Friday Foodie Pinspiration – Easter & Passover Recipes

Friday, April 6th, 2012 | Posted under Foodie Pinspiration, Recipe

As this post goes up, I’m probably stuffing my face with a medialuna for breakfast, but I wanted to make sure that I popped in to wish you all a Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday (whichever you prefer to call it) as well as Passover (Chag Sameach!).

As a kid, my traditional way of recognizing Easter was getting my hair done, a new dress for church, attending Easter service and the church’s Easter egg hunt afterwards. Dinner wasn’t such a big part of the day. That probably doesn’t make me the most qualified person to suggest recipes for a holiday dinner; however, I believe in any excuse to cook something tasty. As for Passover, I’m still working on getting a Seder invite. A friend wanted me to come to hers this year, but I’ll be out of town for most of Passover. 🙁
Here are a few recipes that might work for your special dinner this weekend:
Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary & Garlic

Gail Simmons’ Horseradish Brisket

Classic Baked Ham with Maple- Mustard Glaze

Sides, etc.
Mint Meyer Lemon Risotto with White Asparagus
via My Life Runs on Food (big shout out to Sanura Weathers!)

Matzo Pizza
Okay. This one is obviously not for Seder, but it might be nice for lunch another part of the week. When you can’t eat anything leavened, I suspect lots of creativity is involved.

Coconut Nest Cookies
The colors are Easter-y, but the macaron-like cookies are great for Passover.
Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs

Do you have any dishes that are a tradition in your home for these holidays?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Reset Week (A Week of Healthy Eating)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 | Posted under Cooking, Health, Personal, Recipe

I mentioned in my 101 things in 1,001 days post about doing what I call a Reset Week. This is a habit that I started last year. As someone who likes to eat…a lot…and now eats a wide variety of things that I didn’t before, I’ve decided that I need to give my body a break once in a while. I have done juice fasts before, which are fine. After the last one I finished, it was hard to incorporate solid food again, even when I added things back slowly.

Then I got an idea. Why don’t I just cut out some of the foods that I’d like to cut back on for a week (more like five to six days) instead of cutting out solid food altogether? I would begin to think again about how I am eating and remind myself of how to eat healthier. In a way, I would be resetting my eating patterns.
During a Reset Week, beginning on a Sunday or Monday, I refrain from the following until I have a nice, triumphant dinner on Friday night:
No Meat
No Dairy
No Sweets/Dessert (including sugar sweeteners. I try to use agave nectar)
No Alcohol
No Caffeine
and probably something else I’m forgetting as I write this
Essentially, I become a non-drinking vegan for about a week. I also try to eat more fruits and veggies than I normally do already. To be quite honest, it’s not as hard as I thought it would be. The easiest for me is refraining from caffeine since I rarely drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, including soda. No meat is fine since I was a pescetarian (a fish eating vegetarian) for years and used to it, and I’m not big into dairy (except for cheese…I LURVE cheese).
Surprisingly, the sweets have gotten to be the hardest for me. These days I tend to like a little something small and sweet after dinner. During these weeks, I’ll drink Vanilla Almond milk as my sweet fix. It’s sweetened with cane juice, but I guess it could be worse.
I know many of you are thinking “What’s left to eat?” Well, here’s a sampling of the things I eat during a Reset Week:
-Vanilla Soy Probiotic Yogurt with apple, berries or some other seasonal fruit, sprinkled with ground flax seeds or flax meal
-Steel Cut Oatmeal with drizzle of agave nectar and banana, apples or berries mixed in
I usually use McCanns Quick & Easy Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal because steel cut oats tend to take longer to cook. These take way less time than normal to make.

-Fruit smoothie with almond milk and flax meal
-Most nuts (especially walnuts, and almonds are my favorite) are fine. I avoid salted ones though.
-Rice cakes (I like the Lundberg whole grain ones with little to no salt)
-Fruit (I find apples are filling and a great source of fiber)
-Lots of herbal decaf tea (unsweetened or a little agave nectar)
-Lots and lots of water (I like adding big hunks of fresh lemon)
Lunch is usually a salad or leftovers from the night before. Here’s one of my favorite salads from this summer:
I like to use spinach for my greens, so I’ve already got one good veggie. This salad also has beets, artichoke hearts, yellow peppers and carrots. For a protein kick, I would add chickpeas, sunflower seeds or maybe some tofu. Go light on the dressing, or just use a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.
I usually try stay away from some of the more processed vegetarian “meats” and patties in favor of things like beans, quinoa, seitan, and tofu (I’ve been trying not to depend on soy very much for protein). Here are few dishes that I will probably be eating this week.
Santa Fe Quinoa Salad with steamed veggies or sauteed kale
Here’s some of the Santa Fe Quinoa Salad I made during last summer’s Reset Week
In the summer, I love Spicy Quinoa, Tomato & Avocado Salad.
-Seitan Stir Fry with Sesame Ginger Sauce
I love seitan. Have you ever had mock meats at various vegetarian restaurants? Well, seitan/wheat gluten are the basis of many of those “meats.” Those who are allergic to gluten might want to avoid seitan, but you know more about gluten allergies than me. Like tofu, seitan takes on the flavors of what it’s cooked with.

Seitan right out of the bag. Not necessarily pretty, I know

For this dish, I don’t make my own stir fry sauce (Sigh..I know I should). I just try not to get too heavy handed. In the pic below, I did. Oops!
Seitan with bok choy (Chinese cabbage), carrots and peppers and Whole Foods sesame ginger sauce

So that’s my Reset Week in a nutshell. I know that I indulged a lot this past holiday season, so it’s nice to start the year off with a renewed look at how to eat healthfully. I’ll be doing this at least three more times this year. If I try any new recipes, I’ll be sure to share.

Are you looking to eat healthier this year? What steps are you taking to do so? Do you have any healthy recipes that you’d like to share?


A Recipe for Ujima on Kwanzaa Culinarians

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 | Posted under Antigua, Cooking, Featured On, Recipe

Today is the third day of Kwanzaa. While I know that many people don’t celebrate the holiday or think it’s even a “real” holiday, I don’t believe that it should be ignored. Why? Well, I may not agree on many ideas espoused by the founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga, I think he’s done a great thing here. By creating a celebration focused on principles, I think he’s adding a grounding aspect to a season that often can be filled with excess (financial or otherwise).

I was very flattered to be asked to write a piece for the Kwanzaa Culinarians site for today’s Kwanzaa principle of Ujima.
Ujima stands for Collective Work and Responsibility.

Here’s a link to my post featuring one of my favorite Antiguan dishes and a discussion of how it relates to Ujima.

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Summer Dinner – Swordfish & Green Bean Slaw

Thursday, August 18th, 2011 | Posted under Cooking, Recipe

Here’s another simple dinner from me. As I mentioned before, the summer makes me want to flee the kitchen rather than hunker down to cook anything complicated. I made this dinner the day before our meal at River Cafe (we can’t eat out all of the time!).
Clockwise: (Broiled) swordfish, corn, green bean slaw

Swordfish – I know many people are intimidated by cooking fish, but I don’t think it has to be hard. Actually I find it easier than cooking red meat, since you can only cook it for so long. For this swordfish, I keep it simple (I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s true).

1. Light the broiler 🙂 (I wish I owned a grill)
2. Season the swordfish with salt and pepper
3. Add a little pat of butter (not too much). I know it’s butter, but I like it.
Olive spray works well, too.
4. Put under the broiler for about 15 minutes maybe more depending on the thickness of the swordfish.

Obviously, this is not super clear and depends on a lot on just experimenting over time, but this is what I do. I’m definitely not a recipe blogger. 🙂

Green Bean Slaw – I got the recipe here. The hardest thing about this was cutting the veggies into a nice julienne. It was really that easy. You may want to halve the recipe as I had leftovers for days. If you’re planning a late summer barbecue, this would be a great veggie side dish.

Corn – again, simply boiling for 10-12 minutes or so should do the trick. I wish I had a grill for the corn. One day…

Are you intimidated by cooking fish, red meat or anything else?


Summer Dinner – Chipotle Shrimp Tostada

Friday, July 15th, 2011 | Posted under Cooking, Recipe

A cooking post? From me? Well, I guess I should try to branch out just a little….
Sunday tends to be our big sit down meal in the TAO household, since Husband J’s weekday hours can be a little unpredictable. 9.5 times out of 10 we’re home on Sunday nights, and that’s when I try new things in the kitchen. Since it’s summer, I try to find recipes that are simple, emphasize what’s in season, and don’t require much time standing over a hot stove.
Chipotle Shrimp Tostada
A very hastily taken picture with my phone amidst bad background lighting.
Here’s the recipe.

In some respects, this is probably not the most healthy main dish in the world. The tortilla is fried, and there is some sour cream involved (hangs head in shame). I’m wondering if it might be healthier with whole wheat tortillas. Do you think there was another way to make the tortillas extra crispy without frying them?

Also the amount of chipotle that this recipe calls for results in a pretty decent bite. You might want to reduce the amount, if you don’t like very much spice.

I didn’t forget the sides.
More phone pics! Left: asparagus/ right: corn

I served some asparagus and corn. For the asparagus I toss in olive oil with salt and pepper (I use the salt and pepper from my grinders because I like the crunchy specks of salt and pepper), and pop them under the broiler for about 10 minutes. I don’t like them under there too long because they lose crunch. I’m not a fan of mushy, overcooked veggies. Corn is just boiled for a short time. I find that 10-12 minutes usually does the trick. If it’s a good piece of corn, then it won’t need butter or anything else.

That’s it. I know I tend to be the “non-recipe post” kind of food blogger. I just thought I would mix things up a bit. If you liked this, please let me know in the comments section. Maybe I will write more about what I cook on Sunday evenings.
Happy Weekend!


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