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Preview: Barefoot and Cooking

Barefoot and Cooking

Updated: 2018-03-06T02:48:33.151-08:00


Roasted Twees (Broccoli)


Oh the cute names we moms conjure up to try to entice our kids to eat something new!
Kale Chips became Green Potato Chips or Dinosaur Chips, an assortment of veggies we call "Eating your Rainbow" etc... so when it came time to experiment with Broccoli, their moniker came directly from the kids themselves.

It was my daughter who lifted it up and said "Mommy, I'm eating a TWEE" and there you have it, Roasted TWEES was officially named!

Roasting is such a simple cooking technique but often hurried parents forget about it in crunch time. The all-too-often used steaming (or as I like to say, "murdering") of veggies gets the job done, but leaves us with a hardly edible, mushy veggie that gets passed over on the plate on the way to the potatoes.

Roasting elevates the flavor of the food by caramelizing the sugars so they are brought to the forefront, creating a sweeter, more bold flavor then you could ever get with a pot of boiling water.

This is a recipe we make often at Wholesome Tummies and it's one that kids actually request by name. I have given this recipe out to many parents after their kids asked for it- now that is a great feeling- kids actually requesting broccoli! I hope this one becomes a replacement for the steamed broccoli in your house like it has in ours so that you too can actually begin enjoying this delicious veggie again!


Roasted Twees (Broccoli)

  • 1 head of broccoli, thoroughly washed and separated.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar (optional)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Put a rimmed baking sheet into the oven and preheat the oven to 475.

Peel the base (stem) of the broccoli and cut into long pieces (it's OK to eat the stems this way!). You should get about 8-10 pieces in 1 head of broccoli.

In a small bowl, combine all the other ingredients and whisk well. Add the broccoli to the bowl and toss well. Once the oven is preheated, place the broccoli and the remainder of the mixture onto the HOT baking sheet and cook for approximate 15-20 minutes, tossing once until the broccoli is cooked and lightly browned.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


Nothing really beats a crispy, fresh french fry. It's a taste that is hard to imitate and harder to healthify and really, in moderation, we shouldn't have to. But because they are a sometimes food in our family I have had to create some other fun "french fry-like" variations that still appease my kids without all the fat and grease.

Growing up, sweet potatoes were never part of any family dinner that I recall. I would see them at friend's houses on Thanksgiving but that was it. My mom certainly never cooked one and my first exposure was likely covered in marshmallow fluff anyway so the sweet potato was somewhat indistinguishable.

That all changed when I had my twins. I made all their baby food from scratch and the sweet potato was one of the easiest to master. Simply poke with a fork, bake for 1 hour and voila! - healthy baby food! Not sure if more of it ended up on their faces or in their mouths but they loved it!

When tasked with making my kids french fry tasting sweet potato fries, I attempted many variations. Savory or Sweet but found that overall it was the combo that was the best. (Isn't that always the case!) These sweet potatoes, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside with a touch of spice and sweet that makes them addictive - yet healthy all at the same time!

Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat Oven to 425 Serves 4-6

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbl kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp freshly, cracked pepper

Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and place flat side down on the cutting board. Starting at one end make 1/2" vertical sliced cuts around the sweet potato so that the whole piece is now cut into 1/2" strips. Set aside and continue with the remaining potato.

Place the slices onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (approx 3-4 tbl) until nicely coated. Sprinkle on the spices and seasonings and toss well.

Roast for approximately 15 minutes then toss around so they do not stick and roast for another 25 minutes until browned.

Panko Crusted Chicken Tenders


This is one that is a favorite with kids and adults alike. It is just reminiscent enough of nuggets to be devoured by the little ones and just enough sophistication to be enjoyed by their parents.

Prep couldn't be faster so save this for one of those - rushtosoccerpracticenowit's7pmandidonthavedinnerplanned - kinda nights!

Preheat Oven to 425. Serves 4
  • 1 LB of Chicken Tenders (or cut Boneless Chicken Breasts into large chunks)
  • 1.5 cups of Whole Wheat Panko
  • 1 cup of olive oil (or olive oil canola blend)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbl grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place all the Panko and seasoning (and cheese if using) into a baking dish.

Pour the olive oil into a separate bowl.

Dredge the chicken tenders into the olive oil until fully coated and then into the panko mixture one at a time. Lay them out on a lightly greased cookie sheet and spray with a bit of oil spray on the tops. Bake for approx 15 minutes, then flip the tenders and bake for an additional 10-12 or until fully cooked thru and an instant read thermometer registers at 165.

Serve with plenty of honey mustard or ketchup for dipping.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding


  • 2 cups avocado (about 2 medium avocados)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • raspberries or some chocolate chips for garnish


  1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until it is creamy and fully blended. Scrape well down the sides to get all the cocoa powder in the pudding.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes and then eat!

A neurotic mommy (and Whole Wheat Pop Tarts)


I know I have gone a little obsessive with what my kids eat. I try so hard to be the "cool" mom- you know, be easy breezy about them eating 4 slices of Dominos pizza at a party followed by some pink liquid (I think its supposed to be juice) and a tootsie roll pop. But the fact is, it kills me inside! Maybe it's the years of research that led me to start Wholesome Tummies. Or the articles I read daily on the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses related to eating processed foods. But I have become a bit of a food "nazi" in my house.My kids, for the most part, are pretty good. They know the foods they can have and the foods they cannot. They have watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and think McDonalds is disgusting. But there are some things they still ask for occasionally even though they know I'll say "no".Lucky Charms and Soda for instance. And Pop Tarts. Those nasty, sugar filled, overly processed dessert -like treats that get marketed as breakfast food. UGH.I found a recipe online for homemade pop tarts and tried to improve them the best I could (but kept the 2 sticks of butter, hey I can't be TOTALLY good all the time!). I swapped all the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour. I eliminated the frosting and opted for a light dusting of powdered sugar instead. I thought they were delicious. Light, flaky, slightly sweet and buttery.My littlest boy (2) LOVED it. My 3 year old, only ate the strawberry jelly parts. But my 8 year olds said they were delicious and devoured them. One of them, asked if he could have them for dessert tonight too. They aren't the easiest things to do in the morning when you have to rush the kids out to school, but on a Sunday if you have an extra hour, they would be just fine!Whole Wheat Pop TartsYield: 9 pop-tarts Prep Time: 1 hour | Bake Time: 25 minutes For the pastry crust:2 cups Whole Wheat Pasty Flour1 tablespoon granulated sugar1 teaspoon salt1 cup (2 sticks, or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cubed1 egg2 tablespoons milk For the strawberry filling:¾ cup strawberry jam (or whatever flavor you’d like)1 tablespoon cornstarch1 tablespoon water 1 egg, lightly beaten (to brush on pastry)Prepare the strawberry filling by whisking together the cornstarch and water, and then combine with the jam in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. To make the crust, combine together the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter slowly and pulse again until the dough resembled sand or moist crumbs. Whisk together the egg and milk and add to the dough. Mix together until everything is evenly moistened. Dump out onto a floured surface and knead briefly.Divide the dough in half. (At this point you can wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out one piece of dough to about 1/8-inch thick, in a 9½ by 12½ rectangle. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel or bench scraper, trim the rectangle to 9×12 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4 rectangles. Using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush the lightly beaten egg on each of the rectangles. Spoon 1-2 tbl of filling into the center of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch of space around the edges.Roll out and cut the second piece of dough in the exact same manner as you did the first. One at a time, place a second rectangle of dough on top of the nine assembled ones. Using your fingers, press around the seams of the dough to make sure they are sealed. Press the tines of a fork around the edges of the rectangles. Prick the tops of the rectangles in multiple spots to allow steam to escape. Brush the tops with MORE egg wash so the tops get a nice brown color when bake[...]

