Grump Day


Being that yesterday was Mexican Wednesday, we had Taco Salads. Some call Wednesdays, the hump day, however, for me it was the grump day.  I was so grumpy and it didn’t help that Sean had to work later than normal and we had a freak snow fall that I had to drive in to take 1 to dance.  Even though I took my drivers test in a blizzard, when I was 16, I didn’t care then.  I care now. I don’t like snow!  I had my heart on going for a run, to keep up on this weight loss journey, but I have to be flexible, because life happens and things can get in the way.  For our Connections group last night, I made an old university favorite of mine.  I remember when Ren liked Tim.  I remember when Tim liked Ren.  When all this liking would be going on, I would be in Ren’s parents’ kitchen stuffing my face with the most awesome appetizer in the world, hoping no one would notice the ever decreasing feta cheese spread.  To this day, I make this appetizer often. I am forever grateful to Tim for sharing it with me.  I prepare it with the fondest memories of my university life friends pouring over in my mind of the countless wine and cheese fondues, over eating of fine decadent foods, and deep conversations of not only life’s mysteries, but of God’s too.

Beef Taco Salads

The great thing about Taco salads, is that they can be made in a whole variety of different ways and always taste great.  Most times I use chicken, but in this case, I used ground beef.  When I have jalapenos, believe me, my salad is covered in them, but unfortunately, I had none in my cupboard.

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground sirloin beef

3 cups Arugula

1/4 cup Red onion, chopped

1/2 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped

taco seasoning of choice, I like Trader Joe’s, (sometimes I make my own by adding 2tsp chili powder, 1/2tsp sea salt, 1tsp ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp onion powder)

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup organic roasted corn (or organic corn kernels)

sour cream

guacamole

salsa

1-2 cups grated Monterey Jack and Sharp cheddar cheese

Taco chips (I use Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips)

How To Play:
In a skillet cook beef until no longer pink.  Add seasoning and a bit of water if it looks too dry. While beef is heating, in a small sauce pan, melt butter and add corn, heat thoroughly.  Prepare salad bowls by adding arugula topped with fresh peppers and onions.  Add cooked seasoned beef.  Pour favorite salsa over the beef.  Sprinkle with corn and cheeses.  On one side of the salad bowl add a spoonful of guacamole and sour cream, while the other side has a wall of taco chips.  You can really make it any way you want, it is just the way I like to present it, all that really matters is that it tastes good.

Feta Cheese and Herb Appetizer

Ingredients:

1 Block of Feta Cheese (just over a cup)

2-3 Garlic cloves, minced

Fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

2 tbsp Olive oil

How To Play:
Heat oven at 350 degrees. Place feta cheese in tinfoil inside a baking dish.  You can have the minced garlic placed on top or inserted into the feta, either way is fine, then dust feta with ground pepper.  Sprinkle over with basil, oregano, and rosemary, then pour olive oil over top.  Close the tinfoil tightly over the seasoned feta and bake for about 20-25 minutes until really soft.  Serve warm with crackers or prepared baguette.

To Prepare Baguette:
Cut baguette thinly on an angle.  Place onto a baking sheet.  Brush each piece generously with olive  oil and heat in the oven for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy.

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Sunday’s Lunch

I remember one day in school, when I was a sophomore, student counsellors met with us to look over lists of colleges, universities, and other means of higher education.  I felt pressured and trapped.  It was way over my head. At 15, how was I to know what I wanted to be? I only wanted to play soccer and garage sale.  I wasn’t big on school to begin with, so to think about post secondary school after secondary school, discouraged me.  Grades intimidated me.  Peers scared me.  I remember saying to my friend as we were checking off random schools to go to that it would be fun to own of a sandwich shoppe.  I loved sandwiches and I still do, however, I also love to make sandwiches.  It has become a family tradition to go to the grocery store and buy fresh buns, cheese, and meats, for our lunches, after church.  This Sunday I wasn’t able to go to the store due to a prior engagement.  Therefore, I decided to use what I had in the kitchen, and yes, this included Sean’s least favorite thing in the world, the big L word, LEFTOVERS.  I ended up making a grilled avocado and orange pepper cheese sandwich with Oh She Glows’ “Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl” leftovers.  It was pretty yummy.

Sunday Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Orange Pepper with a side dish…

2 pieces of preferred bread (I like Squirrely Bread)

2 tbsp Grapeseed oil

1/2  Avocado

Shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheese

1/2 Orange Pepper sliced thinly

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1tsp spicy mustard

salt and pepper to taste

How To Play:

In a medium size skillet, heat the olive oil at a medium temperature until warm.  Place the slices of bread in the oil.  I like to have both sides of the bread covered in the olive oil so flip them over before adding the remaining ingredients.  Spread 1/2 of an avocado on one slice of bread and mayonnaise and mustard on the other slice.  Gently place the pepper slices over the mayonnaise and the cheeses on the avocado.  Bring the two slices together and with a metal flipper press down hard on the sandwich and then bring the temperature to a low heat and cover for about 2-3 minutes.  Flip the sandwich to have the other side toasted and again press down really hard with a flipper, and cover again for another 2 minutes.  When the peppers are warm and soft and the cheeses have melted, the sandwich is finito.  Serve with a salad, carrot slices, or tortillas.

For the Lightened Up Protein Goddess Bowl: (Inspired by Oh She Glows)

1 cup uncooked green lentils

1 cup uncooked buckwheat or brown rice

1/2 tbsp olive oil, for sautéing

1/2 red onion, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

3 cups spinach or kale, roughly chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

1 batch of Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing (recipe below)

Sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Lemon Wedges & lemon zest, to garnish

 Directions:

1. Cook lentils and buckwheat according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare the Lightened Up tahini-Lemon dressing in food processor (see below for recipe).

3. In a large skillet over low-medium heat, add olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and minced garlic for a few minutes.  Add in the chopped red pepper and tomato and sauté for another 7-8 minutes.

4. Stir in the chopped kale or spinach and sauté for another few minutes, just until tender. Stir in the full batch of tahini-Lemon dressing, the cooked & drained grains and lentils, and simmer on low for another few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the minced parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon wedges and zest.

Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing

Adapted from Tahini-Lemon Dressing.

Yield: Just under 1 cup of dressing

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Tahini

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast 

2-4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

1 tsp sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

3 tbsp water, or as needed

Directions:

1. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth.

Enjoy.