United Tables of America

United Tables of America

My dearest friends–

If there is one thing that can unite a polarized America, it’s having a meal together.

Look, we all need to eat in between watching CNN or Fox News.

And wherever you stand (or sit) politically at the table, is really none of my business.

Is it? 🙂

The most important thing in the midst of any type of chaos that might be in the world or your life is remembering who you are.

Sounds like a line from a movie, doesn’t it? Ring any bells?

It’s Lion King—sorry for the spoiler.

But it’s so true—who are you isn’t based on chaos but rather, based on your own character, your integrity and your resilience.

We all get hit with “stuff” from time to time. We get depressed, we get knocked out of our seats and sometimes even thrown under the bus.

BUT…and still…

There’s the family—they need you. Whatever your family looks like—you still have responsibilities that aren’t going to go away.

There’s still a meal to be prepared.

There’s still people that need to be fed.

There’s still souls that need to be nurtured.

So with that in mind, I invite you to bring your family back to the dinner table.

This simple act will revolutionize your family and give you the peace you deserve.

Feed them—heart, body and soul.

With love,

Leanne

PS—Garlic Lime Chicken is one of my most famous recipes—for good reason. Try it out on your family tonight—they’ll LOVE it!

Off-The-Bus Zuppa Toscana

Off-The-Bus Zuppa Toscana

Hello hello! (Caroline speaking)

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I asked our Facebook page a couple days ago if anyone would be interested in my Zuppa Toscana recipe, and there was a resounding “yes” – so here it is!

I like to call it “Off-The-Bus Zuppa Toscana” because (as some of you may know) myself, the hubs, and our two adorable husky pups, packed up in a little bus we call Henrietta and made an adventurous cross-country move! We found a dreamy little farm property to rent, but there were some kinks that needed to be fixed prior to us moving in, so our bus occupancy was extended another month (and then some).

While it was fun, and I love love love that we did it, I was ready for a house. Ready to settle in and have a real home again – kudos to those “van-lifers” out there, I just don’t think I could do it full time! One of the first things I made once I was back in a real kitchen was a huge vat of hearty and delicious Zuppa Toscana. I love it because it’s filling, and has potatoes, and a little cream, but it’s mostly broth based so it’s not too terribly rich (like a chowder would be).

Without further ado, here’s my preferred recipe!

Off-The-Bus Zuppa Toscana // serves 4-6 (give or take leftovers, depending on how often the fam goes for seconds)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound spicy Italian sausage

1 large onion, chopped

2 pounds red potatoes, washed (peel off bruises or eyes, but I like leaving skin on for the most part) and sliced very thin

4 to 6 cups low sodium chicken broth (feel it out, it’s all up to how brothy you like it)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups half and half

3 cups kale, chopped

Instructions:

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage and use a potato masher to really ground it all up and cook evenly. Saute for 4 to 6 minutes, then drain any excess grease. Turn heat down to medium, add onion and cook for another 3 minutes, then add in potatoes, broth, and spices.

Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low and cook for 20 to 30 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender). Stir in cream and kale, once kale has wilted some (just about 1 to 2 minutes) go ahead and serve!

THIS is a Real Super Bowl!

THIS is a Real Super Bowl!

Ever hear that expression, “bowl you over?”

Well, today I’m going to “bowl you over” and show you the wonders of the oft looked over Bowl.

The lowly bowl most often used for soup, ice cream and cereal is really a super powered implement, ready to leap nutritional boundaries in a single bound, resist fast food bullets and are faster to make than a speeding train…

I’m talking power bowls, people. Power Bowls. Capital P, capital B. Pump your fist when you say that!

Power Bowls are nutritional powerhouse meals, all in one bowl. These delicious power bowl recipes are beautiful to behold, delicious to eat and a snap to put together.

From breakfast to dinner, they pack a punch and deliver on all fronts. From Shallot Wilted Arugula with Poached Eggs to Loaded BLT Bowl, you’re going to love having your meal in a bowl!

Love,
Leanne

PS–all recipes are delicious, nutritious and will meet whatever eating style, whether you’re paleo, low carb or just want a bowlful of goodness! Grab these super bowls now.

powerbowls

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

What veggie can I not get enough of right now?

By: Leanne Ely

 

It’s time for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe! And in honor of this most ultimate summer squash, today we’re giving it the attention it deserves. Sound good?

Zucchinis are packed with beta-carotene, potassium and B vitamins. They also provide fiber and a bit of Vitamin C, but a large zucchini contains only 16 calories!

While zucchini can be used in muffin and loaf recipes, I prefer to eat it in its pure form, simply stir fried as a simple side dish. Oh you know what else is good? Grated zucchini sautéed in olive oil and a bit of garlic with salt and pepper. Absolutely delicious and almost rice-like in texture.

This is one versatile and delicious veggie!

zucchini

Now, it’s time for your Trick:

If you don’t know what to do with all that zucchini in your garden, grate it up and put it in the freezer, sealed individually in one-cup servings.

Your Tip:

Select small to medium sized zucchini if you’re eating them for flavor. The bigger guys start to lose their taste after awhile. They’re okay for purposes like zucchini bread, but they won’t do much for you in a stir fry.

And your Recipe from our new 21 Day Knock Out!

Fried Egg and Veggie Skillet
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 pound zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
4 large eggs

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: In a very large skillet over medium high heat, melt half the coconut oil. Add onion, pepper, and zucchini and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.

Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Stir in thyme.

Move the veggies to the outer edges of the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining coconut oil. Crack eggs into the center and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip eggs over and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until eggs reach desired doneness.

Carefully scoop vegetables out and top with eggs. Season eggs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

If you want more tasty recipes to help you stay on track and get ready for summer, join me on our new 21 Day Knock Out here!

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

Top Tips for Grilled Veggies and Fruits

By: Leanne Ely

 

I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!
grilling asparagus
Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!

Here are some of my best produce grilling tips:

Don’t use your veggie peeler. Don’t peel your vegetables before you grill them. Another reason why you need to buy organic produce! You’ll lose the nutrients and much of the flavor if you peel your veggies before they hit the grill. You’ll also get a smokier flavor if you leave the peels on. Remember the clean fifteen list and the dirty dozen when you’re trying to decide where to invest in organic produce.

Precook. Some hardier veggies need a bit of precooking to shorten the time they must spend on the grill. These types of vegetables would include: asparagus, broccoli, beets, artichokes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash and potatoes. Steam them or blanch them until they are only slightly tender, then pat them dry and cook them on the grill. That extra step will make sure the outside and inside of those sturdy veggies are cooked evenly. Vegetables like peppers, onions, eggplant, fennel, tomatoes and summer squash can be grilled raw.

Oil them. Rub a tiny little bit of olive oil (not extra virgin) or coconut oil on your veggies before you grill them. This will help prevent them from sticking to the grill, and it will also help keep them from drying out. Just a little bit because if there’s oil dripping from the food, you’ll experience flare ups.

Soak your fruits. Before grilling fruits, try drizzling them with honey or maple syrup, or soaking them in liquor. Talk about a flavor burst! Especially if you’ll be serving grilled pineapple or pears for dessert. Yes you can grill pears! You can also grill apples, watermelon and peaches. Reach for fruit that is firm and just barely ripe for your best options in fruit grilling.

Indirect heat. When grilling fruits and veggies, you want moderately hot coals or indirect heat. You may need to move them around throughout the cooking process to make sure they cook evenly.

Stick it to them. Skewers are great tools for grilling veggies. It’s tempting to make beautiful kabobs out of meat and veggies but if you want to ensure even cooking, skewer all the same type of veggie per skewer. Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of onion and pineapple are all wonderful cooked on skewers.

Use packets. Some veggies don’t lend themselves well to skewers or grill baskets. Peas, beans, sliced peppers, etc. For these lovely foods, try making a packet out of tin foil and cook them that way. This is also a good way to cook potatoes, or to cook other veggies with a sauce or topping of some sort.

There you have it.

Have I missed anything? Do you have anything to add?

7 Dinner Shortcuts That Will Save You Time!

7 Dinner Shortcuts That Will Save You Time!

By: Leanne Ely

 

Regardless of how you feel about cooking, nobody wants to be a slave to the kitchen. We are all so busy these days that we need as many shortcuts as we can possibly find for getting a good home-cooked meal on the table with the minimum amount of stress!

It’s no good to find yourself at the end of a crazy day standing in front of the fridge praying for inspiration to hit as you try to figure out what to feed the hungry people in your house. (That’s the danger zone where you’re likely to pick up the phone and call for pizza, don’t do it!

Here are 7 shortcuts to help you get your evening meal under control!

1. Crock and roll. Dust off the crockpot and put it to work. This ultimate shortcut appliance can save you a ton of time on dinner prep. Assemble your crock ingredients in the crock liner the night before and refrigerate the works overnight. Then, all you need to do in the morning is plunk it in and plug it in!

2. Marinate meat before freezing. How many times have you gone to make a recipe and realized that you have to marinate the meat for several hours first? When you’re freezing your chicken, beef or pork, freeze it along with a marinade. That way, it will get good and tasty while it thaws, and you’ve saved a step. Oh, and that thaw? The new way to thaw is in a sink full of hot water—yup, it’s safe!

3. Cook more than you need. If you are cooking a meal for two, you might as well cook for four. Cooking for four? Why not cook for eight? That way, you have a double dinner!

4. Parchment paper. If you don’t already use parchment paper to line your pans before you bake or roast something in the oven, you’re working too hard on clean up! This oven-safe paper will cut your scrubbing in half! Boom!

5. Chop the veggies beforehand. Wash and cut that broccoli and cauliflower after you get it home. Same goes for making pepper strips, slicing mushrooms and peeling Brussels sprouts. Do that work all at once (or even better, put the kids to work!). Place all those veggies in zipper bags and you have grab and go veggies that you can either snack on raw or quickly steam for a side dish. Keep carrot sticks and celery sticks in a bowl of water in the fridge (keeps them fresh!), and let the kids help themselves when they need a snack.

6. Go with salad. Making a big raw salad is much quicker than any other side dish you can possibly think of! And if you have some leftover protein, voila, there’s a quick dinner!

7. Plan ahead. This would arguably be the number one shortcut when it comes to getting dinner under control. Planning your meals for the week puts you in complete control of the dinner table. We created the original meal-planning service on the Internet with our Menu- Mailer. We provide you with a menu for the week, along with recipes and shopping lists! Thousands of people are currently hooked on this service.

 

Looking in the refrigerator