Tag Archives: clean eating

Mother’s Day Jumbo Crabmeat and Hearts of Palm Salad

Heads up, people.  This Sunday’s Mother’s Day and we have high expectations.  I’m offering some tips…consider it a guideline because if you know your Mama, and you better hope you do, this is almost common sense.  Tip number one, and this is the most important one.  Don’t mess with her.  At all.  She would never say the “F” word but you really wouldn’t want her to think it, would you?  I thought not.  Tip number two.  I’m sure there are some mommies out there who don’t care for champagne but I’ve never met them.  We love champagne, good champagne and lots of it.  Please don’t skimp here.  She’ll be thinking the “F” word and, again, we really want to avoid that.  Tip number three and the final suggestion.  Moms want to be treated to brunch with a presentation which is sumptuous, sensual and stunning.  We don’t want purple daisies from the grocery store, unless they’re pick out by your four-year old who loves them, is so proud and is positively beaming.  No.  Do something nice.  Get her some orchids.  I have to say this old mom has all her string and beer tab necklaces, plaster of paris handprints, special hand-picked rocks and construction paper cards adorned with crayon flowers and stick figures and, people, I love them all.  All!  But we REALLY, REALLY like to be treated super well and pampered.  Jus’ sayin.

This gorgeous salad pairs beautifully with sliced avocado and radishes.  It can also be served on a bed of mixed baby greens.  If it’s to be served over or with a salad of greens, go ahead and mix up another batch of dressing.  There is only enough in one recipe to dress the crabmeat.  Champagne is perfection with this crabmeat salad…the bubbly seems to bring out the sweetness.  The fresh orange sections highlight the tartness of the palm hearts and any avocado slipped on the plate rounds out the luxuriousness of this indulgence.  This salad is best assembled just before serving.

Jumbo Crabmeat and Hearts of Palm Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Dressing:

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, salad cut, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Over a small bowl or jar, finely zest the navel orange.
  2. Cut the orange in half and juice one half over the orange zest.
  3. Section the remaining orange half and place the sections in a medium bowl.  Include any juices with the other orange juice.
  4. Over the juice jar or bowl, finely grate the garlic.
  5. Add the olive oil then whisk the dressing well, or cover the jar and shake well.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper, adjust seasoning and chill until ready to use.
  7. Place the cleaned crabmeat in the bowl with the sectioned orange.
  8. Cut the palm hearts into wheels 1/4 inch thick and include with crab.
  9. Add the onion, toss gently and taste for salt and pepper.
  10. Stir the dressing well and pour over the crabmeat mixture.
  11. Gently toss and serve.

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Sausage, Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake

Did you indulge or party just a tee-tiny bit too much this past weekend?  Or maybe you fell for that lie we all tell ourselves when we’ve eaten half the brownies and, thoroughly disgusted with ourselves, take action to rid the temptation by saying, “I want this out of the house.  I’ll finish it and then it won’t be around anymore to tease me.”  It’s so awful.  And hard, too.  But I’ve found if I can stick to a healthful meal plan for two or three days eating well almost becomes a habit.  All of us have struggled with our weight at one time or another.  College weight, baby weight and old lady weight have all been my personal nightmares.  Here’s a special memory that ought to make you feel better.  When I was pregnant with our son, James, I gained 52 (yes, 52) pounds.  I was enormous; I looked like a walrus…except I had braces and a real tragedy of a haircut.  After I gave birth I was still fat but I had the greatest treasure in the world.  Anyway, one afternoon my father came over…alone.  Normally he and Mom came over together or Mom came alone.  We didn’t really have what one would call a “visit”, as he strode with his long legs into our house and made the following announcement.  “Your mother and I are terribly worried.  So I’m only going to say this once.  Lose the weight.”  With that, he turned around and walked out.  Nice, huh?  Thanks, Daddy.  I can’t say his little pep talk worked, what with a new baby and nursing and all; it took a while after that to “lose the weight”.  But these are the types of meals that make dropping a few pounds somewhat easier.  We can do this.  We’ve all lost weight before and we’ll do it again.  With a little planning we can be healthy about it and keep the weight off.  Fingers crossed.

I love this dish!  It is incredibly satisfying and as filling as a pasta dish but without the sluggish, weighted down feeling one is left with after sitting down to a huge bowl of penne, fettucine or farfalle…not to mention the guilt, smothering like the black cloud we all know it to be.  This casserole doubles extremely well, baked in a 9″ x 13″ dish.  I typically double the recipe as my entire household enjoys it for lunch the following day, along with a good bit set aside for my brother and father.  More fresh basil may be added if you like, as well as more grape tomatoes.  The tomatoes bake-off beautifully, warm and savory, they almost melt in your mouth.  The recipe doesn’t call for much parmesan cheese but if you want to stay Paleo or keep the calories out just leave it off.  Truly, with all the different flavors, this dish doesn’t need it.  Enjoy!

Sausage, Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 4 cups roasted spaghetti squash, that’s about one large squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 pounds Italian style turkey sausage
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated using the large holes of a box grater
  •  1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Cover an 8″ x 11″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. With a large spoon scoop the spaghetti squash flesh out of the shell and into a large bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Pour half of the olive oil into a large skillet, heat to medium and swirl the olive oil fully covering the bottom and sides of the pan.
  4. Add the whole sausage links to the pan and cook over medium until browned all over.
  5. Leaving the juices in the pan, transfer the sausage to a bowl and let cool.
  6. Add the remaining olive oil, onion and garlic to the pan, stirring well to get up all the bits of sausage.
  7. When the onion begins to turn clear, add the zucchini and oregano and stir well.
  8. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir well and remove from heat.
  9. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the bowl of spaghetti squash.
  10. To the bowl add the grape tomatoes, basil and parsley and toss well to thoroughly combine.
  11. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings if needed.
  12. Transfer mixture to baking dish and, if using parmesan, scatter the cheese evenly over the top of the casserole.
  13. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the grape tomatoes become soft to the touch.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

 

Asian Brussel Sprouts

Tomorrow is my favorite and only brother’s birthday.  I tease him because we are so different yet our lives seem to run along the same parallels.  Tommy is wonderful.  He rescues me when my dishwasher is falling out of the wall and when my life is falling apart.  He often walks the dog and constantly walks with me through Scripture.  He gives me strength to get up…the kind of strength needed when life knocks you down so hard you can’t breathe.  He doesn’t simply say  “C’mon.  Get over it.”   No.  And he doesn’t judge.  He gently offers two hands to lift me up out of the secluded corners of pain; he softly brushes off the mud of hard knocks and always has soothing words and hope when my soul has been hurt and buffeted.  I lean on him as frequently as he leans on the kitchen bookcase, long and graceful legs crossed, drink in hand, patiently waiting for a taste of whatever I’m cooking.  He is my treasure.  It hasn’t always been this way.  Tommy was separated from our family when he was married.  We missed him terribly but he’s back with us now and we’re damn glad.   He’s the family prankster, always leaving a couple of sweet potatoes and the odd grapefruit on James’ bed pillows as his calling card.  James always came out of his bedroom jubilantly stating, “Uncle Tommy was here!”  When I lived at my parents’ house before Jimmy and I married, Tommy hung a few brightly colored bras of mine and a few pairs of bikini panties on the paddles of my bedroom ceiling fan.  Round and round they leisurely rotated for any and all to see.  He was just pleased as punch at my outrage.  As goofy as he sometimes is, he is equally sharp-witted and highbrow in his humor, right up my alley.  But his heart…his huge, sweet, kind and giving heart is something to behold.  As I type this my eyes sting with tears.  My emotions are so close to the surface; I know my 3:00 tequila has nothing to do with it, I love my baby brother so.  To celebrate his birthday he’s coming over for dinner tonight and one of his dishes will be these asian brussel sprouts.  Because he’ll eat anything and everything, he was given the  childhood nickname of “Pigdog” by our little sister and me.  I happen to know for a fact he LOVES these brussel sprouts.  I have 4 pounds for 3 people.  So happy birthday, Pigdog.  I love you!

I’ve been obsessed with these asian brussel sprouts for a couple of weeks now.  I eat them as a snack they’re so doggone good.  Hot, warm or cold, I think they’re fabulous.  I find most of the ingredients at my grocery store, Publix, but the bonito flakes I picked up at Whole Foods.  Fresh Market probably carries them as well.  The sriracha chili sauce adds a tiny bit of heat so if heat ain’t your thing leave it out.  The honey gives the sprouts a smooth sweetness while the lemon grass, ginger and fish sauce round out this deep flavor blast.  I include any random sprout leaves to the roasting pan as they become crisp and savory during the roasting process much like potato chips.  In retrospect maybe they are best straight out the oven but they’re mighty fine the following day, too.  Hope you like ’em!

Asian Brussel Sprouts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 pounds brussel sprouts, root end trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 6″ piece lemon grass, cut into thirds and bruised to release flavor
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 generous tablespoons bonito flakes
  • 1 rounded tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and lightly cover with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine trimmed brussel sprouts,  olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss well with your hands until all the sprouts are coated with the olive oil.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes or until the outside of the sprouts are dark and any leaves are crispy.
  4. While the sprouts are baking, combine all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat.
  5. Cook the sauce for 4-5 minutes until the garlic and ginger are soft.  Set aside until the brussel sprouts have finished roasting.
  6. Remove sprouts from the oven and transfer to a large, shallow bowl.
  7. Discard lemon grass pieces from sauce, drizzle the sauce over the sprouts and toss well with two large spoons.
  8. Serve immediately.

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Fresh Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Here we are in March…in like a lion, out like a lamb.  In south Florida we are most definitely enjoying lamb-like weather.  Jimmy and I are found in the courtyard often, reading and writing, the dog typically sprawled at our feet.  Jimmy will spend his mornings outside working on his laptop, leisurely smoking his pipe which, by the way, smells positively heavenly.  We read the New York Times in the morning and take pleasure in a simple happy hour or dinner in the evening.  Clearly the mosquitos haven’t found our house yet…but they will.  In the meantime, if it’s morning or evening, assume we’re puttering outside.  This dish is a spring and summer joy.  Simple and healthful, it may be served as a vegetable side dish or as an entree with a piece of grilled tuna or chicken atop.  It’s lovely at a picnic or poolside as it travels extremely well.  Spaghetti squash is much lighter than pasta and undeniably lower in calories.  Those who are allergic to wheat will love this alternative.  No more sneezing and itchy eye!  Regardless of your reason to try this dish, I think you’ll truly enjoy it and so will your family.

Fresh Tomato and Pesto Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 spaghetti squash, medium size
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2-2 cups fresh basil leaves plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 7-ounce container of store-bought pesto or approximately 1 cup of homemade, I use store-bought, reduced fat
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. This is completely optional and may be left out for a dairy-free, vegan or paleo dish.  It’s still absolutely delicious.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and cover foil lightly with non-stick baking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Cut both squashes in half lengthwise.
  3. Using a large, metal spoon, scoop out all the seeds from the squashes.  Discard the seeds.
  4. Place the squashes cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the flesh is fork tender.  I check them at 45 minutes and return to the oven checking for doneness every 5 minutes or so.
  5. While the squashes are baking finely mince the garlic and place in a medium size, non-reactive bowl.  I use glass.
  6. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the garlic.
  7. Using your hands, rip the fresh basil into small, bite size pieces and add them to the garlic-tomato mixture.
  8. Add the pesto and olive oil to the tomato mixture.  If using parmesan cheese, add it as well.  Mix thoroughly so all ingredients are well combined.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the squashes have baked.
  10. Remove the squashes from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes or until they’re easy to handle.
  11. With a small paring knife cut the flesh of the squashes lengthwise down to the shell being careful not to cut through to your hand, making 3 or 4 parallel cuts, each cut about 3/4″-1″ apart.  This allows bite size pieces and makes it easier to assemble the dish.
  12. With a large, metal spoon scoop the flesh out of the squashes and place into a large bowl.
  13. Pour the tomato-pesto mixture over the squash and gently toss until all the squash is well coated.
  14. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with any fresh basil leaves and serve.
  15. If serving within a few hours the bowl may be covered with plastic wrap and then transferred to the serving platter right before serving.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Creamed Vegetable Soup

 

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This vegetable soup is perfect for those nights when you crave warm, comforting soup but have little energy, never mind time.  The vegetables are cut into good-sized chunks, cook until tender then are blitzed with an immersion blender or in a food processor or blender.  The recipe makes quite a bit but the soup is even more flavorful the following day and packs well for lunch at one’s desk.  It’s incredibly thick and hearty so often I serve it alone.  Paired with a grilled cheese sandwich of some sort, the soup with half a sandwich will leave you stuffed and satisfied.  If you prefer your soup thinner, by all means, add a bit more water or broth.  Make certain to blend until smooth and the end result will be a creamy, velvety meal.  Enjoy!

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Creamed Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, cut into eighths
  • 7-9 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 5 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ rounds
  • 5 medium organic carrots, cut into 1/2″ rounds
  • 5 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 7 large tomatoes, cut into eighths and core end trimmed off
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, stalk end snapped off
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • water
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large dutch oven or soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions.  Stir occasionally, and cook until they begin to turn translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, zucchini, carrots and celery and continue stirring.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, green beans and oregano. Stir until all the vegetables are well combined and the oregano is evenly distributed.
  4. Add water to the pot just up to the vegetables but not covering them.  You can always add more water if needed.
  5. Bring to a boil then drop the heat down to a medium simmer, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes or until the carrots and green beans are tender and completely cooked through.
  6. Add the basil, stir, then process until smooth with an immersion blender or transfer to food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Add salt to taste
  8. Add freshly cracked black pepper over individual servings.
  9. May be served hot, warm or cold.

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