Try the GREEN Chips!


There are just some foods that are high on my "I wish I could be one of those people who loved these" list. You know, things like - Millet, Spriulina (what is that, exactly?), Soy Milk and Kale.A few months back, I read an article in Bon Appetit Magazine that got me totally inspired to try Kale. I own a healthy foods business- I could do THIS! How bad could it be, I mean this writer made it seem like between Kale and dark chocolate, she'd pick Kale. So I tried it...her way. I sauteed it and did everything right..and it was terrible. Sour and bitter and inedible. I tried to get my kids to just try a few bites and they spit it out all over the table. And I, their mother, could hardly blame them.. so I decided I'd have to get my Vitamin K and A elsewhere.So tonight, the first night of my diet (yes the same diet I have started about 15 times this year), I decided to make a super foods inspired meal. Wild cod, lightly dredged in whole wheat flour and sauteed in olive oil, lentils with parsley, lemon and caramelized onion and my old friend, kale.But- instead of sauteing , I found a great recipe for roasting it. The high heat, when combined with kale and a bit of olive oil creates a crispy outside- much like a chip. Yes, I said chips...(tempted yet?)I got some beautiful kale in my organic co-op delivery yesterday, so I was excited to have another go at this great super food. The recipe couldn't be more simple and the results- fantastic.They were crunchy with a bit of saltiness and only a slight hint of bitterness. I had a hard time eating just one.Well I am excited to say that I have welcomed Kale into my family and on permanent rotation, too. I hope you enjoy this as much as we all did. (Note my 2 year old munching down on it- now that is a proud mama moment when your 2 year old says "more more" and he is referring to kale!)Tuscan Kale Chips3 cups fresh kale, torn into bite sized pieces1 tbl olive oil1/2 tbl kosher salt.Preheat the oven to 350Line a baking sheet with parchmentToss the take leaves with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt.Lay out flat on the baking sheet, and cook for 10-12 mins until crispy.(see told you it was easy!)[...]

French Omelet


I don't think there is any recipe that seems so simple and yet is so intimidating as the classic French Omelet. For years, what I thought what I was making, was an omelet. Until one day, I went to the Gourmet Institute (now sadly, defunct) in NYC and sat in a class on eggs. It was there I learned that the true French Omelet is in a class all on its own. I doesn't have the brown edges, or the dryness that I had become accustomed to in my omelets. It was creamy, delicate, moist and perfectly even colored.Truth be told, I am not an egg lover. I have eaten them mostly because I thought they were some super food that would make me a healthier person. I don't know if that's true or just good marketing by egg farmers or what. You gotta say, for something so small, and pretty simple they pack a pretty good nutritional punch. One little egg only has 4g fat and 7g protein. Its pretty much carb free and a whole bunch of other vitamins that I'm sure do something good.So back to the omelet. I finally "cracked" (I'm so funny!) the key to a good, creamy French omelet when I followed the following principles:1) VERY Fresh eggs. I LOVE to use my farm fresh eggs from Rosas Farms but if I cannot get my hands on those babies, I use cage free, organic eggs. (The cage free part is purely for my guilty conscious)2)Use only 3 eggs at a time. I dont care if you are feeding 34 people. Sorry. Use only 3 eggs at a time. If you try to use more, then you get so much thickness that it takes too long to cook and you get the dreaded "brown crust".3) Don't over mix. Typically, when I would make scrambled eggs or an omelet I would scramble those suckers like it was an Olympic event. Take it easy, lightly break the yolks and get them nice and mixed but don't be all crazy about it.4)Use real butter. Use good cheese (if you are using) and have them both at the ready when you start. If you have your omelet in the pan and then you have to go start looking for your cheese in the fridge under last week's leftovers, your omelet will burn and you will be sad. So practice the french art of "mise en place" (everything in its place) before you begin.Ok- away we goFrench Omelet3 Fresh eggs (I use large)1 tbl butter2 tbl cheese or fresh herbs whatever strikes your fancyKosher salt and fresh pepperPlace a 10" nonstick skillet on the stove. Heat to med-high.Crack eggs into a bowl, and gently mix.When pan is thoroughly heated thru, add the butter. It should melt right away with a bit of a sizzle.Right before you drop the eggs into the hot pan, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper. If you add the salt too early, it makes the eggs watery.Pour the eggs into the hot pan. Lower the heat to medium. Grab a rubber spatula, you know, this kind and gently swirl the eggs around. Use the handle of the pan to rotate the eggs around in the pan evenly. You are trying to make a nice, thin layer of eggs. keep lifting the edges with the spatula and give the pan several jerks swiftly over the heat.You are trying to keep any one section of the eggs from staying in the heat for too long. Keep swirling the eggs around, coating all sides of the pan. Once the bottom layer has set (around 90 seconds) add the cheese or herbs if using down the middle of the omelet. Swirl a bit more and gently fold one side over the other. If you are feeling daring, flip the omelet onto its other side for 15-20 seconds more and turn off the heat.Slide the omelet gently, onto a plate, garnish with fresh chives or parsley.[...]

Barefoot Bloggers- White Pizzas with Arugula


After seeing Julie and Julia a few nights ago, I realized my blog needed some motivation. I was too willy-nilly about my postings and had no real pressure to commit. For those who know me, what Julia Child was to Julie Powell is what Ina Garten is to me. I love Ina. I am sure that if we just met, we would be instant life long friends.I would love to be one of those people she invites to sit around her kitchen in the Hamptons and we could talk for hours about the importance of butter in all recipes. "How bad could that be?"Her cooking style most resembles my own. It's classic, it's comforting, it's accessible for most cooks and it seems like food you would really want to eat.I found this blogging group, Barefoot Bloggers, who are all..well..Ina fans too! Each month, another blogger (that would be someone like me!) is selected to choose 2 recipes from Ina and then (get this) everyone else has to make them and post on their own blogs! Perfect- that solves my motivation problem AND I get to make Ina recipes!So this month, the recipes were White Pizzas with Arugula and a Mango Daiquiri or something drink. I didn't make the drink. Not that I didnt plan to (mangoes sitting nicely on my counter as we speak..) but I just flat out got too busy and honestly, I can't exactly serve a rum drink to my kids so..I stuck with the pizzas for this month.Arugula is probably in my top 5 favorite foods. I LOVE the peppery, crisp taste and it doesn't hurt that my next door neighbors grow some in their herb garden and are always forcing it upon me.Let me start by saying- I LOVED this recipe. LOVED IT. My husband and I looked at each other with the "OMG where has this been my whole life face". The salty and creamy combination of the cheeses combined with the garlic and peppery lettuce was out of this world.Some notes:First, when Ina said NOT to add the salt to the yeast before the flour, she means it. I had one totally flat, failed ball of dough that wouldn't rise.I usually do not like goat cheese..if that is the case for you, try it anyway. I did and actually really liked the taste on this pizza. Gave it great depth.Final thoughts: It's a bit of work, no doubt. Anytime you work with dough and things like - three different cheeses and garlic steeped oil it's going to be a bit more advanced of a recipe but it's all worth it. This is now my go-to appetizer for parties. White Pizzas with Arugula For the dough: 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water2 packages dry yeast1 tablespoon honeyGood olive oil 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneadingKosher salt4 cloves garlic, sliced5 sprigs fresh thyme1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes For the topping: 3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled For the vinaigrette: 1/2 cup good olive oil1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juiceFreshly ground black pepper8 ounces baby arugula1 lemon, sliced Directions Mix the dough.Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. Knead by hand. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Let it rise. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. Make garlic oil. Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to[...]

