Oh my oh my summer is about over! Time is flying. It’s been a summer of fun and work all wrapped into one. I can’t believe Cia is about to go back to school. Part of me loves that we will fall back into a more routined schedule. But at the same time.. summer how much we all love summer and are sad to see it end.
This year I have left our garden to Josh. Literally. I’m super busy and wasn’t fully inspired to take on all the responsibility and time. I love putting lots of energy into gardening and didn’t want to deal with the frustration of time management. I will say even though we only planted a few things we are getting some nice produce – cucumbers, beets, squash, carrots, cilantro, basil, tomatoes, eggplant. It’s all pretty happy out there being wild. Our chard and kale keeps getting chomped so there is little of this but I’m not complaining.
I say it every season of fresh produce and here it goes again – I love cooking with garden ingredients. The flavors are vibrant and require minimal seasoning. So much better than anything store bought!!! I sautéed two crooked necked squash from our garden with local green beans, tomatoes, and homemade bone broth. The only seasoning I used was fresh basil also from our garden and some s&p. That is all! For protein I added in rotisserie chicken (plain – no extra seasoning here). And it was awesome! The kids gobbled it up as did Josh and I. Simple easy cooking. My absolute favorite way to cook! Just a reminder cooking does not have to be complicated!! The intention behind eating is to fuel our bodies!
- 2 crook neck squash (or any other summer squash/zucchini variety)
- 1.5 pounds green beans
- 1/4 cup broth or water
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, lightly shredded or chopped
- Slice ends of squash and green beans; discard ends. Slice squash lengthwise and cut down into 1/2" half moons. Slice green beans lengthwise and cut down into 2" pieces.
- Heat up a large skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil. Add the squash, green beans, and broth (or water). Season with s&p and cover skillet. Allow veggies to steam for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile half the cherry tomatoes.
- Remove the lid from the veggie once they are tender but definitely still crisp. Stir in the chicken and tomatoes. Cook just a few minutes to heat through.
- Lastly toss basil in and serve.
Serve with fresh grated pecorino romano is desired.
Cheers to this meal, one I threw together on a whim. I had a loose plan in mind.. chicken tenders, tarragon, zucchini, mushrooms, broccolini, and coconut milk. I was leaning towards baking everything in the oven for lazy cooking but the thought of the oven heating the house led me to keep it on the stovetop. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs. Typically it’s not commonly used due to it’s distinctive and somewhat overpowering flavor. It doesn’t mix well with a lot of herbs and so I don’t buy it all the time. But I love anise and anything anise like so for me tarragon is a winner!
As I cooked this dish I debated whether my kids would enjoy it. Tarragon is not a flavor you can hide and I always use more than enough. But when I cook a meal I cook enough for us all. And you know what? My kids ate and ate and ate. Three servings each! The veggies were a hit, the chicken was a hit, and tarragon, well they are my kids so no surprise they do love the distinct flavor. I grew up on licorice, my brother and I being the ‘weird’ kids who like the black jelly beans, licorice snaps (my favorite), wheels, and pastels. My grandfather loved all things licorice as does my dad and my uncle. I guess it’s a Driscoll thing.
Tarragon, white wine, and coconut milk create a perfect flavor profile and sauce for this chicken sauté!
- 1.5 lbs chicken tenders
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 globe zucchini, chopped into 2" pieces (or regular zucchini)
- 1 bunch broccolini broken down into smaller pieces
- 8oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 8 sprigs tarragon
- 1/4 cup flour
- garlic powder
- dry white wine
- 5 oz can coconut cream
- Place the flour in a bowl and season with garlic powder, and s&p. Heat up a large skillet over medium heat with a pat of ghee. Dredge each chicken tender with flour, shaking off the excess, and add to the warmed pan.
- Meanwhile heat a tablespoon of ghee in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, zucchini, broccolini, and mushrooms. Season with s&p and add the tarragon leaves from the sprigs.
- Once the chicken tenders have browned on one side, 3-5 minutes, flip over and brown the other side.
- The veggies should be about tender crisp at this point. Deglaze the chicken pan (tenders still in it) with a bit of white wine (~1/4 cup). Add the veggies and coconut milk. Allow to simmer another 5 minutes until chicken is fully cooked through and sauce has thickened.
- Season with a bit more s&p.
I’ve been on a mango kick this summer. They’ve been on sale just about every week and I have discovered how incredibly sweet the Ataulfo (aht-ah-uhl-foe) variety is. Hands down the sweetest mango I’ve ever eaten. The flesh is incredibly creamy, no strings, and the pits are tiny. They seriously melt in your mouth. I’ve enjoyed many bowls of chia pudding topped with fresh slices, made mango/coconut milk popsicles for the kids (SO GOOD), mango smoothies, and now I’ve ventured on to making mango pudding. If you can get your hands on some of these Ataulfo mangos buy them, lots and lots of them!
Ataulfo mangoes are perfect for pudding. When you puree the flesh it practically becomes pudding on its own. The texture is so silky smooth. It’s amazing! As I was planning how I wanted to make my pudding I decided to keep in line with my ‘healthy’ desserts. I added very little to this recipe using chia seeds to thicken it up, cardamom and vanilla to season it, maple syrup to sweeten it, and coconut milk to cream it out a bit more. The texture resembles a tapioca pudding. And this is saying something but I looooovvve tapioca and pretty much nothing compares to it. But this mango pudding really brought me back to my days of eating tapioca pudding. Josh and the kids will be lucky if they get more than a taste :)
Vegan mango pudding! Thickened with chia seeds, seasoned with cardamom, and sweetened with maple syrup. Need I say more?
- 3-4 Ataulfo mangos
- 2.5 oz coconut milk (be sure to get some of the cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 tablespoon chia seeds
- shredded coconut, to serve
- Peel mango skin and slice the flesh off the pits. Puree in a blender until smooth. You should have between 2 - 2.5 cups.
- Leaving the puree in the blender add the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and cardamom. Blend again to combine. Add the maple syrup too if you desire, it may be sweet enough without.
- Lastly add the chia seeds and quickly pulse only to evenly distribute the chia seeds. You don't want to grind them up.
- Place mango pudding in a container and refrigerate at least an hour.
- Serve as is or with shredded coconut.
Oh breakfast how I have a love hate relationship with you. It was about two years ago that I made the decision to stop skipping breakfast and to instead eat a protein dense low carb meal everyday. It took a few weeks to get used to this but I promise you it is an amazing way to start your day!
We all choose our priorities and one of mine is taking care of my body by what I eat. Something most of do not do. These days my breakfast sustains me, fuels my body after my early morning (fasted) workout, and prevents any sort of blood sugar spikes. All of this is part of the ‘love’. The ‘hate’.. well who doesn’t love french toast, pancakes, and granola. I can happily admit that I do but these meals do not serve me well. Not in the least. This is key for a blood sugar spike to a blood sugar low. I’m hungry in two hours. I’m not energized as I know I can be. I’m also left bloated. And I really do not like feeling heavy in my stomach. Of course there are days when I still choose to eat a meal of this. In the moment it is oh so worth it, but in the end I think maybe it’s not. And I’m back to my usual for awhile. It’s a beautiful realization when you discover what really fuels your body and leaves you feeling great. A journey worth exploring.
Egg & Mashed Avocado Toast
A yummy breakfast treat! I typically skip the bread (or any high carb) for breakfast but sometimes it's fun to indulge a bit. This is a way better option than french toast or pancakes and just as exciting.
- hard boiled egg, sliced
- avocado, lightly mashed
- tomato, sliced
- smoked paprika
- salt, I used black lava sea salt
- bread, I used sunflower seed bread
- Toast bread if desired.
- Layer on mashed avocado, tomato sliced, and hard boiled egg slices. Sprinkle on smoked paprika and salt.
The sunflower seed bread I used is made with whole rye kernels. The slices are thin and dense. It's a German bread. Of course feel free to use whatever bread you prefer.
Serve with smoked salmon for an extra bit of excitement!
I’m not sure if you noticed how much pesto I made from those turnip greens! It was a heaping two cups. And even after Cia and I devoured more spoonfuls that I’d like to admit there was plenty to use with another meal (besides the corn and green bean salad). Originally I intended to make this recipe using my parsley vinaigrette but the pesto was a fine substitution. The lamb sausage I used I purchased from WF meat department. If you are unable to find lamb sausage don’t hesitate to use some ground lamb instead. Sauté it with chopped shallot, minced garlic, and some herbs (rosemary, dill, or a Greek seasoning blend). It’ll be just as delicious!
Cauli Rice, Lamb Sausage, & Roasted Zucchini Medley
My yummy turnip green pesto adds so much yum to this bowl of cauliflower rice, roasted zucchini, and lamb sausage!
- 1/2 lb lamb sausage
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into wedge sticks (or however you prefer)
- olive oil
- 12 oz cauliflower rice, I love Trader Joe's organic - comes in the frozen section
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
- 1/2-1 cup pesto
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease a 9x13 pyrex dish. Add zucchini wedges and lightly coat with olive oil and season with s&p. Lay the lamb sausage over the zucchini in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until sausage are cooked through and zucchini is lightly browned. Set aside.
- In a nonstick pan add the cauliflower rice and cook according to package.
- In a bowl add the olives, tomatoes, and parsley. Slice the lamb sausage into thin pieces and add to the bowl along with the zucchini and any of the pan drippings. Stir in the cauliflower rice to combine everything. Season with s&p.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley leaves and the 1/2 cup of the pesto on top. Add extra pesto as needed per plate.
As mentioned in the blog feel free to use ground lamb instead of lamb sausage. auté it with chopped shallot, minced garlic, and some herbs (rosemary, dill, or a Greek seasoning blend).
If you use fresh (not frozen) cauliflower rice, sauté it in a bit of olive oil until tender crips.