Cooking Light is my favorite magazine hands down. Whenever a new issue arrives I get so excited. I can’t wait to dig in and try all the recipes. They are always healthy, easy to follow and fun to make.
The Jan/Feb 2017 arrived a week or so ago and I have already tried many of the recipes. As usual they have all been great.
The other day I got up and decided to get lunch and dinner taken care of in the morning. I was dying to try the Crock Pot BBQ Beef Stuffed Potatoes so I got that going first. Once that was simmering away I looked through the recipe index to find a warm yummy soup to make for lunch. There it was. “Immunity Soup.” What could be more perfect? Rainy, snowy, foggy weather outside, Cold and Flu season knocking on the door!
We are planning a big trip in February to Australia and New Zealand so who wants to get sick now? I skimmed through the recipe, gathered the ingredients I needed and in no time the soup was simmering on the stove. Between the two dishes simmering away my house smelled divine!
I improvised a little to use what I had available. Instead of presliced vitamin D enhanced mushrooms I used shitake. And in the end I forgot the kale. Welcome to my world of cooking!
Brad and I both give this recipe a 5 star! It was truly delicious. Thank you Cooking light!
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (I used left over red onion)
3 celery stalks
2 large carrots
1 lb. pre-sliced vitamin D enhanced mushrooms (I used shitake)
10 medium garlic cloves
8 cups unsalted chicken stock
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 15 oz can of unsalted chickpeas drained
2 lb skinless bone in chicken breasts ( I used boneless)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I used maybe a 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
12 oz. curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn (whoops forgot to add this!)
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Stir in stock, thyme, bay leaves, and chickpeas; bring to a simmer. Add chicken, salt, and red pepper. Cover and simmer until chicken is done, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from the Dutch Oven. Cool slightly . Shred with 2 forks. If using bone in chicken discard bones.
Stir the chicken and kale into the soup. Cover and simmer until kale is just tender about 5 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Motivation is a funny thing. One minute you have it. The next it’s gone. I always get a burst of energy after the Holiday’s. Throw away the cookies. Take down the crispy tree. Put the decorations away. Clean clean clean.
This year was no different. I was raring to go. Then it snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more. Somewhere in all of this snow my motivation was buried.
It’s fun for the first day or so. Emily was excited. Kahlua was excited. We went sledding. Threw snowballs. Hid snowballs under the covers (in baggies of course) and enjoyed the winter wonderland. But enough is enough. It was too cold to be outside for long. Too icy to go for a walk. We were stuck.
The time came for Emily to go back to college. The house grew quiet once again. I was sad and didn’t feel like doing anything.
Until this morning. I woke up. The rain has come. The snow is almost gone! I’m fired up. The fit bit is charging. I’m writing a blog. Life is good!
Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite vegetables. It is so versatile. I decided to get a little creative the other night. I wanted a quick and easy vegetarian meal. I had a nice spaghetti squash sitting on the counter begging to be eaten. How could I refuse? Stuffed spaghetti squash sounded good. I checked in the pantry and came up with some Trader Joe’s Enchilada Sauce, a can of kidney beans and a pouch of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Red Beans and Rice.
I cooked the spaghetti squash for about 5 minutes in the microwave to soften it enough to cut in half. Once you cut it in half, scoop out the seeds with a big spoon. Drizzle on a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper .
You have several options for how to cook the squash depending on what you have. You can line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Or if you have a casserole dish you can either rub a little olive oil or spray with some cooking spray. Place the squash cut side down and bake for about 35-45 minutes.
While the squash is cooking combine the kidney beans, red beans and rice, and enchilada sauce in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on low stirring occasionally.
Once the squash is done, take a fork and scrape the flesh until it looks like a bowl of spaghetti.
Fill the squash with the bean and rice mixture. Sprinkle a little cheese on top. Broil until the cheese is melted and you’ve got dinner! I like to add some hot peppers and plain greek yogurt or sour cream as well. It’s easy, healthy, yummy and filling! Best of all you have one left over for lunch or dinner the next day.
