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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 17

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Hi there

Apologies for being off for so long - I was just giving myself a couple of weeks' rest! So we all know how that goes......

And thank you to friends who've asked when I'd be continuing my blog emoticon That is sooooo special for me.

Anyways, I was thinking about fruit and veg quite a lot over the past week or so. It maybe has something to do with the Summer 5% challenge, right enough.

On Friday, DH went to visit DS older - computer stuff, so I stayed at home. However, DH also went to Costco (with a shopping list) and came home with even more fresh fruit & veg than I'd thought.
Then on Saturday, DH and I went into town locally to get the last few things he hadn't picked up on Friday (like the nice vine tomatoes from Lidl - cos they were going to be half price over the weekend).
So we came home yesterday having been to Lidl and Tesco - with loads more fresh stuff, and extra dried fruits too.

Last night, I couldn't care less what was needing used - I just wanted to eat some of the fresh veggies! There were no veg mixes or anything - just lovely fresh veg cooked deliciously (yes, I can be modest)!
So what we had - with bacon chops:
Boiled new potatoes fried with a wee sprinkle of season-all.
Boiled carrot wedges (cooked in the pan with the potatoes).
Spring onions, steamed in the microwave.
Tenderstem broccoli, in the m'wave.
Roughly diced cooked beetroot, reheated in the m'wave.
Mushrooms - sliced chunkily then fried in a wee tsp of rapeseed oil, with some seasonings, including turmeric (it's about the only way I can get DH to eat turmeric, and it's supposed to be good for diabetes)
DH had fine beans - m'waved.
I had sugarsnap peas, m'waved - and also baby corncobs, also m'waved.
And a savoury white sauce, with a good dollop of coarse-grain mustard through it.

Bacon steaks - for DH, grilled with Dijon mustard spread on each side.
For me - baked in pineapple juice together with apple wedges and garlic cloves.

It was yummy!
But it all depends on your own taste buds.
I rarely cook with salt - sometimes I do put some in the pan with the potatoes, especially if I'm cooking carrots in the pan too.
The savoury white sauce had a good bit of seasoning in it as well as the mustard - you need to add what you and the family enjoy!

So - yes, I think I covered the 5-a-day.
I think I covered the starchy/fibre as well as the leafy/less fibre.
I think I covered the "rainbow" requirements.

Now what else am I supposed to be remembering???

Oh yes - variety!

Tonight's dinner - even more fresh veg - but not too many of the same things. And those things that were the same as last night - they weren't cooked the same way!
That is another blog, though!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWNOMWE 8/8/2011 10:31AM

    Great way to eat the veggies.
With summer I am also trying to use more fresh vegetable instead of frozen ones.
Your dinner seems yummy!!

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 16

Monday, June 27, 2011

Last night, I had a ball!
I looked in the fridge, before I started making the dinner, and I saw the pak choy, and the kale and other green stuff, and I thought - No, not stir fry! I thought - I've still got left-over savoy cabbage to use.

So, without taking too much time to think - I got potatoes and carrots on to cook (together), and started to prepare some other vegetables.
Trimmed a leek and put it in cold water to start loosening any soil etc.
Put about half the packet of kale into a bowl of salted cold water to start to clean. Most of that was for DH's soup for his lunches this week, btw.
Chopped an Onion.
Pealed and chopped about 1/2 a bulb of garlic cloves.
Chopped the cooked cabbage.

I put a wee drop of oil in the frying pan and started with the chopped leek, onion and garlic.
emoticon me - I'm beginning to be able to do that pan tossing that all these cheffy folk do!
Added seasonings.
Added the drained and chopped potato and carrot.
Added the chopped cabbage to heat through.
Then into a dish in the oven to finish heating through, and crisp up on the top.

In the meantime I took 3 old tomatoes from the bowl, and trimmed them to usable - put on a tray in the oven with seasonings - this time just some Season-All and some Aromat. Yes, I do use some ready mades!

And finally - 2 burgers from a tray of 4 (part of a value deal when we were in Tesco on Saturday) - grilled, using the method I've used since we got married - timing and turning!

DH really enjoyed his dinner. But I don't "do" burgers for me.
So, for me, I took a handful of the kale and steamed it, while DH's stuff was ongoing. Then I put some cherry tomatoes and a wedged, peeled & cored apple into the pan, added the kale, and added my share of the potato/cabbage mix. I let it cook together for a few minutes, then poured in some beaten egg. Cooked it for a few minutes on top of the gas, then put the pan under the grill for a couple of minutes. Covered with grated cheese and back under the grill to finish.

Is the grill what is called a broiler in US? It's the bit of the oven that you can use for top heat, like for making toast or whatever. I've never been entirely clear about this.
To me, grilling means cooking from heat from above. Barbecueing is another method of cooking with heat coming from below, but no cover above, other than from foil or whatever.

OK - I have half of my mix from last night to finish tonight - or maybe leave till tomorrow, cos I really quite fancy the riced and tomato sauce that I made tonight!

And I need to go and get my food, now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You are so creative in the kitchen, knowing instinctively what ingredients work well together. This sounded like a fun experimental thing that I imagine also tastes really good. I love veg more than anything else, so your veg creation is right up my street. By the way, I believe that broiling is grilling –at least that’s what my aunt and sister say and they have lived in the USA for 50 and 35 years respectively. If we’re wrong, I’m sure our American pals will tell us. Are you a vegetarian Christine? I was thinking of cutting out meat all together as I no longer enjoy it quite so much, but do like chicken as it’s so versatile. Hope you enjoyed the rice and tomatoes.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 15

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hi there,

Sorry to take so long to get back with another few lines.

I've just replied to a thread I'm on daily. There was a question about whether you can eat to much fruit in a day.
My reply was initially no. But I did add that you might have to watch the fruit sugar - at least, I hope I said that.

My friend and homeopathist - she eats fruit only, from getting up to about midday. She *eats* fruit - looks down on me for liking juice and smoothies!

For myself - I usually have fruit juice plus at least 1 serving of fruit for breakfast, then there's bound to be tomato during the other 2 meals, and usually an apple as well. So there's 4 servings before I think about other days when i cook my meat with pineapple or mandarin or even semi-dried cranberries, or the days I have a packet of a particular brand of dried fruit - either cherries & berries, or mango & pineapple. Each packet counts as 1 portion, so usually on days I may run short on either fruit or veg!

I think you should let yourself be guided by content and colours!
If you're having more of the carb-type sugary fruit, take less of the carb-type veg - go for the leafy veg or something different.
If you have less of the carb-type fruit - just remember that whatever fruit you take tends to be higher in natural sugars, and keep the rest of your food that wee bitty lower.

And please don't take any of this as anything more than suggestions through experience.
It just seems to make sense to me.

Something I aim to do for myself, soon, is to make myself a chart (with colours) showing fruit and veg, and days - yes, a good old spreadsheet!
Then I can tick the boxes, instead of trying to write things on a wee bit of paper magnetted to the fridge door, or - even worse - trying to remember stuff!

Tonight's dinner was going to be a chicken stirfry - nice and light, with baby gem lettuces, onions, mushrooms, whatever.
But I bought (I thought) a sell-by tray of 3 pork steaks. I also got sell-by mushrooms and sell-by cabbage....
Then DH came in with sell-by lamb steaks. So I showed him my pork steaks - only to find it was a tray of lamb steaks too!
Yes, I'm practising either to be old, or to be blonde. And I really do NOT mean to offend anyone with either of those options.

So DH opted for lamb stew - with everything in it.
So lamb stew he got - with onion, mushroom, garlic, carrots, potatoes, parsley, paprika. And steamed shredded savoy cabbage as a side.
He's just popped in to tell me that the stew and cabbage was really tasty - RESULT !

My dinner - I've no idea. After putting my defrosting chicken away into the fridge, I really fancied a pork steak with apple, cabbage and mustard emoticon
I was going to split the cabbage between 2 steamers - one with cabbage (and maybe leek) for DH, one with cabbage, leek and apple for me. but all my thoughts went off on holiday when I discovered there was no pork steaks!

Mind you - today has been one of those days - my single (singular) brain cell has been on strike (or away on holiday with the pork chops) today. So things have been a bit not working too well emoticon

Here's looking for a good day soon!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 6/23/2011 5:24PM

    Hi Christine - glad to see you're around again - hope it means you're feeling a bit more chipper. Fruit and meat dishes are great and you seem to have wonderful ideas on the hoof - you're plainly a very inventive cook. Reminds me that I need to work harder at interesting food than I have lately. Are the fruit/meat mixes just for you? Sounds a bit like your DH is like mine and has fond memories of school dinners - whilst you and I like to be a bit more adventurous.

