Roasted Vegetables

Last weekend I went to a really great Argentinian restaurant. Strangely enough, one of the highlights of my meal was the roasted vegetables I took from my boyfriend’s plate. Ever since, I’ve had roasted veggies on the brain. So after a good workout at the gym, I jumped into the kitchen.

Roasted Vegetables
Inspired by The Wednesday Chef

Ingredients

1/2 tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
4 baby gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small crown of broccoli, chopped
1 Japanese eggplant, peeled and chopped
6 white mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper
Olive oil

Directions

1. Place veggies, seasonings, and a few drizzles of olive oil in a casserole dish. Roast at 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes. Mix every 15 minutes.

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Meatless Monday – Simply Salad

I never ate a lot of salad when I was growing up. If it wasn’t smothered in ranch dressing, you might as well forget about it! Glad I grew up and got over that.

This salad that I put together tonight is not exactly a novel idea, but it was the perfect thing to make for Meatless Monday, along side some börek leftover from my Turkish feast.

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Kerry Kitchen Salad

Chopped lettuce
Carrot sticks
Finely chopped onion
Flax seed
Goat/feta cheese

For tonight’s dressing, I mixed olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.

When I’m not in the mood for balsalmic, I use apple cider vinegar and fresh squeezed lemon juice instead. It’s sour, but in a way that I like.

Obviously, I could use some help coming up with more dinner ideas for Meatless Monday. Got any ideas, fellow bloggers?

Meatless Monday – Stir-fry

It’s not just Meatless Monday. It’s also Blue Monday. The holidays are officially over and it’s back to the grind. It was a bit of a rough day, but now that I’m home and I’ve had a good meal, everything feels pretty peaceful. It’s just another day.

In keeping with my new year’s resolutions, I made a Meatless Monday dinner: vegetable stir-fry and chow mein.

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Carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, lettuce, broccoli, red and green bell peppers, bean sprouts, cabbage, and snap peas. Now that’s an assortment of veggies.

I sauteed them in 2 1/2 tbsp of canola oil for about 5 minutes at medium high heat. Then I mixed in General Tso stir-fry sauce and continued to heat for another 3 minutes.

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As the vegetables cooked, I boiled water for the chow mein noodles.

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And just like that everything was cooked! I filled two deep bowls with the chow mein and then topped each with the vegetables. It was the perfect amount of food for 2. And the sauce was delicious! A little spicy but just barely. 🙂

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New Year’s Resolutions for the Kitchen

Eat Less Sugar

The holidays have made it easy to fall off the healthy train. Time to get back on track.

Make a Grocery Budget

In an effort to save some cash, I’m going to try sticking to a monthly grocery budget. As part of this goal, I am going to look for coupons, coupon apps, and other frugal tips.

Plan Week Night Meals

When I get home from work, I don’t need to worry about what I’m going to make and whether we have all the necessary ingredients. I’m going to be more prepared this year.

Less fries

When I do go out to eat, I want to start avoiding fries. Really, I need to avoid all fried foods. They’re delicious. But I can do with less.

Try new recipes

I’ve owned a few cookbooks for years and have barely cracked them open! It’s  time to change that. I’m also looking forward to new finds on Pinterest and of course from fellow bloggers.

More fish

Fish is a much leaner, healthier option for meat and I want to try to go for this option more often.

Meatless Mondays

I want to cut down the amount of meat I’m eating. Especially red meat. So in order to reach this goal, I will institute Meatless Mondays in my kitchen…maybe Meatless Wednesday too.

Throw Away Kitchen Junk

I have a lot of kitchen supplies from freshman year of college. Everything is rusted, broken, and unmatching– not classy. So this year, I resolve to give away or throw away crap and replace them when the budget allows.

Perfect Cupcake Decorating

What I mean to say is…I want to keep practicing, keep learning. My cupcake decorating skills are miles away from what they once were but I want to get even better in 2014.

Eat At Least 1 Serving of Veggies Per Meal

I pretty much do this anyway, but I want to be more strict about this when I eat out. I want to make sure I am getting enough vegetables in my diet.

Eat breakfast more often

I am not a morning person. I make it to work on time, but I usually don’t leave enough time for breakfast. I’m going to make homemade granola bars on the weekends and prepare sandwich bags with instant oatmeal to keep at my desk.

