FOOD & DRINK

FOUR EASY GREENS TO GROW INDOORS

06/20/2016

Indoor_Greens

I’ve been cooking more (one of my New Year’s goals that I have managed to follow through with!), and it has brought a lot of life into my kitchen. Instead of always running to the store for that missing ingredient, I’ve learned that you can easily grow greens right on your kitchen counter—from basil to parsley to mint and many more. There’s something a little special about growing your own food and it’s way more convenient, too! Here are four easy indoor edible plants I want to grow…

Scallions. Place a handful of scallions (with their roots attached) in a full glass of water, then place in a sunny window. Cut off what you need to use for cooking, and the scallions will regrow overnight! Who knew? Tip: change the water a few times a week for maximum growth.

Cilantro. This herb requires plenty of sunlight and nutrient-rich soil. Make sure to only water when soil is dry, and plant in a pot with plenty of drainage holes (terra cotta is preferable). When growing inside, start with seeds or starter plants, and make sure each plant is at least 4 inches apart. Mexican food is a staple in this family, so our cilantro will be used on the reg!

Basil. Similar to cilantro, basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. All that is required is to plant it in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. It is important that the pot provides adequate drainage, as the basil roots will rot if over saturated. Basil should always be placed in a sunny window, and ideally receive at least six hours of direct sunlight a day.

Avocado. I was surprised to learn that you can grow your own avocados indoors. I eat avocado almost everyday, so this is huge! The process is a bit more labor intensive than the others, but I’m betting it’s well worth it. First, remove the avocado pit and rinse it under cold water until clean. Root the pit with the pointed side up and stabilize with four toothpicks along the side of a dish for balance. Next, fill the dish with water until the pit is halfway submerged, and make sure to change the water every few days. Once the stem reaches 6 inches long, cut it in half and let it regrow. Then, when the roots become thicker, plant it and let the stem grow to a foot in length. It may take up to a year for the plant to start producing fruit, but that’s worth the wait for avocado lovers like myself.

Photos courtesy of: 17apart, divinecaroline, motherearthliving, and inhabitat.

 

A HANGOVER CURE?

06/15/2016

hangoverWe’ve all been there… Waking up with a pounding headache, feeling nauseous, and desperately searching for the nearest cup of water. And while we obviously try to avoid these mornings, sometimes they just happen. Over the years, I’ve heard of various hangover cures: greasy food, hair of the dog, sports drinks, an ice-cold Coca-Cola, Pedialyte, coffee, pain medication, and the list goes on. A couple of weeks ago, I was at my friend’s house and after a couple of margaritas I started worrying about the potential hangover in my near future. She then looked at me and said “Charcoal!” I was puzzled and asked her what she meant and she handed me a few charcoal supplements and swore by their magical powers to prevent that morning-after dread. I looked it up, and learned that activated charcoal capsules work as a digestive aid and essentially absorb dissolved chemicals (i.e. alcohol) as they pass through the body. I woke up the next morning feeling like a million bucks. It was a miracle cure, and an easy one at that! Beware though, activated charcoal can cause constipation—that’s one thing my friend didn’t mention. ;)

You can read more about activated charcoal and other hangover cures here, and feel free to share any of your personal remedies below.

Footnote: I am speaking from personal experience. I am not a doctor, nor is my friend. It’s always a good idea to check with your care provider before taking supplements.

Image above via Getty.

BLD / 05

06/02/2016

This week we made and ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the course of a quiet and rainy day. Although I am eagerly awaiting a kitchen remodel, there is something soothing about cooking each meal in-house. For breakfast we made oatmeal, for lunch we made a quinoa and cherry tomato salad, and for dinner we whipped up a simple (and delicious!) egg noodle pasta dish.

Breakfast
Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1 cup raw oats
1 cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons PB2
1/2 sliced banana
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 tablespoon Bee pollen
Honey

In a medium pot, pour the raw oats in with equal parts water or desired milk. Cook on low heat while stirring. Once the oats begin to bind with the liquid, stir in PB2, remove from heat and place in bowl. Garnish with fruit, a drizzle of honey, bee pollen, or whichever toppings you prefer. Enjoy!

Lunch
Quinoa salad

Ingredients:
3 cups quinoa
Avocado
Cherry tomatoes
Shallots
Cucumber
Balsamic vinaigrette (we used Tessemae’s)
Salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa with water in a small pot over moderately low heat until the water has been absorbed. Transfer the quinoa into a bowl and let cool. Chop cherry tomatoes (we used yellow and red), avocado, shallots, and cucumber into small pieces and mix into quinoa. Lastly, drizzle balsamic vinaigrette (or whichever dressing you prefer) on top, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and done!

Dinner
Egg noodle pasta

Ingredients
Egg noodles
1 package of frozen peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)
Salt and pepper
Pecorino cheese

This pasta dish is surprisingly simple, fresh, and delicious. Start by boiling water and cooking noodles to desired softness. Meanwhile, add the peas to a small saucepan and heat them on medium until warmed through. This will typically happen between 2 and 3 minutes, so make sure to stand by as they boil. Once the pasta and peas are ready, mix together in a large bowl with olive oil and lemon juice. Finally, add salt and pepper and garnish with a ton of grated pecorino cheese. The more the merrier!

SUNDAY’S CAKE

05/17/2016

2 1

So, this cake may not be the prettiest, but I promise it tastes really good. Ha! The kids were stoked because it’s a Happy Potter cake.

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Maple Sauce

You will need:

12-16 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup hot water
½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs

Maple Sauce
¼ cup grade B maple syrup
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup heavy cream at room temperature or warmed

Begin by moving a baking rack to the center of the oven and preheating to 350°F degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan and set aside. In a small bowl, add the dates, hot water, and baking soda—stirring to dissolve. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes, then combine in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour in the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup, processing until well-combined. Next, add the butter and eggs, and process until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter or the cake will come out tough! Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or just until the cake is golden brown and springy. In the meantime, start the maple sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk the maple syrup and butter together until well-blended, then slowly whisk in the cream. (The mixture should be kind of soupy.) Let the sauce sit at room temperature as the cake bakes and line a large plate with parchment paper. Once the cake is removed from the oven, pour ⅓ of the sauce over the top evenly while it cools. When the cake is completely cooled, invert it onto the lined plate, then immediately invert it again onto a serving plate, making it right-side up. Serve slices of the cake warm or at room temperature and pour a little extra sauce on top of each slice. Store the cake in plastic wrap at room temperature for 3 days and the sauce in a refrigerated airtight container for up to 1 week. The sauce can thicken, so you might need to whisk it and possibly warm it before serving.

Recipe via Baking With Less Sugar by Joanne Chang.

 

CRAVING COMFORT FOOD

05/10/2016

4ComfortFoods_Bleubird

Lately I have been craving rich, buttery, carb-filled, comfort food. It may be because I have been eating very clean for the past five months and I just need a good burger here and there (Little Octopus—owned by my friend Sarah Gavigan—in Nashville has the best in my opinion!). I think I will try the balance of clean-eating during the week, and eating what I want, in moderation, on the weekends. Besides, it’s almost river season, and we love a good grilled cheese, piled high with melty cheese, prosciutto, and grainy Dijon mustard dipped in creamy tomato basil soup by the water.

Here are four recipes that I want to try, including one salad for good measure: Grilled Brie with Bacon and Pear. Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Butter Sauce. Roasted Salad with Marinated Chickpeas and Lentils. Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs.

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