Rice salad with spinach and pistachios

Rice and spinach salad-6The sun shines today and 2013 is feeling good. We have a long to do list with our move back. Our Hamburg belongings are on a ship just coming up the coast of CA as I write. O  is tracking it on an iphone app. Love that. We are also working on his USA visa and closing up shop in Hamburg. Well he is closing things up and still working a ton… he’s a champ.

On this side of the Atlantic, we are getting the house back in shape- things like the hands and knees tile floor scrubbing and re-sealing and dismantling and cleaning the six burner stove…

IMG_2945 stove cleaning

We are re-arranging rooms and painting walls that were begging to be refreshed with a new coat of paint. And then there’s the barn/greenhouse, landscape and garden- but I’ll save that for another post. We are planning a huge multi-family garage sale in the spring, passing on about twenty years of child-rearing goodies, clothes I’ve clung to far too long, random iron hooks, mop heads that never fit, multiple quantities of the same size tape measure, alarm clocks, no longer needed tools etc. Sound familiar? As I sort and separate, I am also consciously considering how I will not collect as many personal possessions in the next twenty-five years. This is how long I have lived on my own. Ok- twenty-seven to be exact. January is my spring cleaning.

It’s also the month I barely need to muster the willpower to eat clean nor do I need to clear the pantry of naughtiness, for I am superior at allowing myself to over-indulge in an extreme holiday way. I am brilliant. So come Jan 1st, I was so over it. And these first couple weeks have been a breeze. Now day seventeen. The chocolate covered expresso beans are making eyes at me. The sight of the left-over dough balls are once more appealing. And really isn’t there less calories in a little bit of dark chocolate than a rice cake with tahini and currants? But wait. This is for my health. As it was in this Jan 2012 post.

I will do my best to complete the month of January without refined sugar, processed foods or wheat. I’m no paleo so I will keep eating brown rice.

Rice and spinach salad

Loads of fresh veggies like spinach…

Rice and spinach salad-2

And nuts…

Rice and spinach salad-4

A lot of lemon. I’ve been adding zest to many many things. I have also started my day with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Google this and you will get loads of good reasons why to try this. But you can start here. A blogger who credited her sources. good girl. And this is not new info. Who remembers Jethro Kloss’, Back to Eden (I don’t have a kindle, this is just what my front cover from the 80’s looks like). I just upacked my copy of this and proudly placed it on the shelf. Too classic for the garage sale.

Rice and spinach salad-3

And really, I’ve been cooking and eating like a winner. Last week I made three salads. A red and white cabbage carrot salad that accompanied almost every lunch and dinner, our perennial lemony quinoa with cucs, tomatoes, peppers and capers…

salads (rice&spinach)

And last but not least the rice salad with fresh spinach and pistachios, adapted from the Jan 2013 Oprah mag. I will admit too, I love this magazine. I love me and I love my body, my life and so on. And I am a self help junkie… but I think in a good, non-preachy way. I also love food and health stats.

This is a simple side dish and it is a great way to use up the leftover rice. You can add or subtract quantities to adjust to the amount of rice on hand or if you cook it fresh.

Rice and spinach salad-5

Print oh so simple recipe Rice with Spinach and Pistachios. The others are self explanatory… I think. If not, give me a shout.

2 cups cooked brown rice (basmati is nice)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 # spinach cut in strips
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 T juice
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios
1 T dill (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

For another healthy grain salad, check out this red quinoa with pistachios from The Bitten Word. I’d throw some spinach in that one, too.

So here’s to a fresh start in the new year and don’t worry, those sweets and treats will most certainly be sneaking back in through the cracks in no time and yell out to the world with glee… We’re back 🙂

Tschüß xx

 

One year Ago: Check out Granada, Spain

20111225-092159.jpg
20111227-110821.jpg

 

And Seville, Spain….

 

images

 

streetbynight

New Year’s Salad and welcome Otis

New Year's Salad & Otis-5Just a little hello on the last day of 2012.

Here is a salad inspired by my friend Jen who’s roots grow from Sweden. This salad, her mother’s holiday special is a great way to ring in the New Year.

Here are the nuts and bolts:

PM New Year's Salad & Otis-3

Continue reading

Inspired by summer…

Summer is in full throttle. We are enjoying dinners with friends, work on the property, trips to Seattle and an abundance of fresh local foods. I’m indulging in the purchase of shiny magazines in English that require the turn of a page and not the swish of a finger across a screen. I’m currently sans computer for a few days and it’s kind of nice. The iPad works great but typing and photo editing aren’t so fun. It’s a good break. Here’s a visual of our happenings.
In Seattle last weekend, we picked O up at the airport. He finished teaching the semester with concerts and finals, and followed us to the states about three weeks after our arrival. After dinner one evening with friends in Woodinville, Chloe nailed a couple shots crossing the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. This girl has an eye let me tell you.

20120711-123357.jpg
She loves bridges…

20120711-121917.jpg
Back on island now, we love last minute dinners because within a half mile in all directions, we have the luxury of picking and purchasing such arrays of foods like this. Just picked raspberries, kale, chard, snap peas and fresh eggs that have not seen the inside of a refrigerator and once again, local Sockeye.

20120711-122300.jpg
Can one tire from fresh, local Sockeye salmon? No… Because it’s going to be followed soon by King salmon. Poor us. Here is our walk to Buck Bay Shellfish farm just down the road…

20120711-133632.jpg
Great old barn along the way…

20120711-134022.jpg
We drive by Buck Bay here (and the farm) daily.

20120711-135452.jpg
Never ending views, great folks,food and prices…

20120711-134956.jpg
Up our apple tree lined driveway…

20120711-135801.jpg
…we nibble a few salmonberries…

20120711-135637.jpg
Back to dinner…
Here was my prep for the salmon once again destined for the grill.
Lemon slices, garlic, fennel fronds and smoked salt…

20120711-122857.jpg
The two fillets put back together were grilled in foil…

20120711-124309.jpg
A little sautéed onion, garlic and fennel with lemon, seasoned the brown rice for our side dish. For greens, we used my favorite variety of kale, Red Russian which can grow virtually year round here. We massaged it, added avocado, olive oil, lemon, garlic and toasted sesame seeds.
For dessert, simple shortcake biscuits topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Gotta love it!
Photo of our friends and their darling sit on the porch for dinner…

20120711-140151.jpg

Hope everyone is getting one moment or many to enjoy and be inspired by summer…
Tschüß for now,
Wendy

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Hazelnuts & a side of Asparagus

This tarragon chicken salad with cranberries and hazelnuts, exploding with flavor and texture, easily kept my mind off the cupcakes and yeasted cakes I’ve temporarily sworn off. And it will yours too. I didn’t search for any recipe this time because I didn’t want to know if someone’s already done it. Sometimes, with the access we have online to practically everything, it can take a bit of the thrill out of thinking you’ve discovered something for yourself. Now I know tarragon chicken salad is nothing new. And I know somebody out there has put cranberries or hazelnuts with chicken. Maybe they even used an orange vinaigrette to dress it. And yes, once I publish this post I might very well google it… but until then I’m enjoying having put this together myself.

Continue reading

Lost, Found & Fresh

Lost, Found & Fresh

Since we’ve been pounding the cupcakes lately, and that ‘diet’ way back when only lasted three weeks, I thought I’d throw something fresh your way. I sort of lost my way just like Chloe’s black winter coat last week. She left it on the public bus Friday afternoon, the first really warm day of the year. I couldn’t blame her…It was one of those days where you forgot how cold the morning had started and by the afternoon you were practically peeled down to your skivvies…. practically nothing that is. So of course it’s like ‘what coat’? It was fortunate she even realized where she left it. We (O) called the HVV(public Hamburg transport) yesterday and the coat was indeed located and we needed to bring in identification and some sort of proof that it was ours. Like in case someone else left a black winter coat on the 283, direction Bahrenfeld between 3.15 and 3.45pm. O found a year old photo on the computer. Can you imagine rustling through boxes of snapshots or negatives looking for a picture? My idea was to bring the detached furry hood that Chloe refuses to wear, as proof we are the rightful owners. Our particle reference number in hand, we arrived at the Fundbüro. It was like walking into an OCD dream. The quiet, organized main office had two employees and no que… and racks on six walls with hundreds of lost, stranded keychains, all tagged by location found, date and a reference number. It was amazing.

Continue reading

Sushi for St Patty

Sushi for St Patty

We strayed far from a traditional St. Patty’s Day meal. No cornbeef. No colcannon. No Guinness chocolate cake… although that’s definitely on my list. No green or otherwise beer. We had an evening at the sauna, and Irish meals after an evening of swimming and sweating, I do not crave. Sushi on the other hand, like spring rolls, is perfect. Having filled my luck quota this weekend with the coincidental green liner and napkin under the last round of cupcakes meant no tuna for us on Saturday. I literally was behind the man who bought the last tuna steak at our fish monger. The tuna I had imagined, during my twenty minute wait, spicing up with chili oil and mayo. The tuna I would place next to sweet mango and avocado. I guess I wasn’t the only one thinking tuna for St Patricks Day.  I’ve honestly never made sushi without fresh tuna. We still enjoyed fresh salmon, smoked salmon, shrimp and tofu.

