Kick-Start Your Mornings with Lemon Water and Not Your Ordinary Oatmeal

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I’ll be posting this for Well-being Wednesday and Foodie Friday. There’s a two-part to today’s blog article: 1) wellness  and 2) smart breakfasting to cover two blog categories.

Wellness

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast will ensure you have proper energy stores until mid-morning, depending on how early you ate breakfast. However, what you put into your body may create an acidic environment. What exactly does this mean? According to a 1995 American Dietetic  Association Study, this means consuming acidic foods contribute to reduced kidney function, which can lead to muscle and bone breakdown.

Today is my second day out of 6 days, taking my pH three times in the morning in order to minimize an acidic environment in my body. I have also started being more conscious about the type of foods I put into my body.

I have started to kick my caffeine and sugar habit for two weeks and take on a more whole foods and alkaline diet. Refined grains and animal protein sources contribute to an acidic environment. I have also replaced my white sugar with coconut crystals.

Smart Breakfasting

My Ordinary Oatmeal used to be instant oatmeal, with 2% fat milk, organic cinnamon,  raw almonds, and honey.

Not Your Ordinary Oatmeal cuts out the 2% milk for whole milk and instead of the raw almonds, chia seeds and peanut butter. The almonds are fine, however, I added chia seeds and peanut butter for a kick of protein in the morning. If you’re vegetarian, you can substitute coconut milk or almond milk for the bovine milk.

Here is the Foodie Friday Recipe:

Place into a microwavable bowl the following contents:
1/2 packet of plain instant Oatmeal – steel-cut oatmeal is ideal
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp of honey
Sprinkle on cinnamon
1/2 cup of whole milk, or coconut milk or almond milk

Microwave for 2 minutes, stir it up, and serve warm.

 

 

 

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Cold Breakfast: Cottage Cheese, Green Apples, Almonds, Cinnamon, and Honey

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Mornings are rough for me because I like to stay up reading books on my Kindle. I’ll head to bed at 10 PM and stay up until 12 AM reading. The problem with this is that I end up getting up a little later than I want. I enjoy making breakfast for my Hubs because it makes me feel like he’ll have a good day. This is ever so important to me.

Last night I thought I’d try to make breakfast at night and set the delay brew option on my coffee maker. This morning was really nice. It took me no more than a minute to bring breakfast to the table. It took me about 5 minutes making breakfast last night. Put the following in your choice of bowl or shallow cup. I like putting them in ramekins* or a shallow double-walled glass cup*.

2 cups of cottage cheese
1 Green Apple – chopped
2 handful of Almonds
1 tsp of Cinnamon
Honey – drizzle on top

Chill overnight. Serve in the morning.

*This blog post contains affiliate links.

Crock Pot/Slow-Cooker “Rotisserie” Chicken

This recipe makes enough food for 4-6 people or about 6 meals for 2 adults.

INGREDIENTS
1 (4 -5 lb) whole chicken
1.5 teaspoons Kosher salt (add 3 teaspoons for more saltiness)
1 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
4 whole garlic cloves
1 yellow onion, quartered

Foil balls, 6

DIRECTIONS
Most of these dry ingredients are optional based on your preference.

Spray or coat the inside of a 5 quart or larger slow-cooker with nonstick spray or olive oil. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub the dry ingredients all over the chicken. Don’t forget to place the dry rub underneath the skin. Place onion and garlic inside chicken cavity. Make 6 foil balls, place the whole chicken on top of the foil balls in the slow-cooker, breast side up. Collect the drippings and store for making gravy, later or for now.

Cook 5 hours on high.

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie-chicken

The best fast food, in my humble opinion, is rotisserie chicken from the market. It’s usually found in the deli section of the market; it’s healthy and you can do so much with the left-overs:

  1. Eat as is, with your choice of healthy side, i.e., triple washed spinach or arugula with an omega-3 infused salad dressing, throw in some chopped carrots, oranges, and onions, and you’ve got yourself a very healthy and tasty meal.
  2. Eat left-overs, if you haven’t eaten it all in one sitting, see 1.
  3. Take the bones and left over meat to make chicken broth or soup with noodles. This is great if you’re trying to beat a cold or want some warm soup in the fall or winter.
  4. Make porridge or congee out of the broth.
  5. Make lentils with the broth.
  6. Make chicken quesadillas with the left-over chicken.

In one week, you can have dinner with one rotisserie chicken. In the following four Foodie Friday posts, I’ll review recipes 3 through 6, and start with how to make your own Crock Pot/slow-cooker “rotisserie” chicken and gravy at home.

Sesame Grilled Tuna

Sesame Grilled TunaIngredients
This recipe makes 4 steaks
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4 (6 ounce) tuna steaks
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
Divide the liquid mixture into two parts. In a plastic zipper bag, put together half of the the soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil. In a small bowl which you’ll set aside as dipping sauce, stir the rice vinegar into the half of soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil.

Place the tuna steaks in the plastic zipper bag with the soy sauce mixture, then press into the sesame seeds and coat each side of the tuna steak. Heat the olive oil on an indoor or outdoor grill over high heat. Sear each side for about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with the dipping sauce on a bed of spinach. Sides are welcome, like the pasta recipe shared from a Foodie Friday a few weeks ago. 

Cacio e Pepe Ramen

David Chang is chef extraordinaire, restaurateur, and owner-creator or Momofuku Restaurants in New York City, Toronto, and Sydney. He’s creative and amazing and it featured on The Mind of a Chef. On an episode he made cacio e pepe ramen and I attempted this with my nouveau skills.

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Make sure your cheese melts, as in melt-melts.

Ingredients:
Ramen noodle (i.e., Neoguri, Ichiban, Shin Ramen, etc.)
1 cup of water from boiling the noodles
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated or already grated
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated or already grated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

In a pot, bring the water to a boil, enough to cook the ramen. Boil for 2 minutes.

In another pot, take 1 cup of boiled water from the noodles and add the cheeses, butter, and pepper. Melt it all away under low heat. After all have melted-melted, add the noodles. Optional: add 1/2 the packet of soup base.

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Potatoes

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When my Hubs and I cook, we tag-team. It’s really fun and it’s one of my favorite things to do. My Hubs usually makes the steak and I will make the roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes as a side.

This recipe makes two servings.

Ingredients
6 yukon gold potatoes washed and scrubbed
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons roughly chopped rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Add the potatoes to a large sheet tray and toss them with the garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes until golden and crisp, halfway through the roasting process, flip the potatoes with a spatula. Bon Apetit!

French Bread Crostini

French bread crostiniFrench bread crostini is a great side-kick to soups. Whether it’s with butternut squash soup or lentil soup (I covered last Friday), the crostini crunchiness compliments soup. Here it is. Super-easy:

French Bread Crostini
French bread or baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil
Shredded cheese (4-cheese is my fave; use pecorino, romano, monterey jack, etc.)

1. Set the oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice the french bread in diagonal slices, half and inch thick
3. Drizzle the olive oil over the slices
4. Top each bread slice with cheese
5. Place the bread on a rack and place in the oven for 7 minutes.

Chicken and Lentil Soup

#THankful Thursdays (1)

I made chicken stock and lentil soup. I usually make chicken stock after I have butchered the chicken. You have read about these recipes posted for #foodiefridays. I rarely make a recipe the same way twice because I may not have certain ingredients and I don’t let that hold me back. I like to test out how adding or omitting some ingredients changes up a recipe. I also like to add ingredients that fit the palate of those who eat it. My Hubs and I like our foods on the spicy side. If you do, too, add more than the recipe calls for, however, if you don’t, omit the cayenne pepper, altogether. I usually make this dish when I have a good two hours. It makes 6 servings, so I usually take the rest and separate them into single servings in containers and freeze them. I will eat them over lunch throughout the week.

Ingredients:
Remaining chicken from butchering (bones with some meat left over)
6 cups of water
Whole onion, sliced thin
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
Half handful of peppercorns
1/8 tsp parsley
Salt
Pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups of lentils

1. Boil the chicken, onion, carrots, and peppercorn in water for 45 minutes
2. Separate the contents from the broth
3. Let the broth sit so that the fat settles to the top, either skim the fat from the top with a spoon, or MacGyver the fat removal
4. With the contents in another bowl, pick the meat off the chicken bones
5. Discard the bones
6. Pick out the garlic and the peppercorns (you can also leave them in, if you wish, but make sure the peppercorns get blended in well in the next step, the puree process.
7. Take the carrots, onions, and chicken and blend it in a food processor or blender until pureed (“pureed contents”)
8. Take chicken broth, pureed contents, and lentils (after they are washed and picked over), and add them into a pot. Also, add parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, then boil for 30 minutes.

Serve alone of with french bread crostini. French bread crostini will be covered on the next #foodiefridays post.

Lentil Goodness

Lentils are really good for you. They’re economical. Lentils are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, and rich in dietary fiber (8 grams), lean protein (9 grams), folate and iron. They treat your heart right. Lentils also cook up fast, in only 15 to 30 minutes.

Remember how Mark Bittman taught me how to cook? What I love about his recipes is that he gives you ideas on how to change it up – options are good! This lentils recipe is his, as are the change-ups, below:

Lentils make soup making easy—they cook quickly and are incredibly tasty. And unlike many lentil soups, which are so thick they put people off completely, this one is nicely balanced with some simple vegetables. The lentils break down a bit during the cooking to give the soup a hearty consistency, but you can purée it if you prefer. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock or water
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

1. Put the oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the lentils, bay leaf, and stock; sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. (At this point, you may cool and refrigerate the soup, covered, for up to 2 days; reheat gently.) Add more stock if the soup is too thick. Just before serving, taste, sprinkle with salt and more pepper if needed, and serve.

Lentil Soup with Lemon and Dill. About a minute before serving, stir in 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste.

Lentil Soup with Cumin. Add 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin along with the bay leaf. Add a squeeze of lime or orange juice, if you like, and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and chopped fresh cilantro.

Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika along with the bay leaf. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives if you like.

Lentil Soup with Sausage or Bacon. Start with about 1/4 pound chopped sausage, bacon, or pancetta and cook it in the soup pot until slightly crisp before adding the other ingredients in Step 1. Drain the fat if you like or use it and omit the olive oil.

Lentil Soup with Roasted Garlic. Omit the onion, carrot, and celery. Prepare and peel 1 or 2 heads of roasted garlic. In Step 1, cook the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two, mashing and stirring until fragrant.

Lentil Soup with Dried Tomatoes. Omit the onion, carrot, and celery. In Step 1 cook 1/2 cup dried tomatoes (preferably not oil-packed) and a tablespoon of minced garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until both are softened and fragrant. Proceed with the recipe.

I made my own chicken stock, which I will cover on the next Foodie Friday. I digressed from this lentil soup recipe. I even omitted celery. I’ll cover this on the next Foodie Friday post.