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Saturday was an exciting day at our house. Chris finally arrived home on Saturday morning and, in celebration of his return, we decided to host an event we billed as Meatfest. Since Chris worked in a vegetarian facility for the past five months, it was only fitting to provide him with the ultimate meat-lover’s fix when he got back to Indiana.

Thursday night I began to procure things like chicken wings, a pork roast, and tri tip, one of Chris’ favorites. For those of you who are geographically disadvantaged with regard to tri tip, it is a triangle shaped cut of beef from the bottom loin that originally became popular in Santa Maria, California. So basically, we had a lot of meat, especially with the eventual contributions of more chicken and a ham by some of our guests.

The first item on my after-work agenda on Friday was to mix up the dry rub for this pork, apply it, and let it sit in my refrigerator for a few hours before the slow cooking began. I ended up cooking it overnight, shredding it in the early morning, and using the chicken broth/crockpot reheat method. It was a huge success and by far my favorite meat on Saturday’s menu!

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From The Way the Cookie Crumbles.

Ingredients:

  • Dry Rub:
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon table salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tablespoon ground white pepper
  • 1 (3-4 pound) pork roast
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

Directions:

  • Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rub dry rub into the roast, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. (I left mine for 4 hours.)
  • Unwrap roast and place in crockpot with liquid smoke and 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove roast from crockpot and shred with two forks.
  • To keep warm, return to crockpot (drain fluid from crockpot first) on warm setting adding a splash of chicken broth as needed to keep pork moist.
  • Serve plain or with BBQ sauce.

Serving size ~ 4 oz
Calories vary by cut of roast.

Last night, partway through my conference call marathon, I think during call four of six for the day, Chris came through the living room trying to talk to me. I waved him away as I was trying to concentrate on some important tidbit that I can no longer recall. Um, right. Important?

After my call wrapped up, I went into the spare bedroom where I thought he was working. No Chris. Odd. I looked in each of the other two bedrooms as well. Hmph. Very strange. Since we rely on a driver for transportation, usually we are home for good once we are home for the day.

Just as my next call was beginning, Chris walked through the front door armed with pizza and huge bags of produce! Very un-Chris. Well, the produce part anyway. Apparently he discovered a produce store that looked good and had decided to stock up.

Super cool! It had been about ten days since we last made it grocery shopping and our remaining produce was looking sketchy at best. Hopefully we manage to eat all of our new produce before it deteriorates!

For 500 Rs, about $10, Chris got:

Fruit: 3 pomegranates, 1 cantaloupe, 1 pineapple, 1 Fuji apple, 1 giant bunch of bananas

Veggies: 1/2 lb. green beans, 4 onions, 1 clove garlic, 1 ginger root, 6 small eggplants, 2 bell peppers, 2 giant carrots, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 bunch mint

Pretty good haul! It is difficult for me to remember how much that would have cost at home, but I can safely assume that it would be far more than $10. I am really going to miss the inexpensive produce here. At home, Chris is usually on my case about buying expensive produce and making sure that I’ll be able to eat it all before it goes bad. Here things are clearly different!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb green beans
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

Directions:

  • Lightly sauté garlic and ginger in butter for 1-2 minutes in a large skillet.
  • Add green beans and continue to cook until green beans are tender.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 92, Carbohydrates ~ 9 g, Fat ~ 6 g, Protein ~ 2 g

I always had in the back of my mind that I would never blog a steaming hot bowl of oats. First off, they are a pretty ugly food. Secondly, they’re oats, I mean come on, no matter what you add to them, they are just a glorified version of instant oatmeal, right? That’s what I thought too until I expanded my horizons and changed breakfast forever.

Enter cheesy tomato oatmeal. It would be perfect if I could just figure out how to get protein powder into the mix. I know: You just posted a picture of lumpy reddish glop. It is ok though, I promise, I included the requisite Healthy Living Blogger miniature oatmeal spoon, which, in this part of the world, comes standard with your furnished apartment. To further justify my actions, I have also included cheesy toast because it is just wrong to ingest tomato sauce without cheesy bread.

This may have ended my love affair with the overnight oats that I have been eating daily for years. That’s truly something!

Please at least give them a try before hitting ‘Unsubscribe’!

Figures that I would venture back into food blogging after a months long hiatus with precisely the thing that I vowed to myself never to write about.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 ounce provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over a medium heat.
  • Stir frequently until oats reach desired consistency.
  • Serve warm.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 260, Carbohydrates ~ 35g, Fat ~ 9g, Protein ~ 11g

I have been doing a pretty poor job of both working out and cooking lately. The Spring seems to be doing me in. We have a great outdoor living space and lately I have been taking advantage of it more than I should. After work it seems much more appealing to lounge on our outdoor sofa reading a book than it does to make dinner or, gasp, go to the gym. Eventually that may catch up with me, but for now I’m just rolling with it.

Yesterday morning I went to my first PT appointment to get fitted for orthotics, learn a set of exercises to improve the stability of my left foot, and get my back to running program. Now that working out involves running, I have a feeling that I will be more driven to get my tail out the door. That whole cooking dinner on a regular basis thing may still be out the window though. Chris has been on a pizza-making kick and I’m quite comfortable with eating as much pizza as he is willing to make.

So how about this Curried Pineapple Qunioa? After serving some pretty disappointing and bland quinoa on Saturday night, I decided that the leftovers needed to become something spectacular for Sunday’s dinner. Ok, spectacular is a strong word to use to describe any grain based dish, but this hit the spot. The cold sweet pineapple made this dish light enough to serve outside on a hot, not quite summer day while the curry, red onion, and cilnatro packed a flavorful punch!

 Adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • Curry Vinaigrette:
    • 1.5 tbsp canola oil
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 2 1/2 tsp curry powder
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • salt to taste

 Directions:

  • Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients and toss together.
  • Fold in the dressing until well mixed.
  • Serve cold or room temperature.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 206, Fat ~ 5.5 g, Carbohydrates ~ 36.1 g, Protein ~ 4.3 g

Remember the egg incident? Yeah. I’m still not eating eggs. I don’t know if it is a permanent thing, but it may stick around for a little while. It was seriously a traumatic experience. Avoiding eggs is going to seriously limit my breakfast variety until I come up with some alternative breakfast ideas though.

I am completely dedicated to my weekday overnight oats, but they don’t usually pan out for me on the weekends. Between forgetting to assemble the OOs the night before and just craving a change of pace, they are pretty much only an option on weekday mornings.

In the past, “protein pancakes” have been one of my weekend breakfast staples. In fact, I can’t believe that I’ve never blogged them before, you’ll have to just trust me on this one. One problem with the protein pancakes though:  they contain egg whites. A lot of them. Saturday morning I set out on a mission to make the perfect egg-free protein pancake. After one attempt that landed in the trash can, I discovered this recipe which Chris and I quickly devoured.

Any type of mix-ins can be added. Obviously chocolate chips would be the best one, although I have not personally verified this claim. We tried banana slices, blueberries, and walnuts (in separate pancakes) and both enjoyed the blueberries the most. Someday when Chris and I develop enough maturity and self-control not to eat them all in one sitting, maybe we can own chocolate chips and give that flavor of pancakes a try!

From: Vegan Baking

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cups soy milk
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 scoops protein powder of your choice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • Optional mix-ins:
    • chopped walnuts
    • banana slices
    • blueberries (This was our favorite.)

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, flax meal, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. 
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the soy milk curdles.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the whole wheat flour, soy flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger.
  • Whisk the canola oil into the soy milk and flax meal mixture then whisk the mixture into the large bowl containing the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Stir in mix-ins as desired.
  • Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with non-stick spray and heat over a medium heat. (If you are using a non-stick surface, you can forego the greasing process.)
  • Using a ladle, drop about 1/3 cup of batter to form a pancake.
  • When small bubbles appear, flip the pancake with a spatula.
  • Let the pancakes cook for at least another 2 minutes on the other side or until golden. 
  • After the first pancake is cooked, adjust stove temperature as needed to cook without burning.

