Monday, March 12, 2012

Kale Chips, Banana Bread, and Cuties

I'm a little bit overwhelmed at how many pics I have and how much I haven't blogged in the last few weeks, so I'm just going to dive right in.

We made Kale Chips (tip:  bake at 250 degrees for 33 minutes, not as directions say in recipe) and Best of Everything Veggie Burger crumbles the other night for dinner.
We used the crumbles on a big beautiful salad with organic salsa and lots of veggies.
We have a lot of salads, and they're big dinner salads, not side salads, so we go through a lot of lettuce.  I also take a salad for lunch 3-4 days a week.  If we had to chop lettuce and put it through the salad spinner every night, it would be a hassle.  We make salads an easy go-to with every meal by having the boring prep work done ahead of time.  You know those big containers you get the spring greens in?  We always have one of those with spring greens in it, and one with romaine all chopped and ready to go.  This way, we only have to cut up lettuce maybe twice a week.  Cutting up a couple of tomatoes (or using the organic grape tomatoes that are abundant right now) and an avocado is a breeze. 
For our dressing, I usually make a quadruple batch (the original recipe makes 1/2 cup) once a week and just keep a small earthenware pitcher of it in the fridge.  That way it's easy to grab and set out next to the bins. 

Our go-to dressing recipe is not very healthy.  It's a dupe of the Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad dressing.  I eat 1-2 salads/day every single day, and frankly, I wouldn't be able to do it with a twist of lemon, and I'd rather not meet the person who could.  The way I see it, I use about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing on each salad, just barely drizzled on.  It makes it delicious, and I now crave salads the way I used to crave deep fried cheese curds.  Maybe I'll eventually get to the point of just wanting to eat a big pile of plain lettuce, but I'll take what successes I get right now.

Richard and I menu-planned today, which is something we usually do on the weekends so we know what to get at the grocery store.  We look at our cookbooks, and do online searches, and talk about what we find and that helps us come up with new ideas to try.  This week we seem to be trending toward eastern cuisine.  Tonight we used a hummus mix from the bulk bins at Outpost and blended it with a red pepper we roasted in the oven on a cookie sheet.  Richard made a whole-wheat bannock flatbread that was delicious, and that along with cut-up fresh veggies made a light yet filling dinner.

On the menu for the rest of the week is Ali Baba Chicken with a side dish of Indian Coconut Curried Vegetables; Creamy Chicken Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad (minus the goat cheese, *hork*), which we'll have over a big green salad; Best of Everything Veggie Burger crumbles in homemade whole wheat tortillas; our favorite Quick Quiche (which we triple, using 4 ounces cheese total, 4 strips of bacon total, 3 tbls. butter total, use whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, and put as many cups of vegetables as will fit into it); Lentil Soup and Whole Wheat Cornbread; and Cholent.  What the hell is Cholent, right?  Evidently it's a sabbath stew which entirely non-Jewish people can eat.  The official description, from the "Cooking with Beans" cookbook, is "a long-simmered dish of beans, grains, vegetables, and beef."  I'll report on this from the other side of this week.

This is where the magic happens:
And this is our 5-cent thift sale, new in box Presto air popper, which made for a terrific date night movie night in our bedroom a few Friday nights ago when it was snowing cats and dogs:
A couple of weeks ago I struggled mightily with the Cheetos Demon, and had to actually buy a bag of them from the vending machine and dress it up with some truth in advertising:
I made this Healthy Banana Bread when I was craving sugar a week ago:
And these are my daughters, who I am putting here because they are so darned cute.

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