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The Cookbook Challenge – I’m IN!

Chef Bill and I are in possession of at least two dozen cookbooks, most of which sit on the shelf unused. Well, not anymore! I’ve set the intention to use at least one recipe a week from one of our cookbooks in the collection.  Our first try out of the gate: Chicken Dopiaza from ‘Indian: 100 Everyday Recipes.  In all my years of eating Indian, I’ve never heard of Chicken Dopiaza, but it sounded irresistible, and contains no fewer than 11 delectable herbs and spices.

 



Wish you could have inhaled along with us as the onions, garlic, ginger root, and herbs simmered in the pot.

 

 

Chef Bill ate his over basmati rice, and I enjoyed mine in a bowl as its own stew. We were genuinely blown away at how fragrant and delicious this turned out. Just stunned.

 

I’ve had Indian dishes on many an occasion at restaurants, but there’s something about crafting one at home, with your own supply of herbs and other seasonings that is magical.

 

 

And now I know why the Indian culture is so insistent on using a potpourri of herbs with each and every creation:  the alchemical formula of herbs and spices actually and literally elevates how one feels. I felt more alive. More vibrant. More nourished. And who doesn’t want more of THAT?

 

Unless you’re an avowed non-cook, my guess is that you a few unused cookbooks on your shelves, just hoping for a purpose. Or perhaps a stack of cooking magazines you’ve barely leafed through. Take the challenge along with me, but make it manageable. I know I’ll never get to even half of the recipes I have in my own little Library of Cookbooks Congress, but one a week? It’s do-able and it’s fun. And to keep myself honest, I’ll be updating you with progress reports. As much as I love using my own cookbooks for inspiration, there’s a whole world out there of ideas I’ve never thought of. And I’ve only just begun….

😍. Here’s to not letting cookbooks gather dust. 
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🎉
 
❤️
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❤️

 



Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Seafood Stuffing

Stuffing season is upon us. It may not be a low-calorie or spa-friendly food, but the days are shortening and mercury continues to drop…perfect conditions for my mind wanting something with a soft, yielding texture. As for my body, it wants warmth and only warmth. Chef Bill and I have a habit of stocking bags of seafood in our freezer when they’re on sale, and an exceptionally cold night last week got us thinking. Why wait for Thanksgiving?  And furthermore, why confine ourselves to poultry-based stuffing? Seems to me it has all the earmarkings of versatility, so off we went on another cooking adventure.

I won’t pretend this one’s not time-consuming, but chances are you’re spending inordinate amounts of time indoors = now’s the perfect time for a few kitchen projects!

A word of caution: seafood such as shrimp and scallops can overcook in an instant and be thereby cursed with a rubbery texture. Be gentle with your use of heat. Once baked, seafood stuffing should be used within a few days. But it also freezes well. The dense texture of gluten-free bread makes this extra-substantial. I think you’ll agree, it’s pretty rockin! Enjoy….

 

 

Dinner is served…

 

 

 

Golden, gluten-free perfection..



Breaking News: You and I Are OK

Nowhere in my human contract does it state I need to be perfect.  What does that even mean anyway? Those familiar with my story know there have been many years of soul-searching, excavating, dieting, therapy, self-help reading, triple-digit weight losses followed by thundering rebounds, 12-step meetings, and personal-best evolvement.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s always more to learn, always more to know… But at some point it really is OK to say guess what? I think I’m all right. Self-reparation has officially concluded. Time to get on with my Life, and all its attendant luxuries that I’ve been missing out on… You know like fun, joy, and feeling content for no reason. 😇🎉💐😇

 

 

 

I Don’t Need to Be Forgiven…Do You?

Newsflash: obsessing on the external does not bring happiness. And you can take my years of to the bank!

 

 

 

 

 

Free Hug Accepted

Spinach Mousse

There I was on a cold and dreary November afternoon, faced with the knowledge that the fresh spinach I bought two day ago was in peril of entering the wilting stage. Never much of a vegetable-lover, I just wasn’t in the mood for my usual method of making spinach disappear down the gullet quickly and painlessly: juicing. Being a Kapha, a cold glass of vegetable juice during late fall and winter months makes me ever more adverse to the green stuff than I already am.

And since I haven’t perfected a spinach soup recipe…yet, here’s what I did instead: a super-quick version of spinach quiche, no crust, of course. And when you taste this amazing concoction, you won’t miss it, I promise. Because I was pressed for time, I skipped the step (which I realize now is unnecessary) of sautéing the spinach in a wok. Using raw spinach works great, and also adds a slight crunch.

But first, more on what inspired my latest creation, besides two containers of fresh spinach that needed a purpose – STAT! After a full morning and early afternoon of sessions with coaching clients, I was HUNGRY and short on time. It’s moments like these when I’m grateful for following certain rules I keep so I’ll never be caught off guard when I need a quick and healthy meal. In this case:

 

 

Clean Eating Rule 1 – Always keep plenty of eggs in stock. They’re as versatile as they are indispensible, as a baking ingredient, or on their own as a casserole, salad, or fried sunny in the pan.

Clean Eating Rule 2 – Have at least 1 8-ounce log of chevre in the refrigerator. I seldom eat chevre on its own, but rely on it as a heavy cream and cream cheese substitute in sweet and savory recipes.

Clean Eating Rule 3 – Own a food processor if you don’t already. They save labor and often do the job better than most mortals trying to chop, dice, or blend by hand. Food processors are affordable and run the gamut from simple to grandiose. And if you buy one through the right retail outlet or home shopping network, you may be able to land an interest-free payment plan.

 

 

The three above simple rules, coupled with having a pantry filled with healthy oils and spices will take you FAR. Not to mention save you money. And because I was actively practicing them today, I was able to make a delicious, clean, and low-carb lunch I’ve named Spinach Mousse. Easy. Delicious. Nutritious.

With no further adieu, you’ll need the following:

 

10 ounces of fresh spinach

6 eggs

1 8-ounce log of chevre, room temperature if possible

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

1 food processor

1 8×10 brownie pan, glass if possible

Cooking spray

 

Preheat oven to 330. Place the spinach in the food processor. It won’t all fit, but pulse a few bunches at a time until it’s all finely chopped. Add eggs and blend well. Add onion quarters, two at a time and blitz until they’re diced. Finally, add the chevre and blitz until mixture is a creamy batter. Spray the baking pan and scrape batter into it, using a rubber spatula. Bake 20-30 minutes until set, but not dry and cracked…you want a creamy, mousse-like texture. But…if you’re one who must have their eggs hard and dry…do what’s best for you.

 

 

Serve immediately and enjoy! Optional: spread a tablespoon of room-temperature butter over the top of the Spinach Mousse while it’s still steaming hot and let it melt in. YUM!

Full disclosure: I baked mine in a toaster oven. They do the job much more quickly than a conventional oven so I pulled my Spinach Mousse out after only 15 minutes at 300. I hope you’ll share with me how you like YOUR version…Bon Appetit!

 

Bet you can’t eat just three…

Creamy Apple Pudding – DairyFree!

There are so many amazing ways to enjoy apple season that don’t include a carb-laden pie crust. My all-time favorite is Baked Apples, found in my first cookbook, “Clean Comfort.” As much as I love a fragrant bowl of baked apples on a cold autumn morning, I recently found myself wanting a twist on the classic…in the form of a creamy, dreamy, healthy dessert. My favorite trick of the trade? Coconut cream! There’s nothing sweet that it can’t make better. And it’s vegan and a healthy fat, so what’s not to love? Another advantage: baked apples are a perfect way to use less-than-perfect apples. So round up some not so photogenic second-quality red babies at your farmers market or nearest orchard and be amazed at how fantastic they taste when a little heat is applied.

This recipe’s a little time-consuming with the baking and cooling process, but the end result is worth it, and so is your health.

 

Sooo delicious!

 

 

This one is for Great Lakes Collagen: