Saturday, August 30, 2014

Orcas Island - camping at Doe Bay {#gocamping} #getoutside #nature #pnw #washington

For years now we have wanted to go up to Doe Bay on Orcas Island.  Well, okay let me rephrase that I have wanted to go to Orcas Island actually ever since I read about Doe Bay.  Yes, I have been dreaming about this place that sounded so magical.  Sitting at a cove right above water it looks absolutely magical plus the resort is complete with a Sauna and hot tubs.  Now, you may not yet know this about me {and Ron} but we love Sauna; and as if not going to Germany would not be already hard enough for me but the thought on missing out on my several weekly trips to the Sauna just added more salt to an already open wound.  So yes,  since this is  was our summer of living outdoors and camping we reserved a walk-in spot at Doe Bay.  How was it?  Oh my - beyond absolutely magnificent; truly a walk in spot but it was basically just us right above the edge of the water.  Sea otters were feasting right by our campsite, the view of the water, the tranquility, the stars…it was such a reward for the seemingly long walk to the site.  Plus have I mentioned the Sauna yet?  Such a magical place - a beautiful big Sauna right behind the sunken hot tubs with views to the bay.  Yes,  we may have spent a couple of hours there every single day…just pure bliss.

Those of us living in the Pacific Northwest surely have all heard about the San Juan Island an archipelago located in the northwest corner of the United States and are part of Washington State.  There are a total of about 400 islands of which 128 or so are named and they lie between the continental coast of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  There is ferry service to four of the islands - San Juan, Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas - from Anacortes, Washington.  The islands are a nature lovers dream…wild life, hiking, sea kayaking…pure bliss; and yes getting there is already part of the fun; I mean who does not like to arrive at their vacation destination by ferry?!
Take a look…


After about an hour on the ferry we arrived at Orcas and drove straight to Doe Bay which is at the other end of the island.  The drive took us through the quaint village of Eastsound as well as through Moran State Park right below Mount Constitution….outdoor heaven, friends. Now can you guess how we spent our days?!  Oh yes,  we hiked…one we went up to Mount Constitution and walked up the last 1.2 Miles on the trail up

An other day we hiked around Mountain Lake

On the rainy day our not so much into hiking Mia Rose went on strike and refused to go on a little hike.  So Alena and I set out on our own on a little hike at Obstruction Pass State Park, yes we did get soaked but were ready for the Sauna and hot tub :)

But what about the kids?  Did they have fun?  YES - I can assure of that, we all made great friends and the kids had lot's and lot's of playtime {as well as s'mores} with their new friends while the adult had lot's of great conversation with our new friends.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention a few other great things about Doe Bay - not only is it scenic, relaxing but you will also meet the nicest people every plus there are showers, and a guest kitchen with two stoves, two refrigerators plus a dining area.  Perfect for camping on a rainy day…and meeting new friends

All of us caught the same ferry back to the mainland or America as they say on the island when it was time to say good bye….










Sunday, August 17, 2014

Crispy Chicken Legs for #SundaySupper #BacktoSchool {#dairyfree}

Time flies and we are still enjoying the rest of our summer…but you know what will happen next.  Right?!  It is back to reality - school is back in session, we all go back to our usual busy work days and activities.  This is the time when many of us look for recipes that are quick, delicious, and come together in a snap.  So without any further ado welcome to this week's #SundaySupper Back to School event bringing us over 40 different easy recipes.  The event is hosted by the lovely Tammi of Momma's Meals and Gwen of Simply Healthy Family; be sure to visit them.  Thank you for having us.

In our house an easy dinner means it is something that does not need a lot of preparation and can just be popped into the oven.  Chicken-legs fit that bill perfectly.  They are delicious, versatile, the entire family loves them, plus often there may be leftovers that can be turned into dinner the next day, or lunch.    This is why I bring Crispy Chicken Legs to the table today.  Juicy, yet crispy and on the table in less than 45 minutes.  First off, let me apologize for the bad picture…yes, it is not one of my best but please believe me that these chicken legs are absolutely delicious….

