dinner

What I Ate Wednesday #150

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I can’t believe today is my 150th What I Ate Wednesday post. What’s especially crazy about that is I don’t think I missed many—if any weeks. Out of 150.  And neither has the lovely host, Jenn of Peas & Crayons. I love that one blogger was of getting a look at what she was eating turned into a fun weekly link party. If you want to see more WIAW from other bloggers, take a little visit on over there. 

It’s kind of amazing how much has changed since Week One, back on April 14th, 2011 (yes, I had to go look back in the archives—I’m terrible at remembering dates). Here’s what my day of meals and snacks looked like: Read the rest of this entry »

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Pause.

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Happy Friday! Hope you’re looking forward to a wonderful weekend ahead. Can you believe we’re already getting into mid-February?

I just want to hit the “pause” button and go back to one of my New Years resolutions for 2014, which was to catch up with friends over drinks or a meal at least once a month. So far I’m really happy that I’ve done well with that one—I feel like I’ve been making up for lost time, even.

spring natural kitchen stir fryLast night, I enjoyed a delicious meal with a friend from grad school at Spring Natural Kitchen on the Upper West Side—everything was perfect: the food, the wine, the ambiance. I already can’t wait to go back. I highly recommend the stir-fry. Ginger-tamari anything is pretty much always a great idea.

What  are you looking forward to this weekend? Any good restaurant meals lately? 

The Best of Get Real on the Internet Week

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Focusing on life’s imperfect little moments for Real Simple‘s Get Real on the Internet Week definitely helped me laugh about the spectacular day-to-day mishaps. There were some pretty funny ones this week:

Like the time I slept through two alarm clocks:cab view

(which also happened to be the day I showed up for a meeting that wasn’t scheduled to happen until the next day)

‘Or when I spilled coffee all over my desk and breakfast (but somehow not on my white shirt):coffee breakfast

(and yes, I ate said breakfast anyway—I was hungry!)

Or when a frozen sausage flew out of my hands and landed across the room, under the stove:sausage escapee

Clearly, I was having something of a slapstick-worthy week.

One thing that went well at least was a dinner party with a couple of my best girls. We enjoyed salad and this gnocchi and roasted butternut squash dish except with spicy chicken sausage (see above) instead of lamb. One of my lady friends also made a beautiful apple cake for dessert, thus convincing me that olive oil is perfectly wonderful to bake with. I will never feel like a slacker for never buying butter again. Leave it to a math teacher to be a brilliant with baked goods.

Enjoying the company of friends in my studio apartment made me appreciate this piece I saw on Cup of Jo full of tip & tricks to  promote sanity in a small space, especially when sharing it with another full-grown human. Oh, the things we New Yorkers get used to…

A million thanks to Real Simple for hosting such a wonderful event. It was great to share the everyday madness with other bloggers, tweeters (is that a word?) and instagram-ers.

What was your last hilarious mishap? 

What I Ate Wednesday #145

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cab viewGood morning and Happy What I Ate Wednesday. It’s also a full moon day. Anyone else ever feel more tired the week of a full moon? Just the other day I was talking to someone about how I’m up like a f***ing shot every morning, but go figure, Monday morning, I totally thought my second alarm clock was a dream, and 7:30 a.m. found me in a cab heading to work. The universe was obviously laughing at me. 

I then proceeded to show up for a meeting that wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday. I’m shocked I managed to stay awake, much less get any real work done. Yet somehow…

Anyway, I thought we’d backtrack a little to Sunday this week, which was spent cleaning and hanging with friends at a cookie exchange party (where the hosts surprised us all by announcing they’re getting married!). As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party—hop on over there to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

  • Breakfast: Savory oats with zucchini and spinach cooked in, later topped with tahini (recycled pic)
  • Lunch: Big salad with pulled quicken, goat cheese, and balsamic; toast with hummus and roasted eggplant
  • Dinner: Chickpeas, kale, and mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce (similar to this recipe—perhaps I’ll post a new recipe soon)
  • Snacks: Greek yogurt with fig preserves & cereal, bites of a few cookies at the party; an after-dinner chocolate treat from my friend Surkhab; sliced banana with non-fat ricotta before bed

Do you get tired during the full moon? What’s your favorite cookie? 

