Salads to Go

One of the best gadgets for creating fresh crisp salads , is the Salad Spinner.  After soaking and rinsing the lettuce, just put the torn leaves into the Spinner basket and with a few hard presses, centrifugal force pulls the water away from the leaves.  I fill it just half way with lettuce and do this twice for each half basket full.

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In the past I would combine the salad for the week in a big bowl minus the dressing.

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Now I have a better way…

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It’s salad in a jar.  Very easy to create.  After cleaning and chopping all of the veggies, fruit, etc., just assemble.  Dressing goes in first then all of the wet produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, berries).  Follow that with lettuce, and other leafy greens.  Make sure it’s stuffed not allowing for air, then seal Mason jar with lid.

I like to have boiled eggs handy to throw into a lunch along with the salad jar and some yogurt.  It’s fast and helps me get my 3 cups of raw veggies in each day.

The jars keep for a good week – sometimes up to 10 days.  These salad jars have Romaine and Butter lettuce with cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, olives and a Ranch dressing.

Try it and then circle back and tell me your favorite salad combo.

Have a great day and make it count!

We Are Always Ready for A Snow Day…

Early spring snow today.

Snow Storm "Virgil" dropped about 8 or 9 inches of snow but is melting fast.

Snow Storm “Virgil” dropped about 8 or 9 inches of snow but is melting fast.

I gave my knees a break from running and did other things.

Rocco di Spiritos Shrimp Paella with Chorizo

Rocco di Spiritos Shrimp Paella with Chorizo

Stewed Tomato and French Onion Rump Roast

Stewed Tomato and French Onion Rump Roast

Alex's Chimichanga's

Alex’s Chimichanga’s

Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

Richard Blais's Spaghetti  with Broccoli Pesto

Richard Blais’s Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto

I have a couple of other things to fix including a salad  and then we’ll be set for the week.

I pulled out my roller and am getting serious about my training.

photo (47)

My knees are a little better and I guess that was maybe a warning or wake up call.  Always follow the plan.  I’m following the advice of others including our LIFE Runner coach and will see how my knees are on Tuesday – which is when I am scheduled to run next.  I may wait a couple more days before doing so too.

I’m getting ready (race is in 3 weeks) for the More/fitness Women’s Half Marathon.

What race are you running in next?   What are you doing to prepare?

 

 

Cookin’ with Julia Child and Richard Blais

Today, we are gathering items to send to friends in NJ who were hard hit by storms.  Ordered much needed gloves and masks to be delivered to help agency there.

Today is also…my cooking day.

First and foremost on the menu is- Julia Child‘s award-winning recipe for Beef Bourguignon.

Julia described this dish as, “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.”  Watch her prepare it here.

I made Richard Blais‘s Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto and Chili Oil to go with it, this morning.  It is wonderful!  Great for runners too.

After I heated the olive oil and chili’s, I strained out most of the chili remnants.  It is wonderful – either for dipping or drizzling over pasta.

Chili Oil

Richard shared this dish on, “The Chew,” in the segment about him preparing for the NYC Marathon (which was to be today but now cancelled).

Adding to all of this a great salad with red/yellow bell peppers, almonds and raisins.

Yesterday, Alex and I made his favorite… Beef Chimichanga‘s.

Knowing that there is so much more to life than food and eating, and many things that are much more important, I still believe that

 “A full refrigerator  = happy family.”

After Mass will go for a short run – my first since the marathon.  Been waiting for daylight savings time so can begin running again in the morning.  Also, just liked having all that extra time.

 

Superbowl Food…Maybe? It’s Always a Superbowl at Our House

Great stuff…

Yesterday I made a very crisp salad out of tomatoes, cucumbers, cranberries and Romaine lettuce. Ran it through the salad spinner and it’s good for a at least 5 days.  Doesn’t brown or wilt.

Today I made a roast smothered in stewed tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and onions – the best (well, Julia Child‘s might be a little better).

Then also fixed some Mexican Chicken with peppers and onions along with corn on the cob.

Don’t forget the Pumpkin Muffins…there’s nothing better.  Still cooling on a towel.

Great start to a great week ahead.

Dinner with Julia Child

In honor of Julia Childs, I made her Boeuf Bourguignon.  This is a once a year event at our house.   It is pretty rich…but excellent. 

Forgive my unsteady hands.

With any great dish you have to pair it with a great wine – in this case it’s going in the dish – Chianti.  Then also, fresh bread.  I don’t follow her recipe to the letter but it is very close.  The plate of bacon is a variation instead of the bacon block.

Warning:  This is not a diet dish.  Julia didn’t worry about such things.

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”    ―      Julia Child

Use Golden Harvest potatoes – my sister clued me in on those – really good.

I’m going running in the morning.  Hoping it will be a little warmer than today.  The “coach” of our team is coming to town and it will not be hard for him to figure out that I have not been running a whole lot.

Let’s not tell.  Maybe I can fake him and the others out…I doubt it.  Ha!  So, I need to really get on it.

In the meantime, as Julia say’s, “Bon A Petiet.”

Here’s the recipe too:

Ingredients

  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Power Cooking

I think I’ve mentioned that I do all the cooking for the week in 1 or 2 days.  Usually 3 entres, 2 sides, a salad, and some things to snack on too.  I still have granola from 2 weeks ago.  It keeps about 6 weeks.  However, I am also baking a couple of loaves of bread and pumpkin muffins.  Here’s the first batch.  The bite-size ones also have cranberries in them.  They will be gone by tomorrow.  I made another dozen to add t this.  Then after all are cooled I pack them up in a sealed storage bag and leave on counter beside granola.  I already made Alex’s taco hamburger meat.  He heats that up all week wrapped in tortillas.  Yet to be fixed:  Chicken salad, Manhattan Clam Chowder, Roasted Whole Chicken, Corn on the Cobb and whipped potatoes.

I’m also moving our exercise bike into living room so I can get in some cross training of an evening – also helps keep me limber.  Feeling kind of tired today after the 8 miler yesterday. It is beautiful outside right now.  Kind of cool actually.  I’m not running today.  If I were it would definitely be outside.  Jim and Alex are trying to stay busy in other parts of the house.  They did a phenomenal job watering everything outside this summer.  Many around us had a lot of suffering flowers and such.  Ours really did well.  It’s sad, but it’s time to get ready to close the pool.  So Ode To A Great Summer enjoy the pics of our backyard….

My Keepsake Cookbook Featured by Lulu.com – Wow!

Wow!  Yesterday my little family cookbook that I created to give as Christmas gifts to my relatives a couple of years ago, was featured by lulu.com and sent to their 1 million members/authors, etc.  See the email I pasted in below.  Pretty cool.  The cost of creating it was kind of high so I doubt I will get very many sales, but who knows. 
I’m off to get my 4 miles in this morning.  Have a great day and happy running!
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