Muesli (chocolate, chocolate chip)

Chef Biju sent the athletes of TTR a request: @SkratchLabs @rebeccanimrod @TTRCoach , lets get the young cooks to try some variations on our Muesli, with lots of pics please :) 

Well, Chef Biju, on Saturday afternoon, Elliott and I made wrote down the 5 ways he wanted to fix Muesli, then we made a grocery list. I tried to get him to grocery shop with me, but was not successful. They had already been to opening day of the farmer's market this morning after swim practice, I was pushing my luck with the grocery. 

This week will look a bit different here. I'll be posting more pictures and a recipe at the end. It will be a Nimrod boys variation to Biju's Muesli recipe on page 33. Elliott and Chas  love to have feed back, so if you like what you see or decided to give it a try yourself, please take the time to comment below. 

Muesli ~ Chocolate, Chocolate Chip
by Elliott
Hello there, it's me, Elliott. 
I need 1 cup, that's half of this measuring cup.
Adding the yogurt, after adding the milk. 
Ahhhh yeah, chocolate chips.
Oops, some are stuck. 
Thumbs up!
 Stir. Dance. Stir. Dance. Sing. Dance. Stir...You get the picture. Our kitchen is a happy place.
In the fridge and waiting for breakfast tomorrow.

Ingredients ~
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chocolate almond milk
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method ~
In the order which they are listed above, add the ingredients to a bowl. Stir. Dance. Stir. Dance. Sing. Stir. Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, enjoy!



Quiche, page 63

As much as I dream of sleeping in until late in the morning on Saturday, most of the time I'm bright-eyed by no later than 6:30. This is sleeping in. Sad, but true and I know I'm not the only one. This morning, as the Nimrod boys rolled over for another 30 minutes of sleep, I cleaned the kitchen did 2 loads of laundry, folded 3, packed swim bags and made quiche.

Because I'm such a kind early riser, (insert a bit of sarcasm) I went to the garage to make the crust. No, I really did. Our blender is crazy loud and our house is small, I didn't want to disrupt their sleep-in, so I blended in the garage. Dear ones, cookers of The Feed Zone, this is the easiest crust you will ever make.

I used Italian bread, chilled butter, smashed it into a pie pan and baked it. The result -- Perfect! I'll use this method from now on when making quiche. It is not flaky like the crust I usually make, but it's most certainly less time consuming and Jonathan said it was very tasty.

I didn't check to see what ingredients I had to add to the filling until the crust was in the oven. I was out of spinach and didn't have broccoli. I used what I had, yellow, red and orange bell peppers, zima tomatoes and grilled chicken.

I pulled it from the oven just minutes before Elliott, Chas and I headed to the pool for TTR practice & my T3 workout. When we returned, half of the pan was empty. DandyDog? Nope, Jonathan.

Yesterday we received a request from Chef Biju. He would like the kids of TTR who are being fueled by The Feed Zone to play with the recipe on page 33, Muesli. Starting Monday, look for the recipes our family tries. I'll give you a hint, the first one involves flavored milk, not regular.

Happy Weekend, Feed Zone cookers and eaters. Enjoy your bike or run or swim or all of the above. We certainly will.

Kitchen Action

Lacking in Pantry: I mixed and matched, making the filling from the veggies and meat I had in the fridge.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I did not include the optional nutmeg, added salt and pepper & I used almond milk
What I'll try next time: I'll try feta or goat cheese and probably do as I did today, use a mix of the veg and meat I have on hand.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
(I baked a pan of Savory Bread Cakes for TTR kids to have after swim practice. The boys had this, instead of quiche, it still scores 4's & 5's.)
'becca: I made it w/ FG bread...maybe next time I'll make it GF.


