Where to begin.

It’s hard to say. I’ve obviously gotten so out of the habit of writing on this thing. And now I’m just trying to figure out where to pick back up. I feel highly motivated to talk about how the past year has been eye-opening and older-feeling and how I’m loving it but I pretty much did that here already. At this moment as I sit at my kitchen tablette with a first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce on the stove, I have nothing to complain about. Nothing bogging me down. I am content in this moment. It feels awesome, what can I say?

Image

So I guess I’ll talk about all the things that have been going on in my kitchen lately.

(And thankfully no fruit flies were involved)

1. Homemade Nut Butters

(and other food processor awesomeness)
Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Almond butteroundandround

Almond butteroundandround

The finished goods

The finished goods

Asian Ginger Dressing

Asian Ginger Dressing

2. Raw & Roasted Salads

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

This has been my lunch for weeks now. It’s the perfect transition of lunch-salad into colder weather. Simply roast a large baking sheet worth of vegetables with desired flavoring

Favorites: coconut butter + curry powder, olive oil + chili powder&cumin, olive oil + zatar, coconut oil + cajun seasoning

Then combine a bunch of raw vegetables with a separate dressing

Favorites: lemon juice + olive oil + apple cider vinegar + dijon mustard (add additional seasoning to complement roasted flavorings)

Protein can be tofu roasted with the vegetables or beans/lentils added with the raw veggies.

3. Homemade No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce

Before

Before

After

After

(As I finished the post, I finished the sauce. And let me tell you, it’s delicious. –> Recipe to follow)

Alright, I think I’ve covered it.

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Some Like it Roasted

Pardon the Some Like it Hot pun. It just came to me. Maybe because I recently watched the movie. Anyways. This post has nothing to do with Marilyn Monroe, or a movie for that matter. It has to do with food. Because food is far more interesting, clearly. Or maybe because I like talking about food. You pick. Either way…

I wanted to tell you about an awesomely delicious homemade main dish salad that I’ve been loving lately. I think I first got the idea from another blog, but I forget where, so here it is.

Roasted & Raw Vegetables With Tempeh (Salad)

makes 2

Step 1: Chop up your favorite roasting vegetables and half a block of tempeh, season as desired, and roast on 375˚F for 30 minutes:

Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potato, Onion, Garlic, & Tempeh

Brussel Sprouts, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Red Bell Pepper, Garlic, & Tempeh

Sample Roasting Spices

Sometimes I use this instead of olive oil for extra flavor while roasting

Other spice options: Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, etc.

Step 2: Combine your raw ingredients on your plate/bowl. (Can be done while roasting your veggies for ultra-efficiency)

Spinach, Broccoli Slaw, Baby Bella Mushroom, Alfalfa Sprouts, Cucumber, & Grape Tomatoes

Step 3: Add the roasted veggies to your raw veggies and top with desired toppings.

Favorites:

a tablespoon of a flavorful cheese

Mango Salsa

Salad dressing. Yes I already posted it in this entry. Yes, it's that good.

The Final Product:

yummmmm

As I mentioned above- I make enough for 2 salads –> one for dinner and one for lunch the next day. Quick, easy, and delicious!

I’m going to leave you with what I’m listening to right now:

So. Good.


I finally did it.

OK, so before we get to what I finally did, how about we look at…

TWIW (this-week-in-workouts)
Sa – off
Su – Circuit Strength Training
M – off
Tu – 30 min. Quick Cardio + 60 min. Power Yoga
W – Circuit Strength Training
Th – 45 minute Step Class
F – Circuit Strength Training

Self Evaluation:
Likes:  I like that I got in 3 strength training sessions. I’m hoping to keep this up. I also like that I got in a high-intensity cardio session.
What I want to improve: I’d like to try and get it down to 1 day off a week, and add in either Boot Camp or Kick Boxing.

Alright, soooo I finally went to a Farmer’s Market!

