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parsnips & kumquats

The day absolutely flew by for me!  I woke up super early to get some work done (it is NOT easy to get up in the dark and pouring rain), and made myself some tea.

All of a sudden it was time to leave for work, and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, so I whipped up a quick smoothie for the road.  I was planning for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana smoothie kicked up a notch, and it was definitely good, but not as chocolatey and peanut buttery as I would have liked.

Regardless, here is the mix:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (for those antioxidants!)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach (no time to wash the fresh stuff!)
  • 1/2 packet Chocolate Amazing Meal
  • 2 tbsp cacao (added at the end for more chocolate taste)
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1.5 cups almond milk

Wow, that is a lot of ingredients!  But, while I am making it, it doesn’t feel like a lot.  I just throw in some of this and some of that.  I drank this baby on-the-go!

Lunch came quick, even though I didn’t eat until about 1:30pm.  I made up a salad with veggies and leftovers.

Salad with romaine, cucumbers, carrot falafel, kumquats (!!) and tangy tahini dressing.

With a side of leftover brussel sprouts – amazing the next day. 🙂  And, a juicy pear.

Have you ever had kumquats?  I had not ever tried them – until today.  I bought them on a whim at Trader Joes this past weekend because I see them there all the time and am always intrigued.  I figured, why not give it a shot?  I was skeptical because you just eat the whole mini kumquat at once (well, I cut them in half to remove the seeds first).

Kumquats look like mini oranges, with an edible rind.  They are small, typically the size of a grape, and have a super tangy and tart flavor.  I loved them!  They are definitely more tart than sweet, but a good tart, not a pucker-up tart.  They worked great in my salad, and I can see them being delicious on top of sauteed spinach – yummy.  They are a winter fruit, like an orange and are typically grown from mid-November to mid-March, so I guess I tried them just at the end of the season.  Give them a try sometime, and let me know what you think!

Due to my study session this morning, I moved my workout to after work.  I attended a GRAVITY class at Healthworks in Brookline, which was absolutely amazing!  It is basically a kicked up version of Bowflex (you know, from those infomercials?), but so much better.

They have small classes where each person is on their own GRAVITY machine (above) and the instructor tells you which movements to make.  It was an awesome total body, strength training workout in 50 minutes.

After GRAVITY, I jumped on the treadmill for a quick 4.5 mile run.  Once I was done, I was starving, so I headed home for dinner where my husband had some parsnip fries in the oven!

Parsnips are also new to me!  I guess I was feeling like I needed new fruits and veggies in my life this week.  A parsnip is a root vegetable, similar to a carrot.  It basically looks like a white carrot.  They are very high in fiber and folic acid.

I decided to make these into ‘fries’, so I peeled and chopped them up.

I chopped these up last night, knowing that I would be home later tonight and would want to just pop them into the oven.

Tonight, Brant coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper and some spicy essence and placed them on a cookie sheet to bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  They came out browned and crispy.

The rest of dinner was kept simple.  I ate my parsnip fries dipped in ketchup with a Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger sandwich with hummus and a laughing cow wedge and a side of lightly wilted spinach.

Another simple and delicious meal!  Phew – it has been a long day.  Goodnight!

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a randomly delicious meal

I made a delicious dinner last night, but then we were up way to late doing our taxes for me to post!  It was a lot of random stuff basically thrown together, but the combination worked out perfectly.  I starred into the fridge trying to figure out what to make and came out with Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, and Heirloom Grape Tomatoes – here’s what I came up with for a dinner for two!

First up, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries & Gorgonzola.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, washed, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

I chopped up my brussels sprouts and walnuts and combined them in a baking dish with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  I used just enough olive oil to coat each brussels sprout, and adjusted the salt and pepper while serving.

I then baked the dish at 350°F for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through to brown all of the brussels sprouts.  After 35 minutes, I took out the dish and mixed in the dried cranberries, then sprinkled the crumbled gorgonzola on top.  Back into the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese and brown the top of the dish.

This random combination of flavors came out perfect!  It was so delicious.

Next up, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • dried thyme

I learned a great new trick while watching Rachel Ray the other day at the gym for how to make roasted cherry tomatoes.  I love roasted tomatoes, and have made them before, but they do come out a little soggy on the bottoms.  Well, Rachel Ray had a great tip – squeeze out the seeds before cooking them and bake them on a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.  Brilliant!

By squeezing out the seeds and cooking them raised above the cookie sheet, they cook much faster and come out a little crisp.  We loved them.

I baked them in the same oven as the brussels sprouts at 350°F for about 30 minutes.

After about 30 minutes (make sure you watch them, as larger the size of the tomato will determine cooking time), they came out shriveled and crisp on top, but still soft and sweet to eat.

Brown Rice with Lemon, Salt & Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • lemon peel from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

While the brussels sprouts and tomatoes were roasting away in the oven, I popped some brown rice into my rice cooker to serve alongside the veggies.  Once the rice was cooked, I added the juice of 1/2 lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.  This rice was a mix from Trader Joes, so it had chopped carrots, peas, etc in it, but you could replace that with any rice or a grain.  I topped the rice with the Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

Lastly, Sweet Potato with Cinnamon & Coconut Butter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut butter
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Once the brussels sprouts went back into the oven to melt the cheese, I popped my sweet potato in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel (and with holes poked in the top!) for 7 minutes on high.  Time will vary depending on size of potato and your microwave.  You could also bake the sweet potato in the oven, but I decided on the potato last minute!

After cooking it, I let it sit for a few minutes, then cut it in half and sprinkled it with cinnamon and coconut butter.  The coconut butter melted into the hot potato and the flavors together were delicious!

This was a delicious, well-balanced meal!  I love dinners like this that come together easily and completely randomly, but still taste awesome.  Hope you enjoy!