photo by Natalie Senecal of Oh Shoot Photos.
What did you do with your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Have a second helping? Freeze it? Or did you say “what leftovers”? This Thanksgiving I already had two leftover turkey dishes in mind: Turkey Salad Sandwiches and Turkey Rice & Vegetable Soup. Both turned out awesome! Why? As in the last few years, I prepared the turkey in a crockpot. A crockpot? Yes. The turkey is easy to prepare, requires no basting, easy to clean up and most of all the meat was moist and delicious. No dry white meat. And in case you are wondering, our crockpot is 8 quarts and snugly fit an 11-pound turkey. That was plenty for our family. Second, the broth/stock that came out of the crockpot was incredible. Better than anything from a can and not as salty. All this talk about food is making me hungry. So here are the two recipes to check out. Enjoy!
8 ounces turkey breast, shredded and chopped
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 organic Gala apple, diced
1 stalk organic celery, diced
1 cup walnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a large bowl, add the turkey, raisins, diced apple, lemon juice and celery. Mix well.
Spread the shelled walnuts evenly on a cutting board. Using a glass, metal or ceramic bowl, crush the walnuts. Be sure to press the bowl down at a slight angle away from you. Why do I crush the walnuts? To make them into smaller bite sizes and to extract a little oil. This will add to the creaminess of the turkey salad.
Next add the walnuts, mayonnaise and yogurt. Mix thoroughly. Why did I add both mayonnaise and yogurt? I ran out of mayonnaise. Plus I feel that yogurt gives it a fresher and brighter taste.
Your turkey salad is ready to enjoy.
16 ounces turkey meat (shredded and chopped)
1 cup rice, dry
3 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks organic celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
5 cups homemade turkey stock
7 cups water
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place a large pot on the stove top and set heat to medium-high. Add olive oil, onions and garlic. Saute for about 1 minute.
Next add the celery and carrots. Cook for about 5 five minutes, mixing frequently.
Add turkey, spices, stock and water. FYI my stock was super concentrated, very gelatinous and flavorful. So depending on your palette you may want to add more or less water at this point. This will also affect the consistency of the soup.
Bring to boil. Once boiling, add rice, lower heat to simmer and cover with lid. I let it simmer for about 90 minutes. The rice broke down more than I wanted to, but all in all I thought it was a success.
Middleton Co-op’s September/October publication has some great coupons and recipe ideas. Their Autumn Harvest Pizza was a definite winner. This past Sunday, Heather and Bruce rolled up their sleeves, tossed some dough and baked up a nice pizza pie. As always, changes were made to the recipe to suit our palettes and what ingredients were available. And guess what? It turned out great! As a matter of fact, our two older boys, Kyle and Bruce, said it was better than any take-out pizza they had before.
3 cups cubed and peeled sweet potatoes
1 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 tbsp Italian spices (marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil and savory)
1 1/2 cups smoked mozzarella cheese (instead of smoked Gouda)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp dried parsley (instead of 2 tbsp fresh)
Instead of drizzling olive oil and salt on the cubed sweet potatoes and baking them in an oven, they were microwaved minus the oil and salt. Also the day before, a few chicken breasts were coated with poultry seasoning, sage and olive oil, then baked in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. After the chicken cooled, one was set aside for the pizza recipe. It was then chopped. What about the other pieces of chicken? One went into my quinoa salad. The other two hadn’t made up their minds yet :-)
The original recipe called for a pre-baked crust. Instead Heather and Bruce followed a pizza crust recipe from Food Network’s Tyler Florence.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Into a small bowl, mix tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of Italian spices. Place pizza crust on a sheet pan and spread tomato paste mixture evenly on the crust. (We did not want it to be dry.) Next top the crust with chopped chicken and cover with mozzarella, walnuts and parsley. Bake for 20 minutes. Just a reminder, every oven is different so be sure to check that the cheese is bubbling and crust is crisp. Slice and ready to serve. Total prep time approximately 1 hour.
Can you say delicious? This was a spur of the moment creation. I referred to the recipe on the back of the noodle package and also borrowed ideas from a few soba noodle recipes online. As always, I modified the recipe to suit my family’s tastes as well as what ingredients we had in our kitchen. Made for a light and tasty side dish. Enjoy!
Ingredients for dressing
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Ingredients for vegetables and noodles
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup mix of yellow and orange carrots, diced
1/4 cup snow peas
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
12 ounces buckwheat noodles
Heat 4-5 quarts of water in large pot. Once boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions. I like my noodles to have a little more chew to them, so I cooked them al dente. Noodles were then drained in a strainer and rinsed under cold water.
Heat peanut oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the chopped red bell peppers and yellow and orange diced carrots. Stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Then add snow peas. Continue to stir and cook for approximately one more minute. Remove skillet from heat and plate vegetables to stop cooking process.
In a small bowl mix together the vinegar, ginger powder, honey and sesame oil until combined. Slowly whisk in the peanut oil until the dressing is emulsified.
In a large bowl add the noodles, carrots, peppers and snow peas. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables and gently mix to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Ready to serve and eat.
Making food fun, eye-catching and appealing isn’t always about the recipe but about the presentation and the platter on which the food is served. Recently Heather bought a chicken-shaped platter with indentations around the edges and a depression in the middle. With a tiny chip on it, the price was reduced by 80%. A good find. The indentations were intended for deviled eggs (or at least we hoped so), but we weren’t quite sure what food would go in the middle. Crackers, a dip, veggies? Ah, yes! Vegetables. Heather had just gone shopping at Willy Street Co-op and picked up some organic Brussel sprouts. They look like little cabbages and have somewhat of a similar taste. So that’d what she prepared. Deviled eggs and Brussel sprouts. Very simple, healthy and delicious!
So the next time you’re entertaining guests or are invited to a party or just want to make a family dinner more fun, serve up some whimsy with a clever platter or tray.
Ingredients for Deviled Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup total of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise mixed
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkle with paprika to garnish
Cut hardboiled eggs lengthwise. With a spoon, gently scoop out yolks and place in bowl. Mix well with yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Then refill egg whites with mixture.
Helpful tip: Do not set your filled eggs on serving platter until after you sprinkle them with paprika. Less messy.
For the Brussel Sprouts, we simply boiled them in salted water until tender. We let the flavor speak for itself.
Willy Street Co-op’s monthly publication features many healthy and easy-to-prepare meals in their recipe section. This Spicy Tofu and Bok Choy Rice Bowl makes for a wonderful side dish or as a meal in itself. As always, me made changes according to our palates and what ingredients were available. Enjoy!
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter, plus 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
16 oz firm tofu, pressed and cut into 8 slices
1 large bunch bok choy, trimmed, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups cooked brown rice (we used white)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha, brown sugar, peanut butter and salt until combined. (We left the Sriracha sauce out at this step since we were preparing this for the whole family and my boys can take only so much “heat”. So I added a little bit to my own bowl at the end. Also we halved the amount of brown sugar and omitted the salt since I felt that the soy sauce was salty enough for the dish.) Brush both sides of the slices of tofu with sauce. Some will be left over. Set the tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time.
In a large wok or saute pan, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Stir in bok choy and garlic. (We halved the amount of sesame oil since a little goes a long way. But we did add a couple more cloves of minced garlic. Yum!) Add the remaining peanut sauce and toss to coat. Saute about 5 minutes, or until greens are wilted and stalks are still crisp.
Scoop about one cup of rice into a bowl. Top with bok choy, two slices of baked tofu, crushed peanuts and scallions. Ready to eat!
Healthy recipe ideas often come from friends, family members, cooking magazines or just doing searches online. Yesterday my wife read Little Red Riding Hood by Lisa Campbell Ernst to our 4 year-old, Roy, for the umpteenth time. It’s a fun adaptation of the story I remember as a child. In this version, muffins play a significant role. And as luck would have it, there is Grandma’s Wheat Berry Muffins recipe conveniently placed at the end of the book. Heather and Roy took to the task of following the recipe while making some changes along the way. Primarily reducing the amount of sugar and fat. As Official Taste Tester of the Foxman household, I had to try one as soon as they came out of the oven. Fantastic! Unlike so many muffins you get at the grocery store or even some bakeries, these were not super sugary. The fresh blueberries offered the perfect amount of sweetness. The wheat flour added a nice hearty flavor and what I like to call “chew factor”. The sunflower seeds were the biggest surprise. They gave the muffins a nice texture and buttery flavor as I thoroughly chewed each bite. Very satisfying. Lastly, what made this muffin recipe a success for me was that my GI system did not react negatively. No bloat and no gas. Fortunately or unfortunately, my system is quite sensitive to oily and fatty foods. I guess that’s helpful for weight management. Another lastly, is that these muffins were the perfect size. When it comes to treats, don’t you just want a taste anyhow? Not an entire bowl or plate full. This recipe gets two thumbs up and I hope you give it a try!
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup organic applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups organic blueberries
1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflowers
Turn oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, butter, applesauce, sugar and almond extract. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet/egg mixture and stir just until combined. Gently stir in the blueberries and sunflower seeds. Fill oiled muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. These muffins taste best when shared. Makes twelve.
The July 2017 magazine The Costco Connection featured a healthy and delicious quinoa recipe that reminded me of Thanksgiving stuffing. Since we had just picked up a 4.5 lb bag of organic quinoa, I thought we should give it a try. Why quinoa? It has nice flavor, it’s easy-to-prepare and is high in protein. To suit our palettes and to feed a ravenous family of five, I modified the recipe. So here you go!
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 lb grilled chicken, chopped (I used boneless thigh meat which was grilled with poultry seasoning and dried thyme.)
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup celery, diced
1 small red onion, minced
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
garnish with fresh thyme (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil (extra virgin if you have some)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
The recipe also called for 1 tsp of sugar and minced garlic which I omitted. I felt that the white wine vinegar and cherries would add enough sweetness (which they did) and raw garlic has a tendency to make me burp.
Rinse and drain quinoa in a strainer. Bring water and quinoa to boil in medium/large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. Then add chicken pieces, cherries, walnuts, celery and minced onion. [This is a change from the original recipe that calls for adding the chicken, cherries, celery and onion after the quinoa has cooled. I wanted to slightly rehydrate the cherries and warm the celery and onions so their flavor was milder.] Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and let cool.
Place the cooled quinoa mixture in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, white white vinegar and black pepper. Pour over salad. Toss well to coat.
Ready to serve, eat and enjoy!
Boy, my clients keep getting younger and younger. Just for fun, I thought I’d share a pic from 2008 of my oldest son and me. Now Kyle, 12 going on 20 years old, wears a men’s size 8 shoe. Half a size to go and he’s caught me. Ugh!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Feeling tired? Then exercise.
Stressed from work? Exercise.
Muscles stiff? Exercise.
Feeling bored? Exercise.
Bad night’s sleep? Exercise.
Want to get in shape? Exercise.
Yes, the answer is exercise. Sure there are times when you want to crash on the couch and veg or just go to bed early. I totally get it. I’ve been there myself. If you are tired, though, you should ask yourself if your fatigue is physical or mental or emotional or a combination of the three. If it is physical fatigue, is it because you are in construction and worked on a roof all day or were installing hard wood floors or laying concrete? Or is it physical due to inactivity from siting all day in an uncomfortable chair, practically motionless, dehydrated with your muscles shortening from lack of movement. If it’s the latter, that’s when you should get to the gym, go for a swim or spend time doing yard work. Now let me clarify, if you have sustained a serious injury or are wiped out with pneumonia, then see your doctor, rest and have some of mom’s chicken soup.
Think for a moment when you’re feeling your best. Do you feel your best when you’re working on a project with your boss emailing you every hour? Or is it going for a walk, stretching your muscles, getting blood flowing, feeling warm and enjoying the fresh air? If you haven’t figured it out by now, your body isn’t meant to be in a sitting or standing position for too long. It’s meant to move. And in a variety of ways. Not just sitting there behind the wheel of your car or staring at a screen and assuming what I like to call the T-Rex position. You know? Head forward, neck bent, upper back rounded and fingertips resting on your keyboard or hands close together cradling your phone.
Of course, there’s different kinds of exercise: from walking to running to hiking to cross country skiing to cycling to surfing to paddle boarding to stretching to all types of sports to lifting weights to . . .you get the idea. How do you feel when you’re done exercising? Energized? Ready to take on the world? Totally spent? I have had countless workouts where I have exercised to the point of exhaustion, barely able to walk . . . but feel like I have better mental clarity and that I have cleansed my body and soul of anything negative.
People have talked about Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan ad nauseam. And I’m not the last. To me the slogan is about moving forward, getting your head in the game, overcoming fear, looking at the big picture, achieving your goals. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, I believe it’s about doing something. Just exercise. Unless of course you are training for a very specific sport or have specific lifting goals. Otherwise, all you’re really trying to do is strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, reduce body fat, improve your coordination and enhance blood flow. And that can be accomplished by any number of activities and/or workout programs which include light weights or heavy weights, high intensity training or low intensity training, workout machines or stretch cords, free weights or your own body weight, low repetition or high repetition, short duration or long duration. At the end of the day, it all depends what you like to do and will do consistently.
So, as luck would have it, the other day my back was screaming at me. Quick reminder, I’ve been in a couple car accidents and have had some serious sports related injuries. Boo-hoo. Okay, for whatever reason, my back started tightening up on me first thing in the morning. Very uncomfortable. When I was done with my personal training sessions at 7pm, I downed a cup of coffee and headed out the door to the gym. As always I started with some light cardio and calisthenics. My back was talking to me but shouting a bit less. I moved on to some core and resistance exercises. By the time I was done, in under an hour, I was feeling much better. My big concern was how I’d feel the next day. The answer? Well it is the next day and I feel waaaaaay better. Was it a particular exercise that I did? I don’t think so. It was more about moving around and doing something for myself. It’s called exercise. So when you’re feeling a little crappy, don’t grab a cold beverage, don’t marinate on FaceBook and don’t sit on the couch. EXERCISE! Your body will thank you for it.