You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.

Can we talk about peaches for a minute?

Summer peaches, the very best and juiciest ones, may just be my all time favorite fruit.

There is nothing better than juice drippin’ down my chin from the perfect peach.

Winter peaches flown in to your local grocery store from halfway around the world are gross. There is nothing worse than biting into a rock hard, flavorless peach.

Anywho, my momma came for a visit and she brought me peaches that she picked herself. They were beautifully imperfect looking while tasting like a slice of heaven.

And I’ve been eating them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack. Per.Fect.Ion.

And I’ve been using them in meals.

I made this Peach Bourbon Torte. Holy Moly. Good stuff. I also made a Peach Raspberry Crisp– also unbelievably good.

But today, I’m sharing with you my peach and bacon pizza. Yes, yet another fruit and protein pairing on a pizza crust- a summer staple in this household.

So easy… soooooo good.

Here is what you’ll need:

1 pizza crust (either homemade- I like THIS recipe or the recipe on the Fleischmann’s Pizza Yeast packet- or grab one at Trader Joes)

Some cooked bacon

Some ripe, juicy peaches

Romano Cheese

Maybe a little mozzarella, if you want

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out your dough. I like to add a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, pepper and red pepper flake. Then, I pop that in the oven for a few minutes.

I like a crispy crust so that is why i cook it a bit before adding toppings. 3-4 minutes.

Add your toppings.

I crumbled my glorious bacon, ate a couple of slices, and popped it on top.

I had some left over chicken, so I chopped that up and added it to half of the pizza.

I sliced the cheese.

And I cut up the peaches and added them to the pie.

That’s it!

Throw it into the oven for 8-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

We should make my favorite salad now.

Arugula or spinach gets thrown into a bowl. And then we’ll squeeze in some lemon juice.

Add a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Yep. That’s it.

Pull your pizza out.

Doesn’t that look so good?

It is.

You will not be disappointed.

I actually ended up piling some of that salad onto my pizza. The salad added a tart and spicy bite to the savory pizza.

Or you can serve it up separately.

Whatever floats your boat.

Fruit, when paired with chicken or bacon or pork, is magical.

For further proof, check out my friend Geni’s blog. Her Chicken with Roasted Grape Sauce is TO. DIE. FOR.

Have a fabulous day!

XO,
Leah

Advertisements

After my feel good post yesterday, I am back to my old self. To balance all of those happy thoughts, I shall now proceed to complain.

With that said, feel free to completely ignore this post. Lately, Facebook, Blogs and Twitter have all begun to drive me mad because of user’s complete lack of understanding of the English language. Please tell me that I’m not the only one that is driven crazy by simple grammatical errors.

In my opinion, if you have graduated from high school, there are a few grammatical errors that are completely unforgivable.

And shame on your professors, if you graduated from college and are still making these mistakes.

Grammatical errors really irk me. I make them, of course. And thankfully, my husband has a really good eye, and he catches many of them. I happily correct the errors, and I try very hard to remember to not make them again.

Here are my top 3 pet peeves:

1. Your vs. You’re

Correct:

You’re smart.

Incorrect:

Your smart.

Correct:

Do you want to take your car?

Incorrect:

Do you want to take you’re car?

To vs. Two vs. Too

Correct:

Do you two want to go to the store too?

Its vs. It’s

Correct:

It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

It’s is a contraction for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’. For everything else use ‘its’.

Correct:

The dog ate its bone.

Their vs. There vs. They’re

Correct:

They’re happy that their couch arrived there.

Here is an additional resource to figure out which word to use if for some reason you have made it to adulthood not understanding which word to use when.

GrammarBook

2. Apostrophes.

Oh dear gussie. This is a big one. Some people really love an apostrophe so much that anytime a word ends in “s”, there is an apostrophe proceeding it.

Please, if this is you, there are very simple rules to follow to determine when to use an apostrophe.

Good old GrammarBook to the rescue once again.

3. I vs. me

Correct:

Brad and I went to the store.

Incorrect:

Brad and me went to the store.

Correct:

Do you want to come with Brad and me?

Incorrect:

Do you want to come with Brad and I?

Simply take Brad out of the sentence to figure out what is correct (it makes sense to say “Do you want to come with me?” not “Do you want to come with I?”

