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Mix and Match

The last few days have been a mix and match of lovely dinners, make shift lunches and one of my favorite things during the work week – tasty leftovers!! 

On Sunday I made a go to lunch – an egg, tomatoes and cheese wrap! This lunch is so simple, tasty and satisfying. Even better for some,  it takes only about ten minutes to make! This is a great treat for kids, too.  Here is what you need to make this lunch – which actually can be lunch, breakfast, dinner or a snack at any time of day! 

 

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An egg, a tortilla or a wrap, tomatoes (these are small tomatoes, I used one and a half and ate the rest!), cheddar cheese or another type of cheese and I personally think a good hot sauce makes the wrap – but of course it is purely optional. (If you don’t like hot sauce, salt and pepper your egg while you’re cooking it!) 

Tip: heat your pan and butter (I use brummel and a little cooking spray) before you put your egg in. Do not over cook your egg! 

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Put your cooked egg directly onto your wrap which will melt the cheese, add the tomato and hot sauce: 

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I added a few red pepper flakes, too… wrap it up and enjoy!

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After enjoying my lunch, I ran some errands. I am so happy that my day included an extended stop at one of my favorite culinary stores in Providence, Stock!  If you ever know someone that needs to get a gift for me – send them to Stock. I did a lot of poking around on Sunday – but I was able to resist a lot of things…. until I came across one thing I just had to have

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I could not resist – obviously!  There were plenty of other things I wanted to purchase for my kitchen as well, but I will save that for another day… if you are on the East Side of Providence (or just in the area at all) I highly recommend stopping by Stock – I know you will find something to make you happy! 

On Sunday night I made a fun dinner. I grated carrots and chopped parsley to get started: 

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I had two pieces of fish, and I crusted them in potato flakes, a little panko and parsley and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and a dash of salt.  I mixed together fresh, roasted corn, jalapeño, roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots, parsley and seasoning to make a fresh salad. It all came together very well: 

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When it came to dinner, there were no leftovers to speak of… so for Monday at work I packed some random things and felt like I was having a picnic in my office – not a bad feeling for a Monday, I guess. 

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Lunch consisted of: carrot sticks, apple slices, a Chobani 100, a mini babybel cheese and a couple of whole wheat crackers. On the side, a lemon seltzer which was very refreshing, especially after my lunchtime exercise. 

On Monday morning I decided it was time to get back into my “routine” which consists of eating healthy (which I have been doing for the most part) going for my lunchtime walk (which I have been doing), and going to the gym after work (which I have not been doing much – but I have been going outside for a few short runs a week). All day at work I would remind myself, “You are going to the gym after work.” In case I ran the risk of forgetting. 

On my way home I had a protein drink because I was hungry and wanted the energy to get through my first gym workout in a while.  Once I got to the gym, I did the elliptical machine for 30 minutes and some weights. I felt really accomplished getting to the gym for the first time in a long while – and I was surprised by how busy the gym was on a beautiful day in August. (You have got to hand it to the avid, healthy gym goers!) 

Dinner on Monday night was very easy and that helped get me to the gym. I got home after 7 o’clock and not having to think about dinner was a wonderful and helpful thing. I had left over Skinnytaste Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken. I heated up the chicken, heated up two tortillas and made my soft tacos in just a couple of minutes: 

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(I added some of the corn salad from the night before, too) It was a great dinner and I felt like I deserved it after a workout. I actually am excited to get back to the gym – which is surprising! I am definitely going to remember how nice it is to have leftovers during the work week – especially in September because everything always seems hectic in September. Everyone is back to school and back to work so doing everything takes longer, it seems!I can see that cooking a couple of times a week and having leftovers a couple of times a week will be a big page in my play book coming up. 

The last couple of days have been a culinary whirlwind. I am signing off for now to plan the next couple of days – stay tuned and happy cooking!

Julia’s Zucchini Gratin

This week started out with a great Italian ragu – but quickly turned back to some good old fashioned French Cooking!! (My favorite!)  The other day I discovered an old favorite from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume II thanks to Food 52.   I love Food 52 especially for their timely recipes. It is August in New England and zucchini is soooo plentiful around here! Thankfully, Food 52 posted Julia’s recipe for Tian de Courgettes au Riz which translates to Gratin of Zucchini, Rice & Onions with Cheese. How good does that sound!? 

Whenever I make a Julia recipe, I really have to concentrate. I wanted to take photos, but it just did not happen. But I did come out with a most amazing zucchini gratin!! It was one of the best things I have eaten in recent and not so recent memory.  It took a long while, but I hope when I make it again I can cut down on the time and be more organized and hopefully take a few photographs. If you love zucchini and parmesan cheese – MAKE THIS TODAY!

Julia Child’s Zucchini Gratin – Recipe Found on Food 52

Ingredients:

About 2 pounds of Zucchini (I used four medium zucchini)

1/2 Cup plain, raw white rice (I used Jasmine rice because that is what I had on hand!)

1 Cup minced onions

3 – 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2-3 Large cloves of garlic, smashed & minced (I used 3 cloves because we love garlic!)

2 Tablespoons flour

About 2 1/2 cups of warm liquid – This is basically all of the zucchini juice you get from ringing out the zucchini and the rest milk and a tablespoon or two of cream is the mixture that I made!

2/3 Cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt, pepper

6 – 8 Cup flame proof baking and serving dish about 1 1/2 inches deep (I did not have this, so I made due with what I had on hand – it was fine!)

Instructions:

1. Cut off the ends of your zucchini and wash the zucchini thoroughly. 

2. Grate your zucchini using a box grater. 

3. For every two cups of grated zucchini, add one teaspoon of salt and mix together in a medium sized bowl.  Transfer the zucchini into a colander and place the colander over your bowl.  Let the zucchini drain for 4 minutes or so. 

4. While the zucchini is draining, you want to quickly blanch your rice. Put rice in boiling and salted water for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside. 

5. After zucchini has drained, squeeze a little bit dry and taste it. If it is too salty you can rinse some of the salt off. I didn’t add a whole lot of salt to my zucchini, so I was happy with the taste (in fact it tasted perfect to me and I ate a little more of it raw!) Continue to squeeze your zucchini over the bowl to drain your zucchini – you need to reserve this zucchini juice for later!  Place the drained zucchini on paper towels to dry. 

6. Heat up your large frying pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil – have your pan on medium heat.  Once the pan is hot, add your onion and cook for 8 – 10 minutes, the onion should be fully broken down, translucent and starting to brown.  

7. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees

8. Stir in the zucchini and garlic. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Continually toss and turn, zucchini should be tender at the end of the 5 -6 minutes. 

9. Sprinkle in the flour, raise heat slightly and cook for two minutes stirring so the flour is mixed well, and smooth. (No lumps please!) 

10. Remove your pan from the heat and gently stir in the warm liquid (you can warm this liquid on your stove or you can warm it in the microwave – but you do not want this liquid hot, you don’t want your milk to curdle!) 

11. Return to moderately high heat, bring to a simmer – stir constantly so milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom of your pan. After the mixture comes to a simmer, remove from heat again and mix in your rice and all but two tablespoons of the grated cheese.

12. Turn mixture into your buttered serving /  baking dish. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons on top of mixture.

13.  Place your dish in the upper 1/3 of your oven. Bake at 425 until the top of your gratin is browned, bubbling and it looks like the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. It will make your kitchen smell amazing!!

My end product was a huge hit at my house!

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So, my gratin was not quite as browned as I had wanted – but two hours after starting this recipe I was so hungry. The rest of our dinner was ready to go, so I served up the gratin, too. I didn’t plan everything out perfectly – and my chicken breasts were cooking at 350 degrees for 35 minutes before I put the gratin in. Next time I’ll try to coordinate a little better! 

I served chicken breast coked in white wine, lemon juice, rosemary & thyme with the gratin, as well as fresh and local tomato slices and rosemary bread. It was  all so delicious – a go to dinner in our house from now on. 

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The next day we ate breakfast late – so it was more like a brunch. I made spinach and parmesan omelets with a side of gratin. Even though the omelet in this photo was not perfect, it was very well received:

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The sous chef and I ate this gratin until it was gone. I cannot wait to make it again – it might seem like a lot of work, but trust me it is completely worth it!! Go ahead and try it! Happy cooking!

 

A Change of Dinner Plans

As I was driving to work today, I was so excited about receiving my second shipment from Plated this afternoon.  I planned my evening in my head. Because I would not have to go to the grocery store or think much about dinner, I could go for a run after work and throw in a load of laundry. Perhaps I would even get some other things done, too. The post-work part of the day was my oyster, or so I thought.

When I got to work, I checked my phone as I settled in for my day.  Oh no!! I saw an email from Plated saying that my shipment was being sent to the wrong address!  Over a week ago I had signed on to my plated account and changed my shipping address to reflect where I would be during the week. I was so sad – and after a phone call to Plated, we ascertained that we would not be able to fix the problem today. I received helpful customer service but I was disappointed that even though I had changed my address days before, it was not reflected in this week’s shipment. NOTE: If you do decide to use Plated, and change your address – it only affects your shipments from that point on. Not a shipment that you have already ordered and paid for. I guess that makes sense? But I thought  I was all set because according to the website, my address change had been processed.

Just like that my day had changed. I had to think of what to make for dinner – which only bothered me because I was really excited about already having everything planned out, both menu and ingredients.  Thankfully, I am almost always thinking about food – so I had a great idea.  I had recently come across a recipe for Bucatini thanks to Bon Appétit and I had been craving it ever since I had seen the beautiful photograph and read the recipe. I was not going to make Bucatini, but something close. My own take on Bolognese… or something like that!

But before we skip ahead to dinner – here is a brief recap on other foods of the day.  I was at work for a couple of hours before I got around to breakfast. I took five minutes out of my morning to prepare a healthy breakfast – a whole wheat English muffin, a tablespoon of cashew butter and a handful of fresh blueberries.

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At noon, I walked to get a sandwich for lunch. I ordered a fresh turkey wrap with lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber and a thin slice of swiss cheese. I also picked up an amazing bag of rosemary and olive oil potato chips. The chips were so flavorful – but they were also a little rich (I guess I do not eat real potato chips all that much…) so I ate half the bag and gave the rest to a friend. We both agreed that they were amazing potato chips – definitely worth the splurge as long as I forget how much I like them!

 

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After work I started my commute home. Thankfully Whole Foods is in the middle of my drive, so I stopped to pick up a few ingredients for tonight’s impromptu dinner. By this point I was pretty excited about what I was making – but I also opted to not get every ingredient I would normally use, because I was not going to have all day to cook my sauce. I skipped carrots and celery.  I did pick up a small onion (because I had half of an onion in the refrigerator at home – which would not be enough) another garlic (because I have an awful habit of picking up one  head of garlic every single time I am in a grocery store – even if we have garlic at home. Why do I do this!? I must have a fear of being caught without garlic… I feel the same way about onions and San Marzano tomatoes!)  I picked up just over half a pound of Whole Foods 93% lean ground beef…. and two cans of San Marzano tomatoes, even though I knew I only needed one. The other would live in the pantry for a week or two…

Once I got home, I put away the meat. I ate a couple of Stacy’s baked pita chips. I had not eaten since lunch and I was forcing myself to go for a run and while I like running on an empty stomach, I find it hard to run when my stomach is grumbling.  I had to force myself to go for a run today. I really wanted to read, or sit on the couch, relax before starting dinner. I thought about just doing a load of laundry and watching tv. But instead, I got ready for my run. I told myself – Just run for 20 minutes. That is better than nothing.   I was hoping that if I started running, I could push myself to do more than twenty minutes. Luckily, that worked. I ran for 28 minutes and felt a lot better and accomplished after.

Back to the bolognese!!  This is probably not a typical bolognese and maybe I should just call it a red meat sauce or a ragu.

 

Bolognese Sauce 

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

1 T olive oil

Butter (unsalted, about a tablespoon)

4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1 28 can of whole tomatoes (I always use San Marzano)

1/4 C white wine

.65 pounds of lean ground beef

Finely grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

basil

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

To start your sauce, add about a tablespoon (or a little more) of olive oil to your pan, turn your burner’s heat to medium. Heat the oil while you chop up your onion. Once your pan has heated up nicely, add the onion and a pinch of salt to the pan. Stir the onion occasionally. Smash and mince your garlic – I used four cloves.  Once your onion has started cooking, add your garlic to the pan. Once you add the garlic, you have to stir frequently so the garlic does not burn. After a minute, add your ground beef, breaking up the meat with a spoon once it is in your pan. Add one tablespoon of butter. Let the meat brown. (this will take a few minutes) Once the meat is browned, add one 28 ounce can of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes. Season ingredients with a 1/2 T of crushed red pepper flakes and freshly ground pepper. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste.

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Stir to make sure the tomato paste is incorporated evenly in your other ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Once everything is simmering let it go for 30 seconds or so. Bring down heat to low, and continue to cook the sauce. Add 1/4 C dry white wine. Add a tablespoon of thinly sliced fresh basil. Taste your sauce and see what you think!  Season with salt and pepper if you think it is necessary. Add 1/8 – 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Stir everything together. Add a tablespoon of basil pesto if you have it – if you don’t that is totally fine.

Once all of the ingredients are in the pan, I like to cook the sauce on low for at least twenty minutes – but you can cook it longer. If you want to keep all the liquid in the pan, cook it with the lid on. If you need to evaporate some of the liquid, leave the lid off. If you ever need to add more liquid to your sauce, just reserve some pasta water once your pasta is cooked – it is a great addition to your sauce.  Once our pasta was ready and our zucchini was steamed, I served everything up.  Once I had the plates made, I garnished with more freshly grated parmesan cheese, a little basil and freshly ground pepper. The end result was pretty, flavorful and delicious.

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Tonight it feels like fall instead of a summer evening in the middle of August – but I am not complaining! I loved having this hearty dinner tonight, especially after a post work run. I was so glad that I forced myself to go out and hit the pavement. This dinner was a sweet reward!

I must say, cooking a couple of nights with my Plated box really got me back in the mood to cook and be creative at dinner time.

On Thursday, I decided to cook halibut. I found a simple but wonderful recipe on Epicurious and I had almost all of the ingredients at home already – sans the fresh, wild halibut.

Mom was already at Dave’s Marketplace (one of our favorite still local grocerys in the area) and was able to pick up fresh, wild halibut. (You should always try to get WILD fish and stay away from farm raised whenever possible. If farm raised is the only option at a market I am at, I will often decide to not get fish at all and go with another organic protein.) Mom picked up half a pound of halibut which was plenty for the two of us. Halibut has some healthy traits and it is so easy to prepare in a healthy way (grilling!).  Halibut is low in cholesterol and might be able to help lower your cholesterol when eaten regularly (once a week or so). It is high in protein, low in fat (especially saturated fat) and has healthy omega three essential fatty acids (so a lot of the fat that it does have is good for you!) Halibut is a good source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and B vitamins.  It is thought it might be able help to prevent some digestion cancers as well as ovarian cancers.  

 

Before heading home for the day, I changed into my running clothes for my fourth run in the last seven days. I only did two and a half miles, but it felt great and I was really glad I had literally forced myself to go – it was definitely not something I was eager to do at 5 o’clock on Thursday. Afterwards, I felt wonderful and accomplished.

Once I was home (and showered) I got right into the kitchen to start dinner. I whipped up the lemon basil vinaigrette: 

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I unwrapped the halibut, seasoned it with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I heated up my grill pan. Once the pan was at a good temperature, I took it off the burner, sprayed a little Trader Joe’s olive oil cooking spray directly on the pan and put it back on the burner. I added the halibut (skin side down) and topped it with the vinaigrette:

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I let the fish cook for five minutes on one side, and then I flipped it over. I am always excited whenever I can use my favorite fish spatula – let me tell you! 

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I cooked it for another five minutes on this side, and added some more vinaigrette. While the fish was cooking, I popped the baked zucchini fries into the toaster oven – they were left over from last night’s Plated wonderful meal. I also had red cabbage leftover and I sliced up some locally grown tomato for another side.

 

Everything came together wonderfully and the end product was both beautiful and delictable! 

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Grilled Halibut Recipe, adapted from Epicurious:

Ingredients: 

The juice of one lemon

Lemon zest from one lemon

two tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced 

4 tablespoons of thinly sliced fresh basil (think chiffonade here!) 

1 tablespoon drained capers (but it’s ok if some of the caper liquid gets in there – it will add flavor!) 

half a pound of fresh halibut, skin on. You can cut it into pieces, but I left my halibut whole and cut it to serve after it was finished cooking. It’s up to you!

Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste 

Instructions:

Heat your grill pan over medium high heat.

Quickly whisk together your lemon juice, zest, garlic, olive oil in a small bowl.   I added a small pinch of salt into the vinaigrette and some freshly ground pepper. At the same time I seasoned my fish with freshly ground pepper on both sides. Spray grill pan with some cooking spray if you want to (I don’t think it’s necessary). Put your piece of fish on the grill pan, skin side down. Add some of the vinaigrette to the top of the fish. Cook for at least 5 minutes on this side, flip fish, and cook for five more minutes. Depending on the thickness of your piece of fish, it may take longer to cook. Flake off a piece of the fish – if the thicker parts are white, (not clear and pinkish) then your fish is cooked. 

Transfer your fish to serving plates or a platter. Quickly whisk your remaining vinaigrette together again, and add remaining mixture to the cooked fish. Enjoy! 

Plated: A Review

A couple of weekends ago the Sous Chef and I were going through a bit of a culinary crisis.  

We make a lot of chicken in this house. Usually we make chicken breast because it is a lean source of protein. I do not really eat a lot of red meat or pork, and a lot of the time I do not have time to get access to the best fresh sea food (and I refuse to settle when it comes to fish!) so we are stuck with chicken breast. A few times this summer we have ventured out and cooked chicken thighs – and the thighs did have a wonderful, rich flavor… but still, at the end of the day, it was still chicken. 

But we were both sick of chicken. I was almost ready to give up cooking! I just couldn’t figure out what to do. I could not taste chicken again for a while, this I knew for sure. On the way home from work that Monday, I stopped by Whole Foods and bought ingredients to make turkey chili. It was a hit, and was definitely something we had not made in a long while. I love chili because you do not have to eat it right away. I was able to keep it on the stove top for an hour while the flavors came together to something wonderful, as I did other things and waited for the Sous Chef to come home from his day job. We had dinner and it was an easy clean up and we had leftovers for a couple of days – perfect for the work week. But you cannot eat turkey chili every day. 

I still found myself at a loss. I had seen lots of advertisements and offers to try Plated. I finally bit the bullet and signed up. I would be getting my first delivery just the day after I signed up – and I was really looking forward to seeing how this new service went. 

Our box was due to arrive on Tuesday, and that day I found myself really excited to get home and cook – which was a welcome change!  I also felt like I had more time to do other things that I needed to do, since I did not have to search through all of my recipes to find what I wanted to cook and I did not have to budget time to get to the grocery store. I felt like I had at least an hour of bonus free time, a feeling I never have during the work week. I decided to make the most of this – and I went for a three mile run after work, instead of just getting in the car and driving home. I felt like this was a great use of my time, and if I can do something healthy and stress relieving while using the Plated service, it might be worth it. 

When I got home I found all of the ingredients nicely put away in the refrigerator (by my mom who had been home when the Plated box arrived). The recipes were on the cutting board in the kitchen. I quickly reviewed both recipes and decided to go with the hanger steak and arugula salad with a tomato and goat cheese strata. Wow! I never have such options just walking in the door without doing any of the additional prep work.  This was fantastic!

First, I got out the ingredients I needed for dinner: 

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I loved how nicely everything was packaged – and the most important thing that I loved right of the bat, the knowledge that I would not be wasting ANY FOOD!  So many times in my house I will buy a BUNCH of cilantro, or parsley or another fresh herb when I need a grand total of three or four tablespoons. Sometimes I will need 1/3 of a cup. But often, so much of the herbs go to waste, even if I store them properly in the refrigerator (wrapping herbs in a paper towel will often keep them fresh for a longer amount of time).  I hate throwing away food (garnishes, mostly) – but sometimes I do, especially when I am cooking for two. 

When I opened the bag of herbs, I was taken and (for some reason) surprised by how wonderfully fresh and vibrant the basil and chives smelled. I was instantly reminded of how much I love chive. (Mental note – I must plant chive next year – I have had it in my garden in the past, and it has done wonderfully well – but this year I did not grow any and it has left quite the void in my culinary life.) 

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The basil was a little browned – but that was to be expected since basil bruises so easily. I tossed just a couple of leaves away, and replenished with the basil I had growing out in my backyard. I washed all of the herbs and arugula. I chopped the chive, and tasted as I went… they were delicious! 

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And then I got down to the nitty gritty … and the photos stopped for a bit.  

This is the one thing I will say about Plated.  You have to like to cook to use this service. This is not a thing where you open up your box, put one thing on the grill or pan and your dinner is done. There are steps, there are ingredients, and there is work to be done in the kitchen as you make your meal and after – the clean up can be a bit intense depending on ho many bowls, cutting boards, etc that you use in the process.  Not to discourage you from trying Plated – but just be prepared to put in some work to get your amazing dinner!  That being said, I loved every minute of it.  While I was cooking, I also enjoyed knowing that I had spent the free time I gained from using Plated the best way possible – by exercising and enjoying myself. 

I made the herb vinaigrette dressing, I put together the goat cheese and heavy cream mixture for the strata, and I cooked hanger steak! 

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This steak was a wonderful, lean cut of meat.  I cooked it to about medium, there was still pink in the middle. It was wonderful.

The finished product was such a lovely dinner. My mom and I were both so pleased and we could not get over how much we loved it.

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We also had a lot of leftovers!  I packed a lunch for the next day with arugula, hanger steak, herb vinaigrette and some tomato. Mom had goat cheese and tomato strata for the next day. I was surprised (and thrilled) by how generous the portions were! 

My lunch the next day was the talk of the office: 

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(Possibly because most people were surprised to see me eating steak – and loving it so much!) 

The next night we had another Plated meal on the menu. BBQ chicken burgers with cabbage and baked zucchini “fries”.  Mom and I cooked this meal together. It was another intense meal, but because there were two of us it did not seem as complex as the night before. We had a lot of fun making the meal… 

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Zucchini fries covered in egg and panko, ready for the oven! 

I love the way the small ingredients come in their perfect packages… I re-use the containers with screw tops for dressings for my lunches now.

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I hate touching raw meat, but I’ve been doing it for the sake of these meals – because they are wonderful and creative. I cooked our chicken burgers and used my meat thermometer to make sure they were at 165 degrees before I took them off the stove top. 

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The end result – another fun, creative and delicious meal that we enjoyed. It was a lot of fun cooking together, too! 

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If you have the budget for Plated and the willingness to cook and try new ideas, I would definitely recommend Plated.  I loved the ease of not having to think about what was for dinner and not having to shop for ingredients. I thought the instructions that each meal came with were perfect and lovely – with the colored photographs that are included. Each meal was easy to make, but it does take time. From start to finish (not including eating of course!) I would say that you need about one hour of your day to do a Plated meal. It is a lot of fun and I recommend it! Find more about Plated at their website: https://www.plated.com/

Happy cooking!

Salmon Leftovers

Hi Blog Readers – Happy Monday.  

I don’t really know what to say about my day. I survived? All in all, it was not all that bad. Work was interesting, I did not snack all day (always a victory in my world!) I talked to a great friend on the phone, I enjoyed a glass of wine and a lovely dinner where I did not have to do much cooking. The sad thing about my day was that I worked later than I intended to, and I missed my post – work run, and that was a big disappointment.  But tomorrow I plan to pack a bag and I will run at work if it is not raining when I wrap up my work day. 

But on to much better things. On Saturday my mom and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite places in Providence – Pizzico, of course! We split the arugula and cranberry salad (fantastic, light, a great balance of sweet, tang and pepperiness coming from the play of the vinaigrette dressing, the cranberries and arugula. Everything was so fresh and vibrant!  

After the salad (which they so nicely plated on two side plates for us because our server knew we were sharing the salad – they are always so thoughtful!) our entrees arrived.  I love that the courses do not arrive right on top of each other at Pizzico. It gave us time to chat, enjoy the atmosphere and enjoy our drinks (mom had a cosmopolitan and I had a glass of pinot gris).

Mom ordered one of the specials – pan seared scallops with a sweet corn and pea risotto. I had a couple of bites off of her plate, and everything was amazing (and rich!)

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I opted for the grilled salmon over sautéed spinach: 

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Oh my goodness. The garlic and capers, with lemon on top of the salmon. All of the flavors played so nicely together.  I ate maybe half of my salmon… and took the rest home. This made for the most wonderful dinner tonight after a long day at work.  Yet again, I am trying to increase my protein intake at all meals so that I can keep my hunger away longer. Your body burns carbohydrates really quickly, so if you eat mostly carbs, you will be hungry sooner than if you have a balance of some carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats.  Salmon is FULL of protein, and healthy fats. A win win protein! 

Tonight when I got home I had a piece of babybel cheese (six grams of protein, 50 calories!) and three whole wheat crackers (I have a weird thing about cheese – I really have to have a vessel to eat it with – yes, I’m strange) which kept me happy until seven o’clock when my dinner was ready (and three hours later I am still full!)  To go with my grilled salmon tonight, I made couscous and steamed zucchini… 

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I added dollops of sriracha hot sauce to the zucchini. This was such an easy dinner – I heated the salmon up in the toaster oven (perfect method to reheat the salmon because it kept it crispy, I would have hated to heat it in the microwave. Mushy salmon? No thank you!) I cut up the zucchini in half inch slices, put them in a microwave safe dish and added two tablespoons of water. I covered the plate with a paper towel, and heated the zucchini for 45 seconds in the microwave. I flipped the slices and heated for another 45 seconds. The perfectly steamed zucchini – sometimes I will put a little bit of butter or brummel on top. But today I opted for the spice. 

All in all, I got a lot out of my salmon on Saturday night. It reminded me that I really need to make salmon more than I do. 

Well, it’s about ten o’clock and I have another long day ahead – hopefully with a run squeezed in somewhere! Stay tuned for an interesting week blog readers! I have some reviews coming up that you might find interesting. Take care and eat well! 

Saturday Morning Run

This morning I accomplished a four mile run. It was rather hot, which made it a little hard – but I was so happy that I was able to accomplish four miles today! I even enjoyed myself and pushed myself to get it done. 

I put on a lot of SPF 50 before I went out. I even covered my hands with my new Super Goop hand lotion, that also has 40 SPF in it. From my hours of running in the sun, I started noticing that my hands were looking a little (gasp) wrinkled and I saw a sunspot on my left hand. Immediately I started looking for hand cream with SPF in it. I highly recommend Super Goop hand lotion!    I carried a ten ounce Nathan’s water bottle, and I put half of a NUUN into my bottle. I had my iPod shuffle on during my run, and having great music really helped me keep focused and I could tell I was running faster than I sometimes do while listening to NPR or a book on tape.  

The run was hot, and the trail was dusty. There was a lot of SUN and there were times during the run that I had to walk – but I was ok with that. After my run, I took a look at my sneakers and realized just how dusty the trail I was on really was! 

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Sometimes friends will come to me and tell me that they are just starting running for the first time. Sometimes they ask for advice or if there is anything they should know about running for the first time. I try to cover the basics (but I’m not an expert!) “don’t do too much – start slow, and increase your weekly mileage only by about 10% a week to avoid injury”. “Get fitted for the right running shoes – go to a running store and have them watch you run” I always recommend Marathon Sports in the greater Boston area or Road Runner in the Providence area…

But today, I was reminded of another important piece of advice – at least for runners who love food.  Do not go to your favorite grocery store after a run! Trust me on this.  BUT I did not follow my own piece of advice this morning, after my long run. I went to Whole Foods immediately after my run.  I got a few things – most of them were healthy but a few things I picked up because I was craving them or they looked amazing. Here is what I came home with: 

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Ok, so it’s not that bad. But peanut butter pretzels!? I couldn’t resist! I had a couple in the car on the way home, too.  But the tuna and avocado were put to good use in my post run lunch. I was really happy with how this turned out. 

I toasted a piece of “fitness bread” (a review on this bread will be coming soon!) and then added some 2% cheddar cheese on top, along with slices of a locally grown tomato and avocado: 

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Then I layered the wild tuna, some scallions and sriracha: 

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on the side I had the extra slices of tomato and avocado that wouldn’t fit on my piece of bread – delish! I thought this lunch was a good balance of carbs, protein, healthy fats and flavor. It really hit the spot – I really love the meal I have after a good run. Usually whatever I have tastes really good, and I really enjoy refueling my body and muscles after a run. I’m excited to get more runs under my belt in the next couple of weeks. 

I hope you are enjoying your Saturday, too! 

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