Category Archives: Food

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?

Sweet potato toast with a kick.

When it comes to trends (and cool things, in general), I’m rarely on time.  I think sweet potato toast reached its peak coolness this summer, so it’s fitting I just popped my first batch out of the toaster in mid-October.  We’ll get to that in a second.  Let’s relish in my uncoolness a bit longer.

sweet potato toast

I was the last to read the first Harry Potter book and never got around to reading the others.  I did, however, watch all of the movies while icing my knees after marathon training runs.  I’m still not really clear on how things end.  Like, did Harry turn into a baby snake under a bench at a train station?  I realize this entire paragraph will horrify many of you.  I just can’t get with imaginary stuff.

Sun In: No.  The Titanic:  Never saw it.  Snapchat:  Still mostly a mystery to me.  Crop tops: I think everyone’s okay with me skipping that phase (a sales girl at Nordstrom did recommend I try one on a few months ago… I blessed her with all the power my postpartum body could muster).  

In some cases (see Sun In and Titanic), I wear my uncoolness like a badge of (midriff covering) honor.  But in other cases, I’m disappointed I didn’t catch on sooner.  Such is the case with the aforementioned sweet potato toast.  It’s really delicious.  And easy.  And gluten free. And all you need is a sweet potato.  And a toaster.  Ok, and a knife.

SWEET POTATO TOAST WITH A KICK

sweet potato toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • A toaster (I guess that’s less ingredient and more equipment, but whatev)

Suggested toppings:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
  • Shredded cheese
  • Black beans
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Pico de gallo 
  • Hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Wash sweet potato and slice lengthwise evenly (each slice should be approximately 1/4 inch wide)
  2. Arrange sweet potato slices in your toaster so that they don’t overlap; toast on the highest setting until slightly browned (this took about 10 minutes for me)
  3. Add toppings as you wish + enjoy

I finished my sweet potato toasts off with a bit of Poor Devil Pepper Co.’s Cajun Widow lacto fermented hot sauce, recently sent to me by my friends at Small Batch Daily.  This stuff is the real deal (read: hot) and added the perfect cajun kick.  It’s also organic, raw, probiotic and decidedly cool.  For once, I feel sort of ahead of the curve.  Maybe?

sweet potato toast

If you’re looking for similarly cool food items, I definitely recommend checking out Small Batch Daily’s shoppable Instagram feed (@smallbatchdaily). They release new small batch finds each Monday and Wednesday.  You can learn more by visiting their website.

Okay.  But seriously.  What happens to Harry?

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done lately?

Grocery haul + food prep + meal plan

Grocery haul + food prep + meal plan…. but no Netflix.   There’s no time for that.  I’ve got snacks to eat.

grocery haul food prep meal plan

I hit up Target and Whole Foods by myself on Sunday.  I had a list, and miraculously, that list wasn’t covered in crayon scribbles.  It didn’t end up folded into a “turtle shape” (Grace seems to have taken up toddler origami), nor left hidden among the bananas.  As much as I love grocery shopping with the kids (it really is fun), going solo is a bit more… efficient.  

Here’s what I picked up:

GROCERY HAUL

Target

  • Mini bagels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Happy Baby pouches for Nick
  • Gingerbread Larabars
  • And boring non-food stuff… like safety swabs and toothbrushes

Whole Foods Market

  • Produce: 3 Honey Crisp apples (the biggest apples I have ever seen), 3 Gala apples, 4 pears, 3 lemons, 6 bananas, 2 avocados, 3 tomatoes, 2 navel oranges, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 red onion, spring mix with herbs, kale (the lazy person kind that comes pre-trimmed), 1 European cucumber, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, heirloom cherry tomatoes, chopped pineapple (see again: lazy), butternut squash, basil, cilantro, salsa fresca
  • Dairy: 1/2 gallon Crescent Ridge skim milk, Stonyfield Organic kids smoothies, extra sharp cheddar (shredded), string cheese, plain Greek yogurt, fresh mozzarella
  • Grocery: Annie’s Mac + Bees (G’s favorite), tortillas, lemonade, couscous, fresh squeezed apple juice, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans

FOOD PREP

This week I split up food prep between Sunday afternoon and mid-day Wednesday.  In total, it probably took 2 hours.  If you don’t include doing dishes.  And, like, sampling.

meal prep smoothies

Life changing tip: Put your chia in a small shaker/spice jar. Then wait for the angels to sing.

  • Kale + strawberry smoothies (with banana, pineapple and chia seeds) pre-blended and frozen in muffin tins (in the future, I’d use muffin liners — these suckers did not want to come out)
  • Chopped veggies: cucumber, carrots

meal prep sweet potatoes squash

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Caprese salad

meal prep iced tea

  • Pitcher of iced tea (David’s Tea organic Peppermint Amour — I sometimes get real fancy and add a splash of lemonade and/or pomegranate juice) – this is how I avoid going to Dunks for ice tea… and driving away with a donut
  • Cook quinoa

meal prep kale chips

MEAL PLAN + WEEKLY MENU IDEAS

Nick (the grown-up one) usually makes his own dinners during the week, while I tend to eat with the kids.  At 5 PM.  Like really young senior citizens.  Grace is getting more and more adventurous, and usually eats at least some of what I would be making for myself (she doesn’t eat meat either). Baby Nick will eat anything he can get his hands on– animal, vegetable, various pieces of furniture– which is fun… and also a little terrifying.

meal planning fall salad

  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans, onions, cilantro + sharp cheddar
  • Kale and roasted sweet potato quesadillas with black beans and salsa fresca
  • Green salad with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries and crumbled bleu cheese
  • Vegetarian chili for lazy people (these are the themes of my life: laziness and good food)
  • Quinoa with basil pesto and tomatoes

And now it’s Netflix time.  

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your grocery shopping/food prep/meal planning style?  And what’s your go-to weeknight dinner?

Farmer’s Choice Box + meal planning

I picked up our first Farmer’s Choice box from Ward’s Berry Farm yesterday and am quite pleased with its contents.  You might remember that one of the 7,000 browser tabs I shamefully keep open on my phone is the Farmer’s Choice Box info page.  

farmer's choice box ward's berry farm

We haven’t been home enough to commit to a full CSA share, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the weekly boxes (a best guess at each week’s contents is posted on Mondays and you can order as late as Wednesday night for a Friday pick up at the farm), which currently cost $23.

ward's berry farm

We’re home all week and you know I love a good bunch of carrots and berries by the pint, so I got my order in right away.  We met my mom at Ward’s (word to the wise: it’s really busy there at lunch time) and I really appreciated having her there to help navigate with Grace and baby Nick.  Our first stop was the animals, or as Grace calls them, “the little friends.”

ward's berry farm

My mom and Grace picked up our Farmer’s Choice boxes at the back of the store and grabbed a table outside in the shade, while I ordered smoothies and tried my best to not knock over produce displays with Nick’s stroller.  Small life goals.  That’s how we roll these days.

Mo’ berry for her, Green Machine for me

Once we were outside, I couldn’t resist taking a peek in the box.

This week’s Farmer’s Choice box contained

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 lb Romano beans
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 lb wax beans
  • 1 head of fennel
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 bunch of Bok Choy
  • 1 lb of squash

I picked up a pint of strawberries and some new potatoes at the farm store to round our my order.

Meal planning with the Farmer’s Choice box

  • Lettuce: Use in salads; lettuce wraps with black beans, corn and pico de gallo
  • Carrots and Romano beans: Use in salads; as a snack with hummus
  • Green bell pepper: Greek salad (I’ve been eating a simple mix of peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta and fresh oregano all week)
  • Onions: Use in an easy summer gazpacho; and roasted with new potatoes and thyme
  • Fennel: Shaved fennel salad with fresh herbs, parmesan cheese + olive oil
  • Berries: Breakfast and snacks 
  • Bok Choy…. I’d love some suggestions!  In the meantime, I’ve bookmarked these ideas: Chowing down on Bok Choy: 10 Ways to Love this Asian Green from The Kitchn, Bok Choy Recipes from Cooking Light
  • Squash and wax beans: Handed those off to my sister

And now that I’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time for lunch.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you belong to a farm share?  What the heck should I do with that Bok Choy?  

What to eat in the summer | 4 favorite salads

Most days, my meal planning (if you can call it that) goes something like this:  

  • Consider what we have on the counter, in the cabinets, in the fridge and sprouting on the deck
  • Hold baby Nick with one hand, rummage with the other hand
  • Hope something miraculously falls out and a. doesn’t hit me or Nick in the head and b. somehow lands in my mouth and c. is delicious.  Oh, and nutritious.  

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to have a perfectly made summer salad fall into my mouth.  Or onto my head, for that matter.  As with most (all?) good things, it takes a bit of work.  But not much.  This is summer, after all.  If you’re wondering what to eat in the summer, I’ve got a few (simple, delicious) ideas.

WHAT TO EAT IN THE SUMMER | 4 FAVORITE SALADS

Mixed greens with pears, bleu cheese, walnuts + dried cranberries

what to eat in summer 1

This is really as easy as slicing a pear and throwing it, along with everything else, into a bowl.  I added a drizzle of Champagne vinaigrette because I like to pretend I’m fancy.  In reality: It’s well past noon and I haven’t showered yet.  Also, I just congratulated myself on wearing my “nice” sweat pants.  

