So Delicious that it Can’t be that Healthy!

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Shiitake Mushrooms and Dinosaur Kale

Shiitake Mushrooms and Dinosaur Kale

Ingredients

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms sliced

1 bunch dinosaur kale chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon miso paste

Directions

In a saute pan, add kale, shiitake, and oil and sauté on medium high heat until kale becomes slightly wilted.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Lastly add miso and 1/4 cup water and mix well.  When the water is mostly evaporated, you are done!

This is a great snack, a fabulous side dish, or a great addition to soups or an omelet.  And, as you see, so simple and easy.  But hold on, let me tell you about what I have learned about the health benefits of these ingredients.  I have been making this because I think it is delicious.  Then, I was given this list of healthy foods to cook and eat for 2015 and guess what?  Every one of these ingredients where on the list!  Phew, I feel so grateful not to add eating healthy to the long list of resolutions.  We were already on our way to healthy eating!

We know that kale is good for us and it is packed with fiber.  It is all over the place right now as the new health trend.  It’s a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and cancer-fighting phytonutrients says Men’s Fitness Magazine.  The Shiitake  Mushrooms are just as beneficial.  I have heard a number of times from people who thought mushrooms where just a fungi that added calories with no health benefits.  This is far from the truth.  The American Cancer Society mentions that there are more studies that need to be conducted but that they should be a part of our diets.

Studies in animals have found antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects in compounds in shiitake mushrooms….Shiitake mushrooms are promoted to fight the development and progression of cancer and AIDS by boosting the body’s immune system. These mushrooms are also said to help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and to help treat infections such as hepatitis…

Garlic has been around for 1000 of years as has Shiitake Mushrooms.  Reader’s Digest says that garlic is another antioxidant but may also keep mosquitos away if you want to rub it on your body.  I am going to go a step further and say that it may keep some people away if you want to go bathe in it!

Lastly is the health benefits of the miso.  Now, I don’t usually add miso but its fermented soy sister tamari (no wheat soy sauce).  But because my best bud took my tamari from the fridge and hasn’t returned it, I only had red miso paste.  I like the miso better but if you don’t have any handy, use a dash of tamari.  Miso has vitamins and minerals and studies show it is good for digestion.

Now if I haven’t convinced you to make this dish with all the health benefits, you must because it just tastes so dang good.  Go for it!  Be crazy in 2015 and feel great while doing it!  Enjoy and cheers!

 

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Healthy Eating

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I have a new and exciting project going on at G&H.  I have been working with a client for a few weeks on this and I am really enjoying it.  A client called after the new year to see if I would be interested in working with her to lower her cholesterol.  She is a very busy and successful woman who doesn’t have the time to plan her meals and cook.  (Remember when I said we all need to divvy out those things we may not be good at??  For me it is my taxes, and someone else will be handling those.)  Anyway, she has asked me for help in eating better and to see if we can lower her cholesterol with out introducing a prescription drug.  What an exciting challenge!

This is something I believe in whole heartedly.  I am not a scientist nor a dietitian but I know how food makes me feel.  Don’t get me wrong, I love eating pizza but I don’t eat it very often.   After many years of learning my mood swings, I see sugar is not my friend.  It is great for the moment, but as soon as my sugar drops, look out!  I get cranky!  Then after indulging on sugar for a week, let’s say around Christmas time, I begin to feel physically lethargic.

My excitement and passion for this is immeasurable.  My client was so excited that she had already lost three pounds and she is feeling great!  She will see her Doctor in May to see what her cholesterol has done.  And, I will keep you posted on that result.  Creatively, this is great too because I am trying out so many different recipes.

One of the soups that I have made for her and for an oyster roast last week was a Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup.  It is not made with cream but it is so creamy, delicious and filling.  The 45 guests at the oyster roast loved the soup and no one there (that I knew of) was on a diet.  They loved it!  You don’t have to be on a diet to eat great foods.  We do it because it tastes great!   AND, we feel great!

Ingredients

One bag of cut cauliflower

2 heads of garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small chopped onion

3 cups chicken broth

Directions

Place your cauliflower on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add a half teaspoon of kosher salt and mix around before baking at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  You want your cauliflower to get a little browned and soft.  Put your garlic heads on foil paper, and drizzle another tablespoon of your olive oil over the bulbs and sprinkle with a little kosher salt.  Then wrap your foil around the garlic and roast it while you are roasting the cauliflower.  They take about the same time.

When your garlic and cauliflower are done, let your garlic cool so that you can handle it.  In a large pot, sauté your onion with the remaining olive oil.  When your onion is soft, add the cauliflower and broth.  If the broth doesn’t cover the cauliflower fully, just add some water to cover.  Peel and squeeze your garlic out of the casings of the bulbs.  When it is cool enough to handle, it should come right out.  It will look like a paste and smell divine.  Simmer the soup for around 30 minutes then transfer to a blender to puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

The garlic in the soup gives it a hearty and meaty taste.  I just love it and think you will, too.

We have all gotten ourselves into habits that aren’t great for our bodies at some time in our lives.  I know I have countless times.  Recognizing them and moving towards healthier habits can be challenging but so rewarding.  If I can help people to feel physically great and better about themselves, that is better than awesome.  Again, I will keep you posted on the final results in May.  Here is to feeling great, looking great, and eating great!  Cheers!

Whispers That are Hard to Ignore

The Best Staff Ever!

The Best Catering Team

I knew that 2014 was going to be a great and exciting year, but I had no idea it was going to be this good so early on.  We had a wonderful wedding that we catered on the 4th.  I love catering weddings.  I love it down to the smallest things.  They can be so intimate and it is, by far, one of the most important times in someone’s life.  It is such an honor to be asked and trusted  to help someone make their special day so wonderful.  Everyone enjoyed the food immensely and came back for seconds and thirds at the buffet.  One gentleman said he hadn’t had food at an event this good in a long time.  I was on cloud nine.  The very night the wedding was over, I received another email from a bride wanting to meet about catering her wedding.

It finally feels like I am back on track.  When I lived in Charleston I had a whisper in my ear to go to culinary school at Johnson and Whales.  I was not only accepted but asked to join an advanced program.  I was thrilled and scared.  The fear overruled the thrilled.  I ended up giving it up and moving to Athens, GA.  I was young and didn’t know my strength or courage, yet.   I didn’t fight for it.  I easily gave it up because if I had tried, I might have failed.  My young ego didn’t want to be seen as a failure.  Failure doesn’t scare me anymore and neither does what people think of me.  Lord knows, I have failed at many things up to this point.  However, I have learned failure is not trying.  You never fail from trying because you gain knowledge.   Maybe the knowledge is “I don’t want to do that again”.  Sometimes God, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, has had to push me.  I look back on experiences and think, that hurt, but it was the best thing that could have happened.  We all have that whisper in our ear that urges us to go forward in our lives.  It takes courage, strength and being patient.  I don’t think patient was in my vocabulary until this journey began.  Now, I say it with almost most every breath.

I have dreamed of going to cooking school for many, many years.  I have had my eye set on one particular place in France for over three years.  Patricia Wells has cooking classes that she offers in Paris and Provence.  I wrote the name of the school on a sticky note three years ago.  I wanted to see it when I thought about spending money on something else, like shoes.  I stuck it right next to my computer.  I turned down many vacations with girlfriends because I knew that I wanted to put that money towards this trip that I truly desired.  Now it is coming into fruition.

I am more than elated to write, I am going on that trip to France to take a week long cooking class.  I am not going with anyone- just me, my passion and love for food.  Yes, it scares me.  What if my pipes burst again from some cold snap and I need to spend money on that?  What if someone gets sick?   What if, everyone that loves me and knows me supports me to go?   What if everything works out beautifully?  I’ll never know unless I go.  I am excited for the challenge of learning another language, of being in another country and finally doing it.  I am following my dream and nothing feels better than that.  It is never to late to follow anything your passionate about.  Well, unless your dead and then it is probably too late.  It wasn’t the right time for me to go to school in Charleston.  I had a toddler and a 6 week old baby.  At the time, I was living that dream and wouldn’t trade that for any cooking school in France.  Timing is everything and there are whispers for that too.  We know when the time is right because everything feels right and we can no longer sit still doing nothing about it.

Today, I want to share my Lentil Soup Recipe.  Every time I make it, there seems to be a whisper of France.  While we are making it, let’s turn on Edith Piaf and we will feel like we are already in lovely Paris.

Ingredients

1 cup french green lentils

Whole onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stems, chopped

baby portabella mushrooms chopped (1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 16oz can of diced tomatoes

6 cups water or broth

1 rind of parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauté your onion, carrots, celery, and garlic in olive oil until slightly soft- about 5 minutes.  Add your lentils, tomatoes, broth or water, and parmesan cheese rind.  Simmer this for around 30 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  The parmesan gives a meaty flavor so if you don’t have broth, you really don’t need it.  The flavors are excellent and the soup is very rustic, delicious, healthy and simple.  Double the recipe and have some during the week.  It only gets better as it sits.

I hope that after you chop your vegetables, you can simmer your soup, and smell all that goodness fill your home.  Then, curl up with a good book or magazine and start to dream.  Winter is for being still and dreaming, and letting go of any past pains.  Spring will be here soon enough, and those new buds will be coming up.  Sitting still is sometimes uncomfortable for me because I like to go and I love the warm sun.  Winter can be depressing and cold!  However, keeping still for a few moments can give us the opportunity to dream.  Then we can plan out those dreams.  And then, we can live them.  Here’s to living every one of our dreams in due time!  Bon Voyage!

