Tag Archives: beets

Weekly Eating – 3/5/18

 

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Well, we picked a great weekend for a dinner party! Harris Teeter was having a 10% off all wine sale, and I also got a coupon for $20 off an order of $100 or more. Without the booze for the party, I would not have hit that $100. Yes, I know, it is justifying spending I didn’t necessarily have to make. But between the sale and the coupon, the alcohol was basically half price!

the Budget Epicurean weekly eating

The party was on March 3rd, so I had a “3” theme. I made three dips: buffalo chicken, beet hummus, and vegan spinach artichoke dip, along with a nice antipasto platter. I had homemade pickles, bacon jam, olives, nuts, figs, dates, and prunes.

antipasto platter

Then I had three different types of pasta (one of which was tri-color) and three sauces: marinara, pesto, and alfredo. That way people could mix and match with whatever they wanted; alfredo plus pesto was a popular combo.

three types of pasta

And for dessert, triple chocolate brownies with chunks of dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and chocolate sauce drizzle, and a Tres Leches cake! It was totally awesome and delicious. We had a great time chatting, and playing games late into the night.

tres leches cake

I paid for it on Sunday though! Good thing it’s supposed to be a day of rest, because I didn’t leave bed all day.

Monday:

Breakfast – Oatmeal with golden raisins & craisins. I don’t know if this is a different type of oatmeal, but the individual oats keep their shape and don’t stick together well. Even after multiple rounds of microwaving. I like my oatmeal to be more mashed-together like, so I was pretty unhappy with it. But I ate it anyways. I’ll have to try it as overnight oats and see if that goes better.

raisin oatmeal

Lunch – Leftover pasta, made new by adding some veggies and shrimp from the freezer, with a lemon garlic sauce.

veggie pasta with lemon butter

Dinner – Spinach Artichoke Melts + Tomato Soup. I had a ton of spinach artichoke dip left from the weekend, and read that one way to use it is to put it into a grilled cheese… well, hell yeah!

spinach artichoke grilled cheese

It turns out whoever wrote that is a flipping genius, and these sammies were hands down AHmazing. Not sure I can have a “plain” grilled cheese ever again…

spinach artichoke grilled cheese

Snack – a chocolate peanut butter granola bar in the car on the way home. Good thing I put one in the pocket of every coat…

choc peanut butter granola bar

*Soaked beans overnight in the crock pot for tomorrow’s chili

Tuesday:

Breakfast – Uh, so, I’m usually pretty behind the times with food trends. I’ve heard of “sweet potato toast” for years, where you thinly slice a sweet potato and just toast it like in a toaster. So I decided to try that. One of the slices ended up kind of charred on the end, and the other was evidently so thick that even putting it through the toaster four times, it was still crunchy… so I microwaved it for 2 minutes and that did the trick.

sweet potato "toast"

Once softened, it was pretty dang tasty. I spread a smashed avocado with lemon on one for the bougie-est toast ever, and then I had some more cooked white beans, so I figured, what the hell why not. DUDE. Why did no one ever tell me that white beans and sweet potato is a DELICIOUS combo?? With a squirt of lemon, sprinkle of salt, I was in heaven. New favorite.

sweet potato "toast"

Lunch – I had bits of random veggies all over the fridge, and a batch of cooked rice, so naturally I whipped up a super quick stir fry. The boy was funny, he goes “awww I got all excited because it smelled really good, but then I look and it’s just vegetables”  😛

veggie stir fry

Dinner – Slow Cooker 5 Bean Chili. We stirred in a few spoonfuls of spinach artichoke dip too, just for funzies, and it was pretty ok. Not a thing I’d be sad about not having, but it used up more dip, so, win.

