Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grass Roots

Tampa is what it is, and after returning home from a year in Dallas, I appreciate the "is".  I've never doubted my seemingly lacking city in the food quality department.  And even if you gave me a choice between a Tampa and Dallas restaurant, I'd probably choose Tampa 95% of the time.  Yes, really.  But the other 5%?  My heart aches for Spiral DinerCosmic Cafe, and Bliss Raw Cafe.

The only place here that compares in fashion forwardness is Grass Roots.  And it's not just good because of it's lone soldierism, it ranks nicely in my theoretical Tampa vs. Dallas game.

I ordered "Sabrina's Favorite Sandwich" for lunch - raw onion "bread" with raw hummus, avocado, sprouts, lettuce and sheeze.  It seems as though faux cheese and I have a special relationship these days.  Interesting.  But back to the dish, 100% raw and 150% delicious!  The raw onion bread even sparked an interest in adding a food dehydrator to my extensively unnecessary food appliance collection.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chop Therapy

I want what you're having.  Not the entire thing, just a bite.  If tonight didn't happen, I would continue to think you're dish earned extra tasty points for one reason only - it wasn't prepared by me.  And I'm not saying that I won't continue to ask for bites, I will, but at least after tonight I'll understand why.

My impatience is not subtle and probably borders on extreme for prior roomies.  I alone can be too many cooks for one kitchen.  And to this "rule", I can only think of one exception - everything salads with Lex.  Everything salads are never the same and always have too many ingredients to repeat in the same order twice.  And apparently one life changing light bulb moment is the limit for tonight, because I can't for the life of me provide a logical explanation for why, in all of my 26 years, there is one scenario in which I prefer to share a kitchen.

Tonight I prepared an everything salad for the first time sans Lex.  It wasn't the same.  I chopped finely, patiently, and with purpose.  And it was as I prepared my plate for its photo opp that my "Aha!" moment occurred - I want your dish because you took your time!

Finely chop the following until you "Aha!", mix in a bowl, and set aside.
-  1/2 green pepper
-  1/2 red onion
-  1/2 cucumber
-  one can of hearts of palm
-  1/2 can of artichoke hearts
-  1/4 cup of green olives
-  1/2 - 1 cup of steamed asparagus
-  1/2 can of garbanzo beans
-  1 lb cubed chicken breast
-  gorgonzola cheese crumbles
-  balsamic vinaigrette

Place baby greens and baby spinach leaves on a large plate.  Spoon chopped veggie mix over greens.  Keeping the veggies separate will prevent soggy lettuce and ensure even distribution of goods.  Top greens with chicken, cheese crumbles, and dressing.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Souped Up Satisfaction

When someone tells you that a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup is a staple in their diet, you may rush to assume that someone is a third grader.  And although I may resemble a third grader in stature, I'd like to think my palette is a bit more developed.  I'll justify my progression by admitting that my nine year old self would have tantrum-ed at the sight of a green food on my sandwich.

My staple dish hit the spot tonight, it was indescribably perfect for my Monday meal finale.

-  Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
-  Sprouted Sourdough Toast
-  Veggie American Cheese Slices
-  Sliced Avocado, sprinkled with salt

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mangia, Mangia!

I crave red sauce.  Strange craving for a girl that grew up strategically dipping chips into salsa so as not to get a tomato chunk.  And I still won't consume unmarinated/raw tomatoes.  In fact, I specifically exclude them whenever ordering a restaurant meal.  But there's something about red sauce these days that makes my mouth water.

I say these days as if I don't remember the exact moment I became a fan.  But I do.  In 2007, I ordered calamari from a quaint Italian restaurant in Ybor City, Laughing Cat.  From the moment I dipped the first tube, I was hooked.  I thought perhaps I was solely addicted to their red sauce.  Not the case.  I wanted any red sauce, every day, all the time.  Obsessive?  Most definitely.  But that's kind of how I roll.

If you're interested in my super simple, veggie packed sauce...

- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 can of organic diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can of organic tomato sauce
- 6 oz of fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste

Slightly brown the garlic in the olive oil.  Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until they are tender.  Add the cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Then gradually fold in the spinach leaves until they are wilted (it'll seem like way too much spinach, but it's not).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve atop your preferred gluten free carb.

If a dish free of meat freaks you out, try adding ground turkey.  Usually, if I add the turkey, I ditch the noodle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Feel Good Tuna

One of my best pals was in town for a weekend of wedding madness and graced me with her presence today before heading back to capital country.  We managed to cram all of our favorite activities in a seven hour span as we are the most efficient of friends.  Brunch, mimosas, outdoor shopping, online shopping, grocery shopping, green smoothies, and feel good tuna are all deserving of big, fancy check marks on yet another productive Sunday to-do list.

Between her wedding festivities and my, well, Friday festivities, we were both in dire need of some super charged food.  My tuna salad recipe is a sure shot to fixing your bad behavior blues from the inside out.  

-  1 lb fresh tuna, cooked and chopped
-  2 celery stalks, chopped
-  1/2 red onion, chopped
-  1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
-  1 tablespoon of capers
-  light mayo or vegenaise, just enough to moisten
-  salt and pepper to taste
-  baby spinach leaves
-  sprouted wheat bread, toasted

Mix the tuna, celery, onion, slaw, and capers with the mayo until it's a second past dry.  Spread on sprouted wheat toast, top with baby spinach, and enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Check-Ch-Check, Check it Out!

When asked by my doctor if I was getting enough calcium, I responded in a regretfully snooty tone “of course, I take a really good multi-vitamin”.  Oops!  Even my fancy, raw, high absorbency multi’s don’t contain near the recommended 1000 mg per day. 

I browsed a few popular vitamin websites unsure of what I wanted to find.  Relieved that my multi isn't alone, but disappointed in multi’s in general, none of the supplements I found met the suggested mg.  Although dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, I feel as though this route is a bit future farmers of America-esque.

Taking a calcium supplement and munching a few servings of calcium rich foods each day is your best shot for sufficient intake of this essential mineral.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cheese Please?

Among the many tasks that contributed to my uber productive Sunday?  Preparing Chilaquiles for destination freezer.  The recipe that I used from is a far cry from the traditionally unhealthy dish composed of Tostitos and God only knows what else.  And, at some point during my extended stay in the produce section, I decided to jazz it up with faux cheese.  What!

I started regretting my purchase as I was cooking, and even more so after I took it out of the freezer and invited a friend over for dinner last night.  It’s a slim to none chance that an all American boy will tolerate the taste of yellow nothing with a hint of weird.

While I was preheating the oven, I hesitantly sampled a shred.  Much to my surprise it was decent.  Much to my surprise it was good!  At that point, I knew that I would be satisfied with my dinner, but was still fairly nervous about how my guest would react.

It was clear that my nerves were unnecessary as he requested a second helping.  I’m three for three this week as far as meals are concerned and I think that calls for a solid “heck yeah!”. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All Hail Kale

With 206 %DV of Vitamin A, 134 %DV of Vitamin C, and 684 %DV of Vitamin K per serving - kale's got it going on as far as veggies are concerned. If you're a spinach lover like me, you might consider swapping out your current leafy goodness for this powerhouse green.

Rushing to toss kale in your next super salad may be a bit of a disappointment; however, adding steamed/boiled kale to pastas and raw kale to smoothies will give you the tasty, nutritional boost you're looking for. Beware of its less than satisfactory fridge life, even though sources claim that it's none the worse for freezing.

The recipe pictured above, "Pasta with Greens", can be found at Follow my lead and toss the milk, leave the food processor in the cabinet, and replace spaghetti with quinoa elbows for an even healthier fare.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Barley & Eggplant, Oh My!

To aid in sticking with my "high fiber, low glycemic index, minimal animal, minimal wheat" diet, I've created a meal plan for the first week of twenty ten. I spent entirely too much time, especially for a Saturday night, picking out recipes, downloading a blackberry shopping list app, and then using the app for my lengthy grocery list. My shopping cart was nothing short of beautiful - I could feel envious eyes wandering from carts filled with processed cardboard to my cart filled with lush produce. And even if that image was all in my head, I loved it just the same.

Oh what a dish, my first home cooked meal of the new year: Barley Basilico and Garlic Eggplant from "The Flexitarian Diet" cookbook. It was refreshing, hearty, and uncomplicated. I must add that I thoroughly enjoy simple meals, meals where you can understand the purpose of each ingredient in your first few bites. This meal was not only pleasant to the buds, but fulfilled the fundamental plan (as you can see below).

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