Tag Archives: vegetarians

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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Reader Questions and Feedback: Angry Vegans, Punked by a Reader, and More!

Gentle Readers, the questions just keep getting more interesting. First, I’ll address the most common question I get.

The Remains of the Day: Dessert Graveyard

The Remains of the Day: Dessert Graveyard

1. How do you eat all of that food and not die/have diabetes/weigh x pounds?

I do not consume every bite of every piece of food I photograph. This applies to whole cakes especially. Sometimes the people I’m eating with have prettier plates, or I spot something cool. I do my best to indicate whether I made it, ate it, or just admired it.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

Also, I realize that I don’t photograph the endless amount of salad/oatmeal/carrot sticks that I eat, because it’s not as interesting. Perhaps I’ll do a blog dedicated to the oatmeals I’ve loved while on business trips.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal in a Bathtub-Sized Bowl

Steel-Cut Oatmeal in a Bathtub-Sized Bowl

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I eat a whole lot of healthy food in between bacon benders. I encourage people to make good food choices based on their particular dietary needs, and to strive to enjoy what they eat and to try new things. As long as they aren’t full of hazelnuts. I can’t advocate for that.

2. Punked by a reader.

My favorite photo received after tweeting about making corned beef hash comes from vTeen. Yes, you have all of the ingredients (double points for the Easter eggs), go forth and fire up your Easy Bake Oven.

Corned beef hash ingredients. Well played.

Corned beef hash ingredients. Well played.

3. “Want to go to dinner with us?” “Sure, I’m a vegan.” “We’re going to a BBQ place.” “I’ll make it work.”

The Smoking Pig: Someone please start a band called Angry Vegans and use this as the cover.

The Smoking Pig: Someone please start a band called Angry Vegans and use this as the cover.

It’s now a running joke that I won’t go try any restaurant without an Angry Vegan in the car with me. Courtesy of my amazing photographer friend Ashley, I got to eat real BBQ in San Jose, CA, on a recent business trip, and as happens at business conferences, we invited people along. Full review on the food later, major props to my new vegan friend for not only making it work but making it hilarious.

Chicken Lollipop from the Smoking Pig in San Jose.

Chicken Lollipop from the Smoking Pig in San Jose.

Moral of this story: nothing is impossible. Good BBQ exists everywhere if you look, and vegans are people too. Only snarkier.

Send me your questions. All material considered. Post a comment below, or Tweet my way.

Send your questions, snark, and good 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, Waffle Substitution, Cereal to the Rescue!

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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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Spinach Crostini: A Recipe of Sorts

Gentle Readers, the best vegetable is the one that is eaten without complaint. Though I’m very fortunate to be raising a couple of foodies who don’t run screaming from green things, crostini is a secret weapon in the war for nutrition and good taste.

Spinach Crostini: Sauteed spinach, goat cheese, toast.

Spinach Crostini: Sauteed spinach, goat cheese, toast.

Bread (toasted), cheese (goat, in this case), and garlicky sauteed spinach. Done. It’s an appetizer, it’s a vegetable, it’s a miracle. You can mix this up at will. I served these the other night, and we consumed an entire bag of baby spinach between the three of us. It was unbelievably delicious, and we all ate it not just without complaint, but with joy.

Try cream cheese and roasted red peppers, or sauteed broccolini with goat cheese. Change the bread from loaf to baguette. Use what’s at hand, stack it, and cut into manageable pieces.

Crostini with Broccolini

Crostini with Broccolini

This is the perfect lead-in to a pasta meal, or to soup. It stretches what’s being served, and it is so very easy. Spinach on bread, Popeye would be proud.

What’s your favorite green vegetable? Post a comment below! It is easy AND fun.

Send deep thoughts, kitchen confessions, 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 on Friday: Bachi Burger, I Think I Love You.

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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 2/17/2013

Gentle Readers, three cheers for The Practical Cooks Junior. Not only have they mastered several breakfast items, they are now taking on school lunch, snack, and meal planning with great enthusiasm. This is a great help in not having to guess what they want.

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

The Practical Cooks Junior at Work: Shake Shack Reviewing

The flipside, I’m raising two strong-willed women with advanced and particular palates. Please send help.

Without further adieu, and before they make additional editorial changes, here are this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 2/17/2013

Weekly Menus: 2/17/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/17/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/17/2013

Which translates to:

Sunday: Fish and Chips
The Eldest opted to have a slice of bacon at dinner the other night. It’s unclear if this is a change or a one-off. We shall see. Meanwhile, I’m going to try homemade fish and chips again.

Monday: Beans and Rice
Love this meal for simplicity and creating possibility through leftovers.

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Tuesday: Rustic Veggie Tart
This rustic tart will be caramelized onions, sweet potato, and goat cheese.

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rustic Tart with Goat Cheese

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rustic Tart with Goat Cheese

Wednesday: Pasta and Salad
Probably cheese tortellini, but potentially spaghetti and veggie meatballs.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
This is so simple and variable I struggle not to serve it daily. Never fails to please the crowd.

Grits go with everything. Especially breakfast for dinner.

Grits go with everything. Especially breakfast for dinner.

Friday: Leftovers
I am thinking either soup or burritos based on the week’s bounty.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Getting ready to travel again, so one last celebration on the way. Probably over a salad. 🙂

Eat the rainbow (salad)!

Eat the rainbow (salad)!

How does your crew feel about cheese sticks/pre-cut cheese? TPCs Jr are firmly against, and have started a movement to make our own. Discuss.

Send inspiration, desperation, and chocolate 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: Sour Cherries on Top: One Ingredient, Three Ways

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Just Beet It!

Gentle Readers, sometimes one has to pump iron. That is both literal and figurative. I’m a big fan of a few curls between conference calls, but also of the humble yet sweet beet. How many vegetables are that nutritious and that pretty at the same time?

Sweet Roasted Beets

Sweet Roasted Beets

Admittedly, I grew up a beet fan, surrounded by scads of home-canned pickled ones. I am spoiled that way. I have featured beets on more than on occasion on these very pages. And, in the land of vegetarians, the multi-colored vegetables are king. That’s an old proverb. That I just made up.

Squeaky Clean Beets

Squeaky Clean Beets

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Beets

1. Raw and shredded: This is my new favorite salad topping at the Whole Foods salad bar. I admit that I have a WF salad bar problem, as the infinite combinations and pretty colors lure me. Raw shredded beets are gorgeous, flavorful, and add a nice peppery crunch. Give them a try, just wear an apron if you grate them by hand.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

2. Pickled on a salad: Cubes of pickled beet with herb salad mix (my personal fave), walnuts, and a salty grated cheese is the bomb. Goat is a natural match, but don’t overlook Romano or the Sartori Balsamic Bellavitano. Simply dressed, the crunch and the sweet are an amazing combo.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

Pickled Beets, Walnuts, Sartori Cheese and Herb Salad Mix. Divine.

3. Sliced on a burger: Be it beef, buffalo, veggie, or portabello, beets on burgers are awesome. They are awesome AS burgers (Goaty McBeet Burger FTW). Why not layer iron on iron? Add some sauteed onions and goat cheese and you have a party on your hands.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

If you’ve not given beets a chance lately, try them and let me know. Post a comment below. I’m listening. With my superhuman beet-powered ears.

Send your questions, kudos, and 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 next, Sunday Menus: I’m Eating Your Dinner Edition.

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