Happy January!

Dear Friend,

It was so great having you over a couple weeks ago and talking about food in real life times! I’m glad you liked that chili- it’s one of our fave veggie chilies too! Like you mentioned, the last few months have not been stellar eating months in our house either. Since we last spoke on the ‘ol blog, our kitchen was ripped apart and replaced with new appliances, spacious cabinets and lovely countertops. Everything I always wanted 😊 It was a big process and tested our patience and creativity in the food department. We ordered delivery way more than we probably should have but also learned how to prepare meals in the basement. It was interesting and humorous but I’m glad it’s over. I’ve been loving having a kitchen where the burners are straight, reaching into the fridge doesn’t require a squat and there’s plenty of countertop space for things like homemade pasta and sugar cookies. 

I love that you shared a pulled bbq carrot recipe because I have been dying to make them but every time I try P shuts down the operation. He’s pretty adventurous but that’s too much for him. So impressed your hubby gave it a chance!

My recipe I’m sharing is also thanks to your sister, Alicia. She came over last week for some Bachelor (after 20+ seasons I’m finally watching it) and healthy eats. She brought all the good stuff for this winter nourishment bowl and I supplied the grains. We mostly followed the recipe but did adjust a few things slightly- 1) We didn’t exactly measure out the ingredients because I felt that the proportions were way too small, especially since we had both worked just before  2) We used walnuts instead of Brazil nuts   3) We forgot the avocado (boooo)  4) We added hemp seeds for extra protein and texture  5) We used farro instead of rice and  6) We topped it with my new obsession, lemon miso dressing (I could probably drink it). 


The Verdict: So this isn’t something that made me make some dramatic gesture because it was so delicious that it blew my mind but I felt really good while eating it. And I did eat my whole bowl (minus some walnuts- I got a little crazy pouring them in) which is a good sign. I did surprisingly feel full without being stuffed.  It just felt so nourishing (hence the title of it) and I felt really happy with all the great nutrients I was putting into my body. And that I could have a cookie or two and not feel guilty because, balance. ☺️

I also looked back at my 2016 kitchen goals and I think I was 75% successful. The goals I met were making homemade pasta, having a small garden, dirtying fewer than 8 dishes/pots/pans and not slicing through my fingertips as often. What I will carryover to 2017 is less colorful language (woops) and relying less on recipes. Those still need some work. I’d also like to add cooking more Indian food, wasting less food, making more healthy snacks and slowing down and enjoying cooking in my new kitchen. 

Til next time!

Marissa

Welcome 2017!

Dear Food Friend,

It’s been exactly 5 months since I’ve talked with you here and I have to tell you how much I miss our food talks! It was great seeing you in real life! The chili you made for dinner was so good—probably one of my most favorite vegetarian chili’s I’ve had since I cut out meat. I hope the rest of your travels and holiday went well! What did you get from Santa?! Our holidays were good! Lots of traveling–the last half of the year seemed to be very busy for us so it was really nice to relax and be with family. Continue reading

Summertime snacks

Dear friend,

I love that you posted that recipe because just a couple days prior I made something very similar and after shoveling it in my mouth via tortilla chips, I used it on tacos! It was actually a recipe I got from your mom- her fiesta bean salad that I became obsessed with at your bridal shower. I love the idea of combining it with seafood and I admire your usage of lettuce instead of taco shells, though I’m afraid that’s something I may never be able to do.

We actually don’t have any real big adventures planned for this summer. We have our usual summer activities- the Boilermaker, Brewfest, a wedding but otherwise just enjoying summertime in Vermont 😎

Lately I’ve been embracing less rigid meal planning and going with what produce is available and on sale. We’ve been doing a lot of salads and grilling pizzas, brats and veggies.  I’ve also been really into baguettes, cheese and salami or prosciutto- so easy to assemble on a picnic or at the beach!

Recently I got together with a group of girlfriends and brought some whipped feta to share. I kind of followed this recipe but mostly eyeballed the cream cheese to feta ratio and added in a bunch of chives and basil.  We have so much basil it goes into pretty much anything we eat.  Also I used just regular cream cheese.  Anyway, I intended to spread this on a baguette that I brought but since I didn’t want to miss any more of the juicy conversation to go inside and cut the bread (because big surprise, I was the last one there even though I live the closest) and there were so many pita chips already in a bowl, we just used those. BUT the next day I really did it. On Tuesdays and Friday’s in the summer, one of the bakery’s downtown sends a guy on his bike through our neighborhood selling their leftover bread. He yells “freeeesh breaaaaad” and my heart skips a beat each time. One time I chased him down the street while we were meeting with our architect and P said he’s never seen me run that fast. Anyway, I happened to be outside cutting some basil (it’s out of control in the best way possible) when he rode by and I scored a loaf of olive bread. Now when I purchased this loaf I actually thought it was olive oil bread so I was a tiny bit sad because I don’t love all olives (only black for me!) but then I remembered the leftover whipped feta. And that I had a cucumber in the fridge. And then everything came together in the most casual, unplanned summer fashion!

The Verdict: the main ingredient is cheese so it’s obviously a winner.  It was so light and creamy and feta-y and basil-y. It’s perfect for when you’re sipping on wine and snacking with girlfriends. Or a on Friday night, smeared on freeeesh breaaaaad and topped with cucumbers while discovering and binging on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And then again on Saturday for lunch.  It also would be great spread on a pita pocket that is then stuffed with all sorts of veggies or in a puff pastry.

And now a garden update! We’ve been enjoying lots of greens and basil. The cilantro and parsley are ready to go and I think our squash is almost ready! The one bummer is our spinach “bolted” which happens if it gets too hot and results in the leaves being kind of bitter. But that’s ok! It’s been so great watching everything grow!

spinach, kale, carrots, peppers and swiss chard
tiny peppers
almost ready to eat!
yay tomatoes!

Hope you guys have been enjoying the sunshine!

Until next time!

Marissa

Catch up.

Dear Friend,

Your garden is looking so beautiful and delicious! How has it been growing since we last spoke? I’m interested to learn about what you do with those beets!! Having a garden is a lot of work but so rewarding. My family has had gardens for as long as I can remember, and it’s only been in the recent years of being so far away from home and the garden that I have any appreciation for it. Dad usually does all the work to what we refer to now as our family CSA; every year my mom makes jars on top of jars of tomato sauce and raspberry jelly. I love going grocery shopping when I do go home because I always leave with the good stuff. 🙂
Continue reading

Another lentil post?!

Dear friend,

I totally hear you on getting back on track with healthy food. Sometimes life gets busy and takeout is so much easier. And by takeout I mean delivery because I’m too lazy to drive somewhere to pick food up. Obvs. I don’t know what I’ve even been busy with but I feel like it’s so late by the time I’m ready to make dinner and then even later for after cleaning up. I’m definitely looking forward to more effortless summertime cooking. Your wrap looked really easy and tasty so we’ll definitely try that but maybe with barley instead of quinoa because strangely quinoa hurts my belly. 

Anyway…

This taco recipe is one I first made 2  weeks ago and have already made since then because it is so delicious and easy. As you know, there is one person in our household who is obsessed with lentils and one who isn’t as much. Or really at all. So much so that when this person caught me prepping the lentils for this meal he creeped up behind me and solemnly asked, “why don’t you love me anymore?” Sigh. So dramatic. I, of course, ignored that comment and proceeded on with the tacos because I just knew I could win him over. 


The Verdict: I could say I thought they were delicious but I think the best way to sum these up is this- P WENT FOR SECONDS! Seconds! Of lentils! And cauliflower! And I hated to say that I told him so, but I did anyway because it felt so good. These tacos had the right amount of spice and were really filling. A couple things I slightly changed-  I added a dash of chipotle chili powder to the lentils and substituted low fat sour cream for the mayo. Mayo sounded a little weird to me and we had some leftover sour cream anyway. Plus I feel that when you’re eating such healthful foods you can splurge on the toppings a bit. I considered subbing in a tiny bit of maple Greek yogurt in order to make a maple chipotle cream sauce but decided I wanted that yogurt for breakfast instead.  Also we added some avocado slices which, along with cilantro, balanced the heat perfectly. Oh and of course P added some shredded Monterey Jack cheese. For leftovers I just ate the lentils and cauliflower in a bowl and added the sauce after heating it up because I know how sloppy I am with tacos and I’ve learned from experience I cannot eat tacos at work without spending the rest of my day trying to hide the new stains on my clothes. 

On a side note, the garden is coming along nicely! It’s so crazy to me how we could plant these little seeds and they’re growing up to be big and strong! I call the plants “the kids” right now because it feels like we’re nurturing and raising these little organisms but I know that will get weird once I’m ready to eat them. 

beets
kale
spinach

Hope to see you guys this summer!! Miss you!

Love, Marissa