Category Archives: Easy

Roasted brussels sprouts unplugged

 

Roasted brussels sprouts

The one vegetable I couldn’t get my hubby to eat was brussels sprouts.  No matter how hard I tried, he refused!  Then I went to Costa Rica and left him alone for 4 weeks…I bet you can already guess his new favorite vegetable.  Thats right, brussels sprouts.  To be more precise, roasted brussels sprouts with loads of garlic!  When I asked what inspired him to purchase brussels sprouts at the store, he said he was buying every other vegetable available, so why not give the dreaded sprout another try?  Yep, it brings happy tears to my eyes to know that when he had the option he choose loads of vegetables (even one that he didn’t think he liked!) over the trashy junk he could have easily purchased to fill his belly while I was away (french fries, tator tots, chips, etc.), HE CHOSE VEGGIES!   So below is the recipe that he made many times during that long month and what changed his mind about this super veg!
Before I share the recipe, I am going to quickly talk about the health benefits of eating this super fab veg!  Brussels sprouts are from the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards and kohlrabi.  They are a cruciferous vegetable with lots of fiber, so be prepared for a little extra gas production.  They are high in vitamins A and C–a couple of our favorite antioxidants!  It also provides high levels of indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which boost DNA repair in cells and may block the growth of cancer cells.  Sound like something you should be eating?  Give this recipe a try!   The roasted sprouts are not just healthful, they are delicious!  I have already made them 5 times in the short time I have been home.  They are so good, I even made them as an hors d’oeuvres for a happy hour I hosted last week and they were a HIT!

Roasted brussels sprouts unplugged

  • 1 # stemless brussels sprouts, cleaned
  • 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • sprinkle of salt
  • dash of crushed black pepper
  • dash of cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 t powdered dried onion (or more)
  • 1/4 t sweet spanish paprika
  • 1 T Avocado oil (or a good cooking oil)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Throw all ingredients in a ziplock bag.  Shake to coat the sprouts with the oil, garlic and dry ingredients.

Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Stir once or twice to be sure all sides are nicely browned.

Eat and enjoy!

 

Lemon and thyme quinoa with shrimp

Light and bright quinoa with veggies and shrimp!

Take a look at the picture of our dinner from last night.  Each and every bite was fresh, light, full of flavor and great nutrition–it was so good, I can’t stop thinking about it!  The only disappointment is the fact that there are no leftovers!  Give it a try so you can see (taste) exactly what I am talking about!  ENJOY!

Lemon and thyme quinoa with shrimp

3-4 Servings

  • 1 c quinoa
  • 1/4 t sea or kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1/2 # shrimp, uncooked–this can be fresh or frozen
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 # asparagus, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c spinach
  • 1 + T EVOO
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • splash of dry white wine
  • 1 t dried chives or 1 T fresh chives
  • 1 t dried parsley or 1 T fresh parsley

In a medium pot, add quinoa, salt, 1/4 t pepper, chipotle pepper flakes, 1/2 t dried or 1/2 T fresh thyme, 1/2 t dried or 1/2 T fresh chives, 1/2 t lemon zest and water, stir well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.  The quinoa is fully cooked when the grains are al dente.

In a medium sauce pan add 1/2 of the oil and 1/4 t chipotle pepper flakes and warm over medium-low heat.  Add the bell pepper, asparagus, and the remainder of the chives and cook until the vegetables are al dente, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for about a minute, do not brown, just soften the garlic.  Add the shrimp, broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/4 t black pepper, parsley, the rest of the thyme, and splash of wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked veggies and the spinach to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring to wilt the spinach, warm the veggies, and coat them with the sauce.  If your shrimp was frozen when you added it to the pan, make sure that they are fully cooked (opaque and pink), then strain the veggies and shrimp, removing them from the pan, until all that remains is the liquid.  Set the veggies and shrimp aside.  Turn up the heat to medium-high and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes to concentrate the sauce.  Taste the sauce and if needed, adjust the seasonings to best suit your palate–you will want a strong flavor since you add very little to the dish.  Remove from heat.

Put a big scoop quinoa in a bowl for serving.  Add a generous helping of the veg/shrimp mix and pour 2-3 T sauce over the top.  Serve with a pinch of parsley and/or chives on top.  Wash it down with a nice and light white wine, like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citrus meets fish

Cod with orange zest, tomatoes, and red onion. YOU MUST TRY IT!

