Tag Archives: quinoa

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/29/2013, Fall Edition

Gentle Readers, it has been a crazy week, and it’s just getting started. The day kicked off with losing a contact lens. Not as big of a deal in the modern era of disposable lenses, I’m just not certain it fell OUT of my eye and is not lodged somewhere in there. Thank you Autumn pollen for making my eyes itch, the root cause here.

We've been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

We’ve been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

But I digress, however much this may explain the lateness of my blog post and my lack of depth perception. This week I’m continuing to test pumpkin-based items, all of them. It made for an interesting shopping cart. We drew some looks. We’re also batch cooking in order to prep for some upcoming travel, and because we can.

Which means this week’s weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping list is:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

Which all translates loosely into:

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
We missed doing this in a previous week because of time, so a lazy Sunday is the perfect opportunity to get it made!

Monday: Veggie Chili
We are considering making this in advance as well, because it serves so many purposes and gets better sitting around. Nachos, burritos, lunchboxes: yes, please.

Tuesday: Salmon and Quinoa
Freezer staples, we are continuing to work through an inventory of stock. High in lean protein, this meals suits everyone.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Wednesday: Soup and Sammie
We hit a bread overstock that’s leading me to bread pudding and sandwich nights. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a family favorite. Add some honeycrisp apple slices (TPCs Jr are now referred to as “Applesauruses” as I haven’t gotten to eat a whole apple in I don’t know when), and you’ve got a meal.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
We are breaking new ground here–we just had omelets with mushrooms, spinach, cheese, and avocado for lunch. They are more veggie than egg, and so satisfying that we can certainly run the full round of Sunday activities without flagging.

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Friday: Burgers and Fries
This is my craving, and we have ground beef to use up. The fries will be homemade sweet potato. I love fall, even if I can’t see it correctly.

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Saturday: Dine Out!
Time to scope some new territory, where will it be? I’m thinking Durham . . .

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

What is your favorite pumpkin item? Want to be a guest blogger? Send it my way. Slots open for all forms of drinkable pumpkin–I won’t touch that stuff with a proverbial 10-foot straw.

Send Jack-o-Lanterns, pies, and pancakes to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Smoothie Time–Tips and Recipes for Drinking Your Nutrition

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The Whole Foods Salad Bar: A User’s Guide

Gentle Readers, it is serious confession time. I love the Whole Foods salad bar in a way most people reserve for God and Country. I love the variety. I love that I didn’t have to prep 1 million individual ingredients. I love the fresh crispy vegetables and the potential of using squash casserole as a topping.

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

That’s right, squash casserole. Don’t judge. Here are my tips to making the most of your trip, without taking out a second mortgage.

The Whole Foods Salad Bar: The Practical Cook Way

1. Limit the salad dressing. Nothing cranks up the cost like too much dressing. Also, it overpowers your careful selections. Let other things flavor your salad, like couscous, quinoa, egg salad, fruit, etc.

Quinoa can add flavor, and is typically already dressed. Whole Foods Salad.

Quinoa can add flavor, and is typically already dressed. Whole Foods Salad.

2. Diversify your offerings. There are so many things from which to choose, don’t get caught loading up on any one thing. If the salad is just for you, take one of each kind of tofu, one tomato, one broccoli, and so on.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

3. Don’t skip the hot bar. The vegetables don’t stop at the edge of the salad bar, try steamed green beans and asparagus, cooked carrots, salsa, squash casserole (can’t recommend that enough), the sky’s the limit.

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

4. Meat is salad too. This will cost you your weight in gold, so limit the addition. However, the smoked meat bar is perfect for a single wing, a portion of brisket, or the top of a rib (skip the bones).

5. Sweet, Crunchy, Salty. The best salads are balanced in composition. Look for different ways to bring color, texture, and taste. Try unusual combinations. If you’re stuck, employ your kids to assist. They don’t come with the same barriers and restrictions you do in terms of “right” and “not right.” Be prepared to eat some combos that would be best on Man vs Food. My favorite right now? Adding a piece of fried yucca on the top.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

What’s your favorite trick or foodstuff at the Whole Foods Salad Bar? Post a comment here or on the Facebook page, or Tweet my way!

Send heavy items, good ideas, and legitimate questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Sunday, Weekly Menus!

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Weekly Menus: Summertime Edition

Gentle Readers, when did summer become busier than the school year? Lots of fun in the queue, but my calendar is openly weeping. Combined with the heat and training for upcoming 5k for Wounder Warrior Project, and I’m more focused than ever on efficient, seasonal, light eating.

Meze platter from Bosphorus: endless variety, light and amazing.

Meze platter from Bosphorus: endless variety, light and amazing.

My friend and food muse, SassySpice, teased me the other night about my fruit obsession, but it’s true–healthy transportable water, with some sugar, that’s what it is.

Fruit: The Cookie Antidote

Fruit: The Cookie Antidote

Plus, I’ve done some serious field research recently courtesy of my fellow pig fan from the Left Coast, Chinese5Spice. No regrets, but this week must be simple food one can eat outdoors or after a trip to the pool.

Pork Belly Buns from Lucha Tigre: Run Don't Walk (Cucumber makes it healthy)

Pork Belly Buns from Lucha Tigre: Run Don’t Walk (Cucumber makes it healthy)

Which means this weeks weekly menus are as follows (and yes, apparently I tried to sneak an extra day into the week there, good job me):

Weekly Menus: 6/16/2013

Weekly Menus: 6/16/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List (complete with another round of ingredients for another birthday party!):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/16/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/16/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Salad
I am going to unapologetically combine a field research trip  (bulk bin cereals) to the Whole Foods with a raid on their salad bar. I really crave this. Upcoming post on tips and tricks on what you get there–please post yours in the comments!

Better to top your salad with a little barbecue than a lot of ranch.

Better to top your salad with a little barbecue than a lot of ranch.

Monday: Fish and Quinoa
This meal serves both TPCs Jr, one who loves fish (The Youngest) and one who loves quinoa (The Eldest). High protein, light, and infinitely variable, I highly recommend you give this one a try. Serve with either a hot green veggie or a cold cold salad.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Tuesday: Hummus and Falafal
You can make hummus from practically anything, and it’s usually way better than any commercial product, and in consumable quantities. I’m either going to do a blend of chickpeas and edamame, or use white beans and lime. Leftover chips or toasted (aka, getting stale) bread as an accompaniment.

Wednesday: Pasta and Salad
It’s carbonara time I think. Or perhaps diced fresh veggies and a light lemon sauce.

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
We’re in high biscuit production mode here. They make a great portable breakfast, toast and reheat well, and I want to be that old lady who can whip out light and fluffy biscuits without breaking a sweat. Game on.

Inspired by Rise in Durham's Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Biscuit. Yes, it was that good.

Inspired by Rise in Durham’s Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Biscuit. Yes, it was that good.

Friday: Leftovers in a Quesadilla
Sounds more purposeful this way, don’t you think? These were a huge hit last week, so we’re going for Round 2.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This will be pizza, as we celebrate another birthday with friends. More cake, more festivities, and another pack-up to travel.

Carrot Cake Decorated with Care by TPCs Jr.

Carrot Cake Decorated with Care by TPCs Jr.

What’s on your table this summer? Post your comments below, including your tips and tricks for the Whole Foods Salad Bar (which seems to be a shared addiction). Or Tweet my way. I don’t bite. Unless you’re bacon.

Send cold foods, good ideas, and actual questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, by popular demand: Jeepney in NYC Reviewed!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 5/12/2013

Gentle Readers, sometimes one must say “uncle.” Last week, in the midst of an extremely busy period, I failed to post the blog as promised. I heard no roar and outcry, and instead opted to grab an extra hour of sleep, thus doubling my total. I wish that last were a math flub. Life is busy, incredibly so, and I’m always looking for another way to stretch time and do one more thing.

