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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.

So says Michael Pollan of "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto". So far I am about 1/4 of the way through this book and I really like it. He starts by breaking down the first part of this statement: Eat food. He clarifies by saying we are talking about real food. Not things that come wrapped in plastic and cardboard boxes. Not things that have lists of ingredients you can't pronounce, but you know, food.

The thing that I am finding interesting is that he is talking about how his grandmother's generation never took advice from scientists, books, or the government on what to put on their kitchen table. They just ate .... food. What's in season? Put it on the table. Grandma made some bread? Put it on the table. What's in the garden, at the market, or what your neighbors brought over to trade with you, you put on the table. Our generation was raised so differently, we eat food sometimes because of the "nutrients" that scientists tell us are in them, and not for pleasure. We eat to check of the list of vitamins we need every day, not because a certain food is in season. He calls this "The Age of Nutritionism".

All of this has not made us healthier. In fact, anyone that reads the paper, or sees the news clips on TV can attest to the fact that we are being told over and over again that America is actually in worse shape than any other nation. He contends that all this advice has actually made us less healthy and considerably fatter.

I'm looking forward to reading more.......

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Bolder Boulder

Well I did it. Never in my life did I think I would enter a race, much less finish it. But I did! The Bolder Boulder 10K - and it felt good too. I went there by myself, but in no way did I feel alone. There were about 52,000 very cool people there right along side me.

So since I have never done a race before, I don't have much to compare it to. I know that it's the 2nd largest 10K in the nation. I know that it is known for being a really fun race to run, but that was the extent of what I knew going into it. It was huge, but I didn't feel overwhelmed because it's so highly organized. I think I had a smile on my face almost the whole way.

There were bands playing on the side of the road all along the race. Some high school angst bands, some old retired dude bands, an elvis impersonator, and Blues Brothers band. There were people blowing bubbles, there were drum circles, belly dancers, and yes even people set up alcohol stands on their front yards. Though I didn't partake, it gave me a good laugh. One guy questioned if he would make it to the end of the race sober. :) My favorite was the college house with almost a full bar outside set up : "Yell out what kind of shot you want, and well run it out to you!!!" It just made me laugh.

Also people dressed up which I wasn't expecting, but was really fun to see. I saw bumblebees, disco guys, gorillas, tutus, and all kinds of wigs and hats. What blew me away was this group of maybe 10-12 high school age (?) girls who did leap frog the whole way!!! Yes, it's true. That has to set some sort of record!

So though I hate running (I do. Sorry runners, it's nothing against you. I think Rob quoted me not even 30 mintues before the race saying "Running is wrong.") I can at least say I've done this. And now I can go back to enjoying my walks, my bike, and my elliptical machine. :) I'll leave the running to those who are serious about it. At least until next year. Because now I'm hooked, and my oldest son wants to do it in 2009 with me. I wonder what we'll dress up as......

Friday, May 23, 2008

Grill! Grill! Grill!

A friend from MN was going to come visit for the weekend, but it looks like it's not going to work out. *sniff*sniff* To divert my mind from that sadness, I have decided that we should grill every day this holiday weekend. I grabbed three recipes I've had stuffed in my recipe pile the past couple of weeks, waiting for just such a weekend, and took the kids shopping this weekend. With a watermelon, plenty of drinks and snacks, and my mind set on finishing our garden, it should be a fun laid back weekend anyway.

You know it's a big deal because I EVEN BOUGHT MEAT. If you know me, you know I can probably count the number of times on one hand that I buy meat every year, or even eat it. My families response: huh. Not impressed. I guess they are not big meat eaters anymore anyway. Here are my recipes for this weekend, and I'd love to hear any of your favorite grill recipes as well if you're willing to share!

Moroccan-Style Chicken Breasts

I'm going to serve this with whole-wheat couscous and some mix of grilled veggies

Source: Colorado Daily

Start to finish: 20 minutes, plus 6 to 10 hours marinating

Servings: 4

1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspooon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, cilantro, oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in a shallow dish and spread with half the yogurt mixture; turn the chicken over and spread with the remaining yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 10 hours.

Preheat a gas grill to high or prepare a charcoal fire. Grill the chicken until it is cooked through and no longer pink at the center, about 5 minutes per side.

Nutrition info: 179 calories, 49 calories from fat; 5g fat (1 g sat, 0 g trans); 66 mg chol.; 3g carb.; 27g protein; 1 g fiber; 232 mg sodium

Coconut Lime Shrimp

Source: Colorado Daily


3 limes

2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled, tail on

14-ounce can full-fat cocnut milk

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup unsweetened cocunut flakes

Use a fine grater or zester to remove and reserve the zest of 1 lime. Juice all the limes (about 1/8 cup juice).

Place the shrimp in a large, zipclose pastic bag. Add the cocnut milk and three quarters of the lime juice, then seal the bag and gently shake to coat the shrimp. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a food processor combine the lime zest, kosher salt and black pepper. Pulse until the zest, salt and peper are well blended. transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a small, dry skillet over medium -low heat, lightly toast the cocunut flakes. As soon as the coconut begins to brown, remove it from the heat. Set aside.

Generously coat a grill grate with cooking spray and preheat on medium-high. Alternatively, set a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray just before you are ready to cook.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Place the shrimp on the grill or grill pan and cook about 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until the exteriors are pink and the centers are opaque white.

While the shrimp are still on the grill, drizzle them with the remaining lime juice.

