Tag Archives: Personal Chef

Sugar Free New Year On the Menu

garden harvest in January!

To start the New Year off right, fresh-dug sunchokes and leeks from our garden!

Those of you who’ve followed me for the past few years know that I always do a sugar-breaking fast to ring in the New Year. This isn’t a resolution of any kind, it’s me breaking the inevitable sugar addiction that happens to me over the holidays.  Secondarily, I always lose any weight I gained and get an energy boost, so it’s a win all around.

So, what does the “fast” consist of? No processed sugar, which includes sugar in things like bread, spaghetti sauce, etc.  No more than 1 tsp of honey a  day (I take this for allergies). No artificial sweeteners (which I don’t eat anyway).  That’s it, the whole of the rules of the addiction-breaking fast. I can eat all the fruit I want with the exception of bananas, which I limit to 1 a day all the time because they’re so high in starches and sugars. Pretty simple, eh? The first three days are hard, but after that, things get easier.



Monday: Burritos. We’re making a whole pile of these because we have to travel tomorrow, and want something we can take with us so we don’t have to eat out. We use homemade seasoning, which is even more relevant this week because most store-bought mixes contain sugar.

Tuesday: Mediterranean Chicken. This is a slow cooker dish that will be perfect for eating over a quick batch of quinoa when we return from a long day on the road.

Wednesday: Chicken Cabbage Enchiladas. I’m making extra portions of the slow cooker chicken to be used in these. The cabbage is used instead of tortillas, which saves a ton of calories and carbs, if you’re working to lose weight this New Year.

Thursday: Anda Masala. I’ve been “aging” the eggs for those North Indian curry dish for about a week, so by the time I boil them off on Thursday, they should be reasonable to peel.

Friday: Leftovers. Cleaning out the refrigerator!

Saturday: Three Bean Venison Chili. There’s little I love more in the winter than venison chili.

Other Meals

Breakfasts: eggs, vegetables, steel cut oats, yogurt.

Lunches: Leftovers, as always. Tuna salad. Green salad. Various soups (homemade).

Snacks: Boiled eggs, cheese, fruit, nuts, homemade crackers.


On the Menu: Dec 3-9th

It’s snowing on my blog! It is not, however, snowing here in VA. Monday was 70 degrees, today it’s supposed to hit 72.

So, what are we eating this week?

On the Menu

Monday: Beef fajitas. I had some leftover flank steak in the freezer,which is perfect for this.

Tuesday: 3 Bean & Beef Chocolate Curry chili. Yes, I know “real” chili doesn’t have beans, but I’ve never claimed that I only cook “authentic food.” And, we like beans. You can’t really taste the chocolate in this, it just adds a great depth that is really enhanced by the small amount of curry.  This will make great leftover for lunches, because chili gets nothing but better as it rests.

Wednesday:  Pot roast, with potatoes, carrots, and a side salad. My clients are getting a pot roast, as well, and since my spice mix recipe makes enough for two pot roasts, I’ll save a step here.

Thursday:  Catfish over spaghetti squash. Thadd’s night to cook! He’s only cooking once this week, so he has time to study for his finals next week.

Friday: leftovers.

Saturday: Doro Wat stew in the slow cooker. Once in a while, we go all out and do a full Ethiopian feast; but, it’s a lot of work. So, this is a great recipe to tide us overs with the intense, deep flavors of the cuisine but without the time commitment. We’ll serve it with homemade injera.

What are you eating this week?

Cooking for One: Red Lentil & Rice Soup

This is actually green lentil soup, but you get the idea.

Perfect for winter, this hearty soup makes just enough for a great meal for one!


1 tsp. olive oil

1 small carrot, chopped

1 shallot, diced  (shallots can usually be found singly in the produce department)

1 clove garlic, crushed and diced -OR- 1/2 tsp. jarred minced garlic

1/4 cup brown rice

1/4 cup red lentils (you can use green, too, but red is better with this recipe)

1 can chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium

1/3 cup water

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Spices: pepper, salt to taste

Directions:  In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrot and shallots, and saute until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Shallots should be translucent. Add garlic, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add lentils and rice, stirring to coat with onion mixture. Add all remaining ingredients, and simmer until lentils are soft (about 20 minutes). Additions: you can give this a Middle Eastern flare with some curry, ginger, and coriander (fresh leaves are great!). Or, you can add a Moroccan touch with cinnamon, golden raisins, ginger, and nutmeg.

From the Archives: My Thanksgiving Recipes!

Local, pastured turkey, ready for carving.

This year, we’re doing some different dishes than in the past: a crown roast, a spatchcocked turkey, glazed brussel sprouts and chestnuts, and a few other items. But, there are favorites that appear on the table every year, and a few years ago I did a live-blogging event with my recipes. Here they are again, in one easy place!

Roasted Cranberry Orange Dressing

Pomegranate , Chestnut, and Fig Cornbread Dressing. Cornbread recipe is here.

Not-Your-Mom’s Green Bean Casserole

If you want to read the entire event, including the process of the homemade ciabatta dinner rolls and Thadd’s famous cinnamon rolls, it starts here.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Cooking for One: Lime Shrimp & Broccoli over Quinoa

The nice thing about both shrimp and broccoli is that, at most grocery stores, you can get just enough for one person.


1/3 lb. raw shrimp, de-veined

1 lime, zested & juiced

2 garlic cloves, chopped fine (or 1/2 tsp. minced garlic)

1 tsp. olive oil

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. cilantro or basil

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

1/4 lb. fresh broccoli florets, rinsed

1/2 c. quinoa (you can also use instant brown rice, if you prefer)

1 cup water -OR-  1 cup chicken or shrimp stock

Directions:  Peel shrimp. In medium bowl, combine shrimp, lime juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, cilantro/basil, and red pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly, cover bowl, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (or, if you prefer, do this in the morning before you go to work, and take it out for dinner). In the meantime, rinse quinoa in fine-mesh colander until water runs clear (about 30 secons). In small sauce pan with heavy bottom (or, better yet , a rice cooker if you have one!), add quinoa and water/stock. Cook per package directions if using a sauce pan, or cook as with rice in rice cooker.  Heat a small to medium skillet over medium heat, and add a teaspoon of olive oil to heat. Add broccoli, and cover. Stir occassionally, cooking to desired tenderness (I like mine al dente’, so it only cooks for 3-5 minutes). Add shrimp and marinade. Cook quickly, removing from heat as soon as shrimp is nice and pink (this is less than 3-5 minutes). Don’t over cook!  Serve over quinoa.

On the Menu: Nov. 12th-16th

This image has nothing to do with this post, I just really want Moroccan Lentil Soup but don’t have time to whip up a batch. Maybe next week…

Monday: Roasted Goat over millet, with baked acorn squash. We have a local goat farmer from whom we buy much of our goat cheese, and he also (unsurprisingly) sells goat meat. I’ve never tried cooking goat meat before, so I looked up a crock pot recipe that seemed simple and straight-forward. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday:  Beef and pinto burritos. Thadd wanted something that gives a lot of leftovers.

Wednesday:  Cannelini Baked Pasta. I know, it’s shocking to see pasta on our menu. We rarely eat it, especially as a planned meal. Why is it on here now? Honestly, because we were tired of thinking. Neither of us have any time the first three days of this week to do much cooking, and we need to keep an eye on our budget.

Thursday:  Catfish with vegetables and quinoa.

Friday: Leftovers.

What I Eat: Resumed! Nov. 7, 2012

I’ve had some things going on that I’ve let stand in the way of my eating and workouts, but it took me a bit to realize I’d let things slip. I’ve been eating way to many simple carbs and processed sugars, and not doing much in the way of intensity workouts.  It happens, and I am not beating myself up over it; but, I do to take responsibility for having let it happen and am getting back on track.

So, you’re going to get a  “What I did” as well as a “What I ate” for a while, too!

Breakfast: Farm-fresh scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, and wilted arugala.

Snacks: almonds, cheddar cheese, local apples (mmm..granny smiths are here!), raw milk, banana

Lunch: Tuna salad (low mayo) with lima beans.

Dinner: Quinoa burgers with pumpkin soup.

My workout was a 10-minute interval training routine from Zuzana Light, plus I did some strength work with my Ugi Ball.  Totally dripping with sweat!