Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green Beans with Peanut Sauce

I knew this recipe was a keeper when Nathan said "Now this is the kind of thing I'd take to work for lunch!".

Green Beans at the farmer's market were $2 for a huge bag - they almost didn’t fit in my pot.


1. Trim ends of beans. I just line them up on a cutting board to even length and use a knife.
2. Bring water to a boil, put beans in, boil for about 5 min.
3. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, drain beans, and sautee them until they start to get golden: 5-7 min. Throw in minced garlic to taste for the last minute or so.

Peanut Sauce:

(This is the simple version we make to put on pretty much anything - apologies for the lack of exact measurements!)

1. Put a couple big spoonfuls of peanut butter in a bowl.
2. Splash in some rice vinegar - maybe 2 Tbs.
3. Splash in some soy sauce, about half the amount of rice vinegar (all these amounts depends on your taste!)
4. Dissolve peanut butter in liquids with spoon, fork, or whisk….
5. Add water until mixture is pour-able.

Cooking the beans this way leaves them firm and juicy, but with the slightly browned edges and peanut sauce it tastes rich enough to…..avoid tasting too "healthy"!

I haven't seen any raw recipes out there for green beans, but can't imagine I'd want to eat a whole lot of these raw. If anyone has favorite recipes for green beans, raw or cooked, please share! I'm planning to get a lot more this Thurs. at the farmer's market….


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salad with Simple Thai Dressing

I wanted to wait to write this post until I got a chance to take a picture of our thriving basil plant in the backyard, but I'm eating this salad in between typing here and it's so freaking good I need to share now.


-Mixed Greens
-Spiralized Zucchini
-Baby Tomatoes
-Chopped carrots (in food processor)
-Fresh Basil, torn into pieces
-Crushed peanuts

Mix everything together


-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp lime juice
-1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
-Squirt of honey
-Salt to taste

Mix everything together in small bowl with fork.

This dressing is fantastic because it's not too heavy, and uses ingredients most people have on hand that don’t go bad. The recipe above is a perfect amount for one large salad and takes about 1 min to throw together. I prepped the salad last night and then made the dressing to pour on top right before I went to work this a.m.

You could sub most of the salad ingredients with whatever veggies you have on hand, but I think the fresh basil & peanuts are key to the Thai flavor. All of this was inspired by a Green Papaya Salad I had at Sawatdee a few months ago.

I just got back from the Farmers' Market and all of the stuff in the salad is in season and cheap! Go try it!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It Pays To Complain

Ok, so I wouldn't call myself a complainer exactly, more like I'm opinionated and if something is wrong with the product/service I'm receiving, I'm gonna let someone know about it.

This isn't specifically food related, but it definitely could be! I order sort of like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I want it how I want it.
Don't think I'm one of THOSE customers though, I used to work in retail/waitress/barista positions and always treat my servers nicely if they do the same to me.

Anyway, I'm writing this inspired by my recent victory against Express, you know, the store in every mall. To make a long story short, I hate shopping for "necessities" (boring work clothes, black pants, the perfect pair of everyday jeans) and Express cost me a bunch of time running to 2 different malls and ordering something online that never came, leaving me with, well, no new summer work pants and a bunch of time wasted. So, instead of complaining to my friends and in my head, I wrote it out to their customer service e-mail and very nice lady called me and said they're sending me a $50 gift card. Score.

We've also gotten a free night at a hotel and 50% off another hotel stay when we let the mgmt know about really crappy service, uninvited wake up calls, dirty rooms, etc.

It's so worth it to complain, especially when it doesn't hurt any one employee, and it's some big chain giving you the payout, no one is feeling that hit.

Tip: Make sure you do it in writing though, then you have something concrete and can forward it on to another person if necessary.

So, something food related: That "Chinese Spinach" I mentioned in the last post? The stuff that didn't taste good raw? Well, I sauteed it with olive oil, plenty of garlic and soy sauce, and verdict = STILL NASTY. Just to warn you.

Tonight we're off to drink wine by Minnehaha Falls with our book club and discuss "The Song of Hiawatha", an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Wow, that sounded really cultured, but I didn't pick the book and just had to look up the name of the author. Our club consists mostly of drinking and making fun of the book. =)



Friday, July 17, 2009

More Praise for Spiralization and Farmers' Markets

Went to the Farmers' Market yesterday with my last $3 of cash in hand and got four huge gorgeous zucchini and a bunch of "Chinese Spinach" (what the vendor told me it was called).

He said it tasted like regular spinach. Ummm, no. It's thicker and extremely GREEN tasting, if that makes any sense. Even for a greens lover like myself, it was not good. So I think I'll just end up sauteeing it with olive oil and garlic.

But the zucchinis were perfect. Just one of these spiralized fills a big tupperware (Pictured with some carrots that went through the food processor). I'm looking forward to eating this tonight with the cashew alfredo sauce from Tues night., which I've been eating every day - that recipe goes a long way - and have not gotten sick of it!

I was cashiering at the co-op the other night and someone came through the line with 2 smaller zucchinis that were about $2. The co-op usually is a good value, but farmers' market wins this one - I got more than twice that for $2!

Happy weekend everyone. (Go to your local farmers' market!)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Zucchini Linguine Alfredo

My new favorite dish. This combines a bunch of yummy seasonal veggies topped with Gena's cashew alfredo sauce from Choosing Raw.


-Zucchinis, spiralized. (You can use a veggie peeler, but the consistency nearly as noodle-like!)
-Sugar Snap Peas (Ends cut off and sliced in half, but not shelled)
-Fresh Basil
-Lettuce or Mixed Greens

All of the above I got at the farmer's market except the basil which we're growing in a pot in the backyard. Fresh Basil is key to this dish it adds so much flavor! The zucchini, peas, and lettuce were about $2 each at the farmer's mkt for big bunches. I got the best, biggest bunch of romaine, probably 2 pounds worth for $2 and lasted me all week.

Amounts of the veggies are totally up to you - the sauce recipe below made enough for at least 4 large zucchinis. I'd use one tomato per zucchini, about 5 big basil leaves per zucchini, and a couple handfuls of greens, but it all depends on your tastes.


-1 ¼ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours (I just put them under water when I left for work in the morning)
-¾ cup water
-1 tsp agave
-1/3 cup lemon juice
-½ tsp sea salt
-1 tsp miso

Mix everything in blender until smooth, slowly adding more water if necessary. The sauce was good but a little bland. It could've used a big clove of garlic or some more spices.

Miso was a new ingredient for me, just bought my first jar at the co-op last night. It's a traditional Japanese seasoning made with fermented rice and/or soybeans and I've seen it as a replacement for soy sauce in a lot of raw recipes. It comes in a jar and you scoop it out sort of like chicken stock. There were several versions and I just picked brown rice miso because it seemed the most neutral - here's the wikipedia article with a full explanation though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miso

love summer! Take advantage of it and go to the farmer's market!


Friday, July 10, 2009

My Real Life

I have to write something about our night last night because it was so freaking fabulous. This post explains a lot of the "real people" part of this site name. See, most of the time, during the day, I do care about staying healthy and eating good fresh food. But when it comes time to party, I consider drinking diet coke instead of regular with my whiskey and ordering fries instead of a burger at White Castle to be good choices.

I read a bunch of health/fitness/raw food blogs and a lot of those people run marathons, don't drink, and get up to do yoga at 7:30 in the morning. And while I admire that, I don't see myself ever being one of those people. Because when a friend calls at 8:45 on a worknight when I was planning to go to bed early because I was already tired from going out the night before, because he's distraught about his recent breakup and needs to get out, my first reaction is "screw it, we need to get to the liquor store before it closes at 9!" (Stupid MN blue laws).

We recruited one of our neighbors (in our 4-plex, which I will miss so much when we move to the house….) to go out with us and headed over to the Otter at about 10:30. It was a classic Otter night - Midget was there with his brother and great niece who was celebrating her 21st b-day, Ray was sleeping with his head on the bar and a shot of whiskey in front of him despite the loud karaoke, Stoner was in a joyful mood and acted like he'd just reunited with a long lost friend every time he passed by me in the bar, Bob the surly bartender almost smiled while he shared my fries from White Castle across the street, another regular, stereotypical gay boy who's name I forget was singing Madonna and Nathan did some excellent Neil Diamond.

There is so much more to tell, but this place is magical. I felt it from the first time I ever went there, on a very random Tuesday over a winter break my sophomore year of college I think. Cheers to the U Otter Stop Inn and to many more fun nights there.

Have a great weekend everyone,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Green Smoothie Breath?

This has been on my mind for awhile, don't know why it's taken so long for me to post about it…. I haven't been making green smoothies lately, in a large part due to Nathan telling me that they give me awful sour bad breath after just a few sips and he can smell it when I'm just sitting next to him in the car.

I can tell they do leave a sort of sour aftertaste in my mouth, but it didn't seem unpleasant….

So has anyone else had problems with this? I posted the same question on a raw foods forum and only one person said she thought adding bananas was the problem….but….I love bananas and they are so good at balancing the "green" flavors…


Monday, July 6, 2009

Simple Semi-Raw Sunday Supper

Last night I concocted a dish that's definitely a keeper. It's cheap, quick, filling, and vegan - the only problem is if you're new to raw foods you probably don't have a spiralizer, which is key for making zucchini noodles. I'm all about zucchini noodles right now - not a huge fan of plain raw or cooked zucchini, but it's amazing when you spiralize them how great it subs for pasta. Even my carnivorous pasta loving husband devoured this =).


-2 zucchini -lentils -baby bella mushrooms
-4 cloves garlic
-red cooking wine
-store bought spaghetti sauce
-nutritional yeast
(ingredient amounts don't matter much, just whatever you feel like)


1. Boil lentils - about 20 minutes until soft.

2. While lentils are boiling, cut up mushrooms and sautee in some olive oil, adding a glug of red wine after a couple minutes and garlic when the liquid is almost absorbed.

3. While both of the above are still cooking, spiralize zucchini. Chop up the "scraps" from the spiralizer into small pieces and throw in with rest of noodles.

4. Mix everything together with a few spoonfuls of sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

If you've never tried nutritional yeast, here's the wikipedia link. I buy it in bulk at my co-op, a little of this stuff goes a long way and adds a great flavor similar, some say (better, I say) to standard cheap dried parmesan, which I never cared for.

I had more of this over lettuce for lunch today and it was just as good as last night….perfect ending to a long weekend. Ours was spent at the cabin with lots of family, drinking and playing badminton on the set my sister just bought - we are unbelievably sore. We're very amateur players and usually can't even volley 3 times back and forth, but something about that game made my legs, butt, and abs ache so much it's hard to walk today! My sister and Nathan report the same…. It's so fun though, getting a set put up in our yard is top on the to-do list for the new house =).