Monday, September 30, 2013

Herbed Spaetzle and Lentil Soup {#30DaysofFamilyHealth w/ @AMDiabetesBooks}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the ADA in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY.  All opinions are 100% my own.
Herbed Spaetzle and Lentil Soup {#30DaysofFamilyHealth w/ @AmDiabetesBooks} | www.girlichef.com
Though it's been resistant, Autumn is starting to ease on in and claim its rightful place here in Northwestern Indiana.  Our days have been (my idea of) perfection - in the 60's, clear, sunny, and made for livin'!  I'm always the last one to hold out for pleasant nights that allow me to sleep next to an open window, but even that time has passed.  The leaves on the trees are starting to change colors, and even drop here and there.  And after a long day of outdoor romping and cheering yourself hoarse at a football game, a warm, hearty bowl of soup hits the spot like nothing else can!

So, after paging through the third and final book from the American Diabetes Association library that I will be sharing with you this month, it was no surprise that from all of the tempting dishes - I chose soup!  Hopefully you'll remember these two previous posts, in which I shared heart-healthy, diabetes-friendly recipes featured in cookbooks from the ADA's library as part of the 30 Days of Family Health initiative.  This week, I'd like to introduce you to The American Diabetes Association Vegetarian Cookbook: Satisfying, Bold, and Flavorful Recipes from the Garden by Chef Steven Petusevsky.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sourdough Grissini {#SundaySupper: Crunchy Goodness}

Sourdough Grissini {#SundaySupper: Crunchy Goodness} | www.girlichef.com
Lately, I've been feeling pretty darn proud of myself for not killing my sourdough starter.  Don't judge, it's far too easy to do.  I've done it a couple of times before.  The jar winds up getting shoved to the back of the fridge.  Soon, it's blocked by other jars, cartons, and containers.  I eventually uncover it several months later when the fridge has gotten so ridiculous that I can stand it no longer.

So, with my latest starter (let's call her Ruby), I've made some conscious adjustments.  Her jar stays on the top shelf, at the front of the fridge - no matter what.  That is first and foremost.   The other, equally important, conscious choice  - use her weekly - no matter what.  She needs to be fed weekly, anyway, and I have the biggest issue with throwing perfectly good, living sourdough away.  It has to be done for a starter to survive, but I hate it.  So, instead of throwing away the portion that I remove each week, I am required to bake something with it.  It could be a loaf of bread, a batch of rolls, some yeasted crackers, or an addictive batch of these long sticks of Grissini (aka crunchy bread sticks)!  These two things are going to keep me accountable.

I'm always on the look-out for other ways and new recipes for sourdough, so if you've got 'em (and you want to share 'em) - hook a sistah up.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sonnenblumenkernbrot (Sunflower Seed Rolls) inspired by The Baker's Daughter {cook the books}

Sonnenblumenkernbrot (Sunflower Seed Rolls) inspired by The Baker's Daughter {cook the books} | www.girlichef.com
I'm excited to be sharing another round of bread inspired by one of my favorite foodie reads, The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy.  A year and a half ago (holy cow, I can't believe it's been that long), I baked up a batch of Brötchen, or simply - rolls, in honor of The Baker's Daughter.  They are chewy, crusty rolls...and the most typical, best-received variety in my house.  And with a roll still warm from the oven, you can make one of the best treats on earth, a Matschbrötchen.

Well, since I am still so fond of this book, and its author, I decided that I needed to make it my choice for a round of Cook the Books.

The Baker's Daughter is set during WWII, in 1945 Nazi Germany.  It's the story of young Elsie Schmidt, the Nazi soldier who wanted to marry her, and a young Jewish boy, Tobias.  Elsie's young life would change forever when Tobias showed up on her doorstep on Christmas Eve, after escaping imprisonment.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Beans on Toast {from scratch} inspired by TOAST for food 'n flix

Beans on Toast {from scratch} - inspired by TOAST for Food 'n Flix | www.girlichef.com
This month for food 'n flix, we're watching Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger, based on the memoir by Nigel Slater.  If you are a food-lover, you've probably heard of this English food writer/journalist - or, as perfectly stated on his website, a cook who writes.  I've spent many an hour getting lost in his words.  And on a fun note, when staying in a cottage on Islay in Scotland, I found one of his cookbooks tucked into a small shelf in the kitchen.

Toast journeys back to look at a young Nigel; we get a glimpse at what may be the start of Nigel's passion for food.  While most young boys were playing with others and getting skinned knees, Nigel admired (in more ways than one) the time he spent with the handsome, intriguing gardener who taught him the glory of freshly grown food that you've tended yourself.  Nigel's mother was not a great cook; she preferred to open a slew of cans to get dinner on the table (much to Nigel's horror).  He never stopped trying to add a little variety to the family table, though.  However, Spaghetti Bolognese was a bit too unusual and "off" for his parents, it all came back to toast.

Nigel lost his mother at a young age, and his father quickly remarried - this time to a woman (Joan Potter) who was a stellar cook.  Since Nigel loved food, and heard that it was indeed the way to a man's stomach, he and Joan were locked in a constant battle for his father's affection with their kitchen efforts.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spicy Pasilla-Mushroom Tacos {she made, ella hace}

Spicy Pasilla-Mushroom Tacos {she made, ella hace} | www.girlichef.com
In preparation for National Taco Day (coming up on October 4th), Leslie and I are sharing tacos today for she made, ella hace.  In our house, tacos are as everyday as sandwiches.  If we can't decide what to eat, there's always tacos.  Have leftover meat?  Make a taco.  Have leftover mashed potatoes?  Mix 'em with a little greasy chorizo and turn them into a flauta (crunchy, rolled taco).  Don't know what to eat for breakfast?  Scramble up some eggs and veggies and enfold them in a warm tortilla.

Knowing this, you'd think I'd have shared more tacos on the blog.  But really, I haven't shared that many.  Like I said - everyday food.  Looking back over the last four and a half years, I notice that the things we eat the most often, are the things that I blog about the least.  Strange, huh?

So, when trying to decide something a little out-of-the-norm in the realm of tacos, I turned to my guru.  I knew that he'd be able to face me in a new direction...inspire me to look at tacos anew.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Brownies {#OXOGoodBrownie}

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Brownies {#OXOGoodBrownie} | www.girlichef.com
The dessert requested most often in my house is, and always has been, brownies.  It must be genetic programming.  When I was young, I remember my brother and sisters and I loving brownies the best of all desserts, as well.  Pie was a close second, and may even be tied now, for me.  I mean, I can't leave a container of cocoa powder sitting out on the counter, lest I incite a chorus of "oooooh, are you making brownies today!?" inquiries.

Coming in a close second for my oldest child is shortbread.  Pretty much, if he's not craving brownies, he's craving shortbread.  Good thing he swims those calories off in a matter of moments.  Aaaaah, to have the metabolism of a high school athlete again...  

A few weeks ago, when trying to come up with a "new" brownie variation, I stumbled upon a recipe that combined both brownies and shortbread.  Search complete.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apple Cider 5-Spice Caramels {#SundaySupper: Fall Foods}

Apple Cider 5-Spice Caramels {#SundaySupper: Fall Foods} | www.girlichef.com
Who loves apples?  Hand raised.  With authority.

Who loves caramels?  me. me. me. me. me. me. meeeeeee.

Who really, REALLY loves Fall and all things associated with it?  You guessed it, this girl!

And I've got all three of those things rolled into one right here, right now - today.  The first official day of Fall.  See how I'm looking out for you me you me you (I mean, you love all three of those things, too....right!?).


Friday, September 20, 2013

Tropical Rum Punch {National Rum Punch Day}

Tropical Rum Punch | www.girlichef.com
I often wonder how "they" come up with national (or world) food holidays.  Why do they fall on a certain day - luck of the draw?  I'm sure there are some out there that coincide with a release date or birth of a product or another sensible reason...but I'm guessing most were just written on little pieces of paper, thrown into a giant hat, and drawn by someone's kids.

