Can we talk about food today? It feels like AGES since I’ve posted about …well anything, but specifically food!
So today, how about a recipe? This is great for company because you can make it ahead of time. And it involves bagels… So you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion.
I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow… But this is more of a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday recipe….
Farmer Ben and I were shopping last week and our grocery store was having an insane sale for a random ten minutes… 6 bagels for $1!!!!! It was such a good sale that we bought a dozen. Is there even a question on whether or not one should buy bagels when they are less than 17 cents each? I didn’t think so.
Anyway, we ended up giving ½ dozen to Ben’s dad and step-mom who are in town visiting and had bagels for breakfast one morning… and then I had people over on Saturday and needed counter space, so I moved them to the top of the fridge and promptly forgot about them until yesterday. Needless to say, they were starting to get a little hard.
Now, if you know me, I HATE wasting food. So I perused our cookbook collection to see if I could find a way to use them up. Farmer Ben said he would use them in stuffing, but I had a better idea.
Bagel Pudding. I love traditional bread pudding…but I also love breakfast. Savory breakfast…I’ve been eating a lot of sweet stuff lately and we had all of these delicious garlic/onion/sesame bagels to use up. I’ve also been on a major casserole kick lately, so this was a perfect way to keep that rolling…not to mention, it is stupid easy to make!
This is slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Bread Pudding (from her cookbook).
Everything Bagel Breakfast Pudding
4 savory/salty bagels that are a couple of days old.
2 + TB butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound veal chorizo (but breakfast sausage will also work!)
1 cup of half and half or whole milk
Salt/Pepper/Smoky paprika to taste
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: add your favorite veggies (peppers, spinach, beans, etc)
What to do:
*If you’re using fresh bagels, lightly toast them and let them sit out for a few hours to dry out…
Cut bagels into chunks (I cut mine 4 ways both directions, no need to slice) and set aside.
Place 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add in your onions. Cook until nice and soft (I caramelized mine because Ben’s a weirdo and only likes disintegrated onions, but as long as they are pretty well cooked, that will also work).
Remove onions from skillet, placing into a small bowl, and set aside.
Put sausage into the same pan, breaking up as you cook it. Let brown. Remove from heat. If you have a lot of grease, drain it (this will depend on your sausage).
While your sausage is cooking, whisk together your eggs, cream and spices in a large bowl. I went very light on salt as the chorizo and bagels I used were pretty well flavored, but again, this is to your taste.
Grease a 2 ½ qt casserole dish with remaining butter.
Layer half of your bagel pieces in the dish.
Add half of your sausage and onions.
Top with half of your cheese.
Repeat bagel, sausage, onion and cheese layers.
Pour your egg mixture over dry ingredients. This part is a little scary, but it will fit!
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight/for a few hours.
The next day… pre-heat oven to 350 (you’ll want to take your casserole out of the fridge so it warms up as well). Once pre-heated , place casserole in the oven, still covered. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted, and casserole is firm and crispy.
Eat immediately. This will also reheat well.
Happy Thanksgiving, Shopping and Long Weekend, Friends! Cheers!
I know it’s been awfully quiet around here lately!
So here is a look at what’s been going on (in no particular order):
Confession, I wrote most of this post last night…
Farmer Ben had all four wisdom teeth out today (yesterday) and I have to say, he is a trooper!
I just took a Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake out of the oven (last night) and I am 65% sure the crust is burnt….
Also, have you ever gone to bake something (that you need to bring somewhere the next day) and realized you were missing almost half of the ingredients? Yeah, that happened to me tonight. Cue my scrambling to find substitutes to avoid leaving the house. Thankfully, I went a bit overboard on buying random ingredients for Thanksgiving/December baking so it all worked out… I think.
You may have noticed from this photo that Farmer Ben participated in No Shave November at his workplace.
And apparently people like it because he won a gift card… Why can’t I win a gift card for not shaving my legs?! I’m only half-kidding. And I’m still waiting for Farmer Ben to shave…sigh.
On Black Friday, the hubs and I scored a pretty sweet deal on cold weather running gear at Dick’s. All Reebok stuff was 50% so we couldn’t resist….major sales are pretty much the only time I buy name brand anything, so we splurged on some tights, (not exactly) sweats, gloves and a half-zip w thumb holes (!).
The pants are (almost) the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn and I am not even embarrassed to say that I have had them on almost every waking moment that I don’t have to wear work pants since I purchased them. My standby XL sweats may have a rival!
