Please Set the Table

By: Lisa Wright Burbach

We are empty nesters and we sit at the table to eat dinner! Crazy right? -No, it’s connection. I love setting the table and sitting down to a yummy meal and to discuss the day, the future, and just life in general. We take a tip from other countries who celebrate meal time, family and who savor the meal, drink in the aromas, and visit with each other. It’s a relationship table.

I’m from the South and being able to set a proper table is an exam you have to pass to be able to own a string of pearls. It’s serious business!! And I’m grateful for it. I’ve been known to set the table with water glasses, wine glasses, dessert forks, the whole thing for nothing more elegant than sloppy joes.

In addition to setting the table for my family I find that setting a full and proper table when we have company makes them feel pampered and cherished even if they are simultaneously intimidated by it. It’s ok, you really can use the cloth napkin; they wash. Oh and start from the outside and work your way in with the silverware, but don’t worry; there is no test and I promise not to talk about you after you leave. “Van!! Did you see them eat that salad with their dessert fork!! Why I declare! I believe I will just have to set a spell and recover“. No, it will be fine, just eat and enjoy. (To you Northerners, the pearl thing was a joke).

I understand this next statement may be “outdated thinking”, but I believe it is true. When I was 20 and elderly woman told me “Use the China and crystal when you don’t have company-there are no more important people to be seated at your table than your husband and your family.”. It was great advice and I took it to heart. When my kids were small we used china for snacks; my 25 year old son eats snacks on china to this day. A conversation I will need to have with my future daughter-in-law I’m sure.

Try setting the table before you start cooking dinner it will help you feel organized and ready to go; better yet, get the fam involved and have them set the table! Not sure what to do? Here is a How-To from Martha Stewart and one from Real Simple.


RECIPE REVIEWS:

1.  Sweet Potato Soup w/ Blue Corn Tortillas by Bobby Flay/foodnetwork:  Note, the chipotles in adobo sauce can be very warm and you may need to make adjustments up or down based on your family/guests.

Time: 1 1/2 hour

Ease: Simple to moderate

Result: Most everyone loved this, not everyone.  It has combination of spicy, sweet, and smokey.  I will make this again. Serve with cornbread and a nice green vegetable.

2.  Skillet Lasagna:  Use the link as a guide, but feel creative with this one.  I used Newman’s own spaghetti sauce because I had it on hand, I also used spinach pasta in place of lasagna noodles for the same reason.  No reason for things just to sit in the pantry.

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: simple

Result: Turned out nicely, tasted about like you would expect.  We enjoyed it. Serve with steamed green beans or a salad.

3. Quiche: NOTE:MAKE DAY AHEAD FOR BEST TEXTURE. (we didn’t, but I recommend it.)This was a base for me and it takes a lot of work and hopefully Thomas Keller will never read this blog, because I am sure he will cringe repeatedly.  Apologies to great chefs for all that I am about to say for the sake of the basic home cook. First I used a store bought pastry; not the one in the tin, but the Pillsbury one you roll out. Next instead of mushrooms I used broccoli and caramelized onions. Don’t be afraid of caramelized onions, if you start it before anything else you will have sweet, browned, delicious onions by the time you are ready to use them. Lastly, for some reason I do not own a blender and had to make do with the magic bullet, soooo It could have gone a little better. But, even unskilled, ill-prepared this was so yummy!

Time:  2 hours prep & cooking and overnight resting

Ease: complicated

Result: Worth every minute of time.  This quiche is taller than most and great flavor and texture.

5.  One-Pot Sticky Chicken Wings I already had chicken breasts that I had frozen when they were on sale, so instead of wings I used chicken cut into nugget sizes.  I also had run out of star anise and used some anise seeds and it worked fine.  Mirin, oyster sauce, Thai pepper paste and Sake can be found in the ethnic section of many grocery stores. Udon noodles may be found a Whole Foods or ethnic groceries-spaghetti can be substituted. 

