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  1. 50 Shades of Gray’s Anatomy

    February 26, 2015 by Barb

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    I woke up just lying there. My hand searched for my underpants and I was still bewildered as to what had happened. I called over and over for my husband. He arrived by my side with tears shining in his beautiful blue eyes, kissed my lips and told me he loved me.

    Do you think you are reading an excerpt from a spicy book that is now making millions in the box office? (Seriously, that is making millions???) Nope, this is more like 50 Shades of Gray’s Anatomy! This was the scene that played out in the hospital.

    I’m going to deviate a little from food for today to keep my regular readers updated on my recent health issues. I had surgery last week to (hopefully) solve some of the complications I’ve been having with my Crohn’s disease.

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    Lately, all food has become my enemy. I’ve been suffering with horrible stomachaches, loss of appetite and other obstacles. (It is a GI disease so you can use your imagination.)

    Having surgery again was one of the last things I really wanted to do but part of me had stopped living. Food, my joy, was the last thing I wanted to be around or think about and I was actually getting mad at life. (I did threaten one doctor that I was going to go on a popcorn bender and end it all.)

    We spoke to plenty of doctors and finally came to the conclusion that we needed to do something now before it turned into another emergency operation like I experienced 2 years ago.

    With some bits and pieces moved about and a little snippet taken out, this operation will be cure to what has been ailing me. (If they put my picture in Gray’s Anatomy, it would look like a Picasso.)

    Real life of a food blogger not always a lot of fun

    Real life of a food blogger not always so glamorous and fun.

    We were fortunate to have one of the most beautiful views from a hospital room of the city of Chicago and a great team helping us.

    This was the view from my bed!

    This was the view from my bed!

    I say “we” and “us” because my caretaker/husband is going through every bit of this with me. He has held my hand, made me laugh and has been keeping up on all the aftercare, as I am not able to do much for myself these days.

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    My diet is also going to be kind of dull the next couple of weeks so I am not sure how that is going to rollover onto Felt Like a Foodie but I am hoping to keep posting.

    First meal the day after surgery…clear was the theme!

    First meal the day after surgery…they were out of brodo.

    This will never be the story of a best selling novel or a box office hit but I will be happy to go back to the normal we know and having my anatomy off the table!

    Thank you for your support and I can’t wait until I am having foodie fun days again.

     


  2. Liquid Diet Liberation

    February 22, 2015 by Barb

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    I am not someone who follows any kind of specific diet. I’m not paleo, gluten-free or low sodium. I don’t watch my sugars or fat intake. Right now with the state of my Crohn’s, whatever doesn’t make me sick, is usually on my menu. (And keeps me a size 00!)

    But every now and then I do have to follow the dreaded clear liquid diet. When I hear that news, I usually scream silently “Nooooooo.” Do you know what a clear liquid diet is? It is friggin’ cubes of flavored gelatin or broth!!!! (I also get grumpy when I am on liquids, can you tell?)

    No offense to the very nice people who make gelatin desserts but years of liquid diets make me want to fling those bowls against the wall. Those silly little lumps are so bouncy that they just come flying back at me. It is an evil, evil cycle. (And it is hard to get off of the walls.)

    I used to feel the same way about broth BUT the food gods are throwing me a bone this year. Or should I say bone broth? Because I have been reading that cups of fancy broth are actually one of the newest trends.

    It is going by the Italian name for broth (brood) and in New York there is even a restaurant called Brodo. (I owe this chef (Marco Canora) a hug because his shop is genius!) The menu is filled with “sipping broths” that have actually made my mouth water reading the description.   I like that they also offer add ins like garlic puree, ginger juice and bone marrow. (I haven’t been there but it will be on my list if I ever travel to NY.)

    There is a little banter going on that all brodo is just stock and stock is brodo….but it is so much more. A good brodo, from what I understand, is a way of making “stock” or “broth” by first roasting the bones and then SLOLWY cooking them with your veggies and water for hours and hours and hours.

    This process actually breaks down the bones more so more nutrients are released. (I’m not a nutritionist but this whole feeling like I am doing this for trendy health reasons is making my liquid diet better.)

    I know there are naysayers (probably the same people who like gelatin) but this past weekend I made some good old-fashioned chicken brodo for my liquid days this week.

    Small disclaimer….I don’t think I really made it the properly new fashionable way. I kind of cheated. I literally stuck a chicken in my slow cooker with water and veggies and let it cook. I did do it for hours and hours and hours.

    I had the full intention of roasting some bones but my energy is just shot these days and I couldn’t accomplish that task.

    BUT my result may be good enough for the folks around here to keep their fingers crossed that one day we will have a Brodo drive-up window in our county one day. (We love our drive-ups around here.)

    I did the richer color that I’ve seen from true broods and I did get the desired gelatinous result when it cooled. (If it cools thicker, that is rumored to be a sign that more of the bones nutrients have seeped into your broth.)

    Also note that I did NOT add more than a sprinkle of salt. Since I need to make this broth taste different in my many meals, I wanted to season it as I ate it. I wanted to avoid making it taste like water and bouillon.

    So for today’s lunch, I popped open one of my containers, added a splash of ponzu and a dash of sriracha. I tasted it after it warmed up and did add a very small sprinkle of salt. It did not need much.

    And I’m going to say something; I don’t think I’ve ever said….this liquid diet will doable and be pretty dang good. I felt completely full after I drank my bowl. It was so flavorful!! I genuinely felt like this was my choice to eat for lunch and not my assignment.

    I hope I will be back on my regular diet soon but given this is my refrigerator, I may not be as devastated. I feel like this has liberated me from a really bad food day. (Now if someone would only make gelatin fancy!)

    Chicken Broth/Brodo (Whatever you want to call it)

    Ingredients

    1 roasting chicken 2-3 pounds, break it down and if you have time….roast the bones

    1 onion, quartered

    4 carrots cut into big chunks

    2 stalks of celery cut in fourths

    1 Parmesan rind

    Misc. fresh herbs (I had some sage and thyme so I tossed it in too)

    Water

    Sprinkle of salt (you can season more when you eat it)

    Directions

    In a large 6-quart slow cooker, add chicken, veggies and herbs. Cover with water. Make sure there is some space between the lid and the top BUT keep that chicken covered in water!

    Set on low and cook 12-24 hours!

    Around 8 hours, I pulled the chicken apart more since it was more manageable.   Some of the meat was good enough to put aside and use in a chicken salad or something like that.

    I let the carcass continue cooking and strained it. I did take a quick taste and will have to season it more before I eat it. Remember you can’t take the saltiness out but you can always put more in!

    I put it in smaller containers and let it cool in the refrigerator. This allowed me to get some of the “bad” fat off the top.

    Now I still have to be careful right now to keep my brodo clear so I can obey the doctor’s orders.  I am looking forward to when I am back on solids so I can make up some broth and serve it with some tortellini or pasting.

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  3. Dog in a Goat’s World

    February 19, 2015 by Barb

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    Do you prefer peace? Are you most comfortable at home? Are you artistic but resistant to change? If so, this is your year!

    It is Chinese New Year and the Year of the Goat…or is that a Sheep? I think people lean towards the sheep because sheep are so cute and cuddly. I like to say goat because I’ve kissed a goat and it has bonded me to these ruminants for the rest of my life. (Ruminant is your word for the day. Ruminants are cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes and other one-toed ungulates. These are the guys who chew the cud that is…um, regurgitated from their stomach. Wow…I need to be more careful what I kiss.)

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    Any way you say it, it is time to start looking at the Chinese zodiac. I remember going to a place called Cliff and Tommy’s. Now that I think of it, I am not sure that was the real name. (If that was the real name, I am not sure it would be my first choice for Chinese food.) Even though we had been there a lot, the first thing we would do is look at the Chinese zodiac place mat.

    As kids (as in children…not little baby goats), we would examine it expecting a different answer. It never changed but it was always exciting to read the descriptions and giggle at the personality traits that matched up.

    One of my sisters was a Rooster (responsible, thinker, critical, ambitious) and the other sister is the Goat (calm, gentle, thoughtful, social).

    I was born during the Year of the Dog. Apparently, I am supposed to be rigid, strong, determined and sharp tongued. Sharp Tongue? Rigid?? ME??!! Never.

