Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Food thoughts for thought

I'm not one for food fads. Ok, I sort of am. Most of the time, my eating philosophy is "eat food". This is the mantra of Michael Pollan (Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food books). I'm obsessed with him and these books changed my life.

So, that is how I eat most times. I believe that eating real whole foods is best way for me to eat. That is my definition of a healthy diet. I do enjoy reading magazines and articles about the newest "super food" and sometimes I get on the trend boat. But I try to always take it with a grain of salt. To me, the best way to be healthy is eat real food. Unprocessed and whole foods. And if it is somewhat processed...I try for the fewest amount of ingredients.

That being said, I enjoy a bag of potato chips and gummy candies of all kinds. I don't eat perfectly all the time and enjoy some crap items. I mostly cook in a "healthy" way, and try to make food that provides all the things that fuel and sustain our bodies. I want to treat my body well. When I go out though, I like to indulge. I love the art of cooking and eating the rich foods that great chefs can make. Since a young age I've been fascinated by food: growing it, cooking, eating it (the main fascination). My favorite thing to read growing up was menus we had in our kitchen drawer from restaurants and/or cookbooks. I didn't develop a love of cooking until a few years ago, but I loved watching people cook and reading about people cooking and eating. I'm forever fascinated by gifted chefs. They are truly artists to me.

When I go out to eat, I'm all about eating rich food. I my opinion rich food,which is made with good ingredients, is still healthy for me. Just in a different way. I don't eat like that everyday, but enjoy it when I go out or make a special meal.

This ramble above all comes from a bit of guilt/apprehensions I have about buying some chia seeds and PB2 today. It is ridiculous. I totally went for these food trends. I mean chia seeds are the "super food" of today. But hey, I kinda like being on the trendy health food train. Also, PB2 is one of those things that I thought couldn't hurt to try. Sometimes I just like to do what the people are talking about.

I love Peanut Butter and Almond Butter. Although I"m not a calorie counter, I know that it is not very good for you to eat a jar of peanut butter in less than a week. And that is what happens when I buy nut butters. Moderation is key, but I have trouble with that.

PB2 makes me eat some peanut butter tastiness and pre-workout protein power, without all that added fat. And truly it tastes like peanut butter..i Swear! I've tried some healthy foods in my day that I just can't convince myself taste good. Tofu noodles are one of them. Just couldn't get over the texture. Real pasta for this lady. But, PB2 is truly like peanut butter when you add liquid. Try it!

It also was great for making late night snack. I get the nighttime munchies. So instead of grazing on things all night that don't hit my spot, these cookies do it. They are pretty simple and not the worst choice for a late night sweet spot. Only 3 ingredients and light...but hits the sweet spot.

Got on the PB2 website..... www.bellplantation.com

  • 1/4 cup PB2(add 2 TBSP water and mix)
  • 1/2 bar of dark chocolate (about 43 g.) melted
  •  3/4 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Flax Meals
  • Mix, roll into little patties, and put in freezer for 1/2 hour.
Enough rambles, so....
Dinner was salad of farmer's market goodness...and some avocado of course. It went fast(the picture is Robert's with Gorgonzola. I'm lactose intolerant)....

On the side was some tuna salad and my version of a "french" potato salad. Boiled some new potatoes from the market, added scallions and capers. Then threw together this dressing..
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of EVOO
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.

 Whisked this up and then put some on the potatoes. There was definitely extra, so dress as much as you like. I like a lighter dressing on this.

YUM...that's it for now...aside from the beautiful ruby red blender that arrived today! Can't wait for smoothie in that tomorrow.

So glossy. I heart Mr.Blender.

Monday, July 30, 2012


After a early wake up on Saturday, it was nice to sleep in yesterday. I'm currently training for a 10k this fall. As a new runner, this will be my longest race so far to date. I just started running in Spring 2011 with the Couch to 5K, so this will be my next endeavor. Not far for most runners, but this will be tough for me. Running is hard for me. I love it and it's a good challenge, but it ain't easy.  I grunt and groan a lot on runs. But learning more about minimalist and "natural" running forms and shoes has been helping so much lately. Much less pain and more enjoyment. I'll discuss this more later.

Now...on to food! The main event.

I woke up and had a version of my morning shake. I've always been someone that can't eat right when i get up. This meant that I'd often get to work and feel tired, but my stomach was not ready for whole foods.....then I found shakes! The perfect way to get fuel, hydrated, and my stomach can handle it early in the morning.

My go-to green smoothie is...
-1/2 cup Trader Joe's Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 5-6 frozen strawberries(or fresh if I have them)
-1/2 frozen banana
-1/2 tsp. honey
- 3-4 large leaves of kale

Currently I use my immersion hand blender for this, but it is kind of a pain. SO I ordered a blender that should arrive in the mail this week. YAY!

For dinner, I did one of my new favorites...fish tacos! I improvise a lot on this, but my favorite is an avocado sauce that I make for the top. I adapted it from a bunch of different recipes I saw.

So the taco bar includes....

- Chopped up spicy green beans (my mean bean recipe to come)
-Sliced Sun Gold cherry tomatoes
-Black Beans
-Chopped Cilantro

For the Fish I used Halibut, but any light white fish works. My method was simple...

1. Drizzle fish with olive oil and lemon juice
2. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
3. Bake in 400 degrees F for 12-15 mins.
4. Break up into pieces for taco.

I also make a quick slaw that I love for good crunch in this taco. It is improvised so you can add these ingredients to taste for the sauce. As for the slaw items, I just use whatever I have that is crunchy in my fridge. Today that meant red cabbage, diced raw zucchini, diced raw broccoli stems, diced cucumbers, and onions.

Then I drizzle it with about
  • 1/2 tsp EVOO
  •  1 tsp Rice Vinegar
  •  Juice of half a lemon
  • Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
 I don't like things overdressed so I taste and add things as I go.
Great crunch factor!

AND THEN THE AVOCADO MAYO SAUCY THING! So GOOD! This is a bit improvised as well. I'm planning to get better at measuring and making set recipes in the future.

In a food processor....(This makes enough for about 10 taco toppings)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 small or 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Mayonnaise (I used Reduced Fat)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Sprinkle of Cayenne
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Blend in food processor and serve(It is the green mess in that yellow bowl. Doesn't look pretty but delish!)

What I love about tacos is that you can just put whatever you want on them and use up things in the fridge. Also, fish tacos are nice and light, so they are a great summer dinner.

Have a good Monday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Workin' the Market

First, don't make that crisp. It wasn't bad per say, but I can do better. I"m working on it.

This morning, I got up at a nice 6:50am Saturday wake up time. No good. I like sleep.

But, it was for a good reason. I have worked at a farm for the past 8 years. I worked in their farm stand/store every summer during high school and college. Since then I haven't been able to get away and work once and awhile when they need help in the Summer/Fall on weekends.  They now also have a stand at a local farmer's market, so I work there every few weeks. Not only is it some extra money and free produce, but it makes me so happy. Exhausting and hot, but I'm a strange lady and farmer's markets just make me oh so happy, even with an early weekend wake up. My love of farms/food really developed during my years at this job.

 It's hard to decide what to take when I work at the market. It's a balance of what I want and what I will actually be able to cook/use this week. I want it all, but must be a little reasonable.

My bag contained:

Beans: green and wax beans
Fruit: Peento peaches(heirloom donut peach), plums, and nectarines
Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes (BEST!!!)

Most of the vegetables will be used in salads and to munch and dip in hummus. But, I have some plans for the produce. Tonight I made a salad full of my purchases.
All from Market:
Red Cabbage
Green Beans
Shredded Golden Beets
Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumbers (Pickling)
Magda Cousa Summer Squash
Spring Onions

Green Beans: Spicy pickled beans...a.ka. mean beans. Will post recipe when I make them. SO GOOD AND EASY!
Zucchini: Possible Ratatouille in the making.
Kale: Morning Green Smoothie...will post recipe tomorrow.

 I hope to get some cooking projects done tomorrow. For now, it's time for bed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Farmer's Market Bounty

Nothing better than a summer day without a rain, when rain was predicted. I hit up the Coolidge Corner Farmers Market. There is a great selection at this market. I always base my market ratings on produce variety. You've got to have some good fruit and veggie options, both organic and just plain non-organic local. I like to pick and choose what I want. I always love some good cheese, meat, and other artisan food purveyors. I must admit, it's mostly for the samples. BUT, I also appreciate their art and the beauty of their food products.

But due to money, and my food tastes, I go for the fruit and veg. Once and awhile I'll splurge on a little fancy cheese or you know, bacon butter, but today was not that day. I got some corn cobs, peaches(big beauteous ones), tomatoes, green beans, and beets.

So my plans for the purchases:

Green Beans: Mean beans! Spicy pickled green beans that you don't have to can in a waterbath. As long as you eat them within a month, which is not a problem, you store them in the fridge.

Beets: Just boil and throw in a salads on whatever makes its way on the dinner table.

Corn and tomatoes and peaches: Tonight's food

After a party last month I have been wanting to make a nice corn,bean,avocado salad type thing. Easy enough and I threw in whatever else I found.

2 corn cobs
1 can of TJ black beans(rinsed)
handful of green beans(chopped into 1/2 pieces)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado- chopped
2 large scallions

1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp EVOO
1/2 green tabasco saurce
pepper and salt to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder(or fresh garlic)

Sprtiz of lemon would help but didn't have it.

Cheesy Quinoa as the base

1/2 cup Quinoa
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
pepper and salt to taste

This turned out delish. Almost like a salsa or relish, but more like a raw veggie salad. I don't like to overdress things, so I kept it light and made sure that the veggies were able to shine. I'm going to try some variations on this throughout the summer.

And for dessert.....

I rarely make desserts but summer fruit inspires me. So instead of my usual Soy Ice Cream Sandwhich from TJ's I decided to get my bake on. I love a good crumble, so I tried to make it "healthy". Not sure if that sacrificed the dessert experience. We'll have to see once I prepare it.

Peach Crisp: One change I would make is a bit more butter and brown sugar to make it a bit more "clumpy" crumbles. GOod flavor but more like loose granola on the top.
*Makes a small loaf pan (about 2-3 people servings)

Fruit Filling:
4 large peaches
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix in bowl.

1 1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp flax meal
1 1/2 Tbsp butter(i use earth balance since I"m Lactose Intolerant)

Throw this on top of the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes on 350 degrees F.  I wait till it is lightly browned on top and the fruit is bubbling on the edge.

I'm not sure how much I like this recipe. I might have tried to make it too "healthy". I like a good crumble on top and this has a more loose granola appearance. I"ll see how it turn out!

Now time to eat!