Continue reading

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

We had a nice evening at the Blankenese Pool and Sauna this week. You’ll have to go to the link as I couldn’t hijack any images to show. We started with a few laps in the 25 meter pool to stretch out. Whether alone or surrounded by excited children, we always enjoy this beautiful floor to ceiling windowed, light filled  building. France too has wonderful pools throughout the city but Germans really prioritize health through hydrotherapy and wellness centers. One can even take an insurance paid ‘wellness’ trip.

Followed by a swim we head to the steam room a little before 5.30pm to get warmed up. I like to open those dirty, clogged pores that I’ve been slathering with creams and oils to fight the cold weather. We breath in humid, steamy air while we wait for the attendant to come with little bowls of salt.

Armed with salt, we scrub that layer of dead skin with little remorse .. the bodies largest organ of elimination (the skin) rewards us feeling as silky as a baby’s butt. Each of us have a go at our own bodies, and O and I finish doing each other’s backs. We sit on little face cloth sized towels in a small room and I do my best to remain silent. The salt pulls beads of sweat out of our skin and we are soon seriously dripping. If we time it right, little pots of honey are offered next. I could do this every week. Great stuff.

I’ll mention here, there are a few beauty care pieces I’ve yet to pull together in this country. For instance, I wanted to ask the lady who entered the steam room just after us, where she gets her bikini wax but a) it’s hard to get the right words out in German and b) it might leave her feeling a bit hesitant to take the last seat on the tiled bench next to me. So I didn’t. I’ve really learned to think before speaking since living here. This has been a very positive lesson for me. Normally I am a serious/funny kind of a female wise cracker and it doesn’t always work… in English. And forget it in German.  Click here if you want to read about my first and only waxing experience… Wax on wax off- an experience. This is optional reading… not just something you want to accidentally scroll to at the bottom of the page.

Let’s continue…Next is the main hot dry sauna. Each hour there is a special aroma and steam procedure. Citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass. I was one of three women and eleven men sitting naked and close together. Large, thin, hairy backs,  all shapes and sizes but nobody cares. We had a chamomile/ elderflower mix. These guys do an ausbildung(internship/training) for this… Most German people who don’t attend University will complete an internship in something, even if you work at the grocery store. I’ve only seen men doing this job. They come in with towel skirts or shorts and scoop scented water onto the hot coals, then wave and snap a towel (not the one on their waist). The scented heat wafts across my face. I cover it with my hands, feel the heat, breath deeply and concentrate on nothing. Sometimes, ice chips are offered. I eat them and hold them against the souls of my feel and back of my neck, feeling them instantly melt.

In the fifteen minutes, that had felt like sixty, I had moved from the third step to the first.  Heart rates up, we exit with the sauna guy. We head to the showers and choose warm, ice cold or my favorite, the rain cycle. A mix of warm and cool water that varies between a pitter patter and pelting against my skin. With skin washed, we don our robes, take an apple or grape juice, sometimes a tea over to the lounge chairs and rest. I try to focus on a mantra.. om nama shivaya… instead of writing this post. But I also try not to fight my thoughts. I try to let them flow through. If I say the mantra in my head I can stop thinking for a few minutes and I feel relief.

We relaxed here for a good 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we go for a second round but that night Chloe was at home on her own and had been on a bike ride, or so I thought. I’m a bit of a paranoid and since we couldn’t be reached by phone – I was not 100% relaxed. So we called it a night and headed home for spring rolls, green salad and quinoa salad.

I used rice paper, glass noodles, napa cabbage, red cabbage, orange and purple carrots, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, mint and basil.

Here’s the process of dipping the rice paper in warm water. The trick is getting it wet and elastic but not over doing it or it cracks. These photos were taken by Chloe 🙂

Swish it around in the water then carefully let the excess water drip off. Then I lay it on a stone tile or a plate would work.

I’ve got all my very thinly sliced veggies, cooked shrimp, rice noodles and herbs ready to fill the wraps. I start with the shrimp and mint leaves. Honestly though, sometimes I forget the order between the one hundred and twenty seconds it takes from one roll to the next. Like this one for instance, I put the mint on first and didn’t notice till processing my picks…

Then some cooked glass noodles…

Your veggies, cilantro and basil….Thai basil is the best here but couldn’t find any this day.

Now we begin to roll. I pull the ends up on each side…

Then fold the side closest to me up…

Tuck it in and roll…

Roll it as tight as you can without busting the wrapper. This might take one or two practice rolls…

Here’s what you’ll have on the inside… note shrimp coming out. These were my rolls shot the next day as I ran out of good light. They still tasted great but the wrapper degrades a little. They are a super lunch though. You want to wrap them tight in plastic wrap to store.

These were so much fun to take photos of and edit. Glorious color. Think of all the vitamins!

I eat them with thai chili sauce… I could drink the stuff. love it so much.

Ok last one… probably..

%d bloggers like this: