Breakfast of Champions

JUST A BLISS….

In the morning, I usually don’t have your typical eggs and grits or even slam down a pop tart. Nope. I make myself a three day supply of….you guessed it…brown rice. And make no mistake about it’s not instant! Brown rice has hardly any calories and is filling, just what I’m looking for. It may take some time to make or wait but its worth it. Make enough for a three day supply, and place in the refrigerator for a quick heat up in the morning. I add some raisins, apples, honey and top with cinnamon. It’s quite delicious. Followed with a morning cup of coffee, what a great balanced breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice
  • Apple
  • Raisin
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Recipe:

1. Make brown rice according to package. When finished cooking, add to bowl.

2. Cut an apple and place on top.

3. Add raisins, honey and cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Pasta with Spinach in a Tarragon Chickpea Sauce

Oh my word. I love chickpeas. Love. I don’t know why they are so comforting for me but I absolutely love them.  My poor husband, who never does the grocery shopping, volunteered to go with my three-year old son. What I thought was an easy list, ended up being a three-hour tour in the grocery store! One of the items that threw him off was “Chickpeas.” I probably should have mentioned they are AKA garbanzo beans….oops. Although I did write, “International Aisle” next to the word, I put him on a while goose chase. While I was bored at the house, I decided to clean out my pantry and realized, I have FOUR cans of beans! By the time, he called and said, “I finally found them!” I didn’t want to disappoint his hard work so I thanked him and used them in a recipe today. My pantry is now filled with garbanzo beans (and I love that!)

So what to make with these little fellows? Spiced chickpeas? Hummus? Nah… let’s go for something different, let’s reach for the stars and make a creamy sauce! What a true winner but don’t take my word, make it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of spaghetti
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can (15 oz) Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbs tarragon (more to garnish)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Salt and Pepper

YUMS DIRECTIONS:

1. Add water to a large sauce pan for your spaghetti noodles.

2. Melt butter over low in a separate saucepan for the sauce (move that baby around to get it to melt and YES that’s some mmhmmm lots of butter!)

3. Add garlic and chickpeas to the butter

4. Season with pepper (I didn’t use salt because the beans have enough in them. Use your judgement. I’m not a big salt fan.)

5. Add heavy whipping cream and tarragon and stir.

6. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

7. Turn heat to low and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8. Meanwhile, add spaghetti noodles to the boiling water. Cook pasta according to directions.

9.  When your sauce pan has reached ten minutes, stir in Parmesan cheese and turn the heat off. Cover and let rest. (It will thicken)

9. It should look like this when sauce is finished:

10. Either use an immersion blender or a food processor to turn into a smooth consistency. Place lid on top to keep warm.

11. When pasta is finished cooking, add spinach to the water. The spinach will start to wilt. Drain the pasta.

12. Mix the sauce with the pasta to combine. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese or garnish with tarragon.

Black Bean Burger

One of my first recipes years ago was the infamous black bean burger. I mean you can’t really go wrong with a burger right? Add all the topics you like – the possibilities are unlimited! Now I have to admit, my first bean burger was nothing to brag about. In fact, my family distinctively remembers the grossness well. (ugh…. ) Good news, ten years later and lots of practice under my belt, I have created a firm black bean burger that tastes FABULOUS. I really don’t like to brag, but I know when my husband eats two and my toddler wants the whole burger, it’s a winner. I felt like a champion – in a very small but rewarding way. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 spring onions: chopped (green and white parts)
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbs. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Hamburger buns

Recipe as follows:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(always a good tip is to cut everything and place in dishes that way, its ready when you need it. I used to cut some things and keep going but when you prep first it takes out a lot of the hassle)

2. Place half of beans in food processor and pulse 3-4 times.

3. Add the rest of the beans plus the rest of the ingredients.

4.Puree until thickness you desire.

5. Divide mixture into six portions and round out as burgers.

6. Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Pull out and add cheese if desired. If not, continue cooking for two more minutes.

7. Place in hamburger bun and add any topics you desire!

The burger says, “EAT ME…YUM!”

Pea, Fennel and Mint Soup with Homemade Garlic Croutons

 

Yay! My first recipe in a long time. It made me feel SOO good to be in the kitchen again!

