a list to answer “what the hell should i make for dinner?!”

Hubby comes home around 9 most nights, and because I like to eat dinner together, we often do not finish dinner until 930 or so. I’ve had zero exercising desire, and I really needed something to counteract the laziness that was manifesting as rolls around my midsection. And I figured it couldn’t hurt to cut out some calories and sugars at the end of the night.

Note – I have always been against super extreme low carb diets. Not for everyone, but definitely for me. I just feel like a grump when I can’t eat a piece of bread or some earthy brown rice with my meal. Maybe that’s just served as a good excuse all this time : )

My lack of blogging over the last couple months and my growing list of low carb dinners have unfortunately NOT resulted in lots of fun pictures. Sorry team.

But! Ohhh, but but but!

I have a list of ideas for you instead. I have totally trolled websites for just a simple list of inspiring combinations in the past. I don’t necessarily need recipes. Sometimes it’s just nice to be reminded that a handful of ingredients go really well together, and to then be pushed out of the nest to figure out how.

A few things to note – by low carb, I mean simply the absence of starchy foods and simple carbs. In most cases, I’ve just doubled up the vegetable serving. What I thought I was doing was getting rid of simple carbs. Ironically, in doing this, I realized that we actually ate a lot of complex carbs (whole wheat pasta, brown rice) which are good, and stayed away from a lot of the emptier carbs. But what kept us going was that we didn’t feel so heavy after our meals.

Also, I’ll add to this list periodically. I warn you, I’ve been writing every dish down, whether good or bad. It’s up to you to make it work. Let me know if anything inspires you!

May the forks be with you.

– salt & pepper blade steak with swiss chard (or other hearty, leafy green)
i kept the seasoning on the steaks simple and cooked them in a pan.
here’s one of my favorite ways to cook the greens; ironically, i’ve never used this recipe for kale: Basic Sauteed Kale.

– open faced turkey burger on portobello “bun”
you can buy pre-made turkey burgers, or make your own with ground turkey, onions, and seasoning, just like beef.
grilling large portobello mushrooms can create an awesome texture. use one or two, according to preference.
top with whatever you have, like arugula, roasted peppers, cheese (or make a fancy goat cheese sauce)…

– portobello meatball subs
okay so i tried using these like bread again. it was more of a circular sub? but who cares because it was effing delicious. i bought turkey meatballs from trader joes. they are fabulous. get some. i warmed them up, then put them in a saucepan with warm basil and roasted tomato marinara. grilled the shrooms, threw a few meatballs on top and a little shredded cheese. it was great!

– cauliflower mash with some kind of curry or indian vegetable stew (and if you’re with me, ground turkey)

hi, i’m califlower mash. your life is about to change.

i seriously, seriously, doubted cauliflower mash. i don’t like cauliflower. they make you fart. well they make me fart. it doesn’t matter anyway though because this cauliflower mash one me over. it’s too easy to not do again. cut them up, boil them until soft, then mash and add the same ingredients as you do in your favorite mash potatoes. yes i put milk. no, not as much as you would with potatoes i guess. wing it!

– turkey lasagna with zucchini noodles and spinach
cut zucchini lengthwise in 1/4″ slices. roast them until soft. (i just realized, you could probably boil them, too.) i took the cooked zucchini, layered the bottom of a pasta bowl with them, put a layer of raw spinach (they’ll wilt with the heat), a layer of ground turkey mix (already cooked ground turkey with pasta sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, whatever you like to put in there), topped with ricotta cheese, mozzerella, aaaand repeat. just use your favorite lasagna recipe, and replace the noodles with zucchini and a layer of spinach. easy.

Continue reading “a list to answer “what the hell should i make for dinner?!””


Roasted Beet and Potato Salad

Lately I seem to have some time on my hands. My new job, while it pays well, is boring to the point of tears.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on who you are) I spend a good amount of time trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and that time has been well spent apparently, as a number of yummies have come out of the extra thinking.

I believe roasted beets are the new sexy . I see them all over, and even find myself gravitating weekly to the pre-packaged salad from (you guessed it) Trader Joes. So when I was looking for something new to cook, I decided to try roasting some beets. We had also recently enjoyed a wonderful Sunday brunch at a local hotspot too, and I fell in love with their roasted potatoes. So I thought I’d throw some of those in the mix.

When Tuesday rolled around, I decided to bring these two roasted delectables together in a nice, hearty salad. A roasted potato and roasted beet salad to be exact. With pecans, spicy arugula, creamy goat cheese, sweet and crunchy haricot vert and fresh cilantro (to be even exacter).

I know I always end my food-related posts by insisting that you try the recipe. That can get repetitive I’m sure. So I’ll change it up and do it in the middle of the post instead. Ready? Here goes: DO try this. It’s delicious!

