Showing posts with label healthy eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy eating. Show all posts

Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Vegetarian Pie Recipe and Veggie "Rose" Appetizers

I have an easy vegetarian recipe to share with you today that is super delicious and eye catching at the same time so this is a great recipe to make for any occasion, be it special or not. I made something similar for New Years Eve and I'll show you later in this post a cute appetizer idea using the same ingredients. 


 - one sheet shortcrust pastry (any ready made pie crust will do)
 - 250 gr ricotta cheese
 - 1 egg
 - 80 gr grated Parmesan cheese
 - 500 gr frozen spinach
 - 3 medium sized carrots
 - 2 medium sized zucchini
 - olive oil for coating
 - salt and pepper to taste

First step is to cook your spinach making sure to drain any excess water and set aside to cool. 

Prepare your veggies by washing them, trimming off the ends and slicing them into very thin rounds. You could also use a mandolin slicer if you have one to make things easier. 

Set these aside and prepare the filling. 

To make the filling mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. 

Add the spinach to the mix that you previously set aside to cool off. 

This is what you should have at this point. 

Now all your ingredients are ready and you can assemble the pie. Line your pan with parchment paper and add the pastry dough.

Trim off the edges and set aside....I'll show you how to make little veggie roses with them later :-)
Add the spinach and cheese filling. 

Go around the pie layering the rounds of carrots then zucchini until you reach the center standing the rounds upright into the spinach cheese filling. 

Once you are done coat the top layer with some olive oil and add another dash of salt and pepper. 

Now bake in a preheated over at 180°c (355° f) for one hour. 

and you're done!

Here is another version of the recipe that allows you to make cute little appetizers using the same ingredients. 

I used the extra dough that I previously trimmed off  but you can take a sheet of savory pastry dough and cut into strips. 

Spread a layer of ricotta cheese (you can  also substitute with cream cheese here - I recommend Philadelphia herb and garlic cream cheese for this recipe) and add the carrot and zucchini making sure that the veggies stick out a bit from the top. 

Roll them up forming little "roses".

Close the bottoms and add them to muffin liners brushing some olive oil on top and adding a dash of salt and pepper.

Bake at the same temperature as the pie and for the same amount of time. 

Aren't they the cutest?! And they are so tasty.

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!



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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Poached "Crazy Water" Sea Bass

Pesce all'Acqua Pazza or "Crazy Water Fish" originated in Capri and was a very popular recipe in the 1960's. Why is it called "crazy water" fish? The term originates from peasants who had the job of making wine for their landlords and the small amount of wine they had leftover they used for themselves and as resourceful as they were, was kept to ferment with grape stems and seeds mixed with large quantities of water and the result was basically water colored with wine thus the term crazy water.  

So how does this apply to the recipe? The original "acqua pazza" recipe was made by taking the fresh catch of the day and poaching it in seawater, olive oil and cherry tomatoes, turning the color of the water similar to the watered down wine mentioned above.  

It's a very simple and light recipe and it really only takes about 20 minutes to make. 

I took two medium sized European Sea Bass but you can use any type of white fish you have for this recipe. Gut the fish...I know gross...but someone's gotta do it! Put a large clove of garlic cut in half in the belly of fish along with some parsley and a pinch of salt. 

Add water to the pan covering only half of the dish as well as 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a cup of white wine.  Cut about 5 cherry tomatoes in half and add to the pan along with a handful of green olives. 

Bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 220°C.

At this point the fish has absorbed the water and is super moist, You will find that the skin detaches from the meat very easily and cleaning it is not at all difficult.  

Clean the fish placing the meat in a separate plate and add the tomatoes and olives along with some of the extra water that was left in the pan for more flavor. 

Serve with a salad on the side and you have yourself a healthy omega-3 packed meal :-)

Hope you enjoy this easy and very Mediterranean recipe! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guest Room Makeover Ideas

Hello everyone! Hope all is well with you. I have been MIA lately just because I've been recovering from a terrible flu (I have no idea how that happened!) Being sick really sucks....but being sick in the summer is the absolute worst! I'm feeling better now so that's a positive. Other than that my honey has been out of town a lot for work and I get sad when he leaves for too long... my sister gave us another scare and was back in the hospital but thankfully she's fine now and I've been stressing out about my trip to the US this summer. Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited about going but I hear so many scary things on the news that it's just terrifying to think about traveling overseas. I watched the news for five minutes the other night and it was 5 minutes of children dying, bombs exploding, guns shooting, etc. It was just awful.. Then we ask ourselves why all these light hearted reality TV shows are so popular. I would rather watch an hour of those shows than 5 minutes of what they show on the news. I guess I just can't handle it right now..I don't know.

Anyways on a more positive note...I have decided that my guest bedroom is in desperate need of a makeover! I mean really bad.. It's one of those rooms that I just throw stuff into (when we don't have guests obviously..) I tidy up in there when I do have guests over so it usually doesn't look this messy but you know what I mean.. It's the room where I put the laundry that needs to be ironed...the old dresser that I don't know where else to put ... the DIY piece gone bad, etc. etc. It's THAT room.

Here is a panoramic shot of it. Prepare yourselves...

On the other end of the room I have a small wardrobe that I'm probably going to replace with something bigger since I need the extra storage space like I need water..

I will be painting the room and changing the chandelier as well as the fabrics (bedding and window treatments).

I want to do something creative with the nightstands and dresser as well as adding a large statement mirror  that is currently missing from the room. This is going to be a low budget makeover but I really want to create a nice space for my family and friends when they come to visit me. 

Here are some pictures that are inspiring me for the room.  I'm still not 100% sure on what to do yet but I would like a bold wall behind the white bed frame to make it stand out more. I love this bedroom pictured below. 

I still have not gotten over my love for blue and white decor though so I might decide to try it out in my guest bedroom. I love how in this room below the touches of yellow stand out. 

I am also thinking about playing it safe with a more neutral room that way I'm sure I won't tire of it too quickly. 

This one below is my absolute favorite. This room completely encompasses my style. 

I love that light blue wall color. 

When I come home from work I always watch this show called The Great Interior Design Challenge. It's a British Television Show that features amateur interior designers that are selected to make over rooms in actual homes all over the UK. 

I LOVE that show and it's so amazing what they are able to do on a low budget in such a short amount of time. Have you ever seen it? They probably don't show it in the States. 

So those are my plans for the next couple weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to show you some progress very soon. 

In other news... I bought new rugs for my living room / dining room area. I love how they look. 

It's the Ikea Valloby Rugs. Having pets in the house, I don't like to spend too much money on rugs because well...kitty claws... 


Moving onto food!

What's been cooking in my kitchen lately?

Cauliflower Rice with everything! It's low calorie - low carb - easy to make - and tastes great!

Just chop it up and coat in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for about 10 - 12 minutes. 

I love to add it to a veggie shrimp stir fry. Sooo yummy!

Just mix everything, add the spices you prefer and you have yourself a healthy low carb meal. 

What have you been up to? How is everyone's summer progressing?

Be back soon hopefully to show you all my new guest bedroom :-)



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Original Italian Ragù with Fresh Tomatoes

Ragù is made very differently in each part of Italy.  Up north ragù is usually made with ground beef whereas in the south whole pieces of meat are typically used creating one dish used both as a first course (condiment for the pasta) and second course (involtini or "braciole" as typically referred to in the south).

Today I am happy to share with you our original family recipe for freshly made tomato sauce and Braciole that is a main dish served almost every Sunday in many many Southern Italian households, as well as my honey's favorite dish of all time.

I have to be completely honest with you, this is not one of my preferred dishes simply because I'm not a big fan of tomatoes but it is always a hit and never EVER gets left over...

Ok so for this recipe you will need a sauce strainer and if you have a pressure cooker you with significantly reduce the cooking time.

I'm not going to be too specific with quantities because this really is a "taste as you go" recipe based on many variable factors such as sweetness and acidity of the type of tomatoes you use, the type of meat you choose to use, etc. 

In this case I used 5 thinly sliced pieces of beef making 4 Braciole and cutting up the 5th slice into 4 sections adding it to the sauce as I will show you shortly.

Begin making the Braciole. Lay out the slices of meat adding a small piece of Pecorino Romano cheese to the center. Add a dash of salt and pepper to each slice.

Now fold the meat in half and fold in the sides eventually wrapping it up and holding it in place with a tooth pick as shown here:

Now chop up half of a medium size onion and add to the pot with about three table spoons of olive oil.

Let the meat simmer and make sure the heat is on low because you don't want to burn the onion, you simply want it to soften up and eventually melt into the sauce so the heat has to be very low.

You should see that the meat will slowly release water during cooking.

In a separate pot add the washed tomatoes cut up into pieces, the rest of the onion and a few fresh basil leaves.  I used 2 San Marzano tomatoes and 5 vine ripened tomatoes. Do not add any water, any oil or any salt. You are simply letting the tomatoes cook on their own and you will see that they too release lots of water once cooked. The tomatoes should cook on medium heat for no more than 10 minutes.

This is what they should look like after 10 minutes on medium heat.

Once cooked you want to filter them using the sauce strainer. Just add the tomatoes to the strainer and filter into a bowl making sure to scrape the rest of the pulp off the bottom.

Now you have your freshly made tomato sauce that you can add to the meat.

In the meantime the meat should have released some water and once you hear it start to simmer go ahead and add the sauce.

Make sure to stir everything together and add a half a cup of water. At this point go ahead and taste it to see if it needs any extra salt, pepper and if you like you can add some chili pepper to spice it up.

You can now put the lid on the pressure cooker and leave it cook for about 30 minutes.  If you don't have a pressure cooker you will have to cook on very low heat for a good 2 hours. The meat needs to really break down and become super tender in order to have a good ragu.

When the 30 minutes are up let the steam out from the valve, turn off the heat and open up to see what you have.

Look at that delicious ragù! If the sauce is too thick you can add another half cup of water and heat uncovered until you reach the right consistency.
Now you will find the meat breaks down very easily and is extremely tender. With this sauce you can dress any type of pasta and it will be fantastic, I assure you.

On another note, I bought a beautiful hutch for my dining room over the weekend!

Now since everybody who knows me knows that the term patience and I have absolutely nothing in common.... I had to take it home with me immediately and would in no way wait for transportation and the people at the furniture store were very nice and totally understood my immediate need for this hutch sooo they put the bottom half in my trunk and the top half on top on my car....securing it with...tape.

Yes, tape.

I was a little worried I have to admit ...but the guy was like "Lady, we've done this a million works...just go slow..."

And that I did...I went very VERY slow.

You gotta love southern Italy...




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