    Okay…it is spot on for all of us. Goat Sister right now is laughing at her Rooster and Dog sisters. She is thinking how great is that she was born under the lucky sign of the goat which inevitably made her nicer than us. (She is not a one-toed ungulate…. I’ve seen her feet but she head butts like a goat.)

    But guess what, the year of the goat can be good for all of us. For me, the dog sister, it is going to be my year of harmony. Hooray! I am going to learn how to sing. Oh wait, that is not the harmony the Chinese zodiac was talking about.

    This is the year when dogs can finally find some peace and oneness with things that usually make them…um…not so nice. (I also think this may be the year of the unicorn and all things imaginary because it will take a magical being trotting across my yard for me to hold my tongue….all year!)

    The Year of the Goat “forecast” says Year of the Dog people (me) will get a burst of creativity. Like this innovative blog where I’m talking about Chinese New Year and Zodiac signs as fun transition to a noodle stir-fry I learned the other week!

    This was inspired from my ramen class (which can be debated whether ramen are more Chinese than Japanese). It was also inspired by the Chinese theory of cleaning things out to push out the bad luck and make room for the good luck of the New Year. I am not sure if my kitchen drawers are what they were talking about but it did make a good stir-fry so I feel lucky about that!  (And no…I didn’t use goat or sheep…that would be baaaaaad!)

    Happy New Year Stir Fry

    8 ounce cooked noodles (Use what you can find ramen, spaghetti, fettuccine)

    3 zucchini, sliced

    1 onion, sliced

    1 yellow pepper

    ½ pound thinly cut beef

    10 ounces of spinach

    2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

    ½ cup chicken broth

    2 Tbsp soy

    2 tsp toasted sesame oil

    1 tsp Sriracha (you can omit if you don’t like spicy)

    1 tsp garlic

    1 tsp ginger

    Grapeseed oil

    Directions

    In a small bowl, toss beef and hoisin sauce. Let sit at room temperature.

    Mix chicken broth, soy, Sriracha and sesame oil in another bowl and set that aside. (This is your sauce)

    Heat your favorite big sauté pan over medium high and give it a good swirl of grape seed. Sauté the beef in batches, until it caramelizes. Remove, set aside and keep warm.

    Add a little more oil and add your veggies. Depending on your pan size you may need to do this in batches.

    When everything is nice and tender but not mushy, toss in the garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute.

    Now reintroduce the meat, noodles and whatever veggies you may have removed. Add the sauce and cook until it has thickened up. Toss it around with your tongs to make sure everything is coated.

    Serve immediately.

    My intentions when I set out for this dish was to follow the recipe I learned in my Chopping Block class which was a broccoli and mushroom dish and I think it also had oyster sauce. I didn’t have any of that in the house so I just winged it.

    I think the Year of Goat might be right that this will be my year for creativity….but I may have to work on my stories a bit! : )

     

     


  4. Fact Checking Fat Tuesday

    February 16, 2015 by Barb

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    It is funny. Before I write a blog, I try to research the topic to make sure I am being somewhat factual. (Nope, that isn’t the funny part.) I mean, just in case my blog comes up in someone’s search engine on a topic, I want to be considered a good resource. (Still not the funny part.)

    The funny part is that I was looking up information on Fat Tuesday and I really couldn’t find a lot of material that matched. (Maybe that isn’t very funny either.)

    I information pointed it to being the day of feasting before the season of fasting for lent. I got that.

    The roadblock for me was trying to find the exact correlation of Fat Tuesday and how it became synonymous with a crazy celebration in New Orleans. Now I have never been to New Orleans for Mardi gras. I have always felt intimidated that there is a city where it is required to show your chest in order to get jewelry. (I take that back. I’m married and that is the way I get jewelry.)

    As I was reading, I guess Fat Tuesday originated as a day to fill your belly because you were expected to fast for the 40 or 46 days of lent. (The math here was also unclear. Some people count the Sundays, some folks don’t. You decide.)

    We all know no one really fasts for lent anymore. The “fast” part of lent has turned into people sacrificing something “huge” in their lives like chocolate, diet pop or Facebook. (Seriously, I would love to have a chat with a theologian on modern day sacrifices.)