That said, I'm down.  I'll take no reason at all to highlight and celebrate a certain food, drink, or custom.  Take for instance Rum Punch.  If I'm being honest {she says in her best Simon Cowell voice}, I may have gone my entire life without trying it.  Or realizing that there even was such a beverage.  But sometimes you get lucky and a bottle of golden, caramely liquid arrives on your doorstep.  And then you find out that National Rum Punch Day will be rolling around in a few weeks time.

So, of course you take your introduction into the land of punch bowls and hanging cups seriously.  But not as seriously as your mission to enjoy said rum, Diplomático Añejo, with its notes of raisins, cocoa, caramel, "sweet milky coffee", and a hint of oaky spice.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Crunchy Ramen Salad - 3 ways {#WeekdaySupper: #FamilyDinnerTable}

This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.
Crunchy Ramen Salad - 3 Ways {#WeekdaySupper: #FamilyDinnerTable} | www.girlichef.com
"Variation 1 - Collin Kronke's recipe"
If you dropped by for #SundaySupper this past weekend, you'll have noticed that we are teaming up with American Family Insurance this week for their Back to Table Campaign.  I'm so happy to be sharing another post in this effort!  And actually, it's a pretty fun post.  Why, you ask?  Well, because to go along with the Back to the Table Campaign, AmFam employees have been gracious enough to share some of their own family's favorite recipes - and then setting some of the Sunday Supper members loose with them!

I couldn't wait to get my hands on a recipe, and after much consideration, this is the one I chose.  This "Crunchy Asian Salad" that was submitted by Collin Kromke ("...we love the sweetness and crunchiness") grabbed my attention right away, because my grandma used to make a similar version.  I grabbed the recipe from her as soon as we were done eating it for the first time.  It definitely called for a throw-down type of situation.  So, that's what I made it.

And then I took it one step further and made my very own hybrid.  And I came up with a Crunchy Ramen Salad.  Which variation do you think that you'd gravitate towards?


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rompope Pops {#SummerOfThePopsicle Guest Post: Nibbles & Feasts}

Who's Holding the Stick:  Well my friends, this is it.  Today wraps up an amazing summer (of the popsicle) full of generous friends stopping by and sharing their frozen creations on a stick.  But, we'll talk more about that next week when I bring the whole shebang to a close.  Right now, please join me in giving the lovely Ericka from Nibbles & Feasts a warm welcome as she gently coaxes us from summer to fall with her fun and tasty little Rompope Pops!
Rompope Pops (#SummerOfThePopsicle Guest Post: Nibbles & Feasts) | www.girlichef.com
The fall season is about to begin.  But that doesn’t mean that my paleta season will be ending any time soon.  Living in California, September tends to be one of the hottest months of the year, which means that I still have 30 more warm days to indulge in my favorite frozen treats.

Since fall is my favorite season of the year, I am torn.  I love paletas but I am really looking forward to the fall colors, wearing sweaters, scarfs and definitely welcoming the beginning of the holidays.

To give it one last goodbye to my summer, I decided to combine the best of both worlds and make rompope paletas.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crunchy Seeded Crackers {Bread Baking Babes}

Crunchy Seeded Crackers {Bread Baking Babes} | www.girlichef.com
Well, summer has come and (almost) gone in a matter of moments, it seems.  My fingers and toes* are crossed in the hopes that autumn is cool, crisp, and filled with cozy sweatshirts and crackling bonfires.  And in no hurry to hand the baton to winter.

And, since life doesn't seem to slow down just because I wish it would, I was pretty happy that the Babes baking adventure for this month was a (relative) quickie.  We pushed aside our bread pans, and pulled out our rolling pins - and enough seeds to make all the birds in my neighborhood happy for weeks - and we got crunchy.

Yes, I'm talking crackers


Monday, September 16, 2013

Cod on Roasted Pepper and White Beans {#30DaysofFamilyHealth w/ @AMDiabetesBooks}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the ADA in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY.  All opinions are 100% my own.
Cod on Roasted Pepper and White Beans {#30DaysofFamilyHealth w/ @AMDiabetesBooks} | www.girlichef.com
If you caught my post two weeks ago, you'll know that I am participating in the 30 Days of Family Health initiative led by The American Diabetes Association.  Each week during September, you will get a preview of some of the healthy, diabetes-friendly recipes featured in some of the books from the ADA's library.  If you missed my first post, you can see which book (and which perfectly delicious salmon recipe) that I shared right here.

The book that I want to introduce you to today is Gluten-Free Recipes for People with Diabetes, by Nancy S. Hughes.  This little book is full of gluten-free recipes, for sure - but the great thing about it is that it also contains "cook's tips" alongside many of the recipes (things like possible substitutions, cautions about products that may contain gluten, storing & make-ahead ideas), as well as diabetes-friendly grocery lists, menus, snack ideas - and meal plans for putting them all into action!

Actually, the first five chapters are a primer course for those (like me) who may be new to cooking for people with celiac disease and diabetes.  Chapter one talks about the "what" - what is it all about, what are the symptoms, what is the screening process, what is the treatment, and what type of increased deficiencies can come with the territory.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole {#SundaySupper: #FamilyDinnerTable}

This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.
Green Chile Chicken Tortilla Casserole {#SundaySupper: #FamilyDinnerTable} | www.girlichef.com
Aren't memories an odd beast?  Some are crystal clear, while others get lost in a fog of time.  And sometimes the memories that you're trying most desperately to recall are the hardest to shake the haze.  That's pretty much where this dish comes from.  The haze.  A tinkling sound that I'm trying sightlessly to locate.

So yes, when I was a kid...a teenager, probably...my mom made this dish that was absolutely out-of-this-world.  But she didn't make it that often.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a tortilla casserole.  I remember it having green chiles in it.  And I remember wishing that she would make it more often.  But it just sort of faded away.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Exploring Denmark: Rugbrød & Smørrebrød {NORTH Festival}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of NORTH Festival.  All opinions are my own.
Denmark: Rugbrød & Smørrebrød {NORTH Festival} | www.girlichef.com
Have you heard the phrase "The Danes are the happiest people on the planet"?  In my quest to learn more about the country (Kingdom) of Denmark and its cuisine, I ran across it time after time after time.  And honestly, after getting to know it even the slightest bit, I can see why that would be true. 

Though Denmark is a small country, with a population of only 5.5 million people, it has one of Europe's largest coast lines (7.500 km) and 400 islands.  It has beaches and sand dunes (come on, the sea is never more than 50 km away...no matter where you are), well-developed routes for hiking and biking, and ski slopes that are very much a part of everyday life. 

Denmark leads the way in energy efficiency.  They are the first country in the world to decide to become a green growth economy - which means that they will be entirely independent of fossil fuels - by the year 2050.  Another cool fact, 7.6% of the Danes total food spending is on organic produce.  This is a greater proportion than anywhere else in the world.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops {#SummerOfThePopsicle}

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops {#SummerOfThePopsicle} | www.girlichef.com
Well, summer is winding down.  Though summer doesn't seem to realize that...it's been mid to upper 90's so far all this week.  And today is not the exception.  So yeah, summer is supposed to be winding down.  But it's not going without a fight.  I prefer to believe that that's because it hasn't seen enough popsicles yet!  I can hardly argue with that.

Yes, today is Wednesday.  And during this Summer of the Popsicle, Wednesday has meant that a guest-popsicler would be stopping by to share a tasty creation with us.  And after 15 amazing weeks of even more amazing guests, I'm jumping in with a pop of my own!  I decided to nestle myself...and these ice pops I've been sitting on all summer long (wouldn't that be a glorious mess)...into this Wednesday slot.

