Meatless Monday: Vegan Pesto

I know what you’re going to say: Vegan Pesto?  You can’t make pesto without cheese!  I found it on POPSUGAR, which is a fun little site that I have been signed up to for about 2 months.  It’s fresh, it’s great for grilled veggies, meat or pasta salad.  Plus, I wouldn’t put a recipe on here that I don’t like so here it goes.

Vegan Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt in a food processor, and blend until combined but slightly coarse.
  2. Add the olive oil, and blend until smooth.
  3. Use it right away or store it in the fridge (one week) or freezer (up to three months).

Yields about 1 cup of pesto.

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Meatless Monday: Clean Blog Summer Salad

Oh how I love an interesting combination in a salad.  Though I love salads of all kinds, I tend to make the same things over and over again.  Novelty saves me.  This one popped up recently and I’m completely enamored, especially because this salad includes nectarines.  Fruit always entices the boys into trying something and this one is a hit.

Ingredients:
Dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Salad:
5 ounces arugula and spinach mix (or just arugula)
4 ounces snap peas
2 nectarines
1/2 cup radishes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup mint

Ingredients:

  1. Toast the pine nuts. Place one teaspoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low. Add the pine nuts and toast, constantly tossing until lightly browned (don’t step away from the pan as they burn easily).
  2. Make the dressing. Finely mince the shallots and shake or whisk with the other dressing ingredients.

  3. Prepare the vegetables. Wash and dry the arugula mix. Thinly slice the radishes (preferably with a mandoline slicer). Wash the snap peas. Thinly slice the nectarines. Pick mint leaves from stem and (optionally) chop.
  4. Add all ingredients to a large serving bowl.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, toss with the dressing (we recommend only adding 1/4 of the dressing at a time to prevent overdressing). Store remaining dressing in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Moroccan Carrot Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing

It’s hot.  And there are days when I don’t want to turn on anything that emits heat.  Luckily fresh fruits and vegetables can come to the rescue for a healthy and fulfilling meal.  I made this one recently while I was in Idaho.  And, though I couldn’t find Harissa in Ketchum and I only had cranberries, it was a total hit and I found Chase eating it with tortilla chips the next day after he got back from camp.  Go figure!  Make this a day ahead for even better flavor.

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Spicy Lemon Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup harissa (see Note)
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 pounds carrots, julienned on a mandoline or coarsely shredded in a food processor (about 12 cups)
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 4 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 pound feta, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

    1. In a large bowl, whisk the harissa with the lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    2. Add the carrots, raisins, parsley and feta to the dressing and toss well. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD

The carrot salad can be made without the feta and parsley and refrigerated for up to 6 hours; add the feta and parsley just before serving. The lemon dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

NOTES

Harissa is a chile paste used in Tunisia and Morocco. It is available in jars and tubes from specialty food shops.

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Meatless Monday: May’s Amazing Salad

We’re in Ketchum, ID again this summer for a respite from the 110 degree heat in Tucson.  Poor Ryan is in AZ and slowly melting.  I’ve been telling people for years to come here.  It is a hidden gem in the mountains!

Well, FINALLY, my dear friend May and her lovely family rented a house for a week AND brought some amazing friends from Denver. A big shout out to Alex and her hubby Matt!

While living in Santa Fe, May and I bonded during wine infused play dates, on design, all things Housewives and great food.  May is humble about her culinary acumen.  I think she has a great perspective.  Keeping things simple is not my strong suit.  I tend to go overboard on things.  Not surprised are you?

I stole May’s simple salad recipe and use it often.  Rice Vinegar + Maldon Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper + Greens = simple, delicious salad.

While May, her husband Charlie and their two lovely kiddos were visiting we shared some dinners together at the house they rented and once again, she did her thing in a completely simple, amazingly delicious way.  I hope you don’t mind May, but I’m posting this one too.  I love this one because you can EASILY tailor it to the number of people who are going to be eating, translation: great for a potluck or last minute dinner gathering.

May’s Amazing Salad

Ingredients:

Arugula –  a handful or two per person. Rinsed and torn if needed

Pine nuts, 1/8 cup per person

EVOO

Lemons, 1 for every 2-3 people

Grated Parmesan, 1 Tbsp per person

Salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

  1. Place arugula in salad bowl and Set aside
  2. Heat EVOO and toast pine nuts.  Once lightly toasted remove from heat and add to arugula
  3. Slice lemon and squeeze over greens
  4. Add Parmesan
  5. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  6. Toss and serve

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Meatless Monday: Jicama-and-Citrus Salad

Taco Tuesday can become…well, like: listening to a once favorite song on repeat.  You still like it, but you want a new twist.  Since the boys refuse to give up Taco Tuesday, I have to take it upon myself to keep things fresh and novel.  This salad does the trick.  And, if I don’t feel like making the actual tacos for myself, I pair this with a small bowl of rice and beans and I’m good to go!  I found this recipe in Food and Wine and think it is a great addition for your summer salad list.  And, because tomorrow is the birth of our Nation, you can enjoy it with the other seasonal and celebratory foods you have been planning for this our most important national holiday! Enjoy!

