Salad Recon and Loose Ends…

Mom's salad

OK.  So I popped over to my parents’ house (they’re my neighbors) the other day to borrow something.  Nobody was home but we have the same key (cute, I know.)  While rummaging through the fridge I came across the bucket of salad fixings you see here.

(Sorry Mom!  I may have even neglected to tell you I borrowed something–which I can’t even recall what it was at the moment–much less that I snapped photos of your private produce stash…!)

I, too, prep salad fixings en masse, but holy cow: not like this.  Can you even believe this situation!?  And I thought I was a little overboard with my veggies… seems it may not actually be my fault.  I mean, with genes like this, what real choice do I have?

In this bucket is about the healthiest mixture of  delicious salad fun a person can have on a weekly basis.  Purchased from our local farmers market, in this trough you will find: Swiss chard, cauliflower, carrots, bell pepper, celery… I think that’s it.  Things like onion or tomato should wait till eatin’ time as they don’t keep quite as well.

In case it’s not clear, my parents are pretty darn healthy folks.  This salad chest is but one example of the smart food choices they make every day– choices that are easier to make when whipping up a nutritious salad is as simple as opening the fridge.

Thanks for the positive role modeling, Mom!

Oh–and regarding the loose ends.  Here is Teri’s Baked French Toast recipe from Monday.  I’ll also put it on the recipe page.  Happy Friday everyone!

Teri’s Baked French Toast
Ingredients:
5 cups of whatever bread you have, cut into cubes
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar (divided)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. butter (cut into little bits)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8×8 inch baking pan or pie plate.
Line bottom of pan with bread cubes.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 2 tbsp. sugar, salt & vanilla. Pour egg mixture over bread (try to cover each piece). Dot with butter bits.  Let stand for about 10 minutes.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake in preheated oven about 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.
Serve as is or with a little maple syrup on top!
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Don’t Adjust That Dial

rainbow flower

Here we have a little something I termed “rainbow-flower” (as opposed to cauliflower) and broccoli.  My 5 year-old son accompanied me to the farmers market recently, and chose the purple and yellow cauliflower featured with our good friend, Mr. Green Broccoli.

I have seen purple cauliflower in grocery stores before, but not yellow.  It’s raw in this photo, but all these veggies retained their technicolor appeal after roasting as well.  I did my usual with a couple ‘a cloves of garlic, drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt.  Roast at a high heat (400-425) for about 25 mins.

My second grader, and resident politician, suggested we keep track of who preferred which one.  This endeavor evolved into a voting process and tally sheet which she diligently managed throughout the course of the meal.

I used to use this type of “see which one you prefer” type game to encourage sampling when my kids were little.  We don’t need a gimmick anymore, but it was still fun.

My girls acknowledged that with eyes closed, you couldn’t tell the difference between the yellow and purple cauliflower, but my stubborn little guy insisted (picture older sisters rolling their eyes, knowingly) that he could taste the different colors.  Let’s just say that it’s really not worth arguing with him (about this or much else these days…)

But anyway, what do I care?  The kid motored through his vegetables and enjoyed every bite!

Ahh… Kale. I’m Back, Baby!

refrig soup

Refrigerator Soup.  What the heck is “refrigerator soup?” you ask.  It’s whatever you have left in your refrigerator at the end of your shopping cycle which you then chop up and throw into a pot.  With broth.  And wine. 

As promised post-cookie-bar-hangover, today’s post includes kale.  Kale!  Purge my soul (and arteries) my good friend, dark leafy greens!

This is–hands down–my favorite kind of soup to make, in case you’re wondering.  I love to make refrigerator soup for three reasons:

1. It insures I don’t waste.  Anything that grows out of the ground and a few other items that I found in my fridge are in this here bowl.

2. It’s DE-lish and different every time I make it.  Fun!

3. It’s healthy.  But of course.

It’s hard to record a recipe for food items such as this, but I will share what I did yesterday, K?  If you’re a psycho-measurer or to-the-letter-instruction-manual-follower, you are likely to be annoyed very soon…

Ingredients (as I recall…) 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, two kinds of cauliflower, broccoli, stems and leaves from both as well, carrots, celery, kale (KALE :)!), leftover brown rice, leftover chicken, chicken broth, 1/4 cup white wine, blob of “better than boulion,” salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Chop up and simmer everything from the beginning of the list until you arrive at the rice.  Cook down until veggies get a bit softer.  Add everything else and bring to a boil.  Leave at a good bubbling place until veggies are cooked.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Tips: Quantity on the afore mentioned items…?  Yeah… Uh… How does “whatever you’ve got” sound?  Also, timing on this is also absolutely not key.  I didn’t pay a lick of attention to how long any of this took, I’m sorry to say… I was in domestic mode yesterday, cleaning my floors, folding laundry, dusting, etc, so I just popped by every 20 mins or so to take a gander at what was going on.  But hey, that’s me.

So, you know, with absolutely no details of any kind to follow, this recipe prolly won’t make it into my cookbook someday.  But man did we enjoy it last night.

Three Things for This Friday

First off, this is not a pie.  But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Not a pie

Please indulge me as I take a moment to thanks the MOM’S Club of South Pasadena for inviting me to come speak at their meeting yesterday.  Some hip mamas and I talked–briefly–about some of my fave meal planning tips, some lunch box revelations, and basic “sanity maintenance” in the kitchen.  Good times!  (And while we’re on this topic, I was a local MOM’S Club member for five years when my kiddos were little.  Talk about your sanity maintenance…!  Love this organization.)

Also, thought I’d brag about another blog who asked me to guest post for them.  Check me out if you like on the Costa Rica Blog network by clicking on my “press” page above.   If you like.  If you don’t, that’s OK too.  These cool tourism folks liked my “yo hablo espanol” post from last week so we joined forces.

And now  back to our “not a pie” situation.  Thanks for staying tuned.

Beets are in season right now at local farmers markets and, might I say, are super yumola.  They are pictured here surrounded by some lovely fresh cauliflower.  Both veggies proudly gave their life in service to my family’s happy mouths.  Thanks beets and cauliflower!  We appreciate!

I didn’t cook these vegetables in their current set-up, by the way.  They were placed on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and a couple cloves of garlic.  Then put the whole shebang into my oven at about 425 for 25 or so minutes.  You may notice that the beets are cut up much smaller than the cauliflower.  As dense as they are, beets need to be tiny if you want both to be done at the same time as it’s neighbors.

And speaking of “at the same time,” they don’t always end their journey that way.  I think this time I got lucky, but sometimes after 25 minutes the cauliflower might be ready.  Just remove that and put the rest back in for 5 or 10 minutes more.

Have a great weekend!