I’m baaack, and putting a little mussel into it…

It’s been over two year, TWO YEARS, since my last post.  I’d like to have an amazing excuse for the long break, but I don’t.  I truthfully was surprised when I saw the date of my last post.  However, I have had a few changes in my life that bring me back to sharing and am excited to be back.  First post back I am bringing the muscle, by bringing you mussels.  ;) Don’t worry I got a lot more of that clever…Mussels Soup

MUSSEL SOUP RECIPE: 

5 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 rips of celery, chopped
1/2 t turmeric

3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cu dry white wine
baguette
3 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3 cu water
1 t salt (additional to taste)
1/4 t fresh ground pepper
1 cu heavy cream
1/4 lb bacon (prosciutto or other flavored ham, chopped)

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat.  Add the onion, garlic, fennel, celery, bay leaf, orange zest, and turmeric.  Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.

Fresh Veggies...Fresh Veggies…

2. Line a baking sheet with foil and put bacon in a 400 degree oven.  Cook till preferred crispiness.  Set aside to cool, then chop.

mmmm bacon...

3. Meanwhile, heat the broiler.  Put the bread slices on a baking sheet and spray/brush both sides with oil.  Broil the bread, turning once, until golden brown.  (I like to sprinkle garlic salt on the bread to add some flavor)

4. Discard any mussels that are broken or do not clamp shut when tapped.  Add the water, salt, pepper, and mussels to the pot.  Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, 3-5 minutes.

Don't forget to debeard the mussels...
-Don’t forget to debeard the mussels…

4. As the mussels open, remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.  (I did them all at once and put them in a big bowl) When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells.  Remove the bay leaf.  Stir the cream into the soup and bring just to a simmer.  Stir in the mussels and the bacon and serve topped with the toasted slices of the baguette.

(Serves 4)

The final product...
-The final product…

I hope you enjoy this soup, it’s a perfect way to bring in fall.

Fresh Fish Friday…

This week our Friday night dinner was a play on a fish fry.  However, instead of doing our usual beer battered fish I made a coconut, flaxseed and wheat germ crust.  Here is the recipe…

Fresh Fish Fry…

Crust
1/2 Cu of unsweetened coconut
1/4 Cu of What Germ
1/4 Cu of Ground Flaxseed
3 T of Mexican Oregano
1 T of Salt

Cabbage Slaw
1/2 Head of Red Cabbage
1/4-1/2 Cu of Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

1 lb of Tilapia (or any firm white fish)
3-4 egg whites
Chile Powder
Lemon
Cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
Serrano chiles
1/4 Cu of Oil
Tortillas 

First dry off the tilapia fillets and sprinkle with chile powder, salt and pepper on both sides.

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Put the oil in a pan and get it med-hot.  You can bake the fish too and make it more healthy, in this recipe I pan-fried the tilapia.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and mix all the ingredients onto a second bowl to get ready for the breading process.  One trick I’ve learned from breading, is to keep one hand for the dry ingredient and the second hand for the wet ingredients.  That helps to keep it from getting too messy.

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When breading, make sure to completely cover the fish in the egg whites and then gently cover with the crust mix on both sides and place on a dish to get ready for the pan frying.

When the oil is hot, gently place the fish into the pan and fry on 3-4 minutes on each side.  You want the pan to be hot enough so it turns a nice golden brown and don’t overcrowd the pan.  Set the finished fish on paper towels.

While the fish is in the pan, chop up the cabbage and mix with the yogurt and set aside.  (I know this may sound weird to some people, try it once please).  Chop up serannos, lemons and cilantro and place on a plate.  Warm up the tortillas and the fish fry is ready to serve.

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Here is how you put together the taco… finish with a lemon and Enjoy!!!

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Knowledge is power…

I came across an article for the second time and thought it was something great to share.  I know most people out there would love to eat organic and reduce their carbon foot-print as much as they can.  However, since every company has jumped on the band-wagon who can you trust?  Like companies using “gluten-free” on products, “organic” is something that is being used to make people feel better about themselves.  Unfortunately not many people really think about the farming process and how farmers create the food we eat.

Here is an article about the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15.”  This is to help the shopper who is deciding where to cut corners and become more educated about what is in the grocery aisles.

I hope you find this helpful…

Happy Birthday My Olivsita…

My Olivsita’s birthday is coming up…not knowing the exact date she was born, but know it was in October, we naturally made it Halloween. Being a black cat, it fits. Poor Olive gets a bad rap. She is a little quirky and overweight so of course she gets picked on by the haters. But, I’ve never known a better foot warmer. Plus, she oddly understands tears and always comes to my rescue. Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to a wonderful big sister and loving kitty!

This is one of the best pics of Olive… she looks crazy!!!

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Olive is great at getting comfortable…

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This cat is made for the wild, what a huntress…

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Olive celebrating the U.S. of A…

My Olivsita can work the camera every once in a while…

She isn’t a fan of my costumes but she just looks so darn cute…

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We love you Olive!!!

Happy Halloween to everyone from the hill…

Creamy Cauliflower, Leek and Potato Soup…

I received my first “Clean Eating” magazine this week and I was very excited to give it a shot.  I am extremely happy with the magazine, sometimes you buy certain magazines hoping that their articles will be about their focus (workout magazines are the worst about this)  and all you get are silly one-liners and advertisements.  The magazine is not huge, but is 90% recipes so you get a bang for your buck.

The first recipe I wanted to try was the Creamy Leek, Cauliflower and Potato Soup.  We love soups, but usually stick to our basic beef and barley and chicken tortilla.  This soup reminds me a lot of my mashed cauliflower but is a great alternative for a fat-induced potato soup and is perfect with the cold weather approaching.  I made a few changes so below is my revised recipe with the changes marked by an asterisk…

Creamy Cauliflower, Leek and Potato Soup…

2 t olive oil
2 leeks sliced, white and light green parts only
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 large Russet or Yukon potato peeled and dice
1 Cauliflower head chopped into florets
3 Cups of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Cu of Water
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
2 sliced Serrano Chiles*
1 cu of mushroom sliced*
1/2 cu of low-fat cheddar
2 sage leaves*

Saute the leeks, garlic, mushrooms, serrano chiles down on med-high heat in the olive oil for 5-10min.  Watch carefully…

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Throw in the chopped cauliflower, potato, broth, water and pepper and salt.  Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes or till it is tender…

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Transfer into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  I think that a tip would be that you can’t puree too much.

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Transfer the mixture to a pan and put in sage and cheddar cheese…

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One thing that I left out was turkey bacon, I didn’t have any, but I am sure it would be great with chopped scallions.

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Like I said, this soup is perfect for a cold night, also it works great for leftovers as well.  I would say that this batch makes between 3-4 servings based on how much soup you love!

Enjoy!!!

Preppy Sunday…

I have chosen every Sunday to be my prep day for the week.  Since this is the first time I have ever done it, it will be a work in progress.  What I like about the prep day is that I can still eat homemade food, but it will keep me on track for my goal.  I have decided to make the following meals for the week that will supplement my snacks and lunches…

1. Turkey Meatloaf Muffins by Jamie Eason

2. Crockpot Chicken: I am just putting chicken breasts in a crockpot with canned tomatoes and chipotle peppers and cooking it down.  The shredded chicken can be used for many things during the week.

3. Big batch of Quinoa

As of right now, breakfast and dinner will be made everyday.  Because of the girls, I have unlimited egg whites for breakfast and will be using my “Clean Eating” magazine for dinner ideas.

Please tell me if you have any great meals that I can try!!!

A dinner a la Joey Tribbiani…

This blog thing has gotten the best of me.  I have been terrible at keeping activity up because I think I need something “special” if I want to post, but I cook everyday so why not share those meals as well?

So, here comes a Friday night dinner a la Joey Tribbiani (this is a “Friends” reference for any of those who were not alive during the 90’s).  The man of the house, like most men, is also a fan of sandwiches.  Here is one of his favorites…

Horseradish Cheddar and Pastrami Reuben with grilled veggies…

Deli Pastrami
Horseradish Cheddar (or your favorite cheese)
Thick cut sandwich slices
Large yellow onion
Garlic clove
Garlic Salt
Olive oil spray
1 T unsalted butter
Sauerkraut
Thousand Island Dressing

Shish-kabobs:
Red onion
Bell pepper
Whole mushrooms
Canned whole white potatoes
Terriyaki Sauce (if you don’t have terriyaki sauce use equal parts sugar and soy sauce with a little bit of catsup)

We love shish-kabobs and grilling.  They are super easy to make and a perfect side-dish.  I also love doing shish-kabobs without the protein because I can reuse the marinade.  Below I put all the veggies and potatoes in a plastic bag with the marinade.  For those of you who have never used canned potatoes, you are missing out!  They are perfect for two things…shish-kabobs and breakfast (the sliced canned potatoes).  Try them at least once and if you don’t like them don’t use them.  I also like to use pineapple, but completely forgot them.  Put the bag in the fridge and let marinate while you get the sandwich started.

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The next thing to start are the grilled onions.  Obviously if you don’t like grilled onions, don’t do this.  But we love them.  The key to good grilled onions is to not rush them.  I always use my nice stainless steel skillet.  I sautéed them in oil and 1 T of unsalted butter.  Remember, low and slow… add the garlic half way through so it doesn’t burn.

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If you are using a charcoal grill (the only thing we use)  I would get the coals going while the onion starts cooking down.  This is when I get the shish-kabobs put together.  A trick, if you are using the wooden shish-kabobs, is to soak them in water.  That way they don’t burn during the grilling process.  I also save the leftover marinade so we can reapply it while they are grilling.

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Once the veggies are on the grill, I get the sandwiches going.  I spray one side of the bread with olive oil and use my secret ingredient, garlic salt on the same side.

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Place the bread with the sprayed side down, add the cheese and meat and grilled onions as well.  This cooking process also has to be pretty low and slow.  You don’t want to burn the bread before the cheese is melted.  I use the lid periodically so it helps melt the cheese.

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Just like a grilled cheese, flip and cook the other side…

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Bring in the finished shish-kabobs…

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I serve the sandwich with the sauerkraut and thousand island on the side, so it doesn’t get too soggy.

Now, here is a sandwich that would make Joey Tribbiani proud…

Let me know what you think!

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