August 23, 2012

I’ve Moved!

Surprise! If you’re seeing this, it’s because I’ve finally moved the blog to a domain of my very own. Please visit http://www.thehooteats.com, and update your feed readers and bookmarks! Thanks!

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August 20, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

I have been craving pasta something fierce. We tried a new-ish Italian spot, Carpaccio Trattoria, this weekend. It’s a breath of fresh Italian air. Seriously, this stuff tastes just like a lot of the stuff I tasted in Italy. It helps that the head chef/owner is from Venice, spending a lot of time cooking up the delicious things I’ve come to know and love when it comes to cheese, tomatoes and bread. He’s heavy on the seafood and on the risotto. Swoon.

Is it wrong that I’m posting meatballs twice in less than two weeks? These are way more labor intensive than the last ones, less healthy, too. But they have cheese in them! That makes it totally worth it.

Sometimes I like to make things way more difficult than they need to be because I’m “following directions.” That kind of thing they teach you in grade school can backfire so easily.

The idea is simple, stuff a meatball full of shredded cheese and prosciutto, sear them on in some oil, braise them with some olives and peppers, and ladle that goodness all over some pasta. I hid a whole shredded carrot in the meatballs. I managed to mangle my pinky with the microplane. Carrots are slippery. True story. I doctored my finger up with a wad of paper towels and tape because I somehow ran out of bandaids and never noticed. Have you ever tried to roll meatballs with that kind of a bandage? It’s a challenge, and boy do I love a challenge.

Here’s where I made things way too difficult for myself, though. Shredding the cheese seemed really unnecessary when I was trying to wrap the meatballs around it. Maybe it was my pinky talking, but it really would have been easier if I cut little cubes of cheese. Oh the things we learn…

I also added a healthy dose of spinach to the olives and peppers. You wouldn’t expect anything less, right?

Next time, I’ll bring less meat and more cookies. Promise!

 

Inspiration: La Cucina Italiana

Ingredients

  • 4oz cheese, preferably something mild and melty like Gruyere, cut into 12 equal cubes
  • 2.25oz thick sliced prosciutto, cut into 12 equal pieces
  • 1/3 cup parsley, plus more for topping
  • 1.25lb ground beef
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed
  • pasta, quinoa, rice, bread for serving

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, mix together the shredded carrot, ground beef, 1/3 cup parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Form the meat mixture into 12 equal balls. Feel free to eyeball it or break out your scale to measure them. I won’t tell which I did.
  3. Flatten each ball with your palm, and place a piece of cheese and prosciutto in the middle before reforming the ball around it.
  4. Place the meatballs into the fridge for 5ish minutes or until you’re ready to cook them.
  5. Heat the olive oil and butter into a large skillet on medium high heat.
  6. When the butter is melted, add the meatballs arranging them in the pan so they have room.
  7. Brown them on all sides, turning them after about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Add the pepper and olives to the pan, with another pinch of salt, and stir in with the meatballs.
  9. Cover with a lid for another 5-6 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the pepper is cooked through.
  10. Serve on your carb of choice, ladling that delicious sauce over as much of it as you can.
August 16, 2012

Grilled Chicken, Roasted Purple Cauliflower, and Roasted Garlic Mashers

I forgot to take photos of all my food for What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW). *cue the wah-wah*

Someday I’ll learn. I ate the same green chocolate cake smoothie for breakfast, leftover spicy garlic pork and cabbage, dahl, shredded carrot salad, and curried sweet potato over brown rice from Mum’s Kitchen for lunch, and cheese stuffed meatballs sautéed with peppers, olives, and spinach over pasta for dinner [recipe to come]. And some Dolcetto. You can’t have a recipe from La Cucina Italiana without Italian wine, right? So good.

I’ve been to the gym three days in a row–twice at lunch and then last night. It feels so good to be back! It’s almost like I wasn’t gone for a little over a year. Most of the staff has changed [sad], but a lot of the same faces are there working out. I’m [still] the only girl who likes to use free weights. I have no qualms grabbing a barbell or dumbbells and a bench and doing my thing. The hardest piece of equipment to get your hands on are the boxes for plated box jumps. They’re clearly all the rage. The hardest part about working out at lunch is getting myself presentable to go back to the office. Sometimes I just can’t stop sweating. Lovely.

Remember when I said I spatchcocked my first chicken? Well, here it is. I had been doing some reading on how it’s one of the most efficient ways to grill one, and this video made it seem really easy to do. And it was, sorta. Getting the force behind the kitchen shears to really cut through the thing was kind of a pain. Then, the breastbone broke off halfway. It probably took three times longer than it needed to. That’s probably the story of my life. I coated it in a heavy spraying of olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder on both sides and let it sit in the fridge while I diced up the cauliflower and potatoes for the sides.

I started by roasting a head of garlic that I could mash with with the potatoes. It’s really easy–lop the top off, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven at 450º for about 30 minutes. I added the cauliflower to the same oven after it was tossed in more olive oil and some cumin and salt [can you tell I like cumin lately?]. Note: roasting purple cauliflower will result in really burned looking cauliflower even though it’s totally not. I bought it because it was sooooooo pretty the only cauliflower at the store. It still tasted amazing [and like regular cauliflower], but it didn’t look pretty at all. It actually matched the totally burned chicken skin. Yeah, I burned the chicken. Spatchcocking it reduces the cooking time for a reason, placing all of the chicken so much closer to the heat source, but I should have babysat it a little more while it was on the grill. I gave it 15 minutes on one side before going out to check it. I should have checked it at 10. Whoops. I tried to think of it like searing the outside to lock in the juices, and I didn’t really want to eat the skin anyway [that I just seasoned the heck out of]. So I flipped the bird, turned the heat down, and let it sit for another 10-15. The result was a super moist, juicy bird. It just didn’t look pretty until I tore the skin off. Learn from my mistakes. At least the mashed potatoes looked nice. Redeeming quality!

Ingredients

  • 4lb chicken, spatchcocked [see video]
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1.5lbs red potatoes, chopped, skin on
  • milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniform pieces

Preparation

  1. For the Chicken: Make sure the bird is patted dry with a paper towel. Either spray or rub on a layer of olive oil to all sides. Coat liberally with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and garlic powder. Allow to sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Heat grill to medium—about 400º. Try to make a space where the burners aren’t on directly beneath the bird. Place it skin side down and close the lid. Check after 10 minutes. The skin should be dark and crispy. Watch for flare ups, that chicken fat is notorious for that. Flip the bird and close the lid. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the internal temperature is 165º or the juices run clear when pierced. Remove from heat and tent with foil for 10ish minutes before serving.
  2. For the Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or aluminum foil/parchment. Toss the cauliflower in a bowl with olive oil, salt, and cumin until everything is evenly coated. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, stir the pieces around. Leave in the oven for another 15-20. They should be nice and crispy.
  3. For the Potatoes: Preheat oven to 450º if you haven’t already done so. Lop the top off the head of garlic so the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Place the chopped potatoes into a pot and cover with enough water so it’s about a half inch above the potatoes. Heat the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes in the boiling water until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot [or a new bowl if that’s your thing]. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and toss into the potatoes. Add a tablespoon of butter, a splash of milk, and a health pinch of salt and pepper. Using a potato masher or fork, mash together until desired consistency. Taste test. Add more milk, salt, or pepper as you see necessary.
August 13, 2012

Kale Hummus

Just for those skeptics, we had tacos two nights ago at Tienda Santa Cruz again. I bought some pastor [marinated pork] and chicken, and made some pastor tacos tonight. They had these super good blue corn tortillas for $1.50. Cheap! They started selling some green and red salsa for cheap, too. I cannot get enough of that place.

Since it’s so hot out [still!], and I had some leftover kale from the chorizo, potato, and kale tacos, I made hummus. That’s the next logical choice, right? Andrew’s on a hummus kick anyway, so that didn’t hurt either. We had a mini-Meditteranean feast on the balcony that night. Cool, creamy hummus, baba ganoush [bought because I didn’t want to take the time to roast eggplant], a brick of feta, a bunch of sliced cucumber [perfect for dipping!], and a bunch of fresh made pita chips. Note: Do not leave the pita chips unattended on the grill. They’ll turn into a black, charcoal mess really fast. Yum.

