I love the blogosphere. Helloooo blanket Gen-Y statement. But really. It’s amazing. It’s such a great way to share anything and everything—food, friends, fitness, thoughts, ideas, passion, ambition, motivation, inspiration, innovation, interests, anecdotes…you name it!
Oh, and how could I forget, RECIPES! :) I’m enthused when I hear back from my followers, or see people liking and re-blogging my kitchen creations. The truth is, we can all learn from and teach one another when it comes to culinary. And the great thing about it? There’s always more than one way to do something. Yes, baking is the science, cooking is the art. Yes, yes, I know. But can you not substitute Buttermilk with skim milk and distilled white vinegar? You can! See what I mean? Always more than one way. And that’s a wonderful thing. So, as I teach you—my wonderful followers—I hope you’ll be inspired to teach me, too. Be it food or fitness, tidbit or technique. Let’s share it all.
With that being said, Trainer Jack was loving my home-made Ratatouille pictures, so I promised I’d share the recipe. Another great thing about this recipe in particular, is that veggies are versatile. You don’t have to only use squash and zucchini. If you like broccoli, or cauliflower—dare to dabble ‘em! Think about colors, taste and textures, and let it guide your veggie variety. That’s why I chose to add cauliflower this time; different color, different texture. And I loved the turnout!
Remember, no veg is a bad veg—except mushrooms or eggplant. They may change the taste and I would advise to proceed with caution if you decide to go there. But again, be adventurous. I advocate creative cooking!
For my most recent variation, follow the recipe below. If you try other combinations, please let me know how it turns out! Jack—this is for you! :)
I prefer to serve it with 1/2c steel cut oats, but we also enjoy it with whole grain pasta! Or, insert your whole grain of choice here. :)
*This was the first time I made my Ratatouille using this new, chunky tomato variety. I loved the chunky-ness of the dish, but wish I had a bit more liquid/tomato. Next time I would use 1 can chunky, plus 1/2 to 1 can of Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes.
Note: Normally, we use just 1 can of the Kitchen Ready Tomatoes—and if you have a fair amount of vegetables (typically we use 4-5 medium zucchini and 4-5 yellow squash), the 1 can of Kitchen Ready works great!
Making Ratatouille in Maw Maw’s homey, Texas kitchen. (1/21/2010)
So my dad came to me one night and told me that he had a few thousand points from flying that we could use for magazine subscriptions. Let’s be frank: I don’t read. So, magazines are a stretch. But recently at an airport in Kentucky, I stood in one of those little airport stores with candy and a wall with a vast array of magazines. And mulled over the decisions before me. Decisions. Just too many decisions. The pressure was building up as a scanned row by row, column by column, like I was intently looking at an Excel spreadsheet—an all too familiar aspect of my 9-5 (well, 8-4, technically…but you get me).
Needless to say, I was standing there saying “sorry” every five seconds to the guys who were trying to do the magazine inventory and re-stock the neatly cluttered shelves. Because clearly I was in the way. Ya know, just pulling this magazine down and looking at that one. Not committing to buying any, naturally. Just taking multiple pictures on my iPhone of recipes and things that intrigued me. Oh Lord am I a product of 21st century living, or what?
Ah, yes, my point! So anyway, the idea of finding THE single most perfect magazine to subscribe to has been as my mind as of late. My primary interest—and requirements for the mag—being fitness, exercise, nutrition, healthy living, “clean” eats and recipes, and hey, maybe even some design and crafty type of things too! Is that asking too much? Apparently. At the end of my 20 minute pit-stop in the airport store, sans purchase, I vaguely concluded that Shape magazine was the closest—fit. Ha.
Circling back—and yes, I pulled a Kenny G for being circular, but admittedly I like to add a bit of backstory for my readers’ (hopefully) enjoyment—my dad had a list of magazines I could subscribe to. So I took a look. Of course Shape was not an option. So, being overzealous when it comes to free offers, I subscribed for everything closest to it—and then some. I maxed out and signed up to receive as many free magazines as I could. Because I secretly have this theory that I’m gonna scam them for their money. I mean seriously, how many times do we get scammed into all this crap? So you know what, YES McDonald’s. Whether I do or do not drink every last sip of coffee in my cup, I’m gonna GET my $1 LARGE coffee to spite you. Take advantage of your offer. And mooch the most I possibly can out of your deal.
So that lead me to subscribe to a health/fitness magazine of some sort and stumble upon an incredible, 98 calories per 1 cup serving soup! I love soups. I love low cal. I love veggies. And I love immersion blending.
Sign. Me. Up.
I first followed the “Broccoli Leek Soup” recipe to a “T” (Note: I’m having a really hard time with the spelling of that phrase. So if you know whether it’s “tea,” which would make no sense, “tee,” or the letter “T,” please do tell! I’m going with my gut, per the above). And don’t get me wrong—loved the broccoli. What’s honestly not to love?
But then during a trip to BJ’s and a past cooking experience, and newly learned tip from Ang, I decided to dabble with two clutch substitutes: zucchini for broccoli, and EVOO for Canola oil. Oh em gee. #flawless
So just try this. I promise you won’t regret it. And Murph, it’s totally worth your vegetarian while, assuming you sub the chicken broth (or just use the dang broth because I don’t really agree that chicken broth is “meat”—since the physical chicken is not present in the final packaged product. But some could argue against me). Alright here goes.
Recipe: Zucchini Leek Soup
Makes around 8-10 one-cup servings, 98 calories each. It yielded more than the original recipe because I used more vegetables. Enjoy hot or cold!
I’m posting the original recipe below. I actually never realized it called for vegetable stock but I’m sure it’d be delicious! (I just instinctively reach for chicken).
Original Recipe: Broccoli Leek Soup
Well, if yesterday wasn’t indication enough of the absolute most perfect day for making chili, let today be a reminder and a call to action. On the stove, I’ve got a new culinary concoction working, inspired by a fleeting decision to try a healthier vegetarian dish, fabulous fall weather, and an impending craving for home-made chili. Needed. To. Satisfy.
With some inspiriation from Epicurious, I’ve adapted their Spicy Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili Recipe from Bon Appetit, hoping my twist will bring their 3.5 fork review up to a solid 4 forks.
Edit: Oh, indeed it did. For a 4-fork recipe, see Krystina’s variation below. (Ingredients, directions, recommendations and notes below all updated on 1/20/13).
Tried and True Recommendations
Hi my little fudge muffin! Well first I’d like to say congratulations on the big move. I’m super excited for you and jealous of the interior decorating you get to do. And also that you have your very own kitchen to cook and bake in! I can’t wait to come see it, and I owe you a “family dinner” as requested (and promised via Twitter).
So. We know Marc’s a “meat and potatoes” guy, you’re a healthy gal, and that you have some basic pantry staples and condiments. That’s a great start! And with a little of the basics and not a lot of time, I hope to offer some simple suggestions to help you spice it up in the kitchen.
Today I’m going to give you my spin on spuds. And you’ll see none of my recipes are mashed. Mashed is a no-fail, go-to option. (Though I prefer smashed over mashed any day). Quick, simple, creamy. But to me, a potato provides great texture without getting a high-speed hand mixer involved. The spice and seasoning combos below are similar, but the different cooking techniques promise great flavor and variety.