Two Sisters, One Kitchen

Quick, healthy meals by a loving team. See what’s cooking in J & K's kitchen!

Nova on an English Muffin with Cream Cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Onion, and Tomato November 30, 2011

Jamie says: I visited the newest arrival to my big Italian family the other day- baby Cecilia (or Baby C as we like to call her). She is so adorable- all 7 lbs, 9 oz of her- and she’s my Godchild! I held her in my arms… so precious! Her big eyes looked around  as if to take everything in. Her skin was so soft and her hair smelled baby fresh. She was less than a week old and seemed so fragile. What a treat it was to hold a baby, especially when the baby is your Godchild. I fell in love with her instantly!

Oh, the food! That’s right… We’ll after my Dad and I visited Baby C, we journeyed to Publix. I saw nova (smoked salmon) on the shelf and it looked so tasty… it was a little pricey, but I thought, it’s cheaper than ordering it out. I tossed it in the cart. Yesterday for lunch I made…

Nova on an English Muffin with Cream Cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Onion, and Tomato

It was delicious! I love the smoky flavor of nova, the smooth cream cheese on the crunchy English muffin, the bite of the onion, the thinly shredded lettuce, and the salted, juicy tomato!

So flavorful!

Nova on an English Muffin with Cream Cheese, Shredded Lettuce, Onion, and Tomato

Ingredients:

  • one 100% whole wheat English muffin (Thomas’)
  • 2 tsp cream cheese (Philadelphia)
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce (Publix)
  • 1 small vine-ripened tomato
  • dash sea salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1 slice yellow onion
  • 3 slices nova (Vita Classic Atlantic Nova Salmon)

Directions:

  1. Cut English muffin in half. Toast in toaster until golden brown and slightly crispy. Spread cream cheese on both halves.
  2. Wash and dry lettuce. Roll vertically and place on a cutting board. Cut horizontally into very thin strips. Place shredded lettuce on top of English muffin halves.
  3. Cut tomato. Top with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place on top of lettuce.
  4. Place sliced onion rings on lettuce. Top with nova. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Tired of the typical ham or turkey sandwich for lunch? Add a little variety- and heart-healthy omega 3s- with seafood like nova or lox, canned tuna and salmon, and sardines.
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Chilled Avocado-Lime Soup with Shrimp & Bacon Crumbles November 29, 2011

Jamie says: I entered the Kick Off with Hass Avocados Recipe Contest about a month ago. Yesterday was the day to find out if you were a finalist in the contest. I anxiously logged onto the page and scrolled down to see if my recipe was there. I couldn’t find it. Maybe I missed it. I scrolled down again. Nope. I did a Ctrl + F (aka the “find” function) and typed my name. No results found. Okay, so I didn’t make the finals. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed- but only for about a minute. “You win some, you lose some.” “You can’t win them all.” So true. But if you don’t enter and face rejection, you have no chance of winning. Right? I’m glad I entered. There were some other great recipes, too. You can check them out on the Kick Off with Hass Avocados Recipe Contest’s Vote Now page and vote for your favorite. I did.

So what was my entry you ask?

A chilled, creamy avocado-lime soup topped with crispy, smoked bacon crumbles, freshly chopped tomatoes, crunchy tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Chilled Avocado-Lime Soup with Shrimp & Bacon Crumbles

Chilled Avocado-Lime Soup with Shrimp & Bacon Crumbles

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
• 4 limes
• 4 fresh, ripe Hass avocados
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
• 4 cups low-fat, unsweetened kefir
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro (or 2 Tbsp dried cilantro)
• 8 slices naturally smoked bacon
• 2 medium tomatoes
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 12 cooked, peeled shrimp
• 20 tortilla chips
• 4-6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

1. Juice limes. Add juice to blender.
2. Cut avocados in half, discard pit and skin, and place in blender along with salt, freshly ground pepper, kefir, and cumin. Pulse until blended.
3. Chop fresh cilantro. Fold into soup.
4. Chop raw bacon into small pieces. Microwave for about 3 minutes or until crispy. Use a paper towel to soak up grease.
5. Chop tomatoes into small pieces and sprinkle with sea salt.
6. Crumble tortilla chips.
7. Divide soup into bowls and top with bacon crumbles, tomatoes, shrimp, tortilla chips, and fresh cilantro sprigs. Enjoy!

Serves: 4-6

  • Nutrition note: Want a creamy soup without the extra calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol? Try using kefir instead of cream! You’ll also be adding probiotics!
 

Lunch Box November 28, 2011

Jamie says: There are some things we do because we have to, other things we do because we really want to, and there are some things we do out of love… like last night when Kathryn asked me to pack her lunch box for her first day of work. “I’ll always remember you made me lunch on my first day of work,” she said. I joked, “did you take psychology or something”- a question that was used on me by my Dad at the dinner table which has now become a running joke in the family. She added, “this could be something you could blog about.” I instantly thought of all the working people packing lunches and the mothers and fathers making their kids lunches for school…yes, this blog post is needed. Wow, my sis really knew how to win me over! But really, in all honesty, how could I say no. I couldn’t resist.

So I found myself at 10:00 PM last night in the kitchen preparing lunch for my little sis who’s not so little anymore- all grown up and going to work! She starts her first day as a copy editor for the Seminole Tribe of Florida today!

She had some menu suggestions, so I pretty much followed her ideas… out came her lunch box and the packing began…

The lunch box

I usually make a sandwich or a salad as my main entree. K’s entree today is a ham sandwich.

The sandwich

Then comes the fruit…

Grapes- drying on a clean dish towel

And a yogurt or cottage cheese. K got…

Yogurt (don't forget the spoon)

Then there’s a snack. K chose a…

Larabar- fruit and nut bars with no added sugar

I usually add a vegetable (unless I have a salad), too, but we were overdue for a trip to Publix.

A little sweet treat is usually appreciated…

Mocha brownie made by Mom

I keep the food in one area so I don’t forget to pack any of it.

All the food, piled up and ready to go in the lunch box

I always pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. (I usually bring a big sports water bottle.)

This water bottle is actually my Dad's (shhh) and is from Alcatraz in San Francisco, California

Growing up, Mom and Dad used to write “napkin notes” (handwritten messages on disposable napkins) and place them in our school lunches. The whole family was in on it today…

Napkin notes

Everything goes into the lunch box…

Packed lunch box- ready to go

For food safety, I store the lunch box in the refrigerator as long as possible.

Store the lunch box in the fridge until you leave the house and then put it in the fridge as soon as you get to your destination

Sometimes, in the beginning of a new routine, I’ll write a note on a little piece of paper and attach it to my car keys so I don’t forget things (like a perfectly good lunch).

Write a note and put it with the car keys (or something else you always take with you, like your phone) so you don't forget your lunch

Lunch Box

– Sandwich (or salad)

– Fresh fruit

– (and usually a vegetable, too)

– Yogurt (or cottage cheese)

– Snack bar (or snack)

– Sweet treat (occasionally)

– Water

Ingredients:

  • 100% whole wheat bun (Nature’s Own)
  • spicy brown mustard (Gulden’s)
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce (Publix)
  • 3 slices lower sodium sliced ham (Boar’s Head)
  • 1 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese (Polly-o)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup seedless red grapes
  • 6 oz low fat French vanilla yogurt (Stonyfield)
  • 1 banana bread snack bar (Larabar)
  • 1 small mocha brownie (made with love by my Mom; from Williams-Sonoma’s Picnics and Tailgates cookbook)
  • water (in a reusable bottle)

Directions:

  1. Spread mustard on top bun. Wash and dry lettuce. Roll lettuce vertically. Thinly slices. Place lettuce on top of mustard. Place ham on bottom bun. Slice cheese and place on top of ham. Sprinkle cheese with oregano. Quickly flip top bun over to meet cheese. Place in a reusable container.
  2. Remove stems from grapes. Wash and dry. Place in a reusable container.
  3. Choose a yogurt from the refrigerator. Don’t forget a spoon!
  4. Choose a snack bar from the pantry.
  5. Place a brownie in a reusable container.
  6. Fill a reusuable water bottle.
  7. Don’t forget a napkin. Write a special note on it if you’re making the lunch for someone else.
  8. Place everything in the lunch box and store the lunch box open in the fridge. If you have a small ice pack, place the ice pack inside. If your starting a new routine, write a note to get your lunch and attach it to your car keys (or phone or another item you take with you everywhere); you can reuse this note, too. If possible, store the lunch box, open, in the fridge when you arrive at your destination. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Pack a healthy lunch and snacks and you’ll be less tempted to raid the vending machines and fast food restaurants during and after work.
 

Green Eggs and Sand(wich)- An Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich November 23, 2011

Jamie says: I was planning on throwing together a quick lunch that I wouldn’t blog, but when I came up with this idea in the kitchen, I couldn’t help but run to get my camera before chowing down.

I used avocados as a mayonnaise substitute in egg salad. Geniuses pick green! (Meet the Parents movie, anyone? K and I have watched it over a dozen times.)

I instantly thought of “green eggs and ham” and thought this could be a “green eggs and sand(wich)?” This could be really fun for St. Patty’s Day, too!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

The avocado made an amazing substitute for mayonnaise because it was so creamy!

The eggs are green from avocado and green onion!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 large slice of avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 slices tomato (heirloom)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup spinach
  • one 100% whole wheat bun

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, place a peeled hard-boiled egg. Mash with a fork. Place avocado slice on top and add salt and pepper. Slice green onion and add to egg salad. Use a fork to mash and blend.
  2. Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper.
  3. Place spinach on bottom bun followed by tomato and then egg salad. Close sandwich. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: By substituting avocados for mayonnaise you are swapping a fat for a vegetable with healthy fats. Avocados are packed with a variety of nutrients (vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, fiber, and lutein) and contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, according to the California Avocado Commission website.
 

Sweet Potato Pie Shake November 22, 2011

Jamie says: I opened my Glory Foods prize gift basket the other day. It looked so pretty that I just wanted to leave it there on the table with its plastic wrap on it, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Which food should I make first, I thought. Ah, the sweet potato casserole caught my eye. (Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods.) Yes, that would be it- the can of sweet potato casserole was coming out. I heated it up and enjoyed it straight from the microwave. It was tasty and very sweet- great for a dessert… I thought it would go perfectly with slightly bitter kefir. My wheels were turning…

I made a:

 

Sweet Potato Pie Shake in my new Mason jar from Joe's Crab Shack and my spoon from TJ Yogurt Works

Yum! It tasted very similar to pumpkin! The sweetness of the canned sweet potato casserole and the bitter of the unsweetened kefir were the perfect match.

Graham crackers and whipped cream on top

Sweet Potato Pie Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup canned sweet potato casserole (Glory Foods)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened nonfat kefir (Lifeway)
  • 2 Tbsp fat free whipped cream (Reddi Wip)
  • 1/2 honey graham snack cracker (Publix)

Directions:

  1. Add sweet potato casserole and kefir to a blender. Pulse until well-blended. Pour in a Mason jar or glass. Drink with a spoon if desired.
  2. Crush graham cracker into small pieces.
  3. Top sweet potato casserole kefir with whipped cream and crushed graham crackers. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: After taking your first sip, you’ll have a hard time believing this sweet dessert/beverage has a nutritious side, too. But it has almost no fat and has lots of vitamin A, some fiber, calcium, and probiotics, so it certainly has a healthy kick to it.
 

Heirloom Tomato and White American Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Basil November 21, 2011

Jamie says: I’m having a flashback to elementary school (or was it middle school). One of my assignments was to write the recipe for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We were told to be very specific with our directions so that someone could follow it word for word. The teacher then chose a few recipes to follow. It was quite entertaining, since if the directions weren’t precise enough, she would do something silly, like spread the peanut butter with her hands because it didn’t say to use a knife. I was one of those kids who spent a long time writing the recipe and probably had about 30 steps on how to make the sandwich. Today, for simplicity’s sake, I tried to be clear and concise, but I’m sure you can do something crazy with this one…I’m already imagining it.

I made an…

Heirloom Tomato and White American Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Basil

It tasted garden fresh!

What's inside the whole wheat bun? Thick heirloom tomatoes with a olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper; fresh basil from the garden; and white American deli cheese.

Heirloom Tomato and White American Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Basil

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices heirloom tomato
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 fresh basil leaves (from our garden)
  • 1 slice white American cheese (Publix Deli)
  • one 100% whole wheat sandwich bun (Nature’s Own)

Directions:

  1. Place two tomato slices on the top bun and two on the bottom bun. Add salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and basil to tomatoes. Place slice of cheese on top of the tomatoes on the bottom bun. Quickly flip the top bun over to meet the cheese on the bottom bun to close the sandwich. Enjoy!

Serves: 1

  • Nutrition note: Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties. Some studies have shown that eating tomatoes and other foods with lycopene is associated with a reduced rate of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
 

Roasted Eggplant and Tofu Sandwich with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs November 18, 2011

Jamie says: Today’s a rainy day. Perfect for staying inside and being creative- both in the kitchen and beyond. I began working on a fun project I’ve been thinking about for months now (shhhh… it’s a secret). When lunch time called, I knew I wanted to use the tofu block in the fridge, and I was thinking a tofu sandwich might be good, so I came up with this- a Roasted Eggplant and Tofu Sandwich with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs.

Inside the sandwich

This hot sandwich was really tasty. The German dark wheat bread was nice and hearty and the extra virgin olive oil and mozzarella cheese made it quite flavorful.

No skimping on ingredients here

Before, during, and after cooking time, I worked on my fun project. It’s still not done, but at least my stomach is happy and full.

Roasted Eggplant and Tofu Sandwich with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs

Roasted Eggplant and Tofu Sandwich with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 14 oz block firm tofu (Nasoya organic TofuPlus)
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 8 slices German dark wheat bread (Pepperidge Farm)

Directions:

  1. Drain tofu. Place a layer of paper towels on both sides of tofu and place a heavy pot on top. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice eggplant into 1/8 inch pieces and place in a metal baking pan with sides. Pour olive oil evenly on top and add salt. Mix. Bake for about 40 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake for an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat. Rotate pan to coat with oil. Slice tofu in quarters (cut once in each direction- vertically and horizontally). Place in pan. Cook for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Chop tomato and fresh herbs.
  5. Toast bread in a toaster. Place each tofu slab on a piece of bread. Scoop tomatoes and fresh herbs on top. Then add eggplant. Top open-faced sandwiches with remaining slices of bread. Enjoy!

Serves: 4

  • Nutrition note: Don’t be fooled in the bread aisle. Wheat does not necessarily mean whole wheat. Read the ingredients label and look for the word “whole” (e.g. whole wheat flour) in the first few ingredients. If it says “enriched,” it’s not a whole grain. Pepperidge Farm’s German dark wheat bread is made with whole grains (the first ingredient is whole wheat flour).