On Thanksgiving, Farmer Ben and I did the Turkey Trot…. and froze our butts off. We actually had our family dinner on Wednesday so we got up with slight food hangovers to run in ridiculously cold and windy weather (15 degrees. Real feel, 5. and WIND.).
Luckily, we pre-registered and picked up our race packets the night before so we just had to show up.
I had signed up for the 10k… but at the two-mile mark, while I was struggling to run in a semi-straight line, not slip on the ice and not blow all over the road, I decided to drop down to the 5k… I just didn’t have the gumption to continue in those conditions for another 4.2 miles. That’s the thing about the Turkey trot, you never know how the weather is going to be. Do I feel bad for dropping down to the 5k? Not really…it happens.
You know that crazy (and super vague) thing I mentioned I *may* be doing? Well… I took the first step. Not gonna lie, I have no idea what the outcome will be! Its invigorating and nerve-wracking at the same time.
In other news, I’ve been thinking about what my goals are for the new year, particularly my fitness goals:
To start, I want to focus even more on my nutrition (oh hey, ENERGYbits!) and my form. But I also want to get stronger. And Faster.
Another marathon is definitely on the docket for 2014… but I am looking to improve and not “just finish.”
I want to finish strong. I don’t know why, but admitting that out loud (or on blog) kind of freaks me out.
I think this realization hit me on a run a couple of weeks ago. For the last year, I’ve been running about 9:45-10 min mile pace, give or take 10 seconds. Completely respectable and nothing to sneeze at. I really haven’t been focused on time, just getting out and getting those miles in.
Then, a couple weeks ago, I did a four mile run at a faster-than-usual pace. When I got back to my car, instead of getting in or starting to stretch, I ditched my excess layers and reset my watch. I proceeded to run a timed mile at 8:23 pace.
About a week later, I had a jam-packed day, so I planned to run at lunch.
Unfortunately, my work place is not located in a runner-friendly area. There’s a lot of traffic and people drive fast. So, I drove to a spot in town where I do some of my night runs.
This meant I would have just under 30 minutes to run, after drive time/make-myself-presentable time (luckily it was a Friday). After parking, I started mapmyrun and took off on the bike path. I meant business (mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time).
When the app notified me that I had completed a mile and gave the split, I thought it was a mistake but kept moving (my second mile was about a minute slower and the third was somewhere in the middle).
In the end, I ran 3.1 miles (I had only planned on 2) in 28 minutes. My first mile was run in 8 minutes and 16 seconds.
That’s speedy for me. I haven’t run that fast in a long time…and it got me thinking… Could I run that pace consistently for a whole 5k? Or longer?!
I haven’t trained for speed in a long time… since high school. I’ve gone out and run fast, and randomly done a speed workout here and there, but I haven’t consistently tried to get faster.
So, this is going to be a new adventure…and a challenge.
And completely off topic, but there is currently 2.5 gallons of hot sauce in our fridge. Go big or go home, right?
If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking through my ramble!
Let’s chat, what have you been up to? Did you run a turkey trot? Beards-yes or no? What are your fitness goals for 2014? Any suggestions for speed work?
Life has been moving pretty fast around these parts lately…I’m looking forward to some much-needed time off and a road trip with Farmer Ben, later this week (Georgia and South Carolina, here we come!).
This weekend, I went to a women’s conference with some ladies from my church in Worcester, MA…this was a completely new experience for me and one that I needed.
I actually hemmed and hawed about going because, well… I just felt like I wouldn’t have time…but I made time and it was so worth it!
Not only did Natalie Grant lead worship (so powerful!), but we got to see some great speakers. I learned a lot and came back feeling refreshed and empowered.
My favorite speaker was definitely Valorie Burton.
I mentioned that this conference was something I needed and I found Valorie’s workshop especially relevant to some things I am dealing with right now.
I got home from the conference really late and Farmer Ben and I were up bright and early on Sunday Morning to volunteer with our church for our Faith in Action Sunday… basically, the congregation divides up into groups and does various service projects around town…
Our group went to a local park and raked leaves…for three hours. By the time we left the park, we had 97 giant bags of leaves and a ton of piles that we just didn’t have the man-power to bag. Needless to say, I am sore today and have some really attractive blisters on my hands.
After volunteering we went to my mother’s house and took a quick shopping trip… I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I absolutely despise shopping at Wal-Mart…This shopping trip reminded me why. I think I’ve had my fill of misbehaving, screaming children and rude people for the next three years.
We dropped my mom off and then headed to our friends’ house to make a quick dinner.
I made this mac & cheese from Pinch of Yum and fooled their son into eating butternut squash. Not only was it delicious, but it only had 1 cup of cheese in a double recipe!
After dinner, I whipped up these cookies…they were also a hit.
Farmer Ben and I finally made it home at about 9pm and I immediately went to bed.
Other than that, life has been good…
We’ve been going to the market.
Hubby bought me some beautiful flowers from a local farm….
And we’ve been enjoying the weather. I finally got to break in my sweet orange wind-breaker from the race.
And now for a confession…
My biggest frustration at the moment is that I haven’t run since my marathon. I took a few days off for recovery and, much to my dismay, ended up having to work both jobs for the entire week following the race.
Running a marathon and then working 12-15 hour days for five days is not conducive to recovery.
That Saturday, I was going to go for a short run but I started having a weird pain behind my knee. It hasn’t gone away. It’s more annoying that downright painful and almost feels like a snap or a pinch…does that make any sense?
It’s not my knee… but I don’t know how else to describe it. I did some google-ing and am guessing that it’s either a baker’s cyst or a meniscus but doesn’t feel painful enough to be either.
I did notice that the pain was a little more annoying this past week, depending on what I am doing. Yesterday, it was pretty uncomfortable and by the end of raking it was burning.
Any ides as to what this is?
I broke down and went to a walk-in doctor but honestly, he was no help. He felt around and played with my knee, stood back and said, “Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you…I have no idea what to tell you!”
Super helpful, right? I did, however, finally get a full physical, for the first time in at least five years.
I don’t think I’ll be returning to that doctor as, honestly, I found him a bit kooky (and that is saying a lot, coming from me), but it’s nice to know that as far as he could tell, I am perfectly healthy.
Anyway, I have a friend who works for a knee specialist and she offered to get me an appointment… it sounds silly, but I am putting it off because I am convinced it’s actually nothing and will feel silly if I turn out to be right.
These are the things that go through my head… sigh.
Well…that’s all for now… It’s going to be a short work week and a lot of driving. I cannot wait!
What have you been up to? What are your weird aches and pains? Cooky doctors-discuss. Butternut Squash, yes or no?
In my last post, Dad, Eileen, Gary and I were in Saranac Lake getting our local food on… I managed to pick up a few goodies….
After bringing Farmer Ben a surprise coffee, I took Gary and my Dad for a long walk on a bike path by the lake. It was hot…and sticky.
I then rushed home to clean-up and make some more delicious eats….
Here is what I whipped up….
What you’ll need:
- 1 baguette…preferably local
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- 2 large tomatoes (or 3-4 small-medium)
- 15 fresh basil leaves (approximately)
- 1 tbsp. or a splash of balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mince garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic. Stir…cook garlic until it softens-do NOT let burn. This won’t take long. Pour garlic and oil into a metal mixing bowl and set aside.
- Chop/dice tomatoes (this will be depend on how big you want your chunks to be–side note: chunks is not an appetizing word.) Add to mixing bowl with garlic and oil.
- Also, if you don’t want soupy bruschetta, drain some of the juices before adding to bowl.
- Chop basil. (tip: stack some leaves on top of each other, roll them length-wise and slice into thin strips) Add to mixing bowl.
- Add in remaining balsamic, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside
- Slice baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Place in oven and let brown. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and add to the bruschetta mixture–do NOT do this until ready to serve.
- Remove toasted baguette from oven and top with bruschetta mixture.
If you’re feeling extra naughty, grate some parmesan over the top.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Garden Delight Pasta
(Or…trying to use up all the veggies on your counter/in the fridge pasta)
What You’ll Need:
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used angel hair)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (or 1/2 a giant onion like I used…), diced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped
- 6 large kale leaves, sliced (I just ripped it up)
- 2 large Swiss Chard Leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (about 1-2 tbsp.)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 large tomato, chopped (or, if you have leftover bruschetta mix, that will work too!)
- 3 oz. goat cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Heat water for pasta and cook according to package
- While your water is boiling….
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add in onion, until it starts to soften.
- Add in zucchini and eggplant, stirring occasionally, be careful not to let veggies stick/burn. Reduce heat to medium low. (This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your veggies/size of pan)
- Add in Swiss chard and kale, cover and let wilt. Stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cooked and drained pasta (it should be hot) and mix in remaining ingredients.
Remove from heat and Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
Favorite seasonal meal? How do you use up all of your leftover veggies? Goat cheese in pasta, yes or no?
Stay Tuned for Scenes…Part 3!
What are you growing? Any mystery plants in your garden? Have any good pumpkin recipes to share?
I love local food…especially when it’s coming straight out of the garden or from a farm down the road.
Even though the growing season has been slowed down with all the rain, we’ve been very blessed with loads of arugula, radishes, swiss chard, beets and beet greens, chives, scallions, cilantro and lettuce. We’ve also been picking up beans, carrots and other veggies, along with local meats, eggs and cheeses at the market or our co-op.
My favorites (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers) are coming along and I can’t wait… we’re also going to have a squash and bean surplus…perfect for the freezer!
Anyway, here is a peek at how we’ve been using up all of our greens lately (please forgive my less than stellar photography skills):
I was on a butternut crust pizza kick a few weeks ago:
But we always love our giant salads…
And we’ve had a few other tasty hot meals:
And here are some of my meals I’ve been packing for breakfast/lunch:
What about you? What’s your go-to summer meal? What’s been on your plate lately?
I’m in an incredibly good mood today. Why?
The sun is shining.
It’s turning out to be a pretty nice day.
I finished last night’s run before it was completely dark out. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Spring is coming!
Spinach Soup for lunch. This stuff is so good and so good for you! I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks (white potatoes, veggie stock and chili powder to start).
The hubby is at home, on his day off, cooking and baking bread. I cannot wait to go home and try everything!
We’ve decided to do a dairy CSA Share. Hello fresh milk in glass bottles! Homemade butter and cheese are going to happen!!! I’m super excited. I’ll give you details in a separate post.
I signed up for a couple more (free!) online classes, it’s definitely going to be year of learning! If you haven’t checked Coursera out, do it now!
I got an awesome pair of compression socks (the kind that go up to your knees!) as a gift last night…. perfect timing. I was pumped.
I also got these beauties.
Both are made in the USA and made with sustainable products. Love this. Here is the website for more info.
I also got an awesome print of a photograph taken by my super talented aunt…which I didn’t take a picture of. Can’t wait to hang it up!
Anyway, like I said. I’m feeling pretty blessed today. Life is good and I am happy for so many reasons.
What brings a smile to your face? Tell me about it!
As I said, I’ve been a bit hesitant to write about the experience because it’s definitely not something for everyone…and I really don’t think some people will get it…which is totally fine.
While Ben and I were doing the fast, we only told 1 or 2 people. If someone asked why we weren’t eating certain foods, I told them that we were just watching what we ate.
What were some of the every day trials?
As I said, there were a few social situations that were a bit difficult to navigate, but we managed. It was especially hard this time of year because of the constant influx of candies, cookies and baked goods at the office. I passed by the back counter in the office every day and had to avoid the temptations of the season.
To be honest, I’d usually go over, scope out the goods and then scurry away before I got too close. And really, I didn’t feel like I was deprived in the dessert department.
I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t the sweets, or even coffee, that I missed the most. I actually missed cheese and products with yeast more than anything. I am not a huge bread eater (anymore), however I absolutely love sandwiches of any kind–subs, wraps, paninis, burritos/tacos, etc.
In the second week, we started eating matzos with peanut butter. This was a nice change and was a great substitute for crackers or chips. Love crunchy foods!
I found that I could survive without caffeine but I missed the feeling of drinking something hot. In order to manage this, I started drinking mugs of hot water. Sometimes I would add a lemon.
Working in a restaurant–especially a steak and seafood restaurant–is especially hard when you’re on a special diet–vegan or not! The last month has been full of parties, tasty treats, appetizers, specialty items, cheeses and dips…and I couldn’t eat any of it!
The biggest thing was that we needed to plan ahead. The nights we worked at the restaurant, we’d pack the ingredients to make dinner. The fast also forced me to pack my lunch each day (luckily, I have an amazing husband who does way too much for me and takes amazing care of me) because it’s so difficult to eat out.
The days I wasn’t prepared were difficult and I found myself scrambling to find a snack–vending machines are pretty much off-limits and it’s hard finding time to run to the grocery store, especially since you have to pay attention to ingredient lists.
So what did I learn?
I learned that I am a lot more patient than I give myself credit for. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’m getting there. Doing the fast took a lot of planning, time and preparation and I was surprised that I was able to do so well.
