Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekly Menu

I know it's a little specific this week, but I find that if I plan out each day, we end up eating out less and thus spend less money on unhealthy food and let less of our own produce go to waste.

Weekly Menu
   Thai Curry Noodles with Shrimp (or other seafood of choice)
   Baked Eggs with Bacon & Spinach
   White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup with Spiced Turkey Meatballs 
   Farro with Acorn Squash and Kale
   German Pancakes
   Portobello Pesto Pizza
   Brown Rice with Roasted Vegetables (Carrots, Eggplant, and Parsnips)
   Green Smoothie
   Leftovers for Lunch
   Kung Pao Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, and Jasmine Rice
  10 Grain Cereal
   Leftovers for Lunch / Ian Lunchtime Lecture
   Leftovers for Dinner / Ian Speaker Dinner
   Banh Mi and Broccoli Slaw
   Corned Beef Hash and Berry Smoothie
   Roasted Beet Salad

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style by Tim Gunn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Tim Gunn and picked this up at the library on a whim. I wasn't expecting much, but loved this cheerful guide that is devoted to making the best possible "you." While Tim Gunn does have some things to say on flattering cuts and so forth, the majority of the book is about finding your own voice in fashion and how to show it to the world. He also emphasizes style as more than clothing; style is about having confidence, good posture, being cultured, and knowing both who one is and what one wants to project to others.

Tim's best advice (you don't mind if I call you that, do you Tim Gunn?) is:
  1. Posture is an important part in how you present yourself! (I'm working on this, I promise... she types slouched in bed)
  2. Part of having good taste is keeping yourself informed and interesting
  3. Get a fantastic headband, preferably with a large flower or something glittery to use when you wash your face at night. I haven't purchased this yet, but I'm on the hunt!
  4. Find a style mentor, not someone you can copy exactly, but someone whom you admire whom you would like to emulate in style and attitude
  5. A list of essentials for your wardrobe. I'm bummed I didn't actually copy this list before I returned my copy to the library, but I clearly remember him recommending one pair of brown boots and one pair of black boots, which my husband will no doubt protest come fall.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly Menu

Roasted Veggie Salad with Feta Cheese (from last week's menu, we didn't get to it this week!)
Ca Kho Tieu (Vietnamese Sweet and Spicy Fish), jasmine rice
Bánh Mì
Chicken, Sausage, and Red Pepper Paella 

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Curried Lentil Soup
Black Bean Quesadillas, Zucchini and Corn

10 Grain Cereal
BLT Fried Egg & Cheese Sandwiches
French Toast
Green Breakfast Smoothies

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches and Roasted Beet Salad

I invited two other moms in our building over for lunch several weeks ago and served Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Fig and Honey from my Cooking Light Cookbook (I'm trying to give this cookbook a chance), and with a lovely little salad on the side. The sandwiches were really good following the recipe exactly, and below is the recipe for the salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Beet Salad with Lemon Basil Balsamic Dressing
Serves 4 (with leftover dressing)

I would strongly recommend using a nice aged balsamic vinegar is possible, it makes a big difference. You could also add some goat cheese to this salad, or sliced almonds and shaved parmesan would be nice. I prefer to serve this salad with warm beets, but the beets could certainly be roasted in advance and served at room temperature, or even cold.

For Salad
3-4 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb salad greens of your choice (I used a lovely spring mix from our farmers' market, mescalin greens would also be lovely), washed and dried
1/4 cup (generous handful) of basil leaves

For Dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp brown or honey (or more to taste if you prefer a sweeter dressing)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil (basil flavored, if possible)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup water
2-3 Tbsp minced basil (optional, use if you don't have access to basil-scented olive oil)

Heat the oven to 425F. Toss the beets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread beets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (two if needed). Bake for 40-50 minutes, tossing beets halfway through. The beets should be tender, sizzling, and starting to brown.

Mix the dressing ingredients together, adjusting the sugar or honey as needed to your taste.

Split the greens between four plates and top with basil leaves and roasted beets. Serve with dressing alongside.

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup (aka possibly the best soup we've ever made)

Yesterday I posted a partial menu for the week. Tonight, we made the Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup from with a few adjustments. This soup take a little longer to cook than many homemade soups, but it is easy to make and is well worth the effort. And it's healthy too; if you use whole milk, it calculates at roughly 370 calories per main-course serving. If you use heavy cream, it's about 445 calories per main-course serving. This is definitely the most delicious thing that's come out of our kitchen in recent memory. Enjoy!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Closely adapted from, serves 4 main courses or 6 side courses

While the original recipe states the cheese rinds are optional, they really are a must. They add a lovely depth and the soup wouldn't be quite the same without them. We served this with some beautiful whole wheat rustic bread found at our farmers' market today.

1 cup wild rice
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms, diced
1/2 lb portabella mushrooms, stems removed and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano (dried or fresh)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
1-2 cheese rinds
2-3 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons rosemary (dried or fresh)
1 cup whole milk or cream
2 teaspoons salt, divided

Bring 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of water to a boil. Add the wild rice and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes until the rice is tender. Set aside rice, undrained.

While the rice cooks, prepare the rest of the soup. Warm a teaspoon of oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery with a half teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions are very soft, and starting to brown, 6-8 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the mushrooms and another half teaspoon of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and turned dark brown, at least 20 minutes.

Add the garlic and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the vegetables become sticky and there is no more visible dry flour. Increase the heat again to medium-high and pour in the white wine. Stir and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue simmering until the wine has reduced and thickened a bit.

Add the bay leaf, cheese rinds, rosemary, wild rice, and cooking water from the rice. Add two cups of broth to start. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes to meld the flavors. Add the milk or cream. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has thickened to your liking. Add additional broth if needed.

Salt and pepper to taste.

When we reheated this for lunch today, it was even better.
Ian claims it's the best soup he's ever had. 

Weekly Menu

Felicity and I just came home from our trip to Minnesota (more on that later), so this is a mid-week menu.

Weekly Menu

Warm Winter-Vegetable Salad
Tuscan Tuna-and-Bean Sandwiches
Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Tomato and Sausage Risotto