Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Egg Frittata with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Peppers


Today has been a good day (besides the storms this morning!). I woke up to a very clean house apartment. Micah woke up extra early this morning to clean. I have no idea why – he’s such a great guy! I made breakfast for lunch today for all of us when Micah returned from classes. This is such an easy recipe, and when used with egg whites instead of whole eggs, it’s actually pretty healthy. It was definitely a hit here! 🙂

Egg White Frittata with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:

1-1/4 C. Egg Whites
2 TBSP Milk
1 C. Asparagus, chopped
1 C. Mushrooms, Chopped
1/2 C. Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1 TBSP Olive Oil

Procedures:

1. In a skillet, saute the vegetables in olive oil.

2. Mix egg whites and milk together. Add s & p if desired. I also added some fresh basil – love that stuff!
3. When vegetables are done, add egg/milk mixture and cover with tight lid.

4. Set timer for 6 minutes – DO NOT remove lid until 6 minutes is up!!!
5. Enjoy!!!

My sister and I have been having lots of fun! So glad she is here! This afternoon, Kayle and I took a little trip to Borders, and it was awesome. I sipped some lovely herbal tea and read up on veganism. And, made this small purchase:


I immediately added the book to my collection:

Oh, and the best part of the purchase was this:

I would really like to purchase Veganomicon, but we shall see about that…

Dinner was something quite similar to this (Kayle’s request!). We are relaxing for the rest of the evening, and who knows about tomorrow. 🙂

I’ll leave you with this thought from my tea the other night:

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And, I’m off!


Quick post here! I’m leaving for Burlington for a short trip (am meeting with a bride for a music consultation and the father-in-law is doing some work on a car).

Dinner last night: Veggie burritos with homemade guac & salsa. YUM.

Here is how I made the taco filling:

1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I like the canned mexican tomatoes – at least for this recipe)
1 can black beans
2 TB homemade taco seasoning

Saute the red onion and red pepper until brown-ish (of course that’s the proper term – ha!). Then, add in the tomatoes, black beans, and taco seasoning.

I also made up some brown rice and then topped the burritos with jalapeños and hot sauce. YUM.

You can find my recipe for guacamole here and my salsa recipe here.

And, I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking:

I’m off to Burlington! Not sure when the next post will be…..stay tuned! 🙂

Eggstatic!


First of all: Shout out to my sister on her birthday today!!!!! 🙂

Wow…I have so much to blog about! Let’s start with something that I got in the mail the other day!!!!

I haven’t tried these out on the bike yet (they came with the clips, but not the pedals – what?!?!?), but as soon as I buy the pedals – which I may just buy a new set of clips/peds depending, I am trying these out! I’ll let you know how they work and such. AND….they fit like a glove! Perfecto! The jersey – same thing, I just didn’t get a picture. Soon, my friends.

This morning I boiled up some eggs for a *healthy* egg salad. What, you say? I know, egg salads are not the healthiest thing around, but I tell you this one is so good – and not as bad as you may think. So, first I’m going to tell you how to PROPERLY boil an egg – to perfection, my friends.

It’s usually the most simple kitchen tasks that get messed up because it’s so easy to ignore the importance of them, but that gray-green ring around the yolk of an over-cooked egg has got to be one of the most unsightly culinary mistakes out there. The reason this occurs is a reaction between the yolk and albumen as the egg cooks at high temperatures for too long, so preventing the ring (and that sulfurous smell that accompanies it) is pretty much as simple as not overcooking the eggs.

Overcooked eggs are harmless to eat, but they’re not particularly tasty – the whites are rubbery and the yolks are chalky. So, to boil an egg and retain a vivid yellow yolk encased in a delicate white, just follow these simple rules:

1. Start and end with cold water
You want to start your eggs covered with at least an inch of cold water and finish them by running under cold water. Gradually increasing the temperature of the water from cold to boiling is key to preventing the whites from becoming rubbery before the yolks have a chance to cook. It also reduces the chance of the shells cracking during cooking, as air trapped inside the shell can be released gradually, rather than as a burst of steam. Running them under cold water afterward halts the cooking process, which also prevents the whites from overcooking and being rubbery, as well as preventing that dreaded ring. Today, I also put some cold water in a bowl to set in the refrigerator while I prepared the other parts of the egg salad.

2. Season your cooking water
Add a small splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt to the water you are going to boil the eggs in. This has two effects. The first is that, if by chance an egg shell does accidentally crack, the protein will coagulate instead of seeping out and making a mess of the water. The second is that it slightly softens the shell of the egg, making it easier to peel later.

3. Use “old” eggs
This doesn’t actually make a difference as far as the cooking process goes, but eggs that are very fresh are more difficult to peel once cooked, which can affect their appearance if the shells do not come off cleanly. Try to use the older carton of eggs in your refrigerator when making boiled eggs because they will separate easier from their shells. In the case today, I knew I would be making these late last week when I made out my menu plan, so I bought my eggs well in advance.

4. Use a timer
Once you bring the water to a boil over high heat, cover the pan, turn off the heat and start the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the water and transfer the eggs to an ice bath or run under cold water until cool, to prevent overcooking.

