Tag Archives: salad

Weekly Menus: Week of 6/30/2013 Confession Edition

Gentle Readers, today’s post is about habits. For better or worse, we fall into them. Today, having gotten used to not blogging after a week’s hiatus, I almost forgot to post this. That’s how quickly a habit can change. Equally true are good habits. I never ran a step in my life that wasn’t required by a class or a rabid animal until I started attempting fitness a few years back.

My Third Race: 5k to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project!

My Third Race: 5k to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project!

Now I feel itchy if I don’t try to run. Slow as I may be, I’m still faster than the couch.

For my confession: I’ve fallen out of the habit of going to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. I miss it. I know there are ingredients waiting for me there. It’s easy to go into neutral and coast. I want to fight that. So I’m confessing here. Next week is another chaotic ride, but I’m going to do better.

Celebrate your independence from hothouse tomatoes! Bring on summer!

Celebrate your independence from hothouse tomatoes! Bring on summer!

It’s easy to survive on Peanut M and M’s, but I need more salad. It’s great to go out to eat and try new things, but I miss my kitchen. I think  it’s time to host a dinner party or a tea (or perhaps a lemonade and cookies function in honor of the heat). The Jrs and I can wear party dresses and I can remind myself why I love food.

My Life on the Road: Unicorns and Chocolate

My Life on the Road: Unicorns and Chocolate

So back to better habits, which can form as easily as the bad ones. Thanks to everyone for riding this ride with me. I appreciate your feedback and support. It makes all of this possible.

My dinner twice last week. Chicken and waffles!

My dinner twice last week. Chicken and waffles!

Without further adieu, this week’s menus are:

Weekly Menus: 6/30/2013

Weekly Menus: 6/30/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List is:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/30/2013

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/30/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: BLT Salad
After being mocked for eating a low-bacon to lettuce ratio, I’m hitting the test kitchen for this one. Stand by.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

Monday: Wings
I may make them, I will eat them. But I’m not going to skimp on the celery and the carrots. I crave food found in nature right now after weeks upon weeks of insanity.

Tuesday: Veggie Burgers
Tis the season for grilling out. I actually like these as well. I know it’s a bit of a cheat, but I’ll make the sides from scratch, and there will be fruit on the side.

Wednesday: Dine Out(side)!
We’ve got plans, and I look forward to them. More on this as they emerge. Team TPC is doing some exploring.

Thursday: Not Dogs
Can you tell I’m on a veggie kick? I was also challenged to find new ways to use TVP. I’m thinking about this, and it reminded me to make a batch of hot dog chili with the stuff. It’s a particularly Southern thing, more sauce that foodstuff, and perfect vegetarian junk food with slaw on a not dog.

The iconic hot dog who applies condiments to itself.

The iconic hot dog who applies condiments to itself.

Friday: Carbonara
We’ll have bacon in the house, and this meal is a great end to the week. Comforting, filling, and a reminder that we’re home.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We are hitting up a new country, let’s find out which one. I’m voting Korea.

Does summer change your habits for better or for worse? Confess here, I’m listening and probably guilty of the same. Post a comment below.

Send forgiveness, questions, and vine-ripened tomatoes 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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Up next, The Whole Food Salad Bar, A User’s Guide.

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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.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

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

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Weekly Menus: 5/19/2013

Gentle Readers, with spring comes renewal: new foods, new ideas, new quests. And I need your help. First, the hunt for perfect fried chicken continues. If you know of spots in Savannah, GA, or Charleston, SC, let me know. They are targets for the research mission.

Duck fat tater tots with Dragon Sauce, Korean Pork Belly Slider, Sweet Potato Fries, Pork Belly Tacos: Four-Square Win

Duck fat tater tots with Dragon Sauce, Korean Pork Belly Slider, Sweet Potato Fries, Pork Belly Tacos: Four-Square Win

Next, if you consider yourself a dollar store guru, I need some guidance. I’ve challenged a fellow food blogger (aka @VeggieMacabre) to a Dollar Store Dinner cookoff. If you’re familiar with Mutually Assured Destruction, the political theory that guided much of our nuclear policy in the 80s and 90s, you have a good grasp for where the challenge is headed. The rules are still fuzzy, but the basics are you have to produce a meal from dollar store finds, with allowances for spices and butter/oil you already have.

Pork Belly and Kale Biscuit from Rise in Durham: This is not a drill, you need to eat this soon.

