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HOLIDAY LASAGNA

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This has been our answer to Thanksgiving Dinner for the last two years. Not sure what happened, but after a full lifetime of making turkey each and every November, we suddenly remembered that as kids growing up, there was always that coveted tray of Baked Ziti there on the table right next to the chosen bird! Just looking to change things up a bit, we decided to do just ‘that’ part and all the compatible side fixings. This dish is perfect for any holiday, especially Christmas! It takes some time to make it but it is well worth the effort, and it will make the house smell amazing as well as most likely give you some leftovers for ‘the day after’. You probably have many of the ingredients already right in your pantry. ** You can also make the sauce ahead of time, the day before or even weeks before and freeze, and then pop the meatballs and sausages right in the prepared sauce. Spreading this over two cooking days does break this up in a very manageable way.

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Triple Meatballs!

In by Toni PLeave a Comment

I am not vegan or even vegetarian, and that being said, I usually don’t post many recipes that include meat. Not that I don’t like the food (meat) itself. I like all kinds of animal protein and it is a part of my diet in small amounts. For my particular body, it is a resounding ‘yes’. However, I generally prefer to share the beautiful photos exploding with vibrant color when vegetables are the main attraction of our meals.
Last week I made a meatball dish that was comprised of organic pork, organic dark meat turkey and grass fed bison. The finished dish came out so incredibly delicious that I felt really compelled to share it. It lasted for a few meals with leftovers and was even better the second day. (I know people always say that!)
These three types of meat were combined with several other ingredients and cooked in a light broth using fresh, garden grown tomatoes of several varieties and fresh dill and cilantro. The broth was a combo of our favorite chicken and beef bone broth. For a carb light meal, we served it in bowls, with a little parmesan right in the broth. Pairs beautifully with a crisp green salad or a plate of baby broccoli with lemon and olive oil.

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Tortilla Soup

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1994, the Los Angeles Times was delivered to our houses, every single day. If the guy who delivered it didn’t throw it, literally into the sprinklers, we clomped outside in the early hours in our bathrobes to ‘grab the paper’. One day of the week they had a special food section with the ads of the week for the sales at the grocery stores, coupons and sometimes, GREAT recipes! One such day (August 18th of 1994), there was a recipe for the Tortilla Soup from the Bel-Air Hotel. Sounded yummy and I gave it a whirl. It has become a family heirloom.
To this day, I pull out the yellowed cutting from the paper to remind me what I need to do. I have made about 50 copies of this yellowed piece of the paper, sent it to people, scanned it numerous times into my files for safe keeping, even taken a photo of the page, to have it handy. This is my adjusted version of the recipe, but it is pretty darn close. The original said to strain and chill and then add the chicken, and fixings, but these days we just use it with all the goodies that gave the broth taste, and pass on the straining. I have lost count of how many times we have enjoyed this bowl of comfort. #huginabowl

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SUMMER LIGHT MEDITERRANEAN LASAGNA

In by Toni P

The days are longer, and the air is balmy. This meal seems to surface in the spring and summer months for us, when the eggplants and squash are at their bests and the herbs can come right out of the garden. Short of picking the veggies yourself, try to find a good farmers market for the best, freshest bounty. This dish pairs so nicely with crisp white wine and a crunchy green salad with a peppery/lemony vinaigrette. Make double and you can enjoy for breakfast or another dinner. These leftovers really hold up.

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FISKESUPPE – FISH SOUP

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Trying to recapture the way I felt last summer when a life long friend and fellow foodie and chef and I went to Norway, I recreated an amalgam of this iconic Norwegian dish that is served in many parts of the country. It did seem that each city had their own ‘secret sauce’ and recipe for it. Some versions were rich with a luscious roux, containing flour to thicken. Some had the fish cooked right in the soup and served up in the bowl, like a chowder, and some, with a more delicate touch were served with fish cooked separately, (usually a mix of small pieces of cod, salmon, and other local seafood) first dished out into a wide bowl, and then covered with the delicious seafood broth at the table poured from a beautiful pitcher. I mixed up at least three recipes and came up with this which is my representation of Fiskesuppe. My take adds the fish into the soup for a short while right at the end and served all together, but I kept the broth on the lighter side. You are still using cream, but not too much and no roux. Note: you can also switch the whole thing up and use coconut milk or coconut cream if you want to avoid dairy, although that will not be Norwegian!

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HEARTY EGG – VEGGIE QUICHE WITH UNCURED BACON

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This takes a little time, but is very worth the effort. You start by precooking the veggies so they get a little head start before you layer them in the roasting pan with the eggs and cheese. Depending on whether you serve this for breakfast, brunch or later in the day for dinner, you can adjust your seasoning to taste. It can remain quite simple with just the salt and cracked pepper, or you can kick it up a notch and go with red pepper flakes, or tons of herbs. You really can’t make any mistakes and it is nice to change it up each time you make it. This holds up very well for a few days in the fridge. Ideally you should heat it up the next day in the oven, rather than the microwave. It can also be enjoyed at room temp.

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VEGAN UMAMI ‘BONE’ BROTH

In by Toni P

“Fighting that annoying cold that everyone has been suffering with this season, I wanted to come up with a vegan version of bone broth to try myself and to be able to give vegan friends and clients to try. I am not vegan, and I do consume lots and lots of chicken and beef bone broth, so this had alot to live up to, taste wise, and it didn’t disappoint. Roasting the vegetables first, before boiling them, gives a depth to this broth, that is punctuated by the umami rich elements from the miso, Kombu, and shiitake mushrooms . Thinly sliced veggies, all slathered in miso and oil and roasted, then simmered in water til done. Cooled, strained and there you have it . The golden color comes from the onion peels. The Miso gives it the fermented elements and probiotics that make it super healthy. Can be used as a healthy tea/tonic, especially when under the weather, or as a foundation for a yummy soup.

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GRAIN FREE CARROT CAKE

In by Toni P

In the never ending search to find healthy desserts that pass the taste and importantly the texture test. I came across this recipe last week in a new blog I am loving. Thank you to Alexandra Tallulah for this gem from her “In My Bowl” blog. This got the thumbs up from our personal peanut gallery of people who often times dismiss the usual Paleo offerings that include low sugar and no grains. Hands down, one of the best and tastiest desserts in the last several months of ‘trying’. Even your picky eaters will love this one! This makes a great breakfast or brunch offering as well as afternoon snack for coffee or tea time. Try it! You’ll like it too!

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COOKING TEMPEH

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We are not vegans or even vegetarians in our family. That being said, we do go plant based from time to time, just to ‘right’ the ship and give our digestion a change of pace and sometimes a needed lighter work load. Our ‘go to’ choice, and the one we reach for first is usually grilled or sautéed tempeh served over steamed veggies. Tempeh is fermented soy. As long is it is fermented, not GMO and is organic, it is good for you and won’t affect your hormone balance in any negative way. This is how we make it, although there are other variations as well.

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SLOW COOKED EGGS ON ROASTED VEGETABLES

In by Toni P

This is a great use of those yummy and beautiful leftover roasted veggies still in the fridge from either your Sunday Meal Prep session or simply last nights dinner. Combining breakfast and dinner into a multipurpose ‘anytime’ meal, this quickly assembled and cooked combo makes a wonderful, nutritious, protein packed meal or snack with a good amount of satisfying healthy veggies.