Monday, August 31, 2009

Eat Your Vegetables

I seriously dislike these words. How many times have you heard these words? Maybe you have even said them yourself (especially if you have children?)... Well, here is why I don't like the words "Eat your vegetables:"
  • They put too much emphasis on vegetables as if there was something "wrong" with them; you really never hear people say, "Eat your ice cream."
  • Often these words are followed by, "And then you can have some dessert/ice cream/chocolate/candy/cake..." - Again, it makes it seem like there is something "wrong" with vegetables.
  • If someone tells me to do something, I naturally rebel and don't want to do it. It's no different with children as far as I can tell...
  • Food should bring joy to our lives; being told to eat something is not very joyful...
When the teenager was a toddler, people were always amazed by the wide variety of salads and vegetables he ate. (And I got mad when they made a REALLY big deal about it as I didn't want the teenager, then a toddler, to think that liking vegetables was unusual...).

While the teenager has always eaten a wide variety of vegetables, there were times when he didn't like a particular vegetable. Sometimes he didn't even like the smell or look of something. I usually tried to convince him to try it at least once, but I never forced him. If he didn't want to eat a particular vegetable, he just ate another vegetable or more salad. Over the years, he has grown to like almost every vegetable I make.

Now, it's tempting to take credit for his love for vegetables and attribute it all to my parenting skills and the wide variety of salads and vegetables offered on a daily basis. :o) Well, almost two years ago I was blessed with the arrival of the toddler - a very energetic, strong-willed, independent child. The toddler certainly likes fruits and vegetables. BUT, he is VERY particular about what he likes on any given day. It may be peppers on Mondays, tomatoes on Tuesdays, zucchini on Wednesdays. But don't you dare come near him with a pepper on Wednesday!!! :o)

I still believe in not forcing children (or for that matter anyone) to eat vegetables or "making a big deal" about them. However, I also realize that I got a bit lucky with the teenager... So I have started to make all sorts of soups, stews, and sauces with "hidden" vegetables. The toddler loves them, and if he can't identify it, he won't get upset if I feed him a pepper on a Wednesday! :o)

Last night, I made some roasted vegetables, my favorite way of preparing and eating them these days. And the toddler ate them all...

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Here are the veggies (red bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, & red onions) that I tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt & pepper before I put them in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes
And here they are done! :o)
Questions: What is your favorite vegetable? What vegetable(s) do you not like? Were you ever forced to eat your vegetables?

Be well,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tasty Takeout

Last week, I craved sushi, but going out with the toddler can be a bit tricky these days. Plus, it's quite expensive. So I picked up some spicy tuna rolls as well as some spring rolls and took them home. I had not planned on the spring rolls, but when I saw them, I just couldn't resist. (But now I am craving some Pho....).

The food was so fresh and tasty; the perfect lunch! Plus, I got to enjoy the lunch while the house was nice and quiet as the toddler was taking a nap.... What a nice treat! :0)

Questions: What's your favorite takeout food?

Be well,

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ooey Gooey Sandwich

The other day, hubby reminded me that we haven't had a sandwich in ages. So when I went grocery shopping, I stocked up on some sandwich ingredients:
  • Alvarado St. Bakery California Style Complete Protein Bread - this was the first time we tried this bread, and we all loved it
  • Organic Salami
  • Organic Oven Roasted Chicken
  • Raw Sage Cheddar Cheese - considering what I ended up doing with the cheese, it's almost a bit funny that it was raw... :o)
  • Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise - everyone loves this...
I thought that since I hadn't made a sandwich in a while, I'd better make a good one. I remembered reading about putting a bit of mayonnaise on the outside of a sandwich before grilling it, so I decided to put a bit of Wasabi Mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich before grilling it in a pan with just a tiny bit of olive oil. The inside was simply a bit of cheese, salami, & chicken.

And here is the finished product. I had originally planned on only making one for hubby, but once I saw, smelled, and tasted the sandwich, I had to make one for myself as well.... The outside was nice and crunchy, the sage in the cheese added an unexpected complexity, the cheese was nicely melted, and the tiny bit of Wasabi mayonnaise added just a little bit of heat. I just couldn't resist... :o)

Toasted Cheddar, Chicken, & Salami Sandwich with Wasabi Mayo

Questions: Do you like sandwiches? What are your favorite sandwich ingredients? What was in the last sandwich that you ate?

