Fourth of July

Fourth of July

I love everything that Independence Day stands for: reaffirming your commitment to freedom, Fourth of Julyliberty and the freedom of choice. What a beautiful concept.

As I celebrate everything else in life, I celebrate this wonderful holiday with the fs: food, friends and family.

I have compiled together all of my favorite recipes to make your Independence Day gathering that much easier. You can find all of my recipes on Pinterest.

What about decorating? I like to keep it very simple when it comes to cookout decorations. Leave out huge bowls filled with raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream. This will run the center of the table and place the desserts and appetizers at the center on top of cake stands of varying sizes. This keeps the gathering communal because it forces everyone towards the food, then they can sit down and make some new friends. Also, this makes cleanup so easy because you don’t have to worry about pulling up the decorations and putting them away. I am a huge fan of simplistic beauty.

Regardless of what you make, who you spend the day with or what you do; please remember one thing. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have so many rights that have been fought for and preserved by countless men and women. Remember to thank a veteran for their service. Happy Independence Day!

 

2014-06-12 20.23.13

Butter Chicken

I am a huge fan of butter! My friends make fun of me because I buy butter from Costco 2014-06-12 20.23.13and I usually buy 8lbs of it to last me a month. I live alone so this delicious butter is not shared with anyone else, it is just for me!

I am a firm believer in buying grass-fed organic butter. Why? Let me list the reasons.

1.) Grass-fed butter contains lauric acid.

2.) Butter is filled with antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin E (another antioxidant that helps protect our heart), vitamin K (helps our body with blood clotting), vitamin D(strengthens immune system and proper absorption of calcium), Activator X, aka.Vitamin K2 (bone strength and calcium distribution), selenium (an antioxidant that shows some evidence of reducing the odds of prostate cancer), and one of the best sources of vitamin A (promotes the health of our thyroid, adrenals, organs, and aids in the absorption of calcium).

3.) It tastes so much better, the rich color is an indicator that it is filled with nutrients.

4.) Butter helps fat-soluble vitamins be absorbed by the body which means that you actually benefit from the great healthy foods that you eat!

5.) Butter contains short and medium chain fatty acids, studies show that these acids help the great battle against cancer and benefits our immune system.

6.) Grass-fed butter has the highest levels  of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which keeps you skinny (no, really- studies show that it helps with weight loss and weight management, and if that wasn’t enough- it fights against carcinogens.)

7.) Children are growing faster due to the hormones found in milk, when feeding your children organic milk and butter, you are keeping them from ingesting harmful chemicals and hormones that they do not need.

Yeah, and did I mention that it tastes amazing???

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 chicken breasts or 6-8 chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2  teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2  teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2  teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2  teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
4  tablespoons tomato paste

Directions
Saute onion and garlic in butter in medium-low heat. Add the chicken and allow it to brown on all sides, this should take about 10 minutes.

Add the spices to the chicken and stir in the tomato paste.

Cover the pot and allow it to cook in the spices for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cream and lower the heat to low and allow it to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve over rice, cauliflower, with naan or just the way it is.

Homemade Red Bell Pepper Soup

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I love having a delicious bowl of soup. With the abundance of peppers from my Homemade Red Bell Pepper Soupwindowsill garden, I like to make this simple recipe. You can top it with cheese, sour cream or just drink it out of an oversized coffee cup, like me!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots
1 onion (I prefer to use red or Spanish), chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 roasted red bell peppers
4-6 large tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup sour cream

Directions
Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Sautee the garlic, onions and shallots in the butter for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the roasted red bell peppers to the mixture.

Add the chicken broth and all of the remaining ingredients but the sour cream and lower the heat to low, simmer the mixture for 30 minutes, covered.

Puree the mixture in a blender and strain out the solid pieces.

Return the soup to the saucepan and add the sour cream and allow it to cook for 10 minutes on low. Serve.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper

Roasting Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are inherently sweet and delicious. They are my favorite thing to add toRoasted Red Bell Pepper any dish! Here is a way to kick it up another notch (in the words of the famous chef, Emeril Lagasse)by just roasting it on the oven.

This simple method adds so much flavor to the peppers, you will taste a hint of smokiness, the pepper gets sweeter and the flesh becomes so soft. I absolutely adore this. I also love canning them once they have been roasted. You can choose to either can them in vinegar or oil but always add some spices to the mix. Once they marinate in there, you can use the oil to cook with for added flavor. Genius, right??

Directions

Turn your oven broiler on low. Wash and dry the red bell peppers and place in a single row on a baking sheet. I like to cover the bottom in aluminum foil to make clean up that much easier.

