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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Ate Days a Week

In Beans, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Challenge, Fruit, Healthy Lifestyle, Holiday, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Nuts, Oats, Party, Pasta, Pizza, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Saving Money, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian on February 24, 2015 at 7:04 pm

When it comes to healthy eating, I find there is a fine line between two philosophies: 1)Variety is the spice of life and 2)Consistency is key.  How does one stay in balance without getting bored of the same 10 meal repertoire?  When it comes to diversification, I’m always looking for inspiration.  I often look at healthy eating blogs/sites, fitness magazines, and even get sucked into the articles on the latest celebrity eating crazes.  There are definitely common trends (who else is sick of seeing kale everywhere?), but there is also a lot of differing and conflicting information.  Some people eat the same exact breakfast and lunch every day because it helps them stay on track, while others will cave into candy if they have another egg white fritata.

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Could you eat THIS every day?

Where do my habits fall on this spectrum?  It’s kind of hard to say.  There have been weeks where I definitely fall into the same lunch rut, and others where I order take out every night.  It really depends on what else is going on that hour/meal/day/week/etc.  In an effort to better answer this question, I decided a couple of weeks ago to keep a log of my food/water/alcohol intake every day for 7 days.  This practice helped me to reflect more accurately on my habits and identify trends, which is something I hadn’t done in several years.  Back in my days of working with a personal trainer, I had been required to turn in a nutrition log at the beginning of each session, which gave me so much anxiety.  If I was honest about every morsel, I’d get ripped apart for having even one cookie, even if the other 98% of my intake was perfect.   I would end up omitting anything that I knew was “inconstant” and veering away from my “goals”, just to avoid the wrath of someone who subsisted on protein shakes, whey, and hardly any fresh fruits or vegetables.

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Homework…

It’s been a long time since I’ve followed any sort of “diet” or meal plan, so this time I took a different approach to the journaling process.  I didn’t focus exclusively on calories, macronutrients, or obsessively counting and measuring.  While I did note approximate amounts (I have a very good sense of portions and volumes, so that’s how I was able to quantify all the ingredients), I didn’t use any measuring devices (scale/cup/calculator), except when required by a recipe (baking).    I just wanted to get a sense of 1)the main components of my meals, 2)some idea of ratio (is the meal 1/2 veggies, 1/4 each protein/carb), 3)how often/frequently I eat, 4)what kind and how often I was having alcohol and “treats”, and how 5)much water I was consuming.  For water, I used the same size glass throughout the day (usually a 17 oz size, which I’d note as 2 cups), and I didn’t include cooking water.  I also noted times I ate/drank to understand the frequency better.

Here’s a high level overview, which I’ll follow with more details and pics.  This particular week had a busy weekend (Valentine’s Day, birthday parties, 2 big family dinners), so it’s an example of more splurging than usual.

  • Breakfast is the most consistent, usually some combination of protein (eggs or yogurt) with whole grain (oats) and lots of veggies
  • Lunch is usually leftovers or a simple salad
  • Dinner is the most varied, usually freshly cooked, and has carb heavy options for the other members of my family
  • I’ll have 1-3 in between meal snacks or bites
  • I drink a minimum 12 cups of water a day, but usually 16+ (especially on days I exercise).  This equates to about a cup/hour.
  • 1-2 glasses of wine 4 times a week; 1 night of cocktails.  None of that bothers me. 🙂
  • A piece or two of chocolate 3x; ice cream 1x
  • During the week, frequency is 2-3 hours; Weekend eating frequency is less, but more indulgent

That’s the basic gist of the week’s trends.  Some of you may want more information, the same way I look at other blogs as I mentioned earlier.  For those who want more details, here they are, along with some photos when I remembered to take them.

  • Monday
    • Water total: 16 cups
      • 530: 2 cups water before/during barre workout
    • 7 am grande coffee w 1 oz milk
    • 7:45 am: 2 cups water; porridge – 1/2 cup oats, 2 cups water, 1.5 cups kale, 1 tsp miso, 2 eggs, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
      • 2 more cups water btwn meals
    • 11:15 Carob spirulina energy bite (1)
    • 12:30 pm: 2 cups water; salad of 3 celery stalks, 1 small gala apple, 1/3 cup chickpeas, lemon juice; 1 brown rice cake with 1/3 avocado and 1/2 oz sharp cheddar
      • 2:30 2 cups water
    • 3:15 whole wheat banana nut bread
      • 4:30 2 cups water
    • 6:00 low fat string cheese 1 cup water
    • 7:15 2 cups water; whole wheat pasta with honeynut squash olives capers and almonds (1 cup)
      • 1 cup water after dinner
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Porridge

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Lunch

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread

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Pasta.

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My itty portion.

  • Tuesday
    • Water total: 16 cups
      • 8:30 am: 2 cups water
    • 9:00 – pancake (1.5 eggs, 6 tbsp oats, 3 tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt, 1.5 cups flower sprouts [like kale]). 2 cups water
      • 10: stroller strides (interval full body workout) 2 cups water during workout
    • 11: 3/4 cup Greek yogurt with 1 tsp pb 3/4 apple and cinnamon
    • 11:30 – grande coffee w 1 oz milk
    • 1:00 pm – 2 cups water; 1 whole wheat pizza slice with broccoli and spinach topping
      • 2:45 – 2 cups water
      • 4:15 – 2 cups water
    • 5:15 – 1.5 clementine 10 raw almonds
    • 6:15 : 2 cups water, 3 bell pepper slices
    • 7:30 2 cups water. 2 (really big) glass red wine. 1/3 cup sprouted brown rice, 1/3 cup mushroom stroganoff, 1/2 cup roasted sugar snap peas in 1 tsp Evoo, 1 small bell pepper stuffed w 1/2 cup chickpeas w lemon zest and juice; 2 choc truffle
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Pancake with a hot sauce smile.

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Yogurt parfait.

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  • Wednesday
    • Water total: 16 cups
      • 9:15 am 2 cups water
    • 9:30 – smoothie (3/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1.5 cups broccoli, 1/4 cup oats, 1 tbsp pb, 1/2 cup water, vanilla and cinnamon)
      • 10:30 2 cups water
    • 11:15 cup of coffee w splash of milk
      • 11:40 2 cups water
    • 12:15 pm 1 cup coffee
      • 1:00 2 cups water
    • 1:15 leftover snap peas stroganoff and rice, kidney beans 1/2 cup each
    • 2:45 2 cups water. 1 oz sharp cheddar
    • 5:15 thin slice whole wheat banana bread
      • 6:30 2 cups water
    • 7:00 carrot ginger coconut soup (1 cup), sesame noodles (1/2 cup brown rice quinoa pasta with pb and sesame sauce (pb, molasses, sesame oil, ginger, garlic,etc), 2 cups water, 1 piece dark chocolate w raisins and pecans
      • 10:30 2 cups water
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Finished smoothie.

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Sautéing veggies for the soup.

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Soups on!

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Sesame noodles, with some modifications on this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/cold-sesame-noodles-recipe2.html

  • Thursday
    • Water total: 14
      • 9:30 am 2 cups water
    • 10:00 1/2 cup oats, 6 oz baby spinach sautéd in 1 tsp Evoo and garlic, 2 scrambled eggs, 2 cups water
    • 10:45 2 cup coffee w splash milk
      • 12:30 pm 2 cups water
      • 1:30 2 cups water
    • 2:00 leftover carrot soup (1.5 cups) rice beans and mushroom (1/2 cup each;) 1 cup water
      • 3:00 1 cup water
      • 5:15 2 cups water
    • 6:15 2 cups water. 1 small sweet potato with skin and sprinkle cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup white beans cooked in sriracha sauce, 1 cup slaw (napa cabbage carrots onion pepper apple celery lemon juice avocado), 1 glass red wine
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Breakfast.

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Leftovers. Again.

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Slaw.

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BBQ(ish) Dinner.

  • Friday
    • Water total: 17 cups
      • 5:30-7am 3 cups water before/ during barre
    • 7:00 grande coffee with splash milk
    • 8:30 2 cups water. Miso soup (1 tbsp miso w 2 cups water) with 1/2 cup leftover sprouted brown rice, 3 cups flower sprouts, 2 poached eggs, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil and hot sauce
      • 9:30 2 cups water
      • 11:15 2 cups water
    • 12:15 2 cups water. 2 cups leftover slaw w 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1 small sweet potato w sprinkle cheddar
      • 4:00 2 cups water
    • 4:30 2 clementines 15 raw almonds
      • 530 1 cup water
    • 7:00 pm – FAMILY DINNER. 1 cup water. 1/4 cup guac w 10 scoops, 2-3 oz white fish, 1/2 cup black bean, 1/2 cup cabbage, 2 margaritas. 1 piece salted caramel dark chocolate, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
      • 10:00 2 cups water
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Another take on Breakfast.

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  • Saturday
    • Water total: 16 cups
      • 9:45 am 2 cups water
    • 10:15 2 cups water. 1/2 cup oats cooked in water, 3 oz baby spinach in 1 tsp Evoo, 1/3 avocado, 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
      • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm 4 cups water before/during/after barre
    • 1:00 pm grande coffee splash of milk
    • 2:30 pm salad w romain eggplant roasted red pepper cucumber tomato chick peas fresh mozzarella 1 tbsp vinaigrette, 10 French fries, 5 bites broccoli cheddar omelet, 1 cup water
      • 7:00 pm 4 cups water
    • 8:30 VALENTINES. 2 glasses red wine, 5 slices baguette 1/2 inch thick,  5 crackers, cheese (3ish oz), cherry jam, 10 olives, 2 cups water
      • 1 cup water before bed
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More savory oats.

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VDay with my love.

  • Sunday (Busy day, no photos)
    • Water total: 12
      • 9:30 am 2 cups water
    • 10:30 am 16 oz americano w steamed milk (1/2 cup?), 1 slice whole wheat banana bread, 1 cup water
    • 12:30 pm BIRTHDAY BRUNCH PART 1. 3 cups water, 1/2 cup brown rice 1 cup sauted Chinese broccoli,  2 bites tapioca custard, 2 bites dessert bun
    • 3:30 BIRTHDAY BRUNCH PART 2.  1 cup water, 2 poached eggs, 1/2 biscuit, 1/2 cup sauted kale, 1 cup mixed green side salad, 1/2 Bloody Mary
    • 6:30. BIG FAMILY DINNER.  3 cups water, 2 glasses red wine, 1/2 cup mixed greens, 1/2 slice fresh mozzarella, 1 bite bread w butter, 1 cup whole wheat pasta w arabiata sauce, 1/2 cup green beans, 1/4 cup sauted spinach, small piece eggplant parm (3 bites), 3 bites sole oreganata
      • 9:00 pm. 2 cups water

To answer my initial question, what does all of this mean? After this experiment, I think I can say that I am consistent with adhering to the healthy habits I’ve developed over the years, all while spicing things up with twists and changes.  And even if I do indulge a smidge, I don’t have to worry about hiding it from anyone, because I don’t consider it something off limits.  How else do you expect me to muster up the energy to cook (or chase a toddler) without a glass or two of wine?

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And if you’d like to see any of the recipes from this week, comment and let me know.  They could be included in a future post.

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Going Green: Breakfast Edition

In Breakfast, Oats, Quick Meal, Quinoa, Salad, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian on October 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Part of ANY well-balanced meal.

Part of ANY well-balanced meal.

We all know the importance of filling that 5-a-day veggie quota.  However, many a day may come and go without coming even close.  Even with a fridge full of produce, I’ve found myself on some busy mornings running out the door eating a rice cake for breakfast, followed by a sandwich for lunch.  By the time dinner rolls around, I’ve realized I haven’t eaten any veggies, let alone some leafy greens.  As a result, I’ve been making an effort at breakfast time to include leafy greens and other green vegetables.  With a little preparation, ingenuity, and thinking outside of the box, here are 10 of my tips and tricks for incorporating a healthy start to the day.

  1. Smoothies

    More of a trick than a tip.  Make your favorite fruit smoothie.  After everything is combined, add 1-2 cups of greens – kale, spinach, chard, beet greens, even lettuce – and blend until combined.  I also like to add mint and/or raw cacao to cover up any bitter taste.  You can also try my protein-packed green smoothie.

  2. Pancakes
    Apple, Pumpkin, and Kale Oat Pancakes

    Apple, Pumpkin, and Kale Oat Pancakes

    Make your favorite pancake batter.  Then blend in a cup or two of leafy greens.  My new fave for fall: 1/2 cup oats, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, 1/2 chopped apple, vanilla/cinnamon to taste, 1 cup kale.  Blend all except kale.  Once combined, add kale and blend for a few seconds.  There’s the batter, cook like normal pancakes.  You won’t even taste the kale, trust me.  Great for kids and kids at heart.

  3. Pesto/creamed greens

    Using your favorite pesto recipe, substitute some or all of the basil for spinach, broccoli, broccoli robe, kale, you name it.  Get creative.  I’ve made one with spinach, garlic, chickpeas, and nutmeg.  Use on toast, in an omelet, or to make savory oatmeal (think risotto).  Same applies to creamed spinach.  When you’re making dinner, double up so you have some leftovers for breakfast.  You can also use Indian-style spinach (saag) to spice things up.

    Leftover creamed spinach is great the next morning.

    Leftover creamed spinach is great the next morning.

  4. Soup

    This is a new one for me.  A couple times a week I start the morning with a miso-based soup.  I boil some water with whatever greens I have – raw or leftover sautéd (I really like bok choy).  Once warmed up, I add chickpea miso (since I have some soy intolerance) and stir for another minute.  To make it a complete meal, I’ll add some leftover grains and/or beans.  Maybe even some poached eggs.

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  5. Salad/Slaw

    Not just for a light lunch.  Have a side salad with your eggs.  This can be as simple as arugula and lemon juice.  Add an avocado or nuts.  Really easy.  Same with coleslaw.  If you make some for dinner or over the weekend for a bbq/tailgate, just add a big scoop to your plate.  It may be weird at first, but you’ll feel much better later in the day for being 20-40% done with your veggie requirements.

    Arugula with avocado and lemon juice.  Paired with a quinoa omelet.

    Arugula with avocado and lemon juice. Paired with a quinoa omelet.

  6. Quiche/egg cups

    A little more obvious/traditional.  Make a crustless quiche with lots of sautéed greens.  This will last 3-ish days in the fridge.  You can also pour the batter into muffin tins and freeze for pre-portioned future meals.

    Spinach, mushroom, goat cheese.

    Spinach, mushroom, goat cheese.

  7. Omelets

    A stand-by.  Use any kind of fresh greens.  Ever try an arugula omelet?  It’s really good.  You can also shave some broccoli florets and save the stems to roast for another meal.

  8. Breakfast grilled cheese

    On toast or a bagel.  Add greens to your cheesy sammie.

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  9. Side of sautéed veggies.

    You can make them fresh in the morning, or you can take leftovers from the day before.  Some mornings I sauté 3-4 big leaves of kale and share them with Rocco while I prepare the rest of breakfast.  It can be as simple as some water/olive oil, or you can add garlic and herbs.  You can also finish with a miso sauce – 1 tbsp miso paste added to a cup of water, add to pan once veggies are cooked.

    Munching on some greens.

    Munching on some greens.

  10. Leftover roasted veggies

    Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, you name it.  If I have leftovers, they are sides or appetizers for breakfast.  Same principal as the sautéed greens.  While I prepare the rest of the meal, I unload 1-2 cups of roasted veggies on Rocco’s tray, and I nibble while I’m cooking.  Broccoli stems are a particular favorite.

    Roasted cabbage.

    Roasted cabbage.

Those are some of my go-tos.  I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me.  Who doesn’t want to be more more Green?  Especially first thing in the morning.

Shana Tova!

In Fruit, Holiday, Jewish, Quick Meal, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian on September 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I know it’s been a long time, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts as the Jewish new year approaches.

Last year was the most remarkable year of my life.  I grew a beautiful baby inside my body, being mindful that what goes into, as well as what I do to, my body affects my little one’s.  I also nourished him outside of the womb during my “4th Trimester”, which may have been the most challenging part of this whole year.  I’ve learned a few tricks here and there that work for me, and I’m hoping to write about them this coming year.

13 Weeks - End of 1st Trimester

13 Weeks – End of 1st Trimester

26 Weeks - End of 2nd Trimester

26 Weeks – End of 2nd Trimester

39 Weeks - End of 3rd Trimester (and the day I actually went into labor!)

39 Weeks – End of 3rd Trimester (and the day I actually went into labor!)

52 Weeks - 3 month old Baby Rocco and Me

52 Weeks – 3 month old Baby Rocco and Me

I have a lot of ideas, recipes, and stories to share with you all!  At first I was hard on myself for not posting in quasi-real time, but what pregnancy and motherhood have taught me is that it’s okay to not be perfect –  I should focus on the positives of what I’ve accomplished instead of negatively harping on what I have not.  So instead of apologizing for my tardiness, or agonizing over writing the perfect blog post, I’m just going to share one little recipe with you that focuses on the now.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, is often ushered in with greetings of a Shana Tova U’Mitukah.  This translates to a good and sweet year.  Interestingly, I was listening to Q104.3 this afternoon in the car, and the DJ played 3 songs with a common theme for callers to guess.  Today’s theme was Rosh Hashana.  But what was more interesting was his comment on the translation.  He said that although people translate Shana Tova to “Happy” new year, it actually means “good”.  The reason why good is used, rather than happy, is that happiness may be founded on material things, whereas good is an intrinsic virtue.   I thought it was a nice anecdote to set off this upcoming new year.  I have already learned in the past months that what made my past year great was not the things I acquired, but the good I did for myself and my family.  One of the most important contributions I’ve made is my focus on healthy nutrition, which can also tie into the “sweet” part of the salutation.

Traditionally, Jews will dip apple in honey to signify the sweetness of the new year, as well as consume other sweetened foods, such as raisin challah.  I have a recipe that I often make at the cusp of summer and fall which would provide a healthier twist to the apple and honey custom.  It’s a recipe I found years ago, and I’ve made my own modifications.

Apple Coleslaw

Addapted from All Recipes

3 cups sliced cabbage (I used purple)
1 gala apple, diced
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mayo (I used light)
1/3 cup brown sugar (can sub agave or honey)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Handful chopped cilantro (optional)

It’s really simply – chop all the veggies, put in a large bowl.  Mix the last 4 ingredients to create the dressing and pour over the veggies.  Very pretty, refreshing, sweet, and healthy!

Much prettier in person.

Much prettier in person.

This is a great recipe to bring to a party or bbq, but even better to add to your holiday table.  Wishing you all a very sweet new year filled with lots of goodness!

Pizza and Chinese Food

In Chinese, Flexitarian, Italian, Pizza, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Seitan, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian on September 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Those were my only two delivery options when I lived in my first apartment after college.  My street was a quiet crescent shape, there were lots of trees and families, and I was only a 5 minute walk to the subway.  I also had no roommates and lived on the top floor.  However, not much else made me happy to live there.  The neighborhood had about a 2 block stretch of the necessary businesses – bank, coffee shop, bodega, grocery store, 99 cent store, cleaners, shoe repair, and the aforementioned eateries.  There was also a 24 hour diner, but they didn’t deliver.  Thus, when I came home from a hard day of work (which was every day), I’d crack open a beer and 2 or 3 times a week I’d order either pizza/pasta or Chinese food.  I wasn’t as experienced with cooking as I am now, so I hadn’t had enough in my repertoire to mix things up in my own kitchen.  Then I met Nick, who had a big beautiful kitchen, perfect for improving my skills (while winning his heart at the same time).

Times have changed, and so have my skills and appetite.  While I still crave the pizza and Chinese of bachelorettehood’s past, I seldom order delivery to avoid the extra fat, calories, and salt that is packed inside the cardboard containers.  Instead, I’ll make my own versions at home: a whole wheat pitza, or a splurge on TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough helps with the carb cravings, and stirfries with brown rice replace MSG.  With the bounty of veggies I purchased during my Eat to Live inspired market trip, both cuisines avail themselves to being infused with said produce.

For Nick, I made a pitza using pesto and fresh tomatoes instead of marinara sauce.

I topped them with all those veggies, and added some cheese.  I made a side salad of cucumber, tomato, and chives.

For myself, I attempted my first cauliflower pizza crust!  It comes out more like an omelet, but it’s pretty tasty.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Serves 2

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 egg whites
1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella
sprinkle each of garlic powder, salt, and oregano

After steaming the cauliflower for 5ish minutes, I drained the florets and used a ricer to squeeze out extra fluid.  I couldn’t fully rice it with the gadget, so I pulsed the cauliflower in the food processor.

Then I combined the cauliflower with the other ingredients, spread the mixture on a toaster oven baking sheet, and baked for 15 minutes at 400º.

Before baking…

After baking.

Then it was time to top the crust.  Since there was already cheese in there, I left that out for my version.  I just used pesto, tomatoes, zucchini, mushroom, peppers, and chives.

Before broiling…

With the toaster oven on broil, The toppings just needed 5 minutes.

Here’s a slice….

The ends were really crispy, which was most pizza-crust like.  However, the middle was similar to an omelet, only tastier.  I’d definitely recommend it!

Now let’s move further east.

Vegetables – taste the rainbow.

I don’t think I really need to go over a recipe for this.  All you need is a Wok, some veggies, preferable an onion or scallion, some garlic, and at least some soy sauce.  Other ingredients like toasted sesame oil, mirin, or chili paste are also welcome additions.  Using corn starch with broth helps create a nice thick sauce, as well.

Serve with some protein (like 5 spice seitan or chicken), brown rice, and a nice salad (I used red cabbage as my base and dressed with carrot ginger dressing).

Counter clockwise from top left: Mirin chicken, brown rice, veggie stir fry, salad (cabbage, cucumber, tomato, avocado, ginger dressing)

Lots of veggies, lots of salad, and a smidge seitan in garlic sauce.

My salad was really big (like 1/4 of a huge cabbage), and the greenish dressing is that chive based version I talked about in my last post.  Had I only had some berries on there, I’d be the [G] Bomb[s].

I know what you may be thinking: that’s a lot of veggies.  However, combined with the essences of take out food, it’s a good balance of naughty and nice.  It’s not even THAT naughty.  I should know; I used to be a take-out-a-holic.

Eat to Live vs. Live to Eat

In American, Challenge, Fruit, Nuts, Quick Meal, Salad, Shopping, Vegan, Vegetables on September 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Having a summer full of vacations has pulled me in polar opposite directions with my diet.  It seems that every vacation activity is planned around feedings, and the highlights of the trip are the bleu cheese stuffed olives or truffled mashed potatoes.  A whole afternoon can be spent chopping fruit for sangria, and this is considered quality relaxation time spent with my family.  Then reality hits upon crossing the threshold of my apartment:  I can’t continue to have martinis, beer, and sangria everyday, nor end every meal with a bowl of molten chocolate cake.  I do begin to crave my normal routine of salads, veggies, and the like, but I also suffer from indulgence withdrawal.  Yes, enjoying delicacies are some of the most precious moments in life, but living to a healthy old age is more of a priority in my book.  So what am I to do to achieve a balance between the two?  Eating to live, instead of living to eat.  Easier said than done, especially for this foodie.

Farmer’s market taters and tomaters.

Does anybody else every have an experience where they learn something new, and then all of the sudden that new thing is everywhere?  That’s how I feel about Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live.  I remember coming across his diet philosophy on another food blog (I can’t remember which, since I tend to read 30 posts in a row on a new blog I discover), and then many times after seeing him on talk shows and PBS.  According to Dr. Fuhrman, the key to living a long, healthy, and disease-free life is to adapt a plant-based diet (ideally vegan) that focuses on 6 required food groups a day.  He created an acronym to remember these categories: “G-BOMBS”

  • Greens (Kale, collards, bok choy, spinach, etc) – 1 lb raw and 1 lb steamed
  • Berries – 1 cup
  • Onions (red, white, scallion, garlic, etc) – 1/2 cup
  • Mushrooms – 1 tbsp
  • Beans (beans, lentils, peas) – 1 cup
  • Seeds (seeds and nuts – chia, flax, almond, cashew, etc) – 1 oz

Additionally, you can eat other non-starch veggies, and should have about a cup a day of whole grains (oats, quinoa, rice, etc).  Mind you, all of this information I’ve gathered without reading the book, but it’s on my to-read list for sure.  Regardless, I really like his philosophy.  I basically eat this way anyway, but I really had to up my veggie intake to meet the greens requirement.  Do you know how much a lb of greens is?  A lot.  Basically, 2 huge salads a day.  And that’s just the raw requirement.

Inspired by this eat to live mentality, I made a trip to the farmer’s market a few weeks ago in between 2 vacations.  I kid you not when I tell you I spent 60 dollars.  The mushrooms were pricy, and cukes/tomatoes/zucchini were on major sale, so I really took advantage of the plethora of options.  Besides, 60 bux for 2 people’s grocery budget is pretty low, especially for organics.

Not even half of my bounty.

About 20% of the zucchini.

Not included in the pictures above are chives, shallots, mushrooms, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, basil, and cucumbers.  I made lots of salads and had veggies juithies every day.  I made a really delicious dressing, but didn’t take any pictures.  Kind of a take of Green Goddess dressing, only non-dairy.

Green Tahini Dressing

1/2 bunch chives
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
salt and pepper to taste

I blended everything in my Vitamix, which was really quick.   This dressing lasted me about 5-6 salads worth, and sometimes I squeezed a lil lemon juice to freshen it up.  It’s REALLY oniony and garlicky, so just be forewarned, but it’s super delicious.

With all the zucchini and tomatoes (including heirloom!) I opted to do a raw dinner one night.  I had this huge bunch of basil, so what else to make with it except pesto? It wasn’t a traditional version with tons of oil or parm.  Just basil, pine nuts, and 1 tbsp evoo.

Instead of wheat pasta, I used my veggie peeler to peel some zucchini ribbons, and topped the dish with sliced heirloom tomato, salt, and pepper.

Those are some of the raw veggie ideas.  I’ll talk about some cooked ideas in my next post.  In the meantime, I am still readjusting to this new philosophy, so I’ll be coming up with some new kinds of recipes.  Pretty soon, by eating to live, living to eat will be in pursuit of the former.  That’s what I call a win-win.

