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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 9

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hi friends, sorry for the delay - had to head off for a few days with DH to see his Mum.

Today I was out with a friend - she'd asked me to give her a lift to a clinic today, to save her husband having to take more time off work. No problem at all. Then she phoned me this morning, and suggested meeting for lunch before we headed off the other 10 miles!
We have a fantastic wee lunch eaterie place called Nicaea - paninis and toasted sandwiches, as well as a few other things.
Today, I was there in time to ask for the all day breakfast - bacon, black pudding, sausage, egg, tomato, mushroom, baked beans, served with a half panini and a wee pot of tea or coffee. I very rarely take this. I don't like sausage (especially not square sausage). I won't touch black pudding. I try not to eat bacon. I don't tolerate beans too well. But, just on a very odd occasion - put all those dislikes together, and I'll really enjoy the plate!
Today was one of those days - but I was so disappointed. I'd said not to give me any black pudding - but there were 3 slices of it on my plate. There was only a really small serving of beans. Only 1/2 tomato. No mushroom. And I never got my 1/2 panini and butter.
My friend took the soup - lentil and vegetable - which looked delicious. And she got a nie buttery roll with it.

But it set me thinking - cos to go there and have a panini or whatever, you get a "garnish" of half the plate covered with salad and coleslaw.
And I was thinking, as I ate my -ish "breakfast" - I used to make loads of different kinds of salads, especially for special occasions.
And the salad that's been in my mind all afternoon was what I used to call Crunchy Salad.

Again, I'm sorry, but I can't give you quantities or measurements, or any of the nutritional breakdown.
All the ingredients are diced to about the size of a pea, or a single small niblet of sweetcorn.

Onion - white or red or shallot or spring
Corn Niblets
Peppers - sweet/bell peppers, all the colours you want!

When I first made this, I called it a 7-Veg Salad. But over the years, other things got added in, like -
Apple -
anything with a crunch!

Salad dressing for this was always basic.
2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice, and always some coarse grain mustard. Plus whatever else you like in your salad dressing.
Or just use whatever you like that you buy.

Make sure you keep it in the fridge.

Give it a try - the colours are as fresh as the flavour!
It will keep for several days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAVENALEE 6/2/2011 5:30AM

    Your salad sounds SCRUMPTIOUS!!!! I look forward to trying it! Thanks for sharing it. Blessings!

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NEW-CAZ 6/2/2011 3:01AM

    I can't remember the last time I ate a sausage emoticon let alone the "full works"!

I adore salads and I've found a need balsamic low cal dressing in Sainsburys; their own range. Mustard and Honey is my fav of the moment but I add a tsp of Dijon mustard to it and it's lovely tossed into a huge salad with mackeral or salmon.

Thanks for the ideas, I keep meaning to try radishes! where's my shopping list for 2moro...........................>
Have a good one emoticon

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AKELAZ 6/1/2011 7:58PM

    MMMM!! emoticon
Sounds delish - I love salad and this sounds great - as CANBDONE says - crunchy rainbow salad. The thing about salad is it's so easy to add things and make it different every time. So - interesting - varied and filling!
I like raw peppers and barely cooked asparagus and green beans, when they're cheap, added to Rocket/Spinach/Watercress - absolutely lu-urve dark green veggies especially with some Parmesan shavings. I like adding tinned artichoke hearts too which I char on the grill. Dunno if you ever add seeds or nuts but when the basic leaves are soft I like the added crunch.
When my kids were younger and we had family BBQs, their favourite salad with that was traditional coleslaw with toasted walnuts and thin strips of garlic sausage. They always said - so kindly - that it took the edge off 'Mother's charred chunks' - nice huh?
My favourite dressing is olive oil/lemon juice/garlic/a small amount of low cal HELLMANS
Very sorry to hear your breakfast wasn't all you wished but the cloud has a silver lining as it put salads into your mind at an appropriate time of year - and now into OUR minds.
SALAD FEST coming up!!! Must remember the chopped apple! Do you do anything clever with raw beetroot BTW?

Christine - truly I love these blogs - every one makes my mouth water!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

PS Hope the visit went well and you came away happy . . .

Comment edited on: 6/1/2011 8:22:25 PM

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CANBDONE 6/1/2011 6:27PM

    ...a rainbow crunch salad! Yummy
I'm still learning how to order a healthy meal at a's a challenge.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 8

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm really enjoying the feedback and comments I've been receiving about this "series" of blogs.

