meal plan: week of August 25

Yes, I know I usually do these on Mondays, but my mind has been so scattered lately, I am afraid I’ll forget tomorrow.

I got back from my trip yesterday, so I am determined to be organized and focused this week. Such a goal obviously includes some meal planning.

Sunday- spaghetti squash and zucchini casserole

Monday- “honey chicken” with rice and cold cucumber soup [inspiration here, but probably halved]

Tuesday- sweet potato and beet hash [original inspiration herebut I’ll add eggs like here and here]

Wednesday- spinach lasagna from the freezer

Thursday- pizza, probably one with pesto, due to a nice abundance of basil in our not-garden

Friday- beet burgers and sweet potato fries

Saturday- TBD based on CSA share this week

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lately

blessed

[I really need to STOP instagramming pictures with weird drawings and words on them. It’s like I’m an angsty pre-teen.]

Hi. It’s been awhile, I know.

And I don’t have any “real” excuses for not blogging. I have about five posts started in my drafts folder, but then, I don’t know, life just happens. It’s not as if I am extremely busy or have any pressing matters with which to attend. Nevertheless, over these past few weeks, it seems at the end of every day, I say something like, “I have no idea what I did today, but somehow I didn’t have even a moment of free time to even sit down and read blogs.”

This being unplugged hasn’t been purposeful this time. It just is.

So, anyway….I have a couple minutes, so I thought I’d give you faithful few readers some updates as of lately:

At the beginning of August my family [mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, nephew, Ryan, me, Philomena] took a nice little vacay to the lake. I lugged the camera down there, but I didn’t take a single picture on it. Instead, I just lazily read three “beach-reading”/ mind-candy-type books, whilst cousins and Grandma entertained the toddler. It was perfect.

However, I did manage to snap a few shots with the ipod on the boat. Proof that the trip actually happened:

boat

Ryan and I had a little datenight on Friday, and it was delightful. Good food, wine flights for the both of us, and decadent chocolate for dessert. I know I posted this picture on the Facebook, but for blogging posterity:

date night

[See what I mean? If it wasn’t for the wrinkles on my face and the hair on Ryan’s, this picture *easily* could have been composed by a 14-year-old on her way to the mall with her boyfriend, driven by his parents.]

Ryan’s birthday was Sunday, but naturally, I didn’t take any actual pictures of him on the day. We had his family over, which is always nice. Ryan’s cousin has a little girl who is only a month younger than Mena. She is very high energy, and the excitement eventually was contagious for Philomena.

Ryan snapped some cute pictures of the two. I know they are blurry, but these girls were wild.

IMG_7372IMG_7374IMG_7375IMG_7381IMG_7382

Alrighty, I better get going. Tomorrow I leave for another trip. It’s just me and Philomena this time. It’s her first time flying, and my first time flying with someone on my lap. I promise to take lots of pictures and share when we get back. [Let’s be honest, that probably won’t happen.]

recipe: the lazy person’s gazpacho {Tasty Thursday}

gazpacho

[Alternative caption: “looks like puke; tastes like summer”]

I almost called this recipe “the busy person’s gazpacho.” However, really, I’m not that busy. But lazy. That I am. Very lazy.

Enter gazpacho: that cold, healthy, delicious summer soup. I’ve always loved it. I spent a couple summers in Denver living with my Aunt/Godmother Rose whilst in grad school. She is nurturing to the core. So when I off-handedly mentioned that I liked gazpacho, she made it for me every. single. day. to take to class. [Hello, my name is Spoiled.]

I wanted to re-create Aunt Rose’s deliciousness. A few years ago I came across Alton Brown’s recipe. The ingredients were simple, but the process was, well, fussy. A few of the steps just seemed so unnecessary. [Yes, yes, I realize that Mr. Brown is a culinary genius and I am sure the steps have a higher purpose, but again, I am lazy…even in the kitchen.]

I simplified the procedure, but the taste remained. Then last summer when I joined the CSA for the first time, I always seemed to have extra random vegetables to use up, so I started experimenting with substitutions, and I discovered that the recipe was very adaptable. Have an extra zucchini? Throw it in. Did you not get any red bell peppers this week? Forget them.

The typical way to make gazpacho is to dice everything very small, puree only half of it, then mix it all together, so the end result is kind of chunky. However, part of my lazy adaptation is just chopping everything rather large, then pureeing the whole thing at the end. I really like it this way, but if you prefer yours with bigger chunks, then follow Alton’s method. I won’t judge. Well, much.

Also, he calls for removing the tomato skins and “seeding” everything. Again, I think this highly unnecessary, especially if you’re just going to puree it all up. So, leave the seeds in, I say! [Except the jalapeno seeds…those make it too spicy. Unless you like extra-spicy, of course.]

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Gazpacho

Adapted for the lazy person from Alton Brown’s gazpacho.

Ingredients

1 1/2- 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped*

1 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped [feel free to substitute some/all of the cucumber for zucchini, summer squash, and/or bell pepper]

1/2 cup chopped red onion [just use yellow onion, if that’s all you have!]

1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped

2-3 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade or chopped for the garnish

Method

1. Mix all of the ingredients, except the basil, in a bowl.

2. Puree in three batches in the blender. Be careful when you are pouring the batches into another bowl, because it splashes. And tomato stains can be difficult to get out of clothes.

3. Chill for at least two hours, but the longer the better. I think it tastes better the next day!

4. Garnish with basil.

*This is an excellent way to use up less-than-ideal tomatoes!

IMG_7350[No, Mena, that tomato is a tad under-ripe, but thank you anyway.]