This week, I had a reminder lesson of Food and Energy 101. Sometimes a “refresher” course is greatly appreciated! Energy is all around us. In the Earth, in each other and in our food! You know the saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, this is true. When you think of the food that is made at a fast food joint, has the food been processed, beaten, smashed, right? Think of the energy that is being placed into that item. Was it slabbed on the bread? Was the person making it angry? Neglecting? Not interested? The energy transferred from the person to the food and then the process the food underwent are all transfers of energy. When our bodies are not given good energy, it makes us left feeling sluggish and tired. Being reminded this lesson is what made me want to make something wholesome for my family. I made this soup cutting each piece with calmness and at ease. I wanted to add the Earth’s goodness with a positive minded energy to provide my family with a refreshing feeling.

Ingredients:

Roughly 1-2 olive oil

2 medium shallots, sliced thin

3 scallions, sliced thin (white and green parts)

1 medium fennel bulb sliced thin

2 garlic cloves, minced

24 oz frozen peas (Two, 12 oz. frozen containers)

4 cups organic vegetable stock

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Sea salt and Peppercorns

(See Garlic Crouton recipe)

Recipe follows:

1. Add olive oil to a deep nonstick pan (or large sauce pan) over medium heat. When oil is warm, take a paper towel and rub out the excess oil. (You really don’t need all of that oil! Only a little for flavor!)

2. Add shallots, scallions, fennel and garlic to the pan. Saute for 6-8 minutes until tender

.

3. Add peas to the pot. Cook for a few minutes, turning the mixture over a few times.

4. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

5. Cool soup then add mint. (I placed in a big bowl and into the freezer for ten-fifteen minutes.)

6. Use a food processor or an immersion blender. (I love the immersion blender!)

7. Serve in soup bowls, add GARLIC CROUTONS (Look up Garlic Croutons in search section)

Homemade Garlic Croutons

This is the truth – once you try homemade croutons, it’s going to be hard to go back to boxed! (Doesn’t everything fresh taste better than boxed?)

Ingredients:

1 loaf of Ciabatta bread (a few days old) cut in small pieces
2Tbs Olive Oil
3Tbs Melted butter
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, minced
Sea Salt
Pepper = AMAZING

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Put bread pieces in bowl.

3. Add olive oil, butter, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Mix well with hands making sure all pieces of bread are covered in mixture.

4. Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Pour bread pieces onto sheet.

5. Bake 15-20 minutes, turning half way.

6. Let cool and eat!

2. In a bowl,

Pass the Pesto Pasta Peas!

Carbs are a wonderful downfall of mine. I love them. Let’s not mistake the word LOVE, I truly, truly, truly love them! I try to make pasta once a week – sometimes with a red sauce, sometimes a white, sometimes with mushrooms, sometimes with broccoli, sometimes with beef, sometimes with chicken, it all depends.

One of my all time favorites, Pesto Pasta, reminds me of when I worked in Towson. There was (and may still be) a shop on Chesapeake Avenue which had beautiful salads and pastas. Once I tried their pesto pasta, there was no turning back. I had to make my own. Pesto is fantastic on sandwiches, pizzas and of course, pasta! The pine nuts give it a nice flavor with garlic that just calls “home” in your mouth. Basil is so refreshing who can resist the smell? Pour in some Parmesan and we just made the choir sing. One of my favorite family recipes of all time. My twist on this favorite is that I add peas. They are vibrant in color and have just the right amount of sugar to add to this dish.

Ingredients:

Leaves from 2 bunches of fresh basil plants

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

2 medium-sized garlic cloves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 pound angel hair pasta (capallini)

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

Recipe:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

2. Meanwhile, combine the pine nuts and basil in a food processor. Pulse a few times.

3. Add garlic, pulse a few more times.

4. While the food processor is on, slowly pour in the olive oil in a constant stream. Stop to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.

5. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pulse again.

(Yummy!)

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Make the pasta in the salted boiling water until al dente. (About four minutes).

8. While the pasta is cooking, put the peas in the bottom of  a large bowl.

9. Drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta, to the large bowl covering the peas. Do not mix.

10. Add the pesto on top of the pasta and peas mixture. Toss the mixture together.

11. Transfer to bowls, top with extra pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Presto! You have Pesto Pasta with Peas!