Rainbow Chard Breakfast Pie - (gluten-free)

1 bunch of rainbow chard
a handful of garlic scapes
2 lg. cloves of garlic
⅓lg. red pepper
8 lg. eggs
½c half and half

3T corn flour
1t black pepper
½t baking soda
½t baking powder

¾c cooked, drained bacon crumbles
4oz. sharp hard cheese

Steam the finely chopped stems and cut up leaves, of the chard 10-15 minutes, drain.  Chop the next 3 ingredients.

In a medium glass bowl, whisk the eggs and half and half together.  When well blended, add the dry ingredients and continue to whisk well.  (1t of pink Himalayan is shown, but not listed.  The bacon provides enough sodium)  Butter a glass pie pan, add half the cooked chard, half the chopped vegetables, then half the egg mixture, repeat then sprinkle on the bacon and cheese.  Bake at 350° 20-25 minutes. . .Lin

1 Giant Healthy Salad

½ cucumber - scrubbed
½ lg. roma tomato
½ avocado
1c broccoli florets
⅓ med. yellow onion
1 med. carrot - scrubbed
1 big handful flat leaf parsley
2T crushed salad croutons
splash of Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing *

This is such an easy salad and has tremendous health benefits in each of the main ingredients.  Slice the carrot very thin, chop or slice all the rest and mix in a big salad bowl.  Be creative though, if you're missing a couple of these ingredients. . .Improvise!. . .Substitute! . . . Lin

Red, Green and Purple Steamed Vegetables

½ lg. head green cabbage
½ med. head purple cabbage
1 red beet - scrub-don't peel
1 scarlet turnip - scrub-don't peel
1c water
1t of each of the spices shown
1t fresh ground garlic sea salt

1 bunch beet greens-(slice) + stems-(chop)
½ med. yellow onion - chopped
⅓ lg. red bell pepper - sliced
2-3t spicy coriander (cilantro) chutney
3-4T basil pesto

⅓ bunch fresh cilantro - leaves + stems - chopped

Cube the cabbage into 1" pieces.  Slice, chop the beet and turnip.  If you use turnip of any kind, slice-chop small, mine didn't cook quite enough and were chewy.  Rinse the chopped beet in a strainer.  This will minimize the amount of discoloration of the lighter vegetables.  Add water and seasonings, cover and steam (once you hear the water boiling) for 15 minutes.  Add the next group of ingredients and a little more water if needed, when this begins to steam again, continue steaming for another 15 minutes.

Sprinkle on the cilantro, cover and remove from the heat for 10 minutes.  Stir and serve.  This is a really healthy vegetable dish.  Mmmm have I mentioned How Much I Love Vegetables!!  This would be perfect by itself, with maybe a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs and grated hard cheese.  It would also be good with grilled steak, chicken or fish. (or, with leftover ahi tuna meatloaf 😋). . .Lin

Garlic Lemon Chicken with Kale and Beans

1½# chicken breast meat
2T extra virgin olive oil
1T salt & pepper base seasonings*
1c± water or dry white wine
½ med. yellow onion

6 lg. cloves garlic - sliced
⅓ lg. red pepper - sliced
1 lemon - zest and juice

½ bunch flat leaf kale
black beans - rinsed and drained
cannelloni beans - rinsed and drained
½ chopped cilantro stems and leaves

Saute' the chicken in the olive oil until browning.  Add seasonings, water or wine, as needed to keep it from sticking.  *I used fresh ground garlic sea salt and a really good lemon pepper in addition to the one shown.  Add the onion and continue to stir as needed to keep everything from sticking.  If the liquid is thin, stir in a tablespoon of corn starch to thicken it up.  Add the next group of ingredients, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Next add beans, then top with kale, again cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.

