Archive | February, 2012
20 Feb

We  journeyed to my parents house up in Charleston, Illinois over the weekend.  It was wonderful to spend time with my sisters, Mom and Dad and most of all, my 5 month old niece, Madigan!

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My Sweet, Sweet Valentine

16 Feb

My Valentine is a much better human than I.  My Valentine is always considering others before himself and turning the other cheek when he is treated unjustly.  He’s incredibly forgiving and when you think you’ve lost your way, he’s there to remind you what road you’re on and where the closest stream is for a cool drink and place to rest.  My Valentine is sexy.  He’s strong and handsome.  He’s got the best 5 o’clock shadow that frames his full Spaniard lips.  I used to dream of marrying a man tall, dark and handsome.  Now I get to fall asleep next to him every night and drink coffee with him every morning while I hear about his dreams.  He wrote a song once about a dream he had – click here for a listen.

Every Valentines Day for the past 6 years my Valentine has worked delivering flowers for A Village Of Flowers in Hillsboro Village.

Imagine heading up a team of 6 drivers driving 6 vans and delivering nearly 300 orders.  To bring things into perspective, a typical day involves around 20 deliveries.  He got home Tuesday night and was completely worn out.  But not too worn out that he forgot to bring home a perfect arrangement for his wife.

We sat down to a candlelit dinner of Raw Swiss Chard Wraps and spicy chips while the fireplace roared and episode 6, season 2 of Downton Abbey played.

Perfect Valentines Day.  Perfect Valentine.

This week’s recipes

9 Feb

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Watching Julie & Julia this evening – sigh..  Paris, cooking, blogging, Julia, the French language…”Bon Appetit!”

My mom and I used to take naps on the couch with Julia Child francaise-ing on the TV.  I was in morning preschool and after all the playing, coloring, and parachute games a 3 year old could take in a day, she would pick me up, make me lunch and we’d relax on the couch together as Julia taught me how to cook.  I was very young, I know, but my love for food started then- thanks to Julia.

I have planned our meals for the week while watching.  We are trying to eat more raw foods every day so each morning I have been making smoothies with some combination of the following:  frozen raspberries and/or blueberries, a banana, spinach, oranges, the juice of 1 lemon, mango, avocado, goji berries, chia seeds, and always ice & coconut water as the base.  We’re feeling better about life because of it.

Usually I plan 5 meals for a week and then scrounge the other 2 from what’s left in the pantry or we cave in and go out to eat (Thank you, Smiling Elephant, for always welcoming us with the lovely sweet and savory Tom Kha Gai.)  We’re trying to be on a budget however, buying all organic, free-range, grass-fed,  dairy-free and doing our best do be gluten-free (Micah seems to have an allergy to the glutes and dairies) makes it very difficult.

Here’s the plan for this week!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Butternut Squash Lasagna  –  the butternut squash gives it that creamy texture you want between the layers of pasta.  I’ll add lots of spinach and probably some Italian Turkey Sausage from the meat counter at WF- love that stuff.  Skip the tomato sauce – too predictable- insert a dash of olive oil on top of each slice.

Raw Swiss Chard Wraps with Lime – this one’s vegetarian (too obvious to state?) I’ll fill the leafs of Swiss Chard with diced jicama, cucumber, avocado, red bell pepper, lots of cilantro and a squeeze of lime on the side.  Micah can’t eat something vaguely Mexican without a tortilla chip nearby.  So, I’ll go with the spicy blue organic ones by Garden Of Eden.  We tried them last week and LOVE.  Just like the chips I snacked on as a kid but not powdered with MSG.

Pad Thai – Pad Thai noodles are great!  No cooking required; just a quick soak in some warm water does the trick.  Oh, actually, this isn’t Pad Thai, per se, because I don’t like cooking with fish sauce.  I have some in the pantry that I must get rid of – anyone want it? This dish has more of a peanut/coconut sauce – very yummy.  In a medium pot, combine a can of coconut milk, some peanut butter (I have almond butter in the fridge that I’ll use) and some Hoisin Sauce.  Cook that up for a bit.  Add some oil to your saute pan and crack in there a couple eggs – make sure it’s good and hot before you do – mix it up. Toss in some bell peppers & scallions cook just a bit and then add the sauce, noodles and fresh cilantro.   Top with crushed peanuts and maybe some red pepper flakes if you like some spice.

Mango Chicken Salad – I don’t like hot chicken on my salads.  Must be room temp or cooler for me, please.  So, I’ll probably cook up my chicken during my lunch break from work when I go home to let my dog out.  The salad is simple: just fresh baby spinach, matchstick jicama, bell pepper, cilantro, scallions, mango (I had one last week that was perfect- huh, it’s February!) and apple.  Whip up a little homemade vinaigrette – some mild olive oil, balsamic, a squeeze of mustard- wisk & done.  Yum.

Crockpot Mexican Cilantro Soup – The crockpot!  If you don’t have one, you must rush to Target and get one.  Or, get married sometime soon so you can register & be gifted one.  5 minutes of work, 4-8 hours of cooking and voila! Dinner.  In your crock, add a chicken breast (even frozen works just fine) a box of  chicken broth,  drained & rinsed black beans, chopped red pepper, diced onion and frozen corn.  Before you seal it up for the day, throw in some garlic powder (fresh is great, too), cumin, salt and pepper.  When you get home from work,  add fresh cilantro & give it a quick stir.  Dish into bowls and top with sliced avocado & scallions.

Maybe I’ll take some pics this week while I’m cooking.  I’m no professional photographer – but I’ll do the best I can with my trusty iphone 4S.

Goodnight world!  It’s way past my bedtime!