Substitutions = Cooking on the Cheap(er)

I don’t know about you, but I really hate it when you come across a delicious recipe, only to realize that you only have a handful of the 20 ingredients called for. It’s just not economical to go buy a bunch more ingredients to make one dish!

Last week I had tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and parsley from the garden and really really wanted to make tabbouleh salad. The only problem, I discovered as I opened my pantry, was that I did not have any bulgur/cracked wheat. I was not about to run to the grocery store to get one ingredient for a salad. After rummaging through my pantry, I did find large couscous pearls, and decided to try using that as a substitution for bulgur. WELL, it turned out great. I actually like it SOOOO much better than traditional tabbouleh!

What did I learn from this little experiment? That substitutions will often work just as well or better than the original ingredients of a recipe! I found this great online tool that gives you suggestions for substitutions if you’re missing an ingredient or two. It doesn’t cover every ingredient, but its pretty darn helpful!

Caitlin’s Tabbouleh Salad

– 1 cup pearled couscous, cooked according to directions on package and rinsed thoroughly with cold water after cooking
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
– 1-2 cups chopped parsley
– 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
– garlic salt to taste (or fresh garlic)
– onion powder to taste (or fresh onion)
– olive oil (about 3 Tbsp)
– lemon juice (about 3 Tbsp)

Have a happy healthy day!



Getting to the root of things…

I used to think that the only root vegetables that were semi-edible were potatoes and carrots…but after 5 weeks of CSA shares, I’ve learned to expand my horizon, or “spread my roots” when it comes to root veggies.

Meet: Kohlrabi. It has a spicy/sweet taste and a crisp crunchy texture. I’d compare it to a cross between a radish and an apple. It’s great cut up into chunks and eaten raw, dipped in humus, or sliced on top of a salad.

Health Benefits: Hight in vitamin C and potassium, helps with iron absorption, and is a good source of folic acid. Helps with energy, circulation, and blood sugar imbalances.

Meet: Turnips. Not just any turnips, but baby white turnips. Turnips are not giant mystery roots that your grandma forces on you when you come over for dinner. They are actually delicate, delicious little veggies, when eaten the right way! They are best in the spring when they are still small and sweet. I like to add them to salads or put them in a foil pouch for grilling.

Health Benefits: Low calorie and a great source of vitamin C, various antioxidants, and fiber! If you eat the greens (throw them into the salad) then you’ll also get a bonus haul of vitamin A, K, and folate!

Meet: Radishes. I’ve tried radishes from the store before. Usually I end of throwing over half of them away because they are woody or mushy or gross. Fresh, locally grown radishes are a whole different story. They are crunchy, spicy, and surprisingly sweet. They are fantastic on their own, dipped in humus, or in salads. I could eat these every day!

Health Benefits: Great source of vitamin C (seeing a pattern here with root veggies???), potassium, copper, and folic acid. Radish greens can be eaten too, and will give you loads of protein and calcium. Suprising!

Getting sick of lettuce salads topped with the standard tomatoes and carrots? Try throwing in some root veggies (and their greens!) for a new kick to your salad (both taste and health wise)! Root veggies are pretty cheap, and if you use the greens, can be multipurpose as well! Your body and your wallet will thank you! Pick up some new root veggies next time you visit the farmers market or the store. Let me know what you think!

Have a happy healthy day!


Food of the week: Carrots!

I know your thinking, carrots…that’s not a very interesting ingredient! And I have to be honest with you, I’m not a huge carrot fan myself. I definitely don’t reach for carrots when I’m looking for a healthy snack. But I really want to like carrots, because they’re SOOOO cheap and they keep forever! So I went on a quest to find a few easy and healthy ways to use carrots that are a little more appetizing than just biting into a huge chunk of raw carrot. But first…some nutritional facts about carrots!

Health benefits of carrots:

  •  1 cup of carrots = 52 calories   That’s a lot of carrots!
  • Good source of dietary fiber (that’s the digestible kind!)
  • Great source of beta carotene…it boosts the immune system, promotes eye health and hair/skin/nail health
  • Good source of vitamins A, C, K, and Potassium

How to incorporate carrots into your diet this week:

  •  Use carrots to dip in your guacamole or humus instead of crackers or chips. Much healthier!
  • Moroccan Carrot Salad:   (This recipe sounds kind of weird, but I promise it’s REALLY good! And really easy!)        
    • 4 cups carrots, coarsely grated (I get the pre-done carrots!)
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon  paprika
    • Pinch of salt 
    •  1 teaspoon cayenne
Oven Roasted Carrots:
  • 12 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  •  1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut carrots into ½ inch thick slices. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay carrots on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes. Toss with dill/parsley and enjoy!

  Have a happy healthy Day!


Moroccan Carrot Salad for lunch today! Yum yum! And it took me literally 1 minute to make last night!



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