Spring Harvest Quesadilla

See, I told you I would really write this week! Even though I am a bit preoccupied with redoing my resume, I wouldn’t have time to write in my blog if I get a new job. Well, at least not during work hours… They love me here and pay me well, they just don’t have very much for me to do.

Last night I made a yummy clean out the fridge dish that was super quick and tasty too. As strange as it may seem, the recipe is for 1 quesadilla. My partner is anti-veggie and I have been pushing the veggies lately, so she got to have a plain cheese one which is her favorite. Plus I know that she’s going to eat more veggies than she can even comprehend as soon as I’m harvesting from my garden.

I was originally going to add some fresh corn in the mix, but I decided to make Veganomicon’s corn pudding with coconut milk. It was fabulous – you should make it if you haven’t already. Cheryl was crazy about it.

Spring Harvest Quesadilla

  • 2 taco size low carb whole wheat tortillas (just cause they have less calories)
  • Handful of shredded cheese of your choice (dairy or non-dairy) I used Kroger brand shredded quesadilla cheese. It has no hints about what kind of cheese it really is, so I’m pretending it is a nice queso.
  • 1/2 shallot minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces
  • Big handful of rainbow chard cut into thin ribbons and chop the stems in small pieces
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • Pinch ground chili pepper (can use any kind you like – I have a blend from SEEDS at the farmers market)
  • Salsa of your choice (my choice was salsa verde)

Heat a non-stick pan, then add shallot and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add zucchini, chard, and spices. Saute until the veggies are just the way you like them. I like my greens cooked well, so I added them before the zucchini.

Heat another non-stick pan if you are (like me) too lazy to clean out this pan. Put a tortilla on it and then spread your veggies evenly over the tortilla and cover with cheese and the second tortilla. Cook until browned on one side, flip and cook until brown on the other.

It will take less time on the second side, and even less time on the first side of the second quesadilla you cook. I’m not sure why this is true, but I always burn the first side of the second one.

This is a great fast meal. I served a can of Trader Joe’s Refried Black Beans and the corn pudding and it was yummy. It would be great with just a salad.

Lazy Vegetarian Menu Monday…again…

First off, thanks to all of you who said I wasn’t being lazy! This week I make no apologies, but cross my heart I will post some recipes this week.

I’m looking for some easy to make Indian recipes, so pass on any you may have or blogs that I may have missed. I love Indian food and really want to get more into cooking it.

I picked my very first tomato of the season – a purple Cherokee and I believe a couple of cucumbers will be ripe by the weekend. I love this time of year!

Monday: Mexican – Quesadillas – whole wheat tortillas stuffed with a blend of corn, garlic, onion, and swiss chard and cheese (possibly almond cheese if I have any – else goat cheese)

Tuesday: Indian and homemade to boot! (with store bought naan – can’t expect everything on a week nite!)

Wednesday: Chinese – Chicken (lightlife strips) stir fry – maybe with an orange sauce or perhaps a peanut one…noodles or rice decided right there on the spot! And garlic eggplant as a side dish.

Thursday: Indian Leftovers from Tuesday

Friday: Grilled polenta smothered with a fresh tomato veggie sauce (veggies depending on garden and wed farmers market)

Saturday: Out to dinner 

Sunday: Panini – ingredients to be decided by my sat am trip to the farmers market, but the bread will be from 9th St. Bakery right here in Durham

You too can participate in Menu Plan Monday, just go over to I’m an Organizing Junkie and add your menu to Mr. Linky – or just look at everyone else’s menus.

Easy ways to make a meal healthier

I want to share with you guys a few of the things that I’m doing to get my eating back on track.

I know I eat better than the average person, but I have my weaknesses. Fried food, sugar, and salty snacks are what I crave when life gets a little too hectic.

I know some of you out there are on a similar journey to simply feel better. Lucky for us the choices we make can also help local farmers, our friends, and families!

It’s so much easier to change your habits if you have someone else doing it with you. Then your friends can ask you out for a walk or to come over for a healthy dinner.