Veggie Burgers

Veggie Burgers, page 213

As much as I wish were a family who juiced daily, we are not. We do however have a power juicer, we pull out on occasion. Yesterday was not one of those days. For this recipe I needed a cup of veggie pulp, co I improvised, placing carrots and apples in my blender. Using the whole juice setting, I ended up with a great pulp, drained it, drank the juice and used the pulp. Perfecto!
I chose cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and coriander as my spices...
Helpful hint: be very careful when flipping the burgers. I found that the ones which I shaped into a traditional burger patty worked better than the ones I shaped into a ball then smashed into a patty. When you are ready to flip them, let them cook one more minute, they take longer to brown than I expected. 
The fellas enjoyed theirs on a FG hamburger bun, where I had mine between 2 pieces of lettuce. This was a great alternative to beef or turkey burgers for our family, well, all but Chas.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Veggie pulp
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: As I shared above, I didn't have veggie pulp, so I made it. The apple added a sweetness, which I complimented with the following spices: dash of cinnamon and ginger,   3/4 t cardamom and 1/2 t coriander.
What I'll try next time: Use taco spice, p. 295, as the seasoning and top with salsa and avocado. Mmmm!
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 3.5
Elliott: 4
'becca 4.5
Chas: wouldn't try it when he realized beans were in the mix. Boo!

I've told you I'm a messy...here's proof. I served these with a sweet potato and onion smash, this was on the  counter opposite the cook top.


Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Lettuce Wraps, page 204

"Are you going all P.F. Changs on us tonight?" Jonathan asked when I told him what we were having for dinner? "I'm trying," I replied, except I really wasn't because I was using masala spices. I do however feel safe eating there because of their GF menu. Did you know that they serve their GF meals on plates which are marked? The bowls have a thin black line around the edge. This recipe review is a bit ironic, as I am meeting a few girlfriends there today for lunch.

My favorite thing about this recipe are these words: 2 tablespoons favorite spice mix (Asian, Mexican or Indian curry blend), providing the opportunity to make this meal 3 times, 3 different ways. It's a 3 for 1, I love 3 for 1, especially when it's 3 cute summer-y dresses from Athleta for the price of 1. Tell me if you find that deal, okay or better yet, just surprise me and send them directly to my house.

I used one of my favorite spice blends I buy when in Rwanda, Tropical Heat's Chicken Masala, and I freshly ground fennel seeds. I like the combination of fennel and raisins, but the whole seed can be over powering. I knew if I wanted Chas to like it, they needed to be ground. It worked! He liked it. He did pick out the raisins and there was no way it would be wrapped in lettuce, but wrapped in a tortilla, minus the raisins and no peanut sauce -- he gave it a 5!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: I didn't have lettuce, but ran to the grocery only to find they were out of the lettuce I wanted, boston, so I bought green leaf. It worked.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I left out the onion and chilies on purpose. I used chicken masala spices with ground fennel as my spices, in the sauce I used unsalted natural peanut butter, but added salt, apple cider vinegar, not white and lemon, not lime.
What I'll try next time:
For my family, I may or may not try different spices in the meat. What I used went over well with everyone, so I hate to stray too far. I need to work on the sauce a bit more. If preparing for guests, I'd like to try it with an Asian mix and also Mexican. If using Mexican spices, I'll probably swap the peanut sauce for salsa.
How it Scored:
Elliott: 3.5
Jonathan: 4
Chas: 5
'becca: 4.5

As I type this, I have Savory Bread Cakes baking in the oven. I'll be taking them to fuel the Triple Threat Racing triathletes after a morning swim on Saturday and before a bike. Many of the families of TTR athletes and the coaches are cooking from The Feed Zone and are discovering how great they feel. Are you flying solo with The Feed Zone or are you cooking with a community?


Thanks, Mom

93 more days until London 2012 and hopefully a party to watch the opening ceremonies and parties in the days following to watch certain events. No doubt, I'll serve recipes from The Feed Zone. Are you a fan of the Olympics? I certainly am! I love the emotion and watching dreams achieved, the smiles and the tears. I especially love the moment the athletes spot that person (read as mom) in the crowd.
I cry. Every. Single. Time. 
When this commercial was sent to me earlier this week, I knew I had to share it. I shared it over here, but wanted to share it here too. I know it's not a recipe review, but take note of the breakfast meals served. 