My favorite food critics: The Practical Cooks Junior

My favorite food critics: The Practical Cooks Junior

So apologies for anyone who was counting on the Chorizo Hash Recipe, it’s coming your way soon. Confession: I am human, extremely so, and trying to manage an awful lot while spending time with my kids and trying to stay healthy. Sometimes I succeed, other times I don’t.

Life on the road is challenging. Quick calories are often the only choice.

Life on the road is challenging. Quick calories are often the only choice.

However, as the Jrs and I celebrate Mother’s Day today, fresh off a week where TPC’s Mom (and TPC’s Dad, a hero in this story) watched the kids while I traveled, I am reminded of what actually matters. Thanks to all for making this journey count.

My not glamorous breakfast of choice.

My not glamorous breakfast of choice.

And now, courtesy of input from the team, the weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 5/12/2013

Weekly Menus: 5/12/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/12/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/12/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Fish and Greens
At the suggestion of The Youngest TPC Jr, it will be salmon. Possibly with a citrus glaze, beside couscous and greens.

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Monday: Salad
Detox begins again. I actually ate a number of delightful kale salads in Las Vegas, much to the merriment of my burger eating compatriots.

Tuesday: Quinoa with Chickpeas
From The Eldest, no idea why this popped in her head, but let’s go with it.

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Wednesday: Meat loaf and Mashed Potatoes
On occasion I like to be extremely traditional. Let’s see how the Jrs take to it.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
A family classic, we will be working on biscuits and grits again soon.

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

Friday: Vegetable delight
Fridge cleanup, and I’m thinking Mediterranean as the tying element.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Raleigh perhaps? Time to explore new ground!

Working on a series of food travel adventures. Post a comment below for areas you’d like to see covered! Nominate your town or a place you love to eat. I’m listening.

Send your lattes, questions, and good wishes to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, this time I mean it, Chorizo Hash Recipe!

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Quinoa Melange Plus Chickpeas (a Recipe of Sorts)

Gentle Readers, rarely does the opportunity to use the words “quinoa” and “melange” in a title present itself. For anyone unsure how to pronounce quinoa, here you go. “Melange,” you are on your own. This fine, protein-packed product is found, where else, but at Trader Joe’s.

Quinoa Melange from Trader Joe's (frozen!)

Quinoa Melange from Trader Joe’s (frozen!)

They do a great job of marketing, and TPC’s Junior are fans of samples, so there you have it. We bought this as a sample and served it as a meal.

Here’s how: prepare the quinoa according to the stovetop instructions. Watch it carefully, as it will get pretty hot and stick to the pan. Meanwhile, rinse one can of chickpeas (also known as garbanzos, thanks to the Eldest TPC for pointing this out). Add chickpeas to the pan. Stir. Serve.

Quinoa melange with added chickpeas. Nom!

Quinoa melange with added chickpeas. Nom!

I am a big quinoa fan, but the Jrs were not before. This blend is a little sweet from the sweet potatoes, a little toothsome from the quinoa, and nicely nutty from the chickpeas. It packs a good nutritional punch, and it is obscenely easy to serve on a school night.

This is a run don’t walk situation, I would recommend getting at least two bags. It would work very well as a side to poultry, pork, or fish, if you don’t swing veggie. Are you a quinoa fan? Post your two cents in the comments section.

Send your questions, comments, and dinner ideas to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Friday, The Halal Guys: NYC Mobile Food Review!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 1/20/2013

Gentle Readers, strap in because this week is a wild one. Though our meals seem to grow ever more simple and ad hoc, with the help of my able assistants, The Practical Cooks Jr, we are getting more stuff done than ever before. Breakfasts are laid out, snacks are prepared for guests, tables are set, all as if by house elves. (TPCs Jr are VERY fond of Harry Potter, for anyone who missed that reference.)

Afterschool snack requested by the Juniors: goat cheese with pepper jelly and wine jelly.

Afterschool snack requested by the Juniors: goat cheese with pepper jelly and wine jelly.

So food at our house is being greatly influenced by what we can accomplish together. We continue to eat down the stocks of what we have, bringing new things in to try. We’ll be talking cheese in the next blog, as we work to expand our knowledge. Plus there’s a sale at the local cheese shop.

But I digress. Amidst a whirl of personal and school activity, here are this week’s weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 1/20/2013

Weekly Menus: 1/20/2013

And the very light Four-Square Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/20/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/20/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Pizza and Salad
Tried and true, nothing says “holiday weekend” like this combination.

Monday: Quinoa and Greens
Once more, the devilish food marketing skills of Trader Joe’s are at work. Though I’m perfectly capable of making this myself from scratch, a recent sample won the heart of the notoriously picky Youngest. So to the frozen section we go. Look for a review soon.

Tuesday: Leftover Surprise
This has often been where new salads are born, of necessity when the goat cheese has inadvertently grown a furry coat in the back of the fridge. Surprise!

Wednesday: Fish and Chips
I like to say it, and I like to make it. From a recent junk food night, we have tater tots that need to be paired with something. If the fish doesn’t fly, not dogs it is.

Thursday: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Stew
I’m fond of these two ingredients in a tortilla, I’m going to try a soupier version of the combo.

Friday: Dine Out!
Field research with my shortest field researcher who is not a Junior, NYC style.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Fine, I like food, and I’m heading back to NYC to eat my way through the boroughs.

We need inspiration! What are you cooking these days? Shoot us some ideas in the comment box. The crickets won’t mind.

Submit your questions today for an upcoming blog post! Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Next up on Wednesday, For the Love of Cheese and Jelly!

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How to Throw and Impromptu Cookout and Why You Should

Gentle Readers, there is nothing better than cooking out in the summer, unless it’s someone else doing the cooking. If you need an excuse to have a party or gathering, and really, who doesn’t, light a fire in the grill, and start dialing out. It’s a potluck on a grill, what could be easier?

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie.

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie. (As stated by an actual Australian.)

This past week, I had some truly delicious grilled chicken, consumed outside after the blazing heat had died down. Food tastes better outside. Food cooked over fire, better still. And if you supply the main and distribute the sides, it’s an easy occasion.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Here was the menu:

Grilled Chicken: Marinated overnight in a top-secret blend of flavorings and spices (top-secret because I could not read all of the labels of the myriad Asian chili sauces my hostess with the mostest used).

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Corn on the Cob: Need I say more? Boiled, with butter and salt. Yum.

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Watermelon: Again, I could eat my weight in this stuff, and it’s designed to be consumed outside.

Summer happiness = watermelon

Summer happiness = watermelon

Random Whole Foods Side Salads: I’ll confess, this was me. I was working up until the cookout, and my hostess graciously let me off the hook. I brought quinoa and some firecracker slaw. I am back to my quinoa addiction, a perfect summer food.

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Watermelon Semifreddo: Days later, I’m still dreaming about this dessert. Courtesy of my friend over at The Professor’s Table, this is a happy marriage of something like an ice-box pie top with a boozy watermelon granita bottom. I am seeking the recipe, or will direct you to her site if she posts it there. I didn’t think I could love or crave watermelon more. I was wrong.

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

We all brought things to drink, everyone did work to make the meal happen, and we ate outside. It was relaxing, delicious, and memorable. All that a summer meal should be. So go, create a moment outside of your kitchen! Thank me later. (Or invite me now. :))

Outdoor wine table.

Outdoor wine table.

Special thanks to the Friday night crew. It was awesome: you continue to remind me why I love food.

What’s your favorite thing to cook on the grill? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way. I am on vacation, but listening.

Send your invitations, spare watermelon, and actual questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Friday: Not Quite Carbonara Recipe (or Vegetarians Welcome)!

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