Whole Wheat Pita Breads


I know, I are thinking "why on earth would you make pita when you can buy perfectly acceptable pitas in those bags at the grocery store". OK, true, you can. But then, when someone asks you "What did you do today?" you would not be able to answer: "I made pita from scratch, you?"See? It has a nice ring to it, right?!Don't you ever just want to do something so you can say you did? For some this sense of accomplishment might come from knitting a blanket, changing the oil in your car (although why would ANYONE want to do that..getting under your car, full of grease..but I digress..), bike thru get the idea. My "1000 things to do before I die" list probably has 934 related to food.I have such a long list of things I want to attempt in the kitchen. Like this or this or this one too. Oh ya, and the best meal I ever had in a restaurant in my life - this one ( day!)But until then, I'll stick with some amateur attempts - and those usually involve yeast. For me, there is just something magical and well..mystical about using yeast. It's totally out of my comfort zone, so many things can go wrong and must be handled with kid gloves. I have thrown out my share of bread starters because I was too lazy to add liquid at just the right temperature or because I just flat out didn't follow directions. I love the idea of homemade baked bread but its the "bread" part that intimidates me. Little, unassuming pita breads couldn't be that difficult. And turns out, they weren't..Worth the effort- Oh yea. Warm, soft and just chewy enough. They don't even resemble store bought pitas. The best part was watching them puff up in the oven- a real crowd pleaser. Well, as long as your crowd is 6 years old (like mine was).So- take a chance, try something new- make some pita breads.From Cooking Light Mag: Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1 pita) Ingredients 1 tablespoon sugar 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (100° to 110°) 10 ounce bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups) 4.75 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup), divided 2 tablespoons 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage) 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt Olive oil cooking spray 1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.Add bread flour, 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour, yogurt, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining whole-wheat flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.2. Position the oven rack on the lowest shelf.3. Preheat the oven to 500°.4. Divide dough into 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, gently roll each portion into a 5 1/2-inch circle. Place 4 dough circles on each of 2 baking sheets heavily coated with cooking spray. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, at 500° for 8 minutes or until puffed and browned. Cool on a wire rack. [...]

Roasted Chicken


Seems appropriate since my last blog was Chicken Soup to stick with the "Jewish Food" theme.I really do think that Roasted Chicken is quintessentially Jewish. I have no idea the origins of Roasted Chicken (although I assume a quick google search could answer that for me) but I have taken a very informal poll (really, I asked 4 people) and it seems that most Jewish people I know roast their own chickens and most non-Jews buy it at the grocery already roasted. Or maybe its a Jewish food because Friday night dinner wouldn't be complete without it and every Jewish grandma everywhere has their version of it. So there. It must be a Jewish thing to roast chickens.So for all you non-Jewish-publix rotisserie buying people- this one's for you.I am always amazed when I make this for company and my guests (my non-foodie friends) are aghast (I don't think Ive ever used that word before) that I actually roasted my own chicken. I get the oh-my-g-d- you-have-four-kids-and-now-even-roasted-your-own-chicken look every time. (Although, come to think of it, the you-have-four-kids part is really quite common) Listen people, be shocked that I make manicotti from scratch or that I would never ever buy store bought caramel but please do not extol praise on me for this. It's really not worth it. This is such a simple thing to do at home and it makes your house smell so incredible. If for nothing else but the smell- you must do this one at home!The beauty of this recipe is you can adapt it any way you please. Love lemons - add them to the cavity. (Oranges are good too!) Love garlic? Add more - under the skin, in the pan, rub it over (you get the idea). There are a few key points I have learned along the way that really make the difference, the rest is up to your imagination.So I'm going to post my original go-to recipe for Friday night Roast Chicken. Then I am going to post a variation that I do (just to keep it interesting because really, chicken can get pretty darn boring). No matter which you choose, you will love the outcome and will never ever have to take a chicken home in a sad looking bag, stamped with an "eat by 6:10pm" sticker from the grocery store, again.Classic Roast Chicken RecipeEquipment- medium sized roasting pan, heavy aluminum just a bit bigger than your chicken (and you can leave room for potatoes, more on that below)Preheat- 4751 3-4 lb Roaster- preferably organicKosher Salt and Ground Pepper3-4 springs of fresh thyme1 onion, sliced4 tbl melted butter or canola oil (butter is SO not kosher, FYI!)1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken stock, white wine or water.Wash and pat dry chicken. Put onion slices down on roasting pan and lay chicken on top of onion slices. Salt liberally breasts and back and inside of chicken. Salt a bit on the wings and legs. Cover with a paper towel and refrigerate 1hr and up to 1 day.Remove chicken from refrigerator, preheat oven to 475. Using a thin knife, gently separate the skin from the breasts creating a pocket on each breast. Stuff 2 sprigs of thyme into each breast. Rub the butter all over the bird and season with some pepper. Tuck the wings under the breasts.Roast for 20 mins at 475, reduce temp to 350 and cook for 45-55 mins or until juices run clear from thigh. Halfway through cooking, baste with the chicken stock, white wine or water.(whichever you are using)Move chicken onto a cutting board and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. This will help all the juices stay into the bird instead of running down your cutting board.NOTE: This is delicious when roasted with cut up potatoes and carrots. For the potatoes, I like russets, cut small and scattered around the chicken. I toss it with a bit of olive or canola oil and season the potatoes with additional kosher salt and pepper.***Variation #1***Chicken with White wine and garlic3-4lb CUT UP Chicken20 pee[...]

