Friday, March 11, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar

Makes the medicine go down. If you don't know the song, 2 words "Mary Poppins". If you're still in the dark I can't help you.
In this case the medicine I'm referring to would be vegetables. Now personally, I like vegetables (well, most vegetables) but I realize that I'm likely in the minority. If, however, you want to get bigger so your older brother can't beat you up any more, you need to eat them. Well that and dozens more reasons. Now if just the thought of vegetables grosses you out, refer your parent to my next post (give me a couple of days) where I will tell them how to hide all sorts of healthy vegetation into baked goods. Don't look. That way you'll never know the difference.

In the meantime, here's a list of some of my favourite ways to eat vegetables and tricks to make them into something you might even crave.

Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, brussel sprouts.
How to cook them- The best way is to steam them. If you don't have a steaming pot, you can put about a cup of water in the bottom of a pot and cook the veggies over medium heat for 5-15 minutes, depending on the vegetable (beans less, brussel spouts most). A perfectly cooked veggie still has it's bright colour and is slightly crunchy (test with a fork).

Yes, I know, I've lost you already, but there is one thing you weren't prepared for...


1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (old cheddar is better)
Pinch salt
Pinch dry mustard powder
Sprinkle of pasta cheese (Romano or other) optional

Put the butter into a small pot and put it on the stove over medium heat. Stir the butter until it melts and starts to sizzle a little (don't let it get brown). Add the flour and mix into a paste. Whisk in the milk (if you don't have a whisk, use a fork). Make sure you stir it well. When the milk gets hot enough, it will start to thicken. At that point add the cheese, salt, mustard powder and pasta cheese (if using). Stir well until cheese melts and pour all over your steamed vegetables.  Yum.

Now my sister creature doesn't like cooked veggies as much. So here's our favourite options for eating them raw.

For an after school snack, try some mini carrots and celery sticks dipped into you favourite salad dressing. Or if you have the time, make this-

Chunky Greek Salad- (makes enough for 4, or leftovers)

1/2 cucumber
1 red or yellow pepper
2 handfuls of pitted black olives
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes (optional)
Red sweet onion (optional)
1 cup cubed mozerella or feta cheese
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is better but then you have to juice a lemon) OR 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt is always better)
1 tsp oregano leaves
Fresh ground pepper

Cut the cucumber, red/yellow pepper and onion (if using) into bite-sized chunks. Stir together in a bowl with olives, tomatoes and cheese cubes. Mix all ingredients of dressing together (shake in a bottle or whisk) and pour over salad.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One bowl Dinner for 4

The long weekend was decadent and lazy. By Monday night all we wanted for dinner was a one bowl meal that we could eat in front of the TV. The fridge was full of of leftover meat and veggies, so we made a stew.
I'm not usually a big fan of stew but this one was really yummy. Went well with a good, crusty bread.

Meat and Dill Stew-
1 lbs boneless meat, cubed (we used a combo of beef and pork)
splash of oil (grapeseed or sunflower is best)
4 cups light beef broth
12 to 16 mini potatoes (red, white or both) skins still on
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 onions, largely diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup mushrooms (optional)

In a big pot, over medium heat, heat oil for a minute or two. Add meat and fry, stirring occasionally until lightly browned on all sides (to seal in juices). Add onions and fry for a minute more. Add mini potatoes, tomatoes, broth, salt  and bay leaves. Cover and simmer over med-low heat for 10 minutes. Add chopped dill, sweet potatoes and mushrooms (if using). Cover and simmer 15 minutes more. Turn off burner and stir in frozen peas. Peas will help cool down the stew a little and cook just right in the heat of the broth.

Make sure to remove the bay leaves when serving, and keep lots of buttered bread nearby for mopping up the juice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dreaming of the Sun

Maybe it's because it's so drab and cold out but I am completely not inspired for making lunches lately. What I REALLY want is a fruit punch served to me in a pineapple while I let the waves wash over my feet. Instead it takes me twenty minutes to get all my crap on because it dropped 17 degrees last night and is now -24 with the windchill. Gak!

Seeing I can't actually go south, looks like I'm stuck with just the spice and salsa music. Well, the music part when mom gives my i-pod back.

Bean Burritos-

1 Can Baked Brown Beans or Re-fried Beans
2 Tortillas (flatbreads)
1/4 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
Assorted Toppers- (Anything you want) examples-Diced onions, shredded lettuce, diced cucumbers, sliced avocado, corn
Sour Cream and/or Salsa
1 tsp Chili powder (if you want)

Lay out your 2 tortillas. In a pan over medium heat, fry the brown beans (if they're re-fried already, just heat them up) until mushy. If using chili powder, mix in with beans while they are cooking. Spoon a large dollop onto each tortilla and then top with cheese and any toppers you want. You can put a little sour cream and salsa in too if you like, or you can reserve them for dipping.
Wrap your tortillas by folding the bottom and the top of your tortilla over the filling, and then roll from one side and flip over so the fold is on the bottom. Makes 2 burritos.
If you're taking them out of the house, it's best to wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them warm.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eating a horse!

Not really. But I could.
Most of my lunch hours during the school week I have clubs or dance class. Cramming food during breaks is leaving me SO hungry after school that I am not interested in making something fancy. Want food NOW!

Here's the stuff I added to the grocery list for next week's snack list-

Plain or Vanilla yogurt
Blackberries, Strawberries or Blueberries
Graham Crackers
Strawberry cream cheese
2 Kiwi fruit
Pretzel sticks or Mini pretzels
Unsalted, roasted peanuts (without shell)
Raisins or Dried Cranberries
Sunflower seeds


Assuming I get everything I need, here's my snack plan for next week-

Monday- Yogurt and Berries
Prep- Just serve yourself a bowl of yogurt, rinse a handful of berries and put them on a piece of paper towel. Cut off the tops if you're using strawberries. If the berries are big, it's good to half them before adding them to your yogurt. If using plain yogurt, add a drizzle of honey or agave syrup before adding berries. Fritter likes to leave the berries big and pick them out with her fingers. Of course, she makes a huge mess and gets it in her hair. What do you expect, she's a sister.

Tuesday- Kiwiberry Crackers
Prep-5 Minutes. Take 4 Graham Crackers and spread with Strawberry cream cheese. Cut the peel off a kiwi and slice it onto the top of your crackers. Trust me, it's awesome.

Wednesday- Trail mix
Prep- Throw a handful of each into a bowl. Pretzel sticks, peanuts, raisins or dried cranberries (or both) and sunflower seeds. If you want to add some cereal, that works well too (such as Cheerios or Shreddies). Mix.

Thursday- Berry Bagel
Prep- Toast a bagel half. Spread with strawberry cream cheese and top with sliced berries. Always good to rinse and dry your berries first. You can also use sliced bananas instead if you wish.

Friday- Fruit cup & Pretzel sticks
Prep- Use up the leftover fruit. Berries and grapes need to be rinsed and dried. Put in a small bowl with slices of banana and chunks of kiwi (peeled and cubed). Pretzels are just an extra on the side, cuz fruit alone doesn't really fill me.

There's a very high probability that I will have a different idea of what I want someday next week, but hey, it never hurts to have a plan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lunch for a Snow Day

School is still on despite the snowstorm. Getting there will be a nightmare.
I didn't make my lunch last night like I'm supposed to so I had to scramble a bit this morning. Parents needed help digging out the car (procrastinate) so I need to be ready even earlier.
We've got flatbreads and cooked chicken in the fridge. If I had gotten to stay home, I would have eaten this:

Chicken Quesadilla-

2 flatbreads (tortilla wraps)
Cooked chicken, cut into thin slices
Shredded cheese (cheddar or other)
Sprinkle of Chili powder
1/4 cup canned black beans (optional)
Cooking oil
Salsa or sour cream for dipping

In a large frying pan, with burner set to medium, brush a little oil in pan and lay a flatbread down in pan. Put chicken, cheese, beans and sprinkle chili powder over top of flatbread. Top with other flatbread. Keep close eye on quesadilla while it's cooking, pressing on it occasionally with a flipper or spatula. Keep heat low so the bread doesn't burn before the cheese melts. When the cheese has melted, flip the quesadilla over to cook the other side. You can lift the edge sometimes to look at whether you lunch is getting golden yet.
When it's ready, slide it onto a cutting board and slice it into wedges like a pie. Dip in salsa or sour cream (or both if you're awesome)

Sigh! That's what I would have had, but instead I had to throw a quick lunch together. So I did a Blackforest wrap:

1 large flatbread
1 slice ham
cooked chicken torn into small pieces
mayonaise and honey mustard
lettuce (iceburg works best) chopped into pieces or shredded
slices or shredded cheese

Lay wrap flat and spread with a little mustard and mayonaise. Place chicken, ham, cheese and lettuce on flatbread, leaving a little room at the top. Fold top slightly over filling, and roll wrap up tightly. For traveling, it's good to pierce it with a toothpick to hold it together. Or you can wrap it in wax paper.

Now all I need is a thermos of soup or hot chocolate, because it's gross outside.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In the dark

This was fun. As father was getting home from work, we quickly turned off every light in the house and hid. The object of the game is to keep everything off without getting seen.
He turns on the kitchen light and kettle. Leaves the room. Off. Off. Hide. He comes back, "What the heck". Leaves the light off but turns kettle back on. Leaves the room. Off. Hide.
Now he's getting a little frustrated. Especially when he goes back to the office and the light is off there too. Then mom got caught (maybe on purpose, not sure). Dumpling fell asleep in her hiding place. Something about it being dark and warm. Teenagers. Anyways, it was great while it lasted.

We did end up eating dinner a little late though. Used a quick fix for a fast meal.

Spanish Rice-
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 can tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 onion
1 cup frozen corn, peas or green beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder (or not)
Salt & Pepper

In a small pot over high heat, put water or broth on to boil. When bubbling, add a bit of salt and the rice. Turn to medium-low heat and cover pot. In a big frying pan, cook ground beef over medium heat. Peel and chop the onion into small pieces (dice it if you know how) and add it to the meat to fry. When the meat is brown with no pink left and the onions are turning clear, add tomatoes or sauce, chili powder, garlic powder (if using) and frozen vegetables. Check rice. Water/broth should be mostly absorbed by the rice. Add rice to frying pan and simmer together with meat and tomato until no longer watery. Serve.
You can add a bit of salt and pepper to your liking.

This recipe is so easy and will impress your friends when the lot of you are having a hard time scraping together enough for a pizza.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brain Food

Exam time. This is when my parental unit pulls what her friend would call 'hippie crap' and delves into the special foods. I made myself a peanut butter sandwich. And I also drank this.

Liquid breakfast-
2 cups orange juice
1 banana
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup frozen fruit (mango, peaches, pineapple or strawberries)
(Now for the weird stuff. You can add all or none of these. Health food stores sell them, and some grocery stores. The bonus if you're adventurous enough is that they will drag you out of the slump)
Extras- 1 tbsp greens/veggie/alfalfa powder
          - 1 tbsp hemp hearts
          - 1 tsp flaxseed oil

If you add the extras, you get to call it bog juice. Otherwise, smoothie is a far more socially acceptable title. Suck it up, buttercup. It's exam time.