Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hello in There

Yesterday, Adam and I left right after work to take Siku Dog to Blue Mountain. It was gorgeous outside, almost 60 degrees and sunny. As we were hiking around, we passed lots of dogs with their owners. All the dogs said hello, and some of the people smiled, all kept walking. We started heading up the mountain, and saw an old man coming down the narrow trail. (We chose a different path on the left to circumvent the water hole, since Siku dog had just had a bath. Which ended up not working, since he promptly found a fresh pile of horse crap to roll in...)

Anyway, the old man crouched down and said hello to Siku, then stood up and smiled. He began to tell us how he had his dogs out this morning, but it was so beautiful out this afternoon, he had to come out for another hike. He looked right at me, with his wrinkled skin and sharp, crisp blue eyes. Really made eye contact with us both. He told us, "After the next switchback, about 20 yards, look down and to the left. There is the most tremendous display of buttercups. The first I've seen up here." He smiled to Adam and me, and told us to have a good day. We then noticed Siku rolling in the horse poop, and I chased off after our freshly groomed dog. He laughed to us and said, "he's just being a dog" waved and headed on. 

It wasn't until our way down, that I realized that out of more than a dozen people we passed, he was the only person who spoke a word to us. The only one that said hello, and the only one who was interested enough in conversation to share an experience with us. It made me think of this John Prine song, and somewhere out there I want to thank this man for helping me to remember to be kind to people. And say hello.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fruit Salad with Fruit Smoothie Dressing

Only Fruit: Fruit Salad with Pureed Fruit Dressing 

For the Salad
1/2 honey dew, peeled and diced
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1/2 mini watermelon (reserve 1/4 of the melon for the dressing)
2 medium mangoes, peeled and diced
2 cups diced pineapple (i used frozen... thawed)
1 lemon

*My favorite knife for peeling round things (like fruits) is this curved pairing knife. The large knife is excellent for cutting through the thick rinds of melons as well as dicing, and the sturdy spoon is for scooping out seeds.

Combine all the salad ingredients together, except lemon, in a large bowl.

For the Dressing
1 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 watermelon
4 large strawberries (I used frozen)
2 clementines
3/4 cup water
4 small mint leaves 

Combine all the the dressing ingredients in a Viatmix or blender. 

Blend the ingredients together for 60 seconds, until smooth. (This is delicious as a raw fruit smoothie too!)

Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until all the fruit is covered.

Dish up and top with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and more chopped mint, if desired.

 (Nail color= "Honk if you Love OPI" :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chicken and Veggie Fried Rice

Homemade quality, take out taste. Chicken fried rice is a great meal in itself, or, as a side to any Asian meal. It makes a great, filling, gluten free lunch too! Make ahead and reheat, add in any veggie you'd like. Below is a pretty traditional take on fried rice, but, you can jazz it up with whatever  you'd like!
This recipe is kid friendly, gluten free, and a healthy alternative to take out!
(makes 6 servings, depending on your portions :)

Chicken Fried Rice


2tbsp. olive oil, separated
2tbsp. sesame oil, separated (if you don't have any, or, if you are allergic to sesame, use olive oil.)
1 lb. chicken breast (you can use any protein here- chicken, pork, beef, or tofu.)
2 cups short grain organic brown rice
1/2 large onion
2 carrots
1 cup frozen peas
3 eggs (omit for egg free) (could use scrambled tofu instead)
3 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos (or more to taste) (you can also use a gluten free soy sauce here if you don't have Bragg, but start out with just one tbsp. and increase to taste. There are lots of different varieties, each with a different level of saltiness.)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a medium stock pot.
While the water is coming to a boil, pour 1 tbsp. sesame oil into a wok over high heat.

If you don't have a wok, get one. They are awesome for cooking everything from fried rice to jalepeno popcorn- recipe coming soon:) (If you are going to buy one, I may I suggest LeCreuset? I cooked with one of these at a friend's house last weekend and it was ah-mazing. Saving my pretty pennies to upgrade to one in the near future...) In the mean time, use a heavy bottom stock pot.

Add 2 cups brown rice to the sesame oil (or olive oil) and fry stirring constantly, 3 minutes, until the rice is lightly toasted. This is a very important step- it will give the rice great flavor.
Dump the toasted rice into the stock pot. Lower the heat to simmer and cover, cooking for 45 minutes until tender.

As the rice cooks, quarter and dice the carrot.
Thinly slice and dice the onion.
Measure out the peas and let them begin to thaw.
Reserve the veggies.

Thinly slice the chicken. (If the chicken is slightly frozen, it will be easier to slice super thin.)
Heat the olive and sesame oil in a wok over high heat.
Add the chicken, reduce heat to medium high, cook through, stirring every few minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the veggies. Add more oil if needed and stir-fry until the onions are translucent and the mix becomes fragrant. 3-5 minutes.

Empty the veggies into a bowl and reserve. Add a drizzle of oil to the wok over medium high heat. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and beat them until the yolks and whites are incorporated. Add the egg to the wok and scramble the egg.
Once the egg is cooked through and scrambled, add the veggies and chicken back into the wok and toss to incorporate. As the rice finishes, add the rice as well. Turn up to high heat and add the Bragg's Liquid Aminos. (If you are in Missoula, you can get this in bulk at the Good Food Store.) Stir the mixture quickly for a few minutes, making sure that the Braggs gets mixed in. If it needs more salt, add more Braggs. As you stir and cook the mixture, it should begin to get sticky. Remove from heat and serve. 

I like to package the leftovers up after they cool, so that we have lunch already packed and ready to grab in the morning. My man loves Sriracha, so I topped my lunch portions with a Sriracha heart. <3 Enjoy!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Simple Lentil and Black Bean Soup

Today was a cold and rainy day, with spits of snow. We spent the weekend with great friends in Bozeman, MT. After sharing several fantastic meals with friends this weekend, I wanted to come home and make a simple, healthy and filling soup with ingredients we had on hand. Here is a great, simple, wheat-free soup that will warm you and keep you full for hours.

Simple Lentil and Black Bean Soup


6 cups water
2 cups green lentils (you could probably use any color... mine were dark green :)
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, quartered and diced
2 celery stalks, halved and diced
1/2 large onion, small diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric


Heat 6 cups of water in a heavy bottomed stock pot.
Add the lentils once the water boils.
Cover and simmer 25 minutes over med-low heat.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a saute pan.
When the oil is hot, add the carrot, onion and celery.
Cook until the veggies become a bit translucent, then add the garlic, cumin and turmeric.
Stir and cook until fragrant, another minute or so.
Remove from heat and reserve.

Once the lentils are finished, add the rinsed and drained black beans to the stock pot.
Add the veggies to the stock pot.
Add the salt and black pepper, to taste.

Stir the pot to incorporate the ingredients and serve.

(would be lovely with a dollop of 0% greek yogurt, some cilantro and lime wedges. Maybe even some diced avacado... but then again, what wouldn't? We ate it as is. Perfect.)