Monday, August 31, 2009

A Colorful Meatless Monday!

Have you been eating meatless on Mondays?  Even though I may not be posting each week, we are still going meatless at least one day per week.  Budget friendly and eco friendly, it’s a fun challenge to create new ways with tofu, beans, and other non animal sources of protein.

This week, I had some leftover orange sauce from this recipe.  It is such a flavorful sauce that I wanted to use it again, and thought it would be great over some baked tofu.  To create a bit of tropical-ness to the tofu, I marinated it in coconut rum for 3 hours.  (Probably could also use coconut milk.)  Then baked for 15 minutes per side in a  375 degree oven.  I was right, this was divine.  Fresh flavor of cilantro was predominant, followed by the fruity and gingery background. 

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To round out the meal, a little red quinoa for some whole grain goodness and some colorful veggies.

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Isn’t that purple cauliflower gorgeous? 

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I think we got our dose of healthy antioxidants in this meal.  Especially when you add the resveratrol we got in the red wine.

 

Finally, a picture of the Paws and Pacifiers of our life.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chase has a Sleepover!

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Chase wants to say hello.  He thinks Ava has been stealing his limelight here on the blog.  This week he has a houseguest and is having lots of fun.  Better yet, this houseguest is another Golden Retriever and she is a sweetheart.  I think Chase is going to be sad when she goes home…

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Should we trust these two home alone together while we go out? 

Taking Ava out for sushi…

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OK, only mom and dad had sushi, Ava had her usual…Enfamil Premium a la carte. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Easy Meal, Boxed Wine and Garden Fresh Produce

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Although Ava has been a great baby, and we seemed to have escaped the colic phase (knock on wood,) time still seems to be a limited commodity in the evenings.  Couple that with it being hotter than hell, 108 degrees at 6 pm, and the desire for a lot of time in the kitchen disappears.  Still, we want to eat a healthy meal, without relying on frozen dinners or takeout.  I think we’ve gotten pretty good at creating fast and easy delicious dinners. Can you believe this meal took less than 20 minutes

Again, it comes down to having a well stocked refrigerator and freezer.  I took out some frozen tilapia fillets earlier in the day, so that when I headed in the kitchen at 6:30 I was all set to cook.  The only other short cut is the “Chard of Many Colors” bagged chard/kale combination from Trader Joes.  I started by sauteeing that in a little olive oil and garlic.  For fun I tossed in the last couple of fresh pre-sliced ‘shrooms.  Seasoned with salt and pepper and a splash of raspberry vinegar.  After about 10 minutes the chard was done, and I set it aside and used the same pan to grill the tilapia.  While that was cooking, I threw a couple of sweet potatoes into the microwave for 5 minutes and chopped a handful of grape tomatoes and tossed with capers to make a bit of a relish to top the tilapia.   Plate the chard and fish, and top the fish with tomato-caper relish, and drizzle with good balsamic. 

I received a coupon to try the Fish Eye single serve boxed wines and decided to give it a go with the chardonnay.  Again, being something we could quickly add, it was a perfect complement to the meal.  It was fruity with a little zest and very little oak – not bad for the price!

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I really like that the tetra pak has more than a 50% smaller carbon footprint than the bottles it replaces.  Now, I must admit that I miss the “experience” of having the “bottle of wine", but then again, it’s going to be perfect for the drive-in or the many picnic lunches we do while hiking.  I wouldn’t hesitate at all to buy this again. 

Have you tried any wines in the tetra pak packaging?  If so, what’s been your experience?

PS- My mom came for a vist this weekend from Minnesota, to visit her grandaughter.  Just a few things she brought with picked that morning from her garden.  I felt like it was Christmas!!

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kale, zucchini, yellow beans (there were green too, I just forgot to get out of the bag,) lovely chard, cucumbers, green pepper, and Japanese eggplant.  Also unpictured is some huge beets.  Let the cooking begin! 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Meatless Monday Returns

Not that it really ever went away, we were still eating meatless, I was just slacking on the blogging aspect of it.  ;-) 

This week we took advantage of the not hot as hell, slightly cooler weather and did a full grill of different veggies.  Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, etc. were sliced and seasoned.  I decided that the juicy heirloom tomato that we got at the Farmer’s market should be showcased as well.  The result: grilled eggplant and goat cheese “stacks” with balsamic reduction aka party-in-my-mouth.  A.Mazing!!  Seriously, this could be our favorite meatless meal of all times.  The goat cheese really took it over the top.

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So ladies and gents, fire up the grill and get your veggies, and have a par-tay in your mouth!  

To make:  slice the eggplant into 1/8'” slices, zucchini and yellow squash cut lengthwise into approx. 4 lengthwise slices per medium zucchini.  Grill over medium high heat until done. 

While veggies are grilling, take about a half cup of goat cheese and mix with some chopped, fresh basil and chives. 

When veggies are done, start with eggplant slices as the base.  Spread goat cheese mixture over the eggplant slice, then layer with fresh tomato, zucchini and squash slices, and fresh mozzarella (we used leftover tofu from the night before instead.)  Top with another eggplant slice and drizzle with balsamic syrup. 

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On a bed of fresh arugula made it even more of a taste treat!

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Cross Section:

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And a sweet potato in the background for some healthy carbs!

Oh, Mondays are also special to us because Ava was born on Monday – 4 weeks ago today!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another new favorite “pour”

With the extreme heat and dryness of our summers here in Phoenix, a girl does need to hydrate occasionally with something other than wine.  Water, meh, that gets so boring with the copious amounts of fluid we need to keep from dehydrating.  So, enter my new obsession this summer, China Mist Hibiscus Raspberry Frenzy decaf herbal iced tea.

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I love the natural sweetness and the floral depth that the hibiscus adds.  Being that it’s not caffeinated, it’s a hydrating and delicious alternative to water.  It has become a habit to stop at AJ’s each morning and get my fix. Cheers!  

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Paws and Pacifiers have to be represented too!

What is your favorite way to hydrate in the summer?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Quick and Easy Last Minute Meals

Ava is 3 weeks old and I’m happy to report we’ve been able to do some cooking.  That said, it has been some of our “tried and trues,” so I won’t bother posting the recipes/pictures.  Just picture, homemade pizza, grilled tofu and veggies, stuffed pork tenderloin, etc. 

I’ve also had a couple instances when I was alone with a fussing baby and getting a bit fussy myself due to hunger.  So, I’m going to show you a couple of the “5 Minute” meals I came up with for myself.  Literally, 5 minutes (when you have ingredients on hand) which is faster than it would take me to run to the nearest drive thru, and a whole lot more nutritious. 

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This is my One Dish Micro-Steamed Asian Fish and Veggies. 

I took some fresh baby bok choy and sliced mushrooms and microwaved them on high, for 3 minutes.  While the veggies were cooking, I defrosted a tilapia fillet and made a little sauce of sake, soy sauce, fresh grated ginger (from a jar,) and sesame oil.  When the veggies were done, I layed the tilapia on top and poured the sauce over all.  Put back in the micro (covered) and cook on 70% power for approximately 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Be careful not to overcook. 

OK, so it is a 6 minute meal – sue me.  ;-)

Paired with a refreshing  glass of rose, a perfect light dinner. 

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Next up is a quick lunch time salad.  Utilizing frozen cooked cocktail shrimp and whatever greens available in the fridge, equals a tasty and satisfying salad.  I used some leftover homemade creamy dressing, but any of your favorites would work.  Also, substitute canned salmon and it’s equally as fast and nutritious. 

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I threw in a few sliced sugar snap peas, mushrooms, avocado,and onion, on top of a bed of spinach.  I forgot to add some creamy goat cheese, until after I took the first couple bites.  Not to bad in a pinch, eh?

Finally, this is a picture of the Edible Arrangement I received as a gift from my team at work.  This is an awesome gift idea for new families.  Not only was the fruit delicious, and needed with extra family around, but it was something we could easily eat with one hand, when baby was in the other. 

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Ava –having a large pour of Enfamil. 

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What’s your favorite 5 minute meal?