Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Tofu-Feta Watermelon Salad

Oh, summer. And sadly it is coming to a close. But there is still time for this delicious summer salad.

So floating all over the internets this summer (I think it's funnier when internet is plural, don't you? Like monies), were pictures and recipes for watermelon feta salad. I love watermelon, and I really wanted to try the salad. But feta -- as a dairy product -- is a total no-go for me. And I don't get upset about that, I just move on.

Until I found Kathy's recipe for Tofu-Feta Watermelon Salad. Tofu marinated to be feta-ish! (I made up that word and it sounds a little wrong. But go with me).

Tofu-Feta Watermelon Salad
My changes to the ingredients
I left out the cayenne pepper and the nutritional yeast (I haven't started buying nutritional yeast, even though I hear it talked about in so many vegan recipes).
And in the marinade I used used rice vinegar.

Marinating the Tofu

Special Ingredient -- I had to ask for help finding this. It was in the refrigerator section.

Prepping the Salad -- Ready with the Watermelon and Basil

The Finished Product

I will definitely be making this again. And now that I've found it, miso will be a regular player in my house too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tomato Soup

If you've taken a look around my blog, you might notice my deep and abiding love for soup. And muffins. Sadly, the way I eat these days, I don't make muffins the way I used to. (I do still make Mug Muffins once a week). But soup is still there for me.

Except that it is 105 degrees. Is it that hot where you are? From what I see on the national weather, it is that hot everywhere, and has been for a while. I'm not going to complain about the weather, but it sure makes soup sound unappetizing.

Unless it's this soup -- which is served cold or room temperature. Genius!

This soup comes from Marcus Samuelsson's website. I don't follow a lot of "real" or restaurant chefs, because in looking at some of their blogs, the food is seriously complicated. Not a bad thing, just not great for my everyday life. But I loved Marcus Samuelsson on Top Chef, so when I saw this simple soup, I pinned it to try later.

And I'm glad I did.

Now, as I look at the site, I have no idea who came up with this recipe, and it totally doesn't matter. Because good food is just good food.

Five Minute Tomato Basil Soup
From Marcus Samuelsson

My changes to the ingredients:
I left out the celery -- inadvertently. I thought I had more in the fridge than I did, so I didn't buy more at the store. Oops.
I blended up this soup and ate the first bowl. It was delicious, but I was curious about adding some heat. So I tossed half a jalapeno in the second half and blended it up. It was lovely without being really hot.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chickpea "Quizza"

This might be starting to feel like an unending quest for breakfast. Maybe I should say it feels a little like that for me, but I hope you are excited about new recipes and new possibilities.

In my initial search for breakfast options, I pinned a bunch of possibilities. -- As a total side-note, can I say that I love how technology can help with so many things? I love looking at other people's recipes and having a board to pin them on.

This is the second time I have made this "Chickpea 'Quizza'" by Diet, Dessert and Dogs. I made a couple modifications this time, and it turned out even better. It makes a great breakfast full of protein (yay!), a little good fat (yay!) and vegetables -- and who couldn't use more of that.

Chickpea "Quizza"
From Diet, Dessert and Dogs

My changes to the ingredients:
I used cherry tomatoes -- not oven roasted or dried -- just chopped in quarters. I also added a few sundried tomatoes (the dark strips you can see in the picture).
For the pepper, the first time I made this I just chopped up a green bell pepper and then I felt the entire dish was too ... this sounds weird, but onion-y. And I decided that was really the pepper. For this second try I chopped up two hot peppers (a jalapeno and one of undetermined variety) really really really small, and added them. I can't taste them at all.
I added more salt -- at least a 1/2 tsp.

My changes to the directions:
The first time I made it I followed the directions of putting the base in the blender. This time I bypassed that and did it with the whisk attachment in my KitchenAid. The blender is less messy.
I also baked this in a glass pyrex dish. (I don't own a cast-iron pan). This time I used a 9x13 dish, and I like it much better than the smaller size I used last time. You can see in the picture how thick it is and I find that much easier to eat.

Happy eating everyone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home-grown Veggies

Oh summer produce, how do I love thee?

This is probably not the right response, but I love thee lots and lots and lots.

A friend brought me produce from his garden.

The tomatoes were so delicious, I just sliced them and sprinkled them with fleur de sel sea salt.

I had no idea what to do with okra. So I grilled it.

(This is pre-grilling). It turned out really tasty.

Some of the peppers are pretty spicy. So I grilled these ones too.

I'm so thankful for people who can actually grow food.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Juicy Monday: Tips

I am visiting my family in North Carolina. I love coming home, but it means that I am cooking a little differently than I do in my own kitchen. So there are fewer new recipes and pictures to share. But I am still juicing, and as I have been doing this juicing thing for about two months now -- Total sidenote: Do you ever calculate the time for things and just think "Whoa! How did that happen?"

Sorry, back to the point -- I've been doing the juicing thing for a while and I thought it was time to share a few tips for good juice.

Tips for Good Juice:

1. Keep it simple
My favorite juice recipe is the Carrot juice which has three ingredients -- carrots, an apple, and ginger. Don't put too many ingredients in the juicer. When you use too many ingredients, two things happen. First it looks like mud... or worse, and second it doesn't taste very good.

2. If the juice doesn't taste good -- add fruit
Sometimes if you do a lot of vegetables in your juice (which is good for you), the juice can be hard to drink. I will totally confess that I have really had to choke some things down. If you haven't completely cleaned up your juicer and put it away before you have a sip of juice, you can add more fruit. See the previous tip though. My usual recourse is to add another quarter or half of the apple that is already in the juice.

3. If the juice doesn't taste good -- dilute it
Another option if your juice doesn't taste good, you can dilute it with water. Sometimes this cuts down on the concentrated flavor just enough to help you out.

4. If the juice doesn't taste good -- dilute it with sparkling water

This is my favorite option for beet juice. (The nutritionist swears that beet juice is good for me, but I have a really hard time with the flavor). When I lived in Italy, I got used to drinking water "frizzante." It has no sugar, it is just carbonated water. I found a six-pack of liter sized bottles at Whole Foods for about seven dollars. I thought that was a great deal, so I bought it and when I was trying to drink the beet juice, I added some fizzy water in. It made it so much better.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pasta Salad -- Update

In the summertime, I love doing outside things. When I lived in Boone, we would go hiking in the mountains, I worked outside in the summers and there were tons of opportunities for hanging out outside. On all those hiking trips, we would bring a picnic with us. Whenever my sister came to visit, the picnic would include pasta salad.

I made this pasta salad twice this week. Once to feed some friends dinner and once to take on a picnic.

Because I made it over and over, I looked back at the blog and realized I have the recipe -- an older version -- but no picture. How unPinnable!

So I determined it was absolutely necessary to give you an update for the pasta salad.

Heather's Pasta Salad

8 oz package rice pasta (I still like DeBole's rice pasta the best)
1 box cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 can black olives, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup champagne vinegar

Optional: 1 box crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta, then shock it in cold water. Add the pasta to the chopped veggies. Pour the olive oil and vinegars over everything and mix well. Serve immediately or let it sit and marinate. The flavors develop nicely overnight, but the pasta is better at room temperature. So let it warm up as you go for a long hike.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tacos in a Lettuce Leaf

When I was growing up, we would have taco night regularly. I loved taco night. I would always stuff the taco shell as full of the various toppings as possible. And then I'd tilt my head to the side, open my mouth as far as possible, and take a bite. Of course all my fantastic toppings burst out the backside of the taco shell and the juice from the ground beef and salsa would start to run down the back of my hand and down my arm.


I saw this recipe for Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa and Black Beans, and it sounded a whole lot like tacos, so I knew I had to try it.

I mixed everything up in a bowl before I put it in the lettuce leaves.

Tacos in a Lettuce Leaf
by Keep Your Diet Real

My Changes:
No hot sauce.
I did add salsa (from a jar) after I took this photo.
I used Red Swiss Chard leaves instead of the Bibb lettuce suggested in the original recipe. With the chard, just cut out the thick part of the stem.

This was delicious and took me back to those days of having an overstuffed taco shell that dripped down my arm.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Kale and Cabbage Slaw

This summer is the season of color. Colorful jeans, colorful shirts, color in everything.

Even Target says so:

So why not color in food?

Kale and Coleslaw Salad
From FoodieCrush

My Changes:
Instead of using a coleslaw mix, I just bought a whole head of red cabbage and sliced up and used half of it.
I used my box grater to grate the carrots.
Instead of Marcona almonds, I just bought a bag of slivered almonds.
I used olive oil instead of canola oil.
I left out the sugar/agave entirely.
I also left out the caraway seed -- inadvertently. I thought I had some in the pantry, but I didn't.

This salad is delicious. It is definitely better the second day after the flavors have had a while to chill. The kale and cabbage will get a little bit softer, but even after spending three days in the fridge, it never got mushy or gross.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Curry Granola

I am always interested in granola recipes. Really granola for breakfast seems like such a good idea. Generally granola has nuts, so it's good protein and fat. That fits my requirements. Then I found a granola recipe that was grain free, so it was a great way to also eliminate the oatmeal.

The original recipe is by The Urban Poser.

And it made a whole lot.

Unfortunately, this granola would not stay as a bar. The original recipe suggested keeping it cold, but even that hasn't helped. So I either eat it with a spoon, or I dump it on top of oatmeal... yeah, about that whole oatmeal thing...

Changes to the Recipe:
I used raisins.
I used dates instead of honey.
I added a tablespoon of ground flax seed.