Friday, February 1, 2013

Hot Lemon Ginger Tea to Soothe an Aching You

This has certainly been the season for the flu. Most every family I know has had quite the battle with these hearty germs. They just keep hanging on. One way to send them packing is this hot lovely tea. It soothes your throat and makes your whole self feel a little bit better. It includes some whiskey or rum- but that is entirely optional. It is unbelievably delicious with or without. I used some Three Crow Rum from Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery up in Union. Delicious. My friend Liz gave me a mug made by her mother Anne Hedgecock- a potter in Boothbay- I think that made my tea even better. This beautiful banner is a link to Sweetgrass Farm's wonderful offerings.

Throat Soother-Flu Battling Tea
This is the most wonderful thing to have at night before bed when you’re feeling sick. The ingredients work magically together to help soothe a cough and settle your tummy. You can omit the alcohol if you’d prefer- it is just as good without. The whiskey is added because it acts to kill some of the itty bitty beasties that keep your throat aching.
Makes one serving.
Into a large mug place:
Juice of one lemon
1 heaping Tablespoon finely diced fresh ginger root
1 Tablespoon raw honey – it looks creamy in the jar
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 oz whiskey or rum (or vodka if you don’t like the taste of either of the others)-- Optional
Fill the remaining space in your mug with very hot or boiling water.
Stir gently until the honey has dissolved. Drink Tea as warm as you can manage.
I hope you feel better!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipes to Fight the Flu and Feel Better as seen on 207

Here are a few recipes to make when you’re under the weather. The fastest one is the quick chicken soup. If you’ve got a little more energy, making stock from scratch is the best way to go. These are sure to help you on the road to recovery! Click on the 207 box to the right for the Chicken Soup to Fight the Flu Video.

Chicken or Turkey Stock
Yield: 3 quarts
4 lb chicken or turkey bones, cut into pieces
chicken or turkey giblets and neck, chopped
13 c cold water
1 medium onion
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and rinsed
2 carrots
2 stalks celery, halved
2 t salt
6 sprigs parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
In a kettle, combine the chicken or turkey bones, giblets, neck, and 12 cups of cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Skim the frothy foam from the top and discard.
Add another cup of cold water and bring to a boil again. Skim the foam from the top again and discard.
Add the onion, leeks, carrots, celery, salt, parsley, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves. Lower the heat and simmer the stock for 2 hours, continuing to skim and discard the foam as it forms.
Remove the chicken or turkey from the kettle. Let cool for 10 minutes or until it’s cool enough to handle. Remove the meat and skin from the bones, and reserve the meat for later use.
Break apart the bones and return them with the skin to the kettle. Simmer the stock for 2 more hours, adding boiling water if necessary to keep the bones covered.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids, and let it cool. Discard the solids and chill the stock. When the stock has cooled, remove the congealed fat on top with a slotted spoon. 

Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
Always a crowd pleaser. It’s been my daughter Elizabeth’s favorite since she was a baby.  This soup is easy and delicious, great for a weeknight or when you’re not feeling up to snuff.
Serves 4-6
1 Tablespoon butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
6 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon paste or powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups egg noodles
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion, celery and carrots in butter until fork tender, 5 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and stir in chicken, bouillon, and noodles. salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Turning Over a New Leaf... then eating it.

It's that time of year. Time to make some changes for the better in the eating department. The fall and early winter are always a time to enjoy all the deliciousness of the season. I won't say that we Overindulged but we certainly didn't eat cautiously. There weren't too many calories counted. Now, however, I'm ready. Other than Valentine's Day, I'd like to get on board the healthy train. So, if you've got any ideas for some delicious recipes to try- please post them in the comments below. I'd love to know what you're cooking up!
We always joke at home about "No Boxes were harmed in the making of this dinner!" That's one good way to figure out what to eat. At the grocery store, if you plan your shopping around the perimeter of the store- imagine you're taking the longest route to get to the checkout- this is where you'll find the healthiest choices. Produce is followed by "health food" (natural food section), the bakery, cheeses, seafood, meats, eggs, dairy and you're back at the front of the store. If you make it into the frozen section for whole fruits and vegetables, then come out through the coffee and tea aisle, you've hit all the major places to shop healthily.
Here are my basic rules for shopping:
1. Buy Fresh-your refrigerator should be stocked with things that will go bad within a week. buy only what you need- what you can reasonably use. If an ingredient is getting to its 'eat me by the end of today' date- use it or freeze it.
2. Buy whats in season. Buy at the farm or farmers market first. They will have bunches of the fruit and veggies when they are harvested. They might even be on sale. Use it or preserve it.
3. Buy food that is as close to its original form as possible. This means buy apples instead of apple snacks. buy fresh fruit and vegetables not their processed cousins.
4. Count the Ingredients- the fewer the better: if you find a food you'd like to purchase, look at the ingredient list. Only buy foods that have items listed that you can buy elsewhere in the store. ie: if you've never heard of an ingredient or you can't pronounce it, its probably not a good thing to be eating at all.
5. Frozen and Canned in many cases are better than none. If you have frozen or canned your own- use that first. When you run out, be sure to read the labels at the store. Remember #4.
6. Make a plan. It's so much easier to get through the week if you have a plan for dinners -keeping in mind that if you make enough you can freeze it for another night or save it for quick lunches to take with you to work/school.
7. Eat when you're hungry- but make choices ahead of time about what you'll be eating. Keep apples, pears, oranges, carrots, celery, edemamme and other fresh fruits and veggies available. While you're cooking dinner, have these nearby and ready to eat so you've got something to munch on. When you're ready to eat dinner. Sit down and enjoy it.
I just found a blog that redefines food- just like I do. Check her out here. She's got lots of good ideas!
If you're craving some exercise- check out this dance routine to get your toes tapping! Patrick and Natasha have been working hard to collect clips and instructional videos to keep the world Lindy Hopping in style. They are incredible!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Sweet Valentine~ Dark Chocolate Truffle Sauce and Gordon Webster

