Mary Helen Leonard, author of The Natural Beauty Solution and professionally trained culinary instructor, shares recipes, projects, tips, and stories about living a more natural, handmade, and creative life with her family in Austin, Texas.
Once upon a time my husband and I went on a juice cleanse. Being the types of people who enjoy taking things past the point of reason, we decided that a 30-day cleanse would be a great way to start off our relationship with vegetable juice. If you're going to do something a little crazy, why not go all the way, right?
The first week was awful. My head hurt. My stomach ached. I saw stars, used curse words a lot, and spent most of my time sleeping. Then, after six or seven days without solid food a fire lit beneath me. Suddenly I felt full of life. I was light on my feet and totally energized - a total juice convert. That energy kept up for a while, and as I became more and more inventive with my juice recipes I started to wonder if I'd ever go back to eating solid food again!
But then, a little less than a week from my thirty-day goal my juice cleanse was foiled. One might expect that I would have fallen victim to the usual troublemakers - like ice cream, cheeseburgers, or PIZZA! The truth was far less sexy. Of the many temptations I had encountered during my fast, the siren that finally slayed me was a simple one - a plain old steamed head of broccoli.
I was prepping the broccoli from our CSA delivery to be frozen when hunger struck. Glistening with steam and fresh from the pot, that luscious green vegetable just looked so good to me. I figured that just one bite couldn't hurt. Then I though, well, maybe even two would be OK. It wouldn't kill me to add a little salt and lemon, would it? Maybe a squirt of olive oil?
Ten minutes later the entire head of broccoli had disappeared and I didn't even want to think the word juice ever again. Since that day I've had a much more sincere appreciation for the delicious simplicity of cruciferous vegetables. While they are unforgettable steamed with salt and lemon, roasting these hearty veggies on a sheet pan is my very favorite way to enjoy them. In fact, they are so good this way that I could probably devour an entire sheet pan even without being on the hungry end of a juice cleanse.
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Makes around six 1-cup servings
This simple method for preparing broccoli and cauliflower can easily be dressed up or customized by adjusting the seasoning. For example, you might try adding garlic, ginger and red pepper to give the veggies and Asian flavor. A sprinkle of thyme, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper is a great way to give it an Italian flair.
3 cups broccoli florets
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lemon (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Spread the veggies over a sheet pan, then roast until tender (about 10 - 15 minutes)
Oh avocado. You are a marvelous thing, aren't you? Mashed and swirled with lime you become a tasty chippable dip. Blended into soups or smoothies you lend a smooth richness on par with butter or cream. Spread on toast you are better than butter - adept at matching nearly any flavor you choose to accompany.
I think I love you, avocado. And so today I spread you, like the aforementioned dairy-based treat, over a hunk of grainy toast before covering you in black eyed peas. They are good luck, you know - particularly at New Years.
Texas Caviar Toast Makes five 1-slice servings
5 large slices of whole grain bread
1 medium or large sized avocado, ripe (medium-soft)
On the list of horrible, frustrating, irritating things that can possibly happen, losing my camera's battery charger is pretty high up on the list. While I slowly search the house from top to bottom (It's gotta be here. It's just GOTTA.) I've been resorting to taking camera phone photos for my blog.
Not that taking picture with your phone is the worst thing that could happen. Most of the time they are downright OK. It's just that I like taking pretty pictures, and I know that no matter how skillfully I tap my tiny little screen it's just not going to look as good as if I was shooting with my big camera. It's not the end of the world - but it does suck a little joy out of my life, which is never a good thing.
It is especially frustrating when Farmhouse Delivery hooks you up with a massive box of gorgeous produce. I pulled an Instagram Takeover on their feed last weekend and spent an entire afternoon cooking and prepping tons of really pretty food. These mushrooms, for example, were sooooo pretty. Even the process of making them was pretty. It was a golden opportunity to flex my photography muscles, and it was missed.
On the bright side I still ended up with something good to eat - which is kinda the point of cooking, right? You can't EAT pretty, after all.
So, mushrooms - possibly the most misunderstood of vegetables, at least in my house. Scott loathes them - claiming they taste like dirt. I know he isn't alone in that opinion, but I just don't see it myself. To me, mushrooms taste meaty and savory. They might be a touch earthy, but they certainly don't taste like dirt. Beets? Now there's a plant with some serious dirt qualities. You can practically smell the iron.
Marinated mushrooms were really my gateway mushroom. I first encountered them as a teenager when a friend waxed poetic over her grandmother's mushroom stash. Marinated mushrooms! Marinated mushrooms! She just couldn't get enough. Not being a mushroom fan at the time, I was highly skeptical. But then I tasted them. They were slightly sweet, a little salty, and swimming with savory goodness. They were a little on the slippery side, but not at all gross - more like juicy. I've been a huge fan ever since.
This recipe is a spin on the classic Italian marinated mushroom. It is still sweet, still salty, still savory - but with a punch of garlic, ginger, and hot red pepper in place of oregano. They are delightful right out of the jar, but try adding them to noodles, rice bowls, and spring rolls for something really fun.
Spicy Ginger Soy Marinated Mushrooms Makes about 1 pint
8 ounces mushrooms (I used white button)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
2 scallions, sliced thinly (both green and white parts)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
Gently wipe the mushrooms clean using a damp cloth or paper towel. Remove stems (I usually save them for making stock) and cute them into bite-sized pieces.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
Toss the mushrooms with the marinade, then transfer to a jar or small container where they will be tightly packed together. Ideally the marinade will cover all of the mushrooms.
Let the mushrooms marinate for at least 30 minutes before gobbling them up.
Sharing today's guest post is Amy Kritzer, of What Jew Wanna Eat. Amy is a super prolific blogger who shares amazing recipes inspired by Jewish cuisine. A fellow former Northeasterner, Amy is one of the few Austinites I know that can truly understand my love for really good bread. Rye, hard rolls, bagels?! They just aren't the same down here. Amy knows. I'm excited to have her sharing one of her delicious treats with you here on Mary Makes Dinner. Thanks, Amy!
Hey there Mary Makes Dinner readers! I’m Amy and I blog over at What Jew Wanna Eat, where I share modernized Jewish recipes and entertaining anecdotes. You don’t have to be Jewish to stop by, just love good food!
Four High Protein, Low Sugar Yogurt Recipes for Snacks and Breakfasts
It's 3:00 PM. Do you know where your snack is? I certainly do. It's currently being shoveled into my mouth, and with zeal.
These days, getting tons of protein into my diet is more important than ever. According to my midwives, I need to eat between sixty and eighty grams of protein every single day. That is a LOT of beans, people. I know. I measured them out one day to see what it looked like.