Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

     Today's recipe comes from my online friend, Elodie.  Soups are a great way to eat healthy and I love her variations at the bottom. 
      Many thanks to Elodie for sharing!  I love cauliflower and will have to try this soon. 
      ~Enjoy ~

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sirloin Steak w/Cabernet Blackberry Sauce

     If you love berries as much as I do, you'll appreciate any new ways to cook with them.  In this dish, sweet blackberry sauce pairs perfectly with hearty steaks and spicy black pepper.  In anticipation of warmer weather, tuck this recipe away for grilling days ahead!

Sirloin Steak with Cabernet Blackberry Sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. coarse ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. olive oil
(4) 1-inch thick top sirloin steaks
Olive oil cooking spray
2 shallots, minced
1/2 C cabernet sauvignon wine
1 C low-sodium beef broth
4 C fresh blackberries, divided plus plenty for noshing on while preparing this dish!
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. unsalted butter, cold

In a small bowl, combine garlic, vinegar, thyme, pepper, Dijon and oil.  Rub mixture on all sides of steaks, transfer to a re-sealable container, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hrs.  I'd personally do this overnight---the longer you marinade, the better. 

Heat a medium saucepan on medium high and mist with cooking spray.  Add shallots and saute, stirring frequently, until soft and light golden, about 2 minutes.  Stir in wine, broth and 3 cups blackberries and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10  minutes, until berries are very soft and liquid is reduced by about half.  Remove from heat.

Over top of a small bowl, strain blackberry mixture through a fine mesh strainer, gently pressing on solids with a ladle to extract juice from berries; discard solids.  Rinse saucepan; return blackberry sauce to pan over low heat, cover and keep warm.

Season steaks with kosher salt and grill for about 3 minutes per side, until an intant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees when inserted in center of steak.  Let steak rest for 3 minutes.  Return sauce to medium heat and stir in butter until melted.  NOTE:  do not use oil or pre-melted butter, as it will not emulsify).  Place steaks on serving plates.  Top with blackberry sauce and remaining blackberries, dividing evenly. 

Serves 4

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pinterest pays off!

    I spend a. lot. of time on Pinterest.  I justify it because I'm running a business, therefore I often spend time pinning new inventory.
     I also find terrific ideas over there and I actually DO use them.  Today I'm sharing a creative way to decorate the front door instead of the common Spring wreath.
     I found the umbrella at Goodwill a while back.  It's from Ralph Lauren and I probably paid $2 or so!  Then I had to wait for the "right" filler to add to this creation and I found those this week.  I invented another $6.xx on these beautiful red flowers.  I rummaged through my craft room and found just the right length of silky ribbon to tie it all together. 
     Here's the end result:


     Be sure to check out ALL my Pinterest boards for delicious recipes, handy health tips, home decorating ideas, great gift items and lots more!   Just click http://pinterest.com/ShellyFord/

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roast Beef Sandwiches

     This is a great, healthy variation of a classic sandwich!  Lean beef is a good source of protein and iron, as well as vitamins B12 and B6, both of which play a critical role in cell metabolism and preventing osteoporosis.
     If your idea of a splurge is prime rib, you'll love this lean roast beef sandwich with a tangy, creamy horseradish spread.  Stacked with peppery arugula and sweet, juicy tomatoes, it's a sumptuous sandwich to sink your teeth into.

Roast Beef Sandwiches

1/2 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
8 slices whole grain bread (use ANY whole grain bread you like---sub rolls, focacia, or even a wrap.)
8 oz. all-natural, low sodium deli-fresh roast beef, thinly sliced
2 C baby arugula
1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 C thinly sliced red onion

In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, horseradish, lemon juice and pepper until combined.  Spread mixture onto 1 side of each bread slice, dividing evenly.  Layer beef, arugula, tomato and onion between bread slices, dividing evenly.

Serves 4

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beef Barley Soup

     Some of you may know that since my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in the last month, I've been focusing on eating more healthy.  I've incorporated a LOT of whole grains and fiber in my diet, not to mention vegetables and fruits.

     I stumbled upon this recipe recently, and it's on my menu to make this coming week, so I thought I'd share! I have NEVER eaten barley, but my hubby was game to try it as well, so I will be sure to post a follow-up letting everyone know how this turned out.   Hope you enjoy....

Beef Barley Soup

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb. beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 container (26 oz.) unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson) *I used an entire 32 oz. container
3 C water  (I cut this to TWO cups due to the increase in beef broth)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced (I used 3 & could have used more)
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
8 oz. sliced white mushrooms
3/4 C barley
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
*I used several splashes of Worcestershire sauce--gave it great flavor!
1 C frozen peas, thawed (I will be omitting, as hubby detests peas--perhaps I will substitute a can of green beans)
Chopped parsley (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Season beef with 1/4 tsp. of the salt and the black pepper and add to pot; saute 5 minutes, turning once.  Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add stock, 3 cups water, carrots and celery.  Cover and simmer 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, barley, remaining 3/4 tsp. of the salt and the thyme.  Simmer 30 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Stir in peas (or beans!) and simmer 2 minutes.
Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Serves 6

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ham and Cheese Muffins

    Yes, I'm still working my way through my new cookbook.  If I were you, I'd look up "Mad about Muffins"  by Dot Vartan.  You won't regret it. 

    This week, I'll be making the following recipe.  I'll likely serve these muffins for breakfast, with a hard boiled egg or two and fresh fruit would really round the meal out.  OR one could serve these for lunch or dinner alongside a salad.

Ham and Cheese Muffins

1 egg
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 C sour cream (I will be using LIGHT sour cream--use whatever you prefer)
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 1/3 C sifted all-purpose flour (again, SIFTED flour!?  Don't these people know how much I detest sifting?  Oh well....)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C diced cooked ham
1/2 C shredded Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg.  Add the sugar, sour cream, corn oil and mustard.  Mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistured.  Gently stir in the hat and cheese.  Fill greased muffin tins (or use paper liners).  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are brown.

Makes 1 dozen muffins