We've been through the ringer lately- got hit with the fever-bugs and are through it but everyone is just so tired. I tell you that to tell you this: my sweetheart, before leaving for work yesterday, said,"I'll get the dishes when I come home for lunch." When I told him that I'd do them, he said, "No, you use your energy to do something fun- I'll get them. don't worry," Oh. My. Goodness. What did I ever do to deserve such a wonderful man?!? Relationships are not always easy- we all know this. But, we really can do little things for each other that add up to more than the sum of their parts. They make us feel loved. The more we deposit acts of kindness in the old happiness bank, the more we've got to give to others. OK, I know this is supposed to be a place for recipes and dance goodies- but, I thought it was important to share that little nugget with you.
My sweetheart loves chocolate. Here is my recipe for Dark Chocolate Truffle Sauce- easy, quick and delicious. That's what I'm going to make him for Valentine's Day. The best thing about it- I know he'll dance me around the room after he eats some. Yay!!
My favorite band leader Gordon Webster is coming to Boston on January 25th to record two nights of awesomeness. Come on down to Boston Swing Central and join us to swing out to the best!!
Hope to see you there!

Dark Chocolate Truffle Sauce
Serve this silken chocolate sauce atop ice cream or dip fresh fruit into its depths for a delightful end to any meal.
12 oz (2 cups) dark or bittersweet chocolate bits
2 oz unsweetened chocolate- chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Heat the cream in the bowl of a double boiler. Add the chocolates. Melt the chocolates together with the cream, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt. Stir until completely combined. Serve warm.
If you have any leftovers, cover and chill. When cool, shape into a log or large ball. For individual servings, use a small scoop or spoon to create little balls the size of your favorite truffles. Roll in cocoa or grated chocolate.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dancing Lindy Hop Rock Stars

Lindy Hop Teachers are Rock Stars in general. This is a commonly understood fact. Dancers around the world aspire to dance as they do...some day. Here's hoping the whole I-Love-to-Dance-more-than-just-about-anything phase will last pretty much forever. If you like to watch great dancers- here's a peek into a fantastic Frankie Manning celebratory performance. It features some of my favorite rock stars. If you'd like to read more about Lindy Hop check out this blog by Rebecca Brightly- she's sharp, witty and to the point. I like her. We met on the way home from Lindy Focus a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband Paul were flying back to Charlotte with several other dancers, all weary but smiling. Remember to get up out of that chair, turn the music up and dance! Here's one for the road!
A Rainbow of Delicious and Healthy Lunches

As winter wears on here are some wonderful ways to glimpse the sweet sunshine we crave.
Take your lunch to school or work in these fantastic portables from Planet BoxBlue Avocado, L L Bean and Local. You'll find fantastic metal lunch containers, wonderful (re)zip bags and gorgeous ways to transport your tasty tidbits. The more we can find ways to use EnviroFriendly gear, the better off we all are!
For a video of how to make these recipes as seen on 207, click here.

Mango Hummus
This makes a nice batch that will keep for several days in the refrigerator. It has a fruity, nutty flavor that tastes delicious! Its great in sandwiches with grated carrots and arugula.
Makes 2 ½ cups
Two 15 oz cans garbanzo beans
1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted
juice from one lemon or lime
1 clove garlic, grated
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of hot pepper sauce is optional
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend thoroughly until mixture is smooth. If you like a chunkier texture, puree until it is the consistency you and your children will enjoy.
You can add a dash of cumin or a hand full of chopped fresh cilantro for a earthier and brighter hummus.
Pesto Ricotta
This mixture is a wonderful layer in lasagne, in stuffed shells or atop pizza. Send some along in your little one's lunchbox with some cooked pasta and a little sauce for a delicious meal.
Makes 1 1/2 cup
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 hand full fresh basil leaves- chopped very fine- about ¼ cup
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan or asiago cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until basil is completely incorporated. Chill until ready to use.
Nutty Yogurt Dip for fruit and veggies
This dip is easy, quick and delicious. Make it sweeter by using vanilla yogurt or more savory with plain yogurt. Its great for apples, celery, carrots and broccoli.
Makes 1 cup- can easily be doubled
½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
½ cup nut butter - almond and peanut work very well, chocolate hazelnut spread makes it taste like dessert
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition information