Red Cabbage Salad with Bleu Cheese and Candied Pecans

Red Cabbage Salad

This is my adaptation of a recipe I found in the March/April 2014 issue of Eating Well magazine. I love all the different textures and flavors of this salad. It’s delicious when first made, but even better the next day, when the flavors have had time to meld.

I’m not a huge fan of bleu cheese, but I picked up a particularly mild one at Aldi and have enjoyed it. Lately it seems as if I am going out of my way to include more cheese in my diet. I think I’m trying to make up for the time I lost during my 16 day low iodine diet (I couldn’t have dairy) to prepare for my nuclear whole body scan. By the way, my scan results came back with “no abnormal distribution” !! This is a really, really good thing. I’m meeting with my oncologist at the end of May and I’m hoping that she will finally consider me to be cancer free. Meanwhile, I’m feeling pretty good and am getting on with life.

Red Cabbage Salad with Bleu Cheese and Candied Pecans

1/2 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
crumbled bleu cheese

For the candied pecans:
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar (you may use maple syrup or brown sugar instead)
pinch salt

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the candied pecans:
Add the pecans, butter, sugar, and pinch of salt to a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring to coat the pecans, until the sugar has caramelized (about 5 to 7 minutes). Pour out onto a piece of foil or wax paper and let cool. Break up the nuts.

For the dressing:
Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dino  mustard, and salt and black pepper in a Mason jar with a lid. Secure the lid on the jar and shake to combine ingredients.

For the salad:
Combine the red cabbage, green onions, and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Add enough dressing to coat the cabbage (you may not use all that you have prepared) and toss well. Serve topped with the bleu cheese and candied pecans.

 


Easy White Bread

Easy White Bread

I’m finally off the low iodine diet (LID). Yay! I had my whole body scan last Friday and as soon as I was finished with my scan, I was allowed to go back to eating normally. I went straight to the closest Thai restaurant. Extra iodine please. Now I’m patiently waiting for my oncologist to call with the results of the scan. Actually, I’m not patient, I’m a nervous wreck. It’s been 4 whole (business) days. I’m a mess. The waiting is hard, harder than ingesting the nuclear waste.

I made this bread while I was on LID. I don’t actually use my bread machine often, but I used it several times while I was on LID. I used it to mix and knead bread dough, so I didn’t have to do it by hand. I was tired. I guess I could have baked the bread in it too, but there is something unappealing about the shape of bread baked in a machine. I like the funky, organic shapes of the loaves I shape by hand. You could put the dough in a bread pan, if you like a more traditional shape.

For years I have just been following the recipe in the booklet that came with my bread machine. I was never thrilled with the results. I’ve been playing with my own recipe and I think I have finally got a version I’m happy with. It’s soft and stays that way for a couple of days. It’s great for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which is what I had a couple of times on LID). This recipe doesn’t make a very big loaf, but it’s easy enough to make another loaf.

Easy White Bread Loaf

Easy White Bread

3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put the ingredients into a bread machine in the order given. The yeast should be the last ingredient going into the bread machine. Set the machine to the dough setting and press start. Let the machine do the mixing and kneading for you. Once the machine is finished. turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Let the dough rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Punch the dough down and turn out on a floured surface. Shape the dough into a loaf. Place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 35 or until golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.

If you do not have a bread machine, just mix the ingredients together by hand. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Place the kneaded dough into an oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour. Shape into a loaf. Bake at 350°F. for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.


Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

I love cauliflower. Roasting it is one of my favorite ways to prepare it. Roasting it really brings out the sweetness. Plus, roasting is super easy. I’m all for easy.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400° F.

Rinse the cauliflower, remove the stem and leaves, and break into smaller florets. Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the florets and then season with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat all the pieces.

Pour the cauliflower onto a baking sheet and spread out to form a single layer. Roast the cauliflower for 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until tender and browned in spots.


Chicken Fajita Street Tacos

Chicken Fajita Street Tacos 0)

I’m 9 days into my low iodine diet. I’m doing fine, although I do miss cheese a little. Only 8 more days to go until my whole body scan. Afterwards, I can go back to my regular diet. I’m counting down the days.

I actually make these tacos often. They are quick and easy. Plus, they are freaking delicious! You won’t miss the cheese with these.

Chicken Fajita Street Tacos 2 (800x600)

Chicken Fajita Street Tacos

3/4 pound chicken breasts
1 large onion, slivered
1 large green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon canola oil
Tex-Mex spice mix (recipe follows)
corn tortillas (check ingredients)
fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh sweet onion finely chopped
fresh salsa

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken,onions, and bell pepper. Season to taste with the Tex-Mex spice mix. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet (or comal) over high heat. I put a little oil on a paper towel and wipe the inside of the pan to help keep the tortillas from sticking. Heat the corn tortillas, turning several times with tongs, until warmed and browned in spots.

Take a warmed corn tortilla, place a little of the chicken and vegetable mixture inside. Top with fresh cilantro and chopped onion. Serve tacos with fresh salsa.

Tex-Mex Spice Mix

3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Combine the ingredients and store in a small glass jar.


Cajun Okra Soup

Cajun Okra Soup

I started on my low iodine diet (LID) today to prepare my body to go radioactive in two weeks. I will be on the diet for 16 days. During that time I cannot eat iodized or sea salt, dairy products, soy products, seafood, sea products, potato skins, whole eggs, red dyes, or anything with any of those ingredients in it. I am limited to 5 – 6 ounces of fresh meat and 4 servings of grains a day. I can go off the diet once I have my nuclear whole body scan on March 20th.

I had to do LID around this time last year. By the end of those 16 days I was pretty miserable, more psychologically than anything. I think I am better prepared this time.

I made this soup for lunch today. I used no salt added tomatoes and homemade stock to comply with the rules of LID.

Okra Soup

Cajun Okra Soup

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 14. 5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound bag frozen sliced okra
1 zucchini, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste

cooked rice to serve (optional)
hot sauce

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook until the okra and zucchini are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with hot rice and hot sauce.

For LID: use no salt added diced tomatoes and use unsalted or homemade vegetable or chicken broth. Don’t use hot sauce (unless you know it is LID-friendly).


Microwave Caramel Popcorn

Microwave Caramel Corn 2 (640x480)

This is a dangerous recipe because it is so quick and easy. I find that once I open a can of sweetened condensed milk that I’m more likely to make this recipe several times over a week or so to use it up.  No one complains in my house when I do. My boys love this stuff!

As written, this recipe is simple. Feel free to jazz up your caramel popcorn. You could add nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, or various cereals (like Chex or Cheerios).

Microwave Caramel Corn (640x480)

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

8 cups air-popped popcorn
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Line a cookie sheet with foil or waxed paper. Set aside.

Place popcorn in a large microwavable bowl.

In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk on high in 30 second intervals until mixture is boiling. This takes about a minute. Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat.

Microwave the popcorn on high for 3 minutes in 1 minute intervals, stirring well each minute. Spread the caramel popcorn onto the foil or waxed paper. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.


Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

Like much of the rest of the country, South Carolina is experiencing super cold temperatures. When I took my youngest son to school yesterday morning it was 16 degrees and with the wind chill it felt like 2 degrees. So cold. Upon returning home, I needed to warm up so I made this thick, hot chowder. It’s warming, delicious, and visually pleasing. I love the colors of the corn and broccoli in the creamy white. Oh, and it has bacon in it.

Corn and Broccoli Chowder with Bacon

4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (save the stalk for another use)
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup milk or half and half

In a soup pot over medium-low heat, fry the diced bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot using a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Increase the heat slightly and cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until it softens. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the chicken broth, a little at a time, taking care to whisk out the flour lumps. Add the diced potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until tender (but not mushy), about another 10 minutes. Add the corn and milk (or half and half) and heat through. Season the chowder with salt and pepper and serve in bowls with the crisp bacon crumbled on top.


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