Tag Archives: Spinach

Peppermint Patty Green Monster

Ever since coming back from vacation, I have been craving fruits and vegetables like whoa.  I think it’s because it’s hot back here in New York (not crazy hot, but it’s definitely not fall weather like Canada).

I had a beautiful salad for lunch made from a bunch of locally grown veggies (including the reddest tomato I have ever seen), and then an apple (golden and delicious, as the name implied), and then I was still dying for vegetables.

Green monster it is.  ‘Specially one that has a fresh and cooling taste thanks to some chocolate mint from my herb garden.

Peppermint Patty Green Monster Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 10 small chocolate mint leaves (you can use regular mint, too)
  • 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 C skim milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • honey or chocolate syrup to taste (optional for those of you who want a sweeter drink)

Layer the ingredients in a blender in this order: spinach, mint, cocoa powder, banana, ice, and skim milk poured over the top.  Putting the heavy stuff on top helps to press the light stuff down into the blender mechanism.

Blend for a few minutes until smooth.  Pour into a glass and serve immediately (makes one smoothie).

I actually couldn’t believe how much this really tasted like a peppermint patty.  Sweet, a bit of chocolate (how good would this be with chocolate pieces stirred in?), and that perfect cool minty finish.

As always, you can’t even taste the baby spinach.  If you use a heartier green like kale or chard, you’ll be able to detect it–that’s why I went with spinach on this one.

Vegetable and fruit craving satisfied.

Now on to more important things:

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Filed under Beverages

Cookie Dough Green Monster

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

I don’t have class until one today, so I woke up early, made a giant mug of chamomile tea, straightened up a bit, then had a giant green monster.  I’ve been craving fruits and veggies for a few days, so I knew it was time for a hearty dose of spinach for breakfast.  In cookie dough form.

This green monster has a special ingredient–you may have guessed it based on the above picture.  Drumroll, please!

Yes, oatmeal.  You all know by now that I love oatmeal in any form, and old-fashioned oats were on sale at Waldbaum’s yesterday–buy one get one free, basically.  It cost $4 for two of those big oats containers–yay!  We haven’t had anything other than steel-cut oats for a while, so I was excited to get back to these guys.

Cookie Dough Green Monster

  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 C uncooked old-fashioned oats (though you could use quick oats, too)
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 2 T vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast (ugh–still trying to get rid of these)

Using the standard layering order of green monsters, I added milk, instant breakfast, oats, spinach, and banana on top.

I had a few very ripe bananas lying around last week, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to make anything with them.  Rather than throw them away, I peeled ’em and froze them in large chunks.  This is perfect for green monsters, ’cause I don’t need to add ice to have a cold smoothie, and no wasting old bananas!

Blend for a few minutes until smooth, and enjoy.  I made one for Fritz this morning, too, in an attempt to help him get over a summer cold.

The Carnation Instant Breakfast isn’t my favorite thing in the whole world, but it did give a nice vanilla cookie dough flavor with the oats.  It was a little sweet for my taste, so once I’m finally rid of these things, I’d probably just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and skip the added sugar.  If you need it at little sweeter, you can use sugar, honey, vanilla protein powder…

I love the flavor of the blended oats.  They give the green monster a really nice texture and doughy taste.

I also tried blending some granola in a green monster the other day, but it also turned out to be too sweet.  Similar texture as the oats, though, which I did like.  My bananas lately have been extra ripe, so the sweetness factor is already pretty high.  Other things to try in this particular mix: adding cinnamon for an oatmeal-raisin cookie dough, and cocoa for a chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yum!

In other news, guess who’s been feeling better lately?

Have a good day today!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast

Refrigerator Review: Spinach and Pasta Frittata

When a woman leaves her husband alone in their apartment for a week while she goes to visit her parents, several things will appear to be true upon her return:

  1. The kitchen table, counter, and stove top will have clearly not been wiped down since she left;
  2. Her cat will have apparently contracted some kind of UTI or bladder issue, and will now be lingering piteously around the cat box;
  3. The vet bill for said cat will cost $192; and
  4. The refrigerator will be full of half-finished man foods that need to be used ASAP or they will go terribly, terribly bad.

