Tag Archives: avocado

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash


After tackling my first squash in the slow cooker last week, I was ready to take it one step further: spaghetti squash.


After slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds, I brushed the halves with oil and sprinkled them with sea salt and pepper before roasting them in the oven face down for 40 minutes.


While they were roasting, I made the creamy avocado sauce (two avo halves, 3 cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, fresh basil) in the blender. A food processor would have worked better, but who owns such extravagancy?


Once they finished roasting, the fun could begin. I took a fork and carved out the strings, which was really easy and gave me much more flesh than I expected.


And here it is: the perfect alternative to pasta – vegan, gluten-free, and amazingly nutritious and tasty. Between the squash and the avocado, the nutritional profile of this dish is out of control awesome.

I really needed a nutritious boost too after my workout class tonight. I am still following my fitness plan pretty much perfectly. Friday, I was supposed to run 3 miles, but I had more dental work, which left me in pain, so I switched out Friday for my planned rest day on Sunday and made up for it then.

The goal for the month of November is to be able to run 3 10-minute miles comfortably.


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Filed under gluten-free, low carb, vegan

Breakfast and a Fitness Plan

I went to the grocery store yesterday and was all excited to get some more diversity in my breakfasts. But this morning, all I wanted was my usual avo and egg on toast. That’s because the combination is just too good for competition.


Just look at this yolky perfection.


This + coffee + CNN New Day = my daily morning routine. Too bad it’s freezing outside now, so it’s getting harder to get off the couch and ready to head out to work.

I don’t think there is much hope for me switching out the breakfast menu anytime soon, but I added a little bit of diversity today.


Grapefruits are so great, I’m not sure why I’ve dispelled them from my grocery lists in recent times. Maybe because I used to eat oats with blueberries and half a grapefruit every morning and that’s the only combination I associate it with. Or maybe because Dave hates grapefruit, which is pretty damn close to being a deal breaker, if you ask me.


Also, yesterday, I made a fitness and meal plan. November has to be all about sweating and eating right and sticking to a routine before Thanksgiving, an international conference trip, and the holidays throw it all off again.

The next week will hopefully look like this:

Friday: Kinetik Class
Saturday: Hike
Sunday: 3 x 10-minute miles
Monday: Kinetik Class
Tuesday:  3 x 10-minute miles
Wednesday: Kinetik Class
Thursday:  3 x 10-minute miles
Friday: 3 x 10-minute miles

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This weekend has been a time of transitons. In June, I went to Turkey on a whim for three days because my grandma was in the ICU and my whole family as flying in to be with her. We expected her pass away within a few days, but she made an astonishing recovery and was even able to go home after a couple of weeks.



This was at dinner with my brother, dad, two cousins, and my uncle. It was great to see my family. I left knowing that I would probably not seeing my grandma again, which was hard. But we thought she was getting better. Then, yesterday, my mom called to tell me that she had passed away unexpectedly over night. She was 90 years old and had a great life. She died without much pain and surrounded by family, which is a great comfort to all. But we will all miss her and cherish her memory forever.



This is her as a young girl. She had four kids, five grandkids, and as of now, has five great-grand kids. She loved her beach house in Datca, swimming in the Mediterranean, and eating watermelon and feta together, like a real Turk. 

This weekend also marks the beginning of a new chapter in my professional life. Tomorrow, I start a new job as Marketing Strategy Specialist at Penn State Outreach. I am beyond excited to be working in higher-ed and non-profit, to cut my commute from 60 minutes down to 15, and to become part of an amazing group of people. My responsibilities will be coordinating between clients and units within the division to create detailed marketing plans for all kinds of initiatives to benefit the local community and beyond. In particular, I’ll be working on taking successful offline programs, like continuing education classes, conferences, and business development events, online. 

After the craziness of traveling and navigating my move between jobs, it has been hard to stay on track with my usual cooking ambitions and exercise. But I’m slowly getting back to planning, a routine, and feeling in control.

I made this vegan kale salad yesterday, which I highly recommend.



Dave and I have embarked on a great house-cleaning adventure this weekend, the frige is full of healthy ingredients, we have a schedule for early-morning German lessons and exercise, and I’m excited to have an extra 1.5 hours a day which I will not spend driving.

Last night, we had some friends over to play Settlers of Catan, so it’s not all serious prepping around here.

In other news, my co-worker gave me a Belgian cherry beer for my last day and recommended I mix it with Guinness. I am hooked!


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“What in the World Are You Eating?”

I ventured into the world of quinoa for breakfast this morning. That was mainly because I had leftover quinoa from last night’s dinner, which was this:


Looks appetizing, right? It was quinoa, kale, and sauerkraut with a sauce made out of sunflower seed butter, red pepper, almond milk, and nutritional yeast. I liked it, but Dave thought it was absolutely disgusting due to the nutritional yeast. He hates nutritional yeast and I knew this, but chose to ignore it. He has now officially requested never to have to eat it again, so I will begrudgingly enjoy it by my lonesome in the future.

