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important nothings blog

"which of all my important nothings should i tell you first?" – jane austen

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Almond Flour Blondies

IMG_24491So, I am in month 2 of the UHA program – and, ya know? – there is something to it.  I know that I’m breathing better, lessening stress and just getting healthier in general.

Month 2 is gut health, so we are trying to do some tummy- healing. Unfortunately, this has happened during our snowy few weeks in Nashville, so we’ve been distracted by yummy snow-day comfort foods.

That’s allowed, right?  The spirit is willing…

I did get the smart idea that we should have some healthy and gluten-free options for our Super Bowl party, and google helped me find this recipe for Almond Flour Blondies on Meaningful Eats.

OMG.

First – warning. You won’t stop eating these. They are gone. Cleaned out. Destroyed. 4 days after the party, we still have bags of regular cookies and brownies. These blondies? Yeah, they didn’t make it to Monday.

Second – warning. You need to let these cool for them to firm up enough for the cookie bars.  Now, if you don’t, I would recommend eating these in a bowl, with a dab of whipping cream (I know – that’s not on the gluten-free list, but if you’re going to eat an entire 8.5 x 11 pan of delicious treats, adding the whipping cream isn’t going to hurt!)

These are amazing.  AMAZING.  Next time I’m going to try to add in some coconut and dark chocolate chips.

Note – the pic above is actually from the Meaningful Eats site. Ours didn’t last long enough for a pic… Will try to get our own photos next time…but no promises.

Get the recipe here:

A Fiber Sandwich! WOOO!

flatbread

I hear it on TV morning shows. I hear it from the trainer at the gym. I hear it in books:

Great abs start in the kitchen, not the gym. 

I like the kitchen better than the gym, so this is fine with me.  Already in my little healthy summer adventure, I’m noticing that sweet, processed food is losing it’s charm with me…but more so, it’s just not interesting anymore.  I’m pretty excited about that.

I got all sorts of sandwich-approved vegetables and though that some wraps may be a good option. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sandwich wrap, right?

Flat Out Package

I saw these at Kroger on sale. Flat Out Flatbread. Italian Herb. 90 Calories. 9 grams of protein. “Super Easy and Amazing Pizza”! If it can make amazing pizza, then what’s not to love, right?

I ran home and made my delicious tuna + veggies wrap. I’m excited to share my healthy food triumph in the form of falafel sandwiches the next evening.  And then, the moment of truth…

These things taste TERRIBLE.

Not just normal terrible. Really terrible. I rip off a small piece of fiber-tastic wrap for the pups and neither of them would eat it.  They both just looked up at me with their big eyes, almost as if to say “what did we do wrong?”

flatbread cardboardHere’s proof.  Flat Out Wrap vs. the Cardboard that had protected our new cable box. Both are a similar color. Similar consistency. I haven’t tried to eat the cardboard, I would imagine they would have a similar flavor pallet.  I tried to get the dogs to eat a piece of cardboard.  They both looked up at me with their big eyes, almost as if to say “what did we do wrong?”

So live and learn. Sometimes healthy eating isn’t as tasty as we like.

My real question now?  Do I put these in the regular trash, or do I have to separate them into the cardboard recycling?

Asparagus and mushroom crustless quiche – YUM

I bought too much asparagus.  I didn’t think it was possible. But I did.

We ended up working late and eating out more than planned last week – so I sadly looked in our refrigerator, and had to figure out just what to do with bonus greens slowly wilting in the crisper.

quiche final

The verdict – make a quiche. Turns out my real man loves quiche, and it fits in our vegetarian focus…so I combined a few recipes I found online – and WOW. This was fantastic.  I plan to make this a lot, with many variations.  Who knew this could be so easy?

(and I’m not sure my husband even realized that the crust was missing!)

This is also very affordable. The eggs were $1.20 a dozen at Aldi. The asparagus was $2/lb at Kroger. The mushrooms were $1.20 a container at Aldi. 4 cups of cheese was on sale at Kroger for $2.50.  Not too shabby.  Add in a salad and some garlic bread and you have a delicious dinner. Or brunch.

Just a reminder, I love to experiment when cooking and rarely measure stuff…so these measurements are estimates. Be free. Make mistakes. That’s how you discover the good stuff – not just in food, but in life.

So here we go!

Asparagus and Mushroom Crustless Quiche –

1/2 onion – diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 a bunch of fresh asparagus – clean by snapping off the bottoms, and then cutting into bite sized pieces

4 mushrooms, sliced

5 eggs

3 cups mozzarella

1/4 cup parmesan – shredded

fresh herbs

salt and pepper

 

Heat oven to 350.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp over medium heat and saute onion about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant (but not brown!), about 1 minute.  Add in asparagus and saute about 5 more minutes. Then add in mushrooms and saute for another few minutes.

quiche saute

While this is cooking, wisk together with a fork eggs, cheese, herbs and salt and pepper in a large bowl. (for the herbs, I just cut some rosemary, basil and oregano from the garden. You could use italian seasoning mix, chives, dill…whatever. I also just used a pinch of salt and pepper.)

quiche eggs

Add in the vegetables to the egg mix and stir.

