Saturday, January 7, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

I love this soup so much! It makes a large batch so you can eat off of it for a week or so, a PERFECT diet food! My kids even love it, and I am thrilled they are getting all that nutrition when they eat it! Butternut squash is the star in this soup, and your body loves it because it is not only high in fiber (your colon thanks you) and it helps you feel full (your waistline is now happy) but it is also high in beta cryptoxanthin (you don't have to spell it; just eat it) and vitamin C, two nutrients credited with helping save joints! The tomatoes, pears and garlic are loaded with antioxidants and immune system boosters, something we all need in these virus-ridden winter months! I came up with this recipe cause I really can't get enough butternut squash, please let me know what you think!

2 lbs cubed and peeled butternut squash (you can find this- organic and ready to go- at Costco)
2 pears, cubed
3 tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half (and rinsed clean of sand)
3 garlic cloves
32 oz Chicken broth *
1 1/2 C Chardonnay (optional) *
kosher salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

1. You can get the butternut squash, cubed peeled and ORGANIC and ready to go at Costco for only $3.99 for a 2lb container. I cannot stress enough what a bargain this is! Find it in the vegetable "cold room". It looks like this:
2. When I talk about a quartered and seeded tomato, you cut each tomato into 4 equal parts, then cut out the seeds:
3. Cubing and dicing the pear is easy. Just cut the top and bottom off the pear and then cut it in quarters, then cut the seed part out, in the same way you would in cutting an apple. Then cut each slice into cubes:
4. A leek looks like a giant green onion. They are usually sold with 2 stalks in a bunch. This is perfect. Just cut the part of the stalk off that is super dark green, also cut off the bottom of the bulb that still has the root (just like a green onion) and then you are left with about a 2-3 inch stalk. Cut in half length wise and rinse the inside with water. Leeks absorb sand so you are rinsing out the sandy part. Pat dry with a paper towel and you're done! It takes 1 minute and you're cooking with real ingredients now!
5. Place all the veggies into a bowl (this includes the garlic cloves too.) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Stir until all the veggies are coated!
6. Then, spread the veggies onto a baking sheet (or 2 depending on the size pan you have) in a single layer and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 45 min. Doesn't this look beautiful?
7. You will know when the veggies are roasted because the squash and pears have a crisp looking skin, but are still soft inside and the tomatoes look blistered. The leeks and garlic will look blistered and shriveled. Taste a squash- it should taste slightly sweet (the roasing process caramelizes the natural sugars in a food.) It will also make your kitchen/house smell amazing!
8. Let your veggies cool slightly and then pour them and the chicken broth into the super-megahorse-all powerful- blender that your husband got you for Christmas (thanks darling!) Blend up until smooth and then poor into a dutch oven or large pot. You may have to do the veggies and broth in several batches in your blender, depending on it's size! Then add about 1 1/2 C of Chardonnay. It can be cheap wine- nothing expensive. My fav cheap wine for cooking, and drinking, is Rex Goliath! You can play here. The wine is optional. If you don't add it, add more chicken broth. If you want more of the Chardonnay taste, add more. It's all up to you, you're the chef!
9. Bring to a slow simmer and let it go for about 20 min. Then serve! I like to eat mine with some Trader Joe's Jalapeno Hot Pepper Sauce on top. You can also add crumbled blue cheese, shredded gouda or shredded rotisserie chicken. Kids love, it, husbands love it and you can serve it to company and they will think you are awesome! Me? I just pour into a bowl, top with my hot sauce, and eat it with a glass of the Chardonnay curled up on the couch with a blanket with a good book and the fireplace on. Or, maybe I am just daydreaming again....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Excited for tomorrow!

I am going LIVE on TV tomorrow! I am excited, nervous, scared....and I did what any normal girl would do- I went to Black House White Market and spent entirely too much money on a new outfit. I am going on Good Day Austin (Fox 7) to promote awareness for DVT's/blood clots. My fabulous vascular surgeon will be with me. I am excited because this is the only way I have to fight back against this clot that has taken so much from me. I can't get rid off the clot in my leg, but I can help prevent YOU or someone you love from getting one! We will have registration for the DVT race in Austin up later today! Please come if you can- May 22! Wish me luck and tune on to Fox 7 tomorrow at 8am. My segment will air between 8-8:10am!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yummy, healthy Fish Tacos!

Ok everyone, here is my first try at posting a recipe, let me know what you think!
Last night, being a Friday in Lent, we had to have fish. I didn't want anything fried, so here is a my healthy fish taco recipe!
Start with a good quality white fish. I used Haddock- it was on sale this week. You can use anything you like. You always need to remember this statement: by fresh wild caught fish. (There are a few exceptions to that which you can read about here:

Farm raised fish is usually grown in nutrient depleted, disease ridden ponds. The fish are then given antibiotics and hormones to help them grow. Even farm raised Salmon doesn't come out pink (the pink color comes from their blood getting into their muscles when they swim upstream) so the salmon has to be injected with dye! Ewwww!) Buy wild caught fish!
After you have your fish, cut it into strips that will fit in your taco. Then season it with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder and then squeeze half a fresh lime over it. Let that sit. (You don't want to do this too far in advance or the acid from the lime will start turning that fish into ceviche!) Just about 20 min should do the trick.
While the fish is flavoring itself, make your sauce. You will need:
1/2 (14oz) can fire-roasted organic tomatoes ( I like Muir Glen)
2/3 C light mayo
2 cloves garlic, diced or minced
2 chipotles diced (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
1/2 lime juice
1/3 C FRESH cilantro leaves
pinch of kosher salt

Put all the above ingredients in the food processor and process until blended (but still slightly chunky.) Doesn't this look beautiful???

