Healthy meal ideas

Happy new year! Like almost everyone else, my new years resolutions usually involve plans to eat healthier. One year I actually did it! My idea of healthy eating doesn’t involve “low fat’ or “low carb” or anything else “low”. It consists of natural, fresh, minimally processed REAL food. Like Michael Pollan says ” eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  In the past I’ve talked about how I do this on a reasonable budget.

So, here are lots of ideas. Not only are these basically healthy ideas, but they’re also mostly really easy and quick.

Warm potato and arugula salad, Whole Foods roasted lima beans, caprese salad, chicken salad with grapes (roast chicken, mayo, plain yogurt, sliced grapes):

Healthy meal.

Healthy meal.

I make roast chicken a couple times a month. One chicken will last 3 or 4 days and can be used in many different ways. This is a “bowl” with the roast chicken, some steamed broccoli, and warm pasta salad with tomatoes, feta chunks, basil, and olive oil.

Chicken pasta bowl

Chicken pasta bowl

Nothing is easier to make than eggs. Here’s a fried egg, some oven roasted potatoes, and a nice big green salad with veggies.

Eggs and salad

Eggs and salad

Fried eggs again. This time with a composed salad of greens, orange bell peppers, feta, and grape tomatoes. I also made some tzatziki, some hummus and some whole whole wheat pita.

Eggs again!

Eggs again!

Chicken posole and a green salad with lots of veggies. For dressing I usually just use olive oil and vinegar.

A big green salad and some chicken posole

A big green salad and some chicken posole

The best and easiest black bean soup, green salad with leftover roast chicken.

Black bean soup and grilled chicken salad

Black bean soup and grilled chicken salad

I really like one bowl meals. One of the healthiest things you can eat is mixed veggies. This is onions, broccoli, orange bell peppers, and corn sauteed in some olive oil. I probably either servied this in a bowl of rice and black beans or in a taco.

Veggie bowl

Veggie bowl

I hope these ideas help you in your quest to eat healthier. Let me know what you eat when you want to be healthier!

Family visit to Chicago September 2012

In September my parents and my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. We did a lot of tourist stuff, since we were practically tourists ourselves back then. We ate a ton of good food and saw a lot of stuff, too.

They stayed at The Aqua. It’s new and really cool. There is a hotel, condos, and apartments. They rented a condo on the 40th floor.

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua Building was designed to look like water.

The Aqua Building, Chicago.

The Aqua Building, Chicago.

 

The Aqua, Chicago.

The Aqua, Chicago.

Sunday we had lunch in our tiny apartment and dessert on the roof deck, then we walked from our apartment in Lincoln Park through the zoo and down into the Gold Coast and had dinner at Gibson’s Steakhouse, which was awesome.

The tigers at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The tigers at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

The fam in Lincoln Park

The fam in Lincoln Park.

Huge steaks, delicious cocktails, sides and wine at Gibsons in Chicago.

Huge steaks, delicious cocktails, sides and wine at Gibsons in Chicago.

David and Sarah relaxing outside at The Aqua.

David and Sarah relaxing outside at The Aqua.

On Monday we took a tour with the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company. It was actually really fun and informative. Highly recommended.

Chicago Trolley Company's Signature Tour.

Chicago Trolley Company's Signature Tour.

We sat on the top of the double decker and got some good pictures.

We sat on the top of the double decker and got some good pictures.

Since the tour is “hop on, hop off” and there are designated spots to do this, we opted to get off on Taylor St. and go to Rosebud for lunch.

Lunch!

We are serious about lunch.

Sarah and David like to share entrees. I don't share, but I do sample what everyone else has.

Sarah and David like to share entrees. Good idea, I'll share, too!

Mike had the Penne Bolognese (it was delicious).

My dad had the Penne Bolognese (it was delicious). We "shared" it.

Mike had the Spaghetti and meatballs (it was delicious).

Mike had the Spaghetti and meatballs (it was delicious).

I had this insane thing: Cavatelli Ala Rosebud. I still dream about this dish. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I told my dad I'd share it with him but wound up scarfing most of it myself. It's basically a gnocchi-like pasta with grean beans, tomatoes, peppers, and a butter sauce. OMG.

I had this insane thing: Cavatelli Ala Rosebud. I still dream about this dish. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. My dad and I were supposed to share it but I wound up scarfing most of it myself. It's basically a gnocchi-like pasta with grean beans, tomatoes, peppers, and a butter sauce. OMG.

After lunch we got back on the trolley and finished the tour. Later that night we went to the John Hancock Building’s Signature Room and had drinks and checked out the view from the 95th floor.

Fancy cocktails at The Signature Room.

Fancy cocktails at The Signature Room.

Tuesday we started out at Big Star in Wicker Park. The service was sort of lame and we felt like they weren’t that thrilled to have us non-hipsters out on their patio for everyone to see, but the food was really good. The margarita was not great, though, and overall we like Taco Joint in Lincoln Park better.

Yummy tacos at Big Star in Wicker Park, Chicago.

Yummy tacos at Big Star in Wicker Park, Chicago.

The margarita was warm and didn't taste like anything special. Plus it was small.

The margarita was warm and didn't taste like anything special. Plus it was small.

Another delish taco and really good beans- which were attacked by the family before I even got a good picture.

Another delish taco and really good beans- which were attacked by the family before I even got a good picture.

Yet another tasty little taco and the blah margarita. No matter how many pictures I take of it, it isn't going to improve.

Yet another tasty little taco and the blah margarita. No matter how many pictures I take of it, it isn't going to improve. You can see how everyone else devoured their food.

