Primanti Coleslaw

Tonight was veggie pickup, which meant a lot of time in the kitchen. Before I stopped at Inner Life Yoga to grab my goods, I joined Alex on the Rail Trail for a nice, early fall run. The weather was absolutely perfect! I could have done without the massive amount of bugs out this evening, but other than that, it was a great run. After I left the trail, I headed to town for my vegetables.

Every time I stop to get my veggies, I always feel inspired to start taking actual yoga classes, rather than just doing my usual routines at home. So after talking to a coworker, I looked into Suncrest Yoga, which is just four minutes from my house. They seem to have pretty good rates and they even offer hot yoga! I’ve never even thought about something like that before, but now that I know it’s available in my area, I’m definitely intrigued. Anyway, I’ve asked my friend to attend a few classes with me, so we’ll see what happens.

Ok, back to the food. Tonight, I decided to tackle a Pittsburgh favorite. Being in Morgantown, I  have the luxury of being only a short hour drive south of Pittsburgh, so trips north are Photo_071910_004becoming surprisingly frequent. One of my favorite things about Pittsburgh is how much everyone there loves their food. Whether it’s a local pizza joint or an old-world pierogie spot, Pittsburghers have their favorites. One indisputable favorite is the famous Primanti Brothers sandwich shop. If you aren’t familiar with this restaurant, just turn on any travel channel that features sandwich shows and you’re sure to spot this place on the top list. Anyway, the showstopper for me has always been their coleslaw. So I decided to make some with the giant head of cabbage I received. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (about half of a medium-size head) green cabbage, shredded or finely chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, sugar, salt and celery seed in a colander set over a medium bowl. Let stand at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours; the cabbage will be wilted (about 4 cups total).

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Discard the draining liquid in the bowl; rinse and dry the bowl, then transfer the wilted cabbage to the bowl. Add the oil and vinegar; toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

(I’m currently in hour three waiting for my cabbage to wilt, so I’ll be sure to post a picture after it’s done.)

While I was finishing up with the rinsing process of the veggies, I got started on dinner. Tonight, I decided to use up some of my leftover leeks and potatoes from my soup last night.

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It turned out pretty well, but I did have to dump the broth and rinse the veggies. I’m the big dummy who didn’t realize putting cream in a crockpot would result in maximum gaggage. Curdled dairy! EW!! Anyway, I had a lot of stuff leftover, so I chopped it up and threw it in the skillet with some chicken sausage.

Delicious!

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As you can see, I wasn’t the only one who thought this dish seemed pretty delicious. Don’t worry; she didn’t get a single bite. She’s a sniff-only kind of cat.

Ok, well I’m off to finish the X Factor and dig into a few more chapters of The Night Circus. Have a great evening! Oh, but don’t think there isn’t a challenge tonight! Complete 2 sets of 1-minute planks and 25 hip raises.

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Back on Track

Whew, it feels good to be back in the blogosphere. The last few months have been a blur of weddings, bridal showers, work events and a 5K to boot! Sure I had fun at each, but I’m so glad to have some much needed down time for the next few months. Too bad my psychotic cat Grace refuses to let me get caught up on sleep.

Grace Soon

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Moving on to the newest excitement in life: my Round Right Farm CSA membership! Back in the fall, I signed up with Round Right Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), but got put on a waiting list. Sometime in February, I received notification that a spot had opened up. I quickly sent in my deposit and patiently waited until my first arrival last week.

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In this batch, I received one bundle of radishes, asparagus, swiss chard, one head of lettuce and a bagged salad mix. I had never tried swiss chard before, but after I sauteed it with some onion and added quinoa, I was sold! I roasted the asparagus and stuffed myself silly.

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Fast forward to tonight’s pickup…

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Look how beautiful this swiss chard is! Anyway, this batch contained one bunch of swiss chard, radishes, green onion, two heads of lettuce and a bag of spinach. I pretty much had a repeat of the quinoa dish, but this time I sauteed the spinach and added shaved Parmesan. Yum yum.

Before I sign off, let me talk a little bit about CSAs. I had never heard of this sort of program until one of my coworkers started bringing in tons of fresh vegetables for lunch. I had inquired about where he purchased the bulk of his produce and learned that he was part of this Round Right Farm CSA program. The concept sounded really cool to me. Who doesn’t love to support local farmers by eating tons of fresh veggies? Anyway, if you want to find a similar program in your area, check out Local Harvest. It will tell  you everything you need to know about joining a CSA program.

Ok, I’m off to the gym. Have a great evening!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Step out of your comfort zone and try a new vegetable or fruit. You might be surprised what new recipes you can whip up!

Crock Pot Challenge Recipe # 4: Spaghetti Squash

I’ve always heard one of the easiest ways to prepare a spaghetti squash was in a Crock Pot, but I had no idea just how easy it actually was! First off, for those of you who have never prepared one sans slow cooker, it generally involves you stabbing into it with a large knife and then trying to split it down the middle, using most of your upper body to do so. (Or at least in my case…) I’ve found myself on top of a spaghetti squash on more than one occasion. Anyway, the Crock Pot method completely eliminates this! Here’s what I did.

First, I filled my Crock Pot up with 2 cups of water. I then took my squash and placed it into the water. Wow, what work. After that I just turned it on to high and let it cook for 4 hours. If you want to do this while at work, just put it on low and cook for 8. After the time was up, I pulled it out and let it cool for a bit. After it was safe to touch, I took out a knife and watched it slide into the middle of the squash like butter. No more kung fu fighting the spaghetti squash!

After I scraped out it’s guts (ew), I tossed it in with a mixture of mushrooms, snap peas, garlic, zucchini and yummy Hoisin sauce! Like most of my dishes, it looked gross, but tasted great! Crock Pot Challenge success!

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That bowl was half the squash! Highly recommend. Now on to My Plate Report. I’ve almost reached perfection today, which is surprisingly hard with My Plate Report. See for yourself.

MY PLATE 1-15-13

 

This was captured from earlier this afternoon, but hopefully after dinner, I’ll have filled that “grains” section! As you can see, my Lentil and Wild Rice Stew recipe covers veggies, proteins and grains. Nutritious, balanced and tasty! Give it a try. Seriously.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: By tracking your daily nutrient intake, you can better track what areas you are lacking. For me, since I rarely eat meat, its protein. That’s why I bulk up on beans, eggs and yogurt. Sometimes I reach My Plate Report quota and sometimes I simply fall short. I usually just chalk that up to a Cat Hair in my Coffee moment. 🙂

WIAW: Ratatouille


I made the most amazing Ratatouille a few nights ago with the freshest veggies.

I used:

  • zucchini
  • squash
  • onion
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • garlic roasted potatoes
  • green pepper

This may be my favorite, easy recipe. Sprinkle in a little Parmesan cheese for some extra flavor. For dessert I had one of my yummy almond butter babies.

 

Food aside, I have finally started running again. It’s taken me at least three weeks to get back into a routine, but so far so good. To keep the cardio going, I’ve been hitting the gym in between runs and I’ve also started doing the dreaded jump squats again. I hate those things so much, but man do they produce results. I truly swear by jump squats, regular squats, lunges and planks. I really don’t think you get as much out of any other move.

Well, I’m off for an evening run before it rains. Happy Wednesday!

WIAW: Garden Veggies!


I received another deposit of veggies from my wonderful Greg back home. He sent with me five enormous tomatoes, around 8-10 potatoes, five green peppers, three Hungarian wax peppers, and about 8-10 onions. Whoa. Combine that with the three zucchini and three squash I have sitting in my fridge and you’ve got delicious dinner and lunch options for the next two weeks! Hello tomato, onion and green pepper omelet Saturday!

