Tag Archives: healthy eating

Two Grainy Lunches

Quinoa and Couscous are currently tied for my favorite grains, and they recently made bases for two veggie-packed lunches.

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Couscous with roasted pumpkin, zucchini, roasted pine nuts, and olive oil. Easy, filling, vegan and nutritious.

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Quinoa Quiche. This had quinoa, eggs, green peppers, tomato, and a cheesy sauce based on nutritional yeast. If I re-make this, I’m going to go with spinach instead of green peppers – I was just out at the time.

I like eating grains for lunch if I’m going to exercise after work, which has been the case pretty much every day recently. Six days of exercising in a row gets pretty exhausting, so the least I can do is feed myself a filling lunch.

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Filed under lunch-prep

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti Squash

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

Racing the Clock

Tonight was all about cooking multiple meals at once. I’m not sure why I was so motivated to stock the fridge with prepped meals. Now that I’m back to my cooking routine, I find that I can’t wait to get into the kitchen after work. It’s somehow relaxing to chop vegetables and assemble new recipes after long days of meetings and desk time.

The reason I had to race the clock even more than if I was just making a bunch of meals was that I also want to get in a 3-mile run (which I still have to do after writing this). So, without further ado, here are tonight’s meal creations:

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This is a super easy and quick pasta dish. I layered the pan with uncooked whole wheat pasta, marinara sauce/water, frozen peas, cottage cheese, goat cheese, and salt and pepper and baked it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Leftovers for tomorrow’s lunches included!

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Then, I made a pumpkin curry with a quinoa and brown rice mix base. For the curry, I used half an onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1.5 cans of pumpkin, 2 heaping teaspoons of curry powder, salt & pepper, as well as some chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds for garnish. This is a good sauce! Awesome vegan alternative to cream-based curry, and way less heavy on the stomach. Again, this gave me some good leftovers for meals later this week.

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This is an awesome dessert – I mixed a frozen banana, 1/3 cup of almond milk, 2 table spoons chia seeds, 2 graham crackers, and 5 Trader Joe’s dark chocolate crisps and put them in the blender. Then I used additional graham crackers for dipping.

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So dinner was a bit unusual, since I served two entrees plus dessert. Dave had just been watching a competitive cooking show while cleaning up our camping gear, so he joked that he felt like he was being asked to sample and rate each dish. He liked them all. We were both especially impressed with the pumpkin curry sauce.

After dinner, I decided to make one more dish. For this purpose, I peeled and chopped my first ever butternut squash.

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Thank God for Youtube, but it still took me about 15 minutes.

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The cubes are now in the slow cooker, submerged in almond milk. I’m planning to end up with a vegan cheesy sauce for a pasta casserole, so stayed tuned for the results.

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Obsessed.

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:

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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 🙂

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These are two-ingredient muffins a la hungryhungryhippie.com. 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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

A Case of the Summers

Woah, I’ve apparently been on a blogging hiatus for a whole week now. That’s mostly because our kitchen hasn’t been its usual self, as in a place of inspiration, but rather a battlefield of take-out boxes and dirty dishes. You know how it is – a trip out of town, an unpleasant stomach virus, and a crazy work schedule can do quite a bit of damage. Plus, it’s June, my absolute favorite month of the year, and I’m having a hard time following routines and pursuing long-term goals right now. I want to be outside, soaking up the sun, smelling the freshness everywhere, and living in the moment.

To add to all that, we’re going out of town again this Wednesday on a driving trip to the Carolinas. I’ve never been and am excited to add four new states to my list of currently 39 – Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We’re meeting grad school friends in Wilmington for a conference and also just vacationing. I can’t wait to swim in the warm Atlantic. Also, I have some great vegan/vegetarian restaurants I’m eying up for eating, so the blog will thrive off this trip as well.

Right now, I’m sitting on our balcony enjoying this perfect, non-humid Monday night with a glass of red wine, not thinking about much of anything. So here are some pictures I did manage to take in the last week.

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I made this quickie spinach salad to eat next to sick Dave last week. We watched “The Wave” on Netflix while I ate – seriously a movie you should watch, and I’m not just saying that because it’s German.

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Quinoa spinach salad I made for our Memorial Day cook-out with friends. Here is the recipe. The dressing is amazing.

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Memorial Day dinner. I’ve been eating meat again outside of home on occasion, which I have mixed feelings about. My desire to avoid it has taken ethical dimensions as well as health-related ones, so eating it doesn’t make me feel great. I think I need to get over the need to put a label on my diet and just be happy that I have very healthy habits 95% of the time. We shall see.

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Dave and I roasting marshmallows for our Memorial Day s’mores.

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Oh, and the best of all: our friend Mark makes the best cocktails – this one had rum, coke, crushed basil, and maybe other things.

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Dave’s mid-week dinner creation: Barley soup. Really good and really well-spiced.

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Thursday night, we had dinner at Gigi’s, a restaurant in our neighborhood that’s trying to be up-scale, but failing, while we still appreciate its tappas menu and outdoor seating. For desert, we split a pear crisp with vanilla ice cream. Quite delightful.

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Friday night, Dave made green bean casserole. On the balcony, paired with a wheat ale, it made for the perfect weekend starter.

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Saturday breakfast. I felt like I had to compensate Dave for coming on a 3-mile run with me. Poor guy, his allergies were really kicking in, and he was sneezing all the way through. Claritin to the rescue (at least until we find a more natural remedy)! I made coffee, scrambled eggs in almond milk, avo slices, and toasted whole wheat bread with Daiya Cheeze, tomato slices, and scallions.

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After breakfast, Saturday was all about the lake, reading, and soaking up the sun. At nearly 90 degrees, we also needed some good sunblock. But regardless, the 3ish hours we spent here, swimming, playing Yahtzee, and relaxing were glorious.

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Sunday breakfast: banana pancakes with Earth Balance and Pennsylvania maple syrup. I also made some crepes-like creations, which I rolled around Nutella and ate without prioritizing photography.

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Today’s lunch (vegetarian wrap and sweet potato fries), courtesy of my co-worker, which we ate while working through lunch-hour during a 9-hour collaborative excel project in the conference room. Fun times!

I have been sticking to my summer work-out routine every day, which has been especially fun due to my new Asics.

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Such great colors. I’m doing a 3-mile run one day and an interval run with weight lifting interspersed on the next. Friday is rest day. Dave has come to my last three work-outs. Yesterday, he challenged me to competitive interval sprints and I lost every time. How does this guy never exercise and still beat me like that?

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Filed under Breakfast, deserts, drinks with dinner, eating out, running

My First Borscht

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Looks delicious, right? I’m hooked on this über-healthy dish, which I had sadly never had before tonight.

I had a German-tutoring appointment after work tonight, so Dave was on dinner duty. He had been excited about introducing me to Borscht for a long time. He had it all ready when I came home from work and was only contemplating whether to puree it. He decided for it and from what I can tell, it was a great choice.

We decided that we should cook with beets more. I’ve never peeled one in my life, so that will be the first hurdle to jump because buying them packaged just doesn’t seem legit.

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Filed under vegan

Turkish Zucchini Fritters

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Nothing delights me more than a new Turkish cooking adventure. Okay, maybe not nothing.  But for a Monday evening, this one did pretty well.

This was a real Turkish recipe, so the fact that the fritters tasted like summer and ocean and family didn’t come as a surprise to me. But I’m pretty sure you can just add parsley, paprika, olive oil, and feta to anything and make it taste Turkish. Parsley more than anything, though.

Ingredients:

– 2 zucchinis, grated
– 1 sweet potato (grated) – or use two carrots and achieve the same orange color
– 1 cup whole wheat flour
– 2 eggs
– a bunch of chopped scallions (white parts only)
– a bunch of chopped parley
– a bunch of dill
– 7 oz. crumbled feta cheese
– salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
– Greek yogurt and more chopped scallions for serving
– olive oil for frying

Directions:

After grating the zucchini, put them into a coriander with some salt and squeeze the excess liquid out of them. Switch them over into a big bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix well.

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As always, I take the most appetizing pictures. Food photography – now there’s a course I should have taken in grad school. But they didn’t offer that. So I blame them.

Next, heat up the oil in the largest frying pan you have. When it’s hot enough, add as many fritters as you can. Just add a loaded tablespoon of “dough” for each one – these should be pretty thin and not too large.

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Fry each side until golden brown. I used two spatulas to flip them just to be safe. Oh, also, I  shook the pan now and then to make sure they were getting enough oil. When you’re done with the first batch, place them on a paper towel and place another one on top to soak up some of the oil. This becomes less necessary as the oil in the pan depletes with every batch.

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These were a big hit. The feta is an amazing addition. I’d say they are a perfect light dinner for a week night, or you could serve them as an appetizer/take them to a potluck. I think they are sure to impress, so what are you waiting for?

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Filed under dairy-free, recipes, Turkish