You know the likes of peanut butter and jelly, pasta and tomatoes…? Well, you can officially include za’atar and cheese as a perfect pairing. Keep Reading!
We know they’re bad for us, packed with calories and laden with fats and sodium… but dang they’re good! I haven’t had a Big Mac in ages, in fact, I remember when they came in those orange Styrofoam containers that you opened with a teeth gritting induced squeak and there it was: two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun.
Continue reading “I’m Lovin’ It: Vegetarian Big Mac!”
You know what’s really good, like really, really good? Fried eggplant wrapped around salty ham and ooey gooey mozzarella! Do I have your attention? …Because one taste of these eggplant rolls and it’s love at first bite! Keep Reading!
To me, pita bread is like a plate. Layer on an assortment of toppings and tear, roll or slice like a pizza and eat. Keep Reading!
The World Health Organization’s declaration that bacon, sausages and other processed meats are carcinogens and red meat may cause cancer, is an open invitation for us as a global community to reflect and change our eating habits. Keep Reading!
Brown Bag It! 18 Healthy Lunches | Brit + Co. by Michelle Swift
This taco recipe is simple, quick to prepare and satisfying. Filled with real food and notes of sweet, sour and spicy paired with buttery textures of avocado and goat cheese. The honey compliments the tangy-ness of goat cheese while the lime, coriander and cumin lend a zing to the palette. This will be a go-to meal again and again.
Black Bean + Avocado + Goat Cheese Tacos with a Hint of Honey-Lime
adapted from Naturally Ella
1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
Generous pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Black Beans with liquid (can of beans)
2 Avocados, sliced
1/2 bunch of Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tablespoon of Honey or Agave
3-4 oz Goat Cheese, crumbled
Corn or Flour Tortillas
*Optional brown rice to add to the tacos (Rice should be prepared ahead of time)
1. In a dry skillet, over medium heat begin by toasting the spices (coriander, cumin and crushed red pepper) until fragrant. To the same skillet add the black beans with the liquid and garlic. Over medium-low heat allow the beans, spices and garlic to cook together until the liquid has dissipated and the beans have thickened, about 10 minutes. If you like your beans a bit mashed (which I do) grab your potato masher and smash some of the beans a bit.
2. While the beans are simmering, in a small bowl or pitcher whisk together the juice from the lime along with honey or agave, set aside.
3. Slice the avocado, chop the cilantro and crumble the goat cheese, set aside.
4. Just before the beans are done warm the tortillas for serving. This may be done over a gas burner flipping the tortillas over the flame until soft and warm or via the microwave.
5. To assemble tacos, place ¼ of the black bean mixture in the center of the tortilla (if using brown rice add this next), layer avocado, cilantro and crumbled goat cheese on top and lightly drizzle the lime honey/agave mixture over taco filling.
Grilled Cheese. Buttery toast and tangy melted cheese fused together to create the ultimate sandwich. The sandwich of childhood memories with pairings of tomato soup. The go-to for comfort and warmth. Step away from the Kraft Singles and spin this versatile classic into your own creation!
I’ve always replied, bread and cheese when asked what foods I’d want to be stranded on a dessert island with. I can’t explain why they marry well but they do and that’s all that matters. This particular night after a run and a late dinner-time I was craving comfort food and veggies in a flash. Adding tomato, spinach and avocado to the general mix of bread and cheese, was satisfaction. Melt your way to greatness by concocting your own twist to the classic grilled cheese. If you want to try the Tomato, Avo, Spinach I promise its good:
Tomato, Avo, & Spinach Grilled Cheese
2 slices of good bread
A few pats of softened butter
1 slice of sharp cheddar
1 slice of Munster
2 slices of tomato (salted and peppered)
1/2 an avocado
A generous handful of spinach
Heat and oil/butter skillet. Butter one side of each of the bread slices. Once the skillet is hot, place one piece of bread (butter side-down) on the skillet. Top with cheese slices, tomato, avocado and spinach. Place the second piece of bread atop (butter side-up) and toast on low heat. I like to put a pan cover atop the sandwich to encourage, maximum gooeyness of cheese. Grill until toasted, then flip and toast the other side.
Best served with a rendition of tomato soup.
