Monday, August 31, 2009

Summertime Goodness

today could not have been a better day. august 31st in baltimore and i needed a hoodie when i went to wegmans today. i love it. i opened all the windows and let the breeze on in. the high today was 74! i wish this weather would last through october. i celebrated with a good cold beer this evening. my favorite - kona's wailua wheat.

E travels a lot for work. in 2007-2008, he traveled more than a lot. poor thing had to go to hawaii, guam, and other pacific islands a ton. good news for me is that i got to go to hawaii 3 times in 2 years:)
anyway, while in maui we did the road to hana. its this really cool, super windy coast line road that goes from all the way from kahului to hana (known as the land that time forgot).  anyway, it is an incredible drive (see photo on right). when we finally got to hana (numerous roadside waterfalls later) we had an incredible lunch along with a wailua wheat. it was most likely largely the atmosphere that made it taste so amazing, but ever since then, we have been trying to find it "on the mainland". finally after months of searching we found it at the perfect pour in columbia, md. yay! anyway, that was my "cheat" for the day. i enjoyed every sip.

for dinner it was back on track with a clean meal. grilled coho salmon (with s&p), quinoa (with lime juice, olive oil, s&p) and field greens with carrots, tomatoes from the garden, red onion, cucumber, and a vinagrette. so easy, yet so good!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Just Peachy

this has been my go to breakfast almost the whole month of august. i love fage yogurt. since i tasted it about a year and a half ago, i haven't gone back to "regular" yogurt. i use the fage 0% and just add 1/2 tsp agave nectar and whatever fruit is in season. it is so good! peaches are by far my favorite. so juicy and sweet. yum!

i add one of my oatmeal peanut butter bars and its a very filling and clean breakfast. these PB bars are so easy to make too. here's the recipe i adapted from one i found somewhere online. they are great to grab on the go for a snack too.

Clean Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars
makes 12 bars - 120 calories per bar

1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 c old fashioned or quick oats
1/2 c agave nectar
1 egg
1/2 c smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt (add a bit more if you use unsalted PB)

preheat oven to 350.
combine all ingredients in bowl until smooth. spread into 8x8 inch greased pan.
bake 15-17 mins until top begins to brown. cut into 12 bars.

note: you could also add dark chocolate chips or maybe coconut.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Basil Galore

as i was watering my herb garden today i realized i have so much basil! i figured it was time to make my first batch of basil pesto this year. it is so easy and versatile. i use it on everything from chicken and fish to vegetables and sandwiches and it literally takes minutes to make. i also make a batch of spinach and citrus pesto (a giada recipe) to keep in the freezer and use on fish in the winter. it tastes like summer when you need it most - mid dreary winter.

Basil Pesto

6 cups fresh basil
3/4 c toasted pine nuts
6 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 - 3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c parmesan cheese

combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper in food processor until smooth. while processor is running, add olive oil in a stream. check and scrape down sides. consistency should be thick and creamy. stir in parmesan cheese.

i divide my pesto into ice cube trays and freeze until set. then place into plastic bags and you have individual servings ready to go!

note: be sure to toast the pine nuts. it's a extra step but i have skipped the toasting and it isn't nearly as good.

and in case you are interested, spinach citrus pesto courtesy of giada de laurentiis

dessert in a glass

has anyone tried bsn's dessert protein powder? this stuff changed my life. well, not actually but you get the idea. i have read that its really good to have protein after a workout to give yours muscles "food" to recover. the problem was every protein powder i tried did not taste good. the best i could hope for was bearable. i kept seeing the bsn ads in my oxygen magazine and decided to give it a try because i had run out of whatever blah powder i had at the time. my expectations were low but this stuff was amazing. it's not only good, it's delicious!

seriously, i look forward to my post-workout shake. i even have them sometimes in the evening if i am craving ice cream (one of my vices) because it seriously tastes like a milkshake. i had chocolate fudge pudding (my current favorite) today after my boxing session but also have (and love) whipped vanilla cream and banana cream pudding. the vanilla tastes like a vanilla milkshake and i love to put the banana in my green monsters or berry smoothies. i guess it is not technically clean but even clean eating mags recommend protein shakes. at least its aspartame free and only has 2g of sugar per heaping scoop.

i can never find it at gnc even though they carry bsn products. i buy mine from its the best price i've found so far. only $17 for over a lb!

here is my recipe for 1 serving.

Protein Milkshake

3/4 C skim milk
1 scoop dessert powder of your choice
1 tsp agave nectar (you can omit this but i think it brings out the flavor a bit more)
1 C ice

blend together till smooth and be prepared to be addicted.

note: you can use water if you are worried about calories but i think it tastes better with milk, plus you are just getting more protein:)
i also add a 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if i am using the vanilla bean protein powder - again, just more flavor.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

i heart bbq

okay, i could not be more excited about my most recent experiment! i am crazy for barbeque and am in a constant search for a great homemade sauce. of course, if you're a baby back rib fan, nothing comes close to the corner stable. best ribs in maryland - fries too for that matter. seriously, if you live in the baltimore area and have not been to the corner stable on york road, you are missing out my friend. in a beef brisket mood? andy nelsons wins hands down. the only problem with these 2 places - not exactly clean. nothing beats true bbq when you have a craving - it's worth a cheat meal. however, i need a clean alternative for pulled pork bbq.

