My word for 2015 is constantly ringing in my ears. “Enough. Enough. Enough.”
Now if I would just listen to it I’d be head and shoulders in front of the game instead of doing double duty trying to catch up.
But when I’m ignoring my conscience and going along my route path, I have a constant reminder to put my word “Enough” into action. Sort of like the little angel who sits on my shoulder whispering subtle reminders of “do good” and “don’t be bad!” and “it’s okay to take it easy and not go overboard” like I’m doing once again.
Be More With Less
The angel on my shoulder is my friend Courtney. Courtney is one of my biggest inspirations/friends/mentors and she’s constantly reminding me to remind myself that enough is enough.
I’m her biggest project. Because I don’t listen. But I’m working on it.
Courtney has a blog, too (she inspired me to start mine) where she talks about minimalism (I love her advice, if I’d only heed it) and how to do more with less (simple is the new black!) Ironically it’s called bemorewithless.com.
Okay, it’s not ironic, she planned it that way. You really need to check it out, she’s the real deal.
In Project 333, Courtney challenges and inspires followers to pare down and whittle away their closets to 33 items to mix and match into outfits for 3 months.
Sound limiting? You betcha. That’s the point to the challenge.
But if you think about it, how many times have you looking in your closet full of clothes and lamented you have nothing to wear?
You know you wear that same pair of jeans 3 times a week. And that one pair of boots have really seen some mileage. And who doesn’t want to wrap up in that favorite slouchy sweater that paired with your one pair of black tights makes you feel like strutting the cat walk? You can do this, because you probably already are!
Introducing the Capsule Kitchen
Courtney’s now brought the base idea for Project 333 out of the closet and into the kitchen by creating a new challenge, The Capsule Kitchen Challenge. Similar to her capsule wardrobe challenge, she’s challenging us all to choose 33 ingredients and combine them to create 3 months of meals.
“I created the Capsule Kitchen to experiment with limits in the kitchen,” explains Courtney. “The capsule wardrobe challenge Project 333 inspired the Capsule Kitchen, because just like when I would look in my full closet and have nothing to wear, when I looked in my full refrigerator and pantry and still didn’t know what to make for dinner. I wanted to eliminate decision fatigue and see what I could create with 33 items or less.”
The results have been proof postitive. “After only a few weeks in, I can already see the benefits,” she says.
Capsule Kitchen is a challenge /slash/ experiment to see if limiting your food choices offers health and lifestyle benefits.
Courtney is a firm believer that when she has less to choose from she’s happier. Fewer choices equals less temptation. Fewer choices mean less stress deciding what’s for dinner. Fewer choices makes for less waste of foods that don’t work together to make a meal.
So what IS Courtney eating? See her Capsule Kitchen ingredient list here.
Could you do create your own Capsule Kitchen? There’s only one way to find out.
Sit Down Honey, Let Me Fix You Somethin’
I asked Courtney how I could help. Knowing I’m more about making food and less about tossing away my “treasures” she said she’d love a recipe that fit into her Capsule Kitchen. A dinner. Something hearty but easy.
Now if there’s one thing I know about Courtney, it’s that she likes simple. And she loves avocados. And she’s a vegetarian. Easy peasy, I can do that. Portobello Burgers to the rescue.
About the Recipe
All of the ingredients for this recipe are included in Courtney’s Capsule Kitchen ingredient list, and flavor boosters like herbs and olive oil aren’t included in the 33 so I was free to play and improvise there.
Instead of mayo or mustard I created a chimichurri sauce that Courtney introduced me to and I included in this quinoa salad recipe last year. But this time I mixed it into a perfectly ripe avocado to give some serious flavor to this burger.
I sautéed the veggies but if you were doing this on an outdoor grill, feel free to grill the onions and peppers right on up. Add the spinach to the hot vegetables once they’ve been pulled from the grill, give a good stir, and the heat should be enough to wilt and flavor the spinach just right.
Courtney requested I use a wheat flatbread pita for her base. Since I was making one for myself (I ate Courtney’s version) and one for my man (he’s not exactly into deprivation) he got the mushroom burger with a Shepherd’s Bun. And smoked mozzarella cheese. Because he’s gooey like that and portobello mushroom burgers just might be one of his top 5 sandwiches when he orders out.
- 2 large portobello mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into ¼ inch rings
- ½ red onion, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rings
- large handful of fresh spinach
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 pieces flatbread pitas or 2 soft burger buns
- Smoked mozzarella cheese, optional
- Prepare an outdoor or indoor grill with cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil and bring to medium high heat.
- Stem the clean portobello caps and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with the oregano. Place on the grill and cook on each side for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and grill marks appear. Add cheese to the mushroom caps if desired and cook until cheese melts.
- Meanwhile, add a drizzle of olive oil to the red bell pepper and red onion and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large non stick skillet on medium heat and cook the red bell pepper and red onion stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and then add the spinach to the frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Spoon the avocado into a blender or food processor with the garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice red wine vinegar and chili flakes. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Warm the buns or flatbread on the grill or grill pan. Slather the avocado mixture on the bottom bun or piece of flatbread then layer with the mushroom cap, half of the spinach, red bell pepper and onions. Top with the bun and serve.
What Else Is On Courtney’s Capsule Kitchen Menu
Like many of us, Courtney peruses the food blogs for her menu creation inspiration and I asked her to share a few of her favorites that fit in with her challenge and to share why they’re favorites in her capsule kitchen. Bon appétit!
Warm Gnocchi and Heirloom Tomato Salad
“Even though we leave off the cheese, this recipe is filling and flexible. We add extra veggies and love the crispy outside and soft pillowy inside of the gnocchi. I tend to overeat pasta dishes because I love noodles so much, but with Gnocchi, I can still get my Italian dinners without a pasta hangover.”
Get the recipe | Love and Olive Oil
Fried Honey Bananas
“I want to try these because I have been breaking up with sugar, I haven’t made this recipe yet, but soon!”
Get the recipe | Rachel Schultz
Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
“Mark (Courtney’s husband) and I have different lists, but many of our ingredients crossover including greens. That means a big salad every night with dinner. Because buying dressing is off limits, I was in search of something I could make at home. This recipe is sweet and spicy and we are both crazy for it.”
Get the recipe | Barefeet In the Kitchen
Roasted Sesame Asparagus Toasts with Poached Eggs
“This savory dish is so easy to make. It’s saucy, crunchy, crispy and feels sort of Sunday brunch fancy. I’ve done the asparagus in the oven and in the pan, and both versions are delicious. I’ve had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (not on the same day) Because I didn’t include bread (other than a whole wheat pita) in my Capsule Kitchen ingredients, I served the egg and asparagus over crispy homemade hash browns.”
Get the recipe | How Sweet It Is
Go ahead and give the Capsule Kitchen a try. Tag your results and follow along at #capsulekitchen on Instagram and Twitter.
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