Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sugar Detox

Last weekend Big J and I were talking to to a friend who is in the midst of a 21-day sugar detox. Now, if you've read this blog in the past, you know that we've done something similar for 12 days. This is a bit more restrictive, but Big J and I both felt this would be a good thing. So for the past week I have been following this plan.  It's been fine, but I was feeling like something was a little off.  The fact that we could eat beans and rice seemed a little counterintuitive. Also no fruit!  That's a little harsh. I mean, I don't eat a lot of fruit, but not even whole fruit?

Today I did a little research and made a modification.  I picked up this book and have been reading through it today. And I'm really glad I did. For one thing, the author has 3 levels. Level 1 is the least restrictive and only allows 1/2 cup of beans. But the biggest thing for me is that levels 1 and 2 allow dairy. Yay!  Sign me up!

As of today I am making those modifications. And it's not that I drink a lot of milk, but I do like yogurt and cheese.  Although I need to recognize that although cheese is yummy, it needs to be in moderation.   But the good news is, tonight I can satisfy my pizza craving with cauliflower crust pizza, because I can use Parmesan and mozzarella.

Long term, I feel like level 2 is workable. In fact, I feel like I could be on level 2, with a few indulgences here and there, indefinitely. Also now I can include some vinegars which has been super difficult to avoid. And finally, I realized I can include one of my all-time favorite salads: spinach, avocado and grapefruit salad. I promise to add this one to the blog soon.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Grandpa Casserole

When I was growing up my family made what we called "Grandpa Casserole."  The reason we called it that was simply because my grandpa liked it.  Since then, I learned that there are lots of variations and names for this "secret family recipe."

I can't believe it, but I hadn't made this for my family until about 6 months ago.  And when I did, they loved it.  This dish is incredibly easy, relatively quick, and easy to modify to whatever you have on hand.  I like to make it on days little j has a later evening activity because I can keep in the oven while I pick her up. I don't make it as a traditional casserole, but, again, you can make however it might work best for you.

Grandpa Casserole

Serves 4 

2 cups dried pasta (penne, macaroni, or other sturdy pasta works best)
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes with liquid

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium high and brown ground beef.  Drain off most, but not all of the grease.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add in tomatoes with juice.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer while pasta finishes cooking.

When pasta is done add to ground beef mixture and combine.  At this point you can either serve it or you can place it in an oven proof dish, cover with foil, and keep warm at 250° for 30 minutes to an hour.  This allows the pasta to soak up some of the tomato juice.

Again, you can add whatever you like - herbs, vegetables, cheese, etc.  You can substitute ground pork or italian sausage.  If you prefer tomato sauce instead of chopped tomatoes, that works as well.  Lots of options here!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quiche Fail - but not really

I made the spinach, mushroom, and bacon quiche tonight.  little j did not care for it at all and I'm not sure why.  I mean, the eggy part is really just scrambled eggs with some milk.  She liked the spinach, mushrooms, and bacon.  But ended up eating her salad and a bowl of cereal.

Like many of my dishes, I found a few different recipes and then made one that was more to my liking, plus made use of what I had on hand.  One thing I did which worked well was cook the bacon in the microwave.  I've never done it before, but I just read a post on The Kitchn that made it sound appealing.  And I have to say that it was so much easier to cook three pieces of bacon in the microwave than clean up a pan.  Plus the house doesn't smell like bacon, and that's always a plus.

One other minor thing, I did buy the crust and I got it from Trader Joe's.  This is the last time I buy crust from there.  I unrolled it and it came out in pieces (like more than 20 pieces) and I had to smush it together.  And it really didn't even taste that good.  Honestly, somethings really are worth doing from scratch.

So here's the recipe:

That Girl's Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

8 slices

1 crust (to fit a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan)
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
3-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups grated swiss cheese
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (may use 1/2 & 1/2 or heavy cream, whatever you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Prepare the crust in your pie plate or tart pan.
Combine eggs, milk or cream, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Whisk until combined.
Heat a saute pan over medium high heat with a touch of olive oil.  Sauté the mushrooms until they have released all their liquid and beginning to brown.
Layer the spinach, mushrooms, and bacon on top of the crust.
Sprinkle the cheese over the vegetables and bacon.
Pour the egg mixture on top, tilting the pie plate to distribute the filling evenly.
Place the quiche in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until the quiche is set at top is golden brown.
Cut into 8 wedges and serve hot or warm.