Well, I’ve had healthier weeks. But there was plenty of spinach salad, and lots of apples and bananas, so I feel good about my fruit & veg intake this week. Interestingly, I’ve found that it’s very rare that I eat meat at more than one meal throughout the day. Breakfast usually consists of granola and yogurt (and some fruit). My lunches have been a bit varied, anything from spinach salad to crackers and cheese and fruit to meatless quesadillas to the previous night’s leftovers. One night a week, we have a vegetarian dinner, so I try to include meat in my lunch on that day. I don’t mind not eating meat with every meal (I don’t think it’s necessary, as long as I’m getting protein some other way), but I’m certainly not planning on going completely vegetarian any time soon!


Shrimp Risotto (from Cooking Season by Season) and Spinach Salad with Creamy Caper-Herb Dressing (from Food Network Magazine)


Risotto is comfort food. That’s all there is to it. It took me a long time to figure out how to properly make risotto (The Pioneer Woman’s recipe helped put me on the right track), and it was in Japan – while pregnant with Lauren – that I finally made consistently good risotto. My feet always hurt terribly the next day, but I’m blessed with a husband who was willing to do as much of the stirring as I needed him to do. He made a good batch or two of risotto himself. Nowadays, I make risotto about once a month, sometimes as a side, but I’m thinking now it would be better as a main. It’s hard to make a good risotto low-calorie. Even if it’s chock full of veggies, the olive oil and the cheese (and the rice itself) jack up the calories and fat. So, this month’s risotto was a main dish. There’s no cheese in it, but there is shrimp, and I love shrimp, so that makes up for it. It could have used a bit more seasoning; the risotto without the shrimp was on the bland side. But together, the combination was very nice. And it went quite well with the salad; the dressing was quite flavorful but not so much that it dominated the whole meal.


Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Cabbage Slaw (from the Flat Belly Diet! Family Cookbook)


This was supposed to be done with tuna, but nobody had any fresh tuna. I got sockeye salmon from Whole Foods instead. The salmon was good, but tuna would have suited this dish better. The flavors were definitely made for tuna. Even so, this was delicious, and halving the recipe made the perfect amount for the two of us. You have to be a fan of sesame for this, though (we are), because it’s everywhere: in the salmon crust, in the cooked slaw, and in the cooking oil itself. Orange juice and hoisin complemented the salmon nicely, adding a little tang and sweetness. We both enjoyed this a good deal, and I’m eager to try it with tuna next time.


Pesto Pinwheels (from the Flat Belly Diet! Family Cookbook)


Totally not my intention to make two meals from the same book in one week – much less on subsequent days! Oh, well. Such is life sometimes. This was interesting. It’s a layer of a thin, baked egg-flour combination topped with a generous amount of a pesto-spinach-Greek yogurt sauce. It certainly was flavorful! The recipe only calls for two grape tomatoes per serving (?), so I added more (we each got 10). Their juiciness combined with the flavor of the pinwheel was really nice. This is the first cold dish I have made in a long, long time, and fortunately, it was a warm day. I bet it’d be really nice on a hot summer day. Although it was a little on the strange side, it’s definitely something I’d make again. I was worried it wouldn’t be enough for Geordie, but it satisfied both of us quite nicely.


Balsamic Roast Beef (from addapinch.com) and Spinach Salad with Buttermilk-Goat Cheese Dressing (from Food Network Magazine)


Every so often, beef shoulder goes on sale at the local grocery store. I bought this a couple weeks ago and finally had a chance to make a nice, slow-cooked roast beef. This one’s done in the slow cooker, and it smelled so good all afternoon. The meat just fell apart with hardly any effort, and it was so flavorful and tender. I served it simply with bread and a spinach salad, but I bet it would have been really terrific with some mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. Or some roasted potatoes and veggies! Certainly something I’ll keep in mind for next time. We had no complaints about this one. Not so for the salad dressing though – Geordie just wasn’t keen on it. I loved it, but anything with buttermilk or goat cheese is likely to win me over. Combining them just makes them more awesome. I will say that it didn’t go terribly well with the meat, though. The roasted veggies would be a much better plan.


Turkish-Spiced Lamb Pizza with hummus and dates (from Cooking Season by Season)


I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this. The recipe calls for naan bread rather than a pizza crust, but I had pizza dough, so that’s what I used. I don’t think that had a negative effect on the meal. This was tasty, in a rather unique way. The lamb was browned with some garlic and chili powder, then its placed on the pizza along with fresh mushrooms (my addition) and pine nuts. A little paprika goes on top and into the oven it goes to cook. I’m actually not sure where the Turkish inspiration comes from – the pine nuts? the chili powder? Whatever. It tastes great, so I won’t argue much. It definitely needs the hummus, though, considering there’s no sauce at all on the pizza, just whatever juices come out of the mushrooms. I also sprinkled on a little feta cheese, and I wanted some more fruit/veg, so I added some nice, large dates to my plate. We enjoyed this. It was a nice, light pizza, and it went terrifically with the whole wheat pizza crust. I would not mind repeating this one at all!