Oranges are in season now and WOWZA are they sweet and juicy! I bought a big bag at the store the other day and have been adding them to just about everything coming out of my kitchen–smoothies, salads, sauces, and desserts. Last night I decided to try using one in our main dish. I dolled up a boring piece of cod with orange zest and boy was it good. Check out this 488 original and let me know what you think about citrus meeting fish!
Bon Appetit!

Citrus meets fish

Servings:  2

  • 2 cod steaks (fillets)
  • 1/2 t sweet paprika
  • 1/2 t kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/4 t ground chipotle pepper flakes
  • 4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • juice and zest from 1/2 orange
  • 1-2 t butter, melted
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional), just a sprinkle.  You may sub a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for the parm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the first 4 dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Set aside.

Pat the fish fillets dry with a paper towel.

Put the diced red onion in a roasting pan so it will set directly under the cod fillets.  Place the cod fillets on the onion.  Sprinkle fresh orange juice on top of the fish.  Melt the butter and brush each fillet with butter.  Sprinkle the dry ingredient mix evenly over the 2 fillets and do the same with the orange zest.  Place the tomato slices on top of the fish to cover the entire surface of the fish.  Add a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast to the top of the tomatoes.

Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the cod.  Turn the oven up to broil and cook for another minute or two, just enough to lightly brown the top of the fish and cheese.

Serve immediately and ENJOY!

 

 

Quinoa bean salad

Have you ever heard the saying that “Love isn’t easy.  Especially the really good kind.”?  Thank you Nicole Williams, but I respectfully disagree! This quinoa salad is probably the most delicious and healthful salad that I have ever made.  Let me tell you, that I fell for it–hard and fast!  Even my hubby fell in love with this one, nearly licking every last grain of quinoa from his bowl!  Why is it so good, you ask?  I guess it is the crazy good mix of ingredients with color, flavor, and interesting texture.  Not sold yet, keep reading for more reasons to enjoy this big salad.  This one dish can be the salad AND main course for your next meal–all in one (big) bowl, for easy kitchen prep and cleanup!  The protein and fiber from the beans and quinoa are super filling, so you will leave the table completely satisfied!  Plus, the ridiculous number of micronutrients it provides will help fuel your body to fight disease and clear out unwanted toxins!  Again, all in one big, satisfying bowl!  Can you feel your heart soften?  Not yet?  Well then, I guess you will just have to make it yourself and see how easy it is to fall in love with this gorgeous grain salad.

Isn’t this salad gorgeous?

 

Quinoa bean salad Servings:  2-4, depending if served as a main course or a side

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • generous dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 t dried basil, or more to taste
  • chipotle pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 t (or more) dehydrated onion
  • 1/2 c chopped black olives, chopped or sliced
  • 3-4 c grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 can drained and rinsed great northern white beans
  • 1 can drained black beans
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2-3 T basalmic vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil (I used tuscan flavored oil)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t lemon zest, or more to taste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 c spinach
  • 1 c arugula
  • lots of freshly ground pepper

Bring the first 6 ingredients plus 1/2 t lemon zest to a boil in a medium sized pot.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the quinoa is al dente.  Remove from heat to cool to room temperature. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing together the basalmic, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.  Add a generous dash of salt, pepper, and hot pepper, to taste.  Set aside. In a food processor, chop the spinach and arugula into small pieces.  Set aside. In a big bowl, mix the tomatoes, black olives, red onion, 1/2 t lemon zest, and the dressing until well combined.  When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add it to the veggie mix.  Then add the spinach/arugula mix to the bowl and stir until well combined.  Serve immediately or it may be refrigerated and served cold.  No garnish is necessary, but a sprinkle of lemon zest and/or a generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper is nice! Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

Deconstructed Nachos

I know I promised you some of my favorite recipes from my stay at Anamaya Resort in Montezuma, and they will come.  Today though, I am sharing a recipe from my week with my hubby in Ojochal, Costa Rica.  Ojochal is a beautiful, small village on the Pacific coast, known for its  unspoiled beaches AND fabulous restaurants!  Once we were settled into our house, we conducted an extensive (ok, maybe about 10 minutes!) google search to narrow down our dining choices to only the very best-of-the-best, for our short week-long visit.  Through our search, we discovered a small, quaint place, Adelante, for a casual afternoon snack and drink.  It had a cool, comfortable atmosphere, with a great deck, a good beer list, and really spectacular and relatively healthful munchies.

