Category Archives: Healthified

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

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The frost is almost upon us!  That means it’s time to harvest the herbs!

I work at The Celtic Cup Coffee House in the small town of Tullahoma, Tennessee.  I don’t have my own herb garden, but The Celtic Cup does.  I love getting to use the fresh herbs when I bake quiches, casseroles, and savory scones.

Today I harvested all the basil for the winter months.  If you’ve never processed herbs before, you probably think it’s really complicated.  At least, that’s what I used to think.  I know there are a couple different ways to do it.  Drying herbs actually does take a while, so I prefer freezing them.  I think it preserves the flavors better, too.  It’s really a lot easier and faster than I imagined.  All you have to do is snip the entire plant, wash, pluck the leaves, and freeze  on a towel-lined sheet pan.  After about half an hour, the leaves should be stiff enough to store in a plastic freezer bag for the winter.  It’s that simple!


While we’re on the subject of basil, last week I made some delicious parmesan baked tomatoes.  I love how all the local markets are just bursting with fresh fruits and veggies from the garden this time of year.  I bought some beautiful plump red tomatoes and thought I would get creative.  All they needed was some leftover basil pesto and a hearty sprinkle of cheese.  Voila! Parmesan baked tomatoes! So fast and simple, but delicious and comforting.  They taste like pizza!  You can make them as a side dish or just a healthy snack.

I’m not religiously gluten free or anything, but I think I feel better when I stay away from bread.  So, to accompany the tomatoes, I baked some chicken and made fresh broccoli salad.  This broccoli salad was at my friend’s wedding last weekend.  It was so good I had to make it for myself.

Together it was the perfect guilt free/gluten free dinner!  It only takes about 30 minutes to make, so I hope this meal will find it’s way into your week as a tasty and stress free option!

Abby Hughes

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes
 
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A quick and tasty side dish or snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
  2. Thick slice the tomatoes and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan
  3. Spread about a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of basil pesto on each slice.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is lightly browned (about 4 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Broccoli Salad
 
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A light brunch or dinner side.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 medium red onion
  • ½ c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
  • ½ c. roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
Dressing
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white distilled vinegar
  • ½ c. mayo
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Small dice red onion.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, mayo, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onion, craisins, and sunflower seeds.
  5. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  6. Enjoy!

Vegan Dark Chocolate

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This is my initiation post, so I thought it would be fitting to share a couple of things about myself.  First of all, I really like eating healthy.  I love working out and running and eating well because it makes me feel good.  Second, I REALLY love chocolate.  Especially DARK chocolate.  Almost anything with chocolate in it is irresistible to me.  I think most of my teeth are sweet teeth.


You may think these two loves are contradictory.  For a long time, I did too.  But do they have to be???  I’ve recently been learning a lot about nutrition from my boyfriend, Tim.  He’s a personal trainer who is way more committed to eating healthy than any sane person should be. But, he showed me that one of the keys to a healthy diet is making sure you get enough of the “good” fats. WHAAAAAAT??? There are good fats!?!?  Good fats are like a fun little diet cheat code.  There are even some diets that require you to eat a tablespoon of oil twice a day… it’s pretty gross, don’t try it. Anyway, healthy fat is found in things like avocados, coconut oil, olives, and nuts.   I think fat gets a bad rap because of it’s unfortunate name. But, contrary to popular belief, fat doesn’t make you fat!  When used in moderation, it can actually aid in weight loss! Maybe we should rename it “phat” so people will think it’s cool again.  Really the only two things you need to be cautious about is making sure it’s the right kind of fat (not the grease dripping off your pizza, unfortunately), and to regulate the amount (because it is calorie dense, but still crucial to a healthy diet).

So, one day I remembered this recipe from my good friend, Mr. Fleisher. Back when I was in college, he would make me this heavenly freezer chocolate.  The only ingredients are coconut oil, cocoa powder (antioxidants), and a little bit of honey! It occurred to me… that fits my macros!  It’s a great way to get healthy fat in my diet AND curb my abundant chocolate cravings!

It’s a super simple recipe with just 4 ingredients that you probably already have. Plus, it’s easy to adjust amounts because it works off ratios!  People are always saying “try this recipe, it’s THE BEST.”  But they just say that.  THIS ONE REALLY IS THE BEST!  If you like chocolate, you have to try it.  That is all.  If you don’t try it, it really doesn’t affect me.  But I just always have this in my freezer and I think it could easily be a staple for your family too.  🙂

Between my brother and me, chocolate doesn’t last long at our house.

Before I give you the map to paradise (aka, the recipe), just a few things.  You can easily change the sweetness by adjusting the honey.  It won’t effect the chocolate setting up.  If you like it dark, add less honey.  If you don’t like bitter chocolate, add more! — it’s that simple.

I usually make a 1-1-0.25 ratio of coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey.  That is sweet enough for most dark chocolate lovers.  However, I believe the original recipe was a 1-1-1 ratio (very sweet).  If you aren’t sure where you fall, I would recommend making a smallish amount the first time for a taste test.

