Happy last Friday in November friends! I feel cliche saying this but I can’t believe its almost December. The older I get, the faster time goes – I just can’t handle it. Another thing that happens when you get older…it gets harder to maintain your weight. What’s even harder, is to loose weight once you’ve slipped. In 4 months I put on about 20lbs…granted I was on a medication that fully disclosed weight gain as a symptom but I don’t know if ALLLLL that can be contributed to the meds. ANYWAY, my body is detoxing and I am continuing to be healthy – eating right and trying new forms of exercise. I starting kickboxing (more on that later), and subscribed to Kayla Itsines’s SWEAT app. for workout inspiration. I don’t follow her diet nor do I follow the program as its designed but its fun & helping to keep me motivated.
Another piece is changing locations and schedules – it throws a kink into the diet & cooking regime. Between commuting into the city (yes, I am still doing that), taking care of my little family, I have less time to grocery shop prep food. I have to do my best with one big trip weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, to the farmers market & grocery store. With this new way of foraging I’ve needed to come up with more inspired dishes; hence, whole wheat couscous with herbs, pine nuts, cucumber & citrus. I threw this together the other night with the things in my fridge and cabinet…proof that you can make healthy, flavorful meals, if you keep a well stocked pantry & fridge. The beautiful roasted squash is curtesy of Alison Roman‘s Dining In book that is full of delicious, easy, & unique recipes.
Citrus Couscous with Herbs, Pine Nuts, & Cucumber
- whole wheat couscous
- lemon (zest and juice)
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (dry roasted & cooled)
- 1 tbsp harissa oil (or regular EVOO)
- herbs (parsley, dill, and cilantro – or whatever you like)
- 1/2 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
- salt & pepper to taste
Prepare couscous according to the package (basically boil water or stock, add couscous, turn off heat & cover for about 10 minutes – its like the easiest thing ever) and allow to cool. While couscous is going, throw the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat, toss every few minutes until lightly browned (keep your eyes on those suckers – they burn quickly). Add remaining ingredients and BOOM, ALL DONE!
’til next time, keep smiling! 🙂
Happy Friday Friends!
Phil and I are excited for our special guests this weekend…Joe & Ashley April are in town! We have the pleasure of sharing Joe’s 31st birthday with them, showing the ‘other Aprils’ around San Francisco. I love when anyone comes to visit because its an excuse for us to explore and check out this incredible city. We have a few reservations so I’m not sure how much cooking I’ll be doing but if you’re cooking this weekend & want to keep it light, try today’s Foodie Friday pick, zucchini ribbon pasta & veggies w/basil & parmesan.
Zucchini Ribbon Pasta & Veggies
- 1/2 sm. carton of cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch of asparagus – trimmed
- 1/2 pint mushrooms – sliced
- 1 sm. yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 medium zucchini – sliced into thin ribbons
- 1-2 tbsp parmesan cheese – grated
- basil for garnish
- Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
Preheat Oven 425. Dice onion & mince garlic. Prep cherry tomatoes, trimmed asparagus, and mushrooms to roast in the oven by tossing in a tablespoon of EVOO, salt & pepper. Spread veggies out on roasting pan and pop into the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes blister, the asparagus starts to brown, & the the mushrooms edges darken. While they cook, place a large sauté pan on medium heat w/EVOO & add red pepper flakes. Once oil is hot add the onions & garlic – cook until translucent & season with salt & pepper. Add zucchini to the pan and toss in with the onions, garlic, pepper flakes, & oil in the pan. Allow the zucchini to cook for a few minutes but not until translucent…toss with roasted veggies, finish with grated cheese, basil and a drizzle of truffle oil or EVOO.
I’m not going to lie and say it tastes like pasta because it doesn’t, hahaha, but it does taste delicious and is a fabulous way to get a lot of extra nutrients & hydration in your diet. You can get creative and change up the veggies, herbs, add lemon, etc.. and still have a wonderfully nutritious meal.
’til next time, keep smiling! 🙂
This weekend is going to be a doozy and we’re prepared with awesome food and bundles of warm clothing to keep us from freezing our faces off on the mountain!
Today’s Foodie Friday post is dedicated to a Tahoe inspired pizza/flatbread! We’ve been snagging lunch at this restaurant mid-mountain and they have really awesome daily flatbreads….this was one from about a month ago that I had to recreate/put my own spin on.
Goat Cheese, Sweet Potato, Fennel, Pear, & Arugula Flatbread
- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- 1 Pear
- 1 Fennel Bulb
- 1 block herbed goat cheese
- 1/2 Sweet Potato (sliced thin)
- 3-4 tbsp EVOO
- Sm. Bunch Arugula
Preheat the oven to 475 and prep your toppings. Slice pears, sweet potatoes, and fennel with a mandolin set at thin as possible. Soften goat cheese with EVOO. Roll out pizza dough and spray pizza stone with EVOO. Spread goat cheese over pizza dough, add toppings (except arugula) and place pizza in the oven for 15min or until the toppings start to brown and the crust curls slightly at the edges.
I think pizzas/flatbreads are the perfect, easy, weeknight meal that tastes deliciously comforting but doesn’t break the calorie bank. In fact, I might whip up my own version of the fig and carmelized onion pizza (from Plated) tonight!
’til next time, keep smiling! 🙂
Happy First Friday Friends!
Phil and I are skipping the mountains this weekend for a little alone time and some R&R. Phil is returning from his business trip this evening so its the perfect excuse for the two of us to curl up with a nice bottle of wine and chill. I am taking on more classes starting next week so I’m really trying to mentally & physically prepare for the shift. It’s a good thing I know just what to do.
For me, there is no better way to prepare than to take the best possible care of myself…which includes fueling up for success! Thanks to Plated, that’s no problem, and since its the beginning of the month, 3 more delicious meals are about to arrive on my doorstep. I don’t know if I am going to make a change to try another delivery service anytime soon, just because I don’t think the meals are quite as healthy but I am still doing my research!For now, I am diving in fork first to these delicious dishes and I encourage you to give Plated a try! This box includes whole wheat flatbread w/mission figs, caramelized onions, & teleggio, red lentil daal, smokey eggplant & garlic naan, and salmon ginger cakes w/soba noodles & winter vegetables. Include your email in the comments below and I will send you a free box to try!
’til next time, keep smiling! 🙂
…These yummy short ribs are about to get a sear and head right into the tub.
Happy New Years Eve Day my friends! I am so excited for this year’s celebration! Especially living in a city, the pressure to go out to dinner, a bar, or party is strong but we both decided with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and a brunch in New Jersey with his family on tap for tomorrow, we would much prefer a quiet night in.
Apparently we are not the only ones with this awesome idea because my brother and his girlfriend will be joining us for dinner (hence those amazing short ribs above – clearly not for me)! In honor of both the occasion and our guests, I decided to whip up something special, and with a little inspirational help from my chef/close friend Frank I came up with something I’m SO jazzed about (keep in mind EVERYTHING is homemade): caesar salad, lobster mac & cheese, braised short rib w/creamy polenta, roasted brussel sprouts & balsamic cranberries, and chocolate pot de creme w/whipped cream. I started a lot of my prep last night (made the chocolate pot de creme & the mussel stock for the lobster mac, as well as chopped the veg, made the rub & rubbed the meat) to make today a little bit easier but I do really need to get started!
I can’t wait to share all the yummy details of this dish in my very first Foodie Friday of Fifteen, as well as all the details of my adventures as they unfold throughout the year. In 2015 I am making a promise, but really only to myself, to be the best version of myself, judgement free, everyday, no matter what!!
‘Til next time, keep smiling! 😉
Happy Friday Family! It was so nice spending time with my magnificent friend Michelle and her handsome beau Mike – I love when friends come to visit!!! I was afraid my early start to the weekend would make the work day drag on today but things are flying – WOOHOO!
ANYWAY, onto the good stuff! As promised, today’s Foodie Friday is all about ice cream! I love my ice cream maker and have been playing around with this concoction for awhile now – I’m thrilled to finally share my cherry chunk ice cream with all of you! Be forewarned, there is nothing healthy about this delicious indulgence but its worth every caloric filled spoonful – TRUST ME!
Cherry Chunk Ice Cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
- 4-6 oz. dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces
- 1/4 lb. cherries (pitted and halved)
*make sure to prep an ice bath with separate glass bowl before you start*
Mix 4 egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar in a sauce pan and whisk in whole milk over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 7-10 minutes until custard begins to thicken and it stays on the back on your spoon. Add vanilla bean, strain custard into ice bath bowl and mix in heavy cream. Transfer mixture to the fridge to cool and start to work on your cherry syrup. Combine cherries and remaining 1/2 cup sugar into sauce pan over medium heat & cook for 10 minutes until syrup begins to thicken and the cherries have been cooked through. Separate the cherries from the syrup and put both in the fridge to cool. Once base for ice cream has cooled completely, transfer to ice cream maker and follow instructions for your particular machine. While the ice cream is churning, chunk your chocolate and once the ice cream base thickens (anywhere from 15-30 minutes) mix in cherry syrup (only if completely cooled), cherries, chocolate and walnuts. Allow everything to become well incorporated then transfer to container to freeze.
While ice cream can be tricky, I’ve gotten this and a few other recipes down to a science so it really doesn’t take as long as you’d think…plus how awesome is it to have homemade ice cream to offer your friends or indulge in yourself during these dog days of summer?!?!?!!?!
Its FRIDAY – let your hair down, have fun & ’til next time, keep smiling! 🙂
Happy Friday Friends! I can’t believe its Friday already! This weekend will be bitter sweet because I have to pack up my apartment. I’ll be saying farewell to my Art Museum accommodations for the summer to live with folks just outside the city. In an effort to look on the bright side, I am spinning it as an 8-12 wk vacation from the hustle and heat of the city during which I get to save money and build my personal practice before teacher training this fall!
Anyway, back to the point of the post, FOOD!!
This weeks Foodie Friday is dedicated to Wednesday night’s dinner, a sweet summer pasta that is a perfect balance of healthy and hearty – great for when you’re secretly depressed about moving out of the city and craving comfort food like mac & cheese.
To be honest, this dish is best cooked with helping hands, but totally doable on your own…big thanks to Phil who has been stepping up in the kitchen recently (maybe because he knows he wont have to for awhile 😉 )
Summer Squash & Zucchini Pasta w/Tofu and Parmesan
- 2 zucchini
- 2 squash
- 1/2 sweet onion
- 1 large clove garlic
- 4 tablespoons butter (salted)
- 1 cup sweet white wine
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- sm. block Parmesan (about 1/2 cup grated)
- salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme
- 1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta
Start by preheating oven to 375 & firing up the grill. Drain the tofu and wrap block in kitchen towel to remove moisture. Set aside the tofu and chop zucchini/squash length wise (long strips). Toss veggies in 1 tbsp of EVOO & season with salt & pepper. Grab the tofu and cut into cubes, toss in 1 tablespoon of EVOO, season with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet to cook in oven. Next, a pot of water for the pasta – cover & place over high heat. Then mince onions and garlic & toss 3 tbsp butter into a saute pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook down until opaque before adding garlic and continuing to cook until browned. Once browned, add remaining butter & cup of wine, reduce heat to medium low, add seasonings and stir occasionally. As sauce cooks, and pasta to water. (While this is going on, your helping hands will be out grilling your veggie strips just enough to get a char & add some flavor but still slightly firm. If you don’t have helping hands you’ll want to grill the strips after putting the tofu in the oven and then come back and start the sauce.) While pasta is cooking chop veggies into smaller pieces. Remove the tofu from the oven & once the pasta is done, drain and toss with sauce. Add the veggies to the mix and grate in about 1/2 your cheese. Top with crispy baked tofu cubes and then grate remaining cheese over each dish.
The directions may sound a bit detailed but it took Phil and I less than 30 minutes from start to finish to whip together this delicious dish! What’s even better is this serves four so we had amazing leftovers yesterday (A little tip if you’re not eating it all at once: after adding veggies to pasta & sauce, portion out what you wont be using before adding cheese, topping with tofu etc..)!
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!