Friday, January 18, 2013

What I'm Eating: January 2013

In honor of the New Year, I've decided to start a new sort of post on Mix It Up.  As you may have seen above, it's called What I'm Eating.  It's basically just what it sounds like.

Each month, I'll take the time to share 5-10 of my favorite foods/recipes/food products that I've been eating lately.  Normally it will be things that I've discovered after the previous post of What I'm Eating, but because this is the very first one, it will feature things that are from as long ago as I feel like.

So, without further ado, let's begin.  Below is What I'm Eating...

A brussels sprouts dish inspired by this recipe.  Sorry for the bad picture.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts - I never ever thought these little guys would become one of my favorite veggies, but, what do you know, they did.  I absolutely adore brussels sprouts, as long as they're roasted until tender and slightly browned.  God, it's so good.  And you can pair a whole bunch of flavors with them as well.  I've found that dried cranberries, maple syrup, and/or  balsamic vinegar are especially good.  Here are some recipe that I've tried, or would love to try, to help you get over your brussels sprout fear:

  • Roasted Grapes with Brussel Sprouts - I like this recipe because it's different.  Grapes and brussel sprouts aren't something I stumble upon often in one dish, and I had never had grapes roasted prior to trying this.  Well, yum.  The sweet grapes pair quite well with the brussels, and your taste buds are sure in for a surprise when you dig in.  I may or may not have eaten it with my fingers while standing over the stove.
  • Israeli Couscous with Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries - my very own recipe, and another tried and true favorite.  It's a bit more substantial than the other recipes, thanks to the couscous, so if you're looking for more of a light meal than a side dish, this may be the better choice.  And if you want to go totally crazy, add bacon.  Bacon makes everything better.

Trader Joes Cranberry Cranberry Chèvre Log - first of all, Trader Joes is like the best store ever.  I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot from there.  They also happen to have pretty yummy samples... or they did the day they were offering this cheese at least.  I tried some, liked it, and bought it.  Just like that.  It's not something I would have been likely to buy otherwise, as I'm not such of a cheese fan (I know, I know, it's weird), but thanks to that sample table, I'm now a goat cheese lover.  Just a warning to anyone wanting to try it, the appearance is a bit funny.  Don't let it scare you away though, this cheese is GOOD.  Spread it on crackers (a seedy type is best), toast, or the bread of your sandwich, and you're in for a tasty treat.  Just a note: I bought this around Thanksgiving, and I'm not positive, but I think it may be a seasonal product.  Sorry about that!  Just keep an eye out for it next year.  There are also similar products at other stores, if you want it sooner (I don't blame you).

Sweet Potato Desserts - no, I'm not talking about the butter, brown sugar, and marshmallow type.  The thought of those almost makes me want to barf.  When I say Sweet Potato Desserts, what I really mean are yummy desserts that take advantage of the awesome taste, texture, and color of sweet potato.  You've already seen one of my creations (link to it), but judging bu all the recipe ideas running through my head, there will be many more.  In the meantime, here are some recipes to help you jump on board the healthy sweet potato dessert bandwagon.
  • Sweet Potato Beet Cake - I've already mentioned this one, but it's too good not share again.  A fudgy cake, with an even fudgier frosting, this totally unique chocolate dessert takes advantage of the sweet potatoes creamy texture as well as the earthiness of beets.  It like nothing you've ever tasted before, in the best if ways.  You don't want to miss out on this dessert!
  • Sweet Potato Avocado Brownies - I haven't tried the exact recipe for these, but I have  modified it to be a bit less decadent (and nut-free).  That version turned out rather nicely, so I highly recommend checking out the original.  It's got a chocolate hazelnut frosting that looks and sounds simply incredible, so I have no doubt the brownies will be a decadent and delicious dessert.  And even If you don't plan on making them, I'd click the link just so you can drool over the pictures.  The one with the dirty spoon is my favorite.
  • Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Jar Cakes - You better bet I want to try these.  A sweet potato cake is something I can't say I've ever had, but based on the pictures from this post, it's definitely something I'd like to try.  And so so so cute when baked into the little jars.  Oh yeah, and there's chocolate involved.  I'm thinking this recipe is definitely a winner.

Whole Foods 365 Bite Size Stoneground Crackers - These are currently my favorite crackers.  They're salty, crunchy, and have the perfect size.  I've tried other stoneground crackers in hopes of finding another favorite, but they just don't do it for me.  It's gotta be the bite size stoneground crackers that you buy from whole foods for a higher price than you should.  Call me crazy, but it's true.  I love them some much that I've even speculated about how I could make them myself (anyone know how to make crunchy crackers?).  Some of my favorite ways to enjoy the crackers are with goat cheese (of the cranberry variety perhaps), a thick slather of jam, or straight from the bag by the handful.  Yeah, I like that last one a lot.

Glazed Salmon - I eat salmon once a week, and almost every time it's with some sort of glaze on it.  One time I ate it with a spice rub instead and it just plain wasn't as good.  Now, I pretty much only make salmon with some sort of marinade or glaze.  The sticky, slurpy, texture it adds to a salmon dish is the best thing ever, especially when you scoop up all the extra glaze after the fish is done baking and slurp it off a spoon.  It sounds bad... But it's so good.  Here are some of my favorite recipes so that you can taste this awesomeness too.
  • Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon - I use this recipe to make salmon the most often.  I love it because its easy, tasty, and pretty fast too.  I use the sweet chili glaze from Trader Joes , but feel free to use your favorite brand. It all depends on what you like best.  You can also switch out the veggies in the recipe for some of your favorites.  I'm a fan of asparagus or green beans.
  • Honey Thyme Glazed Trout or Salmon - I've tried this recipe several times as well (sometimes with salmon, sometimes with trout).  It's pretty different from the first one, but still just as yummy.  I never follow the exact recipe, however, so I'm not sure what would happen if you did.  The changes I typically make are adding soy sauce, some olive oil, and baking instead if broiling until done.  With those changes, the result is pretty darn delicious, and a great meal too.

Peanut Butter & Co Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter - I had heard good things about this before trying it, and was pretty sure it would be something I'd love.  The only problem was that it was so darn expensive.  It seemed crazy to spend the going price for a little jar.  Then one day I found it on sale... And I pounced.  You guys, it's so yummy.  The peanut butter spread has a lot if cinnamon flavor, a couple raisins scattered about, and a really unique texture.  The texture was what surprised me the most.  It's a bit granule, like little sugar crystals are scattered through it.  Maybe that doesn't sound super appealing, but it really adds a uniqueness to the spread.  Almost like you're eating what would still be on the knife after spreading peanut butter on a slice of cinnamon raisin bread.  My ultimate favorite way to eat this awesome butter is by the spoonful (as with many nut butters), but if you prefer to be more proper, its also great on apple slices or just plain old toast.  I imagine it would be a pretty good oatmeal topper too.  Now that I've tried it, I'm working on creating my own version... I'll keep you posted on that.

Yogurt and Cereal Parfait - I found a way to make cereal filling!  One of my most common breakfasts these days consists of some sort of cereal, Greek yogurt, and whatever fruit I happen to have on hand.  I layer it all into a pretty little parfait and it makes for a fast and satisfying breakfast.  I've even started to scour the grocery store for new cereals to try in my creations.  I try to stick to low sugar brands, that will go well with lots if flavors.  Some types that I've tried and liked are Corn Chex, Cinnamon Puffins, and Kashi Crunch.  The fruits I use in the parfaits are usually frozen, or pretty easy to come by.  Apples coated in cinnamon, frozen mixed berries, and frozen mango are some common ones.  As for the yogurt, mostly its just plain 0%, but sometimes I mix it up with some fruit flavors or vanilla.  Here are some fun flavor combinations in case you want to make your own parfait:
  • Apple Pie -0% vanilla Greek yogurt layered with your favorite cereal, and  some warmed and cinnamon coated apples.  To make the apples, just microwave the pieces, after sprinkling with cinnamon, for a minute or so.
  • Blueberry Overload - 1 individual container of fruit at the bottom blueberry chobani, a cereal of choice (if its berry flavored, even better) and plenty of frozen blueberries.  This one may stain your lips purple, but it's worth it!

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