Saturday, October 31, 2015

High Grade Jade

I'd never seen green rice before until I spotted this Jade Rice at the EarthFare organic grocery store in Columbia, SC.  I cooked it tonight in this Scallop Paella dish.

 Scallop & Jade Rice Paella

(Serves 2)

Saute onion, pepper, garlic and spices in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Add broth, lemon juice and rice.
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup jade rice
Fresh ground pepper
Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.

In a separate pan, saute onion in buttery spread.  Add scallops and saute 3-4 minutes per side.  Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 small onion, diced
8 jumbo scallops
Fresh ground pepper

Add tomato to scallop pan and heat.
1 red tomato, diced

Serve scallops over rice.  Garnish with pea shoots. 
1/2 cup pea shoots

I've seen a number of posts this week for Halloween treats made with foods I like.  Posts providing inspiration included Jamie Oliver, Wild Blueberry organization and Rebel Dietitian. Seems the Greek Yogurt in my Booberry Smoothie sunk. . . but it was still good!

 Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Turkey Takes Off

As Thanksgiving draws near, the local farmers are harvesting the first of the free range turkeys.  I've reserved one for Thanksgiving and today I picked up a "half" turkey from this week's slaughter.  When I saw the large size of the whole turkey, the owners offered to cut the bird in half and I welcomed the suggestion.  Here are other techniques for preparing the perfect turkey:

Spatchcock the turkey.
Removing the backbone saves cooking time. We first tried this technique last Thanksgiving with our turkey:

  • Cut along each side of the backbone and remove.
  • Open the chicken or turkey like a book.
  • Flip over.
  • Press down to flatten.
  • Tuck wings under.
Make sure to have a baking pan large enough to accommodate the unfolded bird.   (Last year I had to improvise).

The turkey is so moist:

Make a turkey brine.
While making apple pie or sauce, place the cores and peels in a saucepan. 

Fill the pan with water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.  Strain and pour the apple "juice" over the bird.  

To the brine, I added juice and peel from one orange and 6 whole cloves.  I then basted the turkey with the brine throughout roasting.

Side dishes can also be made with the brine.  I cut up an assortment of fresh vegetables, colorful carrots from the winter farmers market, local potatoes, parsnip, onion, fennel, celery, pepper, zucchini and yellow squash. I poured half the marinade over the vegetables and roasted in the same oven as the turkey for 90 minutes.

Cover the turkey with a cheesecloth.
Soak the cheesecloth in the brine, then cover the turkey with the cloth.  

Talk to your farmer.
I've reserved 2 turkey tenderloins for the season.  They can remove the tenderloin prior to grinding the rest of the turkey.  I've been disappointed that the chain grocery stores no longer sell unseasoned turkey tenderloins, but rather various seasoned versions.  I want to add my own seasoning.

I was so happy they offered to sell me half the turkey.  The end product was juicy and delicious.  We ate our dinner for two, made two plates and delivered to Bob's co-workers, I placed leftovers for 4 in the refrigerator and froze roasted turkey for 8 to use later.  That's 16 servings from a 12 pound (half) bird.  

The Hardesty family, owners and operators of Working H Farms, have become my friends.  I enjoy stopping at their farm store every week on my trip to and from my Mom's home in Maryland.  The two sons (the youngest is just 15) are experienced meat cutters.  Knowing the people behind the product makes a difference, and I know they appreciate me as a customer.



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mid-Week Millet

Toasted crushed almonds with sesame, chickpeas and vegetables, almond sauce and millet is a meatless "my plate" meal that is filling and tasty.  The recipe is based on Clean Eating Magazine's Kung Pao recipe.  

