Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Long Needed Camping Trip Intermingled with Fishing Recipes

After nearly 4 years without more than one or two days in a row off work mingled between sometimes ninety hour weeks, I got hired by a company that actually believes that employees deserve to be human. I'm so blessed.  So, the first part of July, I spent ten days in the mountains away from society...with this guy. The Pansy Man. Sweetest dad on earth, and it was heaven.

Still trying to be glamorous, of course...
My family has been fishing at this dam in Logan, Utah for my entire life.  I haven't been here to fish since...forever. It was so peaceful and so perfect that I didn't want to ever leave.  Plus, my mom and all my siblings got to be there. It was precious. 
Between fishing and lounging around a camp fire, I found the peace to continue with a usually hectic life back home.
Plus, I got to spend those days with my sister, Auntie Em. Let's admit it...Em is really awesome!
The Professor showed up to the festivities and I got to meet my baby niece, who was already two years old and I hadn't been able to visit until now! She's perfect. She's named Em too. I call her Emmie Part 2.
During that visit, we had some pretty daggum awesome food...as any foodie family would.  One of my favorite was this quinoa Tabbouleh made by my rock-star sister in law, Queen Char. I love this lady. She definitely rocked this salad!


Charlotte's Quinoa and Feta Tabbouleh
  • ¾ cup organic sprouted quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp.  kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a rice cooker, combine the sprouted quinoa and boiling water. Cook 20 minutes until tender.  Cool for at least 20 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients.  Chill. Serve.


We'd fish for a full day, return to camp and have them for dinner, and then return and repeat the following day. I know that wouldn't be appealing to a lot of people, but it was time by the river with clear water, fresh air, and the quiet patience of a very good man. It was my favorite vacation ever...in the history of ever. 


On my last night there, we had a big family barbecue. We had 15 trout and a few catfish...ready to feast.  
The easiest way to cook the trout and catfish on the grill, was to wrap them in  well oiled aluminum foil after highly seasoning the outsides of the fish with dill, garlic, and some onion. Inside the cavity we added some fresh lemon, salt and pepper. 
The catfish got Cajun seasoning...and smoked paprika.  
Dad got the grill going in his garden. I love that they don't have a regular lawn and yard, it's 97% garden. 
Zucchini is totally killer delicious during the summer, so we glazed them with a white balsamic citrus and pepper glaze. It was just the perfect combination of tart citrus, heat and buttery avocado oil. 

Summer Squash White Balsamic Citrus and Pepper Glaze

1 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup white balsamic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire  sauce
2 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lime zest
3 Tbsp minced garlic

Combine well, and glaze 2-3 lbs fresh zucchini and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours. Retain remaining glaze after marinating the zucchini.  Grill as desired. 

Grill the fish packets for 3-4 minutes on each side. 
Grill the zucchini 4-5 minutes. 

Remove from the grill and toss in the retained glaze. Add minced parsley or cilantro if desired. 

For dessert, mom made grilled pound cake. The recipe is Here
The fresh blueberries with a light lime syrup were perfect over the grille pound cake. 

Fresh Blueberries with Lime Syrup

2 lb fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a half gallon pot and bring to a boil. Cook 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.  Scoop over grilled pound cake and top with ice cream if desired. 


There you go darlings. Delicious summer vacation food made simple for more time with those you love most.

Always My Very Best, 
Your Friend Chef Tess



Friday, July 21, 2017

Freezer Friday! Video: Twice Baked Potatoes 4 Different Ways





Episode 4, Season 2 Cooking with Chef Tess

Twice Baked Potatoes 4 Ways

Baking the Potatoes and Gathering the Variations

12 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed, baked 1 hour and cooled (microwave 3 potatoes ,5-7 minutes works too.)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 oz tub low fat cottage cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I used Jack)
2 T garlic powder
2T Organic Grains white chia seed
fresh chopped parsley
Chef Tess AP Seasoning

Directions:
Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and remove pulp leaving ¼ inch in shell, put potato pulp and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended.
Open 6 halves into 4 freezer safe dishes. 3 potatoes each.

