Archive for March, 2013

Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Wrap

March 17, 2013 2 comments
Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Wrap

Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Wrap

I pack my lunch every day (sans the occasional planned lunch outing) like a second-grader. Ok, I don’t include pudding snacks or goldfish crackers with my lunch, but you get the point.

But before you say to yourself “Man, ain’t nobody got time for that“, consider the benefits

The number one benefit, as you might suspect is cost.  Buying lunch every day would cost anywhere between $6 and $10 depending on what I get.  That’s a savings of roughly $1400 per year.  I’m going to Vegas in a few weeks and 2 round trip non-stop flights, a 4-Star hotel for 5 nights and a rental car cost me $1300.  Puts it in to perspective doesn’t it.

The next benefit is choice.  By packing my own lunch I know exactly what I’m getting and can really pay attention to what I eat.  I control it and I’m not tempted by the bad choices our cafeteria has to offer. A little planning ensures I have fruits, lean proteins, and a low-calorie yogurt to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Finally, packing is a time saver. Yes, it takes a few minutes to plan the night before (or morning of) work, but by having my lunch packed I don’t have to worry about heading to the cafeteria, which often has lines longer than Disney’s Space Mountain.  If I leave the building that’s often 30 minutes or more.  I’d rather use that time to relax, unwind a bit, get caught up on the days events, or unfortunately at times, use that time to stay ahead of the work I get paid to do.

The downside of packing every day is often getting trapped in to repetitive eating, which leads to boredom, which then turns in to bad choices, which turn in to weight gain.  However, packing your lunch doesn’t always have to be turkey sandwich on whole wheat.

That brings me to this wrap.

My co-worker and avid foodie Jon gave me this recipe.  It’s packed full of flavor, is extremely tasty, and very filling.  If you have this for lunch, you won’t need much else despite the low calories in this wrap.

It takes a bit of prep work to get them made, but if you do all the prep on Sunday, you have a weeks worth of wraps.  Well worth it if you ask me.  Enjoy!


For the Hummus:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed well
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt (or any course salt)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lemon, halved (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the top off of the garlic.
  3. Place garlic on aluminum foil and drizzle olive and salt.
  4. Wrap garlic in the foil, place on sheet pan, and roast for 45 minute.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Add the chickpeas and the roasted garlic cloves (you should be able to squeeze each clove out of the ‘paper’) to a food processor.
  7. Begin to mix, slowing adding olive oil until hummus is at desired consistency.
  8. Add salt, pepper, and if you wish a squeeze of lemon.  Pulse to combine.
  9. Set aside.

For the Wraps (substitute any vegetables you like)

  • 4-5 carrots, peeled
  • 1 large or 2 small onions
  • 3-4 celery sticks
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 head of cauliflower, halved
  • 1 head of broccoli, halved
  • 1 large zucchini or yellow squash (or both)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 6-8 large tortillas (or any wrap you wish – there are a variety on the market)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix all of the spices in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Cut all vegetables approximately (the same size for even cooking).
  4. Add all vegetable to a large bowl and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  5. Lightly coat 2 large sheet pans with olive oil (to prevent sticking).
  6. Distribute the vegetables evenly to both sheet pans.
  7. Season the vegetables with the spice mixture (you may not use it all of the spice mixture).
  8. Roast the vegetables for approximately 40 minutes, turning half way through.
  9. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To assemble the wraps:

  1. Spread a thin layer of hummus on the tortilla.
  2. Add a few heaping spoonfuls of vegetables in the center of the tortilla.
  3. Roll burrito style.
  4. Grill 1-2 minutes on a panini press, grill pan, or similar to add texture to the tortilla. (optional).
  5. Repeat until you’ve used all of the vegetables.

**You can make all of these ahead of time, wrap in parchment, plastic wrap, or foil and store in the refrigerator .  I prefer to make them each day**


Beef and Broccoli

March 2, 2013 Leave a comment
Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli

Yesterday, like millions of other people, I flipped my calendar to March.  For most, present company included, that means Spring is right around the corner.  Looking out my front window this morning, I’m hard-pressed to believe that to be the case. I will try to remain optimistic.  IT. IS. NOT. WORKING.  I blame it on that rodent.

I need Spring to arrive soon.

I need it to come so I can ride my new bike.  I need it so I can see the trees and flowers in bloom.  I need it so I can take that first hike along the beautiful trails of Western Pennsylvania.  I need it so I can open the windows and feel a decently warm breeze.

But mainly I need Spring to arrive so I can properly wash the cars.  They are filthy!

Now granted, I’m not the best when it comes to keeping my car clean year round, but I do love when I rid myself of the reminders of the cold winter.  Be gone salt and grime and make way for bird crap!



I often hear that making good Chinese food at home is difficult.  This recipe will prove to you that its not.

I adapted this recipe from the bazillion beef and broccoli recipes scattered all over the Internet.

The one common theme I found to have great success with this dish is to slice the beef against the grain then marinade it.

Slicing against the grain is simply examining the beef  to find the lines that are all running in the same direction.  This is the grain.  Now cut against it (not with it). Cutting with the grain will ensure that your beef is extremely “stringy” and tough to chew. This isn’t very tasty.

Taking these steps will ensure your homemade beef and broccoli is Chinese take-out tender.


Ingredients:For the meat marinade:

  • 2 pounds flank steak, sliced across the grain in thin strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and olive oil.
  2. Add the strips of flank steak.
  3. Coat all of the meat with the marinade.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  5. Continue with the next steps below.

For cooking:

  • 1 head of broccoli, florets only
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (if you don’t have low sodium, use 1/4 cup of regular)
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Zest of half of an orange
  • 1 squeeze of a quarter of the orange
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and vinegar until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan (or wok if you own one, I don’t), heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add broccoli and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring often until bright green and slightly tender.
  4. Transfer broccoli to a plate.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan.
  6. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is barely cooked through (its ok to be slightly pink).
  7. Add the orange zest and juice.  Stir.
  8. Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce and saute for another minute or so.

Serve with rice or noodles.

My wife wasn't impressed with my presentation

My wife wasn’t impressed with my presentation