Category Archives: groceries

Almond & Roasted Red Pepper Mahi Mahi

When we need some added flavor in the grocery cart, or I’m thinking a few dishes could use a facelift, I go straight for the roasted red pepper jars. They always pleasantly surprise me, and get along well with all types of menu items. Last week I tapped into the powerful combination of roasted red peppers + food processor, and now have a new favorite-fish dinner staple!

Almond & Roasted Red Pepper Mahi Mahi

4 4-6 oz Mahi Mahi filets
1 cup roasted red peppers (or 3-4 whole peppers, roasted)
1/3 cup raw almonds, sliced
1.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, sliced
Cooking oil spray / 1 tbsp oil (for the baking pan)
Salt & pepper to taste

almond and roasted red pepper mahi mahiSide dish is up to you, but in this case we went with farm-fresh zucchini  slices, sautéed and seasoned.

Heat the oven to 450*. Combine roasted red peppers, almond slices, 1 tbsp oil, salt & pepper in a food processor. Pulse until mixed well, but not smooth (see picture to the left).

Line a baking pan (I used 8×8) with cooking spray, or lightly oil, and onion slices. Top with mahi mahi filets, lightly oil (using remaining olive oil) and lightly season with salt/pepper. Top filets with a layer of the almond red pepper paste, spreading evenly.

Bake 15-20 minutes (check at ~12 minutes, our gas stove tends to heat and bake quickly), depending on the thickness of the filets. Fish should be opaque and flaky when done. (Optional: cover with foil).

Serve with a side of veggies and/or a grain (quinoa, rice, etc).

This was a fish-revelation in our kitchen. I’ll be making this again, ASAP, and possibly playing around with some seasonings & spices in that almond-red-pepper mixture.

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What’s your favorite roasted red pepper dish?

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Filed under dinners, food, groceries, recipes, what to eat

Summer Yogi Salad

Biking to and from free Yoga (courtesy of the Running Yogis!) at the Georgetown lululemon last night provided the sweat-overload that the unheated class did not. A mere 6 miles on the bike should never be that taxing, but Summer has its point to prove.

The absolute last thing I would’ve done is turn on the oven to cook/bake. Our kitchen is narrow and cozy – cute? Yes. Airy and Open? Not so much.

We barely avoided the cereal-for-dinner trap, instead deciding to use up the last of our salad greens (spinach leaves & lettuce) to fill up on real nutrients.

{Simple} Summer Strawberry Salad

Perfectly refreshing after a hot summer workout – whether your version of that involves heated vinyasa, cycling, running, etc.

Strawberries, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Pecans, crushed
Tofu (sautéed in olive oil)
Salad greens
Pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette

Measurements are up to you – fill up and enjoy!

Strawberry tofu salad

There is nothing out-of-this-foodie-world creative about this salad. It’s simple, and sometimes we need a good reminder that that’s just fine. We gave ourselves points for going with a colorful bowl of fresh produce instead of what we’d probably have for breakfast less than 12 hours later. Tofu is our choice of protein, but to each their own!

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What’s on your go-to oven-free dinner menu?

We have our first 100* day here in the District, with many more surely to come. All suggestions welcome!

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Filed under dinners, food, groceries, Lululemon, lunches, recipes, Yoga

Goods from Good Life Farm: Squash & Greens

In our recent hauls from the good people at Good Life Farm, we’ve been spoiled with a variety of greens* (not just the kind that shock me), summer squash, beets, onions of all types, snow peas and even a pint of blueberries. My fridge may be accumulating a layer of organic soot – try as we might to clean, it’s inevitable with each unloading – but it’s also loving the fresh summer farm flavors!

*Romaine, butter lettuce, kale & mustard greens.

For this week’s good eats:

mahi mahi marinade

 Broiled Mahi Mahi with Squash & Greens

Homemade Fish Marinade:
3 Tbsp E.V. Olive Oil
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Dried Thyme & Basil

Whisk everything together in a small bowl. Place fish in a baking dish and pour over. Let marinade for ~30 minutes. Salt & Pepper to taste. Sprinkle chives on top.

Set oven to broil & bake for ~4-6 minutes on each side – this will vary by how strong your broil setting is! We have a gas stove, and I put the fish down near the middle rack.

Meanwhile – sauté yellow squash lightly in oil and steam kale leaves.

Easy as that! The vegetable flavors are all natural, and the fish holds its own next to them. Dinner is served:

summer squash & greens

With cooked vegetables, I take all leftovers and put them right into a “salad” of sorts for lunch the next day.

This greens+squash mixture went nicely with avocado pieces, quinoa and some added fresh chives & kale greens for volume & nutrients.

CSA squash & greens lunch

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What’s fresh in your fridge right now?

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Filed under dinners, food, groceries, lunches, Nutrition, recipes

Five Faves: A Green Mustard, Tunes & Dollars

This week my food taught me a (very  important) lesson and surprised my taste buds. I read the last few pages of a good book, jammed to new tunes and continued to enjoy the fruits of summer! A few of those favorite things:

1. CSA Mustard greens

It’s been a long time since a green, or any “spicy” food, has shocked my system. Thanks to Good Life Farm I have now tasted, prepped and cooked Mustard Greens – in that order.  But, our first date was awkward.

Tell me: at first glance, what does this look like?

Mustard Greens 1

Answer: Kale!….anyone else? If not, I’ll gladly admit defeat. It wouldn’t be the first time this week, and it certainly won’t be the last in this vegetable-guessing game of life.

I was all set to sauté “kale” with my dinner on Tuesday night. The oil was heating, and I started tearing the large leaves into smaller pieces. I popped a stem in my mouth for some crunchy goodness…..! WHOA.

Mustard! Why does this taste like spicy mustard*?!

Admittedly, the “a ha” moment took a few. Racking my brain, I finally put two-and-two together, realizing what the “mustard seed” comes from. And oh no, this is not kale. This is a mustard green. Slowly, but surely.

Don’t judge a green by its look and feel. It is all ready to surprise you with peppery, spicy goodness.

*Fun fact: I strongly dislike the taste of spicy mustard. I promptly put a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar into this sauté pan, for some added flavor.

Good to Know Nutrition Info: mustard greens are known for their “cholesterol-lowering abilities” as they bind bile acids, are a good source of the phytonutrient glucosinolate (thought to be cancer-preventative), and are an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, and folate.

2. Cantaloupe – thank you, dear orange cutie, for not surprising me in any way. Rather, your familiar taste and refreshing juiciness was exactly what I needed.

Cantaloupe slice 1

You can find this melon at its peak from June-August – a summer melon that, when cold and ready, will be just what the mouth needs after a hot summer run, day at the pool or whatever has you sweating.

As you may have guessed from its orange hue, it’s an excellent source of vitamin A, and also provides almost 100% of our daily Vitamin C needs in just one cup. If you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy this melon, try this – Polenta Cantaloupe Rice.

3. Langhorne Slim has been on repeat all week. D discovered him a few months ago – if my memory is accurate, this was via New Belgium’s Facebook shout-out – and I’ve been late to the party.

Friends, meet Langhorne (click, and listen):

Langhorne Slim

4. Brown Rice PastaIn an attempt to branch out and try some new grain options, we picked up a bag of brown rice pasta. Ingredients: organic brown rice, water. Well okay then, that’s nice & simple! I’ll take it.

It looks, cooks and tastes very similar to any whole-wheat pasta variety. The texture is a little bit thicker, which I like.

I made a batch of this pasta on Monday,  and have used it as a salad topper (along with many other things – salads don’t get away lightly over here), and in a few dinners with the above-mentioned kale mustard green. Last night, it was topped with steamed broccoli, and a sautéed mixture of chickpeas, sweet potatoes & greens.

5. All the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam

I’ve referenced this book recently, and just turned the last page on the plane home from San Diego. I’ve already found myself going back through dog-eared pages, highlights and notes taken while reading.

All the Money in the World book

The subtitle reads “What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending” – notice the absence of the word saving? While this practice is referenced in the book, and of course important in the course of life, the main points really focus on how to prioritize your passions, values and experiences to get the most out of what you do spend.

The pages also offer quite a few thought-provoking inquiries into how we spend our time, resources and energy – which, in most cases, involve a few dollars and cents.

