Category Archives: Food

Farro salad with tomatoes + herbs

Sometimes (like… very rarely) I make something worth sharing with both my family and the entire internet.  This farro salad with tomatoes + herbs is one of those things.  I planned to make tabouli the other day, but was missing 80% of the ingredients.  So, I threw this together instead and the rest is history in my fridge.

Cooking farro does require the use of the stove, which I know is not ideal when it’s 900 degrees out… but hey.  Grab a wooden stirring utensil with one hand, and an ice cold beverage with the other and you’ll be just fine.

This farro salad makes a great (and easy, per usual for my recipes) side dish for summer parties and I can personally attest to its worthiness as a leftover lunch.  Nick and I split a serving at the beach today and it was really good… until he reached a very sandy little hand directly into the bowl.  Related: His new favorite phrase is “a bite please, mama!”

farro salad with tomatoes + herbs

FARRO SALAD WITH TOMATOES + HERBS

This recipe is vegetarian and serves 8 (-ish).  Substitute quinoa for farro to make this salad gluten-free and omit the feta to make the recipe vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic farro
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more… YOLO)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse farro under cold water.
  2. Combine water, farro and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 20 minutes (until the farro is tender), stirring occasionally.  
  4. While the farro is cooking, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, feta and olive oil in a large serving bowl.  
  5. Sip your cold beverage.
  6. Add farro and additional olive oil and/or lemon juice, if needed.  Add freshly cracked black pepper and salt, if you wish.  Chill or serve warm.

I hope you and yours are enjoying plenty of summer fun + plenty of delicious summer food.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Celebrating the 4th …with gratitude to everyone who is working to make our country a kinder, more peaceful, more inclusive place to raise our children.
  • Making tie dye shirts with Grace (there is a reason why the kit included gloves… and I have the tie dyed hands to prove it)
  • While you’re in the kitchen: 29 things to get rid of (donate, if possible!) from Apartment Therapy

What ingredients do you always have on hand?

 

Mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

Sunday seems like the most popular day to meal prep, but I seem to get my best work done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays or Thursdays… or days that aren’t Sunday.  Mid-week meal prep suits our current schedule, as Sunday nights are often reserved for commutes back to the city from the Cape, frantic searches for missing lunch boxes, and dining on popcorn and apple sauce (for me… don’t worry, the kids are always well fed) while I stare into a nearly empty fridge.  

I got all of this (fairly simple, hardly impressive) prep done during baby Nick’s hour and a half nap on Wednesday, with the exception of the muffins, which Grace and I made together this afternoon.

And with that… here’s what I prepped this week, along with a few (non-popcorn) menu ideas.

MID-WEEK MEAL PREP + MENU IDEAS

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

In the pot: My 900th batch of Sprouted Kitchen’s everyday lentil soup.  I’m pretty sure it’s called everyday lentil soup because you’ll want to eat it every day (eternal thanks to my friend Laura for sharing the recipe).  If you’re in the market for some lemon pepper, I use Frontier Co-Op (found it at WFM) and love it.  (You know, as much as one could love lemon pepper… or whatever.)  Other things I love: this cast iron dutch oven.

For breakfasts and snacks, I made a few jars of Lee Holmes’ Energizing Chai Chia Breakfast Pudding from the Naturally, Danny Seo website (scroll down on this link for the recipe).  I skipped the stevia and used almonds and walnuts (no cashews in the house… that’s going to be the title of my next jam).  Semi-related: this magazine is so beautifully designed.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

These are my usual (meal prep) suspects: chopped vegetables, cooked quinoa + a salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, Crave Brothers perline mozzarella, fresh basil).  I stocked up on these glass, 4 cup Pyrex containers at Target in February, but I believe they’re still available online.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

While the soup was simmering and I was chopping vegetables, I threw a few sweet potatoes in the oven (pierce with a fork, bake at 400 degrees F for 45-ish minutes). I like to reheat these and top with lentils and/or black beans, salsa and some shredded pepper jack for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.  The kids love them mashed up a bit with a pinch of cinnamon.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

And last, but not least, best my mini chef and I made a batch of mini flourless banana and chocolate chip muffins (and a half batch with blueberries instead of chocolate).  I goofed around with the recipe a bit and forgot to take notes, but I have a feeling we’ll be making these again very soon.  Like… maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’ve heard good things about these recipes from Clean Food Crush and Averie Cooks (both are gluten free).

