New Favorite Breakfast: Overnight Oats

For years I was a faithful Kashi Go Lean cereal eater.  This week I decided to try something new–something with fewer ingredients and less fiber–for the most important meal of the day, and I am pleased with the switch.

I don’t know who stumbled upon or coined the term “Overnight Oats,” but they must be brilliant.  I love oatmeal, but I never want to take the time to make it in the morning–we don’t have a microwave, and who wants to dirty a pot on a weekday before they’ve had coffee?  Not this girl.  Enter overnight oats.  Put the ingredients in a bowl before you go to bed, and it’s ready when you wake up.

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In my bowl this week:  1/2 c oats (not instant), 1/2 c + splash soy milk, frozen blueberries, sprinkle of cinnamon, pinch of salt.  In the morning I stir in a spoonful of peanut butter.  And, of course, coffee with soy milk to wash it all down.

It’s easy, delicious, and keeps me full for hours!  I think I’m in love.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Post Food Poisoning Meals

It’s been a week of funny dinners around the Storey house.  On Sunday night after a dinner out, Andrew got a bad case of the pukes that lasted through the night.  We decided it was food poisoning based on the timing and the fact that I never caught it.  He was pretty miserable. :-/

On Monday he was still in pretty bad shape–managing to muscle down plain toast, chicken and rice soup, and Gatorade–and on Tuesday he was ready for a real, but bland dinner.  Here’s what I came up with:

Skillet Chicken
Steamed Green Beans
Brown Rice

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We cooked the chicken tenderloins in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The green beans (from the garden) spent some time in the vegetable sauna steamer, and we made the rice in the rice cooker with chicken broth.  Really easy to make and surprisingly good, despite the lack of creativity (a little bit of salt makes a big difference!)  Most importantly, Andrew’s recovering stomach approved. 🙂

Last night, however, we had a dinner issue.  When I went to the grocery store Monday, not knowing what Andrew would feel up to eating, I bought two boxes of Applegate Farms chicken nuggets–one gluten-free for him, one regular (because I am sympathetic;  if he had to eat chicken nuggets, I guess I would too… you know, to support him ;-))  He didn’t want them Monday, but when I came home last night, he was working his way through a plate of nuggets.

“Those are the gluten-free nuggets, right?”

(A slight look of panic on his face) “There were two kinds?”

“Yes, I bought one GF and one regular so that you could have the whole GF box to yourself…”

“I didn’t check!  You said you bought GF chicken nuggets so I just grabbed a box out of the freezer!”

We went to the freezer to check, and, sure enough, he had broken into the NON gluten-free box.  He said he’d eaten four before I walked in, which may seem like a lot, but considering he had eight additional nuggets on his plate, I’m glad I walked in when I did.  I was nervous all night about what effect the gluten might have on him, but it seems that it was a small enough amount to not upset his stomach beyond the “off” feeling he already had.  (If he’d eaten all 12 nuggets though… seriously, who eats 12 chicken nuggets?)  Crisis averted, lessons learned.  Andrew continues to be on the mend!

If you have a food intolerance, have you ever accidentally eaten something you weren’t supposed to?  What happened?

When was the last time you had the upchucks?  What foods can you tolerate/do you recommend during the recovery?

 

Ultimate Frisbee + My New Favorite Squash Recipe

I am sore this morning!  Last night we played Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and we played hard.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, dinner.

We enjoyed leftovers from an awesome dinner Monday night: chicken sausages with a potato, squash, and goat cheese gratin.  I used this recipe for the gratin (minus the milk and Parmesan cheese; Andrew can handle goat cheese.)

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Oh, it was delicious.  Squash by itself?  Not my favorite.  Squash with my beloved potatoes?  Oh, yes.  This recipe is a winner, for sure.

After eating, we made our way to the University of Richmond to meet the Ultimate Frisbee gang.  We went a little bit early so Andrew and a few others could play Spikeball first.  I embraced the opportunity to go for a walk through the beautiful campus.

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Ready. To. Play. 😉

Last week we had 8 people for Frisbee;  this week we had twenty.  Rather than play a crowded 10-on-10 game, we made four teams and had a mini tournament on two adjacent fields.  We each played one game (first team to score 11,) then the winners played, and the losers played.   By the end, we’d all spend about 90 minutes running pretty hard.  The teams were beautifully even in terms of abilities, so although we won our games (:-D), both were very close, and there was no time to rest.