Servings ~ 6 (Two pancakes each.)
Calories ~ 336, Fat ~ 6.7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56.2 g, Protein ~ 16.6 g

After I posted last week about making Lentil Walnut Burgers, Kier mentioned Lentil Sloppy Joes. Um, brilliant! I love Sloppy Joes! In fact, I am a huge fan of most anything that is sweet but spicy and tomato-y and I have been craving tomatoes like crazy lately.

My mom has this theory that eating tomato-based foods makes you happy. Maybe that’s the case, then again, maybe it is just the breads, pastas, and cheeses that often go with them that make us happy? Either way, I decided that this was a go.

After sorting through dozens of real and fake Sloppy Joe recipes, I decided to base mine on Meatless Mama‘s version, it sounded wonderful; I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought to make these before!

These faux Sloppy Joes totally hit the spot. Upon tasting them, I immediately knew that they would be in permanent rotation on the Duke’s House menu. They were quick, easy, and even got meat-loving Chris’ seal of approval.* Huge win!

*Chris did note that I failed to include his favorite ingredient, Sriracha, and recommends adding a few squirts if you are so inclined.

Adapted from Meatless Mama.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minded
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.75 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp mustard (yellow or spicy brown)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  • Combine lentils, water, onion, garlic, green pepper, and bay leaf in a large pot.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes until lentils begin to soften, then drain water from pot and remove bay leaf.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for approximately 10 minutes longer.
  • Serve on hamburger buns or sandwich thins as a sandwich, as a burrito, or over rice or quinoa.

Servings ~ 6
Calories (for Sloppy Joe mixture) ~ 93, Fat ~ 0.3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17.5 g, Protein ~ 5.6 g

Have your feelings about a particular food ever done a complete 180? I feel kind of weird about this, and I don’t want to gross anyone out since so much of this blog is about food, but I don’t think I can eat eggs ever again. Or at least not for a very long time.

No, I didn’t read some crazy book about eggs being evil. I just had a traumatic egg experience.

One night last week I was making one of my favorite and most frequently eaten weekday dinners which consists of five egg whites scrambled with spinach and cheese and a huge mound of steamed broccoli topped with hummus and barbecue sauce. [Don’t judge.] I had separated four eggs and was working on the fifth when I noticed that it was super runny. Like not normal runny. Like water running through my fingers.

Gross.

I had already contaminated the first four egg whites, so I tossed them all and started over. I was sure that it was happening again, more runny egg white, but I convinced myself that my mind was just playing tricks on me.  

I scrambled away trying not to think about the runny egg thing. When I finally had my dinner plated and ready to go, Chris, also acustomed to eating scrambled egg whites, took one look at it and said “Those eggs just don’t look right.”

I agreed. I had been trying to tell myself that I was just paranoid, but after two bites I just couldn’t do it. Runny or not, one of my favorite dinners, the incredible, (in?)edible egg was ruined. I’m sure that I’ll come around eventually, but for now, no can do.

I’m not usually a picky eater or even the least bit squeemish about food. After all, I was the girl that happily ate silk worm in China.

In fact, I would eat the silk worm again, but I will not eat an egg.

Ok, that is a weird story about a weird dinner, but what’s the point?

When I decided that I wanted lentil burgers for dinner on Sunday night, I realized that my go-to binder was egg. I still couldn’t fathom eating egg in any form, so my experimentation with flax egg began. I’ll call this one a win! No egg required. I may try it with some diced onion in the mix next time for an extra bit of flavor.

A Duke’s House Original.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (dry) lentils, cooked
  • 4 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare lentils according to instructions on package.
  • While the lentils are cooking, mix 4 tbsp ground flax with 3/4 cup water to make a flax binder for the patties. Refrigerate the flax while the lentils are cooking to set it into a thicker consistency.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Use a spoon to combine lentils, flax binder, crushed walnuts, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, crushing the lentils slightly as they are mixed.
  • Add bread crumbs, stirring by hand, until the mixture stiffens.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  • Hand form eight hamburger sized patties and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake for ~25 minutes or until patties are set and lightly browned.

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 118, Fat ~ 3.0 g, Carbohydrates ~ 17.5 g, Protein ~ 5.8 g