Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Time to chillax

I've been a bit of a stress ball lately and I'm realizing it's about time I took some time to chill out and detach from things. I spent a couple hours getting checked out by a doc and while I walked out with a clean bill of health, I decided I needed to start learning how to leave work at work and stop taking on so much at once. Easier said than done.

First thing I did when I got home? Made myself a large, beautiful, well-balanced meal.
I was so worked up today that I only had a banana and some Cheerios around 3pm, post doc visit. I figured I earned some quality kitchen time and a pretty meal :) Do you cook to de-stress?

I had one fairly large piece of salmon defrosting from yesterday, plus I had an urge to make a mustard sauce. Salmon + mustard = yum! Did I mention I also stashed a lonely sweet potato in my grocery basket this weekend? I think sweet potatoes go wonderfully with mustard. Wait, who am I kidding...I think everything goes great with mustard haha.

To start things off, I troasted some diced sweet potatoes. Kept them simple and only sprayed them with some olive oil.
Why did I troast? Because there's no reason to use the whole oven for just one sweet potato! These babies troasted for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

While those were cooking, I got started on the spinach and TJ's Harvest Grain Blend. All together, I think this meal took about 45 minutes to make? A glorious and relaxing 45 minutes :) The most stressful part was trying to cut the Harvest Grain Blend proportions in half. Who has a 5/8 measuring cup?? Thanks, Google for informing me 5/8 c equals 10 tablespoons!

Sweet Potato Grains
10 tbsp Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend
1 tbsp butter
1 c chicken broth
1/2 onion, diced
1/8 tsp allspice
pinch salt
1 sweet potato, diced and roasted

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, allspice and salt until onion is softened. Add grains and stir for a minute or so until coated. Pour in chicken broth and stir in sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Oniony Spinach
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp chicken broth
3 c baby spinach

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Saute onion until it starts to brown. Add spinach and broth. Stir and cover for 1 minute. Uncover and cook until spinach is wilted.

Sweet Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
3 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tsp greek yogurt
3/4 tsp milk
1/2 tsp mirin
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp maple syrup

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in mustard, yogurt, mirin and maple syrup. Add milk slowly until desired consistency. Continue whisking over heat for 1-2 minutes.

Take all those elements and combine them with a simply pan seared salmon fillet and you've got quite a meal!
The sweet potatoes went wonderfully with the grains. They added a nice flavor and texture - not too mushy either! I was worried since a few pieces weren't totally troasted, but those 10 minutes in the broth made them perfectly soft. The mustard was EXACTLY what I was looking for with the salmon and potatoes :) What are your favorite ingredient combos?


MarathonVal said...

It's so hard to leave work at work... it's something that I work hard on every day, but it's always a challenge!

Gorgeous meal you have there! ;)

Janice said...

I always cook when I'm stressed out, it relaxes me but that includes a glass or two during cooking =)

Jamie said...

my favorite recipe combos are: candy, sugar, and syrup!

The Duo Dishes said...

Trosting...smart. This is such a healthy meal. Oh, and that TJ's Harvest Grain mix is awesome.

We Are Not Martha said...

Gah, that salmon looks amazing!! Such a pretty photo too :) I work at home so I never leave work at work (or maybe I always do??). I work way too much and am always a big stress mess.

Cooking usually helps me destress! But sometimes when I'm taking photos and worrying about how everything looks, I get even more stressed :)


Stephanie said...

Very beautiful meals! Love them. And yes, cooking is a great de-stresser.
BODA lose weight

Kelly said...

I laughed so hard about trying to cut the harvest grain in half- I can never do it so I just cook the whole thing and have a lot of leftovers lol! good luck leaving work at work- i am started to getting better at it, but thats a challenge!

Karena said...

This week will be my first full week of leaving work (and jury duty) at work. Crossing my fingers it works out! Today is my super relaxing day. Lots of cooking planned and no work :) :)

Kelly - for some reason i was able to make half the bag last time with no problems. this time around i wanted to make half of half of a bag haha. i should have just made it all!

Janice - amen to that glass or two ;)

Jamie likes all the important food groups hah.