Time: 40 minutes

Ease: simple-moderate

Result:  My husband and I loved this meal and will eat it again.  I think this will become a family favorite.  To make it fun I served it with chopsticks on china of course.

A few more things: I buys spices from places like Whole Foods and Savory Spice Shop and find that I can have fun with exotic spices without spending a fortune.  I usually spend less than $2.00.  If this week sound intimidating keep checking back.  Some weeks I go crazy on the experimental side and other weeks its just the basics.  After a month or so you should see a variety of recipes ranging in difficulty, price, and time.  There will be something just your speed.

Have fun, try something new and please set the table.

Review: Mango Salsa – Ellie Kriegerl


Mango Salsa – Ellie Krieger, The Food Network

Do you want to add more fruits to your diet, but aren’t sure what to do?  It is easy to grab a banana, orange, or apple and I highly recommend it.  They are loaded with fiber, low in calories, and packed with nutrients, an excellent snacking choice.  However, there is so much more out there for the life of the fruit.  Fruits can be used in savory and sweet dishes, but try to keep it as close to the original as possible.  The more we process it the less healthy it is.  A good example is an apple, applesauce, or apple pie.  The apple is the best choice, but by the time you get to apple pie it is just a treat; an occasional food.   Try using fruits as toppings for pork, chicken or fish, or use in salads.

Here is a mango and cucumber salsa, that is light and summery feeling.  Enjoy!


Mango Salsa(click for recipe)

Time:
 5 Minutes

Ease: Simple

Serve:  4-6 people

Review:   I was a little doubtful, to be honest, but this is a delicious salsa.  It is very light and summery.  You could jazz it up by adding more lime juice or more jalepeño, but it is completely up to you.  It is good as written.

Tip: I recommend using frozen mango.  Mango can be hard to find and they aren’t the easiest to peel and cut.  When shopping look for mango’s with a little “give” to the touch.  Peel them and slice on the widest side, watch out for the pit, then slide your knife along the skinnier sides in a curve around the edge of the pit.

Extra Recipe: Another great fruit recipe that is super easy is Banana, Strawberry “Ice Cream”.  No dairy and nothing but bananas and strawberries.  It seems crazy, but it is smooth and creamy and a great substitute for ice cream.


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


My husband and I are also Independent Shaklee Distributors to learn more visit http://lisaburbach.myshaklee.com – one of the leading providers of premium-quality, natural, nutrition, personal care, and household products.

Don’t forget to take you Healthprint when you visit.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

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Review: Orange Soup with Black Salsa – Mark Bittman VB6 Cookbook

Orange Soup with Black Salsa – VB6 cookbook, Mark Bittman

We are making an effort to eat more whole food, plant based foods i.e., nuts, legumes, grains, fruits, and veggies, and I have to say we are loving it.  After all we’ve been told “Eat food that rots, just eat it before it does” – Dr. Forrest Shaklee.  I have also been reading the Blue Zone book by Dan Buettner and learning about the longest lived people in the world, who eat meat more like a garnish or accompaniment to the main meal.  A pretty crazy concept for most Americans.  The more we learn the harder it is to deny the benefits of good, real, unprocessed, fresh food.

There are so many ways to cook foods, especially vegetables, that no one should be able to say “I don’t like veggies”.   Even if you don’t you should keep trying them,  over time your taste buds adapt and your body knows you’re giving it good stuff and starts letting you know it needs more – you crave good food!   You will also find that sometimes you don’t feel so great after a greasy, processed meal.  This is again, your body letting you know it really likes the healthy stuff.   Some simple ways to add veggies to your day: smoothies, add them into sauces, puree them, roast, bake, grilled…. MMMmmMMM.  To learn more about Whole Food, Plant Based eating visit Eating you Alive or Forks over Knives.

Another way to learn about Whole Food, Plant Based eating is through the book VB6 and the VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman He discusses being Vegan, kind of,  Mark Bittman is Vegan before 6pm and then eats whatever he would like, within reason after 6pm.  The change has still made a huge impact in his health and has become a lifestyle.  I like the concept.  During the day you get your full share of fruits, vegetables, grains etc. without all of the saturated fats, processed food and bad stuff.  If you choose wisely that is.  If you want to make a change, but don’t think you can go whole hog, eh hem…whole cauliflower,  then VB6 might be a good fit for you.

This review is of his butternut (or pumpkin) soup, a great Meatless Monday meal.


The Salsa

The Review

Time: 60 Minutes

Ease: Simple

I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out at first, just being honest.  Every butternut squash soup I’ve ever made had coconut milk or milk in it.  I was afraid it would be to thin and watery, but I was wrong!  My other hesitation was how was my husband going to handle this vegan dinner?  Before I had a chance to ask him what he thought I heard those lovely yummy noises we all love to hear when we cook for someone!  Success.

The soup was easy to make and very good.  I have a submersion blender, which I highly recommend, but you can use a blender to puree it too.  It is creamy from being blended, but is not going to have the exact same consistency as a milk based soup, but I don’t think you’ll miss it.

The salsa is tasty and went very well with the soup.  We ate it in our soup as well as with flax chips and I was tempted to top it with sour cream, but didn’t.

This recipe took about an hour, but if you used canned pumpkin or pre-cooked butternut squash you could do it in 30.

Enjoy!


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


My husband and I are also Independent Shaklee Distributors to learn more visit http://lisaburbach.myshaklee.com – one of the leading providers of premium-quality, natural, nutrition, personal care, and household products.

Don’t forget to take you Healthprint when you visit.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

Review: Hello Fresh: Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Fig Sauce

Hello Fresh from the Fresh Market

I love to cook and I enjoy planning meals, but sometimes I just run out of time.  As a result I have considered doing one of the meal delivery services out there, but have never made the commitment to try it.  That is where Fresh Market in Greensboro, NC comes in!  They have partnered with Hello Fresh and have 4 featured meal kits for $19.99 each.  I’m sure this is a temporary  special, but I’m glad I stumbled on it.

Hello Fresh is a Meal Delivery service that provides all of the ingredients needed to prepare a meal for 2-4 people, depending on the plan you choose.  Each meal comes to $9.99 per meal or $8.74 per meal for the family plan.  The ingredients are pre-portioned to make it easy, per the website “Stock your pantry with salt, pepper, sugar, oil, and butter. We’ll take care of the rest!”.   The website also states that you are not locked into a contract.

 


My finished product!
The Review

Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Fig Sauce

Time: 30 Minutes

Ease: Simple

We loved it!  The meal was easy to prepare, the directions were simple and had pictures to follow, and it was really good!  The meal kit said it served 2 and It did that exactly.  My husband said he felt satisfied and so did I; there were no leftovers.  The Fresh Market price was $19.99 and It would have been hard for me to spend much less than that if I had bought the ingredients.  That said, I’m certain that I would spend much less on some of the other meal options.  It really comes down to, are you willing to pay for the covenience?  For 3 meals a week serving 2 people per meal is $60, this would require good budgeting over the rest of the week for many people.

One thing Hello Fresh did not provide was organic and non-gmo.  I tend to make the effort in both of these categories, especially organic and would like to have this as an option if I’m going to choose a meal service.  They do have a vegetarian option.

I can see where adding Hello Fresh to your weekly meal planning could be beneficial, depending on your lifestyle and budget.  The meal was quick, easy, good, and had fresh ingredients.  It would be a great way to learn to step away from pre-packaged foods and learn to use fresh foods.  Also a great tool for a beginner cook, who just needs to learn to have a few good recipes under their belt or the busy family who just needs dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

If you live in Greensboro, NC stop by Fresh Market to see if they still have the Hello Fresh Meal Kits available and give it a try before deciding to join, plus you get a handy coupon!

Enjoy


Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.

The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.

I offer individual coaching sessions and virtual health coach sessions through Zoom, if you are not local, as well as group sessions, workshops, and special events. I would love to help you on your journey towards health and wellness. Contact me for more information.


All photos are by me, Lisa Wright Burbach –  Feel free to share, but please give credit to the source.  Thank you.

Relax, Just Enjoy Each Other and let the Holiday Season Begin.

What my House looks like! Titled: When Elves vomit (ok Vomit isn’t a great word for a food blog, but really…look at that mess!  But we are having fun!Photo 6It is easy to become frantic at the holidays.  I know I go crazy trying to organize everything, keep the house clean, and have food on hand for the unexpected holiday guest. Then I have to stop myself and remember it is all about the people.  Relax, Just enjoy each other.  Stop in the madness and let the holiday season begin. While you’re at it take some advice from Robert Frost:

A Time to Talk: taken from Bartleby.com

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

Bacon, Pineapple & Spinach Pizza

Photo 2(1)

Time: 30 -45 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: We had birthday number three this week and the request was simply “As long as it has lots of bacon and cheese…”.  So, my husband and I bounced around some ideas, I asked for help from friends and FoodieChats, via twitter, and received some great ideas.  There is one foodiechat recommendation that my husband is begging for me to make, so expect to see Poblano stuffed peppers with cheese and wrapped in bacon from @jeffriessunni at some point.  He is so excited.

I said, offhandedly, what about bacon pizza with something like pineapple and didn’t think about it again until my husband calls me from work and says “oh, I told him you were going to make pizza with bacon and pineapple and he thought it was awesome”. Ok, uhhh well. I didn’t actually know what I was going to do, but the results were great and the birthday boy was happy.

Pizza crust (I used pre-made crust from my grocery in the deli section)

Alfredo sauce

Mozzarella and Gouda cheeses

bacon, cooked and crumbled

caramelized onions (if you caramelize the onions on this day it will bump you time up to allow for good caramelization of the onions)

spinach (fresh or frozen)

pineapple bits

I made three pizzas, you will adjust the amounts based on what looks good and works for your table.  I find it is easier to just put things on the pizza until it looks right and I rarely measure.  Top your crust with a few spoonfuls of Alfredo sauce; just enough to cover, not make it saucy.  Then layer the rest of the pizza with chopped caramelized onions, crumble the bacon and cover pizza, add fresh or frozen spinach on top-amounts to taste, then add bits of pineapple across the spinach.  Top with a blend of mozzarella and Gouda and bake per the instructions of your crust.  Approximately 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tip: Many grocery stores sell the dough they use to make in-house pizzas and it is a quick, but tasty option.

Grape Leaf Wrapped Salmon : Green Valley Grill, Greensboro NC
fish gvg

Fish, quick

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple to moderate

Review:  First I’d like to say that the Green Valley Grill is one of my favorite restaurants.  It has wonderful food and you feel like you have escaped just for a while.  If you are ever in Greensboro, go!

I made this without the grape leaves this time, which does take away a bit from the dish, but still yummy.  It is easy and quick, but elegant.  I served it with creamy polenta and steamed green beans.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Corn Hashbeans and corn

Vegetarian, quick, Healthy

Time: 35 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review: There are a few meals I pull out when I want something quick and tasty and know everyone will like it and this is one of them.  It is hearty and healthy!  This week I was out of black beans, but didn’t know it until I started cooking-someone didn’t follow her grocery list, so I used pinto beans instead and served it with rice.  It was still tasty, but if you have it, I recommend using the black beans.

Just for Fun: Grapefruit BruleePhoto 5

This time of year it is especially fun to play with your food!  If I could recommend a useful, but totally fun kitchen tool it would be a torch! And yes, I was tempted to say “Mwahh haa haa”.  A torch can be used for so many things, like browning the top of a casserole, or crystalizing sugar on a brulee, or flambes!  It is just a great tool.  This week we used our torch to brulee the sugar on top of grapefruit.  So yummy!

I know I only put three meals out for review this week, but this week we were invited to holiday gatherings at other peoples homes where we enjoyed great food and great company.  It is what it is all about: Relax, just enjoy each other and let the the holiday season begin!

Feel free to suggest a recipe you would like to see reviewed.  Just use the contact me above and send me the link and I will see what I can do.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.

