Tag Archives: batch-cooking

{simple (rainbow) pasta salad}

22 Sep

as you probably know by now, i like to eat with the seasons as much as i possibly can. i enjoy it for lots of reasons. i always look forward to eating whatever vegetables or fruit are best during that particular time of year… and it makes me appreciate them more.

that said, i often struggle with “transitional” times of year – such as the month of september. i find myself unsure about what to wear, what to eat, when to go to sleep. it’s kind of funny but it’s true. {this also applies in the month of may.}

anyway, because i find september to be a transitional month, i also find myself eating transitional foods. i made that term up, but my point is that i’m not ready to start eating soups and squash, but i’m also done with light foods like salads and such. during this transitional time, i usually prepare foods that can be enjoyed hot or cold. and pasta salad is one of those dishes i could enjoy every day during transitional months.

i also really love orzo and i don’t use it often enough.

i whipped up this simple {rainbow} pasta salad and made a huge batch to take to work for lunches.

it’s so easy and so i thought i’d share the recipe… even though i didn’t measure anything, as per usual… but it’s so simple – just chop and toss!

————————————

simple pasta salad : 

  • cooked orzo
  • diced summer sausage
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives {black & green}
  • diced red onion
  • diced banana pepper
  • diced green pepper
  • diced cucumber
  • roasted garlic
  • crumbled parmigiano reggiano

homemade dressing :

  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • spices :
    • oregano
    • sage
    • parsley
    • comfrey
    • basil
    • dill
    • tarragon
    • garlic
    • onion
    • salt
    • pepper
    • bit o’ parm reg

 

i like to serve mine at room temperature and i sprinkle crumbled italian breadsticks on top…

SO GOOD!

 

{what’s in my refrigerator}

28 Jan

on sundays i like to do my meal-prepping for the week. i have lots of containers and jars for storing my dry goods as well as my make-ahead meals.

here’s what i created to eat last week :

  • raw spinach salad
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sautéed veggies for an asian-inspired dish
  • blanched broccoli
  • citrus baked salmon
  • roasted garlic israeli cous-cous
  • my famous mashed potatoes
  • raw celery sticks
  • curried lentils with ham and veggies
  • sauerkraut (not homemade)
  • garlic dill pickles (homegrown and homemade)
  • roasted tomato soup
  • homemade beef bone broth 
  • potstickers (to go with asian dish)
  • turmeric tea w/ coconut milk

do you like to make your meals ahead of time? batch-cooking has been something i’ve adopted into my lifestyle over the last few years and it’s really helped me save money and keep my diet in check.

{eat the rainbow!}

9 Jan

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happy new year, friends!

in honour of resolutions and commitments to a healthier life and all that jazz… and just because i truly believe in this lifestyle, i want to present a gentle reminder – don’t forget to “eat the rainbow!” as in : plenty of colourful foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables!

some things i’ve been enjoying lately: 

– baked purple sweet potato

– roasted cabbage w/ bacon bits

kaniwa w/ sautéed garlic and onion

red kuri squash risotto

– slow-cooked smoked ham and green beans

nom nom!

{before & after}

24 Jul

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simple pasta w/ chix & veg

fusilli, roasted chicken, caramelized onions, green peppers, olives, and fresh tomatoes…

{light & simple fusilli pasta salad with roasted chicken and fresh veggies}

17 Apr

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i love to make this dish… and quite often, too! it’s simple, healthy, colourful, and great as a make-ahead meal to have on-hand for lunches. furthermore, it is an easy to dish to batch-cook… a great choice to take to potlucks or BBQs. it has a lot of fun “crunch” and texture, which we all know i love and enjoy, and as always, you can control the ingredients. i simply buy a roasted chicken from the market whenever they are on sale… then i eat some, shred the rest, and save it for a dish like this or to throw on salads.

i always try to eat something raw with every meal i have – whether it’s a large salad with some warm soup and bread, a ripe banana in my oatmeal, or fresh avocado slices on top of my scrambled eggs – i always try to incorporate raw ingredients. i believe it’s important to balance out a dish with raw components that only fresh vegetables or fruits can offer. what i also love about this dish, is that it can be served hot or cold – it’s great both ways! i love it when my food is versatile 😉

and you can add in whatever veggies you want, really. mix it up with cooked and raw veggies… i would like to try this dish with some fresh spring peas, roasted garlic, and blanched asparagus – to celebrate the season!

———

fusilli with roasted chicken and fresh veggies:

– 16 oz cooked fusilli pasta, drained and set aside {reserve 1/4 cup starchy water}

– shredded roasted chicken {about 1 cup}

– veggies {about a quarter cup for each} :

   ~black olives

   ~cucumbers

   ~red onion

   ~mushrooms

   ~tomatoes

   ~corn

   ~purple cabbage

———

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combine all ingredients and mix together. drizzle in reserved starchy water {this will help “marry” the pasta to the veggies}. add in dressing of choice {i opted for a french vinaigrette} and some S&P to taste. sprinkle in some dried herbs, if you wish…

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and… “eat the rainbow” 🙂

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make a big ol’ batch and take some to work for lunch!