Oh… and popcorn.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite make-ahead meal?

Mid-week meal + workout plan

Better late than never?  Holidays (Easter) followed by other holidays (Marathon Monday a.k.a. Patriots Day) make for a delightful disruption to our routine, but a disruption nevertheless.  

We celebrated a really happy Easter at the Cape with our family and returned to the city Monday night with a little bit of chocolate… and a lot of delicious leftovers.   I like when my meals both plan and (sort of) make themselves.

meal workout plan for week of 4/18

Meal plan for the week of 4/17

  • Leftover roasted sweet potato salad (vegan): this is great in a quesadilla with some cheese and black beans
  • Salad + leftover wild rice with peas and pistachios
  • Baked stuffed sweet potatoes + salad
  • Taco night or burrito bowls
  • Spinach + artichoke quinoa bake

Workout plan for the week of 4/17

  • Sunday: Easter tabata + Run (done)
  • Monday: MB home workout (done)
  • Tuesday: MB home workout + Daily Burn barre (done)
  • Wednesday: MB class + this stretching routine (done)
  • Thursday: MB self-assessment + lots of stretching/foam rolling
  • Friday: MB class + Run
  • Saturday: Run

This is the final week of the Mama Beasts spring challenge (hence all the MB business above).  It’s been so fun to work with our team and to push myself a bit harder than usual.  A new session of classes starts on Monday — you can find all the details here!  I’m also so glad I re-started the Couch 2 5k program (using the app).  I’ve been able to switch things up for most runs, completing some solo and some with the double stroller (i.e. 50 lbs. of children + 37 lbs. of stroller) and on varied terrain (track, Harborwalk in Southie, hills on the Cape).  It’s really nice to be back in the running-ish groove.

For those who have asked, I have the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Double (the 2016 model, which is what I have, is currently on sale on Amazon) and really like it.  I had a single BOB before Nick was born and liked that too, but find the Summit to be a bit more solid and comfortable for the kids.

Alright, time to dive into those leftovers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your menu this week?

Meal + workout plan for the week of 2/21

Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness.  Or whatever.

meal plan for the week of 2/21

Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend.  It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…).  I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table.  Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?

Meal plan for the week of 2/20… or 2/21

Breakfasts:

  • Savory overnight oats (here are a few ideas from The Kitchn) – I’m thinking pesto and shaved parmesan with black pepper
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • Cheerios or crispy brown rice cereal + milk (because I am nearly 35, going on 4) 

Lunches:

  • Salads, wraps, leftovers

Dinners:

  • Gnocchi with homemade sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil + spinach)
  • Beans + rice with veggies; quesadillas (corn tortillas)
  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans + salsa
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Slow cooker vegan lentil chili from The Kitchn
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.

As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person.  I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks.  It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else.  The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.

I’d heard great things about Daily Burn (referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time.  I was completely hooked after my first workout.  The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat.  I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.  

I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab).  I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.

Workouts for the week of 2/20

  • Monday: Mama Beasts + Cardio Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Rest 
  • Wednesday: Mama Beasts + Kickin’ It (totally channel my inner Billy Blanks for this one)
  • Thursday: BHT
  • Friday: Mama Beasts +/or Cardio Sculpt
  • Saturday: Run 3 miles + Supreme Stretch
  • Sunday: Kickin’ It

What feels better than having a plan (and maybe a sheet of gold stickers) at the ready? A 70 degree day in February?

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite at home workouts? Or summery meals appropriate for eating in winter?

 

Meal plan for the week of 2/6

I’m typing this up while half-watching the game, and currently craving pistachios + Skittles.  Neither factor into this week’s meal plan… but advertising, man.  It’ll get you.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 2/6

meal plan for the week of 1/16

Breakfast:

  • Cottage cheese + fruit 
  • Erewhon crispy rice cereal with skim milk
  • Baked oatmeal (I liked this recipe for baked oatmeal cups from The Kitchn)
  • Fresh juice or smoothie (Current favorite combination: Cranberries, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, kale, orange + kale with a splash of almond milk)

Lunch:

  • Salads, wraps + leftovers

Dinners:

  • Spinach pie
  • 3 bean soup with salad (working on a recipe for this soup… will share if it turns out non-poison decent)
  • Spicy chickpea taco salad
  • Greek lentil salad (going to try this recipe from Delish Knowledge— looks so good) with pita bread
  • Sweet potato, black bean + spinach quesadillas (an old staple)
  • Caprese quinoa bake (…or vegetarian sushi)

Can you bake Skittles?  And chopped pistachios over arugula… a very good idea, right?

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite food-centric ad during the game?

 

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash

The “big game” is almost upon us (it’s up for debate, but most people are not allowed to use the official term in media… this peasant, yours truly, almost always plays it safe).  When it comes to football, I am basically Zoolander in a coal miner’s bar, whispering “Who’s winning the match?”  It would also not be unlike me to self-diagnose with the black lung… pop.

I used to watch the game specifically for the commercials, but then State Farm gave my soul the black lung with that series of ads about preventable accidents, delivered by the ghosts of dead children.  Or whatever that was.  All I know is, I had a newborn in my arms and didn’t breath for at least three whole minutes.

Sometimes I watch for the halftime show.  I wish Left Shark was the star every year.  But I have high hopes for Gaga.

This year, though, I am fairly invested in the actual game. The Patriots are my hometown team (as in, they play in my hometown) and the Falcon’s Matt Ryan played quarterback at BC (and went to school too, obvi)… while I was playing quarterback of breaking the microfiche machine in the art library on the other side of campus.

Now that you have all that wind up (including a Zoolander reference and a bit about a depressing insurance commercial), let’s talk about the most important part of football Sunday.  The food.  

You likely have your drinks, dips, snacks and sweets lined up.  But have you considered breakfast?  I’ve got an easy + delicious way to kick off (get it… like… sports…) the day.

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash with green apples

Serves 2, gluten-free + vegan

big game breakfast sweet potato black bean hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed + roasted
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed + drained 
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and diced (leave peel on)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro greens, shredded cabbage, or arugula

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add diced onion and saute until soft
  2. Stir in peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding black beans, sweet potatoes, salt + pepper
  3. Remove from heat and stir in diced green apple
  4. Adjust seasoning if needed and top with greens, if you wish (my recipes aim to be polite…)

If you find yourself with leftovers, I have a feeling this hash would be a real winner on a plate of nachos.  Now that would be a touchdown.  Stop me.  Please.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your football-watching menu?

Meal plan for the week of 1/16

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the US and I’m grateful to be spending the holiday with family, easing into what will likely be a challenging week (what, with the Inauguration and all).  I was reading through old posts inspired by Dr. King (including this one about my visit to Memphis, the Civil Rights Museum + the Lorraine Motel) this morning and couldn’t help feel both lifted and distressed.  

Dr. King’s words (and the example he set through his actions) about service to one another, unselfish leadership, peaceful vigilance, and creative resistance have (for better or worse) such application today.  Whether or not you have the day off, I hope you have a few minutes for quiet contemplation about the days ahead, and the person you can be for others.  Oh, and I highly recommend blasting James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light and Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain.  Grace and I spent a solid half hour dancing in the kitchen, singing along.

Is it weird to go from that to talking about this week’s meal plan?  Probably.  Sorry.  I’m having trouble coming up with a graceful segue.   Here’s a salad.

meal plan for the week of 1/16

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/16

I’m on such an arugula kick lately.  We stopped by the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market Saturday morning and picked up several bunches.  I love that peppery flavor. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Re-reading Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • Heading back to the city
  • Getting in a quick MB workout courtesy of my challenge partner 😉

What are you looking forward to whipping up this week?

Meal plan for the week of 1/8

After a relaxing, snowed-in weekend at the Cape, we are back in the city + I’m pretending to be ready to take on the week.  

meal plan week of 1/8

Salad is from, um, my fridge… wooden pineapple is from Homegoods.

The laundry’s done, the gas tank is full, workouts are scheduled + I even blocked out some time for painting this week.  I apparently only imagined I did the dishes and I have lost all motivation to unpack… but hey.  Can’t win ’em all.

I found last week’s meal plan was really helpful in my efforts to not eat Cheez-It-type-things for dinner.  It motivated me to try a few new recipes and revisit some old favorites. So here I am, avoiding the dishes and cooking up this week’s meal plan.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/8

  • Salads and veggie wraps for lunch
  • Lemon potato chowder from The Kitchn (I’ll vegetarian-ify it with vegetable broth, obvi) 
  • Quinoa caprese salad (or quinoa caprese bake… TBD)
  • Spinach, sweet potato and black bean quesadillas on Ezekial tortillas
  • Some sort of lentil soup (can’t stop, won’t stop with the piping hot lentil soups… until, like, at least April)
  • Make-ahead snacks + breakfasts: chai protein bites, garlic + dill kale chips, baked oatmeal 

I know some people prefer to plan meals for specific days (and maybe one day I will be that organized slash maybe one day my children will keep a reliable routine lasting longer than three days), but for now a more flexible approach seems to work well.  

I like being able to look at a fairly limited list (as opposed to searching through an entire cookbook, or the entire internet, or my entire memory of anything I’ve ever made or eaten), assessing what I have time and energy for, and making whichever option makes the most sense. This generally indecisive lady is all about limited (yet delicious) choices.

Plus… taking the guesswork out of what to make each night leaves me with just enough extra time to, you know, come up with an excuse to not do the dishes.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 ways to keep your fridge clean + organized from The Kitchn
  • Celebrating a belated Christmas with my family, now that we’ve all survived the stomach bug that tried to take down the entire city of Boston
  • Ice skating in my driveway (but not on purpose)

What are your favorite sources for new recipes or meal planning tips?

What to eat when it’s freezing.

The Polar Vortex is baaaa-aaack.  So I made it some chili (vegetarian, obvi).  In my opinion, it’s what to eat when it’s freezing.

what to eat when its freezing

You can find my original recipe (a term I use lightly, mostly because it’s just like… sauté onions and garlic, add beans, add tomatoes, add whatever spices you have on hand, simmer, eat) here: vegetarian chili for lazy people.  

I topped today’s piping hot bowl with a handful of tortilla chips, some Fire Roasted Corn + Black Bean Salsa from Nola’s Fresh Foods.  Nola’s is made minutes from our place in Southie and is a 2015 Martha Stewart American Made award winner.  After receiving a complimentary sample a few weeks ago (delivered to my doorstep, no less), their salsa keeps ending up in our shopping cart.

As for the lime wedge and the useless miniature wooden spoon… they’re mostly there because chili looks like, you know… chili.  And I wanted to distract you from this.  Did it work?

But seriously.  Make yourself a bowl.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you showing the Polar Vortex who’s boss?  Or like… what’s for dinner tonight?

 

Vegan snacking with Lightlife + The Boston Veg Food Festival

You know my favorite meal is snack time.  No secret there.  I love a good snack plate.  Grace says, “Me too.”

VEGAN SNACKING WITH LIGHTLIFE

vegan snack

 

I recently had the chance to try Lightlife‘s new vegan Smart Jerky, the perfect addition to our afternoon snack plates, along with a few of the following:

Each serving of Smart Jerky contains 9 grams of protein and is 100% plant-based, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan.  It’s also really good. It’s low in calories (90 per serving) and shelf stable, so I could see this being a great on-the-go snack for fall adventures.  Which reminds me… I really want to take a walk (a hike?) in the Blue Hills while the trees are still looking so spectacular.  And we’ve yet to go apple picking.  Jeez.

lightlife smart jerky

Smart Jerky is available in two flavors (original and teriyaki) and can be purchased in the Boston area at Stop and Shop.  It will be available nationally in 2017.

 

THE BOSTON VEG FOOD FESTIVAL

Lightlife is one of the sponsors of this weekend’s 21st Annual Boston Veg Food Festival at the Reggie Lewis Center.  The event is free and open to the public and features food sampling, 120 exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, noted speakers, opportunities to learn about protecting animals and the environment, children’s activities, and shopping.

I’ve attended this event several times in the past and learned a great deal about new products and local vendors who cater to vegetarians… as well as how to live a bit healthier, a bit greener and a bit kinder.  I recommend bringing a shopping bag (or two) with you and planning to spend a few hours checking out each booth and exhibit.  It can get crowded, given the popularity of this event.  (We vegetarians and vegans are very fun people to be around, after all.)

You can park for free at the Reggie Lewis Center or take the T to Roxbury Crossing station (orange line), which is right across the street.

The Boston Veg Food Festival

  • Saturday, October 22nd 11 AM – 6 PM
  • Sunday, October 23rd 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street in Boston

vegan snacking

Alright… snack time!

This post was sponsored by Lightlife.  All opinions are my own.  Obvi.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?