Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cooks Corner: Spicy Turkey Chili Recipe







1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless turkey thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

2 serano chiles, seeded and minced

1 chipotle chile in adobo seeded and minced

1 can( 28 oz.), whole peeled tomatoes, pureed

2 Tbs. chili powder

2 cans (15.5 oz. each) black beans drained and rinsed

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1 tsp. coarse salt


1. In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, combine turkey, garlic, onion, Serrano chilies, chipotle chile, tomato puree, chili powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Cover and cook on high until turkey is fork tender, 3 hours (or 6 hours on low.)

2. Add beans and cook until warmed through, about 30 minutes more. Stir in vinegar and season with salt.

SOURCE:  Everyday Food, a Martha Stuart Publication, March 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chile Jam Chicken with Caramelized Sweet Potatoes & Peaches



Photo Copyright Daphne Oz Media

Chile Jam Chicken With Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Peaches

Serves 2


4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

Sea salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. chile jam (some of my favorites: Hell Fire Pepper Jelly from Jenkins Jellies or INNA Jam’s Plenty Spicy Jalapeno for heat seekers)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Peaches


Pat the chicken dry and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and arrange the chicken thighs insides (cast iron works really well to get a nice crispy crust). Brown the chicken on one side, giving the chicken time to unstick itself from the pan surface and form a good, crispy coating, about 10 minutes (you can give it some help with your tongs or spatula if needed). Flip the chicken thighs and brown for 6-10 minutes, or until you can insert a knife to the bones and clear liquid emerges.

Lower heat to medium-low and spoon a quarter of the chile jam over each thigh. Melt the jam over the chicken and on all sides, using tongs to flip and swirl the thighs in the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the jam to form a glaze. Remove the thighs to a serving plate and spoon the glaze on top. Scrape up any bits sticking to the bottom of the pan – these will be the crispiest and the first to go!

Just before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chicken to brighten its flavors and heighten the sweetness and spice. Serve with Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Peaches.

Source: Daphne Oz/Dr. Oz Show April 2013


Caramelized Sweet Potatoes and Peaches

Serves 2


1 tbsp. organic coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup, room temperature (if it is cold, the coconut oil will solidify on contact)

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Iodized salt

1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 medium peaches, pitted and sliced into 4 wedges each

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and quartered

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Put the potato and peaches in 2 separate bowls. Pour three-quarters of the syrup mixture over the sweet potato and one-quarter over the peaches and toss. Spread the potato in an even layer in a large baking dish and roast for 10 minutes. Toss the potato and roast for 5 minutes more. Add the onion and roast for 15 minutes. Toss the potato and onion, add the peaches in an even layer and roast 10 minutes, or until the potato and onion are fork tender and the peaches have caramelized.

Source:  Daphne Oz / Dr. Oz Show April 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

3-2-1 CAKE!





Did you ever just wish you had a slice of your favorite cake-- at the given moment?  Now you can! 


  1. I box of angel food cake
  2. 1 box of your favorite cake mix
  3. 2 Tablespoons of water



  • Take a baggie and mix the angle food cake mix and your favorite cake mix together.
  • Get a coffee mug
  • Place 3 Tablespoons of the mixture into your coffee mug
  • Mix with 2 Tablespoons of water
  • Place in microwave for 1 minute; let stand and set a few minutes.
  • You now have your 3-2-1 CAKE!   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mom's last words inspire 85-pound loss

In February 2010, Cherie Hart Steffen weighed 230 pounds and had a BMI of 40. Her size-20 clothing was starting to get tight when she realized she needed to make a change.



By Jacque Wilson, CNN updated 7:04 AM EDT, Fri April 12, 2013

CNN) -- "Hey, Precious."

Cherie Hart Steffen turned toward her professor in the hall of their community college.

"What?" she asked, sure she had misheard.

"Precious -- you know, from the movie," he repeated.

The students around them started laughing. Steffen could only stare in disbelief. He had just compared her to Gabourey Sidibe's obese character in the 2009 film.

"It was like ... someone hit me with a frying pan on my head," she remembers.

Her mind flashed back to just six months before, when she had gotten a life-changing call. It was June 2009. Her mother -- her best friend in the world -- was dying. Steffen drove all night in hopes of seeing her one last time.

Sticking to weight loss goals

LaVerne Hart managed to give her youngest daughter just two pieces of advice before succumbing to the cancer that had spread throughout her body.

"Save money. Lose weight," Steffen recites, her mother's words forever etched into her brain.

Steffen hadn't listened immediately. A herniated disk in her lower back had prevented her from working out; grief had made her turn to comfort food. In the months since her mother's death she had gained 30 to 40 pounds. But that moment with her professor was the last straw.

"This is it," she thought, as the crowd around her dissipated. "Let's do this."

A model's daughter

Steffen's older sisters were naturally thin. They took after their mother, who had been a model. Steffen did not. She grew up "husky" and steadily gained weight throughout her teenage years.

She and her mother fought constantly over her size. Hart would push her daughter to lose weight, but continued to buy junk food for the whole family.

"Bless her heart, she didn't know how to really deal with it," Steffen remembers. "I'm eating what everyone else is eating. ... None of her other children looked like me."

In desperation, Steffen tried everything from crash diets to extreme exercise to battle the bulge. At one point, she was eating fewer than 500 calories a day. She would lose weight for a short time and then put it right back on when real life won out.

Shopping was miserable. "They don't really make large clothing that's attractive," she says. "Everything just looks like a tarp." She longingly watched as her friends tried on cute clothes and went on dates. Her first kiss was postponed until college.

Eventually she carried 230 pounds on her 5-foot-3-inch frame.

Slow and steady

The humiliating "Precious" incident took place in January 2010. That night, Steffen got on her treadmill at home and walked for 10 minutes. It was rough, but she promised herself she'd do it again the next day. She was going to take the weight off no matter how long it took.

Every day she walked just a little bit longer, a little bit farther. By year's end, she had lost 30 pounds and worked her way up to a jog. She still hadn't exercised outside her house, fearing embarrassment.

She would be graduating soon with a degree in criminal justice, and thought she might make a good police officer. She started training for the fitness test, but a stress fracture in her tibia prevented her from attending tryouts at the academy.

Depression crept in. Steffen thought about what she really wanted to do. She realized she was happy with her new health routine. Could she work in the fitness industry? She did some research and came across the National Academy of Sports Medicine's certified personal training program.

What to look for in a personal trainer:
1) Evaluate their education. Research their certification and make sure it's from a reputable source like NASM.
2) Make sure their advanced specialization, like nutrition or bodybuilding, fits your goal.
3) Interact with them -- a personality match will help with motivation.

Personal training is a booming job field, says academy spokesman David Van Daff.

"Everyone is aware there's an (obesity) crisis, an epidemic," he says. "People are trying a variety of different methods to improve their fitness levels, but they're not achieving success independently. They're recognizing they need a coach, a motivator, who will hold them accountable."

Personal trainers provide clients with programs to achieve their goals, Van Daff says, whether that's weight loss, muscle building or overall fitness. The National Academy of Sports Medicine certification teaches everything from basic anatomy to kinesiology to motivational techniques.

Van Daff loves to see people who have lost a significant amount of weight become trainers.

"It's helpful for somebody in this industry if they can relate to their clients from a personal perspective," he says. "If you have a personal trainer who knows what it's like to be 20 or 30 pounds overweight ... it helps in gaining (the client's) confidence."

Steffen passed her certification exam on her way to losing another 30 to 40 pounds. She designated 2012 as the year of running: She ran her first 5K in May and her first half marathon later that year. Toward the end of the year, she finally joined a gym and began to lift weights.

"(I thought) I look good in my clothes, but do I look good naked?" she says with a laugh.

Now she hits the gym five to six days a week to weight train and run. She also has cleaned up her eating habits.

Steffen eats six small meals a day that almost always include protein, whether it's chicken, tuna, Greek yogurt or fish. She has a gallon of water on her desk at work. ("I'm constantly going to the bathroom," she says.) She's given up French fries and French bread, possibly her two biggest diet downfalls, although she gives herself permission to splurge during one meal a week.

All her hard work has paid off. Steffen has lost 85 pounds and inspires others on her blog,

Moving on

About a year ago, Steffen ran into her old college professor, the one who had called her "Precious." She hadn't seen him since her graduation.

Like a scene from a movie, Steffen dropped an orange and it rolled across the floor. Her professor picked it up as a million sentences ran through her head.

"I had dreamed of this moment," she says. "I thought I was going to walk into his office and be like, 'Look at me now.'"

Instead she simply said, "Thank you."

"If he hadn't said that, none of this would have happened," she explains. "He still has no clue."

For now, Steffen is working as a leasing consultant at an apartment complex. But she's studying to be a fitness nutrition specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and hopes to eventually get enough clients to be a personal trainer full time.

She also has her eye on a few bikini competitions, perhaps as a nod to her mother's modeling career. She imagines Hart would flip out if she saw her daughter now, and would immediately want to go shopping.

"She would love that I listened to her and took her advice," Steffen says. "She would be really proud of me because I did it the right way."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seasonal Saturday!

This spring try making some meals for your family using ingredients that are seasonal and local to your area:
* Try fiddleheads and parsnips in the Northeast.
* Experiment with asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower down South.
* Look for asparagus, morels, and rhubarb in the Midwest.
* Pick up fava beans, fiddleheads, and rhubarb in the Pacific Northwest.
* Enjoy avocados, artichokes, garlic scapes, and spring onions out West.
* Cook with asparagus, garlic, and pea greens in the Southwest.

With attribution to Maggie Green of the The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches with Zesty White Bean Spread!

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches with Zesty White Bean Spread

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches with Zesty White Bean Spread

Serves 4

To show how easy it is to adapt Bittman’s concepts and recipes, we used his blueprint for a VB6 sandwich (bread + a smear + vegetables) to create this one. The cumin and coriander used to season the vegetables are common spices in a number of global cuisines, so you can take the improvisation even further and add a dollop of salsa for Mexican flair, a spoonful of chutney for an Indian twist, a dab of harissa for Moroccan flavor, etc.

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
  • ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 large zucchini, cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices (1 ½ lb.)
  • 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 3 small onions, cut into eighths
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
Bean Spread
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked or 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbs. lemon or lime juice

1. To make Roasted Vegetables: Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Set aside.

2. Toss together zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and oil in large bowl. Add cumin mixture, and toss to coat.

3. Divide vegetables between 2 baking sheets, and roast 30 to 45 minutes, or until tender and golden brown, turning vegetables once or twice and rotating baking sheets from top to bottom. Cool.

4. To make Bean Spread: Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds to 2 minutes, or until translucent and fragrant. Add beans, and coarsely mash. Stir in 3/4 cup water, and cook 10 minutes, or until mixture is consistency of refried beans, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice, and cool.

5. To assemble Sandwiches: Spread 2 Tbs. Bean Spread on each bread slice. Top 4 bread slices with 1 cup Roasted Vegetables, 2 or 3 tomato slices, and 1/2 cup arugula. Place remaining 4 bread slices on top. Cut in half to serve.

Source:  Vegetarian Times: April/May 2013 p.69

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Passenger Weight Critical

Provider: AP

Airline Sets Prices by Passenger Weight

Samoa Airline plans to start pricing tickets according to the weight of passengers and their bags. The airline first implemented the policy for certain routes last year and now plans on doing it for its new route to American Samoa. (April 3)

What do you think of this?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Herbed Spanish Omelet



Photo: AICR



  • 1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced or shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil and chives
  • 4 large whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs to garnish (optional)


  1. Place potatoes in large pan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, not mushy. Drain well.
  2. Heat oil in deep 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add parsley, basil and chives to beaten eggs and egg whites. Season with salt if desired. Pour mixture over potatoes in hot skillet. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until bottom of omelet is golden.
  4. If desired, brown top under toaster oven. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 260 calories, 12 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 28 g carbohydrate,
11 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 106 mg sodium.

Source: AICR