Monday, July 23, 2012

Lighter fare: kitchen sink summer soup

It's summer, the appetite is a little more in check, and so we crave lighter, healthier fare. I'm not a huge soup fan, but every now and then it's so pleasurable. I made up this recipe by accident. This soup lets you throw in everything but the kitchen sink - as long as you stick to vegetables and stay away from fatty or starchy additions.   
Collard and kitchen sink summer soup

This soup starts with a quick saute, followed by the addition of the remaining ingredients and a short simmer. You can switch out ingredients according to whatever is in the fridge.

Collard and Kitchen Sink Summer Soup

What's in it:
  • About two smallish carrots or 6-7 baby carrots, thinly sliced with a mandolin
  • One large clove of garlic, minced
  • Half a head of collard greens or kale, cut into thin strips
  • About 5 cups of good chicken broth or stock (I make my own in large batches and freeze it in one-cup measures)
  • 2 green onions, tops cut off then sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • About 8-10 square wonton wrappers, cut into smaller squares or triangles
  • One teaspoon dark sesame oil  
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • A dab of Sriracha (to your heat preference)

How to make it:

Saute carrots, garlic and collards or kale over medium heat with cooking spray or olive oil for 7 or so minutes, until they begin to get tender. 

Add broth, onions, wonton wrappers, sesame oil and salt and pepper. 

Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve it up, add your Sriracha and enjoy!

Ideas for substitutions or additions: shaved leeks instead of green onions; cabbage instead of collards/kale; add in sugar snap peas at the end

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Every Woman Deserves To Be Beautiful'

Actual photo is much more striking of Heidi
This is the tagline and brand statement for a wonderful line of skincare and makeup from founder Heidi Schulze. She's based in Houston.

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. Houston doesn't get its fair shake in this country. What an under-marketed city with marvelous talent we have! The transcendent Heidi Schulze is one of our shining stars. 

Heidi has recently faced some serious health issues. She battled with cancer previously, so has a following among women who also have won this battle and want to come back better than ever. With the latest setback, a loving friend who does marketing for Heidi hosted a 'life celebration' soiree in her honor. 

Some of the skincare products, and the lovely goodie bags for guests

The older I get, the more I must focus on my health, and skincare in particular. It means more budget is set aside for this, but it's completely worth it to look as young and vibrant on the outside as you feel on the inside.
The stunning lip glosses
One of the special guests at the party was Joanne King Herring, who was the subject of 'Charlie Wilson's War' and has led a fascinating life. She's an octogenarian, and in person is quite stunning and incredibly gracious.

Wherever we are in life and whatever our station, as a woman I believe that, indeed, every woman deserves to be beautiful!

With Joanne King Herring - an elegant, gorgeous and gracious lady

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf ... Living on Leftovers

Ready to go into the oven
Since it's summer, one of the last things to hit the menu is meatloaf. But I'd contend that comfort food is year-round. Since I only purchase ground beef about four times a year, I moved to meatloaf made with ground turkey some time ago. I've gradually been updating one of my fave recipes to sneak in more of those healthful veggies. Try this one out - it's a barbeque theme and makes awesome leftovers!

Finished product! I couldn't help taking a bite first.

Turkey Meatloaf with Secret Veggies

[the loaf]
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 - 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/2 - 3/4 c. fresh bread crumbs (process in your food processor)
About 6-8 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 onion or 3 green onions or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 peeled carrots, put through the food processor until finely chopped
1/3 of one large zucchini, put through the food processor until finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

[the sauce]
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water or beef stock (can use bouillon)
3 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 

Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg and olive oil. Add in remaining loaf ingredients (hint: mix veggies in separate bowl then add to turkey, etc.) and 2/3 cup of the sauce. Mix gently. If possible, put the bowl in the fridge and let the flavors steep for a few hours. 

Place into shallow 7x10 in. pan or bread loaf tin, lightly oiled. I prefer the 7x10 pan so I can free-form it. Brush just enough sauce over meat loaf to coat. Bake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for up to one hour and 15 minutes. Let it sit for 15 or so minutes before serving.

When the meatloaf is nearly finished baking, put the rest of the sauce in a small saucepan and gently simmer on the lowest heat, mostly covered, so it reduces just a bit and the flavors concentrate. Drizzle some of this lovely sauce over each piece.

This meatloaf is great with mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes (also better for summer eating). 
[leftover ideas]

- Enjoy cold meatloaf sliced and tucked into whole wheat pita along with homemade coleslaw. 

- Make a shepherd's pie out of crumbled meatloaf along with leftover sauce as the base. You might have to make extra sauce.

- Pizza! Cut meatloaf into bite-sized pieces as a pizza topping, along with extra barbeque sauce, thinly sliced green onions, sharp cheddar or Jack cheese, jalapenos and maybe some cilantro sprinkled on after baking.  

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