Tag Archives: Recipes

For The Love of Fruitcake!

For the Love of Fruitcake!

Let’s talk fruitcake, seriously?  If you are an American, you are probably rolling your eyes. If you are from nearly anywhere else in the world, your mouth may be watering from memories of this delicious holiday treat or dense and sweet wedding cake. Fruitcake is a very popular dessert throughout  across the globe, but here in the good old U S of A, the humble fruitcake gets a bit of a “bad Santa” rap.

Johnny Carson joked that there was only one single fruitcake in the whole entire world, and people just kept passing it around as a gift. In Manitou Springs, Colorado there is a yearly fruitcake toss for crying out loud. We’ve even been known to call dear aunt Betsy a “fruit cake” now and then. Well, I think it’s high time to restore the historic fruitcake’s reputation with my family recipe! This one I promise won’t be re-gifted or left for “ring-toss” because it’s just too good!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays! May your time with family and friends be blessed!

 

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Raw Apple Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 ½ cup veg oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cup chopped apples
(granny smith or another cooking apple)
2 cup chopped orange slice candy

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   Grease a Bundt cake pan or fruit cake pan and set aside.

In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together sugar and oil.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Combine flour, cinnamon, salt and soda in separate bowl.  Hand stir gradually to egg mixture.  It will be thick like cookie dough.  Stir in apples first, thin coconut, dates and nuts.  Add chopped candy last and fold in thoroughly.  Batter is extremely thick.  Pour into a greased and floured pan.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until brown and knife inserted comes clean.

*Note: This can also be baked in small loaf pans for gifts.

Tip:
Use a floured sharp knife when cutting sticky orange slice candy.  Candy should be cut up to bite size pieces.  You can also decorate the top of the cake with candy cherries and make candy leafs.

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Back to School Bento

The month of August is like biting into a sour patch kid. The thought of getting back into morning routine, kids in bed by 8pm while the sun is still shining, sitting in carpool lane and packing lunches on the regular just puts a sour taste in my mouth! All the while, it’s our duty as parents to encourage our little ones to be on time, expand their minds, get excited about school and take on challenges of a new year with  a positive outlook and embrace new adventures. Believe it or not, though I am a chef and love to cook… the thought of creative school lunches gives me a migraine! First, you have to be aware of peanut-free facilities, the lack of refrigeration, and pack something kids can eat in less than 25 minutes. (in reality it is less than 10 minutes because they are little chatter boxes)  The next challenge is whether or not you have a picky eater or any food allergies/sensitivities. Fortunately, my child will eat almost anything since we have insisted from birth she try new foods daily. However, being a cooking camp instructor and working with children from all ages and backgrounds I have been challenged with the pickiest taste buds and sensitivities. What has consistently worked time and time again is the level of involvement the child had in preparing his/her food.
Researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University, studied how cooking with a child affects the child’s eating habits. In one study, nearly 600 children from kindergarten to sixth grade took part in a nutrition curriculum intended to get them to eat more vegetables and whole grains. Some children, in addition to having lessons about healthful eating, took part in cooking workshops. The researchers found that children who had cooked their own foods were more likely to eat those foods in the cafeteria, and even ask for seconds, than children who had not had the cooking class.
Cooking with kids is rewarding and got me thinking on how we can incorporate cooking into school lunches. Thus the creation of Back to School Bento Boxes!  My daughter loves Chipotle’s burrito bowls with rice & beans and adds her favorite toppings to it. So, I created the following box combination where kids can actually mix the ingredients, add their sauce and veggies and become more involved in the meal. If studies are correct, they will become more likely to eat new foods, enjoy their lunch and most importantly give a big high five to mom or dad (which makes it all worth it).

