Fresh Green and Yellow Salad

This is such a simple salad.  No need for an actual recipe.  Just rough peel the cucumbers, slice-chop everything into a bowl, sprinkle with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and add the dressing of your choice.  A simple splash of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil is nice, but today, Buttermilk Ranch is what won out for me.  This adds such a nice fresh touch as a side to a big plate of spaghetti or some other comfort food casserole. . .Lin

Harvest Pea Soup

1# very lean ham chopped
1 lg. shallot - minced
5 cloves garlic - minced
1 med. onion - chopped 
2 lg. stalks celery - chopped
2 lg. carrots - chopped
4-6oz. brown and wild rice blend
3T butter and extra virgin olive oil
1c dry white wine, water or chicken stock

12oz. green split peas
2 med. ripe tomatoes - chopped
1 lg. potato - scrubbed and shredded
4-6c water

Saute' the ham, shallot, garlic, onion, celery, carrot and rices in butter and olive oil.  Stirring well.  When it begins to brown and stick add wine, water or chicken stock, 1/2c at a time, stir well and repeat the browning.  Add the peas, tomatoes, potato and water, simmer on med.-low an hour or more until the potatoes and the peas are very soft and soupy.  Serve with some Oatmeal Cornbread. . .Lin  NOTE: COOKING turned this into more of a Split Pea and Ham Casserole, so to make it soup, you'll need to add chicken stock. It's good as a casserole though
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3 Berry Breakfast

2c chopped frozen strawberries
2c frozen blueberries
2T raw sugar
2/3c organic dried cranberries

Combine everything in a saucepan and simmer on low until the water starts to come out of the berries.  Increase heat to a 'low bubble' and cook 5-10 minutes.  Use to top granola and about a cup of really good quality yogurt.  I've been battling intestinal issues and recovering from infection and abscess surgery the past week and my doctor stressed the healing effects of the good bacteria in this sort of yogurt.  Eating this sort of breakfast regularly can be helpful for maintaining overall health. . .Lin

Vegetable Beef Soup

Have I mentioned how therapeutic cooking is for me?  It's been a really rough week and creating a big pot of soup, simmering on the stove, just seems like the perfect solution.

1# very lean beef stew meat
1/2 large onion - chopped
1-2T butter
1/2T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 very large carrots - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
another 1/2 onion - rough chopped
2 large potatoes scrubbed and chopped
1 can fire roasted tomatoes and juice
1 can water
Optional:  1 can drained, rinsed kidney beans
1 can water
1 pkg. Beefy Onion dry soup

Brown the first 5 ingredients together very well.  Add a little water from time to time then let it evaporate to intensify the browning process.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, on low at least an hour until it becomes soup! . . . Lin

Chicken Stroganoff

1-1/3# chicken breast meat
1 red onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
5oz. fresh mushrooms - sliced
sea salt, ground garlic, pepper
1-2T butter
white wine
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1c sour cream
cooked, rinsed and drained pasta

Saute' the seasoned chicken, onion, celery and mushrooms in butter and wine.  Cover and simmer about an hour.  After pasta is cooked and you're ready to serve, add soup and sour cream.  Check seasonings to see if a little chicken bullion might be needed.  Serve topped with some grated parmesan cheese - a side salad rounds out the dinner nicely. . .Lin

Greens and Shallot Scrambled Eggs

1T butter
1 lg. shallot
2 XL organic eggs
a big handful of greens
grated hard cheese
sea salt and fresh black pepper

In a non-stick pan, melt the butter and add chopped shallots.  Saute' a minute or two then crack in the eggs and stir.  Once they're almost done the way you like them, add chopped greens, and the grated cheese.  Cover, turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Slide onto a large plate and garnish with sliced-chopped tomatoes.  Season and serve. . .Lin

Carrot-Sour Cream Spaghetti

1/2# lean, ground angus beef
1 med. onion - chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
1-2T butter
1/2 jar of your favorite red sauce
1c sour cream
al dente' cooked spaghetti

Brown the ground beef with the onion and carrot in butter, stirring and breaking up the meat.  Add the red sauce and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and taste the sauce.  Add salt and pepper or any other spices you'd like, if needed.  Spoon over the cooked spaghetti.  This makes 3-4 servings. . .Lin

A Green Bean, Egg, Ham and Cheese Breakfast

I mis-guessed my breakfast craving today.  The quinoa sounded great, but after a few bites I covered it and put it in the 'fridge.  It just wasn't a nutty-fruity-quinoa kinda day - I'll have it tomorrow.  I realized this morning I was actually craving vegetables, eggs, ham and cheese.  Yum!!!