A Meal’s a Meal, but That’s Just Fruit

In Beans, Fruit, Mexican, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

A few months ago, I went early to the express DMV to officially change my last name from maiden to married.  I had packed my lunch and afternoon snack to take along with me so I could go straight to work as soon as I was done.  On my way to the office, a delirious “homeless” man gave a spiel I could barely comprehend, although I did catch something about “cancer” in there.  At the end, he of course asked for money, but also mentioned food.  I never give money to people on the subway (did you know that some panhandler in Houston claimed to make $60k from begging?), but if somebody were to ask for food I would jump at the opportunity.  When that rare instance occurs, I never seem to have even a stick of gum with me.  This time, I was so excited to offer him my afternoon snack of an orange and raw almonds.  I would have given my actual lunch, but I’m sure it was some Tupperware filled with beans and rice and veggies.  When I offered the food to him, he said some more delirious nonsense, something about a fleece being $3, and I said “I don’t have a fleece, you asked for food.”  And you know what happened?  He all of the sudden started speaking “clearly” and said to me “A meal’s a meal, but that’s just fruit.”  Then he walked away from me.  I was shocked.  My $7/lb raw organic almonds weren’t worth his time; I guess only crack, booze, and McDonald’s met his requirements.  I had approached my stop to transfer, still shaking my head at my fellow straphangers, and I shouted “beggars can’t be choosers, ever hear that expression?”

I was infuriated for the rest of the day, which really was a waste of my energy.  What did I expect?  It makes me so sad that this idiot has to ruin charity for all those legitimately hungry people who would be grateful for any morsel of food.  Those thoughts usually run through my mind any time I throw away any scraps, which is why I try to use everything I buy.  Last week, I received lots of fruit from the CSA distribution, and it was more than I was used to using at once.  Fruit tends to ripen quickly and should be used within a couple of days – whether you eat it raw, dabble in some canning, or freeze for smoothies/baking.  Although I had frozen about half of the peaches and plums, I couldn’t manage to finish the remains at a steady pace.  Once Thursday arrived, I still had 3 peaches and about 15 sugar plums left.  Since Nick won’t touch either of those, it was all up to me to consume.  Luckily, he went to the movies with a friend on Thursday, so I had the opportunity to use the peaches for dinner.  I usually don’t like to eat fruit so late in the day, but since I had procrastinated my workout til almost 9(!), it was the perfect exception.

The workout I made up. I think I’m sick of all my usual DVDs (hence the procrastination), so this was a nice change.

I still had the head of cabbage left from Saturday, and some of the green onions, so I thought a slaw would be perfect!  The recipe is really simple, and could use any stone fruit or apples/pears you have on hand.

Peach Lime Coleslaw

Makes about 8 cups

1 small head cabbage, shredded
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 bell pepper, small dice
3 peaches, small dice
Juice of 3 limes
2 tbsp agave nectar
Salt to taste

I used my food processor to shred the cabbage, but you could use a box grater if you don’t have a processor.  You could also go the easy route and buy pre-shredded coleslaw mix :).

I combined all the ingredients except the lime juice and agave in a large bowl; I mixed the lime/agave in a small bowl just to make sure it was even.  Then I poured the juice over the veggies/fruit, mixed to combine, and let it sit in the fridge while I worked out.  I served the slaw with some black beans, cholula, and goat cheese, which was really yummy!  You could also add some brown rice, or stuff a tortilla with the slaw/beans/cheese to make a burrito.

Now onto the plums.  I really wanted to experiment with fruit drying.  Buying dried fruit is usually fine, but most of the time it’s full of sulfur and/or sugar.  We had added a dehydrator to our wedding registry, and luckily somebody had bought it for us.  Unfortunately, Nick decided to christen it first with beef jerky (boo).

After washing the trays several times since, I finally tested the fruit drying capabilities with the leftover sugar plums.

Following the direction booklet, I washed, halved, and pitted the fruit.

I set the dehydrated to the recommended 135º and waited almost 20 hours until the fruit was dried out.  I was slightly shocked at both the temperature and the time.  First of all, how do all these raw foodists dry their produce below 118º if the manufacture suggests 135?  Secondly, 20 hours seems like a really long time for drying – did I do something wrong?  Anyway, this is the end result:

The dried version tastes slightly more tart and less sweet than the fresh fruit.  It also had a slightly oniony-garlicky hint to it, which I think means the trays or bottom tray weren’t really cleaned thorough from jerked meat (which is super gross).  Next time, I think I will try the below-118º raw rule, as well as super disinfect the machine.  Not wanting to waste this experiment, I think I will use them as treats for my dog.  I could also carry them in my purse as an offering to any other “homeless” hungry beggars.  Who knows, maybe somebody else would consider this fruit a meal?

How to Tickle Your Pickle, and Some Single-Entendre Ideas

In American, CSA, Meat and Pultry, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Pickling is all the rage in the CSA lovers’ world (as you can see from this link party).  Two weeks ago, I got some kohlrabi in my share, so I opted to try my first pickling experiment.  Here’s the before.

And here’s the after.  Pinkish water.  Garlicky goodness.  Perfect to perk up a sandwich or pair with something more rich, say a bacon cheeseburger.

Speaking of burgers, I did a good job last week keeping Nick away from meat to make up for all the grilling last weekend.  Lots of salads, beans, and chicken breast.  One night, I went out to dinner with a friend visiting from out of town, so I left him to his own devices.  What did he make: TJs shepherd’s pie.  He brought up how he missed the days when I’d made my mom’s recipe, and it sort of broke my heart.  I know he likes all the foods I make, but he truly enjoys meat and more indulgent recipes.  Last night, I surprised him with some ground sirloin and decided to make him some burgers (the rest of the meat will be saved for the shepherd’s pie).  Luckily, I had lots of fresh veggies from Saturday to balance the meat out.

I decided to make two “salads” – grilled corn and heirloom tomato, and dill cucumber salad.  Only this time, I had extra cucumbers to make the latter.  I figured some for tonight, the rest will “pickle” and be enjoyed throughout the week.  I used a lot of vinegar this time (about 2 cups), and doubled all the other ingredients.  They marinated for 2 hrs or so before dinner.

Since this was the first distribution with corn, I was careful to inspect each cob before I dropped it in my bag.  The reason being worms.  Last year, I would get so many worms in the corn, which is symptomatic of organic corn.  The farmer explained the only way to minimize worms is to drop oil into each one, which would take him 3 staff members 2 full days.  Needless to say, this practice is not utilized.  Anyway, when I do get to enjoy sweet corn, I generally eat it raw.  It is so crunchy, sweet, and fresh.  Other times, I grill the corn (although usually these recipes are developed from leftover grilled corn) and combine it with cilantro, lime, black beans, tomato, and avocado.  This time, I put together a version I saw on “The Biggest Loser”.  That show is definitely another one of my guilty pleasures.  One particular episode, Bob (one of the trainers) invited his team to his house, announcing he is Vegan and had some foods for them to try.  He posted the recipe on his blog:

http://www.mytrainerbob.com/blog/the-rest-of-the-vegan-recipes-from-this-weeks-biggest-loser

I saw some beautiful small heirloom tomatoes at the health food store, so I figured they were perfect for this recipe.

Here’s my version:

Grilled Corn and Heirloom Tomato SaladAdapted from Brooke Larson

3 ears sweet corn, grilled
1 pint heirloom tomatoes (or 2-3 medium sized ones)
2 tsp EVOO
1 tbsp aged balsamic
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp salt
5-10 fresh basil leaves

I don’t have access to my grill this summer, due to construction on the roof forcing all items inside.  Thus, I “grilled” this corn directly on my stove top range.

I don’t like them too well done, just with a little bit of blackenedness.

When they’re cool enough to handle, I slice off the kernels, and reserve them in a bowl to be mixed with the tomatoes.

I saw a really efficient way to slice cherry/grape tomatoes on Rachael Ray.  You use two circular lids from pint containers, wedge the fruit in between, and then slice your knife through.  It worked really well.

After slicing.

I let the tomatoes chill in the fridge with the corn, oil, salt, and fennel.  I topped the salad with the balsamic and basil when it was time to serve.  Nick had his ground sirloin burger on a potato bun with wild mushroom brie, tomato, and red onion.  Corn salad and tons of cucumbers on the side.

I was lazy for myself, so I took the easy road and made a Dr. Praeger’s Bombay style veggie burger with some lowfat cheese “protein style”, a.k.a. wrapped in lettuce.

I generally prefer to make my own veggies burgers, but sometimes you gotta take the easy way out.  These patties are pretty tasty and you can see the veggies chunks in there.  I am not really a fan of the other varieties, especially after having stayed at a Fire Island house last summer where the “house mother” was the Doctor’s real life daughter.  The freezer was stuffed to the brim with boxed veggie creations.  I’d add more about that, but you know that saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

Nick and I both really enjoyed our dinner.  I had leftovers for lunch today with some brown rice, beets, and some lentils.

Rice/lentils buried under cukes.

Nick went back for thirds of the pickled cucumbers after eating 2 burgers; he wasn’t as big of a fan of the corn, preferring the Mexican version more.  But when you’re in a pickle, you do what you gotta do.

Why I’m the Worst Photographer. Ever.

In American, Beans, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Chinese, CSA, Dessert, Fish, Greek, Italian, Meat and Pultry, Oats, Pasta, Quick Meal, Rice, Salad, Shopping, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I’m a pretty awful photographer, both in skill and frequency.  Until I started this blog, my camera was used maybe 1-2 times a year on a vacation or for a grandparent’s birthday.  Even when I do take some photos of my food, I never edit them, nor organize them, because I just get too frustrated trying to learn the programs on my Mac Book.  I just don’t have it in me to constantly snap photos, which is really such a shame.    There have been plenty of missed opportunities to capture both amazing and ordinary moments in my life.  I’m not talking about kissy faces, popping bottles, or a circle of friends’ shoes.  Just the simple pleasures, like walking around my neighborhood or documenting my restaurant experiences.  A whole fun-filled weekend will pass, and I’ll have nothing to show for it.  That’s how I feel about this past weekend.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so looks like I have a lot of writing ahead of me….

Filling in the gaps with some CSA goodies.

Saturday was CSA distribution.  It was also my volunteer week.  There are two options: man the stand from 9-12ish during distribution, or drive the leftovers to a local church.  Since I have a car, this was definitely the better option.  I had planned on getting there at 10 to pick up my share to bring home, clean up, etc. before the drive.  However, my morning run took longer than anticipated.  Turns out, I didn’t have enough time, so I quickly made an oatmeal pancake when I got home, showered, and shoved my produce in the fridge.

As somewhat of a reward for volunteering, you can take a few extra items.  I grabbed some extra zucchini, cucumbers, and berries.  The original share included:

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 huge stalks dill
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 5 small or 1 large zucchini
  • 3 sweet corn
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 quart sugar plums
  • 12 peaches

This is the first time all season I felt a real value in the fruit share.  Don’t get me wrong, I love 3 pints of blueberries, but it’s nice to have some variety.    Since I had a fun filled weekend, I neglected my “put everything right away” rule and got around to cleaning up on Monday.

From left: Lettuce packed and washed, beets and greens separated, fruit in a bowl to ripen, cucumbers sliced and “pickling”, zucchini and cucumber cleaned, onions sliced, leftover dill cleaned

I froze most of the blueberries for smoothies, and half the peaches and plums as well.

But this was on Monday.  All weekend I had so much fun, mostly with my husband.  It was nice to have a summer weekend without appointments, social obligations, trips, or chores.  Like I said, reflecting back in my head I wish I had more photos to show you.  Perhaps I can borrow some from restaurant and shopping sites to give you a better picture.   Pun intended.

Friday

A newish restaurant opened in Park Slope near my office.  I’ve passed by it a couple of times on the rare occasions I take the subway to/from work and never thought anything of it.  Whenever I’d catch a glimpse of food, it was usually noodles or dumplings, so I just assumed it was East Asian, although the name was Talde.  Turns out, it was opened by former Top Cheftestant Dale Talde and is super popular.  I mentioned the place to my husband and in-laws, and we decided to get there at 5 on Friday to give it a try.  We sat at the bar for a few minutes to have a drink; I shared an Obama Punch with my F-I-L, and it was super yummy.  Then 15 minutes later we sat to eat.  The vacancy gap between 5:15 and 5:30 PM is non-existent.

Photo of Hawaiian Bread Buns from http://taldebrooklyn.com/food-photos/

I had heard a lot about the Hawaiian bread buns, so I got an order of the market veggie version (it was marinated shitaki mushroom).  It was so flavorful, even my meat-eating companions loved it.  They shared a wonton soup.  For my main, I got some chilled soba noodles and a side of green beans.  Both really full of umami.  Everyone else got the fried chicken, ribs, and shrimp fried rice to share.

For dessert, we shared Halo Halo, which was a mixture of ice, bubble tea, fruit, coconut milk, and captain crunch.  It was good, but I think I prefer chocolate cake more :).

Overall, I really great dining experience.  It was a nice change from our typical repertoire of Mexican, Italian, or bar appetizers.

Saturday

When my husband suggests a day of shopping, I never turn it down.  Hence my household negligence this Saturday.  After dropping off the veggies to charity, I went with Nick to get bagels for lunch, and then we were off to SoHo.  Nick’s initial goal was to get some new casual sneakers.  What he ended up getting was 3 pairs of work pants, 2 pairs of jeans, and a partridge in a pear tree.  I got 2 new dresses to wear for weddings and special occasions, one of which is for an upcoming event this Saturday.  It is super bodycon and has cutouts, so I haven’t eaten since Sunday.  Just kidding.

The next thing we knew, it was 7:30 and we were starving.  I mentioned another restaurant I’d been meaning to try in Chinatown called The Fat Radish, and figured it may be plausable to get a seat on a Summer Saturday.  Luckily, we were able to sit at the bar, which was actually kind of nice and intimate.  I say that because the seating there is comprised of a few long communal tables, whereas the bar has 6 seats.  Also, our bartender made awesome drinks and was really friendly.  I got seared tuna and the fat radish plate, which is basically a bed of rice topped with whatever veggies are at the markets that week and prepared in super flavorful ways.  Way up my alley.  Nick got crab gratin and the burger with truffle duck fat fries.  Way up his alley.

The mirror “board” where specials and fat radish plate are listed. From their site: http://snapwidget.com/view/?id=220874731547124849_54018704#.UA7Ga6Ahgeo

From there, we walked over to Little Italy to get some gelato from this placed called La Cremeria.  It’s the closest, most authentic Italian style gelato I’ve had this side of the Atlantic.  Mind you, I live in a heavily Italian neighborhood.  I got pistacchio and delirium, which was butter cookie flavor with chocolate chunks.  Nick got his usual combo of cioccolato and nocciola (chocolate and hazelnut).  And then we waddled to the subway to head home.

Sunday

I rose bright and early to bike over to TriBeCa to support a newly certified yoga teacher married to a childhood friend of Nick.  It was an intimate class, and I felt great all day after.  I only had 2 anxiety attacks on the bike ride back over the Brooklyn Bridge.  Next time, I’ll go out of my way to take the Manhattan Bridge.  When I got back, I showered and got all purty looking to get brunch.  I went with Nick to one of our usual spots, Prime Meats.  This is comical for 2 reasons: 1) a vegetarian loving brunch at a place with “meats” in the title, and 2) it is owned by the same people as Frankies 457, a restaurant I despise.  I know I digress, but I will take this one small opportunity to vent.  I don’t know why Frankies gets so much hype.  There is always a wait, and the food is AWFUL.  All these Manhattanites swear by it, saying how it’s better than all the other authentic Italian joints in the hood.  BS.  And the people who work there are so rude and elitist.  Now, I generally have a 3-strikes-you’re-out rule with restaurants; Frankies definitely struck out looking.  Backwards K style.  The pasta and gnocchi are watery with little bits of low-flavor sauce, the drinks are overpriced and weak, and the waitstaff refuses to acknowledge any complaints.  It’s really such a shame, because they’d be getting a lot more of my business.

Anyway, back to Prime Meats.  When they first opened, I was skeptical about going, primarily because of my Frankies experiences.  I was also slightly turned off by the forced dress code of suspenders and mandatory mustachery for all male staff.  However, their brunch is excellent.  They make excellent coffee, never burn their eggs, and their bread products are to die for (that’s coming from someone who usually has oats for breakfast).  They used to be a little bit more flexible with their menu, but the chef has made some stricter rules for substitutions.  You’d think that would keep me away, but I’ve found my new love:  Their avocado sandwich.  Multigrain bread with avocado, lettuce, sprouts, shallots, and spicy mayo.  They will happily keep the mayo on the side for me, and I can also add an egg to the sandwich.  Perfect.  And again, another example of the missing shutterbug gene.

The rest of the day, we just relaxed.  I took a nap and watched Game Change on cable.  Nick got busy cleaning up his mancave.  Then I made a simple dinner of dill pasta salad and a garden salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, avocado, and chickpeas.  A simple end to a wonderfully eventful weekend.

Super long post.  Next time, I’ll save a few thousand words by using my camera.

Why are Men Obsessed with Grilling?

In American, Beans, Flexitarian, Italian, Lentils, Meat and Pultry, Pasta, Quinoa, Salad, Shopping, Vegetables on July 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Now that it’s summer time, the cavemen in all our guys materialize with slabs of flesh over charcoal or propane powered grills.  I really don’t understand this obsession with fire cooked meat, but it probably stems from our evolution from hunter-gatherer.  This past weekend, I took a lovely  beach trip to Fire Island with my husband and another couple.  In preparation of the trip, we went through a shopping list of what we’d bring with us to the beach cottage.  Let’s just say in this group, I’d definitely be the gatherer.  Their list included steak, chicken, sausage, burgers, etc.  Mine included pepper, zucchini, broccoli, and other veggies, as well as fruit, cheese, eggs, and milk.  I created a “menu plan” of some sort to figure out what to make as the veggie side to the meat at every meal.  This is really important, because having to drag extra weight through the dunes to our rental was not an option.  I don’t have many photos, because I tried to avoid my phone and purse as much as possible.  Here’s a recap:

Friday Dinner:

Burgers (I had a veggie burger)
Grilled veggies – zucchini, eggplant, pepper, mushroom.  I used some of the leftovers for an omelet the next day.

Saturday Lunch:

Sausage (I had chickpeas with feta and quinoa)
Israeli Salad – cucumber, tomato, pepper, red onion, lemon juice.  I actually got a picture of that…

I love Israeli salad in the summer!  It’s mostly water, so it’s super refreshing and hydrating on a hot summer day.

Saturday Dinner:

Steak (I had a homemade black bean patty)
Broccoli and green beans in garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes.  We actually made them on the grill in a vegetable basket, and they came out really well!

We ended up going out for lunch on Sunday, so I had some lettuce and peppers left over to take home. Otherwise, we pretty much used up everything (except the family pack of 6 lbs of chicken).  On Monday, I definitely wanted to make something non-grilled at home for dinner, so I used the leftover peppers to make a roasted pasta sauce.  The peppers were on sale at Fairway – 3 1-lb bags for 5 dollars!  Pretty good deal.

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Sauce

3 colored bell peppers
1 head garlic
1 tsp EVOO
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
Crushed red pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to taste (I used a lot of red and black pepper)

I learned how to make this from watching my dad as a youngin.  I’ve made my own personal touches, but it’s pretty simple.  I turned the broiler on and lined a baking sheet with foil.  I placed the peppers directly under the fire.  I also sliced off the top of a head of garlic, dabbed a bit of oil, and covered it in foil to roast with the peppers.

Every 5-8 minutes, I rotated the peppers to evenly char them.

After removing from the oven, I placed the peppers on a cutting board to cool, and returned the garlic to continue roasting while I removed some of the pepper skins.  You don’t have to remove everything, just anything that is super black.

Then, I sliced the peppers in half and used a towel to remove the seeds.  Then I chopped them up.  So pretty and colorful!

I removed the garlic from the oven to cool.  Roasting garlic turns it sweet and soft.  Really delicious all on its own.

I opened up a can of San Marzano tomatoes.  The D.O.P. kind are the best for a sauce.

In a large pot, I emptied the can of tomatoes, and started to break them up with a wooden spoon.

You can make it as chunky or thin as you’d like.  I like a little bit of chunk.

Then I added the peppers and began to squeeze out the cloves of garlic.  It was still hot, so quite difficult.

Once all the garlic was added, I mixed in the spices.  I like it spicy, so I probably used 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes.

I lowered the pot to simmer, and prepared some chicken for Nick.  I used the same spices as the sauce, but added some tomato paste and EVOO to create a rub.

I sauteed the chicken in a non-stick pan for about 7 minutes each side, then deglazed with some marsala wine.  At the same time, I was boiling pasta water and simmering lentils.  What a busy kitchen.

I was making pink lentils for myself, to serve as a base for the sauce.  I didn’t want to eat the pasta (or at least not too much of it), so I figured mashed lentils was kind of like having polenta.  Nick had his pasta (whole wheat elbow macarani) with sauce, grated truffle pecorino cheese, and his chicken on the side.


I had my bed of lentils, a couple of elbows, and tons of sauce with a sprinkle of cheese.  Mixed together, it reminded me a lot of polenta.

With that, I am left with 2 hearts of romaine, and 6 apricots from the beach shopping trip.  Looks like it’s time for me to go gather again.

When the CSA Just ISN’T Enough…

In Challenge, CSA, Italian, Pizza, Quick Meal, Salad, Shopping, Vegetables, Vegetarian on July 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Nick and I have mixed feelings about our CSA membership.  I am more than satisfied with the variety and quality, whereas he is only happy if every item matches his most-liked-veggie list.  Unfortunately, that only happens once or twice a season.  I try my best to reserve unwanted items for my lunches and smoothies, but sometimes it’s extremely frustrating trying to distribute the items throughout the week and make it work for the both of us.  Also, sometimes I get sick of eating leafy greens 3 times a day and only getting to enjoy half a zucchini with dinner.

This past Saturday, the CSA haul was rather large.

  • 1 yellow and 1 green zucchini
  • 1 head lettuce (I chose red romaine)
  • 1/4 lb mesclun greens
  • 2 heads broccoli
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 1 onion with greens
  • 1 bunch beets and greens
  • 1 bulb kohlrabi
  • 1 quart fresh peas in pods
  • 3 pints blueberries (again, very happy!)

Basically, Nick will eat all of that, minus any root’s greens.  He will try kohlrabi, but not his fave.  He also only likes blueberries in muffins or pancakes; that means he doesn’t get any.

Romaine is Nick’s favorite type of lettuce, so I made sure to make a salad as soon as I got home!  Romaine and cucumber from this week, beets and red onion from last week, plus some olives, chickpeas, and balsamic vinegar.

I thought I was doing a solid by choosing romaine over green leafy.  Boy was I wrong.  Red romaine is bitter.  I can tolerate bitter; Nick will not.  He also admitted that he is deathly afraid of beets now because of beeturia.  This caused a huge fight.  The resolution: Nick will shut up and eat what I feed him; I will stop being cheap and spend an extra 50 bucks a month to buy romaine, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and colored peppers if they are not in our share.  The next day, I went to the Carroll Gardens farmer’s market and got some lettuce, green pepper, and eggplant.  I also purchased the previously mentioned must-have items at the grocery store, plus made a TJ’s trip.

Monday rolled around, and I thought about all this excess produce in my fridge.  I’ve been force-feeding myself salads to make sure the lettuce doesn’t go bad, and adding all sorts of beet and broccoli greens to smoothies.  I also had some radish left from last week, and kohlrabi this week, so I needed to figure out a way to use them before expiring.  I’ve seen that a lot of people pickle these sort of vegetables, so I opted to do the same.  I found a recipe from Bon Appétit, and used that as my base.

Pickled Radish and Kohlrabi

Adapted from Bon Appétit

4 radishes, quartered
1 bulb kohlrabi, peeled and cut into strips
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1.5 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cup champagne vinegar (because I only had 1.5 cups of the white kind left)
1 tsp course sea salt
1 tsp agave nectar

I didn’t have a quart size jar, but I did have 2 pint sized ones.  I cut everything up, and added it to a resealable container to get everything mixed.

Then I divided it between the two jars.

These won’t be ready for 3 days, but will let you know how they are!  The water is already starting to turn pink…:)

Now that all that is out of the way, on to some more positivity.  Pizza Positivity.

Seriously, who doesn’t love pizza?  Even Celiacs love it!  That’s why they make all those G-free crusts.  It’s really easy to get carried away when you order from the local pizzeria – tons of cheese, added oil, sauteed veggies and meats.  Plus, if you order a thicker slice like Sicilian, you are eating tons of extra dough.  When I really want to treat my hubby well, I make pizza at home.  I’ve made a pseudo version using pita bread, but using real dough is the best.  This time I used TJ’s whole wheat dough, just like the one I used for Thanksgiving Pizza, only a little more traditional.  In Italy, there are pretty standard and simple pizzas with few toppings.  Pizza Vegetariana is like a regular margarita pizza, but with thinly sliced zucchini, eggplant, pepper, and tomato.  Sometimes there is added onion, but not usually.  I never saw one made with whole wheat dough, but there were some places that made pastas with whole grains (Integrale).  Here’s a fusion of the two styles.

Pizza Vegetariana Integrale (Whole Wheat Vegetarian Pizza)

Makes 1 thin traditional sized Italian pizza (serves 2)

8 oz (half lb) whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 cup good marinara sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 cup each of zucchini, eggplant, pepper, tomato, and onion; thinly sliced

I preheated the oven to 425º, and kept my pizza stone in there to warm up.  During that time, I sliced up all the veggies.  Since I was already slicing, I chopped double the amount; I used the chunks to saute and added balsamic vinegar to create a side dish for during the week.

Thinly sliced items on the right reserved for pizza.

I started to roll out the dough on my floured counter.  When I tried to transfer it to the pizza stone, it started to pull apart and crisp on the bottom.  This was not what I expected.  I had to let the stone cool down, and then re-roll the dough directly onto the stone.  It finally worked, and then I put on some sauce.

Then I arranged the cheeses and spread out the veggies.

The dough package directions suggested 6-8 minutes; it really took double that, and included a rotation halfway through.

While the pizza baked, I assembled a salad of romaine, tomato, cucumber, pepper, avocado, olives, and lemon juice.

Normally, Indy would be under my feet during preparing.  However, he was sufficiently comfortable on the couch watching at eye-level.

We ate salad while the pizza cooled.  Then I sliced it up into eighths.  It was very thin.

Nick’s first batch – 2 slices (which is really like 1 slice).

I had 1 slice (so half a thin slice) with some of the balsamic veggie ragu.

Very, very tasty.  Roughly 125 calories for that lil slice, so don’t feel bad about going for seconds.

The only item from the CSA was the zucchini, and the rest were a combo of farmer’s market and grocery store.  I know it’s important to use what I have, and to eat locally, etc.  However, having a happy hubby is sometimes more important.