Drop The Beet- Coming Soon!

So because we don’t have enough going on (!) we’re going to start a food blog/vlog soon. We’ve always talked about doing it, and now people are bugging us to do it, so we shall try ūüôā¬†While we’re waiting for it to get fully up and running, here’s a preview of things to come:

Some of these are entrees and some are just sides. We’ll¬†post recipes for each of them soon. And hopefully¬†in the future you’ll see videos too!

Salsa Fresca:

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The ingredients for salsa fresca are staples in our kitchen at this point. Once you’ve had it, you’ll never go back to store bought jarred salsa (ick).

 

French Toast:

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The key to great french toast is thick, crusty bread. Bacon and strawberries are added bonuses!

 

Sauteed Bell Pepper and Zucchini :

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Love sauteed fresh vegetables. We almost always have bell peppers on hand- makes a great, quick side dish for almost any entree. You can throw them in salsa fresca, or eat them raw with a good dip

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash:

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This was such a great fall/winter dish. Savory, comforting and satisfying. We used Alton Brown’s recipe as a guideline but switched up the protein.

 

Spaghetti Squash w/Tomato Sauce:

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Another great squash dish! Here the squash replaces regular pasta, with a fresh tomato sauce and shaved Parmesan.

 

A Chocolate Taco w/Bananas (my special after dinner treat the other night!):

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My husband knows that almost every night, after dinner, I want chocolate. So he looked to see what we had in the kitchen and came up with this. A tortilla, bananas, chocolate chips, and rum: a chocolate taco is born.

 

And my other favorite thing to snack on, Cheese, Crackers and Fruit (there won’t be a “recipe” for this obviously, just wanted to share a nice healthy snack after that chocolate taco):

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Ok, now the ball is in my husband’s court. I took and posted the photos (and enjoyed all the food). Now it’s his turn to get you the recipes!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I saw this made on an episode of “Chopped” recently and told Ivor that he needed¬†to make it for me. Aaron Sanchez,¬†one of the judges, said it was “as good as mama makes it”. Now that is a huge compliment coming from a Mexican food authority. Anyway, I’m not sure how it happened, but I’ve become a big fan of peppers recently. Typical stuffed bell peppers though, for some reason,¬†don’t¬†appeal to me. But the stuffed poblano pepper I saw on “Chopped” made my mouth water and I decided I needed to have it. And so, Ivor made it.

stuffed poblano

Right??

You know you want that pepper.

In our version we used Spanish Chorizo (sausage), brown rice, bell peppers, serrano chiles, and onion for the filling. You may see melted monterey jack or cheddar cheese used on a lot of stuffed poblanos, but we decided to go with a more authentic Mexican cheese, Cotija. Cotija is crumbly like Feta and it doesn’t really melt. It just¬†adds a really nice texture to the dish, and of course, amazing flavor.

This is right up there in¬†my “top favorite dishes that Ivor has made”. The flavors were sooooo good. It had¬†a nice kick to it (I used to hate spicy food, now I love it). And if you need one more¬†reason to try this yourself:

gwen eating peppers

That’s my daughter, a 17-month old toddler,¬†eating the filling (which had peppers in it) like it’s nothing. The girl knows good food when she sees it.

Let me know if you want the recipe. It was really simple and fairly quick to make- everyone’s¬†favorite kind of meal, right? But also very tasty.

 

“Food is essential to life, therefore, make it good.”

– S. Truett Cathy (founder of Chic-Fil-A, RIP)

 

“The best meal isn’t about the food, it’s about the people you share it with…hospitality is the best sauce.”

-Alton Brown (the man)

 

So go make this delicious stuffed pepper and share it with someone you love ūüôā

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It’s¬†important to note that when we cook, and particularly with this meal, we do so to make leftovers. ¬†We then use those leftovers in other ways. ¬†It’s a way for us to be money and time efficient but not get bored with the food we eat. ¬†With this dish, we had a lot of left over filling; and 1 full leftover stuffed poblano. ¬†I ate the stuffed poblano, itself, for lunch the next day; Ivor ate some of the filling¬†with tortilla chips after his gig on Saturday night, then made breakfast burritos with the rest of it on Sunday.

Ingredients:

*Preheat your oven to 400*

2-6 Poblano Peppers (it’s enough stuffing to fill 6)
1 cup Brown rice
1 pound Spanish Chorizo (or Andouille sausage)
1/2 of a yellow Onion (finely chopped)
Serrano Chiles (Jalapeno or Habanero will work too) – as many or as few as you want, depending on your preferred spice level (finely chopped)
1 red, and 1 green bell pepper (roughly chopped – dime sized pieces are ok)
1 anaheim pepper (roughly chopped, like the bell peppers)
Cotija Cheese  (or Queso Fresco)

(is your oven preheated to 400?)

1. Start making the rice if you haven’t already done so. You can make the rice ahead of time; far ahead of time if you want. ¬†One of the things we do is that I’ll make the rice during one of Gwen’s naps. ¬†That way it’s ready for Ivor when he gets home from work.

2. If the sausage isn’t ground, you’ll want to dice it up pretty small. ¬†It doesn’t need to be pretty; but you don’t want big chunks.

3. Place whole poblanos on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 10 mins. While they’re in the oven, start frying the¬†sausage in a frying pan. Let it brown, it should take about 10 minutes. ¬†The key here is to render out some of the fat and get the meat to start browning. ¬†This is your only chance to add any real texture to the dish unless you’re going to use raw peppers.

4. After 10 minutes, take the poblanos out of the oven and let them cool a bit. ¬†You’ll need to handle and cut them, but they’re going to go back in the oven later, so I’d just let them sit on the tray, out of the heat.

5. Add onions, chiles, anaheim and bell peppers to the pan (with the sausage), and cook until they are soft; then add the rice.  Stir to incorporate.  You can use as much or as little of the rice as you want.  We use most of the rice; but leave enough for a serving to eat with leftovers later.

6. Once the filling is finished, slice the tops off of the poblanos, and slice down one of the sides, to open it up.  Remove the seeds and membranes with a spoon; then stuff them with the filling.  Break off some cotija and sprinkle on top.  Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

If you’ve made it extra spicy, serve with a glass of milk ūüôā

*Note: if you have a gas stove  you can put a nice char on the poblanos first, before stuffing, for extra flavor and texture!

Caprese Panini

It may be a bit late in the season for this post, but you can run out and get your tomatoes now and make this panini tonight. Or tomorrow. A caprese panini. Simple, fast, perfect for summer and only requires a few main ingredients. We had it for dinner last night and I decided, “more people should eat caprese paninis. Let’s feature it on the blog.”

So here it is.

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Ingredients:

Loaf of bread (the good crusty kind, multi-grain to keep it healthy)
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Tomatoes (highly recommend heirloom if you can get ’em)
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Step 1: get your griddler/panini maker hot (or cast iron skillet if you don’t have one)

Step 2: slice your bread about ye thick:

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Step 3: drizzle some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in a small bowl or ramekin with salt and pepper:

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Step 4: baste that olivey goodness on your bread for extra flavor and crunch on your sandwich (just one side of each slice):

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Step 5: place bread, olivey side down, on the panini maker and start building your sandwich in layers:

Yummy slices of heirloom tomato

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Diced tomato of a different color/variety if you want and DON’T FORGET to sprinkle some salt and pepper on top of those bad boys

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Step 6: if you haven’t already prepped this, go ahead and chiffonade that fresh basil, for that will be the next layer (if you can’t chiffonade, a good rough chop is fine)

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Step 7: drizzle some EVOO and balsamic vinegar on top of that (DO NOT USE TOO MUCH BALSAMIC,  1/2 tspn. will do). Balsamic vinegar is the perfect complement to tomatoes. But too much will overpower your dish, so restrain yourself and only use a couple drops:

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Finally, top it with fresh mozzarella:

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Step 8: place 2nd slice of bread on top, and close your panini maker (you can tell we use it¬†a lot because it’s nice and dirty….):

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Wait……

……not long. Watch for melty cheese.

And then…..

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You have a¬†yummy, gooey, healthy sandwich that doesn’t make you feel like crap after eating it. You’ll feel good about yourself, your food choices and your cooking skills. Because this is simple, ¬†yet so fancy at the same time.

Give it a try while you can still get delicious tomatoes!

 

 

 

Pregnancy Update- 34 Weeks!

How far along? 34 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: almost 30 lbs
Maternity Clothes? of course
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep: constantly interrupted by the need to pee
Best moment this week:  I ate entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, cookies-n-cream, but it was organic so that makes it okay, right?
Miss Anything? being comfortable
Movement?¬†oh yes, he is quite the active little bugger like his sister was….he’s also positioned with his feet ready to kick me in the ribs whenever he feels like it (which is often)…and like his sister, it’s always on the right side…
Food Cravings? ALL THE SWEET THINGS. (nothing changed here)
Anything making you queasy or sick? meh, not really anymore
Have you started to show? Only getting bigger at this point
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Labor Signs?¬†Braxton hicks ¬†(practice contractions)…especially on days when I’m really active and not drinking enough water
Belly button in or out?¬†Oh it’s out there now
Wedding rings off or on?  Still on!
Happy or Moody most of the time?¬†I think I’m happy most of the time lately, but it wouldn’t take much to set me off
Wisdom:¬†Seeing your husband as a daddy is extremely attractive. I learned¬†this¬†when Gwen was first born but it only gets better, the other night he tucked in a stuffed bunny and I tell you that¬†man has never been more sexy (maybe those are the pregnancy hormones talking….moving on!)
Looking forward to:¬†¬†Having the little man on the outside of my body. Pregnancy is beautiful and amazing, but there comes a point when¬†you’re just ready to have your normal body back and be¬†holding him in your arms instead…and I’m pretty close to that point.

 

Coming Soon to a Mom Blog Near You

We will soon be adding a new section to this blog for all things FOOD related ūüôā I have been blessed with a husband who cooks, but what’s more, he cooks ridiculously tasty (and healthy!) food. Over the past few months we’ve been cutting out as much processed foods as possible and cutting down on our meat consumption. This has been beneficial to both our bank account and our bodies. Don’t misunderstand…our kitchen still has, and will always have a jar of nutella and a package of bacon. Our goal isn’t necessarily to eliminate all “bad” things…but rather, eat a lot more “good” things. And by doing that, our desire for the “bad” things gradually goes away. We’ve already noticed that change.

So what we’re currently doing is eating “vegetarian” during the week (I put that in quotes because we do eat fish), saving red meat/poultry for the weekend. Now if we go over to a friend’s house for dinner during the week, by no means will we refuse a good steak. This is just for our at-home weekly routine when it’s just the two of us (plus Gwen of course).

So stay tuned for more info from Ivor, including meal plan ideas, recipes, kitchen gadget reviews and more!

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