Monday, July 04, 2011


For some reason I always have a hard time figuring out what to make for dinner. It takes me all day to ponder the endless possibilities but then by the end of the day I am too freakin' tired to do anything let alone stand in the kitchen and cook a huge meal. If I was to live on my own I wouldn't have a problem with just whipping up something super quick but since I live with my boyfriend who is culinarily handicapped {sorry babe} I need to cook something up for him as well. I also have this strange fear of trying new recipes and them ending up super crappy - I've had a few instances where that has happened and it doesn't make me a happy camper and it's a terrible waste of food and money. 
Now don't get me wrong, I am beginning to sound like I don't like to cook and that isn't the case at all, it's just that sometimes you can feel uninspired and you also need to watch carefully as to what you put into your body as well - so clean eating is key.
I love to cook - I love to chop veggies and prep and just make something absolutely delicious...I didn't cook at all until I moved out of my parents house and began living on my own. 
The kitchen space that I do have though is super tiny and very cramped - I have barely any counter space or space in general to move around in. And that is definitely a factor in my annoyance when it comes to cooking dinner. Now - I am definitely not a breakfast person, nor do I make lunches but I do love my dinners and that's the time where I can get a bit creative - especially if I am at the house early from work to have a bit of time to do all the dishes and prep and whatnot and have a meal ready on the table for when the bf gets off work. 
Sometimes there is just that little bit of feeling where I feel pressured into making something and doing it quickly and making it taste astounding. And that can get a bit frustrating in the kitchen. 
There are definitely steps that I could take to make my life in the kitchen a little bit prepping for the week ahead and stocking only the vegetable that I will be using for that week, making sure the pantry and fridge are always cleaned out and organized...but I'm 25 years old...and sometimes my favorite TV show is a little more important then stocking beans into my cupboards {yes, sometimes I do just leave them lying around, lol}. I guess once I have my own place and a gorgeously large kitchen I will be able to stretch out my culinary skills just a little bit more. 
For now, though, I gotta work with what I've got. 
How do you guys cope in your kitchens?

Here is another recipe - seems quick and hearty - and definitely nutritious and healthy. And that little bit of onion doesn't bother me that much {I will make the pieces very small} because the texture will probably hide underneath the barley. But anyways, it's definitely something that I am going to test out soon. 

Bon Appetit!

Herb-Pesto Barley Soup
One of the first crops ever cultivated, barley contains soluble fiber as well as iron, manganese, phosphorus, and thiamin. Feel free to swap out the cannellini beans with great northern navy beans. 

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Serves: 4

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup pearled barley
1 can {15-1/2 ounces} cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can {15-1/2 ounces} chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves {from a large bunch}
1 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup plain 2 percent Greek yogurt

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic and cook until caramelized and tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, scraping up the browned bits {add a little water to the bottom of the pot if it begins to overbrown}. Season with salt and pepper. 
Add barley and 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer partially covered over medium until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in beans and chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the 2 cups of whole parsley leaves. Add more water to thin soup as necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, in blender, combine dill, min, chopped parsley, vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Puree to desired consistency. Serve soup topped with herb pesto and a dollop of yogurt. 

Done and done. :)
You can even omit the pesto and yogurt if you'd like or add whatever vegetables you desire. Hope you enjoy!


{Source: Whole Living Website}

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