Category Archives: salads


I’m surprised I found time this weekend to help a friend develop a marketing strategy for her new business, go on a hike with Dave, and grocery shop and prep meals for the week considering we’ve been absolutely OBSESSED with this game:


It’s Settlers of Catan mania at our house. Just to illustrate – we played three games on Friday night with some friends, which made us stay up wayyyy past our bedtime. We enjoyed decadent snacks during this, such as baguette with brie and smoked salmon and dark chocolate covered almonds (no pics though). The others had beer, too, but I stuck to my home-brewed Kombucha with pride.

Then, yesterday, Dave discovered a version you can play with two people, which only made us more addicted. We spent our Saturday night hovered over the game board, then all of Sunday morning, and we’re about to play more.

Despite this craziness, I have some food pics to share πŸ™‚


These are two-ingredient muffins a la It’s so genius – all it takes are four eggs and 3 cups of shredded zucchini plus a pinch of salt.

I’m excited to try these for breakfast tomorrow along with this other goodness inspired by Elise:


Aside from making the two cutest loaves of banana bread ever, this recipe is so insanely delicious that I doubled it and made two this time (I subbed maple syrup for the stevia in her recipe only because that’s what I had here). It’s so moist and flavorful and will make for the perfect start to my week. Seriously, knowing I have a delicious breakfast waiting for me will make getting up at 6 a.m. on a Monday so much easier.

The rest of my food prep was focused on lunch-making and assembling some salads for dinner, which contained a lot of left-overs, such as salmon, avocado, goat cheese, and roasted pine nuts.


I also started my second batch of kombucha. I’m making twice as much this time because the stuff is perfection and let’s be real, I want to drink it every day.


As I’m waiting for it to ferment, I will have to rely on the expensive bottled stuff, but I would rather not go without it for a week. Making twice the amount should help avoid this in the future, though.


Almond milk for organic berries and Green Superfood smoothies in the a.m., kombucha for an energy-boost in the afternoons. Bring on the new week!



Filed under Breakfast, dairy-free, lunch-prep, salads, smoothies, vegan

Goat Cheese for the Win

Ahh, I was working away at my desk this morning, thrilled as ever about the new job situation. My new, sad challenge is to give up on coffee. My obsession with it has gotten the best of me, and I think my liver will thank me if I look for alternatives to get my work-day fixes. It’s a sad, sad resolution.

But now I have black tea! And soon, my first home-made batch of Kombucha. This one is also a sad challenge in a way – I was spending way to much money on the prepared stuff. I’ll write a post on the home-brewing process soon!

Anyways, here I was, working away, and what was nice about the absence of coffee was that I didn’t have a sudden drop in energy and a sudden huge increase in hunger once the caffeine wore off. I did supplement with two cups of black tea this morning because let’s be real, I’m going to need something, but the effects were a lot milder. My big withdrawal days were Saturday and Sunday, so the worst is behind me.

This all resulted in me not even needing a mid-morning snack. Around 11:45 a.m., I got very hungry though, so I finished up my review of online non-credit program research and got out my packed lunch.

It was goat cheese time!


The spinach salad contained some quinoa (left-overs from my cooking marathon last night), halved cocktail tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, and tons of crumbled goat cheese. Wow, did this combo hit the spot! I could eat crumbled goat cheese every day and never get sick of it I think! Also, I think it’s funny that quinoa has not yet been adopted into Microsoft’s standard vocabulary, so my text program underlines it in red whenever I write it. Shows what a trendy, new-agey food we’re really dealing with here πŸ˜€

The banana that followed was a nice stomach-closer (not a word). Now to embark on a Monday afternoon full of meetings!

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Filed under lunch-prep, salads

Leisure-Time Marathon

I love Saturdays just as much as the next person, and this week was especially delicious, both literally and figuratively speaking. We packed so many activities into today that I feel like the weekend should be over already. And it’s not. So I’m winning.

It all started with a 7 a.m. workout at our apartment complex gym. I did the elliptical for 30 minutes while Dave ran and lifted weights.

This made us pretty hungry, so we had sweet potato pancakes for breakfast.


3 eggs and one mashed sweet potato – bam. The trick is to use plenty of coconut oil for frying and keeping them small-ish to make them easy to flip.


I topped mine with almond butter and maple syrup. The flavors of this mixed with coffee flavor put me in heaven. We went over German dialogues while eating.

The next stop was Cafe Lemont for some lattes (regular for Dave, almond for me).


Dave studied German vocab and I worked on a freelancing project. Coffee shops and Saturdays are a dream combo, if you ask me. Especially if they have non-dairy, non-soy latte options.

Around noon, we left to go grocery shopping. On our way to Trader Joe’s, we realized we were both starving, so I introduced Dave to this all-you-can eat Asian buffet. I had been there before and wanted him to experience the insanely large variety of food.


It was $10 per person for the lunch buffet, which included an appetizer bar, a Chinese buffet, a salad bar, a huge selection of sushi, and a ton of desert options. They also have a Mongolian-Grill style setup, but I stuck to pretty much appetizers and sushi.



Afterwards, we went to Trader Joe’s before returning home for some reading and TV time. I think every weekend needs several hours of couch-time. It was hard not to take a nap, that’s for sure.

Around 6 p.m., we decided to play tennis on our apartment complex courts. It was much colder than it has been today and pretty windy as well, but we wanted to give it a try.


I had to wear a headband and a jacket, but once I warmed up, I could take those off. We played for about an hour and the score at the end was 15:1 for Dave. I really suck at tennis, but really enjoy it at the same time. I have great ambitions for beating Dave one day. Maybe this “season” will bring more success than last summer.

Back in the apartment, I made dinner and we watchedΒ The Mindy Project. Have you guys seen it? It’s hilarious and so current. It’s one of the few shows Dave and I enjoy equally.


Dinner was spinach salad with avocados, toasted cashews, goat cheese, and dried cranberries, The dressing had balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds, sugar, cayenne pepper, and poppy seeds in it. Desert was chocolate coconut ice cream, naturally, though no pictures were taken.

Not too shabby for a Saturday in State College, if I do say so myself. Getting up early is my new favorite thing.

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Filed under Breakfast, dairy-free, deserts, eating out, gluten-free, recipes, salads, seafood, vegan

Balcony Eats

My friend Juliane came over tonight and we had the first dinner of the year on our balcony. It was a delicious mix of warm summer air, wine, stories, and many nutritious salad ingredients.


I kind of made this up on the go: quinoa, onions, red peppers, apples, avocado, toasted cashews, sweet potatoes, and olive oil.


So nice to be able to enjoy this outside.


And the vino of course.


The weather has been absolutely amazing and perfectly spring like. In the past 48 hours, we’ve had heavy summer rain, a thunderstorm (love!!!), and temps in the 70s. I’m in heaven.

I don’t necessarily want to move back to the Midwest ever, but if we did, my one comfort would be having real thunderstorms. When we lived in Milwaukee, Dave learned quickly to crack the window when massive thunder and rain were happening, so I could enjoy the sounds and cuddle up, completely content. Here, thuderstorms are much more sporadic, but having mountains and green, saturated grass helps a lot.

I’m so happy we have two full months of glorious spring ahead of us!

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Filed under dairy-free, drinks with dinner, gluten-free, salads, vegan

Late-Night Salmon

This is what I ate at Duffy’s Tavern at 10:30 pm. We had the Woolrich Warehouse Sale, which I volunteered at with some co-workers to get first dibs on the stuff πŸ˜€


By 10:30, I was starving because I hadn’t had dinner. I got blackened salmon salad (I always order that at Duffy’s, it’s fantastic), a merlot, and Dave and I split some sweet potato fries with maple syrup, of which we stll brought half home.

