Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

The more I read food blogs, the more I notice an absolute obsession with oatmeal.  Kath Eath Real Food.  The Gracious Pantry.  There are many others.

I never shared the obsession.  I always thought oatmeal was...just...okay.

I was wrong.

The problem was that I had never gotten creative enough with my ingredients.  And that I had never included any egg whites (who knew?).

This recipe will work with regular or instant oats.  If you use instant / packet oats, be sure the only ingredients are oats (or other whole grains / seeds) and maybe a pinch of salt.  No sugar.  No flavorings.  No colors.  No other ingredients at all.  In general, I would recommend steel-cut oats or other long-cooking, minimally-processed oats.  But instant is what I happened to have on hand.

This will make the world's most filling breakfast, given the protein from the oats, the egg whites, and the nuts, and the fiber from the oats and the carrot.  You might not feel a desire to eat again all day!

One packet of instant oats
Water, according to packet instructions
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 cup of finely grated carrot (about 3 carrots' worth)
small handful of walnuts
sprinkle ground cloves
sprinkle ground nutmeg
sprinkle ground cinnamon

Prepare the oatmeal according to instructions.  When the oatmeal has been fully prepared, stir in the (raw) egg whites.  Fear not -- the heat of the oatmeal will cook them!  You will be amazed at how fluffy the oats get when you stir in the egg whites.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Prepare to become obsessed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Luck o' the Irish!

My name is Erin.  My favorite color is green.

You can see where this is going...


Tonight's dinner feast was pork tenderloin, warm apple slaw, and colcannon.

I am amazed by how simple these dishes were to prepare, what a great use of fresh, seasonal vegetables (in February!) they were, and how tasty they turned out.

I was inspired by the recipes I found at The Irish Chef and Simply Recipes, as well as by an abundance of winter produce kicking around my countertop and fridge!

1-pound pork tenderloin
4-5 potatoes
20 Brussels sprouts
1 onion
2 apples
3 cups kale
3 green onions
3 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of milk
1/2 stick of butter
cracked black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Rub the pork tenderloin with enough honey to coat (about 1-2 tablespoons).  Sprinkle with cracked black pepper.  Place on a greased baking sheet and put in the oven for 30-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Chop potatoes, shred Brussels sprouts, slice onion,  dice apples, rip kale, and cut green onions.

When the water comes to a boil, put the potatoes in and cook for 20 minutes.

In a skillet, put one tablespoon of olive oil.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat and then add the Brussels sprouts, onions, and apples.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then add 2 tablespoons of honey.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

Drain the potatoes.  Place potatoes in a large bowl with 1 cup of skim milk, half a stick of unsalted butter, kale, and green onions.  Mash together.

Slice the pork tenderloin into one-inch-thick pieces to serve.

The pork is tastiest when eaten with a forkful of the warm apple slaw and the colcannon makes a comfort-food side dish that is still packed with vitamins.

Here's the warm apple slaw:

And here's the colcannon:

I'm usually a big fan of spicy food, like Habanero Bison Chili.  I usually avoid food that is any way bland.  But there is something really nice about the subtle flavors of Irish food every now and then.

Especially because my name is Erin!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Garlicky, Lemony Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

I haven't been eating very well for the past couple of days.

Restaurant and convenience foods came back into my life in a big way in the past week or so.  With a stressful job and two kids, something's gotta give sometimes.  I'm okay with that.

But I'm learning the hard way that rich, salty, sugary, fatty foods don't agree with a healthy body.  I've had an upset stomach and a headache, and felt extremely sluggish, for the past few days.  It's no way to feel when you have a to-do list as big as mine.

So it was time to get back on track.

I wanted to make something outrageously healthy and fresh to remind my body what good food is all about.

I combined Bethesda Locavore's Garlicky, Lemony, Kale Salad recipe (I love her "nothing gets measured/everything gets tossed" style...) with Bon Appetit's Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad.  I read both recipes and then did my own thing.  I basically used Bethesda Locavore's recipe, but with the additions of Brussels sprouts and almonds from Bon Appetit.

The result was a bright and happy salad that seemed to have no place as a seasonal recipe in gloomy February.  It was like eating sunshine itself.  Which is, of course, the entire point of eating food at all.

The recipe is simple: Put all this stuff in a bowl and toss, according to your hunger and taste:

Kale, chopped
Raw Brussels sprouts, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil
Clove of garlic, crushed
Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
Raw almonds
Black pepper

I was so excited to eat this, I just put a fork in the mixing bowl and chowed down.  I didn't even bother with a serving bowl.  :-)

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