I've had some suggestions for cooking the same things but in a different way, and I've received a few recipe suggestions too.
Thanks friends - keep it coming!

I wasn't intending to blog tonight, but a couple of comments have made me stop and think.

1. Duck for a stir fry.
I love the idea, though I don't often see it within my budget.
I think I'd flash fry it first, to get the dripping from the skin. Remove the duck from the pan, and use the dripping for stir-frying the veg. Slice the duck, if needed, once it's out the pan and cooled a bit.

2. I tend to microwave the veg when it's straight from the freezer. I also like to steam my vegetables - but not from frozen. I think the freezing tends to change the consistency slightly once they're defrosted - well some of them, anyway. Rather like frozen fruit. You know how strawberries and raspberries go really mushy when you defrost them? I think broccoli and cauliflower, and some of the others, are similar, though not as extreme. So frozen goes either in the microwave or it goes right into the pan.
Or peas and corn niblets - just in a bowl covered with boiling water and left for up to 5 minutes!
Fresh cauliflower - I have to steam it! I have never yet managed to cook fresh cauli properly in the m'wave! Whereas I can cook fresh broccoli (ordinary, tender stem or purple sprouting) as easily in the m'wave as the steamer.

Btw - steaming - is in a pan on the stove with 1, 2 or sometimes even 3 steamers on top. It's a wee set of pan plus 2 steamers I got in Asda for £9.99 that I use. Then I got a second one for older son going to university, but he didn't want it. So I use both!
I did buy a small electric steamer for younger son - but he didn't want it, originally, for lack of space. I don't know where it is - there's a thought! But I don't have worktop space either, and I work pretty well the way I'm used to.

3. Different meals.
I've been cooking that way since we had children!
It annoys me when folk tell me "that's wrong" - it suited me, and sometimes it still suits me to cook 2 different meals. And I didn't have to put up with arguments and tantrums at meal times.
Some evenings I'd be cooking 4 "different" dinners. But - and it's a very big "but" - I don't know how I would have coped if all the meals were entirely different from each other. I always had 2 or 3 items in common across the 4 meals.
For example:
DH likes meat, vegetables and preferably potatoes, but he'll take rice and, at a pinch, pasta. Also tuna, eggs, cheese.
DS older was meat, potatoes, carrots or tomatoes, and he'd take a bit of broccoli because I'd cooked it. And he loved eggs, and he enjoyed tuna and sardines.
DS younger was chicken but not too much red meat, broccoli, some carrot because it was cooked, pasta, cheese. Egg whites, but no yolk. Some tuna.
Me - yes, I did consider myself occasionally - I like bits and pieces from each of those, so I could always get my dinner quite the thing.

So - although I had 4 different meals to make, there were things in common between various of us. I had fairly peaceful mealtimes. And my boys grew up able to eat some of what they didn't particularly enjoy when we were out for a meal, or visiting.
And they are still the same - though their tastes have changed dramatically, so each can eat more other stuff!
Which made it great fun last Christmas, when they were both home together. Older son made lunch one day. And younger son made dinner that same day. I only had to pitch in to help when I was asked or when I was needed!

Sorry - that went a bit off subject!
But I don't think folk should worry about everyone having to have the same thing.
At the very simplest, make a variety of veg and put it in serving dishes on the table. More especially if you are trying to have the family all sit down together for meals.
DH and I both lived through the "eat it or get it for your next meal" syndrome - which was understandable (in hindsight) given the restrictions in food and in family budgets post WW2.
But that doesn't have to happen now. And I think it's probably better to feed folk (mainly) what they like and avoid wastage.

OK - I'll get off my high horse, and my soap box, now.

I'll be on the look-out for some duck, now it's been mentioned!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 5/27/2011 2:33AM

    *things in common between various of us*
Absolutely the way forward as far as I'm concerned. When the whole family get together now - DH with his school dinner preferences - DS older, vegetarian - his partner, voracious meat eater - DS younger and partner - anything as long as it's healthy (phew!) - and their two little sons (depends on the day!) I make a multiplicity of foods to suit various tastes - something meaty accompanied by a variety of veggies with cheese sauce on the side or small vegetable tart-like quiches (so egg/cheese for protein for the elder son). I also often do a bean or lentil side dish for the same reason. Always a luscious salad with cheese/nuts/seeds. A lot of work but I'm used to it now and generally get some help from the family and - as you say - definitely worth it to see that everyone is tucking in to their preference and leaves the table satisfied.

Thanks again for a thought provoking blog and for tips on different ways of cooking veggies - great great exchanges! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/27/2011 2:39:20 AM

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CANBDONE 5/26/2011 6:45PM

    Love your culinary tips!

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NEW-CAZ 5/26/2011 5:30PM

    Christine you can get 2 duck breasts in Sainsury's for £5! special offer!
Freeze well, one breast (about 5 oz with the fat attached) is more than enough for a substantial stirfry and get thee a bottle of hoi sin sauce, 1 or 2 tablespoons is enough to make it delishhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

nks for more tips about multiple dinners......but if you only knew my DH emoticon emoticon

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 7

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last night, I made different meals for DH and for me.

There was a tray of fresh pasta stuff that he'd brought in, and was at it's use-by. So he got that with cauliflower, celery and courgette. And I made him a tomato and onion sauce: a tsp olive oil in the pan, heated. Add 1 roughly chopped onion (any kind) and leave to cook gently. Add some seasonings (like coarse grain mustard, and garlic) while the onion is cooking. Once the onion is softened, but not too coloured, I added about 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes, some water (drained off the microwaved courgette plus some) and a good scoosh of tomato puree. After it was well cooked through, I thickened it a bit with some cornflour (?cornstarch?).
DH enjoyed his dinner!

I made myself a sort of stir fry: onion, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, mushroom
I started with a drop of Rapeseed oil in the small pan, and added dried oarsley and other seasoning, and roughly sliced mushrooms.
Once that was cooked a bit, I decanted the mushrooms, reheated the pan and added the roughly chopped onion. After a few minutes I added seasonings (including coarse grain mustard). While that was cooking, I microwaved some broccoli florets. Then I chopped them and some cauliflower florets (I made enough for both of us when I cooked for DH) and tossed them into the pan with the onion - and added the mushrooms and a big handful of frozen peas. I reheated some sliced cooked chicken breast in the wee pan with what was left of the mushroom cooking liquid.
And I have to say - I enjoyed my dinner too!

I'll maybe have a chance to get to Costco on Friday. I've already written my shopping list, and I've included chicken breasts and a half salmon. I can get those cooked and frozen, or frozen raw, in usable quantities.
And I've almost run out of fresh veg - can you believe it!!!! I've got no leeks, a couple of really old onions (heading to where I don't necessarily want to peel them), 1 bell pepper, 1 courgette, half a dozen mushrooms, no carrots, no cucumber. So my shopping list started with veg and fruit! And I've even started a small side list of "NOTs" - I don't need mustard, or paprika!

Mince (ground beef) cooked with onion, mushroom and tinned chopped tomato; boiled potato and carrot, steamed courgette (zucchini), microwaved frozen broccoli, left overs of last night's cauliflower, and some fresh (sell-by) asparagus.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 5/26/2011 3:22PM

    Another good one Christine! I like the sound of both your meals actually.

I also cook twice (sort of) - tho not every night because quite often I leave DH to do it himself (on account of being a musician, he's kind of on a different ‘shift’ - late breakfast - very late! - and a small snack early evening, which he makes himself before he goes to work or the pub!) Either way he's often out all evening (depending on how long he plays or how much 'fun' he's having in the pub!) As I'm not prepared to cook at midnight he has to get his own if I haven’t made a stew-y thing that he can heat up.
Ideal for me because I prefer veggies to meat and can start off the stew with the things that I like, extract some for myself and then add the things that he likes second, cook and leave for him to heat. I actually steam all my vegetables lightly - still crunchy (HE likes them stewed to death - 'school dinner veg' I call them). So I sear the meat in oil and garlic - in strips if I'm stir frying in one pan and add the steamed veggies for myself plus whatever seasonings I fancy (any herbs, sometimes miso, black bean sauce or something else oriental, chilli - whatever I have really) to get everything cooked thro for myself. Then I eat whatever I’ve chosen. When I’m done I put everything he's having - same meat - same veggies (more or less – no Mediterranean veggies and definitely NO broccoli) and loads of potatoes - in a casserole with stock and seasoning(his style – meaning more salt than I would have but less than he would add plus soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce) and leave it to simmer till he’s home to help himself.
Hardly a ‘normal’ lifestyle but works for us.

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NEW-CAZ 5/26/2011 3:19AM

    Hi Christine
I cook twice every night in our house! emoticon
Whilst we both eat healthily DH and I have such different tastes; he's a meat and 2 veg man and I adore mixing my meals and love salads and stir fries (something he turns his nose up at).
Have you tried stir frying some duck with loads of mixed veg?
I buy a ready prepared mix of crunchy stir fry veg with water chestnuts from Sainsburys and add in mushrooms (and frozen peas and spring onions near the end)
Stir fry the sliced or diced duck with the fat on (saves using oil and I'm told duck fat is good for you!) then add the veg. Stir in some hoi sin sauce and serve! emoticon emoticon

I love your idea of microwaving the veg; I split my broccoli or cauli into small flowerettes and boil for just 3 mins and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. Then I add to the stir fry.

Have a great Thursday and keep the recipes and tips coming! emoticon emoticon

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CANBDONE 5/25/2011 5:42PM

    Sounds like you're a good cook and enjoy it. I like to cook, too. I'm having ground turkey breast with onion. I saute it in a little olive oil. Then I add generous handfuls of fresh spinach and half a cup of cannelli beans. Very satisfying and delicious!

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 6

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's late - nearly 1.00am.
But I was watching a TV programme - part 1 of a series I haven't actually seen! It's called "Misbehaving Mums-to-be".
There were 3 pregnant women featured - 1smoking, 1 drinking alcohol, and 1 obese and eating badly.

The last of the 3 - her favourite meal just now is pies, chips and gravy.
Chips - read "French Fries".
And it occurred to me that one of my favourite meals, used to be chips. cheese and gravy! But I haven't had that in over a year - maybe more than 2 years!
I still sometimes have chips - but at home where I can control the cooking and what I have them with.

Tonight - I didn't even make anything with potato.
We had Tuna Pasta Bake.
I cooked the pasta in vegetable stock.
Drained a small can of tuna (what I'd call a 7 oz can).
Cut up some tomatoes, chopped some salad onions, diced some yellow bell pepper, microwaved some broccoli florets, then chopped them down.

Put some of the pasta in an ovenproof dish. Then scattered on the tomato, onion, pepper. Then the tuna and the broccoli. Then another layer of pasta.

Mixed some eggs with cream (I didn't have enough milk left, and the cream really needs used up) and seasonings.
Pour over the pasta and stuff and put in a medium oven.

I check it every 15 to 20 minutes. The egg round the outer edges cooks more quickly, so I like to move things around a bit and let the still-liquid egg get out to the edges.
Near the end of cooking - grate some cheese over the top. By the time it has melted nicely, the egg will have finished setting!

I know this isn't quite what the title says - but there's tomato, onion, garlic (only in my seasoning tonight, but usually through the dish), pepper, broccoli.
Which makes it quite vegetable-y as far as I'm concerned. Especially when it was just for 2 of us!
For more folk - a bigger oven dish, another tin of tuna, other vegetables - red and green peppers, courgette, mushroom, a small amount of celery, some peas, sweetcorn, whatever.
And maybe a wee bitty more pasta - or have garlic bread with it, and some green salad.

Please let me know if you try it, how it turns out.
And as always - let me know of any other ideas.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANBDONE 5/24/2011 10:24PM

    Here's my tuna casserole:
1 can tuna
noodles (cooked)
frozen peas
can of cream of celery, or mushroom soup
1/2 can milk
velveeta cheese
crushed potato chips

In small roaster mix tuna, a tablespoon of mayo, chopped celery and onion, cooked noodles, peas, In saucepan, melt cubed cheese with soup and milk. Pour over the noodle mixture. Top with crushed chips and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (not necessarily calorie conscious!)

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AKELAZ 5/22/2011 8:31AM

    Only just caught this - been away for my grandson's 6th birthday celebration and no time at all for www. Tuna bake sounds really great - or salmon perhaps. I don't actually eat pasta much but as I love veggies so much loads of extra ones - Kenyan green beans or mange tout and certainly loads of broccoli which is my favourite vegetable. Sounds pretty well perfect to me.
I make a lot of veggie mixes with sauces - my favourite is tenderstem broccoli carbonara or with a cheese sauce . Another thing is broad beans in parsley sauce with bacon strips but tuna would be an interesting variation.
Thanks Christine - yet again - for the inspiration.