Yesterday was a TTR swim morning, that really wasn't. I got a T3 (my coaching) email, mixed up with TTR (boys coaching), which resulted in boys ready to swim on a day when I was suppose to swim. It all worked out. They had a great workout and I watched, getting my swim workout in later in the day. After they finished and we were poolside breakfast, one of the coaches*, said something along the lines of, "Hey, we have that commercial right here." I laughed and said I better get my emails straight, but inside I was dreaming. What if...

Yesterday morning around 6:30 after 5am swim...
Breakfast poolside after a 5am workout: Oatmeal and Scones. The oatmeal was instant and from a package, but I baked the scones the night before. One out of 2...
I have not yet tried the recipe on page 55, Sweet Potato & Egg Burritos, but next week will. If I make them the night prior, I think they will be a great after swim breakfast. Make sure to check back to see how they scored. 

*I'd emailed the link to each of their coaches telling them thanks for making a difference in the lives of my boys. For their dedication and work and investment, I am thankful. Who will you share this commercial with?


Niçoise with Pasta

Niçoise with Pasta, page 125

I've not had a traditional Niçoise salad before and butcher the name when I try to speak it, making this salad a little intimidating. I am not a fan of anchovies and was thankful this salad excluded them, using tuna. One of the great things about this salad is that it is quick and easily made with items I typically have on hand. It isn't all veg and didn't require me to grill chicken or another meat for protein.

Our family has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work and stay in Africa for different periods of time. When we were there for a 3 month stay, we had the most amazing garden and an even more amazing gardener, Dama. He is a dear friend to our family, a hard worker, the vegetables he grew were the best we have ever eaten and all from seed. The heads of lettuce he grew were beautiful and the salads we made were too. The beauty of being in the part of Rwanda where we stay is this: Life is easier and slower, more difficult and time moves fast...a living oxymoron.

(Dama in the bottom left holding seed packets I brought to him as a gift.)

There is a point to this story ~ Salad Dressing. There is none at the market nor at the 5 & 5 grocery. If by some random act, salad dressing makes it to the shelf, is often old and crazy, crazy expensive, so we go without. We use lemon, salt and pepper, sometimes mustard. We are able to enjoy the flavors of the vegetables mixed and their crispness. Much better than soggy, drippy veggies. Yes?

On my first trip to the salad dressing aisle in the States I was overwhelmed and maybe I even cried. (When I'm exhausted  (jet lag) and (+) overwhelmed (500 varieties of dressing), (=)  I cry.) I wanted Dama's lettuce, a lemon, salt and pepper. I walked away, nothing from the shelf in my cart and walked to to the produce section, picked up some lemons. That has been our dressing ever since -- until last week when I made this salad.

I admit, I was a little hesitant to pour it over the top and I stuck my finger in the dressing for a taste test before the poured, delicious.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: green beans
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: I swapped peas for green beans, spinach for romaine, corn pasta for wheat pasta and rice vinegar for white
What I'll try next time: I will make 2 different pastas, one GF and one FG for my boys. I also think it would be great with a mix of spinach and romaine.
How it Scored:
Elliott: 3.5, he was not a fan of the corn pasta
'becca: 4.5, I ate it warm and chilled, for dinner as lunch the following day
Jonathan: 4


Orzo with Dried Fruit

Orzo with Dried Fruit, page 39

You already know breakfast is my most favorite meal to share. Sharing an early morning meal requires extra effort to meet before the day begins or a level of intimacy & comfort in your friendship to wake up under the same roof.

Mornings in our home are not lacking in activity. Boys sleepy eyed, mom sipping coffee, DandyDog pacing to go outside, lunches to pack, clothes to be pressed, permission slips to sign, a meal to eat...busy, busy.  This morning the boys asked to have bacon, although I planned to try a new Feed Zone recipe, so I made both.