1/2 sm. onion - chopped
3/4-1c frozen or fresh green beans
1T  butter
1/2-3/4c chopped pre-cooked ham
1 jumbo egg
some grated cheese to top at the end

Saute' the onion with the green beans and butter, covered for about 5 minutes.  Add the ham and cook another few minutes.  Crack in the egg, cooking and stirring until almost set.  Put the cheese on top, then cover and turn off the heat.  Leave it for another few minutes until the cheese melts and serve. . .Lin

Quinoa - Not Just A Side Dish Anymore - It's What's For Breakfast!

For each serving:  Actually, after making this I realized, it's a lot!  More like 2 small servings.

1/4c slivered almonds
1/4c quinoa
2/3c water
a handful of craisins or raisins

So simple yet such a great breakfast!  Put the almonds in a pan over medium heat to toast.  When their color changes to a light brown, add the quinoa and shake.  Watch closely so the almonds don't burn.

Shake occasionally and listen for the quinoa to snap.  After several minutes, remove from heat and cool just a minute.  Add water and crasins, cover and simmer on low for several minutes until water evaporates.  Turn off heat and just let all the ingredients hang out together until the quinoa sprouts little tails.  It's ready!  Add a sprinkle of raw sugar, or a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and a pat of butter if you like.  Such a great way to start your day and it takes almost no time. . .Lin

Kalamata Tuna Salad

I'm having a girls dog-walk and lunch today with my daughter, granddaughter and a good friend of theirs.  These two foods pair well to make an easy, do-ahead lunch.

3/4-1c mayonnaise
2-4T balsamic vinegar
sea salt and ground garlic
black pepper
1 12oz. can tuna - drained
2/3 c chopped kalamata olives
1 sm.-med. onion - chopped
2 stalks celery - sliced thin
1c frozen peas
7oz. pasta - cooked al dente and drained
~ 3-4 oz. capers ~ optional 

Combine the first group of ingredients in a large bowl.  Taste it to see what adjustments are needed, then add everything else.  Toss and chill several hours.  Serve with chopped, seasoned tomatoes and cucumbers. . .Lin

A Favorite Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad

2 med. cucumbers - rough peeled and chopped
2 med. tomatoes - chopped
1 shallot - peeled and sliced
sea salt and ground garlic
black pepper
a big splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2c± extra virgin olive oil
sliced avocados

Combine everything but the avocado in a medium bowl.  Cover and chill a couple hours.  Just before serving, garnish with the sliced avocado. . .Lin

Zucchini and Friends

1 med. zucchini
1/2c slivered almonds
2 hearts of celery stalks
1T butter
1 lg. shallot
1/2 med. onion
1 med. tomato

My daughter brought over this zucchini from her garden.  The other vegetables jumped in on the fun.  Chop all the vegetables then saute' the first 4 ingredients on medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, stirring.  Add a little white wine or water.  Put the shallots, onion and tomatoes into the pot, cover and simmer another 10 minutes or so on lower heat.  Uncover, and finish cooking, stirring occasionally.  Season with sea salt, ground garlic and pepper.  You can also grate some cheese over the vegetables while still hot just before plating.  Makes one big main dish serving or 2-3 side servings. . .Lin

Cauliflower-Spinach-Tomato Pesto Eggs

Well, I bought a huge organic cauliflower. . .and I've been using it in a lot of different ways, including raw with a drizzle of ranch dressing and fresh ground pepper.  Today, for breakfast I was thinking eggs and vegetables, and once again, more pesto. . .When it comes to pesto, I'm always torn.  I've discovered that Aldi carries two pestos that I really love.  Their basil pesto is wonderful, but I find myself, more and more, using their bright, sunny-flavored sun-dried tomato pesto.

For one large - or two small servings - use:

1c cauliflower florets
1T butter and a little water
2 lg. free-range eggs
a big handful of baby spinach
2-3T sun-dried tomato pesto

Put the cauliflower in a non-stick pan with butter and water.  Cover and simmer about 8 minutes, or until the water evaporates,  Crack in the eggs and chopped spinach.  Stir and cook slowly over low heat until eggs are almost done.  Mix in the pesto, finish cooking and serve with some fresh raw vegetables or fruit. . .Lin

Tandoori Cauliflower Salad

5c± cauliflower florets
1c well chopped carrot
1c craisins
1c frozen peas

3/4c mayonnaise
3/4c plain Greek yogurt
2T Indian Tandoori powder
2T fruity white balsamic vinegar
2t organic honey
1" chunk of ginger root
1 lg. garlic clove
1t fresh ground black pepper
1t or more, salt

So often when creating a recipe, I'll think, 'oh, celery would be nice onion would be good' but I've run out of them.  So then it's either go to the store or find a creative way to combine what I have.  Today I did the latter.  I love making curries.  Hot, cold, all kinds of curries.  Tandoori is a slightly sweeter blend of spices than most curries, but you could substitute curry powder in this recipe.

In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, carrots, craisins and peas.  In a smaller bowl mix the very finely minced ginger and garlic with the rest of the ingredients for the dressing.  Taste to be sure the flavors are what you want.  Don't over-season though, since the spices will sort of burst after hydrating a while in the yogurt and mayonnaise.  If it needs to be thinner, add a little milk, water or a bit more vinegar or yogurt.  Pour over vegetables and mix well.  Chill several hours, stirring a couple times.

During this time the craisins will rehydrate, absorbing quite a bit of liquid.  You may need to add a little more at the end to keep the consistency the way you want it. . .Lin

Cauliflower-Pesto Eggs

Per Person:

3/4c cauliflower florets
1T butter
2 lg. organic eggs
2T basil pesto

Saute' the cauliflower florets in butter, in a covered pan, for 5 minutes or until the stems are tender.  Add eggs, stir until almost set.  Add the pesto and finish cooking for another minute or two.  Pairs nicely with tomatoes and avocados. . .Lin

Green Beans and Cod

frozen cod
chili-lime panko bread crumbs
frozen green beans

Oh, a perfect, very simple, dinner.

Thaw the cod, then coat in bread crumbs.  Fry fast, in bacon grease or butter.  Serve with steamed green beans and tarter sauce or whatever salad dressing you like.  Ranch is good.  Tonight I chose Classic Caesar dressing.  Ohhhh, this was wonderful! . . . Lin

Marinated-Sauteed Chicken

2-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2c ± white balsamic vinegar
1/2c ± extra virgin olive oil
1/2t ground red and black pepper
1t Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)
1t ground rosemary

Cut chicken into bite size pieces in a medium bowl.  Add next 5 ingredients.  Marinate and chill, covered for an hour or two, stirring occasionally.

Saute' chicken in a non-stick pan over medium high heat, stirring and browning.  Add a little water if needed and continue to cook, evaporating the liquid and repeating this step, until chicken achieves the browning level you like.  Take as much as you need for each serving.  Use for Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Stew or Soup, Chicken Tetrazzini, or just Chicken and Vegetables, as shown here with steamed Carrots and Beets.  Store any leftovers for several days in the 'fridge or will keep well frozen, for several months. . .Lin

Lemon-Apple-Ginger Juice (And Muffins!)


2 big Granny Smith apples
1 lemon - juice and zest
1-1/2" chunk of ginger

Scrub and core the apple, cut into several pieces and put in a blender.  Add lemon juice and zest, finely chopped, peeled ginger and about 1-1/2c water.  Blend on high for a minute or longer.  Strain juice into a bowl or other container.  (Keep the pulp in the strainer.)  Pour half the juice over ice, if you'd like, and drink.

This makes 2 servings and is best fresh, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  The second serving will keep for one more day though, if kept covered in the 'fridge.  This is my favorite of the "cleansing drinks" I've made.  Next time I make this, I'll add a carrot.  The apples have just enough sweetness so that no honey or maple syrup is necessary.  Drink up - be well! . . . Lin

Lemon-Apple-Ginger—White Beet-Carrot-Craisin-Raisin-Almond Muffins

When I'm craving muffins, I always create a variation on a recipe my sister gave me long ago.  I usually make zucchini bread or zucchini-carrot muffins, but I've also used it with 2 cups of just about any combination of fruit and/or vegetables:  zucchini-banana, pumpkin, apple, carrot-pineapple, frozen berries and cherries, fresh cranberries and orange zest. . .it's one where you just use whatever you have in the kitchen.

