Sunday, March 15, 2009

Busy Food Day

Today was quite a day for food! I spent the afternoon cooking and prepping food for the week and tonight's dinner. First, we came home from my parent's and I started hanging up my wet laundry. We try not to dry all our laundry (saves energy!), so Derek has rigged up clotheslines all over our tiny apartment. After I finished my stomach was growling, so I grabbed a handful of cashews and 2 dried mango slices.

Then I set up the living room (clearing out as much space as I could) to try a new pilates DVD. I've used Windsor Pilates for years, but the DVD I have is worn out from overuse and doesn't work any more! So I decided to experiment with some new DVDs on Netflix. This one was a bit disappointing. It was from the Pilates Institute of Australasia (random!) and it was a little slow and not a particularly great workout. Plus, the people in the DVD looked like they completely didn't know what they were doing! They kept messing up and looking at the instructor like, "wait, I don't get it, what am I doing?" Not very well done. I think I'm going to have to buy a new Windsor DVD.

Before starting the DVD, I cleaned out all of the past their prime veggies in the fridge and threw them in a pot on the stove to make vegetable broth. This is a great way to use old veggies and not waste them. And keep you from buying packaged stock! This particular broth had tons of broccoli stems. I usually just cook with the florets, and save the stems in the fridge for just this purpose. I also threw in half a rutabaga, radishes, some parsley and cilantro, and 2 cloves of garlic. I covered it all with water, sprinkled some salt and pepper and let simmer for any hour while I exercised. Then I just strained the broth, saving some of it in the fridge for dinner tonight, and the rest I froze in ice cube trays so they're easily portioned out.

After my "workout" and whipped up lunch of nonfat yogurt, Kashi Go Lean, a few dried cherries, 1 sliced banana, and some unsweetened coconut.

Then off to the grocery store for the week's food. Here's my loot!

This looks like so much food when you lay it all out like this. I don't know how I fit it all in the fridge! I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the kitchen cooking. I like to spend Sunday afternoons getting a head start on my meals for the week - prepping food for breakfasts and lunches and cooking the portions of our dinner that take longer to cook and can easily and quickly be re-heated.

I started by pressing some tofu that will go into my lunch sandwiches. Pressing tofu helps drain out all the excess water.

Then I started working on granola, inspired by my mother's. This came out really yummy and will be part of mt breakfasts for a long time, cause I made a ton of it!  I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetite.  You can use whatever assortment of nuts and fruit you like - my mother likes to add walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, plums, figs, raisins, and apricots.

Fruit and Nut Granola

5 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic)
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh orange juice
6 Tbs grapeseed oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups assorted dried fruit ( I used cranberries, cherries, chopped apricots, chopped prunes, and crumbled banana chips)

  • Preheat oven to 300ºF
  • Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets
  • Mix oats, pecans, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl
  • Bring orange juice, oil and syrup to a boil in small saucepan.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla
  • Drizzle orange juice mixture over dry ingredients.  Toss to coat, squeezing to form some chunky clusters
  • Divide granola between prepared baking sheets, spreading evenly
  • Bake granola until golden, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes
  • Divide fruit between sheets and toss to coat
  • Bake granola 10 minutes longer
  • Cool completely and store in airtight container
This stuff is so yummy!  I couldn't stop munching on it while it cooled.  While the oven was still hot, I sliced my tofu and coated it with Newman's Own natural steak sauce.  Then I stuck it under the broiler for about 5 minutes per sides.  It got nice and toasty and chewy.

I sliced these babies up and stored them in the fridge for this week's lunches. I also made a pot of tomato sauce to use in dinners this week, but forgot to photograph it with all the cooking. But you know what tomato sauce looks like.

Eventually I started working on a dinner worthy of a gourmet French bistro! I served dinner in 2 courses, and got our greens in on the first course. I made a delicious and light pea soup topped with nonfat greek yogurt and pea shoots.

For our main course we had my favorite bistro meal - Moules Frites!

My own recipe for 2...

Moules Frites
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed an debearded
3 large leeks, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced, white and pale green parts only
3 gloves garlic, chopped, divided
3 Tbs EVOO, divided
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Pernod (anise flavored liqueur)
1 cup vegetable broth (preferably homemade!)
1/2 Tb butter
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cut into matchsticks
3 Tbs reduced fat mayonnaise
1/8 tsp crumbled saffron threads
salt & pepper
  • Preheat oven 400ºF
  • Grease 1 large rimmed baking sheet
  • Mix mayonnaise, 1 clove garlic, and crumbled saffron.  Set aside
  • Toss potatoes with 1 1/2 Tbs EVOO and salt and pepper
  • Spread potatoes on baking sheet in 1 layer and roasted until golden and slightly crisp, tossing occasionally, and 25 minutes
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 1/2 Tbs EVOO in large pot over medium heat
  • Add leeks and cook until softened, about 3 minutes
  • Add 2 cloves garlic and cook additional 1 minute
  • Add white wine, Pernod, and vegetable broth.  Cover and simmer about 10 - 15 minutes until leeks are fully cooked.
  • Add mussels to pot, cover, and shake to distribute.
  • Cook covered about 4 -5 minutes, shaking pot occasionally, until mussels pop open. 
  • Using slotted spoon, transfer mussels to serving bowl
  • Return pot with broth to heat and quickly bring up to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.  Pour broth over mussels, stopping before you get to the very bottom of the pot where any grit will remain.  
  • Serve mussels with roasted potato "fries" and saffron mayonnaise on the side
This was a lovely way to end the weekend! Although I do wish it wasn't quite over yet. Oh, well. Back to work tomorrow!

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