Living and Eating Well!

 

Spicy Tuesday – Spicy Carrot Hummus – Coriander

Now that the Easter Bunny has made his appearance, we’re using his favorite snack as one of ours, too! Carrots are roasted with pungent garlic for this easy recipe, along with chickpeas and a condiment called Harissa. That’s where this week’s spice appears, coriander.

Harissa is sometimes called the ketchup of North Africa. Full of peppers and garlic, caraway seeds and coriander seeds, it is medium hot with lots of flavor. If you aren’t a fan of “warm” foods as we are, you can begin the recipe with two tablespoons of harissa, and add more as you taste the hummus.

Coriander seeds add a roasty, nutty citrus flavor to the hot sauce. The seeds are a good source of manganese, iron and magnesium as well. They have eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins, each having a number of beneficial properties. Using spices in your cooking adds flavor and lots of nutrition as well!

Spicy Carrot Hummus – Coriander

1 – 2 LB Carrots, peeled if desired and chopped coarsely in 1” pieces

4 Garlic Cloves, peeled

¼ Cup plus 1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

1 ½ Cups Veg Broth

1 ½ Cup Cooked Chickpeas OR 1 (15 ½ OZ) Can, rinsed and drained

3 TB Almond Butter OR Tahini

4 TB Harissa Paste

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 TB Honey

Step One

Toss the carrots and garlic together with 1 TB of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slide into a 400F oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Step Two Combine the veg broth, roasted carrots and garlic, cooking liquid and chickpeas in a food processor and puree. Add the olive oil and tahini and puree until smooth.

Step Three Add the harissa, juice and honey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Puree to combine, adjusting the seasoning as desired.

Spicy Tuesday – Strawberry Ricotta and Almond Parfaits – Mint

There’s nothing like spring in the air and strawberries in season to inspire a recipe. This one is super easy, super fast AND super delicious. This one is great for home – or easy to transport for a start-of-the season picnic. The easiest way? Try putting it in a small mason jar as we have done in the picture. The result is cute and convenient.

The ingredients in this quick dessert taste great, and are good-for-us too! Even our garnish of mint brings goodies to our table!

Mint is a great palate cleanser and promotes digestion. It also soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief. Also, if you are someone who travels long distances via plane or boat, the menthol oil derived from mint can be very soothing for nausea and related motion sickness.

Strawberry Ricotta and Almond Parfaits – Mint

1 Pint Strawberries, chopped finely

1 Cup Light Ricotta Cheese

1/2 Tsp Almond Extract

½ Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds

Fresh Mint for Garnish

Layer the chopped strawberries in a small jar or parfait glass. Stir the cheese and almond extract together in a small bowl, and then layer on top of the strawberries. Sprinkle on the almonds and garnish with mint.

Spicy Tuesday – Spring Asparagus Salad with Tarragon Dressing – Tarragon

Can you believe that Easter is on Sunday? Neither can we. You don’t have to panic though!  Planning for a family and friends dinner isn’t too hard when you keep a couple of easy dishes like this one in mind.  Add a perfectly roasted chicken, a side of healthy whole grains and some fresh fruit for dessert, and you are ready for the Easter Egg hunt!
Tarragon is our secret weapon in this dressing. One of the glorious fresh flavors of spring , it provides  the perfect foil to the rich green taste of the roasted asparagus. Shake up a double batch of dressing and keep it in your fridge to marinate a pice of salmon for dinner later on in the week.
Tarragon is traditionally used to stimulate a persons appetite and to alleviate anorexic symptoms. It also has a good amount of iron, vitamin A and C. The amounts may be small but if you use this dressing multiple days as we suggested then you get in a good amount of these essential nutrients and vitamins.
Spring Asparagus Salad with Tarragon Dressing
1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 – 2 LBs Asparagus
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Tarragon Dressing
2 Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper
Drizzle the oil over asparagus that you have spread out on a sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes or until desired “doneness”. Remove from the oven, toss with the dressing, and add the tomatoes on top.
Tarragon Dressing
1 Garlic Clove
1/4 Tarragon Leaves, packed
2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Local Honey
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Add the garlic to a food processor and chop finely. Add the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth.

Spicy Tuesday – Salad Bar Fun – Cilantro

One of our favorite meals to share with others is a salad. No, not one with a choice of dressing – but a cornucopia of delicious tiny bites that make up a wonderful plate for lunch or dinner. We like to pick and choose from what looks good in the market – but you can add your own favorites to the “salad bar” as well!

Start with a bed of crunchy or beautiful fresh lettuces. Then add components like:
Roasted red peppers
Cucumbers or pickles
Green onions
Tomatoes
Chopped Eggs
Capers and olives
Goat Cheese or other shredded cheese
Peppers – sweet or Hot
Chickpeas or beans
Salmon or shrimp
Chopped roasted sweet potato or butternut squash
The list is only limited to your imagination!

And of course, a luscious choice of dressings are always important.  The one crucial component in both of these yummy dressings is the pop of the cilantro. Cilantro adds bright flavor and a wealth of nutrition benefits. Cilantro is an antimicrobial and helps pull out heavy metals from the body. It is used in many “detox” type juices and smoothies. It is also being studied as a natural water purifier.

