Category Archives: Mains

Sunday Dinner: Greens and Beans with Broccoli Rabe and Slow Roasted Tomatoes

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It can be challenging; this food blogging thing.  I ask myself a lot of questions about what people want to see, what has been done before (Everything by now, it seems!), and how I can share recipes that are approachable yet inspired, or in the very least, an even mix of the two overall.  I think you can file this one under the former; a dish that is simple and nourishing, which you can amp up depending on where you want to take it.  That’s what I hope, anyway.

If you were to follow me around for a week, you would see me making greens and beans or a version of it once, if not more.  What qualifies it as a Sunday Dinner here, is that I incorporated homemade broth and slow roasted tomatoes into it too.  Both of those things are simple enough to prep, yet they require the one thing that I usually don’t have a lot of on a weeknight: time.  

Food-wise, this is how a lot of my Sundays go.  I am chopping and prepping greens, a big pot of something or other is bubbling away on the stove (usually this), and I am making odds and ends (like these preserved lemons or the tomatoes here) that I’ll use throughout the week.  All of those ingredients come together to make my greens and beans.  Everyone in my family loves this meal.  We ate it last-week following an afternoon of leaf-peeping, clearing out our gardens, running around with Sneaks at a local park, and watching the Patriots beat the Steelers on TV.  These are a few of my favorite (autumnal) things, for sure.

I for one have been trying to take in all of the fall goodness around us as we prepare for SNOW this coming Thursday!  I am also getting a jump on my holiday shopping because if the weather is any indicator, Christmas will be here before we know it!  I had the recent pleasure of being a judge in the first-ever AOL Lifestyle Fall Food Awards.  Not only did I get to try a lot of new (to me) products, but I was able to check off a few of the foodies on my gift list too!

If you are starting early this year as well – or just want to equip your kitchen for the season – I highly recommend you take a look at the nominees.  I really liked all of the products I tried, but two of them stood out for me.  I love this beautiful Juliska Amalia Pitcher, for serving drinks and holding flowers.  This cookbook meanwhile, is the book I never knew that I wanted until I had it; so many fun ideas for bark, drinks, and more!

 

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Vegetable Noodle Bowls with Creamy Almond Butter Coconut Sauce

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I turned 35 last month.  This was not necessarily a milestone birthday, but one that seemed to have more of an impact on me than say, 30 did.  30 was good.  There was no monumental freak out or feeling of having to suddenly have my life together.  I’ve never functioned on a timeline anyhow, and saw no new reason to then (or now).  I spent that day lazily sipping champagne by a pool in Palm Springs, and any time that I can combine bubbly and sunshine works for me, birthday or not.

This year was decidedly different with more of a focus on being near the people I care about, than cocktails and lounging per se.  It was a quiet day, but a very happy one nonetheless.  I think I’ve been reflecting a lot more lately, and in general, have become more deliberate and thoughtful in my actions.  This has been a good thing for me of (typically) very little patience.  Is this what growing up means?

I am more concerned about wellness than ever before, and while there will always be a place in my life for things like extra cheesy pizza and creamy piles of pasta, a greater emphasis has been placed on my morning green juice and finding slightly healthier ways to enjoy my favorite foods like the Chinese Chicken Salad pictured below.  (I tweaked the recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook, which I highly recommend!)

I have to admit that I make some of these choices based on vanity.  The truth is that my metabolism is no longer as forgiving post carb0-load as it was when I was in my 20s, and those champagne-fueled nights show up everywhere – most noticeably on my skin.  I am 100% down with aging gracefully – and quite frankly feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before – but if there’s anything extra I can do to keep it from looking dull and tired (regardless of whether or not drinks are involved), then of course, I am down for that too.

 

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Bruléed Oatmeal with Vanilla Poached Plums

Thank You so much to Naked Juice for sponsoring this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.  #DrinkGoodDoGood

 

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Wednesday of last week, I woke up to one of “those mornings”.  I am an early riser to begin with, but I had decided to get up even earlier than normal in an effort to tackle an ever-mounting pile of work on my desk.  I watched the sunrise, put on a pot of coffee, and slipped into some my comfiest clothes.  As I sat down, my arm accidentally hit my freshly poured cup, spilling it all over said clothes.  I was not off to a great start.

Soggy as I was, I pushed on through, but there would be more accidents to follow; a computer glitch here, a failed recipe attempt there.  These things happen.  As the wee hours of the day turned into the early afternoon, I started to feel sluggish, due in part to a lack of caffeine, but also because I had skipped my usual workout.  A break was in order.  I rounded up my sister – who was coincidentally off to a similar start – and my Mom, and together we decided to head to a local hiking trail to get some fresh air.

My sister is a very accomplished mountain runner and as a result of her training, she knows all of the best spots in the area to hike.  The spot she lead us to was a new-to-me four-mile loop that backs up to a “Secret Garden” and a series of art installations.  I love to explore so I was happy to be out of my element if even for a little bit.  Chatting and climbing, exercising outdoors on a beautiful day, all the while with two of the people I love most in this world, only made me feel happier.  Not wanting the high to end when we were done, I suggested we stop at some of the local farmstands, which dot the country roads that we would take home.  I live for produce this time of year, and this part of Upstate NY never disappoints when it comes to supplying it.

Off we went then on the second part of our adventure, collecting items at every pull-off.  We found the first concord grapes of the season, graffiti eggplant, tiny heads of purple cauliflower, and deep black plums shaped like hearts.  Our final stop took us to the only fig grower in the state, where we ate fruit plucked directly from the tree.  I would have photographed the figs too had I been able to wait to eat them.  As I sorted through my loot later on, I felt extremely lucky; to have my family close to me, to be healthy, and to have so much wonderfully fresh food at my fingertips.

You see, I recently learned about food deserts.  Food deserts are areas in which people (nearly 30 million Americans, currently) live without access to affordable, quality, fresh fruits and vegetables.  I am teaming up with Naked Juice today to tell you that there is something simple we can all do to help change that.  As a part of their #DrinkGoodDoGood initiative, Naked Juice has partnered with Wholesome Wave to provide produce where there is none.  Following an initial contribution of 250,000 pounds of produce, for every fruit or vegetable selfie shared (You can see mine below!) with the hashtag #DrinkGoodDoGood, Naked Juice will donate and additional 10 pounds of produce to communities in need.  To participate, all you have to do is snap and upload your own selfie; easy-peasy!

 

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