After driving home and hobbling from the car to the house, I made my favorite workout recovery meal–a smoothie.  This cup contained frozen berries, banana, mixed greens, peanut butter, and soy milk.  While this sounds rather strange and is not my typical smoothie combination–I usually use spinach, but we have mixed greens on hand right now, and I usually forego the peanut butter, but I wanted some extra protein–it actually tasted great!  And no, I could not taste the greens. 🙂

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I love smoothies as workout recovery fuel because they contain carbohydrates, protein, and lots of vitamins, depending on what fruit you include.  Unfortunately, none of that is preventing my legs and glutes from being incredibly sore this morning. 😀

What do you eat/drink after a hard workout?
Do you ever play Ultimate Frisbee?

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I love potatoes in most any form.  When I send Andrew a text mid-afternoon that says, “Thoughts on dinner?”  and he replies, “Whatever is fine,” there is a very strong chance he’ll be eating potatoes that night.  Yesterday, to jazz up our go-to oven roasted potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil, I created what turned out to be a really delicious seasoning mix.  If you are a fellow lover of potatoes, give this a try:

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

-5-6 small red potatoes
-1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/4 tsp pepper

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1. Preheat oven to 350.  Begin boiling a large pot of water.  2. Slice potatoes into small chunks.  3. Boil potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, then transfer to a bowl.  4. While potatoes are boiling, combine all the spices and mix well.  5. Add olive oil and spice mixture to the potatoes, and stir, making sure all the potatoes are coated.  6.  Spread potatoes on an aluminum foil-lined baking pan, and place in oven for about 30 minutes, flipping potatoes with a spatula halfway through.

DSCN8551Oh man, they were good!  Boiling them first ensures that they are soft, and putting them in the oven makes the exterior crispy.  I could eat these every day!  They did have a little kick, so if you don’t like spicy food, make sure to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper (or eliminate it completely.)

In addition to the potatoes we had steamed broccoli and baked chicken breasts, marinated in raspberry-walnut vinaigrette (which explains the pinkish color. :))  With all the goods coming out of the garden, we have been eating a lot of salad;  last night I needed something that wasn’t raw, and the steamed broccoli hit the spot.

Enjoy!

Lemon-Thyme Chicken & Vacation

I may have reached my threshold for squash.  With the zucchini and yellow squash growing so quickly in the garden, we have cooked a meal with them about once a week and eaten the leftovers for at least one other meal.  Don’t get me wrong:  we are growing some delicious squash…I just might need to encourage the bell peppers and broccoli to grow a bit faster for the sake of my taste buds. 😀

I used this recipe to cook dinner last night, and taste-tester Andrew gave it two thumbs up.  Our modifications: instead of couscous, we cooked brown rice in the rice cooker, we used chicken tenderloins because they were on sale, and we added minced garlic to the squash saute.  

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The chicken was really good.  We will most definitely make this again… perhaps with another veggie. 🙂  Andrew loved the squash, and I certainly didn’t have any complaints about the taste.  As I said earlier though, I think I have reached my limit, so I just wasn’t thrilled about it.  Luckily, we have lots of leftovers to eat tonight. 😉

After dinner we headed to the gym.  I sweated for 40 minutes on the Elliptical–including 10 minutes of intervals–while Andrew lifted weights.   We booked our summer vacation on Sunday night (we are going to Jamaica in August!!) and I think as a result we are both feeling motivated to put in some tougher workouts. 😀  An evening stroll around the neighborhood, a Sunday afternoon leisurely bike ride are great for general health and basic fitness, but we are upping the intensity for the next month or so in order to get ourselves in fantastic shape for the Caribbean. 😀  I am SO excited.

What are your vacation plans for the summer?
Is anyone else tired of squash yet? 😉

Squash, Tennis, and Homemade GF Cookies

Something tells me I will need to find an abundance of new squash recipes soon…and that something is that our zucchini and yellow squash are growing faster than the weeds surrounding them!  Yesterday we harvested (and ate) three, and we have three more that are ready to be picked today.

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Aren’t they beautiful? 😀  It is unbelievable how fast zucchini grow.  This particular one increased its size by almost 1/3 literally overnight.  We checked on it yesterday morning and thought, “Whoa!  Where did that come from?!”

For dinner, we kept the squash prep simple–sliced, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme, and roasted in the oven.

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…Plus baked pork chops and brown rice noodles with garlic and basil.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t love squash, but this was actually very tasty!  Again, I am fairly certain food tastes better when it’s homegrown.  It’s not too late to buy a few vegetable plants! 😀  You can grow them in pots, and you wont regret it.

After dinner we went to a local public school to play tennis.  My quad is still giving me trouble from our softball game ten days ago–fifteen or twenty minutes into my runs, it starts feeling really tight and achy.  I was happy to do a non-running cardio workout!

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My husband has skills.

We played for just over an hour, and as we were driving home, Andrew reminded me of my promise to bake him something.  Wednesday afternoon I’d baked a few desserts for a meeting at church, and when Andrew got home the house smelled like cookies, but there was nothing he could eat, so I promised to bake him something gluten-free and delicious on Thursday.

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There’s a decent selection of gluten-free all-purpose flours and baking mixes these days, but the best stuff we have come across is Arrowhead Mills GF all-purpose flour.  The first few times I baked with it, I double checked the box to make sure the flour was GF after tasting how good the final product was.  More than once I did that!  We have even served GF baked goods made from this brand to our friends without them being able to tell they were GF.  That’s the true test. 🙂  Anyway, these chocolate chip cookies, made using Arrowhead Mills GF all-purpose flour, did not disappoint.  I’d need to do a side-by-side taste test, but I think I prefer these to regular chocolate chip cookies.  We may have eaten seven between the two of us (it’s okay… we eat our veggies too :-D)

Now, I’m off to pick some more squash before they grow too large to eat!

What’s your favorite squash recipe?  Do you have a gluten-free flour that you really love?

Baconfest: Redemption

Andrew, like most Americans, loves bacon.  I like it by itself, but I generally don’t want it cooked into something I am eating because it makes the whole dish taste like bacon (“Um… exactly.” Andrew)  However, after our disappointing experience at the Bacon Festival on Sunday, I wanted to give Andrew the bacon-filled feast he’d been hoping for.  Plus, I had my heart set on some bacon-wrapped scallops.  😀

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I had two goals: 1. Incorporate bacon into every dish.  2. Make those dishes as healthy as possible, considering they contain bacon. 😉

Here’s the menu (with links to the recipes we used) :

Bacon-wrapped Scallops

Braised Brussels Sprouts & Bacon

Wilted Arugula Salad with Asparagus, Bacon, and Sherry Vinaigrette

Bacon Quinoa with Almonds and Herbs

As usual, we didn’t follow the recipes exactly, making adjustments according to our dietary needs and what we had on hand (the only ingredients I purchased yesterday were bacon, scallops, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.)  All we did for the scallops was wrap them in bacon and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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As you probably know, bacon is a very fatty food.  Some of these recipes called for vegetable oil in addition to using the bacon fat to cook.  In order to minimize the artery clogging, we left out most of the added oils and removed some of the bacon fat from the pan so that we were getting the bacon flavor but not deep frying the vegetables. We also didn’t use as much bacon as the recipes called for;  I think we put 2.5 slices in the in quinoa, 2.5 slices in the Brussels sprouts, 3 slices in the arugula salad, and wrapped each scallop with 1/2 slice.  We used a pound of traditional-cut bacon, but have leftovers of everything. 🙂

DSCN8356Despite what the photo above suggests, I did not consume any bacon by itself.  Andrew cannot honestly make the same claim. 🙂

Bacon

Every dish was so, so delicious.  By the time I ate that last scallop though, my stomach felt a little crazy.  Andrew agreed.  It wasn’t that we ate too much in terms of volume and were stuffed; all the bacon grease was just so heavy. I had to stand out on the back deck for a few minutes because I felt nauseous from the smell lingering in our house.  Hah.

As much fun as it was to create our own Baconfest, and as delicious as those bacon-wrapped scallops were, last night confirmed what I wholeheartedly believe and regularly proclaim on this blog and otherwise:

You just feel better when you eat real food.  

Whole food.  From the earth.  More plants, less animals.

Bacon does not fall among these foods.  😉

Fresh Salsa, Drying Herbs, & What Happens When You Grill Turkey Dogs

There are a few things I want to write about this morning, but none of them warrant an entire post, which means this post is extremely random (as you may have guessed from the title.)  You’ve been warned. 🙂

1. Grilling Turkey Dogs–on Monday night, we cooked dinner on the grill.  While evaluating our options at Trader Joe’s earlier that day, we decided on turkey dogs, rather than all-beef dogs, like usual.  I don’t know why, and I regret the decision for this reason:

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Appetizing, huh? 😉  On a positive note, we also grilled zucchini, and it turned out perfectly!