    I can’t be too judgmental. I think the last time I participated in Lent was in the 1970’s and I gave up my blankie. I know it didn’t last for the entirety of lent because giving up blankie was like giving up part of my soul. (Okay, a little dramatic but I was 7 and I loved Blankie.)

    So in all my searching, I did find one thing that seemed to correlate New Orleans and Fat Tuesday.

    “On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras” when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday.”

    (Credit for that quote goes to Mardigrasneworleans.com).

    So I hope folks let me off the hook for not deciphering the connection of Fat Tuesday and New Orleans.   I am neither a historian nor churchgoer. I just needed an excuse to make jambalaya!!

    Risotto Style Jambalaya*

    *I love jambalaya BUT never like how my rice turns out. So when I made it today, I decided to use the techniques I learned on making risotto use it to make some of the creamiest jambalaya I’ve ever had!  I do not claim this to be authentic jambalaya but it had the flavor profile which is what I was looking for!

    Ingredients

    2 Andouille sausages (I use the brand Kayem)

    1 small chicken breast, diced and tossed with 1 tsp of favorite creole seasoning

    8 shrimp (I used some cocktail shrimp we had in the fridge)

    ½ yellow onion, diced

    ½ red pepper, diced (normally you’d use green, but I dislike green)

    1 stalk of celery, diced

    1 tsp garlic, minced

    ½ cup Arborio rice (this you can’t substitute, sorry)

    ¼ cup white wine

    3 cups of vegetable broth, keep warm

    ½ cup of Parmesan, grated

    1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

    Olive oil

    Directions

    In large pot (I use a 5.5 quart one so I have room to maneuver), brown your sausages. Remove from pan, chop, set aside and keep warm. (You are going to warm it all up in the pan again later so make sure you aren’t cooking them and you just have them warming.)

    In the same pan, brown the chicken. Remove from pan and set aside with the sausages.

    If your shrimp aren’t cooked, cook them in the pot real quick and remove them. If they are already cooked, just heat them up in the pan for 30 seconds just to let them absorb some of the fatty goodness left in the pan from the sausage. Remove them, dice them up and put them with the other meat.

    Put a generous swirl of olive in pan, add onions, pepper and celery. Cook until it is just soft but not mushy. Add garlic and cook another minute.

    Add the rice and let it swirl around in pan for about a minute. It should be coated with the other ingredients.

    Add wine and stir until is fully evaporated/absorbed.

    Now here is the key….add about 1 cup of broth. Over medium low heat, stir it until the broth is all absorbed. Make sure your heat isn’t too high so the rice has a chance to absorb the liquid.

    When the broth is absorbed, add more. This is a long process, like 20-25 minutes. You want your rice to be cooked and the sauce to be creamy. You may not need all 3 cups and you may need a little more.

    There are two keys to knowing when it is done. First, taste. If your rice is crunchy, it is not done!

    Next, drag your spoon down the middle of the risotto. Part it like the Red Sea. If it gets all liquidy in the middle, it is not done. If it stays parted and slowly melts back into each side, it is done.

    Remove from heat and stir in cheese, reserved meat and thyme.

    Serve IMMEDIATELY.

    This was time consuming but GOOD!!! Nice to know I have an excuse to eat the whole pot and not feel guilty this week!


  5. Foodie Fun Day: Ramen Workshop at The Chopping Block (and Guest Blog)

    February 13, 2015 by Barb

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    I have a confession. I cheated on Felt Like a Foodie this week. Part of me feels kind of dirty but I also have gotten a rush out of it.

    Don’t worry, I did it safely….I did spell check, grammar check and didn’t do it for a check. (I’m not that kind of blogger!)  I didn’t do anything that bad….I just wrote my first guest blog.

    My favorite place for cooking classes (The Chopping Block in Chicago) asked if I would share one of my recent experiences (the ramen workshop) with their readers.  For me it was part of my celebration of 4 years of writing Felt Like a Foodie.  I am proud of my little blog and this was a great way for me to share my growth with one of the places in the city that has really supported my efforts in cooking at home.

    It was an awesome class (read all about it here and check out their other resourceful blogs).  I learned a ton and it was a great way to spend a cold Sunday. (Sorry to my subscribers who accidentally got the link too early.)  I am practicing what they teach and hope to post my own recipe inspired from what I learned in class!

    The one thing I forgot to say in the post was thank you to my cooking mates Michelle, Anne and Doug. It wouldn’t have been as great as of an experience without you!

     

     


  6. For the Love of Pho

    February 7, 2015 by Barb

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    It is a week before Valentine’s Day so the time is right to tell you of my new love. My beloved is HOT, satisfying and good for me. I want every liaison to last forever and I long for it on my lips.

    It is something I dream about and is the base of many of my fantasies. I am so fond of each experience…I pay for it! (Scandalous!)

    But last week, I found a way to bring my obsession home so I can have it all day and night if I want it. (And I do.) Yep, I finally mastered making Pho. PHO????

    Pho that is pronounced “FUH” like “fun”(hmmm, what other words sound like “fuh”?), is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is like a hug for your stomach.

    The soup typically consists of a beautiful clear broth, rice noodles and herbs/spices. It is usually served with meat (I’ve only had the lean cuts of beef) and a little side garnish plate of bean sprouts, onions (green or white depending on where you are), lime and hot peppers. Plus there is usually an array of condiments like Sriracha and hoisin sauce on the table.

    And like falling in love for the first time, I am obsessed with having it in my life. It is utopia in a bowl and it makes me feel all giggly inside.

    I wanted to have this feeling around me all the time but like a good relationship…it won’t be right unless the base is perfect. I need to figure out the broth.

    If I were dating someone new, I would totally stalk them on the Internet. (Another reason I am glad I am not in the dating world…I would be a nut job.) I did the same thing to Pho broth. I read every article I could find. I found out all the dirty little secrets and the things that would make my broth tick.

    I must say that my hands were sweating and I was nervous as I put this all together but I made broth that satisfied me over and over. (It made a lot!)

    There is a truth to every day should be Valentine’s Day….especially when it involves falling in love with food.

    Pho Noodle Soup with Beef (makes about 4 bowls)

    Broth 

    2 ½ pounds of beef soup bones (neck, marrow, knuckle)

    1 ½ inch piece of ginger, cut lengthwise

    1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half

    2 Tbsp fish sauce

    1 ½ Tbsp sugar

    5 WHOLE star of anise

    3 whole cloves of garlic

    ½ cinnamon stick

    Broth Preparation

    Turn on oven broiler. Place onion and ginger on baking sheet and your goal is to char them. It took my oven about 3 minutes. It should be slightly blackened and fragrant. Peel off crispy black spots and set aside.

    In a piece of cheesecloth, place cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Tie shut and set aside.

    In a LARGE stockpot, bring about 3 quarts of water to a slow boil on one burner. (This pot should be empty except for water!)

    On another burner, fill stockpot with water to just cover the bones. Bring to boil for about 5-10 minutes. This is to clean the bones so you will have a clearer broth.

    Use tongs to move the bones to the other pot.   When water boils, reduce heat to simmer. Skim water.

    Add the charred ginger, onions, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the spice pack and simmer another hour skimming frequently.

    *Now one of the things I read is that people felt that homemade broth was oily. When I tasted it, I would agree. So when it cooled to room temperature, I put it in another container and put it in the fridge….overnight. In the morning, all the fat was on the top and very easy to skim off. Ta-dah.

    Heat it right back up and get your soup fixings ready.

    Soup Ingredients.

    Soup broth (brought up a rolling boil)

    ½ pound of rice stick noodles (not the super skinny ones) cooked and drained

    ½ pound RAW sirloin cut in the thinnest slices possible

    Garnish Plate should have chopped up onions or scallions, cilantro, Thai basil (not regular basil), bean sprouts, thin rings of jalapeno or Serrano chilies, lime slices, Sriracha and hoisin sauce.

    To assemble, divide cooked noodles in 4 bowls.

    Divide raw beef on top (don’t worry the hot broth will cook it immediately if you cut it thin enough)

    Ladle hot broth into each bowl. Serve immediately.