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nom nom… 

{healthy batch-cooking}

11 Feb

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it seems like this is the time of year when everyone promises to “eat healthier!” and so with that in mind, i’m going to write about a little something that helped me change my diet by creating better eating habits and healthier decisions.

i’m referring to BATCH COOKING.

working in the food industry all these years has really helped me learn how to be a better at-home cook.  i wasn’t even much of a cook until recently… i’d say within the last 5 years i really discovered my love for cooking.  it actually is relaxing to me… chopping, stirring, mixing, tasting… all of it makes me feel good.

anyway – between wacky work scheduling, random one-day sales on groceries, and not having a vehicle -something I’ve kind of had to learn to do well is batch-cook. i find it’s much easier for me to spend an afternoon preparing a bunch of food for the week than trying to figure out how i’m going to get three daily meals in during my regular work week. i was first introduced to the idea of “batch-cooking” when i was working at whole foods market. i had never really thought about preparing food ahead of time… it just wasn’t something i had considered. but the more i thought about it, the more sense it made… especially at the time, when i was working the night shift. i simply didn’t have enough time in my day to cook at home as much.

that has all changed, though. now it’s become a regular thing for me to batch-cook at least 2-3 things each week. i don’t plan my meals before shopping, i let the food guide me. when i shop, i simply look for what’s fresh – as well as local and organic. sometimes i’m inspired right on the spot and sometimes i wait until i get home and look at what i got and create dishes based on that and what i have in my pantry.

every week is different. i don’t {and due to where i used to live, couldn’t} rely on being able to get anything i want at any time i want… which is a much different mentality then my days living in manhattan. but it keeps my diet much healthier because i know what i am buying didn’t have to travel very far and therefore is much fresher, and it keeps me eating in tune with nature and the seasons.

here are a few pics of some dishes i batch-cooked recently :

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slow-cooked smoked ham hocks w/ green beans and leeks

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herb-stuffed roasted chicken and veggies…

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savory mushroom soup {with homemade beef broth}…

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dehydrated {rainbow} bell peppers…

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bacon and brussels…

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my mom’s recipe : hearty beef vegetable stew… ❤

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candied carrots, sautéed cabbage and bacon, garlic and onion kaniwa, and red kuri risotto

i also have been LOVING these purple sweet potatoes! i like to bake 3-4 at a time and just bust them out when i’m ready for one.  they freeze really well, too!

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do you batch-cook? what are some of your favourite make-ahead meals? i love to hear from you, so comment below and let me know what you think!

{homemade nutrient-dense beef bone broth}

7 Dec

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it seems like bone broth is all the rage these days. everyone is talking about it, bloggers are writing about it, and i see articles in random magazines about it, too. i also find it funny that food has like, fads. i mean – i figure diets have fads because that is essentially what “dieting” is… but it just tickles me when i notice certain “food trends”… you know what i mean?! nevertheless, i’d be lying if i didn’t say i recently jumped on the bandwagon regarding bone broth. 😛

———

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH BONE BROTH, ANYWAY?!

– bone broth is ancestral food – our grandma’s grandmas probably made it all the time!

bone broth contains many nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus.

– bone broth is also high in beauty-supporting collagen and amino acids.

bone broth is comforting, and great for those days we feel “under the weather.”

bone broth supports a healthy gut and intestinal-lining.

– bone broth contains joint-supporting gelatin, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

bone broth is very cost-effective and you can control the ingredients when you make it yourself!

———

anyway, my cute little store sells beef bones with the marrow included, which is what you want for making broth.  i’ve read several articles and books about the benefits of ancient cooking and bone broth is something that always seems to be at the top of the list for overall health-boosting properties. i usually opt for a veggie broth when i am stocking the pantry.  however, i couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make something new from scratch.  i just love to create things. plus, understanding the health benefits of bone broth make it extra appealing to me.

after perusing several recipes and suggestions, i did what audrey typically does and i created my own version of bone broth.  this entire batch {which made about a gallon} cost me around $4.00. try comparing that to the stocks or broths you find in the store… it simply doesn’t.  nor does the nutritional value.

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ingredient guidelines for bone broth :

– 2 lbs grass-fed beef bones

– 2 large carrots, chopped

– 2 celery stalks, chopped

– 1 yellow onion, chopped 

– 3 cloves garlic, chopped

– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 or 4 sprigs fresh parsley {optional}

– 1 bay leaf {optional}

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{“progressive one-pot” make-ahead meals : buffalo sausage w/ zucchini, red peppers, and sauerkraut}

22 Jun

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this meal was a total inspiration from a co-worker who i spotted eating this on his lunch break at least twice last week. so – i totally begged him to give me the recipe.  i added my own variations, of course… and you can make as much or as little as you want, but the base is simple :

– sausage of choice {i picked buffalo andouille from the buffalo guys – they have great ethics!}

– zucchini {cut into 1-2 inch strips}

– red peppers {also cut into 1-2 inch strips}

– sauerkraut {i chose bubbies brand}

and, i chose to add in a handful of shredded carrots because i had them around… and about a cup of kelp noodles, which i’ve written about here.

sausageonepot-2 Continue reading

{a look inside my lunchbox… volume 2}

2 May

a look inside my {colourful} lunchbox – volume 2

lunchbox2-1

– lemon pepper smoked salmon chunks

noosa brand yoghurt with vanilla almond granola

– steamed chioggia beets 

rainbow rainbow quinoa

– nut thins crackers : almond flavour

– sauteed swiss chard with garlic

– tomato, mushroom, and spinach amaranth porridge

– a few slices of premium salami

click here for volume one

 

 

{meatless mondays : double rainbow quinoa}

31 Mar

rainbowrainbowquinoa-6

no, it’s not a typo. i called this dish “rainbow rainbow quinoa because… well – look at it. 😉

i wanted to use up some stuff in the fridge – like my shredded carrots and leftover cabbage… both of which, to me, can be a challenge to use up for one person. i find that quinoa is a great “anything goes” kind of dish. so when i’m looking to use up fresh veggies, i usually throw them in with quinoa. another reason i love quinoa is because it is a complete protein. basically what that means is it contains all 9 essential amino acids. this makes it a great grain for vegans or vegetarians.

rainbow rainbow quinoa – ingredients :

– 1/2 cup rinsed rainbow quinoa

– 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage

– 1/2 cup shredded carrots

– 1/4 finely chopped onion

– 2 cloves diced garlic

– 1 cup raw baby spinach

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{whatever wednesday – adjusting to my small kitchen}

11 Dec

hey friends.

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{i just want to preface this by taking a moment to express my gratitude to the Universe for being ALIVE and well.  i had quite a scare last week and it has given me a whole new perspective on life…} 

as you may have noticed, i haven’t been writing as much over the last few weeks. i plan to update you on my life very soon… there have been even more changes 😉  but i haven’t been creating as many recipes lately.  for a few reasons, really… but fret not, creating and cooking and fotographing will recommence very soon.

part of it is becoming acclimated in my new mini kitchen.  as a reminder, this is what i’m working with :

kitchen-1

i LOVE my tiny home, don’t get me wrong… i’m just trying to find my niche and the best way to cook as i fotograph… it is somewhat of a challenge right now. a few final changes are coming together in the kitchen, i just need to start coming up with recipes again. Continue reading

{meatless mondays : rainbow quinoa featuring my homegrown tomato!}

9 Sep

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as i mentioned saturday, i harvested my first tomato from my early girl tomato plant… it was so exciting!

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i used it in this quinoa dish with some chopped zucchini and sauteed sweet onion…

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i ate two slices just to savour the flavour of hard work and dedication… plus, it’s the only one i’ve had all season so far!!  sigh… patience. Continue reading

{whatever wednesday} — batch cooking

14 Nov

okay…

this week has been epic for me.  why? you ask… well, i’ll sum it up in my usual cryptic style :

i’m transforming and it’s really kind of kicking my ass. and as some of you may know, i’m a huge astrology buff, and boy is there some major stuff going on up in those beautiful stars… and it’s totally changing my life!  good stuff, but also a lot of purging.  i’ve been meditating longer than normal, and it actually takes a lot out of me, physically.  which is fine because i’m manifesting some BIG changes that need to occur.  i started to blog about it and realized it was a little heavy for some… so maybe i’ll open those doors again later, but for now we’ll stick to the basics – food and fotos. meanwhile, i’ll continue to lovingly work on this planet from behind the scenes…

you’re welcome.

so, having said all that – i bought a car recently and that means reconfiguring my food budget a little.  it’s a good thing, because it kind of forces me to do what i always said i liked doing anyway… batch cooking ahead of time and packing my lunch for work 4-5 days a week.  it’s so easy to spend 5, 10, 15 dollars a day at work just buying food on-the-go and i’ve found i spend half my breaks just buying food.  so, why not plan ahead, save some money, AND save time in the long run… you know how we roll here at food and foto, we KISS – Keep It Seriously Simple.

i’ll just give myself 3-4 hours on my day off in the kitchen and just work my pots and pans out!  i throw on some music or some bad TV in the background, pour a mimosa, and plan my meals for the week.

Continue reading

batch cooking – roasted veggies

27 Jun

have you heard the term “batch-cooking”?  well, i hadn’t really heard of it, but i mean it makes sense – especially in today’s world.  i am a single gal with no kids or hubby, no one to really take care of but myself. though, i do have a lovely roommate with a big appetite and two sweet kitties with insatiable bellies. my point is, i am fully aware that i have more time than most to spend on preparing meals and fun dishes and blogs, etc.  many people do not have the time to really spend in the kitchen… for me, it’s like not only a kitchen – it’s my music hall, my therapist’s office, my sanctuary, and my dance club.  i love to cook so much that it does so much for me – on a personal and spiritual level, as cheesy as that may sound… 🙂

plus, my whole philosophy is “time is money.”  so i may have to spend a little time to cook all this stuff, which is “money,” as time is valuable.  but i also save time and money by having my meals prepared in advance.  i don’t spend money on my lunch break, and i save time on my lunch break.  plus, the meals i make are healthy and not loaded with junk – and eating the latter could actually cost me more money and time down the road…. make sense?!  – eating well is an investment in your health!

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