Tag Archives: gluten-free

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under gluten-free, low carb, vegan

New Yoga Endeavors

I went to a 90-minute “Power Yoga Flow” session at a new yoga studio downtown this morning – PYP Studio in State College.

Afterwards, I rewarded myself with this.


But more on that after my Yoga recap:

It was insanely hard – maybe harder than a running my half-marathon in April. I hadn’t been expecting such a high intensity class, so I found myself utterly unable to put my best effort into most poses. Such things, at least for me, require mental prep time.

For at least the first hour, all I could think was, “these people are insane,” and “I’m never coming back here again.”

I had never been to a yoga class set up like this one. It started out with everyone in child’s pose, and the instructor, a tiny British lady with a fierce voice, gave kind of an opening “sermon.” Or a dramatic monologue maybe? She spoke about how we constantly reach outside of ourselves, searching, wanting, trying for more, when all we need is right here in the present. She challenged us to stop seeking approval from other people and to appreciate the perfect, innocent human being buried inside of us amidst the daily craziness. Throughout the session’s resting poses, she always came back to this theme, reiterating her points, and dramatizing them in the context of our movements.

During savasana at the end, which I enjoyed so much in my complete exhaustion, she played “Let it Be” by the Beatles. Tacky, yes. But still somehow in line with everything else she was doing.

Dave, of course, said all of this sounded terrible when I told him about it at brunch. And yes, it was definitely different and intense. But during the last 30 minutes of the class, as the exhaustion had broken me down enough, I discovered new, refreshing thoughts within myself. One of them was that it makes complete sense to me that in a “church-like” format, in which we challenge the mind to center itself and connect with its core, we would challenge the body at the same time to go to its limits.

So then, after yoga, I picked up Dave and we went to Pine Grove Mills, which is about 5 minutes from our house, to try the new breakfast place that opened there on Monday, Naked Egg Cafe. A co-worked told me about it yesterday, and I was so excited when I looked at their menu and discovered they have salmon Eggs Benedict!

In light of my new plan to stop drinking coffee, I ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast tea. By the time our food arrived, I had finished the entire pot, about five cups or so, because we waited for about 45 minutes!!! Sure, they recently opened and the place was packed, but waiting that long for breakfast is not acceptable in my opinion. When we got the food, we couldn’t believe the small portions. I paid $12.99 for the salmon benedict and there wasn’t really as much smoked salmon under the egg as I would have expected. Plus, why wouldn’t they serve some sort of potatoes on the side? Pretty disappointing. It tasted good, but not great. On the plus side, the food is all local. That’s why I wanted to like the place so much. We’re thinking we’ll give them one more chance and come earlier in the morning when it’s not as crowded and order something else. But it’s still a bummer because no other place in town that I know of makes salmon benedicts or even has a breakfast menu with smoked salmon on it.

Enough complaining. After brunch, we went to the Farmer’s Market to stock up on some organic produce. I bought eggplants, onions, tomatoes, and parsley. We also each bought a pastry from an Amish woman, plus I had a macaroon and Dave a gluten-free brownie. Splurge alert.

Leave a comment

Filed under eating out, gluten-free, seafood, yoga

Vegan Chili with Gluten-Free Cornbread

Dave took on food duty today and it was a smashing success.


Breakfast was an almond-milk omelette with tomatoes, onions, and salsa. Avocados on the side.

I had to work on my Turkish homework all morning because I was meeting with my tutor later in the day.


Lunch was leftover spinach salad from yesterday, but I added an apple for some extra freshness. Still delicious.


And the highlight when I came back from my lesson: vegan + soy-free chili made in the crockpot with cornbread. The best cornbread I’ve ever had (Dave used oat flour and corn starch), and the chili was amazing too. He made enough so we’d have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. What a win!

Leave a comment

Filed under gluten-free, 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 🙂 🙂

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

Night-Before-Run Pasta Dinner

It’s Friday and it’s March! I’m so excited to gain more daylight back next weekend and for warmer temperatures.

For now, I’ll have to do with the mid-30s and my high school volleyball training jacket will have to be my constant running companion. It’s perfect for temps from 30 to 55.

We’re going out for drinks tonight, but I wanted to have dinner at home first to make sure I get what I need before my 10-mile run tomorrow. Pasta was my intuitive go-to.

First, I cocked two separate pasta versions: gluten-free penne rigate for Dave and regular spaghetti for me.


I cooked them in water with some olive oil and salt for 12 minutes. Not that anyone woud be wondering how to make pasta, but just in case  😉

I also made a shrimp, tomato, and kale stir fry.


Frozen cooked shrimp from Trader Joe’s in olive oil.


I also added half of an Italian pepper and some fresh parsley that I had sitting around and then seasoned the whole mix with salt and pepper.


Carb-loading time!


I had been watching my German soap while cooking and Dave was watching Battlestar Galactica or some non-sense (we are very judgmental of each other’s television preferences), so we decided to be dysfunctional and eat with our respective shows.

I’ve been watching that soap since 1994 and just can’t seem to cut the cord. Episodes are 20 minutes long, so it’s perfect when eating lunch or doing the dishes or doing any other kind of housework. What are your favorite shows to eat to?


Desert was dark chocolate and peanut butter goodness.


Such perfection.

Now we’re headed out for drinks, which will mean beer for me to stick to the carb-loading theme.

I’m nervous about trying 10 miles tomorrow. It’s supposed to snow and I hope my mind can get in the running zone. I may as well try to prep food-wise by sticking to what I know works: pasta and beer.


Filed under dairy-free, deserts, gluten-free, recipes, running, seafood

Lemon Dijon Salmon and Asparagus

Major rain/snow/slush fest today. I worked from home until lunch because the roads were so bad. An hour-long commute in slippery conditions is definitely not my idea of a good time.

Lunch yoga was cancelled and moved to tomorrow, so I did a yoga video this morning and planned to run tonight indoors. We have a gym at our apartment complex, so I begrudgingly resolved to use the treadmill there. But, upon my arrival, someone was already using it. Last resort: the elliptical.

I actually love working out on the elliptical, but it often feels like a half-ass workout. Not today. I put in 30 minutes of high-intensity intervals, rocking out to my new training playlist, which happens to contain some Turkish pop (perfect for 90s-style workout lip-synching).

So I guess this means I’m not really running at all this week, but cross training instead. Oh well, my knees and shins will thank me, and I have a 10-mile run coming up on Saturday, which will surely put an end to my freshly non-sore legs.

After my workout, it was time for a seafood dinner.

Lemon Dijon Salmon from Trader Joe’s with a side of asparagus.


The fish baked in the oven for 18 minutes. I really love the lemon dijon marinade, and it was cooked just about right. Dave deserves credit here – he made dinner while I was at the gym.

Desert was another Trader Joe’s favorite, if not THE favorite.


Dark chocolate covered ginger… As good as it sounds. The best part is that it takes only about five of these tiny geniuses to make me feel completely satisfied – no binging danger at all.

Leave a comment

Filed under dairy-free, deserts, gluten-free, low carb, running, seafood, yoga

Creamy Quinoa with Kale

In the fall, Woolrich offered a 10-week Yoga class every Wednesday during lunch. We liked the instructor so much that they brought her back for another one. Today was the first time she was back. Perfect hump day lunch activity.

I didn’t take pictures during the actual session, so me and my two co-workers did a reenactment in the office later.


Yeah, we’re extremely cool people.

For dinner, I made Creamy Quinoa with Kale, a recipe I got from my absolutely favorite “veg*n” blog, Hungry Hungry Hippie (which, btw, is the blog that inspired me to start my own).

Ingredients (you can be flexible with the amounts):

  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • several handful of kale
  • 1 cup of red pepper hummus (add nutritional yeast and thin with water and lemon juice)
  • 4 eggs
  • olive oil


While cooking the quinoa, simmer the kale in olive oil and water.

Prepare the hummus sauce while waiting for that all to happen.


Then mix the quinoa in with the kale and scramble the eggs into it.


Finally, mix in the hummus sauce and there is your delicious, quick, vegetarian and dairy-free dinner!


I made enough to have seconds and end up with lunches for tomorrow.


Definitely an ideal mid-week dinner: quick, healthy, and delicious.


February 20, 2013 · 9:28 pm