Links I Want To Eat: August 29

Colors of summer, from the roof of the Met
Colors of summer, from the roof of the Met
  • We don’t tend to eat much eggplant, but this smoky eggplant dip looks worth trying
  • I love the snack series that Tracy on Shutterbean does, and now I’d like to eat a big bowl of bananas, yogurt, and lemon curd
  • Pretty sure that the only thing that could make homemade cinnamon rolls more dangerous is the addition of marshmallows, and now all I can think about are these s’mores cinnamon rolls(!!!)
  • I’m Southern, and Josh is Hawaiian Chinese (and grew up in southeast Asia), so these rice hoecakes with succotash are kind of us on a plate. They also would have fit perfectly into our wedding Southern/Asian fusion menu
  • Pocky is one of our favorite snacks, and I’m very tempted to make homemade pocky based on this recipe. Anyone know how to make homemade Hello Pandas?
  • How many versions of carrot soup is too many versions? Don’t care, because this jalapeño carrot soup from Joy the Baker looks delicious, though we’d definitely be switching out some coconut milk for the cashew cream

Happy Labor Day weekend to all my fellow Americans!

Pineapple Mint Water

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It’s a funny thing, writing a blog and seeing which posts become the most viewed.

One of my top posts? It’s not even a recipe. It involves no cooking, and it’s just throwing stuff into a bottle of water. It’s almost like writing up a recipe for ice cubes, but a little more flavorful. It’s for strawberry mint infused water, and it’s delicious.

While it is comical to call it a recipe, it is something that we’ve enjoyed a lot this summer, so I thought I’d add a new variation. Brace yourselves.

Pineapple Mint Water

  • The core of a pineapple, quartered
  • A handful of fresh mint
  • Water

Combine all of these ingredients in a large jar and refrigerate for at least two hours. The longer you let it sit, the more pronounced the flavor will be.

Strain and serve.

Keep refilling the bottle with water as you drink it, until the flavors start to fade or the mint starts to look too sad.

Curry Coconut Corn Soup

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So… I think it’s official that we have a food crush on Shutterbean, because we keep coming back to her recipes over and over. One of the biggest reasons for that is just how flavorful all of her recipes are, even if I don’t add lots of extra seasoning (which is not normal for me). We’ve come to realize over the years that one of the best ways for us to eat a pretty healthy diet is by adding a lot of herbs and spices. I’ve never understand why “light (or worse, lite. Ugh) recipes are so often soooo bland. Squeeze some lemon and add some cayenne or SOMETHING, gah.

I obviously have strong feelings about this.

Tracy from Shutterbean obviously understands this, since she loves to use curry paste and sriracha and all sorts of goodness on a regular basis.

This soup is so easy, with a pretty limited ingredient list, and it definitely hit the spot when I made a batch a few days ago. I very selflessly left some for Josh to eat at a later day. I’m so generous.

Curry Coconut Corn Soup (recipe from Shutterbean)

  • 1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp (heaping) red curry paste
  • 3 ears corn, sliced off the cob
  • 2 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make this vegan)
  • 1  15oz. can coconut milk
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Small handful of fresh cilantro for serving
  • Fish sauce, for serving (omit for vegan) (we love Red Boat)
  • Sriracha, for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, stirring often. Add the curry paste and stir until it’s well incorporated with the onions and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, and corn kernels, stir to combine. Bring this to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 15 minutes. At that point, removed about a cup of the corn/onion mixture, set aside, and continue cooking the soup for another 15 minutes, until the corn is pretty soft. Remove from heat. Either let cool slightly and put in the blender in batches, or just use an immersion blender, which is what we always do.

Fun fact: when Josh and I married, we each brought an immersion blender into our new home. Priorities. Also, two butane torches.

 

Once the soup is silky and smooth, add the removed corn and onions back to the pot and stir to combine.

Serve with a dash of fish sauce, a nice drizzle of sriracha, and cilantro.

Meal Plan: August 24-August 30

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

This is what's leftover from prepping a week's worth of lunches/fruit for dessert. Comforting to know that we're obviously eating our fruits and veggies.
This is what’s leftover from prepping a week’s worth of lunches/fruit for dessert. Comforting to know that we’re obviously eating our fruits and veggies.

August 24- August 30

We decided to splurge a little and treat ourselves to steak for dinner one night this week. Also, we can’t not buy blueberries and raspberries to snack on as long as they’re still available at the farmers market. It would just be wrong.

