Friday, August 31, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower

We eat a lot of cauliflower in this house.  It’s one of my favorite veggies to have on hand because it is so versatile.  It’s great steamed, raw in a salad, stir fried or even made into mashed cauliflower (kind of like mashed potatoes only healthier).  But my favorite way to cook it is roasting.

I can’t believe I lived the majority of my life without discovering roasted cauliflower.  It’s just not right.  I love cauliflower in general but roasting it takes it to a whole new level.

I first tried roasting it when I was making these wraps.  They are delicious and we had them for dinner again last night.  Since I discovered them, we have enjoyed roasting cauliflower all by itself.  Sometimes I’ll mix it up with a couple of spices but it is so darn good when it's simple.

If I let them, the kids will eat the entire head by themselves.  They strategically pick out the onions though.  I ignore this and continue to roast the onions since I love them.  Getting these pictures before they devoured the cauliflower was a feat.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 cups red onion, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The edges of the cauliflower will start to brown (so delicious).

This is a great side dish for a busy night.  There is very little prep and the cook time is quick!
Just make sure you make enough for everyone!

Because everyone is hungry for cauliflower.

The cauliflower bandits strike again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Watermelon Gazpacho

In case you haven’t noticed, we like watermelon in this house.

A lot.

This is the most common method of ingestion- cramming in a piece that is too big for our mouth.

Ah, success!

But sometimes mama likes to get a little fancy, like with these Watermelon Spritzers.

And sometimes mama likes to get a lot fancy, like with this Watermelon Gazpacho.

Can we say summer soup?

If you’d like to get this recipe you’ll have to check out my post over at MAK today.

Not only will you get an awesome recipe, but you can also find out some of the amazing health benefits of our good friend watermelon.

So check it out and then go get a watermelon!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: 8/27/2012

We spent Sunday morning at Selby Gardens in Sarasota.  Dakota was "teaching" Aidric about the fish here.

Have you heard? Isaac is disrupting all kinds of plans.  I was planning on hunkering down at home this week because Tampa has been invaded by the Republican National Convention- but it looks like Isaac is just another excuse.  

I like to meal plan on Thursdays or Fridays so I can take advantage of the weekend farmers markets and have a plan of what I need to buy.  Needless to say, I wasn't taking Isaac into account last week.  Those silly tropical storms change directions all the time.  So maybe this week's plan will work out, and maybe not.... Plan B (if the power is out) will be lots of raw foods, and using up frozen foods on the grill!

This is the first of hopefully many meal plans that I'll be sharing with you.  I meal plan every single week because I HATE standing in front of my freezer or refrigerator going "hmmm, what should I make tonight...” Very rarely does this game go well.  Oh, and never has my husband actually had an answer when I asked him what he wants for dinner.  I'm pretty sure "I don't know" is a standard response for all men. Thank goodness for meal plans!

About this week:  We are coming off a beach vacation and even though I made all of our food, we are all feeling a little off.  I think we ate a little too much bread, which we don't normally have.  That or maybe it was all that wine... Either way, our bodies need some quality nourishment so I'm focusing on nutrient dense veggies and raw foods this week. Since I meal plan starting with Fridays, I'll be including our weekend meals from the previous week.

Breakfast: Green smoothie, scrambled eggs and cucumber slices
Lunch: Ginger carrot cabbage slaw in lettuce wraps

Breakfast: Green smoothie, Oatmeal
Lunch: Large salad with Mustard vinaigrette

Lunch: Curried carrot salad
Dinner: Black beans and rice with steamed green beans

Lunch: Large salad with Mustard vinaigrette

Breakfast: Green smoothie, Pancakes
Lunch: Ginger carrot cabbage slaw in lettuce wraps
Dinner: Butternut Carrot Soup

Breakfast: Green smoothie, Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Green Curry

Breakfast: Green smoothie, "dip" eggs (eggs over easy)
Lunch: Almond butter and jam sandwiches and hummus and veggies (for a picnic in the park)
Dinner: Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas 

Here's to an amazing week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Watermelon Spritzer

We've been on vacation for the last week.  We rented a condo on Casey Key and spent some glorious sun filled days playing on the beach.  This was our view outside the condo.

Aidric is a total beach bum and couldn't get enough. 

Grandma and Pop pop brought the kids kites and Aidric got a kick out of flying his.

Dakota took a little while to warm up to the beach.

But she enjoyed some good games of chase with the waves.

 We also had this awesome storm go through one evening around sunset.

Most importantly we had a fantastic time relaxing and bonding as a family. 

But back to that drink... A trip to the beach wouldn't be complete without some tasty watermelon to cool down with in the hot afternoon. The kids like to eat it strait up but sometimes I like to be a little creative. 

 Enter the watermelon spritzer.

A relaxing afternoon spent swinging and watching the waves... and enjoying a deliciously refreshing watermelon spritzer.

