E2 Week: Sweet Potato Bowl

You have to admit, even if this recipe from the Engine 2 Diet didn’t taste good, it looks beautiful. Also, I got to eat an entire half of an avocado! I haven’t had that much avocado in one sitting in ages…so good. I partially decided to make this because it sounded so strange. Mango? Sweet potato? Balsamic Vinegar? Lime juice? Cilantro? It was a weird mishmash of different textures and tastes–mostly sweet and sour–that ended up working really well together. The only problem–too much cilantro. Normally I love the stuff, but it fought with the other flavors. Still–for a dish with no seasoning–this was amazingly flavorful. I’d for sure make it again, but I’d cut back on the pepper (so much bell pepper!) and, of course, the cilantro. Nice job, E2!



“Oh my, aren’t you a fancy one?”

Tonight madame will be having the Mushroom Cranberry Salad with potatoes and asparagus? Very good.

Seriously, this dinner was so stinking fancy! The dressing had all the fun of shallots, horseradish and balsamic vinegar. How can you possibly go wrong with that? And mushrooms! And garlic! And magic! *poof*

I also really love steaming potatoes. Just the smell of a steamed potato sends me over the moon. And look at the little white asparagus. Yes, you can insert your albino penis joke here…or…erm…not. But still! I have never felt more classy eating a meal. I should have paired it with some white wine (if the only kind I have isn’t a month old and in a box–true story) or a fancy dessert.

But instead of dessert I spent my after dinner time gathering emergency supplies in case we have to sleep in the basement tonight. Because of a deadly line of tornadoes headed right for our neck of the woods. Cue Jon Lovitz: “Jealous?”

Recipe can be found in Appetite for Reduction.

Spaghetti & Sausage

As I ate this, I kept thinking–even Ron Swanson would like this sausage. Maybe not, but it was dang meaty, and tasted much better than when I first made it–in my German Braut Nightmare. I sauteed these sausages in the same pan as I made the sauce, I just sat them aside and moved on with my cooking.

I make my own spaghetti sauce–and why not?–it’s so stinking easy. I hate to even think of buying the $6 jar stuff. Making pasta sauce is also weirdly rewarding, it’s one of those things which seems impossible to make unless you are an adorable Italian grandmother, but put on an apron and get out a wooden spoon and you’ll be fine.

Mushroom Marinara Sauce (4 servings):

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup diced carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz package of mushrooms (baby bellas or just buttons are nice here), sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar

Heat oil in a cast iron (or large) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then, add the garlic, mushrooms & pepper flakes. The mushrooms should start to release their juices after about three minutes. Pour in your red wine, and let it reduce until the liquid is mostly gone from the pan (about 5 minutes). Add the liquid from the tomatoes, and crush them with your hands as you add them to the sauce. Stir in the tomato paste and spices, and cook until sauce thickens–about 10 to 15 mins over medium heat. When sauce is thick, add the agave and balsamic. Stir, turn off the heat, and you’re ready to serve. 

I like to top my spaghetti off with nutritional yeast, though that’s totally up to you. 

The Lazymen’s Lunch

Normally, I eat a lunch that’s even lazier than this–just leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. I just typed nicht instead of night, I swear to you it’s because I was just reading some Old English. Holy crap! My past is coming back to haunt me. Curse you, BA in English.

Anyway, back to my lunch. I had just gone to the grocery store, but since everything I buy is to be made into something else, I have no convenience foods except for hummus. So, behold, the laziest lunch I could think of! I mean…of which I could think.

The Lazymen’s Lunch (serves 1 lazy person):

  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4-6 Kalamata olives
  • 1 T dehydrated onion
  • 2 T hummus
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp agave (to taste–if your tomatoes are very sweet, you probably don’t need it)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put the quinoa in a pot on medium-high heat with 1/2 cup water, and wait for it to boil. Once boiling, add the dehydrated onion, cover and turn down to a simmer. It should be done in 15 mins. In the meantime, take your handful of tomatoes and put them in the broiler (I have a little toaster oven for this). Broil them until they turn brown and the skins peel back. 

Now, mix the dressing ingredients: thin your prepared hummus with the water, and then add the vinegar, mustard, and agave (if you’re using it).

When the quinoa and onions are done, mix with the dressing. Add in the tomatoes and olives. Ta-da! A terrific lunch. I will say, it did feel like it was missing something green, so maybe some spinach? Or a little basil? What do you think?