Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bobby Flay's Bitchin' Mesa Grill Potato Salad!

That's right, "bitchin."

It's doubtful that when Bobby created this recipe he would have even had the slightest inkling that some vegan chick in Minneapolis would be swearing with delight as she shoveled fork-fulls of the stuff into her mouth.

I don't know about you, but I think Bobby looks pretty "bitchin'" in this photo...He also looks like he just slipped a disk trying to pick up that skuer of cherry tomatoes.

As I've written before, one of my favorite things to do is rip off the food network stars by taking their recipes and making them into something I can eat. Every time I've done this, the recipes have turned out fantastic, and consequently, more healthy than their original version. (Bonus!)

This time, it was Bobby Flay's turn.

I was watching one of his "Throwdowns" that happened to be on fried chicken and potato salad. Naturally, the fried chicken wasn't what piqued my interest, it was the spuds.

Creamy and smoky with a southwestern flare, this potato salad will make you think twice about putting the old fashioned stuff on your plate ever again.

When I prepared this salad, I used a mixture of purple, red, and new potatoes...Aren't the colors beautiful?

The Vegenaise, lime juice, tomato and cilantro add a refreshing taste, while the mustard, chipotle peppers, jalapenos, garlic, onion, and scallions all add spice and flavor that is so bold it will make you come running back for more.

I did makes a few substitutions from the original recipe, like vegenaise for mayo ,and instead of the ancho chili powder I used one canned chipotle pepper and about 1 tsp of the adobo sauce. It gives it the smoky flavor and some nice heat that will surely give you a little kick in the pants. To prepare, I simply mashed the pepper into a paste and added to the mixture along with the adobo sauce. I also cut back on the garlic by one clove, and used a quarter of a red onion instead of the whole shebang...The flavors are definitely strong enough without it. Trust me on this, and you can always add more if you think I'm crazy. (The recipe below is altered to fit these changes)

Ahhhh...The sauce.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the finished product, garnished with a little cilantro fresh from the garden.

It's time to switch out that old-fashioned potato salad and opt for something a little more flavorful and bold. It's the perfect recipe to honor dad this weekend, so serve this one up for your Father's Day BBQ's and picnics!

Enjoy your weekend with family and friends, and, as always,

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!


Bitchin' Southwest Potato Salad

3 pounds new potatoes (I used a little over 2lbs)
Kosher salt
1 cup vegenaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder OR 1 canned chipotle pepper and 1 tsp of the adobo sauce.
Dash of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Add the potatoes to a large pot and cover by 1-inch with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes and drain well. Let cool slightly then slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces and add to a large serving bowl.

Stir together the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the warm potatoes and mix gently until combined, mashing the potatoes slightly. Season again with salt and pepper, to taste, before serving.


Attitude isn't necessarily a culinary recipe, but it is a recipe for success.

[Insert gratitutious "Jenni is such a cheeseball" comments here]

Seriously though, it's how you look at life and how you react to situations that make your life that much more fullfilling.

There's a rather long quotation from Maya Angelou regarding living life, and I wanted to share that with you here.

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're
gone from your life. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

-Maya Angelou

There is so much to say about how you react to what life throws your way. You can either take what it gives you and run with it, or continue to let it pile up until you're buried beneath the rubble.

I have a spin instructor who teaches mind-body workouts for both spin and yoga classes. She has most recently started a business, 1000 Petals, and has been speaking for Yoga Calm, a program that encourages bringing yoga into the classroom for children.

I take a few of her classes and not only do I get a great workout, but I also get a little kick-in-the-pants as far as attitude is concerned. One of the most inspirational things I have taken away from her is...

"Life is happening for you, not to you."

Smack in the middle of a 60 second sprint, or during a hill climb, she'll shout those words and just when you feel like you want to fall off of your bike she'll scream "YES YOU CAN!" And that's what will inevitably make you work that much harder.

I take these words as gifts and apply them to my life, where for me, it's about never giving up on myself.

So, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis? Big deal. I'm not going to let it control who I am or where I'm going.

Through diet, exercise, and attitude I took control back from something that was trying to take from me. I respected the illness, but I didn't let it win.

We all have the power and ability to take control and make life happen for us. Whether it's eating more healthfully, listening to our bodies, or taking that first step towards physical fitness, it's all within reach, and it's closer than you've ever imagined.

Be Well, Live Happy!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Avocado Pesto Pasta

I love summer. Mostly because I no longer have to throw on five layers of thinsulate before I leave the house, but also because of what's growing in my garden. Fresh basil, cilantro, dill, mint and rosemary, to name a few, all herbs I use regularly and love having right outside my back door.

Say hello to my gigantic galvanized tub of herbs. Josh decided to throw in a bunch of cilantro and dill seeds to see what would happen and voila!

On to the recipe at hand...

Chalk full of fresh ingredients, this Avocado Pesto Pasta is creamy, bold, and oh so flavorful.

Fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, olive oil, and delicious avocado...Check out the goose! These adorable measuring cups were given to me as a gift from my good friend Danika. They always make me smile...

Preparing this dish is a breeze. Simply combine the ingredients in a food processor and toss with freshly cooked pasta and you're ready to go.

Look at that COLOR! Also, look at my food processor...Although it does just fine for this job, it's a little small for some of my larger jobs, like when I make a gigantic batch of "grawnola." If anyone wants to buy me a larger one, feel free, but I may need a more spacious kitchen to store it in...Like this one...

I wanted to add a little more depth and flavor so I opted to add some sundried tomatoes to top off the dish. To rehydrate sundried tomatoes, simply place in a bowl with hot water and let sit for about 20 minutes.

My favorite antique pyrex bowls that I inherited from my Grandma...I used to have a complete set until Josh accidentally broke one. That day is now referred to as "Doomsday 2007."

Keep in mind, the quinoa spaghetti is not only a fantastic carbohydrate, but it is also an excellent source of protein, calcium and iron, a good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. And last but not least, it contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.

Finally, the finished product....

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!


Avocado Pesto Pasta
Serves 6
Recipe by Chloe Coscarelli compliments
1 pound or 2 packages Quinoa Spaghetti (You can also use other pasta such as linguini, fetuccini or spirals)
1 bunch basil leaves (about 2½ ounces)
½ cup pine nuts
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to package directions. While pasta cooks, in a food processor, blend basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta. In a large serving bowl, toss pesto with hot, freshly cooked pasta and garnish each serving with a basil leaf. For an extra touch of color and flavor, top pasta with sundried tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


You may have heard Jamie Lee Curtis blathering on about probiotics and yogurt (don’t get me started on eating yogurt for stomach issues when the yogurt itself is most probably prime suspect numero uno in many cases of bowel discomfort) over the television, or you may have seen them in pill form tucked awkwardly in the refrigerated dairy section of your local grocery store.

But what exactly are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that replicate the beneficial organisms found in the human gut which help us digest and process food. Also called “friendly bacteria” or “good bacteria,” probiotics can be found as supplements or in foods such as soy beverages, yogurts, miso, tempeh, and kombucha, an ancient, fermented tea consumed for it’s amazing health benefits. (Honest has recently come out with a great line of kombucha....The "Lemon Ginger" is my favorite and when you purchase a case of it at Whole Foods you get a 10% discount)

Through research, it has come to light that many health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Consumption of probiotics on a regular basis play a critical role in improving our digestive health, which is interconnected to every single function in our bodies...In other words, you really are what you eat.

One of my favorite ways to get a daily dose of probiotics is in my morning smoothie.

So Delicious has come out with a coconut milk based yogurt that is not only free from the common allergens (dairy, lactose, soy and gluten), but is also cholesterol free (it's vegan!), an excellent source of Vitamin B12, and contains both pre (prebiotics are food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms already in people's colons) and probiotics for "enhanced intestinal health."

They also make a delicious Coconut Milk beverage that I use as the base for my smoothie.

Here's a quick recipe to help you on your way to a better, more healthy digestive system.

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!

Happy Tummy Fruit Smoothie

1 cup So Delicious coconut milk (I like the vanilla flavored)
1/4 cup So Delicious coconut yogurt
1 banana
1 handful frozen strawberries
1 handful frozen raspberries

In a blender, add the soft ingredients first, followed by the frozen ingredients. Blend until smooth.