Archive | April, 2013

Revised approach

12 Apr

Between my desk job and my smartphone, I have actually been on technology overload lately. Sometimes it feels luxurious to unplug and get back to basics, as ridiculous as that sounds (since, obviously, access to technology is a privilege, and whining about it invading your life is a total developed-world complaint). All the same, I’ve been enjoying reading actual books and writing with a pen as a break from my usual habits.

Last week, I decided to shake up the medium I used for meal planning.
Instead of the iPhone Notes app, I’ve started whipping out my old-school composition notebook and a pen. Something about the additional white space and the act of pen-to-paper writing has been inspirational, and it has greatly improved my organization. I receive my weekly CSA email on Thursdays with a list of the likely contents, so I have started making my plan for the following week that same day. Here is next week’s:

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I have truly abysmal handwriting for a grown-up. Sorry. Anyway, my old method was just a quick list of what I planned to cook that week. This one has me write it out day by day, which makes a big difference for some reason. I’m a visual learner, so I think this method is better for me because, in part, it lets me see exactly how much I need of ingredients for each meal.

I’m still making my shopping lists on my phone, since that seems to work best, but I am a convert to the physical act of writing my plan down, at least for now.

And so this post isn’t too boring, check out this adorable picture of Poppy sleeping behind the curtains:

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That spot of orange on her neck is from lying on her carrots when she eats them. Ha! It is her personal mission to destroy everything in the apartment, but she’s so cute that we’ve decided not to prepare her for stew meat.

Lunch salads

11 Apr

I haven’t kept up with the Eat to Live diet strictly, but I did keep some of the habits since our last encounter in February. My favorite has been big lunch salads. Here are a couple from this week.

First is Wednesday’s, which I also ate on Tuesday:

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Mixed greens topped with roasted sweet potato, black beans, and peanut sauce (peanut butter, hot sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and hot water to thin). The salad kept me full through to dinner, which is the most important part, but it was also delicious! Peanut sauce and I have a longtime love affair, and sweet potatoes are my favorite pair for it.

Here’s today’s salad that I plan to repeat tomorrow, too:

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Greens with roasted beets and black-eyed peas tossed in pesto vinaigrette (just a tablespoon of my kale pesto thinned with red wine vinegar). It’s only 1:40 now, so only time will tell if it tides me over as well as yesterday’s.

There are a million posts about building the perfect salad, so I’m not going to do one, too. And anyway, you can tell my method is pretty simple: greens with a good amount of another (often roasted) veggie, beans, and a flavorful dressing. That’s pretty much it. I’m planning more salads for next week (taco salad and another beet dish, though with different flavors). I will share those, too.

What’s your favorite thing to bring for lunch? Soups and salads are my preference. Both offer lots of veggies and nutrition, but neither make me sleepy. Anything too heavy makes me crave an afternoon nap!

Kale Pesto Pasta

10 Apr

Hi guys. It’s April, which means I disappeared for over a month again. Sorry. If you’ve been reading long, though, you know I do that kind of thing from time to time. There’s not always a good reason. Things just happen. I’m in no way a professional blogger — I’ve never made a dime from Vegging Out, and I’m more than ok with that. In fact, you’ll notice on the top right that I’m totally ad-free now. I want this blog to be a personal space and an opportunity to share some recipes with my handful of wonderful readers.

So. Onto the good stuff: pasta.

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This dish was dinner Monday and Tuesday, and it is my new favorite pasta recipe. It combines fresh spring vegetables with whole-wheat pasta and mushrooms (basically our favorite food).

Kale Pesto Pasta with Seared Mushrooms

Kale Pesto

  • 1/2 a bunch of kale
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Dried Italian herbs (optional – to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pasta

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil or a heavy spritz of spray oil
  • Handful of greens from spring onions, chopped (or shallot would be great)
  • 1 pint mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly (I used cremini, but wild mushrooms would be great)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 oz pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated gouda, fontina or mozzarella, or 1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino (optional for a vegan dish)
  • Pepper to taste
  • Steam kale using your preferred method. Meanwhile, put garlic and cashews in the food processor and pulse until combined and in very small pieces (though not a fine powder). Add kale leaves and the rest of the pesto ingredients and pulse until it becomes a paste, tasting along the way. Place in the fridge.

    Start the water for the pasta in a large pot. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions (or shallot) and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown. Add the mushrooms, stirring well. Let them reduce and release their liquid, and then add a pinch of salt, stirring again. Now step away from the pan and let them sear. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to directions/your preference.

    Check the mushrooms every three to five minutes. If they are sticking, add a little more oil. The goal is to brown them on both sides and draw out most of the moisture. Turn off the heat when they are done.

    When pasta is cooked, drain and them add to a large bowl. Toss with most of the cheese, if using, to distribute it evenly and get nice and melty. Now add half the pesto in small amounts at a time, stirring and tossing to coat. Add more as desired, though you will have some left over. Plate the pasta and top each serving with mushrooms, more cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh black pepper.

    Serves 4-6.

    We enjoyed our alongside an incredibly simple (read: just lettuce, parsley and dressing) salad.

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    The dressing was leftover vegan ranch. That stuff keeps a surprisingly long time and stays tasty.

    I hope the deliciousness of this recipe atones for my absence! Let me know how you all are doing, too. I have been way out of the loop.