A weekend of no labor.

August 31, 2008

I’ve been taking it easy since Friday afternoon, when we ended our workday by going to the campus dairy bar. I enjoyed some espresso ice cream. Mmmm.

I felt like a bum for skipping the gym most of last week, but I just couldn’t bring myself to go on Friday, either. So I ran some errands on foot and came home to make a reasonably healthy dinner. Here’s some Turkey Ragout (French = Fancy!) from Clean Eating. I think I’ve talked before about how much I love this magazine, even though I will always associate it with being stuck in the Kansas City airport two days before Christmas, crying because we ran off the road in snow and missed our flight, and I was convinced we weren’t going to make it home for the holidays. The fact that I overcame that is a testament to my love. That love, paired with mentioning it six or eight hundred times a week, resulted in a two-year subscription as a birthday gift. Thanks, Matt!

Anyway, this was good. And, apparently, clean:

It called for turkey breast cutlets, which I’ve never cooked with before, but might try to do more in the future. Mostly because they were so much cheaper than chicken. And all natural! Other than that, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, and lots of spices. It’s thick like a stew. I did some serious internet research and found out that ragout can be paired with noodles, so I decided to throw a grain in there. I made some bulgur because, when it comes to bulgur, our cup (or grain container) runneth over.

Yesterday I went to kickboxing and then I never left the house again. It was a football Saturday and I had a good book and I just couldn’t bear to go out. I know I had dinner, but it must have been really especially unremarkable, because I didn’t even bother to take a picture. I do know that whatever it was, it was just a stop gap between reading and dessert. I got these cookies and cream ice cream bars at the grocery store and I couldn’t wait to try them.

Today we actually did some minor labor, including laundry and spending bundles of gift card money at Target on fun things left on our registry. Then I went to yoga and came home and we made this colorful meal:

This is from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, and I loved it. I’ll definitely be trying more recipes from that gem. This was braised fish with artichoke hearts and red peppers. There’s some tilapia under there, it’s just hard to see. It was really rich and tasty but still healthy. Mollie Katzen is pretty much a genius.

And now, it’s time for me to figure out more ways to not do anything.


Like I said, we’re going to be eating a lot of pasta.

August 28, 2008

I did not feel well today. I was light-headed while giving a tour, and then for the next few hours, I felt like my head was trapped inside a metal box.

Is that so strange? Matt seemed confused by it, and asked me if I was hearing an echo.

Anyway, I came home early from work. But I had lots of Things to Do, so I didn’t start cooking dinner until 7:30. I can’t find the list where I planned our meals for the week, so I went for my go-to easy meal that still has protein and green stuff:

I like to call it: Annie’s Mac and Cheese with tuna and whatever vegetables we have. This time, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

I usually only make this for lunch, and typically on Sundays. I like to reserve it for use as a reward for Matt when we get done grocery shopping, as I am apparently difficult to shop with. But then, he thinks a trip to the store should take ten minutes, and how can I possibly touch all of the pretty produce and expensive natural products in that amount of time?

There is some kind of football-related nonsense happening in our neighborhood tonight, and I hope it’s going to be over soon, because I could really use some high quality sleep. We finished the final season of The Wire last night, and I spent way too much time weeping because I don’t have any other shows to watch ruminating over the social issues it brought to light.

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

August 27, 2008

I love a one-dish meal, and if it doesn’t take long, it’s even better. This recipe fit the bill quite nicely. It’s from that same issue of Food and Wine, and I must say, I am now a true believer in their boldly stated “best fast recipes.” This farfalle with yogurt and zucchini was tangy and cheesy and delicious. I took some liberties with the recipe, using about half of the butter they call for because that’s all I could scrape up, 2% instead of whole milk Greek yogurt because whole milk yogurt makes me really sick, and probably 2/3 of the parmesan because it was all that was left in the bag. I thought I bought an actual block of it, but if I did, I have no idea where it is. I probably dropped it in between the car and the house when I went grocery shopping. The possums have surely devoured it by now.

Bonus: it was really pretty. This picture doesn’t do it justice.

I wanted to eat more than this little bowl, but I was hungry when I got home from work and I ate a lot of peanut butter. What can I say? That Smucker guy really knows what he’s doing. Non-whole wheat pasta doesn’t fill me up that well, though, so maybe I’ll be hungry enough for more in a little bit. If not, we have about 10 more servings, so I should be able to enjoy some tomorrow.

