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    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2012 edited
    I know there was one, but it got put on the five day time limit and died. Plus I'm going to be doing a LOT of cooking, most of it being healthy, and I'd kind of like to share.

    So I've been sort of put in charge to prepare healthy but tasty meals for my family and as such, I've been going through a few cookbooks and picking out some simple stuff I can do now before the big shopping trip over the weekend.

    Last night was a success with Herb-Roasted Cauliflower and Bread Crumbs, a recipe I originally got from Appetite for Reduction (an AMAZING healthy Vegan cookbook). Truthfully though, I wasn't too happy with the spices used, so I just sort of...winged it. Also, the tofu is optional, but it brought forth some nice protein. Here's what I did:

    This recipe SAYS it serves four, but it's so moreish that mom and I split it and ate it all. So the whole meal was about 200 calories give or take.

    1-2 cups of whole wheat and flax bread crumbs
    1 tbsp smoked paprika
    1 tbsp thyme
    1/2 tbsp sea salt
    1 tbsp black pepper
    half a cauliflower head, rooted and chopped in to bite size pieces
    1/4 block of tofu, cut thinly and in to 1-2 inch squares.

    1. Set oven for 250°F
    2. put some parchment paper on a baking sheet, spray it with some non-stick cooking spray.
    3. put cauliflower pieces in a colander. Run water over them until nice and wet (baby!).
    4. Transfer cauliflower pieces in to bread crumb mixture. Make sure they're completely covered.
    5. Transfer breaded cauliflower to baking sheet.
    6. Repeat steps 4 and 6 for the tofu.
    7. Sprinkle baking sheet with more crumbs and a quick spray of cooking spray.
    8. Leave in oven for 15-20 minutes until light brown.

    BAM. And it was a delicious, spicy meal. Best had with a cold drink (I treated myself and had an Anchor Liberty Ale, which complimented the spiciness of the paprika.

    And tonight I'll be making Buffalo Chicken Salad Wraps with a side of Kale Chips. I found a pretty decent recipe for Buffalo sauce and will just be marinating that in a chicken breast, cook it up, chop it up and put it on a wrap with lots and lots of greens. And Kale Chips...well. We know about those. :P
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2012
    Ooh, I'm going to have to try that cauliflower recipe. I need more interesting things to do with veg.
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2012
    I guess I started a conversation in the Open Mic thread, so I'm gonna try to keep it going on here, where it's more appropriate.

    I'm honestly trying to stop drinking soda (maybe not entirely, but that shit's not healthy) and eat better (but that's harder 'cause I hate veggies).

    There were some really good thoughts thrown around about "hiding" vegetables, so... I got a few ears of sweet corn that I couldn't dig boiled and buttered, as it's usually served. Cornbread's an obvious idea, and Rachael's idea of mayo/cheese/pepper sounds pretty good, but anyone else have ideas for using these up before they go bad?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2012
    Mexican style for corn is to put some mayo on them & sprinkle chile flakes or powder on them with some lime juice
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2012
    Ooooh some cornbread with baked beans and some baked breaded chicken fingers would be lurvely.
  1.  (10724.6)
    Rachael's summer shake advice of yum (and few calories):

    It's too hot to eat, and I've got a ridiculous sweet tooth. So. I make blender drinks all summer. Just throw a bananna, frozen or fresh, in the blender with a cup or so of skim or low fat milk, and a big scoop of fat free greek yogurt. Also, a huge and hefty handful of raw baby spinach. Seriously. You WILL NOT TASTE IT. It's the best way to get more nutrients in your diet. Throw in some vanilla extract and two packets of Truvia or Splenda, and mix it up to the highest setting. While it is at the ice crushing stage in a whirl of grindy doom, THEN add around 6 ice cubes one at a time. This way the ice will blend evenly and it will have a better consistency than if you start with the ice in the blender.

    If you are craving chocolate, buying some cocoa powder and throwing a bunch of that in there works marvelously, too (though with the cocoa, I'd ad a tiny tiny pinch of salt). And if you are a peanut butter and chocolate person, add some peanut butter, too!

