8/10/2016

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE FOOD PREP TIPS...

I got my camera out and took photos of food! Can you believe it?? I can't either... I know it's been a while since food has made an appearance on the blog. It's all because food and I have been redeveloping our relationship over these last few months. My new diet has required me to eliminate lots of foods that were familiar and easy for me to make for foods that are mostly organic and freshly prepared. That's fine, but preparing food like that takes lots of planning and time! Foods like that either taste really good or really bad, can go bad fast, and can get boring. So once I find, make, and tweak recipes, I then focus on finding ways to save time on making them so that I'm not living in my kitchen! I figured I would share a few simple fruit and vegetable food prep tips today for some of my go-to quick recipes- tips I think would be helpful for anyone no matter what! I promise I will share some more in-depth recipes soon, but this post will at least give you some good basics!

SPIRALIZED VEGETABLES

I've been substituting vegetable noodles for pasta and I LOVE them!! It's true that you eat with your eyes first, so just looking at these for me makes me want to eat them. I use this spiralizer (love it!) to make cucumber, sweet potato, zucchini, squash, and carrot noodles. They look so pretty and they can be spiralized ahead of time. 

How I prep them: I typically spiralize the vegetables on Sundays and simply store them in a container in the fridge. They will keep for up to 3-4 days, and cook quickly, which are huge time savers for me.  

How I cook them: I simply saute zucchini, and squash noodles to make a quick side dish or base of a "pasta" dish. I start by sauteing some onion and garlic in a pan with a little olive oil. I then add the vegetables and cook them for about 5-6 minutes or until they are mostly soft, but still have a slight bite to them. If I am cooking zucchini or squash noodles, I season them with salt and pepper at the end. Seasoning them while they are cooking draws out their water, leaving you with a watery, gloopy mess once they are done. I cook sweet potato noodles the same way, except  I use coconut oil instead of olive oil. I also add a little cinnamon. So good. Raw spiralized cucumbers and carrots make great ingredients for salads...

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Roasting vegetables in the oven during the summer months may be a bit much, but the way they taste makes a hot kitchen so worth it!! Roasting them really boosts their flavor and they make the perfect easy side dish, base for quick soups, or tasty addition to salads. 

How I prep them: Vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts have longer shelf lives than other vegetables, so I like to prep and wash them early in the week. I wash and cut up the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and store them in a container for up to 3-4 days. I make sure they are the same size in case I decide to roast them together. I sometimes "rice" cauliflower using a box grater. I store the rice in a large freezer bag so that I can whip up some cauliflower rice (I use this recipe) in a pinch during the week. I wash, trim, and halve brussels spouts and store them in a container in the fridge as well. 

How I cook them

Roasted Vegetables: I love mixed roasted veggies just as much as I love them roasted alone. If I roast mixed veggies, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. I add the veggies to the pan (make sure they are the same size so they cook evenly). I spread them out (so they roast instead of steam) and drizzle them with either avocado oil or olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons for a large batch) and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until they are golden and tender. 

Roasted Broccoli: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the prepared broccoli florets out on the pan and season it with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Don't forget the lemon zest!! Toss them in some olive oil, spread them back out, and roast them for about 20 minutes, or until they are kinda toasty on top. A little drizzle of fresh lemon juice is really good to add at the end, but that's optional... 


FRUIT

Fruit is the only sweet thing I can have these days, which means fruit is everything to me. I buy all kinds of it and eat it in lots of different ways! Here's some of what I do with them:

How I prep and eat it:

Bananas: I use fresh bananas in my breakfast smoothie each day and I make ice cream out of them! I simply freeze 3 or 4 whole ripe bananas (minus the skins). I then chop them up, put them in a food processor, and blend for about 5-7 minutes until really smooth. You have to scrape the mixture down a few times during the process, but what's left is soft serve banana ice cream. HEAVEN! Sometimes I'll add cinnamon, vanilla extract, or melted high-quality non-dairy dark chocolate chips. This diet always gives me major FOMO - but I don't feel that way when I eat this "ice cream." It's that good... 

Berries: Berries are at their finest and cheapest in the summers, so I take advantage of that. I will often buy them in bulk, wash them, and freeze them for my smoothies. Buying them and freezing them on your own in the summer is often cheaper than buying them in the freezer section of the grocery store. However, the frozen berries at Costco are always a good deal... 

Salad Dressings: If I have some fruit that is about to go bad, I love to make homemade salad dressing out of them! I simply put about 1/2 cup of fruit in my Vitamix with about 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice - then blend! Strawberry salad dressing is my fave. I often add fresh chopped basil to the mix when I make that. Oh and peach salad dressing is amazing, too... 

Green Juices: I make a fresh green juice about every other day. So sometimes on Sundays, I will make "juicing bags" that include all of the ingredients for one juice. My favorite green juice mix is a handful of a dark leafy green, parsley, 1 carrot, 2 stalks of celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1 apple, and 1/2 of a peeled lemon. I chop those ingredients up, divide them into single servings (minus the greens - otherwise they get soggy), and place each serving into a plastic bag. I squeeze the juice of the lemon into the bag to keep the apple from turning brown, then toss in the flesh. Once that's done, all I have to do during the week is grab a bag from the fridge, dump the contents in my Vitamix, add the greens, add a tiny bit of water, and blend! I then strain it using this nut bag to get a smooth juice. I don't have a juicer and this method works perfectly... 


Phew!! I know this was long, but I hope it's helpful! I promise I will share actual recipes with you soon!
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2 comments:

  1. We love our spiralizer! I got the girls each a handheld one made by OXO, and it is super easy to use and clean.
    I need to put my juice ingredients in bags like you. Would make it so much faster to have everything already prepped.
    Katie's food tests came back! No Dairy!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very useful and easy to follow tips in preparing foods. Something that students from http://essaywriting.education/ should learn to adopt.

    ReplyDelete

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