Fresh veggies aside, I’ve recently given the Lärabar brand a try. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste, but a little put off at how hard it was for me to digest it later. It sort of sat in my stomach for 30 minutes or so before leaving me full and satisfied. I tried the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor, but also grabbed these guys to try:

Chocolate Coconut Chew Coconut Cream PieChocolate Chip Brownie

After paroozing their website, I discovered a cappuccino flavor that I’ve got to find. If anyone in the northern West Virginia area knows where I can find this flavor, let me know pronto.

Lärabars aside, I’ve also found myself hitting the strawberries pretty hard. Last week I bought two cartons and finished them off today. I’d say I’m a fatty, but they are strawberries. I definitely didn’t share them, though. 🙂

What I Plan to Eat Wednesday:

Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchini (about 1/2 pound each), sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces reduced-fat soft goat’s cheese (I’m subbing ricotta cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves (omitting)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves

Directions

Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest of the slices with the oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated grill or grill pan for about 4 minutes on each side, or until tender.

In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, parsley leaves and lemon juice, mashing with a fork.

Put 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture about 1/2-inch from the end of a zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves and 1 small, or half of a large basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices.

Copyright 2007, Ellie Krieger, All Rights Reserved

How yummy?! I’ve got to figure out a way to cook all of these veggies somehow!

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Although opting for a salad at dinner may sound like a good idea, steer clear of these 12 salads and save yourself some major fat, calories and sodium! I personally was heartbroken to see my favorite Applebee’s salad, the Asian Grilled Chicken Salad, on this Shape Magazine list. Perhaps I’ll be ordering a side size from now on!

Veggie Couscous Mash

For lunch today I decided to recreate the veggie mash I made on Monday.

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Are you seeing those veggies? I mean seriously. Best. Garden. Ever. Anyway, I went through the same, very basic steps, but this time, I used couscous. The couscous actually overcooked and turned into a sponge-like rectangle, but I think it actually made for a better glue to hold the veggies together.

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After I finished, I realized this would be the perfect mix for a zucchini and squash falafel-like dish! This mix could be easily fried or baked into little balls of veggie heaven. The couscous would have be substituted for some oats and quinoa, but I think it would work.

While in the kitchen, my girls were enjoying the rare occasion where I leave the porch door open. Although it’s a million degrees out, my building is in the shade and doesn’t seem to catch as much heat as other areas.

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Grace had her usual terrified expression, while her mom caught some zzzs on her pillow. Please ignore the couch. I still haven’t found a cover for it.

Ok, I’m off to get some reading done. (And by reading I mean watching Gilmore Girls on DVD.)

My Healthy Tip of the Day: Opt for veggies with a little bite to keep yourself from reaching for the salt. Onions and garlic are the best natural flavor savors I’ve found to work with. Just keep a mint handy for after dinner. Smile

Control

The last few weeks have been beyond crazy, so I would like to formally apologize for my absence. To say that I’ve been busy would be an understatement, so I’ll quickly summarize:

I got myself into a bit of a bind and wound up having to move out a few months earlier than I had planned. With little time, I had to spend most of my free time searching for apartments and finally found one. I move in at the end of April and can’t WAIT to start my new morning workout routine. (Yes, my complex has a 24 hour gym!) The whole thing has been super stressful, but in the end it was all worth it. I don’t know how long I’ll stay at the new place (being in your 20s=little to no stability), but I’m hoping I really like it there.

After I finally settled down from everything, I realized how poorly I handled the stress of the situation. I was nervous all the time, fell off the workout wagon and probably drove Alex crazy with my irrational concerns. At one point when I was at the peak of my craziness, I found myself becoming overwhelmingly convinced that Alex had been in a horrific car accident and that the ambulance in my rear mirror was coming to haul his body away. I’M INSANE. Thankfully, a quote via a post made by Julie at PBFingers came just in time.

“Control what you can control.”