Again, Farmer Ben was a big help and those three weeks were a great reminder that we can lean on each other for support and encouragement…or just to vent about how badly one of us wants coffee or cheese.
I also learned that I can go without, and practice self-control, something that can definitely be applied to my every day life. I found that, even though I was restricting certain foods, I was still getting everything I needed and I wasn’t starving to death by any means. He takes care of me and continues to provide for me, even if I don’t always get immediate gratification.
We saved a lot of money during this time…and that was perfectly okay.
I won’t go into my personal reasons for doing this, but I definitely learned a lot. There were a few verses that I kept in mind during this time period–something to focus on if you will–and they were so encouraging, especially on days when all I wanted to was a cheeseburger and a beer…or something of the like.
It was a much-needed push to take time out of my day for prayer, studying The Word and reflection. I’ve always struggled with this aspect of my life and I feel like this journey has helped me refocus.
I will admit that some of the lessons from the Daniel Fast were not what I was expecting, but they were valuable nevertheless.
I managed to lose a few pounds…it’s amazing how much your calories are cut when you aren’t eating certain foods. I didn’t do this to lose extra weight, but it was a side effect. I have to say, some days I was hungry most of the day and other days I could barely eat.
It was very strange and my body is still trying to balance out the changes. I’ve gained back a few pounds, but I’ve also noticed that my appetite and cravings have changed. I’m not hungry and I’m wanting to eat different things than I did before.
After 21 days, my head was clearer, my body was cleaner and my spirit was calmer.
Would I do the fast again?
In a word, yes.
I definitely think that deliberately setting that time aside to plan, refocus, and organize your mind, body and spirit is a necessity.
I will tell you that I usually get very stressed out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time, while I did still have some stress, I was at peace and was ready to take on all of the activities that come with the season.
I can tell you that you need to go into this time with an end purpose, a goal of learning something, having a prayer answered or making a change. You need something to focus on. If you don’t, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.
It’s amazing what you can do when you take yourself out of the everyday hustle and bustle and set aside time for a higher purpose.
I cherish the three weeks and continue to remind myself of the small lessons I learned along the way.
So, any questions? Have you ever thought about doing a fast? What would be your biggest obstacle/item you’d have a hard time cutting out? What would be your focus?
In my last post, I spilled the beans on what the hubs and I have been up to for the last three weeks. I also gave a brief explanation as to what the logistics of the Daniel Fast are… In my next post, I’ll discuss my personal experience.
This is the fun post. I’m talking about the food.
So, what’s been on my plate?
As you probably know, I am a huge breakfast person…as in, I can barely survive if I skip it. That being said, I stuck with oatmeal most days of the fast.
Because you can’t have dairy or sugar during the fast, I would just cook with water, then throw in some apples, cinnamon and peanut butter to spice it up a bit. Other days I would do bananas and pecans. It all works.
Toward the end of the fast, I started cooking the oats in (unsweetened) almond milk to add a little more calcium and iron. I’ve been tracking my food on MFP for a long time and was noticing that I wasn’t getting enough of the two. The almond milk definitely helped.
My main snacks were popcorn, apples and matzos with peanut butter.
The key to making this fast work is to plan your meals. It’s possible to go out for lunch or dinner on this plan, but it’s very difficult–Mostly because you never really know what restaurants are putting in your food. Thus, you want to plan ahead and cook a few meals at a time.
I tried to snap pictures of what I was eating throughout the 21 days. Apples and oatmeal aren’t very pretty, so here are a few photos of other meals. Keep in mind, these are all meat and dairy free; Vegan, with more restrictions.
I’d say we still ate some pretty delicious things!
Again, this isn’t everything, but it’s a good description of what our diet was like.
We ate a lot of beans, dark leafy greens, pasta, potatoes and rice. I’m not complaining. I love all of these things. We also ate a lot of tofu and tried tempeh in a few meals.
Peanut butter and apples became a staple (not that both of these weren’t before..but it was more pronounced).
We also experimented with seasoning and made sure to pack in a lot of veggies in almost every meal. I noticed that the amount of fat, sugars, and cholesterol I was eating dropped a lot, not that it was high before, but it was even lower in these three weeks.
I mentioned before that we didn’t have any coffee… I tried to trick myself by drinking hot water out of my coffee mug. It worked about half the time.
Anyway, stay tuned for my next post where I will give you a look into my personal experience with the fast.
Do you have any favorite vegan staples? Do you think you’d be able to give up meat, dairy, drinks and sugar for three weeks? What would you miss the most? Let me know!