There are a million more grammatical violations that I see all of the time. And again… I’m not immune to making them. Please believe that I know there are rules that I break every single day. Case in point… my use of the “…”. I use these improperly pretty much everyday of my life. So, I will beg your forgiveness now.

And, if you do by chance continue to make these errors, I’ll still love ya. I’m just slightly concerned with the state of American grammar. That’s all. For now.

Tomorrow back to food and deliciousness.

XO,

Leah

My husband is in the midst of shooting his second feature film here in the Queen City. He is incredibly busy working well over 12 hour days, 7 days a week. He started writing this particular screenplay on New Years Eve 2008. Since then, he has done re-write after re-write, raised the funds to make the movie, staffed the crew with highly talented people, and cast the movie with some amazing actors (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that he has done all of this with Joe Boyd, Isaac Stambaugh, the staff at the Vineyard, and countless others).

Photo Courtesy of Darrin Ballman– I grabbed it off of Facebook, and clearly somehow Brad wanted to be tagged officially in the post. I don’t know why his name is appearing right by his face. Ah, Technology.

I’m in awe.

And here is why.

I married a man that does what he dreams.

He dreamed of making movies. So, he started with a screenplay. And he kept stepping toward completing that goal.

As his partner in crime, I can tell you that this process is harder and more challenging than he or I would have ever imagined. Yet, Brad is making it happen. Every day.

Thanks to a heck of a lot of gumption, a great group of friends, family, and co-dreamers, and the willingness to really put himself out there.

So, he has me thinking a lot about dreams. I think asking “what is your dream for your life?” sounds WAY too close to a Dr. Phil question for my comfort level.

Rather than ask you that, I thought I would share some of the brave dream chasers I have seen in my life lately. These folks are inspiring me to figure out exactly what I’m dreaming of… and they make me want to chase it.

– Someone dear to me dreamt of a life out from under the cloud of depression. She wanted to be free, so she took the brave step to ask for professional help. And guess what? It is like she came back to life. She is living life in color again.

– Another friend wanted her own business. She had a vision of a business that would fulfill her and serve a need, so she planned and saved and saved and planned… and now she has the most perfect shop ever.

– Need another example? We have a friend finishing his third novel in a trilogy. He wanted to be an author, was passionate about writing, so he started putting the pen to paper. And now? Two riveting books down, and a third underway.

– A couple that we hang out with dreams of being free from having a boss and working the traditional 8-5. They are actively exploring franchise and small business opportunities so that someday soon they will be  business owners. They are passionate about freedom from “the man”, so they are researching, studying, talking to other small business owners, and taking steps toward that dream.

– Another friend wanted to be free from the extra weight he was carrying around. He dreamt of being there for his kids as they got older while living a healthier lifestyle. The first day at the gym, he was able to run for exactly one minute on a treadmill. But he kept going back, and the time on the treadmill kept getting longer and longer. He wanted to be in shape, so he started moving- and he has now completed several races, lowered his blood pressure, has more energy and is setting a good example for his kids.

One of the dreams that we had was to have a family. It took us more than three years, a whole lot of heartache and pain, a lot of doctor’s visits, trust in the Good Lord above, and a lot of personal exploration of alternative ways that might help us get there. And I can tell ya… it was so worth the challenge, the fear, the unknown, and the risk of heartbreak.

Another dream I had was to do find a way to share my passion for food. This little blog was born out of that dream. The blog is proof that sometimes a dream is easily attainable if you just take one tiny little step. I’m not looking for fame or recognition or whatever- I just wanted to write mostly nonsense and make and share good food.

I have a lot of other dreams that I’m still searching for the courage to pursue with abandon.

I know I’m not in the position to tell you all what to do- although I dream of having that power. I kid. I kid.

But I felt compelled to encourage you, my friends, to take one step toward something you dream of. And then, take another. And keep stepping. One foot after the other. Until you get where you were hoping to go.

I guess as I reflect on the immense joy that I have seen first hand in my husband, my friends and myself when we are brave enough to really go for it-  I mean, really go for it- I want the same for the people I care about. And you… you, are those people.

Lots of love to ya.

XO,

Leah

Let’s see…

Here are the haps from the past few days in my life.

I’m running again. It feels as good as running can feel. I kind of loathe running. Some people love it.

I am not one of those people.

I do it.

And then I’m glad I did it.

