Archive for the ‘Spinach’ Category

8 Mile

I mapped out a route earlier on Google maps and set out for a 6 mile run (to the Texas State Capitol and back). Only, it turns out it was an 8 mile run! Double checked the mileage when I came back, and it was four each way. Sweet! No wonder my legs were like J-E-L-L-O!

A great run–through historic Hyde Park, UT campus, and a turn around at the Capitol near the edge of downtown. So many people out and about, something that I love about living in this area of Austin.

Dinner: Strawberry Fields Salad…Fresh spinach leaves tossed in olive oil and topped with sheep’s cheese, candied pecans, and sliced strawberries.

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Whew! I’ve been on my feet all night. P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-V-E! I don’t think I’ll manage to hit up everything on my agenda, but I tried.

Tonight’s agenda:
clean house
-light grocery shopping (decided to save the time and work with what was in the fridge for tonight’s dinner)
-creative writing online critiques (still plan to do a few)
make week’s menu
-practice piano (probably won’t get around to this)
make banana bread

Snack: Small blueberry yogurt (non-organic)
Dinner: Brown rice topped with ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese and a spinach salad with zucchini slices, sunflower seeds, shredded cabbage and a agave-dijon dressing
Dessert: Small blueberry yogurt (non-organic)

Time’s a wasting. How much more can I get done before bedtime?

Good night!

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Brrr! The weather outside is delicious, even if I did get a bit soaked waiting for the bus! I came home and a had a cozy little snack…..

Post-lunch: 6 dried Cali figs
Early evening snack: a banana, then later a cup of peppermint tea and two small florentines.

Moving on to dinner….

My grandfather’s family was from Italy. That makes me somewhat Italian.

That must explain why I love pasta, right?

Probably not. I’m guessing most Italians would turn there noses up at the packaged stuff we buy. But that’s cool.  If I could whip up some homemade ravioli, I’d probably be scoffing at the plastic-wrapped pasta, too.

The fact remains that I’m crazy about pasta, any kind, and I could eat it every day of the week and not get bored. But Lucas would get bored, which is why we have it about once a week. In fact, tonight I went solo on the pasta, because he wanted wild rice. Yawn.

You may have seen similar pasta dishes on here several times before. It’s just so easy and so tasty and at the same time looks kind of fancy. Who doesn’t want a meal like that?

1 bunch of broccoli
1 small bunch of fresh spinach
1/2 package whole wheat fettucini
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

1) Boil chopped broccoli for 2 minutes. Immediately remove from boiling water and place into a bowl with ice water. Let cool.
2) Wash spinach well (if not pre-washed). Coarsley chop.
3) Pure spinach, broccoli, and parmesan in a food processor.
4) Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, heat the pesto in a small pan over low to medium heat. Add 1/3 cup of water, mix well.
5) After pasta has been cooked and drained, add pesto. Mix well. Ready! Makes two generous servings.

Swiss chocolate with nuts. Thanks, Flor!

Gym. 15 minutes stretching/abs/core, 30 minutes legs.

Green heart:
I always thoroughly check plastic packaging for a recycling symbol. Tonight’s pasta package unfortunately wasn’t recyclable, but I made sure to triple check.

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2 Step Omelet

Dinner duty was mine tonight. In theory. Lucas ended up making the Happy Rice, and I, the omelets.

2-Step Omelets:
Step 1: Chop fresh spinach leaves.
Step 2: Crack two eggs into a bowl and mix well.

Ok, there are a couple of additional steps (recipe below), but really, this is easy stuff.

In theory.

Attempt #1/Room for Improvement

Attempt #2/Best in Show

Pre-dinner: A glass of red wine. I am loving the Wine Houdini. The wine stays good for at least 10 days!
Dinner: 1 spinach omelette and a side of Happy Rice.
Dessert: A serving of Swiss chocolate with nuts. (After my Chocolate Bar Hat Trick this past weekend, I probably should have said no…)

2 Step Omelets
(serves 2)

You need:
4 eggs
1/2 of a 9 oz bag of fresh spinach leaves
olive oil

Make 1 omelet at a time…

1) Chop spinach leaves into small, fine pieces
2) Beat two eggs in a small mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper.
3) Heat olive oil in a skillet or frying pan, over medium heat.
4) Once oil has thinned and spread throughout the pan, add the eggs to the pan.
5) When edges start to bubble and eggs appear half-way cooked, add spinach in a neat row down the middle of the pan. See above photo.
6) Gently lift one side of the omelet, and fold over the spinach. Do the same with the other side.
7) With care, flip entire omelet onto opposite side. Cook for a couple of minutes.
8) Ready to serve.

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60 minutes of weights/toning at the gym

Afternoon snacks: a juicy orange; celery with peanut butter (apparently, Lucas didn’t know this is a common American snack!)
Dinner: Lucas made a delicious dinner tonight. I had a big serving of broccoli-spinach penne with garlic and freshly grated parmesan

Green heart:
The faucet in our bathtub has been dripping, so we are collecting the water in a basin and using it to water plants.

Good night.

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Restaurant Night is my new culinary project! Restaurant Night happens in the kitchen at home, but you make a dinner inspired by a dish featured at a restaurant that you like or would like to go to. Your inspiration comes from your past dining experience, or from the restaurant’s online menu’s description of the dish.

Tonight’s dish is inspired by the Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad from Z’Tejas.  It’s pretty much the only thing I ever order when I go to Z’Tejas. The menu describes the salad as “baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, crispy bacon mixed with warm bacon dressing and topped with parmesan pecan-crusted chicken and goat cheese.”

I’m calling my version Almond Chicken Spinach Salad: baby spinach topped with grilled chicken, finely chopped almonds, and almond-crusted feta cheese, with a honey dijon mustard dipping sauce.

With my version, I wanted to go a bit healthier and use ingredients that I already had in the kitchen; all I had to buy was the spinach and chicken.

Serves 2.

1 chicken breast
1/3 – 1/2  pound of baby spinach
4 tbs of feta cheese
handful of almonds
2 tbs of honey
6 tbs of dijon mustard
1/2 tbs of balsamic vinegar

1) Cut chicken breast into strips, approximately 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3) In a large frying pan, heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for a minute or two.
4) When pan is hot (you should be able to hold your hand a few inches above the pan and feel the heat. If the oil is splattering, you’ve waited too long).
5) Add chicken to pan. Heat on medium.
6) Once chicken is half-white, half-pink, flip each piece over.
7) Heat until white all the way through. Remove from heat, and let cool.
8) Chop a handful of almonds into fine pieces. (If you have food processor, use it!)
9) Make 2 feta cheese balls. Each ball has 2 tbs of feta cheese. Form the cheese into a ball, and sprinkle well with some of the chop almonds.
10)  Place half of spinach onto a plate (other half goes onto other plate:) Top with grilled chicken, and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Place feta cheese ball on the side of the salad.

Dipping sauce:
In a small dish or bowl, mix honey, dijon mustard, and vinegar well. Serve on the side of the salad.

This recipe was quick and easy. I think the Z’Tejas is tastier, but this was much cheaper, healthier…and still delicious. Give it a try!

Dinner: The above salad and a glass of wine.
Dessert: Maybe chocolate?

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