Monday, August 30, 2010


This past Saturday I joined my local running club for the weekend run. My girlfriend who just had her third baby was back out to join us. Kate's husband just finished his Master's program so she was again able to join us. A close girlfriend who is newer to running decided to come out and join us. Between the seven or so friends who came out to run Saturday morning, there were 15 kids between us and 2 still on the way.

When you have little kids around, it is nearly impossible to have conversations lasting longer than 1 minute before a little person has a need. Someone is running away, someone is hitting another kid, someone just face-planted off the couch, someone peed in their pants. Between moms there is a mutual understanding that if in the middle of our conversation someone has to abruptly interrupt to stop their kid from stealing someone's snack, or simply sprint off mid-sentence to break up a wrestling match, it is totally acceptable. Because of that, a million conversations begin and end without ever really happening. At this stage in our parenting lives, the glue that binds our friendship is not the conversations themselves, but the mutual understanding that simply having a real conversation is a difficult task.

That is why I love my Saturday morning runs with my girlfriends. That is why I could run 7 miles without even really noticing the miles tick by this past weekend. That is why I've run 20 miles with my mom-friends and chatted the entire way. I leave my run on Saturdays knowing that not only did I fit in some fitness for the weekend, but I got to connect with another human being without any interruption. I got to listen to a story from beginning to end! I actually prefer it to a night out on the town because 1. I'm multitasking. 2. Its free and 3. I'll actually remember our conversations the next day.

I really treasure my Saturday morning runs, recently more than ever.

So while I'm being corny :) ... here's a couple things I've been doing with the abundant amount of corn from CSA and the farmer's markets. People hate on corn all the time as a "nothing" vegetable. Not so! They are high-fiber and fat fighting, and rich in Vitamin C! Who knew.

At first I was blanching my corn before adding it to food, but then I realized that was a total waste of time. Fresh corn is AMAZING. Sweet with a little crunch. Now I've been taking it straight off the cob and adding it to nearly everything. Perfect *on the run* addition to a meal!

Tuna Salad
2 cans tuna, cherry tomatoes, green onions, 1 ear of raw corn kernels, 1 tbl mayo and 3 tbl greek yogurt, salt, pep, and garlic powder.

Over a toasted whole wheat bun with a yummy slice of 'mato.
"Summer" Bruschetta

Grape Tomatoes (I used the heirloom from TJ's... colorful and delicious)

Lots of basil

olive oil

half an onion


couple cloves pressed garlic

1 to 2 corn kernels, straight off the cob!

Used the Salad Choppers on the tomatoes, onion, and basil, straight in the bowl!

Add garlic, corn, salt and olive oil to taste.

Then I took something healthy and fresh and put it on top of something preservative and calorie laden. They cancel eachother out, right? I layered mozz slices on a baguette. Oh, baste each slice with a bit of olive oil first too.
Broil for 5 minutes on high
Top with Bruschetta. SO beautiful and summery!

My sister showed up unexpectedly last night. I think she could smell these all the way from Arlington :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Mini Meatball Sandwiches

Another meal that I thought I might be able to force a kid to eat.

Mini Meatball Sandwiches

3 sausages out of casing, or meatball mix, or ground turkey, whatever you've got!
half an onion finely chopped
finely chopped carrot (I like to sneak some carrot in there since they couldn't see it through all the cheese and sauce. Hm, maybe thats why they don't trust me when I feed them)
Couple cloves pressed garlic
About a fourth cup bread crumbs
1 egg
freshly grated parm
provolone or mozz slices
2 crescent roll rubes

Cut the crescent roll into rounds like so

Make the meatball mixture... add to meat the breadcrumbs, italian seasonings, egg, onion, carrot (if you are tricky like me), parm, garlic, salt, all that good stuff.

Scoop about 1 tablespoon round of the meatball mix on top of each crescent dough round.


Bake at 375 for about 20 - 24 minutes. I had to take it out and make sure it was cooked all the way through.

Top with a little slice of cheese
Let them get gooey
Then pour some heated tomato sauce on top. You could make crescent "tops" for these too, but I made mine open-faced so that I would have more. Top with basil too if you got it.
If Superman ate it, anyone will. After a couple hours of refusing dinner and begging for snacks, he finally came down at about 10 PM to try his "meatball pizza" ... I got an "I love you" sign so I guess it wasn't all that bad :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Game Day Yummies

I love everything about football season but football. I love dressing the kids up in Redskins gear. I love the crisp smell of the fall air when I head out for runs. I love hearing whistles and commentaries coming from the TV on Sundays (perfect for naps if you ask me). And most of all I love game day food. As for actual football? I might care more about that as the boys grow older and adorn some pads of their own. But for now, I really don't care or even know what I'm watching. I'm just happy there's food involved.

