I have reached a stage in my new eating... ahem... "lifestyle"(because that's what they're calling it these days. You know, the kind of diet you can never escape. The kind where you admit you can't eat like a twenty year-old anymore? Yeah, that one.) It's the stage in which I hate people who can eat sugar and feel okay about it.
     And bread. And alcohol. Yeesh!
     Two weekends ago, I ate a piece of cheesecake. I would *like* to say that I unabashedly ate that piece of cheesecake. But as I spooned a biteful onto my eager tongue, attempting to savor every calorie and every gram of carbohydrate, I could not help but imagine where those calories and carbohydrates would deposit themselves. It was going to be a complete and utter abandonment for about ten glorious minutes, but it turned into an episode of guilt and shame. Don't get me wrong. It was delicious, and I enjoyed every bite, but I still couldn't shake the thought; "you know you'll have to make up for this, right?"
     Such is my life as of the last five months. Well, almost six. 

     So necessity IS the mother of invention. For two reasons: 1.) If I can't enjoy my sweets, then I'll find a way to enjoy my regular food, dang it. 2.) I had no spinach, no arugula, no salad greens to speak of in the fridge, save for the celery greens. Hmmm... I've thrown those into soups before, and it tastes great. What if I do a salad of celery leaves? YES! The only thing I could do to improve this recipe is to grate a little orange zest over the whole thing. I think that would have really taken it over the top.
     Without further ado, enjoy...

--- Jenny

BAKED FISH, RED QUINOA WITH CILANTRO, & CELERY LEAF SALAD WITH TERIYAKI VINAIGRETTE

Baked Fish:
Choose a white salt-water fish and bake with olive oil and minced garlic and ginger. (Bake at 350 degrees until flaky)

Celery Leaf Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette:
Celery leaves
carrot matchsticks, thinly sliced
Shallots, thinly sliced
Red pepper, minced

Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Whisk together and toss salad ingredients. Salt and pepper salad to taste.

Red Quinoa With Cilantro:
Prepare 1/2 cup couscous according to package directions. Let cool. Add any remainder of vinaigrette and toss with 2-3 tablespoons minced cilantro. Top with a poached egg.
 
 
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Omelet with Fresh Spinach, Sauteed Red Peppers & Onions, and Freshly-Grated Parmesan Cheese

     Eggs are so versatile. Pair them with herbs, vegetables, or the ever popular bacon. Make them into a quiche or frittata, scramble them, fry them, or do what I do, and make omelets out of them. 
     Some people add milk to their eggs, thinking this makes them fluffier. Honestly, I don't see a difference. I set my heat to medium (about a "5" on the dial), and I lubricate the pan with butter or coconut oil. 
     Then I pour the scrambled eggs (usually 3 of them) into the pan and immediately put the lid over the top. This way, the top cooks a little while the bottom cooks. When the edges come away from the pan, I get my spatula and flip the omelet to let the top cook the rest of the way, only about 10 seconds longer. Transfer to a plate and add shredded cheese, or whatever you want as a filling. Some people prefer to add things to the eggs themselves, but I find it easier to add other ingredients after the eggs are cooked. The only reason I would veer from this is if I wanted to add herbs. The heat brings out their flavor.
     Ever wonder if brown eggs are better than white ones? There's no difference whatsoever. The reason some eggs are brown simply lies with which chicken laid them. Some chickens lay white eggs, some lay brown ones, and some lay green ones! I own chickens that give us all three colors! Very cool.

     My egg-buying advice: get your eggs from a local producer who can tell you what living conditions are like for their chickens. Mine are relatively free range. That means they're allowed out of their cage/roost to feed on insects. When they stay in, like in bad weather, they eat regular chicken feed. So not completely organic, but as close as you can get.
     
Otherwise, I suggest organic free-range eggs. But what's the difference between that and "cage free"? "Cage free" just means that the chickens were not kept in battery cages. 

"Free range", by USDA definition, only means that the chickens have access to the outside, not that they are ‘grown’ outside.
Straight from the horse's mouth, the USDA trade guidelines for the free range designation (section 10.5, page 13) say: " The birds are raised in heated and air-cooled growing houses with access to the outdoors…"

Wow. According to this, my chickens are going over and beyond their guidelines. Anybody want some eggs?

Until then, you have some educated decisions to make!
  
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Omelet with Sauteed Onions and Garlic, and a Spinach, Basil & Cashew Pesto
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Omelet with Goat Cheese, Capers, Tzatziki Sauce, and Diced Tomatoes
 

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