I’ve had this ambition to go to a farmer’s market for several years now but never actually took the initiative. Now that I’ve done it, I have no idea what was holding me back. Maybe it was a little of this:

mixed with forgetfulness and apprehension of venturing into a new experience. This all seems silly now, considering what a great experience shopping at a farmer’s market was! It really feels great to know that my money is going to local businesses, and my food isn’t traveling halfway across the country (or world) to get to me.

So, this morning I rolled out of bed, ate breakfast, and headed to the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market. Here are my purchases of the day:

Clockwise from left: Beets, Kale, Broccoli, Yellow Squash (interesting variety), Pattipan Squash, Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes, Reginald’s Cashew ‘Nilla Butter, and Reginald’s Crunchy Original Roasted Peanut Butter

Brittany from Eating Bird Food recently posted about the nut butters, and that was definitely a main reason for me choosing the St. Stephen’s market! Here’s their website. The woman I spoke with at the farmer’s market said that right now they do all their work out of her kitchen! They also only use Virginia peanuts, adding to the local-loving. 🙂

I’m looking forward to cooking up some awesome grub with my farmer’s market finds! …But probably not until tomorrow. I’m still enjoying these leftovers:

recipe to follow soon

After the farmer’s market, I headed to the gym for a workout and then delved back into the food world at Trader Joe’s. I’m really excited about a couple of my finds.

1 – Mini Brie Bites

I’m so excited to try these babies! I am always hesitant to buy blocks/rounds of cheeses just because in my mind it’s harder to determine a serving size. (Maybe that’s weird, I dunno.) So I love that I can now enjoy brie in individual rounds!

2 – Potted Basil Plant

 Doesn’t it just looks so bright and happy? And delicious? Let’s just hope that I can keep it alive better than begonias:

miserable attempt at keeping a house plant.

And now, I will leave you with an Amazing Meal in Minutes!

As I mentioned previously, I’ve had to come up with quick meals before heading out to work. I’d been making peanut buter and _____ sandwiches, but, alas, I ran out of bread this week.

I was still stuck in the same situation – a little over an hour to be at work, and I needed to eat, shower, and get myself presentable for work. So, we’re talkin’ I needed a quick meal. That required little-to-no active time. In walks…

Tofu, Basil, & Goat Cheese “Pizza” (for 1)

Ingredients:
– 1 tortilla (I used Tumaro’s Multigrain Low Carb)
– 1 goat cheese medallion (the Trader Joe’s kind I love!)
– 1/8 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Prego Fresh Mushroom)
– 1/4 container extra firm tofu, patted dry and cubed (optional: bake it for 20 minutes beforehand)
– Fresh Basil
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat tortilla wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave for 20 seconds.
2. Spread the goat cheese on the tortilla. Layer the sauce on top. Add the toppings.
3. Place in oven (on a cookie sheet) and bake until melty. (about 10 minutes)

ingredients

pre-oven

pre-oven for pizza-sandwich method

enjoy! 🙂

for sandwich method - fold in half

slice and enjoy : )

This is seriously soooo good. The goat cheese gets wonderfully creamy and pairs beautifully with the italian flavors. It almost reminds me of ricotta in lasagna. I paired these babies with a side salad one day, and roasted vegetables the next.

Not-your-average PB Sandwich + Site Update

So I suppose if you’re viewing this post right now, you already notice a big difference in my blog’s look. I haven’t 100% settled into a theme yet. (Trying to blog around my work schedule is haphazard at times) But if you haven’t notice already, I’ve officially switched to posting in WordPress! I’m really excited about this change and am slowly but surely learning my way around this baby.

But now on to the good stuff alright? :

Wait, what is on that sandwich?

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of quick meals. (Read: lately I’ve been running late to work frequently and having to make quick meals) So probably the easiest-peasiest quick meal around is Peanut butter and Jelly, right? Well, as I may or may not have mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of jelly. I prefer to eat whole fruits rather than fruit-spreads. My go-to for this purpose (as I’ve mentioned before) is pear. However, I haven’t found any good organic pears lately. I guess that’s what happens when the seasons change. ANYWAYS (stick to the topic Megan!)- I came up with two peanut butter sandwich ideas that were pretty alright.

