Foodie Friday – Rosemary pecans

I know, I’m the worst blogger ever. Please forgive me. But some days you just have to do what’s necessary – and yesterday I just had to go to bed at 8:30. I was really tired. Not that a single early bedtime explains my pitiful blogging over the last week, but it’s representative of a lot of things going on right now. I promise to do better over the weekend. But for now, on to the recipe!

This recipe is so simple that I feel like a bit of a fraud posting it, but it was a bit hit at Thanksgiving. At the time my dad was sticking to a low carb diet so he couldn’t sample any of the four kinds of chocolate chip cookies I made for the holiday feast. So for him (and for the health conscious folks at our Thanksgiving dinner) I roasted some almonds and pecans with different seasonings. Not only is roasting nuts ridiculously easy, but the result is really tasty. This recipe will even satisfy the vegetarians and vegans in your life! These rosemary pecans were very a very popular appetizer at the Thanksgiving dinner we attended. I will definitely be making them again!

INGREDIENTS:
2 c pecan halves
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium bowl, drizzle the pecan halves with oil and stir to coat. Then add the rosemary and salt and stir to evenly coat the pecans with the spices. (I wish I’d had some ground rosemary for this recipe because a lot of the crushed rosemary fell off the pecans. If you have a spice grinder this would be a good time to employ it.) Spread the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 deg F for about 20 minutes, stirring once, or until the nuts are toasted. Be careful not to burn them! Enjoy!

Based on In Sonnet’s Kitchen’s Rosemary and Sea Salt Roasted Pecans.

Foodie Friday – Skillet green beans

My family had a big dinner together on Christmas Eve since my brother had to fly back home to San Francisco the next day. I got up early that morning to put some marinara sauce in the slow cooker for a vegetarian lasagna, but then there were side dishes to consider. We had a few options after going to the grocery store the day before, but ultimately I decided to try a recipe for stir-fried green beans. I’d never simply cooked green beans in the skillet, but one of my co-workers brought something similar to our annual holiday potluck and they were delicious. I cooked them in olive oil rather than bacon fat like she did because my brother is a vegetarian, but they were still amazing. These green beans couldn’t be easier to make and they turn out crispy and flavorful. They were perfect for a Christmas dinner side dish.

INGREDIENTS:
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz green beans, ends snapped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:
In a large nonstick skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the green beans and stir to coat with oil. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir to coat. I didn’t really measure the spices, but just sprinkled each one over the green beans a couple of times. I don’t think you can go wrong, no matter how much of each you use. Cook the green beans, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes. Be careful not to burn and make sure not to over cook them if you want the beans to still be a bit crispy (i.e., not mushy). Enjoy!

Based on She Wears Many Hats’ Sautéed Green Beans.

Grocery store story #2

Remember grocery store story #1 from a couple of weeks ago? Well, here’s my second installment!

In an effort to improve my diet this year I’ve been doing my best to avoid buying unhealthy foods when I’m at the store. And despite my ridiculously overdeveloped sweet tooth, it’s actually been working! After a few weeks of healthy purchases it’s become a game of sorts to see if I can walk out of the grocery store or Target or drug store without any sort of junk food. Sometimes this is easy, namely when I’m shopping right after a meal (like my trip to Trader Joe’s tonight after dinner), but often it is extremely difficult. If I’m hungry or tired or stressed my willpower is put to the test. I don’t know why my brain tells me that bingeing on M&Ms or Swiss Cake Rolls or Cadbury Crème Eggs will make me feel better when I’m upset, but it does. Not giving in to my fairly constant craving for snacks loaded with sugar is hard, but now that I’m in the habit it’s getting easier. Like this morning when I went to the grocery store to stock up on some items. I really, really wanted some sort of Little Debbie product. The urge to buy some Oatmeal Cream Pies was very strong, and a box of them even found its way into my basket at one point, but they didn’t make it home with me. I didn’t want to throw all of my recent progress out the window. Instead I got oranges, apples, bananas, frozen raspberries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and oatmeal. All good things, especially if you ignore the 5 lb bag of sugar and 1 lb of bacon I bought for some baking projects later this week. I felt great taking that bag of groceries home! It was like a “no junk food” high. I just have to remember that feeling every time I buy groceries. Healthy = happy!

Foodie Friday – Roasted baby carrots

I’ve never been a big fan of carrots. I’ll eat raw carrots in a salad, but I don’t choose raw carrot sticks as a snack or anything. And cooked carrots have always been really unappealing to me. With a few exceptions (I had some glazed carrots at Lucques in West Hollywood once that I couldn’t stop eating) I’m afraid I’ve always just had mushy, boiled or steamed carrots. Yuck. But I wasn’t ready to give up on carrots yet. When I was in Tallahassee at Christmas I tried a couple of new vegetable side dish recipes and one of them was these roasted baby carrots. Holy cow, they are amazing! I couldn’t get enough of these simple, yet unbelievably delicious carrots. Even if you don’t like carrots, especially if you don’t like them, please give roasted carrots a try. They don’t taste the same as with any other preparation. I couldn’t believe how much I loved them. I will be making these often.

INGREDIENTS:
2 c baby carrots
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Throw the carrots into a bowl, drizzle with melted butter and olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. I used my hands to make sure everything mixed well. Spread the carrots onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 deg for about 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the carrots are tender. Enjoy!

Based on Cooking Light’s Butter-Roasted Carrots.

Foodie Friday – Parmesan-lemon roasted broccoli

I apologize for another post about food so soon after the last one, but I want to resurrect Foodie Friday in 2013 and this recipe is the the perfect way to start. My mom and I picked up a copy of “Home Cooking with Paula Dean” at Publix while we were buying ingredients for Christmas dinner and this recipe for Roasted Parmesan-Lemon Broccoli really jumped out at me. I love the idea of roasting vegetables, and this preparation is simple but unique at the same time. I made this broccoli as a side dish for our family dinner on 12/27 to compliment teriyaki pork tenderloin, my mom’s delicious homemade mac and cheese, and fruit salad. Isn’t that a pretty plate of food? The meal was a complete success, but everyone particularly loved the broccoli. My aunt even asked for the recipe! So I’m going to share it here so everyone can enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 c olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 heads broccoli, cut into medium-size florets (we used bagged florets)
Grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 425 deg F (we used 400 deg F because of other items being cooked at the same time) and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine olive oil and minced garlic. Microwave on HIGH for 35 seconds. (The original recipe then strained out and discarded the minced garlic, but I left it in. I highly recommend this.) Whisk in lemon juice, seasoned salt, salt, and peppers. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with the oil mixture and then spread it in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Bake, stirring once or twice (and adding more cheese, if desired), for 20 to 22 minutes (or longer if using a lower temperature) or until tender. Enjoy!

Based on Roasted Parmesan-Lemon Broccoli from “Home Cooking with Paula Deen”.