Happy Hour with Tom Brady :: Creamy Hummus

creamy hummus

Ok, that title is a little misleading – but it made you curious, right? I’ll get to Tom Brady in a second. So, experts say that during these strange times it’s important to have a “routine.” Husband and I say “Cheers” to that! Besides staying on a schedule, exercising and getting dressed and ready for work (who knows when a Zoom meeting will pop up?!), we have a pre-dinner “happy hour” to catch up on the day, and the day’s news. I’m trying to keep things healthy, so the centerpiece of our little ritual is this Lemon & Cumin Creamy Hummus. Continue Reading →

Blueberry Chia Pudding

blueberry chia pudding

I have no idea what day it is! (You too?!) Husband and I have embraced this slower pace and settled into some new routines. Committed to staying healthy and eating well, we get outside every day and exercise. And I’ve challenged myself to keep trying new recipes – like this Blueberry Chia Pudding. Delicious enough for dessert, this has become a go-to breakfast option. Continue Reading →

Cremini Chili

Cremini Chili

When I made a batch of this Cremini Chili for the freezer, little did I know how glad I’d be to have a few meals on hand during the Covid19 pandemic CRAZINESS! Having just placed another grocery delivery order (bless you, Instacart!) I’m getting geared up to stock the freezer with lots of my other freeze-able favorites.

Just because we’re quarantined, doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthy – and enjoy it! This Cremini Chili is from my current favorite cookbook, Food: What the Heck Should I COOK? 

Packed with delicious sautéed vegetables, the cremini (portobello) mushrooms can be doubled to make a meat-free version. The batch I’m making tonight includes grass-fed beef, but this is delicious either way. You can scroll right to the recipe if you want – but I need to rave about this cookbook! (For which I am not being compensated in any way). 

A couple of years ago, I was looking forward to the results of one of those “bod pod”/BMI tests I took at the place where I was strength training. I had been following their workout and eating plan faithfully for six months, and was excited to see my results. I knew I had gained strength, and eaten even healthier than they recommended. When the results came back, I was disappointed. Nothing had changed… I was still a “skinny fat person” – with high cholesterol. 

A friend introduced me to a book titled “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” by Dr. Mark Hyman. He’s the Head of Strategy and Innovation for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, can be heard on a number of podcasts (my favorite is The Doctor’s Farmacy), and has written a bunch of books. In this one, he cuts through boatloads of conflicting and confusing research about the food we eat, and helps simplify and make sense of it. I devoured the book – and just making a few tweaks in what I eat has made a huge difference in how I feel. 

Recenty, he released the companion cookbook. The day it arrived, I sat down with a tasty beverage and read it cover-to-cover. The recipes sounded so good, I was excited to try almost all of them. So far, I’ve made over a dozen, and every one of them is a keeper – including his Go-To Cremini Chili.

I marked “a few” recipes in “Food: What the Heck Should I COOK” that I wanted to try…

Since I don’t have to venture out to get groceries, it’s a great day to get outside and take a walk with hubby. We’re both looking forward to a big bowl of this Cremini Chili when we get back!

Go-To Cremini Chili
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 12 large cremini mushrooms (24 if you forego the beef), roughly chopped
  • 2 large red onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (original recipe calls for 2 Tbs)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato purée
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the ghee, and heat until shimmering. If using, add the beef and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces and allowing the meat to sear and brown for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, bell peppers, and celery, stirring well to combine. Cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and chipotle powder and stir well. Add the tomato purée and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook slowly until the chili has reduced and thickened, about 45 minutes.
  4. Finish the chili by seasoning with the salt. Divide among four bowls and top with avocado and chopped cilantro.
Notes
The recipe calls for adding 6 cups of filtered water. I found that made it way too "soupy." I cut it to 3 cups and found that you really don't need any at all.

You can also serve with dollops of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) - especially if you increase the chili powder and need to balance the heat!

 

Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Chili Cashews

cauliflower tabbouleh with chili cashews

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is through its food. So one of the “rules” I have when traveling somewhere for the first time is to avoid eating at same restaurant twice. And if, for some reason, I do, I certainly don’t order the same thing again. Exceptions have been made of course. At our hotel on a recent trip to Indonesia, this Cauliflower Tabbouleh with Chili Cashews was SO good, I not only ordered it twice during our stay, I asked the chef for the recipe! Continue Reading →

Baked Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe (and a whole lot of garlic!)

Baked Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Back in J-School (Journalism School, at UNL – Go Huskers!) we were taught the mantra “Don’t bury the lead.” In other words, you should share the most important thing first; then elaborate (or in my case, digress) for those who care to read further. In the world of food blogs, research says the same is true. In this world, the “lead” is the recipe – that’s why you clicked to get here in the first place, right? So, for those that want to go straight to the recipe for Baked Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe… click HERE. For the few family members and friends who will read this out of obligation, bless you. Come on over and I’ll make this for you!

Continue Reading →

Open Faced Tomato Burrata Sandwiches

Summer means fresh produce, soaking up the great outdoors and casual entertaining. For us, hanging out with dear friends at The Rockin’ K Ranch in Northern Idaho is about as close to heaven as you can get. When my friend Mim brought these Open-Faced Heirloom Tomato Burrata Sandwiches to a recent get-together at the barn, I knew I had to share. Continue Reading →

North Shore Chicken Salad

Minnesota is known for a lot of things. Long cold winters… more than 10,000 lakes… and Hockey Hair. Prince, Bob Dylan and Betty Crocker (not a real person) are all Minnesotans. Zubaz were invented here (sorry). We’ve got the Mall of America, a 49-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan, and The Mayo Clinic. Folks from the North Star State famously insist on using the wrong name for a popular children’s game (they call it “Duck, duck, gray duck”. What?! EVERYBODY knows it’s “Duck, duck goose!”). If you’ve enjoyed Cheerios, Tator-Tot Hot Dish (again, sorry) or Bundt cake you can thank Minnesota. Continue Reading →

Spring Roll Chicken Salad

If you’re looking for a healthy option in an Asian restaurant, fresh spring rolls are usually a good choice. Some restaurants call them “summer rolls” to distinguish them from the more popular version that is wrapped in won ton skins and fried. (Not so healthy!) I’m talking about the ones that are wrapped in rice paper and stuffed with crunchy veggies, maybe some shrimp or chicken, and served cold with a yummy dipping sauce. They’re fun to make, but let’s face it… the hangry-er I am, the lazier I am! Enter Spring Roll Chicken Salad.

Continue Reading →

Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese & Port

“We should have you over for dinner!”

We’ve all said it… and meant it… but for whatever reason, the dinner just never happens. Yet when it does, it’s always a treat. Last summer, some “new-ish” friends DID follow through and invited us over. We knew the company would be great — the delicious meal was a bonus! They served steaks from the grill, warmed bread and this Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Port. Simple. Elegant. Fabulous. Continue Reading →

Beef Short Rib Ravioli with Mustard Cream Sauce

One of the great things about our neighborhood is that an impromptu dinner party can break out at any time. Often, it’s just a matter of cobbling together what everyone has on hand. But last weekend I had a slam-dunk meal in my back pocket. And by ‘back pocket’ I mean freezer. The hard work was already done for this hearty, rich and decadent Beef Shortrib Ravioli with Mustard Cream Sauce. Continue Reading →