Gathering the Flavors

Buffalo chicken
1 cup cooked diced chicken
Buffalo sauce

Ham and Cheese
Diced Ham
Cheddar Cheese
Dill

Fajita Chicken
Grilled chicken
Bell peppers
Onion
Cheese

Chili Cheese
Prepared Turkey Chili
Cheese


Episode 3, Season 2 Cooking with Chef Tess


 How to Freeze
When frozen, transfer individual potatoes into gallon size freezer bags. Label with date and these directions “ 2-3 minutes in the microwave for 2 single servings, or bake 400° on a sheet pan 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Heating and Serving. Wrap-up
2-3 minutes in the microwave for 2 single servings, or bake 400° on a sheet pan 25-30 minutes until golden brown.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chef Tess Bistro 3 ingredient "Cheating" Sweet-Hot Pickles




Cheating is only okay if nobody knows about it. 
Wait.
 That doesn't sound right. 
Let me clarify this. 

Cheating at making pickles is only okay if they don't taste like kerosene cucumbers (enters Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show). Do you remember the pickle episode?  I laugh just thinking about Barney Fife and those pickles. 

These aren't those pickles. 

These are something awesome. I have been asked for years what my secret is to my bistro-style sweet-hot pickles and I'm going to share this one because I don't run a restaurant anymore (and this isn't the recipe that they are still using at the bistro after I left). This however, is a better version. It's easy! Anyone can make them and they are killer! Claim them as your own! I don't mind!

Chef Tess Bistro 3 Ingredient "Cheating" Sweet-Hot Pickles


Directions: Combine the drained pickle spears with the hot sauce. Place in a quart-sized
sized covered container and keep under refrigeration for 5 days. Good up to 2 weeks.

* The Vlasic Sugar-free bread and butter pickles are by and far my favorite low carb way to really enjoy these guys!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess





Monday, July 17, 2017

Low-Carb Italian Sausage Riced Cauliflower


I had my weigh-in and measurement session at my gym today.  I've literally fallen in love with  Tribrid Personal Training. It's been six weeks since I started with my trainer Chris Schenck, and I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about today. Not because of anything he said or did to make me nervous, but because I'm so much of a freakin' perfectionist! I kept thinking, "What if I didn't lose anything?"...Funny, because my scale said I did. "What if Chris makes me feel crappy about not doing better?"...Stupid, because he's never been anything less than encouraging. I've been flippin' religious about tracking everything I eat, making it to the gym, and reporting my progress. Guess what?   It's definitely paid off!

I don't want to gross anyone out, but this is a  plastic replica of a pound of pure fat. Mmm. Fat.

 Chris keeps this replica at his desk.
 Only a personal trainer would keep this at his desk. 
I'm just saying. 

So...Drum roll please...I'm down 16.25 lbs in body fat and 16.5 inches! In 6 weeks. 

Six. Weeks. 

 I am feeling pretty awesome!

Simple healthy supper is here to stay! That's pretty much how I roll these days. So, here's a great recipe that is just super quick and really delicious. 


Tess' Low-Carb Italian Sausage Riced Cauliflower 

  • 1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb lean Turkey Italian Sausage
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 12 oz bag cauliflower, riced ( I use Green Giant brand)
  • 1 Tbsp Chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning


 Directions:
In a 12 inch deep skillet, brown the turkey sausage with the onion until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and seasoning and simmer a few minutes more.  Add all the remaining ingredients and cover. Reduce heat to low ans simmer about 10 minutes until the cauliflower is warm.  Yield: 5 servings


My Fitness Pal Nutritional information: 198 cal, 10 g fat, 19 g protein, 8 g carb, 2 g fiber,  6 net carbs per serving

There you go my darlings! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bacon and Egg Salad of Glory!




Simple egg salad is something everyone should know how to make, but a killer egg salad is one that people will talk about, beg to have for dinner, and will be used for years to come at your house.  This is one of those egg salad recipes you cannot live without!  

