Make it Spicy – Salsa Verde!

Here in Colorado, we’ve been having gorgeous weather. High 70’s in mid-late October means lots of weekend hikes, walks with the pups and yard work.

Hiking in Matthew Winters Park
Hiking in Matthew Winters Park

Last week, however, temperatures dipped into the low 40’s overnight, leaving our ample tomato plants in the lurch. Our neighbor, Rico, let us know that once the plants get frost on them, they’re not going to produce or ripen any longer. Bummer!

Salsa Verde
Salsa Verde

Mike and I pulled a ton of green tomatoes from the bushes this weekend and I made a spicy salsa verde to use on tacos, rice bowls or as a dip!

Salsa Verde

15-20 medium/small green tomatoes cubed
1 small onion diced
1 chili pepper (or a jalepeno)
1 green pepper
4 Thai chili peppers (whole)
7 cloves of garlic minced
3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

Put all ingredients into a pot on the stove and bring to a boil – about 20 minutes.

Boiling down the veggies
Boiling down the veggies

At this point I added another splash of vinegar, turned down the heat, then let cook for another 15 minutes.

Blend
Blend

Let it cool for a bit, remove the whole Thai chili peppers, then transfer to a food processor or blender. Blend until your desired chunkiness.

 

Put into mason jars and store in the fridge.

Healthy Math

I just got back from the grocery store on this beautiful Saturday morning. Mike and I eat in 85% of the week, so my the time Saturday comes around, our supply is running low to say the least!

The Arvada Farmers Market started up for the season (YAY!) and knowing I’d be heading there, I refrained from buying a ton of greenery. Our farmers market has a local farm stand that allows you to fill a whole bag of veggie goodies, for $10!!!!!!! Like a kid on Christmas!

Hearty grocery Bill!
Hearty grocery Bill!

So, that being said, I went, I shopped (not buying my usual veggie stash) and walked out having spent a cool $144!

Holy cow!!!!! (And I don’t eat meat!)

Grocery Goodies
Grocery Goodies

Driving home though, I started doing the math….the whole trip spurred from us debating whether or not to go to Panera and just grab breakfast. Well, a healthy breakfast sandwich there, plus coffee, for two is about $18.

Here’s how my bill compares, just considering the breakfast items I used this morning:

Organic brown eggs (a dozen): $3.29

A bunch of organic kale: $.98

Organic tortillas: $1.99

Tofurkey Sausage: $4.49

Total: $10.75

And I only used 3 eggs, 2 pieces of kale, 1/3 of the sausage, and 2 tortillas. So we have enough for another 4-5 breakfasts!!!!! We also paired our meal with purple grapes & watermelon (around $6 for 2 watermelons and a bunch of grapes).

Happy Breakfast
Happy Breakfast

Healthy isn’t expensive, it just takes time. And it’s time well spent!

Happy Breakfast!

Stir-Fry City!

Veggie Stir-Fry
Veggie Stir-Fry

Keep in simple and whole with stir-fry! There are a million variations on stirfry – use this template to get you started, and tailor to your personal preferences and to what’s available in season!

 

Stir-Fry

1-2 Tbsp high smoke point oil (coconut, grapeseed, canola, or peanut)

1 small red onion, cut into slices

2 carrots, peeled and sliced or julienned

1 yellow pepper, cut into large chunks or strips

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

1 package sliced white or portobello mushrooms

Optional protein additions: 8 oz tempeh or 14oz tofu (drained and pressed), cut into cubes*

2 cups cooked brown rice or grain of choice (quinoa, buckwheat, millet)

 

In a rush? Simply purchase a large bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables, and skip all the produce prep work! Frozen vegetables are essentially equal to fresh vegetables when it comes to nutritional value!

 

Easy stir-fry sauce options:

Lemon Stir-Fry Sauce

¼ cup lemon juice plus 1 tsp lemon zest

¼ cup vegetable broth

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp sweetener (sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, stevia)

 

Soy-Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce

¼ cup vegetable broth

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tsp rice wine (or other) vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp hot red pepper flakes

1 tsp sweetener (sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, stevia)

 

Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry Sauce

¼ cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp cider, balsamic or rice vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

½ tsp hot red pepper flakes

 

In a rush? Pick up a bottle of pre-made stir-fry sauce from the grocery store. Beware of hidden animal product ingredients, however, including fish and oyster sauce and extracts. Try the Simply Asia stir-fry sauce pouches – most are free of animal products.

 

Heat oil in a large pan; if using tempeh or tofu*, add first and stir-fry until golden brown and crisp on the outside (about 7-10 minutes; see tofu tips below). Add onion and carrots, and saute until softened (about 5 minutes). Add peppers and broccoli, and stir-fry for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Add stir-fry sauce of choice, and mix to combine and coat all vegetables/protein. Serve over hot grain of choice.

 

*Tofu tip #1: If you’re going to use tofu in your kitchen, I highly recommend investing in a TofuXpress (tofuxpress.com). This simple gadget will press and drain your tofu in just a few short minutes – no more stacking heavy books or pans on your tofu and wasting roll upon roll of paper towel to drain and press your tofu. The best $40 you’ll ever spend!

*Tofu tip #2: After draining and pressing tofu, coat with cornstarch or arrowroot powder (a whole food alternative to corn starch) before frying. This will result in a crisper, firmer texture.

*Tofu tip #3: Freeze your tofu! Put the whole package in your freezer, and remove the day before you plan to use to allow it to thaw. Then proceed as normal, draining and pressing before use. Freezing gives the tofu a more spongy-firm and “meat-like” consistency, taking away the ‘sliminess’ that some people find texturally unappealing.