Category Archives: Recipes/Food

Bullet Proof Coffee – Make Mine Light

I was thinking back the other night about my glory days in college when my friends and I would sit in some dank corner cafe at two in the morning drinking pots of coffee after a night of slamming beers and playing pool at the local campus watering hole. Once the bar closed down, we’d head to the diner and find a cozy booth and while away the hours as we puffed away on cigarettes and filled our guts with gastronomic delights like greasy eggs, half-burnt bacon and crispy hash browns. Back in those days, there was no quinoa oatmeal with pomegranate seeds & figs offered on menus, nor did they offer a grande, iced, sugar-free, vanilla latte with soy milk coffee. No, we drank the real deal – straight out of a western movie where the cowhands used to boil coffee in an old aluminum pot over a crackling fire. We took it dark and as thick as motor oil, then tempered it with a half a cup of real cream and two heaping teaspoons of sugar.

coffee.gif

Well, those freewheeling days finally caught up with me. I’m now staring at that boring bowl of oatmeal and, unfortunately, paying for those glory days. The viscosity of that motor oil has slowly degraded my innards, leaving in its wake numerous trips to the gastroenterologist with a diagnosis of silent reflux disease. And with acidic foods no longer being my friend, just inhaling the delicious aroma after walking by a coffee kiosk has me crying and running from the mall like a little bitch.

But come hell or high water, I was determined to find something – anything – that tasted, looked and smelled like coffee that would trick my brain into thinking I was 20 again. And after extensive research, I think I’ve found a close second.

There are a few coffee substitutes on the market. My favorite is Cafix, a Polish product made from barley, chicory, malted barley, figs, and extract of red beet that is the closest I’ve come to drinking a real cup of coffee. (Don’t let the fruits and vegies fool you.) And as for that glorious kick I’m missing from caffeine? I found once I decaffeinated myself (slowly, very slowly!), I actually had more energy due to the absence of the crash ‘n burn effects from caffeine.

So, I’ve taken my once-beloved, once-real Bullet Proof Coffee recipe and tweaked it a bit so I can still enjoy the illusion of coffee while eliminating the caffeine (and acid). Well, it may be more like Buckshot Proof Coffee, but it’s close enough. There are different recipes for it out there, but this is my go-to one. The key to its success is that it needs to be blended, not stirred [read: say no to oil spills]. So pull out your favorite blender (I use my Magic Bullet) and enjoy.

Meanwhile, I’m off to get my oil changed. No, I mean in my car. Oh, wait. They have coffee in the lobby, don’t they? Oh, botha…

Coffee

Instructions
Add a heaping teaspoon of Cafix into a mug of nuked or boiling water. Set aside.

Add to your blender:
1 heaping tsp. grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold)
1 heaping tsp. organic, virgin coconut oil (like Spectrum)
Mug of hot Cafix
(Optional) 1 tsp. Sugar in the Raw, or Organic Blue Agave

Blend until frothy!

And, by the way, I’m not getting paid to advertise these products. Even though I should be…

 

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Cha Cha Chicken & White Bean Chicken Enchiladas

ChaChaChickenEnchiladas_Baked

Here’s an easy, cheesy, creamy, white-bean & chicken enchilada recipe that will serve about eight people (or four if your husband hasn’t learned about portion control). Save time by nuking a few boneless chicken breasts (season with garlic powder, s&p, or your choice of seasonings) which will be cooled and shredded for this recipe. If you don’t use the entire batch of chicken, freeze or use the rest for chicken salad.

Ingredients:

10 flour tortillas, cut in half
3 tablespoons Buttaaa…real Buttaa, none of that fake stuff
3 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock (I use organic, unsalted)
½ cup of the Holy Trinity – chopped celery/onions/carrots (I always have store-bought Mirepoix in freezer)
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 packet of Sazon Goya (or make your own)
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
1 large Tomato
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can rinsed and drained White Northern Beans or Cannelloni Beans
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (Use Pepper Jack if you want a little more heat)

ChaChaChickenEnchiladasPrepareDirections:

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a baking pan (I use a medium-sized circular ceramic ovenproof dish; or use a 9×13 pan)

Make your sauce (see how to make a basic roux): Heat butter in large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add flour and quickly whisk to combine. Cook for about a minute or until butter is light browned. Add chicken stock in increments, whisking each time until smooth. Add Mirepoix, cumin and Sazon Goya and whisk until it thickens slightly, about two-three minutes. Remove from heat & stir in yogurt or sour cream.

