Lemons to spare


A few days ago our friends brought us gigantic lemons from their trees. Softball-sized lemons. So many lemons I couldn’t decide how to use them all. Tonight I managed to use three of them between dinner and dessert and we loved every bit of them.
For dinner I made chicken with capers and green beans. It was delicious and I have leftovers for one dinner maybe when Carver is out bowling. The perfect chicken cutlet, a dash of sauce and about a cup of green beans. Easy.
For dessert I decided a simple lemon cookie would be nice. I had never made lemon cookies before but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a sugar cookie that was not super buttery or sweet. I worked it by adding lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, applesauce and whole wheat flour. Tomorrow I will share the what and the how of these little treats.
Carver urged me to bake up a few for QA. He is so thoughtful; didn’t want me to waste my time writing about them if they were no good. Nice try honey- I know you just wanted warm cookies before bed.
Anyways tomorrow we are trying out a newish lunch concept for the blog. It’s going to last the next four days. Then who knows maybe I will win him over with the ploughman’s lunch. A healthy take on it anyways.
Have a good night all. See you in the morning

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how about a pork chop?


I have tried to write this post two three four times now – thanks WordPress. I think I have finally forced them to let me share an update with you all.

It has been busy around here. I know I say this often but it’s true. Busy is my baseline and I have yet to master my schedule given my current state of busy. I’m getting there though.

Since the last time we chatted a few things have changed. I finished and submitted my applications for internship spots. Only 30 odd days until I find out where I got placed. Carver and I mailed all of our wedding invitations (we have even received a good number of RSVPs) with minimal loss of sanity. We had our wedding tasting. And we also are licensed to wed (!!), possibly the most surreal and obscure moment of the past weekend…

Now that those major milestones are behind us, I have decided there are no more excuses for my lack of exercise. It’s time. No more hiking here, cardio at the gym another day. Solid exercise. My muscles need it. My mind needs it. So hold me accountable. I’ll share with you my progress and the torture.

Recently there my kitchen has been very dirty. A result of lots of cooking and baking. What have I been making you ask? Oh well a variety of things really. Bread, brownies, Cranberry Muffins, Chocolate chip cookies with bacon, a frittata, soup, pizza, peanut butter and the list goes on…

    

I looked in my freezer this morning for our dinner protein and shockingly found no chicken! Pork chops it is then. I also happened to have one nice lemon left and a giant box of spinach and the heel of a loaf of bread. Dinner was impromptu and improvised but delicious. Think Manhattan Chicken with pork.

I seasoned both sides of the pork with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash; preheated the skillet with a touch of olive oil and some nonstick spray. I seared the chop for 3 minutes on either side over medium-high heat. Then I removed the chops from the pan and set them on a plate to rest. I added to the pan a bit more oil (about 2 teaspoons) and more spray then 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of butter; I stirred this together with a wooden spoon and added in 2 cups of baby spinach. I seasoned the spinach with the juice of half a lemon and the zest of half a lemon, salt and pepper; being careful to keep the spinach moving in the pan. Next I replaced the pork chops in the pan – now that they had a beautiful green bed to rest on. I grated fresh parmesan over the chops and put a lid on the skillet. The two pork chops were about 1-1.5 inches in thickness so they needed about 5 minutes of steam time to be cooked through. Just before serving I removed the lid and hit the pork/spinach with the zest and juice from the remaining half of the lemon and a little more salt and pepper. We enjoyed our dinner with a couple thin slices of whole grain bread which was left in the fridge.

    


another sleepless night


I’ve been a busy little bee. In the dietetics world January through April is a stressful time – that is if you are applying for an internship or if you run an internship. I am not yet in the latter group so I am one of those poor souls vying for a spot and the means to afford said program. My spare hours are spent thinking about what my personal statement should be like and wondering what my letters of reference say. Granted it’s a lot of worrying for me and not a whole lot of production yet. Some of you aren’t surprised, I’m sure. But I do have drafts of all of my required documents and my transcripts have been requested. So I am not completely screwed – just at the point where the anxiety keeps you up at night. It’s a thrilling place to be, can’t you tell??
I have however been quite busy in the Feeding Bliss world – working on recipes, opening up a shop on Etsy and developing products to sell. There is only one product listed currently. That’s my granola. I feel confident enough in that recipe that I could put that up. Later today I will be posting a month’s worth of meal plans along with a shopping list. The items will be available in a monthly packet or a weekly packet. Keep your eyes peeled later today and I will be sending out another link to the shop with a complete product listing.