A blogging vacation and my "Sneaky Style" Jewish Chicken Soup


I have taken a blogging vacation. This is not to imply that I have taken a cooking vacation - not at all. I have cooked and baked and photographed. I have simply not gotten around to writing about it, but I will try to remedy that now.I do actually have a real job that is thankfully growing like crazy but requires much of my personal time. Oh, and then there are my 4 children who, as often I hear them say "I can do it myself", lo and behold...cannot "do it themselves". But I have missed you all - all 4 of my loyal followers :)I am coming back with a staple - Chicken Soup. There is nothing particularly difficult about making the soup - and its a great starter recipe for a novice because you really cannot screw it up. What I love about my recipe is the "sneaky veggie" puree that finally gets your kids eating those carrots and celery pieces. Not only does it boost the nutrients in the soup but really gives off the most wonderful flavor and color, unlike any other chicken soup I have ever tried.It's the perfect remedy for colds, it's comforting on rainy days and makes a great entree in the lunchbox - with a thermos, of course.Of course, it also leaves you with an entire boiled chicken to deal with the next day - anyone thinking chicken salad? Might have to blog about that soon..Wholesome Chicken Soup - serves at least 8-10 generous bowls1 Whole, Organic Chicken (I prefer organic as I think it makes a cleaner soup)2-3 celery stalks, trimmed2-3 carrots, peeled1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half1 bunch of fresh dill1-2 parsnips, peeled3-4 tbl kosher salt2 tbl fresh ground pepper1 bag egg noodles (whatever size you prefer)Wash chicken and place in large soup pot. Place all other vegetables on top, cover with water about 3"-5" above chicken and vegetables. Turn heat to high and bring soup to boil. Run it on boil for 15-20mins more. If any "foam" comes to the top, skim it off and toss. (I find with organic chicken you do not get much of this). Add salt and pepper, lower heat to med-low, cover and simmer for 1 - 1.5 hrs more, turning chicken occasionally.Place a large colander on a large bowl and with tongs remove chicken into colander, allowing extra liquid to empty into the bowl. (Keep putting this liquid back into the pot) Using a strainer, remove all vegetables from the pot into the colander. Keep skimming with a fine mesh sieve until all small pieces are removed and soup is clear.Save largest chicken pieces for soup or for chicken salad. Place carrots, celery and parsnip pieces into a food processor fitted with the standard blade. Add 1-2 cups of soup liquid to food processor and process 10 seconds until well pureed. Add puree back into the chicken soup, mix in well.Cover and remove pot from heat. Refrigerate overnight and the next day skim off fat. Return to boil, add noodles and serve.( you may want to add a bit more salt and pepper at the table)[...]

Fish for All- Sole Meuinere


Lots of people assume, because of my ownership with Wholesome Tummies, that I am a nutritionist or at the very least an expert in nutrition.Well, let me say it here, my lovely blog followers. I am not. I majored in something Liberal Arts (I have to go and read my diploma again, since I forgot) at UCF. I do have a huge passion for all things food related and making sure my family eats as healthfully (is that a word?) as possible. (well, we do eat our share of chocolate cake, but at least it's MY chocolate cake so I know what's in it!).One of the food items I continue to be clueless about is fish. I have this hang up about fish. I think I grew up always thinking it was some superfood. In my younger years, I forced myself to make it when I didn't really love as a more fully grown adult (eek!) I actually LOVE fish and would eat it often. The irony is, now that I love it, there are so many conflicting reports about the dangers vs. benefits of certain fish. I even downloaded an iphone app that tells me what fish I should buy based on fishing standards and mercury levels. (pretty cool!).So as a mom, I want my children to get all the benefits from eating fish without the dangerous PCB's and mercury. As if that isn't enough- I want them to like it. I want them to like fish that isn't battered and deep fried. I want them to actually TASTE the fish and not a whole bunch of breading. But, I'm a realist. I don't think my 20 month old will eat poached salmon. I don't think my 6 year olds would eat steamed sea bass (actually, that is on the do not eat list..) I found this classic recipe for Sole Meuniere- which is basically sole, lightly dredged in flour, sauteed in a brown butter sauce..Hmm..Fish..butter..saute..lemon. Ok sounds kid friendly and sophisticated too?I didn't have sole so I used flounder instead. (was on the approved list according to my handy iphone app!). I also omitted the capers because ..well..because I hate them. I highly recommend this easy, elegant and kid friendly dinner. Start to finish took 20 minutes.Sole Meuniere (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, NY Times and Ina Garten)1/2 cup all-purpose flourKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each6 tablespoons unsalted butter2 tbl olive oil1 lemon sliced thin3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice2 tablespoon minced fresh parsleySeason fillets generously with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour.Place a large skillets over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, add 2 fillets to pan and cook, turning once, until the fish is golden and just cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.Remove fish, wipe out the pan and repeat with remaining fish, 2 tbl butter and 1 tbl olive oil. Remove fish from pan.Return the pan to low heat and whisk remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter into the pan. Add sliced lemons, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of parsley to each pan and cook for 1 minute. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve immediately.[...]

Boredom Baking- PB, Oatmeal, CC Cookies


Does anyone else ever do this? I cannot be the only one. When I am bored - I immediately think about what I should bake. I suppose its better than mindless eating but then again someone has to eventually eat whatever comes out of the oven..And since that person is usually my husband I tend to bake things I know he likes. This is not exceptionally difficult- he is a very good willing taster to my creations but I know deep down, that he is a pretty simple tastes kinda guy. He doesn't like coconut, almond (any nuts except peanut, actually), lemon, carrot cake and basically anything too fussy. His favorites are the classics : Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cupcakes, Chocolate Cake and PB&Chocolate. So I rarely get to venture out to some of the more exotic recipes that I cut out. So... this cookie sort of appealed to both him and me...he gets his chocolate and peanut butter and I at least get some oatmeal! Besides, tomorrow when our toddler eats one, I'll feel less guilty since if it has oatmeal - it must be healthy!This cookie is not so much some fancy for company cookie. Its more of a cookie jar, grab a few when you walk past it, cookie. And so what's wrong with that?Peanut Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookiesadapted from Dorie Greenspan3 cups oatmeal1 cup flour1/2 tsp salt1 tsp baking soda1 1/2 tsp cinnamon2 sticks butter2 eggs1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed1 cup white sugar2 tsp vanilla1 cup peanut butter12 oz bittersweet chocolate chipsPreheat oven to 350Sift oatmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon together and set aside.In mixer fixed with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add vanilla. Slowly combine dry ingredients into butter mixture. Add chocolate chips in by hand.On a lined cookie sheet, spoon tablespoon sized balls onto the sheet- 2-3" apart. Flatten with back of spoon and bake 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown.When removed from the oven let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a rack(this will help them harden up a bit). They will continue to harden after cooled.[...]

Loaded up Lasagna


I am still challenged, like most moms are, to find vegetables my kids will eat. It seems that just when one of them starts to like one, the next week they hate it. So there you have it. The owner of Wholesome Tummies does not have little tofu and alfalfa sprout eating children. My dirty secret is out.You know from my previous posts that I do like to sneak it in recipes. It's not only because I want them (and me too!) to get the extra vitamins that the veggies provide but I found as an added bonus but sneaking in veggies in a lot of recipes I was eliminating some fat and cutting down sugar and by accident making it lower calorie and lower fat too. Cool, right!? The only downside with sneaking in veggies, I think, is that I'm telling my kids that its OK to NOT eat their veggies. "Huh?"..well think about it - if you sneak in a cup of spinach into a taco meat then you wont feel as pressured to have them eat their broccoli that you put on the side, right? Therefore the kids sit back and go "ah..the old mom doesn't care if we eat our vegetables anymore, rock on!!"So...(I do have a point here)..I think its important that they still see vegetables and know that you haven't backed off. If they eat the sneaky food, just think of it as a veggie bonus but not to replace the ones on their plate.OK soapbox over- now on to the recipe... I have a split household when it comes to Lasagna. Hubby likes meat, daughter likes it super cheesy, toddler likes veggie and mom - well I don't care. We moms don't get an opinion anyway. So tonight I decided to do a combo of all three plus add a little gourmet addition for ME!I love how this turned out. It was a bit more work then I would have liked (start to oven was about 35-40 mins) but it made a TON and it was all we served for dinner! I know it seems like a million steps but really one just leads into the next. The onions can be done 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed. Make extra because they are amazing on just about anything - pastas, panninis, steak..mmm..Turkey and Vegetable Lasagna with Caramelized OnionsRecipe courtesy of ...Oh ME!For Meat Sauce2 lbs ground turkey breast2 jars of good quality spaghetti sauce (I used Muir Glen - Roasted Garlic) For Cheese Mixture1 container (15 oz ) part skim ricotta4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (part skim)1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese2 eggs1 package frozen spinach- thawed1 tbl dried oregano1 tsp dried parsley Vegetable Layer2 carrots, sliced thin10 mushrooms - caps sliced thin1 head broccoli, chopped and stems removed2 cloves garlic, mincedCaramelized Onions2 whole onions, sliced thin2 tbl butter1 tsp sugar1 package no boil lasagna noodlesOlive OilCaramelize Onions:In a heavy fry pan or dutch oven, melt butter on med-low heat and add sliced onions. Cook over slow, low heat for 20 minutes (or while you prepare the rest). Add sugar when when onions are just beginning to sweat. These can cook slowly for up to 1 hour.Saute Veggies:In a small frying pan, over medium heat saute mushrooms, garlic, broccoli and carrots until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.Make Sauce:In large saucepan, brown turkey in 2 tbl olive oil until cooked through and no longer pink. Add sauce and simmer on low until ready to use.Make Ricotta Mixture:In a large bowl, combine ricotta, eggs, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, spinach, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley. Mix until well combined.Preheat oven to 375In large baking dish or lasagna pan ladle 1 cup meat sauce. Place one layer lasagna noodles. Scoop 1 cup ricotta mixture and spread to cover the[...]

Baked Sweet GA BYES (Potatoes)



Ok, so this recipe isn't brain surgery or rocket science for that matter. It's fairly basic and simple but if you are like me, it's one you probably KNOW how to do, but sorta forget you know it- therefore, forget to make it!

Allow me to digress a bit: let me tell you about my son, Miles. Miles is 19 months old and LOVES french fries. He LOVES them. I tried so hard to keep him away from such foods and eating green things as long as I could, and overall, the kid is pretty good. He will eat roasted chicken and spinach stuffed pasta and edamame like its going out of style. But give him a plate of french fries and game over. No other food will be consumed. The best is what he calls them. GaByes. GAAABYES GAABYES (those would be how he screams when he sees them..) I know by now he probably can say french fries pretty well..but I just want to keep him a baby a bit longer so I call them GaByes too..

Sweet Potato Fries are a great way to satisfy the french fry craving but - healthier than their white cousins! More vitamins and more fiber and more filling too.

Preheat oven to 425.


Peel 4 small sweet potatoes or 2 large ones. Cut pointy ends off so they don't burn in the oven. Slice potatoes approximately 4" long and 1" wide.
Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a ziplock bag.

Add: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbl kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp paprika.
Place sliced potatoes in the bag and shake well until combined.

Spread potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet and spread apart with a spoon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once while cooking until browned.


Happy Purim - Hamentashen/Hamantaschen ..whatever you call it


What is with Jewish words that can be spelled 11 different ways? Is it Chanukkah or Hanukkah? Hamentashen or Hamantaschen? Ahhh, who cares. What matters here is the recipe not the wording, right?So its Purim..."what is Purim" and "what does it have to do with Hamantashen", you ask? Well, I'll let my Hebrew School trained children get into the nitty gritty details but basically there was this evil dude, Haman (insert loud noisemaker here), who wanted all the Jews dead and he wore a pointy triangular hat and now, Jews everywhere eat his hat. Well, not his hat, but cookies shaped like his hat. Why? I have no idea - I think that Jews find every excuse to turn a story into food.So my excited little 6 year olds were putting on the Jewish guilt to make Hamantashen with them (Darn they learn that Jewish guilt so young!) and because I am a recipe nut-case, I cannot just turn over a can of cherry filling and use THAT recipe (oh the horror!) I had to spend over an hour researching the perfect one.I HATE hamantashen that is crumby, tasteless and dry. I think the key is a bit of a rugelach like taste (ok more on that cookie in a few months..) so that means- the addition of cream cheese. Hey, cream cheese never hurt anyone - just ask my friend Debbie who thinks you can add it to EVERYTHING..Tradional hamantashen contains a prune (or Lekvar) filling but I took a chance and assumed my kids were NOT begging me to make Hamantashen because they had a hankering for we switched it up a bit and went with chocolate.The result was buttery, flaky and deliciously chocolatey.So, while it may make no sense as to why we eat this cookie or why its shaped like the guys hat or better yet, what a cookie has to do with persecution of Jews in persia- this cookie, with a glass of milk is a nice tribute to our people and our culture.Enjoy and Happy Purim!Dough: (adapted from smitten kitchen)Preheat oven to 3508 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature ( I used whipped)3 tablespoons sugar2 eggs (1 for dough, 1 for brushing)1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon orange zest1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour1/4 teaspoon salt Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt, mixing until combined. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour. Form dough into two discs, wrap in seperate plastic wraps and put in freezer for 20 minutes. To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (2-3" across) cut the dough into circles. Brush egg mixture on rounds, spoon a teaspoon of you filling (see below) in the center. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed. Leave the filling mostly open in the center. Brush a bit more egg mixture on outsides. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.Chocolate Filling (From Jewish Cooking)1 14oz can Sweetened Condsensed Milk3 oz unsweetened chocolatepinch of salt1 tsp vanillaIn a medium saucepan on med-high heat combine the condensed milk and chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla stirring well until shiny and satiny. Mixture will thicken as it comes to room temperature.[...]

Meatballs and Spaghetti - for dessert


I am not a baker. I can bake, don't get me wrong but I am not a baker. I think a true baker is someone who can effortlessly whip up beautiful looking desserts that get oohs and ahhas as they hit the table. This is not me. My accolades, if they come, only are once the first bite is taken- my talents lie much more with taste than looks. Baking is really 50% visual, don't you think?I have more baking cookbooks than I care to admit but I am always afraid to tackle those recipes which rely so much on the visual apperance of the recipe. I truly envy those bakers who have the time and patience to make their creations look so appetizing (dessertizing? that should be a word).So(I do have a point here) last October, my 2 best friends and I went to the Gourmet Institute in New York. I won't go into a full review of the conference here, but basically, the highlight of the experience (other than hanging with my 2 best friends doing what we do best - eating) was the cupcake class we took. The class was taught by the author of Hello! Cupcake, the most adorable cupcake book you have ever seen. This is NOT a book with cupcake recipes, but rather cupcake decorating recipes. We sat down in the class and in front of each of us was- a plain, already cooked vanilla cupcake, a Ferrero Rocher chocolate in its wrapper, a little cup of strawberry jam and a ziplock with some frosting inside. When the class was completed- we had learned how to turn those ingredients into the cutest spaghetti and meatball cupcake you have ever seen.It was really the first time I felt that the "outside" of something I had made could be just as good (and in this case even better) then the inside! I was so giddy with excitement to go home and practice my newfound decorating talents.My first real-life attempt was a failure. Poor Maddie, she was my guinea pig. For her 6th birthday, after flipping thru the Hello Cupcake cookbook, she decided she wanted this colorful, tall cupcake cake for her party. After already one "spaghetti and meatball cupcake" under my belt, I figured "no problem! "Well, the special liners cost me 35.00, I couldnt find strawberry stick cookies, the cupcakes all toppled when I put stacked them as the book explained. The frosting melted all over the place and the rainbow candies that were to outline each cupcake took hours to apply. The cupcakes tasted delicious but the cake looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland.So that brings me to this recipe...I figured the only cupcakes I would attempt again with confidence was the original Spaghetti and Meatball ones I learned at the Gourmet Insitute. Since our friends hold an annual Balls N Sauce party this was the PERFECT dessert to bring along.I can proudly say that it was not the total disaster Maddie's cake was- but not a total success either. The frosting didn't stay "spaghetti" looking for too long so it ended up looking like meatballs on a cupcake but nonetheless, they were cute and heck and tasty too.So here is to stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. And here is a second toast to knowing when to give up and what your true talents are. For me, Ill leave the fancy decorating to Publix bakery."Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes" - Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack1 recipe of your favorite Vanilla cupcakes(I used the yellow cake from Buttercup Bakeshop Cookbook)1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting ( I made swiss buttercream from scratch but yes, you can use the can if necessary)1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder3 drops yellow food coloring11 hazelnut chocolates (Ferrero Rocher), unwrapped3/4 cup low-sugar strawberry preserves (low-sugar has the [...]

Jewish girls can cook Italian


It has been awhile since I have blogged. My lapse is not due to lack of cooking - I have made blondies and roast chickens and shrimp scampi and other blog worthy meals since I last wrote. I have just either forgotten to pull out the camera mid-thru cooking or found the camera with a dead battery inside OR perhaps the most likely reason of all- laziness.So, tonight I bring you a house favorite. My house, your house..pretty much all houses...Spaghetti and Meatballs...My son, Max LOOOOVES spaghetti and meatballs. Its the one meal he actually requests and its always satisfying to me to make it for him. I know there are so many variations of "balls and sauce" and there is probably nothing remarkable about mine, except that..well..they are really good.Meatballs , in Italian families probably invoke much the same debates as matzoh balls in Jewish families. Some like them small, some large and meaty...I prefer the larger variety. If you like smaller sizes of course, roll them accordingly. I added in some turkey to the recipe to make it a bit lighter. (I know, real Italians are aghast!) This recipe is more about the meatballs than anything else. You can use a jarred spaghetti sauce, but after all the effort in making perfect, homemade meatballs you may want to doctor it up a bit - at least!This is perfect with the Caesar Salad recipe (listed on this blog). The only other requirement is crusty garlic recipe for that follows too!Meatballs & SpaghettiFor the meatballs: nocou1/2 pound ground turkey1 pound ground beef1 1/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs (see picture - just throw the slices in a food processor)1 tsp garlic powder1 tsp thyme1 tsp oregano2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese2 teaspoons kosher salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 extra-large egg, beatenVegetable oilOlive oil3/4 cup warm water Place the ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, herbs, Parmesan, salt, pepper, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 3-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels.You can put the meatballs directly into the sauce while you make the garlic bread.Garlic Bread:1 loaf crusty french bread- cut in half length-wise.1 stick of unsalted butter4 cloves garlic, minced1 tbl kosher saltParmesan cheesePreheat oven to 375.In a small saucepan, melt butter and garlic over low heat. Add salt and simmer until fully combined.Lay the open bread halves onto a cookie sheet and brush the garlic & butter mixture all inside the bread. Close the bread in half and wrap in tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes.Remove from oven, open the bread and place open faced back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.Turn on broiler and broil bread for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Slice and serve.[...]

Punitions - "Punishment" Cookies


I'm doomed...Well, I should say France is doomed for me. I have tried and planned now twice, to visit there and both times I was derailed. The first time, tickets were bought, hotels were booked and itineraries were planned. We planned on 2 weeks in the South of France (okay, not Paris) and scheduled to leave September 14, 2001. I don't have to tell you why that trip was canceled...Then, my honeymoon in 2006- we had planned on going to France with a vacation we won in an auction- last minute we find out that the auction does not include trips to Europe and Jamaica welcomed us instead. Don't get me wrong, I loved my honeymoon of lazy resort living and the scenery and the was lovely. But it wasn't France...France holds this mystique for me like no other. I imagine myself with a loaf of crusty bread, a huge chunk of cheese and of course a bottle of Bordeaux (yes, I know that in my dreams I'm not necessary in Bordeaux drinking this wine) overlooking the Seine. Or maybe renting a little villa in Aix en Provence, cooking rustic, provencal dinners with fresh, local ingredients. I have over fantasised about all French food related things. I imagine the bakeries, the cafes, the wine.. I don't know if its going to ever live up to my dreams but at the very least, I can attempt to bring what is French, home.I found this recipe on a Thailand blog of all places and it just called out to me like no other. Buttery shortbread (an excuse to make Poilaine Bakery's punitions), dark chocolate ganache AND salted caramel??! It is basically nirvana in a cookie..(Did I mention how French these seemed?)I spent the better part of 2 hours making these- not because it should take that long but because,well, I sort of left out the sugar in the cookies and had to start over. Undaunted, I began again and I am very glad I did. The cookie is soft, buttery with crisp edges and just the right amount of sweetness. Then the dark chocolate and caramel hit you at the same time I have to say anything else here?A couple notes: When you think the cookies are done, they were done 3 minutes earlier. They should be pale with light golden brown edges. (I probably left mine in 1 -2 minutes too long)When you add the cream to the caramel it will bubble up pretty hot and fast- don't worry that is normal!Punishments (Punitions) - as written from Smitten KitchenAdapted from Boulangerie Poilâne, via Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan 1 1/4 sticks (5 oz; 140 g) unsalted butter, at room temperatureSlightly rounded 1/2 cup (125 g) sugar1 large egg, at room temperature2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour 1. Put the butter in the work bowl of a food processor* fitted with the metal blade and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the butter is smooth. Add the sugar and process and scrape until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the egg and continue to process, scraping the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the flour all at once, then pulse 10-15 times, until the dough forms clumps and curds and looks like streusel. 2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic. If you have the time, chill the disks until they are firm, about 4 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can roll the dough out immediately; it will be a little stickier, but fine. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 1 month.) 3. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350[...]