Place the baking sheet with the peppers under the broiler. You have to keep a close eye because you will notice small brown bubbles will appear. You want the skin to darken but not to become completely black. This process will only take a few minutes (2-4 minutes.)

Remove the baking sheet and turn the peppers over to expose the other side. You want the entire pepper to have brown blisters throughout.

Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic sealable bag and allow the steam that is contained to separate the skin from the pepper. After 15-20 minutes, remove the peppers and the skin should come off quite easily.

Chop them up ad add them to salads, soups, serve as appetizers with a cheese plate or can then for later.

Macho Salad

Macho Salad

Macho Salad Macho salad is a recipe that I learned a few years ago. What makes it so macho? It basically means that you add everything under the sun to a huge bowl and chomp away. Here are some of my favorites to add to this salad, feel free to add other ingredients and make it your own. As always, food is about having fun!

This recipe makes 4 large salads. (When I say large, think about feeding Adam Richman from Man vs. Food.) You can always make this recipe for fewer people and customize to your tastes.

My goal as a blogger is to teach you to take recipes that you adore and make it your own.

Ingredients
4 cups baby spinach mix (or any green mix that you prefer)
1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin slices if you can grill the pepper first, that would be amazing)
1-2 avocados, pitted and cut into thin slices (I always use 1/2 an avocado per person)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cucumber, sliced
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup corn, freshly grilled and cut off of the cob (low-carbers leave this out)
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup mild cheese (I used Colby jack)
1/4 cup toasted pecans, almonds or any other nut you have on had

Dressing Ingredients
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2/3 cups great quality olive oil

Salad Directions
Combine together all of the ingredients and set aside

Combine together the dressing ingredients and blend together and toss a small amount (few tablespoons) with the salad until it is lightly covered.

Spicy Thai "Noodles"

Spicy Thai “Noodles”

I am on a Thai kick right now! I have been craving foods that are not normally associated with the low-carb lifestyle and finding new and creative ways to feel the craving monster without giving into horrible foods. I have to say that you can’t even tell this recipe doesn’t contain noodles. A new use for veggies and to get your kids to eat healthy without even knowing it.Spicy Thai "Noodles"

Ingredients
1 head of cabbage, cut into long, thick strips to resemble noodles (each strip should be 1/2-1 inch wide and a few inches long)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast or 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces (there should be one cup of chicken) (vegetarians, leave this out and just double the vegetables)
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce (substitutes include: low-carb soy sauce, liquid smoke (if using liquid smoke only use 1/10 of what you would have originally used), coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce)
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4 Thai chiles,cut lengthwise (seeded if yo don’t like too much heat)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 carrot, sliced (leave out if you want)
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tomato, cut into wedges

Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar-free creamy peanut butter (you can also use almond butter if you like)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons sugar substitute
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce (substitutes include: low-carb soy sauce, liquid smoke (if using liquid smoke only use 1/10 of what you would have originally used), coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or any hot sauce
2 Thai chiles diced (seeded)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine together the sesame oil, soy sauce, onions, ginger, chili, and garlic. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes up to overnight.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan set to low heat and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the sesame oil to medium heat and add the chicken mixture, cook fully and set aside.

In the same pan, quickly stir fry the carrots, bell pepper and celery. After 1-2 minutes. add the mushrooms and tomato. Remove from the heat and set aside with the chicken.

In the same pan, add the “noodles” and cook for 3-5 minute until it gets some color and add the sauce to the “noodles” Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cabbage is a bit soft.

Combine all of the ingredients together and allow the vegetables to absorb the sauce and serve.

Best Dad!

Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

Best Dad!Father’s day is right around the corner! Are you excited?? I always say that everyone goes all out for Mother’s Day but what about our dad’s? They deserve as much love and attention, so let’s try to make this Father’s Day the best yet!

Brunch out at a nice restaurant is always nice but I find that on holidays like this, everything is booked, solid. Also, do you really want to fight the crowds (love the traffic) to wait in line for 30-60 minutes for a reservation you made for sub-par food? On crazy days like this, restaurants are trying to push out orders so fast that sometimes the quality of food isn’t as great. Not only that, but you are stuck listening to kids cry, it is so loud you can’t hear yourself think and you feel rushed so the next person can be seated for their reservation. YIKES!

Why not avoid this all together and take dad and mom out the night before and then spend Sunday at home? Plan a great family brunch/bbq and serve dad his favorite foods. Lucky for you, I have compiled together a list of my favorite dishes for dad! Visit my Pinterest Page to see all of the recipes that I have compiled for this special day!

Now that the meal is planned, what about dad’s gift? If you still haven’t found dad the perfect gift, no worries! I done the leg work for you already and compiled together a list of great gift ideas any dad would love.

May your stomach always be full and your plate always emptied.

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