It's no new revelation that breakfast is an essential meal. "Back in the day" I used to be a breakfast skipper, and in those "dark days," it would not be uncommon for me to reach for an undesirable mid-morning snack, traditionally in bar form, or overdo it at lunch and then feel weighted down and lethargic. Sound familiar breakfast skippers? Breakfast is the meal that breaks your overnight fast. For skippers who are also getting the ideal hours of sleep, you could be going around ten hours without adding any fuel to your body. Imagine then, if you wait until lunch, you could possibly be fasting for 16 hours. That's long enough to put your body into starvation mode and slow your metabolism down.Read More
I got the craving for pancakes recently, yet wanted to step out of the box (literally and figuratively) and create a healthful and unique version. I uncovered a great recipe for these unconventional and tasty gluten free banana bread pancakes and studded them with blueberries. I got the recipe here (thanks pesto). This is not your traditional fluffy stack, but they put my craving at bay, especially with a decent drizzling of grade A pure maple syrup.
photo taken with instagram
Blackened Wild Striped Bass with Kale and Avocado Relish
If you are fully loaded from hitting the stuffing a little hard this year, here is a recipe that is light and filling and will relieve you of any over gorging regrets you might have the day after. Additionally, I’ve demonstrated two super green side dishes that are both filling and tasty and can be served along side your poultry.Read More
Not everything turns out the way you want it to, and my attempt at the picture perfect roast chicken left me thinking that I should have saved my energy and called up Pio Pio. Needless to say, the evidence of the roast will not be making an appearance on TCR anytime soon. But alas, I was left with a hefty quantity of roast chicken that serendipitously was mainly dry white meat. To amend this cooking faux pas, I gave the bare and juiceless chicken the equivalent of a spa getaway to the Berkshires. He came back refreshed and glowing and was ready to win back my respect.Read More
I knew that our recent day trip to Fire Island would be the ideal opportunity to re-create the ultimate hiker sandwich that I had been bragging about for years. The first incarnation of this sandwich was ten years ago after I had seen it made on a cooking show. Ten years later, I stepped it up a few notches and, instead of using all prepared and packaged goods, I made the pesto from scratch and grilled a few veggies to create a multitude of colorful layers and flavors. What was packed inside this Grandaisy rustic whole wheat loaf you ask?Read More
"Ok, I know what you are thinking, what is up with this turd looking thing on a stick?" Well, despite its lack of beauty, this frozen banana coated in dark chocolate and walnuts was an amazing and delicious dessert on a 100 degree day. I had a few too many bananas laying around my apartment, so I did what any logical person would do; peel them, insert a popsicle stick (or chopstick) all the way through, and stick them in the freezer. I got really good quality dark chocolate, melted it over a double boiler, and coated the frozen bananas. (I am not an expert confectioner, so I am sure there are better techniques that would have created a more pleasing appearance.) I then covered the chocolate in chopped walnuts and stuck the banana babies back in the freezer. About an hour later, I was able to enjoy this frozen treat. The creamy cool perfectly ripe banana coated in the crunchy and sweet nutty outer layer was a divine dessert and had health benefits to boot!
- Bananas contain more than just potassium. They also have vitamin C, folate, iron, B6, and copper as well as fiber.
- Dark Chocolate has flavonoids that come from the cocoa bean, which are antioxidants that maintain heart health and healthy blood vessels.
- Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are a polyunsaturated fat, contain antioxidants which reduce cell damage, have fiber and protein.
Buckwheat pasta with spinach basil pesto, oven roasted tomatoes, broccoli and peas
After consulting with the family chef about proper tomato usage for this summery soup, San Marzano puree was used over fresh tomatoes or tomato juice. Unless the tomatoes are extremely ripe, high quality canned is recommended. At first, I felt like I was cheating, since this soup was intended to encapsulate summer, but once chilled, the gazpacho was the pure essence of tomatoey, cucumbery, and garlicky peppery goodness.
Besides swapping the tomato juice for canned, I relied on my trusty
for guidance for the Gazpacho. A cucumber, red bell pepper, small yellow onion, garlic, parsley, scallions, lemon and lime juice, basil, cumin, and cayenne pepper were gently pureed with the tomatoes, white vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and chilled.
For a spin on another summery favorite, I pulverized a box of organic spinach, basil, parsley, four garlic cloves, two tablespoons toasted walnuts and a little drizzling of olive oil to create a pesto. I found that spinach has a high level of water content, so you really only need a little olive oil to meld the sauce together. I mixed in parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to finish. To bolster up the buckwheat pasta, I added roasted cherry tomatoes and organic broccoli and peas (both frozen). The cherry tomatoes were oven roasted with oregano, basil, canola oil, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. This created a nice slightly charred and sweet tomato that burst with flavor.
The buckwheat pasta not only had a lovely hue, but also added a nutty quality and provided added fiber. The pasta was also loaded with vegetables from the spinach; which is packed with folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium and calcium, the broccoli; which also has beta-carotene, fiber and calcium, along with iron and vitamins A, C and D, and peas, which are a good source of protein. Walnuts provided omega-3 and antioxidants.
This was a lovely summery meal that left plenty of leftovers…. too bad my fridge is broken.
Whole Wheat Orcchiette with Ricotta Walnut Sauce, Broccoli Rabe and Spicy Sausage
Sometimes you just can’t help but get cravings for gooey goodness that usually can only be found in calorically dense, high fat foods. Think again. I emulated this NYTs recipe Pasta with Walnut Sauce and bolstered it up with some spicy casing free, all natural chicken sausage. To slim it down, I used fat free ricotta cheese and to kick it up, I added an extra clove of garlic, chili flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
This pasta was creamy and delicious. The pureed walnut ricotta mixture tasted nutty and decadent and the broccoli rabe added a nice peppery balance to the velvety texture of the sauce. The use of fat free ricotta not only slimmed down the pasta, but combined with the ground walnuts created a viscous quality that was smoothed out with some pasta water. This dish had a nice balance of polyunsaturated fat from the walnuts, which lowers cholesterol, lean protein and calcium from the fat free ricotta and antioxidant, cancer fighting qualities from the broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is actually a member of the turnip or Brassica family and has vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber!
Some people fear cheese for its high caloric and cholesterolly dense content, but at times it is imperative to let yourself indulge and enjoy the deliciousness and sometimes stink of cheese. It is important to keep in mind the key of moderation, as 1 oz (which looks like four dice) of most regular cheeses have 100 calories and 8+ grams of fat. Cholesterol and saturated fat in food have the ability to raise blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to the development of heart disease. There are some good alternative low fat and fat free cheese sources, such as laughing cow light, alpine lace and Jarlsberg lite, but unfortunately at the end of the day nothing really taste the same, so live a little…well just a little, 1 oz every now and then to be precise.