Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

Kale and Apple Salad with Bacon and Pecans

I go to the farmers’ market armed with a single bag theory thinking I will surely be limited to a reasonable number of purchases, yet fail every time.  I’ve become pretty good at packing that bag which seems manageable while I’m filling it.  A few bundles of greens can’t take up all that much space, right?

But then the rainbow carrots look so good, and I can’t pass up a gorgeous head of romanesco cauliflower.  Or is it broccoli?  A mixture of sprouts, some chard, and baby beets end up in the bag before I’m done and once home I wonder where to begin.  There certainly isn’t enough room in my fridge for it all.

The carrots and beets will be fine for a while, and the sprouts will go easily into so many things:  my smoothies, salad, omelets, an open-faced egg salad sandwich.

But the kale.  Oh, the kale.  I couldn’t resist buying three different kinds.

I know.

But there’s a method to my madness with kale.  It’s easy to think “salad” first, because the kale is fresh.  But did you know you can freeze kale?  And guess what?  It’s not soggy, soft, or looking like something that was lost in the nether regions of my veggie bin when it’s thawed and ready for use, either.  In fact, you can use it frozen.  More about that later.

Let’s talk salad for now.

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Cauliflower and Apple Salad with Radicchio

It’s official.  My husband and I are two months into our decision to change the way we eat and guess what?  It works!  Works, as in, we feel pretty darn good and have lost weight.  His loss of 18 lbs. has been steady and sure with minor plateaus here and there, and true to my personality, my loss has been a series of ups and downs — most recently dipping to 14.5 lbs. then back up to my goal of 12 lbs. total for the two months.  Six pounds a month.  That’s all I need.  Only six.  I can do that for the next six months, right?

Whew.

When I catch myself analyzing it all too much, he patiently reminds me we said we weren’t going to turn any of this into a crazy hair-splitting quest to starve ourselves to thinness in as little time as possible, or to beat ourselves up over numbers on a scale.  And no, we weren’t going to count every single calorie we ingest.  Instead, it is more to consider that we do have to exercise more consistently and appropriately, and also monitor the types and quantities of food we eat throughout each day to balance everything out.  I guess I just need to do all of that while waving my arms about in the air.  But, we can already see changes in one another, and that’s fun.  Did I say fun?  All right, then.  Motivating.

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Five Onion Confit

I grew up expecting to have to eat the onions on my plate whether I wanted them or not. That’s just how it went at our house, and I didn’t question it.  Good thing I’ve always liked them.   Although I remember my mother telling me my grandfather liked a good onion sandwich, we had them sliced and in salads — mostly yellow onions because they were a staple — but scallions were included once in a while, along with red onions.  Now that I think of it, red onions made their appearance when we lived in Spain because they were served in the cafes, often included with cucumbers and tomatoes in a very light water and red wine vinegar marinade.  No lettuce, just a sprinkle of salt.  It was wonderful.

Onions were chopped and fried in bacon fat for the liver my mother enjoyed so much, and as much as I didn’t want a taste of the liver, I could sit all day and inhale the aroma of those onions.  Chopped onions went into simple spaghetti sauce to flavor it, or in goulash along with other vegetables and pasta, because it didn’t seem right to not have them in the mix.  My mother’s meatloaf wouldn’t be meatloaf without chopped onions.  They were quartered and added to our Sunday pot roast with carrots and celery as well, but I didn’t appreciate their flavor in the braise.  Perhaps it was the sweetness — something I expected in the more predictable foods kids enjoy — not an onion.  I still had to eat them. I liked them best raw on burgers, or a salami sandwich, the crunch and sharp spike of flavor something that was definitely missed if it wasn’t included.

Maybe it was the onion soup my father made one year before a holiday dinner.  I’m surprised I don’t remember the details of his making it, but the flavor of those long cooked onions nestled in a rich broth gave me a different perspective on just how unique the sweetness of caramelized onions could be.  I’d never had onion confit, though, and wondered just how different it might be.  Would the sweetness that it took me years to appreciate be more intense and if it was, would I enjoy it?  Based on many of the recipes I’ve come across where onion confit or jam is included, I’m thinking yes.

But would one type of onion suffice?

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Green Smoothie

green smoothie recipe from sass & veracity

Oh, the over indulgences of the weekend.  New recipes tried and sampled a bit too much.  Football season in full gear, so lounging more than we normally might, our comfies donned, windows snapped shut against chilly and unexpectedly damp breezes.  Projects stalled while we stay indoors making like house potatoes.

Thank goodness for Monday morning and snapping back to a schedule.  For thinking about all that might be accomplished in a week’s time.  Promising myself to get back to healthy eating.

Exercise?

Hmmm…maybe.

In the meantime, smoothies help.  I’ve become addicted to them — especially the green ones.

So very, very good.

What ingredients do you like in your green smoothies?

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Vegetable Bean Soup

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I’m not sure how many years ago we started the tradition of taking a long weekend trip late in January, but it’s one of my favorites.  I think it all began when I figured out that the holiday presents other than clothing my husband received were rarely used, so I surprised him with a trip to Solvang one year.  The next year it was Monterey, and from that point on, we tried to find somewhere to go just to get away.  Sometimes the boy accompanied us, but most often, it was just the two of us.  One year we may have taken a plane, and the next we’d drive.  We’d talk occasionally about stretching ourselves to go somewhere we hadn’t been before — Monterey, CA is still our favorite — but the whole point of getting away is to relax, and when you’re the semi-unadventurous people we are familiarity facilitates that relaxation.

We don’t go as often as we used to since life isn’t as hectic, but this year my husband charged me with finding somewhere to go within a reasonable driving distance.  I’m thinking it’s because the patio is torn up and figuring what to do with it is a far less attractive option than heading off on a Friday afternoon for anything unrelated to a DIY project.  I don’t blame him.

I asked the boy what he thought, and without hesitation he mentioned Julian.  You may remember me waxing over this small town early last month, and since I’d toyed with the idea of gifting my husband with a get away there before moving on to something else, my research had already been done.

We’re back now, and as much as we might have enjoyed some sign of wintery weather, there wasn’t a trace.  Clear blue skies, dry air, and highs of 65 during the day welcomed us.  The cabin was nestled against a mountainside beneath huge cedars, young pines in the undergrowth, and massive coastal live oaks.  The persistent rush of water from a stream nearby was the only sound to be heard.  We hiked, cooked a little, played cards and Yahtzee, and enjoyed the quiet, our books, and one another’s company.   I took Tessa Kiros’ breathtaking book Falling Cloudberries:  A World of Family Recipes which I finally treated myself to after seeing it for the first time about a year ago, and  read through it over the two days.

When I open it to make one of the many wonderful recipes from now on, I’ll remember last weekend and smile.

Here’s a simple, delicious vegetable soup adapted from one of Kiros’ recipes.  It’s light and full of bright, fresh flavor that will warm you through and through.

Perfect.  Just like our weekend.

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