comfort food

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It’s 13 days into the New Year, and I am chugging along with my 2016 goals. So far I have booked a trip to Puerto Rico, which I am counting as a new place, since I only had a six hour layover there the last time. I’ve added more movement into my life, including dance parties and planks when I get up to make tea. I’ve been sticking to a work schedule, saving two days a week for “off limits” for off-property meetings, which take up a ton of time to get to and from. I’ve pitched some new business and have an updated profile on the website for a PR agency I work with that works extensively with wine clients.

And I have most definitely been paying more attention to eating healthier food and sticking to a workout schedule! I have a few weeks of events and travel coming up, and while I know some weeknight dinners out will be less-than-healthy, I am just doing my best to take things one day at a time. Below you’ll find some of the healthy at home cooking I have been doing lately.

blood orange

1) I have changed up my daytime snacking to include more fruit, especially apples, blood oranges, and grapefruits. I always feel dehydrated this time of year, and delicious winter citrus and other fruits help make me feel like I am drenching my body with water and nutrients. I’ve also added in lots of decaf green tea to hold my appetite off until meals (And because I read that it helps with weight loss. . . it’s healthy so worth a try!). That said, there’s plenty of Nutella straight from the jar, along with almonds and pieces of candy. Balance!

 

 

Life Alive Goddess Bowl

2) Life Alive inspired veggie bowls. The top bowl is an actual Goddess Bowl from Life Alive, also known as a bowl of heaven. If I could eat at Life Alive every day, I would be healthy, happy, and broke. So I have been experimenting with my own bowls. The below didn’t quite look like a Life Alive bowl, but with brown rice, chickpeas, carrots, kale, and onions, topped with an incredible homemade dressing, it came close and made for a delicious dinner. The sauce was made of cashews (soaked in water for the day first), blended with warm water, sesame oil, fresh ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and miso. Really yummy.

Goddess Bowl knock off

white bean stew

beef stew recipe

3) One pot comfort food. Comfort food can be healthy. This Guinness Beef Stew recipe is versatile, and you can add even more veggies if you want. Lean beef that cooks low and slow falls apart and adds lots of nutrients and protein.

And my white bean and sausage stew is a delicious, easy mish-mosh of ingredients: white beans, chicken andouille sausage, crushed tomatoes, kale, garlic, onions, all cooked together and topped with salty feta. This is an easy dinner for any night of the week and makes for great leftovers.

tomato and pomegranate salad 

4) Choosing vibrant salads whenever possible – This one, Ottolenghi’s Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, was a beautiful start to a dinner party we attended last week, and I filled up on it before diving into the other courses. If salad can always be like this, I am in.

kale pesto

5) Kale Pesto – Winter pesto never gets old. I crave the bright green, garlicky paste on shrimp, chicken, and vegetables (pasta too, but we’re trying to avoid it. . . ). This one is a blend of kale, good olive oil, parmesan, walnuts, and ALL the garlic. Yum.

Do you have any healthy eating inspiration lately?

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Tags: comfort food, Food, healthy, healthy recipes, nutrition, recipes, salads, weight loss

Even though we moved to our new neighborhood a little over a year ago, we are still loving exploring it and trying out new-to-us places. Lower Mills Dorchester/Milton is a GREAT place to live, and we love it. You can read about our earlier Lower Mills adventures here.

Right after we got back from Ireland this December, we found ourselves still having a little wanderlust, and so we planned a little road trip to the Wayside Inn in Sudbury. We needed some sort of to-go breakfast, so we decided to check out The Plate, which is in Milton, not too far from us.

biscuit breakfast sandwiches

The Plate serves “handcrafted comfort food” and from my first bite of my biscuit sandwich, it was easy to see why The Plate is always crowded. It’s an adorable little shop that serves breakfast, lunch, pastries, and classic comfort food dinners-to-go.I have become obsessed with above biscuit sandwich, which comes with artisan cured ham, cheddar cheese, and red pepper jelly. Their egg sandwich comes in a close second, with its roasted tomato and spicy aioli. One I haven’t tried is their bacon, banana, and Nutella sandwich. . . but I really think I might need to soon!

pastries at the Plate Milton 

As you gear up for another cold and snowy Boston weekend (unless of course you are reading from somewhere else, hopefully a warm place), keep The Plate in mind for a satisfying, inexpensive breakfast option. I know we will likely be there one of the weekend days!

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Tags: breakfast, comfort food, Food, home, Lower Mills, Lunch, Milton, Restaurants

It’s only a few weeks in, but I feel like we have made some big changes in the New Year, including cutting out weekday wine and cooking at home more often. It’s hard. We love food and wine and to go out around Boston and we have well-stocked wine fridge. It’s a constant temptation to stay in line, but I want to be back in shape and feeling more vibrant, so it’s a worthy cause.

We all know that healthier eating can be absolutely delicious. Case in point, this “Mac” and cheese I made last week with Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains, peas. a yummy cheese sauce, and a Ritz Chips topping. No butter involved.

 

shredded cheddar

The success of this healthier mac and cheese like dish comes from sharp cheddar, which comes with lots of flavor. As a result I only used a cup of the shredded cheese. A mix of Kerrygold cheeses would have been great as well.

frozen sweet peas

A veggie component also helped to add to the nutritional value of this dinner. I love sweet peas, and frozen peas are both delicious and a great value.

Harvest Grains Blend   Third, I replaced traditional macaroni with a Harvest Grains Blend, which includes Israeli couscous (one of my favorites), along with lentils and quinoa.

harvest grains blend

Since I wanted a true baked macaroni and cheese feel, I used toasted Ritz Chips, which are lighter than the crackers but super crunchy and yummy and browned up without the addition of butter. But oh how I wanted to melt some butter over the top. . .

Ritz Chips mac and cheese topping

healthy "mac" and cheese healthy mac and cheese

I am pretty much the worst when it comes to actual recipes, but I can tell you I cooked the Harvest Grains according to package directions, in chicken stock. I made about two cups of the grains.

Separately, I mixed in two cups of skim milk with a cup of shredded cheddar and some garlic and truffle oil and simmered until it thickened a little. I mixed the grains and the cheese sauce, added the peas and topped with cracker crumbs and baked at 350 for about 10 minutes. This dish was super easy and SO delicious. We had leftovers for lunch the next day and wished we had more.

It can be a fun challenge to make yummy, healthy dishes for every day, and we are getting back in the swing of things as we go along.

Have you been making an effort to be more healthy in 2015?

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Tags: comfort food, cooking at home, Food, macaroni and cheese, recipes, Vegetarian, vegetarian recipes, winter recipes

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