Stir, turn off heat, put the cilantro on top of everything.  Cover and let stand a bit, then stir and serve.  This makes 6 - 300 calorie servings, or 4 - 450 calorie servings. . .Lin

Simple Kale Salad

1 bunch of flat leaf kale
1 small onion - sliced thin
1-2 carrots - grated
½c slivered almonds

Mizkan Sesame Dressing

Optional extras: finely minced fresh garlic, and/or ginger, craisins, golden raisins, chopped apple, chopped pear, mandarin orange segments.

Slice the ribs out of the kale leaves.  Cross cut the leaves in ¼" ribbons.  Wash and spin them in a salad spinner to remove all the water.  Put in a medium glass bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.  Drizzle - very lightly - with the sesame dressing, a little goes a long way!  I kept it very simple today, but this salad would be great with any of the optional ingredients added. . .Lin

Ahi Tuna Burgers

I'm not a Tuna Melt person.  Somehow there's a bitterness there I don't like.  When thinking about lunch or dinner today, the ahi tuna steaks in the freezer came to mind, but no cheese please. . .  Then I remembered how good panko bread crumbs, with the right seasonings and a bit of parmesan cheese can be together. . .  Hmmm. . . tuna burgers?  Yup, I was off and running!  Well, not running, but walking to the kitchen to gather up ingredients to create my version of Ahi Tuna Burgers.

8oz. ahi tuna steaks
1 sm-med onion
¼ green pepper
2 stalks celery
1 egg
¼c half and half
1t lemon pepper
1t chili lime seasoning
1c panko breadcrumbs
3T grated parmesan cheese

Chop the tuna when it's thawed to the popsicle stage.  Put it into a medium size glass bowl, with folded paper towels underneath, to absorb the liquid.  Let stand until tuna is completely thawed, then remove paper towels.  Add finely chopped vegetables and the remaining ingredients.  Season only if using plain breadcrumbs.

Form patties and brown over medium heat in a little butter.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side.  You could also put this in a small buttered loaf pan and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, for an ahi tuna meatloaf.  This amount of ingredients creates 5 - 4oz.  servings - at about 140 calories each.  It was really good drizzled with a little of my sriracha mayonnaise. . .
Be Bold. . .Be Creative!  Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Italian Sausage Hash

12oz. mild Italian sausage
1-2T butter
1 med. yellow onion - chopped
1c± dry white wine
2 lg. celery stalks - finely diced
¼ med. green pepper - chopped
5 lg. cloves of garlic - chopped
3c small cubed potatoes
6oz. red pasta sauce
1-2T aged balsamic vinegar

Squeeze sausage out of the casings into the pan.  Add butter and a little of the onion, finely chopped.  Saute' this together, breaking up the sausage.  Add a little of the wine to keep the meat from sticking, it also adds great flavor.  Chop, dice and cube the rest of the vegetables and add them to the pan.  Stir in the red sauce, the rest of the wine and the vinegar.  The vinegar will cut the grease and balance the flavors.  Cover and simmer until the celery is done.  This made 4-6 servings. . .Lin

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

1# chicken breast meat
1 med. yellow onion
2T butter
¾c dry white wine
2 big sweet potatoes
1c chopped celery + tops

1 16oz. jar curry sauce
⅔c your favorite chopped nuts
8 medjool dates - cut up with scissors

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and saute' with a little piece of the onion, finely chopped, in a 5qt. pot.  Add the wine, in little dribbles, to keep this from sticking while browning.  When lightly browned, after about 10 minutes, add the rest of the vegetables and a little water if needed, cover and simmer another 10 minutes.

Cover with the curry sauce, adding ½c of water to the empty jar and shake.  Pour this into the pot.  Cover and simmer on low another 30-40 minutes, or until the celery is done.

Stir in the nuts and dates for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.  Serve as is, or over steamed brown basmati rice. . .Lin

Steamed Turkey - Two Ways - Soup & Salad

Turkey-Wild Rice - Split Pea Soup

2½# skinned boiled-steamed turkey breast
2T sunflower-coconut oil
2+c chopped celery + tops
5 lg. cloves minced garlic
1 med. onion - chopped
2 carrots scrubbed - chopped
1c wild rice

¾c split peas
32oz. homemade vegetable broth
¼c basil pesto
2T coriander (cilantro) chutney

Skin the breast and cut away any fat.  Steam in a covered frying pan with about an inch of water, slowly, until a fork that's been poked into the thickest part, to the bone, comes out easily.  An hour or longer.  Remove and put on layers of paper towel to cool and drain.  

