Lots of Green Going On

Oh yeah! It’s holiday time, once again! Holidays are even better now because instead of just dressing up myself, I get to dress up a cute little baby! Woo!

st. pats

 

Lots of green happening here
Lots of green happening here

We spent the day inside (darn cold weather), but we were healthy and productive so it was definitely a good day. During one of Luna’s many mini-naps, I made “Leprechaun Hats“. I found them on Pinterest and put them together to share on my other blog of work “Get Kidz Fit“.

corrected

And, because I now fancy myself a chef, I made an amazing (if I do say so myself) green and healthy dinner. I recently learned to pan-fry tilapia, so I’ve made it 3 times in the last week. Every time I make it I ask Husband if it’s the most delicious thing he ever had…he always says yes because he knows he must play along. I then talk about how very impressed I am with myself because…well, I am. A year ago, we were only eating dinner that was delivered by bicycle. (Oh, how I miss Seamless and Manhattan!)

spicy kale, avocado salad and pan-fried tilapia
spicy kale, avocado salad and pan-fried tilapia

AND, because I’m trying to be extra healthy I made a Green Protein smoothie.

smoothie

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know how my new workout plan is going. Exercising is so important for keeping anxiety down, and I’m already feeling more zen.

asleep
Tummy time is tiring

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Potassium Punch

One of my favorite restaurants in Nashville is Wild Cow. It’s a vegetarian restaurant and it’s delish. The have lots of smoothies (vegan style) on their menu, one of my favorite being the Potassium Punch. The menu says it includes banana, avocado, kale and coconut water. Simple enough…so simple that I decided to try making it at home.

close up

 

The only problem is that the Wild Cow menu does not state how much of each ingredient they use. I had to guess and play around with the fruits and veggies until it tasted right. I used one banana, one 16.9 oz container of coconut water, 1-2 leaves of kale and half an avocado. I also added flaxseed and chia seeds to mine because I had them and I figured, why not?

ingredients
woops, misspelled avocado!

Then, I just blended it up…

blender

And, voila! Delicious and healthy smoothie!

potassium punch

After this batch I added lemon and it made it even better! The little zing it added was a nice and needed touch. Any of you have a good smoothie recipe you like to make at home? I’ve been smoothie crazy lately!

OH and BTW, my Dad’s surgery went really well! They got the whole tumor out, they are 99% sure it’s benign and it went much faster than predicted. The recovery is going to be long, and it’s pretty painful so far, so keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you all SO MUCH for the MANY kind messages I received all day yesterday. It truly made a difference!

Cheers!

I Cooked: Part 2

I have had a busy and exciting week, which means I have SO much to write about and share, but for some reason I have not been able to write this weekend. It’s been a cross between recovering from the busy-ness and a lack of motivation. Anyhow, instead of writing about Blue Men, Shakespeare’s ladies, picnics and rock climbing, I will write about cookies…because who doesn’t like cookies?

I do not have much of a sweet tooth, but every once in a while I get a hankering for a specific dessert, which typically includes chocolate. Last night, I HAD to have no-bake chocolate peanut-butter cookies. I tried to forget the craving by taking a 3 hour nap (I had a migraine), but I woke up feeling headache free and ravenous for cookies. The craving was so strong that I walked to the grocery store to get the needed ingredients

-2 cups sugar
-4 tablespoons cocoa
-1 stick butter
-1/2 cup milk
-1 cup peanut butter
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-3 cups oatmeal
-Waxed paper

I was pretty confident in making these cookies because I have made them numerous times with my Mother. It’s a favorite treat of ours. The directions are simple…

1. Boil sugar, cocoa, butter and milk for a minute.

2. Add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal (I also add a handful of chocolate chips because, why not?)

3. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper to cool and harden.

The only part that is a little nerve-racking, for me, is the boiling. I have made the mistake of letting the mixture burn to the bottom so I made sure to constantly stir this time. I asked Husband to measure out the rest of the ingredients for me and slowly add them so I could keep stirring. (Cooking is a team effort in our house, or until I become trustworthy in the kitchen). Husband was rightfully worried I was screwing up the recipe so he repeatedly asked me things like “Really, 1 tablespoon of vanilla? Are you sure?”

I was a little annoyed at how little he trusted me. I mean, come on, I can READ the recipe. After saying to him, ” Would you like to read the recipe yourself?” I immediately recognized a little mistake… I accidentally doubled the amount of milk I was supposed to use.

Shit.

I tried to boil the first ingredients for an extra 4 minutes to evaporate some of the milk, but nothing worked. I went ahead with the rest of the recipe, and everything seemed to turn out right. Only now, 12 hours later, the cookies are still extremely gooey, delicious, but very gooey.

cookies

 

Oh well, at least no one will ask me to host Thanksgiving dinner!

Cheers!

I Cooked

When Husband first left for Nashville a couple of weeks ago I promised myself to learn to cook at least one meal while he was gone.  I had been craving Spanish rice and beans for days and began searching recipes on Pinterest*. I came across one that used a crockpot, was very simple and sounded delicious. Perfect.

The only thing it needs is rice, dried kidney beans, celery, onion, bell pepper, scallions, seasoning, and garlic. The directions basically said to add these all to the crockpot, cook for four hours, and poof! Rice and beans at your service.

riceandbeans ingredients greenonions

I did exactly what the recipe said with one exception; I used canned beans instead of dried because I already had them. Four hours later, I opened the crockpot to give it a taste and discovered that the rice had yet to cook and it all tasted very bland. I add more salt and seasonings and continued to let it cook, checking on it every half hour.

Six hours later, it was all cooked, but tasted absolutely disgusting. I tried to bear it. I added hot sauce and more seasoning, but then it just tasted like a spicy bite of disgustingness. I kept it around for another day, wishing that it would improve with time like wine or soup, but it did not. It all ended with me pouring it all in the garbage and ordering a large order of rice and beans from a nearby Mexican restaurant.

Actually, I accidentally ordered two large orders of rice and beans and was able to eat of them for 3 days. I also ordered vegetable fajitas and I managed to use all of this to create my own nachos every night. I just tossed in the chopped veggies, the rice and the beans into a skillet with a little olive oil. After, it sautéed for a about 5-10 minutes I poured it over a plate of tortilla chips, added fresh tomato and avocado and had my version of “homemade” nachos.

photo

Even though my original plan failed miserably, I attempted one more simple recipe. I decided to make fruit infused iced tea. This was SO easy, and actually came out great!

First I made pomegranate tea.

herbteas tea

Once it cooled, I added chopped strawberries, oranges and blackberries. To finish it off I stirred in a little honey and fresh lemon juice.

fruit

That’s it, and the tea was delicious, fruity and not too sweet.

glass

I’m not going to give up yet, I am determined to learn to cook, and hopefully enjoy it.

Cheers!

*I searched for the recipe again on Pinterest so I could share the link, and give the original author credit, but I couldn’t find it. Also, she may not want to be connected to the outcome in this post, but I’m sure her’s came out much better than mine.

Never Know What to do With Squash

I must be sick. Over the last month I have been cooking. Not like, toast and microwavable nuggets cooking, like real chop-up-the-veggies and use the oven cooking.  I don’t know what’s come over me, but I’ve come home from work a few times in one week and started slaving away in the kitchen like I’m Donna Reed.

I made a huge Mexican feast one night and I did not even use canned beans or instant Spanish rice! Do you know how long it takes to cook dried beans and real Spanish rice??? A long-ass time! It was delicious though, so I guess it was worth the time it consumed; I felt incredibly accomplished when I finished eating and Husband did the dishes.

We order most of our groceries online from Fresh Direct, and have them delivered to our door because we are real New Yorkers, and real New Yorkers get everything delivered. (Also, it’s actually a little cheaper to get them online, and it’s worth having someone else carry all your groceries up four flights of stairs!). The one problem with online grocery shopping is not being able to see the immense pile of groceries flowing over your virtual shopping cart.

It is too easy to just “click, click, click” away, and end up with items you will never actually eat. I try to avoid over shopping by keeping a list on the fridge that I update anytime I notice we are out of something, or need something specific. That way, when it’s time to order more, I have an exact list to follow. Although, somehow, those sneaky little “On Sale Summer Clearance Fresh Super Cheap Items” advertisements always overpower my list and I still end up with 36 bottles of seltzer water at my door the next day.

The most recent order I made, I “accidently” bought 2 pounds of squash. I like squash, but really, what the hell was I thinking buying 2 pounds of squash and nothing else to compliment it? It wasn’t like I had a squash recipe idea in mind.

Eventually, the dreaded end-of-edible-groceries-in-the-fridge-time came, and all that was left was the squash and a few random ingredients. I decided to google a recipe for squash casserole….hoping we’d have enough to make something work.

I ended up combining about 3 different recipes, picking and choosing the ingredients we had, and invented my own casserole recipe. Because casseroles (like soup, sandwiches, and salads) are the kind of dishes you can just add random ingredients too, and they will still turn out decent. I half followed each casserole recipe, threw in a few of my own ideas, and came up with a pretty yummy dish.

First, I sliced the all the squash and boiled the slices until they were tender.

 

Next, I drained the water and mashed all the squash slices with my potato masher.

 

Third, I added about a cup of milk, about a cup of vegetable broth, and a couple handfuls of shredded parmesan to the mashed squash.

 

After this, I beat one egg, and added it with some of my favorite seasonings to the mixture.

 

Then, I coated a casserole dish with olive oil and put the casserole mixture in the dish.

I’m such an olive oil snob, and this is amazing olive oil!!!!! You MUST try it.

 

I topped off the casserole with 3 different toppings because I couldn’t decide which would taste butter. On one third I used crushed croutons, another third I used crushed tortilla chips, and on the last third I used some left over crumbled cornbread.

I cooked the casserole on 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, and tada!

 

Just call me Hilarie Crocker.

I don’t know what’s come over me, but I hope this cooking phase doesn’t last too long…I’d hate for Husband to lose his touch.

Cheers!

Refreshing Summer Beverages

While lazing around Hilton Head we often cook or make snacks, meals, and beverages for the family. By “we” I mean everyone but myself, except the sandwiches. I am a REALLY good sandwich maker. I am also a really good chips, salsa, and chocolates buyer, but my culinary talents stop there. Unless you consider coaxing Husband into making dinner… I’m pretty good at that too.

Before going to Hilton Head, Husband and I were watching The Chew during lunch and saw them make a really yummy looking summer drink called “Drunken Fruit Salad”. Immediately we looked at each other and knew it was the perfect drink to make at Hilton Head.

The day we arrived on the island we went grocery shopping to get everything we’d need for the “fruit salad”. Turns out that neither the local grocery store or our kitchen had everything we needed to follow the recipe exactly, but here’s what we did.

Ingredients: 3 peaches, 3 plums, 3 nectarines, half a box of blackberries, 1 bottle of Prosecco, vanilla extract, mint leaves, two limes, heavy cream, 2 sprigs of thyme, honey (orange and grapefruit juice for non-alcoholics)

Directions:

1. Slice the fruit and add it all in a really large mixing bowl.

2. Zest the two limes and add zest. (We did not have a zester so Husband actually carefully sliced off thin bits of peel and then chopped it all into tiny pieces.)

3. Add a teeny bit of vanilla, all the thyme leaves, juice from both the limes, and the honey. Stir it all together.

4. Whip the heavy cream with a beater until it turns into whip cream.

5. Chop a few leaves of the mint and add to whip cream.

6. Scoop a giant spoonful of fruit salad into a wine glass.

7. Top it off with Prosecco and a dollop of whip cream!

8. If you need to make a “Recovering Fruit Salad” (non-alcohol), then just substitute the Prosecco with the juice.

The Hangover:

The next day you will be hot and thirsty and searching the fridge for left over “Drunken Fruit Salad”. Sadly, it will all be gone, and you’ll be left to fend for yourself. No worries though, Rita’s is within walking distance!

Rita’s is an AMAZING Italian Ice stand. They have really great flavors like strawberry lemonade, honeydew, sour patch kids, black cheery, and root beer.  It’s a nationwide franchise, but we only go to the one in Hilton Head. Probably because we go about 30 times in one week, and that’s enough to hold us over until next year.

Anyone else have a good summer drink recipe?

Ready, hold up your drinks….

Cheers!