Oh! And what’s a laila post without the rant? So here’s that part too: There seem to be a lot of adults around here that  give me the “ew” face when I talk about some ingredient or other. My mother taught me to never say “ew” to someone else’s food. Funny, she told me that one day when I came home from school, complaining that some kids were “ew-ing” my beef tongue sandwich in pita bread that she had carefully packed me for lunch. Why I was the one to learn a lesson, I don’t know. But it’s stuck with me. And kids can be kids, but I CANNOT stand it when adults say, “ew” or “that’s disgusting,” particularly when it’s a dish from a different culture. It is sooo rude. Might I suggest that you keep your “ew,” and that nasty face, and your “that’s disgusting” to yourselves?

Since I was a child, I hated bell peppers. They just made EVERYTHING taste like bell pepper, particularly when cooked. As a matter of fact, I hated beets too! But I forced myself to try them and eventually grew to like them. Today, I still cannot eat green bell peppers when they are cooked, but will eat them with other ingredients in say, a nice salad. And if I cut the red, yellow and orange ones thin enough and cook them well, I’ve been known to use them in many a stir-fry. I first tried pickled beets and fell in love. And now, roasted beets are my new best friends.

My point is….GROW UP. Somewhere I heard or read that our taste buds change every seven years or so. Explore these changes! Do not allow yourself to be a snotty five-year old that refuses to eat their vegetables. Life’s less fun that way : )

Oh yeah, I was going to give you a recipe….watchout – you know how I like to wing it!……

Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing

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cedar plank it!

I had been doing some reading and stumbled upon a list of “7 of the healthiest foods you should eat but aren’t.” Among the items on the list were sardines, for their “heart-healthy, mood-boosting omega-3s” and I was surprised (although it makes sense) that because of their low man on the whole circle-of-life-totem-pole-thing-status, they don’t … Continue reading cedar plank it!

On Food. And Trying Desperately Not to Eat It.

Hubby (yes the personal trainer) has been working such unbelievably long days (most days from 7am to 9pm), that unless he sneaks in a run during a canceled appointment, or gets to do a workout with one of his years-long clients, he rarely gets into a good workout routine. Me, his ironically fitness opposite, do have time to work out, but don’t. Oops. Sorry.

In my first year of college, I was dating someone that wanted to try out vegetarianism. So I decided to try it out with him. We broke up about a year later, but I continued meatlessness for seven years. (He stopped shortly after we broke up, as he just wasn’t getting enough calories and felt he was losing too much weight). I was at my heaviest when I started, and the diet actually helped me stay out of fast food places, and because I didn’t want to be the vegetarian living off cheese sticks, I started eating pretty healthy. Now when I think about it, this must have been how I lost most of my about 60 pounds in early college. Because I sure as hell wasn’t working out that often : )

Back to hubby.

Even though we didn’t have a particularly glutinous thanksgiving this year, I do enjoy using the holiday as an excuse to make everything from scratch (as it should be!) and well…..with butter (also as it should be!). And since the last few months I’ve had night shifts at a restaurant and haven’t been able to make the healthy dinners that I strive to make every night, I think we’re both feeling a little…..well….fat.

In talking to an old acquaintance of ours at a recent backyard bbq, hubs must have been taking notes. Because yesterday, while he was in the shower and I was in the bathroom milling around (sometimes we do that – keep each other company while the other showers. We don’t see each other very often these days!), he began buttering me up for a new idea, starting with, “I’m not ready to start right this minute…” and “perhaps we can do it just for the month…” and I teasingly retorted, “this will be good…” and “maybe I should just say ‘no’ right now,” until he finally landed with a big “maybe we should do this one diet that is like from way back where you eat no carbs or beans or anything.”

“The CAVE MAN diet? Have you been talking to Michael?!”

A sheepish “yes” was all I got from behind the shower curtain.

“But what will I do without carbs? Do you want to live with the nightmare that will result?”

Yet another sheepish response from behind the shower curtain…”no.”

We giggled and then I teased him about being “Mr. Anti-Diet” and “Mr. look who finally feels fat and bloated enough to stop rolling his eyes at me and suggest a (*gasp*) DIET!” Okay I may have also added, “He who tells his clients, ‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change,’ is, in effect, ready to go on a diet.”

We giggled again and then I left the bathroom. I couldn’t let things get serious enough for him to back me into a diet corner. NO. WAY.

But it did get me thinking. My change in schedule has really changed the way we eat. I can’t bear him picking up fast food three nights out of the week anymore either. And I’ll just go ahead and share one of my old-fashioned thoughts on marriage that is….are you ready for it? Here it comes: I consider it my wifely duty to ensure that my husband (and future family) eat nutritious meals. Now I’ll come back to the 21st century and admit that if it’s the husband that works less hours and enjoys cooking, then it can be his husbandy duties. But lets face it people. Women are not only traditionally, (but thanks to all the awesome food network stars that have made culinary adventures fun), we have remained the rulers of the kitchen.

Ain’t no shame, ladies. We ROCK that room! Go head with your whiskin’ and blendin’ gurrrl!

So today, in procrastination of other things I should be doing (hey I cleaned the house before I opened up the laptop!), I started perusing the web for ideas.

Continue reading “On Food. And Trying Desperately Not to Eat It.”