Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Green Potato Salad - no mayo required!

The other weekend, my future mother-in-law asked us to house sit for one night while she went out of town. The main reason she asked is that her two dogs and the kitty need food and attention - we were happy to house sit. In addition to playing with the furry guys, we were excited because she has an amazing vegetable garden - from which we could harvest whatever we wanted!

You might recognize this photo from my Facebook page.
This time of year, as we get into late summer, there are so many delicious treats in the garden. Everything is organic (she even makes her own compost), and while rummaging around the raised beds we found eggplant, corn, lettuces, herbs, and so many tomatoes! She had harvested some potatoes for us as well, and even though she hasn't planted any in a few years there are still some "volunteers" in the dirt. I took the potatoes home with us, and a few days later I made a delicious Green Potato Salad. I have to give a shout-out, as this recipe came from my friend Jamie Greenwood, the fabulous woman behind Jamie|Living. I first had it when my mom and I attended Jamie's mother/daughter cooking class a few years ago. You might remember my excitement from that day, we had a great time and I learned how to make a frittata!

I've made this potato salad a few times since that Mother's Day event, but this is the first time it's been on Zwick's Picks. I love it for so many reasons. First of all, it's super tasty and delicious! Second, there is no mayo in it, just a light sprinkle of olive oil and vinegar! Third, I get to eat greens IN the potato salad, it's like the best of both worlds. You could even add more greens to this if you wanted to. Read on for the recipe...

Jamie's Green Potato Salad - yum!!

Green Potato Salad (serves 4)
2.5 lbs Organic Potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
1 Organic Red Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3C Capers
1/4C Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1.4T Red Wine Vinegar
2 Handfuls of Organic Arugula
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potato chunks and a pinch of salt. Return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Usually about 15 minutes, depending on the size. Drain the potatoes in a metal colander.
- Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl (the larger it is, the easier it'll be to stir everything together). Combine the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix together.
- Serve either warm or cold.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting Enough Veggies

If you read last week's post, you know that I just returned home from a wonderful 2-week vacation in Belize. The trip was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but by the end of the first week both my fiance and I found ourselves craving California vegetables! We're so spoiled by the abundance of food in our area, aren't we? 

Now that we're home, we're filling our bellies with the best local summer veggies we can find. We made it a mutual goal to eliminate dairy, sugar, alcohol, and wheat from our diet for at least two weeks, since we overindulged a bit on vacation. Since we've been home, our meals have been close to 100% vegetarian, with a little bit of quinoa/brown rice, eggs just a couple times, and meat only a few times, more as a condiment than the main meal. Eating this way is meant to re-calibrate our systems back to healthy eating, but we also see it as a sort of experiment - Do we feel better eating this way? The answer to that question is still unfolding...

Here are some meals we had this past week:

- Vegetable Soup: This bowl was full of nutrition! Carrots, sweet potato, onions, garlic, kale, celery and a mix of low-sodium vegetable stock with homemade chicken stock. We ate this for days! It worked well for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

- Roasted Veggies: I tossed the broccoli with soy sauce, olive oil and garlic (similar to how this post describes), and roasted the beets with some olive oil and fresh thyme. Served with a little quinoa on the side, this was a filling and delicious meal.

- Tomatoes!! Over the weekend, we house-sat for my fiance's mom. She has an amazing vegetable garden, and right now the tomatoes are starting to ripen. These little cherry tomatoes taste like candy they're so sweet. We tossed a variety of freshly picked tomatoes with a sprinkle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and shredded Basil, and they made for a delicious dinner.

What are some of your favorite summer veggies that you've been enjoying this year? Tell us in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vacation in Belize Recap

As some of you might be aware, I just returned home from a vacation in Belize. My man and I had a wonderful time exploring the country, and did as much as we could to see the sights. We stayed at four different hotels over the course of two weeks, and while we definitely had days we relaxed and did nothing, we also went snorkeling, caving, hiking, bird watched, walked through towns, talked to the local people, drove across the country, and experienced both planes and ferries.

While our hotels had wi-fi, I kept my phone turned off the entire time, and only went online a couple of times when my honey lent me his iPad. It was a wonderful feeling to not be so attached to my phone. While I know I can't completely detach here in the "real" world, now that we're back I plan to make an effort to not be so obsessive about checking my phone all the time. Taking the time to appreciate the moment and my surroundings is important.

Some quick facts about Belize:
- The country is roughly 174 miles long by 62 miles wide, excluding the 400 cayes on the reef.
- Population in 2012 was about 328,000 people. That's only slightly larger than Marin county!
- Belize has flat marsh, scrubland, lowland forest, thick jungles, mountains, and agricultural areas.
- Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum, called "Chicle."
- Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia's.
- It's estimated that only about 10% of the species living on the reef have been cataloged.
- It is a truly diverse country: Mexican, Guatemalan, Mayan, Spanish, African, Caribbean, Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, English, Chinese, and North Americans have all had influence here.
- Very little food is imported, Belizeans eat what they have in the country, and that's a lot!
- Rice & Beans is a different dish than Beans & Rice.
- Belizeans speak multiple languages, English, Spanish and at least one more. Truly impressive.

Here are some photos from our trip:

So lucky we were there for lobster season!!
Lobster tails with rice and beans. Yum!

A typical Central American meal: Rice and beans with Stew Chicken.

One of our favorite spots: Robins Kitchen on Ambergris Caye.

This is a Belizean highway.

Our hotel in San Ignacio was home to The Iguana Project. We had fun playing with the critters!

We think this is a Collard Aracari. 

We explored the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. Amazing places!

This was the "ferry" that took our car across the river to the Xunantunich site.

Taking a breather at Xunantunich.

Mayan carvings on the side of the temple.

The view from the top was pretty amazing!

An ice cold coconut water was SO refreshing after hiking around!
The ruins at Cahal Pech are still being excavated by groups of students.

The Botanical Garden at DuPlooy's (outside San Ignacio) was really cool!
The view from the fire lookout.

Grass-fed beef company. The meat was delicious!

Cows out grazing, as they should be.

So comfy!

The plane we took from the mainland to Caye Caulker took less than 10 minutes!

Lobster ceviche? Yes, please!

See that hammock out there? That's where I spent a lot of time!

What vacation have you/will you take this year? Near or far, it doesn't matter. How do you plan to relax and recharge? Tell us in the comments below!