It’s Ellie (Krieger) week!

Adam told me today that the focus of my blog has become a lot less “healthy” and a lot more “sane,” since so many of my posts cover food/body image issues and the like. Well, I’m showing him up tonight with a post that’s all about healthy foods because hey, I’ve been cooking and I want to tell you all about it! :mrgreen:

This week I did something kind of fun. Remember CEiMB Thursday posts? Well obviously I’ve been a big slacker on that front but I still love Ellie and take inspiration from the CEiMB group and other Ellie recipes. This week I challenged myself to an Ellie recipe a day in honor of “my” week on CEiMB. I chose the recipe for the baked falafel sandwiches (here) that hopefully all the group members will be excited about making and will enjoy eating. Let’s start with that one and I’ll show you what I else I made this week. Some good stuff not to be missed here! ;)

I remember seeing this recipe on an episode of Healthy Appetite some time last year. It looked so easy and the idea of baked falafel (instead of fried) really intrigued me. Can it still taste good? How will it compare to the “real thing”? This week it was time to find out! :D

I followed the recipe for the falafel pretty closely, except of course omitted the onions. They came out flavorful and delicious although admittedly a lot drier than their fried counterparts (I’m assuming oil is usually used a lot more liberally in the “filling” too). The taste of cumin and coriander added decisively Mediterranean flavors. If I ever get a craving for falafel, I won’t hesitate to dig up this recipe again. By the way, Adam loved this :)

You may also notice that this is not exactly a “sandwich.” This is where I decided to add a little twist to the recipe. We had some fresh pizza dough in the freezer so I decided to make falafel flatbreads instead. I rolled out the dough and grilled it. The tahini sauce was transformed into a drizzle by a generous addition of non-fat yogurt and some lemon juice to cut the tartness. Some lightly dressed greens and fresh cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market completed the flatbreads. It was one delicious summer meal (don’t remind me that summer is almost over, ok? I’m in denial and I plan on staying there until meals like that can no longer be enjoyed out in the summer heat.)

So that was Monday. We “traveled” to Italy the following day. I actually decided to make a recipe I missed on CEiMB a few weeks ago – shrimp and liquine fra diavolo (recipe here). It got great reviews and this used to be my “go-to” meal at outings to Italian restaurants. I think I had a bad experience once and that kind of ended that trend. But no more, here is what Tuesday’s dinner looked like (what you don’t have a glass of wine mid-week with your dinner? You do? Ok, good! :lol: )

I actually put a little twist on this recipe as well. I decided to serve this with zucchini “pasta” instead traditional linguine the recipe calls for. I got this idea from an old post by Sabrina – her pictures make it look like legit pasta, while mine were more like zucchini ribbons (btw, I tried the mandolin method and a vegetable peeler actually worked better – it created thinner strips).

By the time I was done with dinner, it was getting dark so I’m sorry for these blurry photos. I had to fight with lighting. But let me tell you – this was AMAZING. I can’t stop thinking about it. I used diced tomatoes with chiles, which added additional heat and the zucchini ribbons soaked up all the saucy goodness. They do NOT taste like pasta. I don’t even want to call them that. They are thin strips of zucchini, working in perfect balance with the spicy tomatoes, shrimp and garlic. I was lucky enough to score the leftovers and could not wait for lunch today. SO good.

Lastly, on this rainy Wednesday night, it was all about comfort food – lasagna. Well, technically – portobello lasagna rollups (recipe here).

This was a bit more involved than I meant it to be for a weeknight meal but it was VERY much worth it at the end. We somehow ran out of spinach so I dug into my freezer and found some frozen asparagus. That was quickly “steamed” in the microwave and jumped into the rollups. I also bought baby bellas because they are cheaper than portobellos and had to be chopped anyway. Lastly, I used TJ’s organic tomato sauce instead of making my own. It’s my favorite sauce – it’s healthy, organic, delicious, costs next to nothing and takes no effort. Shortcuts are sometimes good. Really good. :D

Can someone say no to this?

I think not (ok, maybe if you’re vegan. lol)

This one is going straight to our favorite recipes list (PS. I’m going to organize it one day!). Adam was in heaven. I think his dad may drool a little onto the screen. Am I right, Jim? (lasagna love runs in the family). :grin:

How is your week going so far? Does any of the above tempt you?