    Here are some hints to keep in mind before you get started:

    -Think ahead. You aren’t going to pull this off in one day. Sorry.

    -Don’t skip the step of charring the onion and ginger.

    -Taste but realize the flavors develop over time so don’t over season in the beginning. You can jazz it up with the garnishes.

    -Freeze your sirloin a little bit before you try slicing it. It will help make slicing it thin easier BUT make sure it isn’t frozen when you put the broth in or it will cool your broth too much.

    I LOVE PHO!!!!! It really is a light and satisfying meal. I’m sure I will tweak this recipe over the years but like all good relationships…change is good as long as you keep the love in it.

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  7. Am I Blue Pasta

    February 4, 2015 by Barb

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    Am I blue, am I blue

    Ain’t these tears in my eyes telling you

    Am I blue, you’d be too

    If each plan with your in-laws done fell through

    Was a time I was their only one

    But now I’m the sad and lonely one, lonely

    Was I happy till today

    Now they’re gone and we’re through, am I blue

    Was I happy till today

    Now they’re gone and we’re through, am I blue

    Oh they’re gone, they left me, am I blue

    When you are fortunate enough to be married to the world’s best husband (yep, a total pre-Valentine’s day butter up), there has to be something to balance out your happy. And that balance is called…in-laws.

    Recently, my in-laws have left the state (Hooray)…. temporarily (Boo) and I must say it is weird not to be looking over my shoulder for them to creep up on me. Living in a small town is an experience in itself but toss two zany in-laws in the mix and it is like living in a Friday night sitcom. (I say Friday night because the only people who would watch this comedy are the sad folks who don’t have dates or cable.)

    Now mind you, even living in the same town, I rarely bump into them. We run in different circles. I don’t go to circuses, pancake breakfasts or auctions. They don’t go for coffee, restaurants or come to my house.

    In both of our defenses, we invite each other to said outings but conveniently we are always too busy. (Except when they try to come to the house…then I shut the blinds, turn off the lights and crawl on the floor like I’m a sniper hiding from the enemy.)

    Recently, I’ve had people inquire about my in-laws so I try to respect their privacy. I usually say the first thing that comes to my mind…they were committed. Oddly, most people don’t ask any other questions after that statement.   They just nod, smile and walk away.

    Seriously, the funny thing is now that they aren’t a stones throw away (don’t throw stones at your in-laws…that is wrong), my husband is quite sad. We He really misses them and We he seems kind of blue. (He loves his momma so much.)

    So yesterday there was an internal yearning for something that would allow me to feel close to them. I tired doing a jig. Nope…that didn’t do it. I made a bunch of puns at inappropriate times. Nope. Dang it, this is making me blue. Wait…blue? Blue cheese!! My mother in law loves blue cheese. I need to come up with an awesome dish with blue cheese so when they come home I can invite them to dinner and they might actually fit us into their schedule. (Hmmm, maybe it is my passive aggressive statements that scare them off? )

    Am I Blue Pasta

    Ingredients

    2 Tbsp Butter

    2 Tbsp Flour

    1 cup milk

    ½ cup half and half

    5 ounces of crumbled blue cheese

    ½ pound of orzo pasta

    2 cups baby spinach, chopped

    ¾ sun dried tomato, chopped

    Optional: Spicy cooked chicken

    Directions

    Put raw spinach in your colander and cook the orzo per package directions.

    While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in sauce pan. Add flour slowly and cook until the flour smells toasty and starts to slightly change color.

    SLOWLY whisk in milk and half and half over medium low heat. It will slowly thicken up. Remove from heat and in batches add blue cheese.

    Ding. Your pasta should be done. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the hot pasta directly over the chopped spinach in the colander. (This will be enough to cook the spinach for this dish.)

    In a large bowl, add the pasta, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. Stir in blue cheese sauce a little at a time and stir. You want it coated but not heavy with sauce.  If it seems too heavy, a little of the hot pasta water will thin it out.

    If you want to make it a meal, stir in some cooked chicken. (I had some nice spicy chicken tenderloins leftover from the Super Bowl so I just chopped up those babies and topped the bowl.) IMG_9106

    Dig in!

