Mom’s (Healthy and Satisfying) Zucchini Bread

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If the holidays ingrained one skill set into the minds of the masses, it was probably baking.  It is Day One post-Christmas and our nerves are still firing at 350 degrees, our fingers still linger with the traces of white flour, and our memory still questions whether our pantry possess Baking Powder (or was it Baking Soda??)  Only problem with this scenario is that we are days away from New Years where resolutions fly of eating better, living better and potentially losing the extra 5lbs you gained eating (all of) your Aunt’s famous Pecan Pie. Here is a trick to fighting the baking urge and still retaining some semblance of health by serving this baked good to your household with confidence that it will a.) taste great b.) not count heavily against your daily intake of food.  Mom’s Zucchini Bread! As far as we see it, it is a win-win!

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YIELDS

One loaf

INGREDIENTS

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini

RECIPE

Preheat oven to 300. Grease and flour one loaf pan. Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla to beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg mixture. Blend.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour or until golden brown on outside and cooked throughout.

Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Cornish Hens Two Ways

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Nothing says it’s the winter season better than cornish hens. Just think of this meal as a warm up to the enormous turkeys and hams that will be gracing dining rooms everywhere. Not only are they easy and quick to cook, they are so beautiful to present when garnished with sage and look resplendent with colorful root vegetables lingering at their side. And did we mention delicious? Oh, that too. Tender, juicy, and as easy as 1,2,3, here is our solution for the tired minds of those stuck in the kitchen this holiday. 

Oh, these little cuties. I discovered them when I accidentally mistook them for roast chickens, but happy that I did! They are the perfect size to enjoy on your own if really in the throngs of hunger, or shared with a dining counterpart if not starved. Somehow they are always perfectly juicy and great to bronze up in a pan before you roast (they fit happily between a pair of tongs).  It gives them the best, crispy exterior. Have I mentioned that I love them? – Jenet

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YEILDS

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 Cornish Hens

4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened the

3 tsp crumbled sage

6 twigs of sage

2 tsp thyme

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

Assorted vegetables (squash, brussell sprouts, carrots)

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl blend together well 2 tablespoons of the butter with the sage and the salt. Loosen skin covering the breast meat on each hen by slipping your fingers between the skin and the meat. Place the butter mixture under skin and  smooth the rest by rubbing the outside on outer skin. For the other hen, place 1 Tbs butter underneath skin and sprinkle paprika over top of bird. Season both the hens with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet or small flameproof roasting pan heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over moderately high heat until the foam subsides, in it sauté the hens, breast sides up, for 2-4 minutes, or until the underside is golden brown.  Take them from pan and place them breast side up in large roasting pan. In the same skillet, use the last 1 Tbs butter with long sage leaves and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drizzle butter and sage mixture over hens in roasting pan.

Take whole, cleaned vegetables and place in roasting pan. Salt and pepper to liking.

Roast in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, basting them with the pan juices every 10 minutes, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh registers 180°F. Serve and enjoy!

Locally Grown: Farmers Market (Part Deux)

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With holiday parties in full swing, Christmas coming any day now, and the New Year around the corner, we wanted to remind everyone that your grocery shopping list can be filled at local Farmers Markets.  The notion of finding luscious fruits and vegetables abundant in one area is sort of a shoppers dream; plus there tends to always be homemade knickknacks, candles and other fun holiday gifts to swipe up for your relatives, friends and the like.  So take note, have Google help you find the next Farmers Market popping up this week or next and take a stroll to pick up all the fresh, organic goodness you can handle…all sourced from the beautiful community that surrounds you.

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Crispy (Baked) Yam Fries

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The holiday season is often times synonymous with food that has the potential to be really unhealthy. The chocolates, the caramels and decadent snacks that fill our homes… all delicious, but not great for you. For a treat that is better for your cravings, try these crispy yam fries that will fill you up without adding much guilt to your life. Simple to make, here is what you need:

Whole Yam

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Slice yam into rounds. Place onto a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Devour.

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Berries, Acorn & Twig Centerpiece

IMG_6028Looking for a way to spruce up a table or shelf for the holidays?  Just grab the following things and you can have a vase bursting with life and color in moments:

Acorns

Berry Stems with leaves (minimum four)

Smaller accent (thin twigs, berry blossoms)

Hurricane Vase (preferred, but any wide vase will do)

Place smaller accent branches of your choice in vase, followed by berry sprays in front  positioned opposing directions. Lastly place acorn snug in middle of vase. Voila!

Acorn Squash with Black-eyed Peas

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For the love of squash, why are certain types of these winter varietals so darn tasty?  Take the acorn squash… buttery, hearty goodness, in this case, baked with salt, pepper and rich olive oil.  After heated to a crispy exterior, it is filled with deliciously simple black-eyed peas, and the combination forms such a magical coexistence, you will be making this recipe whenever you have a free range and oven handy. Let us present you with a very healthy and satisfying side dish (or meal). 

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All you need is:

Acorn Squash

Black-eyed Peas

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Take the acorn squash and remove the center seeds.  Cover in salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place face down on a tin foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife can easily be inserted into the squash. Place black-eyed peas in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until soft, about fifteen minutes.

After squash is crisp on edges, remove from oven and turn over squash onto a plate.  Strain black-eyed peas and salt to taste.  Place inside interior of squash. Serve and enjoy.

Arugula, Feta & Quinoa with Pine Nuts

IMG_6461What is Quinoa…is it even English? Let’s be honest, most things in our daily vocabulary don’t start with Q, but this noun is something you should be familiar with on a very personal basis.  Not only is this food an amalgam of mostly vowels, but also a complete protein that is high in calcium.  So not only are you benefiting from its nutritional value, anyone that may need to be gluten-free can indulge in this fibrous sprout.  It is fluffy, delicious and is so simple to make, it may be a go-to side for your dinner table menu.  Here we give you a recipe using our favorite pseudo-cereal with other tasty accompaniments. 

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INGREDIENTS

Two types of Quinoa (we used red & a black and white variation)

Arugula

Feta

Pine Nuts

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sea Salt

Lemon Zest

DIRECTIONS

Mix two types of quinoa together in a bowl and pour into boiling pot of water (roughly 3 cups).  Let boil down until all water is evaporated and quinoa fluffs up. In separate pan, toast pine nuts until golden. Set aside. Once quinoa is cooked, place in separate bowl, toss in arugula, feta and toasted pine nuts.  Combine olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette with sea salt and lemon zest and pour over salad.  Enjoy.

Gluten & Dairy-Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

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Who doesn’t love a muffin? Poppyseed? Even better. Add a hint of lemon? Perfect. Now, we tell you they are gluten & dairy free…Hooray! The best of all worlds combined! Well, we sure think so! Try these delicious delights and you can live a blissfully healthy life while still being able to consume your favorite all-around baked good.  

Here is the process…

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix 

2 teaspoons baking powder (exclude if in flour mix)

3⁄4 teaspoon xanthan gum (exclude if in flour mix)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup poppy seeds

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 cup granulated sugar

1⁄2 cup canola oil

3⁄4 cup water

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in bowl.  Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

Indulge.

Candied Walnuts & Baked Brie

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Yes…there is THAT much decadence in this little round wheel of cheese. Not only does adding sweet & savory flavors into this caramelized wonderland taste so good it could be considered sinful, it manages to conjure up the right amount of nutty texture to have your tastebuds beginning for more.  We are serious.  So pick up any brie that suits your fancy, and toss that little baby into the oven (make sure to perforate it).  It’s a snack that can entertain a crowd or a treat you simply sit in front of with great, crusty bread and not care who is nearby watching you devour.  Trust us, it won’t last long. 

What you need:

Wheel of Brie

Candied Whole Walnuts

Aluminum Foil

Bread that fits your liking

The ability to not get upset for eating an entire wheel of brie

Just saying…We warned you.

Bake brie on aluminum foil in a baking dish at 350° for 20 – 3o minutes or when bubbling. Remove from oven, take off top layer of rind and cover in walnuts.

Note:  Cranberries could also be a great addition for extra taste and texture.

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The Fully Loaded (Salad)

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Normally when one goes to make a salad, there will likely be a max of five ingredients.  Greens, a few colorful vegetables (carrots, onions, tomatoes and the like), perhaps a pungent cheese for good measure.  However, we really wanted to mix up your version of lettuce on a plate, so we bring you our fifteen ingredient masterpiece.  Not only is it CHOKED full of nutrients but its taste and colorful presentation is worth the extra chopping.  So break out your kitchen sheers and get to work; this salad will be your new culinary favorite.

You will need the following:

Arugula
Radicchio
Baby mix lettuce
Shaved fennel
Cranberries
Pear
Roughly chopped dill
Basil
Parsley
Chives
Thime
Cherry tomatoes
Gorgonzola cheese
Candied pecans
Julienne red onion

Next make a simple vinaigrette with balsamic, Dijon and extra virgin olive oil.

Chop all and combine. Sit back and enjoy.

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