Be well,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thank You for Your Support

I truly appreciate all your kind and supportive comments and emails after yesterday's post.

The last day has been a blur. It's hard to get any work done or to concentrate. I had to stop myself a few times from mindlessly eating. Moving around is hard. I know this is normal. I'll try to take my mind off things for a while by trying to catch up on some of your blogs. In the next few days, I will also return to my "regular" posts with an even bigger focus on appreciating and celebrating life!

Be well,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Life Is Precious: Appreciate Every Moment

This post is "raw;" I haven't contemplated it for a while or edited it, so there may be typos, or I may not be very coherent. I may reread it tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and be surprised that I couldn't articulate myself better. But I'll do what I can at this moment...

Up until a few hours ago, I was "lucky" when it came to death as I only had to deal with the deaths of my grandparents. Don't get me wrong, they were hard to deal with, but my grandparents were old and had lived a full life and death was expected.

However, this morning someone who once was very close to me passed away very unexpectedly in the middle of life. Unfortunately, several years ago our relationship got severed, and there never was closure. What's more, the person was unfortunately very troubled all his life.

To A: I had hoped from the bottom of my heart that you would find peace on Earth. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. I truly hope that you have found the peace you were never able to find while being alive...

Life is precious; life may be short. Go hug those you love. Let those who are far away know what they mean to you. You never know when it will be the last chance to do so....


Girls' Afternoon Out

The other day, I got to catch up with a good friend of mine. We have been friends since our teenagers were toddlers - a long time. Unfortunately, life is quite busy, and we don't live that close to each other anymore, so we don't get to see each other very often.

But when we do see each other, we always have a wonderful time. We can talk about serious topics, laugh about silly things, and just relax. When we met, we also celebrated both of our birthdays. We tried a new restaurant, and the experience was fabulous.

The lunch started with bread and olive oil, but we honestly didn't touch it because we were too busy talking and catching up. Looking at the picture, I seriously regret that I didn't eat any of the bread and that I didn't try the olive oil...

My friend ordered the vegetable frittata. Doesn't the "garnish/salad" look fancy? The frittata was delicious. It was perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned.

I ordered that Ahi Tuna Steak. The dish was served with roasted vegetables and arugula. This was one of the best tuna dishes I have ever tasted, and I ate every last bite of it...

After lunch, we leisurely walked around the little town and did a little shopping. It was such a nice, fun, and relaxing afternoon, and I realized, once again, how lucky I am to have such a good friend.

Questions: When was the last time you got to hang out and have fun with one of your close friends? What did you do?

Be well,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weekly Meals (8/25 - 8/28)

I can't believe summer is almost over. Here are a few more favorite summer moments...

On to this week's meals:

: Taco Salad - When I made this salad before, everyone loved it. I can't wait to eat it again.

Wednesday: Oven roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp, & spinach salad.

Thursday: Pasta with tomato sauce - not sure yet if the sauce will consist of quickly sauteed garlic & tomatoes, or if I'll cook the tomatoes for a while and make a tomato sauce. We'll also have a salad.

Friday: It's "Salad Friday." I'll make an "Assortment of Salads:" carrot, celery, tomato/cucumber...

Questions: What was your favorite meal yesterday? What are you having for lunch and/or dinner tonight?

Be well,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time to Get Organized

How organized are you? You may ask, "Which aspect of my life?" How about all aspects: work, eating, planning meals, grocery shopping, laundry, living space, garage, car, paying bills, kitchen pantry, closets, bookshelves... The list is long, I know. And it can be a bit overwhelming. We had a few "organization projects" planned for this summer, and we got a lot done (but there is still a lot more to do...).