Pork Belly and Kale Biscuit from Rise in Durham: This is not a drill, you need to eat this soon.

Things got problematic when we added the “you have to eat what I cook clause.” Game on. I need the best of the best here. And by the best, I mean I’ll be cooking a 3-course meal laced with Vienna sausages. All guidance and thoughts on dollar store shopping appreciated.

Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Toffee Paired with Red Wine at the Newly Opened Bar Lusconi in Durham. I had a moment.

Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Toffee Paired with Red Wine at the Newly Opened Bar Lusconi in Durham. I had a moment.

Yes, I did eat all of the things photographed above yesterday. In unrelated news, I’m going for a run shortly. But I digress. Another travel week, another round of TPCs Junior leading the charge. Thus the weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 5/19/2013

Weekly Menus: 5/19/2013

The Four-Square Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/19/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/19/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken
Easy and efficient. We’ll eat what we want, make stock from the bones, and use the rest in the salad and chicken pie later in the week.

Monday: Salad + Leftovers
The perfect medium to clean out the fridge. A bit of chicken and some fruit, done.

Tuesday: Mexican
Leaving TPCs Jr to test a new taco kit. Let’s see what the critics have to say.

Wednesday: Lasagna
Nothing says “easy weeknight” like a lasagna. That your mom makes. When you’re not there. Thanks TPC’s Mom!

Thursday: Chicken Pie
Just need the pie crust, some chicken, more vegetables, a bit of stock. With the right veggies, it’s a light springtime meal.

Friday: Grilled Cheese and Soup
We are on a quest to actually FINISH a loaf of bread in a week. We did last week, but only with concerted effort. Even with daily lunches, a little goes a long way. More on that later when I reveal my Depression Era Hamburger Steak Recipe.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This will be TPCs Jr’s choice–they’ve  been going fairly exotic, so we shall see.

Remember, all fried chicken and dollar store wisdom wanted. Shoot me an email, post a comment, Tweet #DollarStoreDinner my way.

Send duck fat tots, questions, or fried chicken locations 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: Eating Las Vegas

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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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Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

Gentle Readers, another week, another busy time. I am learning to forgive myself for doing less cooking and more plating up these days. There are still inspired moments in the kitchen, we still eat very well, and I know that the time will come when I make souffles once more.

My Kitchen Staff, The Practical Cooks Junior

My Kitchen Staff, The Practical Cooks Junior

But for now, the focus is on time together, teaching the Practical Cooks Junior how to cook, and eating food that is both healthy and visually appealing. The Jrs help me shop, plan, and prep, which takes more time, but yields better results for the team. I can’t complain.

Without further preamble, here are our Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

Weekly Menus: 3/3/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/3/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 3/3/2013

Which translates into:

Sunday: Flying Mayans
This will be burrito style and use up the leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and rice I found in my fridge upon returning from my business trip. Woot!

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Monday: Soup and Sammie
We got some rocking good bread (there has been a protest held over “just brown bread”), and sammies are once more fun. Many smiles in the grocery store when I made them choose, without interference, saying, you pick it, but don’t complain later. Survey says, the Jrs prefer “prairie” bread, or something with a lot of seeds.

Tuesday: Pork chops and Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Though my offspring are still primarily vegetarians, I’m going to try this hybrid meal. They’ll gladly eat the gnocchi on its own (with extra crispy sage), and I’ll serve a pile of Brussels sprouts on the side. That way they can choose to pork chop or not.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Wednesday: Veggie Burger and Fries
This feels like a night to watch a bit of a movie and have some vegetarian junk food. Always popular to get over the midweek hump. We’ll have salad or broccoli with.

Thursday: Polenta with Mushrooms
You can’t complain about raising kids who can tell a) which portobello mushrooms are the best and b) the clerk that they’re not shitakes.

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Polenta with Eggs, Spinach, and Mushrooms: A vegetarian family favorite!

Friday: Leftovers
Who knows what we’ll have left and in what capacity, but it is going to end up on the table. We can stretch this with crostini or cheese and crackers. Mama Tapas in the house!

Saturday: Dine Out!
The plan is to go restaurant reviewing with Waldorf. Hopefully we’ll find a new gem or at least fight about it in the process. We’ve been far too agreeable lately.

Send good ideas, dishwashers, and extra sleep 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 on Wednesday: Spinach Crostini, a Recipe of Sorts

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Weekly Menus: Travel Edition, Week of 2/24/2013

Gentle Readers, sometimes it is time to throw in the towel. Such is the case with today’s weekly menu post and format. For one, late last week, the Practical Cooks Junior undeclared themselves vegetarians. It was bacon that did it. They are my offspring after all.

The bacon that broke the vegetarian streak.

The bacon that broke the vegetarian streak.

We had a good discussion about eating as low and humanely on the food chain as we could as omnivores. You’ll still see plenty of meatlessness around here, but I will be able to use up the CSA pork warehouse that is my freezer.

Plus, I’m traveling again, and TPC’s Mom will be at the helm. I have found that she listens to me and my meal plans precisely as often as I listened to her tell me to get off the phone as a teen. Read: Never. Therefore, I violated yet one more rule and shopped without a list. Here’s everything I bought in preparation for next week:

My grocery list, in picture form.

My grocery list, in picture form.

Once you’ve broken a rule, make it worth your time. I look forward to hearing what is on the menu for next week. I’m sure it will be delicious. Clearly I’m Southern, I bought the “snow and ice trinity”–that’s milk, bread, and eggs for those who don’t know–and I’m my mother’s daughter, because there’s something green.

Simple yet delicious, The Practical Cook's House Salad.

Simple yet delicious, The Practical Cook’s House Salad.

Don’t feel too bad for the home team, my pantry and freezer stay stocked with enough food to feed a football team for a week. It is how I was raised. For fun, here’s a list of all the things I could make with the above items, without even hitting the pantry:

  • French toast
  • Egg and cheese sandwiches
  • Cheese toast
  • Fruit salad
  • Green salad with fruit
  • Fruit and cheese plate
Hot buttery cast iron skillet is key to great French Toast!

Hot buttery cast iron skillet is key to great French Toast!

What’s on your meal plan this week? Post a comment in the box below, just to see if it’s still working. 🙂

Send your kitchen panics, questions, and well 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: Fried Chicken and Waffles vs Sriracha Potato Chips, On Video!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 1/6/2013

Gentle Readers, it’s that special time of year between the holiday cookie rush and physical fitness. Each year this is punctuated by my yearly cholesterol check. So chances are extremely high that I will clean up my Deep Fried habits. Tomorrow.

Blackberry Salad with Sweet Pecans and Mozzarella Cheese

Blackberry Salad with Sweet Pecans and Mozzarella Cheese

I jest, I know it is time to focus again, and so I will eat salads and grapefruit and run more than usual to beat the odds.

Which means on this week’s menus we have:

Weekly Menus: 1/62013

Weekly Menus: 1/62013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/6/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/6/2013

Translating into a reasonably healthy:

Sunday: Salmon and Veggies
I will have a fall-back plan, probably eggs, for the TPCs Junior. But I’m craving salmon, and listening.

Monday: Leftover Surprise
We’ve been rocking out the leftovers in the last couple of weeks, recommitting to not wasting food. It’s always a good challenge to use what’s on hand.

Tuesday: ??? Dine Out ???
This is scheduled to be our night out eating some culture’s cuisine with our favorite crankypants, Waldorf. The challenge is answering history and culture questions about the “country” in which we land. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday: Burgers and Fries
While at first glance this may not look like healthy living, it will probably be a combo of actual burgers and veggie burgers. We are hosting the handiman with the mostest, TPCs Dad, and that means beef is what’s for dinner. Food on a bun is an easy compromise. Plus the fries will be sweet potato, and there will be serious green veg on the side.

Thursday: Fake Chicken and Broccoli
Look for a full review on this one soon. We tested a new line of soy chicken (again, I don’t love meat replacement products, I prefer unadulterated ones, but this is transitional), and it was a huge hit. Even I’ll admit it was tasty. With broccoli and brown rice or noodles, it’s a quick weeknight dinner, and we’ve got a busy week.

Friday: Salad Bar!
We bought three kinds of salad greens (each of us has a preference), and this will be the last call to use up whatever has not been consumed during the week.

Saturday: Dine Out!
More field research is to be done! I’ve heard rumblings that a place I tested and disliked has improved, and there are several others untried in the area. As always, ping me with suggestions, I’m happy to try new spots!

Are you committing to good health in 2013? Any changes on the horizon? I’m still trying to walk the line between raising vegetarians and my own personal drive for protein. I do not want to raise pastatarians or cheesetarians. Sigh, onward and upward. Comment away!

Send your lettuces, lucrative offers, and kitchen confessions 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, Review of Rise in Durham: Biscuits and Doughnuts, Oh My.

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