And they can try out all your new recipes!

Cook with less oil
This is really easy and your food doesn’t have to be flavorless either. In fact food with less oil lets the flavor of the vegetables shine through. A sauteed onion is a sweet, beautiful thing – but so is one slow roasted in the oven or crockpot.

  • Use a non-stick pan.
  • Use vegetable broth instead of oil when you are sauteing.
  • Roast vegetables first to bring out the flavor before you put together your dish.
  • Use the grill or a panini press to add color – tofu is great this way.
  • Use more herbs to add to a flavorful dish rather than relying on oil.
  • Make your own oil-free salad dressings – here’s a great place to start.
  • Use the slow cooker – dinner will be waiting on you and can be easily made without oil.

Choose lower calorie options
Don’t try to give up everything you love! Instead find some substitutes that you can have everyday and get your cravings satisfied with. Of course you’ll treat yourself to the real thing sometimes, but you may find that these really do satisfy you.

  • Try unsweetened almond milk instead of soy – it’s less than 1/2 the calories.
  • Get baked chips instead of fried.
  • Use the small low carb whole wheat tortillas to make tacos and quesadillas.
  • Bake something instead of frying it to make it crunchy.
  • Choose steamed rice over fried on a meal out.
  • The Hungry Girl website has tons of great substitution ideas. The only thing I don’t like about her is her liberal use of splenda. Personally I’m experimenting using the herb stevia as a sugar substitute – artificial sweeteners give me the creeps!

Add more veggies
Yes, we’re all grown up now and still someone is telling you to eat your veggies. Mom really was right about some things. As we see studies of what we should stop eating, it seems that we should always be adding more colorful veggies.

  • Have a salad twice a day – wash lettuce, chop carrots, green peppers etc on Sunday for the week.
  • Add shredded carrot or zucchini to muffins or cakes.
  • Add a handful of arugula or fresh spinach to your spaghetti marinara.
  • Sneak in some pureed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.
  • When making mexican saute up a few things from the garden to add in the tortilla – any veggies will work. Black beans and sweet potato are a favorite combination of mine.
  • Make soup out of leftover veggies for a starter to your next meal. Cooked veggies pureed with a little plain almond milk can seem like a luxurious treat on a weeknight.

Eat more fruit
This is the easiest of them all for me. In the warmer weather I can’t get enough fruit. But if you start now, you can freeze some lovely organic fruit that you can make magic with in the winter. I already have some strawberries that I picked at an organic farm in the freezer waiting for gloomier times.

  • Stock up on bananas, cut them up and freeze them and you have a perfect smoothie base. I add some berries, almond milk, and other seasonal fruit. It’s the most portable breakfast I know of.
  • Top your green salad with a handful of fresh berries in the summer or dried ones in the winter.
  • Make your own ice cream, sorbet, or popsicles with in season fruit.
  • Cut up a bunch of fruit and pack it in single servings for your mid-morning snack at work.

Whole Grains
This is probably the most effortless change of them all. It may take a little time to adjust to the heartiness of whole grains, but you will fill up faster at meals and getting more nutrition to boot!

  • Get whole wheat pasta and bread, then move up to more exotic choices like 9 grain bread and quinoa pasta.
  • Use quinoa instead of rice – you can still cook it in a rice cooker but it will be done before the ding.
  • Make oatmeal in a crockpot for an on the go breakfast.
  • Use brown rice instead of white.
  • Try new to you grains in vegetable soup as a way of easing them in.

Be open to new things, you never know what might become your new favorites!

Busy Gardener/Lazy Vegetarian Menu Monday

It’s summer and if I’m not feeling hot and lazy, I’m out in the yard working on my veggie garden or a flower bed. This is the time of the year that my inside chores suffer endlessly. And the time of the year I feel most overwhelmed.

