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September 2013

not just for the holidays {maple basted roast turkey}

visions of five-am-wake-up-calls, endless trips across the house to baste, dry breasts and mushy stuffing haunt my Thanksgiving nightmares.  as a new bride, i was terrified to host my first family holiday because i was sure i would repeat the culinary mishaps of one family member or fail miserably to live up to the brilliance of another. i got through it, but i confess, i’ve only made a handful of “real turkeys” in my years of keeping my own home.  till now.

 maple basted turkey_C

it’s not even the holidays yet, so why would i attempt this of my own free will?  the turketarian campaign has got me trying all sorts of turkey recipes, and when i saw the words maple, cranberry, and pan-gravy, i had to give the recipe a go.

maple basted turkey_B

maple basted turkey_2WM

it wasn’t a bit hard.  i felt like such a grown-up pulling out the insides (um, there may or may not have been an issue with knowing to do this on a years-earlier occasion resulting in the loss of a turkey.  an entire turkey.)  it didn’t require endless trips to baste – there was no big plunger-looking-tool involved.  we drizzled maple syrup (yes, pure maple syrup heaven) over the top twice while roasting.  and this was juicy, with a crispy, savory-sweet skin.  i used the “innards,” as grandma used to say, to make turkey broth.  and can i tell you we had leftovers with joy to make casserole (recipe to come soon), egg scramble, and turkey-salad?  make this… go here to see how.  🙂  you’re welcome.

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on family time {caprese style grilled chicken breasts}

i love the “sunday supper” campaign idea.  something about it rings back to old-fashioned family time, laughter, real conversation, and always good food.  i remember my grandma making a feast to feed three times the number of attendees, and sitting down to be “fed, fat, and happy.”  now we try to make nourishing and delicious meals, and we try to do it as a team… if it’s not in the slow-cooker, we often pick up a rotisserie chicken and pick it apart, dropping onto a salad piled high with farmer’s-market harvested veggies.

caprese style grilled chicken_3

this meal had the fastest-ever prep time, super-fast cook time.  my only critique: if you know me, you know i’m not a huge fan of the frozen chicken breast.  next time, it’ll be whole breasts, fired over the grill.  somehow it seems to need the bones and the skin to give it the richness of flavor for my liking.

caprese style grilled chicken_1

i’m pretty sure i could prep this and have it all ready to pop on the grill when we arrive home from church, or from basketball, or from a relaxing couple hours at the beach.

oh yes!  we served ours with garlicky roasted green beans!  next time i might do spaghetti squash – i’d roast it and then pull it apart to replace the pasta.  this time was quick-and-easy!  ready to make it for your sunday supper?  click here for the recipe.  🙂

  caprese style grilled chicken_4

what are your sunday supper traditions?

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{paleo} black forest cookies with coconut

these are good.  i’m not bragging.  ok, maybe i am.  a little.

paleo black forest cookies b FB

eating cleaner is becoming a choice all the kids are getting behind, and i can actually now say, “go make a paleo snack,” and the kids know where to look.  i’m getting braver at experimenting with unusual (formerly, at least, to me!) ingredients like cacao nibs and hemp seeds.

nutty dark chocolate cranberry cookies_8

i’m trying to feed teenagers.  athlete-teenagers.  and a ten year old who has biceps already.  and does not stop eating.  i mean it!  so i’m forever looking at ways to add healthy fat and protein and fiber.  i decided to add coconut and hemp to this cookie recipe.

nutty dark chocolate cranberry cookies_11

did i make them look as good as they are?  because these are good.  did i say that already?  don’t you want to make them?  here you go!

Paleo Black Forest Cookies With Coconut


3 cups nut flour (almond, pecan, walnut, chestnut)

1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut (shredded)

1/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup (warm to room temperature)

2 eggs



Stir together flour, coconut, cranberries, chocolate chips, nibs, sea salt and soda, and seeds.  In a separate bowl, beat liquid ingredients.  Stir together and drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking-mat-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cookies are done when the top no longer looks wet and they are slightly firm.  Enjoy!!!

and the coolest part?  when you’ve had a couple one, you don’t feel like you’ve just destroyed your chances at ever being svelte.  🙂

oh, and in case you were wondering, here are some facts about hemp  (taken directly from Body Ecology):

What is Hemp, Really?

Hemp seeds come from the plant Cannibus sativa L. Sound kind of familiar? In fact, the hemp plant is often confused with the marijuana plant because they are of the same family (Cannibus) and closely resemble one another. Because of this, hemp has had a checkered past and the debate continues even today.

The hemp “seed” is actually an achene: a simple dry fruit with a hard shell, just like sunflower seeds. It is considered one of the most versatile and economical plants, with many uses from food to biofuel.

Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are nutrient-powerhouses containing:

All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.

  • A high protein percentage of thesimple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.2Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.3
  • Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil. 4
  • A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
  • A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.
  • A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
  • The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids5


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