Tag Archives: Zucchini

Super Filling Lentil and Wild Rice bowl

Good evening y’all!

Remember how in my last post how I complained about the cold weather? Well would you believe that its shorts and t-shirt weather again? It went from six degrees on Sunday to what should be twenty-seven degrees come the end of the week!

How crazy is that?

Well I sure don’t mind! Though I will hopefully be getting a pair of boots in the mail from JustFab soon. Even if the weather isn’t as cold as it was the other day, it will be colder soon enough and I can rock my taupe wide-calved heeled boots!

Anyway I had the BEST supper tonight! You know when you have just one plate/bowl and you are instantly full? Well the meal for the evening was one of those meals.

I have a love/hate relationship for those types of meals though. Because they are generally so good that you just want more however your body is so full that you can’t have any! How heart breaking is that? My poor stomach is sobbing. And no it isn’t just gas! It wants to eat more!

I got the recipe from A Family Feast, this is the first time I’ve ever visited this place, but with this recipe I will definitely be coming back for more fabulous recipes! The direct link to this recipe can be found here.

Wild Rice and Lentils with Feta

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) wild rice
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (400g) orange lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups (1000ml) water
  • 4 green onions, both green and whites, sliced
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper (90g) (I used yellow though), diced
  • 1 medium sized zucchini (115g), cubed
  • ½ cup (50g) feta, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan cook wild rice in vegetable stock (or water) as directed on the package.

  2. In a large sauce pan combine lentils, bay leaves, and water and cook until lentils are soft.

  3. Once both rice and lentils are cooked, drain and combine in a large bowl.

  4. Chop green onions, bell pepper, and zucchini and add to the rice and lentil bowl.

  5. Add feta, olive oil, white vinegar, thyme, lemon pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Mix well and serve!

Love this! It was the perfect amount of heaven.

I absolutely loved this meal! Oh my god! I will be enjoying this for lunch tomorrow too! Can’t wait! Because I’m already too full to have anymore right now.

Anyway, do any of you hate cross contamination when it comes to chopping boards? Because I majored in international hotel and business management, I know all about chopping boards and like things neat and tidy in my kitchen. Especially when it comes to the chopping boards.

Chopping Boards

I finally got the permanent markers I needed to write on the chopping boards. I’ve been needing those markers for a good long while and only JUST got them. I’m very happy now!

So now I feel organized, content, and my stomach is happy.

I hope you all think about making this dish too and enjoy it as much as I did!

Happy eating

Cake Baking after Power Cut

I experienced something great. No it wasn’t love in Africa, but it was something which reminds me of home. I had my first power outage while with mom. Now I know that doesn’t seem all that interesting or wonderful, but I love them. Must be due to the fact that we had them so frequently when I was young. When we lived in Venezuela we experienced them so often that I learnt to enjoy them. Though the power outages were usually accompanied by a massive thunder storm which lit up the entire sky and this one however was done on a beautiful hot day.

Although there wasn’t the beauty of a storm to match the silence of everything around us, the power failure was grand. As mom and I walked Austin on our afternoon walk we noticed kids outside enjoying sports equipment, making use of their trampolines, or actually walking their dogs. In this day of age children no longer really have use for physical activity as their mind is predominately concerned with games and TV. When I grew up all I did was cycle or swim in the pool. (Though keep in mind that it is the tail end of winter in South Africa, so pools are too cold to enjoy now.) Today there seems to be less of that, though I have seen some mountain bikes laying on the grass of some neighbours lawns. That meaning boys are going around the neighbourhood to hang out with their friends and their mode of transport is their mountain bikes (similar to the ones I had growing up).

So while we still had sunlight I made a Greek salad that featured brown rice. It didn’t look all too appetizing, but it tasted wonderful! Especially so as mom and I sat with a kerosene lamp between us as a form of light. Very 1800’s, right? I loved it! After dinner mom and I sat in our living room and enjoyed the intimate serenity that came with reading under the flickering light of the lamp. It was just so peaceful. When are nights that peaceful anymore?

Anyway, this is what our night looked like:

Dinner under a lamp

The meal doesn’t look like much but if you are interested I got the recipe from here.

