Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Oranges

So, even when you’re eating healthy, you need something to make you feel like you are getting a “treat.”  One thing I have learned about a healthy lifestyle is that your “treats” don’t have to be things that will make you feel like death.  Last time I was craving something rich and sweet, I used things laying around my house and created something BEAUTIFUL that I would eat as a treat even before I cared about health!  And health wise, it really isn’t all that bad!!

It all started with this, a Christmas present from my mother in law:

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Anyone who knows me well and loves me truly buys me Orange Dark Chocolate.  I tell you what, I went on a mission trip to Switzerland probably 4-5 years ago with some of my very favorite people, Christopher and Jennifer Hopper and my dear friend Abby.  While there, I discovered the beauty of Swiss chocolate.  And they had many different kinds with orange.  Some even with big chunks of orange rind in them.  Ohhhhhh it was heavenly.  And to this day, whenever one of them sees some form of Orange Chocolate, they bring it to me!!  And now my mother in law has joined in the tradition!!  So I had this beauty at my house.  Notice just HOW dark it is…and that it is 65% cacao instead of cocoa.  Yes, there is a difference, and cacao is supposed to be much better for ya.  🙂

So, back to my “I need a sweet treat” hankering.  I had this bar of chocolate.  But how could I take Orange Dark Chocolate to the next level?!  By melting it and dipping orange slices in it, of course!!  Still, it didn’t seem quite complete to me yet, and being a lover of salty over sweet…but especially salty WITH sweet (can I get a holla for Salted Caramel and Kettle Corn?!)…I got the idea to crack a little fresh Sea Salt over the chocolate before it set.

I’m glad I did.

Heaven.  Dear sweet Jesus, thank you for Orange and chocolate.  Hallelujah.  🙂

 

SO, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Orange, Peeled and as much white removed as possible
  • 1 Quality Chocolate Bar, Preferably Dark Chocolate…even better if organic, cacao…with orange!
  • Few cracks of Sea Salt

 

And here’s how you do it (SO SIMPLE!!)

  1. Break your chocolate up roughly into a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 15-30 second intervals, stirring between until just melted.
  2. Separate orange segments and dip half way into the warm chocolate.
  3. Lay out on a plate or wax paper and crack a small amount of Sea Salt onto chocolate portion.
  4. Eat.  Enjoy.  Sharing is optional!  😉

Welp, there you have it folks.  I hope you enjoy this not-so-cheat treat.  I didn’t feel guilty about it one bit, and I don’t think you should either!  I think you should try it, right now!!!  What is your favorite thing to dip in chocolate?!

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Spaghetti Squash with Spaghetti Sauce – Kirkwood Style!

Now you may be wondering why I did not simply call this “Spaghetti Squash.” Or “Spaghetti with Squash.” Or something along those lines. There is a very specific reason.

You see, when you start eating healthy, or trying to eliminate things such as carbs or gluten…people will tell you about all these great substitutions…that you won’t be able to tell a difference, blah blah blah.  Here’s my take.  There are indeed tons of great substitutions.  I am passionate about discovering them.  However…you are going to be able to taste a difference, and that is okay.  Because when you change your diet, you aren’t trying to trick yourself, you are trying to change your life.  So trying new things is going to have to be part of your every day most likely.

Also…dear, sweet Mr. Rodgers.  The first time I made spaghetti squash I told him that it was supposed to be like noodles, so he expected noodles.  Because of that, he was disappointed when there were no noodles to be found, then declared that he “hates Spaghetti Squash.”  Unwilling to lose this amazing ingredient to cook with, I wisened up.  Instead of claiming to make pasta dishes with healthy noodles…I now claim to make squash dishes with yummy sauces.  So this is NOT Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti!  It is simply Spaghetti Squash with my mom’s Spaghetti Sauce on top.  And now, Mr. Rodgers is coming around to the wonderful squash, and all is well.  I seriously LOVED this recipe!  So without further ado…here it is!!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 Lg Spaghetti Squash, Baked, Microwaved, or cooked in a crock pot
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, Diced (Optional)
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3-4 Stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Italian Seasoning (and/or Oregano and Basil)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 C – 2 C Cheddar, Shredded (Originally my mom uses like 2 C, I was trying to make it more healthy so I cut it back to 1/4 C)
  • About 2 Cans Tomato Sauce (To preference…I like mine super thick and chunky…you can add more to stretch it if you desire)

And here is how you do it:

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First, get your squash cooking because it will most likely take a while.  If I remember right, mine baked for almost 2 hours!

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Now to start your sauce!  I would first get all of your ingredients together and prep your veggies.  (Normally I would have another color of pepper in there too but we were out of groceries haha!)

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Now brown your beef and drain, then set aside!

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Put butter or coconut oil in the bottom of a pan, add your veggies, and saute until tender.  Add beef, stir together, and cook another minute or so.

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Add in enough tomato paste to get it to your desired consistency.  Add seasonings to taste, stir in, and adjust.  Let simmer, even for hours, until ready.  The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

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Remove squash from heat, and when cool enough to handle without burning yourself, cut in half.

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Scoop out seeds with a large spoon and discard.  Fluff out the noodles with a fork and scoop them out of the squash into your serving dish of choice (or just leave it in the half so it looks fancy!)

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Right before you serve, stir cheese into sauce.

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Pour sauce on top of squash, sprinkle some parm, and devour this wonderfully meaty, satisfying, low carb, healthy meal!!

Curry Carrot Soup

This was so much fun.  It was definitely an exciting recipe for me, because it was very much outside of my comfort zone.  Curry…and carrots…in a soup?!  But I am so glad I decided to try, Mr. Rodgers and I both loved it and it was a fun, creative way to have a veggie side to our Mediterranean Steak Roll Ups!

I found this recipe because I was going through my fridge and shelves, taking stock of what I have that I need to use up.  I found I still had tons of Miso, which was quite expensive so I wanted to make sure I used it to it’s full potential.  I also had curry powder, so I wanted to use that too!  Off to Google I went, to figure out what could be created with these two ingredients!

I stumbled upon misorecipes.com, and found this lovely idea that I ever so slightly adapted.  The creaminess was so comforting, the color was vibrant, the amount of heat was just perfect (just a tiny warmth on your tongue after you slurped it down!), and of course the flavor was lovely.  Mr. Rodgers is pretty crazy about curry.

So, let’s get down to business.  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Med-Lg Carrots, Sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 1/2 C Water
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Miso Paste
  • Pepper
  • Tiny Pinch of Cayenne Powder (Or to taste, depending on how much heat you like!)
  • 2 Tbsp Grated Carrot (Optional, I didn’t use this but it’s in the original)

 

And here’s how you do it!!

  1. Melt your coconut oil or butter in your soup pot.  Add your onion and cook about 3 minutes, until beginning to become translucent.  Add garlic and stir in, cooking for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add Carrots and salt and continue to saute for about 2 more minutes.
  3. Dump in the water and coconut milk and stir.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes, until everything is tender.
  4. Add Pepper, Curry Powder, Miso, and Cayenne.  Simmer for a couple more minutes.
  5. CAREFULLY transfer soup (in batches, it should only be about half full.) to a blender and blend until creamy.  Pour into a large bowl until all is blended.
  6. Pour back into pot and cook until heated through.  If you want, stir in the grated carrot, or use it as a garnish.

 

And you’re done!!  Serve warm and enjoy!

Peectures:

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Chop all your veggies.  Melt your coconut oil or butter in your soup pot, and add the onions.  Cook about 3 minutes, until translucent.  Add garlic, stir, and cook about 30 seconds.  Add carrots and salt, stir, and cook about 2 more minutes.

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Pour in water and coconut milk and stir.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Add Pepper, Curry Powder, Miso, and Cayenne.  Simmer for a couple more minutes.

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Yummmmmm.

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Ladle into a pretty bowl or cup and serve!!  Here it is with our Mediterranean Stuffed Steak Rolls.

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Yummy.

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I hope you enjoy this!

 

Chefs of Honor: Beefy Boys Cooking Co.