5 bean chili with spin artichoke dip

Wednesday:

Breakfast – Pineapple Kiwi Green Smoothie! with a pear tossed in because it was bordering on spoiled.

kiwi pineapple smoothie

Lunch – Leftover white bean soup and a big salad. I also used the lemon tahini yogurt dip from last week’s Turkish koftes as dressing

white bean soup and salad

Snack – Beet hummus with cut veggies

beet hummus n veg

Dinner – Bowtie pasta with meatballs, of course. We had a LOT of pasta in the fridge…

bowties and turkey meatballs

Evening snack – herbal tea and a Stroopwaffel!

Thursday:

Breakfast – Peaches & Cream Smoothie

peaches and cream smoothie

Lunch – Pasta with meatballs, a salad, with roasted sweet and hot Brussels sprouts

pasta and brussels sprouts

Dinner – Roasted beet & sweet potato veggie burgers. I used cooked brown rice and breadcrumbs as the binders, and tossed in the little bit of cooked white beans left along with the roasted beets and sweet potato. These were softer than the last batch but I liked the flavor better. Still working on the exact right blend.

beet veggie burgers

Friday:

Breakfast – Banana walnut bread

banana bread

Lunch – Vurgers on rice cakes w hot sauce and lettuce

beet veggie burgers on rice cakes

Snack – Beet hummus & veggies

beet hummus n veg

Dinner – Pizzas! Pork and pineapple for the boy and a veggie for me using the last of the artichoke dip and some peppers and olives

spinach artichoke pizza and hawaiian pizza

The Weekend

Saturday is a lazy day for me, but the poor boy has to work the weekend. A big project launched this week, and he is ”on call” for fixing all the things. So I’ll be cleaning the house, lots of grocery shopping, and prepping for Sunday.

Sunday I’m having a tea party!! If you know me on Twitter you’re probably already aware, I am simply bursting with excitement! I adore parties, and tea, and tiny sweet and savory snacks. I’m super pumped to have a half dozen lovely ladies over in our Sunday best to sip oodles of tea, use terrible fake British accents, and talk about life. Hopefully it will be an absolute blast and become a regular thing.

mountain of tea
Uh, yea, that is all actually tea or tea related items. Bags, loose leaf, herbal, matcha… a French press, honey of different flavors, cups with built in spoons, and more…

And guys, I realized, I have a serious tea problem… I’ve always loved tea and everyone knows it, so between being unable to stop myself around new flavors and gifts from family and friends, I have amassed a formidable collection. The newest addition, of which I am most proud, is this gorgeous porcelain cup and saucer:

yellow gold rose tea cup

I was at the thrift store, and sifting through the housewares section (honestly, in search of a tiered serving tray for this party, which I sadly did not find). The cup jumped out at me with its’ royal pattern and those big yellow roses just immediately made me think of Beauty and the Beast. I had to have it.

I carried the cup around the store another 2 aisles, hoping to find a saucer that looked at least okay with it, but it was coming home with me regardless.

And then, when I was about ready to give up and leave with my few gems, I saw on a lower shelf THE MATCHING SAUCER! It was clearly meant to be. The universe wanted me to have this set. And for only $1.48 total, how could I say no?!?

yellow gold rose tea cup

Food Total: $75.52

Man I’m excited about this week, pretty much nailed it! Even with the impulse purchases and tons of produce we came in at our $75 goal. I’ve also decided that alcohol gets its own category now, so the booze we got for our dinner party was not included here.

Dairy $21.72 Staples $28.38 Fruit/Veg $22.63
Greek yogurts 10 8 Pretzel crisps 2 bags 5 Fresh beets 3 2.99
2lb sharp cheddar cheese 7.99 Canned tomatoes 12 5.64 Bag spinach 2.49
Dozen lg eggs 0.77 Canned garbanzo beans 2 1.54 Fresh stir fry veggies 1.5
Cream cheese 2 2.38 Brownie mix 1.69 Stir fry veggies frozen 1.98
Evaporated milk 0.59 Yellow cake mix 1.49 3lb clementines 2.99
Sweet condensed milk 1.99 Crackers 2 kinds 5 Bananas 8 2.12
Northern beans 2 cans 1.54 Frozen spinach big bag 2.99
Stroopwaffel 8 3.49 Bag spring mix 1.99
Pasta sauce 2 2.5 Cucumber 0.59
3color bowtie pasta 0.49 Basil plant 2.99

