Opposites

caprese nobake

These two items are completely opposite in nature, and that is okay with me!

First the caprese salad, which I am currently quite taken by. It is so simple and quick to make and tastes wonderful. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt. Yum!

The second photo shows the ‘best ever chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars’ which I found at mommysavingmom.com. Again, this recipe is quick and simple and delicious. I left out the nuts, raisins or dried cranberries, more for my kids’ sakes than my own, although I would never add raisins anyway. I think dried cranberries would be very good in this though. I did not have quite enough peanut butter, so I used half peanut butter and half almond butter. I have a child who detests peanut butter, so I am waiting with bated breath to see if he will like these bars. Of course, he also is not a big chocolate-lover, so it might not really matter. And these bars are quite chocolaty! I think that I might use even more oats and coconut in the future to cut down on some of that chocolate goodness.

Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad

This salad is so simple to make and so easy to manipulate. Fresh basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, and sliced fresh mozzarella, coarse Celtic sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar-that’s it! You could add sliced avocado. If you can get your hands on heirloom tomatoes or yellow tomatoes, they would create an interesting visual and wonderful flavour. You could use crumbled feta instead of the mozzarella.

I will admit that I found the mozzarella to be rather bland and boring. Perhaps I could have drizzled the oil and vinegar more generously?

Lunch

I have not been very good at bringing a lunch with me to work, but I know that doing so is a necessary step on this journey to clean eating and a healthy lifestyle. So, I bought myself a cute but functional lunch bag, and last night I prepared my lunch for today. Fat-free plain Balkan-style yogurt with fresh raspberries and blueberries. A southwest quinoa salad which I made last night.

Here is the recipe for my southwest quinoa salad, more or less, because I made it up as I went along.

You need 1 cup quinoa, cooked with chili powder and cumin, then allowed to cool. I think I used about 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 1 teaspoon of cumin.

In a large bowl combine the following:

  • the cooled quinoa
  • roughly a half cup of frozen corn niblets
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
  • roughly a half cup of canned black beans, rinsed
  • red onion, finely minced, as much or as little as you like
  • red pepper, finely chopped
  • a handful of chopped cilantro
  • a couple pinches of Celtic sea salt
  • juice from half a lime
  • one tablespoon of olive oil
  • one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Beet, Spinach & Carrot Slaw

I do not particularly care for beets. I will eat them, if necessary, but I don’t like them. However, I do like this slaw recipe, despite the abundance of beets.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and coarse salt and ground pepper.

Trim and peel about a pound of beets. Grate the beets and place in a strainer. Rinse until water runs clear, then squeeze dry with paper towel. Add to bowl.

Trim and peel two medium carrots and grate. Add to bowl.

Wash a large handful of spinach, then cut into thin strips. Add to bowl.

Toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 4, although it could easily feed at least 6 as a side dish.

Roasted Asparagus

Tis the season for local asparagus! I usually steam it and occasionally barbecue it, but today I roasted it. So delicious!

Wash and trim a pound of asparagus. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of Celtic sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and a clove or two of minced garlic. Toss. Roast for 8-10 minutes at 400F until tender-crisp. Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Roast Beef with Smashed Red Potatoes and Miso Gravy

I won’t be posting the recipe for this unless requested, because it was definitely more work for one meal than I would like, but it was definitely worth it. Well, that might depend on who you ask.

This is a clean meal of roast beef, smashed red-skinned potatoes, peas, and a miso gravy.

The roast beef was good, although the rest of the family thought it was far too “alive” for their palate. The smashed potatoes were quite enjoyable, which was a little surprising. Instead of using milk and butter, I added non-fat plain Greek yogurt and some freshly squeezed lemon juice, which presented a pleasing yet different taste experience. I liked the potatoes. Mr. Potato Head Sam would not even deign to taste them, because the skin was left on the potatoes. The miso gravy was definitely different. My gravy-loving Casey did not like it. I don’t think gravy-obsessed Abby enjoyed it either. My opinion was that it was different. Not bad, just different. I could make it again, but maybe I would use a bit less miso.

Fussy kids aside, it was an enjoyable, tasty meal. Best of all, it was clean! Very little fat. No white flour. Very little sugars, and mostly natural. Portion sizes were satisfying. In fact, I used half the portion size of gravy, and I still had more than enough on my plate.