Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Perfect Gift for A girl who Loves to COOK!

So Monday, I walk into work to train a client and just happen to find a present left near my box. Supposedly one of my FAVORITE class members (spin class devotee to be exact), happen to leave it for me last week. Now this person, Suzette, is an avid traveler and knows just how much I love to travel and how much I love Europe and south coast of France. She happen to travel to Villafranche in souther Franch for work herself and ran on the coast each morning she was there (JEALOUS!!). So with that in mind, here's what was in the gift bag!! See below.

Love this. Lemon Olive oil from Italy.

Yes, real herbs de Provence. HEAVENLY!

So with this special treat, I wanted to treat someone else- my husband. Our anniversary is coming up and I thought this would be a nice romantic meal for us. Slow roasted organic whole chicken with lemon and herbs de provence with wild rice, tomatoes, and balsamic brussel sprouts. Oh and a nice glass of red wine to go with of course!

Combine the following in a crock pot and cook. I used a 3lb small whole organic chicken and placed it frozen in the crock pot on low for 4-5hours. Stir occasionally.
- coat chicken with 1/4cup lemon oil oil
-2 tbsp herbs de provence and a touch of sea salt, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cup raw wild rice
- 1 cup chicken broth. ( i actually used 1/2 cup sweet potato soup and 1/2 cup water to give it more creamy flavor in the rice)
-1/2 cup diced tomatoes and carrots

Organic Young Whole Chicken.

Fresh Herbs

Half way there!

And then Viola!

Ahhh....yum! And so glad there are leftovers. Happy New Year to all! My new resolution- be more flexible in life and in fitness. Going to yoga tomorrow. haha!



Monday, December 28, 2009

An Award- Me?

So I just found out that my good friend Kelly, of My Healthy Passion, presented me and 6 other ladies with the Beautiful Blogger Award for Beautiful Bloggers! THANKS Kelly!!! I know that my husband James (the other blogger on this site) is super excited, haha. JK.

Actually, for all those who read this blog because of my triathlete husband extraordinaire (James), I have to inform you that he is on sabbatical. So you are stuck with me, sorry. He will be back and blogging about races and training come January. So for now, let the recipes roll on.......feel free to comment. I love a good laugh! So, in Beautiful Blogger tradition, I will share 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to 6 other Beautiful Bloggers! I say 6 because it was too tough to pick the 7th so I left it blank, haha.

1. I love to travel. My parents enrolled me in a student exchange when I was 12 and have traveled and stayed with many families all over the world since. The first was Brazil, then Quebec, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, London, and now that my husband is from New Zealand we will hopefully be living there at some point. LOVE NEW ZEALAND. LOVE that my husband is a KIWI!! See pic of New Zealand below....aww....

2. My husband is my best friend. No doubt!

3. I have a true obsession (really an addiction) to Kombucha tea!!! Oh and I love wine! Have a glass every night. Two of my loves.

4. I am the assistant race director for Lavaman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii each year in March/April. We used to live there and its another passion of mine to help organize triathlons. Although it is STRESSFUL, it is also VERY REWARDING to see all those people race their hearts out. My husband has won the race 2-3x and always helps out with kids race too, so sweeet!

5. I am a super clean freak. My poor husband puts up with me, although I am working on it. But I actually like cleaning, just not vacuuming or ironing so that is James' job. He's excellent at laundry and vacuuming. Very Impressive!

6. This is my favorite snack. Yes it is a rice cake but its the salty sweet crunch flavor combo that I like. I like weird combo's of flavors, but thankfully so does my husband. This combo is butter rice cake with full fat greek yogurt, fig, and honey. YUM. The second is sunflower seed butter (crunchy) with banana and cinnamon. YUM again!

7. I hate recipes. I hate following guidelines for flavor. It makes me feel trapped! I will look for ideas and get the right measurements (sometimes) but other than that I just try to invent new dishes. Some are great! Some are not so great, haha! But you live and learn.


Now I want to pass this on to the following ladies.

Melissa Taylor @ http://thetaleof2taylors.blogspot.com/

Kelly Williamson @ Aim High

Lindsey Corbin @ http://www.linseycorbin.com/blog

Terra Castro @ Believe

Beth @ California Training

Allie @ http://pimpmyproteinshake.blogspot.com/

You ladies really make life a good read! Thanks!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas & Eat your Veggies!

Merry Christmas! Hope everyone had a wonderful day! We actually had lots of snow here in Dallas (at my parents house) and it was so nice to have a WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Cotter Boys

So, for Christmas lunch I was in charge of one thing and one thing only. THE BRUSSEL SPROUTS. My mom wanted to get them this year because she liked them and James LOVES them but she really didn't know the best way to cook them, thats why she left it to me. Lets see how many people I can get to not only taste, but to EAT my brussel sprouts. Now usually I roast these suckers but since all the ovens were in use, I decided to steam them. Very simple. Clean and cut the ends of the sprouts off. Then place 2 bunches of the rinsed sprouts in a microwave safe bowl or on the stove. I used the microwave, again because the stove was being used. Then add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth, balsamic vinaigrette (i think i used about 1/4cup as well), a little kosher salt, crazy jane spice mix, and steam in microwave in 3 minute intervals until done. They were yum! And I got 9 out of 11 to eat their sprouts today. Now thats a good Christmas present. WOOHOO!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The New Staple (food) in the Cotter House

So I've been wanting to try a recipe that James and I found off of Mark's Daily Apple and I finally came around to making it today. Good thing I did because its darn good and James' new staple for training! It's called the no-oatmeal. Looks just like oatmeal, even has the same consistency but its made purely of grounded nuts/seeds, mashed banana, eggs, almond milk, Cinnamon, almond butter, flaxseed, and whatever toppings you'd like. I used full fat FAGE greek yogurt to top it off along with some blackberries. I especially love that its gluten free and the main carbohydrate source is from the banana. This is great for fueling up! Try it! Let me know what you like to add into the mix. I think next up we'll definitely add some dried apricot or figs. Just heavenly!


1 small handful of walnuts
1 small handful of pecans
2 tablespoons ground flax seed [3]
1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 banana, mashed
2-3 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if you prefer it a little runny)
2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
1 handful of fresh berries


Add walnuts, pecans, flax seed and spices to a food processor and pulse it down to a course grain, making sure to stop before it’s totally ground into a powder. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs and almond milk (Doug uses a Blender Bottle) until the consistency thickens a little bit into a loose custard. Thoroughly blend together the mashed banana and almond butter and add it to the custard, mixing well.

Stir in the nut mixture. Microwave [5] or gently warm on the stove until the “no-oatmeal” reaches your desired consistency; this should only take a few minutes. In both cases, stir the mixture frequently as it cooks.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and berries on top. Add more almond milk if you want. Lick the bowl clean!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sounds good to me, right?

So I got the itch to bake tonight (not that I am in the kitchen enough, haha!) but this night I was feeling like I wanted to create and not follow a recipe on a box. I hate following recipes. I feel like I am being told what to do. As much as I like Betty Crocker, I just didn't want to listen to her, well not fully at least. So here I am looking in the pantry and here are a few things that caught my is eye.....Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix, Nutella, oats, shredded coconut, and ripe banana. Hmmmm....I bet i could mix this into a muffin and either they would be fabulous or disastrous. Results.......oh MY!!! So moist and just the right amount of flavor of each!

I really do not measure (My friend Kelly is trying to make me better at this) but here's what I did. Following the directions on Betty's Cake Mix box, I substituted half the mix for 1 cup oats (give or take) and about 1/2 of coconut. Then I used 2 eggs instead of 3 and added 1 tbsp of almond butter along with 3 tbsp soft butter (instead of the whole stick). The recipe also calls for 2/3 cup water but I used half water and half almond milk. To finish off the batter I mixed in just a tbsp or so of nutella. I didn't want them to be too too sweet and nutella can stretch a long way. mix it all up, spoon into 12-14 muffin cups and bake at 350F for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Test the center of the muffin with a knife to make sure the batter is fully cooked. The knife should come out nice and clean.

I think this is the perfect fuel for James' long run tomorrow. YEA!

Cheers in Good Health!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Where's your Holiday Spirit?

Is it just me or is everyone on edge during these last few days leading up to Christmas? I've never seen so much road rage and busyness. Grant it, I get that way sometimes, but overall I just like to enjoy the little time we have of Christmas music, family, friends, and festivities. In lieu of the season, I have to say have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! Don't be a Grinch!

The Cotters

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Making my gifts this year

So I have a rather large family and we usually do secret Santa, etc. but I still like to give or make something for my cousins and their families, aunts, uncles, etc. This year I decided to make big batches of what I like to call THE COTTER CHRISTMAS GRANOLA. James eats this up like candy. Good thing its not. The recipe is below. It looks really cute in mason jars with ribbon around it. That's about as festive as I get these days, haha!

Try it. Let me know how it goes.

Nut Combo

Then the oat combo

Everything together

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Either butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, nuts, flax, coconut, ground cinnamon, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together the oil (or melted butter), and maple syrup. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the liquid. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 30 - 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally so the mixture browns evenly. (The browner the granola gets (without burning) the crunchier the granola will be.) Place on a wire rack to cool. You will notice that the granola may still be sticky when it is removed from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Make sure to break up any large clumps of granola while the mixture is still warm. Once the granola has completely cooled, store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Note: Once the granola has cooled completely you can add a variety of dried fruits; cherries, cranberries, raisins, and apricots, etc.

Cotter Christmas Nut/Granola Recipe:

3 cups (300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

1-2 cup almonds

1-2 cashew halves

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp flaxseed (optional)

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup agave nectar (or dark honey)

1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, and/or raisins) (optional)

I actually added some chocolate chips for a little more sweetness!

And voila, gifts for my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are done!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

For the hubby

So lately I've been so consumed with work and making healthy bites (which is a GOOD thing) that my dinners have been kinda boring. ya know, Chili, chicken, breakfast for dinner, etc. Although James loves any kind of food I wanted to make it up to him by fixing something hearty and spicy! I saw 2 delicious thick pork mini roasts/steaks at Whole Foods and decided to broil those in a spicy mango chutney topped with some speciality spice and jalapenos. Okay, I just topped James' with Jalapenos but mine did have Chalula sauce on it, haha. Then I paired it with creamy mashed butternut squash and salad. I used the Cultural revolution cream top yogurt along with a little olive oil and black pepper to mix into my steamed mashed butternut squash. It was super! A new favorite. Here's the result.


Yes, i sneaked in some extra veggies adding sauteed spinach on top. We wanted a little "popeye" kick. haha!



Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Word- HEAVEN

This is our NEW love! Its such a great product and the mission behind this company is just down right Genuine. Check out Kalona Organics and view their many products. Our favorite so far is their plain cream top European Style yogurt. Low in sugar and in carbs and it tastes phenomenal! We use it with homemade muesli and last night I used it as a cream base mix for making mashed butternut squash. YUM!! I'll post that recipe soon. But for now, check these guys out and support good health.