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Archive for January, 2011

Back from a very productive conference in San Diego. Enjoyed a few very tasty meals while there, but I return to Annapolis and cook for myself. There was the breakfast, Total whole grain wheat flakes, slow-cooking oats (raw), wheat bran, ground flax seeds, golden raisins (or green?), pecans, and strawberries. Topped off with a little skim milk. Oh yum!

A salad of Romane lettuce, thinly sliced onion, chopped avocado, tomatoes, and carrots. Grated sharp cheddar. Tessmae’s All Natural Lemon-Garlic dressing, drizzled with just a little red Russian-type sugary dressing. (A little sweet with avocado. The way my mother used to prepare it.) Then topped off with garlic croutons. A little crunchy and garlicky makes any dish taste even better!

And, of course, another meal of veggies. White potatoes are frowned upon by many people, but they are loaded with potassium. Boiled one and added two dollops of sour cream. Okra toasted in a dry frying pan with canola oil added just before removing to ensure a certain crispness. Cold beets cooked a few weeks ago. A salad of tomato, onion, balsamic vinegar, and basil. (No fresh basil so I used the dried) Part of a seeduction roll from Whole Foods, and I was ready to go!

Side note – I have again decided to add meats other than fish to my meals. However, there is a butcher near my apartment that offers meat from animals that were not given extra antibiotics or hormones. Plus he has beef that was totally grass-fed. I purchased some from him last week and froze portions in the fridge. So you most likely will be seeing meat again in this blog.

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Second day of the new year. Yesterday I was busy around the apartment, cooking, eating, playing with the cat, assembling my new shelf from IKEA, and then re-organizing my kitchen.

Let me say, manual labor, no matter how wonderful the instructions, usually takes more coordination than I possess. However, the shelf instructions were so easy to follow. Lots of pictures. Fabulous! I’m so proud that I’m sharing a picture of the finished product that now houses my beans, nuts, grains, and other necessities:

My noon meal (celebrating the finished shelf) was a quick meal, prepared with leftovers accumulated during the week from elsewhere. I started with creamy mushroom matar and basmati rice that I purchased the other night at Whole Foods. Smooth and not too spicy. Alongside the matar was flatbread I purchased one night at the Level, a Mediterranean restaurant on West Street. [side story: walking back home one night from work, I was really hungry, and the nuts I had eaten in the afternoon just had not given me the energy I needed to walk over two miles after working all day. I needed carbs to get back home, so I stopped and purchased soft, warm, flat bread and ate half of it.]

The chips and salsa? From Baja Fresh this past Thursday. Indian, Mediterranean, and Mexican (or maybe some consider Baja Fresh to be American Mexican?). However it is described, it was all fresh and so delicious. A true reward after connecting all the right parts with the right tools for my new piece of furniture.

And then there was supper. . . . Collards that I cooked a long, long time. Like our grandmas have done for decades! Pintos sweetened with a little molasses. Sliced egg for protein and onions sprinkled over all. There was cornbread and a few sugar-free bread & butter pickles from Mt. Olive, a company in North Carolina. They make the best store-bought pickles ever!

Dessert? Quinoa pudding. Creamy and flavored with vanilla, but next time I plan to add a little more sugar. Since it wasn’t quite as sweet as I had hoped, I added a little apricot preserves on top. Then sprinkled with pistachios. Oh my oh my…..another tasty meal!

Happy New Year everyone!

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About the best way to end a year is to celebrate with good friends and delicious food. I was able to do both yesterday!

For me, New Years Eve Day was a holiday, so I did not go to the library. Emailed my friend Alexis to see if she would like to go to IKEA. I’ve lived here for five months now and have never gone to the IKEA store – what was I waiting for?! [If you think I ended that sentence with a preposition, you are….um…..mistaken. I would never do that 🙂 ! ] I adore the designs of IKEA and have only visited their stores twice in the past. Anyway, Alexis looked at items for future purchases (I found a few of those, too), but I actually spent money. Strategically. No impulse buying. I took my list and stuck to it! Really, it was a beautiful day and we had a fantastic time!

I really wanted a book shelf or kitchen cart to set just outside my little kitchen to store a lot of grains, nuts, dried beans, oils, and other foods I use often. My galley kitchen has plenty of counter and prep and cooking space, but not enough storage for me. I like to have all my fav foods all the time (so spoiled am I!) so I can be a little more adventurous with my daily cooking. If I like to eat really especially delectable foods, then I must be ready to prepare them!

I made the kitchen shelf purchase, so today I will assemble. Oh my. I could sure use the hubby, but he’s in southern VA up in a tree someplace waiting for a deer to walk by. Or he’s up in that tree snoozing. He likes both activities! I guess I’ll find a copy of Helen Reddy’s top-selling hit, I am Woman, and get busy building my shelf in a little while. But first! Allow me to talk about my meal last night.

I crave a variety of foods, but I also like simple-to-prepare foods. This meal provided both. Earlier I purchased a serving of trout almondine (with spinach) from Whole Foods. I just placed it on the stove in a pan with a smidgen of water to sorta steam it warm. [I really don’t like foods heated in the microwave and no longer have one. Heating on top of this gas stove works very, very well.]

Fresh cabbage I cooked to death. Real Southern U.S. style! A little veggie oil, salt, pepper, and turbinado sugar. The trick is to cook it with not too much water but enough water so that it doesn’t all evaporate while cooking it so darn long! I realize that real Southern style would have included pork of some kind, but this pescetarian thing is still working out very well for me, so it is always veggie oil.

A few fresh greens with other raw veggies that I tossed around with Tessemae’s All Natural Original Lemon-Garlic Dressing. Very simple and yummy! The dressing is made right here in Annapolis and encompasses just the right amount of oil and organic lemons.

Then! There was a portion of a Seeduction Roll from Whole Foods. As much as I enjoy many foods, I’m not a huge fan of bread. I purchased this roll the other night and only ate one-fourth of it with the meal. But it was very tasty with lots of poppy and pumpkin seeds. And with the juices from my vegetables, there was no need for butter. Yep! There was sopping involved.

The best part? Sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes from Andy and Jeanette, two of the absolute best gardening neighbors in all of Virginia for sure! Even though roasted veggies taste a little sweeter and have more nutrients than those boiled in water, I find them to be a little too dry. So I cut them into large bite-size chunks and boiled for just a few minutes. Drained and placed them in a baking dish with salt, pepper, cinnamon, a little butter, and a few tablespoons of Shady Maple Farms organic pure maple syrup from the Citadelle cooperative.

I roasted those sweet potatoes. And oh my goodness you would not believe! As you can tell from my plate pictured below, the sweet potatoes were the center of my meal. I’m grateful that I made enough for leftovers later today. Oh so scrumptious!


Added to this plate a glass of The Loosen Brothers Riesling, and I was set for a wonderful evening! Great friend earlier in the day, phone conversations and emails with family throughout, and then the blessing of a warm and healthy meal. I believe the new year will bring me more of the same. Life is good.

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