Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cookery Calendar Challenge for January or what shall we have for dinner?

Good afternoon, dears,

Squeaking in at the last minute to link up with Penny, blogging at The Homemade Heart who issued a challenge to all of us who dread the words......

"What's for dinner?"

"What on earth shall I cook tonight?"

I, um, "bent" the rules slightly, partly because I didn't follow the instructions and partly because the WT got a bit of a telling off from his doctor a couple of weeks ago.......

My first choice was from a new Weight Watchers book, Fresh and Easy, that came out to coincide with the Smart Points changeover.  Slightly irritated that I had to buy the complete set of chopping board, lidded bowl and possibly something else in order to get the book but I'm glad I did, most of the recipes are for one or two people, which is helpful.

I chose the Butternut and Bulgur chili since I have a LOT of different grains idling in the cupboard.  I'm not sure whether it was because I doubled the recipe (originally for one), but we both decided the smoked paprika called for, overpowered the whole thing.  I'm not giving up on the recipe though, I thought I might try it with garam masala instead, which goes well with winter squashes. No picture as I forgot!

The second book is where I strayed off the straight and's actually a library book but I am fully intending to buy it and the companion piece so hope it still counts!  Mark Bittman is (was) the cookery writer for the New York Times and wrote the ubiquitous How to Cook Everything.  About seven years ago he got a stern warning from his doctor, overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, very close to succumbing diabetes etc and as a result the Vegan Before 6 diet was born.  Since the WT had received a much less stern warning from his physician, I thought we'd give it a go and I must say, the dear man has entered into the spirit of the thing with more enthusiasm than I would have thought.  Mark you, he WAS leaving the next day for a week in the UK.......but he's back and still seems keen!

So, what did I make? 

This, an utterly delicious salad, again using grains from the cupboard, this time quinoa.  MB suggests what he call building blocks, foods you cook ahead and store in the fridge to use at different meals.  I have to say, an excellent suggestion, the quinoa appeared throughout the week in the meals I made and I'm going to find something else this week from the cupboard.  The recipe is called Sweetgreen Quinoa Salad and is from the delectable and sadly not in the Midwest (only around the DC and NY areas) Sweetgreen chain of restaurants.  Mark points out that this salad is best in the summer with fresh tomatoes and corn, but it was pretty good with snow on the ground in February too!  The recipe serves four, so gave the WT a second helping then I had lunch on the Monday.  Definitely a keeper!
A slight moan about the cookery book as opposed to his first VB6 nutritional information to calculate the Smart Points.

This was fun and next month I promise to follow the rules of choosing only ONE cookery book and making it one I own!  Thanks, Penny!


  1. I get stuck in a rut. I decide (for whatever reason) that I like something and prepare it time and time and time again.
    There are many (too many?) cookbooks here, but lots of them are neglected.

  2. I belong to a FB group called "What's for dinner", that is a great inspiration, I find!

  3. Gillie I love the look of both of these dishes. I, too, attend Weight Watchers. I haven't bought any books with Smart Points yet, but intend to over the next few weeks. So glad you joined the Cookery Calendar Challenge, I am so looking forward to seeing what you make next month X

  4. This salad must be great from what it looks and sounds.

  5. Cooking is always an adventure for me. It was fun to read your blog post - and very interesting too.

    I have to say, I am still not dealing with those SmartPoints. It's my problem - don't know why I am resisting this change - when there have been so many

  6. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


    Beijos Marie.

  7. Oh it looks gummy, I agree with using store cupboard stiff, we often have what I call 'freezer dinners' to use up bits and bobs. Good luck with Weight Watchers, I'm following Slimming World.

  8. I just looked and that book is in our library too, I'll have to check it out when we go next. Although I think I might be the only one eating!

  9. Well done, your salad looks delicious. Thanks to Astrid, I've developed a love of quinoa...but never thought you could cook it ahead of time. I'm so lacking in the cooking department, I should take a lesson from you! I hope WT will have a better check up next time!

  10. I love quinoa and your salad sounds delicious. I like smoked paprika too (especially with squash) but have to use it sparingly, you're right it can overpower everything. Fingers crossed that the new diet does the trick. xx

  11. I love quinoa and your salad sounds delicious. I like smoked paprika too (especially with squash) but have to use it sparingly, you're right it can overpower everything. Fingers crossed that the new diet does the trick. xx

  12. You're an inspiration indeed! Prepping ahead of time and having some parts of the meal all set to go in the fridge or freezer make such a big difference. Now just to actually DO it .....

  13. Sounds delicious. Cannot wait to see your Splendid Sampler blocks.

  14. Your recipes look great, and those cook books both sound like interesting choices! Look forward to seeing what you cook this month.

  15. Time for dinner here, i'm trying to catch up on blog reading .... your dinner looks lovely.


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