Now, it's funny.  I've been testing out new ice pop, popsicle, and paleta recipes all summer long, but this is one I made way back towards the end of May.  At the beginning of summer.  And since then, I've noticed a trend.  A CHEESECAKE POPS trend!  Must be something in the air this year.  Three of my guest popsicles have shared cheesecake-inspired frozen pops.  Even more people have linked some up to the Summer of the Popsicle.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Malted Wheat Germ Pancakes (+Kretschmer Wheat Germ Giveaway)

Malted Wheat Germ Pancakes | www.girlichef.com
Growing up, my mom always had a jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ in the fridge.  She would add a tablespoon to our smoothies or over our yogurt.  Okay, she'd sprinkle it any place she could get away with it.  But my favorite was always a slice of toast, slathered with peanut butter, and then topped off with a heavy smattering of wheat germ.  And to this day, it's still one of my favorite ways to start the day...alongside a tall, cold glass of milk.  And coffee, of course.

Now, I knew that she wheat germ because it was healthy.  But I wasn't sure what was healthy about it.  Turns out, all sorts of things.

To start, the germ is the part of the wheat kernel that sprouts and grows into a new plant.  It is also the part kernel that is most vitamin and nutrient-rich (and the part that's left out when the wheat is processed into white flour), and a fiber-rich source of high quality protein that contains only heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat.  And for every 2-tablespoon serving, wheat germ contains a powerhouse of vital nutrients like Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Thiamin, Phosphorus, and Zinc.*

Thanks, mom.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Creamy Penne w/ Chicken & Smoked Sausage {HUNGRY book tour}

Creamy Penne w/ Chicken & Smoked Sausage {HUNGRY book tour} | www.girlichef.com

HUNGRY: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love & The Power of Good Food

author: Darlene Barnes
genre: Memoir
publisher: Hyperion
source: TLC Book Tours
"foodie" elements: YES
hard cover: 272 pages

random excerpt:  Some of what made that year hard for me was me.  I was becoming like the women relatives I remembered from my childhood who would spend all day making Thanksgiving dinner and then get mad at the diners who were done in ten minutes, not nearly as thankful as they goddamn well should have been. (p.86)

summary/synopsis (from the TLC website):  Newly arrived in Seattle, Darlene Barnes stumbles on a job ad for a cook at the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity on the University of Washington, Seattle, campus, a prospect most serious food professionals would automatically reject.  But Barnes envisions something other than kegs and corn dogs; she sees an opportunity to bring fresh, real food to an audience accustomed to “Asian Surprise” and other unidentifiable casseroles dropped by a catering service.  And she sees a chance to reinvent herself, by turning a maligned job into meaningful work of her own creation: “I was the new girl and didn’t know or care about the rules.”

In HUNGRY: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me about Life, Love and the Power of Good Food naively expecting a universally appreciative audience,  Barnes finds an exasperatingly challenging environment: the kitchen is nasty, the basement is scary, and the customers are not always cooperative.  Undaunted, she gives as good as she gets with these foul-mouthed and irreverent—but also funny and sensitive—guys.  Her passion for real food and her sharp tongue make her kitchen a magnet for the brothers, new recruits, and sorority girls tired of frozen dinners.

Laugh-out-loud funny and poignant, HUNGRY offers a female perspective on the real lives of young men, tells a tale of a woman’s determined struggle to find purpose, and explores the many ways that food feeds us.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Homemade Potato Chips w/ Blue Cheese Sauce {#SundaySupper: tailgating}

Homemade Potato Chips w/ Blue Cheese Sauce {#SundaySupper: tailgating} | www.girlichef.com
Do you normally think chips when contemplating tailgate eats?  I don't.  But I'm not sure why.  I guess my mind naturally gravitates towards mains and heartier side dishes, but in reality, there's almost always a bag or two of chips tucked into mix somewhere.  So instead of making them an after thought, I decided that they were going to be the star today!

Homemade potato chips, simple as they are, can easily steal the show.  That pure potato taste...the salty crunch...the endless variations that can be made to suit your tastes.  Plus, you can make them in advance, let them cool, and store them in huge containers that are just ready to grab-and-go when you are.