Back to School Bento Box 
½ cup of cooked white rice
½ cup of Trader Joes Cuban black beans ( or any organic black bean in the can)
¼ cup of shredded lettuce
¼ cup of cotija cheese, crumbled
½ of avocado, diced
2 TBSP of pineapple or red salsa
¼ cup of steamed chopped broccoli or roasted asparagus
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
½ cup of diced grilled chicken

For the bento box arrange all the ingredients in small clear containers with a bowl for mixing.  Write a recipe in the box and let your little one choose the combination.  Throw in some grapes or diced strawberries for dessert.  At the end of the day, ask your child what combination they chose and what they would like to see different.  This can become a fun game and gives the child more authority over what they eat and enjoy.

Summer Steamed…

Here’s my truth: sometimes I just overthink dinner, therefore making it stressful, making it a job and taking the joy out of cooking. In reality, dinner doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as simple as steamed mussels in a gorgeous white wine broth served with a side of crusty bread and a block of cheese.  I have a lot of friends however that are following the whole thirty, paleo, and auto immune protocol and you may not be allowed wine, cheese, and bread.  Here is a quick fix:  substitute white wine vinegar for the white wine in your broth along with some fresh lemon juice.  Instead of bread roast off some cauliflower and tomatoes and toss in with your mussels after you have steamed.  Now tell me that doesn’t sound good…and the best part is it can be ready and served in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it’s cheap! A bag of mussels is usually no more than $3.00-$5.00 a pound. A three-pound bag is more than enough to feed a family of four.
This simple and delicious dish can be served any time of the year but is one of my preferred weeknight dinners on a hot summer night. It’s fresh, full of flavor,  and yes, my nine-year-old daughter enjoys it just as much as I do.
Trust me, this will become a family favorite on many summer nights. I recommend stopping by the market on your way home, picking up a bag of mussels, and voilà, dinner is served in no time, leaving you more time to enjoy with family. Cheers!
Summer Steamed Mussels with White Wine Sauce
Ingredients
3 pounds  mussels
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes (heirloom, or cherry)
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine  (For my whole 30 friends sub in  1/2 cup of white wine vinegar and juice from two lemons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce or ½ tsp crushed
red pepper flakes
Lemon for garnish

Directions
To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and soak for 20 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the “beard” from each with your fingers. (The beard is a fibrous tail that you can pull with a pairing knife off of the mussel). If they are dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut or are cracked.
Tip: Another way to tell if the mussel is dead is if it is wide open and will not shut when you apply pressure to the shell.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Add a splash of hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes (preference Frank’s Red Hot). Bring to a boil.
Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open.) With the lid on, shake the pot (like if you were popping some Jiffy pop) once or twice while cooking to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot with fresh lemon wedges, a side of crusty bread, (i.e. Ciabatta, French Baguette) and a block of cheese.

Summer is quickly coming to a close so get out of the kitchen and spend some QT with those you love most!

 

Cheers!

 

 

Take it with a Grain of Salt

It may be premature to mention resolutions, but why wait!  Why do we have to set such inconceivable standards that usually end up broken and thrown out the window by the second week of January.   This year start small and instead of waiting for the new year….start now and save your self a few lbs before the ball drops.

So let’s start small….small as in a grain of salt.  I grew up eating table salt and never thought much about it until a couple years ago when I began researching pink Himalayan salt.  The differences are astounding!

Now what’s really interesting about processed table salt is that it’s missing over 80 minerals. Commercial refined salt is not only stripped of all its minerals, besides sodium and chloride, but is also chemically cleaned, bleached and heated at unnecessary high temperatures. In addition, it is treated with anti-caking agents which prevent salt from mixing with water in the salt container. These agents also prevent dissolving within our system leading to build up and then deposit in organs and tissue, causing severe health problems.

Finally, the iodine that is added into salt is usually synthetic which is difficult for your body to process properly. Shockingly under U.S. law, up to 2% of table salt can be additives. So why would you want to eat salt that’s been artificially enriched when you could be eating salt that naturally contains eighty-four minerals?

