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Woo Hoo!

Posted Feb 27 2011 12:00am
Good Morning!

I am celebrating this morning because we had a successful Mardi Gras get-together but more importantly I got my results from my Wellcoaches Practical Assessment Exam yesterday and I PASSED!!  I am so psyched.  I thought I was going to have to wait 10 days to get my results but I got an email yesterday with the good news.  Thank you!  It made my whole day and can't even express to you how relieved I am.

I was told that I possess the following skills
Natural Coaching Style
Upbeat Tone
Good Understanding of Principles and Theories
Overall, you have a attentive style that is refreshing and will sustain you in your work as time goes on.  Keep up the good work.

I have areas that I am still working on but overall I feel good about the results and know how to move forward.  Yah!

So the theme of today is

Woo Hoo!

I was able to pull off a Mardi Gras party complete with Gumbo, Roast Beef Po'Boys and King Cake. I do admit that I am not a Roast Beef Po'Boy eater or Gumbo for that matter (I am not a huge meat eater) but my husband said they turned out great.  I hope he is not just being nice. 
Here are the recipes I used and since I was so engrossed with our guests I forgot to take pictures of the Gumbo and Po-Boys but just imagine that mine looked like the following pics!!

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
1/2 Cup butter
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onions, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
1 1/2 Cups Andouille, sliced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
6 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
2  Chicken Breasts, seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 cups fresh spinach (my addition to the recipe!)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chiffonade
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

Brown Rice
Fresh French Bread

Bake the chicken breasts in a 350-400 degree oven until brown.

Mix your onion, celery, and bell pepper together: The Holy Trinity.

Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a milk chocolate Roux. Add the Andouille, 1 Tbsp of Seasoning, and 3/4 of the Holy Trinity, cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the cold stock, the remaining 1/4 trinity, remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil. Bring this down to a simmer, add the baked chicken and let it go for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the meat back to the pot along with the spinach. Add the Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Serve with brown rice, crusty French Bread.
Garnish with green onions, and the parsley.

For the Roast Beef Po'Boys I used a recipe from Tom Fitzmorris's New Orleans Food Cookbook.

Roast Beef Poor Boys

•4-6 lbs. inside round of beef, trimmed
•1 large onion, quartered
•4 rib celery, cut up
•1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled and cut in half
•2 medium carrots, cut up
•2 bay leaves
•1/2 tsp. thyme
•1/2 tsp. marjoram
•1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
•1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
•1 to 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
•3 loaves poor boy bread, or 6 French baguettes

•1 head lettuce, shredded coarsely
•8 tomatoes, sliced thinly
•Dill pickle slices

1. Season the beef round with salt and pepper. Put it in a Dutch oven or kettle filled about a third of the way up with water. Add the onion, celery, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, and peppercorns. Roast it, uncovered, at 350 degrees for four to six hours, turning the roast and adding water every hour or so. The water level should slowly drop, but don't let it get less than about two inches deep. The beef is ready when a meat thermometer pushed into the center of the beef read 160 degrees.

2. Remove the roast from the pot and place in a pan that will catch all the juices that come out as it cools. If you're cooking a day ahead (recommended), wrap the beef and refrigerate it as soon as it's cooled to room temperature. In any case, wait at least an hour before slicing.

3. Strain the solids from the stock in the pot. Bring the stock to a simmer. After removing excess fat, add all the juices that come from the roast, as well as the crumbs of beef that fall off as you slice it. Skim off the fat that rises to the surface. Cook to a light gravy consistency. (This also benefits from being made a day ahead, and cooling in the refrigerator.)

4. When you're ready to make sandwiches, bring the gravy to a simmer and whisk in the flour (but only if the gravy appears to need thickening). Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire to taste. (It's a common practice in New Orleans to add Kitchen Bouquet to darken the sauce, but I never do.)

5. Slice the roast beef as thin as possible and put as much as you want on fresh French bread with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and dill pickles. Spoon on all the gravy the sandwich can hold. After assembling the sandwich, put the whole thing into a 400-degree oven for about a minute to toast the bread.

Makes twelve to eighteen poor boys.

Copyright ©2010 Tom Fitzmorris

A few of the items I threw in to the mix were
Quinoa, Broccoli Tip and Cucumber Cups
1 cup quinoa, prepared1 tsp walnut oil1 clove garlic, minced1 tbsp fresh grated ginger1 cup broccoli tips2 large cucumbers1 tbsp fresh scallions, choppedred pepper flakes (optional)salt and pepper
Prepare quinoa as instructed and chill in refrigerator.  In a small saute pan, heat walnut oil over medium heat.  Saute broccoli tips, garlic and ginger for 4-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant.  Add broccoli mixture to chilled quinoa, and season with salt and pepper and red pepper flake.  Slice washed cucumbers into 3/4 inch rounds.  Scoop out seeded center area through 2/3 of the thickness of slice.  Heap rounded teaspoons of chilled quinoa mixture atop the cucumber rounds.  Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.

Yum!  These are so good.  This is another recipe that I got from the Sprout Health Cooking Class.

I also served a Veggie tray with Lemon Hummus.  Honestly,  I should just serve one of these everyday.  The kids gobbled up the veggies as well as myself.  My daughter even ate the zucchini sticks. 
So you know a meal would not be complete without dessert at my house and I had to make not just one but two desserts!
I made a Mardi Gras King Cake and a Coconut Cream Pie.

I have sort of combined a recipe from Emeril Lagasse and John Besh for King Cakes that I like best.

Mardi Gras King Cake

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cup powdered sugar
Mardi Gras sugar sprinkles  Gold, Purple and Green

Combine the yeast and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. (If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water (110 degrees), a tablespoon at a time, until it does.) Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a three equal parts and roll into long thin rectangles about 30 inches long and 2 inches wide. Braid the dough.

Shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn't a seam. Insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.

Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the icing. Combine 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, the lemon juice, and the remaining 2 cups confectioner's sugar in medium-size mixing bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.

The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.

YIELD: 20 to 22 servings

I admit I sort of made the next dessert for myself as well as the guests.  I love Coconut and saw a recipe for Coconut Cream Pie in the new issue of Cooking Light and knew I had to make it.

Coconut Cream Pierecipe from Cooking Light March 2011
Total: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)


1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
Cooking spray
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes; remove weights and foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.
3. Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add  1/2 cups coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze over bowl to release moisture. Discard solids.
4. Combine 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
5. Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut before serving.

Nutritional Information

Fat:11.5g (sat 5.7g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.3g)

Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD, Cooking Light, MARCH 2011

This pie is incredible and definitely worth making.  I love, love coconut and thoroughly enjoyed every little bite of the pie.

I am off to work out and then am taking the kids roller skating so hopefully between my workout and skating I will be able to wear off some of the pie.

Have a great Sunday and check back because I have a got a few healthy recipes that I will be making this week!!

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