"That's A Keeper 3!"


I’ve been in the kitchen a LOT lately.  I’ve always said that I don’t like cooking (and I don’t) but I do LOVE to eat delicious food.  So, that’s been my motivation recently.  That, and the countless people that come into my office that don’t cook for themselves.  Yes, believe it or not that has inspired me too.  Cooking takes time.  The last thing someone wants to do when they come home from working a long day is to cook dinner!  It’s easy to be tempted to take your car through the drive through and let someone else do the cooking for you.  I get it.  At least I get the convenience part of it.  I definitely don’t get the flavor part and the feeling “ick” after you’ve eaten that greasy gross food feeling.  I digress.  The convenience part of it I truly do get.  Along with the cooking comes the planning.  Planning is key.  Maybe you make your rice up for the week (it really does heat up easily).  Then all that’s left to do is steam a vegetable and sauté or bake your protein up.  It’s the planning and knowing what you’re going to have for the week that allows you to not dread the preparation part of it.  That’s why I love Rachael Ray’s concept of 30 minute meals.  If you do have all the ingredients on hand (and you will if you plan to have them) and the meal can take just 30 minutes from start to finish, why not make something healthy and good for you?  My challenge to my patients is to simply start making a few meals at home and limit the frequency of the meals eaten out.  And when you do eat out try and make some of the healthier choice selections that are more readily available than used to be.  Here are a few recipes that I promise are “Keepers” and won’t leave you wondering if they’ll turn out or not.    They’re tried and true and are simply delish. 

Snack:  Raw Hemp Bites

I started making my own “energy bars” a few years back.  Most of the packaged ones have too many additives or added sugar that I felt that I should explore making my own.  Lära bars are my go to if I don’t have time to make any.  They simply have dates and a nut with a few spices here and there to give you as natural as can be energy bar.  There are many that I make, but I stumbled across this one the other day and love that it had the hemp seeds mixed in.  It’ll definitely be in my rotation of bars that I’ll be making from now on:

 http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2012/08/raw-healthy-happy-hempy-cookies.html

That's A Keeper 3 - Hemp Bites.jpg

Salad:  Pear& Arugula Chickpea Salad

Not too much to say about this one, but simply delish.  I’m pretty boring when it comes to my salad.  It’s most times just my leafy greens, tomatoes, and a nut with a couple different of my go to salad dressings.  The dressing always gives me that different taste feeling so I don’t think I’m eating the same thing over and over.  But recently I’ve been stepping my salad game UP!  I think the more things I can throw in my salad, the better!  And this one doesn’t disappoint.  I love how she marinated the chickpeas in a little of the dressing ahead of time.  It really does enhance the flavor.  And then the combination of pine nuts, feta, the garbanzos, and hemp, oh my!!  I’ve made it two weeks in a row it’s that good.

http://www.loveandlemons.com/2015/02/03/pear-arugula-chickpea-salad/

That's A Keeper 3 - Pear Arugula .jpg

Soup/Stew ButternutSquash, Kale & Quinoa Stew

This one is for all of you in those cold weather states that need some warming up.  It’s 74° and overcast today but next week it’s going to be in the 80s.  Definitely not soup weather here in the MIA.   The thing is even here people love soups.  We just eat them to warm up from the cold air conditioner J  This soup has it all – a great mix of flavors and you can spice it up as much as you like.  A great combination of butternut squash, kale and quinoa.  The color on my stew was off (hers was WAY brighter and prettier) and I didn’t realize until later that my smoked paprika was old.  It’s been replaced and this stew needs to be made again.  And to think it’s going to taste better than the 1st time!

http://www.loveandlemons.com/2015/02/15/butternut-squash-kale-quinoa-stew/

That's A Keeper - Butternut Squash Quinoa Kale stew.jpg

Main Dish – Seafood:  Halibut with Coconut Creamed Kale and Quinoa in a Papillote

Every so often I will have seafood.  It’s not often, but sometimes it’s a good option when eating out.  Not every restaurant is vegetarian friendly.  You’d think by now most restaurants would have an idea of how to make a vegetarian meal that wasn’t just vegetables and more vegetables.  Maybe they need a dietitian to give them an example of a well-balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates and fat.  I made this dish a couple of weeks ago for a friend.  Needless to say it was my 1st time cooking with parchment paper (yes I had to watch the video to make sure I cooked the fish the right way.  I even got my friend involved to make sure I was doing it right – note to self, next time don’t make a meal for the 1st time for someone, too stressful!)  I had some extra quinoa already cooked up, so I didn’t cook the quinoa in the coconut milk.  Regardless it still turned out amazing!  The parchment paper makes clean-up easy and it only takes 15 minutes to bake – too easy NOT to cook a dinner like this at home.  

http://acozykitchen.com/halibut-in-a-papillote/ 

That's A Keeper 3 - Halibut en Papillote.jpg

Dessert:  Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles

Chocolate and peanut butter.  Peanut butter and chocolate.  Yeah, they just go together.  They really really do.  This recipe made quite a few, so I even shared.  And these are not just I think they’re “keepers” good these were everyone’s “keepers” good.  Yeah, that good.  So make them.  Share them.  I bought the crisped rice cereal in an individual container, no need for a whole box that’ll go to waste.  And that way I can have some always on hand and not be stale when I need it.  I must now go look for another of her truffle recipes to try. 

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/12/crispy-chocolate-peanut-butter-cookie-dough-truffles/

That's A Keeper 3 - Peanut Butter Truffles .jpg

So there you have it – a few more recipes that have recently made it into my “keepers”.  I hope you see a recipe or two that you might like to try.  I currently have a stack of recipes that are just waiting to be made.  So I’m off to cook and look for more “keepers” of my own.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a new folder soon to hold all of these “keepers”!