Here's the simple recipe:

Chef Tess' Bacon and Egg Salad

1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup sliced olives
3 Tbsp dill pickle relish
12 boiled eggs, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp garlic pepper
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt


Directions: In a large skillet combine the bacon and onion, and cook until bacon is crisp and the onion is caramelized. Remove from  the heat and allow to cool. Place all remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the bacon mixture. 




Chill. Serve as sandwich filling or stuffed in tomatoes.  We love it with a drizzle of hot sauce and some extra blue cheese crumbles. Your family will love this!


There you go!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Friday, July 14, 2017

Freezer Friday! Video 3 Ways to use Sprouted Wheat dough: Cinnamon rolls, Dinner Rolls and Sticky Buns





Episode 3 Season 2 Cooking with Chef Tess as seen on the Heartland TV Network in Las Vegas! Here's last week's episode and recipes. 

Freezer to Oven Sprouted Grain Cinnamon Rolls, Dinner Rolls and Sticky Buns

Make the Dough
·       3 cups water (no hotter than 110 degrees)
·       2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
·       ½ cups Organic coconut sugar
·       4 ½ cups Organic Grains bread flour
·       4 ½ cup  Organic Grains sprouted white wheat flour 
·       1 Tbsp. salt
·       ¾ cup coconut oil or Ahuacatlan Avocado Oil 
·       2 egg
Combine everything in one large bowl or mixer. I like that. Knead 5 minutes by hand or 3 minutes in a mixer on medium setting. This is a less developed dough as far as gluten is concerned. Form into a ball and place in a bowl covered with plastic or a lid for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down dough and divide into 3 equal pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls
Roll out in rectangle on a lightly floured surface. 

Smear:
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 Tbsp cinnamon or Chef Tess  Wise Woman of the East Spice blend


Cut into 8 rolls. Place 4 roll per 8 inch pan. Raise 45 minutes. Freeze.

Oven-Ready Stuffed Sticky Buns

Caramel Topping:
1 c brown sugar
1/2 chopped real bacon bits
 1/3 c maple syrup
¼ c butter, melted

Cream Filling:
1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
¼  c shredded coconut (okay...how evil is that?!)
 2 Tbsp.  powdered sugar
 1 Tbsp.  butter, softened
 1 tsp vanilla

 Spread topping in the bottom of each pan.
Combine all cream filling ingredients and beat until well mixed; set aside.
Punch dough down and divide into 6 equal pieces. Flatten each piece of dough into a small circle, about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Place a scant T of cream filling in the center. Pinch edges of dough together and form into a ball; It looks like a little cheese tortellini. Place in prepared pans, pinched side down. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes. Yes, let them raise before freezing! That is the secret! (if freezing, put in freezer at this point. To prepare pull from freezer straight to the oven and add 20 min to bake time for room temp dough) Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown (45-50 minutes from frozen). Cool on rack for only 1 minute; invert onto serving platters. Remember, allow to cool only one minute before inverting onto a platter. Be careful, it's hot and that goo is delicious...but not in a molten mass attached to your arm. Oh my stars!


 Making Dinner Rolls

 I kind of put them in a log form. this helps to keep things pretty even. You can get science-like and weigh the dough and then divide it into 12 equal portions, but on most given days, I just eyeball it. I may go to baker's heck for saying that.
Now, lightly (I do mean lightly) dust the counter top with a little flour...just a little. We don't want the rolls sticking too much. On the other hand, we don't want so much flour that they just roll all over the place. The point is, we want a little tacky stuff so they form correctly. Take the dough piece and pinch the sides together...
Then turn it over so the pinched side is down.
You don't want it to look loose like this...
You want the dough balls to look like they have a skin holding them together. Like this picture below. Place the rolls on a pan lined with parchment paper (or a freezer friendly pan for easy make and bake). If you use metal pans, you don't have to worry about the glass shattering going from the freezer to the oven. I may mention that again.
Allow to raise at room temperature, uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the rolls are touching if originally placed 1/2 an inch apart. Cover with foil and place in the freezer. Keep frozen up to one month. Removing them from a pan once frozen and placing directly in a freezer bag will save space in your freezer...big time!