I did not have the pasta cooked prior as the recipe stated. Instead, I cooked it this morning. This allowed me to prepare extra pasta, add red sauce, filled 2 thermos containers, making a pasta lunch for the boys. If your morning has you making breakfast and packing lunches, go ahead, try this, it worked well.

I under-cooked the orzo a bit, adding it to the almond milk to finish. I hoped it would add a little extra flavor. After it simmered for about 5 minutes, I added the other ingredients, simmering another 5 - 7 minutes. It was quite runny, not as thick as shown in the picture, so I added a sprinkle of quinoa flakes (maybe 2 T, I didn't measure) to thicken. Quinoa flakes are without flavor and serve well as an alternative way to thicken.

The boys were out the door, bellies happy with bacon, when I joined Jonathan at the table to try another new recipe from The Feed Zone. Orzo = Pasta = Gluten = I didn't get to taste it, so I had tapioca bread, topped with almond butter and honey and a cuppa black Rwandan coffee. More mornings than not, I get a breakfast date with Jonathan at the table in our home and the days I do not, I miss it.

What are the mornings like in your home? Are you a toast and coffee gal, a bacon kinda kiddo or a full on, napkin in your lap kinda guy? However you begin you day, I hope today it was a great start to the week.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:  nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: a sprinkle of quinoa flakes to thicken and I used dried tart cherries and walnuts as the mix-in ingredients
What I'll try next time: add cinnamon and a splash of vanilla
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4, "It's different, I like it."


Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla, page 60

The introduction to this recipe speaks of riding through Spain, about it being a favorite meal and that is where I stopped reading. Bad idea. Had I read a bit further I'd have read these words, "...it's a simple and filling frittata..." and saved myself a flop.

I've not made a Spanish Tortilla before, but a frittata, I know. In trying to stick to the recipe, I cooked the ingredients as instructed, noticing the similarities to a frittata, but my head was half way between a bike ride in Spain and reality*, Thursday night reality, with a dose of husband away on business for the week.

When I make a frittata, I cook it almost all the way through on the cook-top, then pop it in the oven to finish. I do not invert to a plate, transferring it back to the pan, making the top golden. This is where I had the trouble and where reading the entire 2 sentence introduction would have been to my advantage.

I flipped it. It spilled, because I'd not cooked it long enough. I could clean the counter later, but I was hungry and about to be on the sidelines of the soccer pitch for 2 hours. So, I quickly pulled out a larger skillet making a Spanish Tortilla Scramble.

When it had finished cooking, I scooped some in a bowl with a squirt of Sriacha. Between tossing laundry from the washer to the dryer and hustling boys to the car, I took a bite and another. It may have been chaos all around, but I knew what it must taste like riding bikes in Spain.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Nothing, the beauty of this recipe is that it has many ingredients many people have on hand.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I used less olive oil when cooking the potatoes, just enough to make them crisp.
What I'll try next time:
I think it would be delicious with sweet potatoes and a little extra nutmeg, maybe topped with a sprinkle of goat cheese.
How it Scored:
Elliott: 4, had 2 bowls
'becca: Sad it wasn't pretty like the picture, it did taste great. 4.5.
Chas: Would not even try it, because he heard me say to Elliott that it was a flop. He made himself dinner, cheese quesadilla.

*evening chaos when the flop occurred was a combination of the following:
10 minutes before we needed to be in the car
laundry in the washer which needed to get to the dryer
boys finishing homework
DandyDog needed to be walked
Soccer bags double checked for gear and water bottles
tortilla mess all over the counter and cook-top


Fish Tacos (with a spin)

Fish Tacos, page 201

The parents of Triple Threat Racing kiddos gathered to brainstorm and plan how we can raise funds for equipment for the team. If you are a triathlete, you understand it is not only an investment of time training, but a financial commitment as well. We have a number of companies who have chosen to partner with TTR graciously offering discounts and some have even chosen to go beyond that, kicking back a percentage of the purchase to the team. Guess who one of those companies is...drum roll...SKRATCH LABS!
If a purchase is made using the code they have provided (TTRacing) they are offering a discount and will make a donation to the team. So, if you have not ordered their cookbook, which I have highly encouraged you to do, you should do it, but order with the code. There is a link on the TTR homepage if you scroll to the bottom. (Before I have shared that there wasn't anything in this for me and really, there still isn't, but for the future of the sport and the team my boys are on...ya get the picture.)

Now, the Tacos with a Nimrod spin. I followed the recipe for the fish preparation, using taco seasoning I'd made a few weeks ago. Halibut was the fish I chose, for its thicker cut and how well it holds together. I followed the suggestion to use grapeseed oil and liked the results. 

The spin comes in the rice and with the tortillas. I added tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, diced chili's, cholula sauce and a bit of salt to the rice. Knowing one of TTR's junior elite athletes is vegetarian, I wanted to provide an alternative to the fish. As the fish was cooking I heated the oven to 300 and pulled wonton wrappers from the fridge, grabbed a pastry brush and a little bowl of oil, grapeseed for consistency. 

I lightly brushed both sides of the wonton wrappers with oil and placed them into a muffin tin, making a little bowl. Next, I baked them for a few minutes, until they bubbled and began to brown around the edges. After I allowed them to cool on a wire rack, I put a large spoonful of the rice mixture into each wonton bowl topping it off with a couple of pieces of fish making little fish taco bowls. 

Unfortunately I wasn't able to eat the them because of the gluten factor, but I made sure to have a little bowl of rice and another of fish, to wrap in corn tortillas. I tried to see if the corn tortillas would make the little bowls, but they broke when I put them in the muffin tins. Not quite as cute, but I know they were just as tasty. 

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
Buckwheat flour for regular flour and wonton wrappers for wheat tortillas
What I'll try next time:
greens, some sort of chopped greens between the rice and fish
How it Scored:
Again, I didn't get numbers from people. They were shared with a group, ages 5 - 48 and the comments were positive. I'm giving it a 5.


Dry-Spiced Chicken and Figs

Dry-Spiced Chicken and Figs, page 160

As I click back on recipes shares, many of these recipe review include one of two Nimrod life scenarios:  first one,  I made this for a meal with friends or the second, this was quickly made after practice. This one falls under scenario number two, after practice meal.

The combination of the spices in the dry rub and the figs gave this meal unique flavor and a fragrant aroma in the kitchen. In the hustle of the evening I forgot to cook rice and didn't have noodles, so it was eaten more like a stew than a gravy. I continue to enjoy the way so many recipes have the cook place the meat or fish in a baggie with flour and/or spices, dusting it prior to cooking.

I do not often use a slow cooker, but the note in this recipe shares how it could be used. If I were on top of things, I'd pull it from the back of the cabinet and set the rice cooker on delay cook, having a meal ready when we walk in the door from practice. Novel idea. Maybe I'll learn next season. Off to pick up my boys from school and head to their second Triple Threat Racing practice of the day. They swam at 5 this morning and this afternoon get to practice triathlon transitions. Gearing up for IronKids Kansas City in a month.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
egg noodles, chicken thighs & white wine
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
Chopped chicken breast for chicken thighs, red wine for white, baby carrots for large carrots chopped and buckwheat flour for rice or wheat flour
What I'll try next time:
I'd like to make it with bone in, skinless chicken thighs, use more figs and white wine.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4, said it would be great served over rice
Elliott: 4 and asked for it in his lunch the following day
Chas: 3.5, he only ate the chicken
'becca: 4.5


Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake, page 267

Today @SkratchLabs tweeted this: What is the number one reason you exercise?

I don't have a number one reason, I have many reasons. I exercise because I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle and example for my family. I exercise because I like to eat, especially things like cream cheese & strawberry stuffed crepes. I exercise because my clothing budget doesn't allow for me to buy jeans when they become a little snug (photo credit -- that is certainly not me). I exercise because if I didn't, I'd never have the thrill of crossing a finish line. What about you, why do you exercise?

And one Friday I exercised because this is what I was making in the kitchen. This is a very rich dessert and I found that it was best after it had been chilled. I baked it in large muffin tins, removed the cakes to cool and stored them in a 9 x 11 dish until I served them.

I wish I had a picture of the dusted and drizzled cakes, because they turned out pretty. I had my doubts, as they were not pretty upon removal from the oven. The middle sunk and the sides cracked, but when turned over, sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with caramel, they were presentable. It was not overly sweet, but rich, very rich.

Have you made this? Did you include the liquor? What kind and how did you top it?

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
I had everything needed.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I didn't use a double boiler, but carefully watched it on the stove.
What I'll try next time:
Grand Marnier,  a little squeeze of orange and a bit of zest and another time Chambord topped with raspberries. Oh, what about a coffee flavored liquor and some chocolate covered espresso beans on top?
How it Scored:
Absolutely no numbers needed, you just need to know that 1 of the 4 people sitting around the table licked their plate clean and the kids were fans too. That's a 5, if you ask me.


Honey Ginger Chicken Wraps

Honey Ginger Chicken Wraps, page 136
delicious, easy, quick dinner at the end of a long day

I picked up a large package of chicken breasts early in the week. I boiled them, shredded most of it, placing it in the refrigerator to use during the week. This works well, especially for nights then my time is limited due to school and practice. It's on nights like this, when it would be so much easier* to drive through, grab a burger and call it dinner, having the chicken and an easy recipe such as this helps. Oh and with the addition of a rice cooker to my life, a quick, healthy, dinner can be "easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy" as my friend Chandi says.

I served this warm, inside tortillas & with a squirt of chili sauce for dinner. There was enough left over to send in Elliott & Jonathan's lunches the following day and for me to enjoy chilled later in the week.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Ingredients = All Present
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I used chopped spinach and for mine I used corn tortilla, but for the fellas in my family I used wheat.
What I'll try next time:
The picture in the book shows fresh spouts in the wrap and that sounds great. I'd like to try that inside. I'd also like to grill or bake the chicken. When boiling the chicken as I did, the risk of it tasting dry higher than if baked or grilled. If you have the time to bake or grill chicken, do.
How it Scored:
Jonathan, lover of ginger: 4.5
Elliott: 3.5
Chas: 2.5, after I picked out the spinach.
'becca: 4.5 (also ate it later in the week as an after workout snack, sans tortilla & with a fork)

*Don't think for a moment that I don't choose this option...I do. Not so often, but it happens. I do not want to appear as something I am not. I try my best to cook breakfast, pack lunches and make dinner for my family, but weeks when Jonathan travels M-F and my time is stretched as far as it can be, our fall back meal: quesadilla and the occasional burger and fries. The positive to the burger and fries, is obviously the ease, but also how my boys have begun to recognize how this kind of food makes them feel. Bleh.


French Toast

French Toast, page 79

Weekends in the spring, summer and autumn are spent on the soccer field or at races, this weekend is no exception. Both boys had 8 am soccer games and we were on the field at 7:20 warming up. I try to get there a little early and go thought our running warm ups prior to the boys typical soccer warm ups. In our triathlon training with T3 and TTR we have been taught the value and importance of proper warm ups and have been applying it to other sports. This morning Elliott's soccer coach asked him to lead his soccer team in his run drills & warm up from TTR.

Both boys and their teams payed fantastic & won their first game today. Way to go Lightning! Thankful we live 15 minutes from the fields, I brought home my boys plus 3 others to eat, rest, and try to beat Batman on Xbox during the break in-between games. I asked them what they wanted for breakfast and it was unanimous: FRENCH TOAST!

I have never used the blender to mix the eggs, milk and spices. The recipe suggested this, so I gave it a try. It was pretty frothy, but worked. I let it sit a little before I dipped the bread in it, allowing the bubbles to settle.

