Friday, January 30, 2015

food for thought

Plus, you are so gorgeous when you smile  :o)

I've had to do more smiling than usual this week to keep from crying and creating mad/worry wrinkles.  This first month has been very frustrating for me at work, and I haven't always shown love.  When I realize that I haven't, I smile, get up, and take a short break.  I know that we all can't do that, but we can all stop, take a deep breathe, think of something that makes you smile, and smile.

I'd much rather have smile/happy wrinkles.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

peanut butter yogurt dip

So I have one more healthy recipe to share with you in January.  February will be all about chocolate, but we will get to that next week ;o)

I whipped this up one day because I only had a few tablespoons left of peanut butter, and I didn't want to go to the store just for that so I stretched it. so it lasted an entire week of mid-morning snacks!

peanut butter yogurt dip
 {peanut butter yogurt dip}

peanut butter yogurt dip
 {I love mine with my favorite apples-honeycrisp!}

peanut butter yogurt dip
 {So delicious and healthy for you!}

peanut butter yogurt dip

makes 1 cup

1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons honey (local and optional)
  1. Mix yogurt, peanut butter, and cinnamon together.
  2. Taste; depending on how sweet the yogurt you use is, add honey to taste.
  3. Serve with fruit or graham crackers.
What are some of your favorite snacks?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

pleasing your palate | Superbowl

As many of you know, this weekend is the Superbowl!  I am not much of a sports person, and to be honest, I completely forgot about it!  Luckily, I was at a store and saw some game-day merchandise so I came home and whipped this together because I have the perfect recipes for your game-day party!

Since it's New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks, it's only fitting you make food from those areas right? 

          Clam Chowder               VS         Chipotle-Coffee Pot Roast       

Okay-so maybe I don't really have something from Seattle, but that's where Starbucks first started right?  So coffee-something it is!  You can make this pot roast into sliders by serving it with some rolls and mustard!

Now what's Superbowl without the typical snack foods?  Here are some recipes and inspiration:

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Baked Beans

Baked Potatoes (crock-pot)

Lazy Pizza Dough

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Steak and Beer Cheese Nachos

Of course, there's beef tacos, chili, guacamole, hummus, sloppy joes, and numerous other foods to make!  Head over to my recipe index for a list of all the recipes on this website for more inspiration!

Who are you rooting for and what are you serving?

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Hungarian Goulasch

I can say that in the winter, I crave hearty, warm foods.  I save the salads for summer.  I have a soft spot for a good goulasch, and this recipe did not disappoint especially since it can be made in my favorite crock-pot!

Hungarian Goulasch
 {Hungarian Goulasch}

Hungarian Goulasch
 {Hungarian Goulasch side view}

Hungarian Goulasch
 {Set in a crock-pot and go!}

Hungarian Goulasch
 {I boiled potatoes separately because I have to agree with The Hubby on this one--potatoes in the crock-pot cook and taste weird}

Hungarian Goulasch
from a farmgirl's dabbles

3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2" diagonals
16 oz. whole fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 large onion (local), chopped
3 large cloves garlic (local), minced
2 cups low sodium beef broth
1-6 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (or 2 teaspoons dry mustard)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooked potatoes, egg noodles or bread
  1. Place beef, carrots, mushrooms, onion and garlic in the crock-pot. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients, and then add to the slow cooker. 
  3. Stir a bit to combine. 
  4. Cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 6 to 7 hours, or until beef and veggies are very tender. 
  5. Serve in bowls with steamed potatoes, egg noodles, or a warm loaf of fresh crusty bread.
How about you-do you crave heavier foods in the winter?

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Friday, January 23, 2015

food for thought

{love yourself by Lim Heng Swee}

LOVE your eyes-
LOVE your face-
LOVE your body-
LOVE your mind-
LOVE your soul-
LOVE your flaws-
LOVE your personality-
LOVE your wrinkles-
LOVE your impatience-
LOVE your frustration-
LOVE your happiness-
LOVE your sadness-
LOVE your bad days-
LOVE your good days-
LOVE your friends-
LOVE your family-
LOVE each other-
LOVE your life-

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

parmesan crusted chicken

I cannot even express how easy and delicious this chicken was.  I was so addicted to this, I made it 4 times in two weeks.  The crust on this chicken was crispy yet flavorful.  In fact, I might be making this again for dinner tonight....

parmesan crusted chicken
 {Parmesan crusted chicken}

parmesan crusted chicken
 {I served it with my two favorite veggies!}

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt & Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place chicken in a baking dish.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together.
  4. Spoon Parmesan mixture over chicken.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes; then turn off the oven and open the door for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve.
Do you have a recipe that you make that is so easy and delicious?  I'd love to hear it!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

vegetable beef stew

Although today is supposed to be nice and sunny, tomorrow is supposed to snow here in Kentucky....  What better way to warm up than with this delicious stew made in the crock-pot so it can be ready for you when you get home?  Absolutely nothing!

vegetable beef stew
 {vegetable beef stew}

vegetable beef stew
 {Served with garlic cheese biscuits!  I used my biscuit recipe and added 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 cup cheese}

Vegetable Beef Stew

Makes 8 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds stew beef, cubed
1 cup red wine
2 potatoes, diced
2 cups beef glace (can be found with the stocks and broths)
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
1-6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup corn
1 cup beans, cut into bite-size lengths
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet until hot; add beef and sear on one side.  This might have to be done in more than 1 batch.
  2. Place the seared beef in the crock-pot and add wine to de-glaze the pan.  Once all the browned and stuck bits are loose, place in the crock-pot.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the crock-pot.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Enjoy!
The weather here has been crazy the last few weeks.  Plus, it's been so dreary that the last few days of sunshine have been so fantastic for me especially.  I love cold weather, but the dreariness is for the birds!

Do you like vegetable beef stew?  What other stews do you like to make in the crock-pot?

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Monday, January 19, 2015

spicy squash salad with lentils and feta

I originally made this as part of my Thanksgiving series, but my family didn't care for it.  Mainly because none of us like goat cheese, and this recipe called for goat cheese so I used it.  *smack hand to forehead*  I can't tell you what I was thinking when I did that....

So I made it again with feta cheese (still goat cheese but brined to get the strong taste calmed down), and we all loved it much better.  This hearty salad is almost a complete meal in itself; you could add some grilled chicken or steak; you could serve it with some more vegetables for a meatless meal.

spicy squash salad with lentils and feta
{spicy squash salad with lentils and feta}

spicy squash salad with lentils and feta

spicy squash salad with lentils and feta
from smitten kitchen

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and 1 inch cubed butternut squash (local from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional; I used this, but added it after I took a photo)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
4 cups baby arugula (I skipped this because I forgot the recipe called for it--didn't miss much)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Toss squash or pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. 
  3. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.
  4. Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. 
  5. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool. 
  6. Combine lentils, pumpkin, feta cheese, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. 
  7. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). 
  8. Serve immediately by dividing among plates.  This salad is not great cold so if you make it beforehand, let it sit out for about 1 hour before serving.
Do you have any hearty salads that you love to make?

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Friday, January 16, 2015

food for thought

I am still trying to keep my resolution to show more love; I've had some challenges, but I'm taking baby steps.  No other real words of wisdom for this week so have a safe and wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

almond butter

My family has a slight obsession with nuts.  My grandfather and myself eat nuts every day in some form or another.  The Hubby LOVES peanut butter (as in straight out of the jar), and the rest of my family eats it a few times a week.  I was at the farmer's market last year, and someone was handing out samples of almond butter they had made.  We started talking, and she said it was really easy and handed me a recipe card.  I wasn't successful with her recipe, but I did some research and found out that all you need is the nut itself (her recipe had me adding oil and such to the nuts).

almond butter
 {almond butter}

almond butter
 {I prefer eating almond butter with pears, but apples or by the spoonful will work too!}

almond butter
 {I was completely lazy and used pre-roasted and pre-salted nuts, but you can buy raw almonds and make the butter from that or roast them yourself}

Almond Butter

Makes 2 cups

3 cup almonds, whichever you like to eat (dry roasted, roasted, roasted and salted, etc)
1-2 tablespoons honey (optional and local)
  1. Place almonds in a food processor and puree until smooth, about 7 minutes.
  2. Taste and add salt if desired.
  3. Add honey if you would like.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 
You can make nut butter with any nut really.  I am tempted to start making my own peanut butter!  You can make cashew butter or walnut butter--go wild!

Do you like eating nut butter?  Which is your favorite?

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

roasted beets with jalapeno cream

How many of you said, "EEWWWWWW BEETS!!!  They are so GROSS?"  My question is have you tried them? 

I used to be like that, but then my grandfather introduced me to pickled beets.  Now I eat them pickled and roasted.  When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was intrigued.  I wasn't disappointed.  The earthiness of the beets combined with the creaminess of the sour cream and heat of jalapenos is one incredible combination!

Roasted Beets with Jalapeno Cream
 {Roasted Beets with Jalapeno Cream}

Roasted Beets with Jalapeno Cream
 {As with all vegetables, the darker, the more nutritious.  These beets were almost black!}

Roasted Beets with Jalapeno Cream

Makes 4 servings

2 pound medium-sized red beets
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
16 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (optional-I forgot when I ate them, twice)
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Remove stems and roots from beets; wrap beets in foil. 
  3. Bake at 450 for 45 minutes or until tender. 
  4. Cool beets slightly; peel and cut into 1-inch wedges.
  5. Combine sour cream, onions, salt, and jalapeño in a small bowl. 
  6. Divide lettuce leaves among 8 plates; top evenly with beets and jalapeño mixture.
This is the perfect dinner party salad because it can be made ahead plus is served cool or at room temperature.

How many of you eat beets?  If not, will you give this recipe a chance?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

food for thought

This year I've decided that my guiding principle will be to choose love. To choose love instead of hate; choose love instead of meanness; choose love over sadness, setbacks and heartache.

I have one aspect of my life that definitely needs some love. Surprisingly, I have a hard time loving/being kind/tolerating those who I don't like. My philosophy is that if I don't like you, then I'm not around you. Unfortunately, you can't escape them all, and I know that I am not at my best when I interact with them. I can feel my body contorting with anger and cruelty; my face hardens and my speech is clipped, short and hard. My soul just quietly sits there saying "you know this is wrong".

This year I will be treating those that I don't like just like I treat an aspect of myself that I don't like: with love, kindness and patience. Will I love them eventually? Maybe not, but I know that I didn't add to the cruelty and unkindness the world can show.

What are you focusing on this year?

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

pleasing your palate | healthy sides/snacks

Finally, to help you with your healthy kick-start for the new year, some healthy sides and snacks!  Whether you are going gluten-free or just want to add more vegetables in your life, here are some recipes to get you started!

Baked Beans

Black Bean Ragout

Cauliflower Couscous

Dahl (Indian Lentils)



Lima Beans in Garlic Butter

Parmesan Roasted Zucchini

Rice with Wilted Spinach and Garlic

Spaghetti Squash

Zucchini Noodles

I currently have hummus in my fridge, and a spaghetti squash (local) on my counter!  Avocados are currently $1 here in Lexington KY so I picked up a few for my sandwiches over the next week.  What are some of your favorite sides/snacks?

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

pleasing your palate | healthy meals

My criteria for a "healthy" meal is one that balances meat with grains and/or vegetables in a healthy way so no large amounts of dairy or fat is involved.  Here are some of my favorites:

Aloo Palak (Indian Potatoes and Spinach)

Beef and Cabbage

Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Broiled Cracked Pepper Fish

Cajun Chicken Caesar Salad

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Italian Stewed Chicken with Fennel and White Beans

Middle Eastern Garlic Chicken

Pumpkin and White Bean Stew



Spicy Garlic and Kale Soup

Many of these recipes can easily be changed to vegetarian especially since many started out as vegetarian.  What are some of your favorite healthy meals?

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