Friday, August 29, 2014

Food for Thought

I'm breaking the habit.  Are you?
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

National Bacon Day

National Bacon Day is Saturday, August 30!  Just giving you a heads up in case you need to run to the grocery store and get some bacon to celebrate properly (using one of my delicious recipes below of course!).

Bacon is so versatile!  Many of the recipes below use it to add another flavor and depth to the dish.  Or it's the star of the meal like the BLT or wrapping a whole chicken in bacon.

BLT with Basil Mayo

Brie, Bacon, and Basil Pasta

Coq au Vin (Rooster with Wine)

Grilled Potato Pack

Jalapeno Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Jamaican Rice and Beans

Roasted Chicken wrapped in Bacon
Roasted Chicken wrapped in Bacon

 Bacon and Ranch Potato Salad

Like I (or anyone else) really need an excuse for eating bacon, but the above are my favorite recipes with bacon!  How do you like to eat your bacon?  The Hubby says that I like it 'burned', but I actually like it crispy (floppy bacon--not my favorite!) not burned.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish

I am trying to add more fish into our diet, but The Hubby makes it hard with his preference of light white fish over fish like salmon.  However, when I saw this recipe that include one of his favorites--black pepper, I knew this would be a winner, and it was!

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish
 {Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish}

Prepping vegetables
 {Searing the peppers and onions}

Adding fish
  {Ready to go under the broiler}

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish
 {Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish}

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish with Ginger Rice
 {Served with Ginger Rice}

One year ago:  Garlic Chickpea Salad

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish
from rotinrice

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 peppers (local), thinly sliced
1 onion (local), thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic (local), thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 pieces white fish like swai, cod, or halibut
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. In an oven-proof pan, heat oil until hot.
  3. Add onions and peppers and sear so one side is caramelized.
  4. Add garlic and thyme; cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Place fish on top of veggies and sprinkle with pepper.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fish turns opaque and flakes easily.
  7. Serve.
Do you prefer light, white fish, or heavier fish like salmon and tuna?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Holy Yum Chicken

I've been doing some research on the internet for food blogs that cook healthy and quick meals.  Let me tell you--there aren't many!  The food blogs either review restaurants, make nothing but sweets, or make dishes so elaborate that you would have to quit your day job.  Fortunately, I did find a few, and one is Table for Two.  She does almost exactly what I do which is inspiring and awesome! 

This recipe on Table for Two was one of her most popular.  I decided to make it because I had everything at home already!  Boy was this delicious and easy!

Holy Yum Chicken
 {Holy Yum Chicken}

Maple-Mustard Glazed ChickenMaple-Mustard Glazed Chicken
 {Prepping the chicken for the oven}

Holy Yum Chicken
 {Setting chicken aside so sauce can be thickened}

One year ago:  Broccoli Slaw

Holy Yum Chicken
from Table for Two

Serves 4

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, and most of the fat cut and discarded
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (no fake Aunt Jemima stuff)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch (or tapioca)
1 tablespoon broth
2 teaspoons fresh parsley for garnish (original recipe called for rosemary, but I didn't have any)
  1. Preheat oven to 450. 
  2. Line a 8x8" oven-proof pan with 2 layers of tin foil.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture on top of it. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it gets all coated.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate. Do NOT discard the liquid.
  7. Whisk cornstarch and broth together.
  8. Immediately after plating chicken, whisk in the  cornstarch mixture into the liquid in the pan. You'll create a nice, thick sauce to drizzle over your chicken. You need to do cornstarch mixing immediately because the liquid needs to be hot in order for it to thicken properly. If it's still not thickening, you can add a little more.
  9. Sprinkle garnish on top before serving.
  10. Serve with rice or potatoes or vegetables.
The Hubby and I both loved this recipe.  In fact, we had it twice in one week!  I had a problem mixing in my cornstarch the first time so the second time, I mixed it with some broth then added it--worked like a charm!  This is definitely going into the night-before-the-grocery-store recipe rotation!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Rice with Wilted Spinach and Garlic

I've been experimenting with adding different flavors to rice because The Hubby will eat rice if it has flavor or the dish has a sauce.  Plus, I can cook a large amount of rice at one time then keep it in the fridge and pull it out whenever I need it.  Instant side dish in about 10 minutes!

{Rice with Wilted Spinach and Garlic}

One year ago:  Parmesan Roasted Zucchini

Two years ago:  Peach-Blackberry Crumble

Rice with Wilted Spinach and Garlic

Serves 4

12 oz spinach (6 oz if using frozen)
2 cups cooked rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 oz cream cheese
  1. In a saucepan, wilt spinach.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, making sure to stir until cheese is melted and everything is combined.
  3. Season ti taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve.
How do you like your rice flavored?

