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Monday, January 30, 2012

Salmon Cakes

Are you a salmon patty fan?  My husband and I weren't the biggest fans growing up.  Sorry to our moms but they were a mushy, bland, and [in my house] overcooked mess.  Actually, I think around Lenten season it was either salmon patties or tuna Hamburger Helper on Fridays (as my dad was Catholic).  It had been quite some time since my last salmon patty until Dave suggested it one evening as we tried to figure out what to do with a can of prime Alaskan salmon that had been in the pantry for longer than I dare say publicly.  As the words came out of his mouth, "How about salmon patties?"  We both paused and looked at each other.  I think we shared the same initial thought of "hmmm...ew."  But then I thought about it and said, "I'll give it a try, if they don't turn out as patties, at least the mixture will taste good over a salad!"

Based on the picture below, you'll see that they did indeed turn out, and if I might add quite tasty at that!  We have enjoyed this dish about 5 times for dinner since, and even served it to company who gave it four thumbs up for their family!  This picture was our first trial, served over steamed sweet potatoes with Dijon mustard on top.  They are also great served on a spinach salad with balsamic-Dijon dressing or over zucchini noodles with a white wine dill sauce.

The only problem I had to get over personally was calling them "salmon patties."  It was something about the word "patties" that didn't suit my appetite.  And thus, Salmon Cakes it is!  This recipe can be easily doubled, tripled, etc., based on your family's needs.  Simply add everything to a big bowl and mix together with a fork.

Salmon Cakes
Makes 4 Servings

1  15oz can boneless, skinless Alaskan wild caught salmon
1 cup almond flour OR almond meal
1 free range egg
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped or grated
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
grape seed oil for skillet

1.)  Drain liquid from salmon, rinse under cold water, then press any remaining liquid out using a fine mesh strainer.

2.)  In a large bowl, mix salmon, almond flour, egg, onion, and seasonings together with a fork.  Be careful not to mash everything together, but rather fluff with the fork while mixing to keep everything just combined.  This will ensure even cooking and even moistness in the finished cakes.

3.)  Heat a large skillet over Medium-High heat.  Form the salmon mixture into four evenly sized cakes using your hands.  (If too moist to form, add in almond flour until desired consistency is achieved.  If too dry, add an additional egg yolk.)  Add a Tablespoon of grapeseed oil to the skillet.  Place the salmon cakes into the skillet and fry for about 3 minutes, until light brown and crispy.  Flip and do the same on the second side.  (You may need to add more oil to the skillet.)

4.)  Remove from skillet and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cinnamon Baked Apples

The boys are in bed, so I sneaked away to my couch and a cup of tea to type out this post and pin away on Pinterest (I admit, I'm an addict to all the DIY projects)!  I have a simple recipe to share with you tonight, but an ever growing list of new ones that I just can't seem to find the time to type out and put a quality post together for.  I foresee many more nights on this sofa in my future if I ever want to accomplish that!

This recipe for baked apples is one we enjoyed for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.  I have made it many more times since, completely inspired by my dear friend (and fellow Healing Cuisine addict) Ashley's recipe.  She shared hers with me last Christmas, and I was called to make it almost a year later as a breakfast treat.  And yes, that is an outrageously large scoop of Advanced Plan vanilla ice cream slowly melting next to the warm, tender, cinnamon glazed apple.  I may have forgotten to mention that we treated ourselves to the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer!!!  (Praise the Lord, no more cranking by hand, sore arms for two days, or messing with all the ice and salt just to make a quart of ice cream!)  We saved up for the electric mixer attachment and found it at a good price for the holidays.  Decided to make the purchase, and it has been so fun to have it!!  I've made probably 4 times more ice cream in the last couple months than I did in the last 3 years that we had our crank-by-hand maker.  Look forward to more icy treats to come!  We've had some real winners already!

Okay, back to the baked apples with ice cream...  I wanted to note that it wasn't until after we enjoyed our sweet breakfast treat that I thought to stuff the apples with oatmeal before baking them.  How breakfast appropriate would that be, am I right??  I tried it the next time and it turned out great!  I cooked steel cut oatmeal (flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, stevia, butter, and raisins) on the stove top first, then prepped the apples and stuffed them to the top with the oatmeal mixture.  Finished the recipe off as stated and they were indeed a yummmmy breakfast.  Would also be a great snack or easy dessert!  My next idea is to fill them with pumpkin pie filling and bake....oh, who wants to come over to taste test?!