Replace candy with fruits

I do love my chocolate bars but it’s time to cut back a bit. Less processed sugar and more natural, healthy sugar.

No Soda

As a rule of thumb, I don’t drink soda. I don’t like drinking my sugar. But I do have a soda every once in a while. I think I want to cut that down to I almost never drink soda.

Organize cabinets

Over 2013, I’ve accumulated a bunch of new decorating supplies. I think it’s time that I get organized. Note to self: research organizing ideas.

What are your kitchen resolutions for 2014?

Green Lentils for Lunch

Weekends can sometimes lead to unexpected spending, leaving less money in your pocket for eating out. This was one of those weekends.

I have the perfect secret weapon for a cheap, filling meal, that’s packed with real nutritional value. One small bag will set you back about a $1.60. Green lentils.

I boil them 3/4 of the way, drain the water, and then add filtered water, sauteed onions and a scoop of tomato paste. Once the water is mostly evaporated and the lentils are soft, it’s done. Add salt and pepper. Serve with bread and Greek yogurt.

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Dessert – Marshmallow Treats

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Inspired by Something Swanky’s 50 BEST Rice Krispie Treat Recipes, I decided to try making a version of my own just for fun.

Go here to check out the original posting: http://www.somethingswanky.com/50-rice-krispie-treats/

Not my favorite and on top of it, my boyfriend said he thought they kind of look like ground beef. Ha ha! But the concept got me thinking of how it easy it is to dress up this classic treat. With a little food coloring, cookie cutters, sprinkles, and other cake decorating supplies, you can really have a field day. I’ve even seen professional bakers on TV use rice krispies to make much more elaborate decorations for cakes, covering them with fondant or modeling chocolate. They would make great last minute treats to take to a coworker on their birthday or to go along with a themed party. My wheels are turning and there’s already so many great recipes and ideas out there for you.

But here’s my secret. As much as I love dessert – baking and eating it…I know how important it is to limit my daily sugar intake. About 2 years ago, I temporarily cut sugar out of my life completely. I had to learn to wake up without reaching for a can of Coke or picking up my favorite chocolate at World Market. You know, it was hard at first but less than a month in, it got much easier. I’m not saying I was tempted, but it was easier to ignore that voice in my head. I had broken the habit and I wasn’t craving it in the same way any more. These days, I’m not nearly as strict anymore but I’ve taken a lot of lessons I’ve learned from that time with me and try to practice them to this day.

Rule #1: Don’t Drink Your Sugars

I’ve cut out all sugary drinks from my life–most of time. I drink black iced tea, water, or hot green tea/chamomile tea. That’s it. When I really need a sugar fix, I’ll share a Coke, fill my cup only half way, or have a cranberry juice with no added sugar. And I never go for “sugar free” crap either. Those fake sugars (Sweet n Low, aspartame, Splenda, etc.) are worse for your health than the real thing. If you haven’t already, read “Skinny Bitch”. A fun read and lots of great advice for staying healthy. I don’t necessarily agree with taking a vegan lifestyle, but there’s still plenty of good information. It’s so easy to drink a massive amount of sugar. Save your daily allowance of 20 grams for dessert!

*Side benefit: By cutting out soda, my stomach is so much flatter and I’m drinking more water too. 🙂

Rule #2: Cut Down on Added Sugars From Food

As healthy as it is, for some reason, Greek yogurt contains a lot of sugar, 12 grams or more per serving! That’s why I buy Greek Gods Greek Yogurt (the green container). It’s only 7 grams of sugar per serving. That’s a pretty big reduction in sugar. I also look for other things like ketchup and peanut butter without corn syrup.

Rule #3: Don’t Buy Sugary Snacks

I hardly ever buy pre-made cookies or candy. If it’s laying around, we’ll eat it. If we have to go out to get it or I have to bake, we’re much less likely to get tempted. This also makes it so having dessert is more of a treat instead of an everyday thing.

Rule #4: Share Your Dessert

I used to make cookies and eat the whole batch myself…or go out to Cheesecake Factory and eat the whole slice of cheesecake myself. 🙂 Now I share. Sharing is caring and it keeps my waistline in check.

The most important thing I do to keep myself healthy and happy is exercise. If I’m going to the gym or doing yoga in my apartment at least 4 to 5 times a week, then I don’t feel guilty having one donut. Life was meant to be enjoyed! You deserve a break every now and then.