Saucy Lady: a social media inspired look into my meal prep

I’m not sure how to start this post. I was going to try and make this connection about being more un-plugged, and then loop it back to the merits of social media, and I’m not entirely sure how it is all going to work. One thing I can say for certain is that, even though I am trying to cut back on my screen time (she says while writing a blog she hopes you will read adding to more screen time for everyone involved), I have found a real value in social media. I’ve met people through instagram that I am now friends with in real life. I use it as a tool to connect with friends all over the country and the world. Not only do I use social media to find inspiration for yoga sequencing, barre moves, recipes and craft projects,  but it is a greay way stay connected with events happening in my own communty and to get a glimpse into the every day lives of people.

I want to give a shout-out to an instagram friend and real life acquaintance Hannah. Though I admittedly don’t know her well, a few weeks ago she posted a photo on social media about a sauce she had made and was eating on toast, and it was a sauce I was totally unfamiliar with. Zhoug. Have you ever heard of this? Maybe I’m late to the party… I am as a self- proclaimed saucy lady. (I mean this in every sense of the word, but anecdotally speaking I do make a lot of sauces.) My meal prep every week typically involves a large batch of hummus for snacking and lunches and at least one jar of sauce that I can use in a myriad of ways throughout the week. Some weeks it’s peanut sauce to be paired with salad rolls, or used to dress a Thai inspired slaw or a quinoa bowl with broccoli and cabbage. Lately I’ve been in a chimichuri phase, and the past several weeks I’ve been whipping up a large batch of the herby, tangy condiment and I put it on everything. It’s a great alternative to a salad dressing, is amazing on scrambled eggs, stirred into hummus, goes great with meat or roasted vegetables, and overall it is kind of the wonder sauce. I’m always curious as to what other people are cooking and eating so when Hannah posted a photo of this vibrant green sauce and a link to the recipe at Cookie + Kate I was really intrigued. Cilantro, cardamom and jalapenos? How do these things even work together? I decided to set aside my chimichuri for the week and give this Zhoug a try.

And it did not disappoint. First of all, its fun to say. Go ahead, let it roll off the tongue a bit. It almost has a “I am Groot” feel. Zhoug. Secondly, I found this to be just as versatile as the chimichuri, and have enjoyed the zhoug as a dressing alternative, smeared on some pita bread, with eggs, and thus far my favorite combo has been with cauliflower rice and lamb meatballs. Yum-o.

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Cauliflower rice, lamb meatballs, Zhoug, a smattering of pomegranate seeds

I’m not a super spicy fan (I like spicy, just not super spicy) so I only used two jalapenos instead of four, and I did not include the vein or the seeds. I did add in the red chili flakes though. The sauce was a tad bitter right out of the food processor, but after an hour all the flavors melded together in a really great harmony. (Even better the next day) I’m really excited to add this to my sauce repertoire, and glad to have a new food-blog to explore.

Do you have any go-to sauces or weekly meal prep staples? I’d love to hear what they are.

The return of salad season: white beans and tuna over greens.

Radish and herbs

Hello salad season, so glad you are back with us. My garden is literally exploding with lettuce and kale at the moment, so I’m trying my best to find creative ways to incorporate more greens into every meal. I love salads in pretty much every shape, and form, but this time of year when its still a little cool in the evenings, I find myself craving dishes that are a little more hardy. Something warm and robust, while still being healthy and simple. Insert, the perfect dish: white beans and tuna over greens. It’s ridiculously simple, you probably have all the ingredients already hiding in your pantry, it takes roughly 10 minutes to prep and assemble, and it’s super healthy.

I’ve been challenging myself to eat healthier, and I’m also attempting to be a bit more economical by packing my lunch every day. I joined #the100dayproject with the intention of creating and packing beautiful and healthy lunches every day for 100 days. They aren’t always beautiful, and sometimes creativity succumbs to the likes of PB&J, but for the most part, I’m having a good time with it, and have made some really delicious packed lunches. One thing that I love about this white bean and tuna dish, is that if I make it as a “dinner for one” I always have left-overs to take for lunch during the week, and this is pretty much the perfect meal to power you through a work day. It has protein and fiber to keep you full, nutrient rich greens, and a little air of “it’s more than just a salad, it’s a meal.”

white beans and tuna over greens

white beans and tuna over greens

What you need:

  • A variety of herbs (preferably fresh, but dried will do just fine.)
  • 1 can of Tuna
  • 1 can of Cannellini Beans
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Greens*
  • Fresh radishes for garnish *(optional)
herb garden

herb garden

I usually just head out to my herb garden and harvest a small handful of whatever looks and sounds good. In this particular dish I used Rosemary, Sage, Winter Savory, Thyme, and Chives. If you don’t have an herb garden, a medley of herbs from the store or the farmers market will do, or just dig around your spice cabinet. Though, I will say, that if you have any space at all to plant herbs, even if it is just in a few pots on the windowsill or back porch, they are the plants that get the most traffic in my garden. I love using them for garnishes, to flavor water, to season dishes, and when I’m in a pinch for a hostess gift, I usually will bring a bundle of fresh herbs wrapped in bakers twine. It’s useful, charming, and simple to put together. You will look like a domestic goddess, people will be impressed by the gesture, and all will be right with your dinner party world.

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bundled and ready to take as a hostess gift

bundled and ready to take as a hostess gift

herbs

herbs

Another great thing to add to the mix a little later in the season is edible flowers. Chives are the only edible blossoms I’ve got up right now, but I’m looking forward to utilizing more edible blooms this summer. Thus far, I have Nasturtiums, Borage, Bee Balm, and Calendula planted around my tomatoes, and I’m excited to be adding them to everything from salads to cocktails.

fresh radish

fresh radish

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Instructions:

  • Drain the white beans and the tuna and set aside. (  Note here… I’m a single girl on a budget, so I just pulled a can of tuna out of the pantry. If you wanted to class things up a bit, I would recommend using the tuna from Jacobsen Salt Co. ) Chop the herbs or add a blend of dried herbs to a bowl. Mix the beans and tuna with the herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and red pepper flakes.   Heat the tuna mixture in a pan over the stove until warm (about 5 minutes on medium)
  • Meanwhile place greens on a plate. Thinly slice a few radishes and set aside.
  • Once the tuna mixture is warm, dish it over the prepared greens, top with radishes, and drizzle with some good olive oil. Serve warm.

drizzle

Best enjoyed alfresco style with a glass of crisp white wine, or maybe some iced tea.

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*Since the tuna will be warm, kale, spinach and other robust greens are a wonderful base for this dish. I ended up using kale and red leafed lettuce.

*I have a plethora of radishes in my garden, and I loved the texture and color that they added to this dish. You might also add or substitute avocado, cucumbers, a poached egg? The possibilities are endless.