Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beer Mac n Cheese with Bacon Avocado Topping

Macaroni and cheese. Mac and Cheese. Mac n cheese. Cheesy mac. Doesn't matter what you call it, we are talking about pasta in a cheesy sauce. It's hard to screw up, but there are hundreds of thousands of variations.

This is a go to dish in our house and every time I make it, it ends up different based on available ingredients. In this one, beer becomes a substitute for buttermilk and gruyere gave way to blue cheese.

But without a lick of bread in the house for a crunchy topping, that's where I needed to get creative. All the makings of an avocado salad stared at me and I started to wonder how this would be in a cheesy macaroni? In a beer cheese macaroni? Bacon and tomato, sure that goes with pasta, cheese and beer. Avocado certainly works too. But could an avocado salad sit on top of mac & cheese?  There was only one way to find out.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with Orange Ginger Filling

There is something about this time of year - we all get completely possessed. I'm not talking about ghost and devils and Halloween, but rather pumpkins. Those tasty, crazy, fat, heavy, orange pumpkins - their vines wind right through our ears and overtake our brains resulting in pumpkin cravings for everything. Cookies, bread, martinis, facials and even pumpkin foot massages!

I'm not one to fight the cravings but rather feed into them; so here is one more fat and happy pumpkin cookie recipe for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Butterscotch and Peanut Butter Haystack Halloween Critters

 Halloween is for the kids. Sure there are those times that we dressed up as adults and had fun. And even that time we spent money on renting the real Batman and Catwoman costume, invited over 200 hundred of our closest friends and then spent 2 days cleaning up after- good times.

But the excitement and wonderment in the little eyes when they put on their first cape and make the ginormous jump from the couch to the floor- if only for a second, they really believe they are flying. It's that little wonderment that adults loose over time. Even the simplest decorations are fascinating when we are young.

Enter the haystack critter. These deceivingly decadent, rich and tasty cookie-like-creatures are just the thing to add a teeny bit of interest back into Halloween. A no-bake spider cookie with four simple ingredients, stirred together and plopped down on paper. You strategically place a few candy pieces to form a face, legs, antenna, a nose or whatever (eating a couple of 'eyes' along the way) and then sit back and wait for the haystack to harden. Simple.

Office mates love these too- you might find two of them battling it out with their alien-like monsters. Winner eats both! Put a little fat and happy back into your Halloween with Butterscotch and Peanut Butter Haystack Critters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Basil Cubes; How to freeze fresh basil

The weather is absolutely gorgeous out right now; warm and sunny falls days with just the lightest hint of crisp air in the evenings. Summer plants are still producing the last of their wares as the golden leaves fall around them. Unlike the color white, summer salads and grilling is not only acceptable but encouraged!  If only we could bottle this feeling and these flavors for those cold, dark, winter days ahead.

Freezing fresh herbs puts us one step closer to the summer and fall feeling during the unavoidable Midwest blizzards. If you are growing your own herbs, or if you are participating in a CSA program or if you just have an overwhelming amount of basil that you don't know what to do with, this is your answer. Rather than force yourself to put basil in every single thing you make just to use it up - chop and freeze it for use weeks and months down the road. Plus it's completely the simplest thing you can make today.

Dried herbs are great in a pinch and even better for longer cooking soups and stews, but why not use fresh every chance you can? Imagine fresh pesto in January! Take your remaining fresh basil and freeze it now, you'll be super fat and happy you did come this winter.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tomato and Tomatillo Tarts

Are you inundated with tomatoes? Have you made salads, sauces and salsas until they're coming out of your ears?

Aside from bringing all your remaining tomatoes to the next bad comedy show you attend, a super simple tomato tart is a tasty option to use them up.

Frozen phyllo dough makes for a quick and easy crust while the filling is nothing more than cheese and tomatoes. Almost a mock pizza....if you will.

These tarts work great as tapas with a little wine or pair with a salad for a light dinner or lunch. When you have super tasty tomatoes there is no reason to cover that flavor with other ingredients. Keep the cheese to a minimum and let the farm fresh tomato flavor shine through.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lemony Slow-cooked Bok Choy and Broccoli

Slow Food is not a new phrase in the culinary community, it's been around for some time. But only recently has this become a mainstay in the United States.

An alternate to fast food and a means of enjoying and preserving traditional cuisines, this movement is more about food that is good for you and good for the environment than the method of cooking.

The goal could summed up as to promote awareness of good food and nutrition.

This recipe plays on all linguistic sides of Slow Food- it is using healthy, planet-friendly, local, organic food which would inspire a table side gathering as well as it describes the the manner to which the ingredients are cooked.

Reminiscent of collard greens, this dish makes me think of the south or of a rustic Italian farm; very warm and comforting on a lazy afternoon. The greens are soft and melt in your mouth rather than become mushy. And the garlic becomes a little treasure trove for the lucky bowls that land one of the smashed cloves, so mild and tender. But it is the hint of lemon with the red pepper cooked in the dish that envelopes the soft stems for a full flavor finish.

Bring the family together with this ultra simple, healthy Slow Food Bok Choy dish. Time will stand still for one Fat and Happy moment.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chocolate Kahlua Brownies with Whiskey Soaked Cherries

You can't beat a good old fashioned brownie. Unless you soak maraschino cherries in whiskey for a week and add them to the brownie batter along with a bit of Kahlua. Then, ZOW! POP! ZAP! 

You bite into what you think is a normal brownie, you anticipate the chocolate and you imagine this will be good. Before you even know what hit you, your taste buds are doing flips on your trampoline tongue and your hand is reaching for second helping before the brain has even processed it.

This is a pretty classic brownie recipe, on its own it's unbelievably decadent and moist. But then you add in a glug of Kahlua and boozed-up cherries ... picture a cartoon where the eye balls pop out of the cats head. Yup, it's better than that.

People say the photos don't do these justice- so my suggestion is you go right to the kitchen and start mixing up your own batch. Then CRASH!, BANG! and POW! your friends with this amazing Fat and Happy treat!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hot Coleslaw Soup

Do you ever pick up old recipe books and read them? I love 'um! I love everything about them - the lack of direction, the casualness of the ingredient amounts and the expectation that you will just know things (like when they say: cook till done. Um, when?) Unlike any modern cookbook, there are no indexes to learn what an ingredient is, no explanation about the recipes and there are no pictures ether. And the truth is, I wouldn't want any. It would distract from the simplicity, not to mention kill the surprise of what some of the these dishes end up looking like!

Fellow Food Blogger, Christianna, picked up one such book about a year ago and was inspired to challenge other foodies to recreate these recipes. So once each month we all eagerly await the email with an image from the old book telling us what the new dish is. Or, what it was. It's our job to put our own spin on it.

Hot Slaw is this months winning recipe; so many options with this. I have a page full of ideas. The hot dressing intrigued me the most, but I wanted to lighten it up. The versatility of cabbage makes it one of my favorites. The idea of this hot, tender cabbage with a creamy dressing pulled me in the direction of a creamy, caramelized soup. Simple, easy and could be recreated to be lighter on the hips.

Think French onion soup meets spicy coleslaw. Mixing onions with fennel and cabbage, then sauteing until everything becomes a deep golden hue ... the final product almost gives off a hint of a smoky bacon. This easy cabbage soup turned out to be a testament of the simpler days when directions weren't needed.

Cookbooks aren't just for cooking anymore, but they used to be! And this Fat and Happy Hot Slaw Soup will help you momentarily relive those days of lore.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon

For a while I tried to tell people that bacon 'jumped the shark'. Everybody seemed to be diving on the bacon bandwagon head first- bacon popped up in drinks and chocolate chip cookies, bacon air fresheners were hanging at coworkers desks and bacon gum was offered after meals. I felt like people were intruding on my private bacon love fest and I didn't like it.

So I turned to chorizo- which is spicy Spanish sausage and fun in its' own right. But the truth is, bacon is irreplaceable. The salty, smoky, sweet, crunchy, chewiness cannot be achieved with sausage, or turkey bacon and certainly not a tofu-bacon.

So to add to the deluge of pork recipes, I'm sharing with you my classic pork wrapped bacon (is that an oxymoron?) The bacon seals in the pork and it comes out with finger licking, dripping down the arm juicy.

Yes, there are times that sausage can suffice, and even be the right choice on occasion. But do not overlook the glorious under belly of the pig. And I'm here to tell you that bacon has not jumped anything... certainly not my fat and happy mouth!


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