Disclaimer: This may be the awesomest food post ever.

First off, I just have to say, I love my brothers, the ones by blood, and the “adopted” ones that are just always at my parents’ house that I see just as much as I do my “real” brothers.  They all make me smile, and root me on like no one else can.

I have evidence of that last statement, too!  Earlier this week, I got a text message from my “big-little brother” Jesse.  Some of you may remember his unforgettable appearance in my tribute to my Grandma, Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits.  Here it is (the text message that is):

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This already had me beaming.  An out of the blue text message from a brother always does.  But an out of the blue text message from a brother about my blog…and wanting to be on my blog (even if it is slightly a joke…look at the title haha!) had me absolutely thrilled.  Plus, the pictures made it look pretty tasty to me too!!  See?

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Yummy!!  They even thought to garnish it!

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Haha.

So, intrigued, I asked for a recipe.  And this is what I got:

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, before I had a chance to respond through my fits of laughter, I got another one, featuring my brother-from-another-mother Christian to give me the last few tips I need to make (and eat) these Beefy Canoe Wagon Sliders.

Well.  I’m convinced, how about you?  Haha.  I would eat Beefy Canoe Wagon Sliders any day!!

Jesse later informed me that all you need for the marinade is this:

  • Olive Oil
  • Bragg’s Amino Acids (Or Soy Sauce)
  • Pepper
  • Half of a Lemon Juice

Sounds easy, delicious, and healthy!!  Let me know if you try it!!

Curry Roasted Chicken and Root Veggies

Hallelujah!  I can not tell you how long a process it has been getting this recipe.  The first time I made it, I snapped some photos and posted them on facebook…and a few of my friends immediately commented, demanding the recipe because the pictures made them hungry.  That is always such a nice feeling haha.  Well, because I was in a frenzy trying to make the dish fast, I had read off the ingredients to Mr. Rodgers as I made it, and he took notes on his phone.

Then a few days later we went with our “second family” to their lot.  A few of us got tired earlier than the boys, who were deeply engaged in a game of Kan Jam.  So we took one of the cars and started driving back to the house…unbeknownst to us, with two of the boys’ phones still on the hood.  So my recipe went for a flight down the street and never saw the light of day again.  Woe is me!  But I had promised to post it, so I made it again!  However, the next time I sat down to type it up, I couldn’t find where I had written it down!!

I was about to give up on being professional and precise and say things like “just throw some curry powder in a pan!!!”  But I gave it one last try today, and was flipping through my “brain book” for work…and found it tucked away beneath my pages of social media notes and product updates and meeting minutes.  Wooo hooo!!  So, without further a do…LET’S DO THIS!

Oh ps…I made this up myself, which is EXTREMELY exciting for me!  And I discovered how much I love the amazingly diverse and strong flavor of the different root veggies!  This was satisfying, filling, and oh so healthy!!  Try it out!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Whole Chicken, about 5 lbs
  • 2-3 Handfuls Baby Carrots (or roughly chopped big carrots)
  • 1 Sweet Potato, Diced
  • 3 Turnips, Chopped
  • 1 Onion, Cut Into Chunks
  • 5 + Garlic cloves, peeled (depending on how crazy you are about them)
  • 1/2 T Curry Powder
  • 1 T Red Curry Paste
  • 1 tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
  • Pinch of Cinnaomon (Husband LOVES cinnamon with his curry)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Squeeze of Cilantro Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Large Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425*  Remove the chicken from the package, make sure there are no surprises inside, and rinse it inside and out.  Sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Gather all of your beautiful veggies and start chopping!! (Leave garlic cloves whole, but peel them!)
  3. Melt your butter or coconut oil in the bottom of a large pan or wok.  Whisk in all your spices and the cilantro paste.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and coconut milk and stir in.  You should have a nice creamy sauce.  Heat until it starts to bubble.
  5. Dump in your veggies.  Stir so they are all coated with the curry goodness.  Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just starting to get tender.
  6. Place the chicken in a large casserole dish or cast iron skillet.  Dump the veggie mixture over the chicken, and spoon some of it into the cavity.
  7. Slide into your preheated oven and cook on 425* for 20-30 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 375* and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through and veggies are to your desired tenderness…probably about an hour-hour and a half.