Despite ridiculous vet bills (wish I could just give him some cranberry juice and leave it at that) and leftovers I’m not sure what to do with (a lot of cooked spaghetti, 1/2 lb of uncooked ground turkey, and wilty spinach), it’s really nice to be home.  So when the opportunity came to cook Fritz a nice meal while impressing him with my ability to turn what he calls “an empty fridge” into something delicious, I jumped on it.  I want to be a leftover magician.

Hello, frittata.

Spinach and Pasta Frittata

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (you could also use chicken, beef, sausage, whatever)
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika (alright, I’m obsessed)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 handfuls spinach (1/2 C cooked spinach)
  • 1/2 lb-3/4 lb cooked whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 5-7 eggs, depending on how much pasta you have
  • 1/3 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese

I didn’t take an “ingredients shot” this time, because, let’s be honest–it’s really difficult to make a pile of leftovers look appealing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in an oven-safe pan (we are gonna cook the entire frittata in this pan) over medium heat and saute the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the ground turkey and cook thoroughly, then flavor it with the salt and paprika.

Next, toss in two handfuls of spinach and stir in until they are wilted.  Add the spaghetti on top, and combine.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, and add the milk and cheese.

Whisk until light, and pour over the top of the spaghetti mixture.

Bake in the oven on the medium rack until the eggs no longer look runny, and the edges are brown and crispy, about fifteen minutes.  I also turned on the broiler for the last few minutes to get a nice, browned top–it’s always nice to have a little crunch!

This came out really nicely.  The best thing about a frittata like this is that you can literally make it however you want–add different vegetables, meat, spices, sauces, whatever!  It’s perfect for a leftovers dinner or even a leftovers breakfast.

The smoked paprika also gave it a nice smoky flavor that I now want to eat in everything.  I’m obsessed.  I can’t stop.

Fritz took one look and said, “that looks gourmet!”.  He also said that it didn’t taste “leftover” at all.

Success.

Henry, who has been traumatized from his visit to the vet, has taken refuge in a pile of cardboard by the door waiting to be recycled.  I spotted him by the tail–poor baby.

We also just watched the movie Funny People, which I actually liked a lot despite its large quantity of genital-based humor.  Adam Sandler is so nice to watch when he is playing a serious character, and I thought it ended up being quite moving and thought-provoking.  Anyone else out there enjoy that movie?

9 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Entrees

Greens, Egg, and Ham Salad

Catchy title, huh?  I thought of it on my drive home from the gym as I was contemplating what I was going to immediately make for dinner.  Because I’m one of those people who thinks about what they are going to eat the second they wake up, throughout class, at the gym, in the shower, etc.  I really just love food.  And planning food.  But mostly eating it.

My workout today was great–recently, the gym I go to got some new giant StairMasters and a Jacob’s Ladder, both of which are new and fun ways for me to get some more cardio in.  I had realized lately that I wasn’t getting quite enough of that heart-rate increasing, quad and hamstring burning cardio, so it was perfect timing for some new equipment.  I also warmed up today by running a mile and sprinting the last 0.15 of it, and it was surprisingly easy!  Seems like my workouts lately have paid off.

Also, I’m starting to get triceps!  Real ones!  I was driving the other day and I rubbed an itch on my arm–surprise!  Triceps!  Usually I have to try really hard to notice them even when I’m flexing, so it was nice to find them just hangin’ out while I’m all relaxed.

How dorky is it that I’m so excited by this?  I’m not sure how apparent it is to people just looking at me, but that doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things, does it?

Anyway, back to the salad.  I knew I had some greens hangin’ around, but I was craving protein, so I decided to be all foodie-trendy and add a fried egg to the top.  The nicest part?  With the addition of warm ham and eggs, the spinach wilted a bit–and no dressing needed, since I like my eggs runny.