The real secret to good hand-cut potato chips, though?  It's a mandoline.  A mandoline allows for potato-after-endless-potato of beautiful, thin slices.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Buttermilk Chicken Kebabs w/ Chopped Salad {#WeekdaySupper}

Buttermilk Chicken Kebabs w/ Chopped Salad | www.girlichef.com
When in doubt, put it on a stick.  Everybody loves food on a stick!  Aside from being fresh and healthy, this meal is both quick and inexpensive, as well.

I like to buy the extra large family packs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs - especially when they are on sale.  Usually I'll wind up dividing the thighs up into smaller portions...maybe a pound or two per freezer bag.  That way, I can pull out what I need, when I need it.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lavender Lemon Bars

Lavender Lemon Bars | www.girlichef.com
What does one do when one receives an entire case of beautiful, sunny Limoneira lemons?  One makes lemon bars, of course!  Now, I don't live in a climate that allows for an abundance of citrus trees.  I'm sure there are a few scattered about, being nurtured inside of a warm porch or a green house.  But that is neither here nor there.

So, when I had the opportunity to dive into three varieties of lemons that were shipped right to my front door, I got down to business.  These gorgeous lemon bars, tinged with the scent of lavender buds, disappeared in short order (plus, I shared some with the neighbors).  And while I have a favorite lemon bars recipe, this version nips forcefully at its heels in competition!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles {#SummerOfThePopsicle Guest Post: The Messy Baker}

Who's Holding the Stick:  This week I am happy to have another one of my Sunday Supper friends taking over the Summer of the Popsicle!  Please help me welcome the sweet, talented Jennie of The Messy Baker today.  And I couldn't be more excited that Jennie is ushering in the flavors of Fall with these tempting pops!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles {a #SummerOfThePopsicle guest post: The Messy Baker} | www.girlichef.com
Hi, girlichef fans! My name is Jennie. I'm the author, baker, and spatula licker over at The Messy Baker. I'm here today to bring you a frozen treat on a stick. Since we're nearing the end of summer and fall is right around the corner, I decided to make a frozen treat using one of my favorite ingredients--pumpkin!

Soon pumpkin will be all the rage. It will trickle in slowly at first. You'll see a few pumpkin recipes here and there. Then--bam!-- pumpkin everything. There will be copious amounts of pumpkin recipes as far as the eye can see. I'm a lover of pumpkin, so it's cool. I don't mind it one bit. The hardest part for me is choosing which delicious recipe to try first. I'm not going to lie, I try to pack in as many pumpkin recipes as I can before the season is over and I'm left to wait an entire year before having it again.

One of my very favorite pumpkin recipes is pumpkin cheesecake. It's only Squirrel and I, so baking a pumpkin cheesecake for just the two of us isn't ideal. So, I did the next best thing... I made pumpkin cheesecake popsicles. They taste just like cheesecake, only they're individual and frozen. I even made them healthier by using a mixture of low-fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt. I sweetened the frozen treats with all-natural maple syrup and my homemade vanilla syrup (store-bought vanilla syrup will work just fine). The result is creamy popsicle perfection without the guilt.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles {a #SummerOfThePopsicle guest post: The Messy Baker} | www.girlichef.com
You're going to love these popsicles. They're velvety smooth and oh so creamy. They taste just like their cheesecake counterpart, only healthier and individually frozen.

The popsicle mixture only takes minutes to whip together and a few hours in the freezer to set up.

I used pumpkin pie spice to add that classic fall flavor that I look forward to months before fall even arrives. The warm spices contrast perfectly with the cold pumpkin mixture.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles {a #SummerOfThePopsicle guest post: The Messy Baker} | www.girlichef.com
These frozen treats are perfect for the warm days of September, yet they taste like the warm, spicy flavors of fall. Enjoy!

A big thank you to Heather for having me over for popsicles!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles

a guest post from Jennie Phaneuf of The Messy Baker
Prep Time: 4 hours 10 mins
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: dessert snack nut-free soy-free vegetarian cream cheese pumpkin frozen popsicles summer fall

Ingredients (6 popsicles)
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, at room-temperature
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (fat-free or 2%)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
Instructions
In a large bowl, add cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Using a hand mixer, whisk until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth.

Add the maple syrup, vanilla syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and milk. With your mixer on low, slowly whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

Pour the mixture into your popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Popsicles {a #SummerOfThePopsicle guest post: The Messy Baker} | www.girlichef.com
Summer of the Popsicle 2Oh my gosh, Jennie - I have never had a pumpkin popsicle...I need to remedy that pronto!  These sound amazing, I love the cheesecake/pumpkin combo...and I am SO ready for the flavors of Fall.

If you want to see what other delicious treats Jennie is bringing to the table, head on over and see her at her place, The Messy Baker - or visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or Instagram.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Orange Marmalade Salmon {#30DaysofFamilyHealth w/ @AMDiabetesBooks}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the ADA in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY. All opinions are 100% my own.
Orange Marmalade Salmon | www.girlichef.com
A few times during the month of September, I will be featuring a cookbook straight out of the ADA's (American Diabetes Association) library.  I will be one of 12 twelve bloggers sharing these books and some of the recipes within.  Today I would like to introduce you to The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook by Robyn Webb, M.S.

This cookbook is all about the ability to make healthy, wholesome, diabetes friendly meals using true convenience foods to cut down on time.  Or if you're not so handy with a knife.  What does this mean?  Well, it means using frozen shrimp or veggies.  It means raiding the salad bar for ingredients.  And it means using items from the pantry like canned beans, grains, pastas, and tomato products - as well as having a good stock of vinegar, spices, and oils.

Webb aims to make this book an everyday tool, of sorts.  A book to hang out in your kitchen, and help you with your menu planning.  With a nod towards reducing waste (by purchasing only what you'll need), as well as balancing flavors to create dishes that are not only economical, but also delicious.
Orange Marmalade Salmon {#30DaysOfFamilyHealth} | www.girlichef.com
Now, you may be asking... Why do I need this book if I don't have diabetes?  My answer is simple - knowledge is power.  It's never too early to implement healthy eating habits.  Inside this book, you'll find little bonus pages filled with great information such as a crash-course on how to decipher what you see on labels at the grocery store (sugar free vs. no sugar added, without sugar, and no sugar added vs. reduced sugar).  Or learn some must-have basic items for keeping a well-stocked pantry.  Plus, a very cool chapter dedicated to menu planning.  In addition, each recipe comes with an Exchanges/Choices nutritional chart.

Speaking of the recipes, there are (as usual) about a ton that I have marked to try.  A few of those recipes are Refried Bean Soup, Chickpeas with Greens Soup, Garlicky Chickpea Soup, Roasted Cherry Tomato and Red Pepper Penne, and Gingersnap Peaches.  A few.  But the one that I decided that I wanted to make first was this Orange Marmalade Salmon!
Orange Marmalade Salmon | www.girlichef.com
The Orange Marmalade Salmon comes comes from the Cans, Boxes, and Jars from the Shelves chapter.  Webb points out that stocking a good variety of sugar-free jams and preserves is good for more than just your morning toast.  Orange Marmalade is a favorite of mine anyway, but I did have to go out and purchase a sugar-free variety (Smuckers...it uses Splenda).   Don't feel like orange is the only option here - choose apricot or peach, if you like.  Any of them would marry quite nicely with the mustard and spices used to as a glaze for the salmon.

The verdict?  YUM.  I served it alongside some sprouted quinoa and a salad with ingredients fresh from our road-side stands!  It makes me feel ridiculously mature and proud of myself when I eat meals like this.

Orange Marmalade Salmon

by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Keywords: bake broil entree sugar-free Diabetic-friendly fish salmon

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1/2 cup sugar free orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 (4 ounce) salmon filets
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Cover a broiler tray with foil. Coat foil with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the marmalade, mustard, ginger, cumin, and coriander.

