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homemade vegetable broth

I absolutely love our CSA.  It helps out the farmers and we get freshly grown produce each week for a fraction of what I would be paying at the grocery store.  However, sometimes when we are away on the weekends, we end up with some extras!

I don’t want those extras (mostly carrots, celery and onions) to go to waste, so tonight I put the past 2 weeks of celery, carrots and onions together to make a homemade vegetable broth!

My plan is to make some soup this weekend, which I will be needing this broth for, so it was perfect timing.

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound celery
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 16 whole peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Directions:

Start by washing and chopping your vegetables.

While chopping, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large stockpan over medium-low heat.  When each veggie is done being chopped, throw it in the pan and let it sizzle a bit.

Celery

Into the pot it goes…

Onion, very roughly chopped

Carrots, both orange and red

Did you know that red carrots are really orange on the inside?

Throw it all into the pot,

along with 3 cloves of galic (make sure you take off the peel),

16 peppercorns, give or take,

and 1 bay leaf.

Now, add 1 gallon of filtered water.

Turn up the heat and bring the water to a boil.  Then, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, your broth will look more like this:

That means you did it right!!

Now, add your salt and soy sauce and any other seasonings you may want to add (taste it here to figure it out) and simmer for another 15-20 minutes so the flavors come out.

I cooked my veggie broth in a strainer pot, so that I could do this at the end instead of pouring the broth into a strainer.

It worked quite nicely.  I was left with a strainer full of veggies and a pot full of homemade broth!!

Discard, compost or blend your leftover veggies into a soup.  Unfortunately, mine went down the drain…

But, I was left with a delicious homemade veggie broth to add to my homemade soup this weekend.

Delicious!  And, very much worth the wait.

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bbq pizza-dilla

Last night after work, I headed out the door for a run around Southie.  I love my morning workouts, but I have learned to love running at night as well.  I think I like the mornings so much because you start your day off on the right foot and get your workout out of the way.  But, now that I am not training for anything specific, I realized that it is ok if I miss a morning workout.  In fact, sometimes running at night is just as good and allows you to release any stressors the day may have caused.

It felt great out last night.  A cool breeze was coming off of the water and there were a lot of people out running and walking.  I never see that many people in the mornings!!  I ran for just over an hour and felt great!  Refreshed after my day.

I came home to make a quick dinner.  My first thought was a pita pizza, my next thought was a quesadilla.  Then, I combined them!

A Pizza-Dilla!

Start with a wrap of choice.

Spread half of it with tomato sauce (or tomato paste as I did here).

Then, layer on your cheese and toppings of choice.  I went with pepper and italian seasoning.  The cheese is a blend of cheddar and mozarella.

Drizzle with bbq sauce, if desired.  I love bbq sauce, so this was a no brainer for me. 🙂

Fold the wrap in half and grill on the grill or grill pan for a few minutes on each side until the cheese is melted.

Mmmm…a delicious, eat with your hands, quesadilla!  That tastes like pizza. 🙂

This could be great as an appetizer too!

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.

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!

north fork of long island – weekend eats

We had a busy, but fun weekend in New York!  I have a lot to tell you guys about, so I will split it up into multiple posts the next few days.

Saturday morning we were up early to catch a ferry to the North Fork of Long Island.  If you have never been there, I really recommend it.  Their are quaint towns and lots of vineyards. 🙂  Plus, while you are there, you could take a trip across Shelter Island and to the Hamptons for some more fun!

I was feeling like I needed a pick-me-up to get going, so I mixed up a Green Monster Smoothie for the ride.

  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 scoop Sun Warrior protein powder, vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup almond milk

This was not my favorite, but I slurped it down anyways…

Once at the ferry I got out my overnight oats that I had mixed up last night.

Last night, I mixed up 1/3 cut oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 4 oz vanilla yogurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 heaping tbsp unsweetened dried coconut and 1/2 banana.  It sat in the fridge overnight and was a perfect breakfast for our ferry ride.  It really thickens up overnight which makes the mixture the perfect dish to travel with. 🙂

Before eating, I topped it with 1/4 cup Kaia Raisin Cinnamon Granola.

We arrived in Greenport, NY and headed straight to the Greenport Tea Company for some tea!

We split the most delicious Orange Cranberry Scone and I had their Secret Stash Tea – a mixture of vanilla, caramel and white chocolate.  Delicious!

I love when tea shops use gorgeous teacups!

After meeting up with Brant’s parents, aunt and uncle, we spent the afternoon at a few vineyards (full posts to come!) and ended up at Chef Noah’s in Greenport, NY for dinner.

It was a very modern restaurant with a lot to choose from on the menu.  I particularly liked it because they offered a variety of ‘tastes’ and ‘small plates’ along with entrees.  The small plates were a decent size for me to order a few for my meal, and there were a number of veggie options!

(I have to show you Brant’s choices too because they looked so good!)

I started with the Roasted Beet Salad served with local goat cheese from a farm down the street!

Brant started with the Crab Taco’s – how cute are they?!

For my ‘entree’, I ordered 2 more ‘small plates’ – Roasted Asparagus, which was super garlicky…

And, the Carrot Risotto served with the same local goat cheese.

Brant ordered the Lobster Roll which looked amazing!

It was a great dinner.  Good atmosphere, good company and great prices!

After dinner we walked around the dock and stumbled upon this cool piece of artwork standing above the harbor.

The bird is an Osprey which stands on one of the posts from the World Trade Center.  It is pretty cool.

More of the weekend to come…

pesto & eggplant parmesan

Check out the gorgeous flowers my husband came home with today!

What a great guy! 🙂

What is better on a Friday night than a home cooked meal?!  Sure, going out is nice, but you won’t always get something as delicious as this:

Pesto & Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 -2 cups almond flour
  • Italian seasoning mix (or herbs of choice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • homemade Garlic Scrape Pesto (see recipe below)

I pretty much made up this recipe on the spot with what we had on hand.  It isn’t the healthiest version of eggplant parm (for super healthy eggplant parm, you can just bake the eggplant), but I wanted breaded eggplant, so here is my take.  It turned out great!  However, next time I think I would do a few things differently:

  1. Use a thicker tomato sauce
  2. Cook the eggplant for longer pre-baking
  3. Bread the eggplant, then pre-bake it to brown instead of frying (obviously, you need more time for this!)
  4. Use more pesto!!

On to the recipe!  I am going to take you through step by step, so bare with me. 🙂

Start off by slicing your eggplant, keeping all of the slices the same size.

Set up your dipping stations.  Whisk 2 eggs together and pour onto a plate or low bowl.  Scoop the almond flour onto another plate and mix with herbs of choice.

Dip the eggplant slice by slice into the egg,

then into the almond flour mixture.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and warm 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Then, add the first batch of breaded eggplant and ‘fry’ on each side for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Repeat for the next batch.

Once all of your eggplant is ‘fried’, preheat your oven to 350F.  Then, begin to make up your dish.

Start with a layer of diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce).

Add a layer of eggplant, scoop on some pesto, and add 1/2 of the mozzarella.

Add a little tomato sauce, then repeat the steps adding some pesto and ground pepper to the top.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, then add a few basil leaves for garnish and broil until slightly browned.  (Make sure you watch it closely while broiling, as it browns fast!)

Once it is out of the oven, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

We enjoyed our eggplant parm with roasted cauliflower and sugar snap peas.

It took about 60 minutes to make everything, but once in a while, that is definitely worth it!

If you try it out and make any tweaks, let me know.

Garlic Scrape Pesto

  • 5 garlic scrapes
  • large handful fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Throw everything into a food processor and blend until smooth.

This was so delicious that I wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but instead I spread it onto some bread.

You can use any pesto you want, but I suggest you give this one a try!

cabbage and apple coleslaw

What a wonderful weekend away!  We spent the weekend chatting with friends, BBQ-ing, hiking, relaxing and soaking in the sun.  It was fabulous!

For a weekend away, I was able to keep my healthy eating style with everything that I brought from home plus a lot of fruit and veggies that we all picked up.  I ate smoothies, salads, veggie burgers, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, more salad, super charge me cookies, etc.  I feel great after a weekend away!

But, back to reality today!

It was a HOT one in Boston today…they say it hit 100°F in some areas.  Yowzers!  To cool off a bit, I started my day with a smoothie, of course.

Chocolate Mango Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 3/4 scoop Vega protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup filtered water

Absolutely delicious and very refreshing!!

I kept lunch fairly simple as well, mostly due to the lack of fresh produce in our fridge after a weekend away (we picked up our CSA tonight!).

Whole Wheat Wrap with Lettuce, Hummus and Avocado

And, yogurt with fresh blueberries.

Aren’t simple foods the best?!

Mid-afternoon, I snacked on a granola bar that I had picked up at Starbucks last week.

I loved it!  Simple ingredients and raw…

We tried to keep dinner very simple due to the heat.

Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw

This is a very easy recipe.  I used the grater on my food processor to chop everything up, which made it simple!

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 small apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 8 oz thick greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Greek Yogurt – full fat)
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme

Mix the yogurt, vinegar, oil and thyme until thinned out (use a little extra olive oil if need be), then toss the dressing with the cabbage, carrots, apple, raisins and sunflower seeds.

I spiralized a beet to serve on top of my salad.

Served with cheesy bread. 🙂

Simple, cold dinners on hot nights are definitely the way to go!  This was delicious!  We both loved it.

Have a great (cool) evening.