Meanwhile, in a 5qt. pot, combine the rest of that group of ingredients on medium heat.  Stir-saute' until the onions become a little translucent and the rice starts to sizzle snap.  Add the peas and the vegetable broth, simmer on low at least an hour until the peas and rice are tender.  Add the pesto, chutney and about 1½# of sliced-cubed turkey.  Heat to a simmer again and serve.  After a day or so, the liquid all absorbs and this becomes Turkey-Wild Rice - Split Pea Casserole 😀 . . . Lin

Turkey Salad

1# of small diced turkey
1c finely diced celery
⅓c drained capers
⅓c chopped sweet pickles
2T dried onion
a little sour cream
enough sriracha mayonnaise to hold it together

Mix well and chill an hour to infuse the turkey with the flavors.  Serve on a bed of butter lettuce leaves. . .Lin

Steamed and Raw Vegetable Salad

½ sm. head of cauliflower
½ sm bunch of broccoli
3 med. carrots - scrubbed

½ tight, heavy head of iceberg lettuce
3 mini English cucumbers

Slice the carrots diagonally in thin-medium-thick slices.  Put in a 2qt. pot with a little water.  Steam for about 4 minutes.  Add the cauliflower and broccoli and steam another 4 minutes.  Immediately drain and rinse in cold water, then put everything back into the pot and cover with very cold water to chill 5-10 minutes.  Drain in a colander, shake occasionally.  Put paper towel in the bottom of the colander and let stand a few minutes longer, until they're well dried.

Cut the lettuce into cubes, break them up a little, wash in your salad spinner.  Spin-dry well, then transfer to a large bowl.  Scrub and partially peel the cucumbers.  Slice lengthwise twice, then cross cut into ¼" quarter pieces, and add to the lettuce.  Once the steamed vegetables are cool and dry, toss them with the fresh vegetables, add tomatoes, croutons, grated cheese, etc.  Top with your favorite dressing.  This is a nice color and texture change from a regular tossed salad. . .Lin

Forgotten Meatloaf and Vegetables

1# frozen chicken-beef meatloaf - thawed
frozen peas and carrots
small mixed potatoes
2T butter

In digging around my freezer, I unearthed this piece of a meatloaf that was leftover and frozen when I made it in November of 2017.  This turned out so well!

Scrub and cut the potatoes small enough to cook the same time as the peas and carrots.  Put this in a pan with the butter and seasonings.  Simmer covered, to get the water out of the peas and carrots quickly.  Stir to keep everything from sticking.  Add sliced meatloaf for the last 5-10 minutes, cover and turn off the heat.

This made enough for 2 servings.  Leftovers are wonderful!  A Comfort Food Dinner ready in a very short time. . .Lin

Avocado Toast

1T mayonnaise
1t finely snipped chives
fresh ground garlic salt
cayenne-black pepper
½ barely ripe avocado
1 lg. rectangular piece of sunflower seed bread*

The avocado I used today is prefect for me, but not as ripe as usual for spreading, so I couldn't mash it and combine those first 5 ingredients.  Instead I mixed the first 4 together in a small bowl.  Cut the bread into 2 smaller squares and toasted them.  Spread the mayo mixture on the toast then add thinly sliced avocado.  The tomatoes and Cherry Kool-Aid Pickles finished this off just great!  The total calorie count for this breakfast was around 475. . .Lin  *Pumpernickel and Whole Rye are also available at Aldi grocery stores.  

Cranberry-Nectarine Yogurt Smoothie

I've had several autoimmune health issues, progressively worsening, over the past several years.  Additionally, it appears my metabolism is shifting.  Some days I'm not at all hungry, while during others, I'm ravenous!  During those that are less food oriented, I'm also more productive and feel more energetic.  My sleep patterns are similarly wonky.  Some nights I'm not tired and only sleep 4-5 hours, but after a short stretch of that, I'll usually find myself half asleep by 7pm.  I crash and sleep 10 or more hours.  I know activity, fresh air, routine and consistency all come into play - and - I'm working on it.

I also would like to get all sugar out of my diet.  I'm doing pretty well, with the one exception being a tiny pinch of natural sugar or honey in my tea or coffee, or a smoothie when I need a quick energy boost or to wipe out a sudden sweet craving.  This morning has been a very hungry one, preceded by a busy day yesterday where I didn't eat a lot.  Today I had some leftover turkey, wild rice and vegetables for breakfast, then a bit later, a bowl of steamed and fresh vegetable salad (which I haven't posted yet.)  While those were really healthy choices, I was hungry again and it was only noon!  So, this is my attempt to quench the hunger and the sweet craving for today.

6-8 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
2T ground flax and chia seeds
¾-1c plain Greek yogurt
2 sm. pitted nectarines
1T Pumpkin Pie Spice
2T Lingonberry jam
½ lemon - seeded

Yes, cut the lemon in half, remove the seeds then put the actual fruit part AND peel in with the other ingredients.  Blend this all together for a couple minutes on high.  Makes 3-4 cups.  I wish you success in keeping your food, sleep, productivity, energy and activities all in balance! . . .Lin

Southwest Vegetables

24oz. nopalito strips - canned cactus
1 can black beans - drain and rinse
same amount of frozen or canned corn
1T dehydrated minced onion
½-¾ chunky salsa - use mild

feta, parmesan or asiago cheese
seasoned panko bread crumbs

Drain and rinse the cactus - many times!  They're pretty spicy and also very salty.  Had I realized that sooner, I would have used a milder salsa.  Combine the first group of ingredients, let stand an hour to rehydrate the onions, then serve, heated with cheese and breadcrumbs.  This makes a wonderful Mexican Vegetable Casserole!  I'm a total vegetable freak and just love things like this.

While visiting my sister, north of Tucson, AZ, we scored some amazing nopalitos, which are the pads of the prickly pear cactus, at a local Farmer's Market.  Sadly, after de-'spiking' and prepping them, I forgot an all important step to get rid of the slime.  That cooking adventure ended up in the garbage!  This turned out so well!  If I'd had onion and colorful peppers today, I might have also added celery and omitted the corn and beans.  But it will be great when I make it that way also.

Be Bold, Be Adventurous - Happy Cooking! . . . Lin

Fresh and Crunchy Vegetable-Spaghetti Salad

12-16 oz. spaghetti, broken, cooked and chilled
1 sm. jar capers, drained and rinsed
a double recipe of Lemon Oil Dressing *
2-4 T basil pesto
Italian seasoning, black pepper, garlic sea salt
5-8oz. fresh grated parmesan cheese
~ or crumbled feta cheese

Cook the spaghetti to al dente' stage, rinse in cold water, drain well.  Put this into a big glass bowl and add the rest of the first ingredient group.  Toss this then wash, chop and the prep the vegetables.

3 Roma tomatoes, 1 very big purple shallot, 6-8 oz. fresh spinach, a couple bumpy pickling cucumbers, 2 sm.-med. yellow or green zucchinis, 3 celery stalks with tops. Toss all this together with the spaghetti, dressing and seasonings.  Chill and serve.  I've also found scooping out a bowl of this and microwaving it for about 30 seconds after it's been thoroughly chilled, seems to wake up the flavors. . .Lin

Pork Rib Stew

This started out, in my mind. . .as just meat, potatoes, onions and a little garlic sea salt and pepper, with a thick, simmered-reduced broth for gravy.  I bought the meat a while ago and freezer burn was starting to set in.  However, I peeked into the 'fridge and there were vegetables just CLAMORING to get into the pot!  So. . .Now it's stew! 😃 YEA!!  I love spontaneous cooking surprises!