Their deconstructed nachos were absolutely phenomenal and the presentation was simple and so stylish!  A couple of nights ago I decided to give them a try here at home.  Great idea!  They were so easy and we loved every bite.
Yes, they are just nachos, so you can use whatever toppings you like.  We prefer a meatless, minimal cheese nacho so that is exactly what I made.  What makes these nachos really special is the presentation, so make them fit your style!  Here is a picture of what I created.  Do you like my style??

Is your mouth watering like mine??

Deconstructed Nachos

Servings:  as many as you like!

  • corn tortillas, use a pizza cutter to cut into 4 pieces/tortilla
  • sea salt
  • pam cooking spray or oil
  • cheese of your choice.  I used shredded cheddar mix (very minimal) on these, but I think a thin slice of pepper jack, goat, or a high quality mozzarella would be great!
  • cherry or grape tomatoes, cut into thin slices
  • black olives, cut in half
  • ripe avocado
  • ripe mango, cut into very thin and small slices
  • salsa
  • lime, cut into wedges
  • jalapeno, thinly sliced (not pictured)
  • cilantro, chopped (not pictured)

Preheat the oven to around 400 degrees F.  Use convection if your oven has that feature.

Slice your tortillas into quarters, place them on a cookie sheet.  Spray them with cooking spray or use a brush to add a very light oil to the top.  Sprinkle with a light dusting of finely ground (powdered) sea salt.  Bake until golden brown (about 10 minutes in my oven).  You may need to turn the cookie sheet to make sure the pieces are cooking evenly.  When they are just starting to brown pull them out of the oven and add the cheese.  Bake for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the chips are nice and crispy.

While the tortillas are cooking prep the other toppings.  Cut the tomatoes and jalapenos into thin slices and mangoes into thin and small pieces.  Dice the onion.  Slice the olives in half and fill them with your favorite salsa.

Make the guacamole according to your favorite recipe.  I like my guac very simple.  Here is what I usually do:  mash the avocado with a big squeeze of lime, a generous sprinkle of sea salt, chipotle pepper flakes, and cumin.  Add diced red onion.  Mix well.

Build the nachos!  Take a look at my picture to build like I did.  I had two different nachos.   1.  guac, tomato, olive 2.  guac, mango.  I wish I would have had fresh jalapenos and cilantro to add to the festive dish, but no such luck!  Instead, I sprinkled a mix of ground chipotle pepper and cumin over the top and garnished the plate with a lime.  I served them with fresh salsa and a big mug of Matilda!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

Totally nutty bar

Last week I was out shopping and suddenly became ravenous.  In all fairness to me, I actually wasn’t hungry when I went out (I am smart enough to know THAT is a BIG mistake), but I was shopping for yoga gear, which as any yogi knows, takes a lot of time.  Needless to say, I was out a little (ahem) longer than I had expected.

Anyway, my belly was SUPER hungry as I was headed for the checkout.   Thankfully that was where I stumbled upon these awesome bars.  I fell in love immediately and for about 2 bucks a bar, I felt pretty darn good about my last-minute, belly-driven purchase.  In fact, I felt so good about that bar I decided that I would try to recreate something similar at home.

To google I went.  I found so many gluten-free bar options, I thought my head would spin!  I finally settled on this recipe from cavewomancafe.com, mainly because I had all of the ingredients and it sounded fairly easy to make.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, using almond flour for the nut flour, a little less salt and oil, and adding pistachios and extra almond butter to the toasted nut mix.  I whipped it together in a handful of minutes and was getting ready to stick them in the fridge when I decided to sneak a nibble of the batter.  It was so good I had to run a couple of big bites to Andy.  It was pure torture waiting the hour the recipe called for to taste and photograph the final product!!  I am happy to report, it was well worth the wait and so much better and cheaper than my impulse purchase last week (still, no regrets though)!

I hope you enjoy this simple, delicious, and nutritious treat as much as we (speaking for you again, honey) did!

