Where have I been? Very busy and unmotivated. That’s not a place, that’s just whats been going on. I started this blog with the intent to make it a personal blog with food while, instead, I just made a food blog. The format I chose was time consuming and, frankly, it’s not sustainable. It takes forever to not only cook and take a picture but also take multiple pictures of ingredients and step by step pictures of the recipe coming together. Couple that with editing and you have hours that go into a single post. The worst part is trying to take all of the pictures before the sun goes down which doesn’t give me much time after work. I just can’t do it. However, I really do enjoy blogging and I really like food blogging so something has to change in order for me to better keep up with it. I’m going to try something different and hopefully it’s not completely awful! This may mean more words and less pictures sometimes but there will definitely always be pictures (whats better than pictures?)
Toward the end of the week I always have some leftover vegetables. Half a zucchini here, half a can of black beans there, and hardly ever a full anything. One of the easiest things to do is to combine all of the leftovers and call it a dish. Thankfully, empanadas are a lot more presentable than my usual end of the week meals.
The best thing about empanadas is they can really be made with anything. You could easily cook some frozen mixed vegetable mixture and toss it into some empanadas for a quick meal. Chances are if you like all of the ingredients together outside of a pastry, then you’ll like them inside of one. I use this same logic when I make tacos and taquitos. In fact, the filling for these empanadas would probably work well on a tortilla but then again, what doesn’t?
Have you ever looked at a package of processed granola in a store? While usually delicious, they tend to be loaded with a lot of unnecessary ingredients and preservatives. Other than the taste, the best part of this is the scent. The vanilla and pumpkin pie spice really smell amazing and make my entire house smell very Autumnal which is my favorite time of year!
Why compote and not jam? For me, it’s the texture. Jam is easily spreadable and has a more gel-like texture going on. Compote is generally chunky. I don’t know the difference in the cooking methods, although I’d assume jam often has pectin. If you don’t like the chunky texture, you could use an immersion blender or potato masher to break down the fruit even further as they soften. Why do this instead of buying jam? Chances are, you may already have the fruit and, maybe it’s just me, but homemade beats processed almost every time! It will also make your home smell amazing and that’s what really matters.
I love chickpeas. Chances are you’ll see a lot of chickpea recipes from me coming up. This salad comes together so quickly that I can make this whenever I’m in a pinch. It goes even faster if you don’t cook the chickpeas on the stove. I also make a similar hot dish that I serve over rice/cauliflower rice that I’ll post at a later date. Chickpeas and tomatoes just taste so great together!
I love this dish because it doesn’t require me to dirty up a lot of dishes and it uses things I typically already have. I tend to buy a lot of tomatoes at a time but I love when I can go to the farmer’s market and find a bunch of interesting colors. Please forgive the iPhone photos, I lost my camera charger when I was on vacation and had to order a new one. Insert eye roll here.
As I get older, I realize a lot of the dishes my dad made while I was growing up are not nearly as complicated as they look. I called him recently to ask about a soup he used to make only to be told that it only took him 20 minutes and he used simple ingredients. On a gloomy and rainy day, I decided to give it a shot for myself. What’s a more appropriate meal than soup for a rainy day?
Quick recipes are my favorite. I’d say that this recipe probably takes less than 15 minutes start to finish (depending on how fast you chop and spiralize really). At the moment, zucchini is super cheap, I think I spent around 75 cents at Trader Joe’s on a locally grown zucchini of a decent enough size for 1 serving.
I love shrimp. You’ll find a lot of shrimp on this blog and in my freezer. When in doubt, I throw shrimp in pretty much any recipe I can. If it calls for a different meat, I’m probably adding shrimp. It’s just what I do. I try to stock up on shrimp when it’s on sale. You’ll typically find 3 bags of frozen shrimp in my freezer ranging in size. I’m not so lazy that I buy cooked shrimp but I am just lazy enough to buy shrimp labeled EZ Peel and deveined. Deveining shrimp is not my idea of a fun evening. You can also make a pretty good shrimp sauce/broth using the shells so I try not to buy any that are pre-peeled.
One of the quickest and most satisfying snacks I can make is hummus. Seriously, I could (and sometimes do) eat hummus with a spoon. It’s just the perfect dip. Chickpeas/garbanzo beans have numerous health benefits which make them great to snack on over, say, most processed/prepackaged snacks. They’re nutrient dense, full of insoluble fiber, and are a great source of protein. The protein content, about 6-7g per 1/2 cup in the Trader Joe’s canned garbanzo beans, if you’re a herbivore or just have difficulty incorporating protein into your diet. Here are some links that rave about the greatness of garbanzo beans if you’re interested: World’s Healthiest Foods, Medical News Today, HuffPo, and Heal With Food. There are so many things you can do with chickpeas but I especially love making hummus.
There’s something great about a spicy hummus. It gives raw vegetables, sandwiches, salads, buddha bowls, and pita bread a little extra kick and flavor. Pita chips are my favorite and I could probably eat an entire bag in one sitting, with or without dip. I find that, personally, buying pita bread and cutting it into a size I like and baking them to my preferred crispiness is not only cheaper than buying chips (sometimes), but a lot more satisfying. I like them best when they’re sort of soft in the middle and crispier around the edges. I think this makes them feel more melty than crunchy which is what I prefer. There’s a restaurant we have here in the DC Metro area (I know there are some in CA as well but I don’t know where else) called Cava Grill and, I swear, they have the best pita chips. Not too crispy, not too soft. While my pita chips are not like theirs at all, they bake theirs in house and I just do not have the time, the satisfaction of spicy hummus on warm pita is all I need.
I don’t know about where you live but here in Maryland it has been hot and humid every day this week. Just looking at my stove makes me feel nauseous. This calls for a quick, easy, and light meal. Spring rolls are by far one of my favorite things to order on pretty much any menu that has them. Maybe it’s obvious, but even the idea of stuffing vegetables into some kind of wrapping makes me happy. Finger foods that require little to no effort or skill to make? Sign me up! All you have to do is cut your vegetables in whatever way you feel is best and assemble. I’m partial to julienne cut veggies in spring rolls but I think a thin spiral cut would probably work pretty well. If you leave out meat and noodles, you don’t even have to cook.
You could easily buy pre-cooked shrimp to make this process go even faster but I tend to keep tons of raw shrimp in my freezer so I don’t feel the need. I think these would be great with crab meat as well. The best thing about spring rolls is that you can add whatever you want. No meat? Fine. All vegetables? Great. No noodles? Still good. You can make these as budget friendly as you want by keeping it simple with whatever is in season. If you wanted to make it really quick, you can find most of these vegetables already pre-cut at a grocery store salad bar.
I love the farmer’s market. I love grabbing vegetables I don’t usually see in grocery stores. Who knew how many different colors of peppers there were? Ugly heirloom tomatoes? Love them! I love how friendly everyone always is and how much the farmers love to talk about their produce. It’s really the best part of my week even though I have to get there super early in order to beat the lines. If I get there even an hour later than usual, I’ll spend more time in line and hardly be able to pick through the produce because everyone swarms in and takes all the good stuff. It’s the worst!
Anyway, this recipe is super flexible and vegetarian, if that’s your thing. Completely meatless and grain free. It can easily be made cleaner by using fresh beans rather than canned and creating your own riced cauliflower but I almost never feel like doing it. I used one of my favorite 80s songs in this video, Pat Benetar’s We Belong. I just love 80s music in general but this has to be one of my top 10. Another great thing about 80s music is that Youtube doesn’t restrict me from using most of it so I have no shortage of music to use.
I don’t know the last time I’ve blogged formally. It’s been quite a while but I’ve missed it so we’ll see how long I can keep this up for. What I’ve probably missed the most is food blogging so here we are.
If you follow me on Snapchat you know I like to make these meal assembly videos. I wouldn’t consider them cooking vids because I never actually record myself “cooking”. I asked on Twitter to see if anyone wanted me to make videos of meals that I make and its pretty cool to me that some people do. Unfortunately I’ve lost the charger for BOTH of my cameras (my DSLR and my Nikon J1) so the pictures aren’t great. I made the video on my iPhone and this is really my first attempt at using iMovie. Honestly, I didn’t even know I had iMovie on my computer to begin with.