Saturday, February 9, 2013

just saying hi...

considering a possible return to the blogosphere after a long absence...sometimes a little hiatus is good for the soul. hope everyone is staying cozy in the midst of winter storm craziness!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the end the end (for reals)

So friends, as my blogging becomes more sparse, I have decided to end the health nut. It's been a lot of fun to write, and the blog has provided a great outlet over the past couple of years, but it is time for me to move on.

So thank you so much for reading, and all the best to each of you in whatever adventures lie ahead.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

adventures in yogurt making

One of my culinary goals this summer has been to make my own yogurt, especially after being frustrated with the lack of organic options at the store (Stonyfield Organic is actually owned by Dannon).  

I browsed through numerous blogs with complicated steps from ovens to coolers to mini incubators...but this method is the simplest and has worked every single time (ok, so twice). 

  • crockpot (I got mine at a thrift store for $10)
  • kitchen thermometer
  • heavy saucepan
  • cloth canning bag or cheesecloth
  • half gallon 2% milk
  • starter-plain yogurt of your choice (must have live, active cultures)

1) a:  turn crockpot on high. b) use local//organic milk- 2% or higher is better 

2) heat milk on medium until it reaches about 185-190 degrees F. 

3) place pan in a sinkful of cold water (apparently there was some dishsoap hanging out in my sink) and let cool until at ~100 degrees F. 

4) stir starter into 1 cup of milk. you need 1 T starter per 2 cups of milk (usually about 4 tablespoons). pour the remainder of the milk into heated crockpot and switch crockpot off. 

5) add starter + milk mixture to milk in crockpot and stir. place the lid on crockpot and cover with a towel overnight.

6) in the morning, take the whole crockpot and stash in the fridge for 2-4 hrs. You can strain the yogurt after this step if you want to. I use a cloth bag I found in the canning aisle to drain about half the yogurt before mixing it all together. 

7) add fresh fruit, cinnamon, and agave or toppings of your choice. 

I like this recipe because I can control the sugar content and customize flavors based on my fruit preference of the day. The Michigan peaches have been amazing and are my favorite addition lately.

Let me know if you try this! It seems like a lot of steps, but it's really not, and once you've done it a couple of times you won't even need the recipe anymore. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

breakfast in 2.5 secs

I've never been a huge fan of french toast (maybe it's the weird texture the cooked egg forms on the bread?), but I had a request for stuffed french toast and this recipe popped up quite conveniently on the g.reader earlier. I'm trying to be more adventurous with new recipes, so french toast making began...

stuffed french toast (starring farmers' market peaches)

     3-4 tablespoons cream cheese
     2 teaspoons cinnamon
     1 tablespoon powdered sugar 
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 slices bread (I used cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fresh peaches (or other fruit of your choice)

Warm cream cheese and stir together with remainder of filling ingredients. Whisk egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together. 

Dip 1 slice of bread into egg mixture. Spread filling and place peaches on top. Dip another slice of bread into egg mixture and place on top of first piece. Cook evenly on both sides in frying pan until desired doneness. 

The verdict? Pretty delicious, even for a non-french toast fan. And the recipe takes about 10 minutes, so  you'll be off to the beach in no time (way waay before anyone else gets there). 

Or the farmers' market. After which you may decide to make sandwiches featuring all the vegetables you just bought with fresh bakery bread, homemade hummus, and red pepper aioli

I love summer; as much as some of the weather has been borderline unbearable, I know I'll be complaining when it's -3 with 2 feet of snow. So thankful to be able to take advantage of fresh food and  days full of beach and sunshine. This mostly happens on the weekend, which is part of the reason I look forward to Friday so much.

Happy weekend. Hope you are outside and eating something delicious!

Monday, July 23, 2012

the garden and other things

So the garden has grown like crazy due to the warm weather and responsible watering via the sprinkler. 

This is half of the basil we picked on Saturday morning. Dave and I made a basil//spinach pesto using this recipe. No photo as we were hungry and in a rush to make it to the Andrew Bird concert. I think Patrick Watson (opener) was actually better live. Fantastic music.

