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.

Recipe: 8-ingredient Quinoa Salad

8ingredientquinoasalad

We initially debuted this 8-ingredient Quinoa Salad during National Vegetarian Month on 10TV with Valencia Wicker and Ross Caruso – watch here if you’d like. This dish is quick, delicious as well as gluten- and dairy-free! Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 servings

Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Instructions
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

Recipe: Spicy Gazpacho Shooters

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Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.

Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?

This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Kinda Big ‘Dill’ Potato Salad

10tv national potato day

We recently celebrated National Potato Day by sharing this recipe, and the result, with Laura Borchers and Jeff Booth on WBNS 10TV. Now we’re sharing it with you and the rest of the world!

But first, some fun facts about potatoes: they were first cultivated by the Inca in South America about 7-10k years ago; the English word ‘potato’ comes from the Spanish ‘patata.’

Americans eat about 124 lbs of potatoes per year; Germans eat about twice that.

Potatoes are relatively low in calories yet they pack a nutritional punch in terms of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!

kindofabigdillpotatosalad

Serves 4
Prep time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb potatoes (we used 4-5 red potatoes for a bit of color in the finished product)
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup plant-based mayo (the one we used included avocado oil and aquafaba as the first two ingredients)
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 tbsp dill
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp tumeric

Instructions
Boil potatoes until tender and easily pierced by fork (about 10 minutes). While the potatoes cool, mix the rest of the ingredients together well in a bowl. Once potatoes are cooled, combine with the mixture. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for at least an hour (it’s best-tasting the next day).

As mentioned in the tv segment, these are recipe guidelines – have fun and try variations with bell pepper, parsley, and even hot sauce!

St. Paddy’s Shamrock Smoothie

obw-green-juice-sweater

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland and worldwide as both a religious and cultural holiday. This 17th of March, whether you feast on stew and Irish soda bread or fill up on green beer, this drink provides a healthy way to connect with your Irish heritage or is great for a morning-after hangover cure.

Ingredients

3/4 cucumber
1 medium apple
4 stalks celery
10 leaves romaine lettuce or 2 cups
1/4 cup parsley
4 cups water

Instructions

Rinse and prep all produce. Use either a high-speed blender or a juicer (we opted for blending to keep the fiber). Add all ingredients and blend until smooth. This recipe makes 32 ounces. Because the nutrients breakdown soon after making the drink, plan to drink within 1-2 days or share a healthy pint with a friend.

Also, the tradition of getting pinched if not wearing green is alive and well! Apparently Irish immigrants believed wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns and fairy creatures. They would pinch others as a reminder to wear the color and therefore protect themselves from those devious troublemakers. Double up with your green juice and clothing!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Our 14-day Green Smoothie Challenge is coming soon! We’ve been working hard on ingredient pairing, grocery list building, and taste-testing (okay, that part is pretty easy :)) so that we can bring you a complete, and convenient, DIY way to boost your energy and vitality everyday for 2 weeks. Stay tuned for more details!