Summer Lovin’

I love summer!  I am a salt water-splashin, sunscreen-wearing, sand between the toes kinda gal. As I write this guest blog, I am kicked back in a little beach house in Indian Rocks, Florida. Indian Rocks is between Clearwater and St. Petersburg, but small and quaint. It does not have the tourist vibe of surrounding towns.  The best part is the sunsets!  My children and I take our chairs out and watch the sun go down every evening. Pure Bliss!

Beach sunsets are the best!

Beach sunsets are the best!

Stormy morning offshore results in a gorgeous double rainbow!

Stormy morning offshore results in a gorgeous double rainbow!

Before we left, I was in a cooking frenzy.  For a change, we were all home, so of course, we had dinner together.  My Lazy 8 Stock Farm CSA was again stocked with greens, including green onions, green tomatoes, basil, and bok choy.  Pesto is one of my favorite basil recipes (at least until the tomatoes ripen) so I froze some Pesto Bombs.  They are basically just your favorite pesto frozen in old-fashioned ice cube trays. When you need pesto, just thaw one or two.  I have been known to throw them into marinara source when I am in a hurry (hence the term “bomb”).  The bok choy screamed for a stir fry, so I created a Chicken and Bok Choy stir fry (an original recipe).  As a Southern girl, I LOVE Fried Green Tomatoes, so I tried to “health-ify” them while still frying (an oxymoron I am certain).  Finally, I want to share my guilty pleasure – Chocolate Brownie Bowl. I would like to say I share it with one of the kids. But that would just be a lie!

Pesto (Bombs)

adapted from Gimme Some Oven
INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup pine nuts
3-4 cloves garlic (I think the more, the merrier!)
3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (or about 1/2 tsp. of each)

DIRECTIONS:

In a food processor or blender, blend together basil, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing, and then add in salt and pepper. Scrape down the sides and pulse once more to make sure it’s well-blended.  Pour into ice cube trays and drizzle a little olive oil on top.  Freeze and store in airtight container.

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Chicken and Bok Choy Stir Fry

1 pound organic chicken breasts or thighs
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch green onions
1 head organic bok choy
1 organic yellow bell pepper
2 carrots
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or substitute)
¼ cup coconut sugar
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cut up onions, bell pepper (strips) and carrots (bited-sized pieces). Cut up bok choy, separating while stems and green leaves. Mix soy sauce, vinegar, Tabasco, sugar and oyster sauce. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok and cook chicken until no longer pink. Remove from heat and add to sauce. Add remaining sesame oil to pan and add white portions of bok choy and cook for 1 minute. Add carrot and cook for another minute. Add bell pepper and cook for 30 seconds more. Add green parts of bok choy and green onion and cook for approximately 2 minutes. Return chicken with sauce to the pan and cook until vegetables are desired doneness. Serve with steamed basmati or jasmine rice.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Adapted from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients
1 large organic, pastured egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup organic 2% milk
2 cups organic, stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3-4 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into slices
coconut oil
Preparation
Combine egg and milk; set aside.  Combine cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan. Dip slices in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.  Melt coconut oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a large, heavy skillet, being careful not to overheat the oil. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

Chocolate Brownie Bowl

Adapted from Delighted Momma

1/2 tablespoon organic butter or coconut oil
3 tablespoons of almond meal
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tbs of local honey
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 organic, pastured egg

Directions:
Melt oil in microwave in a microwave-safe bowl, preferable with steep sides.  Add wet ingredients and mix well.  Add dry ingredients until smooth. Microwave for 1 minute.  Test for doneness and if needed, microwave another 30 seconds.  Sit down in your most comfortable chair with a spoon and eat before anyone else notices you have chocolate!
Thanks for letting me guest blog!  Hope you find something that makes your belly smile!

Mary Margaret

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Kale, Collards and Chard – Oh My!

Hey everyone!  My name is Mary Margaret and I am guest blogging for We Eat For Real for the next couple of weeks.  This is sort of exciting for me – I have never blogged before!  I am not much of a food photographer, so little to no pictures either!

Do you have a garden?  If not, why not?  No space?  If you have a deck or a patio, you have the space!  In the past, I had a little garden at the bottom on the hill on the back of my property.  Well, age and the hill really don’t get along, so this year I decided to build a container garden on my back deck.   

 

I have 6 window-box style planters that hang from the deck railing from brackets purchased at Lowes.  In those planters I have leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, green onions, spinach, red Russian kale and curly leaf kale.   

 

In addition, I have 3 large pots – one with squash, one with cucumbers, and one with eggplant.  It is very important that these tender plants get good shade, particularly in the heat of the day/evening.  They need to be watered frequently, as the organic soil dries out quickly.  I have loved walking out with my bowl, pinching off the greens I want, and making a salad.  

Although my CSA is no longer offering organic strawberries, I have included by favorite Baby Green Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing below.

My CSA (Lazy 8 Stock Farm) is really producing the greens right now.  It is sometimes a challenge to find different ways to cook all these great leafy, vitamin-packed greens.  I love Indian curries, so the Chicken and Kale Coconut Curry was a no-brainer.  It will not disappoint!  The garam masala seasoning really makes this dish.  Last night I served up the Chicken and Ziti with Lemony Chard Pesto and it was a hit with the kids.  Since it is summer, we grill out frequently to avoid heating up the house.  It is a good night when I can cook my entire meal on the grill, including Warm Grilled Romaine with Goat Cheese.  It is great as a salad or even a burger topping!  Finally, as a good Southern lady, I had to cook up some Drunken Collard Greens.  They were, by far, the best collards I have ever had and paired nicely with a thick, grill pork chop and organic sweet corn.

Hope you all can find something to try and to “make your belly smile!”

Baby Greens and Date Salad (adapted from Sun Date California Medjool Dates)

6 cups organic baby greens

1 cup fresh organic sliced strawberries

1/2 cup medjool dates, pits removed and chopped

1/4 cup slivered almonds or toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I find this at Costco!)

Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

(adapted from PaleoLeap)

1 cup organic strawberries

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

1/4 t salt

1/4 t pepper

extra virgin olive oil

Combine salad.  Just before serving, mix up dressing.  Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil in food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Drizzle in up to 1/4 cup EVOO until desired consistency.

Creamy Chicken and Kale Curry

(adapted from Naked Cuisine)

1 lb organic boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbs organic coconut oil
1 bunch organic green onions, or 1 onion, finely diced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
1 bunch of organic kale, roughly chopped (remove the stems for a smoother sauce)
¼ C cream cheese (optional – I did not use)
½ C coconut cream (or make your own using 1 cup organic unsweetened coconut and grind in food processor with a little water for at least 15 minutes)
½ tsp sea salt
Instructions
In a large skillet melt fat and add onion, ginger and garlic to simmer. When onions are translucent add cumin and garam masala, let this cook together for a few minutes on medium (warning – your house will smell divine!).  Add the chicken to the skillet and cover for a few minutes.
Put a pot of water on with a steamer preferably for the kale. Steam until just tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. (If you like, take a short cut and place kale on a large plate and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes).  Puree the steamed kale in a blender or food processor with the cream or coconut cream until smooth.  Once chicken is cooked through, stir in kale mixture and cook on low for 3 to 5 minutes until all the flavors meld.  Serve with steamed Basmati Rice.

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Chicken and Ziti with Lemony Chard Pesto

adapted from Swiss Chard Pesto
3 well-packed cups rainbow chard leaves (stems and center ribs removed), torn into large pieces. (Note – the stems are edible, so I left about half on!)
3 garlic cloves
Grated zest of 1 lemon, and juice
Salt and pepper (about 1/2 t each)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
Tablespoon of fresh herbs (basil or oregano will work nicely)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra, if needed
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

1 pound organic skinless chicken breasts or thighs

3/4 pound organic noodles

Heat some olive oil in a skillet – brown chicken with a little salt, pepper, and fresh oregano.  Meanwhile prepare ziti pasta till al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, combine the chard, garlic, lemon zest, a big splash of lemon juice, salt and some pepper. Pulse a few times to combine, pushing down the chard as needed. Add the pine nuts and herbs and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow stream and process until incorporated. Add a little more oil, if needed. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl, stir in the cheese, then check the seasonings, adjusting as needed.

Drain pasta and add to pan with chicken with heat on lowest setting (I remove my chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces before this step).  Stir in pesto and cover to steam together for 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve topped with extra Parmesan cheese and a nice green salad.

Grilled Romaine with Goat Cheese

1/2 head Romaine lettuce per person (or Romaine hearts) if serving as a salad, less if using as a topping

Salt and pepper

Lemon juice

goat cheese, crumbled

Slice lettuce in half, lengthwise, leaving stem intact.  With cut side up, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place cut side down on hot grill, and cook until it begins to char.  Flip and repeat with the other side.  Remove from grill and chop each head roughly.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the lettuce and toss with crumbled goat cheese.  Great as a warm salad, or as a burger topping!

Drunken Collard Greens

(adapted from AllRecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS:
3 slices preservative free bacon
1 bunch organic collard greens – rinsed, trimmed and chopped
1 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 bottle beer or lager of choice
salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS:
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and fry until crisp. Remove bacon, chop, and add back to pot. Add the onion and cayenne and cook and stir until slightly browned. Add the collard greens and pour in the chicken broth and beer. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until collards are tender. Adjust seasonings before serving if needed.  Makes a great side to grilled pork chop and grilled organic sweet corn – dang now my mouth is watering!