I try to keep things pretty simple around here. Its not too difficult, since Bella Eats truly is a reflection of mine and Brian’s life. We both work full 40-50 hour weeks, getting home around 6:30 each evening ready for a glass of wine and a quick, delicious meal. By the time we change out of our work clothes, play with the pups and perform a little garden maintenance, its nearly 7:00 and the sun is starting to sink behind the trees. To avoid eating at ridiculously late hours (which does still happen on occasion) we must keep our weekly dinners as uncomplicated as possible.
I take pride in the fact that we don’t keep a lot of pre-packaged food in our house. If you open our freezer you’ll find some vegetables, a TON of fruit (blackberries from our garden and peach slices from the local orchard), some veggie scraps and a pork shoulder bone waiting to be made into broth, homemade everything bagels, a few varieties of muffins and a loan box of Kashi 7-Grain Waffles (a vice - I love them). What you won’t find are Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine or Skillet Sensations dinners. I firmly believe that everybody has time to make a quick, healthy and delicious meal for themselves and their family, if you just keep your fridge and pantry stocked with some key items. I won’t list those items in this post (are you even interested?!?) but I will give you links to a few of the quick, simple meals we’ve made in the past:
Vegetable Fried RiceTrio of Salads and Whole Wheat FlatbreadPasta with Sausage and GreensCrockpot MinestroneChicken TostadasRaw Kale Salad with Roasted Vegetables
This simple approach to evening meals extends to lunch as well. On most days, Brian and I will come home to eat. We are lucky enough to live just 2.5 miles from the office where we work (yes, together!) and enjoy the afternoon break from our computers almost as much as our dogs enjoy being let out for some mid-day fetch. Sometimes we’ll have leftovers from the night before, but more often we’ll make ham sandwiches or simple PB + J’s with our plethora of jam. Lunch at home is relaxing and much less expensive than anything we could purchase from the many restaurants downtown.
Lately, my lunch of choice has been tomato and hummus sandwiches served on rustic bread, occasionally with a slice of high-quality ham from Double H Farm or some cured meat from Feast. But really, all you need is the good bread, fresh summer tomatoes and homemade hummus to make a very satisfying sandwich. This is special hummus though, blended with mustard flavored by spicy chipotle peppers. The mustard I used is a Saucy Mama product, and I think it has been our absolute favorite of all the condiments sent to us for the recipe contest I am participating in. We’re almost out, and will definitely be purchasing more when it is available in our area. I love that it still holds the tanginess of the classic yellow spread, but adds a spice very unlike the creole and dijon mustards we typically have on our refrigerator door.
Maybe I shouldn’t call this condiment hummus, since it does not contain any tahini. Perhaps “chickpea spread” is more appropriate. No matter what you call it, I hope you’ll make it. Its simple, quick, healthy - and more than likely you've got all of the ingredients on hand. If you try other mustards, please let me know how they turn out. I’ve been pretty hooked on this one and haven’t been able to stray...
Chipotle Mustard Hummus
1 (15oz) can of garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
Place garbonzo beans, mustard and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop garbonzo beans. Scrape down sides of bowl. Turn processor on and slowly add olive oil while continuing to process. Turn off processor and scrape down sides of bowl. Process again, continuously, for 2-3 minutes until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.
Serve on tomato sandwiches or enjoy alone with crackers.
Also, I have two more bottles of Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade to give away! To my two readers who won the last give-away, your sauce is coming. I promise. For some reason I’ve had a difficult time making it to the post office lately... If you are interested in trying out this great sauce, leave a comment before my next post.
Happy Saturday everybody! I hope you're all enjoying a relaxing weekend recovering after all the holiday festivities. We got all of our Christmas decorations put away and did chores around the house this afternoon, I'm finally feeling like life is returning to normal. I like having a routine! :)
This morning I woke up craving one of my favorite breakfasts, Applesauce Pancakes. They are a much healthier version of the traditional pancake, but they take a little more effort to make so they seldom make an appearance on our table. Not that they are difficult, just more difficult than opening up a box of Dr. Oetker's Organic Pancake Mix and adding egg and milk...
Breakfast: 3 Applesauce Pancakes topped with 1-1/2 clementines and cranberry ketchup and 1/2 a pink lady apple (I found them at Whole Foods!)
Here's the recipe...the original came out of a cookbook from the hubb's nana, but I've modified it so much over the last few years that I think I can call this one mine now.
Applesauce Pancakesmakes about 1 dozen "silver dollar" pancakes
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tbsp turbinado sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1-1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp orange zest, grated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 egg whites
Sift together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
Blend applesauce, orange zest, vanilla and egg yolks in separate bowl, then add to dry mix.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, then fold into batter.
Ladle batter onto a lightly oiled hot griddle, to desired pancake size.
Cook until small bubbles form throughout, then turn to brown the other side.
"stiff" egg whites going into batter
Breakfast was really late today because the hubb and I slept in. :) This afternoon we went for our 4-mile training run...it was AWESOME!!! I was so worried because our running has been so sporadic with prepping for the holidays then being out of town for a week...we'd really gotten off of our training schedule. I mapped out a 4-mile loop for us that took us through our neighborhood, past the university, down Main Street and back to our house so it was nice and interesting for most of the way. Oh how I missed the variety of my familiar C'ville runs!!! And, I am SO PROUD of my hubb! He set a Personal Distance Record for himself today!!! Yay Hubb!!! :)
Tonight we are going over to some friends' house for an early dinner, and since my breakfast was so late I decided on a light lunch after my run.
Lunch: Salad with romaine, spinach, red bell pepp, broccoli, roasted garlic hummus, 1/2 tsp of grapeseed oil and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.
And a Clif chocolate chip ZBar...cause I felt like a little "dessert". :)
Alrighty bloggies, I'm off for some good food and good company. I hope you all have a fantastic evening! :)
I'm so sad that I missed my morning Blog post! :( My day started with a faulty alarm which resulted in me getting up 45 minutes later than I was supposed to. Brian had custody of the camera (and thus the memory card) for a site visit this morning so I wasn't able to download my pics until afternoon, and by then I was completely swamped at work. So, my apologies. I'll give a quick recap because, again, I have lots of T-Day prep to do tonight!
Breakfast: Oikos plain yogurt with fresh raspberries, slice of pumpkin cranberry bread with almond butter. Look familiar?!?!
Lunch: Whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus, broccoli slaw and cucumber slices, and an Amy's Lentil Soup.
Snacks: Pink Lady apple and 1/2 a Clif Mojo PB Pretzel bar.
Dinner: Baked sweet potato with edamame, corn and broccoli (and 1/2 tbsp earth balance buttery spread).
Exercise: There was none. Today was a run day but I didn't have a chance to go to the running shop on my lunch break and I really didn't want to risk hurting my foot anymore. Tomorrow the running shop is my priority and hopefully I will be on the road tomorrow night! So, running around like a crazy woman doing chores and helping B with projects for a few hours will have to count...
Turkey Day Peek!!!
Last year Brian found this amazing stuffing recipe on FoodNetwork.com, Country Bread and Sage Dressing. It was so incredible, I wish I had pictures but amazingly enough I don't. Luckily, we've decided to recreate the magic and serve it at T-Day 2008...so, stay tuned! My favorite part is that it has hot Italian sausage in it, which adds a wonderful spicy flavor. We are using our favorite sausage ever from Babes in the Wood, which I've written about before so I won't bore you again with their cool sustainable and humane methods. Ok, sorry that was short and not nearly as exciting as last night's peek...Have a great night!