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Zucchini is not my favorite vegetable, so I made a dipping oil to go with it: olive oil + basil, thyme, and oregano from the garden + garlic powder + salt and pepper.  Delicious.  And speaking of herbs from the garden…

2. Drying Herbs–We currently have more herbs growing in the back yard than we can use fresh (though we have been using them often,) so we have started drying them to store for later use.  Last night while I was working on the computer, Andrew said he was going to hang some more herbs.  Twenty minutes later I turned around to see this happening in the kitchen:

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He may have gotten a bit carried away.  Anyone need some herbs? 😉

Speaking of things we’ve picked from the garden, we harvested one small, beautiful strawberry on Saturday morning:

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We had a few more turning red, but they have since been eaten by an animal (or possibly a neighbor.  We aren’t sure which 😉 )

3. Fresh Salsa–Last night (pre herb-drying,) Andrew and I made tacos and fresh salsa, the way my college roommates and I make it, minus the onion:

-6 Roma tomatoes
-2 Large cloves of garlic
-1/4 Jalepeno
-Juice of 1/2 lime
-A few sprigs of cilantro
-Salt & pepper

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I found the most beautiful organic Roma tomatoes I’d ever seen at Kroger–bright red and unblemished.  Unfortunately, they did not look equally wonderful on the inside.  Still, the salsa was very tasty.

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And there you have it:  a 100% random post 🙂

Have you ever tried grilling turkey dogs?  How did they turn out?

Any advice for keeping critters off the strawberries?

 

Italian Chicken Sausage and Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf

I love to cook.  And I love to cook with real, whole ingredients.  But sometimes Monday evening arrives, and I don’t feel like starting anything from scratch.  For such occasions we keep a few easy meals in the freezer.  One of our go-to proteins is precooked chicken sausages:

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This particular brand came from BJ’s (wholesale club,) but there is a natural brand we really like from Kroger as well.  Here’s why I think these are great:

1. I know what all the ingredients are without having to do any research.  Chicken, vegetables, spices.  I am a firm believer that if you don’t know what something is you probably shouldn’t eat it (not often, anyway), so I really appreciate this list of ingredients.  Plus, the nutrition facts aren’t too shabby either.

2. They taste fantastic.  The brand we find at Kroger (I can’t think of the name at the moment) has a chicken-apple flavor that is so good.  This was the first time we’d tried the Italian, and we will definitely buy it again!

3.  They are super easy to make.  The package actually contains two separate packs of five sausages;  we only opened one, sliced the sausages in half, lengthwise, and warmed/browned them in a skillet.  So simple!

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(Andrew’s plate)

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(Catherine’s plate)

We made a mushroom quinoa pilaf with sun-dried tomatoes to go with the sausage, plus some sauteed lemon-garlic spinach.  If either of those sound fancy, don’t be fooled: all we did for the quinoa pilaf was put the quinoa, sliced mushrooms, olive oil, and chicken broth in the rice cooker, then add the sun-dried tomatoes at the end.  The spinach was about as easy:  Saute garlic in olive oil, then add fresh spinach, and continue to stir and add more spinach as it wilts.  Squeeze lemon juice in before serving.

Everything was done in the time it took for the rice cooker to finish the quinoa (30 minutes, tops.)  Very easy, and quite delicious for a quick, weeknight dinner!

The Sandwich-Hater’s Lunch: Herbed Chicken Salad

One evening during last week’s heat wave (yes, I’m calling 90 degrees in early April a “heat wave,”) I wandered through the grocery store looking for dinner inspiration.  All I could think was, “I refuse to eat anything hot.”  Truly, cereal sounded better to me than anything else, but I had a feeling Andrew would not be to thrilled to eat cereal for dinner. 🙂

Chicken salad popped into my head and immediately seemed like the best idea for a cold dinner entree.  Originally I planned to title this post, “It’s-90-Degrees-And-I-Refuse-to-Eat-Anything-Hot Chicken Salad,” but 1. I’m writing it so far after the hot weather that it’s not as fitting, and 2. the leftovers made for an excellent sandwich-hater’s lunch.

Here’s the recipe:

Herbed Chicken Salad

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded*

1/2 cucumber, chopped

Rosemary, fresh**

Sage, fresh**

Thyme, fresh**

1/4 c mayonnaise

Squirt*** of mustard

Salt & pepper to taste

*I boiled the chicken breasts, but you can saute, bake, use leftovers, or even canned chicken.

**In the produce section at my grocery store (Kroger) I found a “poultry blend” of fresh herbs–one small plastic container had rosemary, sage, and thyme, and it was more than enough!

***Yes, a “squirt” is an official measurement.  😉

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Put everything in a bowl and mix well.  It’s not a bad idea to start conservatively with everything but the chicken–you can always add more to suit your taste, but you cannot take out mayonnaise once it’s in!

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We ate ours with mixed green salads, and I had Triscuits with mine as well.  It ended up being an excellent dinner on a hot night… and a solid lunch the next day for someone who hates sandwiches 🙂

Enjoy!