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barbara’s bakery & puffins

Happy Saturday!

Last week, I was sent a great package from Barbara’s Bakery.

This bag was filled with a lot of goodies!

How generous?!¬† They sent me a full sized box of their Original Puffins and Shredded Oats, 2 of my all time favorite cereals as an adult. ūüôā¬† Along with some sample packs of their newer flavors, including Multigrain Puffins and Fruit Medley Puffins Puffs.

I haven’t had a chance to try all of the packs, but I have been enjoying the Original Puffins this week!¬† [I will make sure to let you know how I like the other flavors as well.]

Yesterday morning, I enjoyed a bowl of Puffins.

In the bowl, I mixed the following for a satisfying breakfast:

  • 1 cup of Pomegranate Kefir (from Trader Joe’s – surprisingly delicious and not too sweet!)
  • 1/2 cup Original Puffins
  • 1/4 cup Museli
  • 1 chopped apricot

Very refreshing.

Mid-morning, I snacked on some trail mix (dried fruit + nuts) to hold me over until lunch.

For lunch, I was craving Panera Bread.¬† I actually don’t like too much there and I always get the same exact thing.¬† It’s something about the bread and the veggies that I love about the Mediterranean Veggie!

Sans onions and feta, with an apple instead of chips.

Yum!

I also snacked on a raw fig bar that I had been saving from One Lucky Duck in NYC.

It was really good!!!

Once home, we went on an hour long walk around Southie, then had an early dinner of Pizza and Salad before we headed out to see Inception.

Garden salad.

Alfresco pizza with tomatoes, basil, ricotta and mozzarella.

It’s a beautiful Saturday here in Boston.¬† We are off to enjoy the day!

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quick & easy veggie burgers

Last night I wanted to whip up something quick for dinner.  I kept thinking about all of the CSA veggies we had sitting in our fridge and needed a good way to use them.  Something different than the normal stirfrying, roasting or grilling.

What about veggie burgers?!

Quick & Easy Black Bean & Veggie Burgers

Makes about 12 patties

(recipe inspired by Oh She Glows In a Jiffy Burgers)

I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, so I just added what I did have and I think they cam out pretty good.¬† Next time, I would season them more!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 3 small carrots
  • 2 spring onions (bulb and stalk)
  • 1 cubanelle pepper (or pepper of choice)
  • 1 stalk of beet greens with stems removed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t dried chile pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup curry flavored sunflower seeds (Kaia Foods)
  • 2 tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Place all of the ingredients (except for the nuts, oats and flour) into a food processor and blend until smooth.  You can leave some chunks if you would like.  It is all personal preference.

After the mixture is blended, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and mix in the seeds, oats and flour until well mixed.  I mixed in the seeds, then oats, then flour in small increments.  Only use as much flour as you need.  My mixture was wet, so I added all 3/4 cups.

Shape the mixture into patties of any size.  This amount will make about 12 normal size patties, but next time I may make them smaller and roll them into balls as salad toppers!

Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, then flip and bake another 15 minutes or so until patties are cooked, but not too dry.

We served these patties on a toasted whole wheat bun with a little mozarella cheese and a roasted red pepper/artichoke spread.

Along with kale chips and pickles as sides.

They were delicious!

You could also grill these, but you might want to bake them a little first to help them stay together.

how to give your smoothie staying power

Lately, all I have been wanting for breakfast is a smoothie.¬† I think it has to do with the heat and humidity.¬† Smoothie’s are cool and refreshing and don’t weigh you down.¬† I love¬†how simple or complex they can be!¬† If you are using them as a meal, just¬†make sure to pack them with protein to increase the staying power.

Good ways to add protein into your smoothies:

  • nut butter
  • nuts
  • protein powder
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • oats

A smoothie can definitely be made into a meal by adding a few extras other than fruit.  Try a tbsp of peanut butter or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for extra iron or hemp seeds for extra protein.

This morning, I was feeling like chocolate, so I mixed away in my Vita-Mix!

  • 1 frozen banana (the key to a thicker smoothie!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries (antioxidants!)
  • 5 frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp mango jelly
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • dash vanilla
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds (extra protein)

It was a pretty yucky color, but sure did taste good!

Yum.

I try to stock up on frozen fruit when I am at Trader Joes because they make excellent smoothie additions.  The frozen fruit adds depth to the smoothie by making it thicker and colder.

Moving on…

I have been so thirsty lately!  Has anyone else been?  It must be the weather because I already drink a lot of water, but have been drinking so much more recently.  Darn humidity!

I wasn’t really hungry for a mid-morning snack, so I skipped right to an early lunch since that was on my mind¬†– leftover Stuffed Patty Pan Squash!

Packed in two seperate containers to prevent them from tipping over and heated in the microwave at work, they were just as good as last night.

Along with the leftovers, I had a blueberry yogurt and 2 apricots.¬† A pretty well-balanced lunch if you ask me. ūüôā

An afternoon snack included Livin’ Spoonful raw crackers (filled with nuts and herbs and oh so flavorful!) and lemon hummus.

