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Saturday, February 22, 2014


Today we are focusing on breakfast…potato- and chicken-related (as in eggs) dishes.

A quick Biology lesson:
Since having pet hens (female chickens), Lauren gets asked a lot about the absence of a rooster (male chicken).  The question: How do your chickens lay eggs without a rooster?
Well the answer is…Hens can lay eggs while being virgins.  You need a rooster if you want procreation of chickens.  You don't need a rooster if you just want unfertilized eggs to eat.  Very organic!

Lauren's method of trying to catch chickens and Erica has found fresh eggs in the laying box!


We decided to flex our veggie-innovative skills with different kinds of hash….and we're not talking about a cannabis product.  We specialize in the kind of hash you eat at breakfast or brunch….not the kind you smoke.  Sorry to disappoint.

Lauren's "Southwest Style Sweet Potato Hash"- for 2

1 shredded sweet potato (we used a cheese grater)
1/2 onion diced
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 can of black beans drained
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs (compliments of Cindy Crawford)
cheddar cheese 
Start by cooking the shredded sweet potato in a skillet with olive or vegetable oil until soft. Add the onion and pepper and continue cooking. I used a cast iron skillet and covered it while the onions and peppers were cooking,  about 5-10 minutes.  Then remove lid and add black beans and seasoning (cumin, salt, pepper, lime juice) to taste. Continue cooking until it starts to get a little crispy, or you just think it's done.  Fry 2 eggs, serve the hash onto 2 plates, top with shredded cheese, then the eggs, a little more cheese, a little more lime juice and cilantro to garnish.  It is great served with Lauren's southwest Tzatziki sauce (recipe below) and corn chips.
Southwest-style Tzaziki Sauce
1 cup Greek Yogurt
Handful chopped Cilantro
juice of one lime
2 cloves minced garlic
Garlic salt to taste
*Note: The reason she calls it Tzaziki sauce is because the usual Greek version (that comes on your gyro) is made from Greek yogurt, an herb or two, lemon juice, and garlic.  Lauren just mixed it up to make it fit the Southwest theme.  You could formulate your own based on whatever theme dish you're doing.  It makes a great dipping sauce!

Erica's Fajita Hashbrowns

1 bag of pre-cooked frozen hashbrowns (or if you are as ambitious as lauren and prefer to do it from scratch, feel free to peel and shred a potato)
Chopped mushrooms
1/2 onion
1 bell pepper (I used parts of red and orange bell peppers)
Any other veggies you have in your fridge (I used the rest of lauren's cilantro and a jalapeño)
Combine in a skillet with olive oil and cook until browned with salt and pepper
And of course…top with cheese!

Apple Dessert Hash

1 peeled and shredded (with a cheese grater) apple
sprinkling of cinnamon, however much you want
fresh squeezed orange juice (literally squeeze the orange over it)
1/2 tablespoon butter
dollop of Greek Yogurt
a few Craisins
Melt butter in the skillet over med-high heat.  Add apple/cinnamon/orange juice mixture and cook until browned.  Transfer to a plate and top with dollop of yogurt, more cinnamon, Craisins and a drizzle of honey.
This one is Kid-approved!

Chickens at the door!
These girls want some hash!
The black and white one is Duchess.  She is a Plymouth or Barred Rock breed.
The white one is Cindy Crawford.  She is a Leghorn.
The difference between these two is that Duchess is very quiet and humble while laying and Cindy Crawford squawks and screams like a diva.  Everyone knows real royalty is much classier than super models anyway.

Celebrity Encounter of the Day
Lauren with Kathryn Stockett, the Jackson-native author of the best-selling novel-turned-movie The Help.  We're sure this southern girl knows something about  free-range chickens and breakfast hash!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Behold! The Jerusalem Artichoke!

    The Jerusalem artichoke is also called sunroot, sun choke, earth apple, or topinambour.  It is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.  -Definition from Wikipedia

Lauren recently tried a new restaurant in town called The Manship.  This is where she discovered this heavenly tuber.  This is her account:
"I was sitting with my husband at this nice new restaurant, completely unaware that I was about to taste a life changing root vegetable.  The foods were a la carte, so we ordered duck confit, seared scallops, potatoes au gratin, and then, wanting to try something different, opted for something called "Jerusalem Artichokes".  

The root looks like a cross between a potato and ginger root. The texture is somewhere between potato and regular artichoke.  The chef had cooked it to tenderness perfection with flavors that I couldn't quite figure out (for duplicating at home).  So I began to grill the waiter.  I asked him how they cook it and wasn't satisfied with his short answer.  He tried to walk away but I was saying something like this: How do you cook it? What do you season it with? Garlic? Sea salt? What man? Please please? (maybe a slight exaggeration-but you get the idea)  Lucas had to stop me.  Once freed, our poor waiter scurried off to other tables and Lucas laughingly said: "Lauren, he's just the waiter, not the cook.  I mean, he just picks up our plates once they're ready."  I totally neglected the scallops and everything else.  I was obsessed and continued to rave about them the whole time I was eating them.  
Crazy Vegetable Lady!
During our meal, it had begun to rain outside.  But undeterred, I asked Lucas to stop by Whole Foods so I could bring home my own delectable tubers to cook.  There I was, a vegetable-obsessed woman, splashing through puddles in her suede heels to get into the market.  Unfortunately, they didn't have them. So I got wet for nothing.  However, Fresh Market did have them and I couldn't wait for Erica and I to cook our own version of the Jerusalem Artichoke!"

So without further ado, here it is, Lauren's approximation of the Jerusalem artichokes at The Manship:

Manship Chokes
Steam chokes in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and covered with cling wrap for 5 minutes-or until completely tender.
Toss steamed chokes in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 pinches sea salt, and any spices you like…I used Tuscan seasoning blend (rosemary and sun-dried tomato) and oregano.
Throw those root-babies in a hot pan on the stove and sautee until the garlic is browned and fragrant and you just can't wait any longer to devour them.

We tested it on some men and got a "not bad" and a "this would be good with ribs".  So, I think the recipe was successful!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mamma Mia! Pizza Pizza!

WARNING:  After reading this post, you may experience recurrent and very annoying bouts of singing lines from Dancing Queen in your head for days….'you can dance, you can jive'...yada yada yada!

Tonight we are making pizzas while, you guessed it, listening to Abba music.  I don't know for sure, but feather boas may be involved.

Pizza dough recipe below (courtesy of Martha Stewart):
Note-depending on the theme of the pizza, we like to choose a spice to knead into the dough (Ex: Lauren's pizza has somewhat California-inspired flavors…so we kneaded cumin into the dough for that pizza).  Also, we cook out dough for about 10 minutes before adding the toppings…just so it can set and be a firm foundation for your creativity.  We baked all pizzas at 400 degrees, until the cheese was bubbly.

Erica's Pizza

Mediterranean Mamma Mia
Tomato pizza sauce-however much you want
Shredded mozzarella cheese-however much you want
Handful of baby spinach
Sliced mushrooms
Sliced mini sweet peppers or regular bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
Diced fresh tomato
1 pack feta cheese
Sprinkle crushed red pepper on the top and baked
After baking, drizzle with honey
-This pizza has a beautiful sweet and spicy flavor

Lauren's Pizza

Lean Green Dancing Queen
Avocado pizza sauce: 2 avocados, 2-3 cloves of garlic, juice from 1 line, handful of spinach, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Throw all of these ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Start by spreading the avocado pizza sauce on the slightly cooked dough.
Cover with tomato slices
Chopped red onion
Cheese of choice (we used cheddar and mozzarella)
Bake until the cheese is melted and garnish with chopped cilantro

Meet our friend, Anne Cross.
She is a very talented lady and a lover of the Beatles.  Among her talents are the following: teaching English and literature, planning and leading international trips, acting in and directing plays, being the mom of two very successful adult children (one of them being Erica's boyfriend), and introducing Lauren to the broadway play, "Mamma Mia!" in London…and then singing the songs in the hotel elevator!
Anne was Homecoming Queen.  Some people still call her Queen Anne.  

Here is our Queen Anne Pizza:

Dough, of course
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Pineapple slices
Red onions
Cilantro to garnish

We had as much fun making these pizzas and dancing to Abba, as we did eating them.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our pizza night and feel inspired to create some of your own.  Thanks for reading and tell your friends about 2 Cooking Chicks.  Until next time, "see that girl, watch that scene, dig it the dancing queen"!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Smoothie Lingo

So Dan Aykroyd has been in town filming a movie about James Brown, called "Get on Up".  You'd think with filming, he wouldn't have time for anything else…but he just wouldn't quit stalking Erica!  I mean, here he is photo bombing Erica's picture:

A scene being filmed in Lauren's neighborhood!

But enough about Dan Aykroyd and our many celebrity sightings.  Today we have decided to extend our healthy recipe blog to include fruit and vegetable smoothies.  Just like slaw recipes, smoothie options are endless and a great way to get all kinds of nutrients (especially when you are on the go).  Over the last few days we have blended together several combinations of fruits and veggies.  Some have been a huge success, and some, not so much. i.e. KALE (a touchy subject on this blog) does not blend well. 

Smoothie Vocabulary
Kefir-originally a European smoothie, it is a probiotic yogurt drink that is good for digestive health, a good source of calcium and protein, and comes in several yummy flavors (strawberry, peach, pomegranate, and blueberry to name a few).  "The word Kefir is thought to have been derived from the Turkish word, "Keif" for "good feeling"."-the side of the Kefir bottle
Assorted frozen fruit-this is like fruit that is frozen and in a bag in your local grocery store freezer.  Frozen cherries are our favorite!
Spinach (not just for Popeye)-you've had it drilled into you a million times how healthy leafy greens are to consume.  If its a chore for you to add that into your diet, why not blend it into a smoothie so you don't even taste it?  It really does make a difference in how you feel after taking in a huge amount of nutrients.  Unless of course, you're on Coumadin…then use caution with spinach consumption (advice from our doctor men).
Good Belly- This is a non-dairy probiotic vegan juice drink. Enough said. Also can be found at your local grocery store.
Banana/Avocado-the element of the smoothie that creates a creamy texture and adds a rich flavor.  Also, avocados are known for protein content and bananas help with Charlie Horses (those agonizing muscle complaints you sometimes get at 2:00 in the morning-especially pregnant girls!).
Red Cabbage-there was once a Reader's Digest article about 'eating by color'.  Ever since reading that article, Lauren has had a sort of phobia of the "beige" diet.  Foods that have color (the deeper the better) have antioxidants that fight cancer and do loads of other health-beneficial tasks.  This cabbage is significant for it's vibrant color.  Throwing it into a smoothie is just another way to strive for cancer prevention…more vainly-wrinkle and ugliness prevention, etc.
Flaxseed-some substance that apparently is high in Omega-3 fatty acids.  People who want to reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes will consume this small anticlimactic-looking seed.  

Lauren's smoothie:

The Nate Ruess
1 cup Kefir (we used strawberry flavored)
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
1 tablespoon of Flaxseed
(makes about 2 servings)


Erica's smoothie:

The Ghostbuster
Fill the blender with spinach (this may look like a lot but it will blend down)
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1 cup of frozen mango or pineapple 
1 cup of Kefir
Splash of orange juice

For the busy mom, smoothies are a great way to introduce fruits and vegetables into your children's diet.  
Disclaimer: Smoothies are not an easy cleanup and difficult to get off of the ceiling and or walls if your child decides to spit it out in a helicopter fashion.

 Beet Smoothie face paint??

Recently, Dan Aykroyd joined the Jackson Police Department.

Thanks to that, we can blend our smoothies in peace, without fear of harassment from the many Jackson vagrants out there.  Thanks, Dan Aykroyd.  We will name a smoothie after you.

If you are a veggie and fruit smoothie skeptic, that's okay.  Lives can be lived in worse ways.  Let us just tell you though, that when you get in the habit of sneaking in all these extra nutrients and antioxidants to your diet, you will notice increased levels of: energy, confidence, sense of wellbeing and an overall healthier feeling.  Trust us, you really don't even taste the veggies once the delicious Kefir and frozen fruit flavors are added in!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Butternut Who?

Is it possible to be inspired by…kale?  Honestly, I have a love/hate, mostly hate relationship with kale.  I know it will benefit me to consume it, but something about it just…I don't know.  But inspired and empowered I was by the phenomenon of the Kale Pesto Pasta sauce.  I believed I was Vegetable-Pasta-Sauce Superwoman.  So I took it a step further….
There was a lonely butternut squash hanging out on my kitchen counter for a few weeks that needed to be used and needed friends, such as sage, walnuts, parmesan cheese and dried cranberries.  I knew all these flavors were great together from previous recipes.  But what canvas on which to paint these flavors, you may ask?  How about whole wheat Penne?

Butternut Squash Pasta
1 butternut squash (peeled, chopped, steamed in the microwave until soft-in a large bowl with a spash of water and covered with clear wrap)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
-Put all these in the blender and blend until smooth.
1 package whole wheat penne pasta-boiled by package instructions
-Once pasta is boiled toss in the butternut squash mixture.  Serve topped with as much as you want of the following:
Parmesan cheese
Toasted chopped walnuts
Chopped sage
Dried cranberries

This recipe makes quite a lot, so I would recommend storing it in a large tupperware and waiting until right before serving to add the beautiful toppings.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fun with Super Healthy Foods

                                            Hi, I'm Lauren and this is my friend Erica!

Oh, and one time, we met Nate Ruess, the lead singer of Fun.

Oh and, speaking of chicks…these are my chickens, Duchess, Pippa and Cindy Crawford…except Pippa is no longer with us thanks to a raccoon.  Rest in peace Pippa.

But we're not here to brag about our celebrity encounters and urban poultry.  We came to this blog to share our love for cooking, good health, and of course, eating!  So join us as we try new recipes and make up some of our own.

Tonight's menu:
Kale Pesto Pasta
Red Cabbage and Bleu Cheese Slaw
Beet Hummus
Asparagus and Ham Frittata

To start, we combined forces by looking in our refrigerators and gathering any and all ingredients that could be mashed, blended, or sautéed together and still remain palatable.  What do you do with 2 heads of kale?? Why not blend it with olive oil, garlic, and walnuts and see what happens.  This is how "Kale Pesto" was born.  Together with a box of boiled Rotini, parmesan cheese, and a bit of pepper and salt to taste (we would also recommend blending in basil leaves…we just didn't have any tonight because my basil plant is dead like Pippa)…we made a delicious pasta salad that we placed in the refrigerator to chill while we worked on the next dish…Red Cabbage and Bleu Cheese Slaw.

So lately, I've had a mild, but probably unhealthy obsession with….slaw.  That's right, slaw.  Think about it.  How can you not be obsessed with slaw?  It's just so versatile.  You could pick virtually any theme out there and make a slaw around it: Asian Slaw, Indian Slaw, Texas style Slaw, KALE slaw, Princess slaw, BLT slaw, Cowboy slaw…the list goes on and on.  Tonight, with the ingredients in my refrigerator, I came up with this little gem of a recipe:

Red Cabbage and Bleu Cheese Slaw
1 head of chopped (a lot of chopping) iceberg lettuce
1/2 head of chopped red cabbage
a handful of chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons diced red onion
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
2 chopped celery sticks
Bleu Cheese crumbles
1 cup olive oil
2 splashes red wine vinegar
the juice from 1/2 lime
2 cloves garlic-minced
salt and pepper to taste

Our third dish was a Pinterest find and a very colorful addition to our meal. I've attached the link below for Beet Hummus.

For this recipe you begin by boiling and chopping one fresh beet.  Next you strain and add one can of chick peas and 2 tsp of tahini paste.  Add these ingredients to a blender with 1/4 of olive oil and some water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper…then blend away.  This results in the most beautiful color of fuchsia I have ever seen (not to be confused with raspberry sorbet).  If you like playing mind games with your guests, this is the recipe for you.  It does NOT look like hummus, but it is packed with a ton of vitamins! 

For the Asparagus and Ham Frittata, I basically just threw frozen asparagus and chopped up ham in a cast-iron skillet along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and olive oil.  I let it cook until the asparagus was heated through, and then poured a mixture I had done in a separate bowl over the top (5 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, oregano and 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese-all whisked together).  I cooked on the stove top until the egg mixture started to set…I couldn't tell ya how long.  Then I put it in the oven at 375 degrees to cook the rest of the way.  Right at the end I put in on low broil for a handful of minutes until it got slightly browned on the top.  How's that for a precise recipe?

We know the importance of cooking with The Three Goods: Good Ingredients, Good Company, and a Good Attitude.  Whether you're cooking for stress relief, fun, or…hunger...remember those 3 Goods and think of 2 Cooking Chicks.

*We would appreciate any feedback you would like to give us for future blogposts and recipes.  See you again soon!  -Erica and Lauren