Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Quesacheeza or Black Bean Burrito

I wish I could say I did not eat this after making it, but I did. Cheese has been off my list for some time now. Oh, I have a little bit here and there on salads, or a little Parmesan garnish, but this soon to be burrito was off the charts with cheese. It is the last of the black bean series and it seemed like a nice send off. I used to eat cheese every day and it's been one of the hardest things to let go of. I mean, what doesn't taste better with cheese? So, I rolled it up and ate the whole thing. Fortunately it was a small tortilla wrap and now I can get back to my new routine; walking by the cheese counter with loving eyes as I make my way toward the veggie and nut aisle. I suppose this cheese should never have ended up in my basket in the first place. I do keep some things on hand for others and as I said, a sprinkle here and there is okay but maybe I need to just stop bringing it home. Too tempting.

Tortilla with cheese melt black beans salsa and sour cream

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Zesty Black Bean Soup with Veggies

Black bean soup is hard to make pretty because every ingredient gets the black hue infusion. This soup was zesty delicious. I sliced up a leftover portobello mushroom, added some sriracha, fresh corn, a little celery, serrano peppers, salsa and a squeeze of lemon, but the real kicker was some uncooked sliced red cabbage which I tossed in at the very last minute. It added a nice fresh crunch and burst of color. It's topped with a dab of sour cream, a few green pepper corns, a splash of tomato juice and one tiny squeeze of sriracha. This one cup serving is great for lunch or served as a dinner side. It would also be nice as a fish topping, spooned in to a quesadilla, rolled in to a burrito. Or, how about some rancho eggs?

Zesty Black Bean Soup with Veggies

NOTE: Next time I make black bean soup I am going to keep the colorful ingredients in a separate pan and stir them in just before serving. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Steam-Baked Black Bean Portobello Mushroom Pie

Steam-baked Portobello pies. Yes, this is a continuation of what to do with a big pot of black beans. Fill up each portobello with a full cup of black beans, add some fresh corn, a squeeze of sriracha, some serrano pepper slices, a small amount of mex-mix cheese, a spoon or so of salsa and top with a tomato. Add a cup of water to your pan. Cover with foil. Bake at 325. The steam bath makes a nice broth for plating extra flavor and you can dress the serving with a few bits of veggie salad to brighten the plate. Prep these ahead of time and all you have to do is pop them in the oven. Easy good! Next up, black bean soup.

Portobello Mushrooms, Corn, Black Beans, Pepper and tomatoes

Portobello Mushroom Pie Prep

Steam Baked Portobello Black BeanPies

Plated Portobello Mushroom with Black Beans and Veggies

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Untaco Taco Salad or Black Beans Three Ways

Since I have changed my eating habits, I have not been as active on my blog. It's been a year of food writing and over 150 posts. I will keep it going, but without the variety of food, (I eat a lot of the same stuff) it's become harder to think of things. Previously, it was easy and things flowed effortlessly.

Yesterday, I cooked black beans and will have a few things I can make with them. Today, I think I'll get some large portobello mushrooms and fill them with the beans, add a little topping, then bake them. Or, maybe put them on the grill. Yesterday it was a salad. Hot beans with a little lettuce rim and veggies, a spoon of salsa and a spoon of sour cream. What's left of the beans will be turned in to black bean soup.

I don't know why yet, but preparing all fresh food, cutting back on lots of things I used to eat, grazing on fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts is not as easy to write about. I miss all the ingredients, the saucing and simmering, the toasty roasty goodness. Peeling a banana is not cooking. The most fun I have is using the microplane or flipping an omelet. I'm sure as I expand my ability to explore new ways to make food it will all fall in to place and I will have some new things to share.

Until then, if you see me putting a squeeze of mustard on a leftover, cold chop and eating it with my hands...well, you get the picture.

Untaco taco sald

Monday, April 21, 2014

Small Plates, Tiny Bites, and Simply Delicious Foods

Keeping portions small is easier when you only have small plates. I've completely eliminated large plates unless I want to dress the food with a frame of space. One thing with small plates is that you have to be more careful about cutting food or it can fly off the plate. The benefit is you will eat more slowly and enjoy your food more—simply because you have no choice.

This medium size grilled chop and 10 one bite potatoes cut in half with 10 French green beans is a low calorie, super low sodium meal with a good amount of potassium. It's simple to make and tastes delicious. If you make more than one serving, all of these ingredients can be chopped up and mixed in to scrambled eggs for a ready-to-go breakfast. Another options is slicing the pork chop super thin and make a nice hot or cold sandwich topped with green beans on your favorite bread.

Boneless grilled chop with Tasteful Selections, One Bite potatoes and French Green Beans

These tiny bite, simply amazing potatoes are called Sunrise Medley One Bites and
come from

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saucy Chicken and Rice Combo with Red Peppers

Saucy Chicken And Rice with Red Peppers

We eat with our eyes first and a delicious use of color boosts flavor appeal.

Adding colorful ingredients to your dish makes a meal more appetizing. Plating with fresh accents just before serving brightens the presentation. Many times, as with the red pepper, I cook it in to the sauce and then top the dish with a few uncooked pieces to garnish. Adding some wild greens and a few slices of red onion is a nice finishing touch.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keeping A Food Diary

Food Diary Plate Today's Menu

Keeping a food diary is not something I normally do. The experts recommend that you do so to see just what you are consuming each day. It does add up even when you try your best to eat light. At first I was noting every calorie and the salt content with each item, every single ingredient in a salad and soup, measuring the amount of condiment, if any, and it made me laugh. Now I have a general idea of what is in most things that I eat and drink, so I am not quite as literal as I was in the beginning and it has helped me to be more mindful of each item. I also have switched my coffee to a half decaf blend and have no more than two small cups, and I only put milk in with the first cup. I like tea as an evening beverage.

Food addictions and romantic habits have been easier to give up than I thought. Since I love to cook, the kitchen romance is definitely something I miss, and yes, salt is now replaced with other herbs and spices, but I am getting used to it. I admit, I still eat saltines when I have a huge salt craving, but unsalted, organic sunflower seeds are my main snack along with roasted almonds.

One thing I did notice, I am not a breakfast eater; so most days I start eating between 11:00 to 1:00 and then consume small amounts about every two hours until about 7PM. If I do get hungry any later than that, it's unusual, and I'll grab a banana and some almonds. Putting the time next to what I eat, as well as keep track of my exercise time and length of activity helps me understand my energy level at different times of the day.

The benefit to a food diary (even if you only do it for a month), will help you get to know yourself a little better and encourage better eating habits.

NOTE: If I do eat something that was not the best choice, I enjoy every single bite. I have no guilt about it at all. The next time I prepare something I am more inclined to choose a better alternative since I have satisfied my craving.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Re-Crafting your Food Images into Graphic Art

I take a lot of pictures of food in various stages of prep. I love the natural graphic elements that present themselves. Today I took a couple of those images and turned them in to graphic art. Sometimes your images are not as perfect as you would like, but with a little photoshop and an eye for the abstract, nothing is lost. Eggs on saltines with sriracha or grape tomatoes on a cutting board, whatever you have will do. Just enjoy looking at your food in a new way and see what you can create. If you are doing a quick still life with kitchen items, that can be fun too.

Eggs on Saltine Food Art
Sliced Grape Tomato  Food Art
place setting art