Sprouts taco dinner

I was in the mood for something quick after fighting 108º F weather and commuter traffic today in the blast furnace summertime of Dallas, so I went for something that looks great, tastes great, and is sure to boost my spirits to face another day just like this one tomorrow.

I harvested my lentil sprouts this morning, so they had been in the fridge all day, just chillin’.  Summertime is a great time for good-tasting tomatoes, when the taste hasn’t been compromised by refrigeration, and I can never turn away from a just-ripe avocado!

sprout tacosThere it was, simple, tasty, and inspiring with its color and fresh taste!

I had some organic corn tortillas that were very low in sodium and no oils, and I had some spicy tomato sauce left over from last week that was just enough to mix in with my sprouts.  I pulled three tortillas out of the storage bag, heated them for 20 seconds, covered with a paper plate, in the microwave oven.

To get my quota of cruciferous veggies for the day, I steamed some brussels sprouts and diced butternut squash I had prepared for steaming over the weekend.  This couldn’t have been any easier!  Faster than waiting in a drive-thru line at a greasy hamburger joint where I used to spend my money.

The result was a full stomach, nutritious perfection, and I was done with it all by 7 p.m.  Time to kick up my feet and watch some baseball!

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Zucchini and Mixed Veggie Sauté

I wanted to start this Saturday right by eating a plate full of fresh vegetables, having in mind something spicy and sautéed.  I was also definitely in the mood for the tactile pleasure of chopping and slicing…anger issues?  Hope not!

The sun had started to throw its light into our bedroom window, but only barely. Surveying my taste buds, I knew it had to be something with garlic and chopped onions, so I started there.  We had a large zucchini, freshly grown locally, and I had been trying to work it into my plans for a few days.  The result of it all was this recipe, Zucchini and Mixed Veggie Sauté.  I would have inserted “Breakfast” between “Veggie” and “Sauté”, but then there would be a few smart alecks who would say something like, “Where’s the bacon?”  To which, I was preparing to say, “Still on the happy pig!”

Zucchini and Mixed Veggie Sauté

Ingredients

1 large zucchini
1 large whole carrot
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
4 brussels sprouts, sliced
1 whole lemon, for zest and finishing touches
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pinches of turmeric powder
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions

Shave zucchini and carrot and place in mixing bowl.  Add zest of one lemon, and toss mix until evenly distributed.  Quarter remaining lemon and set aside for later use.

zucchprep

Chop shaved zucchini and carrot and place in a separate mixing bowl.  Add sliced brussels sprouts.  Set aside.

zuchprepIn a large skillet, heated to medium-high, place onion and garlic, and stir frequently until the edges of the onion starts to brown and the onion is half translucent.  Then, add the zucchini and mixed vegetables to the pan.  Stir to mix well.  Sprinkle the turmeric, black pepper, and red pepper flakes on top of the mix.  Set temperature to medium-low and cover.  Check a couple of times to unstick veggies, if necessary.  You may also add a tablespoon of water at a time to assist with unsticking.

zuchsaut

After eight minutes or so, remove lid, and add the shaved veggies and lemon zest.  Stir into mix.  Cover.  Keep covered for about 3 minutes.  Remove lid and take skillet off of hot burner.

zuchtopRemove to serving plate, and add lemon, if desired.

zuchready

Makes 2 large servings as main dish, or 4 side servings.

Optional additions:

Red cabbage, for color, or if brussels sprouts are not wanted
Raw sunflower seeds as topping
Pressed extra firm tofu

Lunchtime lentil soup

I enjoy a lot of flexibility in my work place, and I’ve learned to take advantage of it in some healthful ways.

crockA few months ago, I was looking for some things at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and came upon the perfect slow cooker for one serving soups, beans and grains.  I bought it for $9.99, a bargain when compared to Amazon’s price for $19.99!  I use it every day.

Today’s soup was made of green lentils, brown rice, and a handful of brussels sprouts, with spices of garlic, turmeric, and black pepper.  I get to work every morning in plenty of time to prepare my soups,and it only takes about ten minutes.

I keep dry beans and grains in jars in a desk drawer, along with a sharp knife from home that will go through avocado skin easily enough when I bring one.

lentil soupSince I was off from work yesterday, I did not have an opportunity to soak the beans overnight in the slow cooker, so I used about dry lentils because they do not need to be soaked ahead of time.  I used about 1/4 cup of the lentils and the same amount of rice.  I packed fresh brussels sprouts from home this morning in my Snapware container, already spiced and ready to dump into the slow cooker.

It takes a couple of minutes to rinse the beans and rice in a tea strainer I have on hand, and then I put all the items into the cooker, plug it into the socket, and I’m done with it until noon, with plenty of time to spare to get my rooibos tea going.  By the time everyone else is coming in around 8:00, I’m way into my real work already and enjoying my first cup of tea.

At lunch time, I have my salad and homemade dressing I brought from home that morning, a couple of pieces of fruit, and my steaming hot soup.  I even leave myself enough time to take a 20-minute power nap when I’m not needing to work through lunch.

mung

Mung beans

I use several varieties of beans and peas.  Another bean that is perfect for slow cooking without having to soak them overnight is the mung bean.  It’s loaded with protein, as are lentils, and very tasty, with a nutty flavor.  Being from Texas, I have always enjoyed black-eyed peas, and these also do pretty well without having to be soaked overnight.  Larger beans, like pintos and kidney beans, really need to be soaked.  But, that’s also very simple to do if you keep a stash of them at the office.

Brussels sprouts and red quinoa for dinner…yum!

Nice dinner tonight a couple of hours before my yoga class.  I had some fresh, cut from the stalk, brussels sprouts and some red quinoa along with my romaine salad, topped with cashews.  I made a quick red wine vinegar dressing with garlic and turmeric, and it was very tasty!  The brussels sprouts are quickly becoming my favorite vegetable for eating with grains.