Tag Archives: nutrition

November Comfort Food

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Old-Fashioned Goodness.

It’s been a long while since my last encounter with oatmeal in the morning, but as chance would have it, I had a meet-up with the Quaker Oats guy in the cereal aisle last weekend and we decided to go home together.

It may have something to do with the change in seasons and the dark days of winter approaching, that cause my thoughts to turn to oatmeal.  I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I find a steaming bowl of hot mush to be a very satisfying and nutritious way to start a November morning. It’s really quite easy to make, but being pressed for time as I often am, I decided to do some pre-organizing to speed up the process in the morning.  I assembled five pre-measured bags of ingredients, one for each day of the week, so that all I’ll have to do when I stumble out to the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. is add a cup of hot water to the mixture and voila, I’ll have my oatmeal in no time at all.

Oatmeal Time

I like to use nut pieces, not only for added flavor, but for the trace nutrients and extra calories they provide. I use unsalted, dry roasted varieties such as pecans, filberts, almonds and cashews.

breaking nut pieces

Dried fruit, such as currants, raisins or cranberries add sweetness without the use of refined sugar.currants

Add 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal.oatmeal

To avoid the recommended salt, I add spices such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg again for flavor and also for added health benefits that spices offers.cinnamon spice

And with that, my work is done.  Just seal the bags and they are ready to go in the morning.  Now all I have to do in the morning is put a cup of water on to boil and breakfast will be ready  in a jiffy.Ready to go.

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Lebanese Cuisine – Where the Sun Rises

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Recipes from the Levant

A couple of days ago I was searching the internet for something interesting for dinner and came across a recipe for Lebanese Chicken and Rice.  I decided to give it a try.

I began by cooking a whole chicken with onion, garlic, carrot, parsley, lemon, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

preparing the chicken

preparing the chicken

After cooking, I removed the chicken from the bone and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

chopped chicken

remove chicken from bone and cut chicken into pieces

Next, I browned cashews in olive oil. Be careful not to scorch them like I did.  The recipe called for cashews, but I think I would prefer to use pine nuts next time.

brown cashews in olive oil

brown cashews in olive oil

After browning, I set the cashews aside to drain.  The recipe called for vermicelli to be added and browned, but I used angel hair pasta broken into small pieces instead.

brown vermicelli or thin pasta

brown vermicelli or thin pasta

Once browned I added basmati rice and a portion of bokharat spice mixture and pepper.

vermicelli, rice and bokharat

Then I returned the cooked chicken to the pan and added liquid.

add chicken and liquid

add chicken and liquid, cover for cooking

While the rice dish simmered, I prepared fresh green beans with chopped roma tomatoes and garlic tossed in olive oil for roasting.

green beans with tomato and garlic

green beans with tomato and garlic

I decided to make a Lebanese-style tomato sauce to go over the chicken and rice to add flavor and substance.  The sauce can be prepared quickly and easily by adding fresh lemon juice and bakharat spice to taste to canned tomato sauce.

Once prepared, serve and garnish with cashews.   Bon Appetit!

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Seasonal Soup Recipe

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In Autumn

Great Minds Turn To Thoughts Of Pea Soup

There is nothing quite like the brisk bite of fall air to make me start thinking about steaming bowls of soup and hunks of crusty bread or delectable portions of pomme frites.  I love hearty soups.  There is something primal about the making and eating of nourishing soups that warm the body and soul.

I discovered this recipe last year and it has become a favorite.  Although I adore pea soups made with ham or bacon, this lighter version is equally delicious and a lot easier on the waistline.

I began by assembling all the ingredients.

Curried Pea Soup Ingredients

Then I chopped the onion into small pieces and sautéed them in olive oil for around 5 minutes.

sauteed onions in olive oil

While the onions were cooking, I peeled 3 to 5 cloves of garlic and a portion of fresh ginger.

chopping garlic and fresh ginger

I have found that my mini-processor makes quick work of chopping herbs, so into the chopper they went.

finely chopped herbs

Once finely chopped, I added the mixture to the onions and continued cooking for a few more minutes.

chopped garlic, ginger and onions

Then came the spice, hot curry (to taste) cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and salt.  At this point my kitchen began to waft with the fragrant aromas of the spice market in the  Grand Bazaar.

Add spices

I mixed the spices in and let them simmer for a  few more minutes.

onion, garlic, ginger and spices

Next I added chopped carrot, celery and a bit of fresh Italian parley for good measure.

add chopped carrots, celery, Italian parsley

Not being a vegetarian myself, I opted for a carnivorous blast of chicken broth.

add liquid to soup

Then I washed the peas and sorted through them for things that might not belong.

washing dried peas

After washing, I stirred the dried peas into the broth, put a lid on the pot and let it simmer until finished.

add dried peas

Once the soup was done, I let it cool.  Once thoroughly cooled, I took approximately half of the soup and placed it into a blender.  I don’t like pea soup that it completely smooth; I do like a little bit of texture so I leave a bit unblended.  Pureeing helps to give the soup body by thickening it up a bit.

pureeing soup

Then I added the pureed mixture (yum) back into the soup pot,

pureed pea soup

and stirred to blend the two together.

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Pomme Frites Soup Toppers

Dice a yukon gold potato and pre-cook. Drain well and set aside.

precooked potato cubes

Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a small pan and add the potato cubes, cooking until crispy and golden.

cooking pomme frittes

Remove from oil and drain well on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and dust lightly with curry powder.

curried pomme frittes

These make a tasty garnish to an already delicious bowl of curried pea soup.

Buon appetito

Curried Pea Soup with Pomme Frittes