It’s June…Time for sun, bright colored outfits, coconut smelling lotions and big smiles…Happiness is here!
Happy Summer to all!
My buddy Carrie was talking about my blog this past Tuesday at book club and as she spoke I suddenly realized I missed the good ole blog! I haven’t been here in over a month and some days I miss it and others I just don’t (no offense to you at all!) I do have a few things to share with you…One, I seriously love Peonies. Honest…I am weak for them.
I picked these beauties up at Bristol Farms a few weekends ago and they made me so happy. Tis the season for P’s! Go out and get a lovely bouquet of what you love because it does add life to your home.
Juju is growing so fast…
I have been making very healthy meals lately…My cousin asked me if I let Juju eat junk and the answer is YES! Of course, he’s a kid! But if 60 percent of the time we can eat healthy foods that nourish all our bodies then I’m totally satisfied. Tonight we made Salmon Po’ Boys…
Super easy! Here is the recipe I followed from the Eating Well website: I left out the mayo and grilled the onions in the oven for one hour at 300 degrees.
Blackened Salmon Po’ Boy
* 1/2 small avocado, pitted (see Tips for Two)
* 1 tablespoon reduced fat mayo
* 1 teaspoon blackening or Cajun seasoning
* 8 ounces salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2 portions
* 2 crusty whole-wheat rolls, split and toasted
* 1 cup arugula
* 1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1. Preheat grill to high. Oil grill rack (see Tip).
2. Mash together avocado and mayo in a small bowl with a fork.
3. Rub blackening (or Cajun) seasoning on both sides of salmon. Grill until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the avocado mixture on the bottom halves of each roll. Top with the salmon, arugula, tomato and onion.
Even Juju ate a bit…
I promise to share details!
Look good to you or just eh? Maybe not as good as a cheesy casserole or a rib eye steak with some french fries and salad dripping with ranch BUT this is longevity…What I mean is this is the kind of food my family can easily eat that is healthy and will keep us vibrant. We’re not vegan or even vegetarian (yet) but we do want to start making better decisions concerning food.
I’ve gotten pretty decent about making nutritious dinners primarily because I’m determined to feel better. The last few years I lost my way in that aspect. Cheese, cream, sugar, carbs and ranch dressing were what my diet composed of and I promise you that my health suffered. I think that I’m pretty resilient to this damage but I’m hoping that my family and I adopt better eating habits. I was the first to add fruit to each of Juju’s meals but I wouldn’t touch one myself. I easily used 7 grain bread on his peanut butter and jelly but dug in to French baguette because it was warm, doughy and comforting. Why did I neglect myself so much? While there is NOTHING wrong with eating white bread and ranch, it should not be 90% of your diet. Right??? I would also get up early to fix Brian and Juju a wonderful breakfast but yet I would eat a protein bar standing up while they sat at the table and enjoyed each others company.
I did it to myself…
Anyway, here I am ready to give my body the nutrition it needs and deserves and this is why I roasted veggies tonight, made some delicious whole wheat pasta and barbecued some amazing chicken!
Here is exactly what I did so I would have it super easy tonight:
Woke up at 6:45 am, made coffee, peeled and chopped carrots, chopped shallots and garlic, washed my broccolini, green beans, asparagus. Placed all the veggies in a large ziploc bag with lemon juice from one lemon, a few tbs of olive oil, Maldon sea salt, pepper, dried rosemary or any other dried herbs you may like. Placed the Ziploc in fridge.
Placed 6 chicken legs in a bowl with some low fat buttermilk I had in the fridge, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, Maldon sea salt and pepper, covered and that went in the fridge too.
Boiled water for my whole wheat pasta and when that was cooked and drained, I added 3 cloves of crushed garlic, olive oil and sea salt. Placed in a tupperware and in fridge!Tonight all I did was set the oven to 425 degrees, lay the veggies on a baking sheet and cooked for 25-35 minutes. Set my pasta cold on a serving dish topped with Parmesan. Brian barbecued the delicious chicken and DONE! Dinner was healthy, easy and very good!P.S Loving Maldon Sea Salt!