What makes Himalayan crystal salt so amazing? Long ago, there were crystallized sea salt beds that were covered with lava. Being kept in this untouched, pristine environment that has been surrounded with snow and ice for so many years means that the salt has been protected from modern day pollution. Many people believe this pink salt from the Himalayas to be the purest salt found on the planet. Himalayan Salt contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body, that alone is quite impressive! A few of these minerals include: sodium chloride, sulphate, calcium, potassium and magnesium. When using this salt, you are actually getting less sodium intake per serving than regular table salt because it is less refined and the pieces are larger. Therefore Himalayan salt has less sodium per serving because the crystals or flakes take up less room than the highly processed table salt variety. Fitlife.tv

Pink Himalayan Rock Salt

Spoonful of pink Himalayan rock salt, over weathered timber.

 

What Exactly Are The Benefits?

Some of the benefits that you can expect by consuming this salt in place of regular table salt include:

  • Create an electrolyte balance
  • Increases hydration
  • Regulate water content both inside and outside of cells
  • Balance pH (alkaline/acidity) and help to reduce acid reflux
  • Prevent muscle cramping
  • Aid in proper metabolism functioning
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help the intestines absorb nutrients
  • Prevent goiters
  • Improve circulation
  • Dissolve and eliminate sediment to remove toxins
  • It is even said to support libido, reduce the signs of aging, and detoxify the body from heavy metals.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/

So there you have it, in one small step you can start benefiting in numerous ways.  Resolutions are not quickie fix-it-all -in-a-month diet fads.  Make your resolution count and start small and gradually change your habits and lifestyle to reflect your overall goal.  Happy New Year New You!

 

Whole Fish Baked in Himalayan Salt

Lets double down…along with the benefits of pink Himalayan salt combining with fish is a win win.   Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet and is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and loaded with important nutrients such as protein and vitamin D.

Want to try Whole Fish Baked in Himalayan Salt? Oven roasting whole fish makes for easy preparation, while Himalayan Salt adds sensational gourmet flavor & mouthwatering presentation. This recipe creates a wonderfully simple, yet savory fish your family and guests will rave about!

Baked whole fish in a salt crust served with vegetable salad and

Baked whole fish in a salt crust served with vegetable salad and sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 TBSP Paprika
  • 1 3-pound cleaned scaled whole fish (such as whitefish or salmon), fins removed
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leek
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 cups coarse Himlayan Pink Salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil, leaving generous overhang. Combine first 4 ingredients in small skillet. Toast spices over medium heat until beginning to pop, stirring frequently, about 9 minutes. Cool spices. Coarsely crush in mortar with pestle or in heavy resealable plastic bag with mallet.

Rinse fish inside and out; pat dry. Sprinkle all of spice mixture in fish cavity. Stuff with leek and lemon slices.

Whisk egg whites and water in large bowl to blend. Add salt. Stir until salt is evenly moistened. Spread 2 cups salt mixture in 4-inch-wide, 12-inch-long strip (or use more to equal length of fish) on prepared sheet. Place fish on salt. Cover fish completely with remaining salt mixture, pressing to seal.

Bake fish 25 minutes. Let stand in crust 10 minutes.

Using large knife, rap crust sharply to crack. Brush salt from fish. Cut into portions and serve, passing extra-virgin olive oil and lemon wedges alongside.

CHEF TIP:

For 8 to 10 servings, cook a 4 1/2-pound fish instead (you’ll need to use 3 egg whites, 6 tablespoons water, and 8 cups of salt). Bake the fish for 35 minutes. Whatever size fish you use, be sure to preheat the oven for 30 minutes, using an oven thermometer for accuracy.

 

 

Resolve for No More Resolutions!

Well it’s that time of year where you are still working to keep your resolution…vowing to never do this to yourself again, or you broke it during the second week of January.  Of course the most common new years resolution is to lose weight, eat better, or practically starve your self to fit back into your summer swimsuit. It is the time of year when gym memberships sky rocket, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers battle for TV time, and diet book sales soar.  Why is it that we set these unrealistic goals for ourselves just to end up defeated and disappointed in the end?

