Fancy in 5 Steps! 🥂 Charcuterie Board

The inspiration for this came from a 3 and 6-year-old. We were to host a small, casual gathering and we sought to satisfy everyone without killing ourselves. Aha! A charcuterie board is like fancy buffet but far simpler to build. We used two cutting boards that Mr. Chef made, but you don’t need custom end-grain cutting boards to accomplish this festival of food. The cutting board could come from IKEA, or use serving tray. Have a bit of fun with your imagination and what you already have in your cabinets. Presto!

In hosting, as in life, we prefer balance and elegant simplicity, and fun with perhaps a *sprinkle* of fancy. It’s okay to throw something together and even bring in a bit of whimsy.

So, to keep things classic and chill, the idea of having a variety and simple foods- a smorgasbord- stood out. Call it that, a Hungarian cold plate or “Hidegál”, or, because it sounds so nice to say, charcuterie board (the way we like to remember to pronounce it: “shar(k)-coo-ter-ee”; say it fast enough and the “k” glides you right through the word). Other reasons we love this:

Unstuffy – at its heart, a charcuterie board is very finger-friendly and is even great for kids

Healthy – we went mostly for organic produce & gluten-free items but also had quality meat products for omnivorous types.

Visually appealing – because we all ‘eat’ with our eyes first, we really wanted to provide a cheery, colorful palette of foods from which to choose.

The Steps

  1. Think about your guests – do they have dietary restrictions or allergies? Food preferences? Will children be present?
  2. Plan your board(s) – think of food groups (healthier versions of fat, protein, carbohydates) and accessories (dips that go well with chips, carrots, and celery for example). This helps provide a balanced and light meal. Bonus: make a ‘rainbow’. Get creative and perhaps offer a fruit and vegetable option for each color – such as orange bell peppers and orange slices.
  3. Go shopping and prep the produce. Here are some items you might want for your custom board(s): vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes), fruits (orange and apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes – dried fruit is also an option!), cheeses, deli meats (salami, turkey, ham or chicken), crackers and/or bread, dips (hummus, Ranch, herb-infused olive oil), olives, pickles, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), chips, and chocolate.
  4. Decorate your boards! Use little bowls for dips, dishes or plates, cutting boards, and utensils to design a beautiful, curated offering to your guests.
  5. Relax, eat and enjoy!

Recipe: “The Blood of Care Bears”

In the quest for unending youth and beauty, legend has it that Countess Elizabeth Báthory would bathe in the blood of her human servant girls (over 600 are said to be victims of this female serial killer).

What have we done to the cherished Care Bears of your childhood? Worry not – Cheer Bear, Bedtime Bear, Good Luck Bear, and Love-a-lot Bear have not been mammocked or torn asunder. Their plush limbs have not been forced through our juicer; however, the color you see may belie that.

Thus, we have named this drink “The Blood of Care Bears” (though, as you’ll see, we much prefer the youth- and energy-enhancing properties of food). Your quest to become an enchantress can begin with your shopping cart.

Sidenote: juicing fruits and vegetables leftover at the end of the week is one of our favorite strategies to help prevent food waste, which is a major problem here in the U.S.

Have fun with it!

Prep time: 10 minutes for rinsing produce, chopping (if necessary) and set-up of juicer

Servings: about 2, 16 oz glasses

Ingredients

4 small beets

1 heart celery

1 whole cucumber

1/2 bunch of parsley (optional)

4 carrots

1-2 pears (depends on level of sweetness you desire)

1″ ginger root (it has some kick!)

Instructions

Remove seeds from fruit. With juicer set up, follow manufacturer’s directions for inserting fruits and vegetables carefully. The order recommended is generally softer produce followed by harder produce (so ending with ginger and beets). Juice until your heart’s content or you run out of produce. Fresh juice is best consumed immediately after juicing, though it may last 24-48 hours in the fridge.

Simple Sushi: DIY California Roll

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The word ‘sushi’ was a bit scary for a number of years growing up. What kind of weird sea creature (or their eggs) would be placed on top of rice during this dining experience? Luckily, the years of becoming a adult (and traveling!) tend to provide us with friends from many cultures who expose us to formerly unfamiliar foods such as tahini, mochi, falafel, sashimi, kimchi, navrattan korma, Shepherd’s pie, Marmite, or Hanuta.

Fortunately, if you love sushi and don’t want to unload your wallet for a nice Japanese meal, we have a solution. Roll up your sleeves; it’s time to DIY some easy, fresh California rolls.

Ingredients

2 cups short-grain brown rice, uncooked
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 cucumber, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 carton of mushrooms, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2-3 nori sheets
1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

Instructions

First, cook the rice according to the instructions on the package; it will take about 40 minutes until finished. In the meantime, wash all veggies and start slicing. Put mushrooms in a saucepan and cook on medium-low heat, adding soy or tamari and simmering for about 15 minutes.

Lay out your bamboo mat on a cutting board and put about a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice in the middle, spreading out to the sides. In the middle, place a strip of carrot, cucumber, a few avocado slices and then add mushrooms as a layer. Using the bamboo mat, carefully fold over on end of nori wrap until it meets the other. Squeeze the roll, then remove it from the bamboo mat and slice into pieces. Use some chopsticks, pickled ginger, or wasabi (for those of you who are brave!) for a more authentic dining experience.

Brassica: A Blissful Bounty

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Good news. We’ve found the location of culinary heaven. Its address is 680 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215.

Welcome to the restaurant Brassica. The mere word brings to mind the amazing dish pictured above and feelings of pure bliss.

For those of you who don’t live in Columbus, we couldn’t feel sorrier for you. Goodness knows when a Brassica could come to your location. In the meantime, you’ll likely want to save your pennies for a bus, train, plane, or teleportation device to bring you to our newest mecca of tongue-tingling and nutritious food.

It was somewhat of a surprise to find out that it’s related to Northstar but, happily, the menu here is more varied. In a Chipotle-style assembly line, you start with a choice between a pita sandwich, hummus plate, or salad (we chose the salad). Then you choose your protein – brisket, falafel, hummus – and begin the move down the line as staffers ask if you’d like crispy onions, pickled radishes, spicy cauliflower and more. Yes, yes, and yes in our case.

Sitting down, the first step was eating the meal with our eyes – isn’t it colorful and gorgeous? Then we took a bite (see the hummus and carrots) before we remembered to take the photo. The first bite was so deliciously promising for what awaited us. Hummus with a hint of garlic, plenty of shredded greens, the best brisket ever, beets, pickled radishes, spicy cauliflower and carrots. Oh, and the fried onions on top took the dish to the next level.

As with most meals, if you’re super-hungry, you can expect to finish the dish and feel full; this could also easily be portioned into two meals.

With the cost of the meal ranging from about $7.50 to 11.50, you (and a dining partner) can enjoy a high-quality meal for under $30.

Truthfully, it’s an out-of-the-park hit in our book. Outside of some favorite high-end restaurants, this is a new love. Visiting four times in two weeks might seem like a bit excessive, but once you go, you’ll likely be doing the same.

See you there!

Recipe: The One Bite Wellness “Juicy Sunrise” Drink

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Even we don’t necessarily *boing* out of bed every morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It takes a bit of finesse to adjust from the world of dreams to one of reality, with all its challenges and enjoyment. Guess what helps? A bright, delicious Juicy Sunrise drink. What this juice has is pizzazz, grace, and energizing qualities. What it doesn’t have (yet) is a Nike contract. We’re working on it.

Meanwhile, whether you’re in college, a stay-at-home-mom, or busy executive, you’ll want to get busy in your kitchen making this gorgeous, nutrient-blasting drink. It can be juiced or blended (for those who want the extra fiber).

2 oranges
1 inch ginger root
6 carrots
2 lemons

Peel the oranges, lemon, and ginger (carrots optional, if organic,
otherwise peel them). Run through the juicer (or throw in the blender) and enjoy the boost of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, and more nutrients!

Strawberry Summer Salad

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We find having an idea and two (or more) minds coming together can create such delicious synergy. Our shared goal was to create a summer salad to enjoy on the back patio; what turned out was even better than expected. A friend brought over some strawberries, avocado oil and vinegars; we paired them with salad mix, nuts & seeds, and spices to create a masterpiece. Enjoy this strawberry summer salad along with some good conversation!

Serves 2
Ingredients
4 cups salad mix
1/4 almonds (sprouted)
1 cup strawberries (sliced)
1 cup carrots (chopped)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp avocado oil
Salt & pepper
Optional: add chicken and/or pumpkin seeds for additional protein sources

Instructions
Wash salad mix and rinse all vegetables. Soak almonds in water for a couple of hours if you want them sprouted, otherwise use them dry. Chop carrots, slice strawberries. Mix white wine, balsamic vinegars with avocado oil and drizzle over salad. Use a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
 

On-the-Go: Healthy Snacks

snacks

photo source: iron-kids.com

We know snacking can be difficult at times because of the challenge in figuring out what to eat, how much, and when to snack. Going overboard and reaching for the wrong type of snack is common. Snacks can be essential in keeping blood sugar stable between meals; the key is eating the right ones. Keep your upcoming week’s activities in mind while you plan out your snacks; this will keep you on track and from grabbing the easy choice of pre-packaged foods. Healthy snacks can be delicious and fun way to play with your food. Instead of reaching for convenience snacks like chips, crackers, cookies, and other foods filled with preservatives, go for fresh foods like fruits and vegetables. Get creative with your snacks and try these ideas! Go-to healthy snacks:

  • 1 apple with nut butter
  • Carrot sticks, celery, and radishes with hummus
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • 1 serving of mixed nuts or trail mix
  • Homemade energy bars

Roasted Root Vegetables

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The beautiful part about a pan of roasted vegetables isn’t just their bright colors, but that you’re able to experiment with different types of root vegetables (e.g parsnips) and use them in a variety of ways during the week. We love putting the roasted vegetables in a grain bowl or on salads.

Yields: about 6 servings

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

3 medium beets

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the veggies into similarly sized pieces. Place the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to ensure all pieces are lightly coated and add salt and pepper. Roast for about 30, turning once, until all the vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary and thyme work well), if desired.