A date with myself

Taking myself out on dates is tricky. When I think about a self date, I think about loads of junk food and this sweet location called the couch.

#addict

#addict

While this is appealing, I decided to take myself “in” on a healthy date. There is something really gratifying about making yourself a healthy meal…especially when you’re cooking with a big glass of wine.

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Well, I hit the jackpot ladies and gents. I made the salad of all salads. Sometimes, it’s the simplest of ingredients that make a masterpiece. Basil, garlic and olive oil. There’s your dressing. Easy, right? Check it out.

Basil and Garlic Summer Squash Salad (Serves 2)

1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, cut into half moons

1/2 red onion, diced

1 romaine head, sliced into strips

1-2 tomatoes, diced

1 small ball of fresh mozzarella, diced

7 large leaves of fresh basil, rolled up and sliced into thin strips

So fresh

So fresh

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed

2 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

Add oil to a medium sized pan and warm on medium heat. Add garlic and let simmer until you get a kitchen-full aroma of garlic and the garlic is beginning to golden. Add the squash and saute on medium to med-high until the squash is lightly golden.

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Flip the squash often in the pan like a master chef. Be sure that you have enough oil in the pan as this will become the salad dressing. Add a dollop more if necessary. Add the basil to the pan and flip a few times to coat the squash.

Can I just eat this?

Can I just eat this?

While waiting for the squash to cook, chop up all of the other ingredients and add to a large bowl. Once you’ve finished the squash, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add to the salad bowl and gently mix to incorporate the basil-garlic oil.

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Of course the night is not complete without some Hershey’s Nuggets. A girl has got to live a little πŸ™‚

#truth

#truth

Get me to the green

When something isn’t right for you, you feel it in your gut. Well, my gut was screaming to Sunday and back. New York City was not my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong. I love the food and all of the culture, but the past few months have been all consuming with work. Add an already anxious Dana to a high stress, fast paced environment and you get some pretty obnoxious panic attacks in public places. Thank god for the plethora of parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

During a visit to my parents’ house, my mother looked at me biting my nails with a perpetual frown on my face and said: “Dana, your job is not God. Is it really worth it when you’re this unhappy?”

Moms are always right, especially when you need them to be. So, I quit my job. I moved out of New York City. I’m on, what I affectionately refer to as, “my sabbatical.” So, it’s time to get back to the things I love most. Running, cooking, spending time with family and sharing new and fun recipes right here πŸ™‚

On my first official weekend back in Upstate New York, I realized a few things:

1) It’s quiet. Quiet as in wind chimes and crickets. No sirens and car horns at night.

2) IT’S SO GREEN.

The outdoors - brilliant photo taken by Mr. D :)

The outdoors – brilliant photo taken by Mr. D πŸ™‚

3) oh yeah, and these guys.

Charming fellas

Charming fellas

Outside of the above, I really missed cooking fresh and healthy foods. In the NYC dynamic, I found myself cooking less and less. That makes for one cranky Dana.Β Mrs. D and I decided to start my return to cooking off right by making a mediterranean feast with my favorite…PITA! This makes for a perfect summer dinner and great cold lunch leftovers over a bed of greens.

Let's get started, shall we?

Let’s get started, shall we?

Mediterranean Pita with Falafel and Roasted Chickpeas (Serves 4)

Roasted chickpeas (<our recipe, minus the rosemary for this pita dish)

Romaine lettuce, chopped

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

3-4 radishes, thinly sliced

1-2 tomatoes, sliced

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 package falafel mix

1 package fresh pita, cut into halves for pockets

Canola oil

tzatziki sauce, for dressing

Prep the falafel mix according to package directions. Most mixes will require combining the package with water to sit and harden for 30 minutes or so.

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Once the mixture has set, form into thin patties.

Formed by chef Linda

Formed by chef Linda aka Mrs. D

Heat canola oil in a cast iron skillet. You’ll want roughly 1/2 an inch to an inch of canola oil in the pan. Once the oil is ready, add the patties to sizzle.

Whoa there

Whoa there

Remove once the falafel is a golden brown and let cool. Now, for the fun. Assembly line! This is my favorite part of prep in the Diamond household. With a meal like this, we create our own dishes. Petite little pocket for me, whereas Brett will make a pita the size of a small child. This is the beauty of the assembly line. To each their own.

Don't forget to add your chickpeas!

Don’t forget to add your chickpeas to top

Top your creation with some tzatziki and enjoy!

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Turning errands into training miles

Weekend time disappears in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it, I woke up Sunday morning with lots to do and only 1 day to do it. I wanted to fit in a run so I made a plan to fit it into my day of errands. Since I had to head over to Union Square, I plotted a run on Map My Run and used it for directions and tracking mileage.

Running this way is a great way to explore…

Farmer’s Markets.

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Beautiful buildings.

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And of course, a reminder that we’re headed into March Madness. Go Orange!

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After a great 3 miles, I couldn’t wait to make a new recipe jam packed with veggies. I based this meal off of a fabulous recipe from Herbivoracious. I used fresh, chopped peppers instead of roasted peppers and added radishes to the mix. Radishes are a great to add to any salad – an abundant source of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it adds that essential salad crunch – love that! I prepared this dish right in my tupperware containers to save myself some after cooking cleanup *pat on back*

Quick and Fresh Chickpea Veggie Salad (Serves 4)

4-5 radishes, washed and diced into long strips

1 large cucumber, rinsed and chopped

Half a red onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1-2 fresh peppers (I used red, orange and yellow)

1 can chickpeas (no salt added), rinsed thoroughly

A few handfuls of fresh basil, chopped

Half a lemon, for juicing

1/4 cup EVOO

6 oz feta

Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly with lemon juice and EVOO.

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Though this dish was out-of-this-world amazing freshly made, I found that it was even more mind blowing after sitting over night in the lemon-EVOO-basil mixture. This is officially a new staple in my weekly meal plan…WIN! πŸ™‚

helllooo dinner

helllooo dinner

Tickle me chili

Yesterday was our first Saturday together in a LONG time. Brett had the day off so we decided to run on the trail with a few of our favorite people from the VHTRC. Nothing ever goes as planned. I fell twice (well, that’s not unusual). Brett’s foot started hurting and his legs were dead weights. My stomach was screaming obscenities at me. We ended up turning around earlier than we wanted. We hiked most of the way back and found that we were enjoying each other’s company despite the cold.

Me: “I know this sounds cheesy, but you make me feel alive.”

Brett: “You make me feel like I’ve died…”

Me: *audible gasp*

Brett: “…and gone to heaven!”

He’s so lucky he’s handsome and can cook.

We spent most of the day reading and napping. It was fantastically lazy. Sometime late in the afternoon, Brett apologized.

Brett: “I’m so sorry we haven’t really done anything today. I’m so tired and I don’t know why.”

Me: “Well, it’s not like you ran 50 miles last weekend or anything. Geesh.”

I was tickled until I couldn’t breathe. I poked Brett’s still sore leg and he stopped immediately πŸ™‚

After a morning out in the cold, we thought it would be a great night for a hearty chili. We took a spin on a Scott Jurek vegetarian recipe and it turned out to be one of the best chili dishes we’ve ever made. Save it for a cold night and you’ll have plenty of leftovers.

Vegetarian Chili

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery stalks, washed and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 green peppers, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 JalapeΓ±o, seeded and diced

1 cup frozen corn

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can adzuki beans, rinsed

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 28oz can diced tomatoes

2 small cans tomato paste

2 1/2 to 3 cups water

2 Tbs chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

Generous salt and pepper

1 Tbs coconut oil

Saute all the vegetables and spices, roughly 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat to high.

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Once the chili reaches a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir, then cook an additional 20 minutes. Fill a bowl to feed your hungry belly πŸ™‚

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Chili my belly