Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cooking up (for) a Storm

Projected Path

We arrived in Pines yesterday evening after a long ride home which included a scary tire blow-out on the highway. Yikes! I'm so grateful that my hubby is calm in a crisis because when I saw the pieces of rubber and wood fenders flying off the car carrier, with my car ON IT, I was kinda freaking out! Chip got the car off the carrier, carrier off his hitch, and us back on the road within minutes, called our friend/tire salesman and ordered new tires, but unfortunately we had to leave the carrier on the side of the road overnight. Hopefully it'll still be there this morning. Whew. After all of that stress, I was definitely looking forward to Happy Hour!

Tropical Storm Isaac is headed toward Florida but it doesn't look as if he'll have a tremendous impact on us in the south.  We'll be on the "dirty side" of the storm which means lots of rain and some wind. At this point we're keeping our storm preps to a minimum - bottled water, candles & flashlights, etc.  I doubt we'll put up the shutters unless the intensity increases or Isaac takes a drastic turn and decides to hit us dead on.  Since Chip works for the power company, he's already been called to work for Storm Duty. This morning he'll meet with his crew, take a head count, ensure that everyone is up to speed on storm safety and procedure, then sit and wait.  It could be a very hairy week for him, or it could be nothing. It's all up to Mother Nature at this point.

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today so am going to use the nasty weather as an excuse to stay inside, catch up on my reading and spend a little time in the kitchen. I need to use up some of the refrigerated/frozen items in case we lose power. My produce drawers are overflowing and some of these goodies won't stay fresh for long.

First up, breakfast. I usually make a nice smoothie based upon this recipe from Reboot Your Life. Since this contains quite a few servings of fruit, I will probably not eat any more fruit for the day.  Yes, I know, fruit is "free" on Weight Watchers but there's some debate about that so I am careful not to overdo, especially with the sugary items such as pineapple. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, today I used strawberries instead of pineapple & blueberries instead of black since that's what I had on hand. I don't add the flax seed oil, either, just my personal preference.

Blackberry Kiwi Blend

¼ lg Pineapple (core removed and roughly cubed)
1 cup Blackberries
1 Kiwi Fruit
1 Banana
½ Comice Pear
½ cup Coconut Water
1 bunch Mint (~ 30 leaves)
1 tbsp Flax seed oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and Enjoy!

For dinner I'll be making a pasta dish from Vegetarian Times, Conchiglie Primavera. What's conchiglie, you ask? Well, I didn't know either, nor did a dear Italian friend of mine who knows everything about Italian cooking! It turns out that conchiglie are the little shell-shaped pasta I've been making for years, but never knew their "proper" name! Ha! How to pronounce it, now that's a different story..

Anyway, here's the recipe. I'm sharing VT's picture because, well, it's surely prettier than any I could take.

conchiglie primavera
Conchiglie Primavera courtesy of Vegetarian Times

Conchiglie Primavera

Serves 4 | 30 minutes or fewer

“Sicilians were doing pasta shapes well before everyone else in Italy and creating shapes to go with certain pasta sauces,” explains Locatelli. Here, firm, chewy shells (conchiglie) stand up to the textures of sautéed vegetables while catching the bright flavors of the lemony sauce.

6 oz. conchiglie or medium pasta shells (2 cups)

3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 small yellow squash, cut into 3/4 -inch pieces (8 oz.)
8 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (11/2 cups)
1 Italian frying pepper or 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
4 oz. green beans, halved (1 cup)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small fennel bulb, grated, plus 1 Tbs. chopped fennel fronds
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

1 | Cook conchiglie according to package directions.

2 | Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add squash, asparagus, frying pepper, and green beans; sauté 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender.

3 | Drain conchiglie, and transfer to large bowl. Add sautéed vegetables, tomatoes, grated fennel, fennel fronds, lemon juice, and mint; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

PER 2-CUP SERVING 305 cal; 9 g prot; 11 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 45 g carb; 0 mg chol; 28 mg sod; 6 g fiber; 7 g sugars
; 8 WW Points+, if you're counting.

On that note, I'm headed back to bed with a book.  I'm about halfway through The Kitchen Daughter, am really enjoying it so far. I just love books about cooking, especially when there's a dash of magic added to the mix.

Have a wonderful day! Fellow Floridians, stay safe as you weather the storm.


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