Showing posts with label Meatless Meal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meatless Meal. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

too good to NOT share

the weather is perfect.
the flowers are blooming.
it's already MAY.
summer is just around the corner...
so why on earth would you make SOUP!?
(um, because it's my favorite food, that's why...)
...and because I recently saw this recipe on a beautiful mess .
...and because asparagus is in season
... AND because I was simply intrigued at the idea of a "creamy" asparagus soup.
after putting everything in the pot, I took a shower, let it simmer, came back out, tasted the broth and immediately thought "what on earth am I doing, it's already 10:30 at night, i'm making a terrible soup, and i don't have another option for food"  ....don't let this fool you.  after you let it cool and get that stuff in the blender, the flavor explodes.... add a pinch of salt if you need to, squeeze a bit of lemon into it, and plop a dollop of plain greek yogurt on it and you will be impressed.
while asparagus is still cheap and in season, I encourage you to go try the recipe!

 photo 847944a9-6273-4526-9e05-dad5df4399ed_zpsb2690849.jpg
do it.
you won't be disappointed.
p.s. those speckles in the soup are black rice.  I forgot to get a potato, whole foods was closed, and I had some cooked rice in the fridge.  though it's still delicious, it would totally be better with the potato that's listed :P

Friday, January 20, 2012

the difference: volume 1

it's not uncommon for our friends or family to tell Mr P and I how much we are alike, and (like many other couples who have been together for a while) we often find ourselves finishing each other's sentences (except those times when Mr P is TRYING to tell me something, and i just KNOW what his answer is going to be, so i finish his sentence, and he says "no..", then starts telling me again, and again i KNOW what his answer is going to be so i finish his sentence... "no, babe"... and sometimes it makes him so frustrated he just stops trying to tell me what he was going to say... am i babbling or do any of you know what i'm talking about???)

anyways, sometimes it just hits us how much we are NOT alike, and i like to just point out our differences.  this is why i am going to start a series called "the difference".  it might be differences in the way we eat our food, our clothing style, our design sense, things we enjoy in our free time... just whenever i get one of those moments when i sit back and say "wow... we are just SO different"

last night was one of those nights.  i may or may not have told you that when Mr P first moved here he UNINTENTIONALLY lost 20 pounds (can you tell i'm still bitter about it??). after we started going to the gym, my intentions were to LOSE some LB's and inches, and Mr P was trying to GAIN LB's and inches (in all of the right places of course... so he can have that sexy triangle upper body with big sexy arms... or should i say sexiER triangle upper body and biggER sexiER arms ;)  he's blushing right now as he reads this, i'm sure)

last night was one of those we're-leaving-for-the-weekend-have-nothing-to-eat-but-don't-wanna-go-to-the-grocery kind of nights, so we scrounged the pantry.  our usual go-to meal is pasta with basically any sauce we can whip up from leftovers in the fridge.  but... even our 4 packages of rice noodles and 1 package of egg noddles had wheat flour in them.  we opted for making refried beans with brown rice, and i chopped up every bit of green veggies i had and tossed them in a salad with oil and balsamic vinegar.  not the most prestigious or fancy meal ever, but it surely beat eating out or buying more things from the grocery!! 

for the refried beans we mixed refried black beans with canned whole black beans, leftover salsa, and Mr P's random mix of spices.  for the salad, we happened to have romaine lettuce, green onions, dill, basil, celery, and cilantro just "hanging out" in the fridge....


Mr P's meal:

My meal:

(the photos totally don't show my point... Mr P had AT LEAST double rice and double beans AND had 2 fried eggs on top... hmph... boys ...)

on a brighter note: looking forward to yet another great weekend on the road!  staying in philly again, but for a wedding this time! congrats to the (almost) newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Peddle :D


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Detox Update & Cauliflower Steaks

Does having added-sugar-free, alcohol-free, caffeine-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and meat-free food have to taste bad?

No so.  At leat in THIS household!

As you well know, I'm jumping on the New Years Resolution bandwagon and doing a cleanse/detox/gateway to eating better/whatever you want to call it, and I "can't have" those things while during my plan.  Later in the plan I can have grains that don't contain gluten and fish.  But for this first week it's simply fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds (yikes!)  

I'm doing well so far, slipping just once when the boss took me out for lunch at a diner ( bad new bears for diets like mine!!) and once on Friday when our friends asked us to go to a new restaurant with them.  I wasn't soooo bad though, having a bit of cheese and bread on my french onion soup at lunch and added sugar in the dressing on my salad at dinner.  I figured, there's only so far I can go before this whole thing affects my whole life.  You can't say no when the boss wants to take you to lunch, and I can't say no to friends wanting to go to dinner when we hadn't seen them in a while.

I've started to get headaches in the morning from not getting my normal minimum 2 cups of coffee a day, but I think that will go away eventually. That's the only real negative so far, but it's really a positive in the long run.  I get hungry faster, but I am supposed to snack on things a few times a day, so if I'm feeling groggy I just grab a handful of nuts and I'm back to normal in no time.  I've been eating a lot of smoothies, fresh fruits, roasted veggies, and nuts.  I ate a whole cantaloupe in less than 24 hours (yikes!) but it's ok because that's part of the plan!  

Usually at night I've been roasting broccoli or other green veggies, but tonight we made a real meal out of the things I can eat!  I saw this recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce on Bon Appetit's website and knew I had to try it.  It was pretty tasty, but definitely not as satisfying as dinner should be, so in the future we will eat it with some grilled cheese toast (like Mr P did tonight) or another piece of meat, like chicken parm or something like that.

Here goes!  Hope you enjoy!

Cauliflower Steaks with Olive Relish and Tomato Sauce

(as provided by Bon Appetit, see comments at the end for our own recommendations)


1   large head of cauliflower

- 1/2 cup  pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped

- 3  sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

- 3 1/2 tablespoons  olive oil, divided, plus more

- 2 tablespoons  chopped flat-leaf parsley

- 1 teaspoon  fresh lemon juice

- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

- 3  garlic cloves

- 2 plum tomatoes, cored, quartered


  1. Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into four 1/2" "steaks" from center of cauliflower (some florets will break loose; reserve). Finely chop enough loose florets to measure 1/2 cup. Transfer chopped florets to a small bowl and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. oil, parsley, and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. oil to pan between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, return skillet to medium-high heat and add garlic cloves and tomatoes, one cut side down. Cook until tomatoes are browned; turn tomatoes over and transfer skillet to oven with cauliflower. Roast garlic and tomatoes until tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 Tbsp. oil to a blender; purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide tomato sauce among plates. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate; spoon relish over. Serve warm or at room temperature.

cut cauliflower into 1/2" "steaks"

roast in pan on stove, then transfer to baking sheet and bake until soft 

quarter tomatoes and cook in skillet with garlic

flip and transfer to oven to roast the rest of the way

had an extra tomato, so I had my favorite snack, fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper!

roasted tomatoes and garlic ready to go into blender

roasted cauliflower ready to serve

blended roasted tomatoes and garlic with salt, pepper, and olive oil

bon appetit! (sorry no pics of making the relish)

Notes from J&H:
- Make double the sauce and relish, you'll end up having too many steaks and not enough of the sauce and relish.
- I'm not a huge fan of olives, but Mr P is, so we used half as many as we were supposed to, and we used green instead of black because that's what we had.
- Mr P ate his meal with a piece of Italian bread with brie, toasted under the broiler so the brie got all melty (and delicious... I totally wanted just a bite, but knew I shouldn't and should stick to my plan!!)
- We also didn't use parsley (because we forgot it at the grocery store! Grrr!  ...and didn't want to run back.  I definitely suggest using parsley though)

Hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as we did!  We tried a new restaurant in Hoboken called the Turtle Club (not really new, but new to us), found a GREAT Chinese take-out place a block away (Called Grand Sichuan, many Asian people eating inside is a sign it's good too!!), I spent 4 hours shoe-shopping in SoHo with my friend (so awesome to spend the day outside in the sunny and almost 60 weather in JANUARY!! ), we did laundry, and cleaned the apartment.  Not bad for a no plans-planned weekend :D

Cheers to a great week ahead!  Only 3 more days until I can eat legumes and fish!!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

{balsamic} vinaigrette

After eating leftovers all week (thanks, Mama Phan!), we were ready to eat something different tonight.  Mr P wanted to make lentil soup, and it took much longer than anticipated, so we ended up eating bigs salads for dinner instead of soup and a small side salad (but yay for delicious lentil soup for tomorrow!!)

We topped red leaf lettuce with grape tomatoes, red onions, pears, grapefruit, walnuts, and a little bit of extra sharp cheddar cheese.  We normally make some version of a typical oil, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, mustard, etc. vinaigrette, so I wanted to switch it up and go for some {balsamic} vinaigrette!  I never made it before tonight, so I looked to none other than the to find a quick and easy recipe.

Emeril pulled through for us, with a simple vinaigrette with just balsamic vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper (woooo we had it all and I didn't need to run to the store again to pick up that ONE ingredient that makes the sauce).

We certainly enjoyed the change-up, and hope you do too!  Next time we will add in some apples and blue cheese (and load up on the walnuts!!)

Emeril Legasse's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
(find the original recipe here)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter!)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil  (we used a 2:1 olive oil to vinegar ratio instead of his given 3:1 ratio because vinaigrettes always call for too much oil for our tastebuds)

Whisk together all ingredients but the oil.  Slowly add oil while continuing to whisk.  Presto!

Serve over salad of choice (though we highly recommend it has walnuts and some sort of fruit!)

After visiting family in Ohio, we came home with delicious fudge for dessert every night!!  Yum! Thanks, Diann! We love it!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Overnight Oats

Wait... isn't that why they made "quick oats"?  So it doesn't take so long to make oatmeal?  Why spend the time cooking your oatmeal overnight when can be cooked in 90 seconds in the microwave? I'm talking about steel cuts oats, "same same, but DIFFerent" (like the Thai people would say when they try to sell you the same trinket you saw at the previous 10 street vendors).  Steel cut oats are simply better for you, have more fiber, and they are processed less (I think they are more delicious and appetizing, but I can leave that to you to decide.)  Read this article for a more in depth comparison.

I started with a recipe from Alton Brown (though if you google 'overnight oats' or 'crock pot oatmeal' you will get very similar recipes).  I like to make them because they take 2 minutes to prep, then in the morning I scoop it into individual containers for the week so I can just grab one from the fridge on my way out the door.  Alton's recipe calls for dried cranberries and dried figs.  The first time I made this recipe, I only had dried cranberries, so that's what I used!  I substituted extra cranberries for the figs, but you could use practically any dried fruit (prunes, raisins, dried apples, dried pineapple), whatever you feel like.  If you're like me, you will use whatever is in the cupboard!  This recipe is nice because you don't need to add extra sugar.  Most dried fruits have added sugar anyways, so the tangy sweetness comes out from the fruit.  I also split my oats into 5 servings instead of the listed 4, because the first time I made it, I got SOO full every morning, and decided I would feel better eating a bit less of it (I know, crazy right? ..but oatmeal is solid, so it fills up the tummy very quickly!)

Here is what has become my standard recipe the last three times I made this.

Overnight Oats
(modified from Alton Brown's Overnight Oatmeal)

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries (or more if you really like them!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Put all ingredients in a crock pot, stir, cover with lid, and set on low for 8 hours.

That's it!

{ready to be cooked overnight in the crock pot}

{after 8 hours of crock-pot-cooking}
...looks a bit like red beans and rice, huh?

{why hello there, delicious healthy breakfast}

PLEASE let me know if you try any of the recipes!  I encourage feedback (even if you had an awful experience, haha)

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

Ok ok ok... I know, if you want to make a quick batch of pasta, you just open a jar (for heaven's sake there's an entire isle at the store these days for red pasta sauce, why on earth would you want to MAKE it yourself?)  Well, its because you haven't tried simply using a can of crushed tomatoes.

We always have canned tomato products on hand for nights like tonight, when we want to make a quick meal, or for when we want to make fancier pasta sauces, pizza sauce, soups, we use it in braised meat dishes, there's always a time when we are in the midst of cooking and say "Hey babe, can you see if we have any crushed tomatoes?"  But you would never use jarred "pasta sauce" in place of using crushed tomatoes, right?  Right.  That's because pasta sauce usually has lots of other ingredients in it that you don't need for that particular recipe.  But crushed tomatoes are crushed tomatoes.  Just with salt and citric acid added.  No herbs, no cream, no cheese, nothing to change the flavor away from just crushed tomatoes.  The versatility of canned tomato products is endless, and that's why we don't clutter our shelves with jarred pasta sauce.  Plus, its usually a bit cheaper than jarred pasta sauce, AND we get to add our own herbs and spices without going overboard or being limited on what we can do with the sauce based on the herbs and spices pre-added.

Tonight we sauteed all the leftover veggies in a hot pan with olive oil, then added a big can of crushed tomatoes, added some salt, pepper, sugar, all-spice, and sherry wine, let it simmer down, added a bit of heavy cream to make it a bit orange, and presto!  Sauce was done before the pasta!  If that's not quick enough for you, I don't know what is!!

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz box of pasta (any shape!  tonight we used mini tomato bow-ties)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 onion, diced (or rough chopped if you like big pieces)
1 green pepper, diced (or rough chopped if you like big pieces)
1 head broccoli, cut into florets/bite-sized pieces
1 tsp salt, plus 2 tbsp for pasta water
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp all-spice
1 tbsp sherry wine (its ok if you don't have it, but it helps to break up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional, but makes it yummier)

Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the entire box of pasta.  Stir until pasta does not stick to each other.  Add broccoli florets and cook as per pasta package instructions.

While waiting for water to boil, heat olive oil in large pan (dutch oven if you have one) over high heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent.  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, all-spice, and sherry wine.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally, making sure not to burn.

When pasta is finished, drain water.  When sauce is finished simmering, add cream (if you choose), stir until cream is thoroughly mixed, add pasta and broccoli, stir until thoroughly mixed.

Presto!  Garnish with freshly-grated parmesan if you have it :D

You COULD go as basic as just the pasta and the crushed tomatoes.  We have done it before, and it turns out delicious!  But, if you have veggies just sitting in the fridge, or if you just want to eat more veggies, add them!  Add other types of veggies too! Zucchini would be good, and carrots, whatever suits your fancy.  And if you have spices in the cupboard, by all means use them!

Hope you enjoy this super quick weeknight meal!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weeknight Surprise: Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese and Homemade Tomato Soup

First off, I think I jinx myself whenever I blog about my fall decorative plants on the stoop.  Mr P and I left the house to meet up with friends at Nha Trang for breakfast/lunch on Saturday, and we noticed that someone stole my kale!!!!  So now I'm down to two plants, when I started with 4.  People make me angry!!

Secondly, one day this week Mr P saw this article on to make this sammich, came home with all the necessary groceries in his arms, and got to work making the sammich with homemade tomato soup to go with it.  It was kind of funny because he's always been the one to get started on working on the apartment right away after work, but I think he spent most of the night working on the food... signs of fall means heating up our kitchen will be ok which means Mr P is back in cooking season!! yayaya

Basically it's a grilled cheese sammich that tasted like a jalapeno popper, literally!  We only used roasted jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese (and bread and butter), and it was still amazing.  We added djion mustard to the sammiches because we didn't have ranch, but next time we're totally trying ranch dressing!  Unlike most kitchens, we don't keep hardly any salad dressing on hand because we normally make out own.

We finally got the opportunity to use our grill pan that has been lingering in the apartment for months now, which means we got nice grill marks on the sammiches.

Next was the homemade tomato soup!  If you have never had homemade tomato soup, I dare you to try.  It's super easy and tastes sooo much better than Campbell's!  I probably wouldn't have ever thought of making it at home if it weren't for Mr P and his "we can make anything from scratch" mind.  The only special tool you need is an immersion blender (or stick blender), unless you want to  transfer boiling hot soup into a regular blender or food processor to emulsify (sounds scary to me!).  Here we go:

Tomato Soup

(1) 32 oz. can of canned crushed tomatoes
(2) 16 oz. cans of low sodium chicken broth
(1) 8 oz. can tomato paste
(1) cup diced fresh tomatoes
(1) medium white onion, rough chopped
(3) cloves garlic, rough chopped
(1) tsp olive oil
fresh basil, rough chopped
salt and pepper
(1/2) cup heavy cream (optional)

Heat oil in deep pan on medium high heat.  Add chopped onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.  Add canned tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, and fresh tomatoes.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until fresh tomatoes are tender (about 10 minutes).  Turn off heat.  Add chopped basil and "blitz" with immersion (stick) blender until pureed and smooth.  Optional: add heavy cream and stir until completely mixed.  Serve and garnish with basil.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tis the Season for Pumpkin

Mmmm... fall means.... pumpkin spice lattes!!  Are you downing them everyday like there's no tomorrow?  Do you know they have to be chocked full of calories, but you like them too much to look at the nutrition facts for fear of never being able to drink them again?  Well, I'm here to break the news, but offer some good tips as well!

Starbucks says that just a "tall" (read: small) cup of pumpkin spice latte contains a whopping 300 calories!!  A grande (read: medium) contains 380.  That's a meal, not a drink!  That's an extra 3 miles to your run, or drink 9 of them and you've added a pound to your behind.

If you are drinking this wonderful seasonal drink, you probably enjoy the taste of pumpkin anyways, and more so the taste of "pumpkin spice".  You probably never eat anything pumpkin without pumpkin spice, which contains cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  You can find it in any spice section of any grocery store, and make that latte at home!  You probably don't have the right machines to make it frothy like Starbucks, but you can surely make it taste almost as good, with less than half the calories (and a very small fraction of the price!)

It's as simple as this:  brew your coffee, add a dash of pumpkin spice, add milk (or cream), and sugar.  Even 1/2 cup of 2% milk is only 70 calories, and 1 tbsp sugar is 50, putting you at 120 calories, still less than half of the tall latte.  You can make it have even less calories by using skim milk (or, if you want to keep it thick but be even lower in calories, use almond milk) and artificial sweeteners (I'm no expert, but I'm not exactly and advocate for artificial sweetners).

If you really want a real meal with pumpkin, add pumpkin spice to your oatmeal!!  I've been doing it every morning lately... I need to get real pumpkin and start putting that in it too!  Libby's canned pumpkin has only 40 calories in 1/2 cup and Quaker Oats has 150 calories in 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal.  Give it 1 tbsp sugar at 50 calories and your total meal is 240 calories.  You will be full, satisfied, and still be consuming less calories than that tall latte.

In short, pumpkin spice is amazing, and it can cure your craving for seasonal pumpkin foods, without adding on the pounds.

Now, do you still want that pumpkin spice latte?  Maybe 1 or 2 this season won't be that bad I suppose ;)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 29: Back to Work

So, as you know, we skipped days 25-28 for a wedding in Ohio, but tonight we were back to the grind.  First we went to the bodega around the corner to pick up some veggies for a simple veggie pasta.  While we were there, I spotted my favorite dessert...   After stopping in Carlo's Bakery a million times asking if they made it that day, stopping in every Italian bakery I pass to see if they have it, I find marzipan in a bodega, of all places!!  I hope they carry it all the time.. That would be dangerous though ;)  Marzipan is made of almond paste and sugar.  That's it.  Then it's usually shaped into fruit shapes (weird, I know, it has nothing to do with fruit) and airbrushed to look like fruit.  It's.. just.. so.. delicious!

Mr P made a simple veggie pasta for dinner.  He sauteed mixed chopped fresh veggies in olive oil and garlic, then added al dente pasta, some spices, salt, pepper, and raw eggs in the end to make a thicker sauce.

The wok is our best friend when we want to make a quick meal!!

...and now we have lunch and dinner for tomorrow!  We had everything except the veggies (spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, squash, onions, garlic) and only spent $9 at the bodega.  The marzipan was $3, so all the veggies were only $6!!  yayayaya

As far as renovations go, we took all the tools we aren't going to need anymore down to the basement, took about 4 contractor-sized bags of garbage to the road, broke down a million cardboard boxes for recycling on Thursday, and set up the NEW STAINLESS STEEL ISLAND!!  We're so excited for that.  It will be basically our only source of counter space, but it's big!  Just waiting on for recycle day to get rid of the kitchen table and our kitchen will finally start to actually feel as big as it really is!

It's all coming along :D