Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have grown to love kale.   I thought it was a bit bitter when I first started cooking with it a few years ago, .  I've found that the moment lemon juice is added, that bitterness isn't so dramatic.  Kale is full of all things good for your body. . .water, vitamins, fiber.  I prefer the "Dino" variety, but also like the "Curly" kind. 

My first introduction to kale was when my girlfriend, Mia, got me into drinking green smoothies. I have to admit that I don't LOVE green smoothies. . .I tolerate them because I know they are good for me, especially the day after I've indulged too much.   I have a Vitamix and it is the king of all blenders. . .the thing blends anything.

Green Smoothie
Handful of kale
1/2 or whole peach, apple, pear (or strawberries)
squeeze of  1/2 lemon
1/2 cup or more water

Combine in blender and blend until smooth. 

Sauteed Kale
Chopped kale
olive oil
salt, pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Saute a bunch of kale in a saute pan on high with a couple tablespoons of water.  Kale is done when color turns.  Do not overcook, or it will be mushy.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1/4 or 1/2 a lemon.

Kale Chips
 kale leaves-torn from stem into large pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt to taste

Combine above in a large bowl.  Spread on baking sheets and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  Add additional salt if needed.  Best if eaten day of baking.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Weeknight Meals

I've gotten a few requests to post meals that are easy to make during the week.  Black bean tacos and BLTAs (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado) Sandwiches are frequently on our weekly menu at home.  I came up with the bean taco recipe back when I was living by myself and living on a tight budget.  I've included my guacamole recipe as well.   It's super easy to make and doesn't require chopping up any extra ingredients.  My kid eats it straight from the bowl.

1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 Tbsp of Salsa (I like homemade or Green Mountain Gringo brand)
juice of 1/2 lime
sprinkling of hot sauce
sprinkling of salt

Black Bean Tacos
Corn or flour tortillas
1 can black bean tacos, drained and rinsed
shredded cheese of your choice
light sour cream

Heat up the black beans in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.  Heat tortillas according to package directions.  Top tortillas with rest of ingredients. 

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado Sandwiches
Whole grain bread or bread of your choice
Turkey bacon
Sliced cheddar cheese
Mashed Avocado, salted, and mixed with a bit of lime juice
Lettuce or spinach
Sliced tomato, salted and peppered

Heat bacon according to package directions.  Toast bread and spread with avocado mixture.  Top sandwich with bacon, cheese, tomato, and lettuce.  Serve with a side of veggies. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bundt Cake

I am not the biggest fan of baking cakes. . .particularly the kind with multiple layers and loads of crisco laden frosting.   I do love baking bundt cakes though.  They are easy and have a nostalgic sort of appeal. One favorite is my mom's recipe for Better than Sex Cake.  I know what you're thinking. . .chocolate cake with caramel, toffee bits, and whipped cream. . .not my mom's version.   She baked this cake quite often for my brother and I when we were kids.   I still love it.  The recipe is from the cookbook,  "If it Tastes Good, Who Cares?" (1992), by Pam Girard, a Bismarck, ND resident.   It's super easy and goes well with a side of vanilla ice cream.  This is not healthy, clean food, but certainly a treat.  Jack loves to lick the beaters. . .what kid doesn't?

Better Than Sex Cake
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
4 large eggs
1 cup light sour cream (or regular if you prefer)
1 bar baking chocolate, grated ( I like to use 60-70% dark chocolate)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix cake mix with pudding, oil, water, eggs, and sour cream.  Pour in chocolate, chips, and pecans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes in a bundt pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted is clean.  Let cool for an hour and invert on a plate.  Serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Corn Frittata with Turkey Bacon and Fontina Cheese

 LOVE breakfast for supper.  Eggs, toast, bacon. . .simple, satisfying, and kid-friendly.  In an effort to utilize corn-on-the-cob from our CSA box, I found an old Corn Frittata recipe from Cooking Light (circa 2005).  The original recipe calls for Smoked Mozzarella, but my grocery store didn't have any.   I substituted Fontina (which is my favorite cheese for frittatas).  I made another change by adding turkey bacon, but it's delicious without it as well.   If you don't have corn on hand, substitute a vegetable of your liking.  Same goes for the cheese.

Corn Frittata with Turkey Bacon and Fontina Cheese

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1/2 cup shredded fontina, divided
1 cup chopped  turkey bacon (without nitrates or antibiotics)
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat Broiler.
Heat skillet over med-high heat with cooking spray.  Saute corn and bacon for 5 min.
In a large bowl, combine corn,  half amount cheese, basil, and rest of ingredients. Stir with a whisk.

Heat skillet over med heat. Coat again with cooking spray, and add egg mixture. Cover and cook 5 min. or until almost set.
Sprinkle rest of cheese on top. Broil 5 min. in oven until browned on top (wrap handle of pan with foil if needed). Makes 4 large servings.

Serve with a side salad, toast, or English muffin and you've got a light dinner for summertime:)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cucumber Salad

I used to work with an Egyptian coworker/friend, who always brought her Cucumber Salad to potlucks at work (and this workplace revolved around potlucks).   Loved it. Whenever I'd ask her for the recipe, she'd say,  "I just throw cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, dill, salt, and vinegar together. "  Somehow, I had forgotten this recipe until this week.  The weather has been sweltering.  All I want to eat is salad and fruit.  It's the dog days of summer. . .the pug is hot.

 I have been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers from friends and our CSA box this week.  To top it off, our CSA box also had dill and cilantro.  Perfect excuse to throw everything together.

Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers-peeled, halved, and sliced
2 tomatoes-chopped
fresh dill (a little-1-2 Tbsp. or more to your liking)
cilantro (a handful or 1/4 of a bunch)
vinegar (1 Tbsp) and salt (about 1/2 tsp) to taste
pepper to taste

Mix 10 minutes prior to serving.

Seriously. . .that's all there is to it:)  Food of the gods!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Satay Recipe

When I married my husband, his mom gave me a collection of his favorite recipes.  Satay was one of them.   It's a recipe that the family's Unitarian Universalist Church in Bismarck, ND would serve at fundraisers and art fairs.   The Conrads, church members, brought back the recipe from a trip to Indonesia. The first time we made the satay recipe, I was hooked.  It's a bit time-consuming,  so best made on the weekend.  It is a perfect recipe to serve for a large group of people in the summer and tastes best if marinated overnight.  We've tried it with beef, chicken, and tofu.  The beef and tofu have turned out the best.  We had my in-laws over for Beef Satay this weekend and again, got the family thumbs-up.

Satay Recipe

1 1/2 lbs. of meat, cubed into 3/4 inch pieces (lamb, pork, beef, chicken--or tofu)
Seasoning Mix:
1 clove mashed garlic
1 slice of mashed ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
3/4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1/2 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. Vermouth
1 Tbsp. Ketchup
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup peanut butter (we use Parker's Farm Creamy)

Place meat on skewers (already soaked in water).  Mix all seasonings well, top meat with marinade and marinade at least one hour, preferably overnight.  Grill until meat is cooked to your liking.

 Courtland did all the prep the night before. . .this is what it looked like:

 The final product: 

Served with a side of spinach salad with caramelized pecans, onions, and feta; grilled corn on the cob;  sauteed green beans, and garden tomatoes. . .delicious!