Well, Thanksgiving is over and it's on to the Christmas Season and it's been radio silence from me . . . No photos of my early Thanksgiving Feast, the actual Thanksgiving day meal of true Southern food, no Christmas Challenge or even Post-turkey workouts. This is not because I haven't had tons to say and share but because of the Drama that has come pouring down. (No, this is not a "How to handle the stress of the Holidays" post, although it might could relate). I have found that drama comes in certain seasons of our lives to each and every one of us. And never at a convenient time. Some folks are blessed to have less drama than others and then some poor folks seem to have it swirling. By drama, I mean anything that hits you like a brick and de-rails you from your normal schedule and forces you to focus on one thing and leave others on the back burner. It could be a huge work project, exam crunch time, maybe a particularly busy time with kids' schedules, the extra commitments of the Holidays, a sick child or relative and the care required. It can be any of these things and all of these things. Heck, I remember when I used to work full time as a lawyer - I always said that Christmas was a full time job on top of my full time job! Whatever it may be, it may have you feeling overwhelmed, frazzled, time-crunched and completely drained. I've had some of that and have found a few things that have helped. Yep, it's a list again - and maybe just one item will help you out when the drama hits you or someone you know.
1. Have a normal day - or part of a day. Find one day to have a normal routine. If that's going for a run, doing the laundry, walking the dog, paying bills, whatever it is it seems to help me to do something that is in my normal routine. You've accomplished something and feel a little normal.
2. Vent to a friend. This is huge. I have a couple of friends that can always talk me down off the ledge. I bet they are pretty sorry they are my friends at times. . . . And don't forget about your pets. They have really good listening ears and offer great cuddles when you need it.
3. Breathe. Best advice ever.
4. Do something physical. Sometimes it's only taking the stairs, doing a set of push-ups, going through some yoga poses. Something is better than nothing. You may not have time for a regular one hour workout, so go strong and hard for 20 minutes. Work hard for the time you have. Huge help.
5. Forget the Perfectionism. Seriously, this is key. If you are time-crunched and busy and distracted beyond all reason, something has to give. Maybe it's the laundry, the leaves, the grass, the projects that need to be completed, the list could go on. Most things can wait. Do what is necessary and forget the rest until the drama passes or, at least, gives you a break.
6. Take the hand. The helping hand, that is. If you have a life event, folks want to help. If you are slammed at work, folks understand. Let them help. This used to be a hard pill for me to swallow, but no more. That's what friends do. We love and help our neighbors. Just remember, you would want to do something for these same folks if they needed it, and they will at some point and you can be right there.
7. Know that it is just a season and it will pass. Some dramas are short-lived. Those exams will be finished by Christmas. Boards and Bar exams have an ending date. Projects have deadlines. Christmas comes December 25th. Granted, some dramas last longer than others, but know, at some time, things will calm down and eventually get back to some type of normalcy.
8. Hug a child. If you have a child- and if not, just hug one anyway. Somehow it just helps put all things right in perspective. Even if that child is a surly teenager. . .
That's what I've come up with that has helped me in the past. Some of them help at certain times and some at others. Maybe there's one nugget you can file away and bring out if and when the drama swirls and traps you.
I hope the drama stays away from you this Holiday! If you need to vent, I'm here!
What do you do when the drama comes? Are you one of the lucky ones who seems drama-free? Any tips you can share?
HAVE A GREAT DAY!
Here it is . . . Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful day full of family, friends, feasting and giving thanks!
I have some fun Thanksgiving funnies to share and at the end I'll tell you what I did with our leftover turkey. Yes, we've had an early Thanksgiving get together this year so today I'll be cooking another big meal for my boys, just without the turkey.
First of all, I hope your turkey doesn't end up like this one!
On the day after our early feast I vowed I wasn't going to cook, and certainly wasn't going to the grocery store. However, as the dinner time rolled around I knew those pesky persons I lived with would be hounding me with the "What's for dinner?" question. I hate that question sometimes. It was really cold and I finally came up with a good, old-fashioned, comfort food with everything I already had. Win, win.
Rather than Chicken and Dumplings, we had Turkey and Dumplings. So. . . . if you want something to do with all that leftover turkey, here it is!Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey and DumplingsIngredients:3 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh carrots
3 cans reduced sodium chicken brothh
3-5 cups chopped cooked turkey (or chicken)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/8 tsp pepper
1 2/3 cups Reduced Fat Bisquick mix
2/3 cup skim milk
In a dutch oven coated with cooking spray, or olive oil, saute celery and carrots for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, chicken, poultry seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer.
In a bowl combing bisquick mix and milk. Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering. Drop by tablespoonfuls into broth. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick into a dumpling and it comes out clean.
Nutritional Facts for 1 cup and 3 dumplings: 282 calories, 5 gr. fat; 60 mg cholesterol; 1000 mg. sodium; 29 gr. carbohydrate; 28 gr. protein
In the past I have made Chicken and Dumplings like this and they are really good. But since I didn't have the Mary Hill Dumplings, this version saved my night!
I'm so thankful for this very Holiday where we focus on being with family! And, I'm thankful I'm not doing any black Friday shopping today. . .
Now, get to feasting and have a GREAT day! And remember, that pumpkin pie is a heck of a lot easier to burn off than the pecan pie!
Somebody asked me the other day if we burned more calories when we exercised in the cold. Hmmmmm. I had to think about that one. As I spent yesterday eating an early Thanksgiving feast and enjoying every bite and calorie, I'm thinking that would be a good thing if it were true. Especially because it's reeaaally cold here today.
It might make sense to think that your body has to work harder to keep itself warm, so you should burn more calories. Personally, I am one of those folks who not only shivers when cold, but my teeth can get into a full blown chatter . . . and really not stop for quite a while. Surely that should count for something?
In fact, shivering does burn calories — that involuntary tensing of muscles to warm the body burns about 200 for every 30 minutes
. So if you're not wearing enough layers and you're cold while working out in low temps, your body burns more calories to keep warm. Once you get moving and have your body warmed up, it seems to all be the same. This is a little different for folks exercising outdoors where it snows. They get an extra calorie burn from the added resistance of walking through the snow, snowshoeing or skiing.
According to a University of Utah study
reported on by the New York Times
, basal metabolic rate (that's how many calories you burn just by existing, without expending any energy) does increase ever so slightly in colder temperatures -- which means just trying to stay warm requires more work from your body. And it increases noticeably if you get so cold that you begin to shiver, which is actually quite a bit of work for your body. So, I'm thinking last Friday night while I was outside cold and shivering at a highschool football game, I could have burned some extra calories.
But, once the body gets moving it does a good job of keeping itself warm, so it's a really small and short lived calorie burn! Getting outside today for some exercise will give us a slight boost in the cold weather as our bodies warm up, but it's definitely not enough to make up for the sweet potato souffle, dressing, squash casserole and Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart I consumed. However, I always say, "a little of something is better than nothting!"
If you are outside in the cold, check out this
earlier post for good tips.
Also, if you find yourself walking more for your exercise throughout the Holidays, or on a treadmill indoors here's a good workout from Tina Reale I saw this morning. She has a great website and shares some doozie workouts.
Do you exercise outdoors in the cold? Do you begin to hibernate when the temps drop? What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Today I'm thankful my family all gathered around our table for a Thanksgiving meal, even though a little early AND I'm thankful my cooking is over for a while!
Make it a GREAT Day!
The Husband and I celebrate 20 years together today. This is one of my very favorite wedding photos. I have no idea who I saw as we walked down the aisle having just been blessed as man and wife, but obviously, I was quite surprised that someone had made the trek to my little neck of the woods for our special day!
In honor of today I am going to re-post something I came across last week. I thought it was wonderful words of wisdom for any couple out there. I can't say I do each of these every day, but perhaps making that my goal will be my gift. . . I can't imagine giving him a piece of china anyway, right? Isn't that the 20 year gift?1. Talk about your day. Every day.
By creating little moments of connection, you are ensuring the “communication highway” in your relationship is free of roadblocks. Having little conversations every day
, makes it much easier to have big conversations when those moments come. Habits are done daily. This one is non-negotiable if you want a healthy, happy relationship.2. Kiss. Every day.
Notice a theme? It’s not “kiss when you go on date” or “kiss when the kids aren’t around,” it’s “Kiss. Every day.” Marriage researcher John Gottman recommends a 6-second kiss every day
. It should be long enough to feel romantic and will be like a love vitamin – nurturing connection and intimacy in your marriage.3. Defer Decisions until you can talk about them privately.
This means, you make an agreement with your spouse not to accept invitations, decline opportunities or give an answer to anyone about almost anything, until you have talked about it and made a decision together.
Over the years we’ve been married, my husband and I are now both trained to say, “Let me talk it over with my honey. I will get back to you,” whether it’s an invitation to the movies or a request to volunteer. This is a pro-active way to avoid disagreements, misunderstandings and resentment.4. Prioritize.
Make it clear to your spouse and to the world that your priority is your marriage
. Knowing this makes it easier to make decisions every day.
Asking a question like “Will this nurture and develop my relationship or take me away from it?” or “Is this aligned with my priorities?” before
you make a decision gives you the opportunity to step back and make sure you are moving in the direction you want to go before you make a commitment that can hurt your relationship.5. Express Gratitude. Everyday.
Expressing gratitude feels good to YOU because you are looking for the positive things to celebrate and acknowledge in every day. It feels good to your HUSBAND because he in turn, feels celebrated and acknowledged. If you are not in the habit of expressing gratitude, start with this step and read Fawn’s fabulous article about how to write a “Husband Gratitude List” here.6. A.E.O.D: Accept Each Other’s Differences.
Fawn wrote a great article
about how important this is back in 2011. In it, she said, “Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the qualities that make our spouses different are also what make them great.”
It really is okay if you never want to go bowling and he never wants to do yoga. The the bottom line is that accepting each other’s differences is one of the keys to helping the relationship last, long after your passions for jobs, hobbies or other adventures has passed. 7. Give some Vitamin F2 every day.
What is Vitamin F2, you ask? Flirt and Fun.
And yes, I just made it up.
We usually get instructions to *take* vitamins. How about giving some every day to the love of your life?Think of marriage like a marathon, it’s long, you will get tired, and you need the water of motivation to keep you going. Laughing together and keeping that spark of flirtatious love alive will add a little joy to every day – even the hard ones. (I personally LOVE this one)
These 7 habits will make the hard times easier to manage and fill the good times with so many happy memories that you can lean on those memories and good feelings when the hard times come. Now it’s your turn, what habit would YOU add to this list?
See more here http://www.happywivesclub.com/7-habits-of-highly-happy-marriages/ So, what would you add to the list? What do you do every day to keep the spark alive? Or at least try to do?
Today, obviously, I'm thankful for 20 years together - full of fun, hard work, heartache and laughs! Keep 'em coming!Here's to a Great Day to you!
This is a quick share today. I'm asked all the time about how I make the fabulous green drink I love to talk about. If you are afraid of green, don't be. I promise the other ingredients give it such a great fresh flavor. Once you've gone green you won't go back!
MY GO TO GREEN DRINK
In a blender put the following:
Handful of Ice
1 scoop of Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1/4 Cup Fresh Pineapple
Handful of Kale, Spinach, Both or other Greens
About 1 Cup of Almond Milk. (Plain unsweetened or Vanilla)
This is quite delicious but you can also throw in other fruit or veggies that you may have on hand.
Can't get any easier or healthier than that!
What do you put in your blender? Do you drink your greens?
Today I'm thankful for Change - Oftentimes it's is a good thing!
Hope it's a great day!
I always love when Fridays roll around and today I'm feeling particularly perky and joyful. Not really sure why as it's rainy and cold here, but some how the fact that it's the end of the week trumps the yucky weather!
Today is a little random as I'm going to share a couple of different topics that don't have anything to do with each other. The first is an article The Husband sent me and I feel compelled to share as it just might make you think twice before ordering those french fries, onion rings or any other fried food . . .
Have you ever heard of Acrylamide? Well, if not I'll tell you a little about it and how and why you might want to cut some out of your diet. I am basing this on a recent article from Consumer Updates.
If you are trying to lose weight telling you to hold off ordering french fries is a bit of a no brainer, but cutting down on fried foods also helps cut down the amount of acrylmide you eat. High levels of acrylamide have been found to cause cancer in animals which makes scientists believe it can do the same to us humans.
This is what happens - this chemical acrylamide forms in some foods, mainly plant based foods, when they are cooked at high temperatures like frying and baking. It forms from sugars and an amino acid that are present in the food. It doesn't form or is lower in dairy, meat and fish. So, think of foods like potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers, breads and dried fruits. The article states that acrylamide has been around as long as folks have been roasting, toasting, frying and baking their foods, but this chemical was just discovered in 2002. Since that time the FDA has been investigating the effect of acrylamide and ways to lower it.
In order to decrease the amount of this chemical here are the articles recommendations:
- Frying causes acrylamide formation. If frying frozen fries, follow manufacturers' recommendations on time and temperature and avoid overcooking, heavy crisping or burning.
- Toast bread to a light brown color rather than a dark brown color. Avoid very brown areas.
- Cook cut potato products such as frozen french fries to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.
- Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, which can increase acrylamide during cooking. Keep potatoes outside the refrigerator in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
- Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
- Choose foods low in saturated fats, trans fat (which both raises your bad LDL cholesterol and lowers your good HDL cholesterol and is linked to heart attacks), cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page
, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.November 14, 2013
See full article here
Now, moving on to the next Friday topic. It has something to do with this picture which you may have seen on this blog before.
A couple of years ago I adopted as one of my mantras, "Don't let it steal your joy." I give credit for this to my sweet sister-in-law who was helping me keep things in perspective while we were handling some not fun family stuff. I've done pretty well on remembering this, but sometimes it's like random folks are out there just trying to steal my joy! This week I had a few of those instances. You know how I love a list, so here's my list of things that tried to steal my joy this week:
1. Folks who text and drive. That should be enough said, but it goes further. Those who text, email, Facebook or whatever at redlights causing me to sit through THREE lights. Unexcuseable. Watch the dang light, will you?? I feel as if I don't pass a single car on the road where I don't see their eyes downcast looking at their phones. Rarely do I see eyes on the road, or looking at me as I wave to them!
2. Folks who post all those photos of themselves and their killer abs all over social media.
3. Crazy parents and coaches of little league teams who have completely forgotten, or never learned, the real lessons that are learned on the playing field. These are little kiddos out there. These are not NFL, NBA or MLB games.
4. Explaining stupid, immoral and illegal acts by politicans, mayors, athletes and celebrities to my children and how these folks can think their behavior is in any way appropriate.
5. Lots of waste. I live in Atlanta and the big talk around here this week is that the Atlanta Braves are moving from their current stadium in Fulton County to Cobb county at the whopping number of six hundred plus million dollars. That is an enormous amount of money. It will also require an enormous amount of land, natural resources and other expenses for this project. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Braves, but I cannot get past how much our state could use this amount of money to solve so many of our current problems.
6. And dare I even mention the confusion and upheaval caused by Obamacare?
7. Lastly, and probably, most trying to steal my joy, the folks who insist that it's a good idea to now open stores for shopping ON THANKSGIVING DAY. This is the holiday about getting together with family and friends, celebrating togetherness and thankfulness over a meal. There is no commercialism here. Until now .mdsonly Whuy
There you have it. The things that have tried to ruffle my feathers this week. I'm holding firm, though. These folks are not going to steal my joy . . .
So, are you worried about acrylamaide? Will you hold off that order of fries? How do you feel about Fridays? Anything ruffle your feathers this week or did you just keep your joy?
I'm thankful for it being Friday, my boys are on the mend from various bugs AND for a warm bowl of soup on a cold, wet day! I couldn't limit it to one today!
Make it a Great day!
I don't know about you and where you live, but where I am it is COLD outside. In fact, I'm sitting at my desk typing wearing my North Face jacket. During the winter, or a cold snap, you normally don't think about talking about water. Well, that's just the point. I find that when the temps begin to drop and the cooler weather sets in folks tend to forget to drink as much water as they should. In fact, they might not be drinking as much as they should even when it's warm outside.
When I begin working with a new client one of the first questions I ask is "How much water do you drink?" I'm amazed that so many responses are "I don't know", "Does it matter?", "I hate water." or "Does tea and coffee count?" Well, yes, it does matter, and no, tea and coffee do not count. So, here's a quick tutorial on the why and how much we should be drinking. I'm hoping you will be motivated to make a change and add water to your daily routine to keep you hydrated, well and energized. (I guess water has been on my brain because I even posted a cool picture on my Marla-Deen-Fit Facebook page yesterday of a gallon jug with lines marked on it showing the times of day and where the water line on the jug should be. I also make water my thankful thing.)
First of all, it's so important to remember that every system in our bodies depends on water. It flushes out toxins, keeps our skin, muscles, organs and bones nice and moist and also works to carry nutrients to our cells. It also gives us energy and helps us stay well. How much water each of us needs on a daily basis depends on a lot of different factors, such as where we live, what we do on a daily basis, how active we are, our body sizes and genders. I feel like most of us are not drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and are dehydrated even when we don't realize it. If one is dehydrated your body is unable to carry out its normal functions. Even a tiny bit of dehydration can make you feel tired, sluggish or achy. Sometimes this makes folks think they need to eat something. This actually makes them hold on to water weight and lose the ability to get toxins and waste out of their bodies.
If you think you don't need to read any further and are mighty fine on the water front, I'm going to ask you a personal question. One good test is to check the color of your urine. Sorry, but it's important. If it is colorless or really light then you are hydrated. If it looks dark then you know you haven't had enough water.
So, how much do you need?
As a rule of thumb I always use this easy trick. Take your body weight and divide it in half. Drink that amount in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, divide 130 in half and get 65. So, drink 65 ounces of water a day. How easy is that? Go ahead, figure it out.
It really isn't that difficult. I try to drink a glass of water right when I get up in the mornings. I always have a cup by my bed from the night before so it's just sitting there waiting on me. Then I have a couple of favorite water bottles or large insulated cups that tend to become permanent attachments during the rest of the day. It's now just part of my routine and habit. If it isn't yours yet some pretty smart folks have come up with Apps that actually track your water consumption and give you reminders to drink up.
This is such an easy way to do something good and healthy for yourself and train those around you to do. Make it part of your daily routine and it will quickly become a habit. You'll see the difference in no time, especially if you are in the habit of drinking coffee and soft drinks all day. (If that's the case I didn't even go into all of the calories you will save! You'll easily drop a few pounds just from that one easy change!)
I hope you are getting up right now to go fill a great big water bottle and let it be attached to your hip all day long!
And, let's try to have more of this . . .
And less of this. . .
This morning I was very thankful for my heated car while driving one son to school.
This is why:
The First Son drives the other sons to school most mornings in a hand-me-down pick up truck that he loves. This morning the Third Son told me he was so glad to be in my car. He said his brother would not turn on any heat in his truck and rode with all the windows down. He said it was, basically, like riding a bicycle to school. Brrrr. . . . .
Are you hydrated out there? How much water are you drinking? How many water bottles do you have? Are you liking the drop in temps? What are you thankful for today?
Hope you have some fun today!
HAPPY MONDAY! Sometimes Mondays can be hard. Getting up early after a long and tiring weekend. Or getting up early after a relaxing weekend. Or getting up early starting the whole routine thing. Whatever it is it seems Mondays always come and we just aren't quite prepared for them. My Mondays are pretty full days so I hit the ground running and keep on going . . . .
Today was a "leg day" in my classes. We did lots of those fun squats, lunges, band work, burpees and jump squats. It was during that third set of jump squats that I thought, "Wow, I'm so thankful for my legs!" I immediately shared with the class that we are all thankful for our legs and that's why we were working them so hard. And it worked. I saw everyone immediately give a little extra push, work a little harder, jump a little higher.
After class I had a member come up to me and thank me for that reminder. That made my day.
So, today I'm thankful for my legs and all of the wonderful things they can do and that they allow me to do.
I'm also thankful for all of the Veterans on their special day.
How's your Monday? What are you doing to start the week? What are you thankful for today?
It's been a bit slow around here this week. Since I don't like to "blog" just to "blog" without having anything to say I've been pretty quiet. I've continued with my Attitude of Gratitude Challenge and thought of being thankful each day. The only other thing of note going on this week is that the Third Son, whom we somehow still refer to as "the baby" at times, turned 12. Guess it's time to stop calling him that. Sigh. The thing about this Third Son is that he is a born Foodie. He loves food. One of my favorite quotes of his was when he finished a huge helping of something - I can't even remember at this time - he looked up and said, "I'm a boy who can eat." Truer words were never spoken. So, when he asked for Beef Wellington for his birthday, what was I to do? Start looking up recipes, of course! By the way, where does an 11 year old get the idea for Beef Wellington in the first place??
Anyhoo, in looking for a recipe that I could, in good conscience, serve my family, I had to forego the recipes calling for liver pate'. Just couldn't go that route! I found a great one to share and I'll say it was sooooo good. I got a HUGE thanks from the Birthday Boy so I was one happy girl.
Now this might not be the healthiest dish out there, but if you want something for a special occasion this is a good one to try. I'm going to give you the recipe just as it comes from Tyler Florence. However, I tweaked it on my own and took out all of the salt, butter, cream, brandy and green peppercorns. Also, I served with a side of green beans instead of the Winter Wilted Greens as that is what I had on hand. I can honestly say that not one thing was missedd!
I was pretty proud of how it turned out so I'm showing you the proof!
ULTIMATE BEEF WELLINGTON
For the Duxelles:
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Beef:
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Minced chives, for garnish
Green Peppercorn Sauce, recipe follows
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Warm Wilted Winter Greens, recipe follows
To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Warm Wilted Winter Greens.
Green Peppercorn Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 cup brandy
1 box beef stock
2 cups cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved
Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Garlic:
2 pints fingerling potatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage
3 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for sheet pan
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking sheet inside to heat.
Add potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan. Place potatoes in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.
Warm Wilted Winter Greens:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint walnuts, for garnish
3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as Swiss chard, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Parmesan shavings, for garnish
1 shallot, chopped, for garnish
Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.
Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-beef-wellington-recipe2/index.html?oc=linkback
I am mighty thankful for the good surprises in life. Yep, the Third Son was one of those!
Enjoy Your Day!
We had some good eats this week. I'm not sure what it is about our new house and new kitchen, but I love cooking so much more. It's not that the new kitchen is that much better, larger or fancier, but somehow it just works better and brings us to the table more often. Strange and corny, I know, but as long as the family is eating together I'm not going to question it . . .
In order to get some of these photos off my phone I'm doing a bit of a "food photo dump" but am including a couple of good recipes from the week!
Barbecue Chicken with Alabama Barbecue Sauce:
This traditional Alabama Barbecue Sauce uses Mayonnaise as its base rather than tomato sauce, vinegar, or any of the other traditional barbecue sauce bases. It's really good on chicken, turkey and pork.
Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 cups
2 cups light mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. Brush lightly over chicken, turkey or pork during the last few minutes of grilling. This barbecue sauce is also great as a dipping sauce. I leave some out and just put on the table . . . .
That is a plate o meat
I always know whatever I make of Ina Garten's will be good. I was looking for a side salad one night this past week and made her Guacamole Salad. We are still in our black bean phase over here so here's another use for those beans.
1 pint Grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced purple onion
2 T minced jalepeno peppers, seeded
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 2 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled and diced
In a large bowl mix together tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jallapeno pppers and lime zest. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper and pour over vegetables. Toss. Just before serving fold the avocados into the salad.
It makes the prettiest salad and is great the next day!
The next day it was a perfect lunch with a little pimiento cheese on the side. Anything is good with pimiento cheese.
Smoothie of kale, half a banana, almond milk, vanilla whey protein powder and a handful of ice. This was about 3 mornings straight.
Have you seen these by Kellogg's? They are a great, quick and easy option if you are running out the door.
A carmelized onion tart. Heaven.
A scramble made of two eggs and fresh kale. Not too pretty but fantastic when you are starving.
So, I'm off to get ready for the new week!
This morning I tweeted that I am thankful for the new daylight in the mornings! I love getting up with the sun!
Have a Great Week!