Wonderful Repeats

 

C987E3FE-DC64-46D5-B0B3-A03271EA1B5F.jpegLet me just say, I don’t typically make the same dish back to back but I truly enjoyed the green onion sweet potato hash and decided to make a version with the beef bacon from the farmer’s market. Beef bacon was not something I was familiar with and is more like a thick cut salami than bacon in my book. But the flavor with the potato, rosemary and the sweet and tangy balsamic pepper jelly sauce is a wonderfully flavorful combination. Weird yes, but incredible! You have to give it a try with your favorite protein. I also blanched some green beans as a side and have mixed kale greens for an easy salad side dish for an easy lunch. Check out the recipe below.

Sweet and sour beef bacon with Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4-6

Main Ingredients:
1/2 lb. diced beef bacon
1 1/2 medium sweet potato cubed (2 cups)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 pinch of salt

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. pineapple ghost pepper jelly

 

Directions:
1. Peel and rinse sweet potato. Cut sweet potato in half by slicing the knife in longwise and lightly banging the potato down. Slice each half into thirds before dicing into small cubes.
2. Clean green onion stems and bulb bottoms well under running water and then cut off rooted ends (cash aAlso use frozen green onion). Thinly cut ends up to where the stem turns green.
3. Add a splash of water and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup of water . Add paprika, pepper and rosemary and mix well. Let cook for 8 minutes, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally.
4. Slice bacon into strips then dice it.
5. Add potatoes and onion to a small bowl and place bacon in same skillet with 1/4 cup of water and let it cook for 3-5 minutes until water evaporates. Add potatoes back in and if potatoes are undercooked (still hard) add a splash of water.
6. In the bowl from the potatoes, add balsamic vinegar and jelly and mix well with a fork until blended. Add to bacon and potato mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes until liquid evaporates and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt it desired.
7. Enjoy.

Soups and Stews

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Good comfort food can go a long way. I was determined to chomp into some hearty beef stew and decided to crock pot it to make sure the beef was tender enough for my braces. I went for the traditional with potatoes, carrots and onion. I decided to try the multi-colored carrots for some added flavor and variety. This was easy to prep and toss into the crockpot for 5 hours. My crockpot is set to warm after the cooking time, so it was perfect to stay warm the additional 30 minutes I needed before dinner. Note: I prefer more of a cross between soup and stew and don’t often make a roux, but you can certainly add a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch to make a thicker sauce with water or stock before adding it to the crockpot. Depending on how long you plan to be away determines whether you should set it to cook low or high so that it’s not over cooked. If you plan to put it on before leaving for a workday, I would recommend a low cooking temp for a longer cook time (I.e. 8 hours). You will also want to cut the carrots and potato into larger chunks so they still have texture.

also decided to dip into my freezer stash of gumbo that I make each season. I opted for the spicy chicken and sausage for an alternate meal in between servings of stew. Check out the recipe below. I hope you find it as easy and enjoyable as I do.

Beef Stew
5 large red potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. cubed stew meat
1 cup of stock (beef or chicken)
1 cup of water
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. corse black pepper
1 tsp. Cayenne (optional)

Directions:
1. Rinse potatoes then cut in half longways and then into fourths. Add to crockpot.
2. Rinse and peel carrots 2 carrots (unless purchased prepped) and cut into medium pieces. Add to pot.
3. Peel and dice onion and mince garlic and add to pot.
4. Add beef, seasoning and liquid. Stir well, top and set timer on the crockpot.
5. Serve with rice if desired.
6. Enjoy!

Changes and Opportunties

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In addition to new resolutions, my 2018 began with braces and a requirement for soft foods. So my first week yielded new smoothie mixes, mashed potatoes, smoked gouda mac and cheese and good ‘ol grits and egg. As a person who typically eats well balanced meals, it’s been a struggle to find right balances with soft foods outside of smoothies; however, challenge accepted.

This week I decided on comforting Sheppard’s pie with a twist to boost my veggie intake. In addition to the traditional peas and carrots, I did a mix of yellow cauliflower with potatoes to give me a little more nutrients.

I also have the fixings for bowls of egg drop soup which takes minutes to make and can be made as needed. Also depending on how hungry I am, I can beef it up with more egg or even a small can of chicken.

Check out the recipes for both dishes below.

Sheppard’s Pie
1 lb. lean ground beef
3 cups diced onion (one large)
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup of peas
1 small head of cauliflower (2 cups)
4 medium red potatoes or 1 large white potato
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. onion power
1/2 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup cream cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While it heats, rinse and peel potato(es). Cut in half. (If one large, cut in half longwise, then into fourths).
3. Rinse cauliflower and peel off leaves and cut off the tough stem end. The cauliflower should be about the same size as the potatoes.
4. Peel and dice a large onion and add half the onion, the potatoes and cauliflower to the water and boil for 15-17 minutes.
5. While that boils, place a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground meat and the remaining onion and a pinch of water to brown the meat. Break into small pieces and brown evenly.
6. While the meat browns, peel carrots and chop finely by hand or with a food processor, small blender or magic chopper. Add to pan of beef.
7. Add defrosted peas and seasoning and cook for 10 minutes.
8. Remove potatoes from stove and strain. Add them back to the stove and reduce heat to low. Add butter, cream cheese and milk and mash until creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
9. Remove beef mixture from heat and add to a standard 5 quart baking dish (large rectangle).
10. Add potato mixture on top and smooth evenly. Bake for 10 minutes until top browns slightly.

 

Egg Drop Soup
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or stock
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. diced green onion
1-2 large eggs
1 tbsp. Low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup canned chicken (optional)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder

Directions:
1. Add broth or stock to a small pot. Add green onion and all seasoning over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes.
2. In a bowl add egg with a pinch of salt and whisk with a fork.
3. Add egg in a slow stream to pot. The egg will cook instantly. Remove heat.
4. Wash bowl from egg and add your finished soup. Enjoy.

New Year, New Beginnings

New year, new you? It’s that time of year where we make our resolutions to be healthier, be more active and make better decisions. Increase your odds of being successful by making SMART Goals. Make sure your goals are:

S- simple
M-measurable
A- achievable
R- realistic
T- timely

Set yourself up for success with small, manageable steps to reach your goals. Hold yourself accountable for your achievements and set backs. Recruit a friend or partner in crime with similar goals to help you stay motivated and most importantly believe that once you have set your mind to truly make a change, you can and will succeed.

My goal this year is to help at least 10 people in Louisiana meet their wellness goals this year. Whether as a health coach or through cooking instruction, I️ want to help people reach their health goals in 2018 and it starts with you saying yes.

Check out my New Year sale (ends 1/15) and services at https://www.inspiredcreationsla.com/

Wishing you a great 2018!

 

Freezer Fix

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With the holidays in full swing, this is the perfect time to save some cash to go toward those holiday preparations by eating out of the freezer and reinventing leftovers. I for one got the most bang for my buck out of my thanksgiving turkey breast with turkey, smoked Gouda, creole mustard and fresh cranberry sauce sandwiches. I also plucked the turkey breast clean for turkey and sausage gumbo that will be perfect for Christmas and a few servings for this week.

In addition to the gumbo, this week will be a mix of some of my favorites including curry, turnip, sausage and sweet potato soup, chili and succotash.

What’s in your freezer?

Thanksgiving Ready pt. 2

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I was told at today’s demo that I knocked another one out of the park with this soup dish; and the best part was all of the kid approvals and request for the recipe to make this dish at home. Though I’ve made variations of this soup before, the idea is to incorporate some of those Thanksgiving flavors as either an appetizer soup or as a way to use leftover supplies from the holiday preparations. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts.

Sweet Potato, turnip and Sausage Soup
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
2 cups diced sweet potato (2 medium)
2 cups diced turnip root (4 medium)
2 cups chopped turnip greens
1/2 lb Cutrer’s smoked sausage cubed
2 cups chopped green onion
1 cup of chicken stock
5 cups of water
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder

Directions:
1. Add water to a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
2. Remove green tops (leave on stems for easy root peeling) from turnip roots and soak tops in water in a bowl or the sink to remove dirt.
3. Using a potato peeler, peel turnips until dirty skin is removed. Cut off skinny end and green stem end. Cut in half and then three strips before dicing into medium pieces. Add to the pot of water.
4. Rinse and peel sweet potatoes. Cut them in half, then each half into strips and dice into medium pieces and add to the pot.
5. Cut sausage in half long-wise before slicing thin and add to the pot. Add seasoning and chicken stock. Let boil for 10 minutes.
6. Rinse and chop turnip greens and green onion and add to the pot.
7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Enjoy.

 

 

Thanksgiving Ready

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With thanksgiving around the corner, it’s good to have options to lighten traditional classics like sweet potato casserole. I enjoyed sharing my easy recipe with yesterday’s demo at the Red Stick Farmers Market. Though there was not butternut squash at the market yesterday, if you can find it, try subbing out half of the sweet potatoes to lighten the carb load and add in other nutrients. Since we are also in cold and flu season, I also showed how to make a fresh immune booster to keep you and your loved-ones protected or armed with a speedy recovery boost this season. Check out the recipe for each below.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 8

Ingredients:
4 cups diced sweet potato (3-4 small)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. whole milk (or preferred %)
1 tbsp. red stick spice Vietnamese cinnamon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tbsp. raw cane sugar
1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Directions:
1. Place a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half longwise. Cut each half into three strips then cube into medium-sized chunks. Add to pot.
3. Let boil for 12 minutes or until tender with a fork.
4. Strain and place in a large bowl. Mash with a large spoon and add butter, honey and sugar and mix until well blended. Add milk and spices and mix well.
5. Place in a small oven safe dish and cover top in chopped roasted pecans. Bake for 5 minutes. *optional (Be careful not to burn pecans.)

 

Immune Booster
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3-4 fresh juiced satsuma or orange
3-4 fresh juiced lemon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 drops of oil of oregano pee individual serving *optional

Directions:
1. Peel satsumas and break in half. With a glove hand, juice satsuma sections over a medium bowl with a pouring spout.
2. Rinse lemons and cut in half. Remove visible seeds and juice each half, cut side up over the bowl.
3. Stir mixture with a fork or spoon and remove any spotted seeds. Add honey and mix until dissolved.
4. Add cayenne and stir well. Pour into individual containers for storage in the fridge. (A salad dressing container or top-able condiment container should work.)
5. Add optional oil of oregano only when ready to consume. Otherwise, the entire mixture will taste like a pizza within an hour. 🙂