AS for brain cells!! Mine have definitely gone walk about at the moment. And had an email from my elder son today telling me he'd been behaving like a blonde bimbo with PMT today - must be something in the air emoticon I did reply saying that could be construed as sexist and offensive - won't repeat his reply!!

'See' you soon Christine - keep well my dear
emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/23/2011 5:28:54 PM

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 14

Friday, June 10, 2011

I was just wandering through the SparkPages about Protein etc, and ended up at Lentils. My goodness - there are a huge number of recipes there! Far too many to look through in this evening's browse.

I love lentils - the wee dried orange ones that cook to virtually a mush.
I put them in soup. I've used them to eke out mince and stew, and to help thicken gravy!

One of my favourites is something I occasionally cook - and I use it as a cross between carbs and veg. Though now I realise I should be including it in my protein count, as well.

I toss a good handful of lentils or 2 (I usually only make this for myself) into a small pan of boiling stock or water - no salt in the stock or the water. Then cover and bring it back to the boil, turn down to a low simmer, and leave it for maybe 10 minutes - about 2/3 of the cooking time on the packet.
While the lentils are simmering, dice some onion and chop some garlic. Put into a pan with a small amount of heated oil (I use olive or rapeseed) to soften. Add whatever seasoning you like.
Once the onion is softening and going translucent, you could also add diced celery, diced bell peppers. I like some finely diced courgette (zucchini) tossed in with the onion.
Once the veg is all softened, slightly - don't let it get mushy - add some chopped tomatoes (either tinned, or peel and dice what you have lying and going soft). Heat it through then check your seasoning. Add in the lentils and cook for a final few minutes, checking your seasonings again before serving.

That is so tasty served with meat, or chicken, or fish, or........

Anyone got some other ideas?

Oh - by the way, re an earlier blog and comment. I bought myself a packet of dried chickpeas today. At some point I'll get round to cooking some and I'll let you know what happens!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AKELAZ 6/12/2011 4:22PM

    Missed this when you posted - just far too busy at the moment. However - glad I caught it. I don't cook lentils enough - generally I cook green ones cos I like the more solid texture - I cook them in a similar way to you and either add chopped bacon or have them with a gammon slice. I like the idea of using the orange ones to thicken stews and gravies (or even soups I guess).
I also like making dahl – with orange lentils. First I heat a frying pan (NOT non-stick) and when it’s hot I put about a tablespoon of cumin seed and Iet them just turn brown (take them out of the hot pan once they’re done or they burn). Then fry chopped onion and garlic gently in a tblsp of oil and add curry powder –how much depends how hot you like things - and some turmeric – again gently - doesn’t taste the same if it ‘scorches’. Add the cumin and stir. Then add chopped tomatoes and when they’ve cooked a bit add some low sodium bouillon and approx 2 cups of water. When the whole mix is simmering add a wedge of lemon and a cup of orange lentils and continue simmering until the lentils fall. You may like to add a squeeze of more lemon juice. I eat this with Indian flatbread because I rarely fancy rice with things. It’s a tasty dish and, as you say, full of so much that is good for us.
Again- thank you, Christine, for these really worthwhile blogs - glad to see the comments are gathering momentum.

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CANBDONE 6/12/2011 3:16PM

    I'm having fresh asparagus...drizzled with a little olive oil and baked until almost crisp (which is how I like them), tilapia topped with lemongrass, baked potato with ff sour cream and light butter. I need to give the lentils another try...I'll get the orange ones this time. They are SO good for you.

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SUNSET24 6/12/2011 1:31PM

    smiles, it is wonderful to come across someone who lovesssssssssss to cook! you GO girl! yahooo!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 6/10/2011 5:14PM

    We love lentils as well... especially lentil soup... although I usually just add onion and garlic. This time of year I think I may add some greens just at the end to have them wilt and add a different flavor.

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MMRB7111 6/10/2011 5:06PM

    Your recipe sound very Yummy and similar to what I use to make years ago which I would eat over brown rice.

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Vegetables (and some fruit) - 13

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tonight I've been motivated be talk about Curry.

In the 60's, my family started to make curry, same as many other families.
I do have good memories of sliced banana in lemon juice to go with curry.
In the 1960's when curry was becoming a family weekday meal - we had whatever the meat was with boiled rice. And the additionals were sliced banana in lemon juice - or even maybe lime juice; dessicated coconut (which I still don't like) - it came straight from the packet, as was; raisins in lemon juice,...
I'm sure there were always 4 things, but I cannot recall the 4th one just now. It certainly was NOT yoghurt with anything - that didn't happen till late 60's and would never have been used with "the main course", or for my Dad.

I do remember that the "seasonings" was curry powder!
One weekend when my Mum and Dad had to be away, I was left at home, being over 16 - oh bliss. But I decided to make myself a curry for dinner one night. I misread the recipe and added tablespoons instead of teaspoons of curry powder. The wooden mixing spoon never lost the yellow colour till it fell apart! And that was well over 20 years later! It remained yellow-stained for all those years!

Maybe the 4th item was pickled onions - you know, the wee ones? I always got confused with the shampoo Silvikrin - so silverskin pickled onions. That may well have been the 4th bowl added to the table, for those family curries.

Changed Days!
I can tolerate a good curry, so long as the spiciness isn't too hot. My stomach muscles rebel otherwise, and I have a very painful several days,
But - i do like to use a bit of tabasco, occasionally. Sometimes, depending how much tabasco, I'll add a teaspoon or 2 of sugar, as well - that does ease off the bite of the spice.

But I can do it to suit me, or to suit DH, or to suit us both - it's so much easier now there's just the 2 of us again.
Cos I can even do it to suit DH - with a bit more spiciness, having taken my portion out first!

Tonight, we had nothing to do with spicy or curry.
Simple & plain: bacon and eggs - with frozen soy beans cooked in the m'wave and halved tomatoes seasoned and heated. DH also had some oven cooked Hash Browns with his.
Flavours - soy beans were plain, cooked in a bit of water in the m'wave. Tomatoes, halved and the core wedge taken out - sprinkled with various seasonings, and put in the oven with the pre-fried hash browns. So DH got his beans and tomato, without me going to baked beans, for a change - and he managed to enjoy them as well.

Very simple and very plain this evening - cos that works too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSET24 6/10/2011 12:49AM

    what a lovely blog!

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CANBDONE 6/9/2011 10:59AM

    I'm having fried rice tonight: brown rice, mixed frozen veggies, fresh asparagus, onions, mushrooms, a little olive oil, very little lite soy sauce, ginger, chicken breast, and one scrambled egg.

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    This is a great blog Christine. You made me smile with memories of those ‘curries’ back in the late 60s, which were so far removed from curry it’s unbelievable. Do you remember those Vesta curries? We have come a long way since then thank goodness. I was fortunate that during my twenties a couple of my Indian friends taught me some authentic Punjabi cuisine, which has stood me in good stead ever since. Unfortunately, due to health issues, I can no longer eat spiced food, but still love to cook it for my husband and friends.

I saw in one of your blogs that you don’t like aubergine (eggplant). Perhaps one day soon I’ll post on my own blog a couple of very healthy and tasty aubergine recipes for you to try.

All of your blogs are really entertaining and informative, so I shall pop along again from time to time.


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AKELAZ 6/9/2011 3:08AM

    Great blog Christine. You have such a balanced and interesting attitude to cooking and I am finding your thoughts really make me think more about what I cook and eat.
I have been cooking curries in different ways over the years - I can't tolerate too spicy either but I have developed a basic curry paste which I make myself (with variations) and enjoy altho I haven't made one for a long while. I always make a cucumber raita to accompany them because I love yoghourt with all sorts of savoury dishes. I am reminded, thanks to you, that it's time to make a good curry again soon. That'll please my partner - he loves curry and cooks a really good one himself altho he tends to use hotter spices and more oil than I do. I also enjoy curried vegetables on their own, My tastes have changed a lot - partly thanks to Spark and my efforts here, and I actually enjoy plainer food - simple grilled meat or fish and salad or steamed vegetables (sometimes both!) - or a mix of vegetables and beans, or indeed egg, bacon and vegetables - generally in an omelette in my case, because as you say, simple works too.
Thanks for all these blogs - I really enjoy them. emoticon

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