Tempeh is a protein packed cake of partially fermented soy beans. Nutty in taste and characteristically versatile, tempeh takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in. Additionally, the flavor and texture are enhanced by; steaming, marinating, blackening, slicing or crumbling into soups and stews. The following recipe was developed by a friend at the Sweet Life and is inspired by a Grand Rapids vegetarian namesake, Gaia. Cuban Tempeh is a great way to enjoy a lingering weekend brunch:
from The Sweet Life
gluten-free, yield: 2
preparation: 45 minutes
1 package tempeh, cut in thin strips
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
juice of 1 lime
1 cup brown basmati (or any other kind of) rice, cooked
1 can or 3/4 cup dried (soaked and cooked) black beans
1 tbsp cumin
pinch of salt
2 corn tortillas
your assorted toppings (lettuce, green onions, salsa, avocado, etc)
1. Marinate the tempeh in vegetable broth, chili powder, coriander, cumin, and lime juice for at least 1 hour.
2. While tempeh is marinating, cook the rice according to directions. Once rice reaches a boil, turn down to a simmer, set aside and prepare the rest of the meal.
2. Heat up a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan. Once hot, pour in marinated tempeh (with liquid). Bring liquid to boil then turn down heat to a simmer. The broth will evaporate as it soak into the tempeh. Cook until all the broth is gone and the tempeh has a chance to brown on both sides.
3. Meanwhile heat up the black beans. Stir in cumin and salt. With a masher, smash the beans until no whole beans exist. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place a corn tortillas on the bottom of the plate. Top with rice, black beans, and tempeh in that order. Then top with your favorite toppings.
Parcels of goodness.
Found in all corners of the world, in different forms, tastes, and textures: Latin America boasts empanadas, Eastern Europe takes pride in pierogis, China devotes itself to dumplings and Indonesia likens their lemper or sticky rice rolls.
I tasted my first lemper over one year ago and it would not be my last, at first bite I needed to get my hands on a recipe.
Lemper are popular Indonesian snacks that are great or the go or served as an appetizer. I’ve eaten them at room-temp and warm (warm is my preference) yet, I would not hesitate packing these for a road trip, plane ride, or hike!
The base of lemper is glutinous rice, commonly known as sticky rice or sweet rice, this does not mean the rice has gluten in it, it has a high starch content causing it to “stick” to itself, which is helpful when rolling out the lemper. The filling is typically chicken, but fish or pork are also used. Everything is finally rolled inside a banana leaf and steamed or wrapped in plastic wrap to hold its shape and serve.
The ingredients for lemper can be found at your local Asian market. It is important to note that in American-Asian markets, sticky rice is typically sold as sweet rice.
**For GRapidians my go-to market is Asian Delight Market
These parcels are so much FUN to prepare, and the recipe makes enough for you to freeze or share with friends.
Get to your local Asian market and start rolling.
Lemper: Indonesian Sticky Rice Rolls
Prep: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes
2.2 pounds sticky rice
1 cup coconut milk
2.2 pounds chicken (I use a whole one, but use what you like)
6 garlic cloves
1 hunk of ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 pieces galangal (each 1/2 inch) –I typically find galangal in the freezer section, if you can’t find it you may substitute fresh ginger
6 kaffir lime leaves–if not fresh these are also found in the freezer section
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
**Tip: Rub the chicken with lemon or vinegar to clean, then wash with cold water.
In a large pot, boil the chicken until tender then remove. Reserve some of the liquid (about 1 cup) to use later on. I like to have a large bowl of cold water ready to submerge the cooked chicken in to cool.This will not only cool the chicken for preparation, but it guarantees a moist bird by stopping the cooking process.
I shred (with a fork) but you may chop the chicken very finely and set aside. Meanwhile, make a spice paste with the garlic, onion, ginger and coriander (I prefer using a mortar and pestle, beginning with the dry ingredients and adding the wetter ingredients in batches. If you prefer, a food processor or blender may also be used.
Once everything is ground down to a paste-like texture, heat oil in a pan and add the spice paste. Fry until fragrant, then add the chopped chicken, reserved bouillon water (about 1 cup or so–I also enjoy adding some coconut milk and adjust liquid accordingly) galangal, kaffir lime leaves (squeezed before you use them to release fragrance) salt, sugar and chicken bouillon powder. Stir the mixture occasionally and let cook until the water is completely evaporated. The filling is ready to use.
For the Sticky Rice:
Wash the rice a few times allowing the water to become clear. Drain and set aside.