Another never-ending project...

I'm still on the search for the perfect granola bar, and it hasn't been that successful. These bars were really easy to make but held together best if eaten right out of the freezer. I think the ratio of wet:dry ingredients is something I need to work on a bit.

And continuing the minimal cooking around here: homemade whole wheat flatbreads + homemade hummus topped with spinach, lentil salad, and red onion. 

homemade hummus [adapted from this recipe]

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can garbanzo beans + 1/2 cup liquid
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Blitz everything in the food processor. You shouldn't need salt if you use the liquid from the beans (half).

whole wheat flatbread [here are the proper instructions; i take shortcuts]

1.25 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water

Mix wet and dry ingredients. Divide into 6 equal pieces (here you're supposed to let the dough rest, but I didn't really care, so I skipped this). Use a rolling pin (or bottom on a flat pan) to make the dough into a round shape (ha, or egg shaped). Grease a frying pan and heat to desired doneness.

I also made yogurt last week, and it was so easy! Post on that process to come. Get ready to make the best Greek yogurt ever.


Saturday, July 14, 2012


Back from a wonderful week of vacation in Colorado. Loved running outside to this view. Michigan has fantastic beaches, but there's also something quite amazing about seeing the mountains when you step outside. 

Dave made homemade bread during our vacation, which was delicious with homemade black bean vegan chili (recipe to come). Homemade bread puts the bagged stuff to shame, seriously. 

We drove around Rocky Mountain National Park, and I was able to snap this shot with my iphone-the picture doesn't really do it incredibly beautiful. I'm definitely jealous of all the sunshine and lack of humidity in CO. I can definitely understand why exercise is more popular on the west side of the country.

We also got to do some hiking, which was a lot of fun and again provided some amazing views. Dave's brother assured us that we were better off going as early as possible, and he was right. As we were coming back down the trail, tons of hikers were just starting the upward trek.

We took a trail to Lake Haiyaha and might have had a contest to see how long we could put our hands in the lake...which was quickly abandoned when we realized the water's degree of coldness. Let's just say noone went swimming. 

Vacation was wonderful, but it's back to the grind on Monday. I think I realized how much I appreciate being out of routine for a bit, although I'm generally most comfortable when I'm settled into one. Being away made me long for a little more adventure and spontaneity. We'll see how that shakes out...

I started making a grocery list on the plane ride back in anticipation of a crazy (and hot) week in Grand Rapids. After a quick trip to the grocery store, I made this lentil salad (recipe here), which I prefer in wraps vs on its own. The key is stopping the cooking process before the lentils become mushy. This is my second time making this salad, and I still didn't get it quite right. The flavor is also much better if you mix and chill in the fridge before eating.

The rest of the weekend will be busy: a quinceaƱera and Andrew Bird concert!

What are you doing this weekend? When was the last time you took a vacation?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

summer snapshots

This rainbow shot through a humid evening downtown was pretty amazing. The warm weather is officially here to stay. Fortunately, I now have window air conditioner after coming to the conclusion that 97 degrees + no sleep is pretty awful. How did people survive pre-air conditioning?

I haven't done any races since the frustratingly hot St. Louis Half, but two weekends ago I ran a breezy 15k along the lakeshore, and Dave completed his first triathlon. Races always seem to inspire my running a little. There's just something about running with a bunch of people who know what it's like to get up for a training run at 5:30 am or sweat through 88 degrees at the end of a stressful work day; it's like instant camaraderie. I don't know if you've ever watched a triathlon before, but holy craziness...these people are hard core.

Still on the no-cooking food rule (and therefore eating a lot of smoothies and salads). If you're looking for heat-free ideas check here. Or maybe you should just eat this. The Chocolate Moose in Bloomington, IN makes an amazing grasshopper ice cream that I will replicate before the summer is over. What kind of ice cream are you eating this summer?

Dave made this wheat berry salad, which was delicious. Wheat berries are the whole wheat kernel pre-processing, containing both bran and germ. They contain fiber, protein, iron, and B vitamins and have a slightly nutty taste and chewy texture.

And my next project involves these. Any guesses?