Tag Archives: vegetables

Road Salad: A How-To-Survive Guide for Eating While Traveling

Gentle Readers, it’s a good thing I love my job and the travel that goes with it, because business travel is not for the faint of heart. Yes, it’s a great opportunity to see the inside of conference halls across the globe. Yes, I adore seeing colleagues I work with constantly and remotely. Yes, I even get to eat meals sometimes. But for all of you who travel as part of your job, or as part of your life, you know that cocktail nibbles do not a healthy diet make.

This Tower of Bacon was featured in a recent party I threw for work. Though there is parsley present, it is not a salad.

This Tower of Bacon was featured in a recent party I threw for work. Though there is parsley present, it is not a salad.

When I can, I bring my running shoes. When I can’t, I throw towels down on the floor and do yoga. There’s always a way to bring a little zen into the schedule. I have a friend who only stays in hotels with pools so he can swim. Make it work for you. Eat fruit and veg when you can, and salads are a great way to do that.

Fried Squash Blossoms on a bed of shaved zucchini. Totally counts as a salad.

Fried Squash Blossoms on a bed of shaved zucchini. Totally counts as a salad.

Road Salad:

1. Take control of your salad destiny in both portion size and toppings. You can order salad almost anywhere, it’s what happens next that can destroy the mission. If you only like one type of salad and it’s way high-cal, order the smaller one. If you’re crazy for greens, go big and limit the toppings. Make it work for you. Small and dense salads can be perfect in a grab and go situation on the road. Just limit the dressing and save the calories for something you want to eat.

Small but mighty, this salad features halloumi cheese and veggie kebabs (with a side of masala chai for kick). From Samovar Tea House, San Francisco.

Small but mighty, this salad features halloumi cheese and veggie kebabs (with a side of masala chai for kick). From Samovar Tea House, San Francisco.

2. If you’re tired of leafy greens, try the beet salad, or the caprese, or even fruit! Expand your mind to include a broader range. Another great choice is a main that is served over a bed of greens. May not be in the salad column, but totally counts.

Greek yogurt with dates, honey, fruit, and basil and mint, plus walnuts. I dream of this sometimes. Also from Samovar Tea House in San Francisco.

Greek yogurt with dates, honey, fruit, and basil and mint, plus walnuts. I dream of this sometimes. Also from Samovar Tea House in San Francisco.

3. Don’t fear the protein. Be it egg, fish, meal, or fowl, or legumes or nuts for that matter, add some lasting energy to your salad. If you are doing fruit salad, get yogurt or cheese. Balance in the force. You’ll stay full longer. This is not about starvation, this is about nutrition with some enjoyment.

Lunch salad from Chevy's Mexican with avocado and steak. Yes please.

Lunch salad from Chevy’s Mexican with avocado and steak. Yes please.

My favorite trick: a Peppermint Patty as a conclusion. I’m not a huge mint person, but mint makes me think of brushing my teeth, which signals that it’s time to stop eating. And chocolate = winning. Feel virtuous about your salad and have a sweet to conclude. You’ll feel satisfied and ready to face the canape again, I promise.

Rare tuna on a bed of greens. Perfect light entree.

Rare tuna on a bed of greens. Perfect light entree.

Send your green leafies, good ideas, and food challenges 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, Busy Family Edition

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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: 4/28/2013

Gentle Readers, it’s about to get real here in TPC-land. We are finishing an amazing weekend of back-t0-back birthday parties, soccer practice and book club (woot!), and we are tired. May is one of the most challenging months for me professionally, because the tech event circuit kicks into extreme high gear.

My Life: Half of Calories Consumed Are in Transit

My Life: Half of Calories Consumed Are in Transit

So for the month of May, starting now, I’m dialing back to posting twice a week: Wednesday and Sunday. I’ll focus mainly on recipes and reviews, the two most popular categories, with video when I can manage it, along with the standard Weekly Menus. If you have an objection, or better yet an idea for a guest blog and the content for it, speak now.

5K Training Continues: The Eldest is still in the lead.

