Living and Eating Well!

 

Spicy Tuesday – Luscious Mole Shrimp Salad – Cilantro

Shrimp Mole Salad

Here’s a perfect entrée for your Valentine table. Chocolate and Shrimp? Yes! Unsweetened chocolate is used in cuisines around the world – today’s recipe uses Mexico as its inspiration for its zesty bold flavors. When using Chocolate for savory recipes, it’s important to use UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE, and think subtlety. Just a little bit of chocolate goes a long way!

This salad is not only gorgeous, but full of nutrition, too! Cilantro is cited as being an effective toxic metal cleaner for your body. This herb is powerful because it binds to metals and loosens them from the tissue. The bright flavors and colors of the peppers, purple cabbage and carrots bring an array of phytochemicals to the dish which all help support a healthy immune system.

Luscious Mole Shrimp Salad

1 TB Hot Sauce

1/2 Tsp Ancho Chili Powder

½ Tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

½ Tsp Turmeric

1/2 Tsp Cumin

2 TB Lime Juice

1 TB Lime Zest

2 TB EVOO

½ Tsp Sea Salt

1 LB Large (10 – 16) Shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

1 Cup Shredded Red Cabbage

1 Cup Prepared Tomatillo Salsa (Frontera brand has no added ingredients – that we don’t like)

1 Avocado in Slices

1 Red Pepper, Cut in Strips

1 Jalapeno, cut in thin rings (if desired)

½ Cup Chopped Cilantro

Step One Whisk the hot sauce, chili powder, cocoa, turmeric, cumin, lime juice, evoo and sea salt together. Place the shrimp in a plastic bag and then drizzle the mixture on the shrimp. Massage the bag so the shrimp is all coated and then set aside for 30 minutes.

Step Two Remove the shrimp from the bag and discard any remaining marinade. Grill the shrimp, (on a grill pan or cast iron skillet) until cooked through – about 2 minutes. Toss the napa, carrots and red cabbage together and place on a platter. Top with the shrimp and slices of avocado and peppers. Drizzle with the salsa and sprinkle the cilantro over the top.

Spicy Tuesday – Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili – Turmeric

Best Ever Fall Chili

Doesn’t Everyone Love Chili? WE DO! And this is the perfect weekend for a steaming hot bowl of slightly spicy, rich and warming chili! This is a little different than the same old “pot of red”. Its full of good for you ingredients, and the zingy taste of sweet potatoes and black beans.

We use orange, (red), lentils in this chili, an ingredient which may be new to you. Use Orange Lentils whenever you are making a creamy dish, as they are much softer when cooked, than green, black or brown lentils. We love lentils in the healthy kitchen, they are tiny powerhouses of flavor AND nutrition. Not only are they are super source of fiber lowering cholesterol – the same fiber helps regulate blood sugar! In a study lentils also provide significant amounts of folate and magnesium – perfect nutrition for a healthy heart! (February is HEART HEALTH month, too!)

We’ve added turmeric to our chili to further ramp up the good-for-you factor in this yummy soup. Turmeric is our go to powerhouse spice in the kitchen. Whenever we cook, we try and put this in it because of the curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric). Curcumin is an anti-oxidant and works on many facets of fighting diseases. For instance, in studies curcumin helps block enzymes that promote cancer growth. Another example is with digestion. Curcumin actually helps the gallbladder make bile to aid in a healthy gut. It is important to always include black pepper and a healthy fat (in this recipe it is oil) to any recipe that calls for turmeric to get better bioavailability.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

2 TB Grapeseed Oil

1 Cup Chopped Red Onion

1 Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper Chopped

3 Grated Garlic Cloves

2 (15 OZ) Cans Black Beans

4 Cups Chopped (about ½”) Sweet Potatoes, roasted at 425F for about 30 minutes with a sprinkle of turmeric, salt, pepper and EVOO

2 (15 OZ) Cans Fire Roasted Chopped Tomatoes

½ Cup Orange* Lentils

4 Cups Veggie Broth

1 TB Chili Powder

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions

1 TB Lime Juice

1 Cup Shredded Light Cheddar

½ Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil. When soft, add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the next 8 ingredients to the pot and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. When warmed through, stir in the cilantro and green onions. Serve with shredded light cheddar and yogurt if desired.

Spicy Tuesday – Kale and Basil Pesto – Basil

IMG_9261 (1)

Not only can kale make a delicious salad or side – it also makes a fabulous pesto, perfect for tossing with some whole-wheat pasta or as a “schmear” on a goat cheese topped crostini. The bright green color of the kale and basil make this pesto so appealing! Because we can get such beautiful basil in the winter as well as during basil season in summer, this a yummy condiment to make all year round.

Basil creates the peppery pop with this pesto. Basil has a lot of vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. It also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids. The essential oils in the pesto have many health benefits. One of those oils – eugenol – can block the activity of the harmful enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) which deals with the unwanted inflammation often found in the body. What a wonderful pesto this is to keep our body healthy and happy!

Kale and Basil Pesto

1 Garlic Clove

2 TB Tahini*

1 TB Lemon Juice

2 – 3 Cups Packed Shredded Green Curly Kale

1 Cup Packed Basil

½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts, Almonds or Pecans

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed. Add the walnuts, kale and basil and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. It’s easy to find in the grocery store, or just substitute almond butter instead.

Spicy Tuesday – Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup – Cilantro

 Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

When you set a big bowl of this warm and steamy soup on the table, you won’t have to ask the family or friends to come. They will be drawn the aroma that wafts out of the kitchen, enticing everyone who walks in the door. The cilantro and green onions that are used to garnish the soup are the perfect accompaniments to the savory fragrance. They add vibrant green flavor and color to the already pretty bowl.

We love using cilantro in so many of our dishes. Slightly grassy flavored with bright citrus overtones. It brings color, flavor and delicious nutrition to our food. Nutrition? Oh yes, cilantro is a natural cleansing agent. It is very effective in removing heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. The plant compounds actually loosen the toxins from tissue, blood and organs. Then these substances can more easily be eliminated from the body.

What a wonderful tasting and healthy winter soup!

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

1 TB Olive Oil

3 Cloves Garlic, Grated or Minced

2 TB Fresh Ginger, Grated or Minced

1 Tsp Chili Garlic Sauce, or more to taste, (in the international section of your grocery store)

1/2 Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Peppercorns

1 1/2 Tsp Cumin

4 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Pkg *Chinese Noodles (Mein) or Angel Hair Pasta

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

2 Cups Light Coconut Milk

1 LB Medium Shrimp

1 TB Fresh Lime Juice

2 TB Chopped Cilantro

3 TB Sliced Green Onions

Step One In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chili garlic sauce, pepper and cumin. Stir fry for about 1 minute to release the flavors. Add the Veg Broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step Two Add the noodles and carrots to the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Three Add the shrimp, lime juice and cilantro. Cook until the shrimp are just pink about 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning – add a little more chili garlic sauce if necessary. Serve garnished with the sliced green onions and cilantro.

*Chinese Noodles (Mein) The noodles used in Lo Mein or Chow Mein are made of wheat, so thin angel hair pasta can be substituted. For a change, use rice noodles: simply soak them in hot water for 5 minutes before adding them to the soup at the last minute.

Spicy Tuesday – Brussels Sprouts Slaw – Parsley

Brussels Sprouts Slaw

As far as we are concerned – the best part of cold, chilly winter is the veggies in season. That is the veggies of the cruciferous persuasion. All kinds of cabbages and root veggies are still growing down here in the south, so we use them lots to make up wonderful, power packed recipes like this one!

Brussels sprouts salads are quite trendy now, and can either be a better-for-you option like this one, or packed with fat, sugar and calories. We’ve chosen to ramp up the Brussels sprouts natural crunchy flavor with a little parmesan, some toasted walnuts, a delicious and easy dressing, and the bright green flavor of parsley.

Parsley’s not only beautiful color – You can say that Parsley is a super food! Studies show that parsley has myristicin, an organic compound that not only inhibits tumor formation (especially in the lungs), but also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps fight against oxidized molecules. It is also full of various antioxidants and Vitamin A and C to build your immune system.

