a greedy indulgence

Guess what I was busy peeling and washing, in anticipation for tonight’s dinner?

Beets.  Lots and lots of beets.  Enough to feed a family of five.  Or, in my case, a family of three.  We like our produce.

I could have canned them.  Really…I should have canned them.  When will I learn to preserve summer’s crops? 

I have received so many useful tips on preserving the produce.  “Freeze your pesto!”  “Bottle your beets!”  Friends have shared with me, all of the genius ways in which they ensure they’ll be eating from-the-garden tomatoes, all year round (salsas, sauces, and soups, oh my!) 

Unfortunetly, I’ve never listened.  Instead, I greedily eat summer’s produce, all at once.  Aside from a handful or two of frozen basil leaves, there’s not an inkling or trace of what once was.  Summer becomes a thing of the past, as I move forward into the months of autumn.  Arms (and mouth) open wide, ready for squash and cabbage and things like kale.

When I see a bunch of basil, I see a toasted, basil hummus sandwich for lunch.   And when I see beets, I see a salad piled high with those beautiful red, roasted roots.  I can’t resist.  I do realize that this is a shame.  A fault, even.  I would love to have produce all winter long.  I would!  I would love to pull out a bottle of zingy tomato salsa, smack dab in the middle of January.  I would love to pull out a batch of pesto in the dead of winter, just as a reminder of what summer tastes like. 

 But tonight, that didn’t really matter.  I savored each bite of the earthy, sweet beets, towering high on a bed of greens.  Dressed in nothing but olive oil.  I know this is a greedy indulgence.  But I just couldn’t help myself. 

As a side note, I am completely addicted to the peanut hummus.  Age really does do wonders for this tangy spread!

As a note to self: “Next summer? Grow a bigger garden.”

Roasted Beets

  • 1 large bunch of fresh beets, trimmed and peeled of any lingering roots or tough exterior
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Chop beets into bite sized peices, and place in single layer on a well sprayed cookie sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes, flip once, and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you preserve summer’s produce, or do you eat it right away?  What is your favorite way of preserving the produce?  One of these years, I would like to plant enough tomatoes to make a fresh tomato salsa.  And then open and eat it on the coldest day of the year. 😀

in season

There’s something about eating a whole wheat bagel with lots of nut butter and a banana.  It instantly puts me in running mode.  I feel like an athlete, ready to take on the world.  Like I could knock off a marathon if I put my mind to it.

All because of a whole wheat bagel and lots of nut butter.

Anyways, my mind eventually came back to planet earth, and when it did, I laced up my sneakers for a hilly 4 miles.  

It was by far the toughest 4 miles I’ve run in a long time.  The sun was scorching hot.  Relentless.  I could have definitely used a water bottle on this run, if just for the point of being able to spray myself with it every mile or so.  On the last mile home, I kicked into high gear and gave it everything I had left in me.  And then I came home and collapsed on the front yard. 

Followed by a copious amount of watermelon. 

Shrimp is one of my favorite sources of lean protein.  Although it can come across as semi-pricey, it does occasionally go  on sale.  Especially the raw, shell-on, medium sized shrimp.  Which is fine by me, because in my opinion, these are the ones that taste better anyways.  Home-cooked shrimp is way more flavorful and tender than the pre-cooked version.  You have control over how long to cook it, and it literally only takes about 3 minutes.  Literally. 

This meal takes advantage of the garden fresh summer squash, which I love.  It’s nice finding new recipes that fit in vegetables that are at their peak of flavor right now. 😀

Summer Past Salad with Shrimp—taken (and tweaked!) from Everyday Food

  • coarse sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat penne
  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 lightly packed cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest + 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, until al dente.  Drain, trainsfer to a large bowl and toss with squash, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and 1 T. oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium high.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque.  About 3 minutes. 
  3. Top pasta with shrimp, and season with salt and pepper.

This meal comes together in minutes.  Everyone (the three of us) went back for seconds, and there is plenty left for at least another 2 meals.  Gotta love it! 😀

Afternoon Snack = latest obsession = Snyders Whole Wheat & Oat pretzels with string cheese

I saw these Snyders Whole Wheat & Oat pretzels at the store this week, and decided to pick some up.  They’re made with whole wheat flour, oats, chia seeds and agave nectar.  And they taste amazing.  I love them with string cheese, for the perfect snack on the go. 😀 

Dinner

What do you do when your fridge has three—count ’em, three!—sets of leftovers (canned salmon, refried beans, and chickpea quinoa pilaf) that are going to be thrown away if not consumed by the end of the night?  What do you do if none of these leftovers really seem to fit together into one cohesive meal?  What do you do when your economic side wins over your foodie side in such a situation?  And what do you do when you decide to throw these three random leftovers together, and there’s nothing—nothing!—aesthetically pleasing about your meal?  Nothing! 

I don’t know.  But honestly—for your sake–I almost decided not to post about dinner.

Even as I was plating it, Dad looked over my shoulder and just smiled.  And when it was time to say a prayer over dinner, he prayed that my stomach be able to handle this strange concoction that was about to enter it.  :mrgreen:  What can I say?  I hate throwing things away, especially highly nutritious foods.  It would be a shame and a tragedy and I would hate to be the cause of it all!  You know?

So here you go.  It’s not pretty, but it actually tasted kind of good.  Not that I plan on remaking it any time soon or anything. 

Oh, and my stomach totally survived.  So far. 😉

I found some goods at TJMaxx today, and tomorrow I’ll be ransacking through my closet to come up with several “new” outfits.  I need to have a casual wardrobe for the internship’s orientation, and I’m quickly discovering that I’m a little low on cute/casual clothes.  I have plenty of workout shirts, yes, but everything else is seriously lacking.  But sometimes all it takes is a few key items to come up with a whole “new” wardrobe, so I’m excited to see what I can make of it. 😀

Off to relax…G’night!

Question: What is your favorite vegetable/fruit that is currently in season?  Aside from blueberries, I’m also in love with garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers! 😀

Sunday Highlights…:)

Recapturing the Sunday Highlights…

Don’t you just love lazy Sundays with no plans to do, or places to go?  I was more then happy to relax before my very busy day tomorrow.  I’ll be up by 6 o’clock sharp, and off to volunteer in the kitchen at the hospital.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be there for, so I plan on packing a lunch to bring, along with eating a nice and hearty breakfast. 😀 

On to the Sunday highlights…

The Hug Mug…

…delicious and cozy as ever! 😀  It was 60 degrees out, and even though I normally go for the iced coffees, this one just seemed so perfect.  It was made with 1 c. hot coffee and 1/2 c. soymilk.  So perfectly creamy. 😀

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Grilled Chicken Sausages…

…with sauteed peppers and onions with lots of ketchup and whole wheat rolls.  Mmm…this is one of my favorite summer-time treats. 😀

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Picking Flowers…

…this picture makes me smile… 😀

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…and this one too…:D

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Being Outside After a Heavy Rainfall…

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Going out with Dad to help pick out his Father’s Day Gift…

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…which is going to get some great use this summer. 😉

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Hodge-Podge Dinners…

…complete with yogurt & flax with a bowl of puffins for crunch, carrots & dill hummus, and pineapple & grapefruit segments.  I love sampling. 😀

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There was also a trip to the icecream barn, complete with sprinkles on grasshopper icecream, two separate 3-mile walks–one in the rain, one in the sun :D, and watching an old movie at night.  Such a nice, relaxin’ day.  I feel refreshed and ready for a busy week ahead of me.  Hope you all had a really enjoyable weekend as well! 😀

TGIF!!

Whew…what a day.  Where do I begin?  Oh yes…breakfast of course. 😉

I woke up kind of wanting yogurt, but wanting something nice and filling too.  Yogurt & cereal just never really does it for me in the “filling department.”  Unless I have canned pumpkin to add for the super filling fiber content.  But unfortanetly there just wasn’t any in the house.  So I went with the closest thing to a cold bowl of yogurt…a Green Smoothie! 😀

This one was way better then yesterday’s.  No gagging, choking, or forcing stuff down. 😉  I have a firm belief that food has to be tasty plus healthy.  If it’s not tasty, it’s just not worth eating, you know?  So I was determined to make this smoothie tasty to make up for yesterday’s.

In the mix:

  • Amazing Grass packet
  • 1 banana
  • 2 c. kale
  • 1 c. soymilk
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 T. peanut butter

It was pretty good!  I’m not usually a protein powder girl…give me the real food!  But this one wasn’t too bad, and along with a whole wheat cinnamon raisin english muffin, I was full until lunch rolled around.  Not too shabby! 😀

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After breakfast, mom and I–of course–headed out for a 4-mile walk.  It was drizzling out at the beginning but the sun started to peak out by the end…love when that happens! 😀  Today’s walking topic was mostly mom going over her VIP party presentation that she has to give tomorrow at a clothing store she works at.  The topic is on choosing clothes that fit your body shape, and I think she’ll do great…looking forward to it mom! 😀

Lunch was kind of a Four Course Meal…

It started with a small bowl of Gypsy Soup…

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Continued on with a crunchy salad full of black bleans, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and cauliflower…all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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Then came the Annie’s Whole Wheat Bunnies…I seriously love these guys.

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And finally?  Dessert of course!  Two squares of very intensely dark chocolate.

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I showered this afternoon, blow dried my hair, and figured out a professional outfit to wear for today’s interview with the RD and Food Service Manager.  Then I went out to relax on the porch before I needed to leave, while enjoying an iced coffee under some blue skies!!! 😀

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The interview went really, really well.  I start volunteering in the hospital’s kitchen on Monday at 8 am, and start volunteering with the RD on Tuesday at 7:45 am…I’m super excited to get started!! 😀  It’s going to be great to see what an RD does on a daily basis, in a hospital setting. 

When I came home, I decided to go out for a 2-mile run.  I’m glad I kept it short, because despite the fact that I felt great after the run, it was definitely a tough one.  I’m not used to this warmer weather and the humidity made things a little tough.  I’ll have to re-introduce myself to running in the heat again after this cold spell we’ve been having!!

After cooling off from the run, I got to work in the kitchen.  I decided to make Chicken Broccoli Stir-Fry…and since Matthew was home, I decided to make a vegetarian version of it as well.  Dad came in to check on me as noise erupted from the kitchen, but I told him everything was just fine.  Chaotic, yes, but fine…it’s completely normal for me to make a huge mess and a lot of noise as I cook.  It’s all part of the experience of quickly getting a healthy supper together for the family. 😉

This recipe is easily adapted to be vegetarian.  I used vegetable broth for both batches to avoid confusion, and substituted sauteed tofu in Matthew’s.  It would also be great with the addition of pineapple and red bell peppers if you have those on hand too!

Stir-Fry Chicken and Broccoli

1 lb. chicken breast strips (or tofu/tempeh)
2 T. olive oil
4 c. broccoli
1-1/2 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground ginger

+ brown rice to serve it on.

Stir fry chicken in hot oil in large skillet until browned.  Add broccoli, stir fry until crisp tender.

Mix broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, garlic powder, and ginger…add to skillet.  Bring to boil for one minute.

Serve over rice.  Makes about 4 servings.  ENJOY! 😀

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Then I had this juicy red pear for dessert. 😀

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I was excited to head to the backyard to check out the vegetable garden.  I couldn’t believe the beets were already popping up.  Before you know it, there will be roasted beets in the oven and braised beet greens with olive oil and garlic on the stove.  Mmmm…can’t wait!  😀

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And then I saw this little guy doing his job of insect control in the garden… how cute is he?  hehe…

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After dinner, I indulged in some yoga from Polly’s blog.  If you haven’t checked out her Yoga for Running video, check it out sometime!  I always feel so loose and wonderful after stretching out the hamstrings. 😀  Then I got inspired by the beautiful weather to head out for a short 2-mile walk. 

All the fresh air and activity left me hungry for a snack.  Since I hadn’t had yogurt for my breakfast, I turned it into a snack.  I mixed in a T. of crushed flax into the plain yogurt.  Then I topped it with:

  • T. of homemade pb granola
  • a few raisins
  • 1/2 banana
  • sprinkling of cinnamon

Mmm…hit the spot!

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Tonight was such a fun, relaxing night.  The family sat out on the porch, listening to Matthew sing and play guitar.  I indulged in a glass of Pinot Grigio and a small bowl of stove popped popcorn.  I loved this wine…very light and fruity!

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I could have sat out on the deck listening to his music for the entire night.  Somehow the gift of voice stopped before getting to me. 😉  But that’s okay, because I just enjoy listening. 😀

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I’m off to relax, and finalize some plans for the weekend.  I’ll be back to post a full weekend recap along with a product review too, either tomorrow or Sunday night.  G’Night Everyone!! 😀

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