Tag Archives: cooking

Hello, it’s me

Since I deleted the Facebook app from my phone as part of my goals for 2016, I’ve become so out of touch with popular culture. We don’t have cable (nor do we miss it), so I’m pretty oblivious as far as celebrities are concerned. But every once in a while, my husband, who is much cooler than I am, shows me an internet video that makes me smile.

I’m no Adele superfan, but I do enjoy her music and think she has an amazing voice. On top of that, she seems to actually be a nice person. (How rare.) If you haven’t seen her Carpool Karaoke with The Late Late Show host James Corden, I seriously recommend you take 15 minutes out of your day to watch. It. is. HILARIOUS. If you do nothing else, skip to minute 10:15. You won’t regret it.

Yesterday, (Saturday) I received 7 work emails from my boss. After working long hours every day last week, I needed one day to recharge, so I ignored his emails, and Adam and I, rather than being responsible adults and doing things like laundry or dishes, went downtown and accidentally got drunk at 5pm. I can take down a bottle of wine with the best of them, but give me a whiskey cocktail (ok, two), and I’m done for. The advantage of afternoon drinking is that I was in bed by 9 and awake by 6, without any traces of a hangover. That’s a victory in my book.

Saturday was my “play day” and today will be strictly business. I have a mountain of laundry to tackle, a suitcase to unpack, and a house to clean. I’d also like to get a jump-start on food prep for the upcoming week.

Lately, I’ve been really trying to convert some of our favorite dishes to vegan. I’m not a strict vegetarian, but I do feel better when I eat a mostly plant-based diet, and truly don’t miss the meat all that often. When I feel like having a steak or some chicken wings, I go for it, but I also actually like vegetarian protein staples like tofu, beans, lentils, etc.. Although Adam protests whenever I use the term, if I don’t tell him something is vegan, he dives right in. Basically, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

A few weeks ago, I made a huge pot of Red Lentil Soup with Lemon and froze it in batches for easy reheat meals when there’s nothing in the fridge or I don’t feel like cooking. I tweaked it slightly (adding smoked paprika and cayenne for some spice, decreasing the amount of lemon, and throwing in kale that needed to be used up), and Adam hasn’t stopped raving about it since.

Other vegan successes have included cashew cream sauce (which freezes well) served over regular (vegan) pasta noodles for Adam and sweet potato noodles (à la this recipe) for me, and vegan parmesan cheese (which I told Adam was a “cashew topping” and he devoured).

Up on the vegan menu this week is more soup (can’t stop, won’t stop) and Coconut Curried Kale and Sweet Potato. This will be my last week at home before I start traveling for work again, and I want to take advantage of being able to cook my own meals as much as possible. If you have any favorite soup recipes, please send them my way! I can’t seem to get enough.

 

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Favorite Healthy Recipes

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been on a Weight Watchers kick recently, in an effort to lose the 5 pounds I’ve gained since marrying the love of my life (who also happens to have the metabolism of a body builder and can eat whatever he wants without gaining an ounce) along with an additional 5 just because. I had a rocky July, with 2 weddings, a vacation, a few beer festivals, sporting events, and moving into our new house, but somehow (seriously, how?) I still lost weight and am now only 1.5 pounds away from my goal.

I’ve always loved to cook, but have never been a big recipe follower. My style of cooking is much more haphazard than that, and I prefer to simply throw stuff in a pan and see what happens. With Weight Watchers, though, I’ve been forced to measure and weigh everything in order to track what I’m actually consuming. These recipes are not only healthy, they’re easy to follow and made out of (mostly) pantry staples and items I usually have around, which makes meal prep so much easier.

Happy eating!

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice (with Sweet Chili Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken) from Iowa Girl Eats.

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice from Iowa Girl Eats (she serves it with Sweet Chili Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken, which I have made for hubby and is also delicious). I omit the coconut oil and mist the pan with olive oil instead (I have this mister and love it) in order to cut down on the calories/points. No, it’s not actually rice, and if you don’t like cauliflower, this probably isn’t the recipe for you. I love cauliflower, though, and cauli-rice is a diet-saver, giving me a “base” for sauce and toppings without using tons of points. With 3 Tbsp of light coconut milk, 1 serving is worth 1 point (the recipe makes 4 servings total).

Egg Drop Soup from Paleo Takeout by Russ Crandall (recipe via Veggie Staples). Adam and I don’t follow the Paleo diet, but I’ve been reading Russ’s blog for a while now, and I was lucky enough to be selected to taste-test and provide feedback on a few recipes earlier this year when he was developing the cookbook. Every recipe of his that I’ve tried has been delicious, and his egg-drop soup was no exception. One serving of egg drop soup is 2 points; I bulk it up with 3 oz of tofu (2 points) to make a full meal.

Mango with Turmeric Smoothie from the Food Network.

Mango with Turmeric Smoothie from the Food Network. I have a small container of turmeric in my spice pantry from an Indian recipe I cooked last month, and I’ve been trying to figure out additional ways to use it up, since I hate having spices waste away, unused and unloved. I’m not sure I quite buy into all the hype over turmeric’s miraculous healing powers, but adding a pinch to my morning smoothie gives it a delightfully sunny color and doesn’t impart any sort of savory taste. I tweak the FN recipe based on what I have on hand at the time – usually omitting the OJ and using almond milk rather than coconut water.

Vegan Pesto (also known as food crack) from Minimalist Baker.

Vegan Pesto (as part of the recipe for Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks) from Minimalist Baker. Holy bejezus this stuff is good. Good, as in – I hesitate to include it on this healthy recipes roundup because I tend to eat it by the spoonful and before you know it, I’ve consumed an entire meal’s worth of points in pesto. I’m going to admit, I love regular pesto so much that I didn’t have high hopes for the vegan variety, but now that I’ve made this recipe, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Vegan pesto is cheaper, better for you, and every bit as good (if not better) than the original. To reduce the calorie/point count, I halve the olive oil and walnuts (because I’m too cheap for pine nuts). With those adjustments, 1 Tbsp comes out to about 1 point and goes a long way.

Black Bean Patties from Annie’s Eats. Whenever I turn to Annie’s blog for inspiration, I am never disappointed. I only made 1/2 the recipe, because I only had 1 red pepper and 1.5 cups of beans, and they were delicious! 1/2 the recipe made 8 patties and 1 patty equals 1 point. 2 patties was the perfect serving size for a healthy, but filling lunch. I found they cooked better from frozen, which is perfect because I can never have too many quick and easy things to pull out of the freezer when I don’t feel like cooking.

Photograph by Love and Lemons.

Healthy Loaded Sweet Potatoes from Love and Lemons. Traditional baked potatoes are one of my comfort foods and were on my short list of go-to cheap, filling meals in college. These days, I swap out the white potato for a sweet potato, and omit the butter, cheese, and sour cream in favor of filling proteins and deliciously spiced veggies. I love baked potatoes because they are a “clean out the fridge” meal that can be stuffed with almost anything, and this combination of black beans, spices, and lime juice is hard to beat.