1¾# seasoned pork ribs
½ an onion - minced
2T sunflower - coconut oil
a little water
⅓c white wine or Vodka

¾ of a poblano pepper
2 stalks of celery - sliced

2 big carrots - cut in chunks

1½ onions - in cut ¼ or ⅙ wedges
3 medium red potatoes cut in ⅛ chunks
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and juice
finely ground red and black pepper
2T powdered beef soup base
fresh ground garlic sea salt
1t sugar

Start by searing-browning the meat and onion in the oil.  Keep it moving!  Just before it starts to stick, add the water and wine or Vodka (or you can substitute chicken or beef broth.)

Next add the vegetables, in the order they're given, which takes their cooking time into account.  The pepper actually cooks fast, but if added now, will impart much more flavor.  Simmer, covered after each vegetable addition for 10-15 minutes, as you go down the list.

Simmer, covered an additional 20 minutes after the last group of ingredients.  You can thicken the 'gravy' if you want, with a little corn flour or corn starch.  If you haven't tried cooking with corn flour - (not corn meal) - give it a try!  I love it!  It gives the food an earthier flavor than wheat flour, and it's gluten-free!

Today has turned into A Wonderful House Day for me.  Pre-rainstorm-pensive!  My favorite kind!  My lawn guys were here early this morning, so my yard looks wonderful.  I've cooked, gotten started on some long-neglected paperwork, finished a couple easy projects and later, I'm going to have a little bowl of this interesting stew and curl up with my dogs and cat for a while. 😊

Happy Monday Everyone! 😀 . . . Lin

Spicy, Citrus Cleansing Drink

2T± organic honey
peel from one orange
1 lime - juice and peel
1 lemon - juice and peel
¼-½t± finely ground red and black pepper

Put everything in a covered mixing pitcher and fill with water.  Leave the pitcher in direct sunlight for a couple hours, mixing occasionally.  When the honey is melted and blended in, refrigerate.

This is a great cleansing drink - hot or cold. . .Lin

Chicken, Rice, Peas and Carrots

This recipe, with a few variations here and there, is becoming a repeat!  See original ↓ 4.  Today I changed up the spice profile a bit and didn't add onion.  (The little shaker is a combination of finely ground black and red pepper - an excellent blend!)  Start with 12oz. chicken breast meat, ½c uncooked white rice, and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil.  Saute' and stir for several minutes to brown the chicken and rice a bit.  Add a little chicken broth, seasonings, cover and shut off the heat.

Meanwhile, simmer ¼c split peas and 2 chopped carrots in 1c chicken broth for 20 minutes, then combine with the chicken and rice.  Simmer, covered, another 20 minutes, until the peas are cooked.  Serve as is, like a chicken-rice casserole. . .

OR - Before the last 20 minutes of cooking time, add a 28oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, sautéed' onions, peppers, and celery. . .and you've got a quick healthy soup. . .Lin

Rhubarb Sour Cream Bars

1½c unbleached organic flour
1T pumpkin pie spice
½c organic oat flour
2t baking powder
½c sugar
1t salt
2 beaten eggs
1c sour cream
½c melted butter

3c rhubarb sauce made with ¾c sugar

a coconut sugar - cane sugar blend

As most of you know. . .I don't bake much.  However, every so often an idea just won't let go.  Such was the case with my rhubarb.  I have a tiny (1' x 1½') patch and froze some from last year.  Sooo, I had 5½ cups of it staring at me every time I opened the freezer!  I Googled a couple recipes for ideas, but they weren't what I wanted, so I had to get creative and figure out my own ingredients.

Mix the first group to make the batter.  In a 12x8x3" buttered glass pan, spread half the batter, then spread the rhubarb sauce over that and top with the rest of the batter.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar or coconut and cane sugar.  Bake 40 minutes at 350°.  Cool then cut into 6-9 squares.  This is good for dessert or breakfast. . .Lin