And, a Refresh Glo Bar.  I loved this flavor.  Chocolate and mint is a favorite combination of mine!

I’m thinking of a quick run tonight before dinner, then I’ve got another quick and yummy recipe to whip up.

See ya!

stuffed patty pan squash

Last night, I was determined to turn my Patty Pan Squash into something amazing.  I was craving a good, healthy dinner and that is just what I got!

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for stuffed patty pan squash on Oh She Glows, so I thought I would give it a shot.¬† I basically followed Angela’s recipe, but made some modifications for what I had on hand.

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

adapted from Oh She Glows (original recipe here)

Ingredients:

  • 4¬†Patty Pan Squash
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2¬†small carrots
  • 1 spring onion, bulb and stalk
  • 2¬†cups¬†cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups¬†cooked black beluga lentils¬†
  • 2 garlic cloves,¬†chopped
  • 1 small jar tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp¬†unsalted butter of choice¬†
  • sea salt & pepper to taste¬†
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • sprinkle parmesan cheese, optional

Directions:

Cut the tops off of your squash and the zucchini in half and scoop out the insides.

I sliced my zucchini into smaller pieces so that they would be easier to eat.

Add the squash and zucchini meat, onion bulb and stalk, carrots and garlic to your food processor and blend until smooth.

Let that mixture sit until you have your rice ready.

Add your cooked brown rice and lentils to a pot with the butter and tomato paste.  Warm over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and everything is mixed in.

Then, add the veggie mixture to the rice mixture and mix well.  Add italian seasoning (or seasoning of your choice), salt and pepper to taste.  I added about 1 tsp of salt and pepper.

Stuff the squash and zucchini.  I like them to be overflowing!

Then bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender.  23 minutes was perfect for this amount!

Let cool for a few minutes before serving and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

We loved these!  They were perfect and the tomato in the rice was awesome.

Glad I have leftovers for lunch today!

allandale farm csa, week 8

It was another great week of veggies from the farm!

We received a bunch of different veggies in our box this week which always makes me more excited!

Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Potatoes

Kale

Green Pepper

Cubanelle Pepper

Beets

Carrots

Eggplant – Does anyone know what kind of eggplant this is?

It’s so pretty!

Onions

Cucumbers & Pickling Cucumbers

Zucchini

This zucchini is huge!

Corn

Garlic

I also picked up a few things¬† at the Farmer’s Market while I was in Maine this past weekend.¬† I just couldn’t resist!

Squash/Zucchini

Patty Pan Squash!

It looks like a tremendous week for veggies!¬† Look out for some fun recipes coming your way. ūüôā

meet my vita-mix

That’s right!¬† Guess who showed up in the mail?!

My Vita-Mix 5200!

And, look at that, she just fits under the counter.  The base is huge, but I guess that is where all of the power comes from.  And, when I say power Рthe Vita-Mix is powerful!

It has low and high speeds along with variable speeds, which are great.  When making a smoothie, Vita-Mix recommends that you start off on 1 and slowly turn the knob up to 10 before flipping it on high for 30 seconds to completely blend.  This gets rid of a chance for air pockets which will cause the smoothie to stop blending properly.

You can also use the tamper to push down your ingredients to get them to blend properly.  It works like a charm when making ice cream and nut butters.

This morning, I decided to make a smoothie, so I dropped all of my ingredients into the blender.

  • beet greens
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds

I blended away for no longer than 60 seconds and came out with an extremely smooth smoothie!

The Vita-Mix was quick!¬† And, completely blended everything.¬† I didn’t have chunks of greens or hemp seeds throughout like I normally would have with my other blender.¬† I could not even tell that there were greens or seeds in the smoothie!¬† It was awesome.

Over the past few days, I have also made ice cream and multiple smoothies in the Vita.  Each time, it comes out perfect.  It pulverizes the frozen fruit, greens and nuts in a matter of seconds.

I am extremely happy about my purchase!

One other great thing, is how you clean it.  Rinse out the pitcher and fill half way with water and a squirt of dish soap.

Use the variable speed to get up to 10.

Then, blend on high for 30-60 seconds.

Viola!  A clean blender!

I’m so excited!!!

I was starving once lunch rolled around, so I pulled out some random veggies, eggs and hummus that I had packed.

A sliced up pickling cucumber and leftover grilled eggplant.

2 hard boiled eggs.

And, lemon hummus.

Some snacks today included yogurt, a nectarine and a S’more Glo Bar.

The Adore Glo Bar was good, but not my favorite.  I much prefer the Chocolate Coffee Bar!  Still, a great texture and flavor, though.

We are off for pizza and a talk on Barefoot Running tonight.

Have a great one.

pantry staples & weekly grocery shop

What is a better way to start of the week than photos of our weekly grocery shopping trip?!

I have received a few requests for photos/descriptions of my weekly grocery shopping trips.  To me, pantry staples are just as important as what you buy each week at the grocery store, so it is only fair that I talk about them together!

(Source)

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Pantry Staples

First, let’s talk about what I keep in my pantry at all times.¬† I like to keep my nuts, dried fruits, flours and other stuff in mason jars.

