Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Strawberry season...

Well, tis the season for these beauties...
So can I tell you something?  I always thought strawberries were all fine & dandy, wading my way through your standard supermarket strawberry all my days.  But I had no idea what I was missing until the first time I tried a strawberry nearly straight from the vine from the Collingswood Farmer's Market quite a few summers ago...
Gems, I tell ya!  Absolute GEMS!  There is absolutely NOTHING like FRESH berries.  Those bland, flavorless supermarket varieties don't even hold a candle to these sweet, juicy beauties.  And since it's the height of the season, I just HAVE to share with you one of my VERYFAVORITE sweet & savory recipes:

(and cheese grits + pepper & corn saute on the side to round out the meal if you'd likeJ)

I know, I KNOW...don't look at me like that!  This dish is allllll the sweetness of the strawberries combined with salty toppings plus a kiss from the grill.  AKA- a SUMMER 101 dish that your family & guests (this is SOOOO pretty enough for company!) will never expect.  You're gonna LOVE it.

You just heat a cup of those beautiful strawberries in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sherry vinegar (or sherry wine) and a dash of cardamom.  Mash the berries, give everything a swirl to combine the ingredients and bring the liquid to a boil... 

Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally...

You know it's done once the strawberries become thick and syrupy.  You can strain the mixture, but I like to leave it as is and keep the little strawberry chunks hidden in the syrup... 

While the strawberry sauce is cooking, you can toss the chicken on the grill with a little salt & pepper until cooked through.  Meanwhile, mix the topping of gorgonzola cheese, a little thyme & some diced prosciutto (or crumbled bacon even!)  Once the chicken is cooked, plate it on top of the strawberry sauce and cap it off with the gorgonzola/prosciutto/thyme mix.
Just divine!  Get ready to be pleasantly surprised.

Strawberry Chicken with Gorgonzola
Serves 4
  • 1 pound chicken, pounded flat
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar (or wine)
  • Dash of cardamom
  • 1 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 slices prosciutto, diced
  1. Combine strawberries, sugar & sherry in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for to until thickened (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  2. While the strawberry sauce is cooking, sprinkle the chicken with a little salt & pepper and cook on the grill (or stovetop) until cooked through.
  3. Combine cheese, thyme & diced prosciutto in a small bowl.
  4. Pour a little strawberry sauce on a plate and top with chicken and cover with cheese & prosciutto mix.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Holiday balance...

Monday:  1 slice of pizza from Pete's Steakhouse + salad
No irony AT ALL that I'm starting my balance post of the week, particularly a week I really worked on pulling it back together, with pizza.  Salad was my dinner plan, but when some of my family came to visit that day, there was no way I was going to pass up time with them because "I had to go home and eat my salad."  That just seemed so silly.
  In full disclosure, I had ordered a salad for my main dish, but I felt like the pizza looked too good to pass up without feeling deprived with my 'sad salad.'  So I stuck to one piece.  Monday motivation made it a lot easier to stick to itJ

Tuesday:  Skinnytaste Stuffed Cuban Pork with Carrot salad
You know the thermostat is on the rise when dinner is made on the grill in the slow cooker (nope, slow cookers aren't just for fall & winter!  They're also great for not heating up the kitchen in the summer) and when your side dish looks like the one above.  Shaved carrots mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Simple & cool = me likes.

Wednesday:  Cuban paninis with cucumber salad 
Scott & I couldn't wait one more day to try the pulled pork, ham, cheese & PICKLE sandwich at home.  And another cool side dish here:  Cucumbers + sour cream + dill + salt & pepper.  I actually used to have this for lunch quite often back in the day.  I may need to bust it out again in the hot days ahead.

Thursday:  "Naked" vegetable burrito (no tortilla) 
My lunch was so filling on Thursday that dinner wasn't even needed....and I forgot to take a picture, so double whammy.  Lily has a few remnantsJ  Salsa, guacamole, cilantro rice, black beans & grilled vegetables.  Again, none too shabby for the mall food court options.

Friday:  Tortilla-crusted taco chicken + steamed broccoli 
LOVEEEEE this chicken!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

And with that, I got swept up in probably my favorite weekend so far this year.  I feel like we've all been swirling around in our day to day busy-ness and me beginning my yoga teaching that it felt like a LONG WHILE since we really STOPPED and had some good family time together.  And despite my teaching schedule picking up over the holiday weekend, we had plenty of time to REALLY enjoy the moment.  Only 'blog problem,' I took hardly any food photos...opps.  I honestly didn't even think of it, which is sorta scaryJ  I definitely over indulged a bit over the weekend (particularly when I showed up to a picnic on Sunday STARVING and wanting to eat ALLTHEPICNICFOOD...rookie mistake!) but really just enjoyed myself and knew I'd go back to eating normal once the weekend was all wrapped up.  I have a blog post brewing about this, so I'll share more on Friday.  So, until then, here are so NON-food pics from the weekend....

Saturday night picnic on the beach...

...and our 1st trip to Hoffman's of the year...

 ...a picnic on Sunday afternoon, with Lily's 1st dip in the pool...

...and a Memorial Day trip to Circus Drive-In in Wall, NJ (a FUN, MAJORLY RETRO "ONLY IN NJ" kinda spot!)...

...before heading down to a cold, breezy trip to the boardwalk to take our 1st spin on the rides for the season... 

I can definitely say we kicked off the summer rightJ  We ALL had a blast...and I woke up this morning with no guilt about our indulgences and ready to tackle a healthy week ahead.  More on that later...OH, and at least I balanced with exercise for the week.  Like I said, my teaching schedule really picked up this weekend, so that helped with all my 'reminders' to get my exercise inJ:

Monday:  20 minutes dance/weights/squats/planks + Hatha Vinyasa yoga

Tuesday:  Taught yin yoga

Wednesday:  Taught vinyasa yoga + 20 minutes dance/weights/squats/planks + yin yoga

Thursday:  Taught gentle yoga

Friday:  Taught vinyasa & gentle yoga

Saturday:  Taught 1 1/2 hour vinyasa yoga class

Sunday:  Taught Power & gentle yoga

Here's to all of us kicking butt this week!

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As always...thanks for reading!
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