2016-No Excuses

A few weeks back I was incredibly touched to hear someone I have never met reads my blog. I originally started this blog for me, but have come to love the ability to connect with other like-minded souls through this online space. That connection is why I continue to keep this up, despite the business of life. For a while I was silent,  but I have come to terms with the fact that no one  is dictating the rules…. that it is  perfectly acceptable to write every few months….that something is better than nothing…that even if only one person is getting something out of this blog then the effort is worth it. Yoga helps me see clearly that life is not about rigidity but fluidity. Even if I only have 15 minutes to come to the mat and do a few sun salutations , something is better than nothing . I am aiming for balance, not rigid rules.

It’s no secret to my close friends and family that I am busy, that I have little time to check in with friends and be proactive.

But that’s not a valid excuse…for anything.

Everyone is busy.

We make time for what matters most.

In 2016 my resolution was to make time for what matters and cut out the noise.

Health matters. Family matters. Marriage matters. Time with friends matters. Keeping a roof over our heads matters. Doing what we love matters. Giving back matters.

Worrying about things…feeling overwhelmed and trying to do everything well all the time….not only is it not possible, but it is a waste of valuable, precious time that could be spent helping myself and others around me grow and learn.

Therefore, I am posting the first recipe of 2016 as a healing, no excuses recipe that anyone can make.

If you have 15 minutes you CAN make this and you CAN take charge of your health. This is a power-packed meal, but also rather decadent and special because of the homemade croutons.

Check out these green ingredients!

gazpacho ingredientsThis soup is best served cold or room temperature and a good  choice for one of those Savannah-winter -70- degree- days.

Cheers to 2016 and a healthier you!

Green gazpacho

Serves 5
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Soup
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
This no-cooking-needed green soup can be made in a flash and will leave you feeling refreshed and healthy from the inside out.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cucumbers , peeled, medium
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1/2 baguette(split into 2 parts)
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 6 cups fresh spinach (or 1, 16 oz bag frozen)
  • 1 cup basil(or cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • greek yogurt
  • 2-3 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Note

This soup can easily be made gluten free by substituting the bread with a peeled baked potato and leaving out the croutons.

Directions

Step 1
Lightly toast the walnuts on a sheet pan and let cool.
Step 2
Roughly chop the peppers and cucumbers and garlic so that they are easier to drop into the blender.
Croutons:
Step 3
Chop 1/4 of a baguette into cubes. Toss with 2 T of olive oil, 1/4 t of salt and 1/4 t pepper in a plastic bag. Roast cubes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until toasted. Let cool and store for up to 1 week in pantry.
Step 4
Blend all vegetables and walnuts , 1/4 baguette, vinegar and honey until smooth. Add in yogurt , olive oil and and cold water and salt and pepper. Add cold water to desired consistency.
Step 5
Serve cool with toasted croutons on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Moonstone Salad

Happy Fall, friends!!
I am kicking off the cold weather with a fantastic spinach salad inspired by my recent trip to California with my mom & sister. We spent some time in San Fran, drove down the coast through Big Sur, and visited with my cousins in Santa Monica. The California coast is breathtaking, and apparently September is the time to go because it felt rather deserted. Everyone kept warning me  to expect throngs of cars and tourists on Highway One, but we saw very few other people.

If I had to pick ONE favorite place, it would be Cambria. It’s a quiet little town right on Moonstone Beach south of Big Sur. We stayed in a cute seaside apartment with a porch and view of the ocean.  I woke up before dawn to run along Moonstone Beach, but I kept stopping to pick up & examine stones and stuff them down my shorts, which made running difficult… Can you blame me? Look at the colors of these stones!

moonstones
One night we picked up some gorgeous fresh salads from a local restaurant and picnicked on the balcony while watching whales spouting far off in the distance. My first whale sightings ever!Thus the Moonstone salad was born. I tried to guess all the ingredients, so this is my take on it. I have made this salad 5 times now and am still not tired of it, so trust me, this is a keeper….

The grapefruit and pumpkin seeds make it kind of Fall-ish, and a perfect Thanksgiving dish to  balance out all that buttery goodness and turkey! I am feeling extra grateful for so many simple things this year: my health, my family’s health, plentiful food, a roof over my head and being able to spend time together and break bread. These are all things we easily take for granted until they are taken away from us…

May your Thanksgiving be full of gratitude, family time, and delicious food.

In love and health,

Lydia

 

Moonstone Salad

Serves 5
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Misc Serve Cold
This colorful salad is a nice compliment to the Thanksgiving table.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 small red onion (sliced in thin rings)
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (roasted and salted)
  • 6oz salty feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/2 grapefruit (peeled and sectioned)
  • 1 avocado (peeled and sliced thinly)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • salt and pepper to taste

Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot (chopped finely)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Step 1
Slice the red onion thinly and saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until caramelized and dark. Set aside to cool.
Step 2
Assemble the spinach on plates and top with the caramelized onions, feta cheese, sliced grapefruit, and avocado.
Step 3
Combine the orange juice and other vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled over the salad.
Step 4
Sprinkle pomegranate arils and pumpkin seeds over the salad and serve with the vinaigrette.

Farmer’s Market Friday:Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

I have been busting at the seams to share this recipe from “Homemade Summer”, a cookbook I received recently. This cookbook is full of delicious seasonal summer recipes like fresh herb salads, preserved lemons, and fig ice pops . I am in  love with the hilarious illustrations and photography in this sweet cookbook.

In . love.

I knew I would have to use some of my Farmer’s Market cherry tomatoes and spinach for this one.

homemade summer

This Spinach Omelet with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese is  the perfect brunch recipe for summer, and since you can make it ahead of time and chill it, it makes an absolutely stunning dish to take to a party or shower! Who would ever think to roll up an egg omelet into a beautiful savory, pinwheel? The result is phenomal. (Sidenote: I was not planning on blogging about this, so I took a few hurried pics with my iphone on Mother’s Day before it was devoured….not my best photography here, ok?) Sidenote #2: I messed with the recipe a bit and made substitutions to make it my own.

spinach  omelet 2

 

 

It sounds a little scary, but I was completely amazed  by how easily this recipe came together. The trick is to break this recipe up into 2 days.

On day one, you will roast these plump, tart cherry tomatoes until they are caramelized and sweet as sin. You will want to pop every one into your mouth once you pull them out of the oven. I am warning you, friends. I roast tomatoes often in the summer, and store them in the refrigerator in a jar of olive oil for a quick addition to pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.  But I usually end up eating half of the roasted tomatoes right out of the oven…

tomatoes

 

On day two, you will assemble the pinwheel omelet portion of the recipe .

tomatoes on omelet

Serve this omelet with some toast points, biscuits or blueberry muffins  for a beautiful brunch. Mimosas are recommended, too.

omelet breakfast

mimosas

 

Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 3 hours, 12 minutes
Total time 4 hours, 42 minutes
This rolled up spinach omelet with herbed goat cheese and roasted tomatoes is a beautiful addition to any brunch.

Ingredients

  • 20 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14oz spinach
  • 5 eggs, whites separated from yolks in separate bowls
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 2/3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese

Directions

Step 1
Day One: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss the halved tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and minced garlic. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3 hours, stirring once each hour.
Step 2
Store roasted tomatoes in a jar filled with olive oil
Step 3
Day Two: Separate eggs into 2 bowls, whites in one, yolks in the other. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds and then drain. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the spinach.
Step 4
In the large bowl of a food processor, combine the 1 T ricotta, spinach, egg yolks, pinch of salt and process for 1 minute, until spinach is chopped into homogenous tiny pieces.
Step 5
Meanwhile, whip your room temperature eggwhites on high with a hand or stand mixer in a clean metal bowl , until they form stiff peaks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 6
Fold the egg white mixture into the spinach mixture carefully.
Step 7
Now, spread the spinach mixture with a knife on a rectangular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12 minutes.
Step 8
While this is cooling, beat together the ricotta, goat cheese and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add in chopped herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 9
Spread the cheese mixture onto the flat spinach omelet while it is still in the pan. Press the roasted tomatoes into the cheese mixture. Carefully begin to roll the short end up towards the other end.
Step 10
With seam side, down , chill for at least 20-30 minutes covered in plastic wrap. Serve or leave it in the fridge well-covered for up to 24 hours.

Summer Frittata

Ahhhh, summer in Savannah.

Tybee Island July 4th

beach days, sangria , guacamole, bumper crops of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers,  squash, fresh watermelon juice,  perusing the farmer’s market, waking up 6 days a week at 5:00 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before it hits 90 degrees, and melting in an  old house that won’t dip below 80 degrees

 

It has its pluses and minuses.

 

One of the pluses is creating recipes that do not require an oven. I love coming home, warming up charcoals on the grill, tossing on some veggies and burgers and keeping the kitchen oven OFF( in addition to making milkshakes and eating ice cream, but let’s stick to HEALTHY today, shall we?)

An influx of 5  pounds of tomatoes out of the garden, as well as a potluck with 150 hungry runners called for only one thing: frittata.

I  turned the oven on and sipped my ice cold green tea while the temperature in my house reached 89 degrees. But it was worth it.

The picture below does not do it justice because it was snapped with my phone as I was rushing around trying to label food before the runners arrived.Sorry:-( I wasn’t going to even post it, but you need to see what a frittata looks like, don’t you?

You may opt to leave off the fancy blue labels that I like to call sticky notes, but it adds to the overall charm. ‘Twas my last-minute idea, obviously.

For those of you who whine, “Eating healthy is so expensive“. Observe.

Eggs: free-range $5 or free if you have your own chickens= $0

Tomatoes grown at your house=$0

1 bag frozen spinach=$2

fresh thyme from your garden=$0

6-8 oz Feta cheese=$3.50

salt and pepper=$0 (Let’s hope  you have that in your house already.ok?)

water from the sink=$0

 

Total cost if you have your own eggs & tomatoes: $5.50, cost per serving ~$1.10

Now go start planting your own mini garden!

I leave you with an a recent , incredibly interesting blog post from my favorite healthy eating blogger Sarah B at My New Roots on the little known  health  benefits of eggs. Egg yolks can improve your vision,too, and we could all use more foods to keep peepers peepin’! Sarah’s article will encourage you to put the egg-white fad to rest and jump on the egg-yolk bandwagon again. If you want to lighten it because you are concerned about calories, replace 1/2 of the yolks with an additional 6 egg whites.

Enjoy, friends. (Excuse the Instagram, less- than -perfect  photos today. …)

 

Summer Veggie Frittata

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast
Misc Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
A summery, colorful, and cheap frittata recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8oz feta cheese
  • 1 2 eggs, free range is possible
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk or milk
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 1 bag bag of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped finely)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Scramble all the eggs in a large bowl until combined and yolks are mixed well.
Step 2
Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3
Add in milk,crumbled feta, spinach and thyme. Stir until combined.
Step 4
Pout mixture into a greased, 9 by 13 inch pan.
Step 5
Sprinkle the cherry tomato halves over the mixture evenly.
Step 6
Bake at 350 degrees until entire mixture puffs up and the center is not runny or moving when you shake the pan. approximately 30-45 minutes. It will vary.