If it isn’t apparent I am not a fan of dieting.  They never work in the end.  The key to successful weight loss is moderate lifestyle changes and new habits.  For instance, over time I have been able to cut out “bad” carbs from my diet such as gluten dense breads and pasta by replacing them with “good” carbs like cauliflower, leafy green vegetables, spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles, and using almond meal and tapioca flour.  I also like to take the first part of the year after the holiday season to detox from sugar. A detox is not the same thing as a diet.  A detox purpose is not for losing weight but rather improving your overall health and wellbeing.  I follow a 21 day sugar detox guide by Diane Sanfilippo, who clearly lays out the importance of curbing your bodies dependence and cravings for sugar and carbs.  Research supports that it takes 21 days to form new habits. The brain imprints patterns of things you do and choices you make as habits, which makes it easier and easier to practice those habits again and again.  The best part of this detox is that it’s focused on eating real food….no shakes, powders, potions, or pills and supplements. It’s not a vegetarian program or deprives you from food when you are hungry.

My advice this year for a healthy and productive 2015 is to set realistic goals, set simple steps, make new habits, and fill your belly with real, nutritiously dense, organic vegetables and pasture raised meats, full of the good fats and good carbs your body so desperately has been craving.  Below I have included a full day of recipes to give you a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack to get you well on your way to a new you.  Enjoy!

To learn more about the 21 day sugar detox program, healthy cooking classes in Lexington Kentucky or to learn about a gluten and grain free meal program you can visit balancedbites.com and wildthymecooking.com.

Breakfast: Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

Pack an extra protein punch into your morning with these savory egg muffins!

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YIELD: 6 egg muffins (2-3

servings)

For the chicken:

  • 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breast)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c + 2 tablespoons (divided) Tessemae’s Wing Sauce (or use 3 tablespoons of a clean-ingredient hot sauce* + 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil)
  • 6 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons green onion/scallion, sliced
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425.

On a baking pan, arrange the chicken thighs and season with garlic, spices, sea salt, and black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Place the cooked chicken thighs into a large mixing bowl and shred with two forks. Pour the wing sauce over the chicken and toss to combine and set it aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of wing sauce, green onion, sea salt, and black pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into parchment cup lined muffin tins to fill them approximately halfway. Gently spoon about 2oz of the shredded chicken into each muffin cup so that it’s evenly distributed. Serve any extra chicken alongside the cooked muffins.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the muffins rise and become golden brown around the edges.

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Lunch: Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with Cold Sesame and Cucumber Noodle Salad 

To make these delicious cucumber noodles you will need to purchase a veggie spiralizer. These can be found online at amazon or in the wild thyme culinary boutique in Chinoe Center.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sashimi grade ahi tuna steak, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 very ripe avocado, peeled, insides cubed
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5-2 large seedless cucumbers, Blade C, noodles trimmed

For the poke dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • ¼ coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ heaping cup finely diced scallions

Instructions

Place the tuna in a bowl with the poke dressing ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside to marinade.

While the tuna marinades, combine the avocado, jalapeno, cilantro , ginger, sesame oil, and lime juice in a medium sized mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together until creamy. Taste and adjust, if needed.

Thoroughly pat dry the cucumber noodles and add them to the mixing bowl and toss the noodles until they’re completely coated in the avocado sauce.

Divide the cucumber noodles into three bowls and top with equal amounts of the tuna poke, using a slotted spoon to portion out the poke, to avoid extra liquid. Serve.