Cinnamon Baked Apples
Makes 4 Apples

4 organic Granny Smith apples, washed
4 Tbsp raw butter
About 1 tsp Spoonable Stevita stevia per apple (you may prefer more or less)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (or filtered water)

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Create a well in each apple by scoopin out the core -- but do not go all the way thru the bottom.  Use an apple corer and a spoon, being careful to stop with at least half an inch at the bottom of each apple.  Score each apple horizontally in a complete circle.

2.)  Stuff each apple with 1 Tablespoon of butter.  Place apples in an 8x8" glass baking dish.  Sprinkle the apples evenly with cinnamon, nutmeg and stevia.  Pour apple juice (or simply water) in the bottom of the dish.

3.)  Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake about 10 more minutes, until apples are fork tender and slightly caramelized on top.  Remove from oven and serve either warm or cold.  Pair perfectly with homemade ice cream, whipped cream or whipped coconut cream, or steel cut oatmeal.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gymboss Timer Giveaway WINNER!

Whooooops, I totally lost track of time this evening!  My apologies for a late announcement of the Gymboss Interval Timer Giveaway.  (If you missed Monday's post, read more about how a Gymboss can make your life so much easier!)  I was caught up in watching the live broadcast of Elevation Church's "Code Orange Revival" series online. Today was day 10 (of 12), and today's speaker was a true powerhouse of God's Word.  I encourage you and your family and friends and neighbors and anyone you know who needs to hear His message to hop on to their website tonight to watch and listen.  Rebroadcast will happen at 10:12pm tonight, 2:12am tonight, 12:12pm tomorrow.  And there are still two days left to participate!  Get plugged in to Elevation no matter where you live -- you can strengthen your relationship with God in a creative and unique way.

 On to our TWO WINNERS of the Gymboss Interval Timers.  *Bum bum bummm* (imagine a drum roll here.)  And the winners are Jenny V. and Loretta E.!  Congrats ladies!!  Please email me with your mailing address: elise@healingcuisinebyelise.com

Thank you to everyone who entered!  Look forward to February's health-inducing giveaway coming up just in time for Valentine's Day.... :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Product Review & GIVEAWAY: Gymboss Timer

I am very excited to finally be sharing one of my favorite products with you, the Gymboss Interval Timer!  If you’ve ever done interval training with your kitchen timer, by watching the second hand on the clock, a stop watch or by trying to keep track in your head, it’s a pretty difficult thing to do.  Interval training is intended to be done at precise intervals which is what makes them so effective.  And this is what makes the Gymboss Interval Timer an exceptional tool to have in your fitness arsenal.

Dave and I have been using our Gymboss Interval Timer for over a year.  My mom actually gave it to Dave as a Christmas gift last year.  We started incorporating it into our workouts in January 2010 and have been attached to it ever since.  It has made our workouts extremely easy and stress free!  No more worrying about exactly how many times the second hand passed around the clock!

Let me explain how the timer makes life easier for you.  I’m going to keep this review short and sweet, because there really isn’t much to it.  The Gymboss Timer is a small device, about the size of a small pager, that is easy to setup and use.  What makes it unique from other timers is you can set it for a variety of interval settings, and it will keep you on pace for the interval settings you choose.  It offers a simple, easy to use 3-button setup that allows you to quickly change interval times for different workouts.  You don’t have to stop exercising or cheat yourself by checking on the time.  The timer vibrates or beeps each time you need to switch/stop.  (I love using the vibe setting while listening to my iPod with headphones!)

Here are all of the Gymboss Timer's features:

-  Ability to track 1 or 2 intervals (anywhere from 2 seconds up to 99 minutes)
-  Beep, vibrate or both, options
-  Alarm duration lasts 1, 5 or 10 seconds
-  May repeat intervals up to 99 times
-  Clip that attaches to your clothes to keep it out of the way but secure
-  Compact design, about the size of a small pager
-  Tough – water and shock resistant (believe me, we've stepped on, dropped, and even gotten ours wet...still works perfectly)
-  Comes with a AAA battery (haven’t had to replace ours yet)

From this list of features, you can probably already realize there are endless ways that the Gymboss Timer can be extremely helpful to your workout routine.  If you are part of the Maximized Living movement, you probably practice surge training (also known as burst training).  This is the type of workout routine Dave and I practice on a regular basis.  We do it right in our apartment using free weights, bands, a stepper, chin up bar, and our own body weight.  The rest is completely interval based while performing an exercise move to 80-100 percent of our ability -- 20 seconds workout, 20 seconds rest, 20 seconds workout, next move; repeat.  I can't explain in words how the Gymboss completely transformed our home workouts.  They went from a time management chore to an easy 12 minutes out of my day that I now look forward to.  And I believe exercise should be fun.  The Gymboss Timer did that for us!  If you are using the burst/surge workout format, I can't stress enough how helpful a Gymboss will be for you.  Give it a try!

Not into surge training?  You can use a Gymboss Timer with just about any fitness activity (including strength training, boxing, martial arts, interval training, high intensity interval training (HIIT), running, Cross fit, and just about everything else you can imagine).  Whether you want to shed pounds or increase your reps in a given time period, this timer will help you reach your fitness objectives.

You can order your own Gymboss Interval Timer here for $19.95 (plus flat shipping rate).

Colors Available: Silver, Black, Pink, and Green.


The folks at Gymboss would like to offer a giveaway to all Healing Cuisine by Elise fans!  And great news for you, I have TWO Gymboss Interval Timers to giveaway!  The giveaway runs from now until Friday, January 20th at 4:00pm.  I will use Random.org to select the winner, and winner will announced here at Healing Cuisine at 5:00pm on Friday, January 20th.  Two lucky winners (open to U.S. and Canada residents only) will each receive a brand new standard Gymboss Interval Timer.


Mandatory Entry:  Visit Gymboss.com, check out their website and tell me one thing you learned (comment below).

Additional Entries:

1.)  Comment below telling me how you would use your Gymboss timer if you won.

2.)  Follow Gymboss on Facebook (comment below telling me you've done so).

3.)  Follow Healing Cuisine on Facebook and SHARE this giveaway with your friends (tag me in your Share: @Healing Cuisine).

4.)  Follow Gymboss AND Healing Cuisine on Twitter (comment below telling me you've done so).

5.)  Tweet about the giveaway: "#Win a @GYMBOSS, 2 chances! http://www.healingcuisinebyelise.com/2012/01/product-review-giveaway-gymboss-timer.html @EliseJSchwartz #giveaway #fitness"  (One entry per tweet, can tweet it up to 3 times per day -- at least one hour between tweets.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baked Eggs Florentine

I've got a yummy breakfast recipe for you today, folks!  It would also be a wonderful lunch, or heck, why not dinner, too!

Tune in tomorrow for the our first GIVEAWAY of 2012, our January Gymboss Giveaway!  (Sorry to those who came on Monday looking for it.  My Auto-poster didn't run my post on it Monday morning as it should have!  Don't worry, I'll make up for lost time with TWO prizes tomorrow!)

Today, we're enjoying Baked Eggs Florentine.  It sounds fancy, the ingredients list looks a little long, but believe me..it's not very tedious and you can whip it up in less than 20 minutes!

Baked Eggs Florentine
Makes 4 Servings

3 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch sea salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup unsalted raw or organic butter, melted and hot
1 Tbsp grape seed oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
24 ounces of baby spinach, washed and shaken dry
8 free-range eggs
Paprika (for decoration)

1.)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In blender, place the 3 egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, pinch of sea salt and cayenne.  Blend for about 5 seconds on High or until fully combined.  With the blender running on Medium, remove the plastic insert from the lid and slowly stream in the hot, melted butter. Continue to blend until all the butter is incorporated.  Set aside.

2.)  Heat the grape seed oil in a large oven proof skillet (we used cast iron) over Medium High heat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer.  Turn the heat up to High and add the spinach, a couple handfuls at a time, and cook until wilted by tossing with tongs.  Turn off heat.

3.)  Add 1/3 cup of the blender hollandaise sauce to the skillet and stir well to combine.  With the back of a spoon, make 8 indentations in the spinach. Break the eggs into the indentations (eggs may run into each other -- that's okay).  Sprinkle each egg with a little sea salt and pepper.  Transfer the skillet to oven.  Bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still slightly runny, about 6-8 minutes. 

4.)  Remove from oven.  Spoon remaining hollandaise sauce over each egg, sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How To: Vanilla Extract

This was our Christmas gift to our family this year, 4 ounce bottles of homemade vanilla extract.  My mom is actually the one to thank for the idea.  She handed me a printed recipe for vanilla she had printed off when I was home about a year ago.  The one she found called for adding sugar and coloring to the batch, to make it look nicer and taste sweet.  I tossed it to the side, telling myself I'd stick with my all natural pure vanilla extract (that costs about $7 a bottle).

When I got home, I tossed that piece of paper into the junk drawer in the kitchen and thought I'd never look back.  But it caught my interest in October when I went in there looking for a pen (after looking all over  the house for a pen..finally resorted to the junk drawer).  I read through the ingredients again and realized I could make vanilla at home for WAY cheaper than $7 a bottle and leave out the sugar (who eats vanilla extract on its own, anyway?  It doesn't need to taste good on its own.) and dyes.  But really I was most excited to save the money, as I fly through vanilla extract with all my baking experiments going on.  Every time we go shopping I put a new bottle in the cart, and Dave groans, "We need more vanilla already?"   Hehe.. :)

Here is the recipe I used, after consulting about 8 other recipes I could find online.  This turned out really well for me.  You can buy your vanilla beans wherever you'd like (look for Madagascar beans), but from a store shelf they will be quite expensive.  I decided to turn these into Christmas gifts, which meant extracting in large volume, so I bought my beans in bulk on Amazon.com.  From that pack, I got about 54 beans, perfect for making about 6 quarts of vanilla extract in total.  The beans were great, full of fresh vanilla flavor!  Couldn't be more satisfied!

If you end up with leftover vanilla beans, store them in an air tight container of xylitol.  The xylitol will help to absorb any moisture that sneaks in and the vanilla will give the xylitol a sweet hint of vanilla flavor.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
4 ounces

3 Madagascar vanilla beans
4 ounces plain vodka (I recommend using at least a mid-shelf grade or higher)

1.)  With a paring knife, slit open each vanilla bean from end to end.  With kitchen scissors, cut each bean in half.  Add all 6 vanilla bean halves to a four ounce bottle.

2.)  Pour vodka over the vanilla beans, cover and seal tightly.  Shake lightly then place in a cool dark place for 2 months.  Every 2 weeks, give the bottle a light shake then return to the dark place.  Your vanilla may be ready to use before it reaches 2 months of extracting.  You'll know when it's ready by the dark amber color it will reach, just like you are used to seeing from store bought vanilla.
To make cute individual gifts, we ordered glass bottles from SpecialtyBottle.com.  They have a fun variety of bottle shapes and sizes that you can choose from.  We printed the labels ourselves on our home color laserjet using these Avery waterproof labels.  If you want to use the same gift packaging, I picked up the super tiny gift bags from Michaels craft store and cut tissue paper to fit.

It keeps giving!  This is why I loved using these as our Christmas gifts this year.  For each gift bottle, we included a little tag that said "it's the gift that keeps on giving!" and explained how to replenish the bottle.  When your bottle runs low, top it off with new vodka.  Let it sit until it reaches the dark amber color again.  Then it's ready to use!  Vanilla beans will give off plenty of vanilla flavor for many many batches of vanilla extract.  From what I've learned, you can go quite a few years before having to replace your beans.  And many people just add in a new bean when the time comes, leaving the originals in there, too.  Vodka is sterile and actually preserves the original beans, so nothing to worry about!

Oh yes, and the cost breakdown?  It's pretty awesome!  Here's the breakdown for a standard 4 ounce bottle.

$1.44 vanilla beans
$1.20 vodka
$0.53 bottle
$3.17 per bottle

It's even less if you avoid buying the 4 ounce bottle online, at only $0.66 per ounce (simply reuse a jar at home).  Commercial vanilla costs almost $2.00 per ounce, which makes this homemade How To a MUST do!

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