But I pretty much hate every dang second.

However, I do enjoy listening to music cranked up loud while I torture myself.

Here’s what is motivating each stupid step lately:

The Gossip

I heart Beth Ditto. A beautiful voice, a great sound… a little punky. Loves.

Brit Brit

An old favorite. I love manufactured music. I am not ashamed.

Written by Kesha. Performed by Britney. Makes me hate myself for loving to move to this song so much.

Foster the People

Added them to the mix today. Brad knows the bassist- more on that in the next few days- and I feel like I kind of love this song.

I may become obsessed with it.

We’ll see.

Wednesday, all the Clarke gals got together for lunch and dinner and the spa in between.

It was glorious for all of the right reasons.

1. The spa- Duh.

2. The food- NorthStar Cafe with a Chicken and Avocado Sandwich for lunch and Piada (basically, an Italian Chipotle) for dinner. I left stuffed, but not feeling gross. And can I add we had Orange Leaf yogurt for dessert? Good Stuff People.

Oh gosh. In searching for the links to the restaurants, I just discovered that there is an Orange Leaf less than 5 miles from my house. I. Am. In. Trouble. 

3. The company.

Sisters are great.

These gals are my absolute dearest friends in the whole world.

Want to know what I love most?

Well, everything.

But I love how much fun we have together.

I love that there is no jealousy or competition in our sisterhood- only support, pride, love.  I think that says my parents did something right.

So, I feel incredibly grateful for Jessica, Stephanie and Emily.

Then, my brother went and married the greatest girl ever. So, our sisterhood now also includes my sister-in-law, Jana.

Oh, and my mom came too. She is the original Clarke gal. It was so fun to have her with us for our day out. Plus, she watched Henry allowing me a few glorious hours of focused “me” time. God Bless her.

While spaaaaa-ing it up, I was coerced by two of my sisters into trying the shellac manicure. The shellac manicure gives your painted nails a little more stability, but it doesn’t ruin your nails like acrylic or gel nails do. And the shellac manicure lasts up to three weeks.

I think I love it. My nails look awesome (if I do say so myself). You leave the salon with totally dry nails that you don’t have to worry about smudging or chipping or messing up in any way. I have done dishes, changed diapers, and cleaned the bathroom… and have not had the tiniest of flaws appear in my manicure.

Miracle.

The shellac nails get my stamp of approval. My shellac manicure cost $30. Totally worth it, if ya ask me.

Polished nails, polished lady.

Wow. That picture makes my pinky finger look rather crooked.

I choose to love my crooky little pinky anyhow.

Finally, I have a new favorite salad.

It is as simple as can be. Summery and bright.

This salad comes from Ina Garten. That Ina. She knows how to make good food.

I was eating by myself (sniff, sniff), so this recipe is for uno.

Here is what you need:

Spicy Rocket aka Arugula

Some chopped up Watermelon

Parmesan Cheese

1/2 lemon

(Also a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper)

Pop the arugula, watermelon and parm in a bowl.

Give that salad a squeeze of lemon.

And a drizzle of olive oil.

Give it a sprinkle of salt with your fancy pants shellac nails.

Smile at how pretty they are.

Finish off the salad with black pepper.

I still haven’t figured out how to take a picture of me grinding pepper.

But I’m sure you can imagine it.

So, I won’t worry about it.

Much.

And that’s all I’ve got for ya today.

I’ll leave you with a pic of the Clarke gals after facials, massages and pampering… that is why we all look like shiny grease balls.

Have a great Friday!

XO,

Leah

Someday, I’m going to do a post of the spam comments that I get from time to time on this blog. They are quite entertaining. For today, I’ll share this gem. This was a spam comment left on the Buffalo Chicken Burgers. It really delivers a lot of wisdom:

My spouse and i felt now peaceful Louis could deal with his researching using the precious recommendations he was given when using the web site. It’s not at all simplistic to just choose to be offering methods that many other people might have been selling. Therefore we know we have the writer to thank for that. All of the explanations you’ve made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships your site aid to engender – it’s many spectacular, and it’s leading our son in addition to the family understand this article is exciting, and that is rather essential. Thank you for all!

I just love hearing pearls of insight from my readers.

Ok, onto the real topic of the day.

Today, I shall share with you my new favorite burrito recipe. This recipe comes from the kitchen of my friend Liz. She made these burritos for us back when I was on bed rest. I’m forever obsessed with them now.

They are super easy to make, they are relatively inexpensive, and the recipe could feed an army. Albeit, a small army… but an army nonetheless.

And if you weren’t sold yet, these burritos are the perfect make ahead meal. They freeze so well, and because they are wrapped up individually you can heat up a whole mess of burritos to feed a crowd or you can make one just for yourself.

Here is what you will need:

1 pound or so ground beef or turkey (I used lean grass-fed beef)- of course, you could make these vegetarian by using black beans instead

1 16 oz.  jar of salsa

1 can refried beans- they now offer these in a vegetarian option too if you are in to that sort of thing

1 small can chopped green chilies

1 packet taco seasoning

1/2 cup water

Tortillas

2 cups or so shredded Monteray Jack cheese

I interrupt this recipe to share a quick baby product recommendation. There are days that Sir Henry sleeps right through meal preparation. Then, there are other days where he just wants to be held by his mama.

The burrito preparation was something that Henry insisted on being included in.

So, I put him in the Moby wrap, and we cooked the day away together.

My cousin, Staci, turned me on to the Moby Wrap. And boy, am I glad that she did. Hands-free baby holding is money.

The Moby Wrap allows you to hold your babe close to comfort him or her while leaving your hands free. It is awesome. Staci has a 16 month old, and she is still able to use the Moby with him.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled recipe.

Start by putting a large skillet over medium heat. Put a drizzle of olive oil in the skillet if you are using lean beef or turkey. If you are using the full fat meat, you likely won’t need any additional oil.

Drop in your meat and start browning it.

Once it is browned, drain the meat if you so desire.

Now, add in your entire jar of salsa.  

Add in the chiles.  

And the taco seasoning. 

And plop in your can of refried beans.

Add in 1/2 cup of water.

Stir that all together.

I told you this was easy, right?

Shred up your cheese, and we are ready to build our burritos.

Take one of your tortillas, and throw down some cheese.

Scoop 1/3 cup of the burrito mixture and spread that on top of the cheese.

Now fold up the top and the bottom of the burrito.

And then fold the sides over so that all of that meaty, beany, cheesy, salsa-y goodness is safely tucked away.

Wrap each burrito individually in aluminum foil.

Side note: I work with a guy that used to work for Reynolds. He wraps every item in his lunch in foil including his can of pop. I wish I was exaggerating. When I referred to this product as tin foil, he was quick to correct me. It is not tin foil, it is aluminum foil.

So, that’s that.

This recipe made 14 burritos. I ran out of foil halfway through- oops.

So, the plastic wrap burritos were given to our friends. Have fun re-wrapping those bad boys.

You. Are. Welcome.

The burritos can go into the oven on a sheet pan at 350 for 25 minutes.

Or you can freeze these guys for a super easy dinner after a long day at the office. If they are frozen, put them in a  350 oven for 50 minutes.

When you pull them out, eat them as they are or add some lettuce and tomato. Or maybe some guacamole?

Perfection.

There is only one burrito I like more  than this recipe.

The baby burrito.

Nothing better than that, right?

Have a great day friends!

XO,
Leah

OK, peeps.

Hang with me here.

I’m about to blow your mind with this pizza.

Even if you are a non-adventurous meat-eatin’ man (I’m talkin’ to you Uncle Doug), I  guarantee you will like this pizza.

And if you don’t, then I’ll tell you that you’re crazy.

I drool over the gorgeous food pictures on FoodGawker nearly every day.

You’ll never see my food on there because I have no clue what I’m doing with a camera. Food and flavor are my focus. Not so much the pics.

But the FoodGawker food is absolutely irresistible, and I seriously want to try a handful of recipes every dang day.

So yesterday, I saw a picture of this pizza and I knew I had to try it.

It was fate because I had all of the ingredients on hand.

This recipe is courtesy of Chris over at The Café Sucré Farine.

It made my eyes pop wide open when I took the first bite.

Drool worthy.

So, this is a pizza that is topped with bacon, chicken, cheese, a balsamic/strawberry glaze, fresh strawberries and cilantro.

Sounds crazy, I know.

But. You. Will. Not. Regret. Making. This.

It has been a while since we have talked about my love affair with bacon. Do not fear.

My love has not waned.

I still love it more than ever.

However, I did try a new brand of Applewood Smoked Bacon from Whole Foods. This bacon is made from non-industrial farmed pigs. So, before these pigs gave their life for us (I know it’s morbid, but c’mon- it’s meat) they lived a happy life on a farm with room to roam. Then, they were killed humanely.

Again, I know that not everyone cares about the things I care about. And that is fine by me.

I’m just sharing my choices and experience.

So, don’t get all high on the hog (ha- get it? hog? bacon? har!) and whateverish with me.

Back to cooking.

Fry your bacon.

Then, drain off some of that fat on paper towels.

Then, eat approximately 4 pieces to make sure the flavor it acceptable.

Yes, it takes at least 4 slices before you can know for sure.

Now, lets make our glaze.

Get out some balsamic vinegar.

And add a quarter cup to a small sauce pan.

Boil that vinegar, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vinegar has reduced by half.

Reducing the vinegar causes some of the liquid to evaporate, and the liquid left in the pan gets a little thicker and syrupy. Yum.

Bust out some strawberry jam or preserves.

Or jelly.

I’m sure jelly would work fine.

Plop a 1/2 c. of the strawberry goodness into your balsamic reduction.

And now, a surprise ingredient.

Some Sriracha!

A little spicy spiciness.

If you don’t have Sriracha, I’m sure any hot sauce would suffice.

Add 1 teaspoon of the hotness to your sauce.

Stir it up until it is all combined.

Set that sauce aside until you need it again.

Now, lets cook some chicken.

If you are a good multi-tasker in the kitchen, you can cook the above sauce and your chicken at the same time.

To cook normal sized chicken breasts, place your pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the breasts fairly generously with salt and pepper.

Cook on each side for approximately 4 minutes.

So, back to my new commitment to responsible eating. If you have a Whole Foods near you, they have a mega pack of chicken breasts that are organic/free range/cold washed. If you buy the bulk package, the price is not that much more than the conventional chicken at other grocery stores.

Ok, lets get our pizza dough ready.

Preheat your oven to 450.

I made my own dough from the recipe on the back of the new Fleischmann’s Pizza Dough yeast packet.

Kroger used to carry these super thin pizza crusts, but they didn’t have them. Boo Kroger!

Trader Joes also carries an uncooked pizza dough for $1.29 that I really like. However, I wasn’t going to run out for one measly pizza dough.

So, I love this next idea. Again, I’m totally stealing this from Chris’s recipe.

She recommends using parchment paper to roll out your pizza dough.

Put down a little cornmeal.

And roll out your pizza dough.

The parchment makes the transfer to the pizza stone so dang easy. I can’t believe I have never done this before.

It made the whole process easier and cleaner.

Yay for parchment paper!

I like to season the dough a bit and cook it a bit before piling on the toppings.

I spread a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Place it on your pizza pan or stone and cook the crust for 4-5 minutes.

While that dough is par-cooking, chop either one large or 2 small chicken breasts.

Chop up 6 slices of bacon.

Chop up 1/4 of a large yellow onion.

Top your chicken with a tablespoon or 2 of the balsamic strawberry glaze.

And use your hands to mix the sauce into the chicken.

Pop a piece into your mouth.

Savor the goodness.

Practice restraint by not downing the chicken before it ever makes it onto the pizza.

Pull your dough out of the oven.

Spread the remaining glaze around the crust.

Spread a cup of shredded Italian cheese across the pizza.

I normally don’t like or use the pre-shredded stuff but I was aiming for ease!

Pile on your chicken, bacon, and onions.

Finish it off with another cup of the shredded cheese. Throw that bad boy into the oven until the cheese is all ooey-gooey-melty.

About 7-8 minutes.

It comes out looking like this.

I could have eaten it just like this.

It smelled so heavenly.

But I wanted the full delightful experience.

So, I sliced up some strawberries and threw them on top. DO NOT skip this step. I promise. It is so so freaking good.

Then, I chopped some green onion and tossed that on top.

The actual recipe calls for cilantro (not green onion), and I was quite sad to discover that I had no cilantro. It would have been perfection.

But the green onion was a perfectly delicious substitute.

I served the pizza with Ina Garten’s Lemon Fusilli with Arugula. So good!

For Ina’s recipe, I used half of the amount of cream and lemon and pasta. And I used double the amount of vegetables.

I’m not big on a super pasta-y pasta salad. Does that make any sense whatsoever?

Anyhow, it was a perfect meal on a perfect Ohio evening enjoyed on the patio.

We ate while Henry soaked in the fresh air in his bouncy seat.

The two ding dongs ran around arguing over the same stick.

A pretty perfect meal, and a pretty perfect evening.

Life is good,

Leah

P.S. Want to see the coolest, most darling gift I received yesterday? My friend, Jess, oozes creativity. And she made this for Henry’s room. I died. It is perfection, and it will be so perfect for his nursery. Thanks Jess!

Sorry, it is an iPhone pic- I’ll share a better pic when it makes it onto the wall.

I have been watching more TV. I suppose that is to be expected. I’m at home on maternity leave. And while I’m not sitting in front of the TV all day, I do leave it on.

You know, for company.

Is that weird?

Here is what the TV has confirmed for me:

1. Local News is for the birds. The hard-hitting news stories include where the latest potholes are, some random bar is allowing smoking even though we are in a non-smoking state, and the arrest of a local union leader for embezzling money (OK, that one is somewhat interesting). Mostly though, I don’t understand who wants to hear these stories. Can someone shed some light for me?

2. Our government has lost it. When did this happen? Has it always been this way but I’ve only started paying attention in the past decade or so? I just feel like the word “ridiculous” is a very kind word to describe the nonsense happening in our nation’s capitol. Holla if you hear me.

I’m sure the new 12 member “Super Committee” will solve everything.

I loved Warren Buffet’s suggestion for solving the debt crisis. He stated that it could be over in 5 minutes if all of the politicians involved wouldn’t be eligible for re-election if the crisis wasn’t solved.

I don’t have a solution. But I am hopeful that those ding-dongs in Washington who are smarter and get paid more than me will figure it out.

4. I’m excited to see this movie. The trailer plays non-stop on the old Boob Tube. I am crossing my fingers that the movie is a fraction as good as the book was.

5. I read the Hunger Games series a few months ago. I tore through the three books with a quickness.

I loved the books, and I’m a little nervous about the movies that are being made right now. I think it will be nearly impossible to capture the books effectively. I hope I’m wrong.

Here are the recently released stills of Katniss and Peeta:

Hmmm. Not quite how I pictured them, but I think I can live with it.

If you haven’t read the books, you should. They are a super quick read, and they are very very good!!

6. The Fighter

Just watched this on Netflix. Christian Bale was awesome, and so was Melissa Leo. Wow.

I think our little guy was influenced by the film.

That’s all for today.

Have a good one,

Leah

PS. The most heart-wrenching story on TV is the coverage of Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. Please consider helping.

Here is a great link to organizations that you can plug into to help. 

So, I know I’m like years behind.

But I just watched Food, Inc. for the first time. After seeing it, I am now committed to watching it at least once a year, so that I don’t forget the movie’s message.

Several years ago my friend Liz introduced me to author Michael Pollan.

Michael Pollan (who is featured in Food, Inc.) is one of the leading voices on eating wisely, ethically, and healthily. I devoured (har, har) his books “Food Rules”, “In Defense of Food”, and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. I have written about them here before, and I’ll probably mention them again at some point. After reading what Pollan had to say about the way we fat, unhealthy (yes, I’m generalizing) Americans eat, I committed to making changes in my diet.

And after time, the passion behind those decisions faded away. I look at the organic chicken at almost $9 to feed two people versus the regular chicken for $3 to feed two people, and my conviction starts to wane. I compare the price and longevity of organic spinach versus the regular old pesticide ridden spinach, and I grab the cheaper.

I go to the supermarket and load up on their weird tomatoes that were picked halfway around the world and shipped while they were still green rather than make an extra trip to the farmer’s market buy tomatoes. Those farmer’s market tomatoes are grown locally, pesticide free, and they taste exponentially better.

Guh.

Pollan states that we have a choice- to spend money now on better food for us, or we can spend money later on increased health care costs.

So now, I have watched Food, Inc. and my conviction in eating responsibly has been reignited.

Here in America, we have the opportunity to vote on how food is produced three times a day. It is one of the rare opportunities to voice our opinion on what matters to us every time we shop and eat. I know that I will be more conscious with every vote I make. And while your opinion on food may differ from mine, you have the opportunity to vote with every purchase you make at the grocery store.

