Lunch is usually one of those meals where every one sorta does their own thing. Recently, Jason and I made a ‘pact’ to eat more salad in an attempt to get healthier.
We’ve been walking more with the baby, and we’ve been upholding (for the most part) our ‘eat more veg’ agreement.
The other thing we’re working on, since we’ve now got four, sometimes five, adults to feed, is making less at dinner time. Leftovers are a pain, especially if they don’t get eaten. Stinky, smelly, mold-growing leftovers in the fridge is no good. By making smaller meals, we have less leftovers. Hoorah!
But sometimes, leftovers happen.
Monday night’s meatloaf was a great topping for my salad-y lunch yesterday! Toss on a bit of shredded cheese and my favorite dressing (Sesame Ginger), and this salad went from blah to bam!
Last night’s lasagna made for a great lunch. I paired it with yet another salad (this time dressed in a Raspberry Vinaigrette).
I’ve decided that quinoa is my new favorite grain. It’s super easy to make, and absorbs flavor really well.
This week, I had cause to make it not once, but twice for my family.
The first, a very simple stuffed pepper. I used the quinoa along with ground beef and a bit of shredded Monterey Jack as the filling. A bath of marinara, pressed baked potatoes, and cheesy garlic bread rounded out the meal.
Then, last night I wanted something to accompany baked chicken and green beans. Quinoa again came to mind. Only I simply cooked it up in some low-sodium chicken broth and seasoned with pepper.
So whenever someone had a birthday in my office in Seoul, our department would have a micro-party (by this, I mean that it was just for our small department of 10-ish people) with some sort of tasty treat. Usually it was cake or some other such pastry from one of the many patisseries in the area.
And being that it was Asia, the utensils of choice, of course, were chopsticks. Eating cake with chopsticks: fun and efficient.
For Passover this year, my mom and I made a double chocolate cake. And while yeah, it tasted a little like matzoh due to the cake meal we used (cake meal being just more finely ground matzoh meal), it still tasted nice and chocolatey, thanks to the handful and a half of milk-chocolate chips we added last minute.
7 eggs (separated), 1/4 tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup cake meal, 3 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp water, 1/2 cup nuts (optional), 1 tsp vanilla **I added ~ 1/2 cup chocolate chips instead of the nuts**
Beat egg whites with salt until stiff but not dry and gradually beat in sugar. Beat egg yolks for 5 minutes then gently fold them into beaten egg whites. Mix and sift cake meal and cocoa, and fold in a little at a time. Gradually add water and fold in nuts and vanilla. TUrn into an ungreased pan. Bake in slow oven (325* F) 45 minutes. Invert on cake rack and allow to cool in the pan.
I know that the instructions say to invert it, but I would, in hindsight, have waited at least ten minutes before inverting.
When I was a child, my mother would try her damnedest to get me to eat my veggies. I had no problem eating [canned] peas, corn, and green beans. But anything else? Good luck, Charlie.
Since moving in with my husband (boyfriend at the time), I have had the…pleasure… of eating those wackadoo vegetables my mom had tried so hard to get me to eat.
At my office in Korea, our ajumma (아줌마) would cook all sorts of [scary] things. From rehydrated fish soup, to filleted angler fish.
I also delved into the wide world of veggies. Broccoli and mushrooms in particular. The ajumma used amazingly delicious and FRESH vegetables. My mom had made the freezer variety. So no wonder I disliked them. Freezer does NOT equal fresh. There’s really no comparison.
Since moving back to the US, I’ve continued to “retry” previously detested veggies. Including one of the sides of tonight’s dinner: Brussels sprouts. Not too bad, actually. Jason roasted them up with a sprinkling of pepper and season salt. And they are pretty cool looking on their ‘vine‘ as well.
A silence has all but fallen over the blog. I went over a month without posting, not because I had nothing to say, but because I had other things to do. But, I have been aching to post this particular blog for weeks. I had it mostly written back a month ago. Over the course of the last several weeks I had been bombarded with sweet and savory images of, and relating to, all things squash.