Cilantro Vinaigrette
1/4 Cup Packed Cilantro – leaves and stems
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 TB Dijon
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Add all the ingredients to a blender and purée until smooth.

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
3 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Packed Cilantro – leaves and stems
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Add the garlic to a food processor and chop finely. Add the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth.

Have fun with your own salad bar – Let us know what you chose to offer!

Spicy Tuesday – Happy St Patricks Day – Brussels Sprouts Salad

Happy St Patricks Day! We’re busy celebrating with our families and friends – but want to pass on this yummy recipe for a green salad full of crucerious goodness. You can pass on the cabbage today and enjoy this yummy salad!

It doesn’t get more green than this brussels sprouts salad from Spicy Tuesday recipe on March 12th 2013. Just search by brussels sprouts and you’ll find this delicious pot of green!

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Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Veggie Soup – Rosemary

Here in Georgia, March is living up to its reputation! In like a Lion – we are keeping our fingers crossed that it goes out like a lambJ Soup is always welcomed in our households and in our cooking classes. Especially one like this that is so power-packed with veggies, we are serious when we say, “Its great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!”

Along with a cornucopia of yummy veggies, Rosemary is one of a trio of herbs that you can use to finish this soup. It is full of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Rosemary can help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune system, and promote hair growth. We get so excited when the food we eat promotes such great wellness. So eat up and enjoy the soup!

Roasted Veggie Soup

2 Cups Chopped Red Onion

6 Cloves Peeled Garlic

4 Yukon Gold Potato, Chopped

1 Cup Chopped Carrots

1 Cup Chopped Parsnips

1 Head Cauliflower, Chopped

3 Red Peppers, Seeded and Chopped

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TB Herbes de Provence

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

4 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Can (15 ½ Oz Fire Roasted Tomatoes)

The Garnish

1 Cup Non Fat Greek Yogurt

2 TB Lemon Juice, divided

2 Tomatoes, Seeded and Chopped

Fresh Thyme, Rosemary or Basil Chopped for Garnish

Step One Preheat oven to 400F.

Step Two On 2 aluminum foil or parchment lined baking sheets, toss the onion, garlic cloves, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower and peppers with the olive oil and herbes de provence. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Roast the vegetables for about an hour or until they are tender.

Step Three Pour the broth and fire roasted tomatoes into a stock pot and add the roasted vegetables. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

Step Four Add 1 TB of lemon juice to the yogurt. In another small bowl, toss the tomatoes with the other TB of lemon juice.

Step Five Taste for salt and pepper. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. Serve, topped with the yogurt mixture, the tomatoes and the chopped herbs.

Spicy Tuesday – Ancient Grains Stuffed Tomatoes – Basil


Even in the coldest days of winter, the bright acidity and sweet flavor of tomatoes can seduce us. Ahh, we can’t wait for the month of August when the siren sound of drippy juicy tomatoes fulfills us! While we wait for better “tomato days”, here’s a way to make those hard, unripe, out-of-season tomatoes taste better. Of course, we would never throw away the seeds and middles of the tomatoes. All of it pops right into the veggie stock bag to enrich our next pot of stock.

Basil is one of the hallmark herbs of the Mediterranean. Lucky for us, it’s grown hydroponically and in greenhouses all over the country, which allow us to enjoy its herbal, sweet, spicy woody flavor year round. Basil contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins. Basil is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Ancient Grains Stuffed Tomatoes – Mediterranean Style

2 Cups Prepared Brown Rice

2 Cups Prepared ANCIENT GRAINS like Farro, Sorghum, Freekeh or Kamut***

½ Cup Pitted and Chopped Oil Cured Black Olives

½ Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes OR Chopped Roasted Red Peppers

½ Chopped Fennel or Celery

¼ Cup Capers

¼ Cup Basil, Chiffonade

1 Recipe Mediterranean Vinaigrette

6 Cups Shredded Kale, Napa Cabbage, Chard or Bok Choy

12 Roma Tomatoes, halved and hollowed out with a melon baller

1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Step One Toss the rice, ancient grains, olives, tomatoes or peppers, fennel or celery and capers together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Mediterranean Vinaigrette, reserving 2 TBs.

Step Two Place the shredded lettuces on a large tray and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Fill each tomato half with about 2 TBs of the ancient grains mixture. Place on top of the lettuces and sprinkle with the crumbled feta.

***We cook ANCIENT GRAINS in the healthy kitchen all the time. They are easy to make! Instead of the 1-2-3 method we use for cooking rice, (2 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt to 1 Cup of Rice equals 3 Cups of Cooked Rice), we use 3 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt and 1 Cup of Ancient Grains. After stirring the salt and grains into the water, we let it come back up to a boil, turn it down to barely simmering, cover and let it simmer away for about 45 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. When ancient grains are done properly they have a delicious “tooth” or al dente texture.

Mediterranean Vinaigrette

¼  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Sherry Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Orange Juice

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste

Shake the ingredients together in a small jar.

Spicy Tuesday – Sweet Potato Maple Brownies – Cinnamon

Its that chocolate time of the year. You know – the time when the profusion of red velvet hearts tempts you the minute you walk in the grocery store. This week’s recipe is just in time to help you combat all the bad chocolate out there – and enjoy the really good stuff!

Buying chocolate is all about being a label detective. Here’s the list of what you should look for:

  1. 70% or higher Cocoa Solids, Chocolate Mass, Cacao, or Chocolate Liqour. The higher the percentage, the more heart healthy the chocolate will be for you!
  2. Chocolate is the first ingredient on the Ingredients list.
  3. You should NOT see the words processed with alkali or dutch processed. These words indicate that the chocolate has been processed. We all know what that means! The more processing, the less good-for-us results!

Cinnamon is another ingredient in these delicious treats. Cinnamon and chocolate are a match made in heaven! Our culinary friends in Mexico seldom cook without cinnamon when they create chocolate desserts and savories!

Cinnamon has been consumed since 2000 BC in ancient Egypt. And we still consume large masses of it today! However, now we know that it also has health benefits including helping diabetics control blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also has some anti-inflammatory benefits and is full of calcium and fiber.

Maple Sweet Potato Brownies

1 Cup Almond Meal

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/4 Tsp Fine Sea Salt

1 Cup Cooked Sweet Potato

1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

2 TB Canola Oil

1 TB Almond Butter

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Egg Yolk

6 Egg Whites

Step One Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step Two In a food processor, combine sweet potato, maple syrup, oil, almond butter, vanilla and egg yolk. Purée until combined and smooth.

Step Three Gradually mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until JUST combined.

Step Four In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Then, using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into batter. Place in a parchment lined, non-stick sprayed 9 x 9 x2” square pan and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to rest until cool before cutting them.

Spicy Tuesday – Lemon Thyme Honey Goat Cheese – Thyme

Chilly, windy and brisk are three words that describe our weather here in Georgia. Those of you who live in the Northeast are probably looking at our temps and thinking, “Looks balmy to me!” But we are cold. Our answer? Soup!

What goes better with soup, than a simple side of Goat Cheese and local honey flavored with thyme and lemon zest. According to the National Institutes of Health, honey is an antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory. Who knew the product of flower nectar transformed by bees could be so wonderful? And when you add thyme leaves to the soup you also get potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. We always say the more power in your dish the better!

Serve your Lemon Thyme Honey Goat Cheese with whole wheat bread for dippers as we did here – or it’s a tasty way to get more veggies when you add crudités. If you have leftovers of the delicious cheese, use it to make a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich, or as a spread on a pita pocket, filled with shredded Napa Cabbage and Sliced Roasted Red Peppers.

You can make the dip with thyme and lemon, or shake it up with basil and orange, or sage, or even one of our favorite herbs, parsley. Choose your herb, choose your citrus and have fun.

Lemon Thyme Honey Goat Cheese

1 Cup Local Honey

1 TB Lemon Zest

1 TB Chopped Thyme Leaves

1 Log Goat Cheese

Whole Wheat Baguette

Crudités

Warm the cup of honey over low heat until barely simmering. Remove from the heat and add in the zest and thyme.  Let sit for fifteen minutes until you pour over the goat cheese and serve it with baguette slices or crudités.

Spicy Tuesday – Winter Citrus Spinach Salad with Rosemary Yogurt Dressing – Rosemary

When the wind is blowing and the sky is that winter color of gray, soup is in order. We hear you! But we’re not featuring soup this week; cause its time to shake it up with a wintery citrus salad. After all that warm comfort food, the taste of bright oranges and grapefruits can be a real palate opener. Close your eyes and lets dream of warmer days…

This is a great salad because it highlights what is in season during the cold days of winter. The orange, grapefruit, and pomegranate give you a boost of Vitamin C to fight off the cold and flu season. Rosemary is an herb that not only tastes good in culinary dishes but is also a good source of iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6. 

Winter Citrus Spinach Salad with Rosemary Yogurt Dressing

Dressing

¼ Cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1 TB Orange Zest

2 TB Orange Juice

1 TB Grapefruit Juice

2 Tsp Dijon Mustard

¼ Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 Tsp Minced Shallot

½ Tsp Minced Rosemary

¼ Tsp Each Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Whisk the EVOO, zest, juices, mustard, and yogurt together in a small bowl. Add the shallots, rosemary, salt and pepper. Set aside while you make the salad.

Salad

1 Large Bunch Spinach, or other Power Greens

3 Large Oranges

1 Grapefruit

Seeds from One Pomegranate

1/2 Shallot, sliced thinly

1 TB Rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Step One Cut the very top and bottom off of the oranges. Carefully slice off the peel, removing the white pith. Cut into 1/2″ thick slices. Repeat with the grapefruit

Step Two Spread spinach on a large platter, pour three-quarters of the dressing over the spinach. Place the oranges and grapefruit on top. Scatter with pomegranate seeds and shallots. Finish with a final drizzle of dressing, a rosemary sprig, a pinch of sea salt, and black pepper.