    My in-laws will be back soon and I wish them safe travels. I hope they are having a good time in the ward Florida and we he can’t wait to have them for dinner when they get back.


  8. Super Bowel 2015

    January 31, 2015 by Barb

    Writing a food blog is more humbling than one might imagine. You get to have experiences with people and food that are unimaginable. And with each of these occurrences, I sit and wonder how did I ever get so lucky. (Kind of like how the players must feel when they get to a Super Bowl.)

    When I am talking about the people, I am not only talking about the famous ones. I am really talking about my readers.

    I’ve recently gotten some email requests asking me to update you all on my health. I always am hesitant to do this on a food blog but on the same note, it is a huge part of my life and story.

    Since my ER trip on Christmas, I’ve had quite a few fumbles. My offensive play has been weak and I can barely get a first down. (Ooooo, witty football analogies.)

    We recently thought we were gaining some yards and our plans seemed to be intercepted and we are far from the end zone.

    Please note…I say “we” because I have a huge team trying to win this game with me. My husband is my coach. He is the one who helps call the plays, gets angry at the sidelines and encourages me when I am at my worst.

    My doctors are like referees. They really do have a lot of input on how the game will end and you don’t always like their calls.

    The stands at my games are filled with my family, friends and readers. You all have been waving my banner and cheering me on for so long. You reward me with your praise on every touchdown and you motivate me to get to the playoffs.

    I’d say Crohn’s disease is my opposition-playing defense. It seems to be successful these days with blocks and tackles. Lately I feel like I am being sacked on every play.

    We will continue to try things to gain yards on my progress and keep my fingers crossed that there are no flags on the play.

    With all that said, I still see the goal posts ahead of me. I know that I need to keep getting up each time I am knocked down. We may need to punt every now and then but eventually we will make that field goal and get that extra point!

    Thank you all for rooting for me. I hope this is the last I have to talk about my Super Bowels.

     


  9. Getting to the Heart of Dinner

    January 29, 2015 by Barb

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    What should we have for dinner? I don’t usually ask my husband this question. It is not because I don’t want to fulfill his needs. (I’m still talking about dinner…not the other naughty stuff.)

    It is because his response is usually farfetched. He wants something that requires a major grocery shopping trip, hours in the kitchen and sometimes nudity.   (Please note….nudity is not required in a lot of our dinners. There are far too many places for crumbs to get lost!)

    I know he isn’t trying to make dinner more difficult. It is my fault. When I ask him the inevitable dinner question, I need to give him only a few options. Husbands and food options are very similar to 3 year olds, you need set limits or all hell breaks loose!

    This conversation usually gets us nowhere fast. I get frustrated, he doesn’t get the dinner he wants and I feel like a bad wife. (For the record, I am a pretty dang good wife but there is always from for improvement.)

    The other day I asked him the ill-fated question and he surprised me. Hubby said something really simple…chicken piccata. I first thought he was pulling my leg and waited for the punch line but that never happened.

    He actually wanted a nice simple dinner. (Honestly, he is pretty easy to please…..in the kitchen.) The problem was that I didn’t really want JUST chicken piccata. I knew if I said this to him he would dramatically throw his arms in the air and say, “Why do you even ask?” (My husband comes from a long line of dramatic men. Maybe not Oscar worthy but definitely a People’s Choice Award for best actor.)

    So I decided to mix it up just a smidge….I added artichoke hearts. The result….a satisfied hubby and a new dish to add to his request list!

    Chicken Piccata with Artichoke Hearts

    Ingredients

    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin or you can just buy the thin sliced breasts)

    1/3 cup flour

    ½ tsp zest

    ½ tsp sweet paprika

    salt and pepper

    Olive oil

    2 Tbsp butter

    1 tsp fresh garlic

    1/3 cup lemon juice

    ½ cup chicken broth

    ¼ cup capers, drained

    7 ½ ounce jar of artichoke hearts, drained

    Directions

    In a shallow bowl, mix flour, zest, salt, pepper and paprika.

    Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour.

    Over medium high heat, heat olive oil in a large skillet.

    Cook chicken breasts until both sides are browned. (Usually 3 minutes per side depending on thickness)

    Remove from pan and keep warm.

