Good things all at once

Have you noticed that often good things come in sets? Maybe it’s the inertia of the universe, but things are on the up right now, and I mean really on the up. Tonight, for example, three great things happened in quick succession.

First, pedicures at Darrin James:

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Second, a stop at Whole Foods for dinner from the hot bar:

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Did anyone notice that I wore my pedicure slip-ons into the store?

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unknown….

Third, flowers!!!!!

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You may think my above usage of five exclamation marks is a bit excessive. But really it’s not. Because that’s how excited I was to receive this package. 🙂

In other news…I recently returned from a trip visiting my family in Laramie, WY (more on that coming soon). After being at home a couple days, I already feel nostalgic for the ease of being at my parent’s house. No overflowing fridge and pantry? No doting adults eager to do whatever you want all day? No complete and utter lack of responsibilities? At home, even our dogs get magazines:

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Now, I’m back in the independent world. But I can’t complain. It’s summer, there’s watermelon, and – like I said – good things come all at once.

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Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

Do you ever go to the bulk bin at your grocery store and buy something random? I do. Most recently, I bought some yellow split peas. Sure, they sound good in theory, but what am I going to with yellow split peas. Luckily, my favorite recipe-finding app had the answer: Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup. I followed the original recipe fairly closely (excepting cutting it in half – more or less – and not adding any pumpkin seeds).

The recipe required a bit of time (cooks for an hour), but the ingredient list is short and preparation is very simple. All you need is a heaping cup of yellow split peas, one chopped sweet potato, and one chopped onion:

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Add the onion to a pot with 1/2 cup of water and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of fresh ginger and cook for another minute. Then, add 4 cups of water, the sweet potato, and yellow split peas.

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Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one hour. After an hour, use an immersion blender to puree soup:

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All blended!

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To go with the soup, I prepared some pesto cheesy bread. For two servings: split two english muffins, smear with pesto, and top each half muffin with 1/2 of a mini Babybel cheese.

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Place on a baking pan and cook under the broiler (set to high) until cheese has melted – approximately 4 minutes.

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Why does the melted cheese look like marshmallows?!

For an extra veggie punch, I served the soup over spinach:

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This was good.

Curry Tofu Salad

Several months ago I had a tofu curry salad from the salad bar at Whole Foods. It was absolutely delicious! That may have been partly due to the fact that the Whole Foods salad was ridden with mayonnaise (just because their version is vegan, I don’t think that makes it healthy…). Regardless, since that meal I have been wanting to my make own tofu curry salad in a lower-fat way. Today was the day! (full recipe and method below)

First, cook one package of extra firm tofu in a skillet until the edges are browned.

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Meanwhile, chop two carrots, two celery sticks, and 2 green onions.

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Add raisins, chopped almonds, curry, cayenne, ginger, garlic, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

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Finally, add yogurt, lemon juice, and tofu, stirring until combined. Divide into three containers and enjoy for three easy lunches or dinners!

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Tofu Curry Salad
makes three servings
Ingredients
- one package extra firm tofu
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 2 large celery stalks, diced small
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- dash cayenne
- splash apple cider vinegar
- hefty squirt of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt
Method
Cut tofu into small squares and cook in a skillet until the edges are browned. 
Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. 
Once the tofu is slightly cooled, add to bowl. 
Divide into three servings and enjoy!

Although the ingredient list might look a little long, it is actually extremely simple to make – primarily because nearly all of the ingredients simply need to be mixed together. This is a quick way to make grab-and-go lunches for the week. I plan to bring it to work with a tortilla and piece of fruit for lunch!

Chilean Chicken Pie with Sweet Corn Crust

If you like to cook and don’t already have the Whole Foods Market Recipes app, I would download it RIGHT NOW! Not only does the app offer a seemingly endless supply of unique and healthy recipes, but it allows you to search based on ingredients you have on hand. I came upon this recipe for Chilean Chicken Pie while searching for a way to use up some leftover frozen corn. I followed the original recipe pretty closely, only substituting coconut milk for 2%, tomato sauce for paste, and fudging the corn crust a little bit. This was a little more labor intensive/time consuming than most recipes I make, but I enjoyed the process and – after eating it for dinner tonight – I would say it was definitely worth the effort.

First, cook up 1 pound of chicken and hard-boiled two eggs:

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Next up, prepare the broth base for the pie.

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cook garlic and onions until golden brown

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add green onions, cinnamon, and cumin

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once fragrant, add the tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute

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add chicken broth and cook for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened

Once completed, I mixed the onion/broth mixture with the chicken and some chopped cilantro and arranged at the bottom of a casserole dish:

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Followed by a layer of hard-boiled eggs, raisins, and capers:

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Next up – making the corn crust! The recipe said to put the frozen corn in a food processor and blend until almost smooth.

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Unfortunately, I don’t think this step went exactly as it was supposed to. The corn seemed to be almost ‘too frozen’ and wasn’t breaking apart very well. Eventually, I just took the kernels out of the food processor and continued with the recipe by adding some milk and flour to the corn.

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My suspicion is that this corn/milk/flour mixture would have been a little more doughy had the corn broken down more, but I added it to the skillet where it was supposed to thicken nonetheless.

photo(24) Am I imagining this, or is it maybe getting a little thicker?

Once the corn crust seemed sufficiently thick (ie, my patience grew thin), I added basil to the mixture, poured it into the casserole dish, and cooked at 375 for thirty minutes.

ta-dah!!!

ta-dah!!!

And for dinner…all spruced up with chopped green onions, brown rice, and carrots:

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Full recipe as I made it:
Preheat oven to 375

Ingredients
~ 2.5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 white onion
3 green onions
1 teaspoon cumin
.5 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chicken, diced and cooked
.25 cup cilantro
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup coconut milk
.25 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons basil
2 hard-boiled eggs

Method
Cook chicken on stovetop and boil eggs in water for 10 minutes.

Cook onions and garlic in skillet until golden brown, add cumin, cinnamon, and chopped green onions. Once fragrant, add tomato sauce and mix. Cook for one minute longer, then add chicken broth and cook for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove mixture from heat, pour into separate bowl, mix with chicken and cilantro, and arrange at the bottom of a casserole pan.

Add a second layer to the casserole of raisins, hard-boiled eggs, and capers.

Puree swirl corn around in food processor. Pour into bowl and whisk in milk and flour. Transfer to skillet and cook fifteen minutes until thickened. Add in basil and then pour on top of casserole and cook for 30 minutes.