Brussels Sprouts Slaw

24 LARGE Brussels Sprouts, shredded

¼ Cup Chopped Parsley

¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions + more for garnish

1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts, Almonds or Pecans

½ Cup Shredded Parmesan + more for garnish

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Red Wine Vinegar

2 Tsp Dijon

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Step One Shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor, mandolin or chop with a knife.

Step Two Toss the sprouts in a bowl, top with parsley, green onions, toasted walnuts and grated cheese.  In a small jar, add the olive oil, vinegar and mustard with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Put a lid on the jar and shake it up. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir thoroughly. Garnish with additional cheese and green onions.

Spicy Tuesday – Kale and Lemon Chicken Soup – Dill

Kale and Lemon Chicken Soup

Everyone needs a good chicken soup recipe as we slide into the cold weather months. This one not only has chicken and veggies, its also full of nutrition-packed herbs and our superfood friend, kale. The lemon adds a refreshing flavor to the soup, and allows us to use less salt to season it.

Parsley and Dill are herb partners in the warm and comforting soup. As you frequent readers of Spicy Tuesday know, Parsley is power packed with nutrition including apigenin, a potent cancer fighting compound. It also has Vitamin B 12, C, K, and A. And do not forget how parsley helps with kidney function because it can flush out excess fluid in your body. Dill not only tastes delicious with parsley it’s a nutritional superstar as well! Dill is a good source of calcium, fiber, iron and magnesium.

Kale and Lemon Chicken Soup

2 TB Unsalted Butter

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Cups Chopped Yellow Onion

2 Cups Chopped Carrot

2 Cup Chopped Celery or Fennel

2 Grated Garlic Cloves

Juice and Zest from 2 Large Lemons

8 Cups of Veg Stock

2 Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken

1/2 Cup Chopped Parsley

1 Cup Chopped Dill

2 Cups Chopped Kale

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Step One Melt the butter and oil together in a stock pot Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the butter mixture until soft, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook and stir for a minute until fragrant.

Step Two Add in the zest, juice and veg stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Then add in the shredded chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; add in the parsley, dill and kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

 

HAPPY HAPPY Holidays and a Joyous New Year, Too!

We’re talking some time off to be with our families and friends. We wish you the best of the season for you and yours! We’ll be back with another delicious and healthy recipe on “Spicy Tuesday” January 5th!

Spicy Tuesday – Avocado Love – Cilantro

 

Guacamole with Crudites

Its that crazy, hectic, fun time of the year! Time for parties, decorations, gift wrapping – and often – a meal on the go. Because of our busy schedules, its time to pull out one of our favorite recipes, one that is easy to make and create a myriad different meals.

That’s right – we are talking Guacamole! It doesn’t have to be served up with just chips, we use its green goodness with all kinds of veggies, too! A great dinner can be had with a bowl of guac, a platter of veggies and some romaine lettuce leaves for dipping, along with some warm corn tortillas. Make a double or triple batch to stuff into a pita for lunch tomorrow. Make an appetizer to take to the office by stuffing the green goodness into a brightly-colored baby pepper. The uses for this avocado yumminess are endless.

And what’s not to love about the herb-ey flavor of cilantro? Cilantro is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber. Plus, its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils and numerous polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin.

Best Ever Guacamole

4 Ripe Haas Avocados

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped, (Peeled

and Seeded) Tomatoes,

1 TB Minced Red Onion

1 Finely Chopped Jalepeno

1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

Kosher or Sea Salt to Taste

1 Cup Grated Light Cheddar Cheese

Halve, peel and pit the avocados and mash with the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Salt to taste and spread on a large platter. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Spicy Tuesday – Menestra – Artichokes, Green Beans and Asparagus – Black Pepper

120815 Spicy Tuesday - Menestra - Asparagus, Green Bean and Artichoke Side Dish

If you are looking for a delicious and different side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, here it is. We love the combination of flavors in this easy to fix veggie dish, and how impressive it looks on the table.

Menestra is not only full of gorgeous bright colors, it’s full of nutrition, too! The main ingredients, the beans, asparagus and artichokes all bring different nutrients to the recipe. The green beans provide lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin which are all important antioxidants for our bodies. And amazing asparagus is loaded with folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. It even has a trace mineral that helps insulin transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Finally, the artichokes are packed with antioxidants and ranks number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

Just because the only seasoning in the dish is salt and pepper doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flavor. Salt adds flavor, and pepper does, too! Pepper with its kick of spiciness has been used in cooking since antiquity and is the world’s most traded spice. It’s native to South India, although Vietnam is today’s largest producer and exporter. Our best culinary tip for Black Pepper is: ALWAYS grind it fresh. Those little metal tins or glass bottles of pre-ground pepper lack the flavor and spicy kick of fresh ground.

Pepper also brings lots of goodness to our healthy cooking. Peppercorns are composed of a health benefiting essential oil called piperine. This volatile oil gives spicy pungent character to the pepper and provides the cancer fighting component. Another way in which pepper is beneficial is by providing health to the digestive tract. And remember over 70% of a healthy immune system begins  in the gut so add pepper generously to this fabulous recipe!

Menestra de Verdures

(Green Beans, Asparagus and Artichokes)

1 LB French Green Beans

1 LB Asparagus Spears, Sliced into at least three pieces

2 Pkgs Frozen Artichoke Hearts, Defrosted

2 TB Olive Oil

2 Oz Chopped Serrano Ham (Smoked Proscuitto can be substituted)

½ Cup Minced Red Onion

2 Garlic Cloves, Grated

2 TB Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 Cup Vegetable Stock

1 TB Lemon Zest

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

Lemon Wedges

Step One

Blanch the green beans and asparagus by dipping them in boiling water and then dropping them in a bowl of ice water.

Step Two

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the ham over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until golden, add in the garlic and cook and stir for a minute. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Add in the vegetables and remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Taste for salt and pepper and serve with lemon wedges.

Spicy Tuesday – Italian Chickpea and Spinach Stew – Rosemary

Its soup time! As we roll into colder weather, soup seems to be the answer to many of our culinary challenges! Everyone loves the warm and tummy-filling feelings that soup gives. Once you share this one – we think that you will be making over and over again.

This soup is based on a traditional Roman Soup called Minestra di Ceci alla Romana. Chickpeas are used in cooking all over Italy, and this is a fun and different way to prepare them – it’s an easy recipe that is full of superfoods like spinach and anchovies – and its really easy to make!

Rosemary brings a special flavor to the soup, and we’ve used it twice to layer its delicious taste. A sprig goes in the pot when we cook the chickpeas, and chopped rosemary is a herbal garnish to the finished soup. Rosemary adds nutrition too! It is good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. It can possibly help with digestion and enhancing memory. Rosemary contains an ingredient, carnosic acid, that is able to fight off free radical damage in the brain as well.

Italian Chickpea and Spinach Stew

1 LB Dried Chickpeas

3 Whole Cloves Garlic, smashed

1 Sprig Rosemary, plus 2 TB Chopped

1 Tsp Sea Salt

¼ Cup EVOO

1 Tin Anchovies, chopped

4 Grated Garlic Cloves

1 (15 OZ) Can Diced Tomatoes

4 Cups Veg Stock

2 Pkgs Frozen Chopped Spinach, Well Drained

1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Step One Add the chickpeas, whole garlic, rosemary sprig and sea salt to a covered pot. Add at least 2 inches of water above the level of the chickpeas and place in a 350F oven for 1 – 2 hours.

Step Two While the chickpeas are cooking, add the evoo to a pot. When warm, dissolve the anchovies in the oil and add the garlic, Cook and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the tomatoes, and stock and simmer for 15 minutes until warm.

Step Three When the chickpeas have finished cooking, remove about 2 cups from the pot and set aside. Add the remaining chickpeas to the pot, (draining any excess liquid), and using the immersion blender, puree the soup. Add in the chickpeas that have been set aside, the spinach and stir in the red pepper flakes. Warm over low heat and serve with a sprinkle of rosemary on top.