Lessons Learned

I did totally give in to temptation at the store when I saw a whole shelf full of Stroopwaffles! I held a box in my hand, then put it back, almost walked away… picked it back up… and then put it in the cart. At least I checked the “per unit” prices, and though the bag full of tiny waffles was close, the not-individually-packaged box of 8 was the best deal, so that is the one I chose.

shelf full of stroopwaffels

Part of me wants to add breakfasts into the meal plan. But then the other part of me knows it is currently the least predictable part of my day. Some mornings a smoothie sounds amazing, other mornings toast is the only acceptable answer. And more and more frequently lately nothing at all sounds good, so I just open the fridge and force something in my face because I can’t in good conscience not eat breakfast at all… c’est la vie, we all go through seasons of eating.

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Mixed Winter Vegetables

 

Towards the end of February, it seems like nothing will ever grow again, and a juicy summer tomato is but a dream.  Most Americans just go to the supermarket and buy whatever exotic fruits or produce they are craving with no regards to whence it came, how many miles it has traveled, or how the nutrients have been degraded by early harvest and long travel time between dirt and plate.

I strongly encourage those yearning for the warmer days of spring where every corner bursts with greenery to make use of the oft-neglected seasonal produce.  Try searching Local Harvest for farmers markets near you.  Root crops store so well, while cold-tolerant crops are appearing in local markets.  If you are lucky you may even have farmers with greenhouses or cold hoops that grow tender baby greens and lettuces.

Many people cannot name 5 produce items that are in season any time of the year other than mid-summer, and maybe not even then.  During the coldest, bleakest times of winter it is especially hard to think of produce actually being able to withstand the harsh temperatures.  But in New England, there are tons of vegetables that you can find for mere pennies at the local markets, including: carrots, fingerling potatoes, beets (red and gold), rutabaga, squash, parsnips, turnips, radishes, leeks, onions, Brussels sprouts, baby micro-greens, spinach, kale, collards, and mushrooms.

This recipe makes a large meal for one, or side dish for two.  Feel free to mix up the vegetable content based on what you have available right now and what you like.  But if you are wary of these produce types, just try one and see how you like it.  You never know when you may fall in love with the sweetness of a golden beet, the carrot-like texture of parsnips, or the nuances of various radish strains.

Ingredients:

  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onion
  • 1 small potato
  • 3-4 small beets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

photo 1 (1)

Step 1: Cut the tops and bottoms off of your produce, and dice into chunks or slices.  Add the olive oil & lemon to a frying pan, and add all the vegetables.  Cover tightly, and steam 5-10 minutes.  Stir up the veggies, cover, and steam another 10 minutes or so.  You want the heat low enough that it will slowly caramelize the sugars in the vegetables, not burn them.

photo 2 (1)

Step 2: Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.  Either serve alone or on the side with a meat and salad.  I enjoyed mine with some roasted chicken, baby greens, and homemade sauerkraut on top.  It is so simple, yet so wonderfully tasty!

 

 

Spring Microgreens Salad with Beet Vinaigrette

 

As spring slowly begins to win the seasonal fight with winter, tender crops begin to appear in the local markets.  Radishes, greens and lettuces, root crops, winter squash, carrots, onion and potatoes both old and new along with greenhouse grown herbs, eggs and meats and dairy, and mushrooms abound.  Take advantage of fast-growing baby greens and all the chlorophyll and concentrated nutrients they offer with lots of fresh spring salads!

photo 3

Basically any meal starts off right with a heap of greens of any kind, topped with various seeds, nuts, vegetables, or proteins of your choice.  Choose darker or colorful varieties for the most nutrition, including kale, spinach, sprouts, arugula or rocket, and watercress.  You can also whip up your own salad dressing at home in the time it takes to mix & shake, and it will be far tastier, healthier, and cheaper than a plastic bottle full of chemicals.