Greens, Egg, and Ham Salad

  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/3 C diced ham (I had some in the freezer that I just reheated in the microwave)
  • 1 fried egg, cooked to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste (that means lots of black pepper for me!)

I don’t think I need to go into detail on how to actually put together this salad.

Baby spinach:

Topped with warm ham:

And a fried egg with S&P:

I also popped it in the microwave for ten seconds to encourage the wilting of the spinach.  Cheating, I know, but part of food blogging means all your food gets cold while you are taking photos, and the spinach isn’t likely to wilt on its own.  Gotta give it a little help.

This was so good!  I gave Fritz a taste, and he also really liked it!  It helped that the ham was really savory, but the runny egg on the top was the piece de resistance.  Now I understand why all the food magazines I’ve seen lately are all over this.  Definitely an easy way to bulk up a boring and really simple salad!

We ate outside because at 7:00 or so when it was all ready, the weather was that perfect slightly-dim-outside just-cooling-down perfection that is summer nights.  Anytime we’re outside on the deck, Henry stands on the table and meows sadly because he’s been left out–even if we’re just outside for a few seconds to grill.

Probably the most adorable thing ever.  Those pictures are from two different days–the one on the left is from when Fritz grilled turkey burgers with pineapple (delicious, by the way) and on the right from today.

One more summer update–we switched from the warm, bulky, winter comforter to the light, bright, summer comforter!  Doesn’t it look so peaceful and refreshing?  I love the bright colors and busy patterns of our other Anthropologie comforter, but sometimes it’s nice to switch over the clean and white.  It just looks so calming and fresh.

Tomorrow we are going to visit some of our favorite people, Zev and Breanna, before they move far, far away!  So sad to see good friends leave, but they are moving on to a new and exciting chapter of their lives (involving lots of graduate school), so we are happy for them.  Anytime I see people move, I get a little jealous because I love that exciting transitional period of finding yourselves in a new place.

It also might have to do with the fact that they will be much closer to my mom and dad than we are.  But that’s all the more reason to visit later!

4 Comments

Filed under Salads

Gingery Green Monster

I’m so glad that I reintroduced myself to green monsters a while back, because I have a feeling that they are going to be a big, big part of my life this summer.  And today it was hot!  Perfect day for a cold green monster with a serious kick.

Gingery Green Monster

  • 1 C cold water
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1/2 -1″ piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 -1 1/2 C frozen fruit (I used pineapple, mango, and peach)
  • 1 t sugar

Layer all of the ingredients in the blender as listed (except for the sugar, which you can decide if and how much to use), and give it a go!

I started off without using any sugar, but I decided to add a bit just to cut the bite of the ginger a bit.  If I had a really ripe banana around, I would have used that and I’m sure it would have been just perfect.

Pour into a glass and you are good to go!  This actually made about a serving and a half, but because it’s so low-calorie (no milk or protein powder in this one), I drank both–the small glass as I was getting ready and the travel mug once I got to school.

Now, please don’t say that I didn’t warn you!  This drink is not for the faint of heart–and if you don’t like ginger, you might want to run in the other direction.  But if you’re like me, and there’s never too much ginger, than go for it.  Plus, ginger is nature’s Pepto Bismol, so if you have upset tummy problems, you might want to try this!  When I took the first few sips, I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it or not, but by the time I got to school, I downed the whole mug in about 30 seconds.  It was really, really good, and so refreshing.

Tomorrow’s green monster might involve coffee–I’ve been thinking of other flavors to make so that I don’t get bored!

Fritz just finished dinner–he made grilled turkey burgers with charred pineapple rings and grilled corn on the cob.

Does that sound good or what?

And tomorrow is my last day of case studies week, then I have a week off.  I’m going to see some friends friday, then head to my parents house for most of the week.  When I come back, Fritz will have picked up our very first CSA box!  Can’t wait!