Changes are coming

At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I’ve decided to bring some small changes to Healthy and Sane. Read on if you want more details :)

Obviously my career is pretty demanding and blogging is a time consuming hobby. The last few weeks I tried my hardest to keep up with both. I took charge of my diet and my exercise routine – I made both an important part of my life without underestimating the amount of time and dedication these require and the limitations I had to work with. I still took pictures of most of my food and I didn’t want to disappear from here, so I posted daily highlights in the hopes that once things slowed down, you’d still be here. I’m glad you stayed (I know I lost some readers, but that’s ok. Quality vs. quantity, right? ;) ). I handed in my work, I left for 4 days to Maine, and I was ready to do all of this all over again. But something was missing; something didn’t feel quite right. Work was going to get busy again – was this really the right way forward? On the car ride home, I was reading this magazine article about relieving stress every day. About ways to bring “vacation” to your every day life, not just on a pre-planned getaway. Ha!

This is a tough one for many of us. There seems to be not enough hours in the day for work and play. How do you balance the two? This is a complex subject (maybe material for another post?) but let me share my take away after a few hours of brainstorming. I need to work (duh), I need to find time to workout (to keep myself sane!) and the rest I’ll just have to be a little more flexible with. My passions remain unchanged. I love eating and cooking; I love learning, talking and writing about sustainable food; I love supporting the industry (that means voting with my money at farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants) and this blog is my platform for sharing these passions. BUT, there is not enough time to do all of these every day, the way I want them done. At times I’ve been feeling like I set myself up for failure with a mile-long to-do list. What if I just chose one of these to concentrate on every day? What if I lived my life a little more intuitively? So we finally get to the punch line here. I will no longer blog on a daily basis. I will continue to blog but it will not be in the same format. My goal is to have more “themed” posts vs. journal style ones. You will see highlights of my meals but not necessarily in the order I ate them. I hope that this will provide for better quality content (again, quality vs. quantity – that’s my moto) and give me the opportunity to get creative here in a different way. My goal is for this blog to continue being inspiring, informative and most importantly delicious. :grin: Don’t worry, I won’t hold out the juicy details of my life from you. Ha, here I go again, cracking myself up. The “juiciest” thing that happened today was…..um, I’ve got nothing. :shock:

I will leave you here with my favorite meal from today (yes, I still cook even when I don’t plan on taking pictures of every single bite!) – Ellie Krieger’s chicken with warm tomato-corn salad (recipe here). It was last week’s CEiMB recipe and it was amazing. I left out the scallions and cilantro but added some cayenne pepper which really added a nice warm spiciness to the dish (it wasn’t super hot, just warmed your throat a bit and brought all the ingredients together). Adam and I were practically licking the pan clean (it took a lot of will power not to split the 4 servings between the 2 of us and just call it dinner). I highly recommend it while sweet corn is in season!

So I hope this little change is cool with all of you. I feel good about it. I already have some ideas I hope to execute on soon. :cool:

And now a question for you – what would you want to see more of on Healthy and Sane. Why do you keep coming back here? Also if you have a blog, how do you balance work and blogging? Do you ever feel like some parts of your life suffer because you try to do everything at once?

Food, farms and more food in 100 pictures

Once again, I wanted to start this post by thanking you all (that are still reading!!) for being patient with me. As you know, the last few weeks have been crazy busy and luckily – this weekend was the exact opposite! Adam is starting a new job tomorrow (his last day was Friday – same day as I handed in my work!) and we decided to take off for the weekend and completely unplug… in Maine. If you were following this blog a few months ago, you may remember our last super relaxing trip there. I knew this would be the perfect getaway this time around as well. I’m happy to report that our “batteries” are recharged and we are ready to face this work week. Good thing we only have 3 days left. ;)

By looking through 260+ pictures I took, it looks like this weekend was as crazy busy as ever. But I can assure you – we definitely spent a few hours just sitting on the porch, soaking in the sunshine and catching up on books that have been gathering some dust over the past few weeks. And of course, we also ate well. Very well. Thank you, Jane and Jim, for being such great hosts! (I also cooked one breakfast and one dinner – cooking is what I love!). So how about a recap? Ready?….