I doubt this will be the last time you see a reference to these pages, but it certainly deserved a “favorite!” shout-out. Two thumbs strongly standing, and typing, for this read!

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What’s been added to your favorites list this week?

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Filed under about me, food, groceries, learning, music, new things!

Five Faves: Summer Eats & a Running Feat

After a weekend on the beach and the turnover of a new month – hello, June! – the early feelings of summer are strong, tanning all layers of life over here. As of late, these are a few of my favorite things:

1. Juicy, colorful watermelon slices. This fruit is the icon of my “summer”; when this lands in my grocery basket, it’s official.

watermelon slices

Indulge all you want! This sweet, water-packed fruit provides the following nutrients per one cup (cubed): 45 calories, 12g carbohydrates (natural sugars!), 1g Fiber & 1g protein. You’ll also get Vitamins A , B6 and C. Eat up and enjoy!

2. Strawberries, fresh from the vine.

Two of my coworkers live on farms – that’s right, rows of produce, animals, harvesting, the whole crop! We’re beyond spoiled in our office. We have a CSA with one of these (Good Life Farm), and get random goodies from the other (Butler Farm). These little beauties came in the other day, right off the vine, and our taste-buds will never be the same:

fresh strawberries

I don’t know why anyone ever started baking. Nature has one-upped us all along. This pint of sweetness won’t disappoint, with one cup providing only ~50 calories, 12g of carbohydrates (you know – natural sugar), 3g of both fiber and 1g protein. You also get well over 100% of your daily vitamin C. Well done, little red cuties!

3. This guy.

Our spring has totally flown by as I’ve checked a few PRs off the list and he’s been back on the bike for hours at a time. Cycling is still a relatively new world to me, but as he’s starting to seriously ride again, I {sort of} get it. It’s amazing what those muscles can do; our summer is officially full of a new type of “race” and I have a new role to train for – supporter, feed-zone attendee, sherpa, road-trip buddy & nutrition guru.

D&I NCVC poolesville race
Activities aside, we have a lot of fun summer things on this agenda! I kinda love having this guy around…

4. Spreading the good word.

My sister texted me this picture of her grocery cart last night, knowing I’d be excited (and proud) for her pantry:

grocery cart

As a one-time gummy-bear addict (said with love) and full-time carrier of all things sugar, this progress is big. She’s always been a healthy eater, aside for a slight candy ‘problem’. A few trips to the dentist and a lot of my loving-nags have struck a note, and she adorably filled her cart with the good stuff.

Larabars, Love Grown Foods & Chobani? This girl is definitely related to me.

5. The RUN

After the Broadstreet 10-miler, I could immediately tell that I needed a break. Morning runs sounded more difficult & exhausting than exciting and endorphin-inducing, and a long run was totally out of the mind-game-conquering question. I knew it was time for a few “off” weeks, and I gladly took them.

The hard part? Coming back. Last week, my mind was ready but my legs has their own plan. Everything felt 10x harder, and I could barely get through 3-4 miles without really disliking the choice to move.

A very timely post from Fitness on Facebook:

Mebs running advice

This morning, things finally slid right back into place. I ran with Kate, at our early hour (though 6:30 felt like we slept in), and left the Garmin at home. We did a normal 5+ mile route, and I ran home with energy to spare. That endorphin high is back, and welcomed with fresh, ready-to-go legs!

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What’s adding to your Favorites list lately? Share some summer love!

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Filed under about me, food, groceries, random, running, things that make me Happy

Simple Delicious: 5-Ingredient Meals

Last weekend’s grocery trip was a hefty load, my Mom offered to pick up the bill and specifically asked that we get anything we want. Well, twist my arm, Mamacita…we stocked up on all things fresh and in season (tricky, at TJ’s, but possible) and set up our kitchen for a successful week of eating in.

A stocked fridge doesn’t change the mindset around here; these meals are simple, around 5(ish) ingredients or less, and satisfied all taste buds.

sauteed zucchini and tomato tacos

Sautéed Zucchini & Tomato Tacos

1 whole zucchini, halved & sliced
1 tomato*, middle removed, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp canola oil
Seasoning: dried thyme & oregano

Corn tortillas
Tempeh slices (optional)

*Tomatoes from the farmers market in Dupont, finally back in season!