*1c lemon-apple-ginger pulp
1c finely chopped carrots and white beet
3 eggs
1-1/2c sugar
1c coconut oil - melted
3/4c craisins and raisins 
1t vanilla

2c flour
1c quick cooking oats
1t each: baking soda and salt
1/2t baking powder
1-2T cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
3/4c chopped almonds or pecans

In a large bowl, stir the first 7 ingredients together well with a big spoon.  (*If you only want to make the muffins, 1c of applesauce can be substituted for the juice pulp.)  Let stand for 10 minutes or more to hydrate the craisins and raisins.  In a medium bowl, combine the next 6 dry ingredients, stirring well until completely incorporated.  Add contents of this bowl to the large bowl.  Stir for a couple minutes until there are no more dry areas.  Spoon into paper lined muffin tins, or greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350°.  50-60 minutes for regular size loaves, and about 30 minutes for very large muffins.

When done just right, the centers spring back when touched and the tops are lightly browned.  This made 12 BIG muffins. . .Lin

Pumpkin Cheesecake Soufflé' (gluten-free)

4 lg. egg yolks
5oz. cream cheese
5oz. canned pumpkin
1t pumpkin pie spice
1/2c sugar
 ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~
4 lg. egg whites

I've just discovered a recipe online for the 3 ingredient Japanese Cotton Cheesecake - How interesting!  I haven't tried it yet, but decided to make my own pumpkin variation. . .

However. . .I'm not a baker and I've never made nor eaten a scuffle' and, this one did not come out of the pan well.  Possibly using a spring-form pan would help. . .It was light, fluffy, yet a surprisingly small amount really filled me up!  Maybe all that air?

Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a medium bowl, combine everything (except the egg whites.)  Whip these ingredients with a whisk or beat with a hand mixer until blended smooth.  If you used a mixer, wash the beaters well.  Beat the egg whites in another medium bowl until they form stiff peaks.  Fold the fluffy egg whites into the egg-pumpkin mixture, a little at a time.

When combined, pour into a well buttered angel food cake pan.  Put the pan on a baking sheet with sides.  Pour cool water onto the baking sheet, around the cake pan, most of the way up the baking sheet edges.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.  Turn off heat and open the oven door.  Leave there for 10 minutes.  Move to a burner grate or a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  Invert and transfer cake from pan to a serving plate.  Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar if you'd like, cut and serve. . .Lin  

Fresh Black Bean and Rice Salad

3/4c brown and wild rice
3 med. cucumbers 
6 sm. Roma tomatoes
1 med. purple onion
3 cloves garlic - minced
20 basil leaves - chopped
1 bunch of parsley - chopped
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon

1 can drained, rinsed black beans
3/4c sliced red olives - optional
1/3c extra virgin olive oil
1t sea salt
1t ground rosemary
1/2t ground red and black pepper

Cook rice according to directions, cover and set aside.  Chop cucumbers, tomatoes and onion into a large glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and rice.  Fold together, cover and chill for at least an hour.  Some crumbled feta cheese would be the perfect addition, just before serving. . .Lin

Cherry-Berry Yogurt Sorbet

3c plain Greek yogurt
3c frozen cherry-berry mix
1/3c organic honey

Put all the yogurt, half the berries and all the honey in the blender.  Pulse and blend until smooth.  Pour half into a medium plastic bowl.  Add remaining fruit to the blender, blend again until all the fruit is incorporated.  Pour into the bowl.  Stir together until both batches are combined.

Freeze, stirring every half hour for the next 2 hours until it reaches serving consistency.  Any leftovers will freeze very hard.  Each half cup serving is under 100 calories with 0 fat.  A good ice cream alternative. . .Lin

Vegetable Chowder

4 big ears of corn
(not skinny young ones)
1 bunch of beet greens
3 carrots - scrub and chop
1 Anaheim or Poblano pepper - seed and chop
1 onion - chopped
2T good, dark, gritty bacon fat
1/2-1t ground red and black pepper
1# fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes

3c strained corn water
2T chicken Better Than Bullion
2c half and half
(or - 1c plain Greek yogurt and 1c half and half)
1 sm. bunch parsley - chopped

Steam the corn in 4c water in a big covered pan.  Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Chop the beet greens and wash them well in a salad spinner.  When clean and dry, set aside until later.  Cut the corn off the cobs and strain the corn water into another container.  Next, chop the carrots, pepper and onion the way you like them.   Combine these with the corn in a 5 qt. pot with the bacon grease and pepper.  Simmer and stir until nicely brown.

Add finely chopped or grated potatoes, corn water and Better Than Bullion.  Stir and bring to a low simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and chill an hour or two.  Return to heat, simmer another 20 minutes.  Add beet greens and parsley, stir, cover and simmer on low 5-10 minutes.  Cool slightly, stir in half and half (or the combination of that and yogurt), heat to a simmer, check and correct seasonings and serve. . .Lin

Carob-Cinnamon-Coconut Brownies

2/3c melted coconut oil
2 jumbo eggs
1t pure real vanilla
1c sugar
3/4c organic flour
8T carob powder
1T ground cinnamon
1/2t baking powder
1/2t salt
~ 1c chopped pecans ~ optional

I was having a..Serious..Brownie..Craving..(where did THAT come from?)  I was remembering the great ones my mom always made from a recipe in her old "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" when I was a child.  Luckily for me, she bought me the same cookbook for a wedding shower present 48 years ago!!  Today I wanted to change it up though.  Instead of butter or shortening—coconut oil.  In place of squares of unsweetened chocolate—carob powder.  Carob works well for me since I'm caffeine sensitive.  A couple regular brownies will get me shaking more than a pot of coffee.  There's no caffeine in carob and it contains 3x the calcium of cocoa powder.  However, I'm not fond of the carob flavor, so today I decided the coconut oil and cinnamon would work together to give these brownies some wonderful flavor.

Combine melted coconut oil - don't buy the coconut oil that's liquid at room temperature.  That has none of that great coconut flavor.) eggs, vanilla and sugar in a medium bowl.  Whisk until well blended and sugar is dissolving.  Combine dry ingredients, put them all through a sifter or strainer to be sure there are no carob lumps and to blend everything well.  Sift-strain this into the bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, stir all this together well, for several minutes.

Scrape into a greased or sprayed 8-9" glass baking pan.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until done the way you like.  Cool a half hour or more, in the pan on a rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.  These don't have that wonderful rich flavor that chocolate gives, but they're good.  For an even healthier option, use gluten-free flour. . . Lin

Tomato Garlic Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
6 garlic cloves
2/3 medium onion
3/4 lime - juice
zest of one lemon
1/2t Himalayan pink salt
1/2t chili powder
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2c plain Greek yogurt

As much as I love firm avocado slices in a salad or on a sandwich, I've never been a fan of guacamole.  It's usually just mushy and tasteless.  So I decided to try making something flavorful out of these soft organic ones that got lost in my 'fridge.

Seed, peel and mash or chop the avocados into a medium bowl.  Wrap garlic in a paper towel and microwave for 10-15 seconds.  They will peel easily.  Finely mince the garlic, chop the onion and add to the bowl.

Add the lime juice and zested lemon peel.  Sprinkle on the seasonings, add tomatoes only - no juice and yogurt.  (20+ gm protein/serving is the best kind.)

You can strain the tomato juice into a glass and add ice to have with this.  Or, if you're so inclined, also add a splash of lemon juice, spices and Vodka for a small Bloody Mary.

Finely chopped parsley or cilantro would also be a good addition to the guac.  Also, some fresh grilled corn and/or black beans for an even heartier guacamole would be a nice change.  Mix cover and refrigerate for an hour.  Serve with chips, crackers or vegetables. . .Lin

Gluten Free Greens and Vegetable Quiche'

5 jumbo eggs
1/2c half and half
3T corn flour
1/4t baking powder
1t salt
1/2-1t chili powder
1/2t cumin
1 BIG handful of arugula and baby spinach
5 lg. cloves garlic
1/2 med. onion
1/2 orange or red pepper
8oz. canned chopped tomatoes--no juice
2-4oz. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs and half and half together.  Mix together the dry ingredients then sift them into the eggs, whisking all the while.  Chop the greens (You could use any dark, flavorful greens.  Beet greens or kale would work well.)  Mince the garlic, finely chop the onion and pepper and stir into the bowl.  Stir in the tomatoes - you could also use a large, peeled and chopped, fresh tomato.  Butter or spray a large glass pie pan and pour in the quiche' mixture.  Top with cheese and a sprinkle of the chili seasoning. 

Bake at 350° 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes, cut and serve.  If there are leftovers, they keep well, covered, in the 'fridge for several days.  This reheats well for a quick breakfast. . .Lin