Sunday, August 21, 2011


I just love this plant. It's a blackberry. It lives in my side yard  A friend gave me a start a few years ago.   

One of the great things about this plant is that it is thornless.  If you've picked many blackberries, you know the benefits of that. 
 Another benefit is that its berries are really big and plump and blackberry flavored.  And, well, Big.

Breakfast for Papa.  Summer is so short around here.  Find pleasure where you can.   

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Chicken

Cooking healthy food every day is not hard, but it does take some organization.  Not saying I do it well every day, but I'm getting pretty motivated to get us eating a healthier diet without deprivation.  (Neither of us do deprived, well.)

My mother made the best dry rub grilled chicken.  A ton of flavor without being too spicy.  Fragrant.  Oh, it makes me happy to think about those warm summer days in the back yard.  Dad at the grille.  Mom making potato salad by the bucket.  Homemade ice cream.  

This is my favorite herb chicken on the grill right now.  Especially since I have fresh rosemary.  No matter how much I grow, it's never enough.  My herb garden looks pretty ragged from my daily snips. 

Rosemary Lemon Grilled Chicken
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
6 boneless chicken breast halves or the equivalent of other pieces. 
Salt and pepper to taste.

And here is where the organization comes in.  Marinades can add tons of flavor, but it needs to be done ahead of time.  I've marinaded meat 2 or even 3 days ahead, but at least one day.  Place the chicken pieces in a shallow dish.  I dry chicken with a paper towel.  (Chicken blood does not add to this dish.)  Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces.  Cover with plastic and set it in the back of your frig.  

Bring it out as the grill comes to temp.  Cook it on a hot grill, turning with tongs until done.  When is it done?  I recommend using a meat thermometer.  Chicken is done when it's 170 degrees internal temp.  Or, cut into it to see if there is any pink, if you must.  

Tomatoes from the garden, fresh beans from Bizi Farms.  Life's Good.  We are trying to learn to fill half the plate with vegetables, 1 quarter with meat and the last quarter with a carb.

There is no quadrant for ice cream.  Sorry. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mini Key Lime Pies in Canning Jars

I'm working on making some changes in our diet for the better.  But, gosh, I'm getting a sweet tooth.  This is adapted from, August 5.  I've been looking forward to it all week.  Can't wait

I'm interested in the increased number of puddin' recipes I'm seeing.  Oh, they call them tarts and flans and pot d'cremes, but they are really puddin' and custard.  I think we are living in a world that strongly desires to go back to simpler times, but just doesn't know how. 

Mini Key Lime Pies in Canning Jars

The Crust
6 low fat graham crackers, crushed
1 T. sugar
2 T. butter, melted.

Combine and spoon into the bottom of 6 - 1/2 pint canning jars.  Yes, you can, and should, bake in canning jars.  Bake at 350 for 7 - 9 minutes.  It doesn't get a firm crust, just dries up and makes a crumb.  Cool it to room temp.

The Puddin' 
1/2 c. Half and Half (What can I say?  We used the last of the milk in our breakfast.)

1 package of plain dry gelatin

Combine and whisk until smooth.  It will be a little lumpy at first, but take your time. 

Reserve 1 T. of this and gently heat the rest on the stovetop until it starts to thicken.  Try to incorporate any lumps. Set it aside to cool a bit.

In the reserved 1 T. Milk and gelatin, add 2 egg yolks, and 3 T. Sugar. 

To the cooked mixture on the stove, gradually add in 1/2 c. good quality organic plain yogurt.  Add also the egg yolk mixture.

and 1/2 c. key lime juice (Just to be clear, Key Limes don't grow where I live).

and 1 t. Triple Sec.  Yeah,  I'll be good tomorrow, really, I will.

And into the frig she goes to get good and cold. 

Divide the lime puddin' between the prepared jars.

Looks like there's enough room for the remaining 2 eggs whites whipped with 2 T. sugar and another capful of the triple sec.  (You could whip cream if the uncooked egg whites turn you off.)

Divide the topping between the jars.  

Savour Fare suggests adding canning lids and packing it in a picnic.  Okay, if your taking a good cold ice box.  I wouldn't want this at room temp for long.  Just saying.

Yeah, I think I know where the other half jar of key lime juice will be going.  'Cause this puddin' is good stuff. 

And I'll be visiting Savour Fare to see what else she's doing.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Herb and Feta Topped Cod

I've been seeing recommendations to eat fish 2 or 3 times per week.  That's a lot of fish.  I'm not sure we are up to it.
But fish is high in omega fatty acids, offers reduced risk of heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol concerns, and contains vitamins and essential minerals.  Clearly, it is part of a good diet.  

When I see Pacific Cod at my price point, I have them wrap 2 or 3 packages for me and freeze it for week night meals.  Some nights, all I've got in me is to season it on both sides with salt and pepper and cook it in my big flat skillet with a little good oil.  And that's perfectly fine, but I'm looking for more flavor and Husband thought this topping was delicious. 

A big handful of fresh oregano, cleaned and finely chopped. It grows easily at my house, but use whatever fresh herbs you have.  Drizzle with olive oil.  A big spoonful of capers, chopped.  Another big spoonful of feta.  Mix it into almost a paste.  Top the cooked fish with it before serving.  It's really good.     

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brown Rice Mediterranean Salad

This started out as a Taste of Home Recipe.  I've changed it some.  It fits into our new lifestyle because
1.  Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. Some people believe that brown rice helps control blood pressure and also reduces wide fluctuations in blood sugar and contains B vitamins, manganese, selenium and iron
2.  Tomatoes may be among the world's healthiest foods.  Lycopene, Vitamins C and E and many others. 
5.  A simple vinaigrette, a healthy fat
5.  Oh, and it tastes good

Brown Rice Mediterranean Salad
2. cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered.  
2 T.  Italian Parsley, chopped
1 cup black olives, halved

I actually grew the tomatoes and the parsley.

The dressing is -
3 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. Canola Oil
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt.

Mix together and refrigerate for at least an hour.  This is one of those salads that lasts well and really tastes better the next day. The brown rice has a little more texture to it.  It travels well if you need to take it somewhere.  I've packed it in lunches. What else can I say?

Just one more thing.  We've had a rough year for gardening.  Lots of stuff is late or just not going to happen.  But look at this.  The tomato on the right is one of those hothouse tomatoes purchased at Safeway.  Not that it's a bad thing.  I've bought plenty of them.  But the one on the left came out of my garden.  Need another reason to be a gardener?  Just saying. 

A printable copy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weeknight Chicken Chili

It turns out that Man CAN live on bread alone, but it's not a good idea. 

We are working on a healthier diet for medical reasons.  Brings up memories of my father being put on a bland diet late in life, broiled chicken breast with non-salt seasoning. Ick.  I'm not ready for bland and looking for options.  

I think it's important to realize that food isn't very complicated.  The food shows that we all watch these days try to make it look complicated and fancy and chefy, but real food isn't that.  

Weeknight Chicken Chili

Leftover cooked chicken from another meal (about 1 1/2 c.) chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz) tomatoes and 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) corn, drained

Now, 1 T. canola oil in the pot with 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 a red pepper diced.  The ingredients listed above - dump them in.  1 t. chili powder and 1/2 t. cumin. I'm a light-weight with spicy food so more if you wish. 

And 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped.  Using a lot of fresh hot pepper is new to me, but it isn't rocket science, its cheap, and adds tons of flavor.  I'm finding that jalapenos give a great flavor without that much spiciness.  And that's what I'm looking for.  Put it all on a very low simmer.  Add a little water if you want it looser.

Now, feed the dog, water the patio plants, do a few chores until we are ready to eat.


And take a moment to enjoy myself. 10 - 15 minutes. Not too much to ask for out of life.

An enormous black bee is enjoying this flower.  Really cool.

I like to top chili with cheese. 

You can top yours with whatever you want, 'cause it's your chili. 

A printable copy


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mediterranean Diet

I'm researching the so called Mediterranean Diet.  I remember Dr. Oz did a series about it on Oprah and I thought then, this is food we like.  Tons of health benefits.  Good for cholesterol and hypertension.  Good for weight loss and maintenance.  All things we are working on.  And, um, very little meat, which is of course a problem at the Osbornes.

Features of the Mediterranean Diet: It is basically the shared food habits of Italy, Greece and Turkey.  Add Spain and Morocco depending on who you listen to.  Olive oil, fruits and vegetables (7 servings per day!), legumes, whole grains, fish and seafood, very little meat.  But you get a glass of wine per day.  It's encouraged.  Just saying. 

There is a lifestyle change that goes a long with it.  Eating with people, slowly, and enjoying food.  We already know how to do that.  Reduction of stress overall in life.  That's something we need to work on. 

And my favorite sandwich right now? 
2 pieces whole wheat bread.  I'm using Franz because it is locally owned and locally baked.  Toasted.

Spread with basil pesto. 

I'm buying pesto 'cause this is my basil plant.  I started out the season with 3 of them.  It's been wet.  Anything that doesn't want to be wet and cold has had some troubles. 

Back to the sandwich. Slices of soft mozzarella cheese.

Sun dried tomato.  The type that comes dry in a package, not the kind in oil.  Steep them in a bit of boiling water to make them pliable.  You have to dry them well with paper towel so they don't add wetness to the sandwich.

And my homegrown lettuce.  I have several types, but this is a nice peppery one.  It was a variety seed pack from the store, nothing fancy, but good.

Husband's eating a version of the same sandwich with some smoked turkey added.  'Cause, well you know why.

Keep on trucking.