Day 38! (TUNA WEEK)

August 29, 2012

Well, it’s official. We love tuna. This week we’ve made an assortment of tuna dishes. Chris’ brother gave us a whole pound of flash-frozen tuna a while ago. We’ve been holding onto it but this week seemed like the perfect time to whip up some tuna recipes. We thawed the tuna for about 24 hours and it should stay good for about 4 days.

Tonight we made tuna tartare with some zucchini chips on the side. The recipe is from Spoon Fork Bacon, and it is super simple. We just didn’t use the endive leaves because we forgot to buy them!

Tuna Tartare with Belgium Endive Leaves
Serves 3 to 5

Ingredients:
8 ounces chilled Ahi grade tuna, diced
yuzu marinade:
1 ½ tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon yuzu extract (juice)
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon wasabi powder

¼ medium fennel bulb, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
garnish:
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

2 Belgium endives, cut into individual leaves

Directions:
1. Place tuna in a mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In a small bowl mix together the marinade ingredients until well combined.
3. Pour marinade over the tuna and gently stir together.
5. Add fennel, garlic, ginger, and green onion to tuna mixture and carefully fold together until combined.
5. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and serve with endive leaves.

If you’re interested in the zucchini chips check out this recipe. It only takes about 10 minutes. Just a warning, they are much better served warm.

This week we also made fresh tuna tacos (which went great with Chris’ guacamole) and tuna salad (which we turned into the best tuna melts we’ve ever tasted). Surprisingly, the quickest thing we made was the tuna tacos and the recipe that took the longest was just the simple tuna salad. However, both were great! Tomorrow, we’re making tuna avocado dip. Any suggestions for what to make with it?

Check out the pics below!

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Oh and just a pic of Chris and Ellay being cuties (while I do homework)…

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We sit here writing this post as we chow down on some corn soup (and while watching White Collar). This soup is delicious and perfect for a rainy Chicago day like today.  We didn’t use Chipotle peppers but we added enough peppers and spices to give it a good kick!

Today, after conquering Whole Foods, we also made chocolate zucchini bread, guacamole, and chocolate syrup (to make chocolate milk!). A pretty interesting combination, we know! Tomorrow starts Nikki’s first week of nursing school (the last semester!) so we’re expecting things to get a little chaotic. Therefore, we’re really working on making Sunday our main cooking and “prep” day for the week. Also, for those of you not on Pinterest yet, we highly recommend signing up. It is a great way to find awesome recipes and creative blogs!

As usual, below are some pics… we’ll post some recipes later (just. too. damn. tired).

Chocolate Syrup

 

Chris’ Guacamole

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

 

Spicy Corn Soup

 

 

And as the title states… this week is TUNA WEEK! Meaning, we will be making a number of dishes surrounding tuna (duh!). Tomorrow, we will make tuna tacos! Yum!

Hey Everyone! 

We definitely failed at blogging while on vacation. We kept ourselves busy being tourists and we spent very little time in our hotel room or on our laptops. We had a wonderful vacation! It was nice to catch up with Nikki’s grandpa and our friends. Arizona is beautiful (and VERY hot) and we loved the mountain views. As expected, we ate at some fantastic restaurants. It felt like all we did was eat! 

To be honest, we could have done better with our “no processed foods” diet. It’s not that we went out of the way to eat processed foods, but we ate out so much that sometimes we would forget to ask what was in certain menu items or we would eat food and realize later that it probably wasn’t fresh. That being said, we did try to pick restaurants that were known for using fresh, local ingredients. We’re a bit disappointed in ourselves because we’ve worked so hard, but we’re not going to give up! We’re getting back on track today and we’ll continue forward from here. We’re actually looking forward to doing some of our own cooking again!

Here are some of our good eats along the way—

Pizzeria Bianco

http://www.pizzeriabianco.com/

Some people swear this is the best pizza in the world. On the weekend you can be looking at a 2+ hour wait to get it. Did we think it was the best pizza we’ve ever had? Well, we’ll let ya try it for yourselves 😉

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St. Francis

http://www.stfrancisaz.com/

Word to the wise: if your on vacation (or just happen to be home during the day) check out happy hours. That’s how we stumbled across this place. Good happy hour specials, good food, and great cocktails! 

 

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Culinary Dropout

http://foxrc.com/restaurants/culinary-dropout/

Culinary Dropout is part of a large restaurant company which has fun places all over Phoenix. We went here for lunch. It’s a little pricey just for lunch, but these pretzel rolls were to die for. Chris loved the fish and chips, as for Nikki’s seared tuna salad..eh we could take it or leave it. 

 

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Quince

http://visitjeromeaz.com/

Words can’t really express how much we loved this place. The food was original (yes, even for New Mexican food), interesting, and delicious. The atmosphere is really fun and colorful. If you visit Phoenix, we highly recommend you make the trip to Jerome, Arizona. There are wineries, funky little shops, and good food. It was totally worth the 2 hour drive. 

 

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House of Tricks

www.houseoftricks.com

 

Okay, okay now we know this isn’t a food picture, but we were too busy eating that we forgot to take pictures until the end! This place came highly recommended to us, so we had to check it out. It was a beautiful night so we even got to sit outside and enjoy a nice bottle of wine. The food was very good (fabulous Salmon) and the service was great. 

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We’re heading to Arizona tomorrow! We’re all packed- just enjoying some stir-fry and a glass of wine. We’re going to be meeting up with my grandpa, and our friends Mike and Jess. Mike and Jess are foodies like us, so we’re definitely looking forward to their pick for dinner. Hopefully they can clue us in on other good eats around Phoenix. We’ve been busy working and packing for the trip, but we’ve made a couple good meals, too. 

Spaghetti Squash! Not sure the picture does it justice, but this was sooo good. It is so simple to make. Just cut it in half, remove the seeds and pulp, and bake it in the oven. It’s like spaghetti.. but without the carb overload. You can eat it with pasta sauce or just some salt and pepper. We chose pesto sauce with a little cheese and tomatoes. 

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Leftover Veggie Stir Fry! We’re trying to use the last of everything before we leave tomorrow, so we decided to make a veggie stir fry with all of our leftover vegetables. We also added some brown rice. Filling and healthy!

 

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We grabbed a couple of snacks for the airport tomorrow… some banana chips, trail mix, and Larabars. These bars sound so good and they’re made with all natural ingredients and most of the bars have 5 ingredients or less.

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Hope everyone has a good week! We’ll try to post some during the vacation. We’re sure to try lots of yummy restaurants and we plan to stick to our rules of no processed foods! It will be a challenge, but it’s definitely a challenge we’re ready for!

Day 21!

August 12, 2012

We wrapped up the dog-sitting, but then Nikki’s family came into town from Maryland for a long weekend. It was fun to spend time with them! It also was a bit challenging at times because they would go out to eat or make food and we couldn’t have anything. It all worked out fine though. We planned ahead and made our own food so that we wouldn’t miss out on too much.

Tonight we made cheesy vegetable chowder. MmmMmm. It was so good! Nikki found the recipe on Pinterest, so we thought we’d give it a try. We love soups but it was a nice change from the vegetable soups we’ve been having lately. It’s not really a summery soup, but hey, we wanted to try it!

Only 4 days until we leave for Arizona! WooHoo! Lots to do

Here’s the recipe:

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (feel free to add more celery if you like celery; I don’t, so I don’t add much)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth (I usually use a mixture of low-sodium chicken broth and broth made with chicken soup base because it gives it such nice flavor)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup milk
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 heaping cups shredded cheddar cheese
Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute over medium heat until tender.  Add garlic and cook 1 or 2 additional minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mix flour with water, add, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened.  Add milk and broccoli and cook until broccoli is just tender and soup is heated through.  Stir in cheese, allow to melt, and serve.
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Recipe from http://luluthebaker.blogspot.com

Day 18! (What a week!)

August 9, 2012

As we said in our last post, we’ve been dog-sitting/ house sitting all week and it is really nice to have a kitchen all to ourselves. On Tuesday, we used the extra shrimp we had to make shrimp tacos. Delicious! I found this recipe for simple shrimp tacos online. We added cheese, guacamole, and salsa to our tacos, too. Ya know, just to fatten’ em up! 😉 These tacos were seriously good and seriously easy. They’re also a nice change from the usual black bean tacos we eat. 

Last night Chris and I went on a long overdue date night. We decided on a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try for a while now, Green Zebra. The restaurant’s focus is locally produced fruits and vegetables so you know what that means, no meat! It was wonderful to read through a menu and be able to chose from ANYTHING on it. Well, almost anything. We we’re staying non-processed after all.  The menu is made up of small plates, so you should order about 3 items per person (of course, Chris ordered four, plus dessert). One of our favorite items on the menu was a mushroom pate, served with spring onion marmalade and pickled cucumber. It was an earthy, complex dish that left us craving more. 

Unfortunately, the battery in our camera died. So, we won’t be able to take pictures until the weekend. 😦

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Also, just wanted to show off Chris’ french onion soup… the finished product!

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We’re making a broccoli chowder this weekend… stay tuned! 

Day 15! (Dog Sittin’)

August 6, 2012

Hola,

This week we’re cooking all of our meals from Nikki’s aunt and uncle’s house. We’re dog sitting! It’s been fun playing house. It’s nice to have the whole kitchen to ourselves to cook. We got some fresh seafood to play with this week, too.

Tonight we made coconut shrimp. It was delicious! We used a “skinny” recipe. It was the perfect combination of salty and sweat. We had some leftover coconut-planko mix, so we also made coconut carrots and a coconut banana pepper. We’re improvising! ha ha.

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Chris is also making some french onion soup! It is one of our favorites. We’re using Alton Brown’s recipe from the Food Network. We’re just swapping out the chicken and beef broth for vegetable broth, of course. The recipe takes about 2 hours to complete, but it is fairly simple and requires little work. 

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French onion soup! (in progress)

 

Day 12!

August 3, 2012

Right now Chris is in the kitchen making strawberry lemonade. I’m a bit excited because it has been a while since I’ve had juice. I bought a nice little water bottle and have pretty much just been drinking water all day… everyday. 

It has only been 12 days since we began our challenge of “100 Days of No Processed Food”, but I already can feel some difference. I feel less tired, less sluggish. Maybe it is in my head, but either way- I feel better! That was a big reason as to why I began this challenge. Chris and I both have been trying to eat healthy for years now, it is part of the reason we’re vegetarian. Then one day it just sort of hit me that although the food may seem healthy (mostly because it was labeled “healthy” or “low fat” or “natural” on the package) it just wasn’t. 

In addition to feeling  better, I’m also really having fun cooking and baking. I love finding new recipes and playing with different flavors or ingredients. I’ve been using some of my cookbooks from home, but I’ve also been using a lot of internet resources like Pinterest!

Plus, today I weighed myself and I’ve lost 3.5 lbs. since we started this challenge! Bonus!

Today I made a summer soup. It was super easy! And it tasted better than the ratatouille. Chris asked me to stop making vegetable soups though. ha ha So, we’ll be taking a break from soups for a while. I also made egg salad, which was a bit difficult since I couldn’t use mayonnaise or mustard. However, I used plain yogurt (a great substitute) and hot sauce just to change it up. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend! I’ll be spending most of mine at work. — Nikki

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Day 10…Happy August!

August 1, 2012

We’re joyfully writing this blog as we chow down on some homemade granola with yogurt. There is something so satisfying about making all of your own food (and having it turn out well, of course). Last night we cooked the ratatouille in the slow cooker and it was wonderful to have a nice dinner waiting for us when we got home from work today. 

After dinner we made some hard boiled eggs. We’re looking forward to trying a healthy egg salad recipe that Nikki found on Pinterest. We’ll use the leftover eggs for breakfast and a healthy snack. We also made the granola. We found a very simple recipe that makes about 2 weeks worth of granola. We’ll definitely have to try to make granola bars sometime, too. 

Tomorrow, Nikki will make a summer vegetable soup and we’ll make our meal plans for the next two weeks. We’re looking forward to trying even more recipes!

Star fruit, mango & cantaloupe 

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Granola

 

 

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Ratatouille 

 

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And, of course, a necessity for any good dinner…

 

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