Then we got on the El to Wrigleyville and wandered around there for awhile.

Mom and dad on the El platform.

Mom and dad on the El platform.

Instagram!

Instagram!

Chicago wore them out!

Chicago wore them out!

We thought about taking a tour of Wrigley Field but the tickets were $25. REALLY? Yeah. Then we had some cocktails at one of the many bars up there.

Wrigley Field Instagram.

Wrigley Field Instagram.

After the drinks we got back on the El and went down to Fullerton in L.P. and had some hot dogs at Chicago’s Dog House.

The 'rents at Chicago's Dog House.

The 'rents at Chicago's Dog House.

All the yummies at Chicago's Dog House.

All the yummies at Chicago's Dog House.

Later that evening we took an architectural river cruise with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

CAF Architectural Cruise

CAF Architectural Cruise

River cruise, CAF.

River cruise, CAF.

Some cool shots from the boat.

Some cool shots from the boat.

CAF does great river tours, very informative and fun.

CAF does great river tours, very informative and fun.

The Wrigley Building a la Instagram.

The Wrigley Building a la Instagram.

After the river tour we had drinks and apps at Filini. I had another of my favorite foods ever there.

One of the best things I've ever eaten: the mushroom pizza from Filini, Chicago

One of the best things I've ever eaten: the mushroom pizza from Filini, Chicago.

Wednesday was their last day in Chicago so we started out in The Loop at Do-Rite Donuts. Everyone else was food-ed out, but Mike and I enjoyed the donuts very much. Rookies!

Do-Rite Donuts, Chicago.

Do-Rite Donuts, Chicago.

Then we just hung out in Millenium Park and had lunch at Mariano’s, the neat grocery store/cafe/restaurant by The Aqua.

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

Sarah and Dave at "The Bean".

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

These shots are irresistible.

Family shot!

Family shot!

LOL, silly.

LOL, silly.

"The Bean" is really called Cloud Gate.

"The Bean" is really called Cloud Gate.

Awwwww.

Awwwww.

David and Dad.

David and Dad.

Millenium Park, Chicago

Millenium Park, Chicago

 

 

Fun!

Fun!

Recess Eatery, Glendale, CA

Pretty much every time I go to L.A. we have a meal or two at Recess in Glendale. Everyone loves it because the food is good and the atmosphere is casual and modern.

Last time I went to Recess I just had a latte and some toast with jam. It was really good jam!

Last time I went to Recess I just had a latte and some toast with jam. It was really good jam!

My brother had the breakfast burrito and some fresh fruit.

My brother had the breakfast burrito and some fresh fruit.

Another shot of the nice bread and jam.

Another shot of the nice bread and jam.

Recess also serves a great lunch.

Scott Road panini from Recess in Glendale.

Scott Road panini from Recess in Glendale.

A special wrap from Recess in Glendale.

A special wrap from Recess in Glendale.

Mom always has the ahi salad!

Mom always has the ahi salad!

The sweet potato fries at Recess are soooooo good!

The sweet potato fries at Recess are soooooo good!

Some places to get good coffee, Chicago Edition

We love coffee. We love to go out and get coffee. We spend a great deal of time with coffee. Lucky for us, Chicago has a ton of excellent coffee houses and cafes. Here are some of our faves so far.

Intelligentsia, multiple locations. Ours is 3123 North Broadway, Lakeview, Chicago, 60657.

Seriously. We moved to Chicago without coming here first. I only had Google Maps to help me decide where to live. When I saw Intelligentsia, I knew this was going to be our neighborhood.

Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia Coffee

 

City Grounds Coffeebar: 507 W. Dickens, Lincoln Park, Chicago, 60614

Really good espresso in a clean, contemporary space. The regular coffee is the pour-over kind, yummy.

City Grounds, Chicago

City Grounds, Chicago

Cafe Latte at City Grounds, Lincoln Park, Chicago

Cafe latte at City Grounds, Lincoln Park, Chicago

Bourgeois Pig Cafe: 738 W. Fullerton Parkway, Lincoln Park, Chicago, 60614

Cool old house with brick and wood. A nice patio in the summer. Good food, espressos and delicious huge cakes (the best carrot cake I’ve had in awhile). YUM!

Cafe latte and decadent carrot cake at Bourgeois Pig Cafe, Chicago

Cafe latte and decadent carrot cake at Bourgeois Pig Cafe, Chicago

Vintage ceiling at Bourgeois Pig Cafe, Chicago

Vintage ceiling at Bourgeois Pig Cafe, Chicago

 

Merry Christmas, have you eaten enough?

Just one more week left in the holiday season. I bet you’re stuffed! But you still gotta eat. Soup is the perfect food for the week between Christmas and New Years. It’s easy (sick of cooking yet?), it’s light (maybe you’ll be able to button your jeans), and it’s simple (after all the excess of the holidays). This soup is crazy good given how easy it is to make, the fact that there are only 4 ingredients, and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I got the recipe from Real Simple Magazine ages ago and make it all the time.  It goes great with the cornbread I posted about last week. Everyone I’ve ever made it for requests it again and again.

Simple Black Bean Soup

Simple Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt (optional for topping)

Directions

  1. Heat the salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 or 6 minutes. You want to release the aroma and take a little of the raw edge off it.
  2. Stir in the beans and broth, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes- you can simmer longer if you’re busy doing something else, just keep an eye on it.
  3. Using an immersion blender blend it to make it a creamy soup. You can blend it as much or as little as you want- just get it to the consistency you like.
  4. Serve with a dollop of the sour cream or yogurt and some salsa.