Linguine with Lemon-Dill Vodka Cream Sauce

It’s snowing like hell out… I’m lazy, sick with a cold, and want something easy but decadent for dinner.  Enter pasta and a salad.

I am not in the mood for anything with tomato sauce (or fat-free apparently), so I’ve shifted my attention to a cream sauce. I have fresh dill and a couple of lemons in the fridge and a bag of frozen peas in the freezer. Hey, just because it’s a creamy dish doesn’t mean we can’t lighten it up a bit with some tasty peas! If you have asparagus laying around, that would work well too.

This sauce takes some time to reduce, so plan ahead. I like to eat dinner early so I don’t mind starting it at 4 and letting it simmer down until 5 or so. Dinner can be on the table by 5:30. Score.

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If you don’t have fresh dill you could use dry, but fresh is the way to go if you can. Know how you always end up with more dill than you need when you buy it? We usually use so little of that massive amount of fresh herb. Here’s my solution: chop it up, evenly distribute it into ice cube trays and pour olive oil over each ‘cube’. Freeze. Pop them out and store in a freezer zip-lock bag, in the freezer.  Next time you need dill olive oil combo, you’re ready to go. (Makes for easy salad dressings too!) Brilliant huh.

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For my salad, I’m keeping it simple with a baby kale/spinach mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, sliced oranges, fresh buffalo mozzarella and some fresh mung bean sprouts I’ve been sprouting. They are crunchy and perfect to round out the salad. For the dressing, I’ll probably just drizzle some olive oil and finish with a squeeze of lemon and zest. Simple and perfect.

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Enjoy this sauce with parpadelle, linguine or wagon-wheel pasta. Toss pasta in sauce and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Knob of butter
  • Grated parm cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook onion in oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (but not browned), about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir.
  2. Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt and boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is significantly reduced to 2 cups, 50-60 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peas, dill, lemon zest and juice, dijon mustard, pepper and butter. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour over pasta and toss until pasta is completely coated. Sprinkle fresh parm cheese on top (optional).

30 minute Playlist to Get You Motivated

In my morning readings today I came across this article from the Huffington Post titled:

If This Playlist Can Help The Seahawks Win A Super Bowl, It Will Surely Get You Through 30 Minutes On The Treadmill

Who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve won the Superbowl after a workout?

Like the article says, the right music can get you motivated, and motivated BIG. I like this track list because it’s loaded with heavy hip hop/rap… who doesn’t love a little Luda and Tupac in their mash-up?  Oh! There’s a song you’ll remember from the movie Fast & Furious too.

This mix is a bit slow for a run (for me), but if you’re into lifting, I think this could definitely do the trick. Crank it up and pump it out baby. You’ve got this, ain’t nobody gonna hold YOU back 🙂

Cheers friends, have a great day!

(Image courtesy of http://crossfitinvoke.com)

Very Berry Spelt Multi-Grain Muffins

Well after that sugar rush of caramel corn last night (I had a handful then had enough), I am craving muffins today.  Multi-grain berry muffins.  I am not a muffin girl and when I do eat a muffin, it’s never the fruit kind but for some reason today, I want a wholesome soft, fluffy fruit muffin. I’m looking forward to having this in the morning, cracked open, drizzled with yogurt and sprinkled with nuts and chia seeds. Perfect breakfast? I think so!

I enjoy the flavour of spelt flour along with the hard wheat red bran in this recipe. In half the batch I threw in some cacao nibs just ‘cause.  This recipe will be sure to satisfy your whole grain and sweet tooth all at the same time!

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Ingredients:

2 c           spelt flour

½ c          yellow corn meal

½ c          hard wheat red bran

1/3 c      lightly ground flax seeds

¼ c          chopped walnuts

2 tbsp    sesame seeds

1 ½ tsp  baking powder

1 tsp      baking soda

1 tsp      ground cinnamon

½ tsp     pink Himalayan sea salt

Small handful of chocolate chips (optional)

2              large eggs

1 c           orange juice

½ c          organic coconut oil

½-¾ c     agave

1 tsp      vanilla extract

1 ½ c      mixed frozen berries, thawed

1 tbsp    rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a medium-sized muffin tin with your favourite cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, cornmeal, oat bran, flax seeds, chopped walnuts, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs lightly. To the eggs, add the orange juice, coconut oil, agave and vanilla, whisking until they are well combined. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk just until blended. Mix in the berries (and the juice they produced when defrosting) and cacao nibs (if using).

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling the muffin cups almost to the top. Top each muffin with a sprinkling of the oats. How pretty!

5. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until the muffins are deep golden brown and spring back lightly when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy my friends!

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramel Corn

I make popcorn on a regular basis, it’s one of my favourite snacks, but lately I want sweet caramel corn. Instead of the plain-Jane caramel corn I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I’ve opted to add salt, peanuts and vanilla bean. Sounds like heaven, right? It is.

Oh yeah, this is happening on a Monday night.

I didn’t want to use corn syrup for my sweet treat, so I knew I had to work with brown sugar and butter. Hey – that’s not a bad thing. I did some research and came up with the simplest way to make it. No corn syrup, no baking… just sauce and let cool caramel corn.

Here’s what you do my friends… make yourself some focaccia, then for dessert, make this. Park your ass on the couch and cuddle up. This makes for one helluva meal 🙂 (sorry for the awful pics, the lighting was terrible in my kitchen tonight!)

  • 1 cup organic popcorn
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 c light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2-4 tsp coarse sea salt
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pop popcorn as per usual then spread it out on the lined baking sheet.

IMG_2986Melt butter in a pan.  Add brown sugar and stir until mixed, then add the water. 

IMG_2987Stir until boiling stage and cook for 5-10 minutes until mixture hits soft-ball stage (put a few drops in a glass of icy water until it can form a soft ball).

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Remove from heat and add vanilla and soda, continue to stir while it goes puffy.
Add peanuts and mix well.

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Drizzle over popcorn and lightly stir.
Salt with coarse sea salt.
Allow to cool (if you can).

Eat.

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Caramel Corn