Peanut Butter Sandich Idea #1 – Peanut Butter & Kiwi Sandwich (of course w/cinnamon)

I figured sweet fruit = very close to jam. And I was pretty on with this baby. It had a nice texture and was a pleasant change to the typical peanut butter sandwich.

Unfortunately, I realized later that my kiwis were a little funky, so I didn’t get a good idea as far as the actual flavor of the sandwich. But hopefully I’ll find some good kiwis and give it another go soon.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Idea #2 – Peanut Butter, Berries, & Peanut Flour Sandwich

  Step 1 – Microwave 2 frozen strawberries & 1/4 cup frozen raspberries for 30 seconds. Smash with a fork and mix well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 – Mix in 1 tablespoon peanut flour. Stir well until well-blended.

 

 

Step 3 – Go crazy and decide you’re going to add another tablespoon of peanut flour for the heck of it.

Step 4 – Spread 1 tablespoon crunchy (my preference) peanut butter on a piece of  your favorite bread (mine is Trader Joe’s Sprouted Rye). Pour the Berry-Peanut Flour mixture on top.

spread & sprinkle w/cinnamon

 

 

make sure to eat all the fillings!

 

 

 

 

 

ooey-gooey deliciousness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK So now that I have your mouth watering sufficiently, I must note that next time I make this sandwich, I’m going to cut the peanut flour by 1 tablespoon and up the peanut butter by 1/2 tablespoon. I think that change will create the perfect ratio for this sandwich.

What’s your favorite peanut butter sandwich combination? 

Got any awesome super-quick meals you want to share with me?

I’ve Made a Commitment.

So this past week I’ve committed myself to a new way of life.

Only kidding! Not vegan. Not that there’s anything wrong with being vegan… I just don’t want to be vegan.

My actual new way of life is being a pre-work worker outer. I’ve been waking up between 5 and 5:05am and ambling off the the gym for an awesome sweat session before work, and I think I’ve gotten the routine down to a science.
5:00-5:05am – wake up
5:10am

cold coffee (brewed the night before) with 1/2 a scoop of protein powder
+
The rest of the coffee
5:15-5:25 – prepare for the day (put lunch items in lunch box, brush teeth, get dressed, etc.)
5:45am – Arrive at the gym.
M- Cycle class (45 minutes)
T- Circuit Strength Training (40 minutes)
W- Elliptical (45 minutes) alternating forwards and backwards (w/my Women’s Health Magazine)
TR- Circuit Strength Training (40 minutes)
F- Cycle class (45 minutes)
6:30isham– Enter locker room, shower, get dressed, and get ready for work!
7:15am – Get some free coffee from the gym, get in car for breakfast.
Breakfast: Overnight Oats. The perfect, portable meal!
1/4 c. oats, 2 1/2 tbsp oat bran w/1/4 c. greek yogurt, 1/2 c. milk, 1 1/2 tbsp flaxseed meal,  1/2 tbsp almond butter, mango & frozen berries, spices
1/8c quick steel cut oats, 2 1/2 tbsp oat bran, 2 tbsp peanut flour, 1/4 c greek yog, 1/2 coconut milk beverage, mango, blueberries, spices
1/4 c oats, 2 1/2 tbsp oat bran, 1/4 c greek yog, 1/2 c coconut milk beverage, 1 tbsp flaxseed meal, 1/2 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 diced apple, spices 

7:30am – Leave parking lot for work
7:52-7:57am – Arrive at work. (I’m hourly, so I know the exact time range.)

Let me tell you- my day is sooo much better when I don’t have a workout looming over my head. Workouts feel awesome and fun again rather than an item on my to-do list when I’m exhausted after work. 