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Food for Thought

This quote fits my life perfectly right now:

For some reason, last week, I decided to change many of the processes and routines that I was doing because I did exactly as the quote said--the same thing over and over and expected different results.

Case in point--I finally stopped wearing makeup.  You heard that right--I'm talking heavy makeup like foundation and BB cream.  I tried for years and years to wear it; I tried high-end and low-end brands.  My mom told me several times that she couldn't wear heavy makeup because she would have acne, but I didn't listen (sorry mom) even though I have her skin.  I kept having acne (which I attributed to other things--diet, stress, hormones, weather), but I finally had had enough!  Two weeks with just spot concealer and powder, and my face has never been clearer.  I'm so happy because it really made me self-conscious!  I'm a woman in my late twenties; I shouldn't have acne that rivals a teenager!

Just like with this blog.  I've tried a few things out over the last year, and over the last few months, things have gotten serious.  I'm regularly contributing to another site, and I have another big plan in the works that I will hopefully get to share early next month.  I'm also thinking about changing up the content around here because I honestly get tired of just writing about recipes.  I'm sure you're tired of reading them over and over (no matter how delicious or beautiful they are!).  I'm still dreaming and looking for inspiration, but I'll hopefully have something to share in September (like sharing what produce is in season and other fun tidbits!).

For now, thanks for listening to me rant!  I hope that I might inspire you to change your routines that are no longer serving or benefiting you!

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cashew Chicken

Since The Hubby has taken a turn for the better regarding Asian cuisine (still can't get him to like sushi, but he has tried it!), I'm taking full advantage of it.  This has nuts in it, and The Hubby is nuts for nuts!  I was obsessed with the sauce from this recipe.  I kid you not, I took the leftover sauce (no chicken) with the leftover rice and veggies for lunch the next day (even minus the nuts because The Hubby ate them all).  Seriously delicious!

Cashew Chicken
 {Cashew Chicken}

Cashew Chicken
 {Side view}

One year ago:  Brie, Bacon and Basil Pasta

Cashew Chicken
from Sally Cooks

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch (3 tablespoons tapioca flour)
2 tablespoons broth
1/2 cup cashews
Steamed vegetables and cooked rice/rice noodles
  1. Place chicken in a crock-pot.
  2. Mix soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes together and pour over chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4.  Drain liquid from chicken and place it in the saucepan.
  5. Mix cornstarch and broth together in a cup, and then add it to the chicken liquid.
  6. Cook sauce until thickened.
  7. Pour sauce back into crock-pot.
  8. Serve chicken with steamed vegetables and rice, topped with cashews.
How do you like Asian cuisine?  Is a favorite or just okay?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble

When I found out that August was National Goat Cheese month, my first reaction was "I hate goat cheese!"  But then I stopped myself.  I remember the last time I had it (4-6 years ago, I didn't like it), and I knew it was time to try it again.  Your taste buds change every 5-7 years, and as you get older, the more bitter foods you like.

Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble
 {Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble}

I knew that there was a goat cheese stand, Bleugrass Chevre, at the Farmer's Market with free samples so I gave it another try.  I liked it surprisingly; I liked it enough to buy it.  I even found a recipe that looked delicious with goat cheese in it.  I even have some left over for another recipe.  My motto always has been and will be--try new foods!!!

Bleugrass Chevre
{I bought the garlic-chive goat cheese}

As I sit here eating this (literally), I'm loving how the strong salmon and goat cheese flavor compliment each other.  I'll also divulge that I ate every. bit. of. this.  Yes--all two servings!

 {Cooking the eggs}

Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble
 {Side view}

One year ago:   Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

Two years ago: Peach Sangria

Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble
from Tori Avey

Makes 2 servings

4 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter 
1/3 cup (2 oz) sliced smoked salmon cut into small pieces
2 oz goat cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Labaneh cheese or sour cream (optional)
  1. Whisk eggs and milk together for 1 minute.
  2. Heat butter in a pan until melted.
  3. Add salmon and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs, dill, and goat cheese.
  5. Taking a spatula, every 1 minute, scrap from the outside edge to the center all the way around.  this allows the uncooked egg to flow in and cook.
  6. When eggs are about 90% done, chop up the middle and spread it evenly in the pan.
  7. Flip eggs once.
  8. Season to taste (I only added pepper) and serve. 
I encourage you to try goat cheese because you might surprise yourself and love it!  I know that I did!

