Beginning Anew

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So it has been almost a year since I have posted. I stopped shortly before returning to college for my senior year, and after a whirlwind, crazy, wonderful year, I have decided to jump back on the bandwagon and start again! I’ve been thinking on it for a few months, and I have truly missed sharing the activities I enjoy with any of you readers out there! (I’m looking at you, mom).

I joined a gym today near my work – Steuben Athletic Club. I am hoping that it is a good fit, so far it seems to be – it was the only option even remotely close to my commute with options for classes (boo, Planet Fitness, for not having an upgradable package that includes group classes!). Bright side, this gym is two blocks from my workplace! ((No Excuses now))

There’s a variety of classes offered, and I am going to pick up the self-defense class, the PiYo class and the Spin class – they meet on random days, at 6:30 am, 12 pm or 5:30 pm. I’ll be sure to post any tips that I gather! Also my fit friend Oorin is sending me Insanity, which I can do on the Squash courts of the gym it seems no one uses.

After registering for the gym, I was feeling particularly health-minded, and as such I stopped at the grocery store with the intention of making dinner for my family. This requires calling every family member to ensure that they come home and aren’t already planning a meal! It is nice to enjoy their company at dinner time – it is a comforting feeling, akin to being an (adorable) kid again.

Stephanie, my beautiful sister, who I am grooming to be as much of a house wifey as I am, was enlisted after coming home from the office to help me prepare dinner. She’s a natural.

Oven-Baked Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Bulgur

accompanied by a lovely homemade pesto sauce made by Stephanie, with basil grown by my dad. Serves 4 – I tend to not measure when cooking – leave that to baking and have fun!

1 ½ pounds of salmon fillets – (I bought 2 pounds, but my mom and I aren’t huge salmon eaters [we’re trying!] so we had a half pound of leftover fillets I didn’t even bother cooking – freezing for another time!)

1 cup of Bulgur – originally I was searching for quinoa pasta – couldn’t find it in the grocery store – so I resorted to quinoa – couldn’t find that – and then said ScReW it and tried this foreign grain – turns out we all love it and were planning what recipes it would be perfect for – healthier addition to meatballs than bread or breadcrumbs, sub for rice in stuffed peppers, etc.)

1 pound of Asparagus Spears

1 Lemon

Olive Oil

Fresh Basil – about 2 cups

Garlic (4 cloves or 1 tsp garlic powder – this amount is reliant upon your love of fresh garlic or the powdered variety – it is only going into pesto)

Pine Nuts (1/4 cup)

Shredded Parmesan Cheese (probably about a quarter of a cup)

Dill and Thyme (Fresh or dried – I use dried, did not measure, just make sure to put enough to satisfactorily season the outside surfaces of the fillets)

Salt and Pepper

Optional: Lemon Balsamic Vinegar from Saratoga Olive Oil Co.

                 Your favorite wine (Our light bodied merlot stood up just fine to the grainy bulgar and the meaty consistency of the salmon)

-Make pesto by combining the garlic, basil, pine nuts, cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor with enough olive oil drizzled in to give a thick, cohesive consistency. Set aside.

-Combine 1 cup bulgur with 2 cups cold water into pot. Bring to boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer (low on our stove), put lid on and set timer for 15 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees

-Wash asparagus and chop off ends – discard. Cut into bite size pieces and place in foil lined baking dish. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon balsamic (or lemon juice and a little balsamic vinegar does the same thing). Toss to coat and then toss in oven. (I also put the remnants of lemon in the top of the dish – why not)

-Leave skin on salmon fillets and cut into individual portions if not already done in store. A serving of meat should be around the size of your palm.

-Place salmon fillets in glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, dill and thyme. Toss to coat both flesh side and skin side. (Leaving skin on keeps nutrients – your choice to actually eat the skin or not). Place lemon slices on top of each fish portion and then pop in oven next to asparagus.

-Cook for 14-16 minutes.

-Around this time, bulgur should be finished. Remove lid, turn off heat, fluff with fork, put in a little butter/butter substitute/olive oil/nothing/a light dressing and salt and pepper. Recover and let sit until you’re ready to serve dinner.. it’ll be fine.

          *Directions said to drain any excess water – I did not have any excess)

          *After cooking, I realized that we could have foregone the extra fat from butter by substituting vegetable or chicken broth for the water. It would lend delicious flavor. (we only used 2 pats of butter in the bulgur – half a pat per person and it was rich and smooth)   

-Once time on the oven is up, check to make sure fish is cooked (light pink color and oh so flaky) (if unsure that it is completely cooked, one could heed my sister’s advice that no one cares if it is a little under done .. ‘duh what do you think sushi is?’)

-Serve and enjoy! The pesto originally was meant to go on the salmon, but with the lemon and herbs it did not need it. it was a wonderful, welcome side all on its own – it was good with the quinoa. Save the leftovers and use on a turkey sandwich .. trust Stephanie and I on this one.

-This meal is rich in omega 3 fatty acids from the olive oil and the salmon, antioxidants from the fresh herbs and lemon, and whole grain goodness from the bulgur.

I hope you enjoy this healthy, well rounded meal as much as we did! It’s good to be back.

❤ Jill

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