Monday, February 24, 2014

Slow-Roasted Cauliflower

Slow-roasted cauliflower pairs as a quick, healthy side dish that's tasty and easy to prepare!

Cauliflower can be a boring vegetable for me. In the past, the only two ways I ate cauliflower was from a veggie tray, raw, with ranch dressing or steamed with butter. The veggie can be bland and needs as much help as possible to be flavorful. I recently discovered a recipe for cauliflower sauce that is absolutely delicious. It made me look a cauliflower in a whole new way.

One day, I was watching "The Chew" and Chef Michael Symon was making roasted cauliflower steaks. It sounded like it would be a winner and I decided to give it a try. I followed the same techniques as Chef Symon. I cut mine into florets instead of 1/2-inch slices but you can do either that you prefer. In a medium bowl, toss cauliflower with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to coat as desired) and a little salt and pepper. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a broiler safe skillet. Once the oil has begun to shimmer, arrange cauliflower in skillet and saute for one minute or until cauliflower begins to caramelize.

See all that beautiful color?

Delicious and full of flavor!

Pop under the broiler for 4-5 minutes until cauliflower is tender and lightly browned. Let cool slightly and toss with freshly, chopped parsley.

It's the perfect, quick side dish!

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
  • 1 head of Cauliflower
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, if desired


1.  Arrange oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat broiler.

2. Heat a little olive oil in a 12-inch skillet*over medium heat. Wash cauliflower and trim away the green leaves and core. Cut cauliflower into florets. In a medium bowl, toss florets with olive oil, salt and pepper.

3. Arrange cauliflower in preheat skillet saute for one minute or until cauliflower begins to caramelize. Do not stir.

4. Place under broiler for 4-5 minutes or until cauliflower is browned on top. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped, fresh parsley.

*Make sure your skillet is broiler safe. If it is not, remove cauliflower after sauteing and place in a broiler safe dish before transferring to broiler.

Adapted from Michael Symon

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five on Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week! Here are the highlights of my week:

1. I got my hair cut and highlighted. I've been growing it out this winter and haven't had my hair done in 3 months. I still have the same style and color, but cut off one and half inches of hair. It felt so dry/damaged from the harsh winter we've had. It feels and looks so much healthier now.

2. Last Friday was Valentine's day and my husband decided to be creative with my cards this year. I got one card from my cats and one from our dog. I thought it was cute!

3. If you follow me on instagram, you saw this picture I posted of Mufasa. He was enthralled with Charlie White and Meryl Davis as they performed for gold in ice dancing. It was hilarious to watch.

4. Speaking of the Olympics, I'm sad that they will be ending soon. There have been so many great performances. Only two more years and the summer Olympics will be upon us! Not that I'm counting or anything...

5. I spent some time with my oldest niece, Lily, this evening. We ate dinner at Chick-Fil-A and then I went to watch her at her gymnastics class. Isn't she a cutie?

Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a great weekend!

*I posted last week that I would be doing some work to my blog. It is a still a work in progress and not finished but hopefully it will be done soon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quick Tip Tuesday: Washing fruit

* I occasionally come up with a good idea and think, "I should share that!" I've decided to do a "quick tip Tuesday" post whenever I have a tip I want to share. Some tips you may be familiar with, but hopefully you'll learn something new!

Whenever I buy soft skin fruits, I always wash them with a mixture of white vinegar and water. The vinegar cleans the fruit and helps it last longer. I found this especially true with berries. Berries tend to spoil and mold quickly, but washing them with vinegar prolongs their life by about a week.

I love using my salad spinner for this process because it makes it so easy. Place the colander piece into the bowl and place fruit in the colander. Soak them in a mixture of three parts fresh water and one part vinegar for about 15-20 minutes

Remove the colander and drain the water out of the salad spinner. Give the fruit a quick rinse to remove any remaining vinegar. Drain well and carefully spin dry. Pat dry with paper towels if needed.

And there you have it! I love finding new uses for my salad spinner. What other things do you use your salad spinner for?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five on Friday

Happy Friday to everyone!

Many blogs I've come across write weekly, personal posts on Friday. I always enjoy reading them so I decided I need to include my own! I hope to get into the habit of writing these, but we'll see how it goes.

1. Happy Valentine's day! I Hope you all got your sweethearts something special. My husband and I enjoyed a simple valentine's day with dinner at Chick-Fil-A followed by watching the Olympics at home.

2. I always feel a little less productive when the Olympics roll around, I can't stop watching! I love watching all the events, but my favorite is ice skating. There's so much athleticism and talent in the Olympics and you are able to watch sports that you don't normally get to see.

3. The temperature reached the mid 40s today. The snow has finally melted and the sun has reappeared. I normally like winter and love snow, but this winter has been harder than most. The bitter cold has lingered around and made it impossible to do much outside. I'm looking forward to some warmer weather this weekend and hopefully spend some time outside.

4. Last week, I hurt my neck and shoulders and have spent most of this week in pain. I made my first chiropractor visit yesterday and was really nervous about it. Have you ever been to a chiropractor? I'm not sure why I was nervous; I guess fear of the unknown. I had a good first experience and am starting to feel better. I've been told it can take a couple of days for your body to adjust so I'm hoping I continue to feel better. I will go back in a couple of weeks to see if I need any more adjustments.

5. I am trying to get a better schedule of posting recipes. I plan to post recipes on Monday and Wednesday and have one of these posts on Fridays. I apologize that I have not posted much recently. I have battled some sickness and most recently had the neck pain. These have kept me from cooking and blogging as much. I hope to work on some recipes the next few days and have some new posts next week.

Have a great weekend!

*I will be doing some work to my blog over the next few days. I hope to have it finished by next week. I hope that it goes glitch free! I just wanted to let you know in case you experience any issues with my website.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Blackberry "Power" Smoothie

A creamy, blackberry and spinach smoothie packed with nutrients. It tastes so sweet and rich, you won't even think it's healthy!

Is it just me or has it been a rough winter?

January was a rough month for me. I was sick twice and haven't felt fully recovered for some time.

Also...cabin fever. Anyone else know how I feel? Winter has been in full-force with snow and extreme temperatures. I love the snow but the negative temps are starting to get old.

I'm slowly feeling better and have hopes that February will be a much better month (here's to positive thinking anyway!).

I always feel more compelled to eat healthy during the winter. Mostly to combat all the illness going around, but also to help with overall mood. Winter blues usually set in hardcore starting in January. I try to keep with my exercise regimen and eat well so keep my mood up. One way I love to sneak in extra fruits and veggies is with a smoothie. I call this blackberry smoothie my "power" smoothie because I always feel a burst of energy after I drink one. I occasionally have one for breakfast or split one with Mark for a snack.

The smoothie is packed with different ingredients and full of nutrients. I use a very ripe banana, blackberries, spinach, flax seed, ice, agave nectar and milk. I always thought it seemed odd to throw spinach in a smoothie, but you really can't taste it! Kale seems to be the more popular choices these days for smoothies but I much prefer spinach the over kale. Kale has a bitter taste that always shines through. I can't handle it. Of course, if you prefer kale, by all means use it. I like to use agave nectar for the sweetener but you can use honey or granulated sugar as well. I will warn you, this smoothie has a lot of seeds due to the blackberries. If you prefer to cut back on them, I suggest doing a variation of blackberries, strawberries, and/or raspberries. I love blackberries though so I don't mind the seeds.

Blackberry Power Smoothie
  • 1 ripe banana*
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blackberries
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon milled flax seed
  • 2-3 teaspoons agave nectar  
  • 1/2-1 cup milk (cow's, almond, soy, coconut) to the consistency you like
  • 1 cup of ice

Throw all ingredients into a blender (starting with 1/2 cup of milk). Set on ice crush and blend until ice is crushed and spinach is finely chopped. Add milk more milk if needed until you reach the consistency you want. Blend until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Note: Use a banana that has a little black on the skin. The riper banana, the more flavor and sweeter your smoothie will be.

Yields: 1 large or two small smoothies. About 24 ounces.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie

We are a house divided when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. My husband loves these New York Times cookies, but I think this recipe is the best.

Of course, you can never have too many chocolate chip cookies recipes. Since they are the greatest cookie on earth.  

Just my personal opinion...

I based this off a recipe we used growing up. It's from an old church cookbook that my mom owns. I've made this recipe so many times I have it memorized. I made changes I thought were necessary to get the best cookie. I increased the amount of brown sugar because I think it adds the necessary moisture and flavor. I also use both baking powder and baking soda to get the best lift. Many times cookies spread out too much, are too flat, or too thick and look like little balls instead of cookies. Both ingredients added give the cookie the correct texture without being too thick or thin.

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.

2. Using a hand or stand mixer (or a bit of elbow grease), cream butter and shortening together until combined. About one minute. Add the sugars and cream for an additional 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated and fluffy. Stir in dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Roll cookie dough into tablespoon size balls. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes. Move cookies to a wire baking rack to cool.

Yields: About 5 dozen cookies

From: Tasteful Cuisine and adapted from an old church cookbook recipe