If you haven’t seen Food, Inc. I implore you to check it out. There were scenes from industrial farms and slaughterhouses (nothing too graphic, I promise) that made me overwhelmingly sad and thoroughly disgusted. And then I realized… I’m voting for this treatment of animals and for this type of a manufactured farm system every time that I buy certain products in the grocery store.

And that doesn’t sit well with me.

At all.

So, change is a-comin’ for us.

If you watched this movie when it first came out, watch it again. It is worth your time.

Also, Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” is one of the best food books I have ever read- you should check it out.

Now, I shall step off of my soap box.

I love food. I love eating animals (I know it sounds cruel, but I do like meat). I love eating vegetables.

I want to be able to say that I love doing all of the above responsibly and consciously.

Today, I’m making a public commitment to take steps toward a more local, organic, healthy, and responsible diet.

Amen.

And amen.

XO,

Leah

As I jump back on the workout wagon, there is one song that consistently gets me going.

Seriously.

It is an oldie, but a goodie.

I have posted it before, and I’ll probably post it again.

That Vampire Weekend makes my time on the treadmill more than bearable.

It makes it fun.

And yes, I dance and sing along while I run. That’s normal, right?

Have a great weekend peeps,

Leah

I am a firm believer that every nice and healthy dinner option deserves a little naughtiness on the side.

I have never in my life been on a diet.

I mean, I have tried. But I last like 3 hours, and I don’t really believe in dieting. So, I just don’t even try anymore.

Rather, I believe in eating healthy most of the time, but always indulging just a bit.

What would life be without a little indulgence?

Boring.

That’s what.

So, today I give you the easiest salad ever. It has quickly become my favorite favorite salad of Summer 2011.

Start with some spinach. Spinach is ever so good for you. Full of nutrients and other healthy stuff.

Add in a big ol’ handful of blueberries.

Holla if you LOVE summer fruit.

HOLLA!!

Now slice up a tart and sweet kiwi, and add it to your salad.

Top it with some grated parmesan.

I have mentioned before that I cannot stomach low-fat salad dressing. It always tastes weird to me.

Weird in a gross sort of way.

But that doesn’t mean that every salad that I eat is drenched in full-fat heavy salad dressing that negates the healthiness of a salad.

A simple lemon vinaigrette is easily my summertime favorite. I have had this dressing so much, I think I am singlehandedly responsible for lemon growers’ profitability.

Take a slice of lemon and squeeze it over your salad. I use 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons for a large bowl of salad.

Now, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the salad. I use 1 Tablespoon or so.

Finish off your salad with some black pepper.

It is the brightest, happiest, yummiest salad.

Substitute or add to the blueberries and kiwi with raspberries or strawberries or pineapple or oranges or apples or whatever you have. There is seriously not a bad choice as far as I’m concerned.

Now, let’s get naughty.

Every good healthy light and bright salad should be paired with a chunk of crusty cheesy bread if you ask me.

The key to a good cheesy garlic bread side is good bread. Duh.

This bread is called a Tortano loaf from my favorite bakery, Blue Oven Bakery. Their breads are cooked in a wood fired oven, and they are so delicious I can hardly stand it.

Slice off a chunk of that bread and cut it open so we can layer on the good stuff.

Spread on some butter.

Real butter.

Not Margarine.

Not weird substitute butter substance.

BUTTER.

Sprinkle on some Italian Seasoning herbs.

Add on some shredded cheese. I used some Jack Cheese, but you could use mozzarella or colby or whatever ya got.

Then, add on a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

And top it off with something green.

I used some green onion and some chopped rosemary.

Pop it into the oven until the cheese melts. It really doesn’t matter what temperature the oven is because the bread is in there such a short amount of time.

You could also stick this bread on the grill if you are feeling crazy.

Put it all together on a plate.

We had it with some turkey and artichoke stuffed shells (these were made by my friend Liz, and they were awesome)!

A lotta nice and a little bit of naughty.

And all delicious.

Now that is my kind of meal.

Today is Thursday. It is our 18th day (or something like that) of 90+ degree temperatures in a row.

Dear Gussie.

Thanks be for air conditioning.

Stay cool pals, and have a great day!

XO,
Leah

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 614 other followers