No Nut Problems Here

You got problems eating peanuts,
I feel bad for you, son. 
I got 99 problems, 
But a nut ain't one.

Sorry, Jay-Z. Of all of your raps, that's the one I steal from the most. 

And I do - feel bad, that is - for those who cannot consume the humble peanut. What do they eat when there is nothing in the fridge but old 7-grain bread, boysenberry jam and peanut butter? 

I don't know about you, but I'm seriously rockin' that sammich tonight. Toasting the bread, but not too much or it will burn those yummy sunflower seeds on the crust; slathering on the organic peanut butter (no extra sugar and extraneous stuff, you know), and topping it off with some slamming boysenberry jam I carted back from an outdoor market in Minnesota - who knows when.  Hey, sugar never rots.

PB&J luv right here.
That's right. 
I know how to live. 
I might just get crazy and whip out the dark chocolate and almond milk for a nukin' good hot cioccolata (yeah, taking Italian classes now). 

Besides the fact that I'm too darned lazy to cook anything of import on a late Dr. Who watching Saturday night, the peanut and its other nutty chums have served me well in the past three years as I lost a good sized 12 year old in excess weight. For years I had laid off eating peanut butter, or chomping cashews because the alleged said nutritional powers that be said they were too fatty for normal consumption. Funny, I still gained weight eating the supposedly right things.

Too much Google research later I found that the wonderful combination of fruit and nuts were a much better whole food snack choice than the usual chips, dips and crackers. Nuts fill that 3pm, 'lunch is so gone' void quite nicely. 

The perfect combination of fats and protein make eating an ounce or two of nuts when you are feeling 'peckish' one of your best weight loss tools. I started carrying around a small pack of nuts that I'd chew on whenever I got the urge to grub. After a while, I noticed that it took me a day or so to eat an entire 2 ounce bag. Not bad. 

I would occasionally combine the nuts with berries, or as a once or twice a month treat - with raisins. That takes me back to my high school days when my best friend Pamela introduced me to the beauty of hot, fresh roasted peanuts and bags of raisins fresh off from the markets on Mulberry Street in Newark. We would munch that stuff as if it were the food of the gods. Who knew? We were right.

My absolute favorite nuts are cashews and pistachios. My mom loved them and bought them all of the time. I remember not wanting to eat pistachios as a child because they turned my fingers red. I'd wait for her to crack them open and then move in for the yummy kill. I was well into adulthood when I found out that they added dye to the nuts. What strangeness was that? 

It seems the 'stachios of old were imported from the Middle East and handpicked. This left stains on the shells which the purveyors were sure would turn off customers. Red and green were the dyes - double yuck. Now most of our pistachios are grown in California (yea!) and probably harvested by Terminator robot rejects, so no need to dye 'em (double yea! Buy Americano).

Any who, nuts are mega good for you . . . as long as you don't constantly combine them with the sugary stuff that I'm piling on my nut butter as I type (and I wonder why my keyboard is always so sticky). Keep them in your diet playbook and you can't go wrong. 

Now for a little PB&J eating music (with a baseball bat?):

Corny As It Seems . . .

It's corn time at the organic CSA farm (Clagett Farm) I volunteer at and its early and sweet. What is not so sweet is the ever present silk. Sure, you can buy the little do-dads at all of the kitchen gadget coveting stores or even use a simple brush.

However, one of the best solutions I've seen in a while comes from Barbecue Tricks. This I would only use if I wanted to nuke the corn and not season it first, as I do when I roast it on the grill.  Take a look at the video below:

Best bonus ever? No dishes were harmed in the filming of this story. No need to break out the soap to save their dirty, little lives.

One day soon, I'll try a similar method when roasting, just to see if any cooking unshucked provides the same results.

Quick photo recap

The Lazy Cook Eats: Easy One Dish Meals - Yams, Green Beans & Pork

I know, I know you are thinking "Yikes! Pork! Fat-a-rama!" Really though, the other white meat has come a long way on the road to leanness and if you choose the right cuts and do not overcook it (something I'm guilty of on multiple counts), it can be part of a healthy meal.

Last night's dinner was a colorful mix of yams, green (and yellow) beans, red onion and boneless pork chops  that I copped at Costco. The chops are usually nine to a package and I repackage them - 2 each in freezer zip locked bags for quick meals.

This all started when at 6:30 pm I realized I was starving and as per usual, did not want to cook. Desperate, I found a lone large sweet potato, some fresh frozen green beans, half a red onion and the last packet of chops.

It was all assembled in an oval 2 quart casserole dish, covered with foil and baked for approximately sixty minutes. Seasonings included fresh garlic, ginger, five spice powder (magnificent on the yams) and peppers: cayenne and black.

My new 'go-to' omega rich oil is Avocado Oil, which of course, I score at the mighty, mighty Costco. It can cook at a way higher temperature than virgin olive oil and doesn't add odd flavors to the taste of the dish. You've got to try it. I sprinkled about 2 tablespoons across the top of the collection.

I quickly covered it in foil and shoved it all into a 400 degree oven for one hour and by eight o'clock I was full with only one dish to clean. Yea!

Grocery List to serve two:

1 large Sweet potato(or yam)
1/4 - 1/2 lb Green beans,
1/2 large, red onion
2, 4 to 5 ounce Boneless pork chops
1 clove of garlic
1 1/2 Avocado Oil
1/4 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
Black and cayenne pepper to taste

I also gave a little sprinkle of my favorite Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's (just love that grinder), since I don't add salt to most dishes unless it's in a medley of sorts.

Optional sauce added after cooking
This turned out great and was way too easy not to try again. If you are feeling
indulgent and can stand the extra sugar grams that day, add 2 tablespoons of Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Raspberry Chipotle Sauce to the chops. Outstanding.

Yes. I'm am an unrepentant Costco junky. Everything is not always in packs of 2000, you know. When you are eating green, or a bit lazy like myself, you will want larger packages of veggies. Don't hate, just know that I spend a lot less on healthy food than you. ;-)
My Costco list from this meal was: 

  • Boneless pork chops
  • Avocado Oil
  • Robert Rothschild Farm Hot Pepper Rasberry Chipotle Sauce

A Classy, Simple Dinner

Last week I was at a birthday celebration at my sister-in-law's home and I was extremely happy with the menu. It was simple and delicious. The big bonus was there was no birthday cake or obligatory sweets to sway my head and raise my glucose levels.

The kids were snacking on raisins and sunflower seeds and ate everything we ate.

The menu:

Fillet of Sole
Brown rice

The seasonings:
A little lemon
Olive oil

I loved the fact that she baked everything - even the broccoli, and it was fantastic. I'm going to do that more often.

She bought the sole for the children so they could avoid the bones, but being the big baby that I am about fish bones, I was eating right alongside the little ones. Except of course, when we finished off with a nice red wine.

Simple is always best . . .
Especially when you cook it. Chicken Chili - What's Inside

This was my first meal sent from the Plated folks.
Lots of fresh ingredients, premeasured and with a full color guide. It occurs to me that using #plated would also be a great gift for those who wish to learn to cook.

The Lazy Cook Eats . . . Risotto from a Crockpot

Sure. Besides being a world class food grubber of the 'over at your house' variety, I'm also a very accomplished lazy cook. I love to eat, but the time it takes puts me into grasshopper mode (see the fable 'The Ant and the Grasshopper'). Spoiler alert: Industrious ant wins, carefree, hedonistic grasshopper starves.

Never fear, girlie will never starve as long as she has her garage full of appliances and cookware. The most useful being the pressure cooker my old friend Pamela Richard gave me back in the eighties and my crockpot. Yes, I still use that pressure cooker especially when I tire of stir-frying collards or kale or get an extremely unusual hankering to can something (usually peppers or hot sauce). For princess lazypants there has never been a more appreciated gift, but that's a different story.

This story is about good ol' crockpot and the recipe I found to make a no stir risotto with said utensil. I don't eat a lot of rice or risotto anymore, but when I do, its a fatty, starchy, fungal infused extravaganza; just to make it worth my dietary while. Today I was food-perving the web and ended up over at GalTime to find Camilla Saulsbury's No Stir Crockpot Risotto recipe.

I've changed it only by upping the garlic content, adding mushrooms to the mix and drinking the entire remaining pinot grigio I opened for the recipe. Enjoy. I certainly did.

No-Stir Sundried Tomato Risotto with Mushrooms

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 and 1/4 cups raw Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (try Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
3 and 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup roughly chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes (blot away the oil)
1/2 cup sliced baby bella  or cremini mushrooms
A pinch of crushed white peppercorn, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Add the rice, garlic and oil to the insert of the crock-pot, stir to coat. 
Stir in the white wine, broth, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. 
Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours (may take about 2 and 1/2 hours). 
Serve topped with the Parmesan cheese.

4 servings.
Approximate Nutrition per Serving (1/4 of recipe):
Calories 311; Fat 3.4g (poly 0.2g, mono 1.6g, sat 1.4g); Protein 7.7g; Cholesterol 3.1mg; Carbohydrate 67.3g; Fiber 4.1; Sodium 784mg)