Tag Archives: arugula

10 Things I’ve Learned This Summer… and Grilled Watermelon Salad

This summer has been crazy! From visiting my mom in Nashville and road-tripping to New Orleans, researching/swimming with whale sharks which are the largest fish species and SO cool, and having a family reunion on a lake in Washington (which is one of my favorite states) to getting my wisdom teeth out and finding out I’m one of the lucky people who gets chronic migranes, there have been ups and downs and loop de loops galore. And I really wouldn’t change this summer for anything. I had a ball. I hung out with my friends, I cooked up a storm, I spent a lot of time bonding with my family, and I had some crazy cool adventures too. Here’s what this summer has taught me (or at least 10 of the things I’ve learned–> in no particular order):

  1. It’s way easier to write a blog when I’m procrastinating schoolwork then it is when I’m putting off hanging out with friends–> even though I’ve cooked more this summer than I do during the year.
  2. Sewing is not as easy as it looks (I made a faux fur jacket that looks super vintage but my goodness was it difficult!–>and my mom helped me finish it up).
  3. I definitely chose the right major in college and after my time with the whale sharks I’m super amped for heading back up to school (on Thursday!)
  4. The more time you spend doing something (in my case cooking), the more you realize you have a LOT to learn. (Graduating high school I thought I knew everything… college taught me this lesson too).
  5. Growing herbs inside is actually pretty darn easy (I have a nice little herb garden going–>plus tomatoes and bell peppers–>and they’re doing well despite the fact I’m known to have the opposite of a green thumb).
  6. There’s no one in your life like your family followed closely by your best friends. The people that are there for you year after year despite what dumb choices you made are really valuable. I owe these people so much.
  7. We will all face a broken heart someday. And we will all think that it will not mend. Broken hearts do eventually heal. And if you truly loved someone they can end up as one of your best friends later even though you may believe you’ll never get there.
  8. We need to practice what we preach. I write all about eco-friendly eating and I really do try to incorporate what I write into my own cooking. Obviously, I have days where I want something that isn’t super green, and that’s ok as long as I do my best. There are people, however, who talk so much about certain issues and then leave them to someone else to resolve. Your cause doesn’t have to be the environment. You don’t even need to have a cause. If you do, however, lead by example. Don’t be hypocritical about it if you really do care.
  9. Sometimes the little things are really what makes the world a wonderful place to be living. Enjoy them. Sit and watch a sunset, eat a chocolate bar, paint a picture (if it’s bad just call it abstract… that’s what I do), play board games, blow bubbles when you’re chewing gum, take a bubble bath, read a book, go surfing (even if you end up not catching a wave and basically being a buoy), go for a bike ride, etc. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot to have a good time.
  10. Every day is precious. We only have so long. Don’t wait until you’re retired to start doing what you want to. By then… it may be too late. Travel now before the ice caps melt, the coral reefs bleach, and more animal species go extinct (even if it’s an icky species it has a place in the ecosystem). See the world in all of its beauty. Change some of your less “green” practices now so your children might get to see the environment like you can now. Stay out too late. Get up too early. Do something you are afraid you’ll fail at. Enjoy every moment you have.

In Washington, I tried wake surfing. I've never done any lake sport before so I was worried...I had a blast!

Grilled Watermelon Salad

  • Watermelon, cut into squares of about 2 in. by 2 in.
  • Arugula
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic Vinegar, reduced
  • Tomato, chopped
  • EVOO

Rub the watermelon on both sides with EVOO. Place on grill for about 3-5 minutes a side. Place a bit of arugula on a plate. Top with goat cheese and tomato. Place one watermelon square on top of that then make another layer. Top with another watermelon square. Place more goat cheese on top and drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar.

MAKE THIS WHILE WATERMELON IS STILL IN SEASON!!! It is soooo delicious. I love how the watermelon almost looks like a seared piece of ahi tuna and it gets such a delicious savory flavor when it’s cooked. SO GOOD. And using local, organic produce is so good for you and it’s so sustainable.