Kitchen Action

Lacking in Pantry:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I used buttermilk & Texas toast, added sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves in exchange for pumpkin pie spice.The boys didn't want orange syrup, although I thought it sounded delicious. They wanted to top it with peanut butter and powdered sugar.
What I'll try next time:
I'll make sure I have GF bread, so I can enjoy it and I'll make the orange syrup.
How it Scored:
Jonathan, Elliott, Chas and pals: Five, Five, Five, Five, Five, Five 

Elliott and some of his soccer pals


Leftover Rice Pudding

Leftover Rice Pudding, page 259

Confession 1: I make extra rice, so I can make this pudding.
Confession 2: I eat it as a snack. I eat it for breakfast. I eat it for dessert. I'd eat it on a boat and in a moat, with a mouse and in a house...you get the picture.

This is so yummy and super easy. Next time you make rice, make extra just so you can have this for dessert and for breakfast and for a snack.

Happy Friday Feed Zone Eaters! What does this weekend have in store for you? It's soccer and more soccer, hill repeats and long bike rides, but first we will kick it off brainstorming ways to help make our kids first year with Triple Threat Racing the best ever. Off to a parent board meeting...

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
The ingredients for this recipe are items I most always have on hand.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I used light vanilla soy milk and extra vanilla. I added in cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg and when I served it I added a little extra cinnamon and brown sugar for the boys and honey for me.
What I'll try next time:
I'll top it with nuts and fruit. And the time after that, coconut and maybe mango. And the time after that...What's your favorite topping?

How it Scored:
Jonathan: 3.5
Elliott: 3
Chas: 2.5
'becca: 5

Do you like the rice pudding's ears? We love our food face plates.


Rice & Eggs

Rice & Eggs, page 59

Jonathan, my husband, is Liberian and being a Liberian, means rice was eaten almost daily for the first 22 years of his life. Upon moving to the States, to attend university and play basketball, he quickly realized that rice was not a staple in the diets of most Americans. Instead he was introduced to fast food and pop-tarts*, both of which, 20+ years later he is still not a fan.

I still giggle when he shares about his first meal in the States and then I get a little sad. No meal around the table, but served quickly on a tray. A meal which would be decided upon by standing, trying to choose between a bacon cheese burger and a single hamburger, from a wall plastered menu, not prepared with love.   (That is totally an assumption and quite possibly not the case.) When he shares the story the saddest part for me is this: by the time he'd opened his burger, the others at the table were nearly finished and ready to leave. He'd just had a bite. Those who were with him watched, almost in amazement, as he took his food off the tray, placed a napkin in his lap, carefully opened the paper to his burger making a place-mat, then taking time to eat it, bite by bite, not 3 bites and finished.

Rice for breakfast was not unusual for him, but rice topped with eggs was new. He laughed when I gave it to him for breakfast, saying, "You really like your new rice cooker, don't you." Then I showed him the recipe, he smiled and took a bite...

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Rice was already cooked and eggs in the fridge, had both on hand.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I topped it with a sprinkle of Trader Joe's  21 Seasoning Salute and squiggly squirt of Sriacha
What I'll try next time:
I'll keep it the same
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 3.5 with the description: different
'becca: 4

* I had to google "poptarts" to find its correct spelling.


Orange Almond Macaroons (5++)

Orange Almond Macaroons, page 101

Ohmigoodness. OhMiGoodNess! OHMIGOODNESS! This is love at first bite. I know, I know, not everyone is a coconut lover, but this pastry may convert you. It is absolutely delicious. I promise.

If you already have a copy of The Feed Zone, you know prior to each recipe there are a few words written about the recipe. With the introduction this one has I am fully convinced I am riding my bike on the wrong continent.
"Riders in the European peloton are fond of putting small pastries and sweets
 in their musette bags for a hit of sugar during the race." The Feed Zone, p 101
Are you with me? Wanna plan a trip to Europe and ride bikes? I'll bake the pastries. I just know I'd ride faster. These also pair quite well with strong, black coffee when you are driving your kiddo to 5 am swim practice. This I know.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Not. A. Thing.
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I used more honey, not applesauce. I don't have a large food processor, so I mixed the first almonds the other ingredients, leaving out the coconut to form a paste. I then added the pasted to the coconut and then added that to the egg whites. It worked well. 
What I'll try next time:
I'll make it exactly the same way and may do so tomorrow. I have been thinking of drizzling with dark chocolate...

How it Scored:
'becca: 5++
My friend Amy: 5 (She agrees with the coffee pairing) 
People from our small group: 4's & 5's
Jonathan: 3 (but he's not a coconut fan)


Corn Cakes with Crisp Chicken

 Corn Cakes with Crisp Chicken, page 238

I am a a little over a month into this project and have shared bits an pieces of my life with you. A few of you have shared with me and I thank you. I'd love to hear more and seriously, that invitation I extended the very first day, still stands. If you are in the area, let's share a meal!

Today I thought I'd share a picture of what it looks like while I'm cooking. I'm a mess! I'm the kind of cook who must wear an apron and have 3 or 4 dish towels around at all times. Here it is, one of my most favorite spots in our home -- my cook top. It's a favorite spot because I get to make meals for my family and friends, but also because it has become a place for healing.

Food and I have not always been pals and I was a horrible cook when I was first married. Today, 13 years later (happy anniversary, Jonathan) I can say, after many meals of bland chicken breasts, Lipton rice packets and frozen vegetables I've come a long way. I'm not a fantastic cook, but the meals I prepare are healthy, prepared with love and that counts.

This journey through The Feed Zone has helped me in my journey to unwrap my mind from calorie counting and air filled rice cakes, wrapping it around healthy, whole and delicious food. This journey, it is making not not only me, but my family feel stronger. Now onto the recipe...Corn Cakes with Crisp Chicken!

This was our Easter dinner. Our plans changed a couple of days prior and time did not allow for me to grocery shop and prepare a traditional Easter meal. I had most of the ingredients on hand to make this meal, only missing an optional cheese addition.

I doubled the batch of corn cakes and have been enjoying them heated up and topped with almond butter and honey or butter and a bit of fresh ground, smoky sea salt. I have one left and will eat it as soon as I click, Publish.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
soft goat cheese
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
I didn't cook it with oil, but a bit of water in the pan which helped to make the raisins plump. I used a little less onion and more jalapeno and raisins.
What I'll try next time:
Oil...I'll use oil to saute the chicken and soak the raisins in hot water for 5 or 10 minutes before adding to the chicken.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 2.5 because it was dry, he also wished we'd had goat cheese. He used feta, instead.
Elliott: 3 for the same reason
'becca: 4.5 Chicken was dry, but really delicious and the corn cakes...great GF snack.


Pork Loin with Chutney

Pork Loin with Chutney, page 243

I had great intentions of firing up the grill and making these outside, but I was unable to find the starter for the charcoal. It's Green Egg season and I must find it this week. Even though I had the hood fan on high, preparing these on a large griddle inside made the kitchen smell a bit, OK, much like a bar-b-q.

I prepared half of them with the chutney and the other half without the chutney, but extra rub and brown sugar. I also placed them in the oven for 15 minutes at 350, ensuring they were cooked through and let the house air out before the Nimrod fellas got home from soccer practice.

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Peach Chutney
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
Homemade Plum Chutney for Peach Chutney, extra thick pork chops for tenderloin
What I'll try next time:
Although they were delicious cooked inside, there is nothing like the grill. I'll make sure I find the charcoal starter.

How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4
Elliott: 4 and said it was delicious in his lunch the following day
Chas: 3
'becca: 4


Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad, page 279

Pretty, this is a pretty salad. See...
chopped yellow, orange and red sweet peppers
 chopped veggies, waiting to be mixed with quinoa

We ate this with a spoon warm and chilled. We used tortilla chips and ate it like salsa and stuffed it inside tortillas, making wraps for lunch. Delicious!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry:
Fresh parsley
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes:
cilantro for parsley, lime for lemon
What I'll try next time:
Nothing. It was fantastic!
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 5
'becca: 5
Elliott: 4