Julie pulled this quote from the Andre Agassi book titled Open and graciously shared it with the blogosphere. When I saw it, I knew just what I had to do. I typed it up in fancy font and printed it to display in my cube at work. I knew it would act as a reminder to simply chill. When I start to spazz about the future, “control what I can control”. Overeating every weekend? I can control that. Getting my workouts in? I can control that. Making sure an asteroid doesn’t destroy Earth? I’m out. The point I’m trying to make is that we really can’t stress about stuff that we have no control of, because there’s no point. Stressing does nothing.

I hope this quote can help some of you like it helped me. Thanks Julie!

My Healthy Tip of the Day brought to you by The Food Network: Orange and yellow-hued veggies like winter squash, carrots and sweet potatoes and leafy greens contain carotenoids, a pigment our body converts to vitamin A. Eating lots of these vegetables will help maintain healthy skin and hair, protect against prostate cancer, promote healthy vision and even provide protection from sunburn.
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Pulling and Pilates

Well for anyone reading this who may be from the UK, this title is actually referring to the show Pulling, rather than the action itself. Although I’ve already watched the show once before, it almost kept me from my usual Pilates workout. Well, that and the fact that I can be incredibly lazy at times.

Anyway, I set up the iPad with this workout video via Netflix and kept on watching my show!

I like this one a lot, because I always feel sore the next day. Some of my other faves include:

Pick Your Level: Weight Loss Pilates

Crunch: Burn and Firm Pilates

Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates

I’m not obsessed with Ellen Barrett or anything, but seriously she’s the best. She’s the only person I’ve ever watched who doesn’t get on my nerves. Another go-to when I need a serious restart and can’t get to the gym is of course P-90X. I don’t do it often, but when I do, I see results.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: When deciding what snack to choose, think about how much “bang for your buck” you’ll get. Mos fruits and veggies are low in calories and fill you up more than a bag of 180 calorie chips.

 

 

 

Vegetable Purée

In the past few months or so, I’ve been served a vegetable puree in place of the standard steamed vegetable side dish. The first time was at a place in town called Sargasso. Known for its great atmosphere and killer entrees that sample a variety of cuisines ranging from Asian, European to Caribbean, this fusion restaurant is an absolute must. Anyway, when I dined there last, I ordered some fish dish that was accompanied with a sweet potato puree. While Alex and my Mom had a hard time getting past the baby food-looking side, I was completely sold after the first bite. After a few more giant bites, I started using the puree as a sauce for my fish and proceeded to ask for its hand in marriage.

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Look how fabulous their presentation is!

My second encounter with this style of side dish was at my absolute favorite restaurant, Stefano’s. Not only is the food to die for, but it’s also an added bonus that my terrific friend Katie works there too. This place has always delivered and always keeps my mouth watering. On my last visit, I ordered yet another fish entrée that came with a root vegetable puree. Once again the baby food-like substance made my taste buds do a jig. Although a different combination of flavors, this parsnip and carrot puree added a lot of flavor to my already delicious fish. Although I’m totally biased, I highly recommend hitting Stefano’s for a special occasion, of if you just want to treat yourself.

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Can you guess where my favorite spot is?

So if you can’t find a vegetable puree anywhere on a menu near you, try this Autumn Root Vegetable Puree ASAP.

INGREDIENTS

· 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

· 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

· 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

· 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks

· 1/2 medium rutabaga, peeled, trimmed, and cut into small chunks

· Kosher salt

· 1 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

· Freshly ground black pepper

PREP

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the turnips, carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, and rutabaga, add a good pinch of salt, and cover by 2 inches with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

2. Drain the vegetables and then return them to the saucepan to dry out over medium heat for 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a food mill and puree. Add the butter and salt and pepper to taste, and reheat if necessary before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

My Healthy Tip of the Day: “It’s good to put yourself first, because then you have more energy to give others.”

— Valerie Bertinelli

Oh and if you don’t believe me about Sargasso, check out what local food blogger Candace Nelson said.