Category Archives: Uber Healthy

Guess Who’s Back?

Oh no pandas! It’s been two months since my last post. Yoikes! While I have been doing some serious Cooking Inside the Lines my poor little blog has suffered at the hands of new and good things from a new gig (at Wellington Group – love those ladies over there!) and of course, our awesome kiddo Lila who is now one. One! Can you believe it? I have to admit I was crying like a big old baby when we sang her happy birthday. Who knew you could feel such sweeping emotion of happiness and being totally overwhelmed in the span of two minutes. Parents, you’re feeling me right?

So, let’s get to some of the great dishes we’ve had in the past few months. I will admit, there was a two week span where everything I made was meh and since “meh” just won’t cut it, I will not share here. I will say David and I were praising the recipe gods because the drought of just ho hum dishes was starting to feel like a curse upon our house.

Oddly enough, my first recipe comes from BuzzFeed (Really???!!!) for the hands down best way to roast a chicken by the one and only Chef Thomas Keller (I feel like I should put “bow down” between Thomas and Keller every time I type his name). Now, I’ve roasted some chickens in my day because, as the hubs knows, it’s one of my favorite things to make…ever. So when I saw “How To Make The Best Roast Chicken Of All Time” roll-up in my Facebook feed I gave a look to the computer screen and said “BRING IT!” (that might be a bit over exaggerated. Who me?). Well, they brought it and all that was left were some chicken bones and empty plates. This was simple, delicious and perfect. Heck, use the best way to cook a steak post and you will have your chicken and steak bases covered for forever. Seriously though, I do think I will use this method until the sun explodes. Loved it.

Photo from Buzzfeed


Moving on!

This Gardener’s Pie from Cooking Light was fantastic to the max. It was so good that I made it on a Monday night and David requested it for the next week’s lineup to try it again. And yes, it was still fantastic to the max. It’s creamy, ooey, gooey with delicious roasted vegetables that are all cooked and season juuuuust right. Make this. Inhale your dinner. Inhale the leftovers. Repeat.

Finally, a super fast and family friendly meal was this Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Shallot Relish from Food & Wine. We only had six thighs so the cooking time was a lot less than 45 minutes and we had just enough time to make the Cilantro Shallot Relish, heat up some Naan and boom, dinner was done. I did have some Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice and Garam Masala and we found ourselves mixing the greek yogurt blend and cilantro shallot relish together and dipping our warm, delicious (store bought as I’m not making that from scratch) Naan. Yumm. The chicken was super, duper moist and had just enough oomph from the spice blend without being too overpowering (I mean it looks like it could have that potential right?). Oooh man, I will make this again.

Photo from Food & Wine Magazine
Photo from Food & Wine Magazine

I promise to not be away for this long again – seriously!  Love to you all and have a wonderful holiday season and break…ahhhh, a break. Can’t wait to spend it with our amazing family and friends.

A Delicious Failure

It’s rare that I review a dish that doesn’t work out perfectly, since (obviously) I test recipes that work to ensure you have a great experience at home. Alas, last night we had a real conundrum on our hands. I made this Crabless Cakes with Hearts of Palm & Corn from Food & Wine and while they maintained their shape when formed, boy did they fall apart once they hit the pan. It was so bad it looked like I was making a hash instead of crabcakes. I kept reviewing all of the steps and ingredients to make sure I hadn’t missed something glaring, but I didn’t. At first I thought it was my pan, so I moved to another non-stick pan and the same thing happened with the remaining cakes. Oooh, I was not happy lambs. I was about to scrap it but then decided to give it a taste. It was GREAT! So great in fact that I had seconds, which I rarely ever do. Granted,  I was eating a veggie/breadcrumb hash instead of crabcakes, but the flavors were outstanding.

Photo by Con Poulos
How the Crabless Cakes are Supposed to Look…Photo by Con Poulos

I am somewhat comforted that another fellow cooker tried this recipe and had the same outcome. Her idea was to add a bit of mashed sweet potato as binder, and it worked. Or, if you are OK with it, you could use two slightly beaten eggs. I would also suggest placing them in the fridge once formed to let them set up. I’m going to go back and try a few of these steps and report back to you on what works. These were awesome in flavor and pretty easy in assembly, so I definitely want to give them another try to make them perfect. I’ll keep you posted!

Vegetable “Ceviche”

Guys I have been digging the heck out of vegetables recently. Don’t get me wrong, I love veggies of all kinds, and even tried to make them the center of the plate at least a few times a week. But, I’ve really concentrated the past month on making them more of mainstay in our diet than red meat and even chicken or pork, and I’m loving it.

This bad boy from Food & Wine magazine was PERFECT. I love the ceviche style preparation and the colors and flavors were out of this world. Seriously, look at this…


This is great for end-of-summer/back-to-school parties as I think kids and adults will dig it, plus the vegetarians will love you! David, who is from the East Coast/Canada is our in-house fish expert, had been wanting to make me his “fish fry” for some time. It’s basically fish (we used Tilapia) coated in Saltine cracker crumbs, salt and pepper, dredged in egg and fried in olive oil. It was light, delicious and a nice balance to the intense flavors of the Vegetable “Ceviche.” I’m definitely making this again before the summer runs out. I can’t believe summer is almost over but you know what that means? COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Squee!


Ratatouille Tian

They are so many food blogs I love on the intertubes but one of my favorites is from Clotilde Dusoulier (I also love her name) of Chocolate & Zucchini. From the recipes to the photography and her writing, I am so inspired by what she does and now she has a cookbook! I can’t wait for it to arrive at our house and I didn’t have to wait to try one of her recipes since Daily Candy had a sneak peek of a few of them, including her delectable Ratatouille Tian.

This dish, made famous by the Pixar movie Ratatouille, has been one of my favorites for a long time. I love the blend of zucchini, tomatoes, onions and eggplant. Yes, even eggplant, the one veggie that I really don’t dig, but in ratatouille, I can do it (so can David since he hates eggplant too). Also, I didn’t know that Tian translated into any kind of casserole-style baked dish, thank you Yumsugar.

I will say this dish took a long time. From cutting the vegetables on the mandolin to roasting for a good hour and a half. Speaking of, have you ever cut yourself on a mandolin? YOWZA. I did one time and from then have worn safety gloves after one small cut. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain and the cut was deep. Sorry, I went on a mandolin rampage but it seriously hurt so bad. This is my PSA for you to be careful with those things, OK?

So, after cutting all the veggies, and layering and roasting and more roasting, I thought my love for this dish might be slowly dwindling, but we took one bite and it really was like the scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego takes one bite and is shot back to his childhood memory of him having a rough day and his mama making this dish for him. Happiness wells up inside him and tears begin to flow. Well, I’m from East Texas and definitely don’t have that memory, but I was shocked at how delicious it was and happiness did well up! It was perfectly balanced, cooked to perfection and so deliciously satisfying, just as this dish should be.

Tasting the ratatouille
Anton Ego taking the first bite of ratatouille from Pixar’s film, Ratatouille

This can be a bit of work but it definitely is worth the prep and time. Lovely, lovely, lovely, Coltide. I can’t wait to try more of your delicious work.

The Salad Only Married (Or Extremely Close) Couples Should Eat


Heed my advice on this one pandas, this salad is covered with cilantro, three types of beans, and grilled onions and jalapeños. Mmmhmmm. Not really the first date type of salad or heck, even the 15th but after almost two years of marriage and a kiddo – who cares! It’s damn good!

This Pinto, Black and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado was insanely yummy and super simple to put together. It doesn’t even have a dressing! The fresh lime juice was just perfect with the almost caramelized onions, spicy jalapeños, sweet corn and buttery avocados. I have to say our veggie only week is going splendidly so far!

Tonight I’m making a watermelon and cucumber salad and yes, a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin – it’s just a little bit of meat, I promise! Stay tuned…

The Healthiest Meals on Earth

That’s the title of the book I picked up the other day…and I say, bring it! The book is based on the concept of a Polymeal, basically, a perfectly balanced diet or as they state: ” Fish, garlic, almonds, fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, all polished off with a nice little glass of red wine.” They snagged me with those last two.

One thing I noticed but wasn’t expecting when we had Lila was that you start thinking about your mortality and how much you yearn to stick around to not miss one precious moment. This desire lead me to wanting to eat better, get back on my exercise regimen (it’s much harder than I thought it would be after having a baby) and just being good to ourselves so we can be here for her. I picked this book up as a means to end. A way to get us on track and start thinking about everything we are eating and, in the long run, keep our tickers going.

I tried the first Polymeal with like-minded friends last night and gosh, it was good. The meal consisted of Broiled Salmon with Tamari-Orange Marinade; Wild Rice and Green Beans with Shitake Saute and Dandelion Greens with Warm Sesame Dressing. There is also a suggested Spiced Pear Sorbet but I didn’t have five hours of freezing time available so, we scratched that. As promised in the book, the recipes were easy to follow, simple in approach and super delicious. We all agreed that it was perfect portions and felt full but not busting a gut full.

I don’t think I have to tell you all of the health benefits of salmon since they have been touted time and time again (love those Omega-3s) but did you know dandelion greens rank among the top four green vegetables in terms of their overall nutritional value? According to the book, “…and its Latin name – taraxacum officinale – actually means ‘official remedy for the disorders.’ Probably at the top of the list of things dandelion is good for is helping the liver do its job of detoxifying.” I know we could all use that, right?

I can’t share the recipes here, but highly recommend you scoop up a copy right away and follow along with me as I plan to make all the recipes in the book and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!



Glazy Afternoon

Last Sunday I wanted to make a fun Sunday chicken dinner but with a little oomph. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roast chicken but I really just wanted to try these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs and Miso Grilled Vegetables ( as soon as possible. Yumeh ya’ll! If you like applying the brush to your food then these two recipes are for you. I really enjoyed them together on the plate since you have a bit of Asian influence in each to make each other sing. It’s funny, I was talking to another friend who is also pregnant and she mentioned that she is now just cooking to her whims and cravings instead of having any real reason for making her meals each night. I’m trying to hang on to the thinly veiled mask of things making sense together but who wants to place the first bet that stops in a few weeks? I bet you my husband will be first in line. He’ll probably double down on that it will specifically be spaghetti and meatballs with a side of mashed potatoes and red bean mochi to top it off.

Back to the glazing! Gosh, these Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs ( from Cooking Light were insanely good and easy to boot. David liked them because of the maple syrup factor (of course) and I loved them paired with my favorite Asian ingredient miso in the grilled veggies (also from Cooking Light). Plus, you get to sit and glaze the heck out of stuff. I think kids might have a good time doing this in the kitchen with you if you’ve got an avid little cooker at your knee. This was simple, healthy, and filling enough to be a perfect Sunday family dinner. I know David and I both made it one of our favorites!

Fantastic Farinata

What is a farinata you ask? Don’t worry, I didn’t have a clue either but I thought the recipe sounded delicious. Hailing from Genoa, a farinata is a sort of pancake made with chickpea flour. Bonus to all of you gluten-free eaters out there.

This was skosh on the prep side, but I breezed through it pretty quickly and talk about getting your veggies. I felt healthy just by looking at this dish on my plate, let alone eating one, OK two, helpings of this. We both liked the dish for it’s freshness and the farinata was something totally new and unique that it felt like we were having a little bit of food fun for a typical weeknight meal. I could see this being perfect for a wedding or baby shower, or a brunch where you can do the basic farinata recipe and then do a veggie topping of your choice and a meat option with crispy pancetta, onions and cheese. Nom, nom, nom. Mangia y’all and give this one a try, it’s going in as an Emily and David favorite, I guess I should just start saying Kealey favorite eh?

Bon Appétit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse

The holidays are by far one of my favorite times of year, but let me tell you, I might as well start stapling cheese plates and desserts directly to my thighs and get it over with! That’s why I’m glad Bon Appétit has created their Food Lover’s Cleanse complete with recipes, menu plan and a shopping list. We did our shopping yesterday and yes, you will be SHOPPING until you drop, but, keep in mind, this is for two week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and desserts. Also, after reading a few reviews from readers who tried last year’s cleanse, you shouldn’t feel compelled to do the entire plan or worry if you don’t want to spend mucho deniro on all the vinegars, crackers, produce, dairy blah, blah, blah. We were pretty committed to doing the entire thing but I still wanted to keep costs down regardless if it was two weeks worth of food, and the bulk bins at Whole Foods Market have become my super besties; trust me, they will save you money and time. Although, after having our first two meals on the cleanse, maybe I should have gotten boxes and boxes of quinoa, lentils and the like!

I’m sitting here typing the post and David just looked up at me and goes “I really liked that salad. I’m stilling thinking about it, that dressing was amazing! That was a labor-intensive though right?” Not in a million years actually. I think I’ve found a new crush and it’s white miso. Nom, nom, nom. Salty and savory and makes a saucesome salad dressing. We loved it on today’s butter lettuce, avocado, and orange salad, plus the lentils were a perfect and tasty addition to round out the plate. Having just had our lunch, and thinking about our 10-grain hot cereal breakfast, I can tell this is going to be very filling meal plan without making you feel like a million pounds. We still have a pumpkin smoothie to make and tonight’s dinner of Black Cod and Caramelized Onions and Apples looks amazing! I’ll keep you posted on our progress but so far, we are loving these recipes…let the cleansing begin!

Here Fishy, Fishy

It must be all of this cursed indulgence the holidays provide, but as I was menu planning last week I wanted something light, healthy and delicious. So, I laser-focused on salmon and lots and lots of vegetables. Food & Wine, I love you. I tried three amazing dishes this week and as I’m sitting here typing this we are eating the last of this AMAZING Crunchy Cabbage Icebox Salad.


Crunchy Cabbage Icebox Salad (Photo by Jenn Louis)

Let’s start with the beginning of the week. I made this delectable Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Citrus and Cumin-Braised Swiss Chard for dinner. Ooooh, this was SO GOOD. I love slow roasting salmon since it tends to bring out its sweeter side and the blend of tarragon and citrus juices on top were perfect. To be honest, I chose the swiss chard dish because I really wanted a nice healthy green but hadn’t given it too much thought. Umm yeah, yowza. This was so amazing. For a side dish? Really? I could eat this every day!

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Citrus (Photo by Floyd Cardoz)

So I saved some salmon for the next night’s meal which was the infamous icebox salad. Poodles, you need to make this for your next dinner party. First of all, it’s stunning in the bowl, second it’s so satisfying with its crunch and mixture of textures, three it’s quite healthy, and four, if you do like I did and add salmon you will be sending me thank you cards. 😉 Definitely give all three of these a try as soon as you can or in the New Year, when those resolutions kick in…cue dry heave.