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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Long time no see! The last few months since I started my new job I have been trying to play catchup in life and have not been very inspired to cook. This usually happens when I start a new employment until I start to get into a routine. But as of late I’ve been eating out a lot and finally am getting sick of it. So now I’m creating. 🙂
Last night I threw together an experiment and hoped for the best. Thankfully it was a winner! 😀 Thankfully it’s really easy to make as well. The flavors in this salad are perfect for summer as it’s very fresh and light. This dish was inspired by a conversation about the Mediterranean Diet someone at work has been on lately. I think I might look more into it!

I call for “cans of”, but if you want to put in the extra time to cook your garbanzo beans I made mine in a “beyond rice, cooker” crockpot so it could soak for 3-4 hours and then cook for a minimum of 3 hours. I cooked mine in water, pink hymilian salt, and dropped a vegetable bouillon cube in for added protein and flavor.
Give it a try and plan a picnic on a beautiful day. I paired this with red lentils and green beans. Rinse and cook red lentils in chicken broth for 10 minutes, adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and 1/2 – 1 tsp dried thyme. Once cooked, add in cooked and drained green beans, and a little olive oil and that’s it. It packs a lot of protein in these two dishes and no meat had to be thawed (which is the main reason I barely eat meat…lack of planning lol!)
So now on to the recipe! 🙂

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can black olives, drained and sliced
• 1 can artichoke hearts, drained (I got the ones in water to cut the cost)
• 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced
• 1 green onion, diced
• Lemon zest of 1 lemon
• Juice of 1/2 a lemon
• Olive Oil to coat (3-5 Tbs)
• 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
• Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and marinate in the fridge overnight. It will taste good when freshly made, but even better if you marinate it.
Serves 4-6

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring and cooking fresh homemade meals. It really is an investment to your health to cook instead of eating out. I just feel better when I know what goes into my food instead of hoping I don’t get sick from an ingredient someone forgot to tell me, or cross contamination.
Also a recent change to my diet, I have been off corn for almost six months now if not longer, and cheating doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. It really made a difference in my digestion. When I ate corn it was organic as much as possible, and even that bothered me. Now I am starting to cut out nightshades too. I do notice when I eat potatoes on how much it effects my alertness and pain levels. Potatoes are my #1 comfort food too. But I do want to feel even better than I have been and hopefully one day the weather changes will not effect me as much as it does.
Look forward to more creations coming up and fresh meal ideas.
Thank you also for hanging in there while my life was put on hold.

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Protein Breakfast Scramble: Part 2

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So yesterday I FINALLY got to talk to my new naturopath doc. I am really hopeful this guy can help me get better. After an hour and a half “history” of my health problems he’s scheming up different ways to go about this. And the fact that he is allowing me to have 1 cup of coffee a day and to eat my dark chocolate means he will live another day. Lol!
The last few days I have been getting some raging headaches from trying to quit coffee and I don’t normally get headaches. So for now I’m gonna follow the doctors orders and drink my coffee. :-}
He also explained why my deep leg pains and the SUPER Sensitivity I’ve been having where it literally hurts to wear clothes (but they are kinda necessary!). It’s called “Central Sensitization” and it totally makes sense! (Is that too much senses for one sentence?). All my senses except sight (cuz I’m super blind) are pretty heightened. I’m a big texture person, smells bother me more than a pregnant lady, sounds and light bother me a lot and all those tend to make my pain worse. For a while I thought I might be autistic because I know that’s what they deal with too. But I am not.
Anyway. He also said I need more fat in my diet because it helps feed the brain. Healthy fats, not saturated fats. So I am experimenting…
This is a basic recipe I embellished today from this post.
Wanna know what is under this layer of dairy free jalapaño cheese? Just keep reading.

Ingredients:

• 1/2 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 Tbs olive oil
• 7 oz. cooked black beans (half a can rinsed and drained).

Sauté all those ingredients together until onions are done. The sprinkle in:

• smoked paprika
• sea salt & pepper
• ground curry (I thought I grabbed the cumin. Haha)
• ground Turmeric
• dash of ground cayenne

Mix that all together and add 3 eggs, bacon bits, and a handful of washed fresh spinach.
Cook until eggs are done.

Shred dairy free cheese and add on top. Cook until “cheese” is melted.
I used Lisanatti brand Jalapaño jack cheese.

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It really does not smell very good to me. But the taste? OH MY GOODNESS! I could have eaten the whole thing to myself. 🙂
It serves two. Maybe I am two people?? 😉

So go ahead and try it out if you are adventurous. It really is D-lish! 😀

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My New Cookbook Arrived!! :D

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I’m sooo excited about this cookbook!! I use to go to the Native Foods restaurant over in Bridgeport Village when I worked across the street from it.
It was expensive! (Hello, it’s in rich people neighborhood)… So now I can cook these dishes at home, and it has my favorite salad in it, the Azteca Ensalada. :-}
This chef actually makes me excited about VEGAN FOOD!
Here’s a sneak peek of some of the recipes…
Oh, and if you want a copy, it’s about $15 on eBay.
The book is called “The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook” by Tanya Petrovna.

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Butternut Squash Soup

I don’t know about you but I think this was the first time I’ve ever had butternut squash soup. I’ve always thought it to be bland… and just bland. But this was actually pretty good!! (After I modified it).
I have been trying to find different things to feed my bird that he will actually eat because all he eats is fruit and nuts (along with his cold pressed pellets) and he needs more vegetables… And so do I.
So here is the recipe that I had tweaked to be edible for me and birdie. The key is to use as much organic as possible especially when feeding food to your birds.

Ingredients:
1 medium organic butternut squash.
3/4 cup organic yellow onion
1/2 head garlic
3 1/2 cups organic chicken stock
Olive oil
1/4 tsp curry
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black ground pepper
(I estimated on the spices, I really just measured in my hand).

Preheat oven onto 400°F.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish coat with thin layer of olive oil.
Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down in baking dish.
Cook for about 20 – 40 minutes until fork tender.
Chop the heads off of the garlic and place in aluminum foil heads up and drizzle with olive oil. Close aluminum foil to secure and bake for about 20 minutes until tender.
In dutch oven sauté onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.
When butternut squash and garlic is ready, peel butternut squash and dice and add to the onions.
Squish the roasted garlic out of the skins and add to onion and butternut squash mixture. Mingle the flavors.
Transfer the vegetables from the Dutch oven into a blender. Add 3 1/2 cups chicken stock to blender. Add spices on top, and blend until smooth and creamy.
Transfer back to Dutch oven, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through.

For finicky bird eaters cool the soup and serve with tortilla chip to get him to eat it. (my bird is quite content at the moment after chowing down).

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It’s been a bit Chili here lately…

It’s been a while since my last post. Been working and been tired, workin on not being tired. I have been craving some different foods lately so here’s a recipe I altered to satisfy that craving. (my cravin was corn)
It’s simmering now and smells spicy! Mmmm very yummy on a cold drizzly pouring wet day.
Enjoy!

Chicken Corn Chili
Ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
32 fluid ounce chicken broth (24 oz. for thicker chili)
1 (8 oz) can water
2 diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cooked, seasoned, &cubed
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
Cilantro (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Directions:
Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, diced chilies, and diced chicken in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder, stir to blend.
Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5-7 hours.
Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

If you added too much spice you might look like this guy. Ain’t he CUTE!! :]

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