Crispy Chicken Legs  - {serves 4 with leftovers}
  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken legs {the entire leg - thigh and drumstick}
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1/4 Dijon Mustard
  • 2 - 3 C Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 TB of Poultry Seasoning Herb Blend {I use Spice Hunter}
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
 *** Preheat the oven to 425F ***
  1. Prepare one or two large shallow baking dishes
  2. Combine Panko crumbs with the herb seasoning and place into a shallow large plate
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken legs; lightly rub it into the meat
  4. Generally divide the mustard among the chicken and rub it onto the meat
  5. Roll the chicken  in the Panko herb mixture and thoroughly bread the chicken.
  6. Place the breaded chicken into the baking dishes and place in oven
  7. Bake for app. 45 - 50 minutes until juices run clear
  8. Serve with rice and a large side salad.
Enjoy!

Are you now ready to check out all the other amazing recipes?! Be sure to check out all these other amazing recipes…
Back to School Beginnings
Back to School Lunches and Simple Suppers
Back to School Sips
Back to School Super Snacks
Back to School Sweets and Treats

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Make Pesto Cubes for #SundaySupper {Saving Summer}

Happy Sunday, all!  Welcome to the Saving Summer #SundaySupper event hosted by Stacy at Food Lust People Love and Tara at Noshing with the Nolands.  It is the time of year when produce is available everywhere in abundance, tomatoes are at their best and plants are overflowing, zucchini is everywhere, basil plants are over producing…it is also the time to preserve the harvest for the long dark winter months to come.  There is nothing like a sun ripened tomato in the middle of winter…

My canning method of choice - well, it may be a little unorthodox but I love it - freezing.  Yup, that's right.  I blanch beans then stick them in freezer bags.  Tomatoes? I cut out the stem, place them in freezer bags, and freeze them just like that.  Extra's get slow roasted and also frozen.  I pop blueberries into containers and yes, freeze them.  Peaches get blanched, sliced and frozen.  There are also strawberries as well as cherries and Pesto Cubes.  The only problem?  It seems that I am running out of space in my freezer….

Now let me tell you a little bit about Pesto Cubes - they are awesome; for a quick dinner I pop a cube right into the hot pasta and let it melt into it.  They are delicious plus so super easy to make.  Get all of the ingredients together and blend them in your kitchen machine.  Scoop individual servings into an ice cube tray, let them freeze, and when frozen pop them out to place in a freezer bag.  They are ready to go…

Pesto Cubes - makes about 20 cubes
5 C {packed} fresh basil, washed
2 C walnut
1 full head of garlic, individual cloves peeled {about 15 cloves or more}
1/2 C lemon juice
1 C olive oil
1 TB salt

***2 clean ice cube trays***

  1. Place basil, walnuts, and garlic in a kitchen machine. Chop fine.
  2. Slowly add lemon juice
  3. Slowly add olive oil
  4. Add 1 TB salt and mix in
  5. Using a teaspoon carefully scoop pesto into the tray
  6. Place in freezer
  7. When frozen - about 8 hours - gently pop the individual cubes by sliding a knife around it's edges out of the ice cube trays.  Place immediately into freezer bags.
  8. Put on pasta, soups, etc.  - Add cheese if desired when cooking

Now be sure to check out all the other great ideas on how to save summer….

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts


Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Veggie Medley on Polenta for #ChooseDreams #WeekdaySupper

Happy almost mid-August.  I am excited to participate in this month's #WeekdaySupper with the theme of quick as well as easy meals to fit a Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle  sponsored by American Family Insurance.  Every day of the week we feature a different recipe for a dish that is healthy and on the dinner table in about 30 minutes;


Monday –     Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Couscous & Heirloom Salad by Foxes Love Lemons
Tuesday –     Chick Pea Tabbouleh with Grilled Chicken and Artichokes by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Wednesday – Black Bean Lettuce Wraps with Grilled Corn Salsa and Cilantro Lime Rice
                      by Ruffles & Truffles
Thursday –   Bacon Ranch Quinoa Chicken Salad by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Friday –       Summer Veggie Medley on Polenta by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen


be sure to check out the Health and Fitness #ChooseDreams Pinterest board for many recipe ideas as well as tips.


This is the time of summer when produce is available in abundance from gardens, in CSA shares, in the grocery stores and on the Farmer's market; buying seasonal vegetables is economical and sensible on the budget.  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini…are all reaching their prime right now which also equals healthy dinners. It is easy to fill the plate with vegetables that are filling and yet satisfying.

One of our favorite summer recipes is this easy Summer Veggie Medley with added garbanzo beans for protein served over smooth, comforting polenta.  The perfect dish!!!  All you need to do is cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil, and pop the dish into the oven.  Make the polenta while the vegetables are baking and in about 30 minutes dinner is on the table.   It is a dinner my entire family loves...

Summer Veggie Medley
1 eggplant + salt to drain
2-1/2 lbs tomatoes, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
1 green pepper, seeded and diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
3 small onions, coarsely sliced
6 garlic cloves, coarsley chopped
1 can garbanzo beans drained
1/3 C olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper or more to taste
1 C grated Parmigiano Regiano {optional}

Polenta
4 C vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 C polenta meal
2 tsp Earth Balance vegan "butter"
1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano {optional}

*** Preheat oven to 450F ***
  1. Cube, and salt eggplant; place in a colander and set aside. 
  2. Prepare all the vegetables
  3. Toss the vegetables together with the drained eggplant cubes {drain the water} and the drained garbanzo beans in a large bowl together with the olive oil
  4. Place the vegetables in a large shallow baking dish {I use a pyrex type dish} stir the vegetables after about 15 minutes {be careful not to burn yourself} Bake for a total of about 30 minutes or until vegetables are fragrant.
  5. While vegetables are baking prepare the polenta.  Note: this will take no more than 15 minutes.
  6. Heat broth in a large pot; when the broth starts to simmer slowly add polenta.  Using a wooden spoon stir the into the liquid.  Be very careful, as the polenta will splatter.  Turn down the heat and continue stirring until desired consistency.  Add vegan "butter" {or butter} together with the Parmigiano Reggiano {if using}to the polenta.  Serve once the butter has melted. 
  7. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables to taste.
  8. When ready to serve - arrange the vegetables on top of the polenta and enjoy.

American Family Insurance encourages us to follow our dreams,   #ChooseDreams and thrive. Healthy food choices combined with an active life style not only can help us reach our dreams but it also gives us more energy.   For many great ideas and suggestions to reach your dreams be sure to follow #ChooseDreams  and connect with American Family Insurance on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+,YouTube, or LinkedIn



Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen {Spinach Panchetta Beef Roll-ups} for #SundaySupper

This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.  All opinions are my own.

Happy Sunday everyone;  I am so excited to participate in this week's Celebration of Beef for Sunday Supper event.  Today twenty of us will feature a variety of different beef dishes; each one with a different twist.

Beef is a favorite in our house any time of year ~ a quick stir fry, a delicious special occasion steak, a nice roast, stewrouladen, gulasch and yes when camping beef is our dinner choice. We just returned from our camping {tenting} vacation to Orca's Island and guess what we had for dinner?  Yup, you are right it was beef;  beef is so versatile.  We thinly sliced a steak and placed it in the pan with onions, peppers as well as seasoning for easy beef fajitas. Another night we fried up lean ground beef with seasoning for beef tacos. It was perfect!

For great beef recipes and ideas be sure to  follow our Beef Pinterest Board, follow The Beef Checkoff on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Are you ready for Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen? Delicious thinly sliced beef stuffed with spinach, pancetta, sun dried tomatoes, and walnuts spell perfection.  A perfect summery twist on the Roulade I make in the winter time; instead of pancetta you can also use prosciutto. Take a look - what do you think?



Spinach Pancetta Beef Rouladen

4 slices of beef roulade
Rub
   1 Tb salt
   1  tsp pepper
   1  tsp dried Italian herbs
   1  tsp fresh lemon zest {from an untreated lemon}
Pesto
1/2 C fresh basil {packed}
1/4 C walnuts
   3 TB Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt
   4 garlic cloves
   1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Filling
   8  thin slices of pancetta or prosciutto
   1 C walnuts, toasted in a pan and coarsely chopped
1/2 C dried tomatoes finely sliced
   2 C washed fresh spinach
       Kitchen twine
For roasting
    2  TB Canola OIl
    1  large carrot, cleaned and chopped {1-1/4 C}
    1  medium fennel bulb, chopped {1 C}
    1  medium onion coarsely sliced
    1  TB tomato paste
  1-2 tsp salt
    2  tsp Italian herbs
    1  tsp pepper
  3/4 C  dry red wine
     3 C  water
For the gravy
1-1/2 TB honey
   1/2 tsp  dried chili flakes {or more to taste}
      1 TB lemon juice

*** Preheat the oven to 350F***

  1. Lay out the beef roulade {thin slices of top round work great}
  2. Lightly the meat with the salt/pepper/herb seasoning {you may have some leftovers of the rub}
  3. Prepare the pesto by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor; process until the ingredients come together into a smooth paste
  4. Divide the pesto among the four rouladen; smooth the pesto onto the entire roulade {inside only}
  5. Place two slices of pancetta or prosciutto onto each of the rouladen
  6. Divide the nuts and tomato slices evenly among the four rouladen and spread on top of the pancetta{prosciutto}
  7. Top each roulade with spinach
  8. Carefully roll up each roulade and tie it with twine {here are more details}
  9. Heath the oil in a oven proof dutch oven  
  10. Brown each roulade {I brown two at a time} from all sides.  Once they are browned from each side, take them out of the pot and set aside.  When all of the rouladen are browned
  11. Add - if necessary - a little bit more oil and roast the carrots, fennel, and onions until fragrant.  
  12. Add the tomato past and roast for another minute or so
  13. In the next step add the wine, carefully stirring up all bits and pieces {be careful not to burn yourself}
  14. Add back the rouladen together with any juices that have collected on the plate
  15. Add the water and bring everything to a slow simmer.  
  16. Cover and place in the oven; cook for about 90 minutes turning them every 30 minutes.
  17. When the cooking time is over, remove the rouladen from the gravy.  Place them on a plate, wrapping them in foil.
  18. Pour the gravy together with the vegetables through a strainer.  Press the vegetables through the strainer.  Return the smooth gravy to the pot; bring to a slow simmer then add honey, lemon juice, and chill flakes to taste.
  19. Place the rouladen together with any juices that have collected back into the gravy.  Gently reheat the rouladen.
Yes, there are quite a few steps but it is definitively worth the effort.  Mia Rose ate an entire roulade by herself…


Serve with oven roasted potatoes and a large salad.  Enjoy!

Now check out all the other amazing beef recipes...
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lost Lake Resort Camping Trip {#gocamping} #oregon #getoutside #nature {#galactosemia #newbornscreening}

This my friends is our summer of camping and living outside.  You may remember that we got a new tent earlier this year and are truly enjoying it.  Never has camping been easier;  finally a tent that I can put up all by myself…

It has been very hot here in Portland and you know what we do to escape the heat?  We either drive out to the beach {= Pacific Ocean}, or we go up by the mountain {= Mount Hood} to one of the lakes to swim and camp.  This year we have already been to Trillium Lake but this was our first camping trip to Lost Lake {we have come up for the day before}.  A few things to know if you plan on camping at Lost Lake; get there early in the day to find a spot - there are also a few walk-in sites however all sites are first come first served.  Yes,  you cannot reserve a spot.  Try to come up during the week and stay a couple of nights.  It will be challenging to find a spot on a weekend - but you can always call the resort in the morning to find out how many camping spots are available…
P.S.: Can you see our tent right behind Alena & her friend...
We made the trip out to Lost Lake on a Wednesday morning together with our friend Kim and her 4 year old twins.  Kim has camped there many times before so she knew the perfect site for the six of us.  Luckily the site was empty when we arrived and we quickly pitched the tents.  Okay - I admit Kim helped me in putting up the tent…While we put up the tents the kids  explored the camp site, walked on the large log and later both of my kids read to Kim's children.

Dinner was amazing; Kim cooked for all of us take a look at this amazing looking plate…


The next day Kim rented a boat and took all the kids fishing; both Alena and Mia Rose loved it and cannot wait to get their own fishing poles. I think that will be the perfect activity for Ron with the girls because this girl is not much of a fisher…

Oh, I almost forgot there was ice "cream"; plenty of dairy free options for the girls leaving everyone happy :)

On Friday the girls and I hiked around Lost Lake which everyone enjoyed - yes, truly I kid you not neither of the ladies griped even so Mia Rose only found one newt ….

By the time we got back from our hike the other parental units had arrived from Portland….

We had one amazing time; these are little things which I never thought would be possible ten years ago when Alena was first diagnosed with Classic Galactosemia.  Our life is luxuriously ordinary and I never ever forget that newborn screening saved both of my children.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Almond Cashew Chicken for #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams

This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own 


Happy Sunday and welcome another fantastic #SundaySupper event.  This week's event is sponsored by American Family Insurance and I am very excited to be one of the Brand Advocates.  American Family Insurance is a champion of dreams and aims to inspire all of us to pursue our dreams. Learn more about the #ChooseDreams campaign  by following this hashtag and American Family Insurance on Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.


American Family Insurance encourages everyone to follow their dreams by eating healthy and be active.  This week's #SundaySupper theme is Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle and our wonderful host is Denise of RunDMT. You may be wondering what does a Family Healthy Lifestyle mean; let me tell you what it means to me.  To me it means to spend quality time outside as a family, bring healthy snacks,  and eat home cooked meals together.   We are what you may call an outdoorsy type of family; we love to camp, visit lakes, rivers, beaches etc most of us like to hike but every so often our youngest is the squeaky wheel.  But you know we can generally find enough on the path to keep her interested.  At the beginning of the summer we went for a beautiful hike in the Columbia River Gorge.  Mia Rose was not so excited about hiking until we saw a deer eating her lunch…or we watch the clouds - is that the shape of a heart? - or we look for bugs, flowers, fairies, birds….You know, Ron's motto is you have to earn the day by spending time outside exercising and that is what we try to live by.

You can find great places to explore everywhere in the country; to find great outdoor spaces to explore check National Parks  or  find a state park in your area and go out hike.  Most parks have day use facilities so it is easy to pack a picnic and spend the day.  We often bring along our camping stove along with plates, water, and at least one quick item to cook after our hike.  ~  Now you do not have to miss out on spending time together with you family if you live in the city.  When we lived in Chicago Ron and I would take urban hikes to explore the city.  If your goal is to visit the zoo, park a little further away and take a walk through the neighborhood, or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier, or go explore a city park.  What are your tips to live a Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle?

Now what about dinner?  What about making a home cooked meal after spending all this time outdoors?  Advance preparation is the answer and one of my favorite delicious go-to dishes is Almond Cashew Chicken. The meat marinates while you are having fun outside and once you are back home all you need to do is put on the rice, and sauté the nuts, chicken, together with the vegetables. Yes,  it is that easy plus is is delicious.



Almond Cashew Chicken
  • 1-1/2 lb. chicken breast, diced
  •  3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1 Tbs plum sauce
  • 1 Tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic chili paste
  • 1 Tbs reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 C Almonds, whole
  • 1/2 C Cashew
  • 1/4 C water or more as needed
  • 3-4 C broccoli or other seasonal vegetables i.e. snap peas, bok choy, etc.
  1. Make marinade by combining garlic and ginger with plum sauce, vinegar, oil, chili paste, and soy sauce.  Mix until well combined
  2. Place diced in a bowl and pour marinade over the chicken.  Make sure that the marinade covers all of the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or cast iron pan; add nuts and toast them for about five minutes.
  4. Add chicken together with marinade and sauté until the chicken is cooked all the way through
  5. Place broccoli or other vegetables on top of the chicken along with about 1/4 C of water or more as needed.  Cover and leave on heat for about 3-5 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.
  6. Serve on a bed of rice.
Are you ready for more great recipes and tips how to live a Family Fit Lifestyle?  Be sure to check with all of the other fantastic contributors and follow the Family Healthy Fit Lifestyle #ChooseDreams Pinterest board.
Sunday Supper Movement

Get Up and Go Power Breakfasts
Salads and Healthy Snacks
Healthy Fit Lifestyle Dinners
Healthy Desserts

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trillium Lake Camping Trip {#gocamping} #oregon #getoutside #nature

I have some news to share with you.  Really are you ready for it?  Okay…we LOVE camping. Yes we do - we love spending quality family time together in the outdoors.  Now honestly this is not something I would have imagined myself saying  fifteen probably even eight years ago; but it is true we love it and that is all of us no exceptions.  Having a new tent that is easily pitched helped, having the right equipment and of course gorgeous nature has helped.  So far we have been on two camping trips.  The first one was to Memaloose State Park and a couple of weeks ago {I cannot believe how far behind I am blogging} we took our chances by driving up to Trillium Lake without a reservation.
Mt. Hood as seen from Trillium Lake {Oregon}
We lucked out; we asked the host and guess what she said?  I think spot 47 is still open…

It does not get much better than this.  Camping right at Trillium Lake with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood; we usually come up once a year during the summer for a day trip but staying over night was just amazing.  We hiked around the lake, the girls and Ron swam while I enjoyed reading my book.  Ron took a swim out to the middle of the lake every morning. One morning a bald eagle pulled out a fish just a couple feet away from him.  Yes, we saw at least a couple different bald eagles {majestic is the only word that comes to mind}, an osprey and lots of other birds.

Both girls - especially MiaRose - were excited about catching rough skinned newts to pet and release them right away. I think MiaRose could have spent all day catching them.  We stayed a couple of nights and it was just pure bliss.  On the culinary end,  we enjoyed pasta one night and baked beans with hot dogs grilled over the fire on a stick the other nights.  Not to forget, there were s'mores every night….

What are you up to this summer?


Friday, July 11, 2014

Lemony Grilled Chicken {Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna} ~ #GreekSummer {It's All Greek To Me}

This post is part of Take a "trip" to Greece this summer with Debbie Matenopolous sponsored by Bella Books, Inc.
All opinions are my own - This post contains Amazon Affiliate links

I was so excited when It's All Greek To Me by Debbie Matenopoulos arrived at my doorstep earlier this month as Greek food is one of my favorite foods but I have never tried it at home.  Since Greek food is not found as easily in Portland as it is found in Germany it has been way too long.  So needless to say I was beyond happy to review a book on Greek cuisine.

What do you think of when you think of Greek food? Let me tell you what comes to my mind is fragrant, perfectly grilled meats with light sauces, rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons, and of course olives as well as olive oil.  I think of Retsina, white houses, geraniums, blue skies, and blue water - something I remember from my one visit to the Greek island of Rhodes over 20 years ago.  So yes,  you can say that I had a lot of expectation for It's All Greek To Me; did it deliver?  Well, you can say so it exceeded my expectations…

From it's beautiful cover to its beautiful photos descriptive recipes and eloquent introductions to Greek food and culture cook book lives up fully to its expectation.  It  takes the reader on a virtual trip through Greece; the pictures along with the beautifully written introductions to each section of the book take the reader on a "trip" through Greece.  It certainly was the perfect medicine for this homesick European.

It contains useful cooking tips and a great glossary of The Greek Pantry explaining everything from bread crumbs to the vinegar used in Greek cuisine.  One point I particular liked was the special note on vegan "butter" and learning that some of the sweets can also be easily recreated by using it.  This is - as may come as no surprise to you - a big win for me.

The cookbook contains everything from Appetizers - Mezzethes to Main Dishes both vegetarian and meat based to Sweet Pastries - Glyka.  The recipes are beautifully written, easy to follow and the bulk of them are adaptable to a dairy free kitchen {triple yay for that}; I for one am super excited to learn there is a dairy free alternative to Tazatziki which Skorthalia pg. 81 let me tell you I had no idea….

The recipes both sounds amazing and intriguing; Horta - Dandelion Greens Salad, Pligouri Salata - Bulgur Wheat Salad, Domlmathes Gyalantzi - Stuffed Grape Leaves, Faki - Greek Lentil Soup, Tahinosoupa, Tahini Soup…so far a couple of recipes have been recreated in my kitchen but the list is super long; way too long to list here :)  So far we have enjoyed Aunt Aphfroditie's Beet and Apple  Salad page 108 which was just amazing {I used vegan sour cream instead to make it dairy free} and also Pilafi - Rice Pilaf with Carrots and Parsley page 230 along with Latholemono - Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing page75 and the most amazingly moist delicious Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna - Lemony Grilled Chicken.  Now, it is confession time once again…but I am usually not the biggest fan of white chicken meat as it tends to be too dry for me however this recipe?!  It is just amazing, moist, lemony and full of flavor.  Take a look


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Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna (leh-moh-NAH-tee KOH-tah stah KAR-voo-nah)
Lemony Grilled Chicken (page 201)

I have found that simple food with great flavor is often the most satisfying, healthy, and easy to prepare. This fast and fantastic chicken recipe is packed with flavor and can be doubled or tripled easily for a big crowd. Serve this chicken with Summer Peach Salsa for a great summer lunch or light dinner. You can make the salsa and start to marinate the chicken right before you leave for work in the morning. Then, when you come home, just toss the chicken on the grill, and you can have a healthy dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.

SERVES 4
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about
2 lemons)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 scallions, soft green parts reserved, thinly sliced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups loosely packed mixed greens or baby spinach
1 recipe Summer Peach Salsa (page 83) or Latholemono (page 73)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and the white parts of the scallions. Set aside.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Put the chicken into a large Ziploc bag and pour in the lemon juice mixture. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal the bag, and shake to coat chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate on a large plate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Flip the bag over at least once so that the chicken marinates evenly.

Prepare a very hot grill or set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grill or grill pan with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from the grill and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, evenly distribute the greens among 4 plates. Slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch diagonal slices and fan the slices over the greens. Spoon the Summer Peach Salsa or Latholemono over the top of the chicken. Garnish with the reserved green parts of the scallions. This chicken is also delicious served with Tzatziki (page 76).

Here is the nitty gritty brief review

It's All Greek to Me by Debbie Matenopoulos
Publisher BenBella Books, Inc., 2014
Hardcover, 303 pages ~ $29.95

Cuisine:                        Greek
Difficulty of recipes:    Mostly easy
Easily adaptable:          YES, the bulk of recipes can be adapted to a dairy free 
                                     and galactosemic diet
Pro:                              Great recipes for every day life that are easy to follow; the portions are
                                     generously calculated.  The pictures of Greece and the food photography
                                     a like are amazing.

You can connect with Debbie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Green Gazpacho {#vegan #dairyfree} for #SundaySupper

Happy Sunday!!!  Summer is finally here and we are just about to hit the summer heat next week.  What is summer without hot days and the days when you rather eat chilled food than hot food.  At least to me something is missing without those days.  The theme for this week's #SundaySupper is Summer Chillin' and Alayio of Prescetarian Journal is having all of us around her virtual dinner table.

I we love soup any time of year and cold soups are not refreshing but also so quick and easy to make.  So far Gurkenkaltschale {Cucumber Cold Bowl} with cucumber, dill, and "cream", Asparagus Gazpacho, or Gazpacho Andaluz have been on our table.  Now a Green Gazpacho has not yet been served…well, that is until today.

All you need to make this no-fuzz, no-cook soup is chilled ingredients and a blender.  Yes, that's it…super easy, right?

Green Gazpacho
  • 1 large cucumber app. {3/4 lb.}, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, well cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1 green pepper, cleaned, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 - 1 full bunch of garlic scapes cut into pieces {depending on how much you like garlic - as alternative you can use 4-6 garlic cloves}
  • 1/2 C ice cubes
  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp salt to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato cut into bite sized pieces for garnish
  1. Place all ingredients except salt and pepper into a blender;
  2. Turn blender to "chop" setting until all vegetables are all chopped up.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste and set blender to "mix" setting.  Mix until everything is thoroughly mixed up.  Adjust spices as needed.
  4. Serve right away, or keep chilled in the fridge until you are ready to eat
  5. For serving top with tomato pieces.

Are you ready for more chilled dishes and drinks to beat the heat?!  Take a look what the other #SundaySupper contributors are bringing...


  Brisk Beverages Chilled Starters Snappy Salads and Sides Refreshing Main Dishes Cool Confections Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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