Whole Food Transformation

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From Bland To Super Spicy! March 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 10:18 pm

We traveled to the Asian continent to try two completely different dishes! One dish was the Bow Tie Pasta with Kasha, Caramelized Onions and Watercress. This is an ancient Russian dish! The ingredients are very simple. There are really no spices added except for salt and pepper to taste. Kasha which is buckwheat was new flavor for our family. The recipe called for 2 cups of caramelized onion. Garry never knew! The onion is sauteed until it is brown and crispy. This dish was ok, but I put a lot of salt to make it more tasty. Along with this dish I made the Honey Jalapeno Barbecue Sauce topped on grilled chicken. Whoa! This is a sauce you have got to try! The boys gave the Bow Tie Pasta a 6 (not sure I would have rated it that high), but as soon as they tasted the BBQ sauce they said it deserved a 30! Well, I only go up to 10, so a 10+! 🙂

Thankfully the BBQ added zest to what would have been too bland for our family!

The next night I fixed Kung Pao Tofu. This wasn’t bland! This recipe called for over a tsp. of red chili flakes and a small amount of cayenne pepper. It was very hot, but oh so tasty! I topped it on a plate of rice noodles. It was a wonderful combination of spicy and lots of flavor! So good! The boys rated it an 8, but Garry and I gave it another 10+.

Hot and Spicy and oh, so good!

Well, round # 2 is complete! Another extensive shopping trip and then I am ready for round # 3! Here is what we have to look forward to! Some very yummy recipes! I suspect we will rate alot of tens this time around!

-Garlic Creamed Spinach with Arugula

-Apricot Ascension

-Fluffy Cottage Cheese Pancakes

-Rum Painted Pineapple Orange Bundt Cake

-Garden of Eva Summer Rolls with Creamy Peanut Sauce

-Roasted Three-Onion Stock with Spaetzle (never fixed that before!)

Until next recipe! Bye from Colorado!

Garry in front of Pikes Peak down the road from our home!


Eggplant, Lentils and a Couple of Recipes March 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 2:08 am

I had a suspicion that the eggplant might not be super popular. I prepared the Eggplant with Barbecue Lentils last night. Actually, all of us liked it, except for Caleb. I was surprised that Jonathan liked it. He was surprised himself, because while I was cooking the mixture of eggplant, lentils, a whole sliced red onion, barbecue sauce plus much more, he came over to see it. His reaction was, “that looks really bad.” Then once he took a bite he changed his mind! Garry liked it a lot, EXCEPT he doesn’t like onions. I assured him that the red onion was not near as strong as yellow onions, but he was grossed out by them anyway. He proceeded to pick every piece of onion out of his meal that he could. He said he would have to give this dish a 9 and would have given it a 10 if it weren’t for those ‘evil’ onions. I liked it better the first part of my meal, but by the time I finished it I got a little weary of it. I started out giving it a 10 but gave it an 8 instead. (I fixed it for lunch today, heated it with melted Swiss cheese and decided it is a 10 leftover!). Caleb gave it a 5 and Jonathan gave it an 8.

Eggplant with Barbecue Lentils

So, we are coming along in our healthy eating. I continue to be surprised that the boys are so willing to eat these meals! Just goes to show you how great these recipes really are! Tonight it will be baked chicken topped with Honey Jalapeno Barbecue Sauce with Bow Tie Pasta with Kasha, Caramelized Onions and Watercress. Those evil onions again! I plan to chop them well and hopefully Garry will never know! I have assured my boys that this will not taste like the Bow Tie Salad I made awhile back. They still talk about how disgusting that salad was! 🙂

By request from two of my favorite blog fans! Here are the recipes for the Asian Stock (you really need to try this!) and the Spicy Cheesy Mac:

Asian Stock

1 qt. vegetable or chicken stock

1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4 in. thick rounds

2 cloves garlic, mashed slightly

3 star anise buds

1/4 C tamari or soy sauce

1/8 C rice vinegar

1 TBLS sesame oil

2 small dried chili peppers (optional)

In a large sauce pot, simmer the stock, ginger, garlic, anise buds, tamari, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili peppers (if used) for 35 minutes, uncovered, and strain stock before using.

Spicy Cheesy Mac

3 TBLS butter

1 1/2  C onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. coriander

1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

2 C milk

1 lg. jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 C canned diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 C grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 C grated cheddar cheese

1/2 C grated Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese

1  LB penne pasta, cooked and drained

1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 C dried bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for spraying baking dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large saute pan, and add the onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, or until the onion is soft. Mix in the flour, and cook the mixture over moderate heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Using a wire whisk, slowly incorporate the milk into the onion mixture until the flour and milk are blended. Bring this to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and stir in the jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and tomatoes with their juice. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and Swiss cheese, blending until well mixed. Combine the sauce and cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Place the sauced pasta in a 9 x 9 greased baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the Parmesan topping over the pasta. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crumb topping is golden brown.

Until the next meal…


Spicy Mac and Cheese, a 7! March 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 1:23 am

“…comfort food with a rocket-powered flavor booster made of minced fresh jalapeno chilies.”This is how the Whole Foods cookbook describes my next recipe!

After a long afternoon of shopping, I am finally stocked up with lots of fresh veggies and ready to begin round #2!

Jonathan and Caleb are getting to enjoy a day or two off school for a short Spring Break as Jonathan has one of his best friends, Dylan over for a couple of days. So, I thought today would be a good time to make the mac and cheese. I was a little nervous serving it as it is VERY yummy but did have some unusual spices (for our family, anyway). It is called Spicy Mac and Cheese because it contains a whole chopped jalapeno (a first for me, I always used canned!), cumin, coriander (which I am trying to acquire a taste for, not my favorite spice), and cayenne pepper. And it has many varieties of cheeses: mozzarella, cheddar, Jarlsberg and parmesan. The blend of the cheeses and spices mixed in with the penne pasta, yum! I asked the boys and Garry how they would rate this dish and the boys all gave it a 7 out of 10! Not bad!! We have come along way already! They never even commented on the spices! Yeah! Garry gives it a 10 and so do I! I love healthy meals that the whole family enjoys!

The guys enjoying their mac and cheese!

Spicy Mac and Cheese

I thought I would share some of the changes that I have made in the kitchen. Not major changes but helpful ones. One of these changes is my spices! This is a picture of what my spice rack looked like. Pretty sad! So, I went shopping and found this spice rack which holds 20 spices! Organization is so nice! The other change is having to buy a food processor, which I have talked about in previous posts and am still amazed that I went so long without one!

How did I find anything in this mess?

Isn't this much nicer?

Looking forward to the next recipe. Want to make any guesses on how my guys are going to like Barbeque Lentils with Eggplant? That should be interesting!

Bye for now from snowy and beautiful Colorado! Got another 12 inches coming! We love the snow!


Round One Complete! March 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 5:10 am

I made it! I actually prepared the last recipe of Round 1! I am planning only about 7-8 recipes at a time and I finished my first recipes.

Yesterday was another snowy day in Colorado and we had to head home shortly after church to beat the snow-packed, slick roads. We had the pleasure of having our daughter and family come over for the afternoon. So, I decided I would prepare the Falafel Balls with Lemon Tahini Sauce for everyone. It was nice to have Abby there to help me cook. We both love to cook and it is fun to be able to share this time together. The falafel balls took some time and effort. And I was able to use my new food processor again! How did I go so long without one? I chopped red onion, garlic, several fresh herbs, then sauteed them. The next step was to chop chickpeas (also garbanzo beans) spices, herbs, bread crumbs, etc. Then I scooped all the ingredients together (had to figure out that one on my own as the recipe didn’t specify what to do with the onion mixture once is was done). Then proceded to make what looks like meatballs only they have no meat. This recipe calls for baking the falafel instead of frying which I would much rather do.

Then it was time to make the Tahini Sauce while they were baking. I discovered from Abby that tahini is like peanut butter made from sesame seeds! The sauce was really different from anything I had ever prepared. For those of you who may eat alot of hummus, it is basically a very spiced up and flavorful hummus as the tahini is mixed with processed garbanzo beans! It had some hot spices added so I was a little wary of eating it myself as sometimes that can bother me. But I dared it anyway and am so glad I did. It was SO yummy. My grandson, Hudson, thought it was yummy, too! He is an amazing child for being not much over a year old! He eats the spiciest foods and sauces! I have watched him eat hot sauce and then cry and then a few moments later want more!

Hudson enjoyed the tahini sauce from head to toe!

I prepared baked Pineapple Ginger Chicken with the falafel and I would say this meal was a success as there were no more falafel balls left! And we still have some of the tahina sauce to eat with crackers!

Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce

I am having so much fun cooking these foods and watching my family taste all these new foods! What is really fun about this cookbook is that we are eating recipes that come from all over the world! I am ready for Round 2 which includes:

Barbeque Lentils with Eggplant

Bow-Tie Pasta w/ Kasha, Caramelized Onions and Watercress

Spinach, Garlic & Rosemary Griddlecakes

Kung Pao Tofu

Spicy Mac & Cheese

Garlic Creamed Spinach w/ Arugula

Honey Jalapeno BBQ Sauce

Why do I suspect the Mac & Cheese will be the family fave? We will see!!


A Failure and then Success (according to the boys!) March 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 7:03 am

I have been busy cooking! And spending time in the kitchen. One of the big differences of eating healthy and eating quick meals is the time factor. There is alot more prep time with healthy eating. But our family is discovering early in this project, it is worth it!! At least some of the time.