Chickpea & Vegetable Stir-Fry over Sesame Millet

(Serves 2 1/2)

Mix vinegar, soy sauce, broth, almond butter, arrowroot, maple syrup and sesame oil.
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium
2 tablespoon low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon almond butter, no added salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir chickpeas and carrots into sauce and set aside.
1/2 cup chickpeas (I cooked mine from dry beans without salt)
1/3 cup sliced carrots, microwaved 2 minutes and drained

To cook millet, bring water to a boil.  Add millet, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
3 tablespoon millet
2/3 cup water

Stir fry vegetables in a large skillet, first stir frying celery for 3 minutes.
1 stalk celery, diced
Add garlic and mushrooms.  Cook 2 minutes. 
1 garlic clove, minced
4 button mushrooms, sliced
Add peppers and broccoli.  Cook 1 minute.
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and cut in strips
1 broccoli stalk, peeled and shredded
Stir in spinach and parsley.
1/3 cup spinach leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup parsley leaves 
Stir in chickpea, carrot and sauce.  Heat 1-2 minutes.

Toast almonds and sesame seeds.  Crush.
1 teaspoon almonds
1 teaspoon sesame seed

Serve chickpea vegetable mix over millet.  Sprinkle with almonds and sesame.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Food Day Journeyman

As a registered dietitian who knows her trade, I am a "journeyman" who practices healthy eating.  I buy many local foods and serve meals with lots of vegetables, with entrees that have small amounts of meat.  Even a typical breakfast, this one with oatmeal, has even more vegetables.  The recipe for Farmer's Market Savory Oatmeal is by registered dietitian Jackie Newgent and appears in the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Food & Nutrition Magazine.  In my efforts to prevent wasted food in my own home, I used foods I had in my refrigerator-roasted butternut squash, shredded cabbage and carrots, broccoli and peppers in place of some of the vegetables called for in the recipe.  I ate the second serving for breakfast today!

While I do eat meat many days of the week, the amount per serving is very little.  Here's the Tuna Noodle Casserole I served earlier this week where 1-2.6 ounce pack of tuna served 3.  The tuna was a "Lemon Pepper" packet by StarKist.  StarKist "partners with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)" to ensure the long term health of tuna.  The recipe was inspired by Eating Well.


Tuna Noodle Casserole

(Serves 3)

Cook noodles in water.  Drain.
2 ounce egg noodles

Heat buttery spread and oil in skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Saute 3 minutes.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 celery stem, diced

Add mushrooms.  Saute 2 minutes.
1/3 cup mushrooms, diced

Stir in wine, soy sauce and pepper. Cook 2 minutes.
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon lite soy sauce
Fresh ground pepper

Sprinkle flour over vegetables.  Stir to coat.
1 heaping tablespoon whole wheat flour

Increase temperature to high.  Add broth, milk and mustard.  Bring to a boil and cooks, stirring often, until sauce thickens.  Add tuna, greens and noodles.  
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skin milk
2/3 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Stir in tuna and greens.
2.6 ounce tuna
2 cups fresh greens
Pour tuna noodle mix into a baking dish greased with olive oil spray.

Sprinkle wheat germ and cheese over top.  Bake at 375 F. for 20 minutes.
2 tablespoon wheat germ
1 reduced fat cheese stick, shredded 

Our Saturdays always mean a trip to the Morgantown Farmers Market where I filled a bag with many colorful vegetables and fruit to prepare this week.  May Food Day 2015 be a year-long catalyst for healthier diets!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Peanut Power: Shrimp & Broccoli

The recipe is from Fine Cooking;  the shirt is from the National Peanut Board.  The dinner was simply delicious.  Here's how I made it:

Shrimp & Broccoli with Peanut Sauce

(Serves 2)

Mix peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, oil, vinegar and lime juice.
1.15 ounce natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon lime juice

Pour peanut sauce over shrimp and marinate for 30 minutes.
6 ounce jumbo shrimp, peeled, tail intact

Place shrimp on a baking tray.  Add water to peanut sauce and pour over shrimp.
2 tablespoon water
Broil 8 inches from heat for 5 minutes.  Turn shrimp and broil 5 more minutes.

