Winter Salad

I’ve officially decided that the health kick needs to start….like yesterday.

The second it drops below 60˚ I become an instant wimp.  I never want to run outside so I start bringing my workouts indoors and quickly lose interest on the treadmill.  Instead of running 4 miles I’ll barely make it through 2.  Treadmills suck.

Sandy brought in the winter weather here in PA and I finally forced myself to run outside yesterday.  It was 45˚, and it wasn’t too bad.  Honest.

I made this dish from Green Kitchen Stories over the weekend to help the healthy eating process before the holidays and to balance out my lack of exercise.

Slam dunk.

There’s millet, there’s pomegranate seeds [and a great method for getting the seeds out!]. There’s avocado and butternut squash.  I’m in heaven.  I chose to chop up almonds over each serving instead of macadamia nuts but that’s mainly because I’m way too obsessed with the tamarind almonds in the bulk bin at Whole Foods.  Truth.

Guilty.

Braised Beans and Leeks

I love soup.  I make one massive pot of soup/week once Fall hits and never turn back until the Spring flowers start to show their faces.

Soup is comforting.  It’s warm when the weather outside is cold.  It’s perfect.

I had been on a bit of a chili kick when I decided to switch it up and made this soup from Good Things Grow.

I changed the recipe slightly by adding in a few chopped slices of bacon.  What can I say?  I love bacon.  You can, obviously, keep the meal vegetarian and skip the bacon, but I think it added a great smoky flavor.  Pancetta would also be a delicious addition.

The dish is time consuming between soaking the beans overnight and braising the soup in the oven for 3 hours, but its worth the wait!  You could also buy canned beans, but I think the beauty in these types of dishes is the actual time it takes to make them.  The flavor you get after simmering for 3 hours is going to be much more complex than a quick 30 minute simmer.  But, as always, do your thing.  Not everyone has 3 hours to set aside on a Sunday….it was a lazy weekend OK!?

Visitors

Now that I live in a slightly more interesting place than St. Mary’s County I’ve had visitors to this beautiful city.  I have pretty much used these trips as excuses to do things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten around to yet.

When my friend from DC visited I used that as an excuse to finally go to Yards Brewing Company to tour the brewery and have a pint [highly recommended, their Brawler is excellent].

When my dad drove up I went to Honey’s Sit N Eat for breakfast, something that had been on my ‘to-do’ list ever since I moved here.  A visit to the new Yankee’s stadium was also made- garlic fries were had.  Duh.

Jaclyn and I did some wine tasting in the Lehigh Valley and went to a cupcake place literally right around the corner from my apartment that I never even knew existed [!].  It’s called Brown Betty and its amazing.  If you’re a DC local- the cupcakes remind me of Baked and Wired because they’re more dense than the usual fluffy cupcake.  Still delicious though.  That could actually turn dangerous now that Rita’s has officially closed for the season…

I also took her to my guilty pleasure: One Shot Coffee.  Its a tad expensive but its so good. The espresso is amazing.  ‘Nuff said.

One thing still on my ‘to-do’ list is to explore the local parks here some more.  Hopefully I get visitors up here that I can drag to the Poconos or Wissahickon Park before it gets too cold!

To end, a song:

Royal Teeth, “Wild”

Grains + veggies

Sometimes I make meals up on accident.  I’ll start out with a recipe in mind [like this one from Eat Live Run], and end up with something completely different.

My first recipe changer was at the Whole Foods bulk bin when I decided I hadn’t had farro in a while and decided for that instead of quinoa.  They’re both good, but I ultimately enjoy farro more.  It has the same nutty flavor as quinoa but is more chewy.  I dig it.

I also decided I hadn’t had goat cheese in a while and would be a totally awesome substitute for mozzarella and completely omitted bread crumbs so I didn’t have to buy them.  Then, I just got lazy and didn’t pre-cook any of the vegetables.  I usually never do. Once they’ve been in the oven for 30 minutes they’re plenty tender- trust me.  [this also applies to lasagnas- they're already tedious enough, no need to sauté the veggies and then bake them for an hour].

I threw on some garlic chili sauce as a condiment [basically the same as sriracha sauce] and it was perfection.  Feel free to add in any specific vegetables of choice or whatever you have on hand- the recipe is really versatile….obviously.

Here’s a song to start your week off strong:

Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”