Totally nutty bar

  • 1 cup of whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup of pecans
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tsp of pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (use convection if you have it) and toast the nuts until they begin to brown– stirring occasionally. Watch them carefully, they’ll go from golden to black fast! Once they are toasted, toss them in the food processor or grinder, and give them a few pulses until they are small, coarse pieces (almost to a meal) and stir into the nut flour in a medium bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, warm up the coconut oil and almond butter for about 20 seconds, in the microwave and stir them together well. Add the honey, vanilla, and salt then mix until smooth and creamy. Fold the nut mix into the honey mix then add the dried fruit. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment and pat them down.  Put in the fridge for 1 hour or more till nice and solid. Cut into squares and try not to grunt when eating. Store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Roasted carrot and carmelized onion curry soup

Roasted carrot and carmelized onion curry soup

It has been wickedly cold here since I have been back from my extended trip to Central America.  It is a bit tough to take, but I must say, the bright white of the snow and ice has been a nice change from the Ozark winter brown that has dominated the landscape all winter.  Plus, nothing screams hot warm soup louder than trekking through a couple of inches of fresh powder, and you know how much I love a good soup!

This delicious soup is super easy and absolutely loaded with valuable nutrients that will keep your immune system going at full speed and ready to fight whatever is lurking out there in the cold.  You know, I was just thinking a couple of days ago that I NEVER get sick.  It has been YEARS, close to 10, maybe more, since I have had more than just a sniffle.  You may be thinking !SO WHAT!, but I bet you didn’t know that I am on a medication that keeps my white blood cells (the cells in the body that fight infection) at about 25% of what they normally should run.  Like to the point that I should probably be wearing a mask when I go out in public.  That my dear friends is the !SO WHAT! and what a diet full of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and vegetable proteins will do for you ability to fight disease.  If you have had your fill of the cold and flu then maybe it is time to think about how you are fueling your body and ultimately your immune system.  I can’t promise you won’t get sick, but I will promise that you will change your bodies chemistry and the way it responds to foreign invaders and other stressors!  Sound like a change you want to make?!  The recipes are right here–it is up to you to make it happen!  So, go for that smoothie loaded with antioxidants at breakfast, a big colorful salad at lunch and a simple, warm and satisfying soup like this at dinner and you will be off to a good start.

The beauty of this soup is that it is not only full of antioxidants and beta carotene from the carrots to strengthen your immunity, but it also has onions and garlic which are high in sulfur to help you detox, and turmeric and ginger which are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents.  Hippocrates – the father of medicine – stated, “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.” I say, “Let food prevent you from needing medicine and let preventative medicine be your food”!

Cheers to good health and living WELL, my friends!

Roasted carrot and carmelized onion soup

Servings 6

  • 6-8 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 +T Curry powder
  • 1 +T Garam Masala curry powder
  • 4-5 c vegetable stock
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated.  I use my zesting grater to do ginger.  I find it works much better than a regular grater.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 t dill
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • dash of kosher or sea salt, optional
  • splash of agave nectar, optional
  • green onions, chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a gallon size zip lock bag or lidded bowl put 1 T EVOO, 1/2 T curry powder and 1/2 T of the Garam Masala with the carrots.  Shake to coat the carrots well.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are roasted to a nice, light brown.

While the carrots are roasting, warm 1 T EVOO over medium/low in a medium saute pan.  Add the chopped onion, chipotle pepper flakes, and black pepper and cook until the onions begin to soften.  Add the garlic, dash of kosher or sea salt (optional) and splash of agave nectar (optional) and continue cooking until the onions begin to brown.

In a large stock pot, add the vegetable broth, grated ginger, dill, carmelized onion mix, roasted carrots, and the rest of the curry and garam masala and stir well and cook over medium heat for 20-30 minutes.  Adjust the flavors adding more seasoning according to your palate.  In a food processor or with an immersion blender, puree the soup.  Serve with a generous sprinkle of green onions.

