Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Taking a Moment

Marathon Monday has always been one of my favorite days in Boston.  It's been my first Red Sox game of the year for the past five years, it's what I consider the real start of spring and it's just always been this great day where the city comes alive and bands together to support people who have worked so hard and pushed themselves to achieve something so great.

Yesterday, I feel like a piece of that was taken away from us.  We live in a world where evil exists unfortunately.  Innocent lives were taken by the acts of a malicious few.  Over the past 24 hours, I've been trying to find words to articulate how I'm feeling.  Hurt, infuriated, depressed, confused, and a slew of other emotions have run through my head in a furious cloud.  Being from the northeast, I've seen a lot of things hit close to home in my lifetime.  This one by far hit the closest.  Someone attacked MY city.  While I will never compare what happened in Boston yesterday to other tragic events I've witnessed, it was more personal than I ever thought possible.

I don't want this to be the most memorable marathon Boston will ever see.  I don't want to look back in ten years and only recall the fear and horror.  Anyone who knows me knows I've always been proud to call Boston my city and that will never change.  We're a strong community full of resilient, iron-willed citizens who I know will come out of this stronger than ever.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Paleo Lasagna

Lately, James and I have been trying to incorporate more of a Paleo focus into our diets.  While I'm not willing to forego cheese anytime soon, I do think there are a lot of merits to the Paleolithic lifestyle.  We've never really been big on processed food, so there's not much adjustment there.  The guidelines focus on eating a good amount of fruits and vegetables, which we already do, so like I said.  A few minor tweaks and we're nearly there.

Tonight our CrossFit gym is hosting a Paleo potluck.  I opted to make a noodle-free lasagna that really looks fantastic and I just can't wait to cut into.  The recipe is definitely vegetable heavy with a hearty dose of protein mixed in, making it a great option for anyone - Paleo or not!

Paleo Lasagna (makes 8 full sized portions)

1 large can of strained tomatoes (I used Pomi brand)
1/2 white onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
10 basil leaves, chiffonade
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning Blend

1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef or bison
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon porcini powder
1 tablespoon white truffle oil
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 large zucchinis
1 large summer squash
1 bag of spinach (I don't recommend using baby spinach)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

salt and pepper to taste

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a stockpot, sauté onion and minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent
- Add tomatoes, wine and balsamic and stir until well combined
- Add salt, pepper, seasoning blend and basil and allow to simmer on low heat while preparing the other layers
- In a large skillet, brown your beef (or bison) and season liberally with salt and pepper, drain and set aside
- In the same skillet (why create more dishes?), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- Add mushrooms and dust with porcini powder, sauté until they begin to soft slightly and season with salt and pepper
- Using a Y-shaped peeler, shave your zucchini and summer squash into thin ribbons (these will be your "noodles")
- In a 9"x12" pan, layer ingredients as follows:
     - Zucchini ribbons
     - Sauce
     - Spinach
     - Ground meat
     - Sauce
     - 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
     - Summer squash ribbons
     - Mushrooms
     - Spinach
     - Sauce
     - 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
     - Ground meat
     - Sauce
     - Spinach
     - Zucchini ribbons
     - Sauce
- Bake for 40 minutes and garnish with fresh basil to serve
- Optional: Top with a mixture of ricotta and parmesan cheese 10 minutes before it's done baking

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cheesecake for Breakfast?

So about a month ago, my very dear friend Christie shared a photo on Facebook of a Greek yogurt, creme brûlée-syle concoction she had for breakfast while visiting San Francisco.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  After a lengthy conversation about texture, flavor profile and potential ingredients, I embarked on a quest to recreate this delightful sounding breakfast treat.  With a little bit of trial and error and possibly leaning a bit more towards the cheesecake realm rather than creme brûlée, I think I may have found a winner.  Christie, you'll have to give it a try and let me know how I did!

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Cups (makes 4 servings)

1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons Splenda brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
cinnamon to garnish

- Dissolve brown sugar in the orange juice
- In a food processor or blender, combine Greek yogurt, cream cheese, honey, brown sugar mixture and orange zest and pulse until well incorporated
- Spoon into serving ramekins or glasses and garnish with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon