Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Balsamic Bacon Cauliflower

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Beautiful? Maybe not. Scrumptious? DEFINITELY! This tasty dish, seasoned only with white balsamic, intensifies in flavor with the added bacon and apples! Combined, they create a party on your palate!

Ingredients:

- 1 head of cauliflower 
- 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 4 to 5 strips of bacon, cut into pieces
- 1 granny smith apple

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. Clean and cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. In a medium bowl, soak the cauliflower with the balsamic vinegar and let set for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the bacon into pieces and thinly slice the apple. Drain the excess vinegar off the cauliflower and line cauliflower in a baking dish. Arrange the apple slices on top of the cauliflower and top it off with the bacon pieces. Place, uncovered, in the oven and bake for 45 minutes (or until cauliflower is tender and bacon is crisp.) Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"First, they'll ask you why you're doing it. 
Later, they will ask you how you did it." - Anonymous 

Lavender Lemonade

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I started using doTERRA Essential Oils a few months ago. When I came across this recipe, using my lavender oil, I just had to try it. Talk about refreshing! The tartness of the fresh lemons, the soothing taste of lavender, and the sweetness from organic raw honey make this drink top on my list!

Ingredients:

- The juice from 6 fresh lemons
- 5 cups of water
- 3/4 cup raw organic honey
- 1 drop lavender Essential Oil

Juice the lemons and set aside. In a small sauce pan, heat 2 1/2 cups of water with the honey until honey has completely dissolved. Let cool slightly and pour it into a pitcher. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups water and 1 drop lavender. Stir and enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Life is the flower for which love is the honey." - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Strawberry Caprese Salad

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A new twist on caprese salad makes this one refreshing summer dish!

Ingredients:

- strawberries
- mozzarella
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- handful of raw almonds
- 1 to 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar 


Note I didn't put how many of the strawberries and mozzarella to add to this delicious salad. That is because it can be totally left up to you! Some people may like a lot of mozzarella and less strawberries, while others prefer the opposite. 

Dice the strawberries and mozzarella into small bite-size pieces. Put 2 cups fresh basil in a food processor, along with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a handful of almonds. Process until well blended and drizzle in about 1 to 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar.  Combine basil mixture with strawberries and mozzarella, and you have yourself one amazing salad! Enjoy! 

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Chicken Salad

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This salad with fresh seasonal strawberries turn this meal into a summer sensation!

Ingredients:

- 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper, divided
- 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
- 2 cups chopped fresh strawberries, divided
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2, 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 4 cups fresh lettuce (your favorite kind)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Combine 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and an 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk. Add one cup of the strawberries, blueberries, and pecans, tossing to coat. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt over chicken. Add chicken to skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from skillet and let stand 5 minutes. Cut chicken into cubes. Divide lettuce between 2 plates or bowls. Add chicken to lettuce and top with strawberry-balsamic mixture. Add some of the remaining fresh strawberries as well, along with about 2 tablespoons of feta cheese on each plate. Enjoy! If you'd like a printer-friendly version of this recipe, Click Here.

"Today, close the door to your past and open the 
door to your future." - Anonymous

Sunday, May 29, 2016

SOUS-VIDE COOKING - It doesn't get any easier than this!

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You may or may not have heard of sous-vide cooking. I know I hadn't until I attended a cooking class and the chef was demonstrating this method with an immersion circulator. It definitely had me curious, but not so much that I wanted to run out and buy one. Looked complicated. It is a machine afterall, I knew I'd screw it up. It intimidated me. And the list went on. However, after seeing an immersion circulator demonstrated at another cooking class I thought, "I might actually be able to work that thing," while my husband probably sat there thinking "I like the idea of my wife not overcooking my meat or fish any longer." So guess what I got for Christmas? :) Then my research began. What is it? How do I use it? And what all can it do? After five months of experimenting with my precision cooker, which has been renamed "my baby", the question is "what can it NOT do?" 

Sous vide, french for "under vacuum", is a cooking method that has been used for years. Food is placed in a vacuumed-sealed bag and submersed in a water bath that is temperature-controlled. Typically the food is cooked for longer periods at an accurately-regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, ensuring the food is cooked evenly on the inside without overcooking the outside. This method of cooking can be done simply by using a kettle on the stove. However, with a regular food thermometer, it made the task of regulating the temperature very tedious and left you standing guard, ready to adjust the heat if the temperature started rising or lowering. With the invention of immersion circulators, the painstaking task of keeping the cooking temperature held steady is eliminated!

There are several different types and brands of these immersion circulators on the market. The one that I received as a gift was the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker. A printable temperature guide allows you to forgo the stress of standing over the stove trying to cook your meat or fish at that perfect degree of doneness only to realize you have overcooked it... again! NO MORE OVERCOOKED FOOD! Instead, perfectly cooked, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth bites of food that have completely lead you to believe you are a very high-qualified chef, even if it's just in your own kitchen!

Once you start using the sous-vide method using an immersion circulator, it will be difficult to go back to standing over the stove calculating cooking times all the while knowing you still have several side-dishes to complete as well. Let the precision cooker handle the entree while you concentrate on your five-star side dishes. 

It has been so much fun trying new and different appetizers, entrees, and desserts with my precision cooker.  After seeing a video recently of a chef making one of my favorite desserts, creme brûlée, using the sous-vide method, I'm very eager to accept that next challenge to see if I can create that same delicate dessert. And since my husband recently bought me a kitchen torch, I've already gotten a head start! (note: do not have torch pointed toward a kitchen towel when lighting.) 

Whether you're a professional cook or an amateur, once you see how easy it is to cook with an immersion circulator, you'll want to keep trying new things for your family and friends to enjoy!

Below I have attached photos of just a few of our favorite dishes cooked the sous-vide method with my baby, the immersion circulator.

Sea Scallops - 123 degrees for 30 minutes

Swordfish - 130 degrees for 45 minutes

Poached Eggs - 145 degrees for 2 hours

3 lb. Turkey Breast - 145 degrees for 3 hours

Lamb Shoulder Chops - 132 degrees for 4 hours

2 1/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin - 144 degrees for 4 hours

4 lb. Brisket - 131 degrees for 48 hours