That said, the dish really must look disgusting because when I was eating it for lunch today, the VP in charge of our department walked by and asked “What in the world are you eating?” in bewilderment. “Ummmm, sauerkraut, kale and”… was my response, and then “it’s very healthy.” Not sure the man has ever heard of half of the ingredients, so I chose to spare him the details.

Anyways, back to today’s breakfast.


My usual oatmeal combo with quinoa instead: quinoa, a fried egg, avocado, and nutritional yeast. Got my brain going for our daily morning German lesson. I also love grapefruit for breakfast, but haven’t had it much at all recently. Today I did, obviously.

My lunch run was so fun because the weather was amazing and perfect and all the glorious adjectives you want to use for 60 degrees and sunny when it’s April and everything is blossoming. I did intervals and listened to Turkish music.

When I got home, I was starving, but we wanted to play tennis before it got dark out. There was not enough time to make the Daiya casserole I wanted to make, so Dave creatively saved us and made a citrus salad.


It had lettuce, avocado, grapefruit, and a dressing made from olive oil, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It was perfect because it kept my stomach from eating itself but wasn’t to heavy to play tennis right after eating it.

The score of tonight’s game is so embarrassing, but I’ll share it anyway: 15:2 for Dave. There were a lot of sad spins around myself without actually hitting the ball, so Dave had plenty of opportunity to ridicule me. Now I am eager to start weekly Sunday volleyball with our friends because that’ll be his payback 🙂


April 26, 2013 · 9:09 pm

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

Avocado Obsession


I want to eat avocados with every meal possible! It’s a true obsession, and this is only the beginning.


This was actually Dave’s lunch yesterday. I prefer to schmier the avocado on the bread as if it’s cream cheese and put an egg sunny side up on top.


My dinner tonight: brown rice with avocado, a fried egg, and nutritional yeast.

More to come. I am 100% committed to this obsession.

Dave and I went to Gigi’s tonight to have some drinks, and an appetizer (technically for desert), and play a game of backgammon.


Beer as pre-run fuel.


Spinach-crab dip with artichokes.

Dave beat me 5:1. Reminds me of long vacation days in Turkey, when I could accomplish a victory once a week if I was lucky.

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

Asian (In)Fusion

So, this weekend turned into a little bit of an eating-out marathon. When we moved to State College last July, I was worried that we wouldn’t have as many ethnic food options as we did in Milwaukee. But strangely enough, it feels like we have more, and they’re all so affordable. So weekends often turn into feasts of Indian, Japanese, Thai, or Greek cuisine. We also have lots of New England type taverns here, but this weekend was strictly devoted to Asian deliciousness.

My day started with a small miracle: I actually got up when my alarm clock rang at 7. I had to finish my run from yesterday, and I guess I was just eager to get it done. The thing that actually got me up though was my plan to do this 15-minute yoga video before I left. I have done it three times now and absolutely love it. After I was done, I had a package of Gu (I didn’t want to spoil the run with more digestive problems), and I packed another one to have 45 minutes in.

The run was hard because I was still tired from yesterday and it was super windy. I ended up doing 6.71 miles, which brought my mileage for the weekend up to 9.71. I guess I’m happy with that, considering I was only going to do 8 had I not had to split it up.

When I got home, Dave made me breakfast while I iced my knees and stretched.


He is just so much more talented at making eggs look pretty than I am. Oatmeal with a fried egg, nutritional yeast, and avocado. I also had almond milk with Amazing Grass powder and lots of water.

Then we went to the UUFCC and straight to lunch afterwards. There is this amazing Indian restaurant in State College – seriously the best Indian food I’ve ever had, and they have a lunch buffet every day that I will never be able to get enough of. I figured going after a long run was ideal because I wouldn’t get full as fast as usual.

I stuck to vegetarian options. It’s becoming easier and easier for me to just leave meat out completely, to the point where I’m almost ready to declare myself a pescetarian, which makes me happy because it shows my plan to ease myself into eventual veganism of some sort is working.


Spinach Saag, vegetarian yogurt balls, and a curry veggie mix.


A piece of naan topped with the spinach saag. I want to take a bath in this stuff! I used to get it with lamb, but actually think it’s just as good without meat.


I indulged a bit for desert, and definitely didn’t say no to the dairy. Chai tea, sweet rice pudding, and a milk ball in sugar syrup. When else if not after a run, right?

Then I took a pretty long afternoon nap during a 4-episode Gilmore Girls DVD while Dave worked on school stuff. When I woke up, it was time for weekend chores, laundry, grocery list making and a trip to Trader Joe’s. No time for making dinner, so we decided to splurge and order from our favorite Thai restaurant, My Thai.

I am beyond obsessed with their red curry. I have eaten there at least 15 times and have never ordered anything else. But tonight, I finally made the switch from chicken to the shrimp version.


This dish is so amazingly good. The bamboo and spinach in the creamy coconut milk curry never get old. Brown rice on the side. Only downside to getting the shrimp version is that they leave the tails on, so I had to eat the shrimp by themselves after biting the tail off.

Can’t wait to have this again for lunch at work tomorrow. Although… our new boss has his first day tomorrow, so we may go out to lunch, in which case, this will just have to be my afternoon snack 😀

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February 24, 2013 · 10:20 pm