Vegetables

I totally forgot to add this link to my post yesterday and it’s probably my favorite. I feel like I am constantly trying to eat for veggies and, why not, most of them are zero point on Weight Watchers! I have been utilizing all of these ideas recently and they really work. Veggies can bulk up anything you are eating quickly and easy!

#1: Shop for veggies one day a week. This one is easy to follow if you visit a farmer’s market once a week. Set aside $20 each week and wander around the market and ask what is best that week. Fruits and Vegetables can have short seasons, so this will ensure that you can try the best of each season’s bounty! Right now, load up on squash (butternut, acorn, kombucha), apples, beets, brussels sprouts, and root vegetables (carrots, kohlrabi, celery root). A good rule of thumb is try to and make your plate look like a rainbow.

#2: Prep your veggies. I don’t usually cut up my veggies but I do remove them from the bags/containers and organize them nicely in a colander or two. I wash them all and then put them in the fridge still in the colander. It makes them look pretty (almost on display) and it’s easy to see what you have to use. I find I waste a lot less by doing this.

#3: Breakfast. Adding peppers, onions, broccoli or even brussels sprouts to an omelette or scrambled eggs. Or try…

#4: Blendtastic. Try making a fruit and veggie smoothie in the morning. If you have a lot of dark, leafy greens that might go bad before dinner time, try my kale smoothie. This is a great way to sneak in a serving or two of vegetables.

#5: Snack time. I always have cucumbers, bell peppers and baby carrots in my fridge. Always. I also always keep some sort of healthy dip in there- baba ganoush, hummus and tzatziki are my favorites. It takes about 3 minutes to chop up the peppers and cucumber and these snacks are guilt free!

#6: Lunch. Salad in a mason jar. Enough said.

#7: Dinner. Cooking veggies in a crock pot is a great but not everyone has one sitting on their counter. I love roasting vegetables, especially all the fall/winter root veggies. Just cut them into bite size pieces, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet (lining with foil or parchment will make clean up a breeze), drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. It will probably take a bit longer than 20 minutes, so check them at that time and then check them every 5 minutes until they are done to your liking (it will probably take more like 30-45 minutes).

#8: Dessert. I haven’t personally tried using vegetables in dessert but think zucchini bread, banana bread, etc. Or anything pumpkin- just try using another type of squash!

I hope this helps some of you eat more vegetables. Let me know any tips or tricks you might have!

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Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

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I have noticed cold-brewed iced coffee all over Atlanta (and NYC) so I decided to try it earlier today at Star Provisions. Cold- brewed coffee is different than regular iced coffee where you essentially make a strong batch of regular hot coffee and dilute it using ice. Cold brewed is a much longer process which requires the coarse ground coffee to seep in cold or room temperature water for at least 12 hours.

At Star Provisions, they let their coffee brew for 24 hours which creates a coffee concentrate which they then dilute to your taste with cold water. The best part of their cold-brewed coffee? They make a simple syrup using their coffee concentrate. Probably one of the coolest ideas ever in coffee! It was definitely one of the best coffees I’ve ever had!

Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho

I posted this picture yesterday and promised a recipe. This is more of a recommendation that you should take with a grain of salt. Feel free to experiment with the flavors and make it your own! My mom and I had this at Europa in Richmond, Virginia a few years ago when she was visiting me at college. This great tapas spot became a favorite of mine of the years and this gazpacho was a highlight. My mom asked the chef for the recipe. He said he didn’t have a recipe, per se, because he kind of winged it but he was able to give us a list of ingredients. From their, my mom has tweeked it as needed and here’s what she has come up with! I might try roasting the poblanos down the road but there is something to be said about the fresh, raw flavors these ingredients add the dish.

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Watermelon Gazpacho

1 Sugar Baby Watermelon

1/2 English Cucumber

1/2  Poblano Pepper

1/2 cup of Cilantro

1 lime (about 2 tbsp)

Salt to taste (about 1/2 tbsp)

Instructions

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Cut the watermelon in half and scoop the watermelon “meat” from one half and put it in your food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth puree/juice. Put aside in a bowl or pitcher.

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Cut up the rest of the watermelon and put it in the food processor. Add cilantro (no need to chop).

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Peel cucumber and cut lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scrap the seeds out of the center of the cucumber. Chop roughly and add to the food processor. Cut the top off of the poblano, scrap out the seeds and remove the membrane (this helps remove some heat). Chop the poblano roughly and add to the food processor.

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Add fresh lime juice and pulse until it looks like the picture above.

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In a large bowl, combine the reserved watermelon puree/juice and the mixture of watermelon, cilantro, cucumber, poblano pepper and lime juice. Season with salt to taste. Start with a small amount and taste of each addition of salt until you are happy with the flavor.

The gazpacho should be served chilled. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Leaving it over night is best- it will be thoroughly chilled and it will give the flavors a chance to meld together. Serve as an appetizer or entree by adding some croutons!

WW Points: 0 points

Anthropologie Farmers Market Basket

I always have fresh berries in my fridge. Usually blueberries and strawberries and occasionally raspberries and blackberries. They are great to throw on cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt in the morning and also a perfect snack when you are craving something a little sweet. The best part? They are ZERO points on WW! As soon as I get them home from the grocery store, I put them in a colander, wash them and pop the colander in the fridge. It an easy way to store them but the colander takes up a lot of place.

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So when I first saw this berry basket, I had to have it. I have wanted it FOREVER. I pick it up every time I am in Anthropologie but can never justify spending $14 on it. I mean, it isn’t necessarily a necessity. My roommate, Caitlin, works at Anthro (ie. she gets a discount!) and I’ve told her about my love of this “basket”. Well, I walk into the apartment this morning and she bought it for me! So unexpected and amazing! I immediately took my berries out of the colander and put them in the berry basket! I’m in love!!

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Home-Grown Fresh Herbs

Home-Grown Fresh Herbs

Growing your own herbs is a great way to save money. If you’re like me, seeing fresh herbs as a garnish to a recipe basically means I leave them off. Who wants to pay $3-5 for fresh herbs when all you need is a few basil leaves or sprigs of thyme? I do know that fresh herbs make a huge difference so my solution is to ditch the recipe.

As I mentioned in my Easter post, I found these plants at Whole Foods for $1.99 (cheaper than buying pre-cut herbs) and figured I would try to grow them at home. To start, I picked out chives and cilantro but I hope to get a few more plants soon (probably dill and basil). I needed chives for the deviled eggs so that was a no brainer (also why the plant is cut down so much) and I’ve heard cilantro grows like weeds so it will be hard for me to mess it up (I tend to kill anything green…). I also cook a lot of Asian and Latin American-inspired food so cilantro will be good to have on hand.

Fresh herbs are a great way to brighten up a boring meal and a low-calorie way to add flavor (or no calorie?). As far as I’m concerned, growing herbs at home is a way to eat healthfully, locally, and inexpensively- all GREAT things in my book!