Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

SamCyn’s Juicing Adventure: Day Five

07/27/2011 1 comment

Day five has been by far the best day, thus far!

I got out of bed at around 5:45am (I was awake much earlier) to kiss my honey goodbye, then I checked my tongue and I’m happy to report, there was no white fuzz (AWESOME). Since I had to go to work, I started to prepare juice #6 for breakfast and lunch.

Because it was my first day back at work since I started this adventure, I was feeling a tad bit nervous.  It’s so weird, even though I’ve been juicing during the day for the past few days, I felt apprehensive about not packing any lunch and only bringing juice.  It’s like I felt “naked”.  So, I brought along some blueberries and strawberries as back-up.

I managed to get through the day, without eating any of the fruit.  I drank the remainder of my juice at around noon and then I went to Whole Foods Market and got myself a shot of wheatgrass.  Though not reliably substantiated, It has been argued that wheatgrass helps blood flow, digestion and general detoxification of the body.  For more information on wheatgrass, please see here.

OMG! All I drank was a 1 oz. serving and as soon as it hit my system…


It was as if I drank an 8 oz. cup of espresso.  I was wired (in a good way), I was ready for action and most of all, I felt no hunger.

That lasted for close to two hours and by the time it was quiting time, all I could think of was the veggie stir-fry we had planned for dinner.  I tell you, I couldn’t get home fast enough.

I basically tossed in a bunch of veggies into a large pan (I don’t own a Wok) along with some sesame oil and low-sodium tamari sauce.

YUM!! It was delicious! Sam loved it and said we should definitely have it at least once a week.  Mind you, there was no rice or noodles and yet it satisfied us both.  How can you go wrong when you have such a beautiful array of colors and textures from such guilt-free ingredients in every bite? As an end to our lovely meal we ate the blueberries and strawberries.

Well ladies and gentlemen, this post concludes my minimum of five days of juicing/eating only fruits and vegetables commitment and adventure.  It’s been a wonderful, eye-opening experience and I thank you for letting me share and I thank God for allowing me to survive it without any issues.

While I (and Sam, of course) do plan to continue this path of primarily eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains (minimum of 80% of the time) and exercising 4-5 days a week (like I used to), I will not be posting daily.

Instead, I will update you once or twice weekly and share any notable changes that may occur (like my return to my pre-wedding weight).  I will also share healthier and delicious dishes.  Although…I am likely to include some naughtiness…like dessert ;-).

Oh, and another thing…I truly feel really, really great!

“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”  – modified from : Edward Stanley (1826-1893) from The Conduct of Life

Juice #6

Yields about 2 quarts

4 granny smith apples

1 beet

5-6 celery stalks

4 medium carrots

ginger (approx. thumb size portion)

To prepare:

Wash all veggies, cut apples in half, insert into your juicer.  Enjoy!

Veggie Stir-fry

Yields approximately 4 servings

1 stir-fry veggies package (broccoli, snowpeas, etc)

3 garlic cloves

1 small onion

2 small yellow squash

1/2 red pepper

1 package of snow peas

1 zucchini

1 package of mushrooms

1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of low-sodium tamari sauce

To prepare:

Wash, dry and cut up all veggies.  Toss into pre-heated (very hot) pan with sesame oil and tamari sauce.  Stir all ingredients around for just a few minutes, serve and enjoy.

As mentioned in previous posts, I journaled and shared the past five days of this experience to make myself accountable.  I am not a doctor, or a professional in the field of nutrition.  Therefore, I DO NOT, I REPEAT, I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE TO FOLLOW WHAT I’VE DONE.  If you’re interested in fasting, detoxing, juicing, etc., please consult your doctor.

Thank you and God Bless!


Scallop & Pesto Crostini – GCC: Menu 20

02/14/2011 3 comments

As I perused the Illustrated Kitchen Bible cookbook looking for recipes to choose for this month’s Gutsy Cooks Club, the Scallop & Pesto Crostini immediately caught my attention.

Scallops, one of my favorite in seafood (particularly sea scallops), paired with basil pesto and a sun-dried tomato paste? Hmm, I thought this sounds yummy, don’t you think?

Not only is this dish simple to make, it’s great as an appetizer or light dinner with a salad.

Typically the scallops and pesto are served on toasted slices of Italian bread, such as Ciabatta.

However, my Sammy was busy working on our future herb & vegetable garden (he’s such a good guy), got hungry and ate half of the Ciabatta that I was supposed to use for not only this dish, but for the french toast I was LATE in making for breakfast…You can’t blame the guy, can you?

Therefore, I pan-fried some polenta until crispy, made my own basil pesto and sun-dried tomato paste.  Cooked the scallops in olive oil, with some lemon and salt & pepper and in no time we had these.

These are a winner for us both…though we liked it on the polenta, next time we’ll have it on Ciabatta.

“Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class.”  Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)


  • 12 slices Italian bread, such as ciabatta, about ¾ in (2cm) thick
  • ½ garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sea scallops
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp store-bought pesto
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, to garnish


Prepare ahead

Step 1 can be done in advance.

1. Preheat the broiler and position the broiler rack about 6in (15cm) from the source of heat. Broil the bread slices in the broiler until toasted golden on both sides. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic clove. Brush the garlic side of each slice with about 2 tsp olive oil.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the scallops, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and tender; keep hot.

3. Spread one half of each toasted bread slice with pesto and the other half with tomato paste.

4. Cut each scallop in half horizontally and put 1 scallop half on top of each crostini. Grind black pepper over the top. Serve hot, garnished with basil leaves.

Spicy Shrimp Gratin – GCC: Menu #17

01/24/2011 3 comments

One of the things I love most about being part of the Gutsy Cooks Club is that when I invite guests over, choosing what to cook is a “no brainer”.  Furthermore, not only do I get to test the recipe on my man Sam, I also get a broader opinion from my guests. 

So when I had my family over this weekend, I served the Spicy Shrimp Gratin. 

Gratin is a widely used culinary technique in food preparation in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.

In this case, the Spicy Shrimp Gratin recipe from the Illustrated Kitchen Bible cookbook, contains Gruyère cheese and it also contains heavy cream.  Now, If you recall from my Chicken à la King post, Sam and I are not fans of cream dishes (unless of course, it’s ice cream ;-)).

However, we do like shrimp and my friend Monica loves Gruyère cheese, which I don’t think I’ve ever had before, so despite the cream issue, we were very eager to try this dish.

This is an easy dish to make & doesn’t require a lot of time….As long as, you don’t buy shrimp that needs to be peeled and deveined (I was being frugal).  Unfortunately/fortunately, my Sous Chef was busy doing things around the house and I got stuck doing it alone *pout*,*pout* (it’s definitely worth paying the extra couple of $).

  • 1 1/2 lb (675 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice of 2 limes
  • few drops of hot red pepper sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 red onions
  • 3 hot red chiles, seeded and minced 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  •  3/4 cup shredded Gruyère 

 To prepare:

  • Toss the shrimp, lime juice, and hot pepper sauce in a bowl and let stand for about 15 minutes.
  •  Position the broiler rack about 8 inches from the source of heat and preheat the broiler. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. 

By the way, I didn’t use olive oil, I used bacon fat.  I had decided to add bacon to this dish (besides garlic, a lot of dishes go better with bacon). 

  • Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chiles (I used mild chiles) and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, until tender.

  • Spread in a large, ovenproof serving dish. Drain the shrimp and arrange over the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the cream sprinkle with the Gruyère.

  • Broil about 5 minutes, or until the shrimp turn opaque and the cheese is golden brown. Serve immediately.

In my case, I baked for 15-18 minutes @ 400°, then I sprinkled with some fresh parsley and bacon and broiled for about 3 minutes.

I served it with pasta, a salad and sliced baguette.  The bread came in handy for sopping up the cheesy, cream sauce.  I think adding the bacon was definitely a good call on my part (yes, I’m patting myself on the back). 

It turned out to be a real crowd pleaser, which is always my ultimate goal.

Ladies and Gentlemen…this concludes this week’s Edible Adventure. 

“Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it. There’s, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich… That’s, that’s about it.”
 Mykelti Williamson quotes (American Actor, b.1960)  Character: Bubba Blue quotes.

Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto

01/13/2011 2 comments

I’ve got a lot of favorite foods! One of them being Pesto.  

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare) which means “to pound, to crush” in reference to the sauce’s crushed herbs and garlic. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.

What I love most besides the delightful taste of fresh ingredients, is the diversity of this sauce.   Pesto can be topped on meats, fish, pasta, potatoes, baguette slices…you get the picture, right? 

I’ve made basil pesto numerous times, but lately I’ve been wanting to try a different variation. Hence, last night I made a Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this stuff is GOOD!

It was a symphony of flavors, with each ingredient randomly playing a solo act…one moment blue cheese, the next garlic, then walnuts, then spinach.  Sam just kept spooning it out of the food processor, I was afraid it wouldn’t make it to the dinner table.

Spinach Blue Cheese Pesto

I don’t measure when I cook freestyle.  Thus, the measurements below are approximate.

  • 9 oz. bag of fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine the spinach with the walnuts in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is on.  Once you have poured all of the olive oil, stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the blue cheese and pulse again until blended.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over anything your heart desires.  We had it on chicken, but look forward to having it on grilled steak.

If you try this at home, please let me know your thoughts. Enjoy!

    “There was a Young Lady of Greenwich,
    Whose garments were border’d with Spinach;
    But a large spotty Calf,
           bit her shawl quite in half,
    Which alarmed that Young Lady of Greenwich.”

Edward Lear, English artist, writer; known for his ‘literary nonsense’ & limericks  (1812-1888)

Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta & Sage w/Red Pepper Salad

11/22/2010 6 comments

 Happy Birthday Lisa!

Yesterday we celebrated my sister’s birthday and decided to serve this week’s recipes chosen for menu # 8  from the Gutsy Cooks Club: Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta & Sage (which also includes roasted tomatoes) and a Red Pepper Salad.

Though I’ve heard of pancetta  (pn-cht), I had never cooked it before.  Basically, it is a type of dry cured meat, similar to bacon. It is pork belly that has been salt cured and spiced (nutmeg, pepper, fennel, dried ground hot peppers and garlic are often featured), and dried for about three months (but usually not smoked). There are many varieties, and in Italy each region produces its own type.

There was a lot of hustling and bustling (can you say chaotic??) in my kitchen as Sam and I were preparing the two separate recipes, along with appetizers….while, at the same time my mom was baking my sister a pineapple upside down cake. 

I know you’re probably thinking (or maybe it’s me, talking to me) I could have and SHOULD HAVE prepared some of these in advance…but in typical Cynthia fashion, I left everything for the “last hour”. 

Let’s face it…it’s a lot more fun that way…it’s my version of being a contestant on one of the Food Network’s challenges, totally being under the gun…but the only difference is, there’s no secret ingredient.

Instead, it’s just me working against the clock (and driving my husband crazy), praying that my guests don’t arrive before I can at least offer them something to nibble on.

Which brings me to say….

God bless you SAM! You are SO patient with me…I LOVE you DEARLY! 🙂

While I prepared the tomatoes, by simply cutting in half, drizzling with olive oil, some S&P and roasting for an hour.

 Sam was kind enough to take on the task of wrapping the chicken with the pancetta and sage.

Nice job, huh?

The chicken had to cook in olive oil in a frying pan for approximately 10 minutes…however, the pancetta took an awfully long time to cook, compared to the chicken, which concerned me because I DO NOT like overcooked (dry) meat and or seafood.

Finally after about 20 minutes, it was done.

The red pepper salad was simple…

Cook peppers in olive oil and garlic, add chopped, peeled, seedless tomatoes, parsley and you’re pretty much done.


 Serve with mixed greens and dressing.

Both recipes are from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible

by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner

So what was the bottom line? Everyone really enjoyed the meal, including (and most importantly) the birthday girl.

Believe it or not, what was a true hit was the dressing (and my basil pesto ;-)).  Who would have thought, huh?

All in all, I’d say the birthday dinner was a success, including mom’s pineapple upside down cake.

Ladies and Gentlemen…this concludes this week’s Edible Adventure.

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients. —-Julia Child

Honey Walnut Pumpkin Muffins

10/30/2010 9 comments

The Autumn and Winter holidays are quickly approaching and there’s nothing sweeter than spending the time with our family and friends.  As well as, the opportunity to bake and fill our kitchens with the sweet smell of pumpkin pie, muffins, etc.  This squash-like fruit is very versatile in its use for cooking.  When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted and most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.  Although most people use store-bought canned pumpkin, homemade pumpkin purée can serve the same purpose.   In addition, pumpkin is quite nutritious and easy to add to your diet by utilizing canned pumpkin. It’s one of the only canned foods that has no salt or sugar added.

  •  1 cup (canned) pumpkin provides approximately:
  • 80 calories
  • 20 grams carbohydrate
  • 3 gram protein
  • 1 grams total fat ( 0.1 grams saturated fat)
  • 6 grams fiber!

I woke up yesterday with a burst of energy, AND in a good mood….now for those that know ME well (yes, I see the look on your face), know it takes at least a couple of hours and a STRONG cup of Java to get me going.  Now, I could have and should have directed this energy towards exercising (Lord knows I need it), but I’ve been itching to bake something for some time now, so in the spirit of Autumn I decided to bake pumpkin muffins before going to work.

These were simple enough to make….

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl, and all wet ingredients in another.


Marry the two and add walnuts.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350ºF in a muffin pan for Six.

This recipe is for Honey Walnut Pumpkin Bread, but I made muffins instead. 

As I prepared to go to work, the sweet scent of Pumpkin baking in the oven permeated my home…

At that moment I couldn’t help but smile…and thank God for all his blessings…

I thought to myself how great it’s going to be to share great meals, and conversations with my husband, family and friends over the holidays.

But what I was REALLY thinking was…I CAN’T WAIT to taste these muffins!!!

At this point, I’m running late for work (what else is new), I was supposed to let them cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan…

Instead, I quickly popped them out onto a plate and one into my lunch bag to take to work…


These are soooo GOOD! 

They are moist…

Sweet and hearty.

Guys and Dolls…all I can say is, if you like pumpkin pie and you like muffins, you’re going to LOVE these.

They certainly made my morning. 🙂  In fact, I’m going to have one now.

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”  Jim Davis quotes (American Actor. 1915-1981)

Categories: Baking, Food Tags: , , , ,