Salads Veggies Starring as....Themselves

The Dog Days of Summer Are Here….And So Is The Cold Salad Parade

With 100-degree temperatures in this week’s forecast, and lots of days with lesser forecasted highs getting within a whisker’s length of 100, the quickest way to melt my cooking mojo is to stand me in front of a hot oven or stove. Many people tout grilling as the way through these situations, since grilling lets you cook with heat, even high heat, without heating up the kitchen. We’re doing some grilling, for sure, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist about timing my cooking so that everything is done at the same time, and I haven’t yet mastered the timing of grilling to the extent that I have stove top and oven cooking.

Professionally, I’m in a major transition period, as I wrap up a job I’ve had for 10 years and prepare to take on a big new challenge with a new employer. Let’s just say, I’ve got a lot of things on my mind right now, and the timing for cooking a hobo-style foil pack of vegetables doesn’t always grab the prime spot on my radar.

This is where cold salads come in really handy. They don’t require much, if any, heat. They can be made in advance. They showcase seasonal produce, and they are often pretty attractive. I’ve taken to

Veggies Starring as....Themselves

Happy 2015!

healthy_harvest_310968We had a wonderful winter break that included R&R, visits with family and friends, and a quick trip to a mountain cabin with great views and proximity to excellent hiking.  Now, we’re all settling back into our routines, including healthy eating.  The transition coincided with record low temperatures for our area, so I’ve been focusing my cooking on soups and spicy Asian dishes.

The highlight of my soup-making has been the discovery of an incredible vegetable soup recipe.  And on the Asian recipe front, I recently made some authentic Thai recipes using banana flower and green papaya for the first time. I’m writing a separate post about those recipes and the new produce items.  For now, I’m feeling satisfied that my new year has included some fun culinary firsts!  Happy New Year!

Pasta Veggies Starring as....Themselves

Summertime, and the living is … BUSY!

There are three weeks left in the school year.  The littlest chef is starting end-of-grade testing on Friday, and she’s now busy most school nights with puppy training, guitar lessons or swim team practice/meets.  We’re in a very hectic cycle, and there are two things that are not negotiable, especially with the testing and the physical activity on the agenda:  nutrition and sleep. So, I’ve ramped up my already manic menu planning system to have dinner on the table even faster than my typical 30-40 minutes after walking in the door. To do this, I’ve settled into a routine of occasionally cooking two meals at once — one for immediate consumption and the second for the next night. If you peruse my menu planning calendars (see links at left), you’ll see that I’ve started mapping out not just the nightly menu but also what advance prep I’m doing for other nights. I’m finding this very helpful.