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NEW-CAZ 5/20/2011 4:15AM

    Sounds scrummy!
I roll raw tuna steaks in sesame seeds and lightly fry in a little olive oil ( just enough to wipe the bottom of the pan), get the pan really hot. Or you could use Low Cal Veg Oil Spray!
cook one side then the other enough to colour and serve with new potatoes and veg or a salad.
Quick and easy and the seeds add a lovely crunch to the succulent tuna

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 5

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tonight I made one of DH's favourites for him - my version of Ratatouille.
It's not something I'll eat, normally, as one veg I can't cope with is aubergine (eggplant).
But DH likes it so much, he started buying in cans of it! I hadn't been making it for him, as he "always" wants his veg separate on his plate, not in a mixture! OK - major breakdown in communication emoticon

I've never followed a recipe, as such, but my version includes:
bell pepper
courgette (zucchi)
aubergine (eggplant)
can of chopped tomatoes - or passata and whatever fresh tomatoes are too soft to eat otherwise

Roughly dice onion and out into a pan with a tiny drop (maybe about 1 tsp) olive oil. Start cooking, and add some garlic (chopped, lazy, powder, whatever) and some yellow mustard seeds. Cook gently till the onion is beginning to soften.
Add in roughly chopped bell pepper. I usually use yellow or orange, just to add a different colour. Cook for about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, and water if needed (I use water from swilling out the can). Bring back tot he boil. Add any seasonings, stock cubes, tabasco, whatever, and cook for a minute.
Add roughly chopped courgette, and cook for another 3 minutes.
Then add the roughly chopped aubergine.
Bring back to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally (cos it might be starting to stick on the bottom of the pan, depending what you've added). Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, till the aubergine is nicely soft.

I sometimes leave out the seed bits of the courgette and aubergine, just use the "outside" parts of the slices for chopping.
I don't honestly know if this makes any difference as I don't taste it! If I'm not too sure about the flavour, I'll get DH to taste it and add whatever else he thinks necessary, then give it another 5 mins or so simmering.

This makes quite a big panful!
Tonight, DH had a good dose of it with his dinner. Then he's away for a couple of days from tomorrow. The leftovers will go into the fridge tonight and will either be part of his dinner on Sunday, or will get more finely chopped and added into his lunchtime soup for next week.

This is a great "recipe" for using up left-overs, too.
So many different vegetables can just get tossed in.
EG, tonight, my fresh stuff was all tossed into a pan of left-over tomato sauce that I made for DH last night to have with some sort of German stuffed pasta. The sauce was based on canned chopped tomatoes with chopped onions, chopped leeks, seasonings, and a cube of frozen spinach.
There was a cup of 2 left over, so it was added to tonight's ratatouille, seeing it was so similar!

I don't usually like to make left overs that then leave me with more left overs - but DH is a bit different, especially when he's eating soup for lunch 5 days a week.
I just hope that habit continues (for his health) when he retires at the end of next month!

Please remember - these are just my own thoughts and what I make. It's not official to SP. And I enjoy both comments and suggestions.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 5/13/2011 4:40AM

    A bit like Caz's DH this is what my Father in law used to call 'continental goo' but I really love it and like to keep some in the freezer so if I'm really hungry I can just defrost some in the microwave and eat it immediately - often with a dollop of greek yoghourt.

Have never thought of mustard seed and will try that. I do add chopped jalapeno peppers from a jar sometimes. I generally eat it with baked potato or pasta if I want something more substantial altho I do love it on it's own as a light meal.

Keep this up Christine -it's great! emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/13/2011 10:54:14 AM

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NEW-CAZ 5/13/2011 3:12AM

    I make a huge batch of ratatoulle when I do it then portion into freezer bags for future meals as only I like it.
DH is a meat and two veg man and refused point blank to eat what he considers "foreign s&it" emoticon emoticon

Your recipe is similar to mine; I use one bell pepper of each colour and add in some basil leaves or sometimes some rosemary!

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DEVORA4 5/12/2011 9:00PM

  Basically my receipe but with slight changes, Will try yours next time. I always say live and learn! emoticon

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CANBDONE 5/12/2011 8:12PM

    I love to hear you "talk". Wish we could enjoy a cuppa!

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