Caprese salad

what to eat in summer 2

I basically eat this breakfast, lunch and dinner… all summer long.  The heirloom tomatoes are Canadian, but the mozzarella is from Rhode Island and the basil is from South Boston (more specifically: my deck).  So… it’s mostly #eatlocal.  Or whatever.

Both babes were asleep at the same time for an entire 11 minutes last week, so I made myself an extra pretty platter from which to dine solo while Nick was traveling.  That was a long sentence.  The salad didn’t last nearly as long.

Chopped salad with sprouts

what to eat in summer 3

I tend to chop a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week for easy salads such as this.  Instead of the usual greens, though, I used some Earth Salad (sprouted lentils, sprouted chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) that I picked up at Whole Foods in the South End (it’s in the cooler next to the salad greens, alongside the cooked lentils). 

Heirloom tomato, lentil and arugula salad with green goddess dressing

Speaking of cooked lentils, I keep a package or two in the fridge because I am lazy like to avoid cooking as much as possible when it’s 90 degrees out.  And because I love making this salad.  And because I’m lazy.

I’m thrilled (and grateful!) that my recipe was included in Wayfair’s Simply Summer Recipes cookbook.  The cookbook is free to download and features over 100 pages of summer recipes created by bloggers and tested by Wayfair team members.  I love that they included their own notes after testing each dish.  I hope you’ll check it out!

In the meantime, I’m off to go shower.  Or eat another salad.  Or both.  Not at the same time.  OK.  Bye.  I love you.  And I love summer.  And cheese.  Bye.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • A favorite read: Sam’s weekly meal planning posts 
  • Closest thing to a wonder drug? Try exercise from The New York Times
  • Playing with Grace’s new water table (“All day!  All day long, mummy!  All day!  And when it’s dark!”)

What’s your ideal summer meal?

 

Chai + peanut butter protein bites

 

You guys.  I can’t stop making these balls.  And giggling about… balls.  I promise this recipe is more refined than my sense of humor.

chai and peanut butter protein bites

CHAI + PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BITES

Vegan, gluten-free… and like, cooking-free.  Which is to say, you don’t need to cook them.  Makes 10-15 protein bites (or balls, call ’em what you will).  

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix protein powder, nut butter and oats in your food processor or blender.
  2. Add agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt and pulse until dough is well combined.
  3. Move mixture to a small bowl and carefully stir in chocolate chips.  
  4. Roll dough into small balls and place in a parchment-lined container, store in the refrigerator.  Or just, like, eat them.

Recipe notes: You can use your favorite protein powder for this recipe — chocolate or vanilla would work great.  And feel free to use maple syrup in place of agave.  Oh, and you can omit the chocolate chips (thereby omitting the fun… but, hey) if you’d like.  

I used a brand-new blend from Bob’s Red Mill line of nutritional boosters and am completely hooked.  It’s made from pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, probiotics, and sweetened with monk fruit extract. It is gluten free, vegan, a good source of omega-3, an excellent source of iron, and high in protein and fiber.  

No weird chemicals.  No weird tastes.  Just balls. 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary samples of Bob’s Red Mill new nutritional boosters for an Instagram project (you can follow me here: @ElizabethEv) with Sweat Pink… but I didn’t want to keep this good stuff from you and just had to share it On Tap, too.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you have a favorite broprotein powder?

Today: Peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars.

I recently found myself scrolling through the entirety of the Internet (it’s an uppercase word… until June 1…) for a good granola bar recipe and scanning the contents of our pantry, hoping the stars ingredients would align.  

gluten free peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

It was 10:30 on Sunday night, and I had no business being awake, let alone attempting to make granola bars… but sometimes we get peer pressured into these things (i.e. I did it for the Mama Beasts Spring Challenge points…).  And in this case, the pressure paid off.

I should know better than to mess with baking recipes (unlike cooking, there’s some actual science and measuring involved) and you know I’d never be so bold as to question my queen Martha… but um… I messed with a Martha recipe (this one for peanut-butter granola bars — you’ll see I made a few changes, but used her recipe as a guide).  Mostly because I needed to work with what I had.  And because Martha seemed to have forgotten to include chocolate chips.  She’s got a lot going on.  

I’ve made these granola bars twice now (proof that they don’t take a lot of effort or time or thought, all things I seem to be perpetually lacking).  

I’m always looking for filling, mostly-healthy snacks and these turned out to be both.  And they don’t taste like an old shoe (always a plus).  That’s a terrible way of telling you they’re delicious.  They’re delicious.  

peanut butter cranberry dark chocolate granola bars

Homemade peanut butter, cranberry + dark chocolate granola bars

gluten free, makes approximately 12 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • Pinch of sea salt (I use Maldon flakes)

Directions

  1. Prep work:   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment or freezer paper, leaving a bit of overhang. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, cranberries, almonds and dark chocolate.
  3. In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix nut butter, oil, and palm sugar until sugar dissolves.  Remove pan from heat and mix in egg white.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan, pressing mixture evenly with a spatula.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool in pan (approximately 10 minutes).
  7. Remove baked granola (technically, they’re not bars… yet) from the pan, using the parchment or freezer paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet.
  8. Cut bars to desired size, store refrigerated.

Recipe notes:  You could include just about any nuts and dried fruit.  I don’t recommend skipping the chocolate.  (Because, really, why?)  You could throw caution to the wind and cut them after cooling, but I found freezing the bars really helped keep them from crumbling.  Martha’s recipe calls for light brown sugar, which you could use if you don’t have palm sugar on hand.  Similarly, you could substitute (1:1) coconut oil for vegetable oil.  The Maldon is definitely optional, but I have such a thing for salty/sweet.  I used 70% cocoa chocolate chips and Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, but again, use what you have.

That’s basically my life’s motto at the moment… use what you have.  Or, like, order it from Amazon Prime.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Very interesting read: The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It via lifehacker
  • Attempting to read an actual book (one that is not about “positive parenting” or “thriving toddlers” or “making your dog promise to live forever”) …I’m currently on page 13 and consider that a huge victory
  • Catching up on some postcrossing 

Today: For my Peeps.

This is probably the last post my teeth want me to write, what with our two unplanned trips to the dentist last week… but um… YOLO.  And PEEPO (that doesn’t mean anything… or at least I don’t think it does).

for my peeps

Easter is just a few days away, which means a lot of things.  In the interest of being inclusive, I’d like to focus on one (very unimportant, not at all holy) aspect of the week. Easter time is high season for Peeps.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I do love a (pure sugar) bunny or chick this time of year.

If you’re wondering what to do with the Peeps in your basket (besides get a cavity), I’ve got a few ideas.

Ideas for my Peeps (and your Peeps, too):

Happy Peepin’…

P.S. This post is not sponsored.  Nor is it particularly healthy or inspiring.  But, um… whatever.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Push-up playdate!
  • Beautiful egg decorating ideas from Alisa Burke
  • Playing “pretend egg hunt” in our 1200 square foot condo… needless to say, many, many eggs have ended up in Clark’s food bowl

Salty or sweet?  (Both is a totally acceptable answer.)

Today: Grace’s 2nd birthday party.

Grace will be two at the end of this month.  I can’t remember a faster two years.

2nd birthday party

Nor can this guy.

Grace had a few special requests for her family party this weekend and we were glad to oblige.

  1. The guest list had to include Baby Nick, Clark and Uncle Zach.
  2. We would listen to “Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!” music.
  3. There would be balloons.
  4. We would eat a Gaston happy cake (they’re like regular cakes, only happier).

She may have a future in event planning.

Grace’s 2nd birthday party

family birthday party

I think I need to ask for a less freaky hand for my birthday.

The weather cooperated (sorry, mid-Atlantic states), but unfortunately cold season kept a few family members home.  We missed them and made sure to save them some cake (but I might eat it…).

french bulldog birthday cake

We kept the menu simple, mostly because nothing could top the Gaston cake.  Gaston is one of Grace’s favorite books (it’s about a family of poodles and a family of Frenchies), and the folks at Sweet Tooth bakery in Southie did an incredible job recreating the cover.

appetizers

Snacks included:

  • Cheese and herb flatbread
  • Italian turkey meatballs (this was semi-traumatic for my vegetarian self, but I thought they’d be a crowd pleaser and I am trying to branch out a bit when cooking for everyone else… even if that means simply heating frozen ballz from Whole Foods in our crockpot… baby steps)
  • Feta and onion tartes
  • Spanakopita
  • Tortilla chips and salsa
  • Cheese plate with fruit
  • Carrots, hummus and artichoke dip

frenchie food cards

I photocopied a page from my sketchbook (all little drawings of Gaston characters) and used those images for food labels.  Grace helped me make a few decorations over the past month or so, including a giant two and some not-so-giant party hats.

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

2nd birthday party

We had our loved ones there to celebrate with, balloons to play with, Michael Jackson to listen to, and plenty of cake to enjoy.  So by Grace’s standards (and mine), this was the perfect 2nd birthday party.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is on your list of special birthday party requests?