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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!

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sour power

This afternoon, Brant and I went to a fun beer tasting at Gordon’s Wines & Liquors called “Sour Power“.  They have this run little tasting room behind their liquor store at their Waltham, MA location where the event was held.  It was a casual affair, where different vendors were set up with a sampling of different beers, all pretty sour!

Honestly, I never knew that there was a such thing as a “Sour” beer, did you?  I figured that they would just have a hint of sourness, and some did, but others were full on sour!  I loved that we just got little sips of each beer, so that I could taste more.  There were many different beers to try, but I probably tried about half of them.  Some I loved, some I didn’t even like the smell, so I dumped them out.

My favorite station was the fruity sour beers, but I enjoyed many others as well.

We even ran into Tina of Carrots N’ Cake!

It was a fun way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon!  We are feeling like a healthy dinner after our fun afternoon, so see ya after. 🙂

trident cafe

After work, I met Emily downtown at Trident Bookstore & Cafe on Newbury Street.  This place is adorable!  In all the years I have been in Boston, I can’t believe I have not been here.

We sat in the cafe and ordered some drinks.  They had a huge selection of coffee, tea, fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies, as well as a big menu.  I opted for a tea tonight, since I had a fruit filled snack before getting there, but I will be back for juice and smoothies!

(Fruit filled snack of an Apple Heart Thrive and an Orange.)

I chose the Seven Herb Tea, which was a blend of hibiscus, cloves, lavender, orange, licorice & lemon. It was delicious!  The cloves made it just a tad spicy.

This place is so cute!

After we chatted away for hours, we parted ways for dinner.  By the time I got home, I was famished!  I quickly popped a Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burger onto the grill for dinner, and a can of Amy’s Alphabet Soup in a pot on the stove.

Soup & Salad Combo : Veggie burger on a whole wheat pita with lettuce, ketchup and a laughing cow wedge & Amy’s alphabet soup with kale chips (need some green!).

I do love these veggie burgers, and the soup was delicious.  Not too salty, as many canned soups are.  All in all, a perfectly nutritious, delicious and quick meal.

Tips for healthy & quick dinners

I find that it is really important to keep a stock of some healthy lunch and dinner options in your fridge and pantry when you are trying to eat healthy.  On days like today, when I get home late and am famished, I could easily reach for something unhealthy if I had it.  But, for this reason, I don’t keep unhealthy options in the house.  Instead of the daunting task of making a full meal, I grabbed a frozen veggie burger from the freezer, and a can of soup from the pantry.  Within 5 minutes, they were both heated up and ready to eat.  My lettuce was washed and ready to go, stored in a bag in the fridge (I try to prepare this every Sunday night), so it was easy to get some greens into my dinner.  And, I had kale chips left over from the batch I made last week.  If you take time to prepare some things over the weekend, it makes weekday dinners that much easier.

What types of things do you do to make weeknight dinners quick and easy?

crazy cabbage stir-fry

I headed to the gym after work (I love Friday nights when I have nothing to do) and had a super workout.  I started with weights and then moved to the treadmill for a tempo run.  Here’s what I did:

Upper Body Weights (30 minutes, circuit style)

  • 21’s (10 lb weights, 3 sets)
  • Overhead press (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Fly’s (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Front raises (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12
  • Lunges (3 sets of 12, 10 lb weights,alternating legs)
  • Tricep dips on bench (3 sets of 12)
  • V-ups (3 sets of 12)
  • Squats (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Hammer curl (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Chest press (12.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Crunches (3 sets of 12)
  • Bicycles (25 sets)
  • Tricep kickbacks (7.5 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Deadlifts (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)
  • Upright rows (10 lb weights, 3 sets of 12)

6 Mile Tempo Run

  • Mile 1 – 9:30
  • Mile 2 – 9:00
  • Mile 3 – 8:30
  • Mile 4 – 8:00
  • Mile 5 – 7:30
  • Mile 6 – 9:13
  • Total = 51:47

What a workout!

Before my workout I snacked on a Clif Mojo Mountain Mix bar.

I had never had one of these before, but I was excited when I opened it because of all of the chunks of stuff in the bar!

It was ok, but I didn’t love it.  It did the trick for my workout though.

Once I got home, I was famished!  Time to cook something up with random stuff in our fridge – that is exactly what I did.  It was a crazy, but great mix!

Crazy Cabbage Stir-fry

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage
  • 1 orange pepper
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup cooked wheatberries
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins

I chopped up the cabbage and pepper into bite size pieces.

Then, heated the cabbage over medium high heat with a dash of olive oil.

Once heated through and wilted a bit, I added the pepper, salt and pepper, thyme and orange juice.

I had cooked wheatberries in the fridge, so I just nuked them in the microwave for a minute until warm.  I put the cooked cabbage on a plate and topped it with the wheatberries, raisins and peanuts.

Served with Trader Joe’s herb flatbread.

And, white wine.

It was an all around great quick meal for a Friday night at home!

a cereal kind of day

No rain this morning – yay!  Nice weather instantly puts me in a good mood, I love it, but of course it’s raining now!  I slept in a little today since it was a late night and when I woke up all I wanted was cereal.

I mixed 1/2 museli with 1/2 granola.

And, topped the bowl with a sliced banana and almond milk.  Perfect!

 

I couldn’t wait for lunch today!  Leftover Lentil Almond Stir-fry and a beer bread muffin with a laughing cow cheese wedge.

Mmmmm…this lentil dish is so good.  I can’t wait to make it again.  I definitely recommend the pre-cooked lentils too.  It makes for a really easy weeknight meal.  I also saw pre-cooked brown lentils at Trader Joes, but I’m really not sure what the difference is besides color.

The beer bread was better today!  Maybe it gets better with age? 🙂

After lunch, was a Cherry Almond Chocolate Cluster.

These things are messy, but so good!  I would make them again in a second.  I ate the yogurt a few hours later mostly just because I love this yogurt.

I’m planning a trip to the gym after work for a tempo run on the treadmill and some weights, we’ll see what happens…

Did you know these fun facts about lemons?  Apparently, they are super nutritious!  Check out this article.

A few of my favorite facts:

  • One lemon contains a full day’s supply of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, but that’s the whole fruit; the juice holds about a third. Lemon juice is also about 5 percent citric acid, making it a natural for slowing the browning or oxidation of fresh, raw foods: apples, avocados, bananas, and other fruits. That power, and the C, makes the lemon a real health fruit.
  • They make a versatile household cleaner – Dip a halved lemon in salt for a bit of gentle abrasive power, then scour brass, copper, or stainless-steel pots, pans, and sinks. Rub a cut lemon (sans salt) on aluminum to brighten it. Used lemons tossed in the disposal will deodorize it.