That’s it. If you start large eggs over high heat, covered with an inch of cold water seasoned with salt and vinegar, and turn off the heat when they come to the boil, cover and let sit for 15 minutes in the hot water, then run the eggs under cold water until cooled, you have perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs every time.

The finished product:
Perfectly boiled eggs. Yumm-o!

I boiled 11 eggs (I know, odd number – I needed to leave 6 for another project). I used 7 eggs in my egg salad recipe. And here is the recipe – this one is so good! I love cold egg salad during those hot summer days.

Ingredients:
7 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1-1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon

*Note* I like less mayonnaise (I don’t like the taste of it very much) and more mustard, so feel free to adapt this recipe if needed to suit your own taste.

Procedures:

Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks from 3 eggs and reserve for another use. Cut remaining egg yolks and all whites into 1/2-inch pieces.
Whisk mayonnaise and mustard in medium bowl to blend. Add chopped eggs, celery, green onions, and tarragon. Stir gently to blend. Season egg salad to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Look what I picked up at the store!

I’ve been eating these like candy.

So, for my lunch today I had some leftover salad with balsamic vinegar, cottage cheese, berries, and egg salad on 1 slice of Earthgrains thin bun (toasted – just how I like it!).

Check out this salad (picture is from when I made it yesterday – it was so good!)

My lunch plate:

I normally like a slice of tomato with my egg salad, but just forgot about it – I guess I was too hungry to care! Next time…

Micah got back a while ago from class. We really don’t have many weekend plans, but I’m thinking a picnic is in store! Also going to spend some time on my bike and also some running. Catch you later!

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Quinoa Cakes!!!


See? I told you I would have a unique recipe! 🙂 I originally got this idea a while back from Herbivoracious – LOVE that blog! However, I did change this recipe after having an abundance of spinach that I needed to use up. Plus, I’m all for combining 3 of my absolute favorite foods! You can read about the health benefits of quinoa here. Here you have it:

Quinoa Cakes w/ Spinach and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 ounces goat cheese
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

Procedures:
1. Wash and chop the spinach, pat dry. Mince the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon
of olive oil in a small skillet. Cook the garlic until lightly browned, about a minute, then add the spinach. Cover, and cook until wilted. Set aside and let cool.

2. In a small saucepan, mix the quinoa and the goat cheese over low heat (to help melt the cheese). Remove from heat when well combined.

3. Chop the cooked spinach finely, mix with the quinoa and goat cheese. Beat the egg and mix in until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Form the quinoa into 2″ patties about 1/2 inch thick. Cook until well browned on one side, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, then set on paper towels to drain.

I like to eat mine with some hot sauce…..or maybe I like some quinoa cakes with my hot sauce? 😀

My day was much better today. I must say I have a pretty awesome husband and great friends that lift me up when I need encouragement. Thank you so much! I’m now making a list and submitting session proposals to present my thesis research at various conferences around the county. And if I don’t get employment as a teacher, I plan to continue research in music education on my own, because I truly believe in music education. Like I have said to many people – I didn’t go into education for the money (obviously). I wanted to make a difference, and there is no doubt I will no matter if I have my own classroom right away or not. AND, there are still 4 positions that I am waiting to hear from and 1 other bigger position one that is a big secret (it’s nice to wish – right?)!!!!!

One more thought: In 20 days, we will have been married for 3 years! Each year is a milestone, in my opinion. Micah and I have our own anniversary traditions (which you can see here).

I can still remember our wedding like it was yesterday. Yes, even the moment when my phone rang (it was a wrong number). In my defense, I gave my phone to someone else for the day and they left it on the front pew during pictures…and then forgot about it. 🙂 We still laugh about that! And for your viewing pleasure, one of my favorite wedding photos:

Do you have any birthday or anniversary traditions in your family? I’d love to know!

Spring (or summer?) Lettuce Wraps


These wraps were soooo good!!! This is quite a large recipe which allowed us to have lots of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch! 😀 Oh yes. The key to Asian cooking is the union of cooking garlic and ginger together (fresh is always best!). The marriage of these ingredients creates what I like to call a great taste (AND smell) explosion that I can’t get enough of!

Spring Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

1 T Sesame oil, divided
1 ½ T Garlic, minced
1 ½ T Ginger, minced
2 C Shiitake mushrooms, julienne sliced
2 C Carrots, julienne sliced
1 Cup Celery, chopped
1 ½ C Green onions, chopped
4 C Cabbage, shredded
2 C Bean sprouts (one of my favorite foods!)
½ C Soy sauce, divided
2 T Sherry, divided
Romain Lettuce Leaves

Directions:

1. Prep all the ingredients, combine the garlic with the ginger in a small bowl. Then prep and combine all the vegetable ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the soy sauce and sherry together in another small bowl. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and have them reserved for serving.

2. Heat ½ of the sesame oil in a wok or large saute pan and then add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat, or until aromatic. Turn up the heat to high, and then add about ½ of the vegetable mixture and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, then add ½ of the soy sauce and sherry mixture, stirring well to coat for about a ½ minute. Transfer to a serving dish. Wipe out the wok or saute pan with a paper towel and return it to the heat. Now, add the remaining sesame oil to the wok or saute pan, and then stir-fry the remaining vegetables for about 3 minutes, then add the remaining soy sauce and sherry mixture and stir well for about a ½ minute. Then transfer the vegetables to the serving dish and mix well. Allow the stir-fried vegetables to cool slightly before serving.

