What’s On the Menu

Happy May 1st!

What an amazingly busy – and fattening – month April was!  LOL!  The weather in NC has finally gotten warmer, my daughter’s Spring Break wrapped up, and I celebrated both my 40th birthday and my 13th wedding anniversary.  I also gave my very first cooking presentation to my church’s women’s group at our annual beach retreat.  So much fun and excitement!  My blog has taken a bit of a backseat to all the goings-on, but the good food sure hasn’t!  I’ve been steadily cooking up a storm, taking notes, and mentally preparing some amazing blog entries…just as soon as things settle down a bit and I can get it all from my head to the screen.  In the meantime, enjoy a few pics from our festivities and stay tuned for some scrumptiousness, coming your way soon!

40th Birthday Cake
Amazing Birthday Cake for my big 40th!

 

40th Birthday Skydive 1
Hubby surprised me with a sunset skydive over the beach where we got engaged. ❤
40th Birthday Skydive 2
What a rush, and an amazing view!
Food Presentation
My first cooking presentation for my women’s beach retreat! I helped present my homemade pita chips, sweet potato hummus, and strawberry vinaigrette.
13th Anniversary
Our 13th Wedding Anniversary Dinner. We went to a local Italian restaurant and indulged in some super fun celebrating with our daughter.

Portobello Pizzas

Many moons ago, I was talking easy weeknight meals with my aunt.  She loves good food but loves not cooking.  Her motto was always that if it had more than five ingredients, she wasn’t making it.  So together, we dreamed up a pizza made in mushroom caps (no making of dough required!) with a few favorite toppings.  Easy peasy, right?  And so Portobello Pizzas were born.  I make them with a few more than my aunt’s five ingredient limit, but they can be as easy or as complicated as you want them to be.  Want to make your own sauce?  Go for it!  Prefer fresh herbs?  Perfect!  Want even more – or different – toppings?  Have fun creating!  Or take a few shortcuts and whip these up in no time using a few jarred and dried items.  The world is your pizza!  Make it any way you want!


Portobello Pizzas

  • 3-4 Portobello mushroom caps
  • 8 oz jar marinara (or fresh sauce)
  • 6-8 bacon strips
  • 1 medium green peppers
  • bag of mini pepperoni slices
  • 1 can black olives
  • Parmesan & Mozzarella cheese
  • Oregano & Basil (fresh or dried)

To get started, preheat oven to 350º and begin to fry up your bacon until crispy, then set aside.  While the bacon is cooking, clean and remove the stems and gills from your mushroom caps and spread a generous dollop of sauce inside.  Add a layer of the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.  Dice your green peppers and chop your olives (try that handy dandy egg slicer tip from my Facebook Page!) and add to caps.  Add the pepperoni.  Once bacon is cool, crumble or chop, then add to caps.

Pizza Process

Add a final layer of cheeses and top with a little oregano and basil.  On a foil-lined baking sheet*, bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness and size of caps.

EAT

*Make sure the baking sheet has a lip because the mushrooms and toppings will produce lots of yummy juices and you don’t want a mess in your oven!

Portobello Pizzas

Roasted Sunchokes

So, I have a new favorite thing.  I don’t know much about them yet, but I’m gonna’ learn because boy did they wow me.  Jerusalem Artichokes, otherwise known as Sunchokes.  Admittedly, I asked the farm stand how much they charged for their ginger.  It looked just like ginger root to me!  That’s when they schooled me, telling me these were actually sunchokes, which made for a great diabetic potato replacement because of the low sugar content.  I’m not diabetic, but I love healthy alternatives, so I was intrigued.

Jerusalem Artichoke

According to Wikipedia, “despite one of its names, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relationship to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke.”  Sunchokes are reported to contain about 2% protein, no oil, and very little starch (hence the diabetic reference).

So, I whipped some up.  I did a simple roasted version with some basic seasonings.  It was a smash hit, with a flavor that reminded me of a potato with a touch of artichoke essence, and a texture akin to that of a turnip.  We just kept eating them, saying over and over, “These are so good!”  And hey, they’re good for you, too.  I feel great about that.  Give ’em a try!


Roasted Sunchokes

  • 15-20 sunchokes, scrubbed thoroughly and diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½-¾ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste
  • ½ Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • parchment paper, if possible

Preheat oven to 400º.  After scrubbing the sunchokes thoroughly, dice them into small pieces.  You may consider rinsing them once more, to be sure to get rid of any leftover grit.  Combine everything but the Parmesan into a bowl and toss the sunchokes in the mixture, coating thoroughly.  Spread sunchokes onto parchment paper (preferred for less sticking) or tin foil.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Roasted Sunchokes 1

Bake for 35-45 minutes, turning once or twice for even cooking.  Once they get to be a nice golden brown and are soft on the inside, pull from the oven.  Serve immediately and be amazed.

Roasted Sunchokes 2

Many thanks to CrossIn Back Vineyard & Farm for the amazing selection of sunchokes!

Revisit the Rabe

#TBT!  Broccoli Rabe is back in season, but alas … it’s only around for a very short time.  Embrace it!  Do a simple sauté with a little olive oil, S&P, onion & garlic powders, plus a splash of chicken stock – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Serve with a sweet potato hash for a beautiful contrast of sweet and bitter.  Or revisit this classic favorite of mine.  I’ve already made it once, and I’ll be making it again and again … until the rabe runs out!

Linguini w Broccoli Rabe n Sausage

Vampire Slayer’s Soup

A week ago Friday, I had hernia surgery. Fun! After struggling with this issue for over a year, I’m happy to finally be on the road to full recovery. I am not, however, happy to stand in the kitchen and cook. So prior to the surgery, I made some soups to have for dinners during the harder days. I found this Vampire Slayer’s Soup recipe via my good friend from Judy’s Wellness Cafe and I made it for last weekend. It was so, so good. (Bonus: no vampires that night, haha!) So,I’m sharing the love. You will notice that within this recipe is a link to yet another recipe: Magic Mineral Broth. I also made this. I put the allotted amount into the VSS, then saved the rest for other things. And by other things, I mean that I literally drank it by the mugful every day. It was just that darn delicious. Our cold nights aren’t over just yet! I highly recommend trying both!

Vampire Slayer’s Soup

Magic Mineral Broth

Oysters Rockerfeller

It’s Valentine’s week.  People are feeling all twitterpated and googly-eyed, and love is in the air.  Or is that oysters and bacon??  Yes and yes!  Surprise your baby with these babies.  It’s sure to appeal to your appetite and your agenda … ‘cuz you know what they say about oysters …


Oysters Rockerfeller

  • 2 dozen oysters, cleaned and shucked, shells saved
  • 4-5 slices of bacon
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2-3 cups spinach
  • ½ cup Panko
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼-½ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders, red pepper flakes
  • rock salt, optional

Preheat oven to 400°.  Meanwhile, clean and shuck oysters.  It’s helpful to scrub the outside the shell first, then open.  CAREFULLY.  Rinse thoroughly, detach oysters from bottom, and place back inside a cleaned, grit-free shell.  Coat bottom of baking dish with rock salt.  This will help stabilize the oysters while they’re cooking.  Place the oysters into the baking dish with the half-shell side up.  Set aside.

Shucked Oysters

Cook bacon until crispy, then set aside, saving the grease. Sauté onions in bacon grease, then add spinach to wilt.  Add cheese, butter, and milk.  Stir until creamy, being careful not to let boil.  Chop bacon into small pieces and add to mixture.  Add salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders, and red pepper flakes to taste.  Stir in Panko.  Top oysters with mixture.

Mixture

Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on your preference of oyster doneness.  Yes, doneness is a word.  😉  Serve with a side of your choice.  (We charred some fresh corn from the cob; it added a nice sweet note.)

Oysters Rockerfeller

There are a bazillion recipes on the internet for Oysters Rockerfeller.  This is just ours.  What does that tell you?  The world truly is your oyster.  Now add some breadcrumbs and eat it.  Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Black Bean Brownie Batter Breakfast Drink

So, Saucy has been around for over a year now.  You’ve seen and tasted the yumminess.  But do you trust me?  Do you really trust me??  Okay, good.  Then check this out…

I’m always looking for new ideas.  Something “outside the box,” if you will.  When I read about a Brownie Batter Hummus, I was intrigued.  Having already stripped the sharp and distinctive tahini flavor from my own Sweet Potato Hummus, I knew it could easily have an enjoyably sweet flavor.  So I tried the recipe.  And I liked it!  For me though, it seemed a bit, I don’t know, in need of tweaking.  The more I tweaked it, making it my own, the looser it came out.  And so was born my newest breakfast drink.


Black Bean Brownie Batter Breakfast Drink

  • 2 cups almond or coconut milk
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Stevia
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut or almond butter (opt)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach (opt)
  • 1-2 teaspoons instant coffee (opt)
  • cinnamon for garnish (opt)

Drain and thoroughly rinse your black beans in a colander.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour half of the drink, garnish, and enjoy!  Save the other half of the drink for tomorrow morning, or for a post workout treat.

**I did find that the 2nd serving had thickened up a bit overnight.  If desired, you can add a splash of almond milk to help thin it back out.**

BBBBD


I don’t normally do an official calorie count.  But ya know.  In the name of the New Year, I am trying to pay more attention to what I eat.  And because I’m calling this a breakfast drink (or lunch or post workout), I decided to tally the score.  For this calculation, I used regular almond milk and creamy peanut butter.  The only thing I did not take into account was the spinach, cinnamon, or coffee, which would be minimal at best.

Counts are based per serving; 2 servings per recipe.

  • Calories: 280
  • Carbs: 47.25g
  • Sugars: 7.75g
  • Protein: 15.5g