Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Dinner

Today we had dinner at home. And it was so good! On the menu? Green salad with lime dressing, grill-roasted vegetables, "all natural" chicken meatballs (ala costco), and watermelon. Let me tell you how I did it.

Roasted Vegetables:

3 red potatoes, sliced very thin, 1/4 inch or less
1/2 zucchini (use more if you have it!) sliced thick, about a half inch
1/2 red pepper, sliced into long strips
1/2 green pepper, sliced into long strips
1/2 onion, sliced into 1/2 inch thick strips
1 head green garlic, sliced into 1/2 inch thick strips
1 container fresh mushrooms (the brown ones, not the white ones) sliced thick (1-2 cuts per mushroom)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 t season salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t chili powder
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a big bowl, and cook on the grill! I use a grill basket sprayed with cooking spray. They take awhile, the potatoes being the limiting factor. Just cook till the potatoes are tolerably cooked. They are so delicious!


Lime Salad Dressing

2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 t sugar
1 t Lyle's Golden Syrup (my honey substitute)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small head green garlic, finely chopped
dash lemon juice (you could just use another lime, but this is what I did)
1 T cilantro (if you have more, use more!)

Combine everything, and serve over spinach and lettuce, garnished with feta cheese, and enjoy.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Jazzercise.

Did you know that Netflix has workout videos on instant? I didn't know until this week. The elliptical has been driving my crazy, since I try to work it at least four times a week (Fridays and Saturdays I often kack out), so I mixed it up this week with an exercise video.

{via}

It is called "Bikini READY, Fast!" which I think is sort of hilarious, but I like it, especially the one-legged squats. I refuse do do the video when A is home, it is far too embarrassing, and I am very uncoordinated. Also, I have to use canned food as my weights since I don't have any dumb-bells, increasing the potential humiliation exponentially.

So, everyone, get ready for my bikini bod, it will be here in just 4 weeks!



banana- fan

{via}

So guess what? You can have some fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, chemical-free ice cream in just over two hours.

How, you ask? Bananas.

Take some ripe bananas, is used two. Think of one banana as a serving, so if you have two people, use two bananas. If you have one hungry (greedy) person, use two bananas.

Cut them up, a little thicker than you would put on your cereal, maybe half an inch thick, and spread them out on a plate. I used a pie plate.

Cover with plastic wrap, and place in freezer for about 2 hours. You don't want to freeze overnight, or the bananas will be too hard and you may have difficulties later.

Take bananas out of freezer, and move into a blender or food processor. I used a mini prep processor.

Begin blending. You may have to scrape the sides every once in awhile, but keep going.

Watch with amazement as the bananas magically turn creamy, a beautiful shade of off-white. Continue blending till smooth.

Now, at this point, I wish I had stopped and enjoyed my guilt-free frozen treat. Instead, I added peanut butter and some cocoa mix. It was good, but adding those things took away from that banana flavor, which I love! It also added fat and sugar. Boo. Still good though.

Isn't this a great way to use ripe bananas, versus the heavy-on-the-oil bread that often fits the bill?

(By the way, I did not make this idea up, it came from here, but if you are like me, sometimes you don't want to click through to a recipe or website, so that is why I listed out the instructions for you!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

turnips and garlic?

So guess what? We picked up our first CSA box today. It actually started last week, but somehow I totally spaced it, and missed the first box, which was very sad.

Anyway, this is what we got in the box this week: 1 bag lettuce, 1 bag spinach, 1 bunch early garlic, 1 bunch turnips (I think?), 1 bag peas.

I need some suggestions on what to do with this stuff. I'd really like to use some of the things in combination. Roasted turnips with garlic? I've only ever roasted turnips, so I'd love some suggestions on how to cook them. Also, can you cook and eat turnip greens? Are they good?

I can smell the garlic, and it smells soooo good.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quick Breads

I have used my loaf bread three times in the last week (or two). I mentioned the zucchini bread in my last post, and here's the verdict: while slightly problematic, it was unbelievably good. It had the flavor and texture of those sinful giant chocolate muffins found at Costco, with only a 1/2 cup oil and subliminal vegetables. The chocolate chips were an excellent addition as well. The only problem? Mine didn't quite come out of the pan all the way. Next time I'll flour or sugar the pan.

The second adventure in quick breads was more savory. I found a recipe for caramelized onion, spinach, olive oil, and feta bread in the newsletter for Wasatch Community Gardens. Here it is:

Ingredients:

3 tsp olive oil, divided

1 large yellow onion, cut in half through the root, and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup 2% milk

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 oz. crumbled myzithra (or feta) cheese

Butter and flour for pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 10 additional minutes.

Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the onions, then stir in garlic and spinach leaves. Stir until the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine eggs, lightly beaten, milk, and extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk well until combined.

Pour the flour mixture into the eggs mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or the bread will become tough. Add the spinach mixture and myzithra cheese, and stir until just combined.

Butter a loaf pan (or spray with cooking spray, like I did). Spoon 1 tablespoon flour into the pan and tap the flour around the pan. Shake out the excess. Scoop the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the top is light golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out dry, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve.

Makes 1 loaf of bread.




Okay, this bread is like quiche in bread form, at least that is what it reminds me of. It is so good! Perfect for breakfast, or snacking. I probably needed to let mine bake a bit longer, because it has gone a little gooey in the middle, but that could be from the onions or something as well.



Third, I baked up some Amish Friendship Bread. My awesome boss gave me the start last week, and I finally got to make it on Monday. Similar to sourdough, this bread has a "start" of dough that is used as a base. Then you save four one-cup portions to share with friends. It makes two loaves of bread (problematic if you only have one bread pan) and is quite good. The only drawbacks? First, it takes a long time to make, since you have to remember to mash the bag everyday, plus it takes an hour to bake (one pan+two loaves= two hours). Second, it takes a ton of ingredients. Anyway, I have some starts, if anyone would like to give it a try!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

baking up a storm.

In my time home, I've been baking like crazy. A few weeks ago I made those peanut butter centered chocolate cookies, then I made some healthy cookies*, I've baked five loaves of no-knead bread**, and right now I have a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread in the oven, using some shredded zucchini I froze way back when. I chose the recipe because it only has 1/2 cup oil in it, while most have a full cup. It already smells good, but I'll let you know how it turns out!

*I made some alterations to the cookies this time around. I didn't have any applesauce, so I used mashed banana. I also substituted coconut oil for the fake butter, used milk chocolate chunks, and omitted the almonds because I didn't have any! I had to smash down the scooped dough a bit, because the cookies didn't want to spread much. They turned out to be delicious, and the perfect cookie shape! Next time I definitely want to add the nuts, and may add rasins or crasins as well.

**I've had varying experiences with the no-knead bread. Two Sundays ago, I baked two loaves: one all white, the other 1/2 wheat. I had only ever baked 1/3 wheat before, and these two loaves turned out drastically different. The white loaf was beautiful! It puffed up nice and big, and the seam on top burst and cracked just perfectly. The 1/2 wheat loaf was about half the size, and the seam completely disappeared, so I slit an X in the top of the dough before baking. I baked the wheat loaf second, to give it that much more time to rise, but I think it could have used a lot more.

Then, last night I baked 3 loaves of white bread. When I prepared the dough, I sifted the flour, which I think was a mistake (I was itching to use the vintage sifter I picked up at my great-aunt's yard sale, it has a turquoise enamel handle and is super cute). Because I sifted the flour, I must have used "less" and the dough was really sticky, and I mean really. When I tried to shape it into balls, it would hardly hold the shape, and it completely melded into the towels (didn't stick because I had floured them) eliminating the seam that makes that beautiful rustic top. In the end the loaves were wider than usual, and not as tall. Hopefully they will still taste amazing!




Monday, June 7, 2010

Deals to Meals

You may have noticed a new button on this here blog. Let me tell you about Deals to Meals.

Membership: They compare prices at a variety of grocery stores and post the best deals. This way, you don't have to clip coupons (unless you enjoy it, like my crazy friend Chelsea) or spend hours pouring over adds. They also make up menus that use the food deals, so you don't end up with a kitchen full of food you don't know what to do with. How cool is that? I think it is about $4.95 per month, and considering how much you could save on groceries, that's a pretty good deal.

Food Storage: They also offer tips on deals on food storage items, have a "Food Storage 101" section, and provide recipes that use food storage.

Recipes: I spent some time looking at recipes they've posted, and they look delicious. I especially want to try the chocolate zucchini bread with some shredded zucchini in my freezer I really need to use. They even are featured on local news occasionally with recipes like a homemade Winger's sticky finger salad.

Giveaways!: Right now Deals to Meals is giving away a Bosch mixer! In the past they've also given away gift certificates and free memberships to their site. Definitely worth following.

Anyway, that's all. Wish me luck on winning the mixer, I've suffered three years with nothing but a dinky hand mixer, and it is definitely time for the real thing.
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