Cook and Go

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On Saturday night, I used a Groupon to check out a class at Cook & Go, a culinary studio that started in France and found its way to the US a few years ago. The concept is that you cook the food in class and then take it home to reheat and eat. In the warmer months, they offer picnic-themed classes, too. Most of the food is actually prepared in foil carryout containers, which makes it so easy! Another plus: free wine for evening classes.

I did the Healthy Living menu, which included

  • Roasted eggplant with tomato and goat cheese relish
  • Apricot chicken with rice
  • Flourless chocolate cake with chantilly cream and berry coulis

What was neat was that each person made their own meal (aka no strangers touching your meat). The instructor passed ingredients around along with spoons we used to add the amount needed for one portion. It was very informal and low-stress. The recipes are very simple, so you can feel good about eating mostly whole foods and can use as little or as much salt as you like. The only thing I didn’t love was that we used Splenda in the chocolate cakes, but in the grand scheme of things, a couple teaspoons of the stuff isn’t a deal breaker for me.

One thing that I find odd about cooking classes, though, is that I’m usually the only person flying solo. Maybe I didn’t get the memo that cooking classes were a couples-only thing? Whoops. Not like that would stop me. Of course, there are those occasional funny/awkward moments. This class was no exception. It started in the first two minutes:

Instructor (to Jess, motioning to the empty space next to her): Are you waiting for someone?
Jess: (turns and waves to other 24 students) I’ll be your token bachelor for this evening
(room laughs)
Instructor: Don’t worry, there’s always someone like that. 

Hm. “Someone like that?” What does that even mean?

Throughout the class, we were instructed to share things like stalks of fresh herbs with our “partner.”  Several times I had to raise my hand to ask questions like, “What should we do if don’t have a partner to, uh, share an eggplant with?”

Share an eggplant. I guess that’s what the kids are calling it these days?

Anyway, my classmates actually were really nice and a fun bunch of work with—there was a lot of laughing. I also left with a pretty nice spread to enjoy at home: IMG_4581
Because I had enjoyed some wine at class, I ditched the rice, since I don’t really care about white rice, and I enjoyed the eggplant salad over some greens I needed to use up. Just to be fancy, I served the chicken in a fancy little cup, like, so: IMG_4580

There was nothing fancy about the cake. I just reheated it in the oven at 350 until it was warm and enjoyed it while catching up on the morning’s Times, like the eccentric middle-aged couple I am.

I heard that we’re getting some low, low temps in the U.S. Coldest in decades. Guess I’d better get on that whole “someone to share an eggplant with” thing, if only for the body heat. Or I could just keep hamming it up in cooking classes and blogging about it and just, you know, wear a lot of sweaters.

Have you ever taken a cooking class? Does your partner like eggplant? 

Red Lentil Chili

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Yesterday was cold.

I had the day off from my clinical job, but I had some other work to do that was going to require some time in front of the computer. Because I had day-off brain, I kept finding things to do instead of sitting down to my to-do-list items. Naturally, one of those things was to make soup.

Red Lentil ChiliI was thinking about making red lentil soup from this recipe, but I was also sort of in the mood for chili. So…this happened. Because red lentils cook so quickly, this comes together in no time at all. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner for the wintertime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 c red lentils, dry
  • 4-5 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1 24-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 3 c spinach, fresh or thawed from frozen

Directions: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook a few minutes until fragrant and onion begins to turn translucent. Add spices and cook another 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add squash and lentils. Toss well. Cook a few minutes to coat and then add water. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and spinach. Simmer another 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy hot topped with a little goat cheese—or, you know, slightly more traditional chili toppings. This would also be great over brown rice or quinoa.

What’s one of your favorite cold-weather weeknight meals? 

What I Ate Wednesday # 141

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This December feels much busier than last year! Where is the time going?  What I Ate Wednesday? As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party—hop on over there to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

Since I don’t feel like I’ve shown you a work day in a while, how about I share a few highlights from early this week? Behold…

  • Breakfast: Pumpkin cranberry oats in a nearly-empty peanut butter jar Tuesday morning
  • Lunch: Leftover tempeh & mushroom stir-fry over greens with other veggies mixed in
  • Random: Tuesday there was cake to celebrate my birthday and a co-worker’s upcoming marriage. Because two cakes is probably not in the budget, there was a universal cake.
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with cranberry sauce and cereal Monday
  • Dinner: An ahí tuna salad while in a restaurant with my family
  • Snack: Ugly but satisfying cottage cheese with a drizzle of maple syrup before bed

Is your December really busy too this year? What’s on the menu this week?