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Filed under dairy-free, drinks with dinner, eating out, salads, seafood

Vegan “Chicken” Salad

I had my first cooking adventure with tempeh tonight, based on this recipe for “chic chick salad.”


I started by cubing the tempeh. Unlike with tofu, there is no pressing required.

Next, I was supposed to steam it. But the amateur cooks that we are, we don’t have a steamer basket. Dave suggested improvising with the top of the rice cooker.


It turned out to be a pretty brilliant suggestion. I later used it again to steam the broccoli.


Once the steaming was complete, I stirred the tempeh into the mix of apples, carrots, dried cranberries, onions, and almonds. Then, I added the veganaise/vinegar/berry preserve/lemon juice dressing.


I placed the mixture on a bed of lettuce, steamed broccoli, and baby beets. The dressing in particular made this dinner delicious. I also really loved the apple/cranberry/tempeh combo.

After dinner, I made our lunches for tomorrow. The tempeh salad will get another chance to shine then.


Looking forward to these “chicken salad” sandwiches!


Filed under dairy-free, gluten-free, low carb, recipes, salads, vegan

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

Today was the warmest day in a long time – 45 degrees and sunny. It doesn’t get much better than that for running in early March, and Woolrich looked very inviting with its pine trees and surrounding mountains.

Around 10 a.m., I had a snack to fuel up.


Just some leftover veggies and apple slices with almond butter. Plus plenty of water.

I did 3 miles at a much faster speed than usual. I would estimate it was a 9-minute pace, but I’m not sure because I forgot my phone and didn’t measure my time. It was definitely hard and I had to focus on my breathing a lot in order to avoid a side ache. But the important thing is that I made it. It felt great to see the improvement my training has brought yet again.

On to lunch.


Just my standard spinach salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. Yum, goat cheese πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

I’m still tired from the late-night we had on Monday due to that cooking class. I don’t know if it’s normal to be paying for it for this many days. Maybe I just need to sleep more at night. I am ready to be back at my normal energy levels.

When I got home, it took some self-convincing to get in the kitchen and start dinner. But, I’m glad I did because that meant I got to eat quality food and learned a new recipe, which I found here.

Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad


1 cup quinoa

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced [I used two smaller ones]
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar [I used this many, but maybe reduce it a little – the smell of vinegar was quite strong…]
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced [mine was more medium than small]
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (do not peel)
  • 1 firm red apple, diced (do not peel)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cook quinoa on the stovetop and dice two small or one larger sweet potato(es). Coat the sweet potatoes in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; then spread them out on top of a sheet of alu foil and place on a baking pan.


While the potatoes are roasting in the oven for 20 minutes and the quinoa is cooking, combine the cider vinegar and 3 tbsp. olive oil with salt and pepper and beat it for about a minute until the mixture gets thick.


Then fry the onions in another tbsp of olive oil on a low setting for 8-10 minutes.

Combine the quinoa, onions, apples, dried cranberries, and sweet potatoes in a big bowl.


Look at all those colors! Add the onions next.

Finally, toast the pine nuts in the same pan you used for the onions for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown.


I loved how they smelled once they began toasting.

Then pour the pine nuts in the bowl with the other ingredients.


Mix all of the ingredients carefully and dinner is ready.


Dave and I both had two servings and there was still enough for two good lunch portions for tomorrow. I really loved how the flavors worked together and it tasted like rich, quality foods. Much needed after yesterday’s eating out escapades.

To round it all off, I had some chocolaty deserts.


My usual Trader Joe’s favorites: dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups and dark chocolate covered ginger.

After dinner, I caught up with my German soap and journaled for an hour while enjoying a hot almond milk with cooca powder. I really recommend this creation.


Double desert night. My work here is done.


Filed under dairy-free, deserts, gluten-free, leftovers, low carb, recipes, running, salads, vegan