Here are some of the ways we’ve improved the health of our home and our bodies…
I love to clean, it’s almost like therapy but I never thought about all those toxic fumes in the air from the Windex, Pledge, bleach etc until recently so we’ve switched to almost all GREEN cleaning products and it feels great! Martha Stewart has a decent line which I’ve been using but there are a ton more available at your local Target or grocery store. Sometimes they don’t have much fragrance so I add a few drops of lavender oil in the bottle to give it a pretty smell!
Take 1 cup of couscous and boil in 3 cups of salted water for 20-25 minutes, drain well and place in a bowl, squeeze one whole lemon, drizzle some olive oil, add sea salt, pepper, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp thyme and 1 crushed garlic clove. Mix well and serve… DELICIOUS!!!!
In addition, each evening a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil followed by one squeezed lemon in 6 oz of water is recommended to improve the circulation of the liver.
Ok so here is the downside, I can’t give up Diet Coke yet so I guess I still have a way to go. Oh well, one thing at a time
Whole Living magazine has a page in every issue that I just love…I rip it out every month, carefully fold it and stick it in my purse for those moments in my day when I need a little inspiration. Here is an example you may like…
10 Thoughts of living in the NOW!
1. The shape of your life reveals itself moment by moment.
2. In refusing to forgive old hurts, you live them over and over again. Learn to let go.
3. Opt for quality over quantity. Value is revealed over the long term.
4. Real awareness is not about hanging on to the moment, but realizing it’s there.
5. No one knows what the future will bring, put you’re energy in the now.
6. Resist the urge to over analyze everything, live each moment instead.
7. See a rut for an opportunity for change.
8. Any moment can bring an awakening to what really matters.
9. Take comfort in the uneventful, it prepares you for what is to come.
10. Living well requires a focus on the present, not just a promise for tomorrow.
My fridge comes today after almost 2 weeks! We’ve been without one for that long! I can’t believe it…We’ve also been at Panera Bread almost every single night. Poor Brian starts to gag when he walks in because he can’t take it any more but Juju and I? Oh we love, love, love it and we order the same exact things every night. I get the chicken Ceasar salad/no cheese (because of my high cholesterol) with diet coke and Juju gets macaroni and cheese with a smoothie made from low fat yogurt and berries! I am so thrilled he’s drinking it by the way. Starting tomorrow we are eating in “for the rest of our lives” Brian probably thinks and I would say that’s a fair request… I’ve been pondering the upcoming menu a lot in my mind and this is what I’ve got so far:
Between us, I will miss having the fridge-less days, two weeks off was such a nice break. I am hesistant to admit it but it’s the truth.
Hope everyone has a nice Friday!
When I turned 30 this past October, I had the sense that this year would be a year I would never forget. I didn’t think it would be the best or most exhilarating, but I knew it would shape me. I started exercising, taking vitamins and really working on my “inner” health. I read O magazine every month and flip all the way to the back to read the “What I know for Sure” column. Oprah is very inspiring and what she has to say always resonates with me. I found the following on her site today and read it a few dozen times hoping that it makes a mark on my memory…
Top 20 things that Oprah knows for sure
1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what.
2. You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.
3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has no power over the present. Only you give it power.
4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (A lesson from Maya Angelou.)
5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for doing something about whatever worries you.
6. What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.
7. If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough. (From the German theologian and humanist Meister Eckhart.)
8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
9. Failure is a signpost to turn you in another direction.
10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.
11. Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.
12. Love yourself and then learn to extend that love to others in every encounter.
13. Let passion drive your profession.
14. Find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Then every paycheck will be a bonus.
15. Love doesn’t hurt. It feels really good.
16. Every day brings a chance to start over.
17. Being a mother is the hardest job on earth. Women everywhere must declare it so.
18. Doubt means don’t. Don’t move. Don’t answer. Don’t rush forward.
19. When you don’t know what to do, get still. The answer will come.
20. “Trouble don’t last always.”
Images taken from theloveshop.