Reason #1 why I need to invest in a wok (note: this did cook down quite a bit):

3. Serve individual plates with dipping sauce.

These were a huge hit with Micah, and he didn’t mind that it was all veggies! 🙂 Although, it would be very easy to add some meat to this dish. You can also use whatever vegetables you want – these were what I had on hand (for the most part).

Side note: Micah has requested that I make my chickpea patties again – he LOVED them!!!

I’m relaxing tonight – I have a job interview tomorrow! Prayers are appreciated! 🙂

Chickpea Patties + Tour


What a perfect day! We watched the Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery on television this morning. I have many memories (being a trumpet player) playing at many different Memorial Day services growing up all the way through college. It is a very important day that I hope people don’t just think of it as ‘another holiday’ or ‘another day off work.’

I made an early dinner tonight. It was lovely. I made some super-easy chickpea patties, and served them with a lettuce salad with mushrooms, cucumber, and tomato (all local) drizzled with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. All I have to say: YUM.

Here is the recipe for the chickpea patties.

Chickpea Patties

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1.5 T. parsley (use 1/2 cup fresh if available)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. olive oil

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, parsley, garlic, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper just until coarsely chopped and the mixture comes together when gently squeezed.



Form into eight 1/2-inch-thick patties and coat with the flour, tapping off excess. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties, turning carefully, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.


We also had some Pinot Grigio from our wedding. I must say it was very good!

As promised (a while ago), here are some photos of our apartment. We moved into this 800 sq. ft, which was a drastic change from our house that was about 1800 sq. ft. Drastic change let me tell you! Luckily we have a large storage room in our basement and we were able to bring our washer and dryer. 🙂

Kitchen:

The bad part:

We only have an apartment size stove. This is okay, and I’m dealing with it. This must be a cook’s worst nightmare! I was able to put several pans in storage, because they won’t fit. And, I’m learning to do without. Again I must think about those that don’t have what we have. We are so lucky to even have electricity and fresh drinking water. Did you know the average woman in this world walks an average of 7 miles a day to get water (and many times it is not good water).

Living Room (I took this picture when we first moved. It’s not as messy now!):

And I’m still trying to downsize our office (which once was an entire room) into 1 desk:

Hallway (bathroom on right, bedroom on left, spare room straight ahead):

Bathroom (with a pretty big closet on the right):

FYI: I have a load of laundry to do. 🙂

On to the spare room (complete with music room + futon):

Unfortunately, my large bookshelf was damaged during moving, so I had to get creative. I have a LARGE amount of books (and I have 2 boxes in storage). So, here are just some of my piano and voice books – stored on top of the piano):

And more, stored on the floor – for now, until we get another bookshelf (and the box on the right is only 1 of my thesis boxes:

When we first moved, I found a filing cabinet at Salvation Army for $12!!!!! It now holds my LARGE library of choral music (over 1,200 scores):

There is also a large closet, which for now holds my school binders and books (of course they are organized):



And now, our bedroom:

FYI: The blanket on our bed currently is a quilt made by a very special person (an amish babysitter that my sisters and I had when we were little – I received this quilt from her for my high school graduation).

Closet (very full!):

FYI: I still iron most of our clothes.

One more – Guess who has an anniversary coming up? 😉 We’ll be married 3 years pretty soon!

I think that’s enough for now. Hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Amanda

P.S. Do you have any memorial day traditions? Do tell!

Grilled Vegetable Orzo Salad


Nothing new to report for today….except we will have our first visitors on Sunday! So, I am pretty busy unpacking the final boxes (only a few) that were in the spare room and making sure that everything is in it’s place. Just the way this OCD gal likes it. 🙂

This is a recipe I developed last summer, but it never made it to the blog. It is so easy and you can adapt it to use the vegetables that you have on hand. Much better that your traditional pasta salad you find at those summer bbq parties – in my opinion! This is a larger recipe that I use to take with us. If I’m making it at home for dinner (just for 2), then I cut the recipe in 1/2 – at least.

Here you go!

Grilled Vegetable Orzo Salad

Zucchini, 1-inch diced
1 medium red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 medium red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo

For Dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To Assemble:
4 whole scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 pound good feta
15 fresh basil leaves (I use a scissors and cut the leaves myself, much easier this way)

Prepare the grill.

Toss zucchini, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a grill basket. Grill for 15-20 minutes, until browned, stirring occasionally. I would say this salad is best when the veggies are grilled, but if you don’t have access to a grill or want to save a bit of time, you can roast them.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the grill basket into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Check the seasonings and serve at room temperature.

I also like to eat this cold – maybe that’s just me? Really, you can serve it warm, at room temp, or cold. Just depends on how you like it!

Have a great evening!

Do you have any favorite dishes you take to summer parties? I usually make a big batch of my salsa. It’s always a hit – especially when served with lime tortilla chips! 🙂