Total cost: $143

Average cost per meal per person, with snacks tucked into the mix: $5.11

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

Dinner

Raw Zucchini Bread Bites

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Once upon a time, I ate Larabars pretty much every day. If you haven’t had one before, it’s basically a blend of nuts, dates, and various other dried fruits and spices. They come in flavors like cherry pie and carrot cake, and are a generally healthy, tasty and easy snack/breakfast.

The main problem (besides the cost)? They all have nuts, which means Josh can’t eat any of them. So, so sad.

I thought about making my own, to cut down on the cost, but since Josh couldn’t eat them even if I made a good facsimile, it just didn’t seem to be worth the effort, so I gradually just stopped eating them all together.

Over the years, I’ve become a lot more familiar with nut substitutes, so when I saw this recipe for a raw zucchini bread truffles, I thought, duh, I should see if I can make these work for us.

They might not be the prettiest guys in the world, but they’re so healthy, easy, and tasty that I plan on making them (and all the variations I keep dreaming up in my mind) over and over again.

Raw Zucchini Bread Bites (recipe inspired by this Nutrition Stripped recipe)

Makes about 20 bites

  • 1 cup raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sprouted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 generous cup raw shredded zucchini
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (I prefer freshly grated)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Put the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a food processor and pulse a few times, just to start breaking them up a little. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until they start to form a pretty solid mass.

Roll with your hands into balls about 1 inch in diameter, and place on a cutting board/sheet pan. Once you have them all formed, place in the freezer for about an hour to get them nice and firm, and then keep them in an air tight container in either your fridge or freezer. I keep ours in the freezer, and they’re perfectly thawed in just a short time spent in our lunch bags.

 

Pea and Mint Soup

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Sometimes, I really like to be able to pull the majority of the ingredients for a meal straight out of the freezer. There’s no worrying about whether something didn’t get cooked in time, because while we do try our best to stick to our meal plan, some weeks just get away from us. Obviously certain ingredients are better from the freezer than others, and I would suggest that the green pea might be one of the best.

This soup, an ode to frozen peas, is made mostly from the contents of my freezer and the random vegetables left in my kitchen, with the addition of some fresh mint. As we all know, that mint was probably purchased anyway for lots of cocktails, so it should be easy to grab a handful. A few slices of bacon, just to get the party going, give the soup a little more depth, with the added bonus of making your home smell like bacon. It’s win/win.

Homemade chicken broth is a constant in my freezer, so that gets thrown into the pot. Since I make it from the  bones I save whenever we eat a roasted chicken, this becomes a virtually free ingredient, and it tastes so much better than store bought. You should stock your freezer with some, preferably frozen into both 1 cup and 1 quart quantities.

2 bags of frozen peas, an ingredient that I try to keep around to throw into fried rice or pasta dishes. Vastly superior to canned peas, they’re one of the ingredients I can add to a dish to pretend like it’s a balanced meal. There’s a green vegetable in there, total victory!

Added bonus? While digging through the freezer, you’ll hopefully stumble across some frozen pieces of homemade rosemary focaccia bread, which you will reheat to a crunchy dipping tool.

It’s pure, made from frozen perfection.

 Pea and Mint Soup (From Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver, p. 132)

(Simply leave out the bacon, cook the vegetables in olive oil, and use vegetable broth to make this soup vegan. It will still be delicious!)

  • 3 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 6-ish cups frozen peas (2 bags)
  • Small bunch of mint
  • Salt and pepper

Thinly slice the bacon and set aside. Chop the onions and carrots, and mince the garlic.

Bring your chicken broth to a low boil in a small pot.

In a large pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until it’s lightly golden and the fat has rendered. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic, and stir well to coat the vegetables in the bacon fat. Cook until the carrots soften and the onions become translucent, about 10 minutes, Add broth and the peas. Bring the pot to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat. and add the mint. Using an immersion blender, blend until very smooth. Add lots of salt and pepper (I always wind up adding salt and tasting 3 or 4 times before it’s salty enough).

Serve with crusty bread.

 

 

Meal Plan: August 17-August 23

Every week we make a meal plan for the week ahead. The plan accounts for 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches (plus fruit), 4 snacks, and 5 dinners for the two of us. Lunch ideas are typically a double batch of whatever the recipe calls for. I make the lunches and do other various prep work on Sunday. Nearly all items are purchased from either our local farmers market or Whole Foods. We are currently living in New York City, so things are more expensive than average.

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August 17-August 23

We’re still trying to eat a little light, and asian flavors tend to really make that a lot more fun. Also, somehow recipes from Shutterbean managed to dominate the list this week. Not a bad thing, I don’t think.

Total cost: $134

Average cost per meal per person, with snacks tucked into the mix: $4.79

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack

  • Raw zucchini bread bites- recipe to come!

Dinner