    This would be good to use up your berries, too Britt, though honestly, I don't dig berries in shakes because of the seeds fucking with my shake texture.
  2.  (10724.7)
    A different shake for when it's hot and you are craving not- sweet:

    Cold cucumber soup:

    For just me, I put one whole peeled cucumber in the blender, with a whole raw clove of garlic, some onion, some salt, a big dollop of greek yogurt, some dill, some pepper, and a quarter of an avocado. (and, again, a big fistful of raw spinach which you won't taste). Add about a half a cup of water to get the blending going, and then, again, once it's going, add about 4 icecubes in there one by one. It's very garlicy, and while it might be too much to eat straight, it WOULD make for a delicious dip for baby carrots or some other chopped up vegetables. (If using as a dip, I'd leave out the ice.)
  3.  (10724.8)
    When I was in smoothies for breakfast mode a few years back it was 1 cup crushed ice in the blender, just enough orange juice to cover the ice, one banana, and a handful of strawberries. If I could get decent strawberries in Arizona I'd be trying to get myself back into that and throwing some kale in, too (I've already done a couple of banana orange kale smoothies that worked out quite well, but strawberries make everything better).

    And I think I'm going to buy some corn and do fried chicken and kale chips and corn on the cob this weekend. It feels like forever since I've had corn on the cob.
  4.  (10724.9)
    @Britt - And just some general "eating more veggies" advice: USE SPICES AND FLAVORINGS!! Vegetables ARE really boring on their own, even with butter and salt. I only eat salad when I hide it with things I really like. I'm a crunchy person, so if I put a lot of sunflower seeds and walnuts and fruit and chicken and cheese in my salads, it feels like a yummy meal, and not like I'm punishing myself. Figure out what you like. I realized I don't like salad dressing because of the vinegar, so now I just use olive oil and sprinkle on spices that I've picked out myself.

    It's gotten to the point now, that when I eat the things I used to live on to "treat" myself (i used to eat fries with mozzerella cheese and gravy EVERY DAY), it ends up not being a treat at all because I feel really crappy after I eat them. The more healthy you can wrangle yourself to eat, the more the foods that seem tempting won't feel so rewarding anymore. (and that's a good thing)
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2012
    @Britt, following on from @Rachael's advice, investigate curry. I have had entire feasts that contain zero meat and haven't even noticed.

    Also if you really cannot get on with eating a bunch of veggies, nuts and seeds are a major source of nutrition that are often missed in modern diets. A handful of brazil nuts contains your entire day's RDA of selenium, for instance.

    @Rachael - I love making shakes, and pretend I'm being all healthy cos of the fruit. But then I'll go and spoil it by putting a whacking great dollop of ice-cream in my belnder instead of the ice..I just cannot help myself.
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2012 edited
    I've tried to work fairly hard over the years to improve my vegetable consumption. I find that many of us North Americans (for those who are) tend to be just totally untrained about cooking with vegetables. We were often raised with a very Puritan attitude towards them, being fed dishes of mainly starch and meat with vegetables relegated to a sad little corner of the plate, presented almost as a punishment. And we haven't been trained to *cook* vegetables - for the most part, we just open a can or toss a bag of frozen veg in the microwave and serve it plain like that. We then think we've failed if we don't like plain, steamed veg. Sad really.

    A few of my hard-won veggie tips for increased consumption:

    Favorite slightly uncommon lettuce salad ingredients:
    - golden raisins
    - fennel bulbs and stalks
    - home made croutons

    Favorite alternative salads:
    - Various kinds of slaw made with a mandonlin - cabbage yes, mixed with apple, raising, walnuts, broccoli stems, carrot
    - 'chop' salad of cubed tomatoes, peppers, red and white onions
    - Mixed olives
    - Chilled cauliflower florets with cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper
    - Various pasta salads
    - Beet salad, with yoghurt and nuts

    Favorite dishes to hide veggies in:
    - Risotto - throw anything in here, including greens of various kinds. I use kale stems for instance.
    - Rice pilaf - same as above - cubed carrots especially
    - Pasta sauces - start your bolognese sauce with the classic mirepoix of chopped onions, carrots and celery, cooked down.
    - Meatloaf / meatballs / kofta
    - Shish kebabs (ok, not really 'hidden')
    - Lasagne - made with the pasta sauce above, also can include large amounts of eggplant, zucchini and squash.