I mean how can anyone work full time, have a functional kitchen garden, make new flower beds, shop, cook 2 meals a day, and keep the house up too? And if that’s not enough I’m doing yoga and some aerobics every morning before work. I’m hoping it will keep me calm and more able to face the to do list that has become my life. (And maybe my butt will get smaller!)

Thank goodness I have a partner to do the laundry and mow the yard or I would really be freaking out!

Just when I get the deck cleaned off and some flowers are blooming – the mosquitoes are ready to feast on me. Every spring I start off optimistic, goading myself into believing it won’t be as hot, the mosquitoes won’t be as plentiful, and the neighborhood noises will be less annoying.

Then June hits and it gets to 100 degrees and I walk out to see if I have any new baby veggies and come back in with 10 – 15 mosquito bites. Also on my mini walk around my veggies beds I find my arch enemy – THE APHIDS. Yes, the aphids are back again this year and of course out to get me. And last week I found the wooly creatures that I believe are wooly aphids. I believe they have sucked the vibrant green out of my scarlet runner beans.

Anywho – that’s why my dinner list is less impressive this week. I’m working on balance. It will only be in the 80′s this week, so I’m going to be gardening every night this week if I can. And playing some wii tennis if the rain gods listen to my pleas…

Monday: Indian with store bought naan (I know I’m lame!)

Tuesday: Bulgar with veggies and amromatic spices (recipe coming…)

Wednesday: It’s just me – so leftovers with a salad a wine out on the deck

Thursday: Mixed-bean Casserole with Sausage

Friday: Slow cooker Brown Rice and Squash Crockpot “Risotto”

Saturday: Out to dinner

Sunday: No idea what I’m making except another ice cream experiment!

You too can participate in Menu Plan Monday, just go over to I’m an Organizing Junkie and add your menu to Mr. Linky – or just look at everyone else’s menus.

It’s hot – drink more water!

With the overbearing heat here in NC, I have switched from trying to make myself drink enough water to actually craving it. I think the fact that I’m actually exercising doesn’t hurt either.

One of the tricks I have been using to cultivate these cravings is putting water in a glass pitcher in the fridge. It seems extra cold and refreshing. I have grown a variety of mints this year, pineapple, apple, chocolate, lime and orange. And I have some lemon balm and lemon verbena. So I have been throwing in a couple of springs into my pitcher. So far the orange mint-lemon verbena is my favorite. As soon as my cucumbers ripen I’ll throw in a few slices in with some lemon basil leaves.

All of them have been tasty and much cheaper than the mint water you can buy in individual plastic containers in the supermarket. Hmm…cheap, yummy, and better for the enviroment – I like it!

Also I was lucky enough to get my recipe for carrot salad and seared oyster mushrooms posted at the farmer’s market blog carnival. You really should go by Jen’s site and check out all the great posts! I’m going to have to try Lavender Farms’ Lavender Lemonade – I have tons growing, and haven’t made anything with it yet. Maybe I’ll have a few lemons ready on my dwarf meyer lemon tree and I can use those too.

Mostly Vegan Monday Menu Plan

You too can participate in Menu Plan Monday, just go over to I’m an Organizing Junkie and add your menu to Mr. Linky – or just look at everyone else’s menus.

This week’s menu is going to be brief. I promise to post some more recipes this week!

Even though I have been continuing my farmers market buying trend. I need a simple no thinking plan for this week. Mainly it’s hot – 103 yesterday. And when the heat gets like that I don’t’ want to do anything! So if it’s a plan, uses the slow cooker or rice cooker, or at least is quick and easy – I’m in!

Monday: Thin crust pizza with yves veggie pepperoni and local fresh mozzarella cheese, maybe I’ll even make some pesto with basil from the garden (cooking it in my toaster oven to keep the heat factor down).

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Spicy White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Collards

Wednesday: Slow Cooker lasagna, or a variation

Thursday: Salad nicoise – basing it on this recipe

Friday: Slow cooker Brown Rice and Squash Crockpot “Risotto”

Saturday:Rice cooker quinoa and tofu – super easy!

Sunday: Mixed-bean Casserole with Sausage

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