E's cousins gave us a dinosaur bbq cookbook for a wedding gift and i dug it out the other weekend. a couple of tweaks to their signature mutha sauce later and here i am - happy and full.

i did the whole nine yards for my pulled pork sandwich. made the rub, low and slowed it in the oven (sorry no smoker - maybe i'll have one someday). i was disappointed in the pork (i think i cooked it too long) but loved the bbq sauce. this recipe makes lots of sauce. freeze leftovers.

Cleaned Up Dinosaur BBQ Mutha Sauce

1/4 c vegetable oil                                            1/2 c cider vinegar
1 medium onion, minced                                  1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c green onion, minced                                1/4 c agave nectar
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced                         1/8 c tabasco with garlic
pinch of kosher salt and pepper                        1/4 c spicy brown mustard
2 tbs garlic, minced                                          1 tbs chili powder
1 can 28oz tomato sauce (no added sugar)       2 tsp ground pepper
2 c agave sweetened ketchup                           1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 c worcestershire sauce                                1 c water

heat oil over medium heat. add onions and both peppers. season with salt and pepper and saute till soft and golden. add garlic, saute 1 more minute. add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer for 15 mins. let sauce cool. store in fridge for 1-2 weeks or freeze.     

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clean Quiche

after being at the pool all day with my niece, nephew, and sister-in-law, i decided to have the kids back to our house for an impromptu sleep over. what to make for dinner for 4 instead of 2 at the last minute?

i always have eggs on hand because my grandfather raises chickens. its so nice to have organic, free-range, cage-free, happy chickens producing eggs year-round. some garlic, mushrooms, and left-over ham was all i needed for a quick frittata but then i remembered i had a pre-made whole wheat pie crust in the freezer. yum!

a fresh ear of corn and voila! a quick, clean meal. (i did add some low fat cheese. does that count as cheating?) the good news is EA (8 years old) and RJ (7 years old) gave it two thumbs up!

Mushroom and Ham Quiche - serves 8

1 whole wheat pie crust
5 eggs
1/2 C liquid egg whites
1 tbs olive oil
8 oz mushrooms
2 tbs garlic
2 oz cooked ham
1/2 C low fat shredded cheese

preheat oven to 350.
saute garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. add ham and salt and pepper and saute until warmed through. meanwhile beat together eggs and egg whites until combined.
pour mushroom mixture into prepared pie shell. sprinkle cheese over mushroom mixture and then pour egg mixture into shell.
bake at 350 for 30 mins until lightly browned.


i woke up so sore today after a small group training session yesterday. it hurts so good! i love feeling sore because i know i've made some progress.

my gym (the Maryland Athletic Club) was closed this past week for its annual cleaning and renovating. i had great plans to check out the MAC express gym that opened recently. instead, i only biked once and did yoga once. i had a lazy week. it made getting back into it that much harder. ugh.

however, i had planned to bike our nearby NCR trail with my dad this morning so i stuck to the plan. the first mile or so hurt, but by mile 3 my legs felt better and by mile 15, i was glad i did it. off to the pool to swim with my niece and nephew!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Grilling

i grill all year long.

i guess i got it from my mother. i remember her when i was little grilling in the rain with an umbrella or in her down coat in the winter. of course, i do grill more in the summertime and i always have company out on the patio with our 2 yellow labs. i am also a charcoal purist. all you need is a chimney, charcoal, 1 piece of newspaper and a lighter and you are on your way to a great meal.

seriously, meat is so simple on the grill. there is nothing like chicken, pork, or steak grilled with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. today i grilled some wild coho salmon i got at wegmans with the old standbys - extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. i didn't even use a cedar plank. 5 mins per side and it was amazing. it seriously just melted in your mouth.

vegetables are at their best grilled the same way, evoo, s & p. zucchini, eggplant, corn, yum! clean eating at its finest.

so, get out your grill and enjoy the last couple weeks of summer!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Post - Cookies!

so, i have been thinking about doing a food blog for a while now and today is the day. mainly because i just made some cookies that turned out surprisingly well.

first, a short bit about me. i love food! i am a personal chef and am always trying to figure out ways to make healthy food taste really good. i always think simple food tastes the best because you can actually taste it. as soon as i heard about the clean eating way of living i knew it was for me. thus started my venture into making recipes i currently use clean. in case anyone is interested - here goes!

today was my first venture into baking a clean dessert. it is important to note, i am a chef, not a baker. i tend not to bake much. for some reason i don't enjoy it as much. probably because you actually have to measure everything (something i rarely do when cooking) and because my wonderful husband doesn't really like dessert. i know, how is this possible?!? so, needless to say, if i bake cookies and discover they are gone 2 days later, i know that i personally ate every single one.

i digress, back to the cookies i just made. i used a recipe i found from another fellow blogger and tweaked it a little. my husband even liked them and didn't know they were "clean". that spells success in my book!

so here is the modified recipe (thanks to DeliciousWisdom for the inspiration)

Clean Chocolate Chip peanut Butter Cookies

(yields 2 dozen cookies - roughly 95 calories per cookie)

1.5 C whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt (reduce this amount if all you have is PB with salt)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 C agave nectar
1/2 C unsalted natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 C grain sweetened chocolate chips

preheat oven to 375. combine agave, peanut butter, vanilla, and egg. combine flour, salt, and baking powder. add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture a little at a time and combine well after each addition. drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheet.
bake for 10 mins until just starting to brown.
enjoy with a glass of milk!
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