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.
Have I mentioned how much I love this community? Because I do. You all are so kind! Thank you for all of your sweet comments and concern - you have no idea how much I appreciate it.
I'm sorry for my doom and gloom post yesterday, and for leaving you all hanging. I've spent the weekend going over things with my hubb and am feeling much better about the whole situation. I should know more tomorrow or Tuesday and can share then, but I'm starting to see the positive side of things and do believe that everything will be for the better.
Most of my eats this weekend weren't that exciting...some leftover red beans, some Five Guys (I know...shocking!!! My once every 6 months burger...), banana pancakes and lots of Ben + Jerry's. Can we say comfort food?!?!? But I did spend this afternoon in the kitchen making my hubb's birthday cake (which I will share with you tomorrow!) some potato salad for a pot luck dinner (which I will also share sometime this week) and this yummy cabbage + apple slaw, which paired perfectly with the bratwurst my hubb pan-fried for sandwiches.
I haven't done much with cabbage in the past...mixed it with greens in salads, boiled it down with potatoes, carrots and ham for a New England Boiled Dinner, shredded it up to make a filling for potstickers. Although slaw is an obvious use for cabbage I have somehow managed to escape these last few years without ever experimenting with it.
I've seen a few cabbageslawrecipes pop up in the blog world over the last couple of weeks, but decided to try out my own. We had some bratwurst in our freezer from Babes in the Wood, and my hubb was just saying that we don't make sandwiches for dinner often enough. I grabbed a couple of apples from our fruit bowl and the open bottle of cabernet on the counter. I was hoping for something sweet and tangy, a nice compliment to the spiciness of the brats and the dijon mustard I knew my hubb would pair with them.
Oh sweet [and tangy] success. This sandwich was so delicious and satisfying, and the slaw was the star of the show. I suggest a ciabatta roll and butternut squash fries on the side...YUM.
Cabernet + Apple Slaw
3/4 head of red cabbage, about 2 pounds
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tart apples, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
Remove all tough outer leaves. Quarter cabbage through stem, remove core of cabbage. Slice cabbage into thin strips.
Heat oil in large soup pot. Add onion and saute until tender and golden, 5-6 minutes. Add sliced apples and saute an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute an additional 1 minute.
Add cabbage, cover and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add wine, cover and saute for an additional 10 minutes. When cabbage is tender, remove lid and turn up heat to cook off the last of the liquid.
Remove from heat and toss cabbage mixture with vinegar and salt + pepper to taste.
Top with toasted pine nuts.
Tomorrow is my hubb's birthday and we're having a little party at his office. I am so excited to try the cake I baked today...my first ever from-scratch, made on my own cake. Only the best for my love. Here's a little preview...
That's raspberry puree' oozing from between layers of decadent chocolate cake. And right after I took this picture I covered the whole thing with chocolate ganache. Oh yes I did. :)
Have a lovely Monday, everybody!