For the filling inside the tacos, you will want some sort of cabbage mixture. There are several different varieties I like using what's called "Rainbow Mix." It's a mixture of broccoli, carrot, and cabbage. This is a great way to get that broccoli in your kids (and big adults too!) Pour in a bowl how much you think you will need to assemble your tacos. Toss liberally with the sauce mixture. The sauce will be slghtly spicy, but that's ok, the cabbage mixture will cut that.

Now it's time to assemble your fish. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. You need 3 bowls: 1 with flour, 1 with 2 beaten egg whites, and 1 with about 2 C panko bread crumbs (I tried this with regular bread crumbs and it was not near as good. If you want to replicate that fried fish crunch, you need to use Panko.) First dredge the fish in flour, then coat in egg white and roll in panko. Place on a baking sheet/stone. Repeat with all your fish pieces. Bake in the oven about 20-25 minutes. If your fish is thicker, it will need more time. It should feel firm to the touch when done and the panko will look crispy, like this:

While your fish is cooking, dice up an avocado. If you need to know the technique to make this easy, contact me. After you dice that up, sprinkle with kosher salt and squeeze about a quarter of a lime over it. (This will prevent it from "turning.") Then, slice up some red onion.

Now, you fish should still be baking so time to grill your corn tortillas. I like white corn, but you can use whatever works for you. If you don't have an indoor cast iron grill, I highly recommend you get one. It's one of my favorite kitchen pieces. Those rainy or cold days when you don't want to go out to the grill, this becomes invaluable. Also, if you flip it over, it a flat sided skillet. Perfect for a full load of pancakes, grilled cheese, or paninis! I got mine from Faraday's (a local Austin cooking store) for about $79. However, you can find them everywhere! Heat the grill, don't oil it or your torts. Just place them straight on the smoking grill for abour 3-4 per side. After you take then off, place in a towel and keep it wrapped up. The steam inside the (clean) towel will keep your torts moist.

Ok, about now your fish should be done. If it's not, pour yourself a glass of wine and drink while you wait. When the fish is done you are ready to assemble. Place some cabbage mixture inside the warm tortilla.
Then place your fish, diced avocado, sliced red onion and additional sauce on top! Yum!!!
*Now a thing to note about your sauce. If you want it spicier, add more chipotle. If you want it more flavorfull, or richer, use full fat mayo. If you want it mild, add only 1 chiptole. But again, the cabbage will cut the spice.
Now serve these fabulously tasty but healthy tacos to your hungry fam and you will get this:

Let me know how this works for you! If this little blogging format works out, then I will do this with more recipes!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Miss Me?

Oh my gosh, I'm back!!! I think I just needed a break for awhile. So much has happened to me in the last year and I needed time, time to think, time to be me! However, I realized that I missed blogging. I do think of it as not only a great way to keep up with our friends and family, but also to pass this along someday to my children. A sort of record of our family, if you will.
To recap, from previous posts: I ended up losing almost all the weight from my goals of last year. I guess that was the good thing about all those meds I was on this fall, my appetite was gone! I am still 10 pounds from my ultimate goal, but I am not beating myself up over it! I am a foodie first and foremost, so I refuse to starve myself!
So, check back from time to time. I look forward to regular postings, about whatever appeals to me! I will also post more about cooking: recipes, techniques, experiments, etc!
In addition, you guys are about to get blasted with info regarding our DVT/blood clot race on May 22nd! Please plan on coming, if you can! It will be a great day and more info will follow- very soon!
Wahoo! I'm back!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday and Weigh In!

Happy Birthday to my husband! I posted this picture because even though he his no longer in the corps, once a Marine, always a Marine. Also, his favorite place to be is outside in the elements, this is just Ben. And, this afraid to fly, doesn't like to get dirty woman is completely in love with my Marine Pilot! Happy 35th!!!

Ok, weigh in this morning went well, especially considering I majorly cheated this weekend when I made a fondue dinner and Irish Cream Cheesecake for Ben. With all that considered:
this week's weight loss: 2 pounds!
total weight loss in 2 weeks: 7 pounds!
Ben's weight gain this week: .2 pounds! (yes, you did read that right, even though he's been lifting weights and drinking protein shakes and all!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

And the Monday total is....

Every Monday until I reach my goal- 35 pounds, I will post my progress. This Monday, after 1 week of dieting here are my stats:
Pounds lost since last Monday: 5

Ben said he wants to gain 10 pounds.
Pounds gained since last Monday: 0

Anyone else want to "weigh in"?

Monday, January 4, 2010


This is my new toy that's going to help me with my New Year's Resolution! We got a great deal on it, which makes it even better!
I am going to put in print, public print, that I am committing to losing 35 pounds. I will be updating my progress every Monday, so check in and cheer me on (or chastise me if I have a bad week!) The accountabliity factor I am hoping will help me from falling off the wagon. I know I have several friends that also started their big diets today, if you would like to participate in Monday check-in, then please join in!
Ben says he's commmitted to gaining 10 pounds...we'll see how he does! Ha!