Raspberry and Pear Salad

Apparently I’m continuing my little theme of salads. If you missed this or this, they were ideas for salads to take for lunch. This salad would be great too, although it’s a little small. I think it would make a perfect side salad for a nice big bowl of soup or a turkey burger. That being said, it could be bulked up for a meal-sized salad with more lettuce, some sunflower seeds, and some chicken for protein.

Heading into fall, it’s so easy to fall into the trap (see what I did there?) of comfort foods and baking. Not to mention pumpkin spice everything. While pumpkin itself is awesome, it’s usually dolled up with sugar and spice and everything that’s not necessarily nice. This salad uses all fresh ingredients to pack a nice little bit of tang and crunch into your cold fall days. Since I know raspberries aren’t really in season right now, you could also defrost some frozen ones and use the leftover juice in the dressing to make it sweeter. I also realized while writing this that I had every intention of slicing up a bit of bocconcini to top this salad, but completely forgot when I was actually making it. And honestly, I don’t think the salad really needs it at all. The hardboiled egg provides that bit of something creamy and soft that makes the salad.

This recipe makes one serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 pear, sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Place the lettuce (washed and dried) on a side plate or in a small bowl.
  2. Top the lettuce with the pear, egg, and raspberries.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over the salad.
  4. Bam! Fancy salad.

Barley and Steel-Cut Oatmeal

This week in the Adventures of NutriGirl, I’ve been meal prepping my life away, specifically for breakfast. This means I’ve got a giant bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge, and a giant pot of oatmeal all ready to go beside it. Next week I’m starting a new job as a dietary aide, which is going to mean some early mornings. Combine that with needing something quick before or after CrossFit, and it’s nice to have something already ready to go.

My other adventure this week involved trying to make red pepper jelly. After two days, I finally have four and a half jars of the most solid jelly I’ve ever seen. And I don’t mean solid in a trendy, slangy way that means it’s great. It tastes awesome though! I made it the first time on Wednesday, but didn’t wait until it was thick enough before I put it in jars and processed it. After that, I realized things looked a little soupy. When they still hadn’t set or anything by Thursday morning, I broke all the jars open and started cooking them again. I think that basically what happened was that I added a bit too much red pepper. In the end, I figured adding no-sugar-needed pectin would work. And it might’ve, but I think I cooked it a little too long after that. Anyway, in the end, I have red pepper jelly, even if it isn’t exactly the way I thought it would work. I’ll try again next time!

This recipe makes 8 servings. My strategy here is to make it and then leave it in the fridge for a few days. To reheat it, I add a couple splashes of almond milk and some fruit and microwave it for a couple minutes. Bam! Breakfast!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups steel cut oats (not the instant ones)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • jam/fruit/almond butter/whatever
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the steel cut oats and cook them for a couple minutes until they smell toasty.
  2. Add the barley and hot water and bring it to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the almond milk and turn off the heat.
  5. Top your bowl with whatever you want and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

Zucchini Salad with Goat Cheese

As a follow-up to my post last week featuring an easy chickpea salad to take with you to work or school, I did up a similar salad that makes an awesome side to any lunch. This salad doesn’t have nearly as much protein, but it does pack in a lot of fibre with the zucchini, so it’ll help keep you full through the afternoon. To add some protein, try topping it with a piece of chicken breast, some canned tuna (packed in water of course), or a hard boiled egg for a vegetarian option.

Also, for anyone who’s tried zucchini noodles, or anything similar, give me a shout. I’d love to find some fun new pasta swaps besides spaghetti squash to play with as we head into colder months.

I think I might finally be done with my canning for the season after I play with some red pepper jelly tomorrow. I found a recipe that sounds super easy so we’ll see how it goes. Red pepper jelly will be perfect to bring out over the winter with some cheese plates, or with roast meats. I can’t wait! I love walking down the basement stairs and seeing all the jars all nicely lined up and waiting to be opened all winter! (I’m really cool, and just a hoot to hang out with, I swear.)

This recipe makes 1 serving, but if you use a whole zucchini and double everything else, you’ll easily get two.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a small or medium zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Carefully slice the zucchini into thin matchsticks. Alternately, if you have a spiralizer, this would be a good time to use it too.
  2. Put the zucchini matchsticks into a container that seals well. Finely chop the garlic and add it to the zucchini.
  3. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, goat cheese, and salt and pepper.
  4. Seal the container and shake to combine everything.
  5. Throw it in your bag and refrigerate it until lunch time.

Green Pepper Scrambled Eggs

As things start to cool down, I’ve been looking for warm breakfast options to start the day off right. I already made these scrambled eggs, but I wanted to make some with lots of veggies, and that would help use the produce that’s still coming in from the garden. A lot of the time we turn to cereal or toast for quick breakfasts in the morning, but egg dishes, like scrambled eggs, can give you a boost of protein first thing in the morning and don’t take very long to make.

One of the best things about green peppers is the amount of vitamin C they pack in. Just half a cup of chopped peppers gives you all of the vitamin C you need in a day. Like all veggies, there’s also a bit of fibre in there, which will never hurt you.

This recipe makes one serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp grated cheddar cheese
  • dash each salt and pepper
  1. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the green peppers and onions on medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.
  2. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk until pale yellow.
  3. Pour the eggs over the veggies in the pan.
  4. Once the eggs start to set, scramble them around in the pan and add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the cheese melts and the eggs are thoroughly cooked, remove it from the pan and serve.

Chickpea and Veggie Salad

Moving forward into fall, I figured I needed to come up with some lunch ideas for anyone going back to school, or anyone who feels that this is a good time to reboot their lunch game. There’s so much more to packing lunch than making a sandwich.

Also, it has finally started to hit me that I’m not in school this year. I’m seeing everyone’s posts about the new school year and everything and it’s getting weird. That being said, September is still a great time to start over with new habits. Does anyone else have awesome lunch ideas?

Chickpeas are great for lunch because legumes have tons of protein. Combine that with a bunch of veggies and you’ve got tons of fibre and vitamins to get you through the rest of the day. They’re also a cheap source of protein, since a can will usually be less than a dollar.

This recipe makes 1 serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup green peppers, chopped
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash each salt and pepper
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a container.
  2. Shake to mix everything.
  3. Store refrigerated until lunch time.

Freezing Carrots and Parsnips

Following on the same train as last week’s applesauce post, today we’re talking about freezing carrots. When you have fresh, local produce, I think the best thing you can do besides eating it fresh, is preserving it so you have it in the winter when there’s nothing fresh. A key aspect of food security is the ability to have healthy, local food year round. That means that even people who have access to food can be considered food-insecure. Programs like good food boxes and community kitchens that help with preserving can help make everyone more food secure. Doing all this stuff at home makes it more accessible and is really not nearly as difficult as anyone (i.e. me) thinks it is.

The other day someone came into work and asked if we wanted any extra cherry tomatoes he had. Apparently normal people don’t have excessive produce as a problem they face on an ongoing basis. Freezing and preserving food in other ways really cuts down in food waste, which can save you money and help the environment. While food you’ve grown yourself is awesome, using anything local is great. Suppoting local farmers is great, and making use of local Ontario produce at the grocery store serves the same purpose. Use what you’ve got.

So, while I used carrots and parsnips, this method can be used for pretty much any vegetable, just alter the blanching times. Some veggies cook more quickly. Since you’ll probably cook the frozen veggies later, overcooking them just turns into mush later. Last week I also froze some tomatoes. Anything with skins and cores like tomatoes needs to be peeled and cored before being frozen. For tomatoes, score an x shape in the bottom, then blanch them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and the skins will come right off. After that, core them and cut into whatever size pieces, put them in freezer proof containers, and chuck them in the freezer to use in soup, stew, and pasta sauce all winter.

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Ingredients:

  • Carrots or parsnips (as much as you have)
  • Freezer bags
  1. Wash the carrots and parsnips. Cut off the ends and anything that might not look edible and then peel them. Cut them into bite size pieces.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Put the carrot and parsnips pieces in the boiling water and let them blanch for 3-4 minutes, depending on how much you’re freezing and how big the pieces are.
  4. In the meantime, get a bowl of ice water handy and ready to go.
  5. Use a slotted spoon or sieve with a handle to transfer the veggies from the boiling water to the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Drain the veggies and put them in freezer bags. Portion them based on whatever amount you think you’ll need to use.
  7. Label and date the bags and place them in the freezer.
  8. Thank your future self in 6 months when it’s cold and there’s no fresh produce to be found.

Zucchini Quiche

The main problem with making quiche to use up veggies is that baking it heats up the whole house. I managed to get this one made earlier in the week before it was so hot and humid. I used zucchini, but the idea here is that pretty much any kind of leftover veggies, or odds and ends can be mixed with eggs and cheese and put inside a pie shell to make a super easy dinner. If you want more egg dishes, check out this egg bake, this omelette, or this wrap. For more zucchini ideas, check out these hashbrowns, or this salad. Let me know in the comments below what kind of veggies you’re looking to use up right now!

Had I been a little bit more ambitious, maybe I would’ve tried to make my own pastry dough. But I have only tried to make pastry dough once before for a fine dining class, and that just seemed like an awful lot more work than it really needed to be when I already had a pie shell defrosted in the fridge from making peaches and cream pie.

This recipe make 1 quiche, or 6 small servings. The leftovers are still good the next day, but might start to get a little bit gross after that.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen pie shell, defrosted and baked according to the directions on the box
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion (I used 1 really small onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • dash each salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the onion, zucchini, and 1/2 cup of the cheese in the baked pie shell. Make sure everything is distributed evenly.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pie shell. Top with the rest of the cheese.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Applesauce (Adventures in Canning Things)

So last week I got a crash course on how to can things from my boyfriend’s mother. You would not believe how many jars of salsa and peaches there currently are sitting on the shelf on the stairs down to the basement.

But then I had to be all smart and decided to make applesauce too. This would have been a much faster process if I’d realized that my giant 1L jars didn’t fit in the canning pot before I got all ready to start. So I had to run into town to find a bunch of 500mL jars to work with instead. Eventually we got there and I have 3 500mL jars of applesauce now with all the others.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 cups sliced apples, peeled and cored
  • 2.5 cups water
  1. Put all the sliced apples and the water in a large pot on the stove on high heat. Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce to medium heat and cook for 35 minutes. The apples should break down completely, but you can mash them with a potato masher if they aren’t smooth enough.
  2. When the apples are almost done cooking, run hot water into the clean, sanitized Mason jars to heat them up.
  3. Place the lids and rims of the jars into a small pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Fill the canning pot a bit more than half full of water with the rack inside as well. Place on the stove and bring to a boil.
  5. Fill the jars carefully, either with a ladle or a funnel or some combination of the two. Leave a 1/2 inch headspace. Make sure there aren’t any air bubbles in the jar.
  6. Wipe the edges of the jar with a damp cloth. Place the lid and rims on the jars and tighten the rims until they are just finger tight.
  7. Place the jars in the canning pot using the canning tongs. Once there is steam coming out of the pot, leave the jars in the hot water for 15 minutes.
  8. Turn the heat off and let the jars stay in the hot water for another 5 minutes. Remove them from the pot carefully using the tongs. Make sure the lids are completely sealed. They shouldn’t be sticking up at all or be able to pop up and down.
  9. Let the jars sit for 24 hrs.
  10. Label, and store in a cool dry place.