Heat oil over medium in a deep sauté pan; add zucchini, stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms & tomato slices, cooking until softened. Season to taste.

Heat tortillas in the oven for a few minutes, or in a pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. Stuff with taco fillings and add tempeh, or bean of choice, for an extra protein punch!

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broccoli and orange pepper stirfry

Broccoli & Orange Pepper Sesame Stir-fry

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 orange pepper, sliced
1/2 block tofu (or the whole one, if you’re feeding more than two!),
cut into bite-sized pieces

Sesame oil
Sesame seeds
Quinoa or rice, cooked

Steam the broccoli. Meanwhile, heat ~1 tbsp sesame oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Add tofu, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add peppers, saute an additional 4-5 minutes until tofu is lightly browned & peppers are softened. Add broccoli, a dash of Low-sodium soy sauce to taste and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Serve over cooked rice, quinoa or even noodles – whatever those grain-loving taste-buds are craving!

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Outside of my kitchen, we made Vegan Berry Smoothies for work yesterday at a Health Screening event, and these things were  a huge hit! Most people were surprised there was no yogurt, or dairy at all. Some were shocked to hear we had added spinach. All were happy to see how easy this is to do at home.

vegan mixed berry smoothie ingredientsvitamix mixed berry vegan smoothie

Vegan Mixed Berry Smoothievegan mixed berry smoothies

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries (or raspberries. OR both, if you’re feeling fancy)
1 banana
1 cup dairy-free milk (we used allergy-friendly Rice milk)
1 drizzle agave (optional)
1 cup raw spinach leaves

Blend everything together, and drink up!

 

These will be happening in our kitchen more often, as summer has definitely joined the May party and oatmeal is making me sweat (yum). The frozen berries eliminate the need for ice (blender-friendly) and the banana adds just enough texture to leave it spoon-needing thick. Perfection.

Oddly enough, more than one person had suggested a shot of vodka or clear rum here. I mean, to each their own. It was only 10 AM. But, virgin or otherwise, these smoothies would be a perfect Memorial Day weekend party-goer!

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What meals have you been mixing up lately? Any summer foods making “early” appearances?

Happy Holiday Weekend! Stay safe. Soak up the sun. Relax & recharge. Welcome summer however you like to!

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Filed under DC, food, groceries, recipes

Goods from Good Life Farm {CSA}

The Outback Steakhouse wasn’t the first to coin the term ‘Bloomin’ Onion’. Believe it or not, the true thing exists outside of a deep fryer, and straight from the ground. It has a real edible flower (a purple one, no less), real nutrients, and a fraction of the calories (understatement).

Behold, the real blooming onion:

Blooming Onion. GoodLifeFarms

These  little beauties came to my kitchen via the CSA our office has with Good Life Farm. This local haven is less than 30 minutes from our desks, and delivers our shares in a Farmers Market-style Friday afternoon set-up. Last week, we were greeted with mustard & collard greens, cute-purple-flowered onions, onion chives, large leaf spinach and huge (by our grocery-store-standard) leaf kale.

Fresh greens were aplenty in our kitchen this week! They starred in many meals.

Chickpea radish spinach saladSauteed kale. GoodLifeFarm

Left: another favorite from our first share, baby radishes & spinach.

D & I purchased a “half” share, splitting with my coworker, Leah. This gives us enough fresh-from-the-farm veggies to feed two people for the week, until at least October. After only the second round,  I now know my cells will be bursting with pride (ahem, nutrients) until late into the Fall season.

We’ve heard tales of corn by the box, strawberries by the pint, eggs if we choose, and an open invitation to visit the farm – to pick our own veggies & fruits! – at any time. My 10-year-old self can’t believe I’m counting the days til fresh tomatoes land in those salads and atop summer sandwiches.

If there’s any way to learn what fruits & veggies are in season and when, this is it. We’ll be spoiled with the best of the best.

This is the good life.

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Are you part of a CSA?

What’s coming in your shares these mid-Spring days (or, from your grocery basket)?

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Filed under DC, food, groceries, things that make me Happy