Monday, May 23, 2011

Gazpacho and Bean Burritos

Today has been totally lame in the science way. Around noon I got an e-mail from my advisor telling me a recently submitted paper had been rejected. The e-mail contained reviewer comments - which he asked me to go ahead and handle for the next draft of my dissertation that is DUE WEDNESDAY. That's almost now. So I was cruising along, trying to finish up all of my corrections for him, and got this curveball thrown at me. In addition, he asked that I address the comments for a resubmission before I defend, which is July 20th. SO my diss. is due July 6th, I defend the 20th, and somewhere in between there I have to rewrite a paper, prepare my public defense, start packing up my house.. I don't even want to go on.

I just had to get up right that second and go for a walk downtown for a few minutes to clear my head and calm down. It will all get done... it's just a stretch. A big one.

Anyway- food today was good. I was hungry almost every second of the day- so I will have to add some snacks tomorrow so that I don't feel like I am about to die at 4:30 like today.

Breakfast - egg whites with salsa verde. Green smoothie - banana, strawberry, greek yogurt, lots of spinach and some almond milk.

Lunch - some tuna salad boats with this tuna salad.

Dinner- Gazpacho and Burritos.

I wanted to make these today since I had leftover guacamole from yesterday. However, when my husband got home from the gym he fixed that issue - so we were Guac-less.

The Gazpacho is Angela's recipe. So, so, so good and simple. Great flavors. This will be added to my tuna boat lunches!

And because of the debacle this morning/afternoon/whenever it was - I made true emergency bean burritos.

Bean Burritos - the fastest and easiest ever
1/2 sliced onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
Na++ and pepper
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1 can fat free refried beans
1 cup shredded low-fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a pan with some cooking spray and add onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and add frozen veggies. Add cilantro once the veggies are thawed. Add spices. Done.

Put 1/4 can refried beans on the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with veggies. Roll up. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Garnish with salsa. So fast, so easy, so good.

Now I really need to get to work!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fish tacos

I have been on my husband's case lately because he is always talking about how he LOVES to grill - and how he is just the best at it - and he can grill ANYTHING. Oddly enough, I never catch him actually grilling anything. He'd much rather wait for me to make something - no matter how un-meaty it may happen to be. Last week when I made this nice seafood dinner - I mentioned how the entire meal could have been grilled. He got the hint and we eventually came to the agreement that he would start preparing 1 meal per week. He took this seriously for about 15 minutes and started doing some "meal planning"

He came out of the office the other day with a grilling cookbook he got as a wedding gift. He found a recipe for fish tacos and started reading it aloud to me. The ingredient lost was 500 items long, and the prep time was about 4.5 days. It was a little too ambitious for somebody who hasn't touched food since way back when he was single.

My sister-in-law consequently posted a recipe for fish tacos on her blog that sounded much simpler. As the two filets of tilapia defrosted for a full 4 days, I appealed to the husband to simplify the recipe. We used the marinade listed above - just some lime juice, olive oil and jerk seasoning. A LOT easier than what he was originally planning. He even had the foresight to smoke some hickory chips to add to our charcoal grill. The fish was so smoky and delicious.

To garnish:
whole wheat tortillas
romaine lettuce
quartered cherry tomatoes
shredded cheese
Mango Guacamole. Mmmmmmmmmmmm x 1000

On the side: refried black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 seeded jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp red wine (why the hell not, right?)
1 can black beans - with juices
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Saute garlic and onions until soft-ish. Add jalapeno and saute a minute or so more. Add the cumin and saute until the smell is so overwhelming you can barely breathe (about 30 seconds). Add the wine - magic! No more suffocation! Add the can of black beans and turn heat to LOW. Simmer about 15-20 minutes- they will be nice and CREAMY. Add cilantro and love them.

The verdict? Everything was great! Well, I also did everything except smoke the fish. But it's a start, right? Now it's time to solve some cases with Mulder. I just saw this scene.

I am lucky.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salmon and Mango Strawberry Salsa

Salmon is one of the few fishes that actually benefit your health. With respect to cardiovascular health - the fatty fishes are your best bet. I won't go into any lipid sciences - since I find it boring (two of my best friends are in lipids- but I don't necessarily understand what they do). I do know that fish oils are great for you - mainly by reducing arachidonic acid - which is a pro-inflammatory protein. Fish oils work to dilate blood vessels and stop platelets from stickign together - which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also work in the liver to limit the production of LDL (the bad cholesterol). So BAM - fish oils are pretty good.

The catch (haha get it) with salmon is that it has to be wild salmon - coho or atlantic. Otherwise the natural diet and environment aren't incorporated into the dead fish bodies for your consumption (sounds appetizing, right?) Well, it is. Deal. When you buy salmon, is it PINK or is it nice and SALMON colored? If it's light pink, the color is added in - since the natural diet fed to farmed salmon makes them almost white. So spend the money and buy the better stuff.

Well, enough with that. I happened to make some salmon tonight that was DELISH. I made a paste of 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp coriander, Na++ and pepper, and a shake of cayenne. I then proceeded to rub this on a filet of salmon, which had previously been rubbed with Na++ and Pepper.

I paired it with some roasted sweet potato wedges that I put a teaspoon of honey at the end for good luck. Also some roasted asparagus with olive oil. Yum.

All of these things can go in the oven at 450. The potatoes stay in for 30 - everything else for 10 -ish. Be your own judge!

What's that on top of the salmon? Oh just a little strawberry-mango salsa.

One mango
3 strawberries
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Na++ and Pepper

Mix together and let sit for as long as you can stand it.

Angela's vegan enchiladas with cilantro avocado cream sauce

I waited WEEKS to make these. WEEKS. Seriously. I first saw THIS RECIPE on oh she glows on May 4th. I finally bought everything to make these LAST SUNDAY. No, not this past Sunday - the Sunday before that! But last Wednesday I traveled to an interview, and didn't get back until last Friday. On Friday my husband wanted to go out to dinner, but I can't even remember if I did since I was so exhausted.

Oh nevermind, I did. I made Kath's scallops. They were fab but I took no picture. Really fab. Oh and ou must try the risotto this way - so easy and so delicious. My husband killed what were going to be leftovers.

Anyway... this weekend and this week my husband kept coming up with reasons why we couldn't eat at home - or why he couldn't more specifically. Finally, last night I made these enchiladas and they were worth the wait. I had some stomach issues yesterday and came home early from the office - but nothing was going to stop me from using all of the ingredients before they rotted away. Luckily things seemed safe. Since I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast I had no guilt eating 1/2 an avocado on my enchilada. So good.

My picture wasn't great since my husband already dug into these before I could snap a pic. But head over to the original recipe for the directions and the pics. Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Tonight the husband had a sports banquet to attend - so I was on my own for dinner. This is always a good opportunity to make something that I know would prompt complaining from my spouse. I wanted a light dinner since I snacked on random free crap at a bridal show with my friend yesterday (followed by a Sunday special Bloody Mary and home made buttermilk biscuits at the local hipster bar).

I decided to use the spaghetti squash I had been hoarding for an occasion such as this and make a veggie only meal.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara
1 spaghetti squash - obviously
cooking spray
4 cloves garlic
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup red wine
1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes- cut up by your own hands
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 large, large handful baby spinach
Na++ and pepper
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Use your best knife to cut your squash in half. It will be kind of a pain. Then poke it with a fork a couple of times and place cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the delicious sauce. Spray a pot with cooking spray and add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add the herbs and saute until they begin to smell herb-ey. Add the wine and let it cook off until the smoke stops for the most part. Add the tomatoes and paste and bring to a boil. Lower the temp and let simmer until the squash is done (it's convenient). Add the spinach and season with Na++ and pepper.

Make into 4 portions and top with cheese. Yum. Nice and light and delicious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mango BBQ baked beans

These beans are what I would call "super awesome." That's it. I've made them for some BBQ's - and this time I actually got leftovers to take home. I enjoyed them for lunch yesterday with a salad. While at whole foods, I discovered a contained of my favorite orange ginger beets - the ones I will buy $15 salads just to consume. Well, I bought a container of them for my very own. I heaped them on my salad with some low fat cottage cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, and pecans. Weird combo? Yes. Delicious? Very. And I was STUFFED.

These beans are from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I adapted them a little, and my changes are listed below.

Mango BBQ beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp Na++
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cans kidney beans - drained and rinsed
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 Tbsp agave nectar

Get your pot ready by heating it over med - add olive oil and onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add everything up to beans and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour. Everything will be nice and thick and yummy. Turn stove off and add smoke and agave.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Egg-y breakfast

Today I am refining my talk for my final post doc interview. I'm being flown up north to a very prominent university tomorrow. I am so nervous! I leave tomorrow afternoon and get in really late - in fact the guy who booked my flight gave me a 5 hour layover in Atlanta (one of my least favorite airports). Hopefully I can get an earlier flight out of there, because I will be in a BIG city and don't really want to be arriving at my hotel at midnight.

Thursday I meet with the department in the AM, have lunch with a current post doc and accompany her on grand rounds - which is immediately followed by an hour long talk by yours truly about my work. That is the only thing that's really making me nervous- I'm a pretty good public speaker, and I've spoken in front of all types of people, but never for an interview! Ah. After my talk I spend the rest of the day meeting with the lab staff I would be working with, so hopefully it all pans out and we know for certain where we are living next year.

Today I plan on spazzing out over my talk all day - reading old papers of my potential mentor - and getting a new outfit later on. To fuel up I started with a simple egg white burrito on a low carb whole wheat tortilla. I love these with salsa verde, a la the Fitnessista. Accompanied by a smoothie of a small banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup spinach and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk.

Now to perfect this talk!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Three-grain bread --> lunch

Sine I obviously have decided that work is for the birds today, I'm going to share one of my favorite lunches: sauteed spinach and tomatoes over garlic bread. Oh yeah. So good.

I made a loaf of Three-Grain Bread from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian Family Cookbook this week. I love all of the quick breads, and this one is no exception. The bread is a little sweet, almost like cornbread, thanks to the addition of maple syrup. Yum.

Three-Grain Bread:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Na++
1 cup yogurt (I used 0% greek)
2/3 cup milk (I used almond)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or molasses)
2 Tbsp safflower oil.

Mix dry, mix wet, add wet to dry. Put in 350 degree over for 40 minutes. Easy peasy.

Now onto lunch:
just saute up some halved cherry tomatoes for a few minutes, then add spinach when they start to soften. Add any herbs you'd like if you're feeling adventurous.

For the bread: Either spray with cooking oil on both sides, or rub with olive oil. Add some Na++ and pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese to each side. Broil on each side for about 1 minute.

This bread pairs perfectly with the veggies - but obviously you can use any bread. Great filling, light lunch.

I added a small side of tuna salad for protein because why the hell not? Now I can see how much work I can get in before it's beer tasting time... by myself... because my husband decided yesterday he now coaches softball for free and will be heading to their game tonight. Good thing track is over.

Oatmeal magic

My overnight oatmeal hit the spot the other day- but for whatever reason the temperature here in NC dropped to the 60's - and it's been a little chilly. As a result, I decided to try the same recipe in a warm form (just no chias)

I heated up 1/2 a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and added 1/4 cup rolled oats. After a minute or so of stirring I added a tiny, tiny banana to the mix and a shake of cinnamon. I stirred in about 1/3 of a cup of greek yogurt at the end. I wasn't sure how the greek yogurt would taste- but it made the oatmeal super creamy and delicious.

I topped it with some granola and peanut butter and again was full until 2pm... at which point I went and grabbed a whole foods salad (addiction). When I came back to work I found that my first manuscript had finally been published. Yay! I also received feedback from my advisor that wasn't so bad (about a week's worth of work and 3 whole weeks to complete it) and an itinerary for my post doc interview next week. I was having a sweet day obviously.

For cinco de mayo, my husband and I grabbed some coronas and brought over some nachos to our friends' house (the new parents). I didn't get a picture of the blue corn chips topped with leftover three-bean chili, but I can tell you that I topped it all with MANGO GUACAMOLE which is honestly the best I've ever tasted. I had a mango in the fridge all week and it was obviously destined for this guacamole. Check out the recipe on How Sweet it is and try it, you'll be glad you did.

Another day working from home today - yay!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oatmeal and Enchiladas

I have been having a smoothie every day for breakfast for about... I don't know... 7 months? I felt a need for change after seeing a post of Kath Eats Real Food describing THESE overnight oats. They sounded so good I went and threw some together right that second to have the next morning. I was also tempted by the thought of granola on top of oatmeal - so I threw together some of my favorite granola from a recipe given to me by a friend at work. Check out the recipe on her blog HERE. It's seriously so good and simple to put together! I had a serious addiction to this granola for a long time and was afraid to make it again for fear I would eat every last bit. But it's survived two days so far so I think we're safe.

These oats are based of the recipe above, here's what I threw together:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 small (and I mean tiny) banana
1 tsp chia seeds
1/3 cup 0% greek yogurt
1 shake of cinnamon

Mix together and leave overnight. Wake up and sprinkle on a Tbsp of granola and a tsp of reduced fat peanut butter. Um yum. I had to take a break while eating this because it was so filling. I lasted until 2pm (seriously) without the thought of food. The entire french press was filled with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee helped also.

I then proofread all 180 pages of my dissertation and sent the first draft off to my advisor to see how much of it he hates. I then took the day off to get some crap done as I haven't had time to do much else other than write.

After a day full of running errands, I stopped home to make some butternut squash enchiladas. My good friend just had a gorgeous baby girl and I asked her what meal she wanted the most. She requested these enchiladas after I had made them for some friends and they kept bragging about how good they were to her. So I threw them together, set two aside for the husband and I and then dropped over for some baby time.

Of course my husband texted me 70 times while I was over with the new parents. All dinner related texts of course. He even threatened to eat without me! Yeah right! That would mean he would have to turn the oven on and warm the enchiladas and resign himself to the fact that there were only 2 and he would surely starve.

I came home and threw together a random chili that I will use to make nachos for cinco de mayo this evening! Of course he had not started eating or dinner prep without me!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chili Crusted Scallops

Um yeah. This dinner is epic. I've made it countless times - it's from a certain diet plan that hall not be named... but includes the counting of points. I probably won't get arrested for posting it - but whatevs. I'll change a few things so that I can't get into trouble.

3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tsp chile powder (not cayenne like I mistakenly read... whoops!)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Na++
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 pound scallops
1 zucchini - sliced
1 summer squash - sliced

Pre-heat your broiler.

Put everything up to the scallops in a small saucepan - stir with a fork over medium heat for a minute or two so that it gets nice and thickened. Add the scallops to the saucepan and cover in delicious sauce. Get out your favorite baking sheet and spray with some cooking spray.

Stack the squash and zucchini on one side of the pan, and place the scallops and their delicious chile sauce on the other. Broil for 3 minutes - then flip the scallops and broil for 3 minutes on the other. Look at that - 6 minutes and you're done! Maybe 10 minutes total and you've got dinner.

I served with some roasted sweet potato wedges (sweet potato sticks, 1 tsp olive oil, rosemary, Na++ and pepper and 425 degrees for about a half an hour) and kale chips kale chips (torn kale, olive oil spray, 1 tsp balsamic, Na++ and pepper 325 20 minutes).

Monday, May 2, 2011

asparagus pea barley risotto

Well things are going just dandy here over in almost-PhD land. My first draft of my dissertation is due on the 4th - and I've written all that I feel needs to be written until I get feedback from my advisor. Total page count is 169... doesn't seem like a lot when you consider it's a full 5 years worth of work. Today I took it easy and did some formatting at home. At noon I went for an hour long walk around my neighborhood and listened to the Bugle.

This evening I threw together a nice meal of a barley risotto with asparagus and peas. I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of the barley- so I'd suggest using arborio rice instead - and you'd have to adjust the cooking time for that. But if you like barley- this dish is super fast and not that bad!

Asparagus Pea Barley Risotto
2 tsp EVOO
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 cup quick-cooking barley
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch sections
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tsp lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Na++ and papper

Heat oil in a pot and add onion to saute. Saute maybe 6 minutes, and add the barley. Saute that mixture for a minute and then add the broth. Turn the heat to low and cover, and simmer 8 minutes. Add asparagus, chives, and zest - return cover and simmer 2 more minutes. Add the balsamic and cheese and season with salt and pepper. I had a lot of liquid, so I turned up the heat at the end and boiled it off.

It's not creamy like a traditional risotto, but it's a very light meal and pairs well with a nice mixed greens/goat cheese/roasted beet/pecans salad.

On the side are some sauteed cherry tomatoes. These are literally my favorite side dish of all time. I toasted some chopped rosemary in olive oil until fragrant, then added the tomatoes. They cook up in no time and are sweeter than candy. Mmm-mm. Try mixing them with spinach and topping garlic bread with the mixture. Meal from heaven!

Now to turn off my brain and watch Gossip Girl. Love it!!!