Watermelon Spritzer

2 cups watermelon
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 cup Sparkling water

Fill  two glasses 1/2 way with ice
Combine watermelon and lime juice in blender and blend until smooth.
Divide mixture between two cups.
Top with 1/2 cup of sparkling water and stir.

My official taste tester was happy to do a little work ever though we were on vacation.

She gave the "fizzy watermelon" a thumbs up!

This is an excellent way to cool down- even without the beach.

This post is shared at Monday Mania, Meatless Monday, and Melt in your Mouth Monday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Asian Chicken Salad

Since we became a one-income family, we are trying to stay on a really tight budget.  My job is to stretch our food dollars as far as they can go.  If I can do this efficiently it means an extra date night for us.  I'm not willing to compromise on food quality and luckily we can afford not to.  But that doesn't mean I'm not looking for ways to save. 

One of the main things I'm trying to do is cut down on waste.  I feel like a lot of food gets thrown away in our house on a daily basis.  Part of that is just a fact of life with two kids.  Food is often left on their plates or on the floor.  But there is also waste that I'm responsible for: the chicken carcass that goes in the garbage, carrot pulp from juicing, almond pulp from milk and lots of broccoli and cauliflower stalks.

We love our cruciferous veggies here and end up with plenty of leftover stalks. I'm guilty of throwing them away in haste.  Who wants a barren stalk lurking in their refrigerator?  So now I'm on a mission to cut down on this waste... dare I say eliminate it?  Not only is this an economic choice but also an environmental one.  It's important to me to respect the Earth and everything we are so blessed to have.  Not being wasteful with our food is part of this respect.  This is so important to me to pass on to our kids.

With that thought in mind I made not one, but two, batches of broth from the carcass of our roast chicken.  No need for store bought here.  I’ve been freezing my almond pulp so I can dehydrate it into flour when I have a large batch.  I’ve been putting my carrot pulp in these muffins. And I've been saving my broccoli stalks.

I'm pretty sure Andy thought I had gone off the deep end today.  He asked me if I wanted to save the leftover broccoli stalk and I was perhaps a little too zealous with my "YES!" in reply.  Luckily my husband takes these things in stride.  He wasn't complaining at dinner time.

Asian Chicken Salad

Macadamia Nut Dressing
1 cup Macadamia Nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 Red bell pepper (optional)
2 tbsp Lime
1 tsp ginger
Dash red pepper

1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Green onion, julienne
1 cup shredded Carrot
1 cup shredded broccoli (from stalk)
1/2 cup Green pepper, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups chicken, shredded or chopped
Sliced almonds to garnish

Combine all dressing ingredients except for oil in blender.
Blend on high until smooth.
Reduce speed to low and slowly add oil.

Combine salad ingredients and dressing and mix well.
Scoop 1/4 to 1/2 of mixture into food processor and pulse until chunky, just a few seconds.
Combine again, mix well and serve.

This is perfect over a bed of greens or in lettuce cups.

Not bad for leftover scraps huh?

This post is shared at Whole Foods WednesdayReal Foods WednesdayAllergy Free WednesdayTasteful TuesdaysKeep It Real ThursdaysPennywise Platter Thursday and Simple Lives Thursday

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marinated Grilled Veggies

Lately, the extreme heat, humidity and bugs have been keeping us inside more than usual. Such is life in Florida in late summer.  We try and get out of doors in the mornings or evenings when it is still bearable so we all get some fresh air.  Sometimes I like to combine our outside time with dinner prep… enter grilling! 

I’ve been grilling a lot lately. It’s a fast way to cook dinner without heating up the house and of course the kids want to follow me outside.  Thankfully they are excellent about keeping their distance from the grill!

I cooked up these veggies the other night with my Mustard Marinated Chicken.  Don’t ask me why I made two different marinades.  It was basically lack of planning.  I got my chicken marinating and then realized I wanted to marinate the veggies.  This particular marinade is one of my go-to’s for veggies.  I usually don’t measure anything, I just throw it in the bowl and it always turns out great! So feel free to put away the measuring spoons and freehand it.  Let’s keep things simple right?

Marinated Grilled Veggies

2 tbsp olive oil
juice from 1 lime or lemon
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp dried basil (or 2 tbsp fresh)
pinch of pepper

1-2 zucchinis, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
½ lb crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup red onion, chopped

Combine marinade ingredients in magic bullet (or blender) and give it a whirl.

Pour marinade and veggies and toss to coat. 

Allow to marinate 1-4 hours.
Place veggies in a grill basket or sheet.  Alternately you can skewer them if you are feeling committed.

Grill at 350 for 10-15 minutes until cooked to desired tenderness.

This makes an excellent vegetarian meal with just some rice and a salad.

This post is shared at Gluten Free Wednesdays