I have found that when it comes to organizing, it works best for me if I focus on one area at a time, otherwise I get overwhelmed. This summer, we cleaned, rearranged, and organized the garage. We also organized our books. Still on the "to do" list are the kitchen and some "random" closets with "stuff." Oh, and I almost forgot, this blog. :o)

I started this blog to be mindful of living a healthy life. Food, cooking, and recipes soon became a focal point. But, unfortunately, I have realized that my blog is a bit messy. Some recent reader emails have reminded me that it's not easy to find recipes. Some of the recipes are buried in random posts, some are on one of my other blogs and I link to them, some are just not detailed enough. So over the next few weeks, I'll try to clean up and organize this blog a bit more. I plan on adding a recipe tab and list my recipes by category. I may also rewrite some recipes to make them clearer/more detailed. I am giving myself plenty of time to do this, so be patient with me... :o) Also, if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Questions: What is one area of your life that could use some organization? What is one thing that you can do today to get a bit more organized?

Be well,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cheat vs. Treat vs. Overall Balance

In my earlier post today, I asked "What's your favorite 'cheat' food?" I put "cheat" in quotation marks because I don't think there is such a thing as cheating when it comes to eating. Maybe using the word "treat" would have been a better option. (But I guess I wanted to tie my question to the topic of the post: my toddler "cheating" on my homemade pizza...).

Some of my readers pointed out that they didn't like to think of certain foods as "cheat" foods. I totally agree. I think when we talk about "cheat" foods we often think of "good" and "bad" foods. And there really isn't such a thing. Once I stopped thinking of food as good or bad, my relationship with food became a lot healthier, and I became a lot healthier.

I think for a while I renamed "cheat" foods "treat" foods. And that was fine. It was a reminder that I could have a treat once in a while. Today I don't think of certain foods as "treats" anymore, but I focus more on overall balance. I think there is a lot of room in what we eat. And there is definitely room for "treats" much more often than we may think if we balance it all out. Also, I think it has a lot to do with portion size. I now eat much smaller portions of most foods, except for veggies, which I eat in large amounts. I eat what I feel like eating, but I honestly don't need huge amounts because I know that I can have more next time. I also try not to eat certain food groups together and have found that not "miscombining" too much makes a big difference for my digestive system.

I can't believe my simple morning post brought out all these thoughts... That's why I like this blog and my readers so much! I get to focus on living my best life, and I never really know where my journey is going to take me... I love hearing from you in the comments and by email! You guys make me think and reevaluate what I am doing all the time. Thank you! :o)

Okay, so I also got a question as to what my "treat" food was. The answer is simple: Cheese. Every kind of cheese imaginable... It's soooo good! And yes, it's okay to have a little when I feel like it... :o)

I hope you had a good weekend! Enjoy what's left of it!

Be well,

Who Is Cheating On Me?

The other day when we were at the mall, hubby and the toddler decided to get some pizza from Pizza My Heart... Yup, they were cheating on my homemade pizza (which I admit I have yet to make again...). They were so excited!

The toddler got a slice of cheese pizza (cut in half - yes, these slices are HUGE), and hubby got a slice of pepperoni and mushroom.

There is the toddler, enjoying his pizza right in front of me...

Yes, you have been caught!!!!

Questions: What's your favorite "cheat" food? What have you been up to this weekend?

Be well,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beautiful Fruit to Start the Day

A little while ago I started to eat fruit first thing in the morning. After reading that one shouldn't eat fruit after eating other foods because of digestive problems that arise when fruit is combined with other food, I thought I'd give starting the day with a bowl of fruit a try. And I honestly love it.

I would have never thought that I'd enjoy fresh fruit and nothing else first thing in the morning so much, especially since I have never been a big "fruit person." I am still experimenting with when and what to eat after the fruit, but for now I'm just really glad that eating fruit first thing in the morning works really well for me. It leaves me feeling light and alert, and I don't have the "stomach issues" I used to have. And in case you were wondering what the fruit looks like, here is a picture...

Questions: Do you like fruit? What's your favorite fruit? What do you like to eat first thing in the morning?

Be well,

Friday, August 21, 2009

What To Do With Lots of Celery?

First of all, thanks for all the encouragement to go back to the restaurant and ask for the cabbage salad recipe! I plan on going back and will let you know how it goes... In the meantime, Kathy left a red cabbage salad recipe in the comments that I am going to try.

But now on to today's topic: celery. The other day my mother-in-law gave me six, yes six, bunches of celery. Initially, I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I used some in a stir fry, put some in a salad, and ate some for a snack. Unfortunately, my family isn't the biggest fan of celery. They eat it, but they don't love it. What's more, they prefer it in small doses.