Arrange the salmon filets on the broiler tray. Brush with half of the marmalade mixture. Roast the salmon for about 6-7 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil. Brush the remaining marmalade mixture over the salmon and broil for about 4-5 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

    Exchanges/Choices
1/2 Carbohydrate | 3 Lean Meat | 1 Fat | Calories 225 | Calories from Fat 90 | Total Fat 10.0 g | Saturated Fat 1.8 g | Trans Fat 0.0 g |  Cholesterol 80 mg | Sodium 150 mg | Potassium 380 mg | Total Carbohydrate 11 g |  Dietary Fiber 4 g | Sugars 1 g | Protein 25 g | Phosphorus 260 mg
Orange Marmalade Salmon | www.girlichef.com
This post is part of the 30 Days of Family Health program sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  The best prevention for diabetes is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, making healthy choices, and developing good habits at a young age.

Over the month of September, Kitchen PLAY and a group of 12 bloggers (myself included) will be featuring Healthy Family Recipes that come from the ADA library of heart-healthy, diabetic-friendly cookbooks.  Be sure to check the Kitchen PLAY page weekly for new featured recipes, and head over to the full online ADA catalog and use discount code: KITCHEN2013 for 25% off all books through October 4, 2013.

Head on over to the Kitchen PLAY Facebook page to enter the ADA #30DaysofFamilyHealth giveaway.  Five winners will receive their choice of three of the five cookbooks involved in the series plus a $50 Visa gift card.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing {#SundaySupper: Labor Day}

Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing {#SundaySupper: Labor Day} | www.girlichef.com
For me, corn on the cob is the epitome of summer.  I could eat my weight in it.  And it's always that way.  There are photos of me in our old family albums with golden sun-kissed skin and sun bleached hair, going full-out typewriter on some corn.  It's like a rite of passage.  Summer is not truly summer until there are sweet corn stands and signs on every other block.

I have some awesome neighbors who love food almost as much as we do in our house.  I'm often handed buckets full of maitake mushrooms that they've spent the day foraging for in the woods.  Sometimes it's an armload of ginormous cucumbers, or a grocery bag with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, habañeros, and zucchini all tumbled in and vying for their spot.
Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing {#SundaySupper: Labor Day} | www.girlichef.com
A few weeks ago, I came home to find a couple dozen ears of sweet corn stacked on the table next to my side door.  And a week or so later, they brought over another bag full of the slender green-husked, plump-kerneled corn.

For the most part, we've been sliding them into the fire pit or lining them up on the grill.  Enjoying them as nature intended.  But since we were gifted with such delicious abundance, I've been using the cobs in other ways, as well.
Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing {#SundaySupper: Labor Day} | www.girlichef.com
This is the perfect side dish to make during your Labor Day cookout.  If you're firing up the grill anyway, throw some ears of corn onto the fire.  If you have everything else chopped up and whisked together, all you have to do is slice the warm corn from the grilled cobs and toss everything together.

Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: grill salad side vegetarian dairy-free nut-free soy-free corn onions mint cucumber July 4th Labor Day American summer

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 5 ears fresh corn, in the husk
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Instructions
Grill your corn on a hot grill (when the coals have just turned gray or medium-high on a gas grill), in the husks, until husks are charred all over, ~15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel back the husks, taking the silk with them. Stand the corn cobs upright on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut straight down, slicing the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until fully combined. Add the corn, onion, cucumber, bell pepper, and mint; toss gently until everything is coated.

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

     -slightly adapted from The Tailgaters Cookbook by David Joachim.
Grilled Corn Salad w/ Honey-Lime Dressing {#SundaySupper: Labor Day} | www.girlichef.com
The #SundaySupper team, hosted by DB of Crazy Foodie Stunts, has a great menu this week.  It's packed full of last-minute ideas for your Labor Day celebration tomorrow!  Break out your grills and your coolers.

Refreshing Drinks
Amazing Appetizers and Sides
Enviously Good Entreés
Delicious Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementSo tell me, do you cook-out for Labor Day?  Is it Potluck-style or do you want to do it all yourself (or have somebody do it all)?  Let me know your favorite Labor Day dishes in the comments section.  Please join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the #SundaySupper hashtag, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest.