Archive | May, 2011

Summer is almost here!

26 May

I can almost feel it. We’ve had quite a few warm sunny days and LOTS of spring rainy days, but I think summer is just around the corner.

Most of my vegetable garden is planted, although the wild turkeys that visit my yard every day have decided this year that my garden is nice place to stop for a snack! About a week ago I went out to check on it and they had walked all over in my raised beds and rooted through the dirt, kicking a lot of it out of the wood frame. I don’t know if they’re eating the seeds I planted or looking for worms, but what a mess. Unfortunately, most of the seeds had been in the ground for only a week, so they hadn’t sprouted yet and I can’t tell if seeds are missing or if they will still be coming up. I’m going to have to wait a little while and then try to determine what’s left. I’m sure I will be replanting many things.

I did notice the lettuce was sprouting, which is a good thing because I have recently turned into the salad queen! For some reason, I’m finding it necessary to have a salad every day. I guess that’s a good thing! I can’t wait for all the delicious fresh veggies coming soon. (See below for my latest salad addiction.)

Because I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks, I wanted to share a few things I’ve enjoyed recently.

On Mother’s Day, we all went to my in-laws for dinner. She, of course, made a wonderful dinner, but — the dessert was insanely simple and insanely satisfying. These were called Berry Dessert Nachos. I don’t have the recipe (which came from a diabetic cookbook of hers), but basically you build nachos out of dessert items. For the base, she took whole wheat flour tortillas and brushed them with melted butter. They were sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and baked until they became crispy chips. Those went into the bottom of the bowl. On top of that were all kinds of fresh berries — strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. This was all topped with a sort of sweet sour cream mixture. I’m not sure what was in it, but I think a scoop of vanilla yogurt or vegan ice cream would be just right. And then — just to blow your mind! — she sprinkled on toasted almonds and shaved a bar of dark chocolate over that. Absolutely delicious and not at all bad for you.

One of the people I most refer to for what I should be eating is cookbook author Mark Bittman. I borrowed his latest book from the library — “The Food Matters Cookbook.” (If you haven’t read his book, “Food Matters,” definitely put it on your to-read-soon list!) Last week, I made one of his new recipes, Skillet Tamales. It’s a casserole with all the flavors of tamales. The finished dish was really good and the whole family enjoyed it. I had a little trouble mixing up his corn bread topping, even though I followed the recipe exactly. In the end, it came out okay and I will probably make this again, but I need to work on the topping a little. Anyway, check out this picture of total yumminess. I topped mine with guacamole. Jason and the kids garnished theirs with shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Do you ever make something to eat and then you sort of become obsessed with it? Like, you eat it for days and days and days and you keep making it all the time until you get burned out? Um…I do this pretty often. For a long time, my favorite homemade lunch was a whole wheat tortilla spread with hummus and then piled up with any kind of salad ingredients I had. I’d roll it into a wrap and enjoy. I still have those once in a while, but I went for months eating that almost every day! Well, my latest lunch addiction is Taco Salad. I made this up off the top of my head one day and now I eat it pretty often — sometimes with the vegan “chicken” and sometimes with black beans. Sometimes with guacamole and most times without. It’s so satisfying! Plus, it makes a huge plateful and is only about 300 calories.

VEGAN TACO SALAD
makes 1 serving

1 vegan “chicken” breast, thinly sliced or chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons salsa, divided
2 cups mixed greens
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons Newman’s Own Corn & Black Bean Salsa (addictive!!!)
1 corn tortilla, baked until crispy

Spray a small skillet with nonstick cooking spray and add the oil. Over medium heat, saute the “chicken” pieces until lightly browned. Add 1 tablespoon of salsa and stir to coat all pieces. Sprinkle with ground cumin, if desired.

Spread out the lettuce on a large plate. Drizzle with lime juice and toss to coat the lettuce. Layer on the corn kernels, grape tomatoes, green onions, and Newman’s Own Corn & Black Bean Salsa. Top with the “chicken” and the remaining salsa. Crumble the corn tortilla over all and enjoy!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

8 May

After gardening for most of the day yesterday, I’m ready for a relaxing Mother’s Day with my kids.

Apparently, breakfast in bed was on the schedule for this morning, but I didn’t know that so I got up as usual. My hubby was busy at the stove with veggies piled everywhere and a carton of farm fresh eggs on the counter. He was busy whipping up breakfast for me — a fantastic omelet stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, onions and vegan cheese, a fresh fruit salad, and an English muffin. Delish! (The only thing missing was a Starbucks decaf soy caramel latte, which is on the schedule for later today, I guess.)

For Mother’s Day, Madison made two handmade cards and bought me three novels from the used book store (she must have been shopping with Nonna in NC!). Brady made me a really cute necklace with a seashell on it, which I will wear to church this morning, and Logan made a card with his very own knock, knock joke on it:

Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Lettuce.
Lettuce who?
Lettuce, tomatoes, onions and peas!

Speaking of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and peas, the gardens for this year are officially under way! Since we finally had a warm, sunny day, the boys and I turned all the dirt, added compost and then raked out the four garden boxes. We sprinkled in some organic fertilizer and got them ready for the vegetables to go in. I planted several lettuces, Swiss chard, rainbow chard and peas yesterday. We also re-edged all the flower beds, raked out the leaves and did some general backyard cleanup. The flower beds are ready for annuals and mulch. If Mother Nature ever quits teasing us with these on-again-off-again nice days, and spring actually arrives, we’ll be in good shape!

Today, though, is a day for family. The weather is supposed to be beautiful — sunny and 65 degrees. (Maybe we actually will see spring this year!) We’re heading out to my mother-in-law’s for dinner and visiting. To my mom, mother-in-law, grandma, sister, and all the moms out there — I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing day!