We like breaking up trips that are over 2 hours with fun stops. This weekend was my first time in Potsmouth, NH where I finally got to taste the famous Flatbread flatbreads. :)

This adorable drawing pretty much says it all :) My choice of the carne special – pepperoncini oil, organic garlic yogurt marinated chicken, baby spinach, whole milk mozzarella, kalamatta olives, feta cheese, artichokes hearts and herbs was a very good choice. I can’t see it on my camera so here is Adam’s pepperoni + mushroom flatbread (also awesome!).

The place itself is also adorable, very fitting for a super cute town. I want to go back to Portsmouth asap!

The real eating commenced upon our arrival in Maine though…

HEALTHY HOME COOKED MEALS (over 4 days, in no particular order)

Ellie Krieger’s tricolore penne pasta with chicken (recipe here)

Stuffed peppers with eggplant (and parmesan cheese) – recipe here. I had no idea these were somewhat healthy. I limited myself to just one. I may need to recreate them soon to make up for lost time. haha :)

Dark chocolate bark with walnut and dried cherries (and crystallized ginger) – recipe here. I ate my weight in these. Addictive is an understatement.

Broccoli-cheese (and sausage) breakfast casserole – recipe here

Chobani with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mango

Chobani with wild Maine blueberries, fresh mango, Kashi GoLean crunch cereal + mixed nuts

+ some blackberries Adam freshly picked on the side of the road while I was eating breakfast :)

Breakfast casserole with mushrooms and asparagus (recipe here, I added more cheese, more veggies than the recipe called for + some fresh lemon juice)

Blueberry tea cake (Adam’s mom has been making it for years… from this recipe?)

Apricot-walnut cereal bars (recipe here, the recipe yields a lot more than 10 servings and they are very delicious!!)

Zucchini rice casserole (recipe here, we subbed broccolini for zucchini and corn – this tasted like sinfully creamy risotto – SO good yet healthy, although apparently time consuming. Thanks for making this, Jane!!)

On Monday night I offered to cook dinner (although it ended up being a whole family effort after all). What’s more Maine than lobster? Adam and I decided that we must eat it every time we come. At $4/lb, fresh out of the water, it doesn’t get much better than this!!

Adam’s dad steamed the lobsters…

I made the lima bean/corn/grape tomato and bacon succotash (based on this recipe, I used 6 corn ears, lemon juice and of course lobster!!)

Mmm, so summery… and so Maine :D

We bought 5 lobsters – Adam took the meat out of the last one and shared it with all of us. Good job, honey! ;) Adam’s mom made this lovely pear tart from Ellie Krieger (recipe here)

Oh yeah, we ate quite well at home! :cool:

THE NOT-SO-HEALTHY MEALS OUT

A super special dinner at Primo. We’ve been dying to go ever since seeing Anthony Bordain go there. Vegetables served in the restaurant are home grown in their extensive gardens and meats, seafood and cheese are mostly local (we spotted some Italian cheeses – who can blame them?!).

The atmosphere was very cozy (read dark soft lighting) so my pictures would not do the food and presentation justice. Here is my favorite serving platter at the charcuterie bar.

The charcuterie board with homemade sausages was my favorite! Adam and I shared it as a starter and it set the right tone for what was to come – more delicious eats! :) This molten chocolate cake did not dissapoint either. Yes, I know – predictable… but I couldn’t help myself! :mrgreen:

Pretty much the exact opposite of Primo was a plate of fried clams we got at Kelly’s on the drive back. I don’t know what was up with me – I actually got this craving. Adam and I shared this plate. You know who ate the onion rings. ;)

OPEN FARM DAY

Food, as always, was kind of the main activity (well eating it at least) but the coolest part of the weekend was visiting 5 different farms all over Maine. There were dozens open for visitors this past Sunday. How lucky was I?!! These pictures should say it all…

This afternoon, before going back to Boston, we picked some wild blackberries for the road.

Slim pickings today. Does that mean we should come back in a few weeks? :lol:

The loot:

Another amazing weekend. I feel so fortunate!!

I had lots of time to destress and reevaluate my priorities. Some small changes will be coming to Healthy and Sane. Stay tuned. :mrgreen:

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