Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ahh, those "bonus hours". bliss, i tell you.

photo credit:  Real Mom Nutrition

OK, so I am not the only one who swoons when dinner is figured out simply by opening my freezer door. Check out what Real Mom Nutrition had to say about my "Stock Your Freezer in a Snap" program.

Oh, and she's giving away a copy too, so head over there and see if this is your lucky week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Baked Eggs and Sausage in Hash Brown Cups


This winter, I mastered the art of the make-ahead breakfast. Each and every week, I did a few minutes of  cooking on Friday, and reaped the rewards of leisurely mornings on Saturday and Sunday. OK, truth be told, we were hustling everyone onto the ski mountain by 8am, so the mornings weren't really relaxing per se, but knowing breakfast was taken care of {not to mention, delicious and nourishing}, made these family ski weekend mornings much more fun.


This was one of the family favs. Made with just 3 ingredients, these are a keeper. Click here for the recipe. 


First, you spray 12 muffin cups with your choice of cooking oil spray, then press thawed hash browns {that you have squeezed as much water out of as possible} into the base and up the sides of each cup. Sprinkle each has brown cup with salt & pepper. Pop the tin into a 375 oven for about 30 minutes, or until the potato cups are crisp.


You'll see that the potatoes "shrunk" a bit. That's totally fine.


Simply top each potato cup with a few slices of sausages. We like Applegate's Chicken-Apple or Chicken Maple ones.


Next, crack a medium egg in each cup. I say medium because if you try to fit a large or jumbo sized egg it'll probably overflow the muffin cup… not a big deal, but it's kind of messy. I mean, if you can avoid trying to catch slimy egg whites as they roll off the muffin tin all over your counter, you might as well…

Then the muffin tin goes back into the oven for about 10-15 minutes for soft-set eggs and 16-18 minutes for hard-set eggs. Gently run a butter knife around each egg cup to remove it from the tin, and serve them warm.


I typically made them hard-set because then they became a breakfast you could pick up with your hands. And when you're 7, that is wildly exciting.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

{Kid-Pleasing} Spinach Tomato Gnocchi Soup aka "Sure-I'll-Join-You-In-The-Yard-For-A-Glass-Of-Wine-Because-Dinner-Will-Only-Take-A-Few-Minutes-To-Make" Soup

 

This soup could be called: "It's--Finally-Spring-in-CT-So-We-Are-Out-And-About-But-It's-Still-Nippy-Soup-Weather" Soup.


Or, it could be called: "Sure-I'll-Join-You-In-The-Yard-For-A-Glass-Of-Wine-Because-Dinner-Will-Only-Take-A-Few-Minutes-To-Make" Soup.


Or: "Spinach-Tomato-Gnocchi" Soup. Whatever you want to call it, my kids loved it. My husband loved it. And I loved it…. especially since it went from grocery bag to table in less than :30 minutes.

"Sure-I'll-Join-You-In-The-Yard-For-A-Glass-Of-Wine-Because-This-Spinach-Tomato-Gnocchi-Soup-That-Everyone-Loves-Will-Only-Take-A-Few-Minutes-To-Make" Soup
{makes 8 servings}

2 T olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
6 cubes Dorot frozen garlic OR 6 cloves or garlic, chopped
6 cubes Dorot frozen basil OR 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil 
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
11 oz organic baby spinach
1/2 cup roasted {or sun-dried} tomatoes in olive oil*
2 quarts organic chicken or veggie broth
16 oz package gnocchi 
optional: 2 T cooked and crumbled bacon {good if you have leftovers from breakfast}

In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Add all other ingredients and bring to a rapid simmer. Simmer soup until spinach is wilted and gnocchi is cooked, which only takes a few minutes. Serve warm. You're welcome! 

The soup will freeze nicely, though you may want to wait to add the gnocchi if you are making a big batch. Just keep the gnocchi on hand, and add it when you are heating up a batch.


*These were the tomatoes I used. Handy to have a ginormous jar of these in my fridge to pop into various recipes…


Oh, and P.S. it's delicious with a drizzle of sriracha over the top. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

SPRING SALE on Stock Your Freezer in a Snap!


Last weekend, we piled the family into the car and took off for another family skiing adventure. And after a day of trying to keep up with my kids {double black glades? no thank you-- mom will meet you at the bottom}, I got to put my feet up, enjoy a glass of wine by the fire and play a board game with my family {...instead of making dinner!}. Smells of dinner filled the condo, and I didn't have to lift a finger. OK, I did turn the oven on, and take the lid off the container.

Yet another reminder of the complete awesomeness that is my Stock Your Freezer in a Snap program.

As a special Spring treat to all of my readers, I am offering the instantly downloadable ebook program at 50% off for a limited time. Here's the scoop on the program, and what it includes.


So, snap one up for yourself, and feel free to tell all of your friends who might also crave "bonus hours"!

Cheers, from my kitchen to yours! - Eila


Friday, March 28, 2014

spicy kim chi soup



We just returned from the most fabulous family trip. My parents generously invited us to stay in a home they'd rented right on a lagoon in Akumal, Mexico.


And when we weren't exploring the tidal pools,


reading under the palapa,




visiting Mayan ruins,


walking to the beach,


relaxing in a hammock,


or spotting iguanas, searching for fossils, trying to open coconuts, and making palm frond crowns,


 we were eating.





