KISS


KISS. Keep It Simple, Sillyhead.

How many times a day do you realize you’ve made something harder than it needs to be? In our busy-ness, we don’t take two seconds to think it through…we just go and don’t look back. And I’m so guilty of taking the long way, even when I’m trying to save time/money/resources. Argh.

Good news: food should be easy, simple even! And cooking at home is, perhaps, the simplest thing you might do all day. You know what you’re putting into your awesome body, you aren’t paying extra for fancy restaurant decor and fabulous waitstaff. And you don’t have to wait too long. So let’s KISS. Ha. Let’s make dinner with stuff we have on hand, with no extra evening trips to the grocery store. Especially when it’s dark and raining five days straight in Portland (what!?).

Easy Dinner Tips (for when you have nothing prepped and you’re hangry)

1. Know what you have on hand

  • Make a list of the ingredients you have on hand and tape it inside of your pantry/cabinet/fridge/freezer doors. (This also helps with grocery list making when you run out, plus you won’t have 5 jars of marinara from overbuying.)
  • Make a list of your family’s top 7 dishes, those go-tos. (Ours are tacos, taco salad, breakfast for dinner, shrimp pasta, spaghetti, salmon/asparagus, pizza.) Post this inside the pantry, and keep some of these ingredients always on hand.

2. Eat this combo: protein, fiber and produce. It is naturally human to grab pizza, bread, chips. And we know that doesn’t tame the hangry beast that is your stomach! Grab an apple with peanut butter when you can’t think straight, not cereal. Down some cucumber slices and hummus, not kettle chips. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a healthy snack just to tame the beast quickly.

3. Dress up something boring. (Add veggies and cheese to boxed soup, add nuts and topping to green salads, and be creative with your presentation and flavor/texture combos. Have fun with it!) Here’s an example:

Dressed Up Asparagus

4 servings

  • 1 pound (or so) Asparagus, washed and ends trimmed off
  • 1 1/2 oranges
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 TB oil (olive, avocado, coconut)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

  1. On a cookie sheet lined with foil or non stick spray/liner, spread the Asparagus spears out in one layer. 
  2. Drizzle oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Squeeze half an orange over and toss with tongs or hands. Spread spears out again in one layer. Tops spears with orange slices (see photo above).
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on thickness of spears and preference of crunch. Sprinkle a little salt on top, if desired. Eat!

Super simple. Makes boring frozen salmon and plain quinoa a little more fun! (I added the other half of the orange and grated orange rind to the quinoa.)

Happy weekend! Make creative food out of this week’s leftovers!

Laurel

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again…

Yes, I just quoted Eminem. It happened. And so is this!

 

It’s been 23 long months of not blogging. That’s like the span of a driving teenager in dog years, or 2.5 human newborn babies developed. Whoa.

But I’ve missed this fun/yummy/messy/sarcastic place to cook and eat and tell stories. So let’s get right to it, shall we?

 

An Update of 23 months…

 

Got a little crafty with glue guns and paint, My parents moved to Portland from Texas (yay! whoa!), Hoodies are essential in this city, and Meals in bowls should never be underestimated (Sunday Meal Prep is such a great invention).

 

 

A couple San Diego trips, Prepping smoothie bags a month at a time, Matt the hubby & me, A couple Vegas getaways, and Sam the best 9-yr-old dog ever.

 

Upside-down winter lights (why not?), Painting some umbrellas to advocate for homeless families, A quick jaunt to Vancouver BC, and Finally making a quesadilla to be proud of.

 

 

Dad & I see Black Sabbath retire, A beautiful week with the in-laws on Lake of the Ozarks, I tried fake lashes! (it was messy), and Great seats at a Padres game (& I wear sunglasses now…go eye health!).

 

So those are some of the highlights of two years. Of course, I’ve spent many days in flip flops and more days in scarves and sweaters. My work is full of surprises–from family tragedies & healing together, to painting the church bright orange, to really awesome moments of sharing life with some great people. And, the older I get, I’m less self-conscious, more okay with myself, and the more I realize just how precious and delicate life is. Good stuff. Of course, it’s almost all surrounded by stops and pauses along the way…great moments around a table, on a couch, and at a food truck…all around holy moments of great food shared with strangers and the closest friends and family. It all comes back to food and stories.

It’s October 1st! ¬†Portland in the Fall

My husband knows that I tend to drag my feet on saying goodbye to each summer. But I really do take comfort in the fact that pumpkin everything is socially acceptable these days. (Thank you, PSL and SBUX.) And apple picking and pear plucking is in full swing! Let’s jump on into Fall, warm socks and boot-clad feet first! Come back soon for a Fall explosion!

Butternut Squash Soup

Oh, this soup.

5 ingredients + spices + water.

1 hour, 15 minutes.

That’s it. And it’s thick and tasty and even enjoyed by a squash-hater (Dad). And it’s healthy and inexpensive and stretches. And you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (You might think I’m talking pancakes, but I’m not!) Gluten-free, vegan and very awesome. Let’s make this magical concoction.

IMG_2686

Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy, piping hot, and full of flavor, this healthy soup provides your body with fiber, potassium, carotenoids and antioxidants. This means a healthier heart, cancer fighters, and healthy nervous and immune systems. It’s a power food with the consistency of buttery happiness and the color of a sunset. It’s all good. And super easy to make and eat this awesome soup. Don’t focus on the healthy and be mesmerized by the awesomity of this power house meal. Serve with crusty bread, a salad or even a potato on the side for the ultimate warmth on a winter day.

8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 butternut squash (4 pounds total-ish)
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups carrots
  • 4 cups water (or 2 cups stock and 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups milk (I used almond)
  • Spices: 2 TB olive oil, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, few dashes pepper, 1 tablespoon¬†cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of each: ginger & cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of each: nutmeg, cloves.

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with a nonstick baking mat, parchment, foil or just spray. Peel and chop squash into 1-inch chunks (-ish). Chop apple, onion and carrots into bite-sized chunks, too.
  • In a large bowl, toss veggies/fruit chunks into olive oil and spices until coated. (I had to do this in 2 batches.) Then, spread the chunks out on the baking sheets as one layer (evenly roasts this way). Roast for 35 minutes, or until cooked through and browning on edges.
  • In a large pot, add water and all roasted veggies. Heat on high until bubbling. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Option 1: If you have an immersion blender: blend mixture together until desired consistency. Garnish with cinnamon and toasted seeds and enjoy!
  • Option 2: If you have a regular blender: Add half of liquid and half of veggies to your blender and blend until desired consistency. Transfer blended mixture to a large bowl. Repeat blending with remaining ingredients and transfer to the bowl or pot. Garnish with toasted seeds and cinnamon and enjoy!
  • Note: If you prefer a “runny” soup, add more water or milk and let simmer longer. Also, rinse and roast the seeds with a little olive oil and salt for 15 minutes, for a fun topping.
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Chopped.

Roasted.

Roasted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will definitely make this again. Definitely. Now to convert my husband to loving squash…and thanks to you all reading my 300th blog post. Wow, that’s crazy.

-Laurel

 

 

 

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