Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big News!

Last weekend...
My beautiful daughter 
her boyfriend
Got Engaged!

Congratulations Chelsea and Eric.
We are so excited for you!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beautiful Food

Today is day 14 of my Whole 30. It's going great!
The first five days were a little tough but somewhere along the way things got better.
Still missing that glass of wine with dinner but Pelligrino is a fine substitute!

Amazingly, the Whole 30 has turned into a culinary adventure.
Beautiful dishes have been making their way from stove to table.

The first recipe in the Beautiful Food line up is:
  Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata. 
The recipe comes from my favorite cook book,
Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Melissa has just released Well Fed 2 and should be in my mailbox tomorrow!

The best word to describe this dish is 

Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata

2-3 pounds beef stew meet, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cinnamon sticks
extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)

Orange Gremolata:
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons) 
zest from 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. It's important that you don't crowd the pan. The meat needs air around it to achieve a crisp brown crust. With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the browned pieces to a bowl to catch their juice. Repeat with the remaining cubes.

In the same pot, saute the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and garlic for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan. Which is just a cook's way to say: Add the broth and vinegar, then stir with passion, scraping up all the wonderful brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.

Put the meat and its drippings back into the pot. Add 3 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, a healthy dose of pepper, the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the pot only partially covered for about 90 minutes. This is not a soupy stew but if the stew starts to dry out, add more water, about 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid in the pan has been reduced to gravy-like status.

During the last 15 minutes of stew cooking time, make the gremolata. In a small bowl, mix the parsley, orange zest, thyme, garlic, and rose water.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and herb stems from the stew pot. Ladle the stew into deep bowls and top with a few pinches of orange gremolata. Bonus points if you also add a light drizzle of olive oil.

*Eat the orange gremolata immediately to enjoy the full effects of the aromatic orange oils. It will keep in the refrigerator  for a few days, but it's best when it's fresh.

Miller Addition: I threw a sweet potato in the microwave for about 5 minutes (until tender), cut it in half, scooped out the flesh and mashed it with a fork. This was added to the bottom of the bowl and the stew put on top. It was a fantastic addition to this awesome recipe!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall - What's not to Love

Many people have expressed Fall as their favorite time of year.

Here are a few of the reasons why.

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Whole 30 Breakfast

One of the best things about the Whole 30 is all the pretty food.

A go to breakfast during these 30 days is Baked Bacon and Eggs.
So easy to make and very satisfying.
Make a large batch and there will be enough for a few days. 
The leftovers can be microwaved and the BEST PART...
No chopping or cooking!

A good portion of this can easily get a hungry girl through until lunch time.

Here's what you do:
Gather ingredients.

Bacon and Egg Bake

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp italian seasoning (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 cups cooked, crumbled bacon
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
8 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bacon, peppers and onions in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. In a medium size bowl beat the eggs and add in seasoning. Pour over bacon mixture. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until center is firm.

*there are so many variations to this basic recipe. Add green onions, olives, spinach, broccoli or whatever else sounds good. 

*you can also make this in a 9x13. Use 1 dozen eggs and increase your veggies.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Finds

I was in sunny California last weekend and as luck would have it...
 Just 30 minutes from the Alameda Antiques Faire!

This was my first time
and it was so much

We were a little shy on cargo space but I still managed to bring a few things home.

Here are a few of my Alameda favorites.

sweet creamers from europe

 Made it home safe from sunny California.
Also found some great stuff here in Oregon this weekend.

I love the hunt especially when it produces such gorgeous finds!

In case you are wondering...
The Whole 30 is going great! 
Drinking coffee black is not so bad. 

I can't wait to share some fantastic recipes with you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For the Health of it

Today is day one of my 

A brief explanation of the Whole 30 in the author's words:

A short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food. 

Click on the link below if you are curious and want to check it out.

This is the second time I have done a Whole 30. Last year about this time I was just finishing up! The motivation for taking on a second round is to clean up my habits, feel better, and drop a few pounds before the holidays.

The one thing that makes me sad about the next 30 days is giving up a great glass of wine with dinner.
No alcohol allowed (sad face).
These beauties are stored safely in my wine rack and are waiting patiently for the next 30 days.

No worries.
This served on ice in a wine glass will get me through.

Fabulous Whole 30 friendly recipes will soon find there way onto this blog. I can't wait to share them with you!  
I'll even throw in a few of my favorite workouts too.

Hang on...
Here we go!

P.S. All opinions are my own.  No payment or services have been exchanged for the amazing plugs sent their way!