The taste of kale is pretty mild. You can tell it’s not just plain jane hummus, though. I started with a couple handfuls and did a few taste tests along the way. That usually works best. Funny how the idea of eating a can of beans seems daunting until you’ve killed off a whole batch of hummus.  That’s so much easier for some reason, and I’m totally okay with it.

Inspiration: After Dinner Dance

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • Approx. a cup of washed and torn kale leaves, discard those stems
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt

Preparation

  1. Toss everything into the food processor, starting on the low end of the spices. You can always add more later. Process until smooth, adding more olive oil or water as necessary to reach the desired consistency.
  2. Taste test a lot!
  3. I ended up adding a little more olive oil and cumin/salt to really amp up the flavor.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready.

For pita chips — preheat oven to 400°; cut whole pitas into wedges [I was getting 12 chips per pita]; arrange them on a baking sheet; spray with olive oil [or brush it on]; sprinkle liberally with sea salt; bake for 5-10 minutes until golden brown and crispy. It’s hard for me to buy pita chips any more since these are so easy.

 

 

August 10, 2012

5-Ingredient Meatballs

Wednesday night I sent a text to a friend, “Tomorrow is Friday!!!” completely unaware that it was definitely not Friday the next day until I was gently reminded. That’s a true friend.

We biked to dinner, taking advantage of the long daylight hours and the much more reasonable temperatures (80°F/26°C). The burger place we wanted to eat at was closed [again] so we went down to Bar Bar. They have mediocre burgers, decent beers, and a nice patio. The need for a burger was desperate, so there we sat on the patio. Long story short, they managed to mess up our order. Again. We won’t be back. We biked to Voodoo Doughnut to soothe the frustration. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with coconut because I certainly didn’t need an Old Dirty Bastard. They threw in a blueberry cake for free. Delicious.

The past two days I’ve had steamed sweet potato, kidney beans, and avocado covered in lime juice for lunch. While it was good, I’m definitely looking forward to Food Cart Friday with Andrew.

I spatchcocked my first chicken [more on that another day].

I’m joining the gym again. I’ve been going over the pro/con list for awhile now [thanks to those of you who had to endure my yammering about it], and it just makes sense. Costco makes it super cheap for me to hit up the 24 Hour Fitness a block away from my office. If I can spend $15 on a night out, I can spend $15 a month on the gym for some variety. Plus I’ll get 45-60 minutes more sleep. It’s starting to get darker in the mornings, which is a whole lot less motivation to go do burpees in the other room half asleep. I’ll have something to do at lunch again, that isn’t shopping, now that I don’t have homework to do. That doesn’t count evenings and weekends either. It’s safe to say working out is my hobby. Definitely going to try out this Level Up Workout

I made more meatballs. We haven’t had meatballs since February. What happened to me? Did I lose my talent? Will I ever be good again [five points if you know what movie that’s from]? Having extra hot dog buns inspired this whole endeavor. That and Stonesoup’s easy five-ingredient recipe. I love the ones I made before, but they take way longer. This version about as easy as it can get without going to buy a sandwich. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t pulse the oats into a flour. I used whole ones. They were just fine, but it would have yielded a slightly better consistency with them pulsed. There is no frying involved. Mix your ingredients together. Put tomato on the base of the dish. Put the meatballs on top. Bake away. See? Easy.

Inspiration: Stonesoup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 24oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup rolled oats, ground into flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and get out an 11×7″ baking dish.
  2. Pour some olive oil into a large pan and heat the pan to medium-high.
  3. Saute the onion until it’s soft and golden, 5-7 minutes.
  4. Pour the tomatoes into the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. In a bowl, mix the ground meats, onion, and rolled oats. I used my hands.
  6. Form into ping pong sized meat balls.
  7. Place the finished balls into the tomato sauce, evenly spaced.
  8. Top each ball with a chunk of butter.
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the meatballs are golden brown on top.
August 8, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday [Thai Edition]

Guess what? I totally remembered [almost] to take a photo of all my food for a What I Ate Wednesday post! I was actually really excited about it until I realized this is definitely one of my boring days of eats. They’re all Instagram photos, too, because I’m straight classy like that and all the cool kids are doing it.

Breakfast of champions. A brownish green smoothie of awesome taken on a brown table. This Instagram filter is doing wonders. It’s basically Oh She Glow’s Chocolate Cake Batter Smoothie with the addition of spinach. Is it awesome? Hell yeah, it is. Coconut milk, rolled oats, frozen banana, frozen spinach, coconut peanut butter, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, cinnamon, a couple drops of NuNaturals vanilla stevia. Blend. Go. It’s thick, creamy, and chocolaty delicious. Oh, and I share with Andrew.

[NOT PICTURED: Two spoonfuls of the leftover plain Greek yogurt from last week. Can’t let it go bad. Usually I have a handful of pepitas.]

[NOT PICTURED: Me sticking a spoon straight into the peanut butter jar that I keep at my desk. I usually sit there with the spoon in my mouth while I work. No one has come to my cubicle while this is going on to give me weird looks, but I’m sure it’ll happen.]

Confession. This photo is from yesterday. I walked up to one of the food cart pods by my office, and picked up some spicy coconut noodles with chicken from Poompui. There were a ton of green beans, chilies, and sprouts. I ate half yesterday by the Keller Fountain [complete with exposed knees! That’s the plastic sack, not a plastic skirt btw], and the rest today at my desk before I went out for a walk. The leftovers were 94% devoured before I realized that I forgot to take a photo. That didn’t take long for me to forget, did it? And in case you’re wondering, I took this photo yesterday to rub it in Andrew’s face that I was eating it. We do that a lot. It’s the things fairy tales should be are made of.

[NOT PICTURED: Another spoonful of peanut butter. Exciting!]

Dinner. Pad Woon Sen from Thai Ginger—stir fried bean thread noodles with egg, cabbage, celery, mushroom, onion, baby corn, carrot, cabbage, spinach, bell peppers, tomato, garlic sauce with chicken. This was new to me, I usually get Pad Kee Mao. The garlic sauce was a little sweeter than I would have liked, but the rest was super, super good. If I had some more hot sauce, it would have been perfect.

So yeah, lots of Thai, peanut butter, and coconut today. A complete lack of beverages other than water and a cup of coffee at work. Oh and a beer in bed while I read. Are you asleep yet? I would be.

August 6, 2012

Shredded Pork Tacos (Crock Pot)

Another awesome weekend in the books, minus the fact that it was nearly 100° the whole time. That’s rough for a girl who doesn’t like it to creep over 80°. Portland has generally mild summers, but there are always a handful of days that really tests my everyone’s patience. That’s a lot of heat and sun.

Andrew played a lot of soccer in it. How? I’ll never know. I hid from the sun and did a lot of necessary cleaning. Lots of food that doesn’t involve turning on the stove was eaten. We watched the Timbers draw. Watching that happen in the heat was like pouring salt over an open wound. We showed some friends from out of town some of the city. There is seriously nothing more fun than playing tourist in your own town [other than being a tourist in another town…]. It’s an excuse to see things and do things that you wouldn’t normally bother with. We ended up an a pod of food carts in N. Mississippi Ave., and I ate a most delicious Chinese flatbread sandwich with Szechuan red oil chicken, garlic ginger braised Chinese greens, and pickled vegetables from Prickly Ash, a Chinese street food cart. Good is an understatement. The chicken was piled high that it was hard to wrap up and eat. That’s my kind of sandwich. The rest of the day was seriously too hot to eat. I had some fro-yo and a few slices of cucumber and feta. My healthiness knows no bounds.

We even busted out the crock pot to beat the heat. We picked up a pork roast from the Mexican market, and I grabbed it purely to try this recipe from Eat, Live, Run for carnitas. There’s no marinade, just spices and fresh veggies and some time under low heat. The house smelled awesome when I got home, so Andrew working upstairs with it like that must have been brutal. The pork was fork tender and super juicy. Jalapeño was a must. It was nice and spicy. I could have easily added another. We killed off the entire roast in one sitting [shocking] taking liberties with lime and avocado. I put a bunch on top of some leftover Mayan quinoa. That was the best idea of all.

Inspiration: Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients

  • 2lbs pork roast
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, diced [take out the seeds if you don’t want it too spicy]
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas, avocado, cilantro, lime, etc for serving

Preparation

  1. Mix all of the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Place the pork roast in the bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Cover with half of the spices.
  4. Flip the roast over and cover with the rest of the spices.
  5. Cover the roast with all of the onion and peppers.
  6. Turn the heat on low and leave for 8 hours.
  7. The meat should be fork tender. Shred and serve immediately or shred and let it soak up the juices for a bit before serving.
August 4, 2012

Mayan Quinoa

So while this isn’t a taco, it’s definitely something we had with tacos. There is only so much you can do with a taco, but there is a ton you can do with the sides. I wanted something that we might end up having leftovers for lunch. I wanted something light, but filling, and full of fresh flavor. I wanted something with quinoa. Confession: I used to hate dislike corn on the cob [and corn in general] with a fire of a thousand suns. I don’t know why. Then I got braces in my early 20s, and it gave me further reason to avoid the stuff. Then Sweet Tomatoes happened. Some of you might know it as Souplantation. Basically it’s a salad lovers playground. Unlimited salad, soup, and bread [there is pasta, but I’ve never enjoyed it]. I always make the most massive salad, taking a spoonful [or three] of almost every vegetable on the buffet. That includes corn. For some reason, I felt compelled to put its bright yellow kernels upon my heaping salad pile. Every time. Then, I stopped turning it down elsewhere. Now I sometimes buy ears of it. I still don’t eat it off the cob [permanent retainers and all that], but I do cut the kernels off and eat them with reckless abandon [as does Roma because those suckers fly everywhere in the kitchen when this happens].

This is a super simple salad. It takes as long as it does to make up a batch of quinoa. It tastes good as soon as its made, but it tastes even better when it’s had a chance to chill in the fridge. Plan accordingly.

Inspiration: Mayan Couscous

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 clove unpeeled garlic
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small limes
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon cumin

Preparation

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under running water. I place mine in a mesh strainer and go to town. Put the rinsed quinoa on in a pot on the stove. Pour in the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, just turn off the heat and let it sit for another 5-10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork.
  2. Toss the red onion and jalapeno into a food processor. Mince together and set aside.
  3. Cut the kernels from the corn. Good luck keeping them contained.
  4. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, and place the unpeeled clove of garlic in it. Flip it occasionally until the peel starts to turn brown/black. Peel and mince the nicely roasted piece of garlic.
  5. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add it, the onion/jalapeno mix, black beans, corn, and garlic to a large bowl and stir to incorporate.
  6. Pour in the olive oil and juice from the two limes and stir again.
  7. Top with the cilantro and cumin and stir.
  8. Serve immediately or preferably after it has been chilling in the fridge.

Serves 6-8 as a side

 

August 1, 2012

Chorizo, Kale, and Potato Tacos

It’s unofficially taco week in our house. You’ve been warned.

There is a super good taco shop in St. Johns called Tienda Santa Cruz. Okay, it’s technically Tienda Santa Cruz #2, but its number is irrelevant. Besides it’s #1 to me [cue awwws]. I remember finding this shop not long after I moved in. They touted $1 tacos. That’s a steal. The icing on the cake is that they’re actually really, really good. Like ‘best in town‘ good. Sure, they have a typical taco shop menu, but their burritos aren’t very good, they don’t have quesadillas, and I want nothing to do with combo plates. They can keep the rice and beans, thanks.

 

To get to the shop, you have to pass through a market. It’s an awesome Mexican market filled with all your Mexican wants and desires. They’ve always won me over with the Mexican pastries in the back and the stacks of cheap tortillas, but the newest addition is the meat counter. It’s an honest to goodness meat counter complete with everything I could ever want—carne asada, chorizo, marinated steak, roasts, chicken, etc. It’s cheap, too.