photo 4

All  you need is a mason jar, an oil, an acidic (vinegar, lemon juice) and flavorings (fresh or dried herbs/garlic/pepper).  This recipe is for a beet juice vinaigrette, which has tons of delicious flavor, liver-cleansing benefits, and as a bonus is a lovely pink color!  I’ll bet you topping any salad with this will automatically make you smile.  For the beet juice, you can either roast and juice fresh beets, or you can use the juice from canned beets, no judgment here.

photo 2(5)

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups salad dressing):

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beet juice
  • 1 heaping tsp miso

 

Step 1: Put all ingredients into a mason jar or other jar with a lid, and shake it up until emulsified.  The miso may take a bit to dissolve, but it’s worth it.  It adds a salty depth of flavor and a healthy boost of probiotics.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

photo 5

To make this lovely salad yourself:

  • 2 cups fresh mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 can sliced beets
  • Handful of almonds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3-4 tbsp beet salad dressing

Place the greens on a large plate.  Add the beet slices (save juice for the dressing), artichoke hearts, nuts, seeds, and berries.  Shake up your vinaigrette and pour over all.  Smile, and enjoy!

Feel free to experiment with your salad dressing.  Try using lemon juice or lime juice, add chopped fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro, add crushed fresh garlic or peppercorns, use any kind of vinegar or oil you want.  It is so quick and easy, you are bound to find recipes you enjoy, and may never go back to store-bought dressing again!

 

Have you made your own dressings?  What is your favorite recipe?

Recipe Review: Food Babe’s “Ravishing Red Juice”

 

For those of you who don’t know, the “Food Babe” aka Vani Hari, is a food activist, passionate foodie and educator, and creator of fabulous health-promoting recipes. Any questions you have about your food, or questions you didn’t even know you should have asked, check her out.

You may know that I have a juicer, and am trying to incorporate more fresh juice into my diet, if only as an easy way to get more veggie goodness. I love me some vitamins and phytonutrients! So one day I was reading through some of Food Babe’s writings, and found her juicing advice and recipes. There was one in particular that intrigued me: The Ravishing Red Juice.

Getting its ravishing red color mainly from beets, this juice has blood-cleansing capabilities, immune-boosting ginger, and hair/skin/nail magic from carrots. Toss in some cooling cucumber and power greens, this baby is the complete package! And for those who don’t like juices because of the bitterness, SUGAR is made from BEETS! So yeah, this juice basically has all the ingredients to totally rock.

I altered Vani’s recipe slightly by throwing in half a lemon because I had a bag and I love citrus in everything, and leaving out the apple since I had none of those and the beet sweetened it enough for me. If you want your juice even more palatable throw in the apple, sure. Other than that, let the good times roll!

IMG_6342

Ingredients:
  • 2 thick carrots
  • 1 big red beet
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger root
  • 3 full kale leaves
  • Handful of parsley

IMG_6344

Step 1: Wash all your veggies well and shake off excess water. Cut up the veggies, and get your juicer and two glasses ready.

IMG_6345

There are two ways to do this. You can either juice everything into one big cup then split it up (or drink a mega-juice!) or you can split up all the ingredients into two even piles.

IMG_6348

Step 2: Alternating between hard ingredients (like carrots, cucumber, lemon) and softer ingredients (kale, parsley), juice all your veggies. The beets give up this glorious, deep magenta-red juice that gives the drink its name.

IMG_6350

Step 3: Mix your drink to ensure no pulpy chunks, and enjoy! The slight tang of ginger and lemon effectively erases any bitterness from the palate. The beet juice is delightfully sweet, but not overpowering. And if you want it overly sweet, like I said add in some apples or even berries.

 

 

To health, wealth, and vitality.

<3 BE