Since I look skinny while eating salads, I’m adopting more — like Mark Bittman’s Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad — into my diet.

To be honest, I made this while the Meat-eating Military Man was away because when he’s gone, I often make very simple meals. Military spouses, do you stick to easy like me?

I was a little skeptical of this recipe at first because of all the quinoa salads I had tried, I had never seen the marriage of quinoa, sweet potato, red peppers, red onion and chives. Wouldn’t the sweet potatoes make it too mushy? But with good faith in Mark Bittman, I gave the recipe a try.

I’m glad I did! It was a lot more flavorful and textured than I imagined. The sweet potatoes added a little sweetness without going overboard, and the white balsamic vinegar I used added just the right amount of acidity and punch. It’s very colorful, too!

I made a big batch of this on a Sunday night and since it’s so portable, took it in with me for lunch a couple days.

Hope you enjoy some of this easy-to-make, refreshing salad (recipe here)! But just as a disclaimer, I’m not sure if eating a quinoa salad will make you look skinnier — I think only leafy green ones do that trick. ;) Is that right, Meat-eating Military Man?

When the Meat-eating Military Man returned home after about three weeks away, we had this conversation over dinner. I was only eating a salad because I wasn’t very hungry.

MMM: Have you been working out? You look like you’ve lost weight.

Me: Really? (with a look of skepticism)

MMM: Never mind. Maybe you look skinnier because you’re eating a salad.

Me:

That’s right, ladies. Forget those girdles, firming lotions and slimming cuts — the secret to looking thin(ner) is being seen eating a salad.

San Diego boasts sunny weather year-round, beaches and a laid-back nature, but one of its best offerings is authentic Mexican food.

I really feel bad for anyone who hasn’t yet packed their bags just to try this Mexican food, but I know that’s impractical. Fortunately, there’s a cheaper way to take your understanding of the taco to the next level — make it at home!

Local spots around here always offer Mashed Potato Tacos. It may sound strange, but when you make and eat them, you will rejoice. And, please, while you’re enjoying them, don’t think about the calories or carbs! Enter the creamy, comforting fiesta without any guilt. You can worry about burning it off later.

Thanks to my boss who shared his secrets with me, we were able to make these quickly and easily. Here’s how you get the party started.

Make a batch of basic, creamy mashed potatoes. Add some Mexican blend cheese and green onion at the end.

Then, assemble the taco in this order (more details in the recipe):

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While making the lentil burgers yesterday, and getting his hands into it (like the picture here) the Meat-eating Military Man said:

This is NOT right or normal. A carnivore should not be getting his hands into mashed lentils and making burgers.

Well, Meat-eating Military Man, it’s also not “normal” for a vegetarian to dig her hands into “mashed” up cow and make burgers.

But we both do it…because we love each other. ;)

 

 

 

When you start a blog, you (usually) always vow you will update regularly. And then…you don’t. Just like how I haven’t posted — or tweeted, or really been on facebook — in almost two months.

Well, the Meat-eating Military Man took the kitchen hostage and has been forcing vegetarian me to eat sausage and steak all day! Help! Just kidding… :)

The reality is, the Meat-eating Military Man was gone quite a bit, we traveled for weddings and holidays, and we just got plain old busy. I know you’ve heard/read that busy excuse over and over like a bad jingle.

Before I let the very boring jingle go on any longer, let’s talk about food. Here’s what we made last night: these lentil burgers with Saveur‘s Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo, and Apple, Manchego and Chive Salad [attempted, recipe not perfected.]

I saw the mayo while flipping through this month’s Saveur, and made the burgers just so we could eat the sauce. The picture looked that good.

Roasted Garlic Chipotle MayoRoasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo

The spicy sauce certainly did not disappoint. The Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo was so easy to make (4 ingredients), and made those vegetarian lentil burgers finger-looking good for the carnivore in our house.

vegetarian lentil burgers

Lentil Burgers with lettuce, tomato, avocado and Roasted Garlic Chipotle Mayo

I made the Apple, Manchego and Chive Salad because the Meat-eating Military Man and I tried — and loved — it at Cafe Lurcat. I wanted to lick my plate clean, but of course I didn’t because a lady does not do that at a fine restaurant! ;) The flavors were just so fresh and perfectly married, I needed to replicate it right away. I searched the internets, and begged my mother-in-law (an amazing cook and food connoisseur) to help me figure it out!

Well, after testing and trying different combinations — of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, lime, and honey — we landed on the recipe after the jump. It was tasty, but wasn’t exactly right. The search goes on.

Apple, Manchego and Chive SaladApple, Manchego and Chive Salad

Have you made this salad? How do you make it? Cafe Lurcat, I’ll maybe eat a bite of local, sustainable sausage if you tell me…

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Endive and Blue Cheese Salad

Creamy Sweet Potato & Rosemary Soup

I’m embarrassed. My last post was over two weeks ago. Yikes! This is a testament to how busy it has been around our household — the Meat-eating Military Man has been making me read many books and write papers about meat. He rebelled against vegetables.

Just kidding. :)

He’s been absolutely wonderful while I juggled work and additional projects and assignments. He has done more than his fair share of housework, has cooked multiple meals and never complained when weekends had to be traded in for work. Thank you, Meat-eating Military Man, my officer and gentleman!

I finally got into the kitchen long enough to make salad dressing and soup from scratch. Both recipes — the Endive and Blue Cheese Salad and Creamy Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup — are from the Food Network. These caught my eye because they were seasonal and more importantly, because when making vegetarian meals I’m sure meat-eaters will love, creamy and cheesy are key words. :)

The Meat-eating Military Man loved this simple vegetarian meal. Hey Meat-eating Military Man, do you still dislike soup and think soup and salad can’t make a complete meal?

These two dishes were delicious. They didn’t require any tweaking, which is a rarity for me! The dressing in the salad was finger-looking good. I’ll be making the dressing again and using it for other salads. The soup was creamy and the right amount of sweet.

This post was written in support of Meatless Monday. Join the Movement!  

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flickr/Rubenstein

As reported in People today, newlywed Molly Sims is learning how to cook for two:

“Three weeks in, I am good,” she told PEOPLE Thursday night at the eBay Inspiration Shop in New York. “I am trying to learn how to cook. I learned how to cook Thanksgiving, but never learned how to cook for two people. So that, for married life, is my next venture.”
So far, the process is going fairly well; the Project Accessory host said she’d made grilled salmon salad, carrot-and-parsnip mash and a cauliflower and Parmesan dish all this week. “We ordered Chinese last night, though,” she admitted.

I understand, Ms. Sims. It’s hard to cook for a man. I wonder if a vegetarian learning how to cook for a meat-eater is just as hard as a skinny supermodel trying to feed a man — nah, who am I kidding?! I’m no supermodel! I can fry something or throw some cheese on anything and be sure the Meat-eating Military Man will like it! ;)

From one wife to another, good luck Ms. Sims. May our husbands be happy and well-fed.

My tweet from earlier tonight:

I came home with mozzarella cheese, a block of cheese, fresh baked Sourdough bread, Pirate’s booty (and blueberries and grapes for fear of judgment). Is that pathetic? What can I say — as much as I love my vegetables, I REALLY love cheesy carbs. Mmm cheese. Mmm carbs.

Truth is, the Meat-eating Military Man and I have both been unusually busy and getting home late — hence the lack of fresh food cooking lately. :( Unleash a tired me in search of comfort food in a grocery store and I will prey on the bakery and deli sections of the store.

What do you grab and go when you want comfort food and are too busy to cook?

 

Whatever your political leaning, you have to admit their love and respect for each other is cute — different from the kind of “cute” President Obama used to describe Michelle Obama. Are you watching, Meat-eating Military Man?

Man, I’ve been a sucker for these gushy love stories — this one had me teary-eyed yesterday.

Kabocha Squash at the Farmers’ Market

A lot of people ask me what the conversations are like between me and the Meat-eating Military Man when we prepare dinner. People wonder, “Does he protest all the vegetables? Does he beg for some red meat?”

Well, he’s used to his old married vegetarian broad (me) by now, so I will say the comments in the kitchen have decreased, but he still makes statements. His latest? This past Sunday night.

I already said I felt mean while making this kabocha squash, chickpea and red lentil stew. I knew it had too many (exotic to the Meat-eating Military Man) vegetables and legumes at once. While cutting the kabocha squash, the Meat-eating Military Man said:

Are you sure you’re supposed to eat this? You always try to eat plants that weren’t meant to be eaten. This squash was created for seasonal decoration.

Okay, Meat-eating Military Man. I’m glad you enjoyed the seasonal decor.

 

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