Super Simple Meatless Monday Recipe: Beets & Goat Cheese

Today we are talking Beets. I know that they don’t look enticing or they might not be fun to cook with or even that great tasting for most people. But let me tell you that this is a fabulous super food and you should try to incorporate it into your diet.

Here is why it’s healthy:
Beets belong to the same family as spinach and chard. It’s a rich purple color, but can also be white or golden. Think of beets as red spinach.

Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value mainly Vitamin C, Folate & Betaine. All of which are exceptional for the human body. From lowering blood levels & helping with cardiovascuar health, to immune boosting & liver detoxification, as well as cancer fighting benefits and of course high in antioxidants.

You should really try them. You can eat them raw, pickled but mainly they are eaten steamed.

Here is a quick recipe that packs a bunch of flavor and will keep you coming back for more of this little overlooked vegetable.

Ingredients: Serves 2

2 Beets, cooked

2 Caprino (goat) soft cheese sticks*

4 Bibb Lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Cayenne (optional)

Tumeric (optional)

S&P to taste

Wash your lettuce and place 2 on each plate. Slice your beets and lay them on top of the lettuce.

Slice your cheese and place on top of the beets.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil, sprinkle remaining ingredients and enjoy!

*check how they sell the soft goat cheese in your country here in Italy I find them like this at the grocery store

Beets and goat cheese

 

 

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Meatless Monday Radicchio Risotto

The wonderful Holidays are behind us and we are off to a wonderful 2014.

I don’t know why but I feel like this year is going to be fantastic, it’s an even number and I love the way it’s starting out. I feel positive and happy!

Tomorrow is my Monday because here in Italy it was Epiphany today, “which pretty much means a ton of candy, chocolate and of course another big family meal.”
With that being said I will be doing my Meatless Monday tomorrow and I thought that this Italian recipe was perfect. I love rice and I love veggies so this Risotto is a must in my book!

Let me know what you think and how you like it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 small head of Radicchio

200 gr. Rice

1 Shallot

3-4 cups Vegetable Broth

1 tbsp. EVOO

Splash white wine

Salt

Parmiggino Reggiano, grated

Wash the radicchio and slice thinly. Get your shallot and slice finely; place in a sauce pan with the EVOO allow to get golden and then add the radicchio and cook until it wilts.

Add your rice and incorporate with all the ingredients, add your splash of white wine mix and allow it to evaporate.
Add your hot vegetable broth to the pan mix and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or desired doness.
Once it’s ready sprinkle some parmiggiano mix well and serve.

Brown Rice Stuffed Mini Zucchini

In ode to Halloween I came up with this recipe. I had to:

  1. Because they look like little Pumpkins.
  2. Because a healthy, fun theme dish seems totally appropriate.
  3. Lastly, I just couldn’t resist these cute Zucchini & stuffing them seemed like the perfect thing to do since the moment I laid eyes on them.

I didn’t grow up with Halloween and I definitely never carved a pumpkin until about 3 years ago in the States with my Husband.  Here in Italy it wasn’t something common or known while I was growing up but in the past few years seems like it’s finally starting to catch on.

I was at the grocery store and since being back from the states I really do appreciate our agriculture much more. We have endless options of farm grown vegetables & fruits of which I learn more & more about each day.  For instance I had never even seen these types of zucchini before but the minute I laid eyes on them I knew I had to cook with them and make something traditionally different. You usually stuff bell peppers but I knew that this would be an excellent and lighter sub; turns out I was right. Also it brought Halloween to mind because they completely look like a tiny little green pumpkins.

I don’t really need to say that this is a healthy, vegetarian dish because it’s kinda obvious but the fact is that I think zucchini and brown rice merry so well together the flavors are light yet rich and totally perfect for the Fall to top it off the parmigiano reggiano really sets off the nutty flavors of the rice and the sweetness of the zucchini making it one delicious meal.
I didn’t really have many vegetables in the house to put inside but if you want you could add mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, spinach.
For an non-vegetarian meal you could add ground meat, bacon, shrimp or chicken. That’s the fun thing about these guys is that you can do whatever you like and I think it would all taste amazing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes 4 Zucchini

4 Zucchini

100-150 gr. of Brown rice, cooked

1 Shallot

2 tbsp. EVOO

1/2 cup Vegetable broth

2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

S&P to taste

Preheat the oven @ 350°F (180°C)

Slice the top off the zucchini and with a spoon gently scoop out the pulp. Set aside & repeat with other zucchini.
Heat EVOO in a medium skillet; finely chop your shallot place it in the skillet and sauté until golden. Stir in chopped zucchini pulp along with the vegetable broth, parsley & brown rice add salt and pepper stir & remove from heat.

Drizzle a bit of EVOO in a baking dish. Get one zucchini at the time add rice mixture half way sprinkle some parmigiano fill up with rice and top off with more parmigiano put top that you cut off and place in baking dish. Repeat process with the rest of zucchini. Bake for 20-30 minutes until zucchini is tender.

 

 

 

 

My Gluten-Free Coconut-Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

It’s been a fantastic week so far. We just got back a few days ago after a much needed mini-vacation from Florence and Montepulciano. It was so gorgeous, fun and extremely delicious. (I posted all the food pics on my facebook page).

I got back however and have been in a total baking mood which is odd for me as I don’t really care for sweets. Ok, well maybe that isn’t totally true I like fresh baked goodness, that isn’t too sweet and that is made from whole ingredients (healthier versions of what one would normally opt for). Yeah that seems about right.
I must say that my Husband must be rubbing off on me a bit because I do crave a little snack after dinner (which I generally never did) so now there is that part too. Or could it be age? Or women time? Whatever we’ll never know. All I know is that I am in a baking mood; so baking healthy things has definitely been in my adventurous/guessing/inventing/substituting daily routine of perfecting healthy yummy sweet things and this recipe is one of them.

Did I mention these are Healthy. Gluten-free. Delicious. Good then now we can move to the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Makes about 14 cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Honey

2 tbsp. Coconut Oil, hardened

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1 egg white

2 cups Shredded unsweetened Coconut

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven @ 350°
Mix all ingredients in a bowl except Chocolate chips. Roll medium-small sized balls and place on a baking sheet flatten out a bit with your hand sprinkle with Chocolate chips & bake for 10-15 min.

Enjoy!

*Optional:
Substitute Peanut Butter for Almond Butter, also you can use smooth or crunchy depending on the texture you want.

Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies

 

 

Frittata ai Fior di Zucca

I love this time of year. And finally the crazy busy summer schedule has subsided, I have sometime off to focus on myself and my amazing Husband.

There is one thing that I truly enjoy about this country that somehow always makes me smile; the Farmers. They care so much about the whole vegetable/fruit and make sure that they work hard under the hot sun just so we can enjoy a delicious, juicy, pesticide-free and healthy vegetable and/or fruit. I particularly love going to the Market and just figuring out what I’m going to make by seeing what they have. They will explain everything to you; from how to cook it and eat it to when it’s going to be out of season and when it will be back, how it’s supposed to look when ripe and when it’s unripe. It’s a fascinating subject to me and I just love everything about it.

I had my first day off since April and I finally was able to go back to the market in tranquility without rushing around. I started looking at what vegetables where out and what I could potentially use for dinner. Before my Husband took off for work that morning, he had mentioned that he would like to have eggs for dinner as it had been quite a while since he had had them; so with that thought in mind I figured it would be a frittata kind of dinner with some sort of vegetables and fresh baked bread.
As I looked around the Market I spotted one of the most sophisticated & prestigious vegetables and knew that I was going to get them: Fior Di Zucca (which means Zucchini Flowers) 

Here in Italy it’s something that is generally dipped in a light batter and then fried. But I knew that there had to be a healthier way to make them and considering how delicate they are I knew that it’s would have to be perfect in a frittata. I got to talking with the farmer Lady and explained my idea and she looked back at me and said ‘Perfetto, sara buonissimo’ (which means Perfect, it will be delicious). With that she gave me a tip, she told me to not cook them before the egg, to lay them on-top of the egg because being so delicate I wouldn’t want to over cook them. She proceeded to tell me that it had unfortunately happened to her once. Ha!

I went home happy about my purchase and excited to be using Fior di Zucca for the first time. It came out delicious. Seriously, might have been the best frittata I have ever tasted. It was a proud moment that night when my American Bacon and Eggs Husband said that these were the best eggs he ever had and to add them to the roster of things to cook.
Yes, sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that give us the biggest satisfactions! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 Fior di Zucca

6 eggs

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

S&P to taste

Delicately wash your Fior di Zucca and set aside to dry. Once dry slice them in half.

Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat (make sure that you have a cover for the skillet very important) add the olive oil and allow to heat.
In a small bowl crack your eggs, whisk and pour into your skillet. Gently add your Fior di Zucca, sprinkle salt and pepper and cover allowing to cook gently for about 5-7 minutes. Uncover sprinkle the parmigiano and by now you should see the consistency of the egg.
If it’s cooked turn off and serve, if it needs more time cover back up and allow to cook until egg isn’t runny anymore.

Risotto alla Milanese – A typical Healthy Italian Dish

Oh, how I love the fall. Everything starts to turn into beautiful mustard-orange colors. The sun is still out except that you can finally put on a little more clothes and wear those cute little sweaters and that gorgeous leather jacket. You can actually sleep comfortably with a comforter. And you can start eating warmer foods again and break out the red wine.

With that being said; there are just some things that you can eat in the fall/winter that you might not want to eat in the summer and vice versa. And sometimes it’s hard to not go overboard especially when you’ve waited the whole summer to indulge in some of your favorite dishes. But we must remember that it’s still nice out and you might still fit in a day or two at the beach, so try to indulge lightly. I for instance always choose the healthiest and yummiest. I like to indulge on things such as this dish for instance. It’s perfect because it gives you all the inside warmth you need but it’s so simple that you don’t have to give up on anything. You don’t feel guilty after eating it and you certainly can’t find one thing unhealthy in it….and that’s the most important part of it all.

Yes, break open a bottle of red wine and indulge in this delicious risotto. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 2

200gr. Rice, I used Arborio for risotto

1.5 qt. Vegetable broth

1 Shallot , small and chopped finely

1 tsp. Powdered Saffron

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Grated

Make sure that your Vegetable broth is simmering.

Chop your shallot finely. Grab a large sauce pan put over medium heat add the E.V.O allow to heat and add the shallot & cook until lightly golden.

Add the rice & mix well with the shallot, then slowly add some of the broth enough to cover the rice, mix; allow to cook 5 minutes then add more broth, continue to repeat this process until you have finished the broth should take about 15 minutes.
Add the saffron cook for another 5 minutes. You want the consistency of the risotto to turn out just perfect, not to dry it still needs to be a bit moist, so if there is too much liquid continue to cook just a bit, and if it’s too dry add some more broth or water.
Turn off heat add your Parmigiano and mix thoroughly. Serve warm.

*Follow rice cooking instructions on the package and regulate yourself with the broth that way.

 

My Summer Crave: Honey Walnut Granola Clusters

Sorry for my long absence. I do apologize; but other than the fact that I haven’t been on here because I’ve been so busy working (which thankfully is almost over), I also haven’t really had the time to cook.
I literally have been totally and fully reliant on my more than amazing Husband to cook, go grocery shopping, and all the household stuff….well besides cleaning I’ve still managed atleast that; and he has done an amazing job. Thanks babe, I really appreciate it!

Other than that he’s been tired too (I’m not the only one who works) and my guilt occasionally creeps in, so to try to give him a break we’ve been doing cereal Monday night pretty much every week. We have fresh strawberries, raspberries, bananas, really whatever we like; Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit…you name it. It’s been fantastic and we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s too hot to cook so we’ve relied on this meal. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! Ciao

Ingredients:

Lightly Adapted from OhsheGlows

1 cup Walnut Halves

1 cup mixed Nuts

3 tbsp. Honey

¾ cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Coconut, Shredded and unsweetened

½ tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven at 275°F (130°C)

Place Walnuts and nuts in a bowl with the honey and make sure to incorporate completely.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients and add to the nuts and honey.
Mix well and then place on a baking sheet.

Place in oven and allow baking for 15 minutes, rotating pan and continuing to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then place in a container.

Honey Walnut Clusters