ChaChaChickenEnchiladasSaucePrepare & layer the enchiladas: Cover bottom of pan with half of the tortillas. Pour some sauce over them and spread around with a spoon just to cover the tortillas. Sprinkle half of the chicken, half of the beans, some tomato slices and the shredded cheese (Pile it on. You know you want to.). Repeat with second layer of tortillas, cream sauce, chicken, beans, tomato slices and cheese. (If you have any left over, add a final layer of just tortillas, cream sauce and cheese.)

Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are brown. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you want it to be real purdy. Dig in. This dish freezes well.

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I’m Stuffed!! Holiday Quiche

Thanksgiving in our house isn’t complete without stuffing. Whether we’re enjoying foul, beef or pork, the Mister will have withdrawal if I don’t whip up a batch. And no Stove Top is allowed in this house. And although he says, “Make TONS!” so he can enjoy leftovers, I still end up having enough left over for an entire Naval fleet.

Being a Pinterest whore, I fell across this idea of using leftover baked stuffing as the crust in a quiche recipe. Say what!? There are a few renditions out there, and I made not one, but two during Christmas week since it was such a hit with the kin when it came time for a snappy Christmas breakfast. And I’ve now adopted it as a new tradition.

Most of the quiche recipes I came across had you smash & spread that ole stuffing into a pie pan and bake it @350 (empty) for 15 minutes. Then your basic quiche egg mixture went into this and baked for an additional 30 minutes, or until the eggs were set.

Quiche No. 1 (theirs)
Although tasty, I found this two-fold baking method dried out the stuffing crust and almost burned it, especially along the edges (and who likes burnt “toast” with their eggs?) Yeah, we devoured it anyway.

Quiche No. 2 (mine)
I experimented without pre-baking the stuffing crust (as it’s already cooked anyway), and was much happier with my second batch. Here’s my recipe, with a couple of twists and turns to any I found online.

Mushroom, Tomato & Cheese Quiche
Spread stuffing into glass or tin pie pan. Flatten with your hands along the bottom and up the edges of the pan. (The warmth from your hands will soften the stuffing and make it easy to spread.)QuicheStuffingCrust

Line the bottom with sauteed mushroom slices, then a handful of very thinly-sliced tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, a dash of garlic powder and onion powder and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.QuicheMushrooms

Whisk 6-8 eggs and about a tablespoon of almond milk in a bowl. Pour over the vegetables.

The wow factor: Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg and a pinch of sugar over the pie, and plop in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Slice in pie wedges and serve with a fresh fruit salad. Then go die of happiness and high-five yourself for being so awesome…

QuicheComplete

 

 

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Lemon Pepper Tuna Salad

Lemon Pepper Tuna Salad

“Look, ma. No mayonnaise!”

I screeched in delight when my son brought me some fresh tuna steaks from his fishing trip in the Outer Banks. Here’s my mayonnaise-less tuna salad concoction that just might rock your boat! (Remember, I’m not one for measuring, so flavor/adjust to taste…you’re gonna anyway.)

LEMON PEPPER TUNA SALAD

Sprinkle lemon pepper & dill on each side of tuna steak. My fave spices are from Penzeys Spices.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan (cast iron is my preference) on medium high. Sear both sides of steak, then lower heat and cook through until no longer pink. Remove from pan and let cool.

Throw that whole puppy into a large bowl and lightly shred into bite-size pieces with a fork.

Add this stuff. Some…
Chopped celery
Chopped red & orange sweet mini-peppers
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped fennel (both the stalk and leaves)
Sliced almonds (I used Honey Roasted)

Then dress with:
A little bit’o Sunflower oil (lots of Vitamin E)
Apple cider vinegar (with “The Mother” – raw/organic)
A bit of s & p
Tsp. of sugar (none of that fake stuff)

Then have a good old tuna salad sandwich, hollow out and stuff some tomatoes or peppers, scoop up with some crackers or just eat as is. Good stuff.

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Who Cut the Cheese?

Grilled.  Cheese.

That is all….

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What’s Old is New Again

I can’t remember the last time I actually grabbed a cookbook for directions prior to whipping up something in the kitchen. Instead of looking through cookbooks for ideas, I think I’m a little dyslexic as I do it in reverse.  I scour my cupboards or fridge first, inventory what isn’t growing anything suspicious or moving, then search or come up with my own concoctions depending on what’s available at hand.

I do, however, have an obsession with collecting odd and unusual cookbooks. One such book jumped out at me at an antique store one day. With a copyright of 1903 stamped inside the front, stained cover, I leafed carefully through the delicate pages, the binding loosely still attached, knowing by the looks of it that it had once been some housewife’s bible – or it belonged to The Help of said housewife.

The book is called 365 Dinner Dishes and, as promised, it contains a dish a day for an entire year. I leafed through it, admiring the concept and wondering what might have pleased the palate back in 1903. I also wondered how they managed without microwaves, toaster ovens, broilers and, at times, basic running water.

I always thought I was pretty creative when it came to designing creative dishes, until I read some of these recipes. I might as well have picked up a book written in Greek. The only thing missing in the book is a glossary. Some of the ingredients include plants and animals that I wouldn’t know if they grew in my bathtub.  Recipes included titles like Gooseberry Fool, Chestnut Balls, Quince Fritters and Birds Nest Salad. And even with the ingredients I am familiar with, my curiosity was peaked by names like Cream of Beet Soup, Jellied Chicken with Mayonnaise and Queens Orange Pudding.  Uh, Cream of Turnips, Curried Eel? No, thanks. And, ew. But I was intrigued nonetheless.

Other instructions aroused my curiosity, like, “Dip a napkin into boiling water, wring dry, and strain the soup.” Gee, who needs cheesecloth One of my favorites was, “Crack a knuckle of veal.” Well, that sounds pretty painful. But not as painful as a dish called “Calf’s Head en Tortue.” Don’t need a Latin degree to figure out that one!  Yes, the first step is to wash and clean a calf’s head. Holy cow.

But an interesting thing happened as I was  leafing through the pages. Out fell a yellowed, slightly faded newspaper clipping. It was similar to a Hints from Heloise column, with a letter written to the columnist, one Mrs. Symes, asking for a recipe for thin and oily hair. I figured it was a common question posed by the ladies of that era, and I can see why. In the  question posed by the reader, she noted that her hair “gets oily after a week’s washing.” Alrighty then, back to the running water dilemma.  I can’t even imagine life without my Root Lift on Steroids, my Blueberry Aloe Tequila Acai fragrant shampoo and, oh, yeah, soap.

So, for all of you regressed hippies or environmentalists who want to save on water and decide not to wash your hair for a week, here are the secret ingredients you’ve been waiting for.

1/4 ounce of bicarbonate of soda
1/4 ounce borate of soda, powered  (huh?)
1 ounce eau de cologne
2 ounces alcohol
16 ounces distilled water

The directions say to mix and agitate. Those are her words, not mine. Either way, with smelly hair you haven’t washed for a week or with this potion poured on your scalp, you’re sure to agitate someone.

Children: Don’t try this at home.

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Take Him to the Greek

Turned a boring Fourth of July cole slaw into a Greek delight.  Thanks to the nice chef demonstrating at our local Wegmans, I’ll never eat my old boring cole slaw again!

GREEK SLAW

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl and toss.  Then do a Greek happy dance! This feeds a buttload of peeps! (Photo above is recipe cut in half…)

1 sweet onion
1 bag of shredded cole slaw
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1 cup sliced black olives
1 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 cup pitted kalamati olives
3 tablespoons dried oregano
12 oz. Ken’s Greek dressing to taste

You’re welcome…

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