I found this hanging up in a doctors office and just loved it…
This is a good reminder to all those who lovingly parent their children in the best way possible….
21 Memos From Your Child:
1. Don’t spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not have all I ask for. I am only testing you.
2. Don’t be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it, it makes me feel secure.
3. Don’t let me form bad habits. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
4. Don’t make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave stupidly big.
5. Don’t correct me in front of people if you can help it. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.
6. Don’t make me feel all of my mistakes are sins. It upsets my sense of values.
7. Don’t protect me from consequences. I need to learn the painful way, sometimes.
8. Don’t be upset when I say “I hate you”. It isn’t you I hate, but your power to thwart me.
9. Don’t take too much notice of my small ailments. Sometimes they get me the attention I need.
10. Don’t nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.
11. Don’t forget that I can’t explain myself as well as I should like. This is why I’m not always very accurate.
12. Don’t make rash promises. Remember that I feel badly let down when promises are broken.
13. Don’t tax my honesty too much. I am easily frightened into telling lies.
14. Don’t be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
15. Don’t tell me my fears are silly. They are terribly real to me and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
16. Don’t put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
17. Don’t ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It gives me too great a shock when I discover that you are neither.
18. Don’t ever think it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel surprisingly warm toward you.
19. Don’t forget how quickly I am growing up. It must be very difficult to keep pace with me, but please try.
20. Don’t forget I love experimenting. I couldn’t do without it, so please be patient with it.
21. Don’t forget that I can’t thrive without lots of understanding and unconditional love, but I don’t need to tell you that, do I?
Recently when my friend Doudou came over she saw the numerous cookbooks I have so she went on to ask “Which one should I get?” Hmmmm…..That’s a good question. When I started learning how to cook, I could not buy enough cookbooks. I love to read and have really learned a ton from the tips that the authors give you. So anyway, here is my answer to Doudou:
|Pollo Alla Cacciatora is delicious! Also try Naan Pizza! One of the first cookbooks I bought. I love Nigella!|
|Donna Hay has great cookbooks and so pretty to look at but beware she tends to have very simple instructions so sometimes you need to research if you’re not familiar with the process.|
|At first I wasn’t sure about this fairly new Martha book but I quickly changed my mind! Great menu suggestions…|
|Funny enough Doudou got me this for my birthday last year and it’s fantastic!|
|And the best for last… This has quickly become my FAVORITE cookbook ever… To think I was anti- Ina! Almost everything is delicious! A must have!|
Image by Inmacor and OneEighteen via Flickr.
Doudou lives in New York so you can imagine how little we see each other…. When ever she visits we always make time for coffee or lunch but this time she came over for dinner!! I had a simple table set up for a fuss-free night…
I always like to make something very basic with friends over so I don’t spend the whole night in the kitchen so I opted for Ina Gartens truffle butter pasta which EVERYONE always loves!
Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 ounces white truffle butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (8.82-ounce) package Cipriani tagliarelle dried pasta or other egg fettuccine
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 ounces Parmesan, shaved thin with a vegetable peeler
Add 1 tablespoon salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the truffle butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, lower the heat to very low, and swirl the butter until it melts. Keep warm over very low heat.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, exactly. (If you’re not using Cipriani pasta, follow the directions on the package.) When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Add the drained pasta to the saute pan and toss it with the truffle-cream mixture. As the pasta absorbs the sauce, add as much of the reserved cooking water, as necessary, to keep the pasta very creamy.
Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a generous sprinkling of chives and shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at once.
P.S Someone was crazzzzyyyyyyy for Doudou!!
|Lovely California skies…Photo taken this past Sunday early evening.|
1 pound dried white beans (such as cannellini or great Northern)
1/2 pound andouille sausage links, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded and leaves cut into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper
olive oil and bread sticks, for serving
1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, sausage, onion, celery, and thyme. Add the broth and stir to combine.
2. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).
3. Twenty minutes before serving, discard the thyme stems, add the collard greens, cover, and cook until the greens are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve with the bread sticks.