The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook

This past week brought us to the Flint Hills to visit my parents and to give the kids a chance to frolic around the prairie. Other than the heat and remembering what back sweat feels like, it was really great to see the rolling hills, hunt for chalk rocks and agates, and chase fireflies at dusk. Since my mom is my #1 blog reader, I let her pick the cookbook of the week. (Other diligent readers – your chance will come soon! It’s pretty easy – just tell me what you want and I’ll do it. Not a tough crowd here.) I could have guessed the book before we even started the road trip. She loves big, colorful pictures along each recipe (presentation is important!) and likes healthy cookbooks on her shelf. She’s nostalgic, so I knew she’d pick either a cookbook that I gave her or one we both have. Of course – she did both! The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook. I picked up this one for myself when I was working at Williams-Sonoma and I couldn’t walk past the cookbook shelf without taking something home. I knew my mom would love it, so surprise! It’s her christmas present. I may not be the most creative gift giver, but I know what works.

My parents live in the country about 25 minutes from town, so there is generally only one trip to the grocery store per week, and the rest we forage from the prairie. Don’t be too impressed – my dad maintains an extensive garden and my brothers have been growing potted herbs since the early 2000s. My mom knew the cookbook, but she wanted me to pick the recipes, so she just picked up a variety of ingredients that would work for most things. Monday night I grabbed the stickies and picked out the recipes that looked interesting and then I started comparing the ingredient lists. So – this is what we came up with!

The Recipes
Warm Potato Salad (with freshly dug red potatoes)
Garden Peas with Fresh Mint (frozen peas, but freshly picked mint)
Warm Coleslaw with Honey Dressing (fresh parsley)
Chicken Salad with Thai Flavors (featuring my mom’s lemongrass!)
Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Roasted Corn Vinaigrette
Banana Oatmeal Hotcakes with Spiced Maple Syrup
Jamaican Barbecued Pork Tenderloin
Tropical Fruits with Mint and Spices  Continue reading

Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen

After a week of baking bliss, it was time to lean into the healthier shelf of cookbooks. I’m kicking things off with an oldie – Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen.  Around 2002. She had a cooking show on the Food Network back in the early days before food competitions took over and chefs like Emeril, Sara Moultin, and Jamie Oliver were rocking it old school with a live audience and average lighting. Chef Kathleen has an interesting story – she was overweight, took a new job in Hawaii, and discovered that she was going to be the executive chef for a spa. Keep in mind this was the mid 90s, when going to the spa was more than pulling into a strip mall for pedicures and a massage. (Not that there’s nothing wrong with that…..because I do it too.) It’s Canyon Ranch style spaaing (is that a word?) when you have a schedule with sunrise yoga, meditation breaks, cucumber water, treatments of choice, and of course – delicious yet low calorie food. So she lost weight while she was learning how to cook for her new job. There’s an authentic-ness to this I like – and the first 77 pages of the cookbook tells the story with tips on how you can do it too. After all, I could use a little spa-like detox after enjoying Flour for a week. But will the kids like it?

The Recipes
Sweet Potato Bread with Cranberries, Currants, and Pecans
Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Onion, Tomato, and Arugula
Apple, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Cold Pasta Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Mozzarella, and Mango
BLT Salad
Fast Fried Chicken Tenders
Asian Noodle Salad
Flank Steak and Roasted Vegetables with Crispy Potatoes
Fresh Fruit Sorbets
Crazy Crunch  Continue reading