A Nourishing Fourth of July Feast

Some of you may shy away from chicken legs, thinking them a less than healthy choice. But I’d urge you to think again … especially for the grill. A leg has roughly 60 calories more than half a chicken breast, and just 2 grams more saturated fat. But that extra fat helps keep it nice and moist under fire.

My suggestion? Indulge in one of these super flavorful Mahogany Grilled Chicken Legs, and fill up the rest of your plate with crispy, creamy Romaine Slaw and Simple Herbed Couscous. Finish up with this fruit-laden Cherry Apricot Almond Tart. It’s a balanced plate, yet supremely satisfying … and altogether nourishing.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

I’m Heading to Guatemala … and Would Love Your Help

I have a bit of news to share and a favor to ask!

My husband Christopher and I will be traveling to Guatemala July 7-14 with a team associated with Common Hope, a MN based non-profit organization that has been providing education, health care, housing, and social work to impoverished families and children in Guatemala for over 25 years … and which we’ve been associated with for the past 12.

As you know, Guatemala holds a special place in our hearts. What you might not know is that our love for Guatemala started in 2000 on our drive back from Costa Rica. Through some pretty wild circumstances, we ended up sponsoring Rene Antonio through Common Hope when he was 6-years old.

He’s also the perfect example of what a profound impact Common Hope has on families.

Because of Common Hope, Rene was able to go to school and will be graduating high school in October (only 17% of Guatemalan children finish high school … we’re so proud of Rene!) and his entire family has received ongoing medical care. They also earned themselves a house by working ‘trade’ hours on the Common Hope campus; in fact, we were fortunate enough to be there the day they built it (which happened to be the day before we met Noemi the first time).

This time, Christopher and I will be the ones building houses.

Along with our other team members, we will be staying at Common Hope’s facility in Antigua, visiting satellite facilities and programs, helping with construction projects and assisting teachers and staff both in the classroom and all around the Antigua facility.

Our team has set a fund-raising goal of $4,000 to provide financial assistance to the Guatemalan children who are on the “waiting to be sponsored” list.  Any contributions to this cause will be deeply appreciated. Even $10 would be great!

If you’d like to donate, click here. (And please make your donation before July 4th). Donations are fully tax-deductible.

Thank you so much for anything you can give!

Packing a Picnic …

I used to think frittatas were a utilitarian way to use up expiring ingredients; a dish that got the job done, but didn’t inspire much excitement.

It wasn’t until Christopher and I stayed at Locanda Rosati in Italy’s Umbria region that I had any notion frittatas could be darn near transcendent. One night, the Rosati brothers brought out several of these Zucchini Frittatas–served at room temperature–for the big farm table full of guests and I thought, “oh great, a frittata.” Boy did my tune change when I took a bite. It was luscious and creamy and full of flavors that spanned the spectrum from rich to fresh. (side note … strange that my food epiphanies tend to happen around eggs)

Quite frankly, I refused to believe it was a frittata. I tried to pry the recipe from the brothers for days, but they insisted the dish wasn’t worthy … it was “just a few eggs, and some zucchini from the garden,” and something called prezzemolo (that one took a while without a dictionary … it means, wait for it, ‘parsley’).

But I persisted, and managed to piece together a recipe based on a series of conversations more than anything else. Over breakfast, Giampiero leaned over with wrinkled brow and insisted that both the vegetables and the eggs needed to be coddled over very low heat. In the hallway, Paolo stopped me to say that I should salt both the vegetables and the eggs. In the end, I was able to capture the secret for replicating that divine dish called a frittata in my own kitchen.

I’m so glad I did. Since then, it’s become a summer staple both as a simple dinner and a go-to picnic dish. In fact, as soon as I finish typing I’m going to make one to take to Preston tomorrow. I’ll tuck it away in the cooler and pull it out along with the cheese to warm up a bit before serving. Then I’ll pair it with a hunk of really good whole grain bread and mixed greens tossed with my Go-To Vinaigrette. Simply divine.

I may have started out my life thinking frittatas were no more than a vehicle for emptying out the fridge. But I’ve learned … and now I know there’s nothing better to pack for a picnic.

Double Decker Portobello Burgers

Looking for a satisfying veggie burger recipe? These portobello burgers will win you over from beef burgers … they’re that good. Portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture that appeals even to committed carnivores.