If you have a rice cooker by all means, but if you are like me and do not have one you can do one of two things:
1. Follow this genius idea from She Simmers or
2. Grab a big pot. Fill the pot with about 7 1/2 cups of water — for each 1 cup of glutinous rice you need 1 1/2 cups water, (2.2 pounds of rice equates to around 5 cups of rice which means you need 7 1/2 cups of water) Bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Cover and steam about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the coconut milk, but don’t let it boil. When the rice is done cooking, add in the warmed coconut milk and stir until combined. The rice and coconut mixture may need to steam an additional 30-45 minutes, taste test for doneness, the texture will be sticky.
For the Rolling:
Okay, this may sound complicated, but it’s really NOT!
Have ready a sushi roller, plastic wrap or steamed banana leaves and a knife.
Take a sheet of plastic wrap or banana leaf and place it on the sushi roller.
Grab a handful of sticky rice and pat it into a square shape atop the sushi roller.
Add a few tablespoons of the chicken filling and roll. You did it!
Now cut it into sizeable pieces and keep on rolling.
**If using banana leaves be sure to place rolled lemper into a heated skillet to roast/blacken the banana leaf. Doing this releases a great flavor from the banana leaf. I’ve done lemper both ways (plastic wrap and banana leaf) taste-wise I enjoy no banana leaf, however aesthetically the banana leaf takes the cake!
Eat what you like and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
Last night was an uncelebratory nod to Cinco de Mayo. My friend (A.) invited me over for dinner and between what she had in her fridge and what I had in mine we were able to collaborate a meal. Fish Tacos with fresh Tuna and Southwest Slaw accompanied by Rick Bayless’s Lime Ice
(A.) seared the Tuna in a spice blend, prepared a cabbage slaw scented with lime juice and honey and whipped up a fresh yogurt to drizzle atop our tacos!
The Southwest Slaw was ALL good things: crunchy, sweet, sour and fresh! The recipe is from Epicurious:
- 2 cups fine-shredded green cabbage
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp minced red onion
- 2 tsp minced jalapeños
- 2 tsp chopped cilantro
- Salt, to taste
Combine all the ingredients. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours before serving
The Lime Ice was a craving I have had from the moment I tried it! That moment was a few weeks ago when I was charmed by a meal inspired by my fave chef Rick Bayless, Lime Ice was the dessert feature. A sweet, icy concoction of lime juice, bits of zest, sugar and water. Simplicity at it’s best. The Lime Ice resonates a clean and delicate flavor with a texture of freshly fallen snow.
Fresh Lime Ice with Berries
Nieve de Limon con Moras
5 to 6 large limes (or enough to make 3/4 cup fresh lime juice)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 to 3 cups fresh raspberries, blackberries or strawberries (you’ll want to slice or quarter strawberries), for serving
Grate the zest (colored part only) off 2 of the limes and scrape into a large bowl. (If the zest is in large pieces, chop it finely.) Juice the limes, measure 3/4 cup and pour it in with the zest. Add the sugar, corn syrup and 1 1/4 cups water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into the canister of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The ice will have the best texture if you scoop it from the ice cream maker into a container and let it firm up for several hours in the freezer. The ice is best eaten within 24 hours, scooped into small dishes and sprinkled with the berries.
Happy El Día de la Batalla de Puebla!
I typically arrive home, post-workout around 8:00 or 9:00 pm each night and at times I don’t have a meal readily prepared. This is a problem because after a long ride or hard run I need food fast. Perhaps some of you can relate to the following scenario:
Girl works all day.
Girl flies home grabs a banana, water and changes clothes to workout.
Post-workout girl comes home STARVING.
Girl turns into a ravenous crazy woman scanning the cupboard or fridge to eat whatever is quick and appealing….NOT GOOD!
This week I was prepared and did some meal planning, huzzah! After work I went for a bike ride, hit up my yoga class then came home to eat a Chicken Satè Wrap (in a civil, non-crazy woman, like manner). I stumbled upon the recipe on the ever addicting and current hinderance to a good nights sleep, Pinterest! It’s protein-packed and brimming with flavor and crunchy veggies; all good things for a post-workout quick fix and refueler!
The most time-consuming part is cooking the chicken. I chose to use a whole organic chicken because it’s the most bang for your buck providing enough meat for a few meals and homemade stock (filled with mineral-dense nutrients which help build healthy bones and joints). For those not wanting to cook a whole chicken, chicken breast would be a great substitute and as a last resort a rotisserie chicken (skin removed and shredded).
Chicken Satè Wraps
adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
4 servings (1 serving= 1 wrap)
- Cooking spray (I used coconut oil)
- 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped green onions
- 2/3 cup light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used Braggs Liquid Amino Acid)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (I used a whole organic chicken)
- 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas (I skipped the fat-free and used whole wheat tortillas)
- 1 1/3 cups packaged angel hair slaw
If using a whole bird, follow these directions first, otherwise move on to the next paragraph.
First, fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Take the whole chicken and scrub clean with kosher salt. Stuff the cavity of the bird with a spoonful of chopped ginger, a spoonful of garlic and a few green onions. To the pot of boiling water add some whole or chopped carrot, a bunch of parsley, one whole onion quartered, four cloves garlic, a bay leaf, a few curry leaves, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Bring to boil again and add the chicken, breast side down. Cover and simmer for at least 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Next, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the chicken is done cooking remove it from the stock pot and plunge it into the ice water (this stops the chicken from cooking and creates tender meat). Once cooled, remove skin and shred. Drain the stock and safe for future use.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray (or coconut oil). Add carrots and onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken; cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Remove from heat; cool. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla, and top each with 1/3 cup angel hair slaw. Roll up. Cover and chill.
- Calories: 321
- Calories from fat: 28%
- Fat: 10.1g
- Saturated fat: 3.3g
- Monounsaturated fat: 3.7g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.1g
- Protein: 24.1g
- Carbohydrate: 25.5g
- Fiber: 4.3g
- Cholesterol: 49mg
- Iron: 0.9mg
- Sodium: 844mg
- Calcium: 37mg
I love that even in my very own small city of Grand Rapids, Michigan I can walk into a local establishment and be swept off to another culture for a moment. I felt this today when on a whim I entered “Pupuseria El Salvador.” From the not so grandiose entrance, to the mismatched decor, greetings of buenos dìas from behind the counter and the buzz of Spanish filling my ears–a smile swept my face. I knew that the food was going to be muy bien before my first taste.
I walked up to the counter, and since this was a pupuseria decided upon ordering a few pupusas. I asked the young lady which were the most popular and decided upon the Camaron (shrimp) Puerco y Queso (pork and cheese) and the Loroco, a vine with edible flowers which is native to Salvador and was described as tasting of green bean.
The pupusa is a lovely, little pocket of masa filled with bubbling cheese and your choice of veg or meat. They are served with a type of slaw called curtido which to me tasted subtly of kimchee. I was not too far off in that curtido is fermented cabbage with red chili, vinegar and a tomato based sauce. It paired well with the pupusa and extended a nice crunch effect.
My eyes were also drawn to a bebidà called Atol de Elote (Hot Drink of Corn) and was told it was good, so I added that to my orde. I am so glad that I did….dang it was phenomenal!!! I immediately had to look up a recipe and found that it is fresh corn on the cob mixed with water, then boiled with sugar, cinnamon sticks and vanilla. The consistency is quite thick with a milky taste of cinnamon and sweetness with bits of fresh sweet corn. Atoles have roots to ancient Mayan culture and are considered a comfort food. If corn doesn’t suit your taste there are flavors such as chocolate and pineapple too!
The following recipe is from whats4eats
Atol de Elote
4 to 6 servings
- Yellow corn on the cob — 6 to 7 ears
- Water — 4 cups
- Sugar — 1/3 cup, or to taste
- Salt — 1/2 teaspoon
- Cornstarch (optional) — 3 to 4 teaspoons
- Ground cinnamon — for garnishing
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut enough kernels off the corn cobs to make 3 to 3 1/2 cups. Then scrape the cobs with a knife to remove all their milk. Place 2 1/2 cups of the corn in a blender along with 2 cups of the water and puree well.
- Strain the pureed corn through a sieve into a medium saucepan and discard the solids. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, 1/3 cup sugar and salt.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until lightly thickened. If the atol doesn’t thicken to a creamy consistency, mix the cornstarch with a little cold water and whisk into the simmering liquid until it is just thick enough to coat a spoon.
- Pour the hot atol into mugs or small bowls, sprinkle with a little cinnamon and serve hot with a spoon to scoop up the corn kernels.
- Frozen corn can be used in a pinch, but the flavor won’t be nearly as good.
- Because the corn used in Central America is starchier, you may have to add the suggested cornstarch to achieve the lightly thickened consistency.