In other news, since I’ve been working 8 hour days, I get to pack way less for lunch!
om nom nom
Work-eating-schedule
10:00am – 1/2 grapefruit
12:00pm – (moving counter-clockwise from the grapefruit) (1) roasted green beans, (2) turkey (leftover roasted) and swiss sandwich with yellow mustard on my favorite bread, & (3) cooked cabbage/broccoli/onion/mushroom w/turmeric, salt, pepper, & apple cider vinegar
3:00pm – 1 tbsp raw mixed nuts, 1 tbsp unsalted dry roasted peanuts, & 2 prunes

Of course the meal changes but the schedule stays about the same. And that’s my workweek for you. Topped off with a Friday-evening glass of wine:

No More Working Weekends!!

After this weekend, it is (pretty much) official. I will be no longer working weekends! In about a week and a half I will be changing positions within my company to work a Monday through Friday 8 hour/day job!
Another lick-the-beaters moment today –> I got to my 3 hour class this evening (moments after hearing that I got the job, I might add) and discovered that class was actually cancelled! Yay for extra free time/not losing sleep for work tomorrow.
So basically right now I am on top of the world! And I thought to myself what better way to celebrate than to make a blog post? So here I am. Making a blog post. A promised one, actually. If you recall, I promised to write about my kitchen creation yesterday, and here I am, fulfilling my promises. Aren’t I such a good blogfriend?
Mexican Black Beans & Barley Bowl serves 4

inspired by my Aaron, my beloved boyfriend

Ingredients:

1 cup barley
2 1/2 cups water or broth (I used water w/instant chicken broth powder)
1 can, or 1 2/3 cooked black beans (I took down some beans I had previously cooked from the freezer)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
few dashes coriander
salt & pepper
~1 tsp dried oregano
1/3-1/2 cup plain yogurt (I just emptied out the remnants of a container, so not sure how much)
salsa, for serving
shredded cheese, for serving
Directions:
1. Bring barley and water/broth to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on what your package says).
2. Shortly before the barley is done cooking, heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion is crisp-tender.
3. Once the barley is fully cooked, mix in the black beans and spice with salt, pepper, and oregano.
4. Add the onion mixture to the barley-bean mixture. Once well-mixed, add the yogurt and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

5. Serve it up! It was awesome with some shredded cheddar and salsa mixed in

mmmm

I served it alongside some steamed broccoli. This dish was even better the next day! (Helloooo lunches)

As a side note – I decided that in the future I’ll probably add a tomato or two to the onion mixture and cut back on the spices a little bit. But for real, it was good without these changes.
Since we’re on the topic of dinner, I suppose I will show you what was on my plate tonight:
Tonight’s Dinner:
Ultimate Veggie Burger w/Avocado & Sprouts + Roasted Asparagus
Spinach, Rainbow Slaw, Grape tomatoes, Steamed Beets, White Mushroom, Tuscany Italian
This salad was unbelievably good. I think it was the combination of the beets, tomatoes, and dressing. This salad seriously made me fall in love with my two new purchases today:
The baby beets were wonderfully sweet and came in the refrigerated section near the produce, so no icky cans or pickled beets. I’m definitely a convert. (So much easier than cooking them yourself!)
The dressing was just about everything that I could ever want in a dressing. It was a balsamicy italian. Just delectable.
While I was waiting for dinner to cook, I got my lunch packed for tomorrow. (Such a great multi-tasker, aren’t I?) And while I was packing it, I snapped a photo that was completely spur-of-the-moment-how-I-really-lay-out-my-lunch-while-I’m-packing-it.:
As I mentioned in previous posts, I work a 12-hour day, so that means lunch plus snacks are a must! My day goes like this:
~5:30AM – Breakfast (one of my oatmeal concoctions. always.)
between 8 & 9 AM – snack –> tomorrow = Apple
12:00PM – main course –> tomorrow = leftover Mexican Barley & Black beans + roasted green beans, sweet potatoes, and carrots + side salad
3:00PM – snack –> tomorrow = yogurt w/cocoa, pb flour, & cereal + 1/2 grapefruit
5-6PM – snack –> tomorrow = mixed nuts & peanuts w/2 prