading to our friends and family.
This recipe retains all the fiber of the fruit and includes more with the addition of whole wheat flour. Fiber helps slow down the absorption rate of food and helps us to feel full. I have heard people say they could eat an entire sheet cake without thinking about it. That's because it is basically flour, sugar and water with ZERO nutritional benefits. That combination seems to disappear like air in our mouths and in our stomachs, leaving us hungry a short time later. It is too bad it does not disappear like air on our hips! Haha! This recipe gives you more nutrients than most cakes. Let me know if you enjoyed it!


Living Out Loud,
DandelionHeart


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Healthy One-Dish Winners




















I'm baaack~ Hi everyone! I first have to apologize for taking so long to post. Life's pace has picked up and quick standbys of past entries are all I have found time for these days. However, I love being able to hunt back through the blog for that easy meal! I have made the pizza recipe a few times (June 21st), changing up the toppings every time. Another go-to meal is the black bean burger (Aug 19) and the cilantro potato soup (Sept 10). The potato soup is quick and really good on a cold night! Today's entry is pork chops with roasted winter veggies. I used brussel sprouts and carrots all in the same dish. It's an easy prep and an easy clean. You can't beat the no-fuss meal!


Pork Chops, Brussel Sprouts and Carrots


1 package of boneless pork chops or pork roast (as always, hormone/antibiotic free)
2 cups brussel sprouts
4 large carrots
1 cup chicken broth
2 TB mustard (I used a spicy, german mustard)
1 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place pork chops in a baking dish and sprinkle salt and pepper over top.
2. Mix together mustard and garlic. Spread it over the pork chops.
3. Trim the ends off of the Brussels sprouts and add them on top of the chops.
4. Clean the carrots and cut them into large chunks. Add to the baking dish.
5. Pour broth over it all.
6. Place in an oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour.


Super simple, healthy and quick. What more could you ask for in a dish?


Holiday Food Tip:

In order to prepare for the holidays, start cutting back now in small, incremental ways to stay trim and healthy throughout the season. One way to do this is to start now, not serving breads or heavy starches with your dinner meals. Start eating lean protein with healthy vegetables and aim at cutting your calorie count by 100-200 calories a day. If you do this, it is like having a bank account that you've placed a nice little savings in. You can 'withdraw' from this account during the holidays without putting on the extra 5-10 lbs that most of us gain during the season! Have your piece of pecan pie and then the next day 'pay your account back' by going for a long walk or cutting 200 calories from another meal.


Take Control and Enjoy the Holiday Season This Year!

Sending Out Much Love,
DandelionHeart

















Sunday, October 3, 2010

Healthier Cupcakes? Yes and No~

This week NPR did a story on healthier cupcakes using beans as a base ingredient. I decided to try a recipe out and see how they taste. Personally, I thought they were not stellar and probably would not make them again unless I came up with some major renovations! The bean base tasted a little bitter and had a weird aftertaste. Just for the record, I used top organic ingredients including cocoa powder and I have taste buds which love different flavor combinations. That's why I was shocked when I did not like these! It was my first attempt and I did stay true to the recipe given, so if I ever try these again, I will make some recipe modifications and see how they turn out. The idea of a healthier cupcake is worth the exploration!

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130191177

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
For Cake
15-ounce can unseasoned black beans
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 teaspoon instant espresso
3 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

Like I said, this recipe is open for lots of experimenting! Sometimes the search for healthier is a great success; sometimes it is a bust. This recipe is a good effort. My husband just came in, took one bite and said, "mmm...These are good!". So who knows? Just maybe your kids would like these better than the regular version. You know the ones without any redeeming qualities! Is it worth the effort? I think so.

Thank you NPR!
DandelionHeart

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cilantro Potato Soup



















Sometimes only a potato can satisfy. Here's a comfort dish that you can't go wrong with!
Cilantro Potato Soup

1 med onion
1 TB butter
4 Large potatoes, (I leave them unpeeled) cube 3/4-inch
2 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup cilantro
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
3 TB olive oil
3 TB flour
2 TB parsley (fresh or dried)

1. In a large pot, saute onion in butter till translucent
2. Add Potatoes, water, cilantro, salt, pepper, paprika, and tomato sauce; let boil
3. Reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender, stir occassionally
4. In a small skillet, combine oil and flour until smooth. Cook over med heat until mixture is golden brown, stirring constantly. Be Careful- It will burn easy!
5. Stir mixture into hot soup. Add parsley. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes until soup thickens!


Nutritional Tips:

White potatoes are hugely popular but usually in the form of french fries! French fries should be kept as a rare treat. In a soup or baked with healthy toppings, the potato can be a nutritious part of anyone's diet.
The white potato contains valuable nutrients, such as iron and potassium. It is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese.



Enjoy it!
Dandelionheart




Thursday, September 9, 2010

Applesauce Pork Chops






Apples are in season here in South Carolina! What an exciting cooking time of the year! Apple Pork Chops, Apple Pies, Baked Apples, and not too mention the sheer joy of eating an apple every day to keep the doctor away!

Here is one of my favorite dishes for Fall.

Applesauce Pork Chops

6 Porkchops (preferrably organic, farm-raised)
1 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced in rings
1/2 cup raisins
2 large apples
1 cup apple juice (real apple juice, no HFCS!)
1/2 cup apple sauce (optional)
1 TB brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

1. Brown pork chops in oil on both sides
2. Place in a large ungreased baking dish
3. Place onions on top of pork chops
4. Sprinkle half the raisins on top
5. In a bowl mix apple juice and sauce, brown sugar, salt, basil, nutmeg and cloves; pour it over chops. Sprinkle rest of raisins on top.
6. Bake at 35o degrees for 60 to 90 minutes, until meat is tender


Nutritional Tips:

Apples are loaded with insoluble fiber that helps us feel full and protects against colon cancer.
They are a good source of vitamin C. If you have any open cuts or wounds, eat a ton of vitamin C to help heal your body and fight infection.

Eating apples along side a protein source (such as a pork chop) will help aid in the absorption of the iron. Vitamin C always helps the body absorb iron.

Pork Chops can be a healthy addition to your diet. As always, try and buy organic meats. They are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and in a humane way.
Pork is a great source of B vitamins, zinc, and especially Thiamine. Thiamine helps convert carbohydrates into energy. Who doesn't need more energy?

That's all there is to this recipe - short, sweet and yummy! I hope you all enjoy your last days of summer.

Falling head first into the Apple season,
DandelionHeart



Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rosemary Olive Bread




Since my dog loves to find the new loaves of bread in our breadbasket, pull them out and eat them while we are away, I needed to make bread for my basil, tomato, and mozzarella sandwiches today. I chose to make a recipe using my machine. I hope you enjoy it!

Rosemary Olive Bread

1 Cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 TB of dry active yeast (or 1 packet)
2 TB sugar
1/4 olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 TB chopped, fresh rosemary
1/2 cup stuffed pimento olives (I used from a jar)


1. Place water, yeast, and sugar in bread machine pan. Let foam for 10 minutes.
2. Take scissors and cut two large stems of rosemary into your yeast mixture.
3. Add oil, flour and salt.
4. Spoon out 1/2 cup olives onto a plate. Take a handheld food chopper and chop olives into smaller bites. Add to the mix.
5. Place in machine and cook on basic or white bread setting- press start.


To make basil, tomato, mozzarella sandwiches. Cut slices of bread, drizzle olive oil across, layer your basil leaves, then tomatoes, then a layer of mozzarella. Place in oven set on broiler. That's it, but watch it closely or it will burn quickly....as you can see!


Nothing Beats Fresh Bread and Smiles,
DandelionHeart


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homemade, Simple Chicken Potpie




















Homemade Chicken Potpie

1 package organic chicken drumsticks (4)
1 package frozen mixed vegetables
1 can cream of mushroom or chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp red wine vinegar (optional, I use for a little more flavoring)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
and your favorite spices.

I added turmeric, pepper flakes, parsley, onion powder.


1. Boil frozen or thawed chicken in a large pot for one hour. Use tongs to place in a bowl. When cool enough, strip meat off bone and shred it in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Open frozen veggies (any variety, I used gumbo mix) place in a frying pan let cook until the water has evaporated. On a medium heat, make a well in the middle of the veggies, pour oil in center and add chicken to the olive oil. Stir and cook until chicken is browned a little and mixed in with the veggies.
3. add milk, soup, and vinegar stir-well.
4. mix in your favorite spices
5. Place mixture on top of your crust
6. Place second crust on top of mixture, cut a slit down the center of the pie for heat to escape.
Place in a heated 375 degree oven, cook until crust is golden. Aprox. 25-30 minutes


You can use a store-bought crust or my easy recipe for a quick crust.

Olive Oil Pie Crust

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup olive oil


Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Add milk and olive oil. Stir until dry ingredients are blended. Divide dough into two round balls. Place a ball in between two pieces of wax paper. Roll out using a pin (or a large drinking glass) Remove top layer of wax paper. Carefully pick up wax paper with crust on it. Peel paper off as you place over the top of your pie pan. press edges to fit the pan. Pour chicken filling into pie crust. Roll out the second ball. Place the rolled crust on top of mixture and slit the top. Bake and eat!