What’s coming up in your life that you are excited about?

6 Comments

Filed under Beverages

Pear and Gorgonzola Spinach Salad

As you all know, I’m trying to be all about salad this year.  Tryin’ real hard, in fact.

Since this week has been very stressful (finals and all that), I decided that after presenting my project at school, I would come home and make myself a nice lunch before starting to study again.  At the grocery store I snagged a couple of eggplants on quick sale and thought a Thai roasted eggplant salad would be just the ticket.

So, so, wrong.  It was awful.  It was a horrendous pureed texture, the flavors just did not work together, and it smelled and tasted like Henry’s post-catfood breath.  Not a good smell, and definitely not a good taste.

Being the “calm under fire” type of person who reacts especially well when stressed, I promptly threw it out and sat down to study.  And then I thought about all the food I wasted.  And how much time I lost from studying.  And how the house still smelled like old salmon left out to ripen on a hot sunny day (darn you, Thai fish sauce).  And then I cried.

Turns out I’m not really the “calm under fire” type.  More the “cry under fire” type.  So I let it out for about 30 seconds and then gave myself a (figurative) slap across the face.

Gotta get it together!  There’s always still time to have a good day (and a good lunch).  One emergency phone call to Fritz (only a little teary), and a lovely tub of gorgonzola cheese arrived home only a few minutes later.

Sometimes you just need some cheese.

Pear and Gorgonzola Spinach Salad

  • 4 C baby spinach (or a few handfuls…which is how I actually measured)
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 1 ripe Anjou pear (any would work, I’m sure!), cored and diced
  • 1/4 C gorgonzola cheese
  • 1-2 T balsamic vinaigrette per serving (I used Newman’s Own, light)

First important step: attempt to cheer yourself up by making your salad in the gorgeous wooden bowl given to you by your parents, passed down from your great-aunt.

Incidentally, the fabric under the bowl is also from my great-aunt.

Toss in the spinach.

I must have felt better by this point, because I took the time to do a little photography experiment.  Because it was so dark and rainy outside, and it was already past five, it was really dim in the kitchen and difficult to get a good shot so–I broke out the tripod!  I’ve been using it for some occasions like these where I want a clearer shot.  Can you tell the difference?  Other than the tripod, I took them at exactly the same settings, distance, etc.  I love how much clearer the spinach is in the entire bowl in the top picture.

Anyway, add in the raisins:

The pear (which was so perfectly ripe, I couldn’t stand it):

And, of course, the cheese:

No one will judge you if you add in a little extra.  Give the salad a toss, and then admire.  Further cheer yourself up by using your favorite serving spoon, given to you as a wedding gift by Fritz’s aunt.

Serve the salad and drizzle the dressing over the top.  You could add the dressing in now, but I didn’t want to have dressing already involved in case there were leftovers.  Which there were (it made about three main dishes and probably six side salads).

So delicious.  I call salads that I like “restaurant quality” and this one definitely fits the bill.  I threw some leftover ham in Fritz’s salad (that man-protein complex) and he ate the giant salad in about four minutes.  Impressive.

This actually reminded me a little of a salad my high school boyfriend’s mom used to make, except I think her recipe used craisins, apples, and walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette.  I loved that salad a lot, too–maybe that’ll be my next one, since I have some cheese leftover.  Any other gorgonzola cheese-involved salads that I need to try?

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Filed under Salads

Peanut Butter Green Monster

Oh. Em. Gee.

This is the best Green Monster I have ever had.  I’ve had it two days in a row–it’s a fresh, filling, delicious, creamy, peanut buttery, hit-the-spot breakfast.  Need I go on?

If you like peanut butter, you need to trust me and make this.  It doesn’t need to be for breakfast.  Have it after the gym or as part of your lunch.  Just find a way to do it.

Peanut Butter Green Monster

  • 1/2 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C water + ice cubes (5 or 6)
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 T peanut butter
  • 1-2 T Carnation Instant Breakfast powder, chocolate flavor (or cocoa powder, or chocolate protein powder, or nothing!  Experiment!)
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced

I have a box of Carnation Instant Breakfasts leftover from when I used to hate eating breakfast (my, how things have changed).  Now that I eat big healthy breakfasts, rather than instant, powdered, sugary breakfasts, I’ve tried to find ways to get rid of them without just tossing ’em.  Looks like I may have found a solution, one tablespoonful at a time.

Waste not, want not!

Layer the ingredients in the blender as usual (water, PB, ice, and powders first, then spinach, then banana on top) and blend away until smooth. 

 

The last few days I’ve made these first thing in the morning, then stuck them in a mug in the freezer until I left for school just to save myself a little time in the morning.  Another nice thing about Green Monsters for breakfast?  All you need is a travel mug and your breakfast is transportable.

This particular monster isn’t as vivid green as some of its counterparts–I think it’s partially from the peanut butter and because I may have used a little less spinach (we were running low!).  It’s still definitely green, though.

I found something exciting today–my baby lilac tree (which is now two years old), transplanted all the way from my parents’, is flowering for the very first time!  Isn’t she a beauty?

I’ve said this all week, but I really need to buckle down and study all weekend.  I definitely won’t have time to do much baking, but I’m sure I’ll find something worth blogging when I need a study break.  What are you doing this weekend?

 

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Filed under Beverages

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’m trying to learn not to be a salad hater.

But it’s difficult.  I just don’t like salads.  They are boring.  I hate lettuce bones (the spines in iceberg lettuce).  Salad dressing with a creamy base completely grosses me out–especially Waldorf dressing (sorry, Tharrie!).

But–they are so good for you!  And all the bloggers I read love salads.  And they are trendy! 

I want to be trendy.  I want to bring salad to school with my dressing in a separate container so the leaves don’t wilt.  That’s cool.

So here’s my first (incredibly successful) attempt.  A classmate of mine reminded me how amazing salads can be when you combine baby spinach leaves and strawberries.  With a few other additions, this salad became my dinner.  It did not last long. 

Even Fritz felt full afterwards (and there was not a single lettuce bone in sight!).

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 2 (giant) handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 4 strawberries, sliced vertically
  • 1-2 corn tortillas, baked until browned and crispy (really! seriously!)
  • 1/8 C raw walnuts
  • 1/2 grilled chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • balsamic dressing

Step one: make your husband grill the chicken for you or alternate step one: finally learn how to use the gas grill on your own (you are a doctoral student, for God’s sake!).  I went with the former–thanks, Fritz!

However, do put the chicken inside a freezer bag and pound it out flat with a saucepan first–that makes it grill faster so it’s nice and juicy by the time it’s cooked.  Dried out chicken will simply not do when I’m trying to learn to like a salad.  Season with salt and pepper and grill it up beautifully.

Assemble the salad–spinach, strawberries, and walnuts.  Crush up the tortilla and sprinkle over the top. 

I’m not kidding when I say that was the best-tasting crunchy texture ever.  I surprised myself with that idea, but I had some going stale from the open-faced tacos we had a few nights ago.  They stayed crunchy throughout the whole salad, and when browned, were so nutty and delicious that I kept asking Fritz if he could believe how good it all was.

Top with the grilled chicken, of course.  There is a man in the house, after all, and he just doesn’t feel complete without some sort of animal protein.

 Drizzle some balsamic right over the top.

Yum.

So good!  I ate the whole bowl (even scraped up the remainders).  That is a salad first for me.  A salad as a meal?  That was big enough–and I still didn’t get sick of it?  I can’t wait to have more tomorrow.

What are your best salad combos?  I need inspiration!

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Filed under Side Dishes

Tropical Green Monster

Only a month away from getting my CSA box!  Pretty excited–and speaking of vegetables, here’s a baby tomato plant update (it’s been a while):

Fritz and I have been talking about trying to eat more vegetables, and now that it’s getting warmer it occurred to both of us to start having more Green Monsters in the mornings for breakfast.

Yeah, Green Monsters.  Those frighteningly green smoothies that taste surprisingly good.  Actually, really good if you make ’em right–and you like the taste of fruits and veggies, of course.

I decided to go with a tropical Green Monster this morning, since we had some frozen mango and some spotted bananas that needed using.  Combined with a little coconut and a lot of spinach–good morning, energy smoothie.

I also included a present from my mom–a tablespoon of hemp powder, made from ground hemp seeds.  Hemp seeds are a complete protein, with all eight essential amino acids.  It’s also green, so I thought it would be a good time to try it out!

Tropical Green Monster

  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 2 handfuls rinsed spinach
  • 1/2 C frozen mango
  • 1 T pure creamed coconut
  • 1 C water (you could also use skim milk, or coconut water and take out the creamed coconut)
  • 1 T hemp powder
  • 4-5 ice cubes

 

This is super easy to blend, especially if you layer the ingredients properly in the blender.  Start with the water, then add the hemp powder, coconut, and ice cubes.  Toss the spinach on top, and weight it down with the banana and frozen mango. 

It should blend like a dream.  Let it go for long enough to liquefy the spinach as well as possible–you don’t want leafy chunks floating in your drink.

At least I don’t.

This smoothie definitely tastes more “green” than the classic Green Monster, most likely because there’s no chocolate–but it still tastes like a fruit smoothie and not a vegetable one.  The spinach would be difficult to detect at all, if it weren’t for the bright green color.

That makes it a little obvious.

Anyway, I’m off to school–it has been such a busy week already!  I’ve been doing lots of homework and projects every day, and still my schedule shows no signs of stopping soon.  I even took a nap after school yesterday because I haven’t quite recovered from switching over from the relaxing days of spring break.

Fritz tried to wake me up after about 45 minutes, and I only awoke long enough to firmly say “no!”, before turning over and falling back asleep.

It felt so good.

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast

Superbowl Sunday: Spinach and Artichoke Hummus

In case you haven’t heard, it’s Superbowl Sunday.

Go Steelers!  Go Packers!  Go finger food!

I’m not much of a football fan…but I am definitely a die-hard snack fan–and when you make healthy snacks, then everyone wins!

I decided to combine two of my ultimate snack foods (spinach and artichoke dip and hummus) into one fantastic and somewhat healthier version.  Plus, if there’s a way to sneak vegetables into something I love to eat, then I’ll do it!  Not to mention hummus is delicious on carrot sticks, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers instead of chips, so it’s a double whammy.

Spinach and Artichoke Hummus

  • 2 C chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 T tahini (4 for me…I can eat tahini straight outta the jar)
  • 2 T plain greek yogurt
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (I used 2)
  • 3-4 T lemon juice
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/8 t paprika

But that’s not it!

  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, packed in water

BAM!  This is not your ordinary hummus.

Add everything except salt, spinach, and the artichoke hearts to a food processor and process until smooth.  I suggest leaving the salt out until it’s smooth, then adding it slowly until you like the taste–everyone likes their hummus to taste different!  The first time I made it I added the salt straightaway and it was a bit salty for my taste.

Rinse the spinach and chop it into small pieces, then saute it quickly over medium heat.  Squeeze out the excess water and add to the hummus.  Chop the artichoke hearts, squeeze out the extra water, and add that too!  Mix it together, and try not to eat it all right away.

How amazing is that?

I love hummus.  I could eat that whole bowl with a spoon.  Right now.  But that’s probably not the healthiest thing ever–by the way, substituting the greek yogurt for some of the tahini is a great way to make your hummus a little bit better for you (without sacrificing the tahini completely–I could eat that with a spoon too.  Isn’t that weird?).

Enjoy!  And go get ready, because it’s almost game time.

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Filed under Appetizers, Snacks, Vegetarian