Lightly butter a 9 inch pie pan.  Add the quiche mix to the prepared pan, and place in oven.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on how burnt you like your cheese.

Now – get thinking.  You could use any variety of vegetables you want to use up. Some future variations will include tomato, zucchini, spinach, faux-sausage, pesto…I can’t wait to try them!

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this awesome quiche — and what changes you make to the recipe!

quiche final

A new variation on a veggie skillet – Beans, crumbles and pesto!

It’s been a hectic summer, so apologies for not posting more of the recipes that we’ve been creating in our attempt to be vegetarian as much as we can.

And by as much as we can, I mean when we’re cooking at home.

So I present to you the Meatless Bean and Pesto Skillet! This is a variation on the Tofurkey skillet from earlier in the blog, this time with pesto and meatless crumbles.

Just calling a “food” meatless crumbles makes me laugh. I’m not going to lie…

This is also a hearty, inexpensive meal.  The crumbles were on sale for $3. The broth for $.50. Beans are about $.75/each. Frozen spinach is $1.00 a bag. Pesto was on sale for $2.50 (and I used about 3/4 of the jar.)  Figure about $10 bucks for all the stuff you need for this dinner. Made 3 really solid servings. Add in a salad and some crunchy bread and you can definitely get 4 servings.

Here we go.  This one is definitely husband approved.

 

Meatless Bean and Pesto Skillet

1/2 red onion (I’m sure a white or yellow would be fine too)

2 tsp minced garlic

1 bag of meatless crumbles (I used boca brand)

1 can of vegetable broth

2 cans of rinsed great northern beans

1 bag of fresh (or frozen) spinach

1 TBSP Italian Seasoning

3/4 cp prepared pesto.

Ok – this couldn’t be easier.  Dice the onion and saute in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until it’s really fragrant.  Add in the minced garlic for just a minute or so – don’t let it burn!

Add in the frozen meatless crumbles, the broth, the beans and bring to a boil for a few minutes.  Add in the spinach.

dinner 2

Let the spinach cook down, and some of the liquid evaporate.  After 2 or 3 more minutes add in the italian seasoning and the pesto.  Stir well and let simmer for 5 minutes until warmed through and all the flavors are mixed and delicious.

Serve with some fresh grated romano cheese…and it’s really fantastic with some fresh french bread.

dinner 1

Enjoy!

Easy Chili Lentils

We love lentils. They really are a lifesaver when you want something really good and hearty – but you still want to stay to your commitment to being healthy.

I was tentative about the whole lentils thing initially – but wow – if you have any sort of international market, especially one that specializes in Indian food, you can stock up for cheap. A big bag of lentils was about $3. Onion soup mix is about $.50.  Can of tomatoes is about $1.25.

And we like the delicious and cheap combo.

lentils 3

So here we go – Easy Crock Pot Chili Lentils!

2 cups of lentils (rinsed and with the bad ones picked out)

1 pack onion soup mix

1 1/2 TBSP chili powder

1/2 hot shot pepper blend (this is a red and black blend. You need this in your life. Trust me. We found it at Walmart)

2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 tsp chia seeds

1 lg can of diced tomato

This couldn’t be easier. Put the lentils in a crock pot and cover with water.  Add in the onion soup mix.  Put the lid on and let it cook on low for a couple of hours.  If the lentils soak up all the water, add in some more.  After 2 or so hours, add in all of the other spices, stir.  Put the lid back on and cook for 2 hours more.

lentils 1

If the lentils soak up all the water, add in some more. Next, add in the can of tomatoes and the juice.  Stir.  if the lentils soak up all the water – you guessed it! – add in more water. Put the top back on and cook for another hour.

lentils 2

Done. One of my crock pots cooks this faster than the others. But if you cook with crock pots a lot, you should know to just keep that in mind.  Also, if you kick this up to high for an hour or two, you fast forward your dinner.

Easy. On low, I do plan on 5 or 6 hours when I make this yummy dinner.

We love eating this with saltines, corn chips, garlic bread…just depends what we have around (and if I’ve been to the grocery store!) Saving money can taste pretty good, eh?

Enjoy!

 

This one is so good…but be just know…If you haven’t eaten veggie in a while, the lentils may strike back a bit.  Keep in mind just how high fiber of a meal this is.  Don’t say you didn’t get a warning on this one!

 

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