Sunday, October 30, 2011

Veggies, Fun Facts, & Weekly Menu

We started the weekend off with a CSA box. I love everything we got. We already ate some of it, and I planned how to use everything right away. I have found it’s important for me to plan how to use everything immediately, or things can get lost and forgotten…

Here is what we got and what we’ll do/did with it:
  • Pears – lunches
  • Apples – lunches
  • Grapes – they are The. Best. Grapes AND they are SEEDLESS!!! Smile Somehow the toddler kid declared they are his right away…
  • Broccoli – roast
  • Sugar pie pumpkin – pumpkin soup
  • Beets – roast
  • Arugula – salad
  • Green kale – kale chips – already eaten; we haven’t had kale chips in quite some time; they were delicious.
  • Peppers – used one in a potato, onion scramble, seasoned with salt, pepper, and oregano; used another in some veggie chili; will roast the last one
  • Onion – will roast it
So here is our weekly menu:

Meal 1: Roasted veggies and halibut
Meal 2: Pumpkin soup – I think I’ll cut the pumpkin in half, roast it, and then sauté some veggies, add the pumpkin, veggie stock and spices, and then blend it. Once the soup is done, I’ll stir in some Greek yogurt. I’ll also roast the seeds to add some crunch to the soup.
Meal 3: Juliana’s Panko Crusted Chicken Cutlets – I used to make a very similar dish with bread crumbs quite frequently when the young adult was little (just what Juliana described making back in Brazil). Since I have some panko crumbs, this is perfect! We will have a big salad with the chicken.
Meal 4: Bean soup – from the freezer – I really enjoy all the frozen leftovers in my freezer!!! Not sure why I hadn’t frozen things for such a long time…
Meal 5: Leftovers. I will probably supplement the leftovers with a salad. If there isn’t enough food, I’ll make a grilled cheese sandwich and cut it into fours.

Now on to some fun facts. EA, The Spicy RD awarded me the Versatile Blogger award, and I’m supposed to share 7 things about myself with you. Thanks, EA! EA is an RD and writes a blog I very much enjoy with healthy living tips and great gluten-free recipes.

Versitle Blog Award

So here are 7 things about me you may not know:
  1. I don’t like scary movies AT ALL.
  2. I once made myself fall asleep during a scary movie at the movie theater.
  3. I used to seriously dislike sweets and chocolate when I was little.
  4. Unfortunately, my dislike for sweets and chocolate has been changing as I’ve been getting older…
  5. I really enjoy Bravo t.v. shows when I want to relax and take my mind off of things.
  6. I am an early morning person and am usually up by 4:30 a.m.
  7. I am also often asleep very, very early…
Finally, here is a phone pic I took of us all dressed up for a Halloween party. I loved how much hubby got into character… Look how sad he looks… Smile 


Questions: What’s on your menu this week? Did you have any Halloween fun over the weekend? What’s one fun fact about yourself you’d like to share with us?
Be well,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Curried Delicata Squash Fries and Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds

The other day, we got a delicata squash in our CSA box. I only cooked with delicata squash a few times, and when I did, I believe it went into a pureed “clean out the fridge veggie soup.”

So I decided to do a little research. According to Wikipedia, delicata squash is considered a winter squash (even though it belongs to the same species as all summer squash, such as zucchini) and is also known as sweet potato squash because it tastes similar to sweet potatoes. As soon as I read that, I knew I was going to make fries with the squash. Hubby has also voiced interest in roasted pumpkin seeds for a while now, and I decided to roast the seeds as well.

Delicata Squash “Fries” & Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds

  • 1 delicata squash
  • Seeds from one delicata squash
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Curry powder

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut the ends off the squash, cut squash in half, and take out the seeds.
  • Cut each squash half into half circles.
  • Take the strings off the seed, rinse the seeds well under water, and dry them.
  • Spray the squash circles with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and curry powder.
  • Spray the seeds with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and curry powder.
  • Put squash and seeds on baking sheet.
  • Bake seeds for about 10 – 12 minutes, until slightly browned.
  • Take seeds out of oven.
  • Bake squash an additional 10 to 12 minutes.

I dipped the “fries” into some ketchup and liked them a lot. The guys liked them too, but they didn’t compare to the seeds, which they couldn’t get enough of.

Questions: What’s your favorite squash? What’s your favorite squash recipe?
Be well,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Balancing Productivity and Fun

My goal for the weekend had been to get caught up with work and around the house. I got a lot of my grading and prep work done on Friday, but unfortunately there was still a lot left for the weekend. There was also plenty of laundry, grocery shopping, errands, and some “cleaning up” projects.

But thrown in with all the work, we also had lots of fun this weekend.

On Saturday, we checked out the food truck meet up Moveable Feast near the Garden City Casino in San Jose. We didn’t stay very long as the toddler kid was in need of a nap, but we did stay long enough to enjoy the bulgogi over rice plate from the hiyaaa truck. The toddler definitely got his “rice fix,” and we all enjoyed the dish.