Brussels Sprouts


Yesterday, I decided to work out. This normally is not something to blog about, but when it has been 25 months since the last work out- this is probably something to tell just about anyone that will listen. I'm proud of myself; I managed to run 1 mile and do a 20 minute Jillian Michaels DVD. After 2 back to back pregnancies, this is pretty impressive. Trust me.So, you know how after you work out you immediately feel thinner and more fit? Like just 1 run on a treadmill all of a sudden has you ready to audition for Bowflex commercials. I'm still pissed that my husband came home from work and didn't comment on my skinny self. So here I am, my thinner, much more fit self today trying to decide what is for dinner. Fit girls do not eat anything with oil or butter. Fish! Fit girls eat Fish.So I went and got myself some fish at Whole Foods and along the way passed the produce section. Broccoli? No, had that last night. Carrots? No, too sweet. Potatoes? NO WAY, fit girls cannot eat those carbs! But there they were- the poster child for all healthy food everywhere.Brussels Sprouts! (Yes, it has an "s" at the end, so many people leave that off!)I know..groan..moan..Brussels Sprouts? "Is she crazy?"Ok, so they aren't exactly as blog worthy as Chocolate Chip Cookies and Fried Chicken. But these little guys, when prepared well (isn't that true about everything, though?) are really so tasty.They looked so cute in the store in their little purple mesh bag - like little baby cabbages (ok, that is what they are) and so round and green.I think they get a bad rap since most memories we have of them are pretty vile. When boiled they are mushy and bitter. Not to mention, they like typify "green icky food". Kids every where shutter when they think of them and this makes me so sad because its just the cooking method that can make these cute little buggers go from YUCK to YUM...(read below)Here is the thing- you have got to bring the flavor to these guys because on their own, they don't have much at all. For me, flavor is all about garlic and caramelizing. I've tried roasting them in the past and was not too happy with the results. After some searching online I landed on a recipe that really takes these things to another level.So tonight my thinner by the minute self (oh and the family too), ate fish, Israeli chopped salad, polenta (hey, a girl needs a couple carbs and polenta seems WAY more healthy than just regular ol potatoes) and these Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts.And I'm sure, I lost another inch or two, right?Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts1 bunch brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half2 garlic cloves thinly sliced2 tbl olive oil1 1/2 tbl butter1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nutsSalt and Pepper to tasteIn a heavy frying pan (cast iron is best) melt the oil and 1 tbl of the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic slices and saute until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and set aside.Place the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, into the hot pan, toss nuts around and season with Salt and Pepper. Cook over medium heat until bottoms are browned (about 10-12 minutes). Do not turn.Remove the Brussels sprouts to dish, add remaining 1/2 tbl butter and garlic to the pan. Once butter melts, pour over the brussels sprouts and serve.[...]

Fish Tacos


Michael "What are we ordering in for dinner?"Sam "What? I am making fish tacos?, I told you that"Michael (while holding crying newborn - insert sarcastic smirk here) "no, you aren't, its 5:30 and you haven't started anything yet"Sam (while wiping runny nose off toddler who is screaming to hold mommy's keys) "It's quick and that's what we are having, we aren't ordering in!!"Michael then slinks away with the "oh yeah right" face.So who hasn't had THOSE nights? those nights when you know the clock is getting ahead of you and your plans for a home cooked meal. 30 minutes later it's pizza delivery time. This is a perfect go to recipe on those nights.....I'll give you all the things to stock in your house so at any given time, you can have a healthy and really really good dinner!We have a hectic life...I'm sure you do too..its hard juggling all the kids needs while simultaneously getting a healthy dinner on the table. Fish tacos, while they have a nice "wow" factor- are probably already to go in your freezer/fridge and pantry. I always keep on hand Wild Mahi Mahi fillets from Whole Foods. They are flash frozen and at 6.99 a package, a steal. I had some leftover shrimp from last night to throw in too. Then the creativity is up to you. Tonight we did a corn, onion and mushroom saute. (using frozen corn and frozen chopped onion I had stored in there). Shredded cheddar cheese, a lone avocado, some sour cream and a tomato topped it off.if you are so willing to make one single trip to the store- it should be for some cabbage. The cabbage slaw added a real California twist and gave the tacos a perfect crunch.Fish TacosFor fish:2 medium Mahi Mahi fillets (or any other firm fish)1 lb frozen shrimp (if desired)2 tbl vegetable oil2 tbl chili powder1 tbl cuminFor veggies: (you can substitute red peppers, peas, carrots - anything you like)2 cups frozen corn1 cup fresh mushrooms1/2 cup chopped onion1 tbl vegetable oilFor Cabbage Slaw:1 cup shredded red cabbage1 cup shredded green cabbage1 green onion, chopped1/4 cup yogurt1 tbl sugar2 tbl lime juicesalt and pepper to tasteCabbage Slaw:In a Large bowl, combine yogurt, green onion, sugar and lime juice. Toss in cabbage and coat. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 15 minutes for flavors to meld.Fish:In a small frying pan, saute onion on medium high heat in 1 tbl vegetable oil until translucent. Add corn and mushrooms and saute until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.Place fish in ziplock bag and combine oil and spices and pour over, shake bag to coat. Remove fish fillets from ziplock and place in a large fry or grill pan set to medium high heat. Cook fish 7-8 minutes until browned. While cooking, lightly break fish apart into smaller flaked pieces. Add in shrimp and saute until shrimp is cooked thru. Remove fish and shrimp from pan and set aside.Serve with sliced avocado, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes and sour cream.We use corn tortillas for the adults and crispy corn tortillas for the kids.[...]

"Get your 5 a day" Pasta


The butter, the oil, the bread crumbs, the cheese...make it stop! I seem to have been on a major comfort food kick lately and I know, it has to end.I set out on this blog with such high hopes- I thought Id use this to illustrate just how healthy my kids eat, how lucky I am that they don't complain about what I cook. How we NEVER eat fast food in our house and help others who are challenged to find creative and nutritious foods for their family. blah blah blah.... what fun is that? Who wants to read about whole grain breaded tofu sticks anyway? So it sorta got off track and I'm here to get it back, a bit.My fellow food buddy, Cynthia told me about a pasta she makes often - an adaptation of an Emeril recipe and it sounded good enough to try. It sounded healthy (spinach and chick peas) while still edible (Parmesan cheese and a bit of heavy cream). I found the recipe online and then proceeded to change it so dramatically that it hardly looked like it was ever related to the original version. I added some shrimp at the end but sauteed chicken or beef would be great too if you wanted to forgo the vegetarian version.Its not fancy and you can probably substitute just about any veggies you have on hand. I do think the spinach is key though- the more the better. The original version did call for chick peas and I liked the extra protein boost that they gave. Before you hit the little red "x" at the top left and say "Ill check back tomorrow... give it a second look...its chock full of veggies but with just enough creaminess to satisfy.... go ahead, add a few more tablespoons of cheese, its OK:)"Get your 5 a day" pasta 1 box penne pasta, cooked, drained2 tbl olive oil1 bunch spinach, washed well, stems removed1 cup Yellow Pepper1 cup sliced zucchini1 small onion, diced3 garlic cloves, minced1 cup sliced mushrooms1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed1 cup chicken stock1/2 cup white wine1/4 cup heavy cream1/2 cup cubed mozzarella cheese1/4 cup Parmesan cheese1 tbl floursalt and pepperIn a large pan, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, cook 1 min more. Add yellow pepper, mushrooms and zucchini and saute until lightly browned. De glaze pan with wine and add chicken stock. Add spinach and chick peas and cook until spinach wilts completely. Lightly crush the chick peas with the back of a spoon against the sides of the pan. Season with Salt and Pepper.Bring to a boil until liquid is reduced by half, reduce to simmer. Add shrimp if using and cover until cooked thru. Remove lid, sprinkle flour over and stir.Swirl in heavy cream and cheeses, remove from heat and toss with cooked pasta.[...]

The Life Changing Chocolate Chip Cookies


I woke up today with a cold..stuffy head, runny nose and exhaustion. When I get sick I turn to the best remedy I know, food. I had visions in my head of making a fresh chicken soup but my work schedule today got in the way, so I settled for a cup of tea and a little rest when I could sneak it in.Although chicken soup might have been a better choice, I wanted a soft blanket, the couch and one of these Chocolate Chip Cookies. I discovered this recipe about a month ago, while 9 months pregnant with my son/ I made them so often that I assumed it was a crazy, pregnancy craving that would surely end when he was born. The baby is 7 weeks old, and it's still the dessert I want above all others.I know, you already have a recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies. They are your Aunt Martha's recipe, its your Nonni's recipe passed down from her mother, its the Toll House or Ghiradelli bag version. Whatever it is, throw it out. Forget you had it. After you make these, there will never be another cookie that comes close. Not even in the same ball park.This recipe was developed by David Leite and was published in the New York Times last year. He took on the mission to develop the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie. He interviewed everyone and anyone that proclaimed to be an expert on the subject and then developed, what he calls "the consummate chocolate chip cookie'.con·sum·mate, adjective - complete in every detail : perfectThere are some interesting ingredients required for this recipe that you may not have on hand. Do not substitute, the recipe is truly perfection when left in tact. I like to use a scale when making these to get the proportions exact but you can use regular measuring cups too with no problem. If found the chocolate disks at both Williams Sonoma (E. Guittard) or Whole Foods ( El Ray).The recipe says to refrigerate the dough for 36 hours before baking. This is next to impossible for two reasons:1. How do you not eat cookies right after making this dough? I mean, most people bake cookies because they want a cookie NOW not in three days.2. Cookie Dough, sitting in your fridge for 3 days? Do I have to say more?But, if you can do it, if you can hold out, you will behold in your hand, the most incredible cookie experience of your life. (Oh, go ahead, bake off a couple before refrigerating them, is OK, I won't tell)Chocolate Chip CookiesPublished: New York Times July, 2008 - Adapted from Jacques TorresTime: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar2 large eggs2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)Sea salt. 1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches[...]

Fried Chicken


Why are people so afraid of this little chicken? We condemn fried chicken for fear of its artery clogging abilities. We assume that a few bites of this now and then will cut our life short by could something so good be so bad? (That might be a subject for another post entirely)But you know what, you are all a bunch of hypocrites. Who does not love this food? Find me someone, anyone who does not drool at the smell and sight of really good (crunchy, crispy, moist and juicy) fried chicken. Its roots are soul food and that couldn't be closer to the truth- SOUL food it is...I make fried chicken wings 2-3x a year. It's usually around football season I get the motivation to stand at my stove for a few hours coating and dipping and frying. Its labor intensive, I won't lie to you but not complicated and the results are just so so worth it. They freeze really well (if there is actually any left) and are amazing either cold or hot.I consulted all experts on this when searching for the perfect recipe- Paula Dean (if she can't fry a chicken, who can), Ina Garten, Cooks Illustrated, Emeril..but in the end it was Cooks Illustrated's version that won out. They suggest covering your pot while the chicken cooks for about 5 minutes and that will seal in the juices and create the moistest chicken possible. They are right..So if you are feeling indulgent...if you need some wow factor for a Super Bowl party this year, look no further than this. You will not be sorry.(Adapted from CI)Approx 50 Chicken Wings(if more, just add more flour and seasonings) (I like to remove the tips but you can leave them on if you like)6 cups All Purpose Flour4 TBL Kosher Salt1 TBL pepper1 TBL Paprika1/2 TBL Garlic PowderVegetable OilButtermilkSoak the Chicken in buttermilk for 6-8 hoursDrain buttermilk and discardIn a large bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.Toss chicken in flour mixture and let sit on a cooking sheet with a rack so the excess flour is removed. Continue with all chicken pieces.Preheat oven to 250 degreesPour Vegetable Oil in to a large dutch oven until it reaches 3" below the top of the pot.With a fry thermometer, get the oil to 375 degrees (no hotter)Fry 10-12 wings at a time (do not overlap), cover pot with lid and cook for 5-7 minutes.Remove lid, toss with slotted spoon and cook an additional 7-9 minutes or until golden brown.Remove from oil, put the wings on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until the remaining wings are finished.I like to keep them in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to ensure the insides of the chicken are fully cooked. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a bit more kosher salt and if desired a pinch of cayenne pepper.[...]

My brush with the Mob- Caesar Salad Recipe


So I'm a Jewish girl from Toronto. What do I know from Italian mobsters? Not much, except for this Caesar Salad recipe.Here's the story..My mother was not a cook. She had 2 recipes I remember growing up - Roast Chicken (which is still the recipe I use to this day, handed down to her from her mother) and Caesar Salad dressing from scratch.Now the Roast Chicken makes sense, we are a Jewish family, my grandmother is pretty "old country" (still serves my grandfather herring on a regular basis kind of thing) and Roast Chicken is a pretty sure bet in a Jewish household. But what was with the Caesar Salad? I didn't ask as a child was just happy to see my mom in the kitchen once in awhile making something..ANYTHING! She just called it "Joey Dogs Caesar Salad" and I guess that satisfied me at the time.Her dressing was magical. Everyone asked for the recipe that tried it. It was a more complex recipe (or so it seemed when I was 9). Lots of bottles and mixing and whisking.To this day, even with the knowledge of more sophisticated brands available, I still use Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar, Colemans Dry Mustard and the Kraft green bottle Parmesan cheese, since that is exactly what the original recipe card says to do. I guess I'm afraid to deviate from the recipe...and given the origins of it, my fear may be justified!But it was, the best ever. It's garlicky and lemony with a hint of anchovies and Parmesan cheese. It takes fresh crisp romaine to a new level. It wasn't until I was much older that I asked her where it came from.Well, "Joey Dogs" was actually Joe Iannuzzi whom she dated off and on for about 1 year in the early 80's. I recall them going on dates and how he would bring me stupid little toys before they would go out. (in particular, this ridiculous ceramic giraffe) I remember his very "tik" New York accent. Joey Dogs was, it turns out, an FBI Informant for the mob. He was in fact, a mobster himself. While this is crazy to think your nice, Jewish mother was dating a mobster, this thrills the foodie in me, as it makes this recipe far more authentic. It was like I struck recipe gold! An authentic, Italian recipe from a mobster named Joey Dogs who actually gave it first hand to my own mother!Luckily, my mother and Joey Dogs broke it off, but the recipe remains forever."Joey Dogs" Caesar Salad Recipe1 head fresh crisp Romaine Lettuce, tops trimmed, torn into bite sized pieces1 cup croutons3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced2" long squeeze of Anchovy Paste (or more if you like)1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (yes, you can use the green bottle one here but please use the fresh grated at the end)1/4 c lemon juice1 tsp dry mustard2 tsp worcestershire sauce1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar1 cup good quality Extra Virgin Olive oil1 egg (optional)Freshly grated Parmesan cheeseIn a large salad bowl combine garlic, anchovy paste, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce with a whisk until well combined. Add red wine vinegar until mixed in and slowly add olive oil until fully integrated.In a separate cup, coddle the egg. (Place the egg in a cup and cover with almost boiling water for 2 minutes)Remove yolk and mix into dressing until emulsified.Leave the dressing in the bottom of the bowl, add lettuce on top and do not mix. Add 1/4c freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the croutons and toss when just about to serve. This keeps the lettuce from getting soggy. [...]