Do you try foods that you don't like every so often?  Have you ever changed you mind about something?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Balsamic Beef

The Hubby and I are always up for a good pot roast.  So when he was showing he was willing to have balsamic (a recent development), I made this immediately.  We both loved the flavor; the balsamic really gives it a depth and smokiness. 

Balsamic Beef
 {Balsamic Beef with mashed potatoes}

Balsamic Beef
 {Side view}

One year ago:   Beef with Gravy and Buttered Noodles

Balsamic Beef
from Shugary Sweet

Makes 4 servings

2 pound beef chuck roast
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch (3 tablespoons tapioca flour for paleo)
2 tablespoons broth
  1. Place roast in crock-pot.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over roast.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4.  Drain cooking liquid from crock-pot and place in a saucepan.
  5. Mix cornstarch (tapioca) and broth together and add it to the beef liquid.
  6. Cook sauce until thickened.
  7. Slice beef and serve over mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) topped with gravy.
If you don't believe that we love pot roast, you should try Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast, Garlic Pepper Pot Roast, Sauerbraten (German pot roast),and Pot Roast Paprikash.

Do you love pot roast?

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grilled Molasses Pork Chops

I followed a recipe for these pork chops originally, but we weren't too crazy about it.  I loved the elements though so I made it a few more times until we both loved it, and this is it!

Grilled Molasses Pork Chops
 {Grilled Molasses Pork Chops}

Grilled Molasses Pork Chops
 {I served it with the Mexican Corn Salad}

One year ago:  Homemade Chips and Salsa

Grilled Molasses Pork Chops

Serves 4

4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1/4 apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Place pork chops in a container suitable for marinating.
  2. Mix together remaining ingredients until combined.
  3. Pour over pork chops and marinate for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Grill pork chops until done, about 20 minutes, basting with the leftover marinade.
  6. Serve!
What is it about pork and a sweet/tangy element that is so delicious?  I'm not sure, but I can also foresee myself trying this out on chicken!

I hope that you have a safe and great weekend!  Follow me on Instagram to see what I am up to when not blogging or cooking!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

Several years ago, The Hubby didn't like the smell of balsamic, let alone the taste.  Fast forward a few years, and he really loved this chicken.  Let me tell you guys--this is so awesome!  You have no idea how hard it was to cook around what he would eat!  Now he is much more adventurous and willing to try!  I couldn't be any happier!

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

One year ago:  Israeli Salad

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken
from Recipe Critic

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
  1. Place chicken in a container suitable for marinating.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken at least 30 minutes before grilling, but preferably 24 hours ahead.
  4. Preheat grill.
  5. Grill your chicken until done, about 25 minutes, basting with the remaining marinade.
  6. Serve. 
We had this with mac & cheese and a salad, but the possibilities are endless!  This would be delicious over a salad or in a sandwich!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

So *technically* I didn't make a sandwich out of this delicious chicken Caesar filling because I'm trying to really good about not eating gluten.  I indulged when I went camping a few weeks ago, and I was miserable for a week after!  So right now, I'm testing out gluten-free bread, and I think I found one!  Woohoo!

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
 {Chicken Caesar Sandwiches}

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
 {So easy--just chicken and dressing!}

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
 {Ready to eat!}

Chicken Caesar SandwichesChicken Caesar Sandwiches
 {I cooked Bulgar with spinach and had my chicken Caesar filling over that with some Parmesan cheese!  So delicious!}

One year ago:  Granola

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
8 oz Caesar dressing
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken broth
Buns, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese
  1. Place chicken in a crock-pot.
  2. Pour dressing over chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Drain liquid from crock-pot into a saucepan and heat on the stove.
  5. Mix cornstarch with the chicken broth, and pour it into the Caesar chicken liquid.
  6. Heat until thickened.
  7. Meanwhile, shred chicken.
  8. Pour thickened sauce over chicken and stir to combine.
  9. Serve!
Hubby had it in sandwich form with romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese, and we had to have a fight over the leftovers.  I won, but I had to bribe him by making him a sandwich for lunch.  It was worth it!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Mexican Corn Salad

You know a recipe is delicious when you make it in the dead of winter with frozen corn, and then you wait 5 MONTHS to make it again using fresh KY grown corn.  It's been very hard waiting so long, but it was completely worth it!  The Hubby loves corn so I'm trying to find new ways to make it because my in-laws grew corn so we are reaping those benefits!

