Friday, November 2, 2007

Food and Photos.

Dave has the camera. He needed it for work. Sometimes it is so hard to share. So, here are some West Virginia apples. ;)

I have been thinking a lot about food lately. There are two obvious reasons why. One is that someone sent me this blog to look at ( that I am completely in love with. I started looking at this blog just about the same time that Andrew and I were getting serious about macaroni and cheese from a box.

The other reason I have been thinking about food has to do with the night that Andrew and I had quesadillas for dinner with beans from a can. We ate the little meal while watching Rachel Ray make a way better meal on the food network. I started to think that Rachel Ray makes me feel like a bad cook until I realized we only watch her show when Dave is working late and I end up making quick, silly meals. I never watch her show while eating Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Rice Pilaf.

And there the problem lies. I have two categories of cooking: over the top, and silly. I need some middle ground. I need some easy meals that don't make me feel like a supreme dork for making them. And, though, I am a little embarrassed to say this (foodies please excuse me), I think Rachel Ray might be onto something. Her meals are healthier than take-out and better than my quick meals. I'm starting to find it hard to knock them.

Especially now that I am pregnant, caring for a toddler, more tired and have out-of-the-blue hunger attacks that need serious food quickly. And lots of it.

Since Dave is a veg, and Andrew and I are not, I generally make veg dinners and Andrew and I occasionally have meat at lunch. It's a balance that works for us. But I want to move beyond mac and cheese from a box as a daily option. Every now and then, sure! But, not as frequent as we've been doing. So, I would like to step up lunches a bit as well as the healthy, nice and easy dinner options.

I am considering buying a couple of Rachel Ray's cookbooks.

Here is where you come in. What do you think of Rachel Ray's food? What do you do for easy dinners? What do you eat at lunch? And, do you want to join me tonight for Roasted Autumn Vegetables with Rice Pilaf? I just might throw together some mulled apple cider.

Because every now and then I need to go over the top.
It's all about balance.


Susan said...

Robyn I think you should consider posting earlier in the day. How can I possibly make it over in time for dinner when I don't even know about these roasted veggies until 3:30.

I am supremely bad at lunch. In fact, I've been looking for a lunch buddy. Maybe we can team up and encourage each other to make better lunches for ourselves and our kids.

Quick dinners around here are all about the freezer. In the winter I make soup about once a week and double or triple the recipe. It's no harder to make lots of soup than a little soup. All the Moosewood soups freeze really well. I know you don't have as much freezer space as I do but if you cool the soups and then ladle them into a gallon ziploc bag you can freeze them flat and they hardly take up any room. They take about thirty minutes to gently thaw on the stove but practically no effort and no clean up. I usually serve bread if we have it. I've gotten corn scones down to a science, now, so I can make those quickly without feeling like I'm overdoing it. They go great with a lot of soups. I really hope more of your readers chime in because I really want more ideas in this area.

Oh, and I don't know anything about Rachel Ray's food but I think she is so annoying.

Susan said...

Question: Do you feel like you are going over the top when you make roasted autumn veggies? Or do you just get a lot of wows for a meal like that. Some things that I make look really impressive to other people so they start to seem to me like they must be really impressive and therefore a lot of work. Other meals are a ton of work and no one ever likes them. Just a thought from someone who heaps too many expectations on herself.

I better shut up or you'll run out of comment room :)

Robyn said...

Can you run out of comment room? Susan, I didn't think you would know who Rachel Ray was. Man, you are totally into pop culture now, huh? ;)

I think that anything that takes over an hour to make is a bit fancy. I usually roast my veggies for an hour. But, I could go nap while they roast. But I'l make the pilaf instead and I think I might add wheat berries because they are sooooo delicious, but take FOREVER to cook. It feels like once I get in the kitchen I don't get out until we eat.

And, I also want to say, I started feeling a little self conscious about writing that I sometimes cook over the top. I wondered if friends I have cooked for would say "that was over the top?"


erin said...

Just add a whole chicken- for your family a 2 pounder- to your roasted vegetables. It takes just as long as the veggies to roast and you can make chicken soup with the remains. 10 minutes of prep, 1 hour to roast, yummy for days. Also, please never say EVOO for extra virgin olive oil. Rachel Ray would be way less irritating if she could drop that habit. By the way, I don't know if you consider your taco pizza fancy fare but I dream about it sometimes.
I just noticed your to do list. I can probably get you two adult bikes for free in May. I know a guy...

erin said...

I just wanted to add that there is no shame in a refried bean quesadilla. I am presently cold, hungry, and covered in mortar dust and your simple meal sounds delicious. I say down with wheat berries! Up with beans! Microwave popcorn - Yum! Crackers and cheese - Hooray! Chips and hummus - Tasty! All great meals!

Seeking La Loba said...

I want to come over for dinner tonight! But I guess you've already fed Eric and I for one night this week.
Eric and I are currently eating empanadas from the Columbian bakery in our neighborhood, because it's 7 and we both just got home from working and shopping. Not healthy, but tasty, and I suppose better than McDonalds.
I don't really know Rachel Ray, other than seeing her on Ritz Cracker ads. The ads didn't give me much respect for her cooking, but it was a Ritz Cracker, afterall, maybe not the best sample of her cooking.
I'm enjoying Nigella Express on the food channel. I tivo it, b/c it comes on at 10:30 on Sunday morning. She's British and has annoying stage presence, but her cooking looks delicious and simple. Of course have I actually cooked anything from the shows? No, not yet. :)

Firefly said...

Tonight, I came home exhausted from several 16 hour days in a row. I opened the regrigerator and pulled out refried beans (from a can) that I'd opened two days ago and ate them cold with garlic powder. The effort of preparing this meal was almost too much for me. But I persevered, even managing to get the dirty dish into the sink and put a little water in it to wait for me til morning. I am inordinately proud of myself for meeting my nutritional needs for the day.

Just wanted to point out: It's all relative.

thedanceofthegates said...

My easiest meals:
salmon (just add lemon)
chicken with sauce from a jar
creative salads
sweet potatoes cooked when I had time
soup cooked when I had time
grilled cheese with applesauce
pasta anything

Loralee said...

I think it can sometimes be easier with meat to have quick, nutritious meals. Protein, starch, veggie. However, there seems to be nothing wrong with bean quesadillas. Simple does not mean lame, by any means. The freezer is great, although I've had some bad luck with how certain things come out. Veggie meatballs are a standby for us when I'm tired (breadcrumbs, cheese, walnuts, eggs and onion), as is the Laing version of taco salad (pinto beans, rice, fritos, and the rest of your regular fixins'). Quick, simple and rather tasty.

Don't know too much about Rachel Ray's recipes, although I love the idea of good and nutritious in a short period of time. I feel like a friend told me some are keepers and some stink--but I bet you could figure out what would work just from reading through the recipe.

How'd the roasted veggies turn out?