Pasta, Leftover Turkey Potpie & Pork Loin Double Duty

pasta cameraThanksgiving week was a crazy week!  A wonderful week, but crazy just the same.  We had so much fun celebrating birthdays and Thanksgiving, seeing friends and family and decking the halls! So this past week we decided to keep it simple.  Brought out the crockpot, did 30 minute meals and even used paper plates one night. But, we still enjoyed each other and that is the point.

Just because dinner is simple doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice freshness or taste.  Don’t grab a mix or pre-packaged dinner;  Fresh, real meals are within reach. Enjoy!

The Process: For a full explanation visit this page

1. Sit down, relax and plan (or pick some meals from here)

2. Make a grocery list and stick to it!!!! This saves time and money

3. Do the shopping-aim for one trip

4. Bring Back Dinner and enjoy

The Meals:

Pasta buffetpasta bar


Time: 30 minutes, allow extra time if you heat each person’s individually

Ease: Simple

Review:  Sometimes simple can be pretty fun, even fancy!  We like to make pasta and cook squash, zucchini, peppers and onions, sausage (try different types) and mushrooms individually and then place each in their own bowl – buffet style.  Then have a dish of alfredo sauce and one of marinara sauce and you are set.  You have two choices at this point 1. have everything warm and ready to serve at the same time or 2. let people choose the items they would like and have one pan for red sauce and one for white ready on the stove or grill, then toss in their ingredients and heat together each plate separately.   Similar to what you see served at a catered meal.  It is fun and takes very little time.  So the next time you have that last minute dinner party just throw together this simple buffet, add in a salad and sit down and enjoy your guests.

Leftover Turkey Potpie:  The Pioneer Woman  Chef:  Ree Drummandbaking potpie

Photo 14Time: 1 hour

Ease: Simple to moderate (depends on whether you use a store bought crust or make it yourself)

Review:  Wow, The Pioneer Woman is awesome!  My husband liked this so much he said we should do it every year.  This recipe was easy to follow and simple to make (and yes I used a store bought, roll out crust.  But  hey,  she said she wouldn’t judge).  Our turkey this year had sweet Italian sausage under the skin and this was a nice added flavor to our potpie.

Apricot Chiptle-Glazed Pork Tenderloin:  PBS Food  Chef: Jenna Weber
Photo 22Photo 21

Time: 30 minutes

Ease: Simple

Review:  This dish could not have been any more simple: make the glaze, brush it on, and broil.  Voila!  Do not be afraid of the broiler, I know I have been in the past.  This recipe worked exactly like it said it would.  Just don’t put the meat too close, I used the second groove in my oven and it came out perfectly.

Tip:  Often pork loins come with 2 pieces.  Depending on the size of your group, try cooking one and saving the other one for the next night’s dish: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

Simple Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos Justatatste.com  Chef: Kelly SenyeiPhoto 28

Time: 6-8 hours in the slow cooker and 15 minutes when you get home.

Ease: Simple

Review: My family loves tacos, tacos of any kind and this taco did not disappoint.  It was juicy and full of flavor and was ready within minutes of walking in the door.  Can’t beat that!

Tip:  I used a pork loin because I had one left from the day before.

Hotdogs, I know-but I love them so.

P1080965Ok, I know hotdogs are not exactly fresh or wholesome, but I love them.  I mean I really love them, especially with slaw. You know coleslaw-white, mayo based coleslaw.  I even like hotdogs from convenience stores. I like them broiled, grilled, boiled, and on the rotator at the store.  They are quick and yummy and I won’t judge you for them if you don’t judge me.

I hope you enjoy this week’s meals.  Remember that you can have meals in minutes without sacrificing freshness, wholesomeness and taste. OK-minus hotdog night, but come on…It’s a hotdog, everybody loves a good hotdog from time to time.

Photos may be used, but please link back to this blog and credit Lisa Burbach, recipes are links to existing recipes and I have no ownership of recipes other than the ones I Have created.  Thank you.