That's it! Home-made chicken potpie! Delicious!

Thanks for Checking In!
DandelionHeart




Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Burgers















Just getting home from work and starving? Keep these healthy ingredients on hand and you can make this nutritious recipe any time. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can substitute with different kinds of oil, beans and spices. If you see an ingredient you don't have, try leaving it out or replacing it with your favorite spices! This recipe is very versatile. I hope you enjoy it!

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

5 TB sunflower oil
1 LG onion, diced
1 TB garlic, minced
1 TB chopped basil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 TB jarred jalapeno, chopped
2 cups, black beans, cooked, drained and mashed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 TB Jalapeno pepper juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 TB fresh parsley, minced
whole wheat flour
lettuce
tomato slices


1. Heat 10 inch skillet, with 1 TB sunflower oil. When hot, add onions, garlic, chopped basil and turmeric. Stir fry until onions are translucent and everything is mixed well.
2. Place beans in a large bowl. Mash them with a masher or place in a blender and puree the beans. Scrape into a bowl.
3. Add the onion mixture to beans.
4. Add bread crumbs, cumin, chili powder, parsley and jalapeno juice. Mix well.
5. Heat 4 TB sunflower oil in 10 inch skillet. Place whole wheat flour on a plate.
6. Scoop bean mixture and form patties. Coat each side with whole wheat flour. Place in hot skillet. Cook on both sides until brown.
7. Place on bread and add your tomatoes, lettuce and sauce.

ENJOY!

I mix 1/2 cup sour cream with 1 Tb lime juice for a sauce. It is delicious with the spice in the black bean burgers.

Nutritional tips:

Black beans are one of the healthiest beans you can eat. They are only 114 calories per half cup with 64% folate, 18% Iron, and 17% magnesium. Black beans help control hunger because they digest slowly and suppress appetite for hours.

Eat with tomatoes, the vitamin C helps to boost the iron absorption!

Turmeric is healing and so good for you! Buy your turmeric in an Indian or Mexican grocery store. They sell it in huge bags at 1/4 the price of chain grocery stores. I try to buy all my spices at these great stores. Not to mention, there are so many other flavors to explore, right in your own neighborhood!

Good Eating leads to Good Health!
DandelionHeart

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chocolate Chili Cake with Spicy Cherry Whipped Cream




























Chocolate and chili powder combined? Is she serious? Some of you have already discovered this magic combination, but for others who have never put "hot chili" with chocolate- HOLD ON. Remember the scene in the movie Chocolat where the hurt, old lady needed to spice up her life? She went into the chocolate shop and Juliette Binoche gave her hot chocolate with chili pepper in it? Well, it works! If you want to spice up your day or make a HUGE splash at your next party, make this Chocolate Chili Brownie-Cake!


Chocolate Chili Cake

Cake:
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 TB real butter, softened
1 cup organic sugar
2 Lg eggs
1 1/2 ounce of dark chocolate, melted
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Prepare round pan, by spraying it with cooking spray, thoroughly.
2. Place dark chocolate in a double broiler on low to melt it. (I use two sauce pans, stacked. Fill the bottom one with water. Let come to a boil and place chocolate in top pan until it melts) while chocolate is melting on low, do next steps.
3. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup rye flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, chili powder, cinnamon and salt
4. Place butter in another large bowl. Beat with mixer until fluffy. Add sugar, beat again. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each one separately.
5. Beat in Chocolate.
6. Add flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with almond milk. Beginning and ending with flour mixture.
7. Beat in extracts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides and turn onto a serving plate.


Whipped Cream:

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 TB Cherry juice from Maraschino Cherries
1/8 tsp chili powder

Place cream in a medium bowl and whip with a blender until peaks form. Add cherry juice and chili powder. Continue to whip until stiff peaks.


This recipe may sound complicated but it really goes fast once you assemble all your ingredients. The whipped cream on top is worth the extra little time! You are now in Scrumptious-City! Enjoy sharing your delicious work!


Nutritional Facts:

Rye flour is actually a type of grass. It has a reputation of making heavier and chewier products, but as long as you continue to whip in the ingredients, this brownie-cake will come out light and moist. Rye contains soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of carbs and sugar - perfect in a dessert where you do not want to spike your insulin too high too quickly. This makes rye flour a much better choice for anyone who is diabetic or just wants to watch their sugar levels.

Dark chocolate has been shown to have many antioxidant effects on the body. A little dark chocolate every day lowers blood pressure and raises serotonin, a natural mood-boosting, anti-depressant. Just watch your portions but enjoy it completely!


Keep the Chocolate Rolling!
DandelionHeart




Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stove-top Grilled Zucchini




This is SO quick and easy. It is a great side dish to go with any summer meal. "Delicious and nutritious" is becoming my saying! You can't ask for anything more during the busy summer months.


Stove-Top Grilled Zucchini

1 large Zucchini
1 TB Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste


Slice Zucchini into large wide strips. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan on med-high heat. Place strips downward and salt and pepper. Let them sit undisturbed for 6 minutes. Turn oven on broil.
Turn strips over- salt and pepper, generously sprinkle parmesan cheese on each grilled slice. Let sit on second side for 6 minutes.
Place pan into oven for about 3 minutes, until cheese melts.


Voila ! You are a chef that will make people smile!
No one has to know how quick and easy this side dish is! Summertime should be all about the ease!

Enjoying Big Taste with Little Work!
DandelionHeart


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Frozen Food Made Gourmet?


Canned and frozen foods are part of my plan for the survival of the fittest. At least I can always tell myself that it's better than running down the street to a fast food restaurant and momentarily meeting the needs of my body but creating a huge nutritional deficit in the long run. If you need easy, economical but still delicious, try this recipe using frozen asparagus and canned mushrooms. That way you can have the ingredients on hand and make it whenever you feel ready.

Asparagus Mushroom Rice Cups
with a Dijon Cheddar Sauce

1 1/2 cups rice (white or brown) I only had white on hand tonight.
3 cups water
1 bag frozen asparagus (or 1 lb fresh)
2 TB butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 TB garlic
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp thyme
1 can shiitake mushrooms, drained (any variety would work)
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger tamari dressing (any brand dressing, or you could use plain soy sauce or tamari sauce) *If you use soy sauce, leave out the salt.

Sauce:

I cup almond milk (or cow's milk)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/8 tsp dried dill weed

1. Cook rice as directed. I used a rice cooker to make it easier and quicker. Place the rice in the cooker add the water, hit "on". Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place frozen asparagus on cutting board. Carefully cut 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a frying pan on low heat and steam until just tender.

3. Add 2 TB butter, onions, garlic, dill weed, thyme and mushrooms to asparagus. Stir-fry until the onions are tender.

4. Place rice in a large bowl. Add the asparagus mixture, lemon juice, salt and tamari to the bowl. Stir well. Place into individual ramekins and bake 15 minutes.

5. Pour milk into a double boiler. When it gets hot, add the cheese and stir till melted. Add the mustard and dill weed. Keep warm over the double boiler. (I place a smaller sauce pan on top of a larger sauce pan for my double broiler. Add 1/2 cup water to the bottom one, stack the smaller sauce pan to sit on top of it and bring the water to a boil.)

6. Run a knife along the sides of the baking dish. Place a small plate on top of it and flip the plate over holding the dish on it. This should loosen the rice and keep it in a nice shape.
Spoon the Dijon cheese sauce over the top and you are finished!


I hope that each of you eat well, play hard, and go a little easier on yourselves when you are doing the best you can.

Peace and Good Eats,
DandelionHeart


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Zucchini Hot Potato Soup















If you planted zucchini, I bet you are like me and can't eat it or give it away fast enough to keep up with it all! Whether you have zucchini growing out of your ears or need to pick some up from the store, you will want to try this soup!


Zucchini Hot Potato Soup

4 cups water
4 cups chopped zucchini
4 cups chopped, unpeeled potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup diced onion
1 TB garlic
1 tsp basil
1 TB olive oil
1 cup almond milk
1 heaping TB sour cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 TB dill weed
1 tsp salt
dash of black pepper


1. Bring water to boil in a 4-quart soup pot. Add potatoes and carrots, cook until tender.
2. In a fry pan heat olive oil, saute the onions, garlic, and basil on medium heat.
3. When onions are beginning to brown add zucchini. Cook until tender.
4. Add zucchini mixture to carrots and potatoes.
5. Puree all in blender.
6. Pour back into large pot. Add almond milk, sour cream, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Stir well and serve!




Grab a good crusty loaf of bread to go with it and your meal is complete! This soup is SO good.


Nutritional Tips:
One of the great things about zucchini is it's known to be one of the lowest calorie
foods in existence. It should be in your arsenal if you're trying to lose weight! It's fiber
content will help you feel full. Also, zucchini contributes folate, Vitamins A and C, potassium and magnesium
to the body. Magnesium helps protect bones, heart, arteries and blood pressure. Even a mild
deficiency in magnesium may provoke major health problems. These are just a few of the nutritional points you will score with this soup!
Not to mention, that it tastes delicious!


I would love to know if you have any favorite ways of preparing zucchini! Especially since I have it growing out my ears!




Laugh Hard and Eat Well!
DandelionHeart

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lemon and Swiss Chard Cream Pasta

Are you still looking for yummy ways to cook all your swiss chard? This pasta is usually made completely with Basil but I substituted Swiss Chard and it turned out delicious! This recipe is very quick, so start the pasta first. It will take the longest to cook. Let me know what you think!

Lemon and Swiss Chard Cream Pasta

3 Cups Swiss Chard
1/2 Cup Basil
1 TB garlic
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Kefir
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Package of Farfalle Pasta (bowtie)

Place olive oil, garlic, greens, and milk into the blender. Blend until liquid. Pour into a saucepan and heat on low. Stir in the lemon juice. When pasta is finished, add in the parmesan cheese and stir till melted. Immediately, pour over the bowtie pasta.

I keep slices of fresh lemon and parmesan to add on top. So good!

Exchanges:
Some exchanges you can make if you do not have the kefir:
1. add all milk.
2. add 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup sour cream (for a richer dish)
3. add two cups of heavy cream only (if you really want to indulge in a creamy pasta)

I think kefir is a good choice because of its probiotics. They help our digestive systems stay healthy. As long as you do not heat the pasta to extremely hot, you should not destroy the good bacteria in this dish.

Once again, swiss chard is a nutritional powerhouse. I love finding new ways to cook this amazing green.

Here's to a great summer dish!
DandelionHeart

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Luna Pie and The Horn of the Moon Cafe


This came from a great cookbook called Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan. It was a lucky find at our local thrift store for $2. The book tells the story of this incredibly popular local vegetarian restaurant in the prime of its life. It was an establishment for 23 years in Vermont. Unfortunately, The Horn of the Moon Cafe was dealt a terrible blow. Here is an article talking about the final end for this incredible little restaurant, when the owner tragically killed himself.
http://www.mtbytes.com/mpbridge/article.cfm?articleid=119
It's a story worth reading and a cookbook worth investing in. The book can still be found on Amazon.com.
I feel grateful to have unintentionally fallen into this story and still be able to cook some of their most famous dishes. Thank you, Horn of the Moon Cafe.

Luna Pie

4 TB oil
1 cup finely, chopped onion
1 tsp basil
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cups finely, chopped celery
1 lb mushrooms chopped finely
1 package tofu
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cayenne pepper
1 tsp mustard, dry or wet
1/2 box phyllo dough
1/4 butter, melted


Heat 2 TB oil, saute first 5 ingredients until onions begin to brown. Set aside.
Heat remaining oil, saute mushrooms on medium to high heat until all moisture has evaporated.
In a bowl, mash tofu with a fork. Using an electric mixer, beat in eggs. Add cheese, salt, cayenne, and mustard mix well. Stir in sauteed veggies.
Preheat oven to 375. Cut phyllo dough into 12 inch squares. Using a pastry brush, brush a sheet with butter. Drape the dough over a 10-inch pie plate. repeat layers until 7 are stacked.
Gently push dough into bottom of pan. Pour in filling. Butter 3 more sheets and lay on top of filling. Roll over the hanging dough to form a pie crust edge. Brush top with butter. Slash top carefully down the center. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until browned. Let set 10 minutes after removing from oven before cutting.



*recipe taken from Horn of the Moon Cookbook

*Tips:
1. Use a food chopper to chop all veggies finely, quickly
2. place dough in a large pan and place a wet dish towel over it as you are working with it. It will keep it from drying out.

ENJOY! It is SO good!

DandelionHeart


Luna Pie- mushrooms and cheesy goodness!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rosemary Chicken and Veggies


While my parents were in town meeting their new grandchild, my mother whipped up a delicious meal. Rosemary is the star performer in this dinner. This dish is elegant enough to serve to special guests, a romantic night at home, or just every day life. It's a beautiful dish and very tasty! If it's been awhile since you've tasted rosemary, you will fall in love all over again. Here is her recipe. Thanks Mom!

Rosemary Chicken

Chicken Breast (best quality you can afford, preferably hormone/antibiotic free)
1 or 2 sprigs of Rosemary per chicken breast
tsp Basil
Dash of salt and pepper
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 slice of Bacon (nitrate free) per chicken breast

1. Salt and pepper chicken breast. Chop basil and sprinkle on chicken.
2. Lay sliced onion rings on top of chicken breast.
3. Place sprigs of rosemary on top and wrap chicken breast with the bacon.
4. Make sure the ends of bacon are underneath the breast. Place the pieces on a jelly roll pan.
5. Cover and Bake @ 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, uncover cook for additional 15 minutes, until juices run clear.


Rosemary Potatoes, Broccoli, and Onion Medley

1 Head of Broccoli, cut into pieces
12 New Potatoes, sliced thickly
1 large onion, sliced thick
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs Rosemary, chopped

Place all chopped veggies in a glass casserole dish. Pour olive oil over vegetables. Add the salt, pepper, basil and Rosemary to the veggies. Stir well, until all is well coated with the oil and spices. Cover vegetables with tin foil for about 30 minutes and bake in oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

Nutritional Tips:

Rosemary is a potent anti-inflammatory due to caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid. These are strong antioxidants which protect our bodies from degenerative diseases. Rosemary has a long history of culinary use and it is exciting to hear the research proving the medicinal effects for protecting us from cancers, asthma and pain-causing inflammation. Eat rosemary regularly for the protective benefits to build up in your system!


Sincerely,
DandelionHeart

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pizza- The cooking Easy Button

Having a new baby home for 5 days has made my usual joy of cooking turn into a chore. Sleep deprived and exhausted, emotionally thrilled but overwhelmed, I am looking for the cooking easy button. So, what do you cook when all you want to do is order a pizza and let someone else do the work? This pizza fits the bill. It is quick and delicious, and when you cook it yourself you do not have to worry about cheap, harmful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or any added flavor enhancers, aka. excitotoxins that many fast food restaurants put into their foods. Here's the quick solution:



















Spinach and Pepper Pizza
Pizza Dough:

1 pkg. Quik Rise dry Yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 TB oil
1 TB Honey
1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasonings

Mix in yeast and water in large glass bowl. Add in oil, honey, flours, salt, garlic, onion powder and Italian seasonings. Let it sit in the bowl for 5-10 minutes. Flatten on a greased pan.

Easy Pizza Sauce:

Open can of tomato sauce. Add in 1/4 teaspoon of italian seasonings, garlic and onion powder. MIx well.

Spinach and Pepper Toppings:

1/2 cup Frozen Spinach
1/2 Cup Frozen Bell Peppers
1 tsp of Oil

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add in frozen vegetables and cook until they are seared down. I used a cast iron skillet to get a nice roasted flavor on mine.

Assembling the Pizza:

Roll out the dough, spoon on the pizza sauce and add the vegetables. Place a generous amount of cheese on top of it all and bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.


Changes in your life and routine can set you back, but with a little determination, you can eat fast and healthy from home! When you need comfort food that is easy, reach for this recipe.

Going with the flow,
Dandelionheart

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tarragon Mushroom Cream Sauce























Here is the delicious dish made with fresh picked chanterelles. The dish that will make your momma cry with pride. The recipe is from one of my FAVORITE cookbooks! Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. She is hands down the best at teaching others to cook amazing food! If there is one cookbook I would recommend this would be it!


Tarragon Mushroom Cream Sauce


2 TB butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced 1/2 thick
salt and freshly milled pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TB parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove
2 tsp tarragon, chopped

Heat butter in large skillet over high heat, add the mushrooms, and saute until a nice color. Season with a little salt and pepper, add the wine and lower the heat. Let the wine cook down to about half. Add the cream, sour cream and simmer until thickened slightly. Chop the parsley, garlic, and tarragon together. Add them to the mushrooms and serve!

I served it over wide egg noodles and it was a perfect match. This dish will work well with any kind of mushroom, so use your favorite.

Nutritional Tips!
Chanterelles can be as much as 23% Vitamin C. They are considered to be one of the best wild mushrooms in the world. They are fruity and have a apricot smell mixed with an apricot, nutty flavor. They are high in potassium and mushrooms have powerful antiviral, antitumor, and anticholesterol properties!

In Mushroom Heaven,
DandelionHeart

Chanterelles, Turtles, Snakes, OH MY!

Unfortunately it was raining when we took off on our favorite running trails today. Since, I didn't want to harm the camera, I left it behind and missed some truly fantastic pictures. The rain was only coming down slightly and a few minutes into the run it quit. It was a muggy, humid evening run... just the kind that the creatures come out for!
Our first sighting was a beautiful box turtle laying eggs in a hole on the side of the trail, which at that point ran along side a creek, so the soil was a perfect sandy mix for her eggs. We stopped to admire it and let our dog sniff it before we took off further down the trail.
The next spotting was beautiful mushrooms of all kinds. It looked like the mushroom scene from Alice in Wonderland! We spotted red, purple and green bolete mushrooms.
But the best find was a huge patch of chanterelles - a beautiful and tasty culinary delight! At Whole Foods yesterday, we noticed the Chanterelles were $29.99 a pound! Imagine our excitement when Doug took his shirt off and filled it to the top! In all, we picked about 3/4 gallon, which probably weighed a pound or so.
On the way back, we were treated with a tiny black rat snake on the path. I picked its whopping "5 inches" up and a let it slither and hunt for the dirt again! Such a cute little black snake the size of a large worm. We also surprised an unsuspecting deer as it stood by the creek bed.
Just another exciting run on a terribly ordinary day. It's the little things that make me appreciate life. Seeing a blue jay, or watching my dog sniff a turtle and jump scared when the turtle moves into her shell. Finding chanterelles and making a mushroom cream sauce that would make your momma cry! Taking deep breaths as a deer runs past the trail and smiling as we run past the most intelligent architectural wasp nest that I have ever seen. The little things will keep you happy. The little things will keep you connected. The little things will make you breath deeper. May we all open our eyes to the little things and count our blessings every day.

Live the Little Things,
DandelionHeart

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Swiss Chard and Garbanzo Bean Soup


























My garden has beautiful stalks of Swiss chard growing. Luckily, the Vegetarian Times placed a delicious sun-dried tomatoes and Swiss chard recipe this week. With a little tweaking to match what I had in my garden and kitchen, I made a delicious soup with swiss chard, tomatoes, LOTS of fresh herbs and garbanzo beans. Here's the happy outcome!


Swiss Chard and Garbanzo Bean Soup


2 TB olive oil
3 cloves of garlic (or 1 TB)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 med carrots, coined
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz. cans tomatoes
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1/2 bunch of Swiss chard (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp thyme, chopped
1 cup of basil, torn


Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot on medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Let it cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and rosemary. Let it cook for 15 minutes until onion is transparent. If it needs more liquid, add one cup of the vegetable stock and let simmer for the 15 minutes.
Add the rest of the vegetable stock, one can of tomatoes, and the garbanzo beans.
Place one cup of the soup in a blender and blend till smooth.
Add the blender contents, Swiss chard, and thyme into the stock pot. Stir for 5 minutes until the Swiss chard cooks down.
Take off heat and stir in the basil.


All finished! I like to put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and serve with a crusty whole grain bread. Yummy!!




Nutritional Information:


Swiss Chard is a good source of Vitamins A and C, both powerful defenders against cancers. It is also a good source of minerals like iron, needed to boost immunity and help fight fatigue. Many people feel exhausted all the time. They do not realize it is due to low iron in the body and that an increase in this mineral could alleviate their fatigue .
Swiss Chard also has calcium, magnesium and potassium, all needed in controlling a good blood pressure.


It is that time of year when Swiss chard abounds. Why not pick some up today and make a quick, easy dinner for you and your loved ones. Let me know if you do!




Cheers to Chard!
DandelionHeart

Friday, June 4, 2010

We Are All Going To Die Sometime....







"It doesn't matter." "We are all going to die sometime." These two sentences make me cringe when I hear them spoken, and unfortunately, I have heard them often.
What bothers me the most, is that it's always the 'healthy' that speak these words. The ones whose health has not quit on them and who take it for granted that smoking, drinking, and eating whatever they like will never affect them. They can not imagine themselves bent over in stomach pain, cancer-ridden, arthritic, with fibromyalgia, or diabetic. Yet according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 out of 10 Americans will die from a chronic PREVENTABLE illness. These diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes account for 50% of all deaths every year. In 2005, 1 out of every 2 Americans has a chronic illness that keeps them from performing one or more daily activities. Diabetes is the number one reason for kidney failure, amputations, and blindness for ages 20 to 74. Clearly, we are doing something incredibly damaging to our bodies. What is it? Does nature just pick someone and pull the trigger? I know with these kinds of statistics it is easy to give up, say it doesn't matter, and allow our culture to carry us away into chronic disease land. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Andrew Saul of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, he said, "The only way to win, is not to play."
Lifestyle changes are difficult at first. Many people around you will tell you what you are missing out on - burgers, fries, sugar, cakes, chips, donuts, etc. - without ever considering your life at hand. You will feel exhausted by our culture of endless chemical food options. Walking into a grocery store will feel like walking into the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with tempting neon-blue cakes, orange colored sugar drinks, purple cookies, and every other brightly unnatural colored food to tempt your eye and stomach.
However, if you keep going....keep slowly building resistance and saying, "NO", one whisper at a time, within a few short weeks that "no" whispered with little strength will become a "NO" spoken with strong resolution and determination. You will feel the difference in your heart and body. In choosing whole foods, foods that your grandmother or grandfather would recognize, your body will know how to quickly respond. It knows what to do with an apple. It breaks it down and feeds the cells. What does it do with chemical-laden, sugary, fat globules called apple cinnamon stripe cookies? The body is well trained on what to do with a consistent diet of processed, overly salted, high fat foods- Store them! But what happens if you UP the nutrition you send down your throat? All of the sudden, the body wakes up! Little cells that have been starved for the micro nutrients in fresh foods get shocked! The vitamins and minerals that the body has been craving from fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains begins to change the inner environment for your cells. Just once, do not think of your tastebuds when you eat, think of the tiny cells that you are caring for. There are MILLIONS throughout your body and each one needs fresh water and fuel to work efficiently.
Today, give your cells what they need. Drink plenty of fresh water and choose healthy greens, fruit for desserts and whole grains. You are worth the work and your body will reward you with less pain and more happy days.
Are we all going to die sometime? Yes, we will. But not all of us will die in our 40's, 50's or 60's from debilitating and cruel degenerative diseases. Let's up our chance of being in the 50% percent that lives vibrantly into old age with more painless days than painful, more smiles than tears, and more family around us than gone. Take charge of your health and choose to live each day to the fullest!

Wishing you Love and Life!
DandelionHeart

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Carrot Banana Sugar-free Muffins!


In trying to clean up my diet, I am cutting back on sugar. Sugar is so addicting it takes time to kick, so I am going easy on myself and looking for alternative ways to sweeten my life. My dilemma started with all the carrot fiber left over from juicing. What else can I do with it besides composting? I decided to cook up some carrot banana muffins and let the bananas be the sweetener. They turned out delicious and they are nutrient rich, so it's not a waste of calories or mindless eating!


Carrot Banana Muffins

2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 TB cinnamon
4 ripe bananas
1 duck egg (or 2 chicken)
1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/8 cup flax seed, milled
3/4 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup walnuts

1. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
2. In a blender, combine bananas, egg, vinegar, oil, and almond milk
3. Transfer blender contents into the flour mixture
4. Fold in carrots, walnuts and flax seed
5. Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin tins or well-greased tins.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Makes 10 Large muffins

Nutritional Tidbits:

Spelt is a cousin to wheat flour but has a nuttier and sweeter taste. You can substitute spelt flour for most recipes that call for whole wheat flour. If you are worried about heart disease, try using spelt flour in baking since it has more niacin than other whole grain flours. Niacin is essential in heart health and helps to reduce platelets from clumping together and causing blood clots. You can think of niacin as little hydroelectric power plants in your body! They help living cells generate energy from food.

If you are worried about the coconut oil in this recipe, or if all you've ever heard was to stay away from it, I have provided a link from Dr. Mercola below to show how trans fats are what's killing us and NOT saturated fats. It is only one source from many, explaining the new studies on heart disease. Coconut oil helps with supporting our thyroid and our heart. These are very well documented benefits and deserve to be studied further.


http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil

Surprise! Coconut Oil Is Also Good For Your Heart...

FACT: Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S. And heart disease is often a silent killer. The first sign of cardiovascular disease is commonly a heart attack, and sadly, over one third of heart attacks are fatal.

And despite the propaganda, the truth is this: it is UNSATURATED fats that are primarily involved in heart disease, not the saturated fats, as you have been led to believe. As you saw earlier, countries that subsist on a coconut-based diet appear to enjoy good heart health.

The U.S. Department of Health and the FDA estimate that artificially hydrogenated trans-fats -- the type found in fast food, processed foods and your favorite pastries -- are ultimately responsible for a huge number of fatal heart attacks every year. These dangerous unsaturated fats are the ones you should ban from your diet, not naturally pure coconut oil, which is a better alternative because it contains very few fats with highly perishable double bonds -- and also has NO TRANS-FATS.

Plus, those commonly-used polyunsaturated fats encourage the formation of blood clots by increasing platelet stickiness. Coconut oil helps to promote normal platelet function.

(excerpt from his page)


As you can see, these muffins are nutritious and yummy! They allow the carrots and bananas to be the sweetener and are perfect for a quick morning breakfast. They are loaded with fruit, nuts and flax seed, which has 2600 mg of Omega-3 oils per serving!

You can always add a touch of honey to the muffins as you eat them, if you are still getting your sweet tooth under control. Over time, you will crave less and less sugar and find most baked goods too sweet for your liking. These muffins will become one of your favorites!

Happy Eating!
Dandelionheart