Serve with steamed broccoli.
2/3 cup broccoli flowers 

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Butternut Squash Flan

When I saw a recipe in Rachael Ray's magazine, I wanted to make it, yet realized the caramel sauce would not fit into to my 2 teaspoons of added sugar per serving plan.  So I sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon Turbinado sugar on the bottom of each ramekin instead.  This worked just fine!  I substituted Greek yogurt for heavy cream and, combined with eggs, produced a high quality protein product.  

Butternut Squash Flan

(Serves 4)

Roast whole squash at 350F. on a baking stone for 45 minutes. 
1 small butternut squash
Cool slightly and remove seeds.
Spoon flesh into blender. 

Combine squash, yogurt, milk, egg, egg yolk, brown sugar and vanilla in a blender.
Puree till smooth. 
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup skim or soy milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon Turbinado sugar in the bottom of 4 ramekins.  I greased each ramekin with and olive oil spray.
Divide blenderized squash mixture into the ramekins.
Bake at 325 F. for 40 minutes.  Cool.

Sprinkle each with toasted pepitas before serving.

This flan makes an excellent breakfast entree.  Combined with a glass of milk, the high quality protein is perfect.  This morning I ate mine with Dietitian Debbie's Muesli.

Dietitian Debbie's Muesli

8-1/2 cup servings

Combine all grains, nuts and ginger on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 F. for 8 minutes.  Stir and bake 8 more minutes.
1 1/3 cup oats
1 1/3 cup barley flakes

2/3 cup pepitas (I did not have enough pepitas, so I added chopped walnuts)
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup almonds, chopped
2/3 teaspoon ginger

Stir dried fruits into toasted muesli.
1/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup dried apricots, diced 

  Have a gorgeous fall day! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Present: Farm to Table

30 years ago, when the movie "Back to the Future" was released, Willie Nelson and friends organized the first Farm Aide Concert.  Our dinner tonight features foods grown and raised by local farmers.  Sirloin Tip Roast with Tomato Charmoula and Vegetables, Corn cut off the cob and Cole Slaw comprises the menu with local ingredients from the Farmers Market and Farm Stores.  Working H Farms raises and slaughters 100% grass fed gourmet beef with no hormones, additives, chemicals or antibiotics.  The corn is from Klotz Farm Store last of the season's harvest.  The cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, eggplant and squash are from the Morgantown Farmers Market.  The peppers are from my back deck garden.

Sirloin Tip Roast with Tomato Charmoula

(Serves 3)

Toast the seeds in olive oil on stovetop for 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon olive oil

Saute pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil.
1 green pepper, seeded and cut in strips
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil 

Add tomato slices to pan and grill on both sides.
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
Fresh ground pepper
Dice tomatoes.

Grind toasted cumin and coriander seeds.  Rub into beef.

Place beef in crock pot along with eggplant, squash and potatoes.
1/2 pound sirloin tip roast
2 thin eggplants, peeled and sliced
2 petite yellow squash, sliced
4 new potatoes, halved
Add sauteed pepper-onion-garlic mix and tomatoes.

Pour wine and lemon over beef and vegetables.  Add parsley and paprika.
3 ounce white zinfandel 
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh parsley, snipped
3/4 teaspoon paprika

Cook on high in covered crockpot for 3 hours.  
Add mushrooms.
1/2 cup chopped mushroom caps and stems
Turn temperature to low.  Cook for another hour.

Part of the recipe was inspired by Food and Wine Magazine.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Soup's on the Sideline

Broccoli Potato Soup, Mushroom Pizzas and Tropical Fruit are on the menu for "Sideline Meat" Monday.  Both the broccoli and potatoes are from the Farmers Market.  The tomatoes and oregano are from my back deck harvest.

Broccoli Potato Soup

(Serves 3)

Saute onion and celery in buttery spread.
1 small onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Add flour and seasonings.
Fresh ground pepper
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons flour

Stir in broth, potatoes and parsley.  Bring to a boil;  lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. 
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped

Process broccoli in a food processor.  Add to simmering soup along with milk.
1/2 broccoli head, stems peeled
1 cup soy milk
Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Garnish with toasted ground pepitas and shredded cheese (can us a vegan cheese).

I love this Lekue Steamer case in which foods cook in the microwave in just a few minutes.  The recipe is from the Lekue cookbook. 

Mushroom Pizzas

(Serves 2)

Using a grapefruit spoon, hollow mushrooms.
10-12 button mushrooms, stems removed

Mix tomatoes, oregano, cheese, tomato paste and seasoning.
1/3 cup tiny garden tomatoes, quartered
3 sprigs fresh oregano, snipped
3 tablespoons mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons tomato paste, no added salt
Dash Italian seasoning
Spoon tomato mix into mushroom caps.

Place 1 tablespoon water in bottom of steamer case.  With stuffed mushrooms on the steamer tray, close lid and microwave for 3 minutes.

Enjoy the evening and the week ahead! 




Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chill Beater Chicken with Mason Jar Pumpkin Bread

It turned very cold overnight in West Virginia, so our Sunday picnic plans were cancelled.  We donned our winter coats, took a walk up the hill behind our house, then enjoyed our meal inside.  Classic Chicken Noodle Soup, Poached Apples and Pumpkin Bread comprised our meal.  This month's Eating Well Magazine features "Changeable" Chicken Soup recipes, including this classic soup.

Chicken Noodle Soup

(Serves 2)

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon olive oil

Add seasonings, broth, celery and carrots.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced

Add chicken, peas and parsley.  Heat for 10 minutes more.
1 cup diced chicken
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup fresh parsley

Drain noodles and stir into soup. 
2/3 cup egg noodles, cooked

Fruit bread made in a mason jar is perfect.  Fill the mason jar 1/2 full with batter and bake.  I used a 1 cup mason jar, which made 2 servings.  This bread made with pumpkin, applesauce, 100% cacao chocolate and walnuts is rich in antioxidants.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate & Walnuts

(6 servings) (3-8 ounce mason jars) 

Beat egg and sugar in mixing bowl.
1 egg
5 tablespoon sugar

Mix dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate and walnuts.
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, 100% cacao, ground
2 tablespoons walnuts, ground

Alternately add dry ingredients and applesauce-pumpkin mix to egg-sugar mix.  
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup pumpkin

Grease mason jars with an olive oil spray.  Fill 1/2 full with batter (6 tablespoons batter per jar)  Bake at 350 F. for 35 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

 I donned a winter coat, 3 layers of clothing and gloves for our walk on the hill today.  The leaves have not reached full color yet, and the mid week temperature is to reach 70 this week.  We have a beautiful week ahead, and I hope you do!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cranapple Strudel and a Soul Nourishing Meal

Fresh apples and cranberries, local vegetables and chicken with homemade dark beer comprised our meal with old friends.  My passion is local foods, and in harvest season, it was easy to plan a seasonal menu with simple, nourishing and pleasing foods.  Our guest is a craft beer artisan, who graciously agreed to bring something bubbly to our home.

Even though my service-ware is now comprised of 2 of this, 2 of that and my dining room table is stored in the basement, our small home accommodated our dinner for 4 just fine. I pulled out my Salton Food Warmer, Serving Tray, earned nearly 40 years ago by Bob in a photography sales award, to hold the serving bowls for the roasted vegetables and the roasting chicken.  The grainy rolls were kept warm in the drawer of the serving tray.  

The dessert recipe was inspired by Eating Well.

Cranapple Strudel

(Serves 8)  (2 strudels, each serves 4)

Bring water, sugar and cranberries to a boil on stove-top.  Lower heat to simmer and heat while preparing the apples.
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water

Peel and slice apples.  Add lemon juice, sugar, wheat germ and seasoning.
5 cups apples, peeled and sliced thinly
3 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoon wheat germ
1 1/3 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Drain cranberries and stir into apple mix.

Mix melted buttery spread and oil.  On a parchment paper, place 1 phyllo sheet.  Brush with oil-buttery blend.  Add 5 more sheets of phyllo, brushing after each addition.  Spoon 1/2 of apple mix on top sheet, leaving 1 inch strip on the short ends and 1/2 inch strip on the long ends.  Fold in short ends.  Roll from long ends.  Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Make 3 slits in the top.  
Repeat with remaining 6 sheets of phyllo.
6 sheets of phyllo dough and 1/2 of apple mix makes 1 strudel, each serving 4.  
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 tablespoon 2 teaspoon walnut oil
12 sheets phyllo dough

Bake in lower 1/3 of a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Cool on pan on wire rack.

Luke brought a delicious dessert beer.  We were also treated to Becky's almond biscotti to dip in our after dinner coffee. 

Thanks again to for the guest post on Creating the Perfect Dinner Party.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Creating the Perfect Dinner Party (Guest Contributor)

This article is provided by, written by Katherine Oakes for my blog.  Katherine writes, "At Modernize, we know that so many wonderful memories are created in your home.  A pinnacle of healthy living is a soul-nourishing night spent with old and new friends, so make sure you prepare ahead of time so that you won't miss out on these great moments."  

Here is the full article: 

Tips for Creating the Perfect Dinner Party

Choose a Theme and Send Out Invitations

There’s an important three-week span of time before the date of your dinner party that must be used wisely. During this time, you’ll need to plan out the theme of your party (if you choose to have one), write out the guest list, pick a date and time, and then send out your invitations to ensure guests have enough time to RSVP. Getting this all done ahead of time will save you from being a harried host or hostess the night before, and will help things run smoothly in the weeks leading up to the dinner party.

If you are choosing a theme, a good rule of thumb is to make it simple, seasonal, and visually appealing. Don’t overdo it but do design your invites,whether paper or paperless, with your theme in mind. It will make the night all that much more fun and enjoyable when your guests can see the thoughtful effort put in.

Get a head count and make sure that you know of any dietary restrictions. Don’t drive yourself crazy and make a separate meal, just provide options. Most likely, people will ask if they can bring something with them. Be prepared to make suggestions and always have back-ups.


Dinner Décor and Setting the Table

Following the same three-week schedule, in the week or so before, you’ll want to prepare or at least start to think about what you will need for the dinner party’s décor. A few important questions you should ask yourself are whether or not you have a theme and what you have on hand. It’s silly to go and buy new things for one night, so make it easy on yourself by using what you already have. Will you be using fine china? Have you got the right linen cloth for the table? What about the right number of napkins, glasses, and silverware for your guests? Check all these things off your list for smooth sailing.

If you have invited more than eight people—non-family members, to be specific—use coordinating place holders and seating arrangements that invite guests to talk and get to know each other. Do make sure the table decorations or flowers are low enough so that people can see over them, and always rely on candles and good background music for the perfect ambiance.


Dinner party menus have a few short and sweet rules: keep it simple, nourishing, and crowd-pleasing. If you regularly make vegetarian meals, it’s best not to push your favorite tofurky dish on them—instead, show them how delicious this kind of cooking can be! Something like sweet potato patties with sliced avocado, or a hearty and flavorful mix of grains and greens can be a great way to share your passion without being pushy.

For drinks, encourage guests to bring their favorites, but also be prepared with wine and, if you like, a signature cocktail to make it more personal. This is a great conversation starter and a wonderful way to get to know your guests, too.

In the spirit of eating mindful meals, serve your dessert somewhere away from the dinner table to encourage guests to get up, move around, and talk. If you are not big on sweets, serving some after-dinner spirits, coffee or tea, or even a fruit bowl is a great bookend to the night. As always, remember the sole purpose of a dinner party is to enjoy each other’s company. At Modernize, we know that so many wonderful memories are created in your home. And a pinnacle of healthy living is a soul-nourishing night spent with old and new friends, so make sure you prepare ahead of time so that you won’t miss out on these great moments. 

The goal at Modernize is to create a fresh experience to help homeowners looking to upgrade their home by providing educational content and ideas for inspiration.  The website has articles, ideaboards and photos for many projects.  Thank you Katherine Oates and Kelsey Martin for the inspiration!