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Snack: Easy Baked Kale Chip

kale chips

1 bunch of  Kale (my favorite is dinosaur Kale)

2 TBSP Grapeseed oil  (melted coconut oil)

1 -2 cloves minced garlic

Salt and Pepper (about 1 TBSP of each)

Rinse the Kale and pat dry thoroughly to remove any moisture.  Taking a pairing knife or scissors, cut out the middle rib from the Kale and discard.  Break the leaves apart into large pieces that are about the size of your palm. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

If the Kale chips are still wet, place back in the oven and continue to cook until the leaves start to brown and the Kale is crispy like a chip.  Remove from oven and let cool.

These Kale Chips are a hit!

***  You can season kale chips with anything! Try red pepper flake or cayenne for spice, garlic powder, onion powder, curry, chili powder, the combinations are endless. And indulge by tossing these babies in truffle oil, it is to die for!!   ***

Dinner: Oven Braised Tex- Mex Beef with Cocoa and Chili Roasted Cauliflower

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Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

  • 2½ pounds boneless beef short ribs, beef brisket, or beef stew meat cut into 1½-inch cubes (my favorite cut is boneless short ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (sugar free)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup roasted salsa (I use Trader Joe’s Double Roasted salsa which is also sugar free)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • ½ cup minced cilantro

Preheat oven to 300°F with the rack located in the lower middle. In a large bowl, combine cubed beef, chili powder, and salt. Toss well.  Melt fat over medium heat in a large, oven-proof dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Stir in tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds before tossing in garlic and seasoned beef. Next, pour in salsa, stock, and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place in oven for 3 hours or until beef is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. (At this point, you can store the beef in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat right before serving.) Spoon the beef onto a serving platter and top with cilantro.  Serve with sliced avocado and cocoa and coffee rubbed cauliflower for an explosion of flavor.

Cocoa-chili Roasted Cauliflower-  21DSD

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  • 2 medium head of cauliflower
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.

Chop cauliflower in to ¼ – ½ inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine to cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the cauliflower and toss gently with your hands, massaging the oil and spices into the cauliflower.

Spread the cauliflower evenly in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize.

Super Bowl “Snackers” The Ultimate Party Menu!

 That’s Right…it’s game time…and for me it’s never about football but always about the food.  These party “snackers” will be sure to please any Niner or Ravens fan, and just might  score you a touchdown this year! Enjoy!

1.   Black Bean Corn Salsa & Fresh Tortilla Chips 

(I know this is repeat offender, but it is a must have for your ultimate party feast! A must!!)

salsa

  • 2 cans black beans (frijoles negros)
  • 2 small cans of white corn (preferably shoe peg corn, but sometimes it’s hard to find)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis (Hunts brand prefered)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper seeded and small diced
  • 1 small can of salsa verde (found in the Spanish food section)
  • 1/4 of red onion finely chopped
  • 1 lime – just the juice
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2-3 TBSP of cumin
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1-2 dash of hot sauce (Franks)
  • Season with Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 jar of piquante sauce ( Personal preference depending on if you like your salsa thinner or chunkier)
  • Diced avocado (Optional)  The salsa will not keep as long when you add the avocados.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.  It is much better after the ingredients have had a chance to sit, so I always make this a day in advance.

Also click on the video clip below to watch a simple way to make Amazing tortilla chips at home!

2.  Kentucky PROUD Chicken Wings in Asian Hot Sauce  

buffalo_wings_1

Here in the KY, we have a program through the Department of Agriculture that supports local Ky grown products and it’s known as KY Proud.  This is a great opportunity for local growers and farmers to market their products to restaurants, farmers markets, etc.  These wings are just PROUD, but I wanted to shed a light on this amazing service provided by our state.  To learn more about Ky proud go to kyproud.com  and check out some of the products available.  You might be hooked like you will be once you have these wings!

 Buttermilk Brine for the Wings :  (It is important to brine the wings overnight for added flavor, salt, moisture, and who doesn’t love buttermilk?!