The food was amazing.


But after the last margarita had been enjoyed,


the vacation wrapped up, and we begrudgingly traveled home. That first day back in CT, I craved something detoxifying, light, flavorful and easy. Something that I could make a big pot of on Day 1 and enjoy all week, as I moved through a mountain of laundry, mail, and the misc to-do's of a week away...


Spicy Kim Chi Soup
(serves 6-8, will keep for several days in the fridge, but will not freeze well)

2 T olive oil (or your favorite oil)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
32 oz kim chi, not drained (I like the radish one from Sunja)
2 quarts organic veggie broth (I like this brand)
16 oz smoked tofu, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (I like this brand)

In a large pot, sauté the sliced onion and zucchini over medium-high heat until beginning to brown. Add the kim chi and all the fermenting liquid from each jar {just dump the contents of each jar right in the pot!}, the veggie broth and the smoked tofu. Stir, then lower the heat to a simmer and let the soup do its' thing (uncovered) for about 30 minutes, or until flavors are melded and veggies are soft. Serve warm. 


 This was the perfect re-entry meal from vacation. In fact, it's become one of my favorite soups to make and have on hand for easy lunches during the week. I hope that you enjoy this zesty soup as much as I do!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

maintaining swell: a detox-friendly recipe for an Herb-Walnut Frittata + this one happens to be St. Patrick's Day friendly as well!


While there's a sense of accomplishment {in addition to looser jeans} when you finish Mark Hyman MD's 10-day detox, for me, I knew I was going to have to expand my repertoire of delicious recipes that stuck to similar parameters {sugar, dairy and gluten-free} in order to continue to feel good {and lose a few more of the lbs that had crept on in my 40s}. I still start most every day with one of the protein-packed smoothies from his book. That's been an easy habit to adopt, that keeps me feeling energetic all morning long.  



Alright, so I am a few weeks out now, and I've realized I am a better mom...and wife...and friend if I continue to integrate a few of the other detox principles into my every day life. The pic above was snapped by one of my kids. Despite looking like I am death-gripping the wheel, I'm not stressed. This is my norm. I spend most of my afternoons/evenings driving to and fro, right up until dinnertime.


Which is why this pic my little one snapped of me a few weekends ago is also key. I need to make time to get outside. Daily.


That was one of the tenets of the 10 Day Detox, but when your normal walking route looks like this {pretty, but that's a 4" tick slab of ice, people}, sometimes it's hard to rally.


So, what's a girl to do when winter just will not melt away?


Yak Tracks. Don't laugh. They work.


I also need to just take some time to relax. Each and every day. If I can take one of the detox baths, great. But if there's no tub, or my family needs me, then I need to unplug and recharge my own batteries.


And then there are the meals. I loved that each of the meals in the 10-day detox was chosen for me, and that each one was delicious… that made it easy to follow. There's some comfort in knowing exactly what to eat and when. But after I was done with the detox, and had cycled through the rest of the recipes in subsequent weeks, my mind started to wander. I'm not really one to follow recipes per se, but I read cooking magazines like some read romance novels.

Since wrapping up the detox, I've started looking at recipes differently. Some I zero in on right away and am thrilled I can add them to my repertoire. Others I know I'll have to tinker with until I get a new version perfect for the way I want to eat. Recently, I flipped through a cookbook on a friend's counter and saw a recipe for an Herb-Walnut Frittata that looked delicious and pretty post-detox-friendly. But I knew I could tinker with it a bit and make it even better. So, I did so and recently shared the new iteration with a family-owned market in our town.



If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I am a fan of anything that can be made ahead. And if a recipe can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, even better! For this recipe, I made a thick "pesto" of various herbs, greens and nuts, and I warmed the pesto to gently toast the nuts.


Then, using the same food processor, I whisked the eggs, poured them over the pesto...



gave it a whisk...


and popped it in the oven to bake.


Voila!



The first evening I made it, we enjoyed it warm for dinner.


The next morning, I served it warm for breakfast, with some Applegate Farms chicken sausages on the side.


And a few days later, I was thrilled to find some leftover, which I had room temp for lunch. If you'd like to see a few of the original recipes that inspired me here's onehere's another and here's another. My version bumps up the good fat, omits dairy, and makes enough so a family of four has plenty of leftovers!

Herb-Walnut Frittata
{makes 8 servings}

1 cup raw walnuts
4 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh cilantro
2 cups fresh parsley
2 cups chard, spinach or kale
1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons grapeseed, olive or walnut oil
8 eggs, whisked

Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, cilantro, parsley, leafy greens, scallions. Pulse until a thick pesto is formed. Add salt & pepper {to taste}. Add the oil to a 10" oven-proof skillet. Saute the pesto until the nuts become fragrant. Turn the burner off and whisk in the eggs. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the center of the frittata is set. {It will spring back when touched.} Frittata may be served warm, room temp, or cold. Any leftover frittata will keep, in the fridge, for 3-4 days. 

I know this recipe might have caught some of your eyes because it's so perfect for St. Patrick's Day. Looking for other green food ideas? I've got you covered! Click here to go to my Pinterest board where I've gathered a few of my favorites for my family. Enjoy!

Note: The above links will take you to Amazon. When you click, it takes you to their website, and anything you purchase there will help support swellmom and the full plate blog. Thanks in advance for the support.