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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Preparing for Easter

One quick post before I fizzle off into the world of packing the rest of the week as we prepare for our move to Charlotte, NC on Friday!  I've been getting quite a few emails with specific Easter menu and event planning questions.  Didn't want to leave you hanging.  Don't worry guys!!  It's really easy to have a Maximize Living-approved Easter celebration.  It just takes a little bit of planning.  You can definitely pull it off, even on a budget!  I promise!

Check out my past posts on:

Easter Egg Dying

Maximizing the Easter Basket

and don't forget to download your copy of my new Easter Menu Planner e-book

And here are two great recipes to help use up those hard boiled eggs after Easter:

No Mayo Deviled Eggs

Classic Egg Salad

or just enjoy the eggs as a snack thru the work week or atop salads for lunch and dinner!

Hope you all have a very blessed Holy Week and Easter Sunday!  He is risen!  Hope to be back to regular posting by next week.  :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Menu Planner e-Books

Hello Friends!

Just wanted to give you an update on the spring themed menu planners I had promised you.  I've recently put the finishing touches on the Easter Menu Planner and Mother's Day Menu Planner e-Books.  Per request, the recipes that you will find within each are listed below.

I must say, while I only included some of the best recipes to ever come out of my kitchen, there are definitely some show stoppers in each e-book.  Specifically I'm talking about the cakes!  Oh, I cannot rave enough about how delicious, moist and perfect these cakes are!!  Pineapple Upside-down Cake, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Poppy Seed cake.  I've whipped up some fantastic frostings to accompany each, too!  These are the perfect desserts to finish off your spring party menus.

These e-books are available for download by using the links below.  Hope you enjoy!

Healing Cuisine's Easter Menu Planner:
A spring-themed menu perfect for Easter brunch, lunch, or dinner.
 - Quick & easy recipes for a stress-free menu
 - Easy drink recipes the kids will love
- 2 great dessert options for spring!

Unique recipes included:  Quiche Lorraine, Broccoli & Goat Cheese Souffle, Simple English Peas, Asparagus in Cream Sauce, Glazed Orange Carrots, Pineapple Stuffing, Herb-Roasted Lamb, Baked Salmon with Lemon-Tarragon Sauce, Strawberry Milk, Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, Strawberries-n-Cream Frosting, Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting

Healing Cuisine's Mother's Day Menu Planner:

Recipes specifically designed for Mom!
 - Brunch, lunch or dinner options
 - Enjoy tea and scones with Mom
 - Must-try desserts to wow her!

Unique recipes included:  Baked Eggs & Tomatoes, Raspberry Ricotta Fool, Almond Flour Scones with 6 different flavor options, Refreshing Strawberry Lemonade, Rainbow Fruit Salad, Sundried Tomato Pesto, Pesto-Crusted Chicken Breasts, Almond Crusted Salmon over Julienned Zucchini with Lemon Butter Sauce, Chocolate Strawberry Tart, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

6 Ways to Dress Up Asparagus

Ahhhhhhh, spring is officially here!  I love walking into the grocery store to see a well stocked shelf of fresh, organic asparagus spears!  It is one of my most favorite veggies, and I certainly eat my fill of it while it's in season these next few months, and then I miss it the rest of the year.  *tear*  This year I plan to buy some in bulk and freeze for use thru the fall.  Hoping to find a fabulous farmer's market in Charlotte next month when we get moved and settled.

When purchasing asparagus, you want to be sure the tips are bright green and tightly closed.   Dark green or black and mushed tips is evidence of oxidation, meaning the asparagus is not fresh.  You'll also want to examine each spear in the bunch, testing for crisp rigidity and bright green color.  Be sure the skin of each spear is unwrinkled and firm.  The best tasting and best texture will come from spears that are thin to fairly thin in diameter.  This isn't to say you can't enjoy a thick bunch of asparagus, just that they'll be a bit stringy and are probably more suited for a stir fry or dish that calls for them to be diced.  These tests will ensure a fresh product potent in nutrients!

Once you get your asparagus bunch home, it is important to store it properly to keep it fresh with valuable nutrients intact.  Trim about a half inch off the bottom ends and place standing up, cut end down, in a glass of 1 inch fresh water.  Store in fridge until ready to use.

When ready to prepare your asparagus, there is a magical little trick to always remember that will ensure you and your guests have tender asparagus all the way thru.  The most tender part of the spear is the tip.  As the stalk gets thicker, it gets tougher.   There is a magic point somewhere between the tip and the end of the asparagus that separates "tasty-tender" from "icky-tough."  Every bunch of asparagus is different.  While you may not know where this breaking point is, but your asparagus does.

Hold your asparagus at both ends.  Gently bend the asparagus until it snaps.  The magic is in that it will naturally break at a point of resistance, and that point is where the stem is too tough to be enjoyable.   Do this for all your asparagus.  Simple as that, and so worth the two minutes worth of energy!  Your dish will taste so much better after performing this step.  And now your asparagus spears are ready to dive into your recipe.

I wanted to share with you six of my favorite ways to serve asparagus.  Hope you enjoy!  If you have your very own favorite way to enjoy asparagus, please share!  We all love recipe sharing around here! :)

Classic Balsamic Asparagus  (my #1 personal favorite way!)
Makes 4 Servings

1 lb organic asparagus, prepped (as detailed above)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Spread asparagus on rimmed baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until crisp tender.  Remove from oven and transfer to serving platter.  Drizzle and coat with balsamic vinegar.  Serve.

Roasted Asparagus with Feta
Makes 6 Servings

2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 ounces organic feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 organic lemon

1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a small saucepan, add olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Heat over Low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil fragrant.  Remove from heat.

2.)  Place asparagus spears on a rimmed baking sheet.  Coat asparagus with infused olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with crumbled feta.  Roast for 12-15 minutes.

3.)  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze the lemon over top.  Serve immediately.

Asparagus with Thyme Butter Sauce
Makes 6 Servings

2 cups water (more/less for steaming)
2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped and chopped in half
1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
Fresh pepper, to taste

1.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.

2.)  Meanwhile, in a heavy medium skillet over Medium-Low heat, cook the butter until it just begins to brown, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the thyme leaves.

3.)  Once asparagus is cooked tender, remove from steamer and coat with thyme butter sauce in skillet.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Transfer to serving platter and serve warm.

Ginger Sesame Asparagus
Makes 4 Servings

1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 tsp raw almond butter
1/2 tsp raw honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 cups water (more/less for steaming)
1 lb organic asparagus, prepped and sliced on the diagonal into 2 inch pieces
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp sake
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or pressed
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

1.)  In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients with a fork.  This is homemade Hoisin sauce.  Set aside to allow flavors to combine.

2.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.

3.)  In a large skillet, add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and warm slightly over Medium heat.  Add sesame seeds to pan and cook until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add the homemade Hoisin sauce and asparagus.  Stir and cook until asparagus is well coated and heated thru, about 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and white pepper.  Transfer to serving dish and serve.

Asparagus with Mushrooms
Makes 4 Servings

1 lb organic asparagus, prepped and sliced on the diagonal into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup organic, unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp unsweetened organic Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt, to taste

1.) In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.

2.)  In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over Medium heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked and liquid is expelled, about 5-7 minutes.

3.)  Add asparagus,  Dijon mustard, black pepper, and sea salt.  Stir until heated thru.  Serve.

Asparagus Gratin (A MUST TRY!!)
Makes 6 Servings

1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup organic, unsalted butter
2 lbs organic asparagus, prepped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1.) In a small skillet, saute shallot coconut oil over Medium-Low heat until golden, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.

2.)  In a large saucepan with steamer and lid, get water boiling.  Add asparagus to saucepan, cover, and steam for about 6-8 minutes, until crisp tender.  Remove and rinse asparagus in cold water.  Place asparagus in shallow glass casserole dish; drizzle with olive oil.

3.)  Preheat broiler.  In medium bowl, using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the almond meal. With a spoon, stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon juice, shallot mixture, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Sprinkle almond meal mixture over asparagus.  Place dish in broiler 5 inches from heat source.  Broil about 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

We are moving!

Charlotte, North Carolina, here we come!

Ever since we found out Baby Schwartz is on the way, we've been doing some hard thinking and praying about our career plans and life in the next 9 months (now down to just 5 months left til baby arrives!).  God has definitely been guiding us.  Pieces of life's journey have been coming together for us week by week.  I am very excited.  Dave is SO excited!  And yes, we'll be moving to Charlotte, NC the end of this month! :)

We're planning to take a little career detour.  Instead of jumping right in to opening his own practice in North Carolina right away this fall, which was our original plan, Dave will be going to work within a Maximized Living clinic in Charlotte for some time.  This is a huge blessing, because while he will have his own client base, we won't have to stress about the cost of opening a small business right away, the same time baby is due to be born.  I am so happy for Dave, my Dr. Dave.  :)  He still gets to live out his dream as a Maximized Living chiropractor, transforming and saving lives every day.  It's going to be great!

Here is the shocking part.  I'll be taking some time off from working.  I'm a little nervous about this, because I'm usually the type of person who has two or three jobs going on at once along with little projects.. I'm worried I might get bored.  But at the same time, I've got a stack of baby books to read, need to catch up on yoga, and need to nail down a daily routine for practicing my birth affirmations and relaxation techniques.  Honestly, I haven't been able to commit enough time every day to myself and baby that needs to happen for a safe and peaceful birth.  So all in all, I think this will be a good thing for all three of us.  Happy wife, happy life, right?  ;)

I'll still be keeping up my website tho, and I'm sure the relaxed schedule will allow for some tasty recipe creations in the coming months!  And consults, I'll still be able to do those, too.  Feel free to contact me if that is something you are interested in.  We can arrange a time to meet or Skype/talk via phone.

So this is our latest big news.  Wanted to share, as my posting might be a little sporadic here in the coming few weeks until we get settled in Charlotte.  If any of you are from the Charlotte area, please please email me!!  We don't know anyone the area, let alone NC, and would love to talk to you!

And had wanted to post a baby belly pic today, but camera is in need of a charge.  We snapped one today -- entering week 19.  Belly is getting bigger every day it seems!  Dave says I still look tiny, but let me tell you, I feel big.  It's just so exciting to have a little person in there!  :)

Hope you all have a fabulous rest of your weekend!  Blessings!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chipotle Mayo

Spring is in the air!  Last week, Dave and I were really feeling in the springy summer spirit and found ourselves really wanting burgers!  Well, we had some organic ground buffalo in the freezer, so we took advantage of frying up some patties.  To our sprouted buns, we added crisp organic romaine leaves, sliced avocado, and red onion, but wanted some pizazz.  Dave requested "chipotle something!" and the idea hit me for chipotle mayonnaise!  I LOVE chipotle mayo, one of my favorite condiments.  It truly rounded out the burgers perfectly with spice.  We steamed up some sweet potatoes and mashed the chipotle mayo into them.  Mmmm.  Makes a great dip for parties, too, and SO EASY!

Chipotle Mayo
Makes 1/2 cup

1/2 cup Healing Cuisine Mayonnaise
2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce - more if you want spicier (find it in the oriental or Mexican section in the grocery store, look for the brand in a glass jar vs. can if you can.  There should be no preservatives or sugar.)
1 Tbsp adobo sauce from the chillies
1 clove fresh garlic
2 tsp fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth.  Serve immediately or store in fridge up to 1 week.

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