In addition, he tried a banana fritter from the Wow truck, which he loved. We also ran into Bill from the Food Truck Nerd blog and chatted a bit. Bill does awesome podcasts about food trucks, and it was fun to talk to him.

Later on in the day, we were invited to dinner by friends. The Wienerschnitzel, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and salad were delicious! I’ll definitely have to make Wienerschnitzel soon!

The toddler had continued to carb load with bread before dinner, so he played rather than ate when dinner was served. Since it’s not an every day occurrence, we let him be a kid.

On Sunday, we were invited to a birthday party and had more great food.

I posted our weekly menu as well as some workouts I have planned on my Facebook page. It’s pretty low-key this week. I hurt my foot last week, and I’ll have to see how it goes…

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What was the best thing you ate? I really enjoyed the Wienerschnitzel as well as the spring rolls at the birthday party.

Be well,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simply Dressed Lunch Salad

Most days, I make it home for lunch, and often my lunch of choice is a salad.

The other day, I received a coupon for Marzetti Simply Dressed salad dressing through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. The dressing is refrigerated, and there are ten flavors to choose from.

I chose Blue Cheese as the toddler really enjoyed the blue cheese dressing hubby ordered in a restaurant a few weeks ago, and we never have it at home.

I first tried it on my lunch salad which consisted of leftover leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and halibut.

I was afraid the blue cheese dressing would not go with the fish, but it actually went very well. The dressing is creamy and has a slight, very pleasant blue cheese taste. The blue cheese is not at all overpowering, and I enjoyed it a lot. 

Questions: What’s your favorite salad dressing? I usually dress my salad very simply with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. If I feel “fancy,” I’ll add some cheese. It’s fun to experiment with a good bottled dressing once in a while though. Any exciting weekend plans? Our last couple weekends have been really busy, and we have to catch up a lot around the house. I hope to get lots of things crossed off my do-to list so that I don’t feel too frazzled come Monday (I have been feeling that way too often lately…).

Be well,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Easy Dinner Courtesy of Newman’s Own

A few weeks ago, we got a box of goodies from Newman’s Own through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. We received three bottles of salad dressing, three jars of tomato sauce, a coupon for a free pizza as well as a flip cam to record a video.

Frozen pizza and a salad is often my go-to meal when things get really hectic. And so after a long, exhausting day, we decided to make the pizza and a salad. We were also supposed to make a video, which was pretty funny at times due to a deliriously tired toddler kid… We all enjoyed the pizza and the salad dressing. The roasted garlic pasta sauce was nice as a dipping sauce, and I liked the level of “garlickyness.”

Thanks Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program and Newman’s Own for a quick, easy, and yummy dinner and for a fun, yet surreal, time making the video!

Question: What’s your go-to meal when life gets hectic?
Be well,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Birthday Celebrations

Last week, we celebrated two birthdays. First hubby’s, and then the toddler’s. The toddler is still excited that he’s 4 now (which makes him officially not a toddler any longer).

Hubby’s birthday was low key, but the toddler had quite the celebrations.

We started the day off with a mini cake and a present (a child-friendly digital camera).

I baked mini cupcakes for the occasion, which the toddler shared at snack time at school.

In the evening, we had a traditional Korean birthday meal at my in-laws: seaweed soup. It always brings back memories of when the toddler was a tiny baby, and I ate endless amounts of seaweed soup. Seaweed soup is very nutritious, and women eat it a lot after giving birth in Korean culture.

And over the weekend, the festivities continued at our house.

A great birthday week and weekend! If you want to see what meals and workouts I have planned for the week, they are posted on my Facebook page.

Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What is on your menu this week? What workouts do you have planned?
Be well,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CSA Veggies and An Award

On Friday, we got a beautiful box of CSA veggies.

So here is an embarrassing bit of information. A few weeks ago, we got grapes in our CSA box. I was very excited to try them and washed them right away. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed when I realized that they had lots of seeds. I stuck them into the fridge and forgot about them. Fortunately, though, I ended up using them in some green juice and it tasted amazing.

Yesterday, hubby tried the grapes in the new box and had the same reaction to the seeds I had a few weeks ago. I know that grapes having seeds is normal and in fact more natural as it is less likely that the plants were manipulated in a strange way. Yet, it takes extra time to take the seeds out, and this is where the embarrassment kicks in because in reality, it’s really not that big a deal. So I’m determined to eat the grapes soon!

Now on to the award. Marion from Affection for Fitness awarded me with the Liebster Blog award.


Thanks, Marion! Marion and I are about the same age and have lots of other things in common as well. She is really into fitness, and recently started a More Fruits and Veggies 30 Day Challenge. She has been posting lots of fruits and veggie info, and I have learned a lot. Plus, she loves jokes, and I often laugh when I visit her site. Again, thanks for the award Marion!

Questions: Do you mind seeds in grapes? What do you do with seeds in grapes? Eat them? Cut the grapes in half and take the seeds out? Juice the grapes? What have you been up to this weekend? We had a couple birthday celebrations, but more on those later.

Be well,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Eat More Fruits and Veggies: Green Smoothie

I like veggies more than fruits, and there are days when I don’t eat any fruits. I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing as fruits tend to be  higher in sugar. However, I know that each fruit and veggie has different nutrients, and it is a good idea to eat a wide variety of different colored fruits and veggies throughout the week. The toddler and I always try to “buy the rainbow” at the Farmers’ Market and at the store.

One way to get fruits into my diet is by juicing. I usually make green juice with cucumbers and lots of different leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, Romaine lettuce and whatever else shows up in my CSA box. I always add some fruits to my green juice for sweetness and to make it taste “less green.” Lemons are also wonderful in green juice and truly “take away the greenness.”

The other day, I received a Tervis tumbler through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. The tumbler is unique in that it keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.

To be honest, my first thought was to make a nice coffee drink to put in the tumbler. But then I realized that I had already had my cup of coffee in the morning. So I opened the fridge and found some veggies to make a smoothie.

Green/Purple Smoothie

  • Milk
  • Blueberries (did not use all in the picture)
  • 1 frozen banana (cut into slices before freezing)
  • 2 stalks Swiss chard (cut into pieces)
The smoothie tasted a bit “green,” so I added a few Vanilla stevia drops, and they made it delicious.

Questions: Do you like fruits or veggies more? Or do you like them the same? I definitely prefer veggies. Unless you count tomatoes as fruits as they are my absolute favorite, and I eat several tomatoes each day when they are in season. Sadly, I picked the last of our tomatoes earlier this week… How do you make sure to get enough fruits and veggies into your diet? I try to build each meal around fruits and veggies (notice the word “try;” it does not always happen…). I also juice several times per week and make smoothies once in a while. Belonging to a year-round CSA also helps. There are always fruits and veggies in the fridge that need to be eaten. And I’m really careful not to waste any of the precious produce I receive from my organic CSA.

Be well,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Fun and Squash Mac & Cheese

We checked out an amazing pumpkin patch over the weekend. It’s very popular and getting there bright and early paid off. By the time we left around noon, it was already a bit too busy for my taste… Here are a few photos of some of our fun.

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few weeks, you’ll know Gina’s Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese has been on my “list” for a while now. I finally got around to making it, and it was really good!!!

Unfortunately, I was also once again reminded that following a recipe is a real struggle for me... Luckily the changes I made worked out. In fact, the recipe is ideal to play around with and can be adjusted and changed in many different ways.

I started out with a butternut squash from Trader Joe’s that came with a nice little sticker as to how to bake the squash in the oven, so that’s what I did [Note: That’s NOT what the original recipe says, and I ended up having to adjust things later on, but it worked...]

I basically followed the instructions on the sticker, but my squash was not done at all after 40 minutes. It took close to an hour for it to get soft. I cooked the squash while doing some work; it’s an easy, “no supervision necessary” way to cook squash.

Once the squash was done, I peeled it and cut it into cubes. I then added about one cup milk and one cup vegetable stock and pureed it in my food processor. [Note: I had a little “accident” while trying to puree it, and a lot of liquid escaped. I’m therefore not exactly sure how much liquid I ended up using.]
After pureeing it, I realized that my mixture wasn’t hot, so the cheese wouldn’t have a chance to melt. So I poured the mixture into a saucepan and heated it and seasoned it with some salt and pepper.
Next, I added 1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss & Gruyere, 1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast as well as 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt. Finally, I added 1 pound cooked brown rice penne and had a taste. 

It was delicious, and I probably would serve it most times just as is. But for my first time, I wanted to sort of follow the original recipe! Smile

Since I made the dish up to this point earlier in the day, I poured the mixture into a casserole dish and put it in the fridge and finished it at night.

At night, I preheated my oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, I sprayed a sauté pan with some olive oil, browned 1/2 cup panko crumbs before adding them to the casserole dish, and baked the dish in the oven for 35 minutes.

Everyone really enjoyed the dish, and I’m glad that the toddler liked it. He loves mac & cheese, and I’m always looking for healthy versions. I think I’ll experiment soon with different veggies and cheese mixtures. Also, I probably wouldn’t use brown rice pasta again as it did get a bit soggy. I think whole wheat pasta (which Gina used) would probably work a lot better (especially if you decide not to bake it right away). Thanks Gina for a very tasty dinner!

Questions: Do you like mac & cheese? Have you ever added veggies to it? If so, how did you like it? What’s your favorite mac & cheese recipe? Feel free to link in the comments!

Be well,