Gazpacho and Spring Cleaning

That title is probably totally weird to you, but yesterday I did probably like my 10th spring cleaning of the year so far, and it always feels so great. Once I’m done, anyway. I tackled about 6 loads of laundry, deep cleaned both bathrooms, organized our closet and coat closet among other tasks {we are still going to clean the kids bedrooms out this weekend – they come home in 11 days!}.

All the spring cleaning, plus the 80+ degree weather {finally!} and our extremely well-behaved puppy at the park all made me think of those simple things that remind me of summer; lazing around on a hot summer day at the pool or a park, all the windows wide open letting in fresh air…

But one thing that’s not really my all-time favorite summer activity is cooking. If you recall, last summer I made a handful of different soups, which sounds crazy in hot weather. My logic is that you just throw everything in one pot, cover it and let it sit. No slaving over a hot stove or multiple burners heating up your house.

Something that {I honestly have no idea why or where I got it from} I have been wanting to make for the past week or two is Gazpacho. I did some reading up on this cold soup, and it’s just my kind of dish. I like foods that don’t always have an exact recipe, rather a backbone that you build off of to fit your palette/fridge/budget.

It was so refreshing and surprisingly FILLING. I couldn’t eat my entire bowl {I think maybe because the water content is so high} but I wish I could have. This recipe makes a huge pot and could probably serve 6 comfortably as a side dish. Possibly the best part is that there’s no heat required.

Gazpacho1

| Gazpacho

Serves approx. 6

5 Roma tomatoes

1 red/purple onion

1 large cucumber

1 red bell pepper

4 celery stalks

3 cloves garlic

1/2 jalapeno

a handful of cilantro

3 TBS tomato juice

3 TBS olive oil

3 TBS white wine vinegar

1/2 TSP salt

avocado to garnish {optional}

1/2 TBS agave

Finely dice the first eight ingredients. Put half of all the vegetables in a blender plus the last 4 ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour out the blended mix into a large bowl and set aside. Add the other half of the vegetables to the blender/food processor and pulse until they become minced, but not pureed. Add in the minced vegetables into the blended vegetables and stir well.

It is best if this soup sits in the fridge for 8+ hours.

Garnish with slices of avocado and a couple sprigs of cilantro, if desired.

Gazpacho2

Enjoy on a hot day!

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Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

So I have been hearing rave reviews about daikon radishes, but I’m going to be honest with you; this veggie loving girl isn’t as aroused by radishes as one would think. Not raw, anyways.

I find their bite to be overwhelming, so with such an attention-stealing vegetable, I think it’s best to go the simple route.

Daikon Radish

I do have to tell you, I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out, but as the carrots were caramelizing and the radish was browning in the oven, the overwhelming smells of everything melding together truly captured me. The garlic salt is absolutely necessary, and is the period at the end of the sentence for this meal.

I am pleased to say I was very satisfied. Served over some brown rice or quinoa with a pinch of soy sauce, you will find yourself asking for more.

| Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

Serves 1

1 large daikon radish

3/4 C baby carrots

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/4 TSP garlic salt

a pinch of sea salt

1 TBS soy sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the daikon and chop off the ends. Slice into 1/2-1/4 inch rounds. Drizzle the olive oil on a 1 inch deep baking sheet, and toss in the radish slices and baby carrots. Sprinkle in the garlic salt, sea salt and pour the soy sauce over the top. Toss everything to coat, arranging everything in a fairly even layer.

Place the dish in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing the veggies about every 10.

When everything is soft and the edges begin to get fairly crispy, the veggies are done. Serve immediately.

Daikon Radish4

Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

So, this recipe is a little redundant considering it has many of the same main components of the last post, but hey, you work with what ya got.

Over the past several months I have been mildly… wait, no… over-the-top-obsessed with sweet potatoes. I probably eat one about 5 times a week. I have been eating them plain with the teeniest amount of sea salt, and can’t get enough.

After I saw this sweet lady’s post about her obsession with the root and how she’s been eating them, I decided to try some new things. This recipe was just what I felt like adding at the time, but if you make these, you should add whatever you have in your fridge, or whatever sounds good to you. Garbanzos, turnip greens, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, kidney beans… you get the picture.

Stuffed Sweet Potato5

| Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 1

1 medium sweet potato

a handful of kale, torn into bits

a handful of baby spinach

a couple TBS black beans

a couple TBS white beans

nonstick spray

a pinch of sea salt

Bake your sweet potato for one hour in a 350 degree oven.

A few minutes before the sweet potato is finished, saute the greens on medium heat with nonstick spray until wilted. When the potato is finished and slightly cooled, cut it open lengthwise. Stuff it with the greens, and top it off with the beans. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and lunch is served!

Stuffed Sweet Potato

Enjoy!

Husband’s Favorite Sandwich

If any restaurant serves a Monte Cristo, I know that’s what he will be ordering. On Sunday, I don’t know why I never thought to make him one myself, so I did. With a little twist.

Here’s what I did:

2 pieces of bread {I used whole wheat}

A slice or 2 of Cheese {I used extra sharp cheddar}

2 slices of turkey sandwich meat

2 slices of ham sandwich meat

1 TBSP of Boysenberry Preserves {traditionally, Monte Cristo’s are made with raspberry preserves, but that’s what we had, and honestly, there’s not much of a difference}

Now, I made this a healthier versions, so I did not make the bread into french toast pieces. I layered the cheese, then meats on one side of the bread, while letting 1 TSP of butter melt in a TSP of olive oil {so the butter doesn’t burn}. Then, on the other piece of toast, slather on the preserves.

Put the two pieces together, then on medium heat, place into a frying pan, and put the lid on top. After 3 to 4 minutes, flip the sandwich, and when both sides are golden brown and crunchy and the cheese is melted, serve up with a side of more Boysenberry preserves.

Let me tell you, husband likey.

Enjoy!

How to Pack a Lunch

On Saturday, the hubs and I took the kids out to Waterworld, and we had such a blast! Knowing that we would be in near 100 degree weather, walking around, using up all our energy, all day, I knew I needed to pack something extra good for the lunchtime meal.

Little bodies need even more sustainable food than we do, so I was thinking of the most effective {and yummy} way to combine carbohydrates and proteins without over-stuffing their little tummies {because riding on a water roller coaster isn’t so fun if you’re about to ralf}, and quesadillas came to mind. But not your ordinary quesadillas. No – these ones are packed with power foods.

I took 3 tortillas and sprinkled over half of each one the following ingredients:

3 TBSP of Cheddar/Colby Jack Shredded Cheese {contains Calcium for their growing bones, and protein for an energy boost}

2 TBSP of Black Beans {which contain lots of fiber, to keep their little bellies fuller for longer & carbohydrates for long lasting power}

1 TBSP of chopped Red Bell Peppers {contains tons of Vitamin C and antioxidants to kill those germs from that icky water and increase immunity}

1/3 C of shredded chicken breast that I cooked up on the stove with S&P and Olive Oil {contains B Vitamins and protein, both of which provide sustainable energy}

And then fold over the empty half.

I don’t like to microwave quesadillas because they just get soggy, so I quickly threw them on the griddle on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side.

Then to the lunchbox, I added granola bars, a bag of carrots with ranch for dipping, and 100% juice boxes {plus huge bottles of water}.

The kids ate half of their quesadilla, the carrots, their granola bars and juice. This was perfect because by the time we left, they were starving, so they ate the remaining half of the quesadilla.

It’s always a great feeling to be able to provide my family with such nutritious foods, and their attitudes the whole day {no whining or complaining} made the little bit of work in the morning more than worth it.

Enjoy!

*Statistics are approximate and can be calculated on www.recipes.sparkpeople.com

Note: This meal is meant to be high in calories.

 1 Serving
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 496.7
  Total Fat 17.4 g
  Saturated Fat 8.7 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 6.1 g
  Cholesterol 76.7 mg
  Sodium 756.3 mg
  Potassium 448.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 49.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
  Sugars 0.0 g
  Protein 34.2 g
  Vitamin A 18.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 9.2 %
  Vitamin B-6 24.9 %
  Vitamin C 30.9 %
  Vitamin D 1.0 %
  Vitamin E 4.7 %
  Calcium 29.1 %
  Copper 15.5 %
  Folate 37.7 %
  Iron 21.7 %
  Magnesium 18.3 %
  Manganese 25.9 %
  Niacin 53.7 %
  Pantothenic Acid     12.3 %
  Phosphorus     45.2 %
  Riboflavin 25.1 %
  Selenium 49.4 %
  Thiamin 35.4 %
  Zinc 16.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Thrifting

Today was such a wonderful, impromptu day!

My mom planned on visiting me at our new digs, and then my dad called and said he was in the area, so we all gathered for a nice, unexpected lunch.

The Mama and I at lunch.

Some cute little Fishy Art lamps at the restaurant.

After our delicious little lunch at Thai Basil Noodle Cafe {delicious, by the way – you will be hearing about it later}, my mother and I strolled down Broadway, perusing antique and thrift shops.

Let me tell you, this could just happen to be a new hobby. I’ve been to Flossy McGrew’s before in high school to look for a homecoming dress, but haven’t been since. It was absolutely delightful! They had hoards of vintage pins & jewelry, racks of clothing that were organized by the decade, and other fascinating, retro trinkets. Filled to the brim, that store was.

Some sweet Taggage on the side of a vintage clothing store.

I bought a 1960’s yellow gingham sundress {which you will also see later} that had a little note pinned to it reading in an elaborate cursive, “I wore this dress in 1962 to the 9th grade party”, 2 vintage hankies, and 1 lovely neck scarf, that happened to match my dress & lipstick perfectly. Afterwards, we went to the Arc store down the street and I bought 2 very “Pearl Harbor” and “The Notebook”-esque dresses and one nighttime robe {which I have been longing for since the beginning of the most recent season of Mad Men}.

Needless to say, we had a very successful trip! And if you like all things old, as I do, go to Flossy McGrew’s. You will be captivated.