[10-Minute Lunches] Burrito Bowl

If I were good at planning and thinking ahead, I would prep my lunches the night before. Or if I were disorganized, I would make it on the way out the door.

Which do you think I do?

If I don’t want to spend money buying lunch because I forgot to make it at home, or use lunch-from-home to make healthier choices, I need something I can put together quickly that’s fast, healthy, and yummy. This is one of my running-out-the-door lunches.

[10-Minute Lunches] Quinoa Burrito Bowl | Found in the Fridge

This was so simple to put together. I started with by lining the bottom of my tupperware with quinoa and cauliflower rice (more on that another time) leftover from a previous meal. Then I added some canned corn, black beans, and diced orange bell pepper and tossed it all together. [10 Minute Lunches] Quinoa Burrito Bowl | Found in the Fridge

Then I mixed up and avocado with salt, pepper, and lime juice, and spread it over the top. I finished it off with sour cream and salsa and I was out the door!

Such a delicious, nutrient-rich lunch (add some meat for even more protein!) and, if you’re cooking for 1 or 2 and love Mexican food, you probably have some of these ingredients left over in your fridge already. It’s a great way to use up those pesky half-cans that you have leftover after another meal. Enjoy!

[10-Minute Lunches] Quinoa Burrito Bowl | Found in the Fridge

[Paleo Passover] Zucchini Noodles with Puttanesca

Another Passover meant another dozen or so hours on Pinterest looking for the perfect ways to get around my temporary dietary restrictions celebrate the festival of freedom.

I had heard of Paleo, I knew it involved no wheat, so I looked into it. Turns out, no gluten, no grains (no corn, no rice), no legumes (no soy, no peanuts). Sound familiar*?

Plus no dairy, but some people even do neo-paleo and eat dairy.

Plus, my great-grandmother didn’t have two sets of Passover dishes so she made only meat all week anyway.

So that led me to more hours searching “paleo” on Pinterest, and … I might be going paleo. Just a little. Maybe just for this week. I don’t know, I don’t buy into all the all-over health benefits and miracle digestional and autoimmune cures (plus I’m pretty healthy in that respect), but it looks like a pretty good framework for low-carb, healthy eating that might just help me lose some weight.

So, for my first really intentional Paleo meal, I present to you: Pasta on Passover!

You read that right.

Zoodles. I can’t believe people buy the crap made out of potato starch when you can make amazing spaghetti out of zucchini.

Puttanesca Zucchini Noodles

Yum! This looks sooo forbidden. It’s perfect!

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Day 8: Bake Bread

YEEESSSS!

Awesome challenge. Awesome. I love baking bread. And the taste of fresh bread (not cheap sandwich bread).

Sooo…it only took me four months to find a bread recipe I liked and that was successful.

So that’s a long time.

But I’m here now, and ready to share it (so you know it’s good, because I searched and tested and searched).

My roommates know of my love (and trials trying to make) sourdough. When I buy bread from the grocery store, its almost ALWAYS When Pigs Fly Sourdough or Whole Wheat Bread. They are super light and airy with a crusty outside and the nice hole-y middle.

This King Arthur’s Flour Ciabatta Recipe fits the bill with lots of holes in the middle. You need to start it the night before, and make it the next morning (on a day when you’ll be around for a little – like a Sunday morning?) or plan on starting 8-15 hours before you’ll be home for several hours.

The results are well worth it.

Ingredients

Biga (starter)

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup Water (I used water at ~110 degrees. King Arthur Flour doesn’t specify a temperature, but that’s what yeast likes best. 110 degrees should be warm to the touch but not hot at all)

1/8 teaspoon Yeast

Dough

Biga

1 teaspoon Yeast

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons Salt

1/4 cup Water

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

1. Mix all the biga ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for 8-15 hours

2. Place all of the dough ingredients, including the biga, in the bowl of a stand mixer* and beat it at medium speed (4 on a kitchenaid) using the flat beater for 7 minutes. Dough will be extremely smooth and elastic, soft and viscous.

3. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 2-2 1/2 hours. Deflate midway through the rise if convenient.

4. Form 2 loaves into a shape of your choice on a greased pan. Allow to rise 1 hour.

5. Oil your fingers, and gently poke deep holes all over the loaves. Let rise one more hour.

6. Spritz, sprinkle, or rub loaves with water. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. (Optional: boil water and place in a pan beneath the baking bread to fill the oven with steam for crustier crust.) Turn off the oven. Remove the loaves from the baking sheet, return them to the oven, and prop the door open with a folded-over oven mitt. Allow the loaves to completely cool in the oven.

