When I think of the best adjectives to describe myself, “domestic” never really rises to the top of the list. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s ever made the cut to be anywhere on the list. Maybe it’s because I’ve never … Continue reading
Heard of it? Yes.
Experienced it? Yes.
Regretted it? Yes.
Learned your lesson for next time? No.
Unfortunately, this relentless noun is pretty much the only excuse I can offer for why I haven’t blogged in four months. That, and the fact that the plastic blue dishes in my apartment don’t exactly scream “photograph me.” For some reason, amidst my cost-conscious dishware shopping, I didn’t think to consider the Instagram-worthiness of my purchases.
However, there’s good news. I decided to procrastinate procrastinating (think about that) AND I recently saved enough money to buy a $4.99 ceramic bowl from Target that’s much more photogenic than its plastic cabinet-mates. So, I am now ready for my comeback post.
When I was trying to decide what recipe to feature, I considered a few different options:
A paleo pizza? Those buckwheat pancakes that I can’t stop (and won’t stop) posting on social media? The delicious smoothie bowl that I’ve been making for dinner after my work-outs? Then I remembered that I hadn’t yet found the funds to purchase the matching ceramic plate at Target, so my selection was quickly narrowed to recipes requiring bowls… thus my choice was easy.
Just kidding… even though I am now very intrigued by the idea of a pizza bowl. Maybe next post.
Until then, I bring you my new dinner staple. The green smoothie bowl.
Benefits of eating a smoothie out of a bowl instead of drinking from the glass? For one, it lasts longer. I can’t tell you how many times I have made a smoothie, poured it into a glass, sat down, chugged it, stood up, and shamelessly opened the refrigerator. Eating a smoothie out of a bowl with a spoon forces you to slow down and you feel like you’re eating a real meal (which you are). Second, pouring a smoothie in a bowl allows you to sprinkle on an infinite amount of toppings. These toppings not only make the smoothie 10 times more awesome and pretty, but they also give you that satisfying crunch that you need. Granola, nuts, seeds, fruit, cacao nibs, coconut… the possibilities are endless. So without further ado…
Green Smoothie Bowl:
- 2 Big Handfuls of Leafy Greens (Kale/Spinach/Romaine/Arugula)
- 1 Spoonful of Tahini (or any Nut Butter)**
- 1 Scoop of Plant-Based Protein Powder
- 1 Cup Nut Milk
- 1 Serving of Fruit (1/2 Frozen Banana, ½ Apple, 1 C Blueberries, 1/2 C Strawberries, etc)
- Ice, as necessary
- Toppings: A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, granola, unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds, cacao nibs, dried fruit, chopped fruit, etc.
** Note: I use Tahini because if I buy a jar of any nut butter, I dive my spoon right into the jar and it’s gone in 3 days.
Now, for those of you shaking your head and beginning to plan what toppings you’re going to get on your burrito bowl for dinner… I urge you to reconsider. Yes, I know people usually prefer something savory and substantial for dinner – like salmon, broccoli, and a sweet potato. Or a hearty salad. Or Chipotle. But think about it – after you eat your savory dinner, how long before you’re craving something sweet for dessert?
With this smoothie bowl, it takes away the craving to indulge in a sugary treat before bedtime, and it also satisfies your craving for something savory when you add a drizzle of nut butter or roasted/salted nuts and seeds (my favorite are pepitas and sunflower seeds).
So, what are you waiting for? Spring has sprung. Bathing suit season is upon us. And let’s be honest, your winter jacket probably isn’t the only thing you’re eager to shed.
This fall I have seen pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-spice butter, pumpkin-spice Pringles, pumpkin-spice vodka, pumpkin-spice shower gel, and now…. I have come up with my own pumpkin-infused creation. Pumpkin chia breakfast parfait. Maybe not as ground breaking as pumpkin-spice shower gel, … Continue reading
A long, long time ago, I was in a serious relationship with pasta.
Spaghetti, penne, tortellini, ravioli, fettuccine, and any other type of noodle that I could get my knife and fork on… I devoured it in a mere blink of an eye. This relationship never wavered or faltered. It was an utter devotion to the infamous carb and grew stronger as each year went by.
My relationship with pasta peaked as I discovered Noodles & Company, along with their delicious array of pasta dishes from different parts of the world. I would frequent Noodles & Co. at least twice a week, usually selecting the classic mediterranean penne rosa or the asian pad thai dish, depending on which region’s cuisine I was craving at the time. Looking back on this relationship, I think it may have been one sided (on my part), because the endless helpings of pasta didn’t exactly gift me with a chiseled physique. However, with every relationship, you remember the good times, you learn from your mistakes, and you move on.
