Cooking From My Box: Leftovers!

I’m going out of town tomorrow to visit my DSIL who recently had her third, my new beautiful niece. In my attempt to unnecessarily micromanage the house for my departure (as DH reminds me, he can handle it, and he can, but my mommy guilt/OCD can’t stop me from reminding him for the umpteenth time who needs to be where when even though he has the calendar, what friends he can ask for help without horribly inconveniencing them, even though he knows as well as I do, and that the school is once and for all a NUT FREE ZONE, even though that one peanut butter lunch incident is 3 years old).

So as part of that I not only made and froze a couple of dinners, I also strategized about how to use up all the leftovers in the fridge as well as some produce that would have gone bad by the time I got home.

Those included leftover hot smoked salmon and some gorgeous end of the season tomatoes.

I decided to go old school, and invoke a favorite summer dish my mom used to make: Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad.  Substitute salmon salad made from my leftovers, and voila, dinner!

  • October 24, 2013

Today’s workout – the Quickie

Today I was very limited on time – only 30 minutes before I had to get to thing 2’s soccer game and then off for a beach weekend. So I did 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical and then 50 each sit-ups, push-ups, and squats.
Nothing major, but enough to get a sweat going.
Happy weekend!

  • October 12, 2013

Cooking from My Box – paleo snacks!

Several of my friends are doing a program at our local swim/tennis club that involves going on a paleo diet for 20 days. So when I hosted a mom’s night in last night, I thought I’d do my best to support their efforts by offering up something other than the usual dairy and gluten fest that is the cheese board.  First, I made this olive and almond dip (recipe from Eating Well Magazine)


  • 1/2 cup pitted briny green olives
  • 1/4 cup Marcona almonds, or other almonds, toasted (see Ingredient Note and Kitchen Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine olives, almonds, tarragon and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add oil in a steady stream and process just until the oil is absorbed. (Alternatively, finely chop the olives, almonds and tarragon by hand and combine with lemon juice and oil in a medium bowl.) The spread should have a coarse but easily spoonable texture. Let stand for about 30 minutes for the flavor to develop.

I also made Baba Ganoush:

I took 1 big eggplant and roasted it with a few whole cloves of garlic at 350 for about an hour (or until the eggplant was super soft)
then I scooped out the eggplant and put it with the garlic into a blender (food processor might work better – I didn’t feel like dealing)
added a couple big blobs of tahini, juice of one lemon, about a tsp of salt and blended the bejesus out of it 🙂

I served both with crudites and sweet potato chips.

Happy snacking!

  • October 11, 2013

Workout of the Day

Don’t hate me because I like to exercise and want to talk about it. Or, go ahead and hate me.  That’s really your business.  Or maybe you’ll look at some of these workouts and decide to try them for yourself!  All I know is, if you spend as much time with your ass in a desk chair as I do, you need to dedicate a little time to moving said ass around. Or else you could end up with “Lazy Butt Syndrome.” It exists.

Anyway, I was thinking that if I’m going to revive this blog and focus a lot on the food I make and eat, I thought it would also be appropriate to share some of the workouts I do that allow me to eat all that food without turning out like the Michelen Man.

Since I ran yesterday, and normally I would do boot camp today, but we have an off week so I had to come up with my own workout.  I decided an easy 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and then this series of upper body and core work.  Note that all pull-ups and dips were done on the assisted pull-up machine, because, yeah, my guns just aren’t that big.

Pull ups 15x
Side plank lifts 25x/side
Dips 15x
Reverse crunch 50x
Push ups 15x
Leg lifts 50x
Pull ups 15x
Toe touch 50x
Dips 15x
Sit ups 50x
Push ups 15x
Hammer side 25x/side
Pull ups 15x
Bicycle 50x
Dips 15x
Plank 1 minute
Push ups 15x

  • October 8, 2013

Tap, Tap. Is This Thing On?

Uh, hello? Anyone still there? Anyone?
So, I’ve been kind of absent around here.  I would love to say that it’s because I’ve been off traveling the world or curing cancer or something equally amazing and time consuming.

