August 14, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Leave it to me to post a “meatless Monday” recipe on a Tuesday. I’m sorry but those s’mores consumed my life the other day and there was no room for this faux pasta dish on the blog docket.

Now tell me something? Have you ever?

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This was probably one of the most beautiful plates I’ve seen of just plain ol’ veggies in a long time. One of the main reasons I made this was to use up some of the recent garden haul from our backyard. My husband’s zucchini, bell pepper and tomato crops are at full picking force right now.

It truly is my favorite time of the year.

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The tastes. The colors. Oh my.

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Here’s a little secret. This may be a meatless dish but it doesn’t mean I didn’t sneak in a little side of bbq’d chicken for protein. Cluck cluck.

If you’re one that wants a strictly vegetarian only dish, just do it and add in some legumes – which I can’t stand. Did I tell you I have an aversion to beans? Specifically LIMA. Don’t even try to fool me by disguising them on my plate. I will hunt them down one by one, spear them and throw them onto your plate.

Of course there’s a story behind the creation of this dish. I really wanted to “spiralize” these veggies. So off I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy another gadget for my kitchen. I stood in the spiralizer aisle for 39 minutes staring at the array of SPIRAL TOOLS.

After speaking to a few strangers about other useless gadgets, I settled on a handheld vegetable spiral thingy that was green and looked like a dual ended pencil sharpener. I paid $19.99 less my 20% off coupon and quickly headed home to “curl” my vegetables. I was actually quite excited about what the end result would be after all the spiralling.

SO.

Here’s what happened. I stuck a zucchini into this green pencil sharpener and it didn’t do what it promised to do and that was TO SPIRAL the stupid vegetable.

THEN.

I tried a carrot.

THEN.

I packed up the green spiralizer that didn’t spiral and took out my mandolin.

THEN.

My mandolin wasn’t cooperating and my zucchini fell on the floor.

THEN.

I had laughing fit to the point of crying ….you know …when you laugh so hard you start to cry for no apparent reason except for the fact that you’re nuts and alone in the kitchen with a zucchini on the floor and a slippery mandolin? Ya. That’s what happened.

THEN.

I had to settle for julienne instead of curly cues.

The end result tasted the same and I’m thrilled that I will be getting my $19.99 less the 20% coupon back.

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Meatless Monday Faux Pasta

1 large zucchini or 2 small ones, julienned
1 bell pepper, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
2 tbls olive oil
any type of freshly grated cheese if desired
1 recipe fresh garden tomato sauce
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3/4 large vidalia onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, cook tomatoes and basil over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
Add onion mixture to tomato mixture then sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
Let simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until thick.
Keep stirring on the 1/2 hour to make sure it isn’t scorching.
I like to puree the sauce afterwards with a handheld blender but it’s also nice with the texture of the tomatoes left in.
Place vegetables in a large skillet with 2 tbls olive oil and saute for 3 to 4 minutes. Just until cooked through but not mushy. Serve with fresh tomato sauce and freshly grated cheese if desired. Serves 2.

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See ya next week!

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@simplybeautifuleating
simplybeautifuleating.com

xx, Debi
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August 10, 2015

Mandy’s Meals & More

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Sometimes you just need something classic. There’s nothing more traditional than a good ol’ caprese. I needed a dish that would carry us through the week so I made a caprese pasta salad, beautifully fragrant with seasonal basil. Mmmmmm basil.
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Perfect for the whole family, whether it’s brunch, dinner or even a quick snack. The best part is, it gets tastier as the days go by!
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Ingredients
Package Tricoloured fusilli (or any shaped pasta)
Pint grape tomatoes
Container fresh mozzarella balls, or 2 large mozzarella balls cut into small quarters
1 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
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Directions
Cook pasta according to package, let cool
Meanwhile, rip basil into smaller pieces to release that delicious scent
Quarter mozzarella if necessary
Cut tomatoes in half, combine first four ingredients in large bowl.
Whisk olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper in small bowl. Cover pasta mixture with
dressing.
Fold all ingredients to disperse dressing evenly.
Serve or refrigerate
Enjoy!
-M
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xx, Seri
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June 12, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with Simply Beautiful Eating

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Most of you might think that all this cooking and photography stuff is my full-time job. Well, it’s not. I have been blogging for just over a year and showcasing my pics @thegardenofeatin on instagram. My real job is in the public sector. I work for one of the most “honest politicians” in the universe and his name is Alan. Our team looks after one of the largest constituencies in the municipality. After working together for the past 11 years we have really become good friends. Alan and his wife Francine have traveled to so many wonderful spots in the world. One in particular was Tuscany, Italy. A dream of mine to visit.
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He is a wine connoisseur while I’m…… well…..a juice and water kinda gal. Yep, that’s right. It drives him insane that I only like wine with as much sugar as grape juice. We may have different tastes in booze but one thing we both have in common is our love of fabulous food. How cute are those “eat local” plates above? That’s another thing about this boss of mine – he is very much an advocate of supporting local farmers and buying organic produce.Alan14
For his birthday this year, his family gave him a marcato pasta maker. Apparently, he has always wanted one. When he mentioned that he received this as a gift I was super excited to see what he could do with this gizmo. One Sunday, I found him aimlessly walking through a local bulk food store seeking out just the right blends of flour for his new adventure in pasta making. The next day, he came into the office and told me that he made one of the best meals he has ever had in his life. It consisted of his homemade PASTA.Alan11
Ding, Ding! This was a perfect opportunity to book a photo shoot to watch my boss roll in dough. We scheduled a date, his wife invited us to stay for dinner and this is what transpired…..

But before I go on, I must tell you that Francine is both an amazing cook and entertainer. She has one of the most awesome collections of dishes, serving pieces, knicks, knacks and stacks of chachkas/stuff that I’ve ever seen. One line in particular that she is partial to is MacKenzie-Childs. Check out all the checkers and florals! I LOVE!Alan3Alan20
The recipe that Alan used for his fresh pasta is a classic Jamie Oliver one which seemed very easy peasy to me. His wife threw together all the sides and fixins. Menu: Bruschetta, Guacamole, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and tomato salad, asparagus (which were as tall as trees!) She also made a simple fresh tomato sauce which was light and spiced to perfection. I was elected to sit on the dessert committee and ended up bringing two desserts. I’m saving the details of my dessert disaster (and success)for the next blog. Stay tuned. It’s a doozie.Alan21Alan6Alan5Alan7Alan4Alan19Alan9
This is not a quick process but if you’re a pasta aficionado and want to give this a whirl, it’s a heck of a lot of fun. My boss seemed to be enjoying this so much I have a fear of him dumping his political hat and opening up his own pasta bar. I think it may be his next career because clearly this guy is one smart noodle.

Ready to get our pasta on? Let’s go.
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Just as a side-note….I have never seen anyone happier with a plate of pasta….have you? Bon Appetito!Alan 1Alan22
xo
Debi @thegardenofeatin
Simply Beautiful Eating

xx, Seri
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May 22, 2015

Ready, Set, Weekend with The Garden of Eatin’

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Thai food happens to be one of my favorites and the men I live with are obsessed with anything noodle oriented. Sometimes I wonder why? Perhaps it was because I ate a ton of cantonese lo mein throughout each one of my pregnancies? This could be why my kids hand chopsticks easier than a fork.

Whatever the reason, I can incorporate noodles into almost everything and be happy. I have made pad thai for years and have really not been impressed with the recipes that I’ve tried. I decided that the best pad thai is the one that you don’t add 100 ingredients to…..this one has less than 20…. don’t get scared when you see the long list of stuff below. It’s basically the entire contents of my fridge and pantry. ha ha.

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Simple is best. My version of this dish includes tofu and chicken. Feel free to go Pad Thai wild and add anything you wish. Line up the ingredients and let’s get our chopsticks ON.

How to:

1/2 pkg skinny rice stick noodles
2/3 cup chicken stock – low sodium
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp grated lime rind
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili flakes
4 tsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 package firm tofu, cubed
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced gingerroot
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions, rinse in cold water and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together chicken stock, ketchup, fish sauce, sugar, cornstarch, lime rind and juice and chili flakes; set aside.
In wok or large skillet, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) of the oil over medium heat; cook eggs, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until scrambled and set. Transfer to plate.
Wipe out wok; add remaining oil. Brown chicken and tofu, in batches, over medium-high heat. Transfer to separate plate.
Add carrots, red pepper, garlic and ginger to pan; cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until slightly tender. Add noodles; stir gently for 1 minute.
Return chicken to pan. Stir sauce and pour into pan; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until thickened, noodles are tender and chicken is no longer pink inside.
Return egg mixture to wok along with bean sprouts; toss gently for 1 minute or until heated through. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and optional green onions.

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See ya next week!
xoxo,
debi @thegardenofeatin

Find Debi’s Recipes on her blog, Simply Beautiful Eating.

xx, Seri
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May 11, 2015

Mandy’s Meals & More

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Do you have a recipe that you always come back to? A real crowd pleaser?
I do! And it happens to be my very good friend Elyse’s recipe. Whether it’s brunch, bbqs or an easy weekday side, this orzo salad is so fresh and perfectly seasonal with peas and mint.
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I absolutely love this easy dish, and it’s quit stunning to boot. Recipe is below and you can find more from Elyse and her catering here!
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Orzo Salad with Feta and Mint
Ingredients:
1(about 454g) 2 cups package orzo pasta
1 cup feta cheese – cut into cubes fresh mint
1 cup roughly chopped fresh or frozen peas
1 lemon juice and zest
2 shallots, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
1.) Boil orzo to package directions. Add peas for the last 1 minute of boiling. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool the pasta down. Set aside.
2.) In a large mixing bowl whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, shallots, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil until combined and emulsified.
3.) Toss the dressing with the orzo, peas, feta and mint. Season with some more salt and pepper to taste.
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-M

xx, Seri
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