A pound of bacon…what?!?!

It all started with my aunt bringing me two gigantic and beautiful tomatoes last week when she visited. And to think I hated tomatoes when I was growing up… now, I could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if the opportunity arose. Tomatoes, loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, specifically lycopene, which fights off cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, are boasted to be the most nutritious vegetable. I would disagree based on the lack of protein, and most importantly the sugar content, especially when cooked down into sauces and things. But I sure do love a fresh tomato.

So, these fresh tomatoes sat in my fridge, and I thought of my stepdad and his love for a thick slice of tomato smothered in mayo and topped with salt and pepper. I thought of BLTs. One of my favorite sandwiches once I started eating tomatoes as a teenager. There in lies the bacon. Organic turkey bacon. Pork bacon, well I haven’t eaten that in over two years. Not to say that turkey bacon is any better for you, yes the fat content is much less, but its still animal product that is processed and molded together into a slab. Hm, just talking about it makes me not want to eat it. But in any case, some turkey bacon every so often (maybe once every 3 months if that I buy some), won’t hurt.

A pound of turkey bacon, which is 10 slices in total, cooked for the week — created three dishes as well as leftovers for eggs (free-range, organic of course) in the morning if I really want to get crazy.

I started out with braised red cabbage (also from my aunt — she’s just the best, really). This simple dish started out with the pan used from frying the bacon (with basically no fat in it, again, turkey bacon has very little fat content), seared with vegetable stock to get all of the salty scrapings from the pan up. Then I added one whole red onion, thinly sliced. I sauteed this until soft and added the red cabbage. Look at how beautiful this glorious vegetable is…

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Red cabbage is a million times more nutritious than green cabbage, and much more tasty. Its loaded with polyphenols which offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Red cabbage is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber and a rich source of several vitamins such as A, C and E.

I let the cabbage simmer with the red onion and 1 cup of vegetable stock until it was tender and soft. I topped it off with 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 cloves of garlic minced and some black pepper. This dish is great hot or cold – perfect for this week since it will be sunny and in the 70’s…wahoo!

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Then it was time for two dishes with the turkey bacon. The first, one of my favorite dishes that a dear friend of mine makes — sweet potatoes, avocado, and bacon mash. I did a little twist on the recipe:

2 strips of turkey bacon, cooked & chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled until fork tender

1/2 small red onion, chopped

1 avocado, cubed

1 cup arugula

*I mixed all of the ingredients together and topped with some ground black pepper. The combination of the sweet potatoes and avocado is good enough for me any day, but the addition of turkey bacon gives an added flavor and chewy texture that makes me feel like I’m consuming much more food…which I am, and more protein, which I always need!

When my friend makes it, she cooks the sweet potatoes a little longer, creating more of a semi-mashed potato dish and using a ton of fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any in the house, but I 110% recommend adding this!).

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Lastly, the BLT. A paleo version. I took romaine heart leaves and stuffed them with the fresh tomatoes and 1 slice of turkey bacon. I topped each one with freshly ground black pepper. That’s it. Seriously, nothing else. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe that I didn’t need any sauce with this, especially not mayo. I think my stepdad would enjoy these alot, mayo added, of course.

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Taking bets now on what I’ll use the extra bacon for this week — my moneys on the paleo BLTs.

Speaking of money, since my aunt brought me the tomatoes and cabbage, and I bought the red onions last week from the farmers market (6 for $2), I spent about $10 on these recipes for the week–

$5.99 for turkey bacon, $2 for sweet potatoes, $1 for avocado, $2 for romaine hearts. Even including the $5 or less that my aunt spent on the cabbage and tomatoes, thats less then $20 for the week. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Enjoy the sunshine this week ya’ll, I know I sure will :-)

Change of seasons

Happy change of seasons, ya’ll! Wow, I can’t believe how cold it has been this weekend! Just last week it was in the high 80s and I was complaining about sweating through my summer dresses while teaching my students. Now I can’t seem to get enough layers on me to get rid of the fall chill that’s trickling down my spine.

My mom and aunt came out to visit this weekend and we had a blast! We enjoyed the public market in the morning, some antique shopping, a fantastic dinner at my local vegan spot, and a night in cuddled up watching a chick flick. Just what I needed after a very long and very stressful week at school. I bought myself a quaint mug for small sips of morning coffee and a bouquet of fall flowers to brighten up my life (preparing for another possible stress-filled week) and enjoyed them both as I worked on lesson plans for the week this afternoon.

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I also spent this afternoon cooking two dishes for this week – comfort food dishes, obviously, to warm me up during this cold week ahead! Each dish is prepared with fresh vegetables from either my garden, my mom’s garden, or local farmer’s gardens :)

First off — my mom’s cauliflower fried rice. She is obsessed with this stuff so I figured it was time to try making it for myself. I started out with 1/2 yellow bell pepper (from my mom’s garden) chopped, 2 portobello mushrooms chopped, 1/2 red onion (from the market) chopped, 3 cloves garlic (from my mom’s garden) chopped, and 2 medium sized carrots (from my garden) chopped. I sauteed these veggies in a little bit of olive oil and ground black pepper.

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Then I processed the cauliflower into rice using my ninja storm. This took seconds, so please don’t tell me this recipe is too difficult and time consuming, cause its so very easy :)

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Then I added the cauliflower to the sauteed vegetables and turned the heat up to crisp everything up. I ended with some freshly grated ginger and about 2 tbs of some sesame ginger dressing (Iron Chef brand).

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Can’t wait to eat this yummy dish this week – full of nutrients and flavor!

Next up – one of my favorite comfort foods, stuffed peppers. These peppers are loaded with protein, about 20 grams per, thanks to the french indigo lentils that have a whopping 13 grams of protein per serving and lean ground turkey. These peppers legitimately have less than 10 ingredients – super simple, yet so delicious.

I start out by cooking the lentils and brown rice together (about 1/2 cup of each) in 2 cups of water. I let that boil, then turn the heat down to a medium heat simmer with the cover on, stirring occasionally. Then I brown the ground turkey in a pan with some red onion and garlic. Once it starts to brown, I turn off the heat, add in some ground black pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Then I top it off with wegman’s ‘Grandma Pormodoro’s Sauce’. I combine the lentils and brown rice with the turkey and stuffed the peppers (from my mom’s garden) that I had already pre roasted (in the oven at 375 for about 10 minutes) and top with some more sauce. I put them back into the oven for another 15 minutes to let everything meld together and bam, done!

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I love prepping my food on Sundays. It’s a relaxing routine that I missed over the summertime… lesson planning, playing music, and cooking. Having just these two dishes done for the week makes things so much easier for me throughout the week. Lunches are either of these dishes or salads, already put into glass Tupperware, ready to go!

Here’s to enjoying the last bits of sunshine today coming through my window (totally not going outside, its in the low 50s!) and finishing up my lesson plans for this week. Looking forward to continuing our journey of learning about chemistry through inquiry experiences in my classroom!

Happy Back to School!

Wow! I can’t believe we are back to school already! Where did the summer go? I can’t complain, I had an amazing summer full of travel, friends, family, and food. So much good food. Food. My life’s journey. I ate out more than any one should ever. My kitchen sorely missed my delicate touch, my light dancing and loud singing.

Welcome back screamed my stove as I cooked my meals for this week – our first full week of school. I have to be honest, I’ve struggled getting back into the swing of things – school that is. I have the same students as last year so it was really fun to see them and how much they’ve grown- mentally, emotionally, and physically. Yet, I think the familiarity has slightly shaded my enthusiasm to be back to school. In years past, I am stay up at night, mind wandering aimlessly, thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong with my brand new lessons for brand new students. This year, I’ve slept soundly. I’ve planned brand new, exciting lessons, but it’s just different. I’m sure I’ll get fully back into the swing of things once we start our expedition — that’s when the real stress comes on. 

Enough of my rambling, let’s get down and dirty to the real stuff you care about – the food.

Fall is upon us so my cooking today blends together the end of summer sunshine and light eating with the fall cold breeze and warmth of an Indian stew.

First up, summer! A wheatberry summer salad. Simple, to say the least, but flavors burst in your mouth just as the tender wheatberries do.

Salad:

*1 cup raw wheatberry, toasted in hot pan for 5 minutes, then boiled with 2 cups water

*2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

*2 medium sized cucumbers, quartered and sliced

*1 bag of baby arugula

Dressing:

*2 tbs red wine vinegar

*2 tbs apple cider vinegar

*2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

*1 bunch fresh parsley

*cracked pepper & salt to taste

**Mix all ingredients in a large bowl

**Top with fresh goat cheese when serving if desired

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And then there’s, Sweet Summer Zucchini Slaw:

*1 large zucchini

*2 large carrots

*1 apple

**Add all items to the food processor until coarsely chopped.

*1/4 cup chopped red onion

*1/2 red pepper, diced

Dressing:

*1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt

*2 tbs seeded mustard

*cilantro

*cracked pepper to taste

**Mix all ingredient together in a bowl and enjoy!

 

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Lastly, for those cold nights after work — Indian Braised Beets and Lentils Stew

*1 cup green lentils

*4 medium/large beets, roasted & chopped into 1 inch cubes

*2 large carrots, chopped 1/2 inch 

*1/2 red onion, chopped

*4 cloves garlic, minced

*4 cups vegetable broth

*1 tsp tumeric

*1 1/2 tsp curry powder

*1 sprig fresh thyme

*1 sprig fresh rosemary

**Saute onions, carrots and roasted beets until onions are translucent. Add minced garlic and lentils. Saute on med/high heat for about 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth and spices and turn down heat to low simmer on medium/low heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils are slightly tender.

 

May I say that these dishes are so different from one another that I look forward to all of their distinct flavors this week for lunches and dinners. Enjoy your first full weeks back to school! <3

 

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East Coast: Food, Friends, Fun

Well, I’ve been back in NY for more than a week, so I figured I better get this blog post written. Even thought I’ve been back from my roadtrip, I have not stopped moving- that’s for sure.

The morning after my school year ended I packed up my car, picked up my best friend, and we hit the road. We had plans… flexible plans. We had already decided which cities we would stop in as well as options for food and fun while there. We were very specific in finding restaurants to enjoy as I needed nutritarian options and my friend needed paleo options. So, we researched farm-to-table restaurants which all had veg/vegan options on their menus. We started our first day with driving to Cleveland OH and stopping for lunch at The Flying Fig.

We parked the car and walked a few blocks to the small eatery and started smelling yeast….hm, a brewery! Great Lakes Brewery to be exact! We didn’t even know that we were in that area of Cleveland, it was a welcomed surprise.

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When we arrived at the eatery we decided to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air after sitting in the car for six hours. I ordered a chicken and fresh salad dish. The salad was dressed with grilled lemon, it was so crisp and peppery…absolutely delicious.

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We finished eating and hit the road again for another six hours until we made it to Louisville KY where we stayed for the night. We had dinner at Bluegrass Brewery Company  which was again a farm-to-table restaurant and local brew house. I enjoyed a porter after a long day of driving and for an appetizer we had tempeh ‘chicken’ wings with fresh local honey for dipping sauce–so fill of flavor and texture! Something that our waiter informed us as well about the restaurant- the owners are vegan! :-)

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After a solid night’s rest we finished our last three hours to Nashville TN where we stayed for three nights at my friend’s house. As soon as we got in we went to lunch at Local Taco where you can get a taco for $2.75 that makes you want to scream and shout it’s so good! We ended up eating there every day we were in Nashville because we were so in love with the food. I had the crispy fish taco and the portobello mushroom taco which was obviously my favorite.

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I want to remake these sometime soon — marinated portobello strips dressed with fried red onion, zucchini slaw and a sage goat cheese. Oh my god. Honestly, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about them. The flavors so perfectly melded together- the salt from the goat cheese and the zing from the marinated mushrooms. Yum!

After we filled our bellies… and trust me, they were full as I had three tacos and guacamole, we headed to the craft beer festival! Fifty plus breweries from Nashville, Carolinas, and the west coast came to this event and I enjoyed so many new brews! Afterwards we strolled on Broadway St, the famous tourist street of Nashville where everyone buys their cowboy boots and dances to live music.

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After dancing and singing along at the bars we were starving so we headed out to dinner at a restaurant that was feature on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on Food Network: Athens. I had a greek salad that was a huge bowl of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions all tossed in olive oil, vinegar and spices. Yum!IMG_2798 IMG_2799

The next day we had breakfast at the local bakery about a quarter mile down the road from my friend’s house called Star Bagel. Here they make fresh juices, smoothies and breakfast sandwiches from local free-range eggs and hormone free meats. I had a Sante Fe which included red peppers and onions mixed in with the egg and fresh turkey sausage on a whole wheat bagel. Delicious! But, let me tell ya, the amount of gluten I had consumed already in Nashville was getting to me if you know what I mean.

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After breakfast we ventured to the Jackalope brewery which was our favorite from the beer festival. I had a flight while I read the local farm magazine…god I love this place.  Then we ventured to a local antiques mall and some fun shops.

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For dinner we went to Whiskey Kitchen which was a fun restaurant and bar where I had a delicious black bean burger with avocado and sweet potato fries with a side of whiskey shaken with ginger bitters.  Yummy! And so so filling!

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For our last day in Nashville we got up early and headed out for a five mile hike at a local park. It was located in Belle Meade, which according to my friend is the old money neighborhood of Nashville. I didn’t take any pictures of the estates, but man was it beautiful! The whole area was very historical with the original stone walls from the Civil War. Of course we had local taco for lunch and then ran over to the Grand Olde Opry for a guided tour.

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And at last…. The Wild Cow for dinner. This vegetarian restaurant was my oasis. I could eat whatever I wanted from the menu for the first time on the trip :) So, we had some fresh homemade hummus for an appetizer and I ordered greens and beans — kale and pinto beans served with a garlic aioli. Served at room temperature, I gobbled it down as my mouth tingled with such bold garlic flavor. I bought a chocolate peanut butter cookie pie for dessert and didn’t end up eating it for days – but when I did, it was heaven.

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The next morning we got Star Bagels again and hit the road for Asheville NC. It took us a lot longer than expected to get to Asheville as we had to drive through all of the mountains on curvy roads where you can go about 40mph. But it was well worth the time. I fell in love with Asheville immediately upon our arrival. We got to our hotel, laid by the pool for two hours, and headed downtown to do some exploring and get something to eat. For the first time on our roadtrip I felt 100% relaxed and comfortable. It’s like that experience I had when I visited Wells College for the first time – my shoulders fell to the side and I could breathe easy – I was home. I can’t wait to visit Asheville again so that I can spend much more time there.

So anyways, we did some shopping- my favorite of which was a local farm fresh clothing store. All of the fabrics were made from local cotton, made right in Asheville. I bought these super fun feminist bracelets there -

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Then we went to Chai Pani, a Indian street food restaurant with, of course, local farm fresh ingredients. I ordered the fried kale and a side salad with roasted beets :)

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Afterwards we went to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where they serve vegan desserts :) We shared some vegan chocolate truffles and a slice of olive oil chocolate vegan cake! Oh, and we ran into Owen Wilson while waiting in line… no big deal. This place was really cool and it was also a certified green restaurant :)

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The next morning we headed out for some more exploring of Asheville and we ran into a LOCAL TACO! I couldn’t believe it! They had different tacos – so I ofcourse had the portobello and then tried an avocado taco.

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Then we went to the actual restaurant we had planned to go to, Tupelo, Honey! I ordered an open-faced vegetarian sandwich that was topped with local goat cheese. It was super flavorful as was the side of pickled beet salad that I had.

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Before leaving Asheville we stopped at the local coop for their tailgate farmers market. We got some vegetables and lettuce to make a salad for dinner that night while camping in Boone, NC. We also got some farm fresh goat cheese that was absolutely to die for! We got into the car and drove two hours to Boone, set up the tent & then got rained on!

