It is an exciting week to be living here in the DC area. We have lots of out of town visitors, and there are all sorts of events to celebrate the inauguration of President Elect Obama. As if there wasn’t enough going on already, I also had a bachelorette party to attend last night as well as Friday night’s movie fest. Having a lot of social activities in a short period of time can make it challenging to stay on track with my exercise and eating regimen, but I like a challenge.
So far… so good. I’ve made time to workout each day, burned a few bonus calories post-bachelorette party by walking to the Dupont metro from Adams Morgan instead of taking a cab, and I’m still well within my points for the week even after the party, movie night, and today’s brunch. Since I can’t begin to know what Tuesday’s event is going to bring in the way of eating, I want to have a healthy cushion of points available to me that day. My goal for this busy week, by the way, is to stay within my points even if that means eating every single one of them. We’ll see what happens, but I am very optimistic that I can do it!
Some friends and I considered going to the mall today for the big concert at the Lincoln Memorial, but decided that one day (Tuesday) of standing around in the cold and the crowds might be enough. Instead of going to the mall, my friends came over for brunch, and we watched the concert on television in the warmth of my apartment. One good thing about preparing brunch at home instead of going out is that I get to be in charge of the menu. It is easier to watch my portions since I can sneak into the kitchen and use the various measuring gadgets at my fingertips. It is also easier to accurately record my points since I know exactly what is in the food, and there is no hidden butter or oil. I can also take advantage of the more diet friendly options available to me like spray butter and sugar free maple syrup, although I do provide real maple syrup and butter for my guests. Best of all, I like to cook for friends, and I get the opportunity to do that and to use my champagne flutes and nice coffee mugs.
Today’s menu included Rosemary Roasted Blue Potatoes (we couldn’t use red potatoes to celebrate Obama’s inauguration, now could we?), Spanikopita Inspired Frittata (using leftover ingredients from my movie night spanikopitas), fresh pineapple, pomegranate seeds, roasted broccoli, turkey bacon and Bruce’s sweet potato pancakes. My friends brought the stuff to make mimosas, and we had a nice hot pot of my favorite toasted coconut coffee. I never make pancakes for myself, so I always feel like it is a special occasion when I have them. Bruce’s Sweet Potato Pancake mix is one of my favorite products, but I’ve had a hard time finding it in this area. In fact, if you live in or near DC and have any good leads on where I could find it, please let me know! If not, I may have to become an on-line pancake mix shopper. These pancakes are substantial, have a nice hint of cozy spices and have little bits of moist sweet potato in them. I really love them!
I had gotten some blue potatoes in my “Merry Produce Wednesday” box a couple of weeks ago, and, since they are very small in size, I thought they would be a good choice for roasting in the oven. I have to say that they seem sort of odd— like something the smurfs might have grown, and they didn’t photograph very well. They do, however, taste pretty good. Here’s how I made them:
Rosemary Roasted Blue Potatoes
1 pound of small blue potatoes, quartered and still in their skins (yes, red potatoes would work well in this recipe too)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary (you could use 1 tsp of dried rosemary in place of the fresh)
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together making certain that the potatoes are well coated in the oil. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Give the potatoes a quick spritz with the cooking spray as well. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes until the potatoes are crispy, tender and brown.
This makes 4 unofficial 2 point servings.
I also decided that I had some leftover ingredients from my movie night spanikopita that would be good in a frittata. I’ve been cooking since I was eight or nine, and I’ve learned a lot by trying out different recipes. Recipes are very useful learning tools– that’s for certain. I agree with a friend of mine, however, who says that she thinks of recipes as “suggestions.” I’ve tried several different frittata recipes over the years, and those recipes have taught me the basics of how to make one– put veggies in a skillet, pour eggs on top of the veggies, top with cheese, broil. That’s really what you need to know when you head into the kitchen.
I like the frittata concept because you can use just about any kind of leftover vegetables that you happen to have lying around. As I’ve mentioned, I hate wasting produce! In addition to random vegetables, I usually have eggs or egg beaters and cheese in the fridge so I can typically whip up a frittata at the drop of a hat. I’ll tell you what I put in the one that I made today, but again, the concept is the important thing rather than this exact recipe.
Spanikopita Inspired Frittata
1 cup leftover sautéd spinach (about 4 ounces fresh cooked in a skillet with nonstick cooking spray until wilted)
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup egg beaters
1 Tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup 1% lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 tsp reduced fat grated parmesan cheese
Heat broiler. Spray an oven proof 8″ skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet on medium high heat, add scallions and sauté them for two minutes. While the scallions are cooking, combine the egg beaters, cottage cheese, dill, 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper in a small bowl. After the scallions have cooked for two minutes, add the leftover spinach and a pinch of salt to the skillet and heat for an additional two minutes. Add the lemon juice to the spinach mixture and stir. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet and give it a couple of spritzes of cooking spray making sure to hit the edges of the skillet.
Pour the egg mixture over the spinach mixture and continue to cook for about 3 minutes– until the frittata is just starting to set. Remove the skillet from the stove. Sprinkle the feta over the top first, and then sprinkle the parmesan on top of that. Place under the broiler on the middle oven rack and broil for 4-5 minutes or until the top is browned and the frittata is set. It may take a little bit longer. Just keep an eye on it until it is as browned as you would like.
According to my unofficial calculation, the entire frittata is 7 points.
I make frittatas this size for myself as a meal pretty often, but today’s was divided among the three of us. I’ve never added cottage cheese to the egg mixture before, but I think I liked the extra tanginess and the texture. Here is the frittata with some of the roasted potatoes and some yummy turkey bacon. I loooove me some turkey bacon! Although the frittata was cooked through, I think I could have browned it a little bit more. I think it would have photographed better if it had a nicer tan, but…. I was hungry!
Wherever you are, I hope you have a good week, and I promise to take pictures of something brightly colored– not spinach– tomorrow!! My apologies for any typos. It has been a long weekend. I’ll sort that out tomorrow. Time to sleep!!