Fall is here and with it comes chilly, cloudy, foggy days. On days like these I find it’s a bit harder to get motivated to go out and walk. I am always so glad when I do, but a little extra motivation on those tougher days goes a long way!!
Charity Miles is my extra motivation. It’s a free app for iphone’s and android’s which enables you to earn money for a charity of your choice through corporate sponsorships. It is so easy and what an inspiration to get you moving!! Download the app, open it scroll down the list of charities, select your activity and go. It’s as simple as that! The app does the rest!
I put the app right on top of page 1 on my phone so when I open my phone there it is. Right in my face where I need it!! It’s so simple and so inspirational!
Today I challenge everyone to download the app pick your charity and get moving!
One of my favorite things about living in Oregon is that we experience all 4 seasons. Fall is one of my favorites. After a long hot dry summer it is a welcome change. We just had our first rain of the season, everything smells so fresh and clean. The leaves are changing. It’s so beautiful. Fall always brings on a syndrome I call “nesting”. We get the fireplace ready, new batteries in all the “candles”, warm throw blankets in place, red wine and the yearning for comfort food.
Yesterday we woke up to a perfect crock pot day. Cloudy and chilly. I had been yearning for curried beef short ribs, one of my favorite recipes . So I got busy and in less than 30 minutes dinner was cooking.,
The beauty of the crock pot for me is that it frees up the rest of the day for impromptu fun. Mid afternoon Brad suggested we go play 9 holes of golf. I am so glad we did. It was a terrible and I mean a terrible round of golf for me but just walking around the course enjoying the afternoon was worth it. So picturesque !
Stewart Meadows Golf Course
After golf we met our friends for a couple of drinks which is always fun! I promised them I would post this recipe today and I always try to keep a promise! Kristin and Sarah, this recipe is for you!
2 pounds beef short ribs trimmed ( I use boneless)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 Tbs minced garlic
3 Tbs minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs red curry paste
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
4 cups hot cooked brown basmati rice
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 tsp of the salt and 1/8 tsp of the pepper.
Add half of ribs to the pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in the crock pot.
Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.
Add shallots, garlic, and inger to the pan. Saute 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of water and curry paste. Cook 1 minute.
Stir in coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Add mixture to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Remove ribs from cooker. Keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through colander over a bowl. discard solids. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2 cup glass measure. Pour cooking liquid into bag. Let stand 10 minutes. Once the fat rises to the top seal the bag and snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into a small bowl stopping before the fat layer reaches the opening. Discard fat. Stir in remaining salt, pepper, lime rind and juice. Shred the rib meat with 2 forks and if using bone in ribs, discard the bones. Serve sauce over ribs and rice.
Calories 410; Fat 16.1g (6.5 g sat, 7g mono,0.9 poly); Cholesterol 70 mg; Calcium 24mg; Carbohydrate 37.1g; Sodium 841 mg; Protein 27g; Fiber 0.7g; Iron 4.1 mg
Last weekend we dropped Emily off to start her sophomore year of college. This year she is in a “student housing” apartment with 3 roommates. It’s pretty sweet…furnished, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, common living room and common kitchen with lots of perks. Lucky girl! Along with this new apartment life comes planning and fixing your own meals. Emily disliked dorm food. She is excited about the prospect of fixing her own healthy meals.
With that in mind I bought her two of my favorite, go to cookbooks. Each filled with delicious healthy recipes.
What she will soon realize is that her life is very busy. Planning, shopping and preparing meals isn’t always as easy or fun as it may seem. So I, being the great mom I am, decided to start a new category on the blog called “College Cuisine”. Here I will be posting some of Emily’s favorite recipes along with recipes I find that are easy, quick and healthy.
Today I will post one of our family favorites. This recipe is a combination of Brad’s mom’s “Slumgulliam” recipe and my mom’s “Fried Garbage”. Because I’m combining the two recipes there are options for a couple of the steps. Either option works.
Pictured below are your basic ingredients.
I choose the option of adding the macaroni uncooked with the meat and onions. It’s easier and I don’t have the extra pot to clean. I also added shredded carrots. Quick, simple and delicious!
The beauty of this recipe is it makes a lot of leftovers. Refrigerate them for the next day or put some in meal size freezer containers and pop them in the freezer. On those days you don’t have time to cook or don’t want to you can take one out of the freezer, microwave it until hot and voila! Dinner.
Let’s see, where was I? I guess I need to prove a point. I am my own worst enemy. 5000 step challenge. Honestly what is the deal? At least I can report that I have gotten back on track.
Sometimes a little time away gives you a chance to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go. In the past year I gained 5 more pounds and have been dealing with some hip issues. Welcome to the 60’s! My normal exercise routine was causing more trouble than benefits. I was in a rut.
Time to change it up.
I decided to stop my yoga class and more recently my kinesis class. I found I was modifying them so much I was getting little benefit. I charged up that “fitbit” battery and started my step journey once again. 10,000 steps a day. It’s not easy. You have to work at it for sure. I am lucky we have a lot of hiking trails nearby. A quick two minute drive and we’re there. Drive a little further and we have trails around lakes, along rivers, up mountains. Brad and I recently decided to go Emigrant Lake for a little change of pace. We headed to Ashland, stopped for breakfast and on to the lake. We saw a “trail” that headed over the dam and decided to check it out.
We were not disappointed. It was a beautiful hike alongside the lake. Wildflowers were in bloom, row teams were practicing and we discovered a quaint very old cemetery.
I believe this is a perfect place to rest in peace!
but there is no better feeling than being scared when your wrist starts buzzing. Mission accomplished.
My friend Anna got a “fitbit” for Christmas. She told me about the feature where you can challenge your friends. “Let’s challenge each other” she said. I should have known better. Day one. I wake up to a ” fitbit” text message…your friend Anna has reached 8743 steps. Honestly? I immediately texted her and told her to sit down. Good grief! I just stepped out of bed!! I must add she in Florida and I am in Oregon …there is a 3 hour difference but who needs to wake up to that? Needless to say I lost that first challenge but I put up a tough fight I put in over 14,000 steps that day. I also learned a great lesson. Challenges work.
Today I challenge you. What changes do you want to make? What will you do to make those changes happen?
What is it that holds us back from achieving our goals? I am my own biggest challenge. I find it hard to stay motivated. I am easily distracted. Perfect example, I started this post over a month ago. Sad but true. Blogging is new to me and I am not the most technical person on the planet. What seems simple to me gets complicated , I get frustrated and then bam. A month or two or more flies by.
The same goes for keeping up an exercise regime. As we age one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is exercise. You know the motto, “Use it or Lose it”. I use it but clearly not enough because I am still losing it. It’s an endless battle. So what can I do to keep myself motivated?
One of my favorite exercises is walking. It’s easy. Right? You would think. On our recent trip to Hawaii, I found I simply had to step outside and I was motivated. Warm air, cool breezes, sea, sand and whales jumping. Paradise.
I walked every day with ease. I swore when I got home I would keep it up. No matter what. Then we got home and it was cold and rainy. Motivation gone. I had to do something to get re-inspired. I needed a challenge. I signed up for a free website, loseit.com. I love it. My favorite feature right now is that I can join “steps” challenges and easily sync my fitbit to the site. I first recorded the number of steps I was walking for a few days to see where my norm was. Considering the ultimate goal is 10,ooo steps a day, my norm was pretty dismal. I started my first challenge at 5000 steps a day. Pretty easy to do with very little effort. I started taking my dogs on a daily hike on the Woodlands Trail system we are so lucky to have here. There are so many trails. You can do easy, hard, long short. Mix it up.
The more we went, the easier it got. We have gotten several “routes” we take depending on time and energy level. I still fight myself…we start hiking and this hurts or that’s sore and alter ego starts trying to talk me into shorter walks but most times I win. I average between 7000 to 9000 steps daily now. My best day’s are when I am walking along and I get that wonderful fitbit buzz, that makes me jump every time, telling me mission accomplished. 10000 steps!
My first franklycindy challenge to you is start tracking your steps. The goal 5000 steps a day. Share your accomplishments. Get motivated!
It’s official. I am now legally gray. Yesterday I was filling out the form to renew my passport. Lo and behold came the question. Hair color? My heart skipped a beat. Wow. I looked at the box for a minute or two, took a deep breath and checked “gray”. What a year. 60 and gray.
I made the choice about a year ago to stop coloring my hair quite by accident. I had no intention of going “natural” at all. I missed my coloring appointment when my mom was in the hospital. Next thing I know it’s been 2+ months and I have roots. Gray roots. I observed my new roots and discovered that my gray had changed. It was no longer the mousey ( I don’t think that’s a word) reddish yucky gray but it had become more silver and light. Hmmm. Should I or shouldn’t I? Emily said no way mom, you’re going to look old. Now there’s a vote of confidence. But then there was Sandy. My own personal cheerleader! Do it! It’s beautiful. It will look so good with your eyes and skin. Ok we’ll give it a try. She is very convincing!
Growing your hair out from coloring is not easy. You go through some pretty terrible phases. There were many and I mean many times when I would look at myself and think..it does make me look old. What am I thinking??? I want to be blonde again. Sandy was always there…it looks great leave it alone. It’s beautiful! Don’t color it. She even enlisted our friends to join in and cheer me on. I had my own private pep squad. I had no choice. I left it alone.
Luckily, I wear my hair short and it grows fast. By the end of the summer it was pretty much gray. Then as an early birthday present, Sandy gave me gift certificates to get a hair makeover with her niece Addie. The plan, grow it out longer, no bangs, swoop here, longer there. Oh my. How much more change can I go through? I let it grow out for 2 months and then I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like an old shaggy dog. Addie to the rescue. Finally it’s long enough to style. She was very patient with me and my cranky demands. I HAVE to have bangs and it needs to be shorter around my face! You can do whatever you want with the rest. She smiled and said great let’s do it. An hour later I was looking at a new me in the mirror and I liked it. Maybe change is good. I am still getting used to the gray. I am liking it more and more. It has many shades of gray. I am often asked if it’s my natural color. Huh? Who colors their hair gray on purpose? But I must admit it makes me feel better about it. Even Emily says it’s not as bad as she thought it would be. I think that’s a compliment?
I am a cookbook junkie. I love reading them and finding fun new recipes and new twists on old ones. For my birthday my sister Donna gave me SHEET PAN SUPPERS by Molly Gilbert. A new twist on one pot meals using sheet pans. I’m in! Not only do the recipes look great but it’s a fun read too. I couldn’t wait to try something. I decided on the Chicken Parmesan since I already had all the ingredients on hand. It’s a favorite in our house. In line with New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to add chopped summer squash, zucchini and red bell pepper lightly seasoned to the side in lieu of cooking pasta or adding bread.
I popped it into a preheated 400 degree oven. Baked it for about 15 minutes then removed the pan from the oven and added the finishing touches. Marinara, provolone and parmesan cheese.
After about 10 more minutes out came dinner. It was easy, healthy and delicious! All in one pan. Now that’s my kind of meal!!
4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets each about 1/2 inch thick
1 jar (24 ounce) marinara sauce (Molly love's Rao's)
6 to 8 slices of provolone cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the upper third. Generously mist a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Stir together the panko, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the pepper in a large bowl to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper. In a third shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.
Dip each chicken cutlet first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then in the eggs, and finally in the panko mixture, patting to coat thoroughly on both sides. Place the breaded chicken cutlets on the prepared pan. Mist the chicken with the olive oil cooking spray to lightly coat.
Bake the chicken until the panko has browned and the cutlets are almost entirely cooked through about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Top each chicken cutlet with about 1/2 cup marinara sauce and the provolone and parmesan. Return to the oven.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, an additional 10 minutes or so.
Thanks so much for dropping in! As I fast approach 60 and an empty nest, I decided it was time to reinvent my life. Here you'll find just about everything: recipes, adventures, challenges, reflections, and most importantly, lots of fun and laughs along the way. I hope you'll join me as this new, fun and sometimes scary adventure unfolds. (Read more)