Not only is my co-op one of the best in the country (it’s true) it is pretty much my personal playground. No matter how many times I go I can easily spend countless hours wandering the aisles checking for the latest and greatest new foods, products, miracles, etc.
I prefer to go by myself because then I don’t have anyone rushing me 😉 but the other night we went after a long Monday at work. Dinner was planned but the plans quickly changed when I saw garbanzo stew in the hot bar. I was sold and made up something about how it would just be too late to make something from scratch. The taster wanted nothing to do with garbanzo stew and settled on some turkey meatballs that he would doctor up at home with onion, peppers, pepperoni, garlic and sauce. Both of us were happy with our own choices and we ate within 15 minutes of arriving home. I knew I couldn’t make salmon that fast! 🙂
Garbanzo Stew over steamed veggies.
Lots of broccolini because I love it.
Tasters turkey-meat-ball-sauce over whole-wheat noodles.
PS. This was not an approved portion… 🙂
Finding this protein powder was SO much fun! I had an “internet date” with Holly from The Healthy Everythingtarian and it was a perfect first date in my opinion 😉 She is as much fun in person as she conveys through her blog. I hope to see her again soon, I’ll probably be needing some more Wisconsin goodies in the near future! We met at this great little store called Fromagination that has great foodie finds, local cheese and products and sandwiches to go. Totally my type of store. We grabbed some sandwiches and went to walk the Farmer’s Market.
I loved the packaging on this product (I know, it happened again – hey, I’m a sucker for great packaging!) but I also loved the fact that they use whey from local farms (like Organic Valley), have a short ingredient list, are sweetened with stevia and there are no wacky protein powder ingredients. I’m not a huge protein powder person but after I lift mega weights do yoga or check my emails 😉 sometimes I need a little protein! At first I tried the fair trade dark chocolate mixed with almond milk and it was good but I thought I would like it better in a smoothie so I took it back home, blended it with frozen banana and enjoyed the next day. One packet has 20 grams of protein and was a great addition to my smoothie. Next to try is yumberry and I can’t wait! Check out the website here – you can order online if you can’t get to Wisco anytime soon.
In a quest to use my new ramekins for something other than mac & cheese, use some herbs, incorporate one of my favorite ingredients AND make something a little special on a day off of work I decided on some baked eggs.
They are simple and satisfying, and really, what more can you ask for in a breakfast?
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray ramekins with cooking spray. Crack 2 eggs into each ramekin, pour 1 Tbsp of 1/2 & 1/2 over eggs, season with salt and pepper and 2 tsp minced herbs (I used thyme and rosemary). Place ramekins in a pan and pour hot water around them to about 3/4 to the top. Bake until just set, about 10-15 minutes. Be careful to not overcook, mine were a little too done.
I had seen a recipe in the Rachel Ray magazine and decided it would be the perfect meal to eat 1/2 and save 1/2 for a rainy (or snowy – eek!) day. I changed the recipe a bit based on what I had on hand. I also used bison instead of lamb or beef – bison is a great meat in my opinion – very lean and usually raised naturally. I think it tastes pretty similar to beef so it was a great way to cut-down the fat and calories in this dish.
1/2 block cream cheese (I always use neufchatel cheese)
block of feta cheese (about 1 cup)
1 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise
3 medium zucchini, sliced crosswise
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 lb bison meat
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drain some liquid
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Process the cream cheese and feta together until smooth and set aside.
Sprinkle the eggplant and zucchini with salt, set aside for at least 30 minutes, rinse and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Spray skillet with cooking spray and saute onion until translucent. Add bison (or any type) meat and cook for about 5 minutes, add tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
Layer eggplant and zucchini pieces in a 9 x 13 pan or two 8 x 8 pans. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, layer meat-tomato mixture and spread (or plop rather) the cream cheese -feta mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Turn on broiler to brown the top at the end.
We absolutely loved this moussaka, the taster included. It will be a great weeknight-dinner in the up-coming weeks!
What to do with leftover white beans from this?
Make a dip of course!
1 can or leftover beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 Tbsp herbs, chopped ( I used rosemary and thyme)
Heat oil in skillet (if you want it burnt like mine – which actually turned out great – get the oil really hot). Add garlic and saute for a few minutes, add herbs and set aside.
Mash beans (or process if you want it really smooth but I liked the chunks). Pour olive oil mixture over beans and stir to combine. Serve with veggies, crackers or eat by the spoonful 😉
For the tasters Birthday he decided on a new restaurant in our neighborhood called The Butcher Block. “Where meat is our passion; organic, grass-fed & sustainable are our principles; and serving great-tasting food – with or without meat – is our priority.” And meat we had. I love the more “traditional” Italian restaurants complete with separate courses of chewy pasta and tender meat. The prices were very reasonable and they had a number of bottles of wine for $15. So we had a $15 bottle of Chianti. Was it the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had? Obvy not but I’m no wine snob so it worked.
Get ready for a ridiculous amount of food. I’m just warning 😉
Grilled Octopus: Haven’t had this since Greece and while we are sadly no where near the ocean here in MN, it was surprisingly good. It pretty much melted.
Romanesca Salad: Romaine, cucumber, tomato, anchovy vinaigrette – some greens were definitely needed in this meat-centric meal.
Lamb Sausage: this is freshly ground and prepared on-site and it is to. die. for. literally. The taster and I were dreaming of putting this on pizza and pretty much just eating it as often as possible.
Fettuccine alla Bolognese: ground pork and beef, tomato – definitely not something I would generally order but it wasn’t my birthday 🙂 This dish was so straight-forwardly delicious- nothing fancy here and nothing fancy needed.
Pork & Ricotta Meatballs: we ordered these along with pasta (why? I’m still not really sure) but they were amazing none the less
While we have already tried about 3/4 of the menu, I can’t wait to get back to the Butcher Block. Who knows, maybe once it thaws we can actually walk there!
the favorite birthday present
What makes this soup even better??
Simple. White beans, chopped red pepper and creme fraiche. (I really wanted to add some crab too, but I’m going to hold out until I make my own soup!)
Now this soup was mighty delish all on its own but I thought I could doctor it up a bit and I will admit I was very excited for this lunch!
It went from this….
to this hot mess…
This ended up being so satisfying (thank you beans) and I loved the crunch of the pepper and the pillow of heaven the creme fraiche addition.
Had I eaten this at home instead of work, I probably would have added a little spice to add yet another dimension or perhaps some caramelized onions… 😉