Squash isn’t something I would have normally consumed three and a half years ago. It’s funny what you resign yourself to eating (and OMG, falling in love with!) when you’re smack in the middle of a foreign country, where the aromatics aren’t AT ALL what you’re used to. I was, to put it bluntly, a meat and potatoes kinda girl.
Of course I love me some pumpkin pie anytime from mid September through Valentine’s Day, and hey, pumpkin IS a squash. But all those other ones: butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc. All those were passed over at the grocery store. Until Korea.
One of Jason and my favorite places to eat in our neighborhood in Seoul was a place that served Samgyeopsal (read about one of our nights out here). The meal came with thinly sliced acorn squash that, after some convincing by Jason, I tasted and LOVED.
And flash forward to NOW. I’m no longer passing up those crazy looking squash. In fact, on the Friday after a very hectic day of Tucker’s recovering from his 2-month round of immunizations, I bought three different kinds of squash.
Here’s the thing: I’ve made spaghetti squash a handful of times. I’ve experimented with it and found a nice and easy method for roasting and prepping. Jason is usually in charge of roasting our acorn squash. He does them up nice with some dollops of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar.
After reading this blog, I made it my mission to get us a butternut squash. I’ve NEVER had one before, in any form. I have made “pumpkin” pie and “pumpkin” cookies out of acorn squash in Korea. I was bold. I was brave and daring. But I’ve been an utter chicken when it came to butternut squash. I don’t know why.
So, for my first foray into the world of butternut squash, I contemplated this recipe. But, in the end, I went a safer route (ie something I could do with as few steps as possible).
Here is the result:
I added about a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to the meatloaf (equal parts ground beef, turkey, and pork + Lipton’s onion soup mix + pumpkin + refried beans (randomly) and I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin at all) and roasted up that butternut squash along with some sweet potatoes. Paired with a salad (topped with ginger dressing and crumbled feta) and a nice [root]beer.
Eventually, we used the acorn squash as well. Jason cut them in half and we roasted them up with a bit of butter and brown sugar when Susan was visiting.
The spaghetti squash is still waiting to be used. Thank goodness for the long shelf-life of a squash.
As many of you may know, I have been looking forward to the flavors of fall for about a month. Starbucks brought back their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Salted Caramel Mochas last week. After last week’s OB appointment, we made a special trip just so I could get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. When we were in Korea, they didn’t even have them, so when we moved back last year, I jumped at almost every opportunity to get one. And I discovered Salted Caramel Mochas last year as well. HOLY COW. So. Good.
Anyhow, this month’s WIAW focus is fall and “falling into good habits.”
So here is my contribution to the fall theme. A warm batch of pumpkin pancakes for brunch today. I found the recipe here, and changed just a few things: I used 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of the allspice + cinnamon + ginger; I used 1% milk instead of buttermilk (although buttermilk is easy to fake with equal parts milk and plain yogurt if you want, I just didn’t have any yogurt), and I ran out of vanilla several baking adventures ago.
The batter is SUPER thick and as such, we have half a batch now sitting in the freezer. And I still have half a can (about 2/3 cup) of the pumpkin puree, so I’m thinking pumpkin scones or pumpkin cookies in the near future.
After yesterday’s allergy assault, I was surprised that I had been able to sleep as well as I did. Aside from my now regular bouts of tossing and turning, I had a kicky, hiccupy baby to tend with, as well as a nose that would just not turn off. But, sleep I did. I credit the odd dreams I had which were brought on by both the condition of my nasal passages as well as the fact I spent a good portion of my evening leveling my blood elf. (The things we do for love…)
Oddly, at some point in the early AM I found a good position on my right side, something unheard of on account of my worsening carpal tunnel. So my sleep was comfortable despite everything.
Work was the verb of the day, as I had three proofs to get through, but I was able to pull together some nosh to tide me over while I plodded through.
This week’s WIAW focuses on what I ate while working.
Since I haven’t done any belly pics in a while, I thought I would include one here. Appropriately, I’m wearing my Dr. Who “Are you my mummy” t-shirt. The braces are for the afore-mentioned carpal tunnel.
I have to comment on my choice of sandwich. It’s NOT a pregnancy thing. I actually love cheddar and mustard sandwiches, regardless of being pregnant. They’re so darn good!