The second thing is that you can get creative with the flavorings!  It’s fun to add sliced almonds or chopped pecans, and you don’t have to use boring old vanilla.  If you want to get really crazy, there are a plethora of flavors to choose from!  Orange, Baileys, Jack, caramel… just use your imagination.

Finally, I would LOVE to see someone try this recipe in a cute little mold! Someday I’m going to grow up, get fancy, and invest in some nice molds, but for now I’ll eat chocolate no matter what shape it’s in.  However, if you are one of those “Pinterest Perfect” people that I envy,  PLEASE send a picture or leave a comment of the mold you use!  I know you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I have!

 Abby Hughes

Vegan Dark Chocolate
 
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A delightful not-too-sweet treat to always keep on hand.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 15 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 TB vanilla
Instructions
  1. Line two sheet pans with wax paper or parchment.
  2. Melt the coconut oil over low heat just until almost melted.
  3. Whisk the honey into the coconut oil for about a minute until the honey is warm and all the coconut oil is melted and well mixed. Take off heat [if it gets too hot it will get grainy (seize)].
  4. Whisk in the cocoa powder and vanilla.
  5. Pour chocolate onto the prepared sheet to evenly distribute into a thin sheet.
  6. Freeze on a level shelf until the chocolate is set. Break into pieces and store in a sealed container in the freezer.
  7. Enjoy!
Notes
Also works well in cute little molds, but I really like the texture and melt-in-your-mouth effect of the thin chips.

 

 

 

Broccoli Cheese Patties Shared By My Friend

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Broccoli Cheese Patties
Broccoli Cheese Patties

Got broccoli?  I really, really like broccoli.  As a kid, I don’t think I ever tasted broccoli, except maybe in a broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole, and even then that may have been after I grew up and started cooking on my own.

My last blog post was about friendship and this recipe comes from another of my God-given friends.  Sue and I met when I was 21 years old, a young wife and mother of a 2-week old baby.  We moved into the house next door to Sue, her husband Bill and their 3-year-old son, Warren.

Sue and I quickly became friends over the garden fence and migrated to her kitchen where we spent countless hours pouring over recipes, cookbooks and the latest news of the neighborhood. She taught me how to can green beans (and I ruined her canner in the process).  Canning pickles were next and I am sure cooking broccoli was in there somewhere!


Thousands of miles have separated us for many years.  But a phone call, an email, or a recipe, and we are in sync as if we have never been apart!

yum borccoli patties

Last fall she sent me this recipe.  She wrote a quick message saying she thinks they are “super” and even Bill liked them, and broccoli isn’t his favorite.

Well, broccoli is my favorite but this recipe settled near the bottom of a pile on my desk.  Thanksgiving came and went.  December was a blur.  January settled in cold and rainy.  We needed something “special” to perk up a mid-week dinner.  Broccoli cheese patties to the rescue!

broccoli patty upclose

These patties are quick and easy to make.  They are baked in the oven and while the recipe calls for sharp cheddar cheese, a hot pepper jack will take the flavor over the top!

Next time I make them I will include an aioli sauce and I really can’t wait!  These little patties are crisp on the outside and yummy, creamy, warm and tender on the inside.

For 39 years I have called Sue my “walking book of knowledge.” She has a home economics degree, a very quick wit and a heart of gold. She makes me laugh and sometimes we cry.  Who could ask for anything more in a friend?

I love you Sue and keep the recipes coming!

Happy Baking!
~Catherine

Broccoli Cheese Patties
 
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Let the fun begin with broccoli, cheese and this delicious side dish!
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Serves: 8-9 patties
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ onion, chopped finely
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag frozen broccoli -- defrosted
  • ¾ cups breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In a small frying pan melt butter on medium heat. Saute' the onions and garlic in the butter until translucent.
  2. Place defrosted broccoli in a strainer for 30 minutes (longer if still frozen) in the sink. Blot well and chop the broccoli into smaller pieces.
  3. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add broccoli and onion mixture. Mix well.
  4. On a cookie sheet use the 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and grease the cookie sheet. Form patties, they are about ½ cup each. (A large scoop works well.) Press together well.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes on one side and then turn them over. Bake another 15 minutes or until browned and crispy around the edges.
  6. Serve with a favorite sauce or aioli.

 

 

Fresh Kale Salad You Are Gonna Love!

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Kale Salad upclose I have to admit that I see “fresh kale” this and “fresh kale” that all over the food blogs.  I usually just keep on moving past them.  My Chief kale-lover husband would appreciate a kale dish now and then, but my kale-loathing sous-chef dish-washer mom turns her nose up at kale!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Enter Heidy.  Heidy is a lovely woman and talented artist who just happened to fix lunch for us at Hephzibah House on a recent visit to NYC.
But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading


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