I love summer. It really is the best time of year. The heat, the humidity, the sun, the fresh vegetables – heaven! The only downside I can think of is that it is usually (hopefully!) too nice to want to spend much time in the kitchen. I want to be at the pool, in the garden or playing bocce with friends. When I do step into the kitchen I want to create meals that are fast, seasonal and adaptable. Like potato salad. Now I’m not talking the mayonnaise loaded salad of our youth but a fresh, zingy, loaded with vegetables one that is a full on meal in a bowl.
If April showers do in fact bring May flowers then Vancouver should have an amazing May. But May is here and while there are lots of flowers the continued rain (and snow in certain parts of the country – shudder) is making me think that perhaps May needs a little reminder what its job is, to be warm enough that we can all get outdoors after a long, cooped up winter and raise our pasty faces to the sun.
Confession time. I hate leftovers. They make me a bit crazy. I’m impressed by people who can eat the identical thing for lunch that they ate the night before. But seriously? Don’t they get bored? To each their own, but when I sit down to a meal I want the food on my plate to look (and taste) differently than the last time I saw that same food. The challenge is that it makes life a whole lot easier (and usually healthier) if once or twice a week you prep and cook large batches of food for future eating. So what is a leftover snob supposed to do? For me, the answer (aside from keeping a well stocked pantry) is to prep and cook individual items rather than meals. Cut the vegetables, but don’t make the salad; cook and rinse the beans, but just store them for easy portioning; and cook the protein with just enough seasoning to keep it tender. Cook extra ingredients, not meals. That way there is always something to grab and go. Or, if you have time, lets you create something a bit more involved. Continue reading
When I was a kid we had great neighbours. They had a fun basement (a color tv!), let me play with their foster racoons, and often invited us to dinner. I should also add there was always really good pie. Truly. Mrs. L. won ribbons for her pie.
So when in the midst of play the question was asked “do you want to stay for dinner Meg?”. It was an easy answer. “Let me check with my mom”. Continue reading
There is an adorable picture that has been around for years that has a bunch of peas sitting on top of the world with the caption “Peas on Earth”. In the interest of copyright I haven’t included it, but do a google search, you’ll find it. If you haven’t seen it let me tell you, it’s pretty cute. Cute enough that my sister bought herself a t-shirt with it emblazoned on it (I haven’t included a picture of her either not because she’s copyrighted but because I figured she might hunt me down). Given that Sunday April 22nd is Earth Day I therefore thought it was only fitting to write about peas. In this case pea soup.
This is a post about onions. Well, really it’s a post about asparagus. Actually, it’s about shedding some tears, having good friends and making small mistakes work for you.
Over the Easter weekend onions seemed to be my nemesis. I know, I know, the sharper your knife and all that, but as I prepped leeks, and shallots and cippolini onions for various meals it wasn’t pretty. Continue reading
Quick. Don’t think. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say the word bagpipes? What about ‘neeps? Haggis? Scotch? Plaid?
Are you cringing or smiling?
New years resolutions. Goals. Affirmations. Call them what you will, it’s pretty hard at this time of year to avoid them. Whether you make them or eschew the whole idea, it’s fairly common following the holidays to want to eat a little healthier. After the excesses of the last few weeks, like it or not, most of us could stand to dial it back a bit on the fat/richness/carb factor in our meals.
One of my continued goals in 2012 is to eat locally sourced food as often as possible. The problem is that the one thing I always want at this time of year is citrus. Which of course couldn’t be less local for me if it tried. Now I confess, I eat lemons like they are going out of style all year, but come the winter months I crave ruby red grapefruit and oranges. I blame it on all the ordering of Florida citrus we did as band fundraisers growing up (is that an Eastern thing?)
Breakfast. We’ve all heard it before. It’s the most important meal of the day.
Break. The. Fast.
Fitness and health advice aside, it only makes sense that if you’ve gone several hours without eating (as most people do while they are sleeping) the next meal you eat should be nutritionally sound and psychologically satisfying. That said, I am completely not a breakfast person. Given the choice I would have my cup of green tea upon waking, followed by some coffee, and then food about 5 hours later. For years that is exactly what I did. Ah youth. Then, in my early years of personal training and fitness competing I got a bit smarter. Getting up at 430 in the morning I would swallow down a protein shake to start the day and then a few hours later be ready to eat real food. Yuck.
It should come as no surprise then that I’m not really the breakfast person in my house. I make a killer porridge, a nutritional protein smoothie and great fried egg sandwich but that’s where it ends. Although, I should note at this point that I’m obviously I’m not including bacon in my ineptitude. Of course I can cook bacon. But it’s a separate food group. “Vitamin P”. It doesn’t count. Bacon aside, if you visit, and want a good breakfast, make friends with my husband. He’s the man for the job.
All that said, it’s the holidays, I have no need to be awake at the crack of dawn and I have a house guest. When a friend egg sandwich or shake just won’t cut it, there’s only one other thing in my repertoire. Baked eggs. They look far fancier than they are and they are easily adaptable for almost any cheese, vegetable or protein you might have in your refrigerator. And, if you’re one of those brave enough souls to invite people over for brunch they are a wonderful protein addition to your menu.
(makes 2 small and 1 medium ramekin, or 4 small)
- 2 whole eggs
- 4 eggs whites
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 4 tbsps extra old cheddar, grated
- 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp cream (completely optional, but adds a wonderful richness)
Other great options: carmelized onions, pancetta, mushrooms, havarti/blue/goats cheese, arugula, oven roasted tomato, thyme, basil, oregano, curry powder…. the list is endless!
- Lightly oil or butter small to medium size ramekins. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl lightly beat all eggs. Whisk in dijon mustard.
- Add a touch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Evenly divide half of the cheese and spinach between the ramekins. (place on bottom).
- Whisk remaining cheese and spinach (or other vegetables) into eggs.
- Pour egg mixture into ramekins.
- Place ramekins in a baking dish with about 1-2cm of water.
- Place in oven and bake until cooked. Depending on oven this will be 15-30 minutes. My gas oven at 350 takes about 20 minutes.
The best part is, these really don’t just have to be for breakfast.
We are raised to believe that Mondays aren’t to be trusted. Monday, Monday. Can’t trust that day. Back to work, back to school, the fun of the weekend is over….it’s just another Manic Monday after all. But what happens if you want to play a different tune?
Hmmm…. my positive Monday song lyric search is coming up a blank.
When I awoke, several hours before my alarm, that was all I could think of. I’m self employed and even I was dreading Monday morning. (Rainy days and Mondays…) I make my own schedule and still – Yikes! Tell me why I don’t like Mondays…
So, I did what any normal adult would do (well, normal to me). I read a cookbbook. I made a great list of Meatless Monday ideas and then thought “now what”. Meatloaf.
Okay. SO not meatless….
Now I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t pretend to be. But for many reasons I am trying to eat less meat. Sometimes though comfort food is the way to go. This week it was meatloaf. Meatloaf it a very personal thing with endless possible variations. This is my go to version. Tasty and easy it also has a few hidden ingredients to up the “healthy” quotient a bit (which also makes it a great way to sneak in some vegetables at the dinner table).
Now if only Meatloaf had written a song about Mondays.
- 1lb lean ground beef
- 1lb lean ground turkey breast
- 2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites
- 1c. panko
- 1 c. shredded brussel sprouts or 1 c finely chopped kale
- 1 bunch italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 small onion or 4-6 scallions, chopped
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 c milk
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients, except ketchup and maple syrup, in a large bowl.
- Place mixture in a loaf pan. Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- While cooking mix the tomato paste and syrup in a small bowl.
- When meatloaf has been cooking for 45 minutes, remove tin foil, spread the tomato and syrup on the top. Bake another 5-10 minutes until sauce has crisped.