Jicama-and-Citrus Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Ruby Red grapefruits
  • 2 navel oranges
  • One 1-pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a very sharp knife, peel the grapefruits and oranges, being sure to remove any bitter white pith. Working over a large bowl to catch the juices, cut in between the membranes to release the sections into the bowl. Cut the citrus into pieces. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss well. Serve the salad right away.

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Meatless Monday: Overnight Oats

I’m a huge fan of grab and go breakfasts not only for the kids, but for myself too.  I usually just drink my coffee early and don’t really want anything right away but I am one of those people who gets hangry pretty quickly and taking something with me is key.  Usually it consists of a smoothie of one sort or another, but I’m definitely on board for this whole overnight oats craze. I found one on The Greatist. It has a great schedule too: make a 3-jar batch on Sunday night and a 2-jar batch on Wednesday night. They recommend making 3 at a time due to their shelf life.

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

5 cups almond milk or milk of your choice

3 bananas

1 1/4 cup blueberries

5 Tbsp chia seeds

5 tsp cinnamon 

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a mason jar, give it a good shake, then seal with a lid, and leave overnight for up to three days.

You need to meal prep three jars on Sunday night and two on Wednesday night. Why? We don’t recommend leaving your oats for longer than three days, because they will get super goopy, and we’re not into that.

Grab a spoon and dig in.
The only effort you need to put into breakfast in the a.m. is a twist of the mason jar lid (hey, sometimes that’s tough, so don’t think you’re being lazy!). Open the fridge, grab your mason jar, dip your spoon into the kick-ass morning meal, and try to think what life was like before you were so organized.

Notes:

We’ll say it again. Overnight oats can get soggy if they sit too long, which is why we recommend making a second batch on Wednesday.

You can swap in or add any milk, fruit, nut butter, or spice to the mix. The world is your oatmeal.

If you follow a gluten-free diet, gluten-free rolled oats are available at many grocery stores or Amazon.

Wish your oats were warm? Pop them in the nuker.

Meatless Monday: Sundal, A Special Chickpea Salad

My friend Amy recommended several years ago that I start a food blog.  At the time, I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump IMG_0871in, so I filed the idea away.  Now that I have been posting food porn, among other things for more than 4 years, I am finally taking the opportunity to thank her and recognize her for planting the seed that has become ATWTTL.  Amy’s food postings have always inspired me and recently she posted a picture of a delicious dish. I asked her to send me the recipe. It is a chickpea salad that is a spin on an Indian snack called “sundal”. The idea is basically to mix chickpeas with the veggies of your choice and make a ghee and spice sauce. The picture she posted looked delicious and I asked her to share the recipe with me.  And, by the way, Andrew took it for lunch two days in a row. I’ll make it again and remember to snap a picture.

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 small onion cut in a large dice

1 cup quarter cherry tomatoes

Black or Kosher salt

Juice of one lemon

1 small green chile, diced (Serrano, jalapeño, Anaheim, etc)

Sauce

2 Tbsp Ghee

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin

Mix Ins:

Grated coconut

Diced pineapple, mango, jicama, radishes, avocado, chopped mint or cilantro.

Directions:

1. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Warm the ghee in a small bowl.  To this warm ghee add brown mustard seeds, cumin and, hing/asafoetida. Mix well and add to the chick pea mixture.

3. Finally, add your mix-in ingredients, combine and serve.

A Note from Amy: You can find asafoetida in indian stores or amazon. You can omit it, if you like. Most Indians add asafoetida or fennel to bean dishes to prevent the side effects of eating beans(I am not sure if there is any scientific evidence for this, but I always did it).

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Untapped Talent

On a recent trip to Prescott, AZ for Ryan’s annual ride of the Whiskey, (check out my previous post) my friend Tara and I were discussing my plans to go to school and her current job as a reading specialist at her children’s school. Tara was explaining that she has it really good with her position because it allows her to still be a mom and enjoy fulfillment professionally. And then she said something that gave me one of those Oprah “Aha!” Moments: “There is immense untapped talent in SAHM’s who could work 9-3.”

With that sentence I realized that in our society’s archaic notion of an all or nothing work/parenting balance there are many parents, myself included who struggle with the professional desire to work and the emotional and logistical desire to be a present parent. I don’t NEED to work, but I desperately want to. I went to college for crying out loud! I had a career for 10 years! I don’t want to just look at that time of my life as “in the past” or “another time”. I enjoyed what those experiences gave me and did for me as a person.  Those experiences have made me the mom I am.

I am infinitely thankful that I did not have to go back to work when Chase and subsequently Andrew were 10 weeks old. I know that would have crushed me emotionally. I am glad that when I’ve had to pick them up in the middle of the day, the only inconvenience it causes is not being able to Barre 3.  I cannot replace the time I get with them when I pick them up from school and take them to one of the many, many sports they are trying out right now.

There is a pervading argument that states that we women can have it all, just not all at once.  I agree to a point.  I agree with that when I think about it within the confines of the all or nothing work formula that we modern women are forced to see our careers.  However, I vehemently disagree with that notion because of the fact that someone else is determining the parameters in which a woman can have it all. If we truly value what caregivers do for our families, we wouldn’t be so rigid about balancing our duties as parents.  Our work culture needs to respect the desire of mothers and fathers to have a more balanced existence.

As I embark on a new experience and a second chapter in my career, I intend to make my own way by filling in the 9-3 gap. I do not expect full-time benefits if I’m not working full time. I don’t expect to get paid full-time if I don’t work full-time. I know that this mindset will prevent me from moving up the professional ladder quickly but if Millenials have taught us anything it is that priorities can be different. Quality of life is my number one goal. In fact, I want to change the rules and encourage other parents to demand a true work/parenting/life balance. I want not only other SAHMs to pursue professional fulfillment and work fulfillment but fathers too. Once I start working, I hope Ryan can step back from full time employment to not only enjoy his own personal endeavors but also take part in more parental responsibilities. (Note: Ryan has never lacked in parental participation).

I cannot accept the notion that our years should be filled with non-stop work and crushing fatigue due to trying to balance working and parenting. The success I see for myself will be a equilibrium of parenting and professional work. I’m sure there are those of you who may think that it is naive of me to think that way, but I am not going to fold just because someone tells me no, once or twice.

We need to be in control of the narrative, now. I think People of my generation can start to make the decisions without someone patting me on the head and saying: “Your time will come.”  With all of the definitions of “success” out there, why can’t we add one more? How about this for an option: The present parent who is able to drop the kids at school at 8:30 am go work and then be there to pick them up at 3:00 pm for afternoon activities, homework and dinner prep?

What are your work/parenting/life balancing questions? Have you had experience in making this formula work? Comment below.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Veggies with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce

My in-laws live here in Tucson.  They followed us here about a year after we moved from Santa Fe, NM.  They live

Picture from Dishing Up The Dirt

Picture from Dishing Up The Dirt

10 minutes away and we have family dinners on a regular basis.  They watch Sara Belle we watch their yellow lab Henry.  Whenever they go out of town, they clean out their refrigerator and bring it all over to our house.  So, right now I have a large amount of fresh veggies that need to be used!  Sweet potatoes are the focus of this post so I went to one of my favorite sites for interesting veggies: Dishing up the Dirt.

Roasted Root Veggies with Turmeric-Tahini Sauce

PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES    COOK TIME: 30-40 MINUTES    SERVES: 4

Veggies

  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato
  • 1 cup chopped rutabaga
  • 1 cup chopped parsnip
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped turnips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh minced thyme for serving (optional)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated turmeric (or 1 teaspoon ground)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup water

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Toss the chopped veggies with the oil, salt and pepper. Place on two rimmed baking sheets and roast in the oven until lightly browned and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Rotate the pans and toss the veggies halfway through cooking.
  3. While veggies roast prepare the sauce. With an immersion blender or small food processor combine all the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.
  4. To serve sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little fresh thyme and drizzle with the sauce.

Notes

*If you’re veggies are fresh from the market no need to peel them *Cooking times will vary *Taste test as you go *Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days

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Meatless Monday: Sautéed Asparagus and Snap Peas

I know it sounds embarrassingly easy but it has become one of Andrew’s favorite side dishes.  After a long love affair with green beans, Andrew is branching out into the vegetable world.  I wasn’t sure about the success of asparagus but if you try and find the really thin stalks of it, the flavor is delicate.

Ina Garten, a master in cooking, brings us this recipe.  It is simple, yet very satisfying.  I even let Chase jump in and stir this easy sauté.  With golf and soccer practices back to back on some days, this is an easy side dish to pull together after getting home at 6:45pm.

Sauteed Asparagus and Snap Peas

Ingredients:

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