zucchini parmesan crisps

We’ve got three favorite vegetable sides at this house. An Ellie Krieger trifecta, if you will. I already showed you the Cucumber Salad which is great but today I’ve got my most favorite veggie side EVER to show you. This was my go-to dish during Al’s deployment last year. I ate it once a week (or more) for six months and I’m not tired of it. I regularly get tired of food so the fact that I can still scarf it is amazing.

Okay, enough hype. The recipe is called Zucchini Parmesan Crisps and it’s another super simple yet delicious creation.

I started off with yellow zucchini which I didn’t know existed until we picked up our CSA box last week.

Every time I ate a piece I kept expecting it to taste like yellow squash because of the color! It’s so fun to be surprised by what we get each week.

The ‘breading’ is easy. Nowadays I just eyeball the measurements. I can’t remember how to cook any other recipes that I make except for this one. Must’ve been that frequency during the deployment.

You start with the bread crumbs. I used store-bought stuff this time but you can easily make your own. Whole wheat would be a good idea.

I use this shredded parmesan for the recipe but grating the cheese (like Ellie suggests) would be a lot better. The kind I use doesn’t stick to the zucchini as well but it’s still just as tasty!

Add the salt and pepper then stir.

Coat each an every inch of the olive oiled zucchini and then bake them for a while.

They come out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside like a perfectly bake chocolate chip cookie… but totally not. 🙂

Do you see that crunchy bottom of the crisps on the spatula? That, my friend, is money. I’m getting hungry just looking at these pictures even though I’ve already eaten.

Please tell me you’ll make these soon! Your taste buds will thank me.

What’s your favorite vegetable side dish? Do you have an oldie but goodie?

P.S. Look out for our final favorite next week!

homemade lemon-limeade

Al and I love us some lemonade. I don’t know about him but it reminds me of growing up in the hot, humid Florida summers. A glass of lemonade and lots of ice. I can just hear my mom say ‘Ah.’ when chugging a glass after working outside in the yard. I’ll bet she still does it!

These days Al and I stick to water to hydrate but with the summer temperatures creeping up quickly, I thought it’d be nice to find a more natural lemonade drink with a little less sugar that I can make at home.

I turned to one of my many ripped out magazine pages for help. This one happened to be from Yoga Journal.

Since I was only looking for an everyday drink and not a sports drink, I altered the recipe. I skipped the salt and added in some lime for kicks… oh and sugar. 🙂

In the mix:

3 quarts hot water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup honey
4 tbs sugar

You won’t have a problem mixing it all together at one time as long as the water is hot. After the honey and sugar is dissolved, add a lot of ice and then enjoy it on the back porch!

It may seem like a lot of sweetener but it isn’t! Not compared to ‘real’ lemonade at least. Cups and cups of sugar go into those recipes.

Because of the smaller amount of sugar, the sweetness is subtle but I find that it’s a great healthier alternative to water. And if you’re training for a marathon (!!) or just exercising a good amount, you can easily add some salt into the mix to make it a sports drink that’ll help your recovery.

Now that I’ve attempted my first drink I’d love to experiment with different flavors. A little juice added or fresh muddled fruit perhaps?

Do you have any drink recipes up your sleeve? I’d love to hear them!

asian stir-fry with swiss chard & green onion

Just a short time ago, I had no idea how to cook greens. The only greens I ate were in the form of salad. For me, salads get old quick even with different toppings so learning how to cook them was awesome.

Al and I went to Lauren’s house this past weekend where she made a VERY tasty kale stir-fry. She didn’t even use a recipe! I bow down to people like that.

I asked her lots of questions that night so that I’d be able to attempt my own soon. Today was that day and I have to say it turned out quite well!

Of course I winged it and added in some extra items as always. I skipped the carrots in the picture above but I did include swiss chard, green onions, garlic, peas, and ginger.

We now have a box from Walnut Hill Farms so each week we head to the Lakeside Farmer’s Market and they fill ‘er up with whatever vegetables or fruit they have. Needless to say we have A TON of vegetables to use which is why I tried to put so much into the stir-fry. I don’t want anything to go bad! It’s one of my new year’s resolutions after all.

The prep took a while since I had so much to chop. I cut up all the green onions I had and froze a good amount. I figure I can toss them into more stir-fry dishes down the road.

I got my big wok off our cool peg board to fit everything.

Then started a swiss chard assembly line. Lauren mentioned that I should cook the stems before the leaves since they take longer. Great tip!

I’ve had some candied ginger in my pantry for a long time now so I chopped it up and added it into the mix.

Per Lauren’s instructions, in vegetable oil I cooked the stems and green onions first then added the garlic, ginger, and finally the swiss chard. Lastly, I added rice vinegar and soy sauce to braise it all for a while.

I was concerned in the beginning that not everything would fit in the pot but as you can see, it cooked down a lot!

This dish was great – lots of healthy vegetables and flavor. It’s definitely not as tasty as Laruen’s version but I figure with time I’ll get out the kinks! I think it still needs a little heat but the ginger did add a nice little spice to the soy sauce flavoring. It was like sushi in a bowl. 🙂

I hope to add this into our weekly dinner rotation. Now I just need all the extra asian sauces to top it off! YUM.

What’s your favorite greens dish?

chocolate chia bites

Dates (the food) are interesting. Interesting in a way that when I left two in a zip lock bag on the kitchen counter my husband got super annoyed because he thought I had left Olivia’s fecal sample where we prep food. TMI? Well they are pretty funny looking. They taste great though! Especially as a pre-run snack with peanut butter. Yum.

Anyways, I’ve had a Sam’s size tub of them in my fridge for a while so I thought I’d use some up. And this week Al and I are steering clear of anything unhealthy and really packing in the fruits and vegetables so I thought I’d make us a healthy yet tasty dessert!

I headed over to Ashley’s blog and typed in ‘dates’. Alright, Chocolate Chia Bites it is! I was missing a couple ingredients but you know that never stops me!

Before I began, I had to create the required makeshift chihuahua bed for Belle. That lady will step all over my feet the whole time I’m in the kitchen! ‘Tis pretty cute but I think she’d rather lay down and watch me cook (hence the bed) because as soon as I make one… plop, she’s down and settled.

Yes, I use a ramekin for her dog bowl. HA.

First, I pitted the dates and chopped them up a couple times to prep them for the food processor.

I processed them into a big ball by themselves before adding the other ingredients.

Like Ashley says, once the other ingredients are added, it really does look like dirt!

I had two substitutions in the mix. I didn’t have any almond extract so I used cinnamon which is what Ashley suggested. The other thing I did was use whole wheat flour instead of chia flour. It appears that whole wheat is a lot drier than chia because I couldn’t get the bites to shape into balls, they were just too crumbly. I got the soaking food processor out of the sink and added five more dates to the mix. It was the perfect consistency after that. So if you happen to use a flour other than chia, I would watch the sticky factor!

After all that, I added in the chia seeds and shredded coconut then shaped them into little balls using my hands.

That’s it!

They’re like little gooey brownie bites. I’m keeping them in the fridge to make sure they stay nice and chewy and have already tucked them in the back so we don’t scarf them in one sitting. Better than eating a tray of ‘real’ brownies though right??

What’s your favorite dessert? I might just have 5.

doggy treats

Growing up I used to love making cookie cutter cookies around the holidays. Rolling out the dough, choosing your shapes, it was just fun!

These days I make them for the girls in the form of dog treats. I found this recipe a while back and still use it although I often substitute one sweet potato for the pumpkin. To prep the sweet potato I just punch a couple fork holes into the skin and then cook it in the microwave until soft. I also mash it up with a fork to help it mix into the dough better. Also note that I usually add in 2 tablespoons of water. You’re supposed to add in enough to make the dough ‘workable’ and that amount has worked for me every time.

The dough is SUPER sticky so you’ll have to have flour handy to coat it, the rolling pin, and your hands frequently. Make sure you take your rings off!

I bought these cute bone-shaped cookie cutters from Martha Stewart last year and have been making the treats from scratch ever since. I would think it’s a bit cheaper than buying the more ‘natural’ treats that I usually get from the store so that’s a plus.

Whenever I make them, I bake a double batch to stock up the cookie jar. I even break the treats in half because my dogs aren’t that big so they last a long while.

You may see a couple burnt ones in the jar but I keep them anyways since the dogs don’t seem to care! They loooove them!

Is there anything special that you like to make from scratch?

yummy: restaurant salsa

Have you ever had jet lag?

Every single day this week I’ve thought to myself ‘Man, I must need to exercise or eat better today because I’m sooo tired!’. Then, I remember that I just flew halfway around the world and realize that my body probably hasn’t recovered yet. There’s a 13 hour time difference from Brisbane, Australia to the East coast. Ca-razy.

Last week I wrote about making easy, healthy dinner salads when I’m feeling too tired to cook but you know what? That went out the window this week. After getting home from work, I’d just sit on the couch and attempt to not fall asleep. We could easily have turned to unhealthy take-out and pizza but we didn’t! We just made some semi-homemade dinners.

For one of the nights I turned to Roberta’s pen pal box for help. There was a seasoning packet for a salsa mix. All I needed was a couple fresh vegetables and a blender. I could handle that.

I opened the can of tomatoes, chopped up the veggies, and then opened this bag of chips. It was hard work. 😉

Note that I didn’t include the seeds of the the jalapeno since most of the spice comes from them. My husband and I love spicy food but we got scared!

Then, we lazily sampled straight from the blender. It’s super good with the consistency and taste of Mexican restaurant salsa.

And then I found the strength and sanity to transfer it all to a dish so that we could veg out and watch TV. I wouldn’t really call this a dinner but it did it’s job – giving us some micronutrients while keeping us from scarfing a pizza.

I’d pat myself on the back but I’m just too tired. 🙂

———-

This is random but these pretty flowers just bloomed in my yard and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what they are?!

This guy is on a thin little vine.

And this gorgeous guy just popped out of the ground one day from bulbs!

Such a pleasant surprise. Let me know if you have any ideas!

yummy: dinner salad

It’s tough for my husband and I to stay on track with healthy eating during the week. Sometimes life gets in the way and we’re just too tired to cook. Lately, I’ve been turning to super easy salads to get in some veggies when we’re desperate and debating on ordering pizza.

The excuse that I use frequently ‘I’m too tired to cook’ isn’t good enough when making a salad for dinner because it doesn’t take much effort at all! It helps with the energy you’re lacking and makes you feel much better than if you were to order out.

Pretty much I’m writing this post to convince myself that I should eat more salads for dinner. 🙂

Here’s a little salad I made last week in the blink of an eye.

I started out with some baby spinach.

Then a little red pepper.

Some red onions for spice.

Carrots.

Edamame for protein.

A then some salad dressing of choice! With the edamame I’d think a sesame or ginger dressing would be tasty but I went with what we had which was caesar.

We ate the salad with a side of protein banana bread and that’s it! A delicious, super healthy meal in under 10 minutes.

Use whatever veggies and/or fruit you have on hand! Done.

What’s your go-to healthy meal? Do you have a weekly meal that you turn to?

P.S. My sister is posting next! Look out for it. 🙂