When we went in last Sunday for some dinner, we picked up 5-6lbs of meat for less than $14. I told you it was unofficial taco week. We started things off with some chorizo. We usually save this stuff for breakfasts, but something struck me that day at lunch that I had to head to Whole Foods at lunch for some potatoes, kale, and onion. Potato for filler and kale for the obligatory greenery. I figured if we were eating meat all week, we could sneak in some green stuff somewhere. It all sautes down into a delicious mess resembling a hash. I could have easily tossed a fried or poached egg on top of the pan and called it a day. Tortillas weren’t necessary, but then I’d be violating unofficial taco week, wouldn’t I?

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb chorizo
  • 1/2 bunch curly green kale, stems removed, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • tortillas, cheese, cilantro, and salsa for serving

Preparation

  1. Choose your favorite method for par-baking the potatoes, boiling in water or in a microwave. You want them somewhat soft already so they don’t take 2890328392 years to cook in the pan.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.
  3. Prep the pan with some cooking spray or oil.
  4. Once hot, add the onion.
  5. Stir occasionally until it starts to turn translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove the chorizo from the casing, and add to the onion, breaking the meat up with a spoon as you cook it.
  7. Once the chorizo is 3/4 of the way cooked, add the potato and the kale.
  8. Stir really well to incorporate. The kale will wilt much faster if it’s pinned under some of the meaty goodness.
  9. While this finishes, prepare any toppings and your tortillas.
  10. Serve while hot.

Serves 2 — I had two tacos and Andrew had four. 

July 30, 2012

Spiced Beef with Hummus

You know what happens when you don’t pay attention? You spill water on yourself at minimum of three times a day [I really could use a bib].

You can also gain an inch or two in various places when you don’t pay attention because you’ve been too busy vacationing and generally living a DGAF (don’t give a f**k) life in regards to what you’re eating. I haven’t stopped working out [except when I was in Italy, Cabo, and Vegas], but I have definitely been eating and drinking a lot in the last two months. It hasn’t been all bad foods, but it’s just a general increase in quantity. I’m giving my metabolism a high five for trying to keep up, but it didn’t stand a chance against this voracious stomach. Time to reel it in, but not in a crazy-diet-must-count-calories-workout-till-you-drop kind of way. I’ve been there, done that. Well, minus the diet part. I’ll never do that. But it’s definitely high time for a reality check. This isn’t sustainable, nor is it all that fun anymore if I’m honest. Ignorance is bliss, but you can’t ignore the tape measure. Time to return to my regularly scheduled life.

That said, this week’s smoothie—coconut milk, Greek yogurt [we’ll see if I break out or not], frozen raspberries, flax seeds, chocolate chips. Decadent and awesome.

If you’re not paying attention, you can also mess up a fine batch of hummus. You see, three tablespoons of canning liquid does not equal all the canning liquid. As soon as I poured it in, I realized my mistake. I double checked what I was doing, and yep. Hosed. It didn’t change anything except for the consistency. It was definitely the runniest hummus I’d ever made/had, but it was still more than edible. It still tasted like hummus. I called it hummus sauce. Don’t make my same mistake. Unless you like hummus sauce, of course. Hummus is the base for this super simple spiced ground beef [you could totally use lentils]. It uses a few simple spices to yield a Lebanese-like flavor. I added spinach because you know me and greenery. The result was really good, and with real hummus? Probably 10x better. Just pay attention.

Inspiration: Stonesoup

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced [or thrown in a food processor]
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 batch of hummus [see below if you want to make it vs buy it]

Preparation

  1. Spray a pan with oil, and heat on medium.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef. Turn the heat up to high. Stir to break up and mix in with the onion.
  4. Once the meat is browned, stir in the spices [drain your beef if necessary, but I didn’t need to]
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the fresh spinach.
  6. Stir occasionally until spinach is wilted.
  7. Serve with hummus and/or pita.

HUMMUS — You’ll need 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1-2 garlic cloves, and 3 tablespoons of the following–canning liquid, lemon juice, and tahini.Toss all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and add seasoning as you see fit.

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