These little sliders are EASY as can be and quite tasty. Kudos to Elina on teaching me about the magic of Red Hot (a fat free, butterless hot sauce, to which I promptly added butter) and for enlightening me about the wonders of substituting Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream in almost every recipe. Cuts WAY down on the fat and you can't taste the difference.

Buffalo Sliders with Blue Cheese Spread

2 to 3 chicken breasts, shredded (I did mine in the Deep Covered Baker in the microwave which attributed to this recipe being easy as can be)
1/2 cups Red Hot
4 tablespoons honey
1 tbl butter
1 tbl vinegar
slider buns

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
bout 2 green onions chopped
1 tbl vinegar
salt and pep

So first get your chicken ready. Whisk hot sauce, butter, vinegar and honey (if you don't add honey, the sauce will just be HOT with no flavor. This will balance it out). Pour directly over the chicken (if raw). Bake or microwave in DCB until chicken is cooked through. Mine took 8 minutes in the microwave in the Deep Covered Baker. If you add the sauce to a rotisserie chicken, just make sure to heat the sauce on the stove first to meld flavors!

Meanwhile mix greek yogurt, blue cheese, finely chopped celery, green onion, vinegar, salt and pep in a bowl.

Fridge it til ready.

Shred your chicken and put on a slider roll with Blue Cheese Spread. All I had on hand was dinner rolls so I went with it. This is a bite size morsel of heaven!

P.S. Reader Question: Can these be done in the crock pot?

I can't see why not but I'm no crock pot pro. My only insight would be to use chicken thighs as opposed to breasts because they have more fat and therefore won't dry up in the crock pot.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Wondering what to do with those oblong purple veggies (actually they are technically fruits, but I have issues with calling them such) that are in abundance at the farmer's markets these days? Eggplant is a very hearty and nutrient rich plant. Because it easily soaks up sauces and fats, it is a healthy and satisfying alternative to meat in pastas, lasagnas, on the grill, and in sandwiches.

If you get them from the store, they will probably be more bitter. You will have to slice and salt the eggplant to extract the bitterness, and by doing this you will also stifle the plant's ability to soak up all those yummy sauces. The fresher the eggplant is, the less seeds it will have and therefore the less naturally bitter it will be. Read: BUY YOUR EGGPLANTS AT THE FARMERS MARKET!

The way most people have experienced eggplant is coated and fried as in Eggplant Parm. While I do love me a good deep fried veggie, here are a few other random and healthy alternative methods I've been using with my eggplant.

  • Marinate in an acidic base like vinegar, soy sauce, with a bit of sugar, ginger and garlic added before throwing them on the grill for sandwiches.

  • Slice and season with olive oil, salt and garlic. Broil, turning once, for about 10 minutes and then top with goat cheese, roasted red peppers and tomatoes.

  • Slice, coat with olive oil, and cook on a grill pan for 1 to 2 minutes before adding slices to a pizza.

  • Fork holes into a whole eggplant and bake at 450 for an hour, cool and scoop out the flesh. Mix with spices for a tahini-like dip with pita.

  • Layer Tomato sauce, polenta slices, mozzarella and pan-grilled eggplant slices in a mock-sagna. Even got the Batman to love this one.

My favorite thing to do with Eggplant is quite simple however. Simply sauteing it in olive oil with some other ingredients for a fresh and seasonal pasta.

Eggplant Pomodoro

Pasta (ended up going with Penne)

Olive oil

Couple cloves pressed garlic

Couple Ripe tomatoes (how pretty and colorful are these??)

Handful of green or kalamata olives


Red Wine Vinegar (can use red wine or balsamic as a substitute)

Saute some garlic in your pan with olive oil. If you don't like chopping garlic, or if you don't mind it but simply don't have time for it and reach for the garlic powder instead, you need this tool. The garlic press from PC is amazing... you don't even have to take the skin off the garlic. Just throw it in like so and press. So much easier than chopping, and actually even tastier because by pressing it, all the oils in the garlic are released.

See? That took approximately 6 seconds for my kitchen to smell amazing.

Add chopped eggplant, chopped tomatoes, and some onions if you feel like it. Saute for a bit before adding about 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or substitutes)

Add a handful of roughly chopped olives.

Oh I love this thing too. I don't have tons of room in my cupboards so I love that this pasta drainer is flat.
Mix the eggplant mixture with the Penne and add in the olives, a handful or two of feta, and fresh basil.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On the Run to Run

Tuesday nights get a little hairy. I've gotta get everyone fed and bathed by 5:30 and get the house in some decent order before leaving TGB and Batman with a babysitter. I realize that doesn't actually sound hard when you put it in words like that, but I can't tell you how dang exhausting it can be getting little people to do what you need them to do, when you need them to do it. Superman joins me at the track for workouts with my local running club. Before I go I like to get an adult dinner ready so that we can eat when I get home and the kids get to sleep. Why? I wish I could say it's because I'm such an excellent wife, but really it's just because I'm going to be all kinds of ravenous when I walk in the door and cereal just doesn't cut it for HungryMom.