 Bake, Serve. Wrap Up
When you want fresh rolls, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pan from the freezer. Important note...don't place glass pans directly from the freezer to the oven, they will shatter. If you keep rolls frozen in freezer bags, place frozen rolls on pan and then place in the oven.
Bake 375 degrees 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Try not to eat them all in one sitting...alone. 

Special thanks to Organic Grains for sponsoring this episode!

 There you go! Make some awesome buns!


Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess











Friday, July 7, 2017

Freezer Friday Cheesy Super-Grains Casserole (One Base 3 Flavors)





Episode two of season two of Cooking with Chef Tess aired today! Here's the recipe and video for those who don't live in Las Vegas!



Cheesy Super Grains-Casserole One Base 3 flavors


Chef Tess Make-Ahead Cheesy Grains Casserole

Rice Mixture: 1 cup rice
2 cup tri-color quinoa, rinsed, drained 
6 cups water

Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
4 cups milk
1 Tbsp  mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Monterrey jack cheese, shredded

Directions: 
  • Cook the grain: Combine all in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat. Simmer 20 minutes.
  • Make the sauce. In a gallon sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute about 3 minutes until tender, but not burned. Add the flour and stir well with a whisk, about 4 minutes.  Add the milk and remaining ingredients gradually, while whisking and bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer about 10 minutes.  Be sure to stir every 2-3 minutes so the milk doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan.  
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Allow it to cool about 5 minutes then stir in the shredded cheese. Smooth perfect cheese sauce can't be done if you cook the cheese on the stove, it will get a grainy texture if the cheese gets too hot...and you want it to be creamy smooth right?
  • Divide Grain between 3 casseroles (8x8) pan, lightly grease the pan. Pour the cooked, drained grain into the pan and season well with salt and pepper.  Pour the cheese sauce over the grain and stir to combine.  

Flavor Bases:

Crab Rangoon Version

8 oz chopped crab (fresh or a combination of imitation and real)
1/2 cup minced green onion
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Broccoli Chicken Version

1 cup broccoli florets, frozen
1 cup Monterrey Jack

Bacon Cheeseburger

½ lb crumbled cooked hamburger
¼ cup bacon crumbles
½ cup minced onion


To make into a freezer meal:  Cover with foil, label and date and transfer to the freezer. 

To Bake Immediately:
Bake the casserole at 400 degrees until sauce is bubbling and the topping of choice is crisp, about 20-25 minutes. 

To save for later: 
Cover casserole with foil and place in the fridge. May be kept up to 5 days. Ready to heat and eat. Bake, covered with foil, 400 degrees 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and allow to bake 10 minutes more, until topping is crisp. 

To prepare: 
Thaw the casserole in the fridge for 24 hours and follow the directions for the refrigerator version. OR bake from frozen, covered with foil 1 hour 20 minutes. I recommend thawing first. It just gives your sauce a really great texture.  

At service, top with fried won-ton wrappers or fried won-ton salad strips.

Fresh tomato salad or vegetables. 


Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gluten-free, Low Carb Almond Flour Double Fudge Macadamia Nut Brownies




Chocolate. I dream about this stuff. What is it about that "dark-lord of all things evil" that just calls to me? Maybe the name says it all, eh?  It's my kryptonite. For reals.  I love chocolate. LOVE.  Sometimes a girl just needs some brownies, but being converted to a healthy lifestyle, I have to actually make my own treats. Granted, the old me would have just gone to the grocery store and had a carb and sugar loaded brownie and not really thought too much about it, but I'm not the old me.  Chocolate crisis averted with these bad-boys! They're rich and thick and fudgy. Mmmmm. Mama neeeeeeeeds....

 I used low impact carbohydrates that won't make your blood sugar trip out, and the sweeteners are from natural sources.  I also use almond flour in this recipe, making it a great source of fiber, good fats, and protein. 

 In this recipe I be using the healthiest oil on the planet! Literally. It's the healthiest.  Thanks to our friends at Ahuacatlan Pure Avocado Oil for sending me all the beautiful samples! We've had so much fun exploring this awesome stuff! I think you'll see why. The flavor is super buttery and perfect for awesome brownies!