    Add garlic to the pan and sauté for about a minute.

    Add lemon juice and broth. Make sure you scrape up the brown bits.

    Whisk in the butter and then add in the chicken breasts, capers and artichoke hearts.

    Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, making sure chicken is cooked all the way.

    Serve with pasta or rice. It is so good that you may actually toss off all your clothes!!! (I just added that to see if anyone really reads these final comments. I am not encouraging nude eating!)


  10. A Toast To Vegans

    January 25, 2015 by Barb

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    If you put your friends into a Venn diagram, what would be the intersection? Would it be their looks or economic class? (That would be a little shallow!) Maybe it is their love of sports or the outdoors? It could be something as simple as the fact that you grew up together and you remained friends. (Or your mom has had them on a friendship retainer for the past 40+ years.)

    For me, one of the biggest ways I “classify” my friends is by the food that they eat. I have a subset “A” called my picky eater friends. (Those are usually the friends I’ve had for years and I can’t dump them just because they order a burger everywhere we go!) I have the subset “B” of adventurous eaters (love these folks because you can pretty much go anywhere with them). I even have a subset “C” for just drinking a cup of coffee. (This group is awesome because they are always jacked up on caffeine.)

    Recently, I have found a new subset, which I will call “V” and they would intersect with all of the subsets. It is almost weird for me to mention them on Felt Like a Foodie given my eating tendencies but they do have definite intersection points.

    But how can these people be both picky and adventurous with food? Dare I say it?? These gals are VEGANS!!!! (I didn’t know if I should scream VEGAN of whisper it like a golf announcer.)

    These gals are “picky” due to their dietary choices, they are super adventurous and they love coffee. Boo-yah. Instant friends!  (And just so I don’t get any vegan hate mail, I intersect you with the “picky” people too because you choose or “pick” foods that fit your lifestyle.)

    Can a woman who bleeds bacon fat become friends with Vegans? (It is more like how are they friends with me because I am sure some of my food choices repulse them.) I think I like them because they take up the dauntless task every day of finding food without a face and make it interesting.

    The other thing I like is that they don’t preach their veganism…they just live it. They know that I am a carnivore but have yet to feel the need to make me feel guilty about the choices I make with food.

    These women make their own cheeses and have found creative alternatives for pretty much everything under the sun. Their dedication is admirable and it has made me think more of WWVD? (What would a vegan do?)

    So I was out to lunch with one of them the other day and she said something about avocado toast. My first thought was “How do you eat avocado toast without bacon?” I didn’t say it because I didn’t want to prove my vegan ignorance.  (She’ll learn soon enough how ignorant I can be.)

    When I got home, I started looking up articles and recipes for avocado toast.   I was amazed at the options. (This article was my favorite.)

    So the other night, I thought I would make some variations of avocado toast to see what all the fuss was about and I must say I loved it. It was pretty simple to add different ingredients and make each slice taste unique.

    Recipe wise, there really isn’t much to do but make sure you mash your avocado with some sort of citrus and season it properly. I made 4 big slices of toast with one avocado. I used about a quarter of a lemon per half avocado or a half of a lime per half of avocado. I think one of the keys is not to over mash your avocado. It is better to have some different textures in your mouth.

    I made one with lemon juice, avocado and pickled onions.

    I made another one from Bon Appetit that had tahini, avocado, limejuice, cucumbers and red pepper flakes. (This was pretty dang good.)

    Another was made with lemon juice, avocado, toasted almonds and roasted cumin. (I’d do this again with either no cumin or a different spice…maybe saffron?)

    And my favorite was made with limejuice, avocado and then sprinkled with the Japanese rice seasoning (Nori Komi Furikake), some togarashi (Japanese red pepper) and a small drizzle of red chili sesame oil. It was soooooo delicious!!!! (These Japanese ingredients are found in all sorts of stores these days.)

    I can see why Vegans would make this part of their weekly if not daily diet because they could reinvent toast constantly and never get bored.  If you are making these toasts for vegans, make sure you use vegan bread. I didn’t even think of that component until I was done but luckily I wasn’t feeding this to anyone in that subset so no vegan values were hurt in the process.