So there I was with five bunches left, and I thought: What should I do with all the celery? So I thought, why not make a celery-only salad? I know, not the obvious choice, especially in light of the fact that there aren't a lot of celery fans around here. But here is what I was thinking (yes, I was actually thinking!).

I thought that celery in my salads wasn't very popular with the family because the dressing didn't go very well with the celery. I usually make a vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard, and I don't think these flavors go very well with celery (but the vinaigrette goes great with the rest of a mixed salad).

I thought that a slightly sweet dressing would go much better with the celery. Before I started making the dressing, I thought I would be adding some Agave Nectar, but the dressing actually turned out quite sweet and delicious even without it because I used Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar. I also added just a little Feta cheese.

The celery salad was delicious, and everyone honestly loved it despite being EXTREMELY skeptical when I first introduced them to this creation... I ended up making a lot of salad (I had resigned myself to eating it for the next days for lunch and dinner by myself in case they didn't like it!) and used all of the remaining five bunches. I cut the celery into thin slices and marinated them for about 30 minutes in the following:

  • 4 parts Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 part Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Feta Cheese - add at the end and lightly toss the salad with it
The salad kept in the fridge for three days. I think it tasted a bit better every day, and it stayed nice and crunchy. Hubby actually asked me to make another batch again soon so that he can take it for lunch! I call that a successful recipe! :o)

Questions: Do you like celery? What's your favorite way of eating it?

Be well,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amazing Red Cabbage Salad

The other day, I went out to lunch with a friend at a French cafe. They have an assortment of salads (red cabbage, celery, carrot, potato...) in a big display case. The serve the salads on a bed of greens with a few croutons on the side. I ordered the red cabbage salad, and it was honestly the best salad I have ever eaten. The cabbage was lightly dressed, and I could detect just a hint of sweetness. There was a perfect blend of oil and acidity. The salad was served with dressing on the side, but I truly didn't need it as I mixed my cabbage with the greens.

I would love to recreate this salad at home. I think the key may be to let the red cabbage marinate long enough. Plus, I somehow need to recreate the hint of sweetness. I was tempted to ask the person working behind the counter for the recipe (or at least approximate ingredients), but I was too shy. But I'm thinking of going back and asking...

Questions: Do you ever ask for a recipe/detailed ingredients when you like a dish at a restaurant? If you have asked before, what was your experience like? Did the restaurant share their recipe? Did they look at you funny? Do you think I should go back and ask for the recipe?

Be well,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Sticky Situation

The other day my mother-in-law gave me this homegrown squash (I have no idea what it's called, anyone have an idea?):

I often simply saute squash with some onions, garlic and a few tomatoes. The tomatoes, onions, & garlic make a flavorful sauce. However, I wasn't in the mood for sauteed squash, so I decided to experiment a bit and bake the sliced squash with some Parmesan cheese. Here is what I did:
  • I preheated the oven to 450 degrees.
  • In the meantime, I sliced the squash and rubbed it with a little olive oil and seasoned it with salt and a little pepper.
  • Next, I put some Parmesan cheese on each slice.
  • Once the oven was preheated, I put the squash in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • I turned the squash over and put cheese on the other side.
  • After another 10 minutes, the smell in the kitchen was intoxicating. It smelled like melted cheese... However, I was afraid the Parmesan cheese was forming a permanent bond with the cookie sheet...
  • I loosened each slice from the cookie sheet to make sure I could remove it later.
  • I baked the squash for another 10 minutes.
  • I topped the squash with some Tomato Almond Basil Pesto.
  • The pesto and the squash went really well together, and everyone liked the dish. :o)

What I'll do differently next time:
The biggest problem was that the cheese stuck to the cookie sheet once I turned over the slices. It didn't really affect the outcome of the dish, and in fact, having some Parmesan cheese on both sides of the squash was nice in terms of flavor! However, cleaning the cookie sheet afterward was hard work! So next time, I will only put Parmesan cheese on one side, after I have turned the squash. I will then turn up the heat a bit to make sure the cheese gets nice and golden brown.

Questions: Do you like squash? What is your favorite squash dish?

Be well,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favorite Summer Memories & Weekly Meals (8/18 - 8/21)

I don't really feel like planning meals this week. Instead, why don't I just relive my favorite summer memories....
Okay, feeling better now... So here are this week's meals. :o) It's supposed to be hot this week, so I'll try to keep the cooking to a minimum...

Tuesday: Gazpacho - to use some of the tomatoes... :o)

Wednesday: Chicken salad with cranberries & walnuts on a bed of mixed greens.

Thursday: Vegetable sushi. I haven't made this in a while. I'll be experimenting a bit...

Friday: It's Salad Friday. We'll have a spinach salad with poached eggs.

Questions: What's your favorite summer memory so far this summer? Do you have any meals planned?

Be well,

Monday, August 17, 2009

How Many Times Per Week Do You Work Out?

When I started this blog, I put an exercise survey on the side bar. At the time, nobody was really reading my blog (except for hubby - no, hubby is not "nobody"...), so for a long time only two people had answered the survey: hubby and I... But, over the months, a total of 56 people answered the survey. And here are the results:

2 (3%)
1-2 times
4 (7%)
3-4 times
24 (42%)
5 or more times
26 (46%)

I think it's awesome that 88% of those who answered work out three or more times per week. And 46% work out five times or more per week.

A little while ago, I wrote about the fact that I was going to the gym every day, but that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough. I also wasn't really enjoying my workouts but simply going through the motions. I have since planned and implemented two "push myself" days per week. I have also gone on a few long, very hilly, challenging hikes (which are undoubtedly my favorite form of exercise). I am also making myself take one active rest day per week. On active rest days, I simply play with the toddler - sometimes not so much rest (physically and emotionally)... Because of my small adjustments, I'm again happy with my workouts... I think some self-reflection once in a while is truly beneficial and necessary when it comes to exercise, or for that matter, really anything in life...

So here are my questions for YOU today (I would be thrilled if you answered any or all of them in the comments, but more importantly, ANSWER THEM FOR YOURSELF and decide whether it's time to make some adjustments!):
  1. How often do you work out per week?
  2. What do your workouts look like?
  3. What do you love about your workouts?
  4. Do you feel you are stuck in an exercise rut?
  5. What is one way you can change your routine a bit to enjoy your workouts more (running instead of the elliptical, a class instead of weight machines, yoga instead of stretching, swimming instead of the stationary bike...)?
Be well,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Tomato Grower (and Eater)

The toddler has been helping me grow our tomatoes since we planted them months ago. In fact, I think he thought I was crazy after we had just planted them, and I pointed to the tiny, green plants and kept on saying, "tomato," "tomato," "tomato." Since I love tomatoes so much, I was very excited and animated... Now, the toddler had certainly seen and eaten tomatoes. He knew what a tomato looked like. So of course he was totally confused when I pointed to these little green things that looked NOTHING like tomatoes. Plus, I practically jumped up and down, saying over and over and over again: "tomato," "tomato," "tomato."

Luckily, after a few months, there were actual, little green tomatoes on the plants, and I think the toddler realized that I was not (completely) crazy... At least, I hope that's what he realized...

Here are some pictures of my little tomato grower and harvester:
And my tomato eater! That's my boy! :o)
Questions: What was the most recent summer fruit or vegetable that you have eaten? How did you eat it? (And you thought I would ask you another tomato question, didn't you?!!)

Be well,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pasta Salad with Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

As planned, I experimented a bit yesterday and made a new pasta salad. Luckily, it turned out well! :o)

I started by marinating some chicken in:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary - I cut off just a few inches off our rosemary plant and finely chopped the needles I had taken of the sprig
I actually marinated the chicken around noon on Thursday as I had planned on making the salad on Thursday. However, our plans changed (again), and I didn't have a chance to make the salad. I was a bit worried that the chicken was marinating too long. But it turned out very well, and all the chicken pieces were really juicy and tasted like lemon with just a hint of rosemary. I love rosemary, but I think the trick is not to use too much as it can easily overpower all the other flavors in a dish.

On Friday, I simply sauteed the chicken (instead of barbecuing it). Here is the cooked chicken, the Tomato Basil Almond Pesto, and the uncooked pasta (I boiled half the bag). I really like the Chiocciole pasta shape...

I roasted some green beans and a red bell pepper. I simply tossed them with some olive oil and a little salt & pepper. Here they are before they went into the oven...

And here they are after they roasted for about 35 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees...

And here are all the pasta salad ingredients pre-assembly.

There are two chicken breasts cut in half in the picture. However, only about three of the pieces made it into the salad. The other ended up in hubby's tummy. He loved the juicy, flavorful chicken... :o)
And here is the pasta salad assembled. I sprinkled a little feta on it before serving it.

All the flavors worked really well together. We'll have this pasta salad again... :o)

Questions: Do you like pasta salad? If so, what are your favorite ingredients? What are you up to this weekend?

Be well,

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Difficult Relationship

I love food, sometimes a bit too much. Several years ago (as well as when I was pregnant with the toddler), I gained quite a bit of weight. It wasn't that I was eating "bad" food; it was just that I ate too much "good" food.

What did I eat, you ask? Well, first of all, I love salads, and I eat big salads almost every day. I prefer simple dressings with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. I also love adding "interesting" things to my salad such as nuts & cheese! I also love veggies, raw as well as cooked. When cooking veggies, I usually roast them, and I don't add a lot of sauce or anything. I love the taste of roasted veggies. Oh, and oven roasted potatoes! And I love whole grain breads, freshly baked with just a bit of butter and a small slice of good cheese. Yup, all of the above are foods I love. And, for the most part, I can eat them and stop eating them after a more or less "reasonable" amount.

But there is one food that I have an obsessive relationship with: pasta! If you put me in front of a giant bowl of pasta and didn't allow me to think, I would eat it all! Yes, I believe I could actually eat eight servings of pasta...

So, over the years, I have tried to "manage" my relationship with pasta since pasta is way too good to break up with completely. So here are a few things that I try to do:
  • Make just enough for the present meal; don't boil the entire box! - This has taken me a LONG time to realize as I love leftovers. But with pasta, it just doesn't work...
  • Be mindful when you serve yourself.
  • Think before taking seconds.
  • Ask yourself: Why do you want to eat this? Aren't you full yet?
  • Remind yourself: This is not the last time you'll be eating pasta. You don't have to eat it all at this meal...
  • Add plenty of veggies and/or salad to your meal, so you don't only eat pasta.
The other day, I made some pasta with my Tomato-Garlic-Basil sauce. I had two different shapes of pasta left over from previous meals. It was just the right amount of pasta for all of us. I was more mindful and ended up eating an okay amount (still a bit much, but okay).

Questions: What's your favorite food? Do you ever have trouble to stop eating? If so, what do you do?

Be well,

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Salmon Cakes With A Few Twists

Last week, I read Kathy's blog, and she described salmon cakes (August 7 post) that she had made. Basically, she took her mother's basic recipe for salmon cakes and added some mayonnaise, which made the cakes light and fluffy.

Many years ago, I used to make salmon cakes, and I think I used a recipe very similar to Kathy's. But somehow, I had forgotten about them. So Kathy inspired me to pick up some canned salmon at the store. Well, if you have read my blog for a while, you know that I "can't" follow a recipe! This time was no different, plus I didn't have all the ingredients anyway... :o)

Here is what I ended up doing, which is really very similar to Kathy's recipe:

  • 1 can Wild Alaskan Salmon
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely diced - I was out of yellow onions
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 10 "giant" whole wheat wine crackers with herbs that I had purchased at a winery - this was a bit of a splurge, but they were the only crackers I had! The herbs, rosemary being the most pronounced, added a very nice touch to the salmon cakes! I think next time, when I don't use these crackers but some more economical ones, I will add a bit of finely chopped rosemary from our yard to the cakes.
  • Trader Joe's Wasabi Mayonnaise - I'm not really sure how much I used; I would guess about 2 - 3 tablespoons... - I was afraid that it was a bit too spicy, but this was the only mayonnaise I had. It turned out great and even hubby, who can't handle very spicy food, enjoyed the level of spiciness.
Here is what I did (sort of):
  • After crushing the crackers in a food processor, I combined all the ingredients.
  • Then I put the mixture in the fridge so that I could form it into cakes easier (Thanks Kathy for the tip!).
  • After a few hours, I formed the mixture into small cakes (the recipe yielded about 20 small cakes).
  • I sauteed the cakes in some olive oil for about two to three minutes on each side.
  • I served them on some mixed greens with a dollop of Wasabi mayonnaise on top of the cakes. (I initially didn't top hubby's with Wasabi mayonnaise, but he wanted some too...).
We loved these salmon cakes! They were crispy on the outside and flavorful and light on the inside. Thanks Kathy for the recipe and the reminder of a "forgotten" dish!

Questions: What is a dish that you used to make frequently but have forgotten about? Now, why don't you go and make it soon... :o)

Be well,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life is Sweet Like a Cupcake

Our gym is close to a bakery that only sells cupcakes. They make them fresh every morning and use organic, local ingredients. The cupcakes are delicately flavored and not too sweet and the frosting, which I am usually not a big fan of, is fluffy and sweet but not overwhelming.

When the bakery first opened last year, we bought cupcakes twice, but since then I have always said "no" when hubby suggested getting some. So he stopped asking... Well, let's just say hubby was quite surprised when I suddenly suggested he and the toddler should each get one.

Isn't the toddler's cupcake cute? Hubby got a lemon cupcake with Meyer Lemon filling and vanilla frosting, and the toddler got a strawberry cupcake with just the tiniest bit of jam running through the middle. I can't remember what the frosting was, but it was delicious...

Well, as you may have guessed, I did end up sampling (hubby may interject here and say "shared") the cupcakes. Oh, and the toddler finished his cupcake very quickly and managed to get some of hubby's also... I think overall, it was perfect: we all got a little something sweet without going overboard...

Life is indeed sweet... :o)

Questions: Do you like cupcakes? What are your favorite flavors? Have you ever baked your own cupcakes?

Be well,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekly Meals (8/11 - 8/14)

As promised, I'm back with our weekly meals. I'm feeling much better, and things are "back on track." So here are this week's meals:

Tuesday: Vegetable fried rice with brown rice. We'll have green tea flavored seaweed on the side. It really helps to wrap the rice into the seaweed; otherwise, most of the rice ends up anywhere but the toddler's mouth! Plus, the seaweed is really tasty & good for you (I believe seaweed is rich in vitamins as well as minerals, such as iodine, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium and calcium). That's why after giving birth, many Korean women (and those being a part of Korean families) are fed seaweed soup by the gallons it seems for many weeks... To this day, whenever I eat seaweed soup, I vividly remember the days and weeks after the toddler was born... What sweet memories! :o)

Wednesday: Grilled salmon & roasted veggies.

Thursday: Black bean, fresh salsa & cheese burritos, plus we'll have some chips & fresh salsa on the side.

Friday: It's Salad Friday. I'll make a Pasta Salad with Tomato Basil Almond Pesto, veggies & grilled chicken. This is a new "recipe" that I'll make up as I'm cooking... :o)

Before I leave you, here is a picture of my favorite dish right now: Tomato & Mozzarella & Basil (Caprese) Salad

Questions: Are you eating enough tomatoes? It's the perfect time of the year to eat them!!! :o) What (if any) meals do you have planned?

Be well,

Simple Mushroom Salad

Hubby LOVES mushrooms. I often add mushrooms to mixed salads, but we also eat a lot of cooked mushrooms (who can forget all the grilled Portobello burgers that we have been eating...). Whenever we chop mushrooms, hubby can be found standing in the kitchen, eating them.

Yesterday, I made a very Simple Mushroom Salad:
  • I marinated thinly sliced Baby Portobello mushrooms for about 30 minutes in
  • Olive oil (the really good one from the Farmers' Market)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
Before serving the salad, I added some chopped basil. The salad was so delicious.

There was a bit salad left over, and I made a sandwich with the leftover salad with some tomato slices and some cheese. Sorry, no picture! But it was delicious. I think both the salad as well as the salad on a sandwich will be staples in our house from now on.

I'll be back later with my weekly meals. The last few days were a bit "thrown off" as I had some stomach issues on Sunday and a dentist appointment (which I hated and dreaded and feared) yesterday afternoon.

Question: Do you like mushrooms? What's your favorite way of eating them?

Be well,