Last night was the first night on the meal plan. I have requested that they send me their photos of the meals they prepare so I can show all of you their successes – and hopefully encourage you to give them a shot. If you ever do try one of my recipes here, be sure to send me an email with a photo and any questions or comments to: FeedingBliss AT gmail DOT com  I would LOVE to hear from you!!! You can also comment anywhere in the blog.

The first meal was Manhattan Chicken. I love this dish because it is a one-pot wonder. Insanely easy and beautiful! And for those of you Weight Watchers out there, it is a simply filling meal. Typically I serve this with a grain – either a nice whole grain bread or brown rice. Last night we opted for no grain and it was still delicious and filling.
Below is a photo of the dish made by one of my helpers 🙂 looks like she made hers with noodles on the side.

Manhattan Chicken

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 ounces spinach
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 slices low-fat provolone cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Heat a large pan (with cover) over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper then add to pan. Cook chicken 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Add spinach, garlic and chicken stock to pan. Then place provolone slice on top of chicken.
  4. Cover pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the cheese has melted.

I’ve missed you


I need a bloody mary. STAT. Then maybe a nap and maybe after that I will be up for the gym. But right now, it is barely 9AM at the temperature is nearly 90 degrees and the humidity is over 50%. Reality check – Southie is one degree cooler and only has 41% humidity, oh and they have a breeze. It’s pretty gross out here. The past two weeks of my solitary confinement I have spent the mornings and evenings getting all of my exercise in and anything which requires me to be outside. The rest of the day I am cooped up either reading, or on my computer working, or studying. Oh yes that’s right I said studying. I bought a study guide for a board exam I plan to take, no date yet. I did pretty well on the portion of the practice exam I took, but reviewing their study guide makes me a little queasy. So for the time being I am hacking away at it, bit by bit. Otherwise my projects have consisted of non-food things: dealing with student loans, cleaning, laundry, unpacking, organizing, etc. I did have a pretty insane weekend, and this led to an atypical Tuesday: up at 5 for lunches and breakfast, took Merlin for a walk around 6, had a cup of coffee, went back to bed and slept until 10:45. I must say that additional sleep was glorious. What did I do Sunday and Monday that made me so exhausted you ask? Well I will tell you… I cooked and baked enough to fill a fridge and freezer: 6 smoothies, 1 loaf of bread, 2 flank steaks, chipotle marinade, 2 chicken breasts, couscous salad, cilantro-lime rice, baked pinto beans, oatmeal raisin cookies… I’m sure that I am missing something but at the moment it escapes me. So while all this work is making my 5AM lunch prep much easier, I was exhausted after it. I will be evaluating my game plan today/tomorrow so that I can enjoy my weekend. Very exciting this weekend is a special visit from one of my dearest friends. We have not seen each other since before the engagement and as such will probably spend the weekend gabbing about dresses, shoes, gifts, the ring, etc. Chances are this will all be done over an enormous cup of coffee and some kind of treat… I know, you’re jealous. I would be too if they weren’t my plans.

Later this afternoon I will share the earth-shattering thing that happened this week which prompted my 16+ hours in the kitchen last weekend.

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Must-Haves for a Blissful Kitchen: Lunch Edition


Next up, all your helpful ingredients for delicious lunches every time. Whether you eat it at home or brown-bag it these items will hold up and keep your lunches healthy and will provide lots of variety.

 

Artichoke Hearts Dijon Mustard Vegetables: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks Microwave Popcorn
Broccoli Florets FF/LF Cheese Canned Tomatoes Mixed Nuts
Chopped Onion FF/LF Yogurt Couscous Low fat & low calorie treats
Grilled chicken or steak Lettuce, variety Dried Fruit – variety Rice
Lean Cuisine or Smart One Meals LF Mayonnaise Dry Whole Wheat Pasta Roasted Red Peppers
Veggie Burgers Low-fat deli meats Garlic Salsa
Pickles Olives Vinegar – variety Spaghetti Sauce
Seltzer Pesto Canned Beans Stock/Broth

 


2 dinners, 2 desserts


Four good recipes in two days: Mexican Couscous Salad, Bistro Turkey Burgers, Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies, Angel Food Cake with Strawberries.