Transfer the shrimp to serving plates, then lightly sprinkle them with the salt-lime zest mixture, then with a bit of toasted coconut.

Chopped Portabella, Blue Cheese and Walnut Patties With Pear Mayonnaise

Source: Parade

for patties:

1 pound (about 4) cleaned, destemmed portabella mushroom caps, finely chopped and left to drain on paper towels

1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

7 TBSP seasoned breadcrumbs, or more for desired texture

2 TBSP finely chopped yellow onion

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 TBSP crumbled blue cheese

With your hands, mix the mushrooms, walnuts, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper, and blue cheese until allt he ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape the mushroom mixture into four 1/2 inch patties.

Grill over medium-hot coals or pan grill over med-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes a side, or until heated through. To serve, place each burger on a roll or bun. Spoon on a little dollop of Pear Mayonnaise, then top with lettuce, sprouts, tomato, avocado, cucumber, and/or onion slices to your taste.

for Pear Mayonnaise:

1 ripe pear

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP fresh lime juice

2 TBSP mayonnaise

black pepper

Peel and chop pear; saute in a small pan with oliv eoil and lime juice. Cook until soft and mushy, about 2-3 minutes. Puree and let cool. Stir in mayonnaise and black pepper, to teaste. Refrigerate.

Happy Grilling!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If you can't take the heat....

don't get out of the kitchen!

With a high today of 90 here, I'm starting to try to get my mind back in the game of summer cooking. For me, I usually don't cook anything until dinner anyway. However, in Colorado the day usually reaches it's high temperature around 5:00pm, which means I do not want to be standing around the stove around that time!

What do you do for summer evening meals? I start pulling out all my favorite appliances for starters. We use the grill, the rice cooker, the crock pot, and the bread machine more. I'd say I usually use the crock pot several times a month. If you don't have one yet, or a rice cooker, I highly recommend them both. I've had my low end Target slow cooker that I got as a wedding gift 9 years ago and it still works great. Same with rice cookers. I know the more expensive ones have some great features, but don't let that prevent you from picking one up. I had one I got for $20 at Walmart that lasted me years, until I decided to upgrade to the $40 one at Target that doubles as a steamer for veggies.

We also make so many salads - whether they are veggie or whole wheat pasta salads (I boil the noodles in the AM when it's cooler) you can set them out with fruit, veggies, dips, crackers and you've got an easy light meal. Hummus, with Whole Wheat Pitas, and veggies is a stand-by in our house. Keep some Dark Chocolate or a yummy sorbet in the freezer and you've got an easy dessert. One of our favorite summer desserts is also to grill some fruit, like pineapple, and then simply serve it over some amazing vanilla ice cream.

I try to watch good deals on fish and shrimp, and when I see something good I throw it in a freezer bag with some marinade so it's ready for spontaneous BBQ.

We tried something new over the weekend, that I can tell is going to be a new favorite of mine. I've been flipping through the book The Food You Crave and came across an unusual Panini recipe that we threw on the grill. YUM! Whether you are tired of your standbye grilling recipes, trying to cut out carbs, or want something super delicious but still healthy, try this for a change! I had to return the book to the library so I don't have the formal recipe, but this is so easy, you don't need one.

Portabella Mushroom, Sun-Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Paninis

You'll need:

Olive Oil

Portabella Mushrooms (one mushroom = 1 sandwich)

Sun Dried tomatoes (not in oil, dried)

Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Put the sundried tomatoes in boiling water to re-hydrate them. Wash the mushrooms, and slice the stem off in a way to make the side of the mushroom flat. Then slice the mushroom cap in half - this is the outside of your sandwich. Fill the sandwich with 1 tablespoon crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the diced sun dried tomatoes. Brush olive oil on the outsides of the mushrooms. You can put this in a panini press, in a pan on the stove, or as we did, on the grill! If your mouth is watering, it should be...this is one of those recipes that does in fact taste as good as you're imaging it does!

Also check out the Food section of todays Denver Post for more non-cooking recipes that will keep your kitchen cool. I love their reasons why not to cook: it's cooler, it's greener, it's cheaper, and it's faster. My other reason - less clean up!

Happy Summer Cooking!

Monday, May 19, 2008


After many months of trying to pursue the problem with people not being able to comment on my Spaces blog, I finally have given in and decided to try out Blogger! I'll be adding more soon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We had a night away this weekend for our anniversary and had a great time! We stayed at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. We went to the Glenwood Hot Springs which were amazing. If you click on the link you will see just how HUGE they are. There are over 15 different minerals in the springs, and they are natural, coming from the Yampah Spring. Get this - it has a daily flow of 3,500,000 gallons of water! amazing. It felt amazing too. People come here for it's "healing properties" and claim it's like the fountain of youth. One pool was I think 94 degrees, and the therapy pool was about 104 degrees. We felt amazing afterwards - not the normal sluggish feeling you have after a hot tub. Just really awake, and all your joints feel great. Also your skin is really soft! It was fun to have gone and checked it out. We didn't have time to do the vapor caves like we'd hoped, but maybe next time!

The drive on HWY 70 is always so much fun. It was beautiful. We stopped several times, and took our time on the drive. This morning before we headed back, we stopped for breakfast at the Westside in Vail. yum! I had Eggs Benedict with spinich in them, and Rob had the grits with black pepper and sharp cheddar. so good. We'll definitely stop back there again when we're driving through.

Here's some pictures from our trip! I can't believe we've been married 9 years. yeah!