Okay, it’s 7:00 and I’d really like to go to bed. But I need to stop being 108 years old, so I’m going to stay up until at least 9. I think that means it’s time to hang out with the reporters at the Baltimore Sun and Marlo Stanfield’s crew.

If that makes no sense to you, you really need to Netflix The Wire. Right now.

Eating is important.

August 26, 2008

I taught my class for the first time today, and none of my students threw anything at me or got up and left the room or anything, so I’m going to call it a success. Hopefully none of them saw me fall and twist my ankle on campus a few minutes before class.

I am cool.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble handling my stress recently, and it’s been affecting my eating habits. I just haven’t been hungry, and I’m not down with that. I like to get hungry. So that I can eat more. Today I finally got to a workable point with the stress, so I decided to take advantage and make us a nice, healthy dinner.

That’s pan-roasted salmon with tomato vinaigrette (minus the capers because, well, eww), salad, and some brown rice.

Up close on the salmon:

I bought the latest issue of Food and Wine at the airport because the cover promised to share with me the 30 best fast meals ever. I was skeptical, but this really was fast. And awesome.

And now I’m exhausted. On tap for tomorrow – finally going back to the gym.


Pizza Pizza

August 24, 2008

Sorry, sorry. I got distracted.

Thursday, we had a departmental retreat at a Challenge Course. I’d been dreading it for weeks, but it was actually pretty cool. The kids leading it were a little… ill-equipped to draw analogies between our work on the lessons learned in the course. One of them started talking about cheeseburgers at one point. Stuff like that. Anyway, we went out for a tasty Mexican meal afterwards and I had shrimp fajitas. They were still awesome the next day.

Speaking of the next day, I spent Friday afternoon at my favorite place, the pulmonologist’s office. It was, as usual, a stellar experience, in which he told me that the muscles that help me breathe are 23% as strong as they should be, but he has no idea why. So, I get to go back in six months. It was just the tiniest bit frustrating. So, leftovers were really the best option.

Yesterday, I worked. On student move-in weekend, we set up outside the library to give away free water and help people find their way around our ginormous campus. It’s always fun. I came home and had more work to do, so Matt cooked dinner – spicy chicken and noodles. Only we didn’t have noodles, so it was really more like chicken and pasta. Either way: delicious.

For some green stuff, I made broccoli. With some Parmesan. Because it’s not really a day unless you’ve had cheese.

Today has been pretty busy, though I’ve spent most of it on the couch. I’m teaching a class this semester, and today was syllabus day. It’s my first time teaching anything other than library classes, so I’m a little nervous.

Since the Fall semester starts tomorrow, and that’s by far the busiest time of year for me at work, I decided to go all out on tonight’s dinner. For the first time ever, I made pizza from scratch. I used this recipe and the dough didn’t rise right, but it still tasted delicious. Like super crispy flatbread pizza. I had two and a half pieces, but since I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste, I started with one. Here it is, along with a salad of mixed greens with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

Those are some big heirloom tomatoes we found at the farmer’s market yesterday. Delicious.

So, speaking of the semester, I have a feeling that my posts are likely to become slightly more sporadic in these next few weeks. I also see a lot of pasta in our future. Please, do what you can to work through it.

Oh, I’m also going to go ahead and apologize in advance for any future photographs. I know that you’ve gotten used to the high quality images I usually feature here at See Food.

Wish me luck!

These are our salad days.

August 20, 2008

One of the best things about our trip to North Carolina was that it gave us a chance to spend time with old friends we haven’t seen in a long time. I spent a good bit of our first wedding party talking to my friend Karin about all things food. I told her about this blog and she diligently read it. Clearly, she got a good sense of what I like, because she sent me a link to this recipe.

I think we all know that I love a main dish salad, especially in the summer. Tonight’s attempt did not disappoint.

Really, how can you go wrong with a bunch of grains and some tasty protein? And then, of course, there’s the feta.

I’m having a bad day. I started the ball rolling with the name change process recently, and I complicated things for myself by keeping my middle name and adding my original last name as a second middle name. Now I’m plagued by self-doubt (What middle initial do I use on my taxes? How will I sign? What if the Middle name box on a form is too small?) and have worked myself into a frenzy that has literally lasted for three days. If you read this and have two middle names, now would be a great time to tell me how much you love it.

Anyway, at least the food was good.

