Since The Hubs and I started living the pescatarian lifestyle earlier this year, we’ve been experimenting with of new foods. I’ve learned all about vegetarian meat AKA mock meats — foods make to look like various meats, but made from soy, gluten, eggs, veggies or a combo of those ingredients — and that kale is the new spinach! Most recently I learned about the many health benefits of coconut oil and flax seeds to a persons daily diet, courtesy of a care package from Carrington Farms for #AllGoodApril month.
My favorite cooking appliance isn’t in my kitchen, it’s right outside, literally. It’s my gas grill! I love cooking meals on the grill and use it all year-long — in rain or shine, snow or sleet, as long as there is a clear path leading to the gill, I cook on it. It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I started to plank grill.
Grilling with a plank is a lot like using a pan, except the plank has the ability to produce smoke. This method is great because it provides a stable surface to grill your food on while at the same time infusing it tons of flavor. It’s also healthier than traditional grilling, as dishes remain juicier and require less added fat and salt for flavor.
So when Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks by Dina Guillen showed up at the house, I was excited. Up until that point I’d just been pulling plank grilling recipes off the internet, not realizing there were whole cookbooks devoted to this cooking method. Plank Grilling – 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks is the perfect cookbook for a grill plank beginner or even an intermediate planker like myself. Continue reading ⇒
Most weeknights The Hubs and I don’t get home until after 6:30 pm from work. Once we do get home we try to spend as much time as possible hanging out with the kidlets before they go to bed. That means we play board games, build LEGOs, play with Super Heroes/Disney Princesses, read books or if it’s Wednesday night, give the kidlets baths! By the time 8 pm rolls around the kidlets are safely snuggled into bed and The Hubs and I are starving! But who wants to start cooking a meal at 8 pm to eat at 9 pm and then go to bed not too long after? Not this gal – so lately I’ve been making extra meals/dishes on Sundays that we can just re-heat during the week.
One of my current favorites is making quiche. This might be a little rudimentary, but I have had people ask me what it is — a quiche is an open-faced pastry crust with a savory filling thickened with eggs. I like quiches because they are so versatile. You can fill them with just about anything you have in the fridge — cheese, meat, seafood or vegetables — and you can serve it either hot or cold. They are the perfect meal to make in advance, store in either the fridge or freezer and pop out when needed.
This year The Hubs and I jointly made a resolution and that was to take better care of ourselves. For us that meant making a big lifestyle decision. On Jan 1 we adopted a pescatarian diet. That means that we abstain from eating all meat – beef, chicken and pork. We are not vegetarians since we eat fish, eggs and dairy as well as fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts and grains. I guess it’s comparable to a what some people call a Mediterranean Diet.
As I write this, I haven’t had meat in 14 days and surprised at how easy the transition has been. I’ll be honest, I did have a craving about seven days ago at work to eat in a big juicy cheeseburger at lunch but instead opted for a cup of vegetarian soup and a spinach salad tossed with hard-boiled eggs. Yay for me! I’m proud of myself for not giving in to my craving. I haven’t missed meat since.
So with our new pescatarian lifestyle, I’ve been experimenting with a number of fish recipes/dishes. This week I tried my hand at Manhattan Clam Chowder and I have to say it was a tremendous success!
I received the Wilton Armetale Flutes & Pearls Rectangular Tray for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.
I’ve always loved to cook and entertain. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family dinner, holiday gathering, birthday party or a backyard cook out, I’m truly in my element when I’m feeding others. Maybe it’s because I’m Italian, maybe it’s because I’m a mom or maybe it’s just because I love food, that I love to cook and share it with others!
Now as much as my food has to smell and taste good, it also has to look good when it’s brought to the table and served. We all eat with our eyes first – which is why I have a variety of platters, trays and bowls to help create a great presentation for my meals. The newest addition to my serve wear collection is this gorgeous Wilton Armetale® Flutes & Pearls Rectangular Tray.
Ever since I got my kitchen back in mid-September, after a nightmarish six-week reno, I’ve cooked dinner pretty much every night. I love coming home after work and cooking in my new kitchen whether I’m whipping up the simplest of dishes – spaghetti & meatballs – or more challenging ones – seared scallops in herb butter sauce with roasted seasonal veggies. Since the new kitchen my cooking mojo has kicked back in and I’ve been inspired me to try new foods and to create new recipes.
My latest food obsession is Shirataki noodles! If you haven’t heard of these noodles, they are a healthy and amazing pasta alternative. Shirataki noodles are low carb, low-fat, low-calorie and wheat, gluten and dairy free pasta alternative. They’re made from blending Continue reading ⇒
This month for my #Shakleeblogger healthy lifestyle update I’m going to share some of my favorite healthy summer salads. Now, I’ve never been a big salad person, regardless if it’s a main course or as a side dish. However, I tend to favor them when summer rolls around. Eating summer salads are my way to beat the heat and a way to get some incredibly tasting produce, such as sweet corn, summer squash, green beans, eggplant and of course, juicy tomatoes into my daily diet. I even go all out and whisk up my own salad dressing from scratch, using the fresh and vibrant herbs from my garden.
My local farmers market in River Vale, NJ
I really love the farm-to-table movement and the summer months are abundant with local farmers markets in NJ. It’s not unusual for me to visit two or three a week to check out and pick up a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit (strawberries and blueberries are in season in the Northeast now!), eggs and even cheese. Some farmers markets even sell fresh poultry or beef – but I haven’t done that yet.
I love a good party. It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m the host or just a guest at one. I mean, who doesn’t like celebrating with friends and indulging in some yummy food! When The Hubs & I lived in our old house BC (before children) we had a BBQ and pool in our backyard. It seemed like we had a “party” every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day for the five years we lived there. We’ve been in our “new” house now for nearly four years and I can count the number of parties we’ve had here on one hand.
It was like two brains (or more accurately our stomachs!) that were thinking alike last week. My cooking-partner in crime Cristina over at Central Jersey Working Moms posted on her Facebook fan page some crock post recipes she found on Real Simple magazine that she was itching to try. On that very same day I was trying out this crock pot recipe for pot roast…..and the two of us decided to bring back our Thursday Crock Pot Buddies Recipe Hop for the winter season!
When my son was two, that Christmas the Hubs and I got him this great wooden kitchen from Little Tykes. He loved playing with the pots and pans and liked stocking his pantry with old empty (and cleaned out) containers of milk, eggs and butter. He would make and bring me crazy play sandwiches that had ham, cheese, pickles, eggs, bacon, tomatoes and hamburger patties on toast or some type of soup concoction that he said was made up of dinosaurs. He played with his little kitchen everyday for a good six months until he dropped his apron and picked up the checkered flag for anything Lightning McQueen, Monster Jam Trucks and Hot Wheels-related. Sadly, I thought his cooking days were over.