Practical, healthful eating and living.

Easing into Warmer Weather April 25, 2009

Ah…the shedding of the sweaters, the return of sunny weather and neighbors dawdling on their patios.  As the weather changes, my cooking changes, too.

Rather than turn on the oven, I indulged in fresh hummos from Whole Foods, spread over a whole wheat tortilla.  I added a few slices of fresh tomato, romaine lettuce and some black olive tapenade.  Heaven.

If you’re in the mood for a heartier tortilla, try Ezekiel 4:9 New Mexico style sprouted grain tortillas. I heat mine in a toaster for just a moment or two.  They are made of organic sprouted wheat, organic sesame seeds, organic sprouted soybeans, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic sprouted lentils and organic sprouted spelt.  I know, it sounds like a lot.  No need to feel intimidated.  It looks just like a tortilla, and I find it more filling than a traditional whole wheat tortilla.  I stumbled upon them at Whole Foods several months ago and have been a fan ever since. Check the refrigerated tortilla section, usually near Mexican food or cheese.

Incidentally, if you have a Whole Foods in your area, despite its reputation for being expensive, I find excellent deals there.  The 365 house brand is very reasonable, and many items in the bulk food section cost less than comparable items at the rest of my neighborhood grocery stores.


Strawberry Season April 18, 2009

sliced-strawberries-041809 Ever brought home a pint of strawberries, only to find that they’ve spoiled within a day? It’s frustrating, because much as they are tasty, it can be tough to eat an ENTIRE container the same day it’s brought home.

Sliced strawberries, sprinkled with sugar, will keep in the fridge for up to a week.  I think it’s the sugar that protects them from spoiling.  You don’t need a lot, just a spoonful or two.

If you are going to eat them right away, the flavor will come out if you slice them, sprinkle with sugar, and let them sit for about 20 minutes.

If the strawberries have been sliced, sugared and refrigerated, I recommend letting them come back to room temperature before serving.


Satisfying Store-Bought Pizza Dough April 9, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep — beansandyoga @ 1:30 pm
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The thought of making home-made pizza has always intimidated me.  First, it requires making one part in advance; the pizza dough.  Second, I don’t do well with flour.  I am not a baker.  Third, the mixing and kneading of the dough messes up my kitchen to the extent that I don’t even want to begin.

I noticed, however, that Trader Joe’s has ready-made pizza dough.  They offer white or wheat flour dough, and an herb spiced white flour option.  They also sell pizza sauce by the jar.  And shredded cheese.  Before I knew it, I was taking a freshly baked pizza out of my own oven.  Scrumptious!

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, check the refrigerated section of your grocery store, or ask at your favorite pizza joint.

Once I had the dough at home, I experimented with using all of it at once, and smaller portions.  It’s pretty forgiving.  It can sit in the fridge for a few days, or go into the freezer.  All I needed to do was apply a little flour to my hands and baking sheet, then work the dough until it was flat.  I do this by hand.

I set the oven to 425, then add the sauce, and whatever toppings I have on hand.  Lately, I’ve been using fresh, sliced mushrooms and green pepper.  I can’t wait to try artichoke hearts, olives, and fresh tomatoes.

Topped with a four-cheese blend, or mozzarella, the pizza cooks in minutes.  Fast, easy and healthy, I couldn’t be happier.


Easy Elegance April 3, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep,Party Season Game Plan — beansandyoga @ 9:05 am
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Having people in?  Sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple.  Last night I threw together a platter of cheese, tapenade, fresh grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas, thai-spiced cashews and rustic cheese crackers.  Trader Joe’s has great spanokopita that heats in the oven in just 20 minutes.  Add a bottle of pinot grigio, and we couldn’t have been happier.