I have a lot!  But, I only buy them once a month, maybe once every 2 months!  Some items run out more quickly than others, but these are good staples to have on hand, especially if you are going to be making your own breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day (or at least most days!).

By keeping these things around, you can whip up a quick and delicious dinner any day without having to run out to the store mid-way through cooking.

Grains – Quinoa, Brown Rice, Bulgar

These 3 grains are great to keep on hand.  They can be used as the base of any stirfry, in soups, as breakfast cereals, or just eaten plain.

Beans – Chickpeas, Lentils, Black Beans

Sometimes I buy other beans in my normal weekly grocery shopping trips when I am in the mood for a change!¬† I love beans, but my husband does not, so a little goes a long way with us.¬† I buy my beans dried and cook them myself in my slow cooker ‚Äď see recipe here.

Nuts/Seeds – Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Pecans, Chia Seeds, Almonds, Pepitas, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews Hemp Seeds

Nuts and seeds pack a healthy punch, so we keep a lot around.¬† I only fill the smaller mason jars with nuts, since they can go rancid if kept too long, but mine have never stayed around long enough to go bad. ūüôā¬† I use my nuts to make my own nut butters, use as salad toppers, mix them in my smoothies, grind them into flour for baked goods and veggie burgers, and just to eat as snacks.¬† You can pick and choose which nuts to keep in your pantry!

Dried Fruit – Apricots, Bananas, Pineapple

Dried fruit can be added to cereal, backed goods, salads and eaten as snacks.¬† I usually have dried bananas, apricots¬†and mangoes, the others vary depending on what I am feeling.¬† Trader Joes has great prices on dried fruit ‚Äď just make sure you get the kind with no added sugar!

Oats – Steel Cut, Rolled, Scottish

Steel cut oats are my favorite for breakfast, while rolled are great in pancakes, cookies, veggie burgers, etc!

Spices – a wide variety


Spices are very important for cooking to give a dish the flavors that you want to satisfy your palate.  Spices can make or break a dish!  We keep a wide variety of spices around so that we can make a variety of different things.  Always make sure you have a good salt!

Oils/Vinegars – Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Coconut Aminos, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Vinegar


For everyday cooking and baking, I keep olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, coconut aminos, apple cider and coconut vinegar on hand.  Most things can be made with these!

Baking Supplies – Flours, Sugars, Oils


You don’t need to keep this many supplies on hand.  A simple whole wheat flour, natural cane sugar and healthy oil would be enough, but I love to bake and I love to try new things, so I keep a variety of flours, sugars and oils on hand.

EXTRAS Nut Butters, Chocolate, Coconut

These are just some things that are good to have on hand‚Äď nut butters, unsweetened¬†coconut and cacao powder (I buy the last 2 in bulk!).¬† I love love love coconut and chocolate, so they are always around.

Other good staples (which I am out of!) include: diced tomatoes, veggie broth, tomato paste, canned soup and pasta.

Supplements – Maca, Spirulina, Hemp Protein Powder

Just some things I love.  I mostly use them in my smoothies.  Maca is a natural energy booster, spirulina is a mix of different greens and protein powder gives you extra protein after a tough workout to restore your muscles.

In the Fridge

 

We keep a variety of staples in our fridge.  Everything from ketchup, mustard and pickles to jams and nut butters, to dairy and protein powders, to fresh produce!

In the Freezer

 

The freezer is mostly made up of frozen fruit (for smoothies), frozen veggies (for in a pinch meals) and¬†other things that I make and freeze ‚Äď applesauce, pesto, burgers, etc.

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Weekly Grocery Shopping Trip

Now, on to my weekly shopping trip…

From June through October, we belong to a CSA where we pick up all of our vegetables for the week.  Therefore, I do not buy any veggies at the grocery store, unless I need something extra for some reason.

Here is a normal CSA box that we would receive.  This is from Week 1 where we mostly received greens, but check out my other posts each week here to see lots of different veggies!

A lof of greens and other veggies to get us through the week!

Do to our box, my grocery trip for those 5 months is much lighter than normal.  Come the late fall and winter, I will be buying my produce at the store too (and it normally is about the same amount as seen above).

In the cart?

  • yogurt
  • frozen fruit
  • bananas
  • apples, berries, or other fruit
  • eggs
  • milk
  • almond milk or hemp milk
  • spinach (I use it in my smoothies!)
  • meat for the husband

That’s it!

The only other thing that I buy once in awhile is cereal, but normally I prefer to make my own granola out of the oats, nuts and dried fruit I have in my pantry.

Between our CSA and our Pantry, we don’t need anything else!¬† I try not to buy a lot of packaged snacks because I would prefer to eat a homemade trail mix, granola bar or other freshly made snack.

I used to plan all of our meals, then shop.  Now, with my well stocked pantry and my CSA, I can create basically anything I want with what I have on hand, plus the veggies and my small weekly grocery shop!

With a pantry full of grains/beans/nuts/seeds/spices and a fridge full of fruits and veggies, you really can make anything that you want!

Have fun with your food. ūüôā