June 24, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Let’s talk about watermelons. First of all, I don’t mind if it’s seedless chuck full of seeds. It just has to be ripe, red, sweet and beautifully refreshing. When I think of summer I automatically think of watermelon. The difference between buying these melons in the summer or the winter is simply this: Off season you will pay upwards of 15 bucks for a watermelon. STUPID. In the summer, it’s a free for all. They are anywhere from 2 to 5 bucks which is more like it.

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A perfect example of a watermelon bargain was at my local Walmart last week. I was walking towards the produce section and there were giant bins of watermelons set up near the front of the store. All I could see was butts. Yes, butts.

Shoppers were literally diving into these bins head first. That being said, there upper bodies were swimming amongst the watermelons while their butts were sticking up and OUT of the bins.

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Reminiscent of a bridal shower game I once got myself sucked into, I thought why not? As I approached the bin, I noticed that this wasn’t the kind of challenge I was comfortable playing in the middle of a Walmart store. Mostly because these “watermelon” divers had their game faces ON.

They bobbed in and out of the bins coming up with different sizes of melons. Once they grabbed a melon they didn’t stop there. They cradled, thumped, shook and measured their melons up against other divers finds. I started stepping away quickly when one diver decided to throw his melon back in the bin while someone’s butt was still sticking out. That meant, his head was clearly a target in the melon toss.

NO

THANK

YOU

BOB

I opted for a baby sugar watermelon instead. It was twice the price of the melons that were on sale in the bin. I weighed the risks of getting a watermelon thrown on my head and was satisfied with my decision.

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Now. How to choose a watermelon. There are tricks ya know. Mine usually involves asking the produce guy at my regular market to pick a perfect one for me. It works every time. The other trick is to let Steve pick one. He’s a watermelon aficionado. He knows how to shake, thump, rattle and roll his melons.

I held my baby watermelon gently in my arms. Gave it a little thump. Heard nothing and proceeded to do the rest of my shopping without giving it another thought.

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When I arrived home I unpacked my melon and placed it on the table. Steve looked at it with a raised eyebrow.

“You picked a watermelon by yourself”? He asked.

“Yes, I know how”. I answered.

Then I got that Skeptical Steve look. You know the one. It’s when he looks at you and THINKS to himself that there is no way on earth I could possibly pick a perfect melon without all the tricks.

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Well Steve?

Well?

I did.

And then, I put these watermelon wedges on pops and called it a day.

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Watermelon Pops with Yogurt, Feta and Pistachios

-10 – 12 watermelon slices cut into triangles
-Plain Yogourt
-Honey
-3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
-1/2 cup crushed pistachio nuts
-Popsicle sticks

1) Cut a small slit in the watermelon rind and insert a Popsicle stick in.
2) Drizzle with your choice of Yogourt, honey and sprinkle with pistachio nuts.
3) Could this be any easier? I don’t think so.

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See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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June 22, 2016

Makin’ Cheesy Meatball Subs with Hello Fresh

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Ok so here’s the deal… I love good food, but the whole cooking thing? Not really for me. Once in a blue moon I will be inspired to cook something new and exciting, but for the most part I heat up frozen Trader Joe’s meals, or order takeout.  Living in New York City makes both of these options WAY too easy, so I have become lazy.

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This laziness about cooking is a trait that I am trying to alter, so that’s why when Hello Fresh reached out to LMP about letting us test out their service, I was excited to give it a go.

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Hello Fresh is a meal subscription service that delivers a minimum of 3 meals to your door every week. Their meals only include the freshest ingredients, with the exact amount of each ingredient that you need to make each dish.  They provide detailed instructions for each recipe so even a cooking novice like myself can make something delicious!

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In addition to working at LMP, I also babysit Seri’s kids, Gavin and Luke VERY frequently… we are talking 2-3 times a week. I decided to make a one of their recipes for the boys for dinner last week, and boy was it a hit! I made them the Cheesy Meatball Subs with Herby Marinara and Crispy Broccolini, and they ate every last bite.  I snuck myself a few bites as well and was blown away… I couldn’t believe that I had made something so delicious, and without messing anything up!

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The recipe was simple and easy to follow, with clear instructions and realistic prep time estimates.  The meal was healthy and the ingredients were super fresh. The boys literally gave me a thumbs up because they loved the subs so much! Gavin and Luke eat very well for a 6 and 3-year-old, but I’d still say that was a success.

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Here is the recipe card:

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I love how the nutritional info is listed on the recipe card… you can see how truly healthy each dish is! You can also check out Hello Fresh’s blog for fun more fun recipes and ideas for healthy ways to cook for your friends and family.  Our favorite? This patriotic cake recipe which you can serve for Memorial Day OR the 4th of July! They even mentioned us in their post.

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Thanks to Hello Fresh for working with us… we can’t wait to try more of your delicious meals!

xx, Abby
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June 17, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Each year I head out to visit my niece (AKA Little Miss Party) and her family in Quogue, NY. Let me just say it’s always an adventure. We usually hang out, cook, swim, dine out and play with her two little boys. But most of all, we get silly stupid and laugh…a lot.

This was a bit of a different trip. I came into New York City on a Friday afternoon. We went out to dinner to Joe’s Shanghai before driving out to the house. I witnessed my 6 year old great nephew down what seemed like an entire order of soup dumplings ( I think he consumed 6 or 8, I can’t remember). The food was amazing and these kids are treated like celebrities at this place. Most likely because they have been going there since conception.

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Normally, I spend an entire week with the whole family because my date of travel falls in the summertime when her kids are off school. This time around, I wasn’t able to book the trip during my standard week in July due to a scheduling conflict at work.

So here I am ………ALONE IN THE HAMPTONS. Yes, they went back to the city to work and school on Sunday and left me out here for some much needed R & R. But before they ended their weekend stay we did lunch in a grand way.

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As you can see, this was a special collaboration of LMP, SBE and ABK. The party planner, the food stylist and the barbecue master.

The menu for lunch was as follows:

Quogue Grilled Chicken Salad

and

Simply Beautiful Spiced Grilled Nectarines

You may or may not know this but I’m stuck on making an avocado rose. The best I can do is making pretty cucumbers and oranges. It doesn’t take a food carving artist to accomplish this task.

AND…….look how stunning!

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Oh wait. You are going to want to know how this is done right? I could try to explain it to you but why not just watch this YouTube video. They use a tomato but it’s exactly the same method. Super easy. Basically you are making zigzag cuts in the fruit and veggies. You’ve got this. Trust me.

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Now what about these plates? Target has a wonderful collection of outdoor tableware. We went there to buy some household items on the first full day I was out at the house. When LMP saw these Marimekko for Target beauties they were in her cart faster than you can say chicken salad.

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Not having enough time to shop there on that jaunt, I decided to go back there today on my own. It’s intimidating putting yourself in the hands of a navigation system but after a few street misses, a couple of traffic circle fails and the part where I thought I would never see the house again, I made it BY MYSELF to Target.

Honestly? I’ve never been so proud.

Hoping that I would be loaded down with some new clothes and shoes, this is what I came home with after this shopping trip.

Two bananas and some toothpaste. I’m pretty sure I need to declare the toothpaste.

Grilled Chicken with Spiced Nectarines
-4 boneless chicken breasts, marinated (use your favorite one)
-1 Boston lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces
-1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
-1/2 English cucumber, sliced
-1 nectarine, sliced
-Sesame Ginger Dressing (store bought or homemade)
-4 nectarines, halved
-extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-salt & pepper

Arrange lettuce on a large platter with almonds, cucumber, sliced nectarine. Grill chicken until no longer pink in the centre. About 7 to 8 minutes on the barbecue. Coat nectarines in olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat both sides well. Grill for last 3 to 4 minutes while the chicken is still cooking.

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Slice chicken and serve over your plated lettuce mixture. Pour sesame ginger dressing over and serve with grilled nectarines on the side. Serves 4.

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See ya next week! (If I don’t get lost in Quogue)

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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  1. party stuff for boys theme

    what a lunch idea it is. I love all these and I would definitely try this.

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June 3, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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I think you know by now that I get a little excited with “mini” sized thingies. When I first saw these Lodge Cast Iron Mini Skillets at Kitchen Stuff Plus, I just knew that I had to have them.

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Look how cute they are! Not only are they adorable, they are great for individual sized desserts or appetizers. The best part is they double as a baking dish and a serving dish…….that translates to less cleanup for me, thank you very much! Best part is Kitchen Stuff Plus is having a sale on all Lodge Cast Iron from June 1 -19 both in store and online! Shop here: Kitchen Stuff Plus

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Now, let’s get to the recipe I created for these l’il skillets. What’s better than having a chocolate brownie with extra chocolate added to it and when you thought there wasn’t enough chocolate you toss in more! Score! Or in this case Skor. Chocolate is supposed to be good for you right? I think? You know. The antioxidant proponent. So by rights you can eat all 7 of these skillets and not feel guilty about it because with the amount of antioxidants in here, these are totally good for you. Or whatever. If you are skeptical read this article → 11 Reasons Chocolate is Good for Your Health.  I’m totally down for reason #2, because if it improves my math skills, sign me up for a few chocolate bars a day.

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The key to any recipe is being creative. In my case, you know how I fly. Open up the cupboard and whatever falls out usually makes it’s way into the bowl. I had a some leftover dark chocolate from my flourless chocolate cake recipe, a bag of open Skor bits from a giant cookie I made recently, so naturally they made their way into a brownie recipe that is so rich and delish you will most likely need two skillets to make you happy.

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Oh and if you’re wondering about the abundance of blueberries in these photos, there is a reason for them. I attempted to make a “no churn” blueberry ice cream to top the brownies with. Here’s what happened, and it was clearly not my fault, because it was a major fail. Ready?

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I made the ice cream and placed it in the freezer. The problem was……..my temperature control is broken on the freezer so when I returned to get the ice cream, I had cream of blueberry soup. Instead of it being scoopable it was soupable. UGH!

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Anyways, I didn’t give up. I used the blueberries (yes I had extra ones) as a garnish and I had vanilla ice cream in my basement freezer, which is still working, thank God.  And wait.

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What about the mint? I was told there was a ton of it in the backyard, which miraculously wasn’t frozen solid during the past weekend’s weird weather pattern, that took us from spring, back into winter for two days. Where else can you live that you can experience frostbite and sunburn in the same week? Only in Canada, eh.

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FLOURLESS DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK SKOR BROWNIES

-½ cup butter
-2 cups dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
-½ cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chunks
-¼ cup Skor bits, chopped
-½ cup almond butter
-4 eggs
-½ cup sugar
-½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-½ teaspoon sea salt

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1) Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare mini skillets by seasoning them first. For the “how to” click here.
2) Melt the butter, 2 cups chocolate chips, and ½ cup almond butter in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power in increments of 30 seconds for a total of 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and microwave for another 20 seconds at a time until melted, shiny and smooth.
3) Add chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt and mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chunks and Skor bits and mix just until combined.

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4) Divide mixture among 7 mini skillets and bake for 30-40 minutes until set and an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely or top with additional Skor bits if desired and serve warm with ice cream.

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See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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May 29, 2016

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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When Wedderspoon Organic reached out to me a few weeks ago, I was super excited to receive their samples of Manuka Honey. What is Manuka? I’m going to tell you, because this is what they told me.

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The Maori people of New Zealand have relied on this honey as a “cure-all” for centuries. Apparently, Gwenyth Paltrow and Kate Middleton have expressed their love for the therapeutic benefits of this sticky-sweet substance. Well? If it’s good enough for Gwenyth and Kate it’s good enough for me right?

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So what’s so good about it? It has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and non GMO. That’s a quadruple threat if I’ve ever heard one. It is perfect for healing dry or problem skin and it has even more health benefits when consumed. I’m totally game to try this, as I have suffered for many years from specific skin conditions that don’t respond to potions and lotions, so I’m going to schmear this stuff on me from head to toe and see what happens next.

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Honey seems to be working wonders for my mom. She drinks her hot lemon tea each morning with a big dollop of honey swirling around in the cup. At age 94, she swears by this concoction and you know something? I think she may be right (mind you, she always is right). From all the research I’ve been doing lately, it seems that your body needs an alkaline kick start each day. I would never have known this, but lately I’ve become my own “WEB MD”. This alkaline in your body thing would include a cup of warm water, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sea salt. With the addition of the Manuka Honey, this drink just upped it’s “AAA game” (antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory).

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But let’s talk the recipe du jour shall we? I’ve always made my mini carrots with a honey glaze. Like always. What can I say? I like sweet things. The other day at the market, I came across these mini rainbow carrots. Mini? Rainbow? Hello. In the shopping cart they went.

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I thought about how I could incorporate the Manuka Honey in this recipe and came up with a simple drizzle that is laced with cinnamon and the glorious juice from a blood orange.

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I’m totally in love with blood oranges not only for their deep rich color but their flavour differs from a regular orange. Light citrus notes with a hint of raspberry. Uh, you need blood oranges in your life, yes you do.

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This simple side came together quite easily and if I do say so myself, it was a plethora of beauty and goodness on a platter. The phrase “eat the rainbow” is the only thing that comes to mind when looking at this. Filled with delicious veggies, a sweet drizzle that is packed with nutrients, this is a winner for a side dish at dinner.

Thank you Wedderspoon Organic! I’m going to be wearing your honey inside and out.

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ROASTED RAINBOW VEGETABLES WITH BLOOD ORANGE MANUKA HONEY DRIZZLE

Roasted Veggies
-1 small bag of tricolor baby carrots
-2 yellow beets, spiralized
-olive oil
-salt & pepper
-fresh parsley, finely chopped
-½ cup fresh pea shoots
-½ cup diced red cabbage
-¼ cup pine nuts

Manuka Honey Blood Orange Cinnamon Drizzle
-⅓ cup blood orange juice, about 2 blood oranges
-zest from 2 blood oranges
-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-pinch of cinnamon
-2 tablespoons Manuka Honey
-pinch of sea salt
-1 tablespoon olive oil

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1) Preheat oven 400°F.
2) Toss your carrots and beets with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until just tender.
3) Meanwhile, make your drizzle by combining the blood orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest cinnamon, honey, sea salt and olive oil. Whisk until combined.
4) Arrange carrots, beets, pea shoots and red cabbage on a platter. Drizzle with orange/honey mixture and garnish with additional blood orange segments and pine nuts if desired and serve warm.

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See ya next week!

debi @simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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