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After an hour the rain stopped and we made our salad for dinner. We enjoyed it with fresh bread and hummus from Asheville as well.

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After eating we visited with a family that was also camping at the camp ground we were at. They were from Eastern NC and our conversations were memorable. We woke up early and drove out to Boone Creek for a five mile hike before getting on the road again for our last city— VA Beach. The mountains here were so breathtaking. I want to move here…

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Once we got to VA Beach we went down to Oceanfront immediately for some seafood. It was our mission to eat fresh seafood every day while in VA Beach. Why? Because its fresh ocean seafood, duh! I have a weak spot for seafood. So, we had some raw oysters at Cylpso’s Bar. Then some drinks and dancing.

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The next morning we woke up to breakfast and homemade Bloody Marys. We knew then that this city was going to be different from the others…

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After some much needed down time sitting and catching up with my brother and his friends, we headed to the beach for the rest of the day and night. It was so beautiful and relaxing there. I didn’t even get burnt, which if you know me, is very bizarre!

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At sunset we went for some more seafood– this time at Chick’s obviously for some more oysters. We had raw oysters, oyster shooters (raw oyster, beer, cocktail sauce and hot sauce), a steamed basket of clams, mussels, and shrimp, and of course my favorite- fried calamari. Man oh man were our bellies full! I was in heaven :) We went out for some 4th of July festivities and enjoyed chatting with everyone.

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Saturday we got up early and made breakfast for everyone — venison breakfast sandwiches (a tradition in my household – so well enjoyed by my brothers). Then we headed off to the beach again, a different location this time – the waves were crazy! I had so much sand in places I didn’t want it that my shower when we got home was much needed. We decided to have a Boil at the house so we went out to the local Asian market and grocery store to stock up on goodies. We had scallops, shrimp and crab legs with potatoes and corn. My plate was made special before the garlic butter was added :) I’m so loved!

 

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For our last night in VA Beach we went to the Goo Goo Dolls concert with Plain White T’s and Daughtry. We stopped at a local Irish pub before hand so that I could have one last seafood meal. I ordered an immense amount of food… shrimp, raw oysters, 1/2 pd crab legs and an oyster poboy. I ate most of it and the guys helped me finish it up.

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The sky that night was beautiful and the concert was relaxing and joyful – a great way to end our last night on the road.

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The next morning we got up and hit the road for home. That drive was the most taunting and strenuous. Eleven straight hours with only stops to use the bathroom and get some snacks. I was exhausted by the time I got home and enjoyed sleeping with my man who happened to be home. The next night I made leftover shrimp from the boil with another friend and we tossed it in a salad. Delicious!

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So, in short, ha! The trip was amazing. It was full of delicious farm fresh food and good company. I will cherish the memories that I made in these ten days and I can’t wait to do it again!! :)

 

 

Roadtrip ready!

It’s the last week of school! Woah! I can’t believe it’s already here. I’m very excited for the summer but sad that I won’t be seeing my students for so much time. I’m really going to miss them. I get to loop with students to eighth grade next year which I’m really looking forward to. The opportunities will be endless. I feel like we will be able to learn so much more because we already know each other. I know how my students learn and what they like, so all of that time spent each year getting to know your students — that’s all instructional time now. I plan on larger inquiry units putting my students more in the driver seat of their learning. So obviously, my summer will be spent planning these ideas :)

With it being the last week of school, most people think that teachers stop teaching and just play videos. Which, yes, some do. I know plenty of teachers who do. Last year I was teaching high school so I was proctoring exams and grading exams up until the last day of school. This year being with my seventh graders, I get to teach them all the way up until the last day, and that is exactly what I plan to do. Last Thursday and Friday we took our students on a two-day field study. People thought we were crazy, and maybe we were, but the smiles and positive comments from students made it all worth it. Everything I do, I do with my students in mind. Going on this field study to the Genesee river and them using vocabulary that they learned this year to explain their observations they were making of the gorge and the waterfall warmed my heart and put a gigantic smile on my face. Taking them hiking on a pretty rough trail that follows the river and having them comment “This is so fun, it’s like we’re in the Hunger Games!” made my day.

Tomorrow evening we are hosting a celebration of learning for our students and their families. We will celebrate the last few months of inquiry they’ve been doing in all of their classes — which has been quite a bit. The biggest project students have just completed is a historical character file, specifically through first-person narrative diary writings as if they were enslaved people during the 19th century. I’ve had the opportunity to read a few so far and most have brought me to tears. It’s amazing what these seventh grade students have accomplished this year. I can only imagine how far they will all go in their educational careers and beyond.

So, anyways — because this week is going to be hectic with the celebration tomorrow night and some other events this week before leaving for my roadtrip (foreshadowing!) I wanted to make something that would be easy to heat up and eat on the go that was loaded with protein to keep more full and energized. I made paleo stuffed peppers :)

Paleo Stuffed Peppers-

4 bell peppers, cleaned out & steamed for 5 mintutes

Stuffing-

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 cup brown lentils, cooked

1 lb of ground turkey, browned with red onion and garlic

1 cup tomato sauce (I used “Organic Grandpa’s Sauces goes Vegetarian” from Wegmans)

spices: ground black pepper, thyme, rosemary, cumin

*I simmered all of the stuffing ingredients on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

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*Stuffed my pre-steamed peppers & cooked in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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Really excited to have one of these each day for lunch or dinner this week.

I also made this mind blowing salad that a friend brought to a party last week & I just had to make.

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

1 bag of spinach

1 grapefruit, sectioned & cut into bit size pieces

1 avocado, diced

cracked black pepper

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs vinegar (I used apple cider, but I’m sure balsamic would be awesome too)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

*Literally just toss of all these ingredients in a bowl & enjoy. It is so simple, and light, and refreshing. I have a feeling I will be making this a lot this summer for cookouts and just for myself :)

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So, I spoke of a roadtrip… my friend and I are traveling to Nashville, North Carolina, and Virgina Beach for 10 days and I am so excited I can barely sit still. We will be visiting a friend from our Master’s program in Nashville and then bringing in the Fourth of July with my brother in VA beach!

Being a nutritarian, as best as I can be, traveling (as I’ve mentioned before) can be slightly stressful. But luckily I’m a type A person and have a whole list created of possible restaurants and grocery stores in every city we will be stopping in. One other factor is eating when on the road. I despise fast food, clearly, and so snacking while driving may become an issue. To prepare for that I’ve created these yummy muffins.

Chocolate Banana Nut Protein Muffins-

3 over ripened bananas, mashed

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 tbs cinnamon (I love strong cinnamon with my bananas)

*I mashed the bananas with these two spices and then added the processed base –

10 medjool dates

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

1 cup whole grain rolled oats

*I finished mixing this all together with 1/2 cup almond milk & some finely shredded coconut flakes

*I put a heaping spoonful into each muffin tin (lined with paper) and cooked at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (really these can be eaten raw, but because they need to last me 10 days – I wanted to slightly cook the banana to keep it from spoiling too fast)

When these were in the oven the chocolatey banana smell filled my house. I know these are going to be a great go-to when we’re on the road and feeling hungry. I am plan on stopping a grocery store and picking up fresh fruit and vegetables as we drive as well for snacking.

Next Sunday I won’t be writing as I will be in a tube floating down a river in Nashville :) But be prepared two weeks from now for a massive post where I will share what I ate while on the roadtrip – hopefully it will be a great nutritarian guide for you in the future if you ever travel to these cities :)

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My new favorite toy…

So I’ve had my grill for just about a month now & it truly has become my new favorite toy. I love grilling. Every day. Love it.

My staples for grilling have become the same primary vegetables – portobello mushroom, asparagus, zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant. I toss them with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and my dad’s red rub (mixture of cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, etc) and some dried rosemary and thyme.

I eat them all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No, seriously. Grilled vegetables tossed in a frying pan with an egg – oh yes!

Also – peaches and pineapple. If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to, right now. Go to the store immediately if you don’t have them on hand, fire up the grill, smear the fruit with coconut oil & toss them on there. The sweetness of the fruit really comes out when they’re grilled, amazing!

So obviously because I’ve been eating these same vegetables for all three meals in my day I’m starting to get sick of them in particular. So this weekend I mixed it up a bit. Last night my friend was over for dinner and I did a fun appetizer – cibatta bread grilled and topped with fresh bruschetta. For the bruschetta I used two tomatoes (from the public market), a slice of a red onion, 2 cloves garlic, and a handful of fresh lemon basil (from my herb garden). OMG! So simple, so fresh, so very delicious… especially onto of grilled bread.

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Also while at the market on Saturday morning I picked up my all time favorite vegetable. Scapes! Scapes are the top of garlic when they are sprouting flower stalks from the bulb in the spring. They are super long and curly. They have a mild or bold garlic flavor and a chewy texture similar to asparagus. Scapes are high in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants linked to apoptosis (programmed cell death) of some cancer cells.

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You can eat these raw, sauteed, pickled, or made into a pesto. I like them best on the grill. I don’t put anything on them, just toss them on – be careful of any loose ones falling until the grill plates. They grill very quickly, so I stand and flip them frequently.

I also tried beets. I have seen recipes for beet burgers before where you literally roast a beet, slice it and eat it like a burger. So I thought to myself – why not grill them! I cut off the greens, washed and sauteed them with dandelion greens, onion and garlic to make this — which I will enjoy with eggs for breakfast this week.

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Then for the beets – washed, skinned, boiled for about 15 minutes – to the point where they were just starting to get softened. I took them out of the water, let them cool & sliced in half. I tossed them in olive oil and cracked pepper & threw them on the grill.

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Oh yeah babe. These things are amazing. Not sure why I never thought of this before. The grill gives them that slight smoky flavor and crispy charred outside – yum! For dinner tonight I had one of these, scapes and a turkey sausage link over lettuce from my garden with horseradish dijon mustard on the side for dipping. Yum!

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Best part of today – my neighbors. As I was grilling the beets and scapes they were very fascinated. Not knowing what scapes were, I clearly educated them and had them try them once I had them grilled. They all really liked them and plan on going out a getting some for themselves.

My name is Lisa and I’m going to make a change in the world. Each baby step at a time is good enough for me. Having my neighbors trying new vegetables is a high five for sure! :)

As the storm rolls in

Tonight I write my blog post as I sit in front of the window and watch the rain pour down & the thunder boom. Growing up as a kid, thunderstorms were always my favorite thing to watch. To see the lightening spark across the sky and listen to the intricate tones of thunder. It’s relaxing to me for whatever reason.

For this week I created two new salads/ salad toppers. I was going to grill some vegetables as well but I didn’t get my cooking on in time before the storm hit, so I’ll have to do those tomorrow.

Salad #1 – Mediterranean Salad

1 cucumber, quartered and sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 red onion, diced

a handful of kalamata olives, sliced

1 handful of parsley, chopped

fresh cracked black pepper

*Mix everything together in a bowl

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*Dressing: 1 tbs olive oil, 2 tbs red wine vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 lime juiced

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There’s a local greek restaurant and they make a salad very similar to this tossed with romaine — it’s delicious & I can’t wait to see it this week. It’s getting hotter and hotter out so my lunches become lighter and lighter. Time for salads :)

Salad #2- Kale & Brussel Sprouts

2 cups brussel sprouts

2 cups kale

*Process them both in ninja

1/2 cup almond, chopped

*Toss those together with greens

*Dressing: 3 tbs horseradish brown seeded mustard, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs olive oil, black pepper

*Very basic salad here – but the flavors burst in your mouth :)

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For dinners this week – grilling, obviously. And also I bought some dandelions for the first time ever — so thinking of making some sauteed with mushrooms and onions. Whatever I do, I will be sure to post it for next week.

Happy sunshine!

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