Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Un-Recipe Files – Grilled Seasoned Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

I just returned from a magical vacation in the happiest place on earth!  It is going to take some time to adjust to reality.  Everything really is just magical in the Magic Kingdom.  I went with family, including two of my adorable nieces.  It was so fun to see Disney through the eyes of a child. Although, I still feel like a child when I am there!


The precious moments were too numerous to list, but here are a few favorites.








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We also had a lot of good food at WDW.  While it was fabulous, I was ready to get back to some simple, healthy, home-cooked food. This simple preparation of brussels sprouts and potatoes on the grill is just what I had in mind.

For the sprouts, cut the ends off and then cut in half, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some of your favorite seasoning.  Grill in a basket until lightly charred and tender.

Here is what you do for the potatoes.  Scrub the spuds, poke a few times with a fork, microwave them for about 5 minutes, cut in half, score the insides lightly, drizzle with melted butter or olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and your favorite seasoning. 


Make a tray out of foil and place on the grill.  Cook until the potatoes are tender and start to brown. 


I made this entire meal on the grill in under 30 minutes, start to finish.  Stay tuned for the salmon recipe.  It is a favorite!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Puttin’ on the Ritz Fish

Perfect Pairing:  Stay fresh packages of crackers


What a weekend I just had.  It started on Thursday with a reggae concert (SOJA and Michael Franti) at Northerly Island.  I think Northerly Island is one of the best venues in Chicago.  Check out that view!  My boyfriend surprised me with the tickets (I may have given a few hints) to start off my birthday weekend.  He is a honey!



The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying great country music and incredible BBQ at the Windy City Smokeout. 

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I am not a huge meat eater but this brisket sandwich from Dinosaur BBQ was one of the best things I have ever had.  I had it two days in a row!  Now I need to learn to make brisket.

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It was an absolutely fabulous weekend in the city!


Now onto something a little lighter than a brisket sandwich. I apologize for the dorky recipe name.  I simply could not help myself.   I was giggling to myself as I made this fish thinking about the name.

This recipe is crazy easy and only uses four ingredients, fish, Ritz crackers, poppy seeds, and butter.  Salt and pepper are also involved, but I don’t count them.  So simple but truly delicious.


I used cod, but I think you easily could use any firm white fish.  All you do is place the fish on a foil lined pan (easy clean up) and coat it with crushed crackers, poppy seeds, melted butter (this step is called puttin’ on the Ritz), and bake!

These smaller packs of crackers were perfect for this recipe.  


If you have crackers leftover you should make this tasty Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.  It is a family favorite!  Try adding water chestnuts to the casserole for extra texture.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Un-Recipe Files – Avocado and Strawberry Toast with Feta and Honey


This spring I was lucky enough to go on a girl’s trip to Nashville to celebrate two very special birthdays with 11 other lovely ladies.  We. Had. A. Blast.   I had no idea Nashville was such a fun city!  Of course, this particular group of girls made Nashville extra fun that weekend.  We knew we were off to a good start when we walked into our hotel room and saw the incredible balcony.  It got a lot of use that weekend.


If there was a theme to the weekend it was probably something like, look ridiculous and be proud of it.  What started off as a denim only event quickly morphed into creating ridiculous outfits in general.


This one had a practical purpose as well.


You didn’t want to get caught walking alone in case someone thought that is actually how you dressed.  We were much better as an entire unit.


Nashville was hopping that weekend because of the Rock n’ Roll marathon and incredible weather.  The bars were all pretty much at capacity!


The weekend was in no way gourmet.  There was a lot of junk food consumed.  A lot.  Even though it was 99% bad, there was one meal that shined for me.  The first morning I walked to a nearby coffee shop with some girls to pick up breakfast and iced coffee.  The coffee shop specialized in healthy, local, organic ingredients.  I ordered avocado toast since that is one of my favorite things. They suggested adding strawberries, feta, and honey.  Why not?


Oh my goodness, I could not believe how delicious this combination was!  I was immediately obsessed.  It wasn’t long before I tried it at home.


There is no real recipe here.  Just mash up a ripe avocado with a pinch of salt, spread on some good quality toast, top with sliced strawberries, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of feta.  Perfect for breakfast, a light lunch, or a snack.  It is crazy good.  Thank you Nashville for giving me this great idea and a ridiculously (emphasis on ridiculous) fun weekend.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Perfect Pairing:  Food processor


About five or six years ago (it could have been more) my mom called me one morning to ask if I was watching GMA.  They were doing a segment on a new fitness craze called Zumba.  It was a high energy cardio class that was mainly composed of Latin music and Latin dancing.  I was immediately intrigued.  I started in dance class when I was 3 years old, and continued to dance through high school on the dance team.  I was also a huge fan of Latin music and Latin dancing, so Zumba seemed like a great fit for me.  I did some research and found a Zumba class in Chicago and tried it out one Saturday morning. I was completely hooked.  It was such a great workout (you can burn up to 700 calories in a class) and it was truly fun. 

Through the years I visited many many many Zumba classes in Chicago.  When I say many, I mean in the 100s.  I kept trying new instructors until I found one that was a good fit, which meant I liked their music, energy, and style.  Even though there were free Zumba classes offered at my gym I was still paying a hefty amount to take classes from my favorite instructors.  Somewhere along the way I started thinking maybe I could be an instructor. 

Last November I became official.  I was a certified Zumba instructor!  I spent the next few months coming up with routines and practicing.  I practiced a lot in my living room, which was definitely not as fun as a class environment!  I finally worked up the nerve to apply at a gym in March. Within one week I had an audition, and later that day I was offered a teaching job teaching two classes a week!  I was going to start the following week!  I was pumped!  And terrified!

It was so surreal to walk into the class as the instructor and not the student.  After that first class I knew I had made the right decision, and all the hard work was totally worth it.  I loved it.  If you’re interested you can find out more about my classes at http://lindsayrodgers.zumba.com/. 


After my mom took one of my classes in Chicago (see above) her wheels started spinning on how to have me teach where she lives.  So she organized a class for some of our family friends on her dock.  One morning a few weeks ago we had 9 lovely ladies down on the dock at 8 AM for a Zumba class!  It was a blast.  It was definitely the best view I have ever had during a class!  I think there were a few boaters passing by that had a hard time not staring at this strange occurrence. 


I am pretty sure everyone had a great time, and I have received requests for another dock Zumba class later this summer.  To thank everyone for coming, and to reward them for the great workout, I made this Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake. 


I followed this recipe.  The only changes I made were to use the food processor to make the crumb topping and the cake.  It was so much easier than cutting in the butter manually.  I would suggest using up the last of the season’s rhubarb with this recipe.  It was amazing.  Seriously. 

As long as we’re talking about rhubarb, you could also make this super simple, super yummy, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.  Why not have the perfect combination strawberry and rhubarb for breakfast (coffee cake) and dessert (crisp)!?


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