 

My Ozark BUN

My Ozark BUN

I started this post a little over a year ago and never finished it, so after doing an inventory of the refrigerator last night I decided I would finally get back to this WAY overdue recipe.  Wow, am I glad that I did.  The Vietnamese noodles in my bowl were bombarded by all sorts of delicious vegetables–steamed and fresh.  Mushrooms, onions (white and green), broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, kale and cucumber were perfectly flavored with an acidic and flavorful lime vinaigrette sauce.  You might remember the vinaigrette sauce from my FRESH  spring roll recipe–I sincerely hope that you do, anyway!  It is super simple to whip together, packed with flavor, and absolutely perfect for this dish too…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  The shrimp in this BUN are totally optional, but they really tasted good to me last night!  I also added an extra big hit of chopped cashews to top off the meal, which gave me extra healthy fat and protein to keep my belly full all night long!  The really great thing about this noodle bowl is how good you feel after you eat it–smarter, faster, stronger!  Ok, maybe that was more about my 90 minute power yoga class, but I did feel extra good last night!  Give My Ozark BUN a try and see if how it makes your body feel!  You will not be sorry that you did!

Here’s to feeding your belly well and loving every minute of it!

Color, texture, and tons of flavor--makes for the perfect BUN!

 

My Ozark BUN

Servings:  2

  • Rice Vermicelli noodles, enough for 2 servings
  • Uncooked shrimp, optional.  As much as you like in two servings of BUN!
  • Your favorite vegetables!  My choices this time were broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet bell pepper, yellow onion, green onion (for a heavy garnish), mushrooms, cucumber.
  • Lime Vinaigrette Sauce–recipe follows
  • Nuts, chopped–either peanuts or cashews, or both
  • Cilantro and green onions, chopped for a heavy garnish
  • Kosher salt for the shrimp boil
  • Water for the shrimp boil and to cook the pasta

If using shrimp, quick boil them in a salted pot and refrigerate until serving.  Reserve the salted liquid to use for cooking the rice pasta.
Cook the rice pasta, following the instructions on the pasta package.  Use the reserved liquid from the shrimp boil to give the pasta extra flavor.
Steam the vegetables to al dente or as soft as you like.  I grated the cucumber and added it raw to the dish.  Serve them over the cooked pasta and garnish with the green onions, nuts, and cilantro.
Pour the lime vinaigrette sauce over the top of the dish and ENJOY the gorgeous, fresh flavor of My Ozark BUN!

LIME VINAIGRETTE SAUCE:
2 Servings

Lime Vinaigrette Sauce

  • 2 1/2 T fish sauce
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 1/2 t + chili sauce (sriracha)–or more depending upon your tolerance for HEAT
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t anchovy paste
  • 2 t ginger, minced
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/8-1/4 c water

Mix all ingredients into a small bowl.  Makes enough for a least 2 servings of BUN.

 

Apple and orange smoothie snack

How absolutely refreshing...even in the middle of an ice storm!

My snack this afternoon was soooo tasty, filled my belly and recharged my energy stores…BIG TIME!  Give this fruity smoothie a try for a quick afternoon pick-me-up!

Apple and orange smoothie 2 servings

  • 1 apple
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1/4-1/2 c almond, soy, or coconut milk

Put all ingredients into the blender and give it a rip!  Drink.  ENJOY!

Vanilla Sugar

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly!  I know, I know, I do not use much sugar here at 488, but using artificial sweeteners is NOT an option, and the natural sweeteners that I turn to (honey, molasses, agave nectar, stevia, maple syrup and rice syrup) instead sometimes just do not work.   So when I do bake and need to use sugar, I make sure it is fully loaded with vanilla oils to provide my baked sweets with the absolute BEST flavor!  This is so stinking simple, you will be kicking yourself for not discovering this sooner!  Remember that big bunch of vanilla beans that I convinced you to buy a couple of years ago.  I hope you still have some on hand because all you need to do is chop up a vanilla bean or two and stick them into your sugar jar.  Put the lid on and give the oils time to release into your sugar.   When I get low on sugar or when my beans seem to be losing their oil, I just chop up more! I have had my jar going now for probably 6 years (maybe more), so my jar is packed with beans.

Vanilla sugar!

I usually keep baking sugar in the jar, which has a little finer texture than regular sugar.  Mainly because I like baking with it better, but use what you like!  I am sure you could do the same with brown sugar as well!  I don’t know how powdered sugar would work, but give it a try and let me know what you find!  Anyway, experiment with it and HAVE FUN!