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Runny Little Noses

My Gabby Goose is home sick today from school.   I have canceled all appointments and we are staying warm at home in our pajamas today.  I had quite a bit of computer work that I have been procrastinating doing.  My mind starts to hurt when I work on Quickbooks, taxes, invoicing…  I will find anything to do, other than it.  But, I got her done.  Now, we can chit chat about Chicken and Rice Soup.

Our Nana made a similar soup when one of the older girls were sick.  We were at the Ford Plantation, right outside of Savannah when she whipped this up many years ago.  I loved it then and love thinking of the wonderful memories of being with her in the kitchen.  She is the best, savviest, cook and entertainer I have ever met.  I am a lucky gal to have gotten to work with her in the kitchen.    

There are proven studies that show chicken broth has healing agents.  When you add the other ingredients and some rest, I believe, recovery is just around the corner.  We don’t always wait until we are sick to enjoy it.  It is good just because it is winter and cold outside!

Chicken and Rice Soup

Ingredients

6 cups Homemade Chicken Stock

2 Tablespoons grated ginger (freeze your ginger~ this makes grating it and storing it easier)

2 cloves minced garlic

3 scallions chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt to taste

2 cups cooked brown or white basmati rice

Directions

If you don’t have homemade chicken broth, then use the store bought.  In your dutch oven or large sauce pan,  sauté your garlic, ginger, and scallions for a minute.  Add your broth and season with salt.  When your broth is hot, pour it over the cooked rice and serve.  However, you don’t have to serve it over rice.  It’s great alone.  Sometimes, I’ll a bit in a tea cup or mug that we can sip on.

It doesn’t get much easier than this and the benefits are many- including warming frigid fingers while holding your cup.  Goose is already feeling better.  Cheer’s to feeling healthy and warm during the winter months!

Roast the Garlic

Roasted Garlic Bulbs

Roasted Garlic Bulbs

I wish you could smell my house right now.  I was reading while I had this in the oven roasting.  It is a head of garlic.  And it smells divine.

This is such a quick, easy and delicious addition to so many meals.  You can add roasted garlic to your soups, like Creamy Tomato or Potato Soup.  Adding it to my mashed potatoes is one of my all time favorites.  If you are roasting a chicken or any meats, just place the whole head into the roasting pan with it.  I just love it.  My house is a home with something in the oven cooking.  My house is a happy home with roasted garlic cooking in it.  Everyone is breathing deeper to inhale all the goodness, while exhaling any left over tensions.  That is what Roasted Garlic does for our home and I think it will do it for yours, too.  Maybe that is what is meant by garlic ridding off bad spirits.  Ha!  It is lovely and whatever works!

Simply, grab a whole head of garlic.  Cut the top of the garlic off, just to expose the inner bulbs.  Place your garlic on a piece of foil paper or put it in a small oven safe dish.  I like foil, less clean up.  Sprinkle the garlic bulb with kosher salt and a little extra virgin olive oil.  Cook in your oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the head is soft to touch and your home smells of divine roasted garlic.

Don’t be surprised if everyone begins to feel hungry, joyful, and a little less possessed by evil spirits! 😉

Detox Time

Detox SoupThe week has been an eventful busy one.  Grits and Honey is now insured.  There is a sense of peace that comes with knowing that if anything ever happened we have a back up plan.  I know for me, this is what keeps me up at night (along with other thoughts).  Hopefully, I will be sleeping a little more soundly.

Grits and Honey now has a new Shared Kitchen space in Decatur, GA.  as well.  When I am a personal chef for a client at their home, I have free will to cook there.  But when I go deliver lunches, I need a health inspected facility to cook.   It feels really empowering to be checking it all off the list.

On top of all this paperwork, my autumn allergies have kicked in.  I am running on about 80%.  It is a feeling of not necessarily needing to crawl in bed but just not feeling great throughout the day.  And if one more thing gets put on my plate, I may look like a crazed woman screaming NO!  I am not feeling my happy go lucky self with these allergies and I don’t like it.

One of my favorite things to do when I feel this way is to make this Detox Soup.  I found this recipe through my friend and author  Cindy Marshall Oakey who suggested it from Dr. Mark Hyman.   It is more of a broth or tea actually.  My favorite part of making the soup is going to the farmers market for the organic ingredients of dandelion greens, seaweed, kale, turnip, beets, ginger, garlic, parsley, diakon radish, carrots, celery,  winter squash, etc.  The beautiful and non stressful thing about buying the ingredients is that if something isn’t there just move on.  Get what you can or what you like.  I personally like to add more ginger but others don’t.

At home, I put all those ingredients in a pot of water and simmer it for an hour or two.  Then, strain the broth into containers to save in the freezer or refrigerate.  Throughout the day, you can warm up your broth or tea.  My cells seem to just soak up all the vitamins and minerals.

As we change seasons into the cooler months, this is a perfect soup to keep the chill away and those pesky colds that keep us from running on full steam.  This is that full octane gas for our car.  Try it out!  I think you’ll enjoy it but I know you’ll feel better because of it.