Happy Friday, friends. A few weeks ago, I shared about the kitchen and finding balance within that space. I got a lot of feedback and emails, and thought I would maybe try to share a little more of what I’ve been cooking — or slicing or blending — up lately.
I’m definitely trying to eat clean(er) these days. “Clean.” We hear that word a lot and it’s all over and it seems every one has his or her own explanation. I guess, for me, it’s an attempt to eat those things which are simply available from the earth. Not processed in a plant. Not kept in a box for who-knows-how-long. Not handed out hot through a drive-thru. No loaded with those white little specks of evil sugar or that sappy corn syrup. I’m even trying (without complete success, admittedly) to do away with canned foods and make all my own beans (because this story this week really grossed me out; hello maggots and human hair in everyday foods).
This week, it’s been harder in some ways, though easier in others. Meal preparation has been a time-consuming key. I started bootcamp with my friend Jen this week, which means the darkness of 4:30 a.m. comes very quickly. I have to be out of my house by 5 a.m., with not only a healthy lunch packed, but also healthy snacks and breakfast (though I have yet to master breakfast … thank you, Jen, for the scrambled eggs).
But let’s not forget: It’s much easier to eat healthy knowing that I will be just short of murdered at bootcamp if I indulge in a bagel and cream cheese during the week.
So, it’s about baby steps. And I don’t always succeed. But I have been trying pretty hard — though, sometimes it’s not that tough when you realize just how great tasting whole, clean foods are. I couldn’t do without fresh fruit. I’ve been buying watermelon a lot lately, and they just keep getting better and better. Mango has been yummy, too. (Up top: that’s asparagus before I roasted it; I’m very into those spears this season).I like to make a big pan of this quiche-like dish to eat during the week. I take a few bites for the protein before I leave for my workout and I might snack on it or eat a larger slice for a meal. For this one, I used chopped asparagus, ‘shrooms, zucchini and onion. I whipped four whole eggs, eight egg whites, a splash of milk, then mixed it with the veggies. Just pour it in a casserole dish and bake in a pre-heated (about 350) for 30-45 minutes, whenever it’s all done and the veggies are cooked. I didn’t love the asparagus in this, but in the past, I’ve enjoyed cheeses, Greek olives, Feta, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.
Several of you have asked me about the basil vinaigrette I’ve mentioned lately. Since I saw this vegan Chunky Salad on Mrs. Buena Vida, it has become one of my favorite dishes. After making the salad the first time, I made a second larger batch of just the vinaigrette to eat on spinach salads the rest of the week. I literally used every leaf on the basil plants I potted this weekend. So worth it.
If you make a big batch, go easy on the apple cider vinegar. You might not need as much. Add a little at a time until you get a flavor you like. It’s now my favorite. (Oh — I took the photo before I remembered to add the arugula … I like it both ways).
Ah, kale. It’s this summer’s cool kid in the leafy green club. Everyone is doing it. I haven’t gone as fat as eating it in salads or raw; I’m scared it’s going to be too thick and textur-y. However, I do love me some kale chips baked with Parmesan cheese and sea salt.
I’m one of those people who likes to buy kale already chopped and bagged at Trader Joe’s. I feel like you get more bang for your buck, and I don’t have to chop away a ton if I buy it pre-cut. Ya know?
So I wash it, dry it well and lay it loosely on a baking dish. I give it a little dowse of olive oil, a few handfuls of fresh parm and a few shakes of sea salt. Bake it at 350 for 10 minutes or until it’s crispy (I do not like the soggy pieces). It’s so yummy and hits that chip craving dead on.
Oh, I have burnt them. And it’s really disgusting. If you do, just start over (And put the burnt ones in the trash outside. You’re welcome).
One day I was craving strong and intense flavor, so I made yellow curry with chicken, zucchini and mushrooms. I opted to stay away from rice, but added juicy red grapes for a refreshing twist to the meal.Some days you leave your house at 5 a.m. and forget your lunch and snacks on the kitchen counter. That’s when you turn to Starbucks for oatmeal.
So, that’s pretty much my week in food. I hope you got some ideas. If you have anything to share, please do. I always love fresh ideas that can help me on my own journey.
Have a great weekend! I hope it’s filled with friends, salty air, iced tea, smiles and healthy kitchen time.