  • 1 pint of buttermilk
  • couple of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1/4 cup of Hot Sauce ( Frank’s preferred)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 3 TBSP Salt
  • 1 TBSP Cracked Black Peppercorns
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic-crushed

Let the wings soak in buttermilk mixture for 4-6 hours or overnight covered tightly. Drain the wings but do not rinse off the buttermilk brine.

Seasoned Flour for the Wings

  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Salt
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Cajun Seasoning
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1 cup of Flour (more if needed)

Heat a pan full of oil (about 1 1/2 inch thick,  enough oil that will come up around the sides of the chicken wing) you want to make sure the oil is hot and around 325 degrees. To check the heat,  place a wooden spoon into the oil and it should bubble heavily around the spoon. This is a good indication your oil is hot enough.

Once you have drained the wings, dip them into the seasoned flour and place in the hot pot of oil, carefully using a spider or slotted spoon so not to burn your hand.  Leave on one side for about 3-4 minutes or until the sides start to brown, then flip.  Your chicken should have a deep golden brown crust.  Continue to fry on the other side then remove and place on a papertowel lined baking sheet.  Continue process until you have fried all of the wings.

Take the wings and place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and cook until the chicken is done and the juices are clear or the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Sauce for the wings

  • 1/2 a stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup of Hot sauce (Franks preferred)
  • 1/4 cup Mae Poy sweet chili sauce
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 2 TBSP Hot Chili Oil or Thai Chili Garlic Paste
  • Splash of Soy Sauce
  • A fresh lime juice
  • Fresh Green Onions Chopped

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat on a medium setting until the mixture is warm and thoroughly blended.   Pour over the wings and toss and serve immediately while it’s finger lickin good!!!  

Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread with Vegetables

pimento cheese

Of course we need a little KY representation at this superbowl shin dig.  With a nice big bowl of pimento cheese your guests will keep piling it up on fresh veggies or even on a sliced toasted baguette. You can also serve it as seen above already prepared as bite size appetizers stuffed in celery, or grape tomatoes, or inside the cavity of mini sweet peppers.

  • 2 cups of shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup of Real Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 of a small onion grated
  • 1 jar of pimentos finely chopped
  • a dash of Hot sauce
  • 2 TBSP cajun seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve.  Wonderful with crisp celery and sweet bell peppers.

Mini Chipotle Beef Sliders   (These mini tex mex chipotle cheeseburgers will score a touchdown!)

Another repeat offender, but when it ain’t broke, yes I said aint,  don’t fix it. 

Yield- 8-10 mini burgers

Picture of Fiery Tex-Mex Chipotle Cheeseburgers Recipe 

  • Ground Beef (1 1/2-2 lbs) 90/10 or 80/20 you can also substitute with ground turkey
  • 2 Adobo chilis in can, remove seeds, and chop
  • 2 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
  • 2 TBSP grill seasoning (i.e.  McCormicks Montreal Steak or Canadian Steak Seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of bottled beer
  • 1-2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • a handful of fresh cilantro chopped (again just eyeball it)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Pepper jack  and mozzarella Cheese Slices
  • Lettuce, Tomatoes, & Onions sliced
  • avocados, quartered and cut in strips
  • Toasted Mini Hamburger Buns

Spicy Mayo-  Add about 1 1/2 tbsp adobo chili sauce and 1 tsp of chopped adobo chilis to about 1 cup of  mayonnaise, and season with a little salt and pepper. 

Directions for Burgers:

Before you mix up all the ingredients in a medium size bowl season your meat on both sides with a little salt and pepper and just a drizzle of olive oil. In a medium size bowl mix ground meat, onions, cilantro, adobo chili, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, grill seasoning, onion powder, and bottled beer.  Patty out your burgers just a little larger than the size of the buns because they will shrink once they hit the grill. Season once again with just a pinch of salt and pepper and place on a hot oiled grill.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side or to desired doneness.  Place cheese slices about 2 minutes before the burgers are ready. Serve on hot toasted mini burger buns with lettuce, tomato, onions, sliced avocados, and a dollop of the chipotle mayo!  Get your napkins ready, but it is sooo worth it!

