There are so many good things going on just in the title of this post. One, I’ve bounced back from a really nasty cold/maybe the flu and am nearly cooking at full force again. It’s a marked improvement from last week’s diet of Boston Market mashed potatoes and Ritz crackers. Two, it’s vacation time! Steve and I are taking a little combo babymoon/first anniversary long weekend trip to Vermont, to a gorgeous, pet-friendly resort. Yep, that’s right, we’re allowing the pugs to infiltrate our romantic getaway. And in case you don’t follow my personal Instagram account, you also may be surprised to find out that, after a rough first dog experience and before adding a baby to the house, we acted like crazy people and adopted another pug. Blog world, meet Nugget (whose name may not be permanent):
He and Clarence are getting along pretty well:
Although, Nugget’s an estimated six years old (he was found as a stray, so we can’t say for sure) and definitely has the old man attitude going on sometimes, like when Clarence wants to play, which is…always. My life is now listening to Clarence bark his head off at poor Nugget to get a little chase going.
BUT, this was not meant to be a pug post. It’s meant to explain how, during a pretty busy week of pug care, getting ready for vacation (i.e., doing 17 loads of laundry…per day), pregnancy, and house upkeep and decorating, I managed to make us (and a client-friend) good, comfort food, warm dinners every night. Except the night I must order pizza.
When even my carb and ice cream loving husband raves about the flavor of “junk” food made with healthier ingredients, like a gluten free mac and cheese or the nutty flavor of the crust on these spelt dough calzones, you KNOW it’s good. At dinner I sometimes anxiously await his review, trying not to show it, and if I get that golden, “These are really good,” I do a little dance inside (or maybe for real). But really, what are the health advantages of using spelt flour over whole wheat or all purpose flour? Sure, it sounds healthier, but c’mon, it’s not even gluten free.
Here’s my brief analysis:
As noted, spelt and spelt flour are not gluten free, so they’re out if you have celiac or an allergy. However, to state things simply, the makeup of spelt, as opposed to traditional wheat, might be easier for you to digest if you’re gluten sensitive, and who isn’t these days? Aside from the gluten aspect, spelt provides plenty of protein, fiber, and several big vitamins. Not that specific, I know, but I’m not a nutritionist so I don’t want to go making outrageous nutrition claims. At the end of the day, yes, spelt is still a grain, but one that is not as commercially produced as wheat flour (especially if you opt for organic) and tastes the way I think whole grain flour should taste. Like something, with its own complex, nutty, light profile, not just a stretchy, bland vehicle for sauce and cheese.
On to more important things, though, like…making these calzones! [Read more…]
This site doesn’t exactly do it justice, but one of my favorite food-related activities, possibly more than creating recipes and a close second to eating doughnuts, is menu and meal planning. You can peruse a few of my past occasion menus and weekly meal plans here and here (and here on my old blog), but I haven’t been the best about posting complete meal plans with grocery shopping lists, which I think is so much more valuable than continuously sharing standalone recipes. Cut me some slack, though–coming up with and writing out grocery lists in a usable format is a challenge, but one that I think I’m on the verge of overcoming. i.e., meal plans coming soon.
I am, however, extra consistent about planning what Steve and I will eat every week, and a key step in that process is getting my booty off the couch, hauling my laptop to the kitchen, and starting with the ingredients I have/need to use up from the freezer, fridge, and pantry. Thanks to this step, ingredients rarely spend months or years on my shelves. I feel I have the right pantry essentials but enough room for new ingredients to explore. I end up utilizing bags of beans and homemade stock from the freezer, citrus and root vegetables from the fridge, and grains and tomato products (just to name a few) from the pantry.
I’m definitely not being the good, regular blogger I once was. I miss it and have been plotting my comeback, and the truth is it’s not going to happen with some grand entrance. I just need to get back to the posting routine, and I’ve been thinking how that will be a million times easier if I just post what I’m actually cooking. On my food blog. What a novel concept.
If you feel like you’ve just jumped in to the middle of a conversation, that’s my fault. My writing might be getting a little rusty, too. For reference, see this post, which actually is a big deal.
Or I’ll just tell you, if you’re nervous about whether clicking on a link will take you to a new window or kill this page, causing the headache of back clicking to figure out what you were originally looking at. There’s a baby on the way, and it’s growing in my belly as we speak! Another thing I haven’t been keeping up with is the weekly pregnancy photos, but after a couple weeks off there will be a new one, with a much larger belly, by next week.
Deep down, I think I had an idea when the meat cravings struck. On the surface, I was a little baffled, but since I’m not a strict vegetarian, I went ahead and listened to whatever my body was trying to tell me, and Steve and I had our first burger date possibly since discovering our favorite local burger restaurant. Apparently, as I scarfed a couple (delicious) chicken wings hot off the grill around a week later, I wasn’t the only one who was starting to wonder. By the time we headed to Boston for the Fourth of July, I was basically going hog wild, at least in my mind, with a bowl of clam chowder, some meaty afternoon appetizers, and, to top it off, an all-American hot dog at Fenway Park on Independence Day.
Clearly, this streak wasn’t all that convenient for a nearly meatless food blogger like myself, but it was easy to hide at first, given that I had lots of family visiting all summer and wasn’t posting (or cooking) as much. But if you analyze the last few recipes (minus the popsicles) and Instagram posts (spoiler alert) carefully, you might notice that I’m slipping legumes and lentils into everything I cook, not to mention starting to post nutrition facts with my recipes, a practice of which I was not previously supportive.
So what the heck happened to Ms. Meatless??? My body has been invaded by a tiny human! Just kidding–invasion is not the word I would use in any case, and despite relatively mild first trimester nausea, extreme fatigue, and hunger for nothing but all-things-carbs, I LOVE being pregnant.
New! I’m excited to start adding nutrition information to some recipes on NCK, starting with this one. Scroll down to the recipe for more info!
The first time I ever tried a “tortilla” that wasn’t flat and pliable and in the form of tacos, a burrito, a quesadilla, or other Mexican fare was at a favorite, long-standing tapas bar here in Stamford. I was, most likely, two or three glasses of wine deep at that juncture, so I don’t remember the exact circumstances. All I can say is, I fell in love, and now I can’t step foot in the place without ordering my other favorite kind of tortilla.
So what does a Spanish tortilla entail? It’s essentially some combination of omelet and frittata, usually the simple union of tender potatoes, olive oil, and eggs, most often pan fried to perfection. I’ve seen it mostly served in pie-like slices, although I’ve been known to cut similar potato frittatas into bite-size squares. At Barcelona (the bar, not the city), it’s served with the most addictive garlic sour cream, the perfect light, tangy counterpart to rich eggs and potatoes, which may be the reason I fell in love with potato tortilla in the first place. Let’s just say that if it was socially acceptable to lick the plate clean of the sour cream, you would find me face down in it.