Braised Turkey Leg With Bell Peppers And Great Northern Beans

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Week Three – Monday Dinner – “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan
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While  most folks think Turkey is only appropriate as a thanksgiving meal, I enjoy turkey all year-long. Braised turkey legs, turkey giblet adobo, grilled turkey hearts and turkey neck soup are some of my favorite dishes, while the whole turkey serves mostly as a showpiece for family celebration on thanksgiving.
Turkey legs are a lean cut, so they fit perfectly into my meal plan at “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Braised Turkey With Bell Peppers And Great Northern Beans

Braised Turkey With Bell Peppers And Great Northern Beans

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Aaahhhhhh

Aaahhhhhh

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Freeze Your Bananas !!!

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Link to “ Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food ”
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One
 of my favorite fruits are bananas. So, me being me, every time I buy a bunch, without fail I buy too many. In the past, I discarded them once they had too many brown spots – until I started to become a fan of smoothies.
At first, I made my smoothies like I’ve seen them being made in bars around the world: Some fruit, lots of ice, milk, lots of sugar. Wonderful concoction if you are young, healthy, slim and have a smoothie once in a while. However, if you drink a lot of the stuff you will soon realize that after standing at room temperature for a short time, all that ice will melt and you have a very watered-down mess in your glass. Also, all that sugar and full-fat milk is fattening and can be harmful if you are a bit overweight (HELLO) and a diabetic (HELLO AGAIN).
In order to remedy all that , here is my recipe for a guilt free, delicious sweet treat / great drink, which can be had any time of day, for breakfast, lunch or dinner or as a sweet treat / dessert in between or after meals:

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Freeze any fruit that is on the verge of becoming overripe in airtight ziplock bags. This will save you money and it eliminates the need to add ice to your smoothie, keeping it from watering down.
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Instead of full-fat milk, use fat-free milk.
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Instead of sugar or artificial sweetener, use natural honey or fruit nectar (frozen into cubes) as sweetener.
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For extra body, add fat free Greek yogurt.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Guilt Free Sweet Pleasure: Banana / Strawberry  Smoothie

Guilt Free Sweet Pleasure:      Banana / Strawberry Smoothie

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Corned Beef – Getting Ready For St Patrick’s Day

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Here  is the deal – you can of course buy corned beef ready-made :-(,  – or you can make your own, which in most cases will leave you not only with a far  superior product, but also with unbeatable bragging rights :-)
Usually, you want to brine your brisket for about 10  days (depending on the size), but if you add the beef to a boiling brine, bring it back to a simmer for a few minutes, then cool it down in the brine, your beef should be ready after 4 – 6 day’s, again depending on the size of the brisket. (Cut it into smaller pieces if you are pressed on time, the brine will penetrate faster)
So, two weeks ago I bought 8 lbs of the finest brisket I could find –  grass-fed, organic – no added hormones nor added antibiotics. At about $ 10.00 a lb, this was a sizable investment, but judging after the first test, well worth the Mula. Bella agreed, as you can see in the pic below :-) Then there was the waiting time for ten days until yesterday, when I cooked the meat  for about 2,5 hours, (one more time – cooking time depends on the size of the brisket) and then, finally, corned beef wonderland !
Bella and I had some of it yesterday, the rest will be had for a variety of dishes for the next few days leading up to St Paddy’s day.
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Bon Appetit !   Life Is Good !

Click here for  Corned Beef Brine

Please note that I omitted the  Saltpeter  (potassium nitrate) in the brine of the corned beef. Saltpeter will turn the meat into the bright- red colored corned beef we are normally used to. However, I am trying to stay away from the stuff since my doctor has given me the news that all the medicine I am forced to take has messed up my kidney’s, most notably Metformin. Saltpeter is therefore not an ingredient I should use in my food. On top of that, if you want to use the stock from cooking the corned beef for a soup, you sure don’t want that soup to be laced with saltpeter ! After the corned beef is cooked, you want to strain the stock and reserve for further use for soup and/ or sauce. I will make a  Velouté  with some of the stock to make a horseradish sauce for my  “Corned Beef With Horseradish Sauce And  Colcannon. (Upcoming post).

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to serve, slice into 1'3 inch thick slices

to serve, slice into 1’3 inch thick slices

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Bella loves it :-)

Bella approves :-)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Meal Plan-Week Three

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Meal Plan – Week Three

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Update after my own completion of Week Four of  “ Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food ” meal plan  :
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During the four weeks I have adhered (more or less :-( ) strictly to my “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan, I have lost a total of 24.5 lbs of weight. (From 286.5 lbs on January 19th, to 262 lbs on February 16th).
But most importantly for me, for the past 4 weeks (starting on February 11th), I do not have the need to inject myself twice a day with Insulin (I still take Metformin for my Diabetis). This is a decision I have made after monitoring my blood sugar levels 8 – 10 times a day and having an average blood sugar level of 100, compared with fluctuating levels of anywhere between 75 and 500 before starting  “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food” meal plan.
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However, please note that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you change your medication without consulting your physician first, even getting a second or third opinion before considering any changes !!!
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I am sure that other changes in my life style, such as more exercise, as well as alcohol abstinence and refraining from smoking have greatly contributed to my overall improvement of physical and mental well-being (gone are the sluggishness and low energy, depressions and dark moods)
After just one month, I feel much better, sleep much better and on top of all the benefits of living a bit more on the sensible side of life, I eat as much as I want, when I want and what I want. (Except on the two days of the week which allow me a dinner of anything I crave, although in much smaller portions than I was used to).

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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Daily Breakfast – Fruit/Tea  (fibrous fruit + unsweetened tea of your choice)
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Daily Lunch – Energy bar/Fruits  (fruits of your choice + energy bar of your choice)
(many different brands / types of Energy Bars are available – consult your doctor/nutritionist)
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Daily Dinner

Monday – “ Braised Turkey Leg With Peppers And Great Northern Beans ”
Tuesday – “ Greek  Limburger Salad ”
Wednesday – “ Steamed Baby Bok Choy With Ginger Garlic Pork”
Thursday – “ Mama Tilly’s Quer Durch Den Garten Eintopf ”
Friday – “ Shrimp And Lap Cheong Fried Rice ”
Saturday – “ Panko Breaded Chicken Breast & Romaine In Sun Dried Tomato Dressing ”
Sunday – “ Chicken In A Nest ”
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Braised Turkey With Peppers And Great Northern Beans

Braised Turkey With Peppers And Great Northern Beans

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Greek  (Limburger)  Salad

(Limburger) Greek Salad

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Steamed Baby Bok Choy With Ginger Garlic Pork Cutlets

Steamed Baby Bok Choy With Ginger Garlic Pork

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Mama Tilly's Quer Durch Den Garten Eintopf

Mama Tilly’s Quer Durch Den Garten Eintopf

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Shrimp And Lap Cheong Fried Rice

Shrimp And Lap Cheong Fried Rice

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Panko Breaded Chicken Breast & Romain In Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

Panko Breaded Chicken Breast & Romain In Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

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Chicken In A Nest

Chicken In A Nest

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EASY DOES IT # 22 – Quiche Lorraine

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This  dish will make you the hero at the next pot luck party, office party or any other gathering where the usual (tired) contribution is chicken salad, spinach dip or potato salad (nothing wrong with those – but………..)
A properly prepared Quiche is elegant, beautiful and delicious, done with a minimum of effort, cooking skills, time and $.
It will be a guaranteed success for any occasion, because it’s easy to make, has no boundaries for your creativity and can be served cold (room temperature), warm or hot. So at a fancy or basic cocktail party, in the office, at the beach or when you bring a snack to my house – go ahead, make my day :-)
As for creativity, step up a basic Quiche lorraine (bacon, Swiss cheese and onions) by adding / replacing the standard ingredients with the following goodies:
Roasted, small diced vegetables or potatoes, seafood (no cheese in this one please), pickled onions and feta cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, sautéed ham, small diced corned beef, lots of  fresh herbs, etc, etc.
The constant in any Quiche should be a great pie crust and a mixture of 3/4 whisked whole eggs / 1/4 half & half, seasoned with salt, pepper and a small amount of nutmeg, everything else is up to your fancy and willingness to experiment :-)
As for myself, I love a warm Quiche with lots of bacon, onions and cheese when sitting in front of the TV and watching a great movie, always pairing the Quiche with a salad of simple greens and usually washing it all  down with a torrent of iced peach tea.

Blind-bake the pie crust until golden.
Add dry ingredients, add egg mixture, bake until a toothpick inserted in the filling comes out clean. DONE !

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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more “Easy Does It”
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Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

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Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Salad Florentine

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Link to  Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food
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Chicken livers – these once universally beloved little morsels have fallen out of favor with most diners in recent years. I assume that lack of availability , rising cost and most importantly (and sadly), the inability of most un-trained or little-trained cooks in many kitchens to turn these unassuming little buggers into a tasty, yummy looking dish has greatly contributed to their demise in the restaurant scene. Not so in my kitchen :-)
I love a chicken liver mousse, chicken liver dumplings, fried chicken livers on toast or as a tasty addition to an otherwise plain and simple salad, as presented below.
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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P.S.
For those of you who can not warm up to chicken livers, use duck livers – just kidding !  – as usual, replace the chicken livers with a protein of your choice, such as shrimp, sausages, calamari, salmon, chicken breast or tights, etc.
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 Salad Florentine

Salad Florentine

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  Salad Florentine

Salad Florentine

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serve with vegetable chips and dried fruits

serve with vegetable chips and dried fruits

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Pakistani Butter Chicken

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Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food


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This  dish of course got got its world wide fame from the omnipresent version sold in Indian restaurants all over the planet, and since India existed long before Pakistan, it is safe to say that Butter Chicken was born in India, not Pakistan.
However, the version I am featuring here is the version which my sous chef Said taught me while I was working and living in Karachi, Pakistan.
If you wonder – Pakistan  was  one of the most beautiful, interesting and fascinating places Maria and I have lived. We only met very nice, gracious, openhearted, kind people who wanted to have nothing to do with the stuff that has turned the world off to this wonderful place.
Sadly, as in many other areas around the world, ignorant, devilish minorities spoil the country and make it a hell for hardworking, straight, honest people who want to live their life in peace and harmony.
But – this is of course another subject for another time and place to discuss……
Ok now, back to happier, tastier thoughts:
The  food in Pakistan’s  larger cities is marvelous, varied and highly seasoned, mostly  Indian in origin but with a great influx of Persian-, Chinese- and Afghan-cuisine among others. While I was living in Karachi, I was lucky to be able to learn a lot of home-style recipes from my cooks and sous chefs, (besides the commercial food we served in the hotel), who took special pride in showing me the great food their families had cooked for generations. The meals Maria and I had in Pakistan were truly among the best we were lucky to enjoy anywhere in the world :-)
So many happy memories of gracious people, amazing food and wonderful friendships……….
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more info about Pakistani Food
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Link to Garam Masala

Link to Naan
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Pakistani Butter Chicken

Pakistani Butter Chicken

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Pakistani Butter Chicken

Pakistani Butter Chicken

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Mafaldine Alla Riccione

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I dedicate  this dish to the city of  Riccione, where I had my first moment of culinary ecstasy.
When I was 16 years old and an cook-apprentice in the  Black Forest  of Germany, I thought life, and particular working life, was too hard for me to handle, so I decided to run away from it.
I hitchhiked through southern Germany to Austria and from there over the  Brenner Pass  in the Dolomiti Alps down to Riccione in Northern Italy in the hopes of finding happiness and love in a life of leisure on the beach (well, I was 16 years of age in an area before the internet – ignorance and naïveté prevailed in 16 year old’s at that time :-).
When I left  Baden Baden  for my adventure I had 26.00 German Marks to my name, most of which I spend the first night on  steins of beer  in the “Englisher Garten”  in Munich. I remember I crossed the border from Austria into Italy with 6.00 DM in my pocket. After breakfast that day, it was four weeks of sleeping under the stars and asking (begging actually) shop owners and restaurant owners for donations to support, in the form of food and drink, my escape from a working life to the bohemian life of my dreams. These were different times altogether. I was a skinny kid without a home, and most people I met had pity and gave me a good meal, most often a sandwich and/or some fruit and soft drinks. Also, everyone offered a free smoke of the good stuff, which made a penny less life on the road so much brighter :-)
However, I remember when I got to Riccione, on the first day I spend there, the chef in a seaside restaurant handed me a simple plate of pasta with shrimp. This was the first time I saw shrimp of that size and had a dish that was so exotic and wonderful, both in its taste and its looks. To this day I remember the awesomeness I felt by smelling this food, feasting on its looks with my eyes and then devouring it all in a happy flash.
After one month of some happy, some frightening but never boring moments, even skinnier than before I left, but maybe just a bit wiser, I crawled back to my apprenticeship at the Hotel Wiedenfelsen, finished it and became a professional cook, never again to regret my earlier decision to follow this lifelong, tough, underpaid, but in so many other  way’s  rewarding career path of a cook and chef.
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Bon Appetit !  See you in Riccione :-)
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>riccione, 

Mafaldine Alla Riccione

Mafaldine Alla Riccione

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Mafaldine Alla Riccione

Mafaldine Alla Riccione

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Sauteed Pork Medallions With Mushrooms And Pasta

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Link to :  “Hans’ Lighter, Healthier Comfort Food”
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This  is a dish straight out of my childhood, yet after all these years, it still has the same appeal to me which it had then (or maybe even more) .
Everything just falls into place – pasta, tomato sauce, parmigiano reggiano, sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions,  juicy pork medallions nicely seared and seasoned with lots of black pepper – my oh my, anytime :-)
It’s dishes like this which keep me from needing a lot of “fru fru” on my plate.
Simple, honest, beautiful ingredients, proper execution and flavors to match, THAT is what food should be all about !
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Sauteed Pork Meaillions With Mushrooms And Pasta

Sautéed Pork Medallions With Mushrooms And Pasta

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Sauteed Pork Meaillions With Mushrooms And Pasta

Sautéed Pork Medallions With Mushrooms And Pasta

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Sauteed Pork Meaillions With Mushrooms And Pasta

Sautéed Pork Medallions With Mushrooms And Pasta

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Downloadable Monthly Desktop Calendar, March 2015, US Edition and International Edition

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Downloadable Monthly Calendar, US Edition and International Edition
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To display the calendar on your computer screen :

> download the calendar of your choice to your desktop,
> right-click on the image,
> choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, (exact wording will depend on the browser you use).

If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel :

Control Panel
> Display
> Desktop) and choose “Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image. (Mac users will have to use different commands to the same effect).

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March   2015 :

Seafood Salad
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March 2015, US Edition:
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March 2015 Calendar US
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March 2015, International Edition:
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March 2015 Calendar Intern.
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