Kohlrabi

I have been trying to be more adventurous with cooking. I made the trek to Whole Foods last week in pursuit of interesting looking vegetables – maybe ones that I have eaten before, maybe not.

I strolled by bunches of absolutely beautiful rainbow carrots, perused through octopi-shaped mushrooms and finally decided on this little purple ball of Kohlrabi.

I had no idea what it was, but it looked like we could have fun together, so I bought a small bushel.

From the purple, almost scaly exterior of the little alien root to the richly green leaves growing out of the top, every aspect of Kohlrabi is intriguing. And what I made with it was just as fascinating as Kohlrabi its’ self, but that’s for later…

I researched the humble plant, and found out that it tastes like a radish-brocolli fusion {Kohlrabi is of German descent, and is actually translated to “Cabbage Turnip”).

According to 3 Fat Chicks, the German root is a “nutrient dense” food – this means that the nutrient per calorie level is extremely high, in turn making it a better for you vegetable.

Another benefactor? Zero fat and zero cholesterol, 5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Plus, it has 140% of your DVs of vitamin C – all this for less than 30 calories per serving.

LiveStrong tells us that “Kohlrabi is particularly rich in arginine, which can be helpful for dieting. Research from the July 2010 issue of “Amino Acids” indicates that arginine supplementation can reduce fat mass and encourage the burning of stored energy, which aids in weight loss.”

A deceiving little vegetable, she is, but definitely worth a try. Stay tuned to find out what creative concoction I made with Kohlrabi!

Enjoy!

Simple Decadence

I have been reading back on my previous posts and realizing that the dishes I create aren’t particularly pretty, or “chef”-y. I want to create one of those very small dishes that has a huge presentation, perhaps as though the food were art {oh wait, it is}. So I grabbed just a few ingredients {4, in fact} and started at it.

Portabello mushrooms are the perfect bed to begin stacking other delicious treats on top of, so I started with that as my base, and preheated the oven to 450 degrees.

Then, I was thinking of things that could relatively be the same size and sit nicely on top, like a little “cap”, if you will – a small lid for our new little delicacy. I decided on eggplant and sliced it into 1/2 inch discs and sauteed them on medium-high heat in a teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of water & covered. As soon as one side begins to become tender and partially limp, flip it over {about 5-7 minutes}. It should start to get little dark brown spots on the flesh.

I have been obsessed with egg dishes – not like breakfast eggs, but like the ones you see that are cooked over easy and placed atop a bed of arugula on a quail salad. It just looks so pleasant nestled there in it’s little green nest {until the yoke starts spreading once you impale it with your fork. Violent? Maybe. Passionate? Definitely}.

So I pulled the stem out of the mushroom cap, slathered the inside with basil pesto for some big flavor, and cracked the raw egg inside the cap. I sprinkled the egg with a dash of salt, pulled the eggplant discs out and placed 2 of them on top of the egg.

On a greased dish, I placed my little creations {I made 2}  in the oven and it took but 7-10 minutes for the eggs to get cooked, but still runny and for the mushrooms to be meaty rather than mealy.

This dish was so cute and surprisingly filling. Eating two of these little delights only breaks your calorie bank at about 335 calories, contains 22 grams of protein and your entire daily need of Riboflavin {also known as vitamin B2, which increases energy and contains antioxidant properties}. Pretty and healthy!

Enjoy!

Yes, Another Burger Post

On Friday night, the husband and I had ourselves a burger date at a little joint called Park Burger {in Denver on Pearl St.}.

Woah.

The word “delicious” would be quite the understatement.

We weren’t sure we were going to stay after hearing that the wait would be 40 minutes, but we decided it might be worth it, and we would never know if we missed out on the best burger ever if we didn’t choose patience. And let me tell you, we would have missed out on the best burger. Ever.

Far beyond worth a 40 minute wait, dear friends.

Please pardon my chipped nails.

I ordered a Bison burger with lettuce, tomato, extra onions {of course} and a topping of bacon & dressed ever so simply with ketchup {ketchup is another obsession of mine}. Husband ordered something called “El Chilango” which is 1/3 lb. burger topped with cheddar, jalapenos and guac.

We shared a side of some of the best ever sweet potato fries.

We were happy.

Fat and happy. We slept well that Friday night.

Enjoy!

Yam Medallions

Well, since we recently had a discussion about yams, and you knew I obviously had some, here’s what I made – Yam Medallions. Simple and sweet. And oh so luscious.