Day 7: Make Money

While Tiffany put all sorts of money earning tips in her post, I would rather put the effort it would take me to try out those new things into the jobs I already have. I love my work, and I think doing it better will make me happier than a few extra bucks. And I have the advantage of not having such a strained budget that I need more than I’m earning now. So for today: comment on how you’re going to make improvements on the job!

Day 6: Eat a Simple Meal

Tiffany’s post on this is great.

The importance of simplicity in the kitchen and in our lives is easy to forget. As much as I love cooking, I can’t spend all night on it – I have to do homework, and free up some time for other, more enjoyable activities. Her challenge, though, is to eat a meal today that is simple to make and with simple ingredients – not processed food. Today was an especially perfect night for this because I spent a lot of time last night making a risotto, and I need a break. So I ate leftover sweet kugel for lunch, and went to the dining hall for dinner. Zero cooking. Doesn’t get much more simple than that.

Day 4: Ban Trans Fats

I was a little skeptical about Tiffany’s next step for 22 Days to a Fresh Start, which was to throw out and stop buying all foods with trans fats in them. I’m not big on the organic food bandwagon, so I wasn’t sure how getting rid of trans fats would be beneficial. However, the first article that came up when I was looking for more information was from the Mayo Clinic, who have the same recommendation as Tiffany: Don’t eat anything with trans fats in the nutritional facts, and avoid foods with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. So, I have to get on board.

Here are all the products in my kitchen that I got rid of after finding trans fats hidden in the ingredients lists:

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Edit: Embarrassingly soon after writing this post, I discovered that the only brand of Pareve margarine that I’ve seen sold near me has 1.5 grams of trans fats per serving. Unfortunately, Pareve margarine is kind of a necessity. So I’ve decided to give up all other trans fats just to reduce the impact of the margarine. Also, if anyone knows of a brand other than Fleischman’s, leave it in the comments.

More sources for getting rid of trans fat:

The FDA, as of 2013, is in the process of designating trans fats as no longer Generally Recognized as Safe

American Heart Association

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Disease Control

Day 3: Create a Grocery Budget

Ok, I kind of have an advantage on this one. I already have a grocery budget, set by an outside source. My parents give me a certain amount of money for food each month, so that’s how much I can spend. On everything, including coffee, groceries, dining halls (I don’t have a meal plan), takeout, and going out to eat.

Full disclosure (especially since I don’t think that many people are reading this blog): My goal amount for each month is $300. I keep track of my monthly budgets using mint.com.

What I am changing this month in my budgeting, based on one of Tiffany’s articles, is tracking how much I spend on groceries by category – keeping all my receipts for the month and seeing how much I spend on meat, protein, processed food, dairy, etc. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use this information to get some insight on my eating habits, and to change them.

I’ve also started a small price book to find the best prices for what I regularly buy at the places near me.

The real key this month is going to be about being creative with what I already have so I can buy less food.

Found in my Fridge

Setting up a new kitchen is expensive. Moving back into my dorm for the last year of college (already?), I had to pick up a lot of groceries. And I blew my grocery budget. Now, though, my fridge is full. So my plan for October is to buy as few groceries as possible to make up for last month, and cook with what I already have. That’s kind of my motto, right?

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I’m Back!

The school year is starting up again, and so is Found in the Fridge. While I was away this summer, I had very few opportunities to cook for myself, so now that I am back in an apartment, I am so eager to cook more often.

With the start of the Jewish new year, the start of the school year, and to help me toward my goals of cooking and eating more healthy meals for myself, I am starting the “22 Days to a Fresh Start” from Tiffany‘s blog Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

I want to follow the steps, but we’ll see how it goes in terms of formatting. Some of her steps I’ve already done. Some of her steps don’t work for me. Sometimes I’ll do more than 1 a day, sometimes I’ll skip a day. I hope to get to the end with some fresher, healthier eating habits.

Day 1: Clean out the fridge

This turned out to be an easy one because my roommates and I did this a week and a half ago. But, with all of us getting back from the holiday, it was worth it to do it again. I took everything out, threw out what was expired, wiped down some of the shelves, and put everything back in an organized manner.

Inside my fridge

At the bottom of the fridge, the two produce drawers are filled with fruits and vegetables. Above is the cheese drawer. The middle two shelves of the fridge are dedicated to leftovers and prepared foods. The top shelf of the fridge is ingredients, like eggs, rice, jam, sour cream, etc.

Coming up: What can actually be found in my fridge.