Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Avocado Chicken Salad

 I've had this recipe from Natasha's Kitchen tucked away to make this summer, once corn is in season.  The other day I was shopping at Aldi's and they have sweet corn (on the cob) and thought why wait for summer.  The corn was actually good and combined with so many other great flavors and textures, this salad was delicious.   I'll be making this again soon because it's too good to wait until corn season!

Slightly adapted from Natasha's Kitchen 
Salad Ingredients:
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cup corn from 2 cooked corn on the cobs
  • 2  boiled eggs, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4 strips bacon cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
Lemon Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
1.  In a large bowl place (cooled) cooked chopped chicken breasts. 
2.  Peel and pit avocados, slice into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
3.  Add (cooled) corn, boiled eggs, chopped bacon and green onions.
4.  Add dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle over your salad and lightly toss to combine. * If making ahead, Cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly over the surface of the salad (keeping the air out will prevent the avocados from browning) and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Serves 6 side salads or 4 main dish salads
*Easily halved to make 2 servings as the salad doesn't store well for leftovers.

This is another favorite avocado recipe from Natasha's Kitchen

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Daily Burn

This was the first January in a long time that I didn't have a new years resolution to exercise more because for the last year I've exercised 5-7 days a week.  What has motivated me through the year is my husband Kevin.  Once he decided to take better care of his health and get in shape, it helped me so much as we now work out together.

I've always exercised but walking was my exercise of choice.  Kevin loved running until a few years ago when his knees started to hurt.  He started an online exercise group and was doing it daily while I was still walking on our treadmill.  He would always suggest I join him.  "No thanks" was my reply, I was just fine walking off my calories.  After 3 months of Kevin saying how much he loved his new exercise routine, his weight loss of 15 pounds and how good he felt, I decided I would give it a try.  I tried it and I fell in love!  Love is a strong word about exercise but I'm loving how I feel with more energy and strength.  I also took off a few pounds!  The name of the online exercise group in called Daily Burn 365.

Daily Burn is a 30 minute workouts each day.  It airs live at 9:00 am Eastern Time.  So for us, central time, we usually work out at 7:00 am so we do the recorded show the day before.  So whenever you like to exercise, you can, there is an episode ready 24 hours a day.

Each day is a different trainer with a different full body workout.  All you need is a yoga mat.  Sometimes, there are exercises where you can use weights but only if you want.  Kevin will use weights but I don't.  The workouts are hard enough for me!  I'll admit, I have my favorite trainers but what I like is each trainer has their own spin and I'm never bored.

The workouts are designed for everyone.  If you're starting out there are modification to met you at your fitness level.  After a year of doing Daily Burn, I've come a long way but I still do the modifications.  It has helped me move better, feel better, have better balance and feel stronger.

What I personally love about Daily Burn is I can exercise in the privacy of my home.  I've never enjoyed going to a gym, exercising in front of people is not my thing.  Last February, we were in New York City where the Daily Burn Studio is, and Kevin got to work out live.  They encourage members to come to the studio and work out.  I watched from behind the cameras (like I said, exercising in front of people and cameras, no thanks)!  I'm uncoordinated and when the trainer is going right I'm usually going left.  We had a lot fun meeting everyone, Kevin working out live and me, so proud of him, watching behind the scenes.

A 30 day free trial is available to try and see if it's for you.  The basic subscription cost $14.95/month.  You access Daily Burn with WiFi and can be streamed to your TV, computer, and ipod.  Daily Burn has been such a positive in my life I just have to share, check it out here.

Daily Burn Studio in NYC.  Kevin's in back with the orange shirt.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

When I'm grilling (lemon pepper) salmon for dinner, this has been my go to salad.  While salmon is grilling, I whip up this salad and dinner can be on the table in 15 minutes.  To top it off, it's healthy!

I've made this salad several times with different tomatoes I've gotten at the farmers market.  The fresh garden tomatoes are what makes this salad so good.  Tomato season is at it's end but when grocery store tomatoes will have to do, it's still a great healthy side salad.

I've only made this for my husband and I so I haven't followed the full recipe.  I just cut up enough ingredients for the two of us then drizzled with olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkled with some salt and pepper.  It's that easy!

cucumber, avocado, tomato, red onion cilantro, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

Go here for the full recipe:  Natasha's Kitchen 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Forequarter Restaurant, Madison Wisconsin

I love going out for Sunday brunch after church and this place is my new favorite.  When I go out for breakfast food, I want something special, something different, something I wouldn't make at home.  Well, Forequarter met all my expectations for a perfect brunch!

Sitting outside on this beautiful Sunday morning sipping their spicy Bloody Mary was a great way to start out brunch.
Their menu changes a little bit everyday.  My husband and I decided to share as we wanted to try a few different dishes.  Since tomatoes are at their peak we started with sourdough toast with homemade ricotta, heirloom tomato and basil.  So simple but so delicious!
Oh my gosh, these potatoes were so good!  Crispy fried new potatoes dolloped with smoked pepper aioli and pickled mustard seeds.  

We were really glad we shared, the potatoes almost filled us up.  Almost, but we manage to have enough room for the main course.  This dish was exceptional in preparation and presentation!  The hanger steak was so tender, the poached eggs were perfectly cooked, and the pickled green tomato salsa was a tasty addition.

We left happy a so very full but worth every bite.

Madison, WI 53703
(608) 609-4717

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mini Cranberry Orange Scones

I used to work at my cousin's coffee shop and she was the baker of the most delicious scones.  I no longer work or live close by so I don't get to enjoy her scones very often.  The scones that I've tried at our local coffee shops always fall short, they're dry and not flavorful.  So, I set out to find a scone recipe that was flavorful, tender and would freeze well.  Well, this recipe is all that and easy to make.  I also like that right out of the freezer they take about 15 minutes to thaw and are ready to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

This recipe is slightly adapted from the wonderful blog, Pinch My Salt.
What makes this recipe quick and easy is using a food processor.
Make sure your butter is well chilled.

Pulse in the butter only until it's mixed in but still pea-sized clumps.

Dough will be sticky but turn out onto floured surface and use floured hand to knead into two 6 inch circles.

If you like a less sweet scone, these are great as is but for me I'll always go for the glaze!

Baked to perfection!

The glaze is thin and will dry and set so you'll be able to stack them in a container without them sticking together.

If you used a large orange like I did, you'll get to enjoy the extra fresh orange juice after you're all done.

After the glaze dries and sets you can stack them in a container to eat later or freeze them.  I do like to put parchment or wax paper between the layers when frozen so they won't stick together.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt *see note
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup half and half
zest of one orange, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces and well chilled *see note
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice (from the zested orange)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest (reserved from above)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
2. In a food processor, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar by pulsing a few times.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, half and half, and most of the orange zest (reserve about 1/2 teaspoon for the glaze); set aside.
4. Add cold butter pieces into the flour mixture and pulse 6-8 times, you want the butter to be pea-sized clumps within.
5. Add the cranberries and the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and pulse until the mixture starts to clumps together. Dump mixture out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice. If it’s quite sticky, just sprinkle a little extra flour on the counter and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking. Cut dough into two equal pieces and pat each into a 6 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut each circle like a pie into 8 slices. Arrange scones on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely before dipping in the glaze.
In a small bowl that is wide enough to dip a scone, combine 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons orange juice and the reserved orange zest. Whisk until smooth.  Put some waxed paper or foil underneath the cooling rack to catch dripping glaze. Dip tops of the scones in the glaze and place them (glaze side up) on the cooling rack. Once glaze is dry, scones can be stored in a container or freezer. If not eaten the day they are made, put them in the freezer.  Right out of the freezer they will thaw in about 15 minutes.
*  Sometimes I don't have unsalted butter so I'll use regular salted butter and just add a pinch of salt instead of 1/2 teaspoon.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Garlic and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops

I really don't care for lamb but my husband loves it so I thought I would give this recipe a try.  Boy, was I surprised as we both loved these chops!  Perfectly cooked (3-4 minutes per side), pink in the center, so flavorful and no gamey taste.
 This recipe comes from Natasha's Kitchen.  I'm not going to post the recipe here because her recipe is perfect as is.  The only change I made was I strained the sauce before pouring it on the chops.  Also, I'd like you to check out her blog, it's one of my favorites.  So, if you want to make this delicious recipe go to Natasha's Kitchen for this easy to follow recipe and video.

*after searing lamb chops, I wipe out the cast iron pan with paper towel as the brown bits seem too burndt.  I then add my broth and butter.  This way the sauce doesn't have the burnt taste.