Here’s a little video clip on the sliders: http://youtu.be/mHUXK3TxTMo

Brunch with Mommy… “Green Eggs and Ham, & Goldilocks Potatoes!”

I have a five-year-old daughter that loves to cook and eats almost anything (most days), there are some days even she gets picky & puts up a fight.  In these fortunately rare instances I resort to creative make-believe and find a way to engage her in the cooking process which most often results in a happy & hungry little girl.

This morning, little bit just wasn’t feeling it so we started brainstorming some “fun” foods we could have for breakfast.  We came up with the following:  Dr. Suess Green Eggs and Ham, Goldilocks Potatoes, and King Loui or Banana Pudding Bread!   Now for those of you without children you may be wondering what this all means;  we simply created fun and exciting names for your everyday breakfast foods but it ignites creativity in the children and gets them excited about the meal.  Green Eggs and Ham is nothing more than Scrambled Eggs with a bit of blue food coloring with bacon crumbles sprinkled and mixed in together.  The Goldilocks potatoes are fabulous and by changing the name my daughter enjoyed a full helping of Rosemary and Curry Breakfast Potatoes that were sauteed to a nice crisp with sliced onions in refined coconut oil.   Lastly, King Loui is the famous monkey king in the Disney story Jungle Book, this classic banana bread recipe from Tyler Florence’s Family Meals cookbook is a winner and was a great way for my daughter and I to measure, mix, whisk and practice some simple addition.  To make this a true “banana pudding bread”  we crumbled up some vanilla wafers for one loaf and added them to the dough instead of chopped pecans.  This also became a dessert and treat for her after she finished her breakfast.

Green Eggs and Ham 

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half or low fat milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 drops blue food coloring

Break the eggs in a medium size bowl, whisk until well blended, add milk and stir, season with salt and pepper, and let your child add in a couple drops of blue food coloring and stir in to the eggs creating a nice Dr. Seuss green hue.  Heat a non stick skillet to a medium high heat and add 1/2-1 TBSP of refined coconut oil.  Add the eggs and scramble.

In a side skillet or on a baking sheet in the oven at 375 degrees cook the bacon until crisp and crumble into the scrambled eggs.

 

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Goldilocks Breakfast Potatoes 

  • 3 medium Idaho Baking Potatoes 
  • 1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 Large Onion Sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh Rosemary (minced)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP Grape See Oil or Refined Coconut Oil (Seriously, it is the new butter! Love this stuff and it’s really healthy!) 

Peel and slice the potatoes thin.  In a medium to large non stick skillet add the oil and heat to medium to high heat.  Add the sliced onions and saute for about a minute.  Add the potatoes.  Add the curry powder and fresh rosemary and season with salt and pepper to your taste.  Turn heat to medium and every continue to turn the potatoes every five minutes or so. The potatoes will start to brown and crisp up on the edges and the onions will continue to caramelize adding to the sweetness.    Once potatoes are done to your likeness, serve immediately with green eggs and ham.

 

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For the final plate, we added some fresh orange segments for a little added vitamin C and you can see the end result (an empty plate!) below, even though it can often times be a battle.  Keep strong, parenting is HARD! Always try to engage them first vs. forcing your child to eat.  The earlier you start the easier it will be; however, it is still not impossible,  try not to give options at dinner time.  If you are having salmon and broccoli, then that is what your children should be eating as well.  No kid’s meals at the table, it is family meal, and all of the family eats it. (together if at all possible) Trust me,  it may seem like tough love at first, but when they are hungry they will eat and once they know Mom or Dad has put the smack down on the processed junk, they will soon start to listen and stop putting up as much of a fight.  This is the most important job we will ever have in our lifetime, take the time and invest in teaching your children healthy eating habits now! It will change their lives forever!

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