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“Green” Pizza

So I have this great childhood memory of Friday night’s being pizza night. For my family, that normally meant Stuffed Crust from Pizza Hut. Now that I’m older, when my pizza craving kicks in, there’s still not much I can do to control it. So… here’s a couple of ways to “green” your pizza:

  1. If you’re definitely not going to cook your pizza yourself (which is obviously the best bet), use a local delivery service. They’ll use less gas than you will because they clump together trips in a more eco-friendly manner (though they do it for economic reasons)–>UNLESS you can bike or walk to your local pizza shop (then no gas is being used for transport).
  2. If you are making your own pizza (although I realize this is repetitive and I’ve pretty much beat this idea into you by now) buy local, organic, in season ingredients. ESPECIALLY for the cheese (unless you’re using vegan “cheese”–>which of course is better because as I’ve stated the less animal products used the better) you have to buy organic. It’s the only way that you’ll know that the cows are not treated with hormones, etc. Local dairy is fresher and logs less food miles.
  3. Try pizza without cheese. Instead, add things like adding extra herbs or veggies in lieu of cheese–>or at least add less cheese (triple cheese pizza may be delicious, but really fresh veggies can make pizza yummy too!).
  4. If you do have cheese on your pizza definitely skip the meat products–>or else you’ll be doubling up on the animal products (which is a big no no in the “green” world).
  5. Try using flatbreads such as pita, naan, or tortilla instead of the pizza dough. This allows the pizza to cook way quicker and it allows YOU to save on your utility bills.
  6. Crust from whole grains! Even if you aren’t down to switch your pizza to flatbread-style (or if you are) an easy way to be eco-friendly is using whole grains. They require a lot less processing. And they’re healthier for you!
  7. Make your own sauce! This cuts back on packaging waste and I think homemade sauces are way tastier too! (If you do use a sauce that’s premade, I recommend trying one in a glass jar–>that way you have an extra cup when you’re done with it! And, at least for my clumsy self, these are always needed!)

So… since I know I’ve been craving pizza, here are a couple of recipes that you will love! and they might even inspire the pizza-maker in you as well.

While we’re on the subject, check out Whole-Wheat or Bust!’s Veggie Naan Pizza. Yummy!

“Green” Green Pizza

  • Homemade Pesto (I made mine from this recipe). You could sub out the cheese (to make this vegan) by using breadcrumbs instead (–>it’ll give the same texture and there will be no animal byproduct!)
  • Swiss Chard (only leaves)
  • Arugula (only leaves)
  • Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • Zucchini, sliced
  • Dried Oregano
  • Optional: Goat Cheese
  • Some form of flatbread (I used a whole wheat tortilla)

Preheat the oven to 450 (while oven preheats, bake the zucchini–>cover with aluminum foil). Meanwhile, saute the chard and the arugula until darker green and a little wilted. Top the flatbread with pesto, wilted greens, tomatoes, and the zucchini once out of the oven. If you’re adding the goat cheese (it was a delicious addition), do so now. Place the pizza in the oven until the tortilla (or other flatbread is toasted and the toppings are hot). Top with the dried oregano. I’m not much of a bragger but holy moly it was SO good. Nom nom nom. For sure.

Classic-Style Flatbread Pizza (with extra veggies and less cheese)

  • Some flatbread (I used whole wheat naan)
  • Pizza sauce (here‘s a good recipe for homemade–>I was bad and used a bottle of jarred pizza sauce that I had on hand).
  • Organic cheese (I used a really delicious Mexican blend)
  • Artichoke Heart (Trader Joe’s has a frozen variety that are really tasty if you don’t like the normal canned type)
  • Broccoli, cut into little florets
  • Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Optional: top with Parmesan

Alright. Like I said… sometimes I’m just in the mood for pizza. And as delicious as the Green Pizza is, it won’t end your craving like real tomato pizza sauce will. I topped the flatbread with the tomato sauce. I sauteed all of the veggies together before adding them to the top of the pizza. I then filled in the gaps with cheese (if you’re like me and you want a cheesy pizza–>try using less). Place in a preheated 450 oven until the cheese melts and the vegetables are hot. This pizza works with any veggies. I just used what I had on hand.

The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge; for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.  ~Marya Mannes