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Thursday, July 30, 2009


This is what I LOVE about Summer...all the fresh vegetables.
Being a southern girl, that's what I grew up on in the warmer months. My family reunions are filled with vegetables. Granted, a lot of them are fried, but many are just sliced up as they are.

Our table tonight:
Smashed potatoes
Corn - cut off the cobb with melted butter, salt and pepper
Fried okra (thank you Kara for advising me on how to make it your way, which is the best!)
Sliced tomatoes w/ torn basil, salt and pepper
fresh cantaloupe
Blueberry cornbread

Nothing fancy with the pictures here...just a true to us snapshot of our little family's dinner table. The cantaloupe didn't make it into the shot.

With the exception of the blueberry cornbread, everything came right out of my CSA box. Even right down to the basil. So, not only was everything delish, it was a good feeling to know that our meal tonight didn't have to travel far and by us purchasing it directly from the farmer, we're helping his family out. We explained the concept of buying local to our kids tonight around the dinner table.

And who out there is turning up their noses at the idea of blueberry cornbread? Don't knock it till you try it. It's a recipe from Hans Rueffert's book Eat Like There's No Tomorrow. Haven't heard of him? Check him out. Amazing chef, cancer survivor, and man. I've had the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions and I really respect the man. I'm not giving you the recipe for the cornbread because I want you to buy his book!
There's some great recipes in there, especially for those who love to make the most of Summer's bounty. And I love the title! For someone who lives to eat, rather than eats to live, it's right up my alley.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roast Beef Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Here's something super easy and requires no cooking for the hot Summer. It's one I adapted from Real Simple Magazine (put my own twist on it). It saved me from serving my family cereal for dinner tonight...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Roast Beef Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Toss the following into a salad, or use whatever you have on hand:
good quality mixed greens and romaine lettuce (Boston lettuce works nicely)
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
marinated artichoke hearts
sliced heart of palm

Top with crumbled goat cheese, sliced deli roast beef (warmed up a bit), and a good balsamic vinaigrette or TJ's Tuscan Italian dressing.
Or...make your own dressing of 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Morning glory muffins

When life gets busy (when is it not??), I need something quick, healthy, and delicious for breakfast. Something that doesn't take long to prepare and something packed with fiber. When I was losing weight a couple of years ago, one thing I was doing was really paying attention to my fiber intake. I didn't watch calories or fat grams so much, but I did aim to eat foods high in rich fiber. It fills me up and evens out my blood sugar keeping me from getting super hungry. I adapted a recipe for "morning glory muffins" from cooking light, making it more of my own creation. These babies have some great ingredients in them such as flax seed, wheat germ, wheat bran and oats. I make a big batch of them and keep them in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag so all I have to do in the morning is heat one up and throw a little Smart Balance on and I'm good to go. I usually try to have a fresh fruit, such as a banana, blueberries, or a peach along with a 8oz. glass of 1% milk. Sometime around 11am I'll also have some string cheese and an apple and I usually hold off on lunch until 1pm. I've heard it said that you have to eat to lose weight. I think that is so true, especially in the morning. I have to eat several times in the morning hours or else I'll be totally famished by 12 and will head for whatever is fast, easy and usually not so healthy. If I start the day off right I'm much more likely to keep it up and eat well throughout the day and not fall prey to sugar cravings.

Oh, and they make a great nighttime snack as well!

So, without further adieu, here's my adapted Morning Glory Muffin recipe:

Tip: Store wheat germ, wheat bran flaxseed and Scottish oats in the refrigerator or freezer in a ziplock bag. I'm able to fit them all into one bag and just grab the whole thing when I need to make the recipe. Keep them in their own individual bags in the larger ziplock bag.

18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin)

Cooking spray
1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces) (I use King Arthur's White Wheat)
1 cup regular oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (can use less if desired)
1 tablespoon wheat bran
Good pinch of each: ground flax seed, wheat germ, and Scottish oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt (I use 2% Greek Yogurt but you may use fat free plain)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup chopped dried fruits (mix and match raisins, blueberries, apples, cranberries, cherries...whatever you have on hand)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans. Walnuts are nice as well)
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (about 2 tablespoons whole)
3 tablespoons wheat germ
3 tablespoons Scottish oats

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place 18 muffin cups liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine yogurt, banana, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in dried fruits and nuts. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with a mixture of the flaxseed, wheat germ and Scottish oats. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.