So, without further introduction, here's today's recipe...

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Double Fudge Macadamia Brownies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Ahuacatlan Avocado Oil
½ cup  Pyure Sweet Stevia Erythritol Baking Blend

½ cup coconut sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup organic baker’s cocoa
2 Tbsp Arrowroot
1/2 tsp fine Sea Salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions: Cream together the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Combine the dry ingredients and fold into the oil mixture. Spread into a greased 8 x8 baking pan.  It is going to be pretty thick. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnut over the brownies. Bake at 325° 20-25 minutes until outside edges are almost dry.  The middle will look a little moist.   Remove from oven.  The secret is to allow them to cool 1 hour before cutting.  Cut into 20 brownies.

My Fitness Pal Nutritional Information: Serving 1 brownie. 168 calories, 14 g fat, 8 carb, 2 fiber, 3 protein
  

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Diabetic-Friendly Pistachio, Almond, Coconut, and Ancient Seed Grain Low-Carb Cookies and Granola



 I love recipes that can make more than one thing from a simple base, and this is no exception. This recipe makes 48 servings of granola, or 48 cookies. It just depends on what you want to eat, or if you want both, it will make 24 servings of ganola, and 24 cookies. Loaded with all the good stuff including no refined grain flours, sugar or junk, this is a keeper! 





These cookies are lightly-sweet and the taste of the toasted seeds and nuts really shines through with hints of orange, spice and vanilla.  It's just a really satisfying snack.  In this recipe we'll be using the healthiest oil on the planet! Literally. It's the healthiest.  Thanks to our friends at Ahuacatlan Pure Avocado Oil for sending me all the beautiful samples! We've had so much fun exploring this awesome stuff! I think you'll see why.


Here's what we found out...
https://draxe.com/avocado-oil/
Along with the Avocado Oil we'll be using flax and my all-time favorite chia seeds...
The first time I tried a Caramel Chia Tapioca Pudding Recipe I was hooked. This was long after learning the undeniable health benefits of chia. I'm so glad I discovered them  many years ago. Chia seed has been an integral part of my weight loss program because of it's ability to help keep me full while still providing me with energy and protein.  I'm down over 30 lbs and still happy as ever with the results!   Chia seeds are the highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain more fiber than flax seeds or nuts. I won't apologize for using them often here on my blog because I'm so passionate about the benefits they bring to your health. 


In this particular recipe the use of higher fiber seeds along with the almond flour and coconut flour gives you a base that will fight hunger. That combined with the use of egg white powder, and natural stevia for sweetness, gives them a very low rating on the glycemic index. That means they are fantastic for any diabetic! In the post on The Health Benefits of Pistachios, we touched on last week are also incorporated into this granola and cookie recipe.  

That being said, because of how high in fiber and protein this recipe is, it doesn't take much to keep you full, as long as you drink plenty of water when you have it. 


Diabetic-Friendly Pistachio, Almond, 
Coconut, and Ancient Seed Grains 
Low-Carb Cookies and Granola

1 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup  Organic Pistachios
1/2 cup  Organic Grains Flax Seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup Organic Grains Chia Seed
2 scoops Creme Brulee Egg White Crystals 
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Orange zest
1 Tbsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice Blend (  here )
1 cup Pyure Sweet Organic Stevia Sweetener Blend

1/2 cup Ahuacatlan Pure Avocado Oil
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla extract
6 eggs
1/2 cup water

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Combine the wet and the dry (it will be thick, and almost crumbly.  You may need to at 2-3Tbsp more water if it seems really dry.


For Granola:

Crumble dough mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the oven and let the granola remain the oven for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and divide into 48 servings, about 1/3 cup each. 

For Cookies:


Form into 48 cookies, about 2 Tbsp dough each and flatten on parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees 14-18 minutes until golden brown.  Store in airtight container.  

My Fitness Pal Recipe Nutritional Facts: Yield 48 servings: 116 cal, 9 g fat, 6 net carbs, 2 g fiber, 3g protein. 

There you go! Some very filling very healthy cookies and granola that will help curb your appetite and keep you on track for your goals.  


Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess