Word to Earth, Wind, and Fire….
I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in 3 years because it’s so close to Christmas. Since I’ve been in Michigan, I’ve just cooked a small two-serving dinner** (for myself) and call it done.
Then there was Christmas. I did really good this time. Christmas 2012, I gained 6 pounds in the 7 days I was in GA. In 2013, I gained 4 pounds for the entire month of December (two pounds during the 9 days I spent in GA)!
I didn’t go hard in the paint with my indulgences (although there was definitely pound cake OWN DECK). I also kept snacks handy while traveling. And I had a small but satisfying NYE dinner (oxtails from my favorite Jamaican spot).
But alas, it was time to get back to normal. It was a short week so i didn’t need that much food. This post represents the first meals I cooked in 2014! EXCITING, RIGHT??!?!? I felt that if I started the year with meals that were both healthy and good dennamug that I’d be starting my year off right. All of these meals were prepared and eaten on January 1st! 🙂
Salmon Cakes with Long-Grain Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli (Pescetarian)
I’ve completely ditched the Cooking Light Salmon Croquettes in lieu of this Fitness Magazine Salmon Cakes recipe. While I was at home, I had the opportunity to make it how my mom does, with fresh salmon. Both are delicious but the cakes made with fresh salmon are really moist!
Changes: I didn’t drain the canned salmon like I usually do. This allowed my cakes to be more moist. I also ran out of whole wheat bread crumbs so I used panko to make up the difference. And I only had 2 tablespoons of mayo. It ended up being the perfect amount of sauce since my cakes weren’t dry this time.
Alt: Use fresh Atlantic wild-caught salmon when your budget allows or if you don’t mind extra work***.
Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup (Vegetarian)
Red Lentils purchased at my local Farmer’s Market
A couple months ago, I went to a local cafe to meet my partner**** because nobody likes going to the office on the weekend. It took a while to order because I had to be sure everything was vegetarian (yes, I’ve become one of those people). I ended up ordering their lentil soup and a caprese style panini. THAT MEAL WAS DELICIOUS! *slides off chair and drools*
I love lentils! Why didn’t I think to look up a lentil soup recipe sooner??!?!? Sir Alton be knowing because I found one right there in Book 2 of his Good Eats series (or if you like links, click here). I expected it to be a little different but it tasted almost exactly the same! *slides off chair again*
Changes: This is the second time I made it. I used more vegetables (celery, onion, carrots) because I wanted it to be more filling. I also did not have Grains of Paradise.
Alt: Find a bottle of Grains of Paradise!
Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Honey (Vegetarian)
Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats (I usually get them from the Farmer’s Market)
For Steel Cut Oats
My Ingredients: 1 cup of steel cut oats, 4? cups of water, 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
My Method: Cook for 6 hours on LOW in a 2-quart crockpot. Separate into 4-5 servings and refrigerate. Each day, reheat and add greek yogurt, honey, ground flaxseed and apples if they weren’t in the crockpot.
Alt: Add ¼ cup of barley to the crockpot. You can also add 2 diced granny smith apples to the crockpot. Sometimes I add half and half if I happen to have some left over from another recipe.
For Old-Fashion (Rolled) Oats
My Ingredients: ⅓ to ½ cup of oats, 1 cup of water (or milk), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
My Method: Add oats and water to a plastic container that’s big enough for expansion. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, heat in the microwave uncovered for 1 – 2 minutes. Add cinnamon, greek yogurt, honey, and ground flaxseed. Enjoy!
Alt: Most fruit goes well here, I like sauteed granny smith apples. Add whatever flavor combo your heart desires.
I know oatmeal is an odd snack but I love it because our office is always cold. Having a nice, warm snack around 3pm is a great way to perk yourself up!
Blueberries and Banana Green Smoothie
Y’all know I love smoothies for breakfast but winter is really testing my breakfast life. 🙁
My Ingredients: 2 Handfuls of Spinach, ½ cup Blueberries, ½ a Banana, Ground Flaxseed Meal, 2% Greek Yogurt, Water
My Method: Using the large Nutribullet cup, I add the ingredients in the order above and blend.
Alt: I like to add green tea but sometimes I forget to brew it ahead of time. You can do this several ways:
Option 1) Warm up (do not boil) about 2 cups of water as soon as you wake up (I use a small spouted pot on the stove). Place it in a plastic hot/cold tumbler***** with 1 -2 tea bags and let steep for a few minutes. Place it in the freezer. By the time you make your smoothie, it’ll be cool.
Option 2) Pour at least 8 cups of water into a large pot and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and wait for the bubbling to stop. Add 8 tea bags (or if using a tea ball, the equivalent to 8 cups of tea) and cover the pot to steep. Steeping time is up to you and your tea******. Again, depending on your tea, you can leave the tea bags or remove them. You can pour the tea into mason jars or a pitcher at this point but do not put it in the fridge until the tea has cooled.
What meals did you start 2014 with? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and share!
P.S. Yes! I took those photos myself! The lentils and rolled oats were shots from my first practice day. I hope to get better 🙂
*He was actually at the BET awards during the Franke/Maze tribute but it still works.
**The past two years, I’ve tried making duck (my favorite meat). 2012’s duck breast filets were okay. 2013’s duck leg quarters were PERFECT! 2013’s Thanksgiving included: Leg quarters, braised collard greens, cornbread and challah dressing, apple pie and ice cream! I bought 1 pint of ice cream (Homemade brand) and two cute 3” pies.
*** I usually only buy salmon filets when I’m eating them as is. That’s because scaling a 1-pound filet of salmon seems like a lot of work. My mom showed me how to do it quickly so I’ll try it next time 🙂
****I’m an advertising Art Director. My partner is a Copywriter.
*****Do not place it in a ceramic tumbler nor a glass mason jar. It will break. Trust me -_-
******I like to use Trader Joe’s Organic Green Tea. That’s because it doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor of its own. Also, unlike some teas (Tevana’s Gyokuro Imperial Green Tea), it doesn’t get bitter as it cools. Please be mindful of what kind of green tea you’re using.