Purple Cauliflower Mash

March 27, 2014

Yesterday’s post may have been about orange cauliflower, but that’s not the only unusual cauliflower variety out there. Check out my… purple cauliflower (!), and what I did with it!

purple-cauliflower

What a beauty!

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The Most Exciting Thing To Ever Come Out of My Oven

March 26, 2014

I know that headline is a big, bold statement, but I can back it up with photographic proof. So keep reading!

I couldn’t wait to write this post, because my excitement about this topic has been continually increasing and it’s now near the boiling point. The excitement began at the store, when I saw this and immediately brought it home:

Orange-Caulifower

An orange caulifower! 

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Pan-Seared Balsamic Artichokes

February 24, 2014

Artichokes are one of those vegetables that just seem like a hassle. Artichoke hearts are delicious – I buy them in cans or jars a lot – but getting a heart out of an actual fresh artichoke takes roughly 23 steps, and it’s a mess. Similarly, cooking fresh artichokes takes forever, and the payoff, while delicious, is small. Most of an artichoke is inedible.

trimmed-whole-artichokes

Despite all this, when a friend Read the rest of this entry »


Double Lemon Vegetable Barley Salad

July 29, 2013

My goodness…It has been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe! The last recipe I shared featured my cousin Macrae’s spaghetti sauce, and that was two months ago. (I’m still getting compliments about that sauce, by the way, so you should definitely try it if you haven’t already!)

Over the weekend I was invited to a potluck pool party, and because I knew there would be grilling going on, I decided to contribute a healthy and fresh salad. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and pulled elements from a couple of them, and ended up creating my Double Lemon Vegetable Barley Salad. It got lots of compliments, so try it!

The star of the salad is barley, primarily because I had a lot of in the house. Barley is a grain that needs to be cooked, much like rice or quinoa, and it’s a healthy little bugger. Studies have shown that it can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and, because it contains a slower-to-digest fiber, it can keep you fuller for longer, thus leading to the consumption of fewer calories during the course of the day.

You can get quick-cooking barley, which takes 10 minutes on the stove, but I wanted to use up some regular pearled barley, which takes 45 minutes of low simmering. Because it takes so long, I cooked 1 cup of dry barley the night before, using the instructions on the package. Instead of water, I used low-sodium vegetable stock. After letting it cool, I stuck the whole pot in the fridge. In the morning, it was ready to use!

Cooked-Barley

But first, I went nutso Read the rest of this entry »


Chestnuts

May 24, 2012

I didn’t eat my first chestnut until I was in my thirties. Is that shocking? I really have no idea. Some people enjoy chestnuts every Christmas – roasted over an open fire, as the recipe/carol says – but we didn’t do that in my family. I grew up having no concept of what a chestnut was, and thought, for a long time, that it was an old-timey, out-dated, possibly fictional seasonal food item, much like ‘figgy pudding’ and ‘sugar plums’ (neither of which I’ve seen in real life).

For the past two Thanksgivings, when my family has congregated for turkey and football at my sister Sarah’s house in Colorado (where I’m going this weekend for the big race), we’ve gone to a local shopping center so Sarah’s kids can see Santa arrive. It’s a big to-do: they have actual real-life reindeer in a pen, carolers, and local restaurants passing out food. Either last year or two years ago, I saw a guy with a contraption that looked like a bingo ball tumbler set on fire. Turns out he was roasting chestnuts. I tried my first chestnut. I remember it being outrageously hot and burning my mouth – and not much else.

So I don’t know exactly what came over me, but about a month ago I came home from the store with this:

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What’s In The Crockpot? Part Five

May 21, 2012

Wow. Has been really been 7 months since we last played “What’s In The Crockpot?” It has!  I published Part Four last October 31st – Halloween – and the dish that I featured was what I contributed to a Halloween party potluck (click here to see the recipe – I won’t spoil the game if you haven’t played yet!)

Just because I haven’t published any “What’s In The Crockpot?” posts doesn’t mean that my crockpot has gone unused. I made a perfectly mediocre vegetable and bean stew in it just the other day. But because it was just mediocre (at best), and the internet is already flooded with mediocre recipes (just google Sandra Lee if you need proof), I refrained from blogging about it.

OK, Enough chit-chat. Pull up your socks and lace up your sneakers, because it’s time to play!

WHAT’S IN THE CROCKPOT?

Read the rest of this entry »


Brussel Sprouts!

October 18, 2011

It’s Tuesday.  Looking for a weight loss chart update?  You’re gonna have to wait longer.

Full Disclosure Part One:  Although I didn’t put it up until Tuesday afternoon, I actually wrote this post on Monday evening, so it’s not weigh-in time yet.

Full Disclosure Part Two:  I haven’t decided if I’ll even weigh myself at all this week.  It’s been two weeks since a weigh-in (you can see my last weigh-in here), and, for the last week, I’ve felt pretty good about not needing validation from my scale.  It helps that my scale is currently off my bathroom floor and on the top shelf of my closet.  I put it there because I had a few weeks where I was becoming obsessed with the number on the scale, and was weighing myself daily (or more often than that), and I thought moving the scale out of sight would be a better option than getting tied into a straightjacket and being put in a padded room at the loony bin after going crazy.

So.  When will I weigh myself again?  Possibly tomorrow (which, as you know from Full Disclosure Part 1, will have already passed by the time you read this).  I’ll see how I feel in the morning.  If I’m chomping at the bit to see what I weigh, than I’ll bring down the scale and get to business.  If I don’t, I’ll probably keep the scale where it is, and continue on with my week.  I’ll start chomping at the bit eventually, I’m sure of it.  And when that happens, I’ll weight myself.  Makes sense to me!

Moving on… I have a recipe to share:  Dijon Brussel Sprouts!

I love brussel sprouts, but haven’t bought any in a while.  One time, I even had a brussel sprouts stalk as a roommate!

With a name like Dijon Brussel Sprouts, this may seem like a rerun from last week’s Dijon Green Beans post, but let me assure you, there are some big, major differences.  One, I doubled the recipe.  Two (and perhaps more obviously), I left out the green beans and added brussel sprouts.  Three, I added another ingredient.  Here, I’ll walk you through it:

I started with about three pounds of brussel sprouts.  I cut off the stems, and since they were pretty big, I quartered each one.  They all went onto a baking sheet, and I put them in my 400 degree oven for 40 minutes (per Barefoot Contessa’s suggestion, although I didn’t add oil, salt, or pepper).  I forgot to take a picture of the brussel sprouts pre-oven – oops!

While the brussel sprouts were roasting, I started on the other stuff.  First up, halving nearly 2 pints of cherry tomatoes.  I bought heirloom cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods – one pint all purple (although they showed up looking red in the pictures), and one pint a variety of colors.  I tried a tip from my friend Debbie on how to cut a pint of tomatoes in half in one fell swoop:  First, collect all the tomatoes on a Tupperware lid:

Then put a similarly sized lid on top (which I’m in the process of doing in that picture) to hold the tomatoes in place, and run your big, sharp knife between the two lids.  Voila!  All your tomatoes have been cut in half!

I did that with the multi-colored pint as well, and they all went into a bowl:

Then I thinly sliced an entire medium red onion:

Next up: the dressing.  I started with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar in a bowl:

I added 3-4 teaspoons of dijon mustard, some salt and pepper, a little garlic powder, and the new ingredient I mentioned above:  2 tablespoons soy bacon bits:

Bacon and brussel sprouts go great together, and these fake soy bacon bits are a wonderful alternative to the real thing.  A serving (which is 1.3 tablespoons) of the fake ones has 25 calories and 0.5 grams of fat.  Plus, they’re vegan, which makes this a great dish to serve to your vegan friends!

After whisking it all together, I got:

When the brussel sprouts came out of the oven, I added them to the bowl:

They were technically done, as they were tender all the way through, but when I make this recipe again, I’m going to let them go a little longer so they get a little more color.

Final step:  Toss it all together!  I also added another tablespoon or two of the fake bacon bits, because I thought the ones in the dressing might have gotten a little soggy.  The end result (it’s a weird picture because I tried to use the last lingering natural light coming in from my window):

I took this dish to a party I went to this past weekend, and they were a hit.  Lots of compliments.  So you should try it yourself!  It’s easy to cut in half if you aren’t cooking for 10-12 people, like I was, but I ended up taking the leftovers home, and eating them yesterday for lunch at my new job.

Keep it up, David!


Dijon Green Beans

October 12, 2011

Some quick news and notes before getting into today’s main topic.

1) Weigh-in.  I forgot to weigh myself yesterday.  I do that on Tuesdays, but yesterday I completely forgot!  I think the main reason for my forgetfulness is that after last week’s weigh-in, I moved my scale from the bathroom floor to the top shelf of my closet so I would stop weighing myself every day, as I was becoming fixated on numbers, and it was starting to drive me cuckoo crazy.  I think I might skip my weigh-in altogether this week.  I’ve had a good week with diet and exercise, and I’m not scared of what the scale may say, but I feel like I’m on a roll with not letting numbers run my life, and I wanna see how long this roll continues.  There will be a point, I’m sure, where I’ll feel the need to step on a scale, but maybe that need won’t come for another week.  I’ll keep you posted.

2) Oreos.  I haven’t thought about Oreos in a long time, but yesterday, I felt bombarded by the damn things.  First, a friend posted on Facebook a picture of the Triple-Double Oreos he bought.  I blogged about these artery-cloggers last spring, and apparently they’re now on store shelves.  Then, 20 minutes later, I saw a Google+ link to Judith G. Klausner’s website – she’s an artist who carves amazing cameos into Oreo creme.  How amazing is this?

Despite all the Oreo madness, the one thing I didn’t feel was the desire to go buy Oreos.  That’s pretty sweet, because I love Oreos.

3) Social Media.  Since I just mentioned Facebook and Google+, I wanted to quickly plug my pages.  As I type this, I’m eleven people away from having 5,000 Facebook fans (!) so help me reach that milestone by “Liking” me on Facebook!  Tell your friends!  You can also add me to your circles on Google+ and follow me on Twitter.

OKEY DOKE!  Are you ready for some Dijon Green Beans?

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, on Saturday night we made an all-vegan meal in Palm Springs.  As a quick catch-me-up, I was in Palm Springs with my friends Robyn and Jake, staying at Tim’s house, who is Robyn’s dad.  It was Tim’s birthday, so Robyn, Jake and I made a birthday dinner for him.  Robyn is the vegan in the group, and Jake’s vegetarian.  I love eating vegan (and going to Vegan restaurants), although I’m not vegan myself, and I was happy to be responsible for one of the dishes in the meal, and making it vegan was a fun little challenge.

Robyn made a Tofurky roast, which is a meat-free soy-based product and looks and tastes like turkey.  Jake made mashed potatoes, replacing milk and cream with almond milk.  I made the vegetable side dish: Dijon Green Beans.  I’ve been on a little green bean kick lately – they popped up in my most recent RediSetGo post – and this recipe is based on one from the Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook, but I modified it.

It starts with 1.5 pounds of green beans, cleaned, with the ends cut off:

They got boiled in a big saucepot for 8-10 minutes, until tender.  You could also steam them if you have a big steamer.  Then I made a quick and easy sauce:  1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and pinches of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, all whisked together:

While the green beans were boiling away, I got out a big bowl and sliced 1/2 of a red onion into thin strips, and halved about 2/3 of a container of cherry tomatoes:

When the green beans were done, they got drained, added to the bowl with the tomatoes and onion, and all of it was tossed with the dijon sauce:

That’s it!  Easy-peasy.  Here’s my plate with everything on it:

It was all delicious.  Everyone loved the green beans, and the mashed potatoes, Tofurky and gravy (did I mention there was vegan gravy?) were great, too.

The best part about the green bean dish is that the dijon sauce would probably taste really good on any vegetable.  I’d love to try this dish with steamed cauliflower or asparagus.  I’ll be bringing something to a dinner party this weekend, and it might be a version of this dish with brussel sprouts.  We shall see…

Keep it up, David!


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