    Favorite veggies I like to eat all by themselves that I never thought I would like:
    - Any sort of greens, wilted with bacon and onion (turnip, mustard, collard, what have you - and DO drink the pot likker)
    - Brussels sprouts
    - Broccoli
    - Cabbage
    - Spinach
    - Asparagus
    - Beets
    - Turnip / rutebega
    - Bitter melon

    Methods of cooking veggies you may not have thought of:
    - Purees - cook your veggies, chuck in a blender with a bit of oil or butter, blend til smooth
    - Terrine - a French-style chilled meatloaf or lunchmeat. Asparagus or carrot sticks through the middle of it makes it beautiful.
    - Blended soups - close to puree above, not good in the summer (unless chilled), but try a blended squash / carrot / sweet potato soup in the winter.
    - Pickling - a quick cucumber or green been refrigerator pickle is so refreshing in the summer.
    - Stuffing - you can make delicious stuffed eggplant, squash, peppers that are filling and satisfying.

    And lastly, don't forget just laying out a tray of raw veg with a little dip to snack on.

    Finally, try picking up a good vegetarian cookbook just to expand your horizons. The classic Moosewood Cookbook is a good starter.
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2012
    as promised elsewhere, my recipe for braised candied carrots.
    You will need an oven proof dish with a lid, or else just cover dish with foil.
    Chop carrots into bite size chunks and place into oven dish.
    Add a tablespoon of water, a few small bits of butter, a twist of salt and pepper and sprinkle with a teaspoon of either sugar or honey.
    Put lid on dish and place in a hot oven. Give it a little stir after about fifteen minutes and cook for another fifteen. The carrots will begin to caramelize and get a really sweet flavour and lovely soft texture.
    Remove from dish and enjoy.
  5.  (10724.13)
    PS Britt - drinking soda daily (which I gather you had been doing, before trying to cut back, GO YOU!) and not eating any vegetables is DEFINITELY and without a doubt a major contributing factor in dangerous mood swings and depression. Seriously. (And this isn't hippy bullshit, this is real science.)

    Some reputable sciencey articles on the subject: psych today, psych central , BBC

    And here is part three of a short BBC documentary about how food effects mood.

    So please do think of shifting your diet as your own means of mood medicine. Your boyfriend will probably be dragging his heels at the idea of eating healthy. I know that you'd mentioned that he's a bit jealous, and he's probably not going to be entirely keen on you altering your diet and losing wieght and gettin' all healthy-like, but perhaps if you explain to him that it's to help you not freak out on him, he'll see it as a benefit to HIM, and something you are doing for you guys as a couple to be more happy TOGETHER. And share this information with your folks, too. Maybe they'll help you out, if you make it clear that eating better will help your mood and outlook.
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2012 edited
    Mac and cheese is also a great place to hide veggies. Add peas. Plus, there are some taaaaasty healthy chicken sausages out there to take the place of hot dogs.

    Also, Italian mac and cheese! Mozz, ricotta (in not-huge amounts) plus basil and tomatoes. Good place to hide spinach too.

    Edited to add: asiago. You can also eliminate the roux you might need. And sub in whole wheat pasta.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    Great article on the evolution of lunch:

    The concept of lunch-as-a-meal apparently evolved in New York City.
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012

    I have ten pounds of cherries in my fridge. Handpicked by me off trees around the city. Ohmygodsoawesome.

    What do I do with them?

    I've learned that by hitting the pits with a hammer, you can pull the kernel, which imparts wonderful flavour when boiled in a sauce or somesuch. So, cherry syrup will be a thing. I'm thinking I'll probably use the fruit for jellies and then can the rest as a compote/pie filling. Any other suggestions?
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    Cut cherries in half, remove pits, pack in sugar and leave in the fridge overnight.

    Pick the cherries out of the resulting sludge. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

    Use the sugar for sweetening lemonade.
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    CHERRIES JUBILEE. If only because I remember it was in a book. Also because you set it on fire.
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012 edited

    4 empty 2-litre plastic soda bottles with screw-on lids, washed and dried.
    Funnel to fit tops of soda bottles
    Large mixing bowl, at least 8 litre capacity

    8 pounds of sweet Gala apples
    8 pounds of baby carrots
    2 bunches of celery
    I piece of fresh ginger root about the size of your thumb
    3 capsicums (bell peppers)
    1 large yellow hot pepper

    Cut down on the ginger and peppers if you don't like it too spicy. The apples and bell peppers make this a very sweet-tasting drink, so you won't need to add any flavour enhancers like sugar or salt.

    Makes 8 litres of juice.
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    I totally remember cherries jubilee from a book and something getting caught on fire. Was it a book about dragons?

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