Slice yams into quarter to 1/2 inch discs and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes {or in my case, since the oven is broken, zap ’em in the micro for 5 minutes}. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle on a little paprika and S&P to taste. Set your stove on medium heat, and cook those little suckers on a nonstick pan until the sugars start seeping out and begin to caramelize, turning slightly brown {about 4 minutes or so}. Flip them over, and repeat. Done.

These are yummy when dipped into this soup, {although last night I did a slight variation of that same soup by adding cooked carrots and freshly sliced ginger – it was so fragrant and a little more gourmet tasting than the original} which is what we had for dinner, alongside some perfectly grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

Fennel Soup – {WAY} More Than Meets the Eye

This is actually one of my favorite things I’ve made to date. I was curious, and purchased a bulb of fennel, but really had no reference as to what to make, but for some reason my mind kept wandering back to soup. It’s fun to experiment with different foods, but this girl had never even eaten, let alone cooked fennel. Ever {shame on me! This is what I’ve been missing all these years?!}. But I think those itty-bitty food instincts kicked in when soup was calling out to me.

Fennel is just an absolutely amazing vegetable. It has LOADS of health benefits – more than I’ve probably ever seen in one little plant. Yep. Again, power food is the term here. According to the website Organic Facts, “the health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, eye care, etc.” WHOA – that’s a mouthful! Click the link above to see an in-depth look at this wondrous bulb.

Here’s what I did:

1/2 Fennel Bulb, roughly chopped

1/2 C of Chopped Onions

1 C of Frozen Peas, thawed

1/3 C of Frozen Butternut Squash cubes, thawed

1 1/2 C of Chicken {or vegetable, to make it vegan} stock

S&P to taste

A Drizzle of Olive Oil

Set your stove on medium-high heat, and drizzle in some olive oil, a couple TBSP of water, and toss the coarsely chopped fennel bulb in. Cover. After a couple of minutes of letting the water tenderize the fennel, toss in the onions, cover. After another couple of minutes, throw in the butternut squash. Do not cover. If the pan is getting dry, and the squash starts sticking, you can add a little more water. When everything is nice and tenderly sauteed, take the pan off the heat.

In a blender or food processor, blend 1/2 the peas and 1/2 the stock together with about 1/2 C of the cooked veggie mix. Pour into a separate bowl, and toss the remaining peas, stock and veggies into the blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed mixture that we set aside back into the blender, add a good helping of pepper {1/2 – 1 TBSP} and salt to taste {I used a couple teaspoons}. Once again, blend until everything is nicely mixed. Pour into two bowls, and microwave to heat the soup to your hearts content {because putting piping hot food into a blender could be dangerous}. Garnish with a little pepper on top.

Not only was this soup so simple to create, let me tell you – the fennel is delicious! It has a slight anise flavor, and paired with the black pepper, it gives a pleasing little kick. I will continue to come back to this soup, especially when cooler weather begins to greet us.

Not only does this soup have exceedingly monumental health factors, but this whole recipe is for two servings! Yep, you get a giant bowl of this enchanting emerald-green soup for – get this – just 145 calories {or eat the whole thing as a meal}! Not to mention 3/4 of your daily need for vitamin A, and 6 – count ’em, SIX – grams of protein!

Double the recipe to serve 4.

Enjoy!

Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

I’m sure this post won’t be news to many, but upon embarking on a search {4 different stores!} to satiate my need for a sweet potato, alas! There were none to be had. I boiled it down to this: it simply isn’t sweet potato season {which happens to be October-December}. So what’s a girl with a craving to do? Settle for the next best thing – the yam, right?

I decided to research the nutritional difference between these two orange root vegetables. Other than the few differences we can physically decipher, such as yams being a little stringier, and sweet potatoes being a little smooshier when cooked, there truly is a world of a difference – I suppose you could say they are the fraternal twins of the root world {although, they are not related in the least – weird}.

Because of their high amounts of vitamins b6, Yams can actually aid in reducing cholesterol. They have also been linked to having tons of antioxidant properties, which fight oxidative stress and free radicals, in turn, preventing a huge range of diseases. In some Asian cultures, yams have even been used to treat a plethora of female problems, such as easing ailments caused by menopause.

Sweet potatoes contain iron, which is great for vegetarians, who may lack in that area. Also, {this surprised me} they may save smokers lives due to their amounts of vitamin A, which according to LiveStrong, “cigarette smoke creates a deficiency of this vitamin. This deficiency may be one of the causes of emphysema.” They are also often passed on when it comes to beta carotene, but they actually contain more of it than carrots do {contrary to popular belief, vitamin A and beta carotene are not the same thing, rather, beta carotene is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A when it hits the digestive tract}.

The similarities? Both Yams and Sweet Potatoes have lots of fiber, so they are both excellent for dieters, because not only is fiber heart healthy, but it is directly linked to weight loss {which we all know is because fiber makes you full}.

The lesson? Both are good for you, so while we wait for the vitamin A rich & emphysema blocking powers of sweet potatoes, indulge in the cholesterol reducing & free-radical fighting potential of yams.

Sweet Potato or Yam? You tell me.

Enjoy!

A “Non-Stuffy Art Show”

Holy Schnikes, this last week was madness! I started a new job, was involved in my first art auction fundraiser, said goodbye to my sisters boyfriend, Jon {whom we’ve all grown to love, and will dearly miss}, and found out some life changing news – all within a few days. I am so glad my life is going to start slowing down. For now. Then, I’ll probably miss this brisk pace we’ve been running on.

Here  is a preview of some of the pieces I contributed to Burning Through Pages’ “Non-Stuffy Art Show”, as they call it. My friend Ty, whose picture you’ve seen here, took some photos of my art pieces for my portfolio, which I will show you later. Again, if you want to see more of her photography, click here {you can see some of our family photos, like the two below}.

But as for my art, this little picture will do for now.

Enjoy!

Husband’s Favorite Sandwich

If any restaurant serves a Monte Cristo, I know that’s what he will be ordering. On Sunday, I don’t know why I never thought to make him one myself, so I did. With a little twist.

Here’s what I did:

2 pieces of bread {I used whole wheat}

A slice or 2 of Cheese {I used extra sharp cheddar}

2 slices of turkey sandwich meat

2 slices of ham sandwich meat

1 TBSP of Boysenberry Preserves {traditionally, Monte Cristo’s are made with raspberry preserves, but that’s what we had, and honestly, there’s not much of a difference}

Now, I made this a healthier versions, so I did not make the bread into french toast pieces. I layered the cheese, then meats on one side of the bread, while letting 1 TSP of butter melt in a TSP of olive oil {so the butter doesn’t burn}. Then, on the other piece of toast, slather on the preserves.

Put the two pieces together, then on medium heat, place into a frying pan, and put the lid on top. After 3 to 4 minutes, flip the sandwich, and when both sides are golden brown and crunchy and the cheese is melted, serve up with a side of more Boysenberry preserves.

Let me tell you, husband likey.

Enjoy!

Abstractions

I am so beyond excited to tell you that I have been invited to showcase and auction some of my art for a good cause next Saturday {August 18th}.

Burning Through Pages, is {as stated by it’s website} “a non-profit organization based out of Denver, CO dedicated to the advocacy of reading and writing for our city’s youth. […] We are here to introduce new and updated literature to Denver’s youth. We buy books, give them away, and take the time to talk about them.

Burning Through Pages Inc. has one goal and one goal only:

To inspire a love of reading in today’s youth by recommending, donating, and discussing books.”

How cool is that? To learn more about this awesome organization, click here.

Needless to say, I have been painting so I can add pieces to my portfolio, but this morning, I broke out the ole’ sketchbook and ink pens. Here’s a little preview of one of the pieces I have created.

Normally, I would be using Micron pens, but I think they are in our storage unit somewhere.

Enjoy your weekend!

Summer Salad

I love salads. What woman doesn’t? But I wanted something a little different, so I “grilled” {really, I just used a grill pan, because we ran out of gas} a few different summer veggies.

Atop a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, I added grilled cucumbers, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms & grilled yellow bell pepper.

Then I made my own dressing out of balsamic vinegar, a splash of olive oil, a spritz of lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika. You may think this is strange, but I then mixed 1/2 TBSP of brown spicy mustard in. It gives it a punch of tangy flavor for less than 5 calories! And, how could you not love it when you see how beautiful it is? Almost too pretty to eat! Almost.

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 277.0
  Total Fat 14.8 g
  Saturated Fat 2.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 10.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 2,716.1 mg
  Potassium 1,276.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 30.8 g
  Dietary Fiber 7.0 g
  Sugars 1.6 g
  Protein 7.7 g
  Vitamin A 83.3 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.5 %
  Vitamin B-6 31.0 %
  Vitamin C 642.7 %
  Vitamin D 13.3 %
  Vitamin E 12.2 %
  Calcium 9.9 %
  Copper 27.8 %
  Folate 61.0 %
  Iron 18.2 %
  Magnesium 15.0 %
  Manganese 58.4 %
  Niacin 27.5 %
  Pantothenic Acid     19.1 %
  Phosphorus     20.7 %
  Riboflavin 30.2 %
  Selenium 10.6 %
  Thiamin 19.7 %
  Zinc 9.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.