Monday, April 30, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Grilled Peppers

I spent the better part of today taking on my first canning endeavor.  I've got a counter full of tomato sauce and canned tomatoes but I feel as though I spent the day in a sweat shop.  So instead of focusing memories of vats of boiling water and millions of dirty dishes I'd much rather focus on these tasty peppers I made a few nights ago. 
The weather was so awesome last week.  We enjoyed some quality time on our porch and Dakota showed me what she's been learning from me.  She fixed "dinner"...

And then set up the "dinner table" and ate with Aidric.  

Yum, rocks!

Luckily they didn't fill up on rocks and had plenty of room for these tasty peppers.

I decided I wanted to stuff a veggie and since I already stuffed zucchini and tomatoes I decided to go with the bell peppers.  They are coming into season here in Florida so we're keepin' it local!  I didn't have much direction when I started- all I knew was that quinoa, chicken and a bunch of veggies were going to get packed into these peppers.  I ended up with an awesome meal that I love and plan to make again soon.  This is one of my favorite things I've made in awhile and it was really simple to pull together.  

Quinoa Stuffed Grilled Peppers

4 green peppers
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp ground ancho chile
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp herbamare

Slice peppers in half from stem to base and clean out seeds and trim white pulp.

Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion for a couple of minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for another minute.

Don't forget to rinse your quinoa!

Add quinoa and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. You'll end up with some nice fluffy quinoa!

Combine zucchini, tomato, spices and chicken.

Add quinoa and mix well.

Stuff peppers and press mixture down so it won't fall out.

Grill peppers over medium high heat (around 350 degrees) for 5 minutes.
Rotate peppers and cook another 5 minutes or until peppers soften.

These are perfect with a salad on the side. I served mine with boston lettuce, cucumber, green onion, avocado, sauerkraut and raw hemp garlic dressing.  

Aidric loved the filling but I had to cut the pepper up before he would try it.

Kota clearly had no complaints!

Then these two got a hold of the salad.  I wasn't planning to share!

Face shoveling...

More face shoveling...

Aidric even got creative and filled some lettuce with the quinoa filling and made a wrap.  I guess he's seen mommy do that a few times.

This is what was left when they were done.  But I can't complain if my kids steal my salad right?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Asian Chicken Soup

We finally had some soup weather here.  It didn't last long but it was a nice break from the hot weather that started so early this year.  I was pretty excited this worked out because I had planned to make some soup this week anyway.  I had a big batch of baby bok choy from my CSA that needed to be used so I was inspired to make an asian soup.  The soup I came up with is fresh and full of healthy veggies.  It will fill you up and provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals from all of the tasty bok choy, cabbage, carrots and daikon.
While I was chopping and shredding the kids were enjoying the cooler weather by cuddling up in their chairs and relaxing. 

Life is so tough as a toddler right?

Asian Chicken Soup

8 cups water
2 chicken breasts
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, diced
3 tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or Namu Shoyu
1 tbsp miso
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 cups chopped boy choy
2 cups shredded carrot
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded diakon

In a large pot combine water, chicken, chopped carrot and celery, garlic and ginger.
Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until chicken will pull apart easily (about 1 hour).
While your waiting you can make a play dough masterpiece...

Or just eat some. That's his guilty face.

When chicken will easily pull apart remove it from part and use a fork to shred.
Return the shredded chicken to the pot and add coconut aminos, miso, salt, and vinegar and return to boil.
Add bok choy and cook 2-3 minutes. 

Just before serving add carrots, cabbage and daikon.

Ladle into a bowl and top with cilantro and coconut aminos.

The kids definitely approved of this meal.  Soup is a bit messy with the little ones but that's ok.

This is what happens when I leave carrots on the counter.  Aidric grabbed one before dinner and Kota had to have one too. 

 I didn't mind them gnawing on the carrots while they ate their soup!

This is all that was left of our soup when we were done.  I was just glad to have lunch for the next day!

And this guy was done for the day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin

If you're needing some meat to go with the fennel salad I posted Monday, I've got you covered.  I cooked up a small pork tenderloin to pair with it.  The original plan was to grill it but the weather had other plans. Plan B was to roast it in some parchment paper.  It came out awesome and was delicious with the fennel salad.
We don't eat a lot of pork but I do like the occasional pork loin.  It always turns out moist and it's pretty versatile.  I don't like pairing pork with anything heavy, for me a salad is perfect.  Whenever we eat meat, I like to make sure I pair it with lots of veggies to aid in digestion.  The extra enzymes really help the body digest the meat.

Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin

1 lb pork tenderloin
Garlic Powder
1 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 lemon
Fennel fronds
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350.
Rub pork with olive oil on all sides.

Lay pork on a piece of parchment paper big enough to wrap pork in.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and coriander on each side.
Coat with fennel fronds and squeeze lemon on pork.

Wrap parchment paper around pork and then fold ends over.
Place pork in a baking dish and cook for 35-40 minutes. Cooking times will very depending on the thickness of your tenderloin.  A meat thermometer should read around 150 degrees.

Remove parchment paper and turn on broiler. 

Broil on each side for 3-4 minutes to brown outside.

Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with some delicious Citrus Fennel Salad!

This girl like it.

And this guy liked it so much he stole my plate.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Citrus Fennel Salad

How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty good considering we were cooped up from the weather.  Rain, rain and more rain.  Other than a trip to Whole Foods we stayed inside all day on Saturday.  The kids pulled out every toy in the house and had some pretty elaborate make believe sessions.  Luckily we all took a nice long nap during the afternoon storms.  Dark clouds and rain on our tin roof make for some prime napping conditions.
When we woke up it was time for a snack and some dinner prep.  I planned to make a delicious fennel citrus salad with grilled pork tenderloin.  The salad was unaffected but the pork was definitely not getting cooked outside while it was pouring so we roasted it instead.  But today I wanted to focus on the salad. It is delicious on it's own and makes a great meal.

So did you know fennel is pretty good for you?  It is high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Fennel also contains a special nutrient in its oil called anethole.  Anethole has been shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of cancer.  Inflammation in the body is caused by anything that stresses your body systems out.  Consuming processed food, lots of carbs or sugar on a daily basis causes chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease and cancer.  You can check out this excellent article by a heart surgeon discussing heart disease and chronic inflammation caused by processed foods. 
How amazing is that?  Although I have seen foods heal my kids over that last year I am still amazed by all of the ways food was designed to heal our bodies.  The oils in fennel are easily broken down so for maximum benefits you should eat it raw- like in this salad! For more information on the benefits of adding fennel to your diet check out this site.

Fennel Citrus Salad

2 medium fennel bulbs
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups hearts of palms, chopped
3/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 cups of arugula and spinach greens (or greens of your choice)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp orange zest
Juice from half a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Go ahead and zest that orange.  I know it is a pain in the butt but I promise it is worth it!

Whisk all ingredients for dressing together.

Thinly slice white parts of fennel bulb.
Combine fennel, onion and dressing in a medium bowl.

Remove skin and white parts from orange.

Slice into 1/2 inch pieces removing white from the center of the orange.

Gently mix in orange and hearts of palm. Or not so gently....

Either way you will end up with this delicious bowl of goodness.

We picked some arugula from our earth bucket outside.  Unfortunately these guys were snacking on it.

Place greens on plate and top with fennel orange mixture.
Spoon out extra dressing if desired.

 This is an excellent meal to eat if you've eaten a few too many "inflammatory" meals or if you are fighting off a cold.  The combination of fennel, hearts of palm and oranges will give you a ton of Vitamin C.  Getting vitamin C from foods is the best way to ensure absorption since our bodies recognize and use natural sources the best!

Kids are great because they are intuitive eaters.  As long as they are not carb and sugar addicted they will naturally gravitate towards the foods they need to feel their best. She knows!

And so does he!  Someone's got a little inflammation...

Happy Eating!  I'll be posting the recipe for the roast pork that goes great with this salad tomorrow.