Mexican Corn Salad
 {Mexican Corn Salad}
Mexican Corn Salad
 {Making the salad is so easy!}

Mexican Corn Salad
 {Ready to eat!}

Mexican Corn Salad
 {Top view}

Mexican Corn Salad
from Closet Cooking

Makes 4 servings

3 tablespoons butter
3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob OR 1 pound frozen
1 jalapeno, 1/2 seeded, finely diced and the other finely diced (just want a slight heat from it!)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 glove garlic, grated
2 green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 oz feta, crumbled
chili powder to taste
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the corn, toss and let it sit cooking until slightly golden (burned corn is TERRIBLE!)
  3. Add the jalapeno, saute for a minute and remove from heat.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients into the corn.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
How do you change it up with corn?  I'd love some more ideas (I do have another salad or two up my sleeves)!

 Thanks to Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa's Kitchen for hosting a vegetarian food challenge! 

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce

The Hubby was introduced to the George Foreman grill by his parents so now he wants one so he can grill throughout the winter.  My response?....  YOU GO RIGHT AHEAD!!!  I'm not going to complain about him wanting to make dinner!  In fact, he is becoming more and more willing to help plan a meal or two and/or giving me some good ideas and suggestions.  Plus, he is letting me take pictures while he cooks (if I am home).  I tell you ladies, patience and persistence! 

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce
 {Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce}
chicken marinating
 {Chicken marinating}

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce
 {Closer view of kebabs}

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce
from The Recipe Critic

Makes 4 servings

2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless and  cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 oz chipotle sauce (this is spicy so go easy and remember, you can always add more!)
1 avocado split and pitted
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh cilantro for serving
  1. Whisk together vegetable oil, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, minced garlic, brown sugar, and chipotle sauce.
  2. In a gallon sized bag combine marinade and chicken and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  3. In a food processor combine avocado, Greek yogurt, garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Pulse until smooth (or you can mix it by hand it you are lazy, like me). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once ready to grill, thread the chicken on skewers. Place them on the grill turning once or twice until sides are cooked and insides are no longer pink. Place on a plate and sprinkle with fresh cilantro if desired.
  5. Serve avocado sauce with chicken.
I loved this recipe because it was spicy, but it was so flavorful!  Plus it was easy to make, and even easier to clean up!  The Hubby even liked the avocado sauce that went with it.  Definitely going in the repeat pile!

Thanks to Bangers and Mash for hosting this awesome Beach BBQ challenge!  This definitely fits your need to escape through food!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Coconut Lime Chicken

When The Hubby first saw this recipe, he said "that sounds gross".  I turned to him and said "sounds like you'll be having a sandwich then".  I knew he would try it, and you'd better believe he claimed the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

You'd think he'd trust me after all these years I've been cooking for him (which is about 7 years).  In that time, I believe there's only been a handful of times where a recipe was beyond all hope to salvage so we ordered a pizza.  What can I say?  No one's perfect!

Coconut Lime Chicken
 {Coconut Lime Chicken}

Coconut Lime Chicken
 {I served mine with rice noodles and steamed veggies}

One year ago:  Lasagna (crock-pot)

Coconut Lime Chicken
from Crockpot Gourmet

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
13.5 oz can coconut milk or lite coconut milk
6 oz pineapple juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons corn starch (or 4 tablespoons tapioca powder for paleo)
2 tablespoons broth
Cooked rice, rice noodles, or steamed veggies (your preferences)
  1. Place chicken in crock.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove the liquid and place in a saucepan on the stove.
  5. Mix your thickener with broth until dissolved.
  6. Add thickener to coconut liquid and heat until thickened.
  7. Serve over rice, rice noodles, and/or veggies.
 Asian cuisine is my second favorite right behind Mediterranean so I don't need much of an excuse to try something with an Asian influence!  Do you have a favorite cuisine?

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wasabi Ranch Edamame

After having steamed edamame with a wasabi ranch sauce, I was obsessed!  I rushed to the store for some edamame and wasabi, and I have eaten it once a week since.  I love it so much, I completely forgot to snap a picture the first two times I made it......

Wasabi Ranch Edamame
 {Wasabi Ranch Edamame}

Wasabi Ranch Edamame
 {view from the top}

One year ago:  Buttermilk Rosemary Chicken

Wasabi Ranch Edamame

Makes 4 servings

1 pound edamame, frozen
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 tablespoon wasabi sauce
  1. Place edamame in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup of water or broth and turn to medium.
  2. Steam edamame until slightly tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix ranch and wasabi together.
  4. Add dressing to beans when they are done and stir to coat.
  5. Serve.
This is such an easy side dish, and it's healthy too!  I loved the crisp bean texture, but The Hubby loves his beans to be mushy (gross).  

Have you ever tried edamame?  Or even wasabi?  Wasabi is a hot and spicy condiment from Asia.  Now that I have an entire bottle, I might have to experiment some more with it....

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