Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chicken Soup for a Cold Winter Night

It is finally getting chilly (in the mornings and evenings anyway) and I am taking advantage of the weather by making homemade soups. I love cooking. It is such a healing outlet for me after a draining day at work. And when our meal turns out as amazing as this soup was...well, that just adds to the experience and keeps me coming back for more!

Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Mushrooms
(from the January/February addition of the Clean Eating magazine)

-10 cups of low-sodium chicken stock (you can also use broth which is what the original recipe called for; however, I happened to have chicken stock and it makes a more flavorful soup)
-1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into half-moons.
-1 10oz bunch of kale tough stems removed and leaves coarsely torn (they are on sale at Publix for $1 a bag!)
-8 oz cremini mushrooms (aka Baby Bellas)
-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 cup grated low-fat Parmesan cheese (I omitted this and let my husband add it to his bowl as I am allergic to cheese. Mine was just as delicious so feel free to skip the cheese if you'd prefer.)
-Additional black pepper

In a medium stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and simmer until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add kale and mushrooms and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add chicken and pepper and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Ladle into serving bowls and top with black pepper and Parmesan cheese if desired.

(297 Calories per 2-cup serving)

In case you were wondering, kale is an amazing green food! This was actually the first time I've eaten or cooked with kale. I had my reservations, but was pleasantly surprised. We liked it so much that the following morning I made veggie omelets with- you guessed it- KALE! So don't be afraid to go out on a limb with your meals. You might just find a new favorite.

<3 K.E.

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Easy Pre-Christmas Dinner

I don't want to "over post" this season, but I'm so very excited about all the amazing foods that come with celebrating Christmas! Every party brings another chance to try different recipes and to find new go-to meals, snacks, or desserts for my family.

Last night we had an amazing roast. Whole Foods was having a ridiculous sale last week- $1.99/lb for beef chuck shoulder roast. I had no idea what that was or how to prepare it, but, being a newlywed on a budget, the price was enough to sell me! After a few Google searches, I found a recipe that looked fairly easy and similar to one I've been making for top sirloin steak (I'll have to blog that one with photos next time I make it!). Here is the recipe I found on

Roasted Beef Chuck Shoulder Roast

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1.5 lb beef chuck shoulder roast

Step 1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 2- Rinse roast and pat dry.
Step 3- Combine first three ingredients and rub onto roast.
Step 4- Cook roast in oven for about an hour and a half until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F or less depending on how done you prefer (Just ensure it reaches at least 40 degrees F- rare for beef). Ours reached 160 degrees F and was still a little pink in the middle, leaving it tender and moist.

This was one of the easiest meals I've made- I threw the roast into the oven with two potatoes and an hour and a half later dinner was served! It would have ideal to add a mixed greens salad, but we opted to just feast on meat and potatoes last night. ;)

A 1.5 lb roast made enough for two meals for my husband and myself- and we had very generous portions for dinner. If you need a larger roast, depending on the size, don't increase the rub recipe- it should cover a larger roast easily as I had some left over from our small roast.

<3 K.E.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pumpkin spice and twinkling lights...

At the suggestion of a dear friend of mine, I am starting a blog to chronicle my life...but mostly, to chronicle my food life. You see, I am a food lover. A passionate, slightly obsessed food lover. And therefore, I needed an outlet to share that obsession with all of you- and voila! This blog was born.

My latest obsession is all things kitchen.  Since our wedding, and subsequently using gift cards from the wedding, I now have a completely stocked, AH-mazing, kitchen.  Pair that with my long-time romance with healthy food and you end up with a a food-crazy woman baking and cooking "clean" all the time. I'm just lucky my husband enjoys eating healthy, clean foods too!
This morning, I'm in a Christmas-y, pumpkin spice kind of mood...I think it might be because I made Christmas cookies last night, we decorated our Christmas tree, and this morning I enjoyed a bowl of Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Goodness (I changed the name...sounds much better than "Pumpkin Oatmeal Casserole" doesn't it?).  Because this breakfast was oh-so-amazing and so very suited to the holidays, I thought I would share it with you all.
Merry Christmas!!!

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Goodness

4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup prepared pumpkin
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, no sugar added
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup golden raisins

Step 1- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 2- In a 9x13 casserole dish, blend together the almond milk, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, honey, and vanilla. Stir gently until completely combined.
Step 3- Add the oats, pecans, cranberries, and raisins. Stir briefly to combine.
Step 4- Bake for 45 minutes or until the casserole is soft and cooked through. (It may be slightly runny if you don't mix the liquid ingredients into the oats completely. If that happens, just stir before serving!)
I prepared the dish last night and just re-combined and baked it this morning for an easy, delicious breakfast.  You can also leave out certain ingredients if you don't have them on hand or if you just don't like them- the cranberries, pecans, or raisins.  I don't recommend leaving out all three though because they add so much to the texture!  And for those of you who have never eaten steel cut oats- they are so much better than rolled oats (the 'old fashioned' oatmeal we grew up with)!!  They have a nuttier, chewier texture.  I hated oatmeal until I started eating steel cut oats.  And you can find them at Publix if you aren't a Whole Foods shopper. Enjoy! :)

<3 K.E.