A few nights ago I prepared  Bistro Bow-Tie Salad. This salad, along with the bow-tie pasta, had Kalamata olives, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and had a vinegar based dressing. As the pictures will tell the story, the boys had a hard time getting down the small plate that I insisted they eat before I popped a Home Run pepperoni pizza in the oven for them. They are being great sports! Actually, I had a blast watching them eat. The faces were hilarious!

I think this face was about the time he told me how disgusting it was!

"Am I done yet?"

Some of the comments I heard while they struggled through their meal was: “oh, good, only 343 recipes to go”, “not breathing, not breathing, not breathing!”, and “that was disgusting! (I think that was after Caleb ate his first olive). But they did it, they finished up the plate and then were quickly rewarded with their pizza. I assured them that most of the recipes they will love and AFTER they were done eating the salad, I confessed that I didn’t really like it that much either. I am not fond of ‘sour’ salads. But it was ok, but it is a recipe I don’t plan on making again. So, in the boys opinion, that was a failure.

Bistro Bow-Tie Salad

Now for the success. Today I spent the day making a Chicken Stock so I could have the base for the Asian Stock. Along with the Chicken Stock the Asian Stock had wonderful flavor that came from a variety of ingredients: star anise buds (another food I now know what it is!), fresh ginger, tamari sauce, garlic cloves, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Oh, yum! Caleb’s first bite prompted this comment: “this is amazing, can we have this again?” All three of my guys liked it and ate every bit and I didn’t have to bribe them with pizza this time!

Asian Stock (with chicken & stir-fry)

This is great fun! I am enjoying cooking and it makes me so happy when I watch the boys eat a meal that is so healthy!

Also, because of popular demand (actually my mom and step-dad, thanks guys!) I am going to post the recipe for the Portobello Sandwiches I made the other day.  If ever you want a recipe let me know and I will be glad to post it!

Here goes:

Portobello Mushroom Club

2 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed

1/4 cup Italian Herb Vinaigrette (or your favorite herb dressing)

3 slices provolone cheese

1 (6 x 6-inch) piece focaccia bread or 1 kaiser roll

3 jarred roasted red peppers, drained well (be sure to use these, they really add alot to the sandwich)

Handful of arugula leaves, washed

Marinate the portobello mushrooms at room temperature in the vinaigrette for 20 minutes. Grill the mushrooms over coals or on a gas grill over medium heat for 5 minutes per side until nicely browned. This may be done one day prior to making the sandwiches. You may also broil the mushrooms 3 inches from the broiling element of your oven for 6-7 minutes per side until lightly browned.

Half the focaccia or roll horizontally and place the cheese on one piece of the bread. Cut the grilled mushrooms into one inch thick slices diagonally and arrange them over the cheese. Place the peppers over the mushrooms and top with the arugula. If you like, sprinkle a little vinaigrette over the arugula and close up the sandwich.

Italian Herb Vinaigrette

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tsp. dried Italian Herbs

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp. crushed red chili flakes

2 sprigs parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

Place the olive oil, vinegar, rosemary leaves, Italian Herbs, pepper, red chili flakes, parsley and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process for about 30 seconds or until well blended. Or mix the ingredients in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer or by hand with a wire whisk.

There you go! These are worth making! Great sandwiches!

Looking forward to the next recipe: Falafel Balls! That should be interesting!


My First Recipes!! March 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mom4health @ 3:22 am

I finally made it to Whole Foods and bought the groceries I need for my first 7 recipes! Wow! It takes awhile to find foods you have no clue about. But the Whole Foods that we have in our city is great! Everyone was very helpful in my hunt for items like tahini (I know what it is now! It’s alot like peanut butter!), a jar of roasted peppers (yummy by the way!), star anise buds (would have never found that on my own, it is in the spice section) and many, many other items. My basket was overflowing!
So, today I began my Whole Foods cooking by preparing the Portobella Mushroom Club sandwiches. They turned out fantastic! The boys know that they have to eat at least a small portion of everything I prepare, so they didn’t give me too hard of a time for making them try these. It was fun watching their reactions. They both agreed that it was good, but yet… Caleb’s response was that they really were pretty good and then he went on to say that he could see how you could like them, if you like that kind of food. 🙂 Then it was my first bite, oh my! Honestly, it is one of the best sandwiches I have ever tasted. The flavors from the Herb Vinaigrette Dressing and the grilled mushrooms topped with the provolone cheese and roasted peppers! Garry’s comment was that he is ready to start all over so he can have this again!

So, I would say that we are starting off well and very successfully! I assured Caleb that after 350 recipes or so, he is going to be one of those people who like this kind of food!

This sandwich is as pretty as it is tasty!