Here's the thing, you can't really eat too much during the day of track practice, or its very likely you'll spew all over your fellow teammates while circling the track in 90+ degree heat. So by the time I finally get home, I have to have something somewhat healthy prepared to eat or I'll just start tearing through everything in the house. Similar to getting home from work at 5:30 and realizing you didn't think about dinner earlier. Then you just start eating.... everything. Well, that's what I would do anyway.

So last week I finally tried Grilled Portabella Mushroom burgers. Others had raved about these and I thought I'd give it a try, since they seem easy enough to get together when you're *on the run*

Grilled Portabella Mushroom Burgers

Portabella Mushrooms (get em big, because they shrink)
Hamburger buns
Marinade - 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, couple tablespoons soy sauce (not pictured), 1 tbl sugar or honey, pressed garlic (if you want... I always want)
Toppings - feta cheese, roasted red peppers, fresh tomato, basil
Quick Aioli - jarred pesto and mayo

Mix the marinade ingredients together (olive oil, red wine, soy sauce, garlic, sugar/honey)

And then do you want to see possibly the worst mess you could make when you've got kids hanging on your ankles screaming and you're trying to get out the door? This. Half a cup of olive oil all over the floor.

I salvaged what was left and threw it on top of the mushrooms. Then I threw them in the fridge.

Mixed this 1 tbl pesto and 1 tbl mayo together for later and threw that in the fridge too. And ran out the door.

When I got home to relieve the babysitter I found my husband wasn't yet home from work, so I broiled the mushrooms instead of grilling them. About 5 minutes. They were AWESOME, so easy, and healthy!
Topped with pesto mix, basil, tomato, feta and roasted red peppers - I have to add that Jarred Roasted Red Peppers are essential to have on hand for last minute dinners. Add to sandwiches, burgers, or pasta to add a LOT of flavor with no work.
p.s. hub came home and grubbed 2 and was full, so they're guy-approved.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just a Spoonful of Sugar...

...helps the vegetables, go down! So, I don't know about your kids (or boyfriend, or whoever) but getting my little people to eat vegetables is a daily battle. Superman fights me tooth and nail on eating anything that is green. Batman is pretty open to the idea. And TGB will eventually be force fed them in pureed form :) I love babies, they can't put up a fight even if they want to.

I got a huge bunch of green beens 2 weeks ago from CSA. I knew they had been sitting in the fridge for a while getting older and tougher every day and I needed to use them pronto. I decided to try to make them into a Green Bean French Fry sort of thing. Superman is known to spit out regular green beans, followed by some intense crying and tongue-scraping, so I was curious if disguising would help the "medicine" go down. Since its all in the name, I served them up with a boisterous introduction as... tah dah!!!! Nugget Swords!! I mean really, what boy doesn't want to eat a Nugget Sword?

I perused the internet for recipes and decided that instead of deep frying, because really that defeats the entire purpose of serving the kids veggies, I'd go the baking route. However, these would be awesome deep-fried and served as an appetizer at a party.

Green Bean French Fries (you could do this with any veggie)

Green Beans, trimmed and blanched
1 egg whisked with 1/4 c milk
panko (I ended up combining panko and regular breadcrumbs)
2 tbl flour
garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, any of those would work
Preheat oven to 375

First boil water and add green beans, cook for just 3 to 4 minutes (these poor green beans don't look too good, they were definitely one day from being thrown in the trash)

In that time get your coating station set up. Flour, Egg/milk, Panko/breadcrumbs/spices then baking sheet or stone.

Then drain your beans and immediately plunge in cold ice water (this is blanching).

Then coat in flour (I recommend using tongs to avoid clumpy breaded fingers)

Coat in egg

And coat in breadcrumbs!

Place them on your tray and throw into the oven for 20-25 min at 375

And tah dah!! Here they are. Nugget Swords in all their glory.

Now I don't feel so bad about serving up a minute in the microwave hot-dog for the fourth time in 2 days.
Kid approved!
TGB is a little bitter she couldn't try any. Nugget swords are for girls too!!

And then a few hours later when we finally had dinner they were tasty for big people too! I just squeezed some lemon on top and dunked them in the flank steak marinade (soy sauce, sherry, honey, pressed garlic, green onions... mmmmm good)

Yes thats my plate and not my husbands. Don't judge.