Monday, July 30, 2012

Grilled cheeeeeese

One of my goals when I we decided to give up processed foods was to make all of our baked goods.  And I did come up with a delish bread recipe that takes about 2 minutes of prep work.  That being said, I haven't made a loaf of bread yet this summer.  

And it's all because of these guys.

Before I go on, I want to say that I am not paid to endorse Great Harvest Bread Company.  And even though I go there 2 times a week, they have no clue that I am a food blogger that occasionally obsesses over them.  But the reason that I continue to promote, gush, and rave about them is their bread is amazing.  And the fact that the lovely ladies at the counter remember to ask my minis how their new puppy is doing each week is an added bonus.  

I always buy honey wheat bread for my family.  (And I always let my minis have a free sample of the cinnamon roll bread).  But this week I decided to go crazy and try something new....the Dakota bread.

Oh My Goodness.  The Dakota bread is proof that God loves us and wants us to happily eat our whole grains.

I don't even know what all is in the Dakota bread, but I know that I trust my friends from Great Harvest and it is healthy.  And amazingly delish.

I decided to make grilled cheese with our Dakota bread.  In the past I have blogged about grilled cheese on the honey wheat bread, and I do believe I declared it the best school-lunch inspired meal ever.  Well, today I  am going to share yet another best-ever grilled cheese recipe.

Heids McGhee's Grilled Cheese

  • bread 
  • pesto
  • spinach
  • avocado
  • cheese (I used muenster and goat)
  • butter
  • olive oil
When it comes to pesto, I am sort of a purist and make basil pesto.  (That being said, someone has suggested to me that I try kale pesto with my overabundance of garden kale.)  You can make (or buy, if you must) whatever pesto you prefer.

1.  Butter one side of each slice of bread.
2.  On the other side of each slice, slather on some pesto.
3.  Layer spinach leaves, avocado, and cheese on a slice of bread.
4.  Top with the remaining slice, butter side up.
5.  If you want to be really bad (and I was bad, but justified it by telling myself I did run 6 miles that morning), heat up a little olive oil in a pan.
6.  Grill your sandwich in the pan until each side is browned.

Slather with pesto.  Lick the knife.

Layer on spinach.  Lots of spinach.  It's good for you.  
(Next time I will also add artichoke).

Cheese.  Muenster for the McGhees.

Slices of avocado.  Save leftovers for guacamole.

Sprinkle some goat cheese.

Grill to perfection.

We ate our grilled cheese with zucchini chips and fresh pineapple.  And it was one of those meals where the food was so good that there was silence.  Well, mostly silent, except for my occasional outburst of "BAM! Mama makes some grilled cheese!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Popcorn and Chocolate Shake Night

One of my favorite memories of my childhood was popcorn and chocolate shake night.  It was usually on Thursdays, when all of us would plop down in front of the tv to watch the Cosby Show.  And nothing could ruin popcorn and chocolate shake night, not even the time that my little brother stuck a wooden spoon into the blender, while it was still blending and we all spent the evening picking wooden splinters out of our teeth.

My minis love popcorn and chocolate shake night too.  We pan pop popcorn in some canola oil with a little butter and salt on top, or pop it in butter-flavored grapeseed oil.  And we have come up with the best chocolate shake recipe.  And, lucky you, we are going to share that recipe.

McGhee Family Chocolate Shake
  • Dark chocolate almond milk (6 oz per shake)
  • frozen banana (1-1.5 bananas per shake)
  • 1-2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
1.  Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

**Disclaimer** Dark chocolate almond milk is processed food and contains more than 5 ingredients.

Ready to blend.

Ready to be enjoyed while watching your favorite family tv show.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Record Setting Veggies

Most of you probably know that I am an novice accomplished gardener.   And I always thought that I wanted to start gardening with the hopes of becoming a farmer.  But, after my first summer of gardening I realized that my true destiny is competition gardening.

That's right.  I am about to join the ranks of these guys.

Depending on how well you know me, you may or may not be surprised by my rapid ascent from novice to competition.  But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.  Well, actually, in the zucchini, in this case.

With literally no special effort, I managed to grow this ginormous zucchini.  Impressive, eh?  I used the first half and made a batch of grilled veggies for grilled veggie sandwiches.  And then tonight, we made zucchini chips for dinner.  What are zucchini chips, you say?  Remember kale chips?  Remember broccoli chips?  Remember brussel sprout chips?  Remember sweet potato chips?

If you haven't realized it, Heids McGhee likes to coat veggies in oil and cook them at a high temperature and call them "chips"!  And if you actually try my recipes, you'll realize that all these veggie chips are pretty darn delish!

Zucchini Chips

  • zucchini, sliced thin
  • oil (I used part olive, part canola)
  • seasoning salt (or sea salt, I used a combination of the two)
1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  (I got impatient and cranked it up to 400F after 10 minutes).
2.  Slice the zucchini very thin.
3.  Toss with olive oil until zucchini is coated.
4.  Sprinkle with salt. 
5.  Arrange slices on a tin-foil lined cooking sheet.
6.  Bake until brown and crispy....probably about 15-25 minutes.

Slice your zucchini thin.

I just wanted to show you again how big this zucchini is.  Surely, she'd bring home a blue ribbon from the County Fair.

Arrange on a sheet.  Season with salt.

Cook until crispy.

Delish.  Even my tiny mini loved them.

Now, I've started thinking....what other award-winning veggie should I grow and use to make chips?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grilled Veggies, Take Two

Have you tried my grilled veggies yet?  If you haven't, I am going to be honest...I'm sort of angry with you.  Because, once you do try them, you're going to have an "Oh my gawd, Heids McGhee, you have rocked my world" moment.  And then, you will email to tell me about your OMGHEYHRMW moment.  So, by you not making my veggies, I suffer because my inbox could always use more "you are the best thing that has ever happened to me" emails.

So, try my veggies.  And make a triple batch.  Because you are going to eat twice the amount you ever thought you would and you will need the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Heids McGhee's Grilled Veggie Sandwich

  • grilled veggies (cold, left-over)
  • naan (or pita)
  • hummus (I used my own, but I think a roasted red pepper would be fabulous)
  • feta cheese
1.  Smear the hummus on your naan or pita.
2.  Layer as many grilled veggies as you can on the pita.
3  Sprinkle with feta cheese.

I cheated and bought naan at Whole Foods.  It was 105 degrees where I live the day I made these.  I wasn't turning my oven on for anything!  My friend Astrid shares a recipe for naan, if you prefer homemade (which, of course, incredibly awesome people do.  I chose not to be incredibly awesome on that particular day).

Layer those veggies on as high as you can.  If you're feeling a little crazy, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.

Fold in half and eat.  Make one for the minis too.  Because if you don't, they're going to do that annoying hover that they do when they want a bite of what you're eating.  And you won't want to share this.

And, please email me and let me know when I give you a moment.  And, if you love me, please pin me on pinterest.  (I've always wanted to say that).

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Royal Salad

The recipe I want to share with you today is from the Barefoot Contessa.  Now, I don't watch the Barefoot Contessa, mainly because I prefer to watch someone with a higher energy level than the she.  And, to be honest, until about 45 seconds ago, I didn't even know what the word "contessa" means (Italian Countess).  But, even though I don't watch her show, I do know that on the few occasions that I have tried her recipes they are always fantastic.

And her avocado and endive salad is to die for.  In fact, after she wrote this recipe, Italy probably did become a real countess.  And, from now on, I will not pretend that I am an Italian Countess every time I make this salad.

The Barefoot Contessa's Avocado and Endive Salad

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 heads endive
  • 3 ripe Haas avocados, peeled and seeded

1.  Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a vinaigrette

2.  Remove a 1/2-inch from the stem end of each endive, discard the core, and cut the rest across into 1-inch chunks. 

3.  Cut the avocados into large dice or wedges. 

4.  Toss the avocados and endive with the vinaigrette. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Did you know that one cup of endive a week can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 75%?  It's true.  I read it on the internet.
Prepared vinaigrette. 

Avocados, tossed with the vinaigrette.  Waiting for the endive to join them.

I am embarrassed to admit, I do not have a picture of the final product.  I was so excited to eat it and start lowering my risk of ovarian cancer, that I forgot to snap a picture.   You can find a picture here, although mine did not look nearly that neat

This salad was so delish, I was tempted to set my DVR to tape the Italian Countess.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

Wow, thank you all for the support after my last post.  I didn't expect that, it was wonderful! And a huge thank you to Half Size Me for the shout-out on her blog.  

This past weekend, my best friend came to visit.  She brought her handsome Mr. and her 4 precious minis with her.  That means I had 7 minis and a puppy in my house all weekend.  And, I may be pointing out the obvious, but when you have 7 minis and a puppy to take care of, you really don't get a chance to leave the house.  So we stayed home and entertained ourselves by digging baby toys out of the puppy's mouth and digging puppy food out of the baby's mouth.  True story.

I was super happy to be able to cook for our company.  Mainly because they are those really polite type of people that would gush over anything I put in front of them.  So I decided that was the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe shrimp scampi that I have been dying to try.  Before I share the recipe, I have to urge you to never buy shrimp that isn't from the US or Canada.  If you need more info regarding that, you can start here.

Grilled Shrimp Scampi
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (I used more)
  • black pepper
  • 1.5 pounds shrimp
1.  Mix olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic and pepper.  Pour over shrimp and let marinate in a ziploc bag in fridge for 30 minutes.  (I marinated longer).
2.  Place shrimp on skewers.
3.  Grill until pink, about a few minutes on each side.



On skewers, ready to grill.

Grilled.  Delish.  No shrimp will ever compare.

As you can probably tell from the picture, these were beautiful and delish.  Super easy.  I served them with grilled veggies (drizzled with balsamic vinegar).  My guests loved the meal, of course.  Several of the minis did as well.  Except for the baby, she preferred the puppy food.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brussel Sprouts....veggie of champions!

Are we the only family out there tuning into all the Olympic trial coverage (I realize that the trials are over, we are still watching reruns of the trials OnDemand)?  We are a swim family, so we are enjoying being able to watch our favorite sport on primetime television.  We have also each picked our favorites for the gymnastics team and have marveled over the incredible times in track & field.  

One thing I have noticed is that the Olympic advertising is also including advertisement of the Paralympics games.  

I have seen this on the commercials on television, but also in corporate advertisement, like this photo I saw at BP the other day.

Olympians and Paralympians pictured together!!!  

I know that I am especially thrilled about this because I am the mom of a disabled swimmer and I am happy for him that he can see that the world values and respects athletes like him.  I am super happy for the Paralympian athletes, because they are finally getting the exposure that they deserve.  But, mostly, I am so happy for America….because honestly, who isn’t motivated to get up off the couch after seeing this…

Sadly, even though the Paralympics are being advertised, they are still not being televised.  Which in my opinion, is an absolute shame.  But you can join us tune in and follow them here.  And join us in hoping and praying that in 4 years that changes and on primetime you can tune in and watch the paralympics.

Like I said, my oldest mini is a disabled/adaptive/handicapped swimmer.  Just don’t call him that to his face because he’ll dunk you like a donut.  And my oldest mini has publicly declared that he is a future Paralympian.  And one thing I never do is bet against my oldest mini.  And even though he technically is not a Paralympian today, I want to share a bit about my oldest mini in hopes that it gives you an idea why Paralympians are so incredible. 

Three years ago, my oldest mini had surgery to surgically lengthen his leg to correct a congenital limb deformity.  This process is excruciatingly painful and heartbreaking because my very active boy was seriously restricted on activity, while in a lot of pain.  During this time, my oldest mini was battling very serious infections that resulted from the surgery.  His surgeon recommended to us that we put him in a chlorinated swimming pool as often as possible to help with the infections.  Within two weeks we had a swimming pool in our backyard and my oldest mini found his true passion. 

And that’s when my oldest mini taught me that the greatest things can be found in the midst of the worst times in life, if you're open to looking. 

So this was my oldest mini before he had his lengthening surgery four years ago (note the very large shoe lift).

And this was my oldest mini in the midst of his leg lengthening surgery three years ago.  

And this was my oldest mini after he had his lengthening surgery three years ago (note the teeny-tiny shoe lift).

And this is my oldest mini today.

As you can see, my oldest mini is right back to where he was three years ago before his lengthening surgery.  (You can probably also tell that my oldest mini loves having his picture taken).  And everyone who loves him is heartbroken for him.  Because he has two options, he either does another lengthening surgery or he has another surgery to stop his strong leg from growing, in hopes that the small leg catches up.  So, he either painfully forces one leg to grow, or he makes the painful decision to stop growing and let the little one catch up.  In the midst of making this decision, my oldest mini undergoes bracing for an hour a day and also does an hour of therapy on his own at home, while seeing 4 therapists each week.  And each month, he sees several doctors for other health issues he has.  

And my oldest minis main concern is “how will this affect my swim training?”  Because he is an athlete and his priority and focus is on his swimming, and all he wants to do is be in the pool.  He has a dream to chase, you know?!?!  So, in that regard, he is like all other Olympian-wannabes.  However, he also finds solace in the water.  He heals in the water.  His spirit thrives in the water.  And, in that regard, he is like all other paralympian-wannabes.  

Paralympians aren’t disabled or handicapped athletes.  They’re athletes. Olympians are regarded as elite athletes and are looked at as role models and celebrities.  In my experience, if you are disabled get two types of reactions from people….sympathy or uncomfortable stares.  And the paralympians are a rare occasion when those athletes get to show their stuff and spectators walk away humbled and inspired.

So, watch the paralympics.  

And, if you're reading this and wondering what the heck this has to do with unprocessed food, I apologize.  But, I haven't updated this blog in a week because I've had a lot on my mind and have writers block, so I thought rather than struggle to come up with a funny story to tell, I would share with you what I have really been thinking about.  So, please pray for my little man.  He will be getting injections into his leg that he is very nervous about.  And please pray for him, his doctors, and parents as he makes his difficult decision.

And, if you really want a recipe...I've got a GREAT one for you!  In fact, this is a favorite of my minis.  If you hate brussel sprouts, please try these and I promise you'll love them!  

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

  • brussel sprouts (lots of 'em, they will be gobbled up!)
  • canola oil
  • sea salt
1.  Preheat oven to 415F.
2.  Cut the brussel sprouts into wedges.
3.  Pour canola oil over brussel sprouts.  Make sure each one is coated with oil.
4.  Spread on a cooking sheet.
5.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
6.  Cook until sprouts are brown.  I stir every 5-7 minutes.  I roast mine at least 20-25 minutes.  I would check frequently though.  We love ours well-done.

Here's a brussel sprout.  We tell our minis they are tiny lettuces.  Because the name brussel sprout seems weird.

Cut into wedges and coated in oil.


I tried making a garlic aioli sauce to serve with my sprouts.   I messed up and added in the ingredients in the wrong order, so my aioli was a disaster.  Good thing my sprouts didn't need any dipping sauce.

Garlic Aioli 


  • 3 egg yolks (for safety reasons, use pasteurized eggs)
  • 1 pint extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
  1. Let all your ingredients come to room temperature before you begin.

  2. In a small glass bowl, mash the garlic and the salt together until they form a paste.

  3. Add the egg yolks and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Note: You can use an electric hand mixer, stand mixer or even a blender for this.

  4. Now, with the mixer or blender going full speed (or with your arm whisking as hard as it can) add the olive oil very slowly, as little as a drop at a time.

  5. When the emulsion starts to form, you can add the oil more quickly, but keep it at a fairly moderate stream. Adding the oil too fast will break your emulsion.

  6. When the aioli thickens, add a bit more lemon juice to thin it out. Continue adding oil, stopping occasionally to add more lemon if the mixture gets too thick.

  7. Finish the aioli with the remaining lemon juice, both to add a bit of tang as well as to achieve the right consistency.

  8. Store unused aioli in the refrigerator, where it should keep for a day or two.

Eat your brussel sprouts, and perhaps you could do this.....

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool Treats

 It is hot hot hot in the middle of America right now.  And I love hot weather so I am not complaining.  The only thing about hot weather that upsets me is that I hate to turn the oven on, which is sort of a stumbling block for someone that is a food and cooking blogger.  So I have been cooking less big meals and working hard to come up with nutrient-packed snacks for us to eat to keep us cool. 

One thing I have found myself hooked on is sassy water.  I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing because yes, I just said I drink something called sassy water.  Now, sassy water is a drink that women everywhere are drinking because of the claims that it will all make us look like this.  99% of me doesn’t buy into the sassy water claims, but the 1% of me that does is hoping that it works.  And if it doesn’t work, oh well….at least I am staying hydrated.  And actually, it’s really tasty, unlike other all-natural weight loss beverages.

Sassy Water
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 large lemon, sliced thin
  • 12 mint leaves

My minis love sassy water too.  I don’t let my tiny mini drink too much of the sassy water because her sassy tank seems to be overflowing already. 

My minis love popsicles.  I have been making smoothies for myself each morning.  I usually make a double batch and pour my smoothie into popsicle molds for the minis to enjoy later in the day. 

Heids McGhee’s breakfast smoothie and Mini popsicle

  • 1 mango, cut into chunks (can use fresh or frozen)
  •  ¼ cup frozen raspberries
  •  1 frozen banana
  • 1/8 cup blueberries
  •  Fresh ginger (add less or more, depending on your personal preference)
  •  ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • Spash of orange juice
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1.  Blend.
2.  Drink half for breakfast, pour the other half into popsicle molds.

Another snack we have enjoyed is banana-sicles. 

Mini McGhee’s banan-sicles
  • One banana
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Drop of vanilla extract
  • Crushed walnuts
  • Popsicle stick or skewer

1.  Mix cinnamon and vanilla extract with greek yogurt.
2.  Slather banana with yogurt mixture.  (If you can find a neat way to do this, please let us know).
3.  Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.  Stick popsicle stick in the end of the banana.
4.  Freeze for about an hour. 

Stay cool!  Drink your sassy water!