I’m back!

August 19, 2008

We actually got back Sunday night, but I’ve been kind of shell-shocked. And now I have lots of pictures and a dysfunctional space bar, so we’ll see how this goes.

(FYI: it is really long, so be warned)

My awesome parents took me grocery shopping at two of my favorite stores – Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter. We don’t have either out here, and it was kind of bittersweet to be filling up the cart and knowing that I couldn’t take it with me. I really wish Greek yogurt and chicken sausages traveled better.

Anyway, my sister and loyal blog reader requested that I share my culinary magic with her family, and, luckily, she lives just a mile or so away from my parents, so I was able to oblige.

Trader Joe’s Meal #1:

Whole wheat couscous and a rosemary chicken/white bean/stewed tomato dish. I make white beans and stewed tomatoes with pasta, I don’t know why I never thought about chicken. It was good. Even my nieces ate it. I was really proud of my older niece for trying the tomatoes, as she’s a slightly picky eater. My younger niece wasn’t a big fan of the couscous. She said, “I don’t think I like this rice.”

Trader Joe’s Meal #2

Speaking of nieces, my older one made a special request for baked ziti, so I made this baked pasta dish with whole wheat penne, marinara, TJ’s quattro formaggio mix, and some roasted garlic chicken sausage. I ate a little to make sure it was okay, but it was really for my family.

I had the pasta with some roasted vegetables, and chicken sausage. With cheese.

And then, my crowning glory, Trader Joe’s Meal #3:

I didn’t actually cook this. Matt’s train was late coming in, and I was starving while waiting for it, so I coached my mom through the process via cell phone. This was a delicious pizza with TJ’s whole wheat dough, pizza sauce, some sweet apple chicken sausage, peppers, and lots of cheese. Mmmm. I ate about 1/4 of this. We had leftovers for lunch the next day. Oh, also, some sauteed vegetables on the side. I bought a bunch of vegetables and had to use them. My parents aren’t big vegetable people.

Man. I love chicken sausage. I wish I could find it here.

Other than this, I spent the week at my parents’ house eating lots of baked goods and chocolate things. My mom is an enabler. She keeps this JUST OUT in the kitchen:

Yeah, I probably ate all that.

Also, some delicious coconut bars:

And a bunch of Trader Joe’s Trekking the Himalayas, eaten in little bits like so:

That used to be my special cup. It’s like a goblet. Anyway, see those red things? Those are Goji Berries. They do not taste good. But they are some kind of super antioxidant. So I figure that basically makes up for all the cake I ate. Right?

Also, pretzel slims and almond butter:

And smoothies, and Greek yogurt, and white bean hummus, and soy and flaxseed chips. And brownies. And chocolate chip bars. And so. much. cake.

My parents took Matt and me and my sister’s family out on Friday night to a fancy new restaurant in their town, where I had a caprese salad, almond trout with rice pilaf, and some peach/strawberry/rhubarb cobbler.

We had our final party on Saturday, the day before we left. It was so great to see people I usually only see at Christmas. In honor of us, my Grandmother made a round of turkey burgers in addition to ground beef burgers. They were really good. We also had fruit salad, pasta salad, baked beans, and more. I forgot to take a picture.

I really should’ve taken a picture of the cake, though. Since it was a wedding celebration, a cake was a given, and I requested a coconut cake. My awesome grandmother obliged… by making FOUR of her awesome coconut cakes! Seriously. We took one back to my parents’ and I spent a lot of the evening trying to figure out if it was physically possible for me to house the whole thing before we left Sunday morning. It wasn’t. But I had a lot. Mom, is there any left? You should take a picture.

Sunday, we headed back up to Raleigh to meet my in-laws for brunch before we flew out. We had a great meal at Porter’s. I think Debbie took some pictures, but there have probably been enough pictures in this post.

Wow, this has been so long.

Okay, here are our three dinners since we returned.

Post-travel ravioli with brussels sprouts (on the monkey plate because I was so sad about leaving NC)

Last night’s spicy peanut chicken (so good):

I had all day off yesterday but was so busy running errands that we didn’t eat this until 9. Oh well. Live and learn.

And, finally, tonight’s pasta with zucchini/tomatoes/spinach/parmesan:

Okay, I’m cutting myself off. The space bar thing is driving me nuts. I’m also exhausted and confused about what day it is since I had the day off yesterday.