But nope. I’ve just been living my life, hanging with my family, writing, and yes, cooking.  Today, I cracked out my crockpot and made something so delicious, I decided it was time to bring this little corner of the blogosphere back to life. Even if it’s only to help me remember the meals I’ve made that I’ve particularly enjoyed as I endeavor to use up all the treasures I receive through my weekly organic produce delivery and my monthly meat CSA box.

So, without any further ado, I bring you another edition of Cooking From My Box (paleo style).

Slow Cooker Beef, Pork and Vegetable Stew with Cauliflower Puree

For the stew:

1T cooking fat of your choice (today I used leftover bacon grease from breakfast. That’s right. I said it. bacon grease.)

1 pound each beef and pork stew meat, cubed (you could use all of one, but I had both, so I used both)

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 T chili powder

1 T cumin

1 quart beef broth

1 can diced tomatoes

2 large carrots, cut into chunks

2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks

1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces

Dry your meat with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a saute pan or cast iron skillet heat oil or fat until shimmering.  Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides and put it into the slow cooker.  To the pan, add the onion, diced carrots, and celery. Cook until softened and maybe a little brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin, stir and cook until fragrant.  Deglaze the pan with about 1 cup of the beef stock, then pour the veggie mix, the rest of the broth, and the tomatoes on top of the meat.  Set your slow cooker to low and let it cook for 8 hours.

5 hours into the cooking, add the chunked carrots and sweet potatoes, and the green beans.

For the Cauliflower Puree:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 T butter or ghee

1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

Put cauliflower, garlic and stock into a large pot. Cook until cauliflower is very tender, 20-25 minutes.  Put it into a blender or a food processor with the butter/ghee and process until smooth.  Taste, add salt as needed.

To serve, spoon the puree into the bottom of a bowl and ladle the stew on top. If you’re like me, you might want to add a dash of chipotle tabasco to you stew.

Bon appetit!


  • October 8, 2013

Cooking From My Box: Leek, Potato and Cauliflower Soup

So I know I’ve been woefully neglecting this feature, not to mention the rest of my blog lately. What can I say? Between work deadlines, kid stuff, and trying to keep my house from looking like a nerf bomb went off, I haven’t had as much motivation to sit down and write some more.

But one thing I have been doing is cooking. And today, when faced with a head of cauliflower that needed to be used OR ELSE (or else I’d have to throw it out, but throwing away anything from my beautiful organic box of goodies makes me sad), I decided to make soup! Because not only did I have the cauliflower, this week I also got leeks in my box, and had some potatoes hanging around that I didn’t use for St. Patrick day’s half-corned beef, so called because someone did not read the complete recipe until 4 days before St. Paddy’s only to discover the brisket was actually supposed to sit in the brine for 8 days, not 4. But anyway…

So, since everyone knows potatoes and leeks make an awesome soup, I thought, why not invite some cauliflower to the party?  So, if you’re in one of the parts of the country NOT experiencing unseasonably warm spring like weather, here’s recipe for a yummy, creamy soup that will warm you up on a cold rainy afternoon.


2 large leeks

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

4 small-medium potatoes (about 2-3 inches in diameter) peeled cut into chunks.

1 qt chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

Olive oil

salt and pepper


Discard all but the white parts of the leeks.  Slice the whites in half and rinse thoroughly as leeks can contain a lot of dirt. Chop leeks into thin pieces – it doesn’t have to be super fine since you’ll be pureeing the soup.  Coat a large pot with olive oil and heat over medium low heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt and saute until leeks are tender but not browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add cauliflower, potatoes, and broth to the pot. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Blend in batches until smooth and return to the pot (or you can use an immersion blender I love mine).  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in heavy cream, and enjoy!


  • March 25, 2012

#4EvrLove @ForeverRomance romantic recipes, part 2

By the way, both this recipe and the last one are meant to serve 2. Also, a bonus about this recipe is that it’s relatively light, so even after stuffing yourselves silly you won’t be too sluggish to get a little, uh, romantic 😉 enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Sauteed Spinach

1 lb sushi grade ahi tuna

1 T soy sauce (plus more for dipping)

1 T Sesame oil

3 T toasted sesame seeds

1 T vegetable or olive oil

1 lb fresh baby spinach

2 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices

soy sauce

1 T olive oil

To prepare tuna:

Combine soy sauce and sesame oil, and coat tuna with the mixture.  Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and turn the tuna in them to create an even coating.  In a cast iron or grill pan, heat vegetable oil over high heat.  Cook tuna, 1-2 minutes per side, set aside on a plate to rest.

To prepare the spinach:

In a sautee pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and cook until garlic is tender and just starting to brown, 3-5 minutes. It’s really important not to let the garlic burn!  Add spinach to pan and stir until it’s coated with the olive oil.  Cook until spinach is cooked down, about 5 minutes.  Season with soy sauce to taste.

To serve, pile the spinach on two plates and cut the tuna into thin slices. Be sure to cut against the grain of the fish, or the slices will be chewy. I like to serve mine with soy sauce and wasabi on the side to dip, just like sushi.


  • February 14, 2012

#4EvrLove Recipes to Melt a Man’s Heart

When my editor first asked me to join @Foreverromance’s Valentine’s day Twitter party and talk about romantic recipes, I immediately went to my husband.  I love to cook, and when he and I were first dating, I took the whole “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” seriously.  These are his 2 top picks for what we like to call “courting recipes.”

Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Vegetable Salsa

Note – if you don’t want to mess with the grill, this can easily be done on the stovetop on a grill pan, or using your oven’s broiler

1 lb Flank steak

2 tsp each salt, pepper, and cumin

1 red onion, cut into eighths

4 firm fleshed tomatoes, (i.e. Romas) cut in half

1-2 jalepenos, depending on how much heat you like

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 avocado, cut into chunks

olive oil

Juice of 1-2 limes

salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

1 hour before you grill,season steak liberally with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Let it rest at room temperature for an hour before cooking. Coat grill or pan with olive oil, heat to high, and grill steak to desired doneness.  Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

To prepare the salsa:

toss vegetables will in olive oil to coat.  Using a vegetable grill pan, or under your broiler, grill or broil vegetables until they are just starting to char, about 10 minutes.  If desired, remove seeds from the jalapeños before chopping.  Chop all the vegetables roughly – you want this to be a big, chunky salsa, and add the avocado.  Season with lime juice, salt and cumin, and serve with the thinly sliced steak. Serve tortillas on the side, and voila, you’ve got steak tacos!

  • February 14, 2012

Cooking from My Box: Green Chile Chicken Soup

After spending a lot of time in New Mexico over the past few years, I’ve developed a serious love for green chiles.  And while I love the traditional pork based green chile stew, it’s kind of labor intensive, not to mention pork shoulder is not the world’s leanest cut of meat.  Recently I’ve tweaked my traditional chicken soup recipe to incorporate this new favorite ingredient.  This has become one of my favorite ways to use extra roast chicken and it’s been a great addition to the family menu as we’ve all suffered from various ailments this winter. I find the potatoes are a nice change from noodles for your starch, and they have the advantage of not turning to mush if you have leftovers.  If you are fortunate enough to have access to roasted hatch green chiles from New Mexico, that’s awesome. Otherwise you can use canned – Trader Joe’s sells canned hatch chiles. Either way, it’s a great way to warm up a cold winter’s night!


1 medium onion, diced

4 carrots, diced

4 ribs celery, diced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican

1 T chile powder

1 tsp cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium size red or other waxy potatoes, cut into bite size chunks (you want roughly 2 cups of potatoes)

1 quart chicken broth

1 7 oz can roasted diced green chiles, or 4 roasted hatch chiles, peeled and diced

2 cups roasted chicken, shredded or chopped into bite size pieces

1 T Olive oil

sour cream, avocado,  lime wedges and shredded cheese to garnish


In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and salt, cook until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes.  Add pepper, oregano, chile powder, cumin, and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add potatoes, stir to coat with spices. Add chicken broth to pot. Bring to a broth to a boil then lower to a simmer and cover, cooking until potatoes are tender, 15-2o minutes.  Stir in green chiles and chicken, simmer until heated through and green chile flavor permeates soup, about 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.  Garnish with sour cream, cheese, avocado and lime if desired.


  • February 7, 2012

And the Winners Are: Jane and Ashley!

The winners of the Resolutions contest are Jane and Ashley. email me with your snail mail addy’s. Books will go out tomorrow, and I’ll figure out the iTunes deal as quickly as I can 🙂


  • February 3, 2012
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