Fast forward about 8 years, and I would like to think that my eating habits have changed a bit. I am now in many different culinary relationships. From kale and coconut to avocados and salmon… I get around. However, these new culinary relationships are definitely two-sided, satisfying my taste buds while also improving my health. Overall they’ve been fairly stable relationships and I do not have any urgent complaints. But even so, I still get that occasional urge to hop in my car, speed to Noodles & Co., and chow down on a heaping plate of pad thai.
Enter: Pad Thai Quinoa.
I know what you’re thinking. It will never work. But believe me, it really, truly does.
I found a recipe online last week and with my family’s approval, I made a Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing for dinner one night. It was delicious! My dad even told me I could make it every week if I wanted. And most importantly, it took me right back to my pasta-feasting days, minus the gluten and the 830 calories (thanks, Noodles website).
It’s perfect for summer because you can serve it cold and you can even add some grilled chicken or shrimp if you want! (I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, but everything else I kept the same as the original recipe). I will definitely be making this again when I get those carb-loaded cravings that are bound to occur. But I don’t even feel like slightest bit of guilt about it.
Some people say you can’t eat healthy and still enjoy your favorite foods.
But I say… I’m pretty sure that’s just an excuse for you to not cancel your Noodles & Co. order that you already made for tonight.
This past week I finally reunited with the lovely Jen Fields to start training again! I had desperately missed her immobilizing workouts from junior year and with the craziness of my last semester, I knew I needed all the motivation I could get to make me workout – especially since I conveniently forgot I’ll be in the Bahamas for Spring Break in less than 3 weeks. (When I finally acknowledged this exciting/frightening reality last week, I immediately started and successfully completed another 3-day juice cleanse.)
While we were training, Jen told me she had recently decided to go Paleo and immediately began to gush about all of the amazing grain-free recipes she had perfected. While I’m not a Paleo, I tend to follow a diet that’s fairly similar to what they recommend (meats, veggies, fruits, nuts) so I was excited to try some of her new favorite dishes…… And once I tried this granola, I was already planning my trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients before I had even left her apartment.
She posted her own recipe on her new food blog, but I substituted a few of the ingredients – so my version is posted below.
Grain-Free Cinnamon Pecan Granola
- Handful of Cashews
- Handful of Pecans
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1-2 Tbsp Almond Butter
- Cinnamon to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Pulse cashews and pecans in food processor a few times just to chop them into smaller pieces – don’t blend for TOO long!
- Gradually add the rest of the ingredients while slowly massaging the mixture so that it develops an even consistency and begins to stick together.
- You may need to adjust the amount of honey/almond butter depending on how many nuts you use and the type of granola you would like.
- Spread mixture evenly across baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes – keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
- Let cool and harden.
I paired the granola with unsweetened almond milk and sprinkled some shredded coconut on top for a post-dinner snack last night and also for breakfast this morning. But because I seem to have demolished this batch in just two servings, I will definitely double the ingredients next time so that it might last longer than a day…
However, if you have any normal amount of self control, you can probably make it last a little longer than I did.
While many of you may have finally ventured out into the snowy conditions today, I’m assuming there are still quite a few of you curled up on the couch who refuse to bundle up, shovel off your cars, and brave the questionable roads.
Even though snow days were the highlight of our childhoods, they don’t hold the same excitement in adulthood. You are quarantined inside your house, forced to perform excessive manual labor if you want to flee, and will most likely end up getting snow in unwanted places, no matter how many layers you put on before heading outside.
And although sometimes it’s nice to lay around all day and have nothing to do, those of us who are trying to keep ourselves away from the pantry/kitchen/cookie jar are challenged to practice much more self control than we were originally prepared for. Because even though you can’t go to the gym, run your errands, go out shopping, or meet a friend for lunch on a snow day, you CAN microwave some popcorn, make some chocolate chip pancakes, boil a box of pasta, and bake a multi-layer cake on a snow day.
On lazy days like these, our bodies all of a sudden become infinitely more hungry, asking for more food just moments after finishing a meal.
It’s 1pm and I have no plans for the rest of the day. There’s nothing good on TV and no matter how many times I click refresh, my Facebook newsfeed is still the same. Well, I guess I’ll make something to eat so I can pretend I’m being a productive human.
Next thing you know, it just reached noon and you’ve already had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And now you’re planning dessert.
What’s worse is that none of these meals consist of healthy, crisp salads. Because who craves a mix of cold vegetables during weather conditions when there could potentially be a wooly mammoth living in your backyard? So instead, you turn to your next best option – a nice, big bowl of warm pasta with steaming tomato sauce and maybe a side of fresh mashed tomatoes topped with melted butter. Basically the same as a salad right?
Lucky for you, I have a healthy, warm recipe for you to make tonight (assuming you didn’t already eat your dinner in your boredom-infused eating frenzy).
Warm Sweet Potato and Pear Winter Salad
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/2 head of broccoli
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- 2 handfuls of baby bella mushrooms or 2 sliced portabellos
- 1 sliced pear
- 1 sliced red onion
- 1 handful of walnuts
- 2 handfuls of mixed greens
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Slice the mushrooms, onions, sweet potato and pear and put into glass baking pan drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
- Place pan into preheated oven at 425 degrees and roast for about 15 minutes, until vegetables/pears are tender
- Spread spinach over top of roasted pears/vegetables and mix so that it will slowly wilt
- Cut broccoli and steam in microwave for about 2 minutes, until tender
- Toast walnuts
- Whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup into a dressing and drizzle over mixed greens
- Add roasted vegetables and pears, steamed broccoli, and toasted walnuts to the bed of mixed greens and divide salad onto 2-3 plates
The roasted pears and toasted walnuts are a perfect complement to the other warm vegetables and all together they provide a delicious, healthy snow day dinner.
So it’s almost 2 weeks into the New Year. You’ve been cooking lightly, exercising daily, and are feeling better than ever. You can definitely keep this up for 50 more weeks – easy. You laugh in the face of those … Continue reading
Finals week has unfortunately, and quite abruptly, arrived. All of a sudden, your life consists of hot Starbucks, carefully crafted Pandora playlists, comfy leggings and sweatshirts, elaborate Google Doc study guides, never-before-opened textbooks and… an empty refrigerator.
You finished the last of your groceries a few days ago and vehemently refuse to brave the grocery store for a restock. You will being heading home in less than a week – why waste the time? You’ll just eat out for the next six days.
Except, a tiny problem presents itself. Your refrigerator isn’t the only thing that college sucked dry. A brief peek at your desolate bank account reminds you about that pre-finals, de-stress shopping spree you gladly took part in. And that pre-finals de-stress happy hour adventure…. Uh oh.
Now you’re peering into the dark abyss that is your pantry shelf, surveying the unfortunate meal options you have to choose from. A slimy, black banana that you obviously forgot to eat, some mini boxes of raisins, a bag of mixed nuts, and… vanilla powder? ‘Why did I even buy vanilla powder?’
You get a little more stressed, quickly yearning for a decadent dessert to ease the tension.
Well, my friend. YOU are in luck. In just ten minutes, you can indulge in this nutritious, yet exceptionally delicious dessert that miraculously only requires your pitiful pantry leftovers… (plus a few extra add-ins). It’s vegan, raw, gluten-free, and finals-ready.
I would choose to eat this treat over a traditional piece of chocolate cake any and every day. I made it twice within a single week and plan to continue this trend over winter break. It’s roommate-approved and family-approved, meaning it tastes like the real thing.
So go ahead and whip this up as a post-finals reward or a pre-final energizer. It’s easy!
A few days ago, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and made a recipe that seemed a bit more intimidating than usual. When my friend told me that I was “selling myself short” after writing off a few complicated recipes I had seen, I decided to accept the culinary challenge. I’m not very experienced when it comes to cooking with fall foods (squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc) so I recently found myself in a food-rut, longing for the colorful salads and green smoothies from the summer. There was only one thing to do – take the leap and dive into these seasonal staples.
I came across this roasted acorn squash recipe the other day while browsing through Weekly Greens, and realized I just needed to go for it. To my surprise – it took less than 30 minutes total for prepping and cooking, it was delicious, AND it was roommate approved.
I made two separate batches – one with feta, one without, and both were equally appetizing. For the vegan alternative, I just doubled the amount of pistachios that the original had called for.
Now to my next leap of faith?
I have somehow mustered up the courage to make peace with my juicer so that I can (hopefully) endure another 3-day juice cleanse. College life has once again gotten the best of me, so in an attempt to rid myself of the various toxins that come with this 4-year package, I have declared today Day 1 of my juice extravaganza.
Picture this: You’re sitting in the living room, it’s 4pm, and you’re hungry. The salad that you had for lunch at 12:30 was pretty filling, but now you’re starting to fantasize about delicious desserts and juicy sandwiches. It’s too early … Continue reading