It has been a hot week so far and promises to continue. Not much else to report around here. Had to visit the hospital yesterday for some pre-employment stuff and did a bunch of projects around the house today but that is the extent of our excitement… That was until we went to the grocery store and stumbled upon some angel food cake.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberries, serves 2

      

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 slices angel food cake (about 2 oz)
  • 1 – 3 tablespoons sugar (will depend on sweetness of strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons light whipped cream

Slice strawberries and place in medium bowl with sugar. Add sugar gradually based on sweetness of berries, mix well. Refrigerate berries for at least 30 minutes. Assemble each plate: 1 slice of cake with 1/2 the berries and 1 tablespoon of whipped cream. 3 Points Plus per serving * Carver warmed the cake in the toaster oven until the edges were crispy which was a delicious variation!

Mexican Couscous Salad, serves 4

  • 2/3 cup dried couscous
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil – 1 teaspoon for cooking couscous, remainder for vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • zest and juice of one orange (could use two limes here if you would prefer)
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and then diced

Over medium high heat, toast couscous in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 4-5 minutes until golden. Gradually add in water or stock, 1/3 cup at a time until couscous is barely covered in liquid. Cover pan and simmer for 8 minutes until all liquid is nearly absorbed. Stir in red onion, recover and remove from heat. In a large bowl make the vinaigrette: whisk together the mint, orange zest, orange juice, remaining olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add in remaining ingredients and stir well to coat all ingredients in vinaigrette. Serve over mixed greens. Serving size is 1 1/2 cups. 13 Points Plus per serving.

Bistro Turkey Burgers, serves 3

   

  • 1 pound ground turkey, lean
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 6 slices ciabatta
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and drained
  • 3 slices low fat provolone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons low fat ranch dressing

In a large bowl combine turkey, scallions, parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons of Frank’s red hot. Score meat to form three equal portions and form patties which match the size and shape of the ciabatta slices. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile toast ciabatta slices and combine dressing and remaining 2 tablespoons of hot sauce in a small bowl to make sandwich topping.  10 Points Plus per serving

To assemble each sandwich:

  1. coat one side of each slice of ciabatta with 1 teaspoon of dressing-hot sauce
  2. then 1/2 slice cheese,
  3. then tomatoes and arugula on one side
  4. next top patties on top of arugula
  5. cover patties with second slice of bread (with sauce and 1/2 slice cheese)
  6. slice sandwiches, 2 halves per serving

Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies, makes 3 dozen cookies

     

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick light butter, room temperature
  • 4oz unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt; mix well. Meanwhile in a large bowl beat applesauce and butter until completely incorporated. Add in two sugars to butter and beat until light and creamy. Next, add in eggs, one at a time – mixing well after each addition. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time – mixing well between additions. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans until well dispersed. Spoon batter onto baking sheets using a rounded tablespoon. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. 3 Points Plus per cookie.


cool dinner on a warm night


A few weeks ago I had an amazing lunch in Brookline, MA at Zaftigs. It was a couscous salad in a fresh vinaigrette with grilled chicken and mixed field greens. It was filling and refreshing but not heavy. I decided to try recreating it using the online menu description and my memory. What I came up with was not an identical salad, but it was equally delicious in its own way.

I'm sorry, did you want the last bite?

Couscous Salad with Chicken

This dish works well at any temperature – from right off the stove to just out of the refrigerator. When I had this at the restaurant they served it with a few slices of pita bread, which would be an easy addition. The following recipe serves 4.

  • 2/3 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (about 1/4 of a small onion)
  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 4 mint leaves, minced
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 – 6 cups mixed field greens, rinsed and dried

In a small saucepan heat the couscous, shallots and 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat until toasted and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Slowly add in water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes until water has been absorbed. Add in red onion, stir and remove from heat – keep cover on the pan. Meanwhile grill or sauté the chicken breasts until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness. Let the chicken cool and then cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. In a serving bowl combine the zest, juice, mint leaves and remaining olive oil- whisking to make the vinaigrette adding in salt and pepper to taste. To the bowl, add the: couscous, cranberries, pecans and diced chicken. Mix to coat ingredients with vinaigrette and let sit (at room temperature or in fridge) until ready to serve.

To serve, place 1-2 cups mixed greens on a plate or in a bowl and top with 1 cup of couscous salad.

Points Plus: 10