5K Training Continues: The Eldest is still in the lead.

My time has been focused on bringing TPCs Junior ever more into the process of planning, cooking, and cleaning, and it’s fantastic. This is time-consuming, as I can do it faster myself, but incredible rewarding long-term. We are efficient when we work as a team, and all of us learn from it. Highly recommended if you’ve been doing lone wolf in the kitchen.

Enough preamble, now for the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/28/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/28/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/28/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/28/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Potato Hash
I haven’t quite decided what this means, but I have leftover baked potatoes, sausage in the freezer that needs to be cooked, and a dream. I sold it based on the name–there is such power in naming things, as my friend and fellow podcaster is teaching me–the idea will surely follow.

Time Flies: Retro Picture Alert,The Annual Planting of the Potatoesotatoes

Time Flies: Retro Picture Alert,The Annual Planting of the Potatoes

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs + Salad
This week we are eating around the world a bit. When I make menus with TPCs Jr, it provides a great frame for creativity.

Meatballs in the Oven

Meatballs in the Oven

Tuesday: Sammies
Busy day, simple menu. Toasting sandwiches, putting them on a platter, adding fruit: all of these tricks turn the mundane into the profound. (See Simple Sandwich Ideas for more.)

Summer Sandwich Platter

Summer Sandwich Platter

Wednesday: France, Visiting
Fine, we’re not really breaking out our passports, but we are going out to eat French food. We have a tradition of “visiting” countries via their food. We started this game with the cantankerous Waldorf, who challenges everyone with trivia about the country we’re in. Great fun is had by all. More on this in Wednesday’s Blog.

Thursday: Mexican
Nacho night! This is a huge crowd favorite, a fast and delicious meal that everyone can help prepare.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Friday: Leftover Surprise!
Time to clean out the pantry. And I do adore a challenge. I’ll let you know what happens.

Saturday: Dine Out!
I’m heading to dinner with a friend who likes to try new places like I do. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide a review of a new find!

What’s your favorite kind of food (ethnicity/culture/etc) to eat? We’re always looking for new ideas! Post a comment below. I’m listening.

Send your extra hours of sleep, kitchen challenges, and general mayhem 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: It’s a Small (Food) World: Traveling by Way of Cuisine

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/14/2013

Gentle Readers, what a week it has been. Lots of eating going on, including TPCs Jr politely ordering cactus tacos and spatzle. Their tastes are diverse. No idea why.

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

In this spirit, they’ve offered feedback on the menu, and I’m going to test a few things in the kitchen. It’s time to shake things up.

Speaking of shaking things up, there are some changes coming to the blog. If there’s not a strong objection from the masses, I’m cutting down to blogging twice a week, with a goal of bringing more to each entry. There will be more guests on board soon–more voices–and more multimedia. I miss making videos, and I’ve started podcasting in my work life, so who knows what could happen here.

But some things stay the same, and that includes weekly menu planning, and here they are:

Weekly Menus: 4/14/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/14/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/14/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/14/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken Salad
I’ll have mine on greens, and TPCs Jr will likely have it on the side. This is an easy meal I’ve missed being able to make.

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Monday: Dine Out! (Pizza and Salad)
It is odd for me to have my dinner plans made for me, but not know my dining companions. A very cool idea from my friend who is organizing the Digital Marketing for Business conference, there are speakers’ dinners. I’m on a panel about Sexism in IT, that should make for lively dinner conversation.

Tuesday: Nachos
This is sponsored by TPCs Jr. I have no complaints, we haven’t had this lately. My challenge is shoving as many vegetables into the mix as possible.

These veggie nachos come loaded.

These veggie nachos come loaded.

Wednesday: Fish and Greens
Probably fish packets, with citrus and herbs, and something green on the side. Starch to be determined.

Thursday: Pork chops!
Again, I’ve missed these. And with advanced planning, perhaps I’ll remember to take them out of the freezer to thaw!

Beautiful Pork Chops

Beautiful Pork Chops from Brinkley Farms

Friday: Leftover Surprise
I look forward to the surprise. I think it may be pork and mango on a bed of greens.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Not gonna lie, pretty excited about this one. There’s a Food Truck Rodeo, and I’ll be doing a joint review of it with fellow blogger VeggieMacabre. Oh, this will be epic. We’ve been planning this for over a year, and schedules finally lined up. I plan on eating one of everything, because that is what I do. Game on.

What are you cooking these days? I need an infusion of new ideas, or a challenge. Post a comment below. I accept all challenges that won’t kill me (shellfish and Nutella, well the latter won’t kill me, but my complaints will certainly be heartfelt). Or Tweet my way. I am listening!

Send avocados, salad ideas, and good intentions 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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Next up on Wednesday: 3 Salad Ideas OR Greens with Envy.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/7/2013 (with actual meal plans!)

Gentle Readers, what a long strange trip it has been. By that, I mean business and vacation were back to back in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve eaten my way along both coasts of these United States. Strangely, I now have intense cravings for Malaysian food, perhaps because BestieForce has been in both places. Yes, those are unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

And yes, I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged and craving this, Roti. Reviews of the two Malaysian restaurants are pending, and rumor has it I may learn to cook the sticky dessert rice I kept eating as well. Stay tuned.

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

But back in realityville, I came home to a reasonably clean kitchen and a fairly blank slate. You can see I’m not done globetrotting from the menus though. There’s an international festival at school this week, but we tend to eat that way all the time.

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Without further delay, here are our weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad!
I’ve been craving this for days. Though I managed a few of them over the last couple of weeks, it was not as often as it should have been.

Monday: Indian
I have some cauliflower that needs roasting, and I may try my hand at the sauce that goes with the roti pictured above. Plus chickpeas. Though my recent trip to Roti Boti has spoiled me on this front. Sigh, food memories . . .

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Tuesday: Stir fry OR Breakfast for dinner
Depending on time and leftover supplies, I’ll make the call. I feel certain I know which the Jrs will choose. I have a half gallon of milk that needs to be consumed quickly, and eggs too. I’m thinking it’s time to make Waffles in bulk. Perhaps to be served with chicken?

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Wednesday: Dine Out (Germany!)
We’re celebrating someone cranky’s birthday (cough cough Wadorf), and the Jrs have decided to go German on this one. Our tradition is to visit a new “country” (via food) and then ask a lot of trivia questions about that country during dinner. It’s great fun, give it a try.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Thursday: Mexican
It’s been too long since we have had our simple and traditional spinach quesadillas at home. Perhaps I’ll make sopapillas to go with. Mmmm. Dessert.

Carbonara from NYC!

Carbonara from NYC!

Friday: Pasta and Salad
Clean up hitter for the week. I may attempt carbonara again to polish off the last of the eggs. The Jrs are big fans, especially now that they are eating bacon again.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Looking forward to this one.

Questions, comments, topics? 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 on Wednesday, Reader Questions and Feedback! (Submit Yours Today!)

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Weekly Menus: Week of 3/24/2013

Gentle Readers, technology is wonderful until it is not. Apologies for the errors/reposting/general high tech hijinks of the last post. Something happened in the editorial and publishing process. On with the show. Today’s weekly menus is going to break form as I continue to attempt to improve inventory control.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

In assessing a week honestly, sometimes I’m just not going to have the opportunity to cook a lot. I have aspirations, and I’m going to blog about the discipline of cooking soon, but buying more food than we need is just not helping.

The Freezer Before the Intervention

The Freezer Before the Intervention

Lean in, I will confess: I haven’t used a coupon in weeks and weeks. And weeks. Perhaps we’ve grown out of using a number of the items on sale, or we just don’t need that much of any one thing. Our travel schedules (and it is plural, TPCs Jr are in very high demand) dictate more meals out, or with friends, or to meet business obligations. So we eat simply at home, or make use of the leftovers, or draw from our vast war chest of pantry options.

My Road Food Survival Kit

My Road Food Survival Kit

The net of it is, our time is the priority right now, and it takes time to plan/shop/buy/put away. If we reduce that load, we get time and money back. I’m not advocating giving up cooking, far from it. Just acceptance that one must take the long view. Weekly snapshots may look like nothing but restaurant time, but there’s a lot of oatmeal and salad in between.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

So this week’s grocery list: milk, bread, eggs, bananas, cereal, walnuts. Basically the food of the Southern Snowstorm, with some variety tossed in.

And the weekly menus are:

Sunday: Indian
I’m field testing another new place. Be on the lookout for some reviews.

Monday: Fried Chicken
Again, another review. And yes, I’m running again, and faster than ever, thank you for asking. Also, yes, I got my cholesterol checked and I’m fine. Moral of this: I eat a whole lot of oatmeal and salad you don’t see. I may put together a post around all the oatmeals I’ve loved. Long view, take the long view.

Tuesday: Soup and Sammies
TPCs Jr and TPCs Mom will be at the helm again, so we are looking for simple and healthy. Add some fruit, and call it a meal.

Wednesday: Leftover surprise!
It is better to eat the food you have than buy new and have to throw more out. I have no idea what this will be, but it will be exciting. There are so many options when you are looking to clean out the fridge.

Thursday: Malaysian
More field testing with one of our favorite teams. If you haven’t tried Malaysian food, google and seek. With some luck, I’ll have a guest post before long.

Friday: Dine Out
Again, honest prevails here, we are traveling and looking forward to some exciting food adventures!

Saturday: Dine Out
See above.

How do you manage your inventory? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way!

Questions, quibbles, compliments? Email 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: Corned Beef Hash Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/12/2012

Gentle Readers, it is hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close. I will fully admit that I’m reaching the end of my tomato consuming capacity, I’m done with humidity, and I look forward even to the structure the school year will bring. Perhaps that’s because this was a summer like any other for Team Practical Cook: we embraced it with both arms and squeezed.

Mango dessert at ONE Restaurant. "I'm going to eat this until it's gone." --The Youngest

Mango dessert at ONE Restaurant. “I’m going to eat this until it’s gone.” –The Youngest

I haven’t been in the kitchen as much it seems, but when I am, there has been great joy and relative simplicity. It has been about cooking with and for more people, new adventures, new places, new tastes. There’s an incredible backlog of things to try, and I look forward to working through that list this fall. Please keep your challenges and questions coming, they will be addressed as the seasons turn.

Summer adventures in the Guggenheim.

Summer adventures in the Guggenheim.

Enough waxing poetic, we still all have to eat. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 8/12/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/12/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/13/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/13/2012

The above is still so lean because we continue to get vegetable drive-bys from the family. Not complaining, just explaining how I can feed the family without ever apparently shopping for food.

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Eggplant Parm or Dine Out
I know, I know, we are dining out a lot. But the Juniors have a much richer social calendar than I do, and I have to accommodate the requests for their time. Field research has been fantastic, more on this upcoming. Otherwise, we’re making Italian food at home.

Monday: Nachos!
A family favorite. We’re taste testing different chips, and this is a good way to use them up. Our version is with black beans and sweet potatoes, cheesy without being gloppy, and no meat.

Tuesday: Salad Surprise
The other trick of this summer has been lots of salad. Great way to use up leftovers. Always evolving, and make it according to your own personal style.

Wednesday: Pancake Courses
We’ve been challenged to create a 3-course pancake meal. This will either be the test run or the live edition, if the guest of honor (aka, the challenger) is available. It will be appetizer pancakes (small cornmeal ones), savory crepes, then a dessert pancake (like an apple fritter).

Thursday: Beef and Veg
We really have to use up the cow in the freezer. It’s becoming a friend at this point.

Friday: Soup and Sammie
The heat has broken enough that soup (not just gazpacho) is on my mind again.

What is your summer food memory for this year? Share your comment below! It’s wide open there, like the beach first thing in the morning.

Send all challenges, strokes of brilliance, and gold medals 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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Coming up Wednesday: Simply Herb Pasta Recipe.

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