Preheat your oven to 425*  Remove the chicken from the package, make sure there are no surprises inside, and rinse it inside and out.  Sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.

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Gather all of your beautiful veggies and start chopping!!

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You should have a decent pile when you are done! 🙂  Big piles of veggies make me happy!

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Melt your butter or coconut oil in the bottom of a large pan or wok.

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Whisk in all your spices and the cilantro paste.

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Add diced tomatoes and coconut milk and stir in.

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You should have a nice creamy sauce.  Heat until it starts to bubble.

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Dump in your veggies.

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Stir so they are all coated with the curry goodness.  Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just starting to get tender.

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Place the chicken in a large casserole dish or cast iron skillet.  Dump the veggie mixture over the chicken, and spoon some of it into the cavity.

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Slide into your preheated oven and cook on 425* for 20-30 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 375* and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through and veggies are to your desired tenderness…probably about an hour-hour and a half.

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Now admire your handy work!

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So many veggies!!  I seriously loved this meal.  Goes great with a hot pile of quinoa!

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Let me know what you think!!

 

 

Mediterranean Steak Rolls

As you can imagine…this was a man pleaser.  I liked them.  Mr. Rodgers LOVED them.  But I guess…what man DOESN’T love steak?!  Especially when you stuff it with Mediterranean goodness.  So I suppose I can’t blame him.  They were like little rolls of flavor that were healthy, but also satisfying because it had that meatiness that you can just sink your teeth into.

You can’t go wrong with ingredients like these:

So, here’s what you need:

(adapted from familycircle.com)

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs thinly cut steak
  • 1 Package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 C Feta Cheese
  • 1 Small Jar Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped (I used about 2/3 of a 12 oz Jar 0f Marinated Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic Cloves, which I recommend.  You can chop the garlic up with the red pepper)
  • 2 Tbsp Dry Quinoa (I used this for a crunch, since I didn’t want to use bread crumbs)
  • 1 Egg Yolk (Thinking back, I’m pretty sure I forgot the egg in mine and it still worked haha.)
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Salt, Divided (Or to taste.  I used extra in my stuffing)
  • 3/4 tsp Pepper, Divided (Or to taste.  I used extra in my stuffing)
  • Tbsp Olive Oil

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat oven to 425*
  2. Lay your steak pieces out on a clean work surface.  Now you may have one long piece of thin cut steak.  I thought I had about 3 pieces, only to unwrap it and realize I had 6-8 long VERY thin cut pieces, but it still worked great!
  3. Season your steak with 1/4 tsp each of the garlic salt and pepper.
  4. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together: Spinach (with all the moisture squeezed out first), Feta, Red Pepper, Quinoa, Egg, and another 1/4 tsp each of the garlic salt and pepper…
  5. Press the filling onto the steak, leaving an inch border.
  6. Roll steak up carefully and lay on a baking sheet seam side down.
  7. Rub the outside with oil and season with the last 1/4 tsp of garlic salt and pepper.
  8. Slide into your heated oven and cook until your desired amount of doneness…obviously this will depend on the thickness of your steak.  The original says 35 minutes, but that would have been way too long for the thinness of the steak I ended up with.  If you have a very thin meat, start checking around 15 minutes, if more of a medium thickness, go for 25-30.  🙂
  9. Remove, let rest for a few minutes, then serve, slicing if you have one long roll.

 

Peectures!

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Here are the Roasted Red Peppers I used!  Definitely a great flavor!

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Lay out your steak and season with garlic salt and pepper.

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Throw all your stuffing ingredients into a bowl…

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Mix up together…

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Lay out on your steaks with a border…

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Roll up and rub with olive oil, season with garlic salt and pepper again…

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Roast in 425* oven until they reach your desired amount of doneness!!

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Here it is accompanied by a lovely curry carrot soup!

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Browned, meaty, stuffed, and delicious!!

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Yum.

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