Sunday, January 29, 2012

Motivating tidbit...

Having pasta or a vegetarian soup on Mondays might not seem like a big deal, but adding one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact as driving a hybrid car. Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so cutting back, even one night per week, makes a big difference.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Soup Sunday!

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes ( I used pre-cut squash. Super Easy!)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, and thyme in the hot butter until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock; bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Crumble the bouillon into the soup; season with cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper; remove from heat.
  2. Use a stick blender and puree in the pot. I love my Cuisinart SmartStick® Hand Blender (life changer)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sh@# Chicks Say: I am doin' a cleanse

This week requires no menu planning... liquid diet for me! I went to Pressed Juicery this morning and stocked up on juices for the next 3 days. I think I can manage 72 hours without solid food. What is my purpose for this? It is as much mental as it is physical. I am hoping for a lightness, better sleep, and a clean slate. I hope it will inform my food decisions as I reintroduce solid food back into my week. You know, what are the benefits of free range animals and food that isn't processed? Is that even possible? Pressed Juicery says it best on their website (
"Think of your cleanse with us as the finest tune-up you can get. Expect to complete your cleanse feeling clear, optimistic and rejuvenated on the inside, and radiant and lean on the outside. "

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy People Eating Well!

2012 is the year I break the habit of eating poorly when crunched for time. Between work, grad school, and my apathy for packing lunches at night... I find myself eating over-priced processed food that leaves much to be desired in the end. My lunch and dinner rotations provide healthy meals and create the element of surprise in my daily dining. At work, I trade off with a colleague for lunches (she brings Mondays, I bring Thursdays). For class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have a four-person rotation for dinners. This also allows me to try out recipes on someone other than myself! Win win! I haven't done the math (shocking) but I think it is easy on the pocketbook too. Tonight's meal was burrata, stewed tomatoes, pancetta, and a fresh baguette- complete with cloth napkins! Now if that ain't class, I don't know what is my friend!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday (actually Monday!) Night Menu Planning

This week's meals will all come from an article published in The New York Times in 2007 titled, "101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less" by Mark Bittman. I will be trying the few that stand out the most and revisit this list periodically. Who says good food has to take a long time?

Monday: Put a few slices of chopped prosciutto in a skillet with olive oil, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a bit of butter; a minute later, toss in about half a cup bread crumbs and red chili flakes to taste. Serve pasta with chopped parsley.

Tuesday: Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with a half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves, and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.

Wednesday: Cut eight sea scallops into four horizontal slices each. Arrange on a plate. Sprinkle with lime juice, salt, and crushed chilies; serve after five minutes.

Thursday: Fast chile rellenos... Drain canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in a skillet, slit side up, until cheese melts.

Happy cooking!

Lessons from Martin Luther King Jr.

"We hate because we fear, we fear because we don't know, we don't know because we have never sat at the same table."

My appreciation for food is just as much about the company at the table as the delicious bites. I crave long dinners with interesting conversations, so this quote hit home. I look forward to many more meals with my friends and family as well as people I will meet and learn from in the future. Today and every day, we remember a great leader who wanted us to love everyone... even if we don't like them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Night Menu Planning

Tonight's menu planning included a glass of white wine and a special guest! Emily came over to start menu planning of her own! Sitting on the couch with a bunch of open cookbooks and Real Simple magazines... I don't know why but it makes me very happy.

Monday Night:
Risotto and Sfranta from The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook (Never made risotto- no time like the present!)

Tuesday Night:
Burrata with stewed tomatoes, prociutto, basil and a fresh baguette

Wednesday Night:
Butternut Squash Soup from Barefoot Contessa (Get to use my new hand blender...)

Thursday Night:
Ricotta Salad compliments of my friend, Tabitha
(ricotta, prociutto, squash shavings, mint... yes mint!, lemon juice, salt and pepper)

Friday Night:
Cheater Chicken Enchiladas (will learn to make authentic sauce by hand someday)

And the week begins! As always, come on over anytime.