I was a little nervous that our power outage would last till the following day which it thankfully did not.  But the reason I was so nervous was that I was planning on baking a cake. Since moving to South Africa, I’ve began baking like a madwoman! But I thought with this cake we could bring it to a friend for tea. Plus if the cake was a hit I would make another one for our housekeeper. Last week I decided that I would make a cake for every Friday when we would see our maid. That way she could bring the cake home to her granddaughter and they could enjoy it together.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Well guess what? My cake was a hit! It was a lemon zucchini cake and I got the recipe from here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (170g) canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups (268g) sugar
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (120ml) zucchini, grated

Glaze ingredients:

  • 1 cup (128g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.

  3. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well.

  4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.

  5. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.

  6. Bake at 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) for 40-45 minutes.

  7. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Let the glaze set up before cutting and serving.

Tell me, does anyone use buttermilk for anything BUT baking?

I hate that when you buy buttermilk you have to always buy a large carton of it and whenever you use it for cake or other baked goods the remainder of it just gets chucked out. So instead of buying buttermilk for this cake I just used the vegan version of buttermilk. I know veganizing things can be a bit of a turn off to many, but when you already have the ingredients in your house why not utilize them? So for a vegan buttermilk you take a cup of non-dairy milk and mix it with one tablespoon of vinegar. You let the substance sit for about five minutes where it will curdle pretty much immediately. Then just halve the recipe and use half of the “buttermilk” for your cake. It looks gross but it is better to use ingredients you already have at home than to buy a carton of buttermilk that you will barely use, right?

Vegan "Buttermilk"

So since moving to Africa my mom and I have sort of taken up a hobby. That being bird watching. Okay well we didn’t really take up such a hobby, but we are very interested in the birds in our yard. Today alone we saw five different species of birds in our backyard. I did photograph one of the birds as he is large enough to see with my poor camera on my phone but the others were unable to be photographed. Pretty neat though, eh?

Meet the Glossy Ibis

Anyway, I hope you all love this cake as much as we did! Let me know if it is a success – with or without the buttermilk!

Happy baking!

Spanish Influenced Quinoa Scramble

Meatless Monday came and went for this week and although I went with a shrimp meal, I didn’t get around to posting it online. Also, I actually wanted to make todays meal for the whole meatless theme, but when I finally got around to going to the grocery store (about 7:15pm) there wasn’t a single zucchini in sight!

Serves me right though as I only went to the grocery store at a quarter past seven in the evening.

I had planned to go at ten in the morning, and then at eleven, then later at two or three in the afternoon and finally I went at seven. I have this thing where I prefer to go to the grocery store when it is somewhat deserted. Does anyone else have that?

I mean I don’t have a fear of people – I love people! I talk to strangers all the time when I am downtown or at the grocery store, hell I’ve even gone on dates with people I’ve met while downtown! BUT I hate going to a very packed grocery store.

I finally got the zucchini I longed for yesterday, but today. And I made this:

 Spanish Quinoa Scramble

The PERFECT meal for a breakfast. But I had it more as a dinner. Good thing I’ll have enough leftovers!

I got the recipe from here, and for once there were no tweaks. Though I should have added garlic and red onion.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup (100g) cherry tomatos, quartered
  • ½ cup (85g) cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup (50g) cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together eggs, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add zucchini and red pepper. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato and quinoa and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Pour egg or tofu mixture over the vegetables and cook, string constantly, until the eggs are cooked through. Top with cheese and allow to melt.

  3. Serve with avocado and enjoy!

Spanish Quinoa ScrambleI can definitely picture myself making this for my father once I move to South Africa. This would be a perfect protein-packed healthy breakfast, though for his taste it would need to be ever so slightly spiced. Maybe with Sambal or just a lot of red pepper flakes. 

Speaking of South Africa – only twenty days left until I header out! Exciting stuff!

Anyway, if you make this meal, I hope you enjoy it! Beware that it will probably be much better as a breakfast…

¡Buen provecho!

Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake

I feel like I haven’t baked in a very long time. And it is probably because I haven’t! But I always keep a box of cocoa powder in my cupboard that I thought needed to be utilized this week, which is exactly what I went about doing! I was thinking of making this last weekend for a friend, but some events caused our meet-up not to occur. Good thing though, because she told me only to bring a single slice. If she tasted this masterpiece I think she would have told me to bring more!

IMG_3723

This is a spectacularly moist and delicious cake. I am pretty sure I outdid myself. I was going to share with my sister if she ever came over, but by the looks of the mini plate I placed the Bundt cake on, it’ll be gone before the night is over. Thanks mom, you’ve given me your freshly baked goods-loving genes!

I got the recipe from here, but I have tweaked it some.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups (250g) light brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups (218g) self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (244g) applesauce
  • 2 chia seed “eggs”
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (350g) grated zucchini
  • 1 cup (175g) semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ᵒC (350ᵒF) and in a large bowl begin to mix dry ingredients together. That includes sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

  2. In a little bowl mix chia seed “eggs” together – let stand. Add applesauce, vanilla extract, and zucchini to dry ingredients. Then add chia seed mixture and mix until smooth.

  3. Add chocolate chips to mixture and mix well.

  4. Pour batter into a greased Bundt cake mold or a bread loaf tin (as originally requested) and bake for 35-40 minutes.

  5. Once ready, poke a toothpick in to check if cake is cooked thoroughly. Once ready remove and allow to cool.

  6. Then enjoy!

Making of CakeWhile I was pouring my cake into the Bundt tin I became distracted by something thus making it a very messy tin. But I cleaned it up and popped it straight into the microwave oven.

Finished Product

I baked my cake for 35 minutes originally, but had to place it back in for about 25 minutes in total before my toothpick finally came out bare. That means this little cake baked for 60 minutes in total, geez!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

As you can see here, my cake looks VERY moist. But again, also VERY delicious.

I will definitely have to make this again once I move. Don’t you think mom? The perks about my moving is that I can finally bake a lot of gems in the kitchen and I won’t be the only one eating them! Mom and all her new friends can enjoy my baked goods again!

Anyway, that was my Saturday! Hope you all enjoy this recipe!

Eet smakelijk!

Healthy Hearty Soup to Cleanse My Body

Learning is one of the greatest things about living. Everyday you learn something new. Be it about the world you live in, the people who surround you, or the body you inhabit.

This weekend I learnt a lot about myself. First I’ve learnt that I cannot speak French. I spent the weekend in Paris with my friend and realized that when in France, I want to speak every language I know BUT French. I spoke some English, Spanish, Dutch, and the little Portuguese I know all in one. Not a word of French ever came out of my mouth.

I also learnt that my body cannot handle copious amounts of non-nutritious food. My friend lives a life of sugar and starch. I doubt she understands what life is with vegetables and fruit, while I do not understand how life can be lived with only sugar and starch. I had about a handful worth of vegetables all weekend long. That is not enough for a human.

So having returned to the Netherlands yesterday night, I promised myself I would make a delicious and nutritious meal the following night. I can tell you that I definitely did just that.

Minestrone Soup for DaysIf you can’t figure out what that is in the large pot, it is minestrone soup. I have been craving it for some time now and decided to finally go about making it. I made a large amount of it too as I know my body needs to have better food inside it than what I have consumed since Friday.

The recipe I used was from here. I followed the recipe to a T, although I used larger proportions for a larger amount of soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can cannelini beans (or any white bean rinsed and drained)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • ½ cup white onion, diced
  • ¼ celery, diced
  • ¼ cup zucchini, diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, shredded
  • ¼ cup fresh green beans, cut in 2″ pieces
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp parsley, chopped (save 1 tbsp for garnish if desired)
  • ½ cup small pasta
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ¼  tsp 
  • ½ ground Mediterranean oregano
  • ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or large sauce pan and add celery.  Cook the celery for a few minutes (because they take longer to soften) and then add onion, zucchini and green beans.  Once onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer.
  2. Add the Diced Tomatoes, carrots, the vegetable stock, beans and the spices.  Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Add pasta and cook for 15 minutes.  Add spinach during the last 3-4 minutes.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.

Hearty Minestrone Soup

Boy, did my body desire such a wonderful thing.

While I was in Paris I had a great time with my friend and making new friends, but the food was just not good for me. Chips, cookies, and other sweet thing just aren’t good for this body of mine. Do you understand what I am saying? No, this isn’t me just feeling guilty about what I’ve eaten. This is my internal organs screaming at me not to eat poorly ever again.

I hope you all enjoy this soup as much as I did.

Happy eating.

P.S. Here are some photos of my little weekend vacation. My friend is not in any of the photos as she hates camera’s, instead you will see my new friends.

The Eiffel Tower and I

IMG_2020
View from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower
IMG_2089
My new friend and I at the 1am Light Show

 

The Absolute Perfect White Fish Summer Salad!

How does one prevent smoke from making way to the smoke detector when frying some sort of meat? I know the easiest way to prevent it from going off is by opening windows and using doors or towels to “swoosh” the smoke out of the area, but really how do you not smoke up a place?

I know how to use all sorts of techniques in the kitchen but I have no idea how to prevent smoke from appearing as I fry fish or poultry.

(Well daddy, I hope you’re happy to know that my smoke detector works!)

Yes, today as I made my early dinner, I faced with a loud beeping from my smoke detector. I don’t know what I did as I tried to rip it from the ceiling, but it did finally stop (thank God!)

Besides having struggled with such a horrible (yet appropriate) machine, I also made a fantastic meal. A meal I may never make again due to my fear of having the smoke detector go off again.

Grilled Pangasius Spinach Salad

I actually may never make any non-vegetarian meals ever again because of that very fear. Well after this weekend that is, because I’ve purchased a few containers of shrimp at the same time that I purchased the pangasius used in this dish.

The lovely recipe for this dish is found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • a pinch of salt and pepper (to season fish)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 fresh pangasius fish fillets
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice

Instructions:

  1.        Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Remove from pan and set aside to keep warm.

  2.        In a small bowl, whisk the honey and lime juice together.

  3.        Preheat a large pan at medium-high heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, brushing the fish with the honey lime glaze.

  4.        Divide the spinach leaves over two dinner plates. Arrange the sautéed vegetables over the spinach and top with grilled. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over the salads. Lightly dash with olive oil and lime juice.

  5.        Serve immediately and enjoy!

I truly enjoyed this dish. Even though my fish was a bit on the burnt side along the edges, it tasted amazing! Best of all is that this recipe is for 2 people so I’ve got leftovers for a fantastic lunch tomorrow! I am excited. Especially since I do not have to fry the fish again and listen to the singing of my smoke alarm.

I feel like such an idiot because of that. I had to Facetime my mom in my distress from my incident. Instead we had a lovely twenty minute conversation.

 Anyway this meal is super light and very ideal for a summer dish. If it is hot where you’re at you should be making this white fish dish!

Enjoy your meal!

It’s Pizza Time!

Pizza – who doesn’t like it? It is one of the top favourites to be eaten as children and is often the best food for young adults in college. Or really, for everyone! So I tried to make a gluten free pizza crust for tonight.

Tried. And failed. All in the process of learning!

If I could, I would make a normal pizza crust with whatever Xanthan Gum is. But I haven’t been able to find this weird word which I cannot pronounce in any of the health food stores in the Netherlands, so I will have to opt out from making a real crust. Instead I went for a zucchini crust.

Before going in oven
Before going in oven

I can honestly tell you that zucchini spaghetti is much easier than making a crust.

I found the recipe here.

Ingredients:

Crust-

  • 1 egg
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • ¾ cup Parmesan
  • Salt

Toppings-

  • Pizza sauce
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450ᵒF (220ᵒC)

  2. Julienne zucchini and then chop. Then place in a bowl, sprinkle salt on zucchini and let sit for a few minutes.

  3. Remove water from zucchini – (Place paper towel on a plate and zucchini on plate, then press another paper towel and plate over zucchini to remove water. You could also press zucchini in colander and press a bowl into it)

  4. Mix the egg and Parmesan with dried zucchini.

  5. Spread zucchini mixture on a parchment paper or paper towel covered tray. Make dough batter about ½ inch thick and in a circle.

  6. Put in oven and cook until browned (approx. 15-20 minutes). While crust is cooking chop tomatoes, mushrooms, and whatever other toppings you want to add.

  7. Remove browned crust from the oven and spread pizza sauce over it. Add spinach, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and return to the oven for further cooking (I cooked it for an additional ten minutes)

  8. Remove and enjoy!

Zucchini Crust PizzaPretty simple. Except like I said above: I failed. You may be wondering how this happened.

Well, how it says above in the instructions that you need to strain the zucchini to remove the water – I did it. I just didn’t seem to do it that well. When I baked my crust it was far filled with liquid that I was unsure if the egg even cooked. I feared eating a semi-raw egg so ate a few bites and then ended up tossing the almost beautiful creation of a crust.

Instead I ate a small pot of cottage cheese. Maybe later I’ll enjoy some cereal as well. I’ve recently fallen in love with All-Bran cereal. When I was in Canada, I would eat it often but I never knew they had it here. Now I know and now I love it all over again.

Anyway, here are some photos from my outing yesterday. Mom, Austin, and I went to the lake to walk Austin. He swam like crazy in the water while I just enjoyed having on rubber boots and being able to walk in the water.

The child in me loves to step in mud and water with rubber boots.

Austin and I in the water!

Austin having trouble finding his stick!
Austin having trouble finding his stick!
Loving standing in the water!
Loving standing in the water!

Turkey Wrap Lunch & Quinoa Fried Rice Dinner

 When you live on your own do you just make one plate of food for the night or do you make a couple servings worth for a couple nights?

Usually I just make a meal for the one night, but last night I went for the big meal. It will probably benefit me to have a good lunch for tomorrow anyway. Although today’s lunch wasn’t all that bad either.

For lunch I made a turkey wrap with a sun dried tomato and corn salad while for dinner I went for quinoa fried “rice”. Both very healthy and very filling, thus being great meals!

For the wrap all you will need is the following:

  • A couple slices of turkey
  • Small head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons canned corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla wraps

Directions:

  1. Mix tomatoes and corn kernels together with oil and vinegar.

  2. Lay out two whole wheat tortillas and add turkey slices.

  3. Spread chopped head of lettuce over turkey and then spread tomato and corn mixture over that.

  4. Wrap up tortilla and keep tight, then enjoy.

Turkey, Tomato, and Corn wrapsThe recipe above is obviously for two people but I was a hungry monkey so I had both. Skipping breakfast means dealing with a hungry lady. Not smart.

So for dinner I had the not so fried rice, as it was quinoa. The recipe for that one can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned corn
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa as instructed on the bag (1 cup quinoa; 2 cups water)

  2. Chop all vegetables and set aside. 

  3. In a large frying pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry eggs. Flip once and then set aside. Once cool enough cut into thin slices.

  4. In same frying pan or wok heat another tablespoon of olive oil and add garlic and shallots. Cook until translucent. 

  5. Add chopped mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli to garlic and onion and fry for approximately 4 minutes. 

  6. Next add quinoa, corn, and chopped carrots and cook for another 2 minutes.

  7. Add ginger and soy sauce and toss in with quinoa mixture.

  8. Finally add egg and green onions and serve. 

Quinoa Fried RiceI am aware that this plate looks to be more vegetables than quinoa, but that is because the rest of the quinoa is in a tupperware container in my refrigerator. I didn’t quite proportion my plate that well.

All in all it was a very productive food filled day.

If you end up making either meal I am sure you will enjoy them. I definitely did.

Eet smakelijk!

 

 

Zoodles with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Happy Sinterklaasdag everyone!

Now I know that is incorrect “sinterklaasdag”, but what is it that they say to someone when it is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands? Because when it is Christmas in the rest of the world they say “Merry Christmas!” or when it is Easter it is “Happy Easter!”, but what do they say when it is Sinterklaas?

Sinterklaas is a Dutch iconic figure who is much like Santa Claus, but this man comes to the Netherlands on a boat with a white steed and little zwartepieten who are his helpers. The boat hails from Turkey (or so I think it does) and has many of presents for all the little ones who leave their shoes out of their houses. Sinterklaas then rides his white horse down each road to place treats and gifts in the shoes of the children while letting his horse eat the carrots and cookies left out for the animal. Anyway, that day in which all that gift giving from this man and the treat eating is today.

Many Dutch families all over the country are celebrating this day, while our not-so-Dutch Dutch family are not. Not that I mind, to me this is just a day on the calendar. The 25th of December is something to make a big deal about. What about for you? Do you have a special day to celebrate?

So for todays dinner I made zoodles! You know, zucchini noodles! They are so delicious, I do not know why I have not heard of them until recently.

Pesto Zoodles with Oven Baked Tomatoes

Doesn’t that just look delicious. Super festive with the color scheme, but also just purely good! I got the recipe from here. But here is the recipe that I did, because as you should know, I tweak everything.

  • 2 medium zucchinis

  • ½ pint multicolored cherry tomatoes

  • clove of garlic

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon organic pesto

  • sea salt and pepper 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ᵒF or 220ᵒC

  2. Clean and halve half pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes and toss in a splash of extra virgin olive oil until evenly coated. Crush and then chop a clove of garlic and add to tomato mixture. Sprinkle with a generous dash of sea salt and spread on a cookie sheet, seed side up.  (I used a small glass baking dish)

  3. Roast tomatoes for 15-20  minutes

  4. Use a julienne peeler to create zucchini noodles 

  5. Place a pot of water (below half of pan) on stove top and allow to boil.

  6. Once boiling put julienned zucchini into a colander and place colander over boiling water. Allow zoodles to become al dente.

  7. Once complete, place in a large mixing bowl combining zoodles with tablespoon of pesto (more to your preference) and mix well.

  8. To serve: place zoodles in a bowl, top with cherry tomatoes. Serve hot. 

This recipe is super easy and super delicious. Not to mention it is completely gluten free and vegan! It makes my body feel happy.

Zoodles with Tomatoes

I also then decided to treat myself to a perfect romantic meal for one. That makes me sound so lonely and pathetic. Stupid long distance relationship! So I poured myself a glass of wine and lit a couple candles.

Romantic Dinner for One

If you end up trying this recipe out, please let me know. I would love to know how you feel about these zucchini noodles!

 

Portobello Stuffed with a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad for Dinner

If I were to say I am addicted to mushrooms, what would you think I was speaking of? If you were thinking of those types of mushrooms you were very wrong.

Have you ever seen a mushroom farm? Where all the little caps of mushrooms are made in a dark wooden shelf with soil imbedded in it? If not you should really look it up. If so, just picture me supposedly meant to take the mushrooms out and clean them to then sell them… but instead of doing that I take the mushrooms from the soil, brush them off of the dirt, and eat them. Just like most little kids do when they feed ducks in the winter time. “One piece of bread for the duckies, one piece of bread for me…” except we are obviously talking about dirt covered mushrooms.

That is most definitely my addiction. The wonderful fungus of mushrooms.

I love sautéing them with garlic and spinach, I love grilling them and then adding them to a ratatouille, frying them with other vegetables before baking them then mixing them with quinoa, etc. Mushrooms are a heavenly fungus.

So tonight’s meal of choice was a Portobello mushroom stuffed with a tomato and mozzarella salad with a side of grilled eggplant and zucchini on a bed of spinach.

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The mushroom didn’t end up looking like a bowl for the tomato salad, but it did the trick nevertheless. Below is the recipe I followed for the Portobello stuffed with the Tomato and Mozza salad:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing grill pan
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms (about 5 inches in diameter), stemmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small to medium sized vine ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat).
  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on grill pan to prevent mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and basil and toss to coat. Season the tomato salad, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  5. Place 1 hot grilled mushroom gill side up on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato salad atop the mushrooms, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to finish, about 1 tablespoon and serve.

This recipe serves for 4 portions. I bring it down to one, so I use one tomato, one small clove of garlic, dried basil, and one mushroom.Image

The rest is pretty straight forward.

As for the grilled vegetables on the side, I just oiled up a pan with olive oil and put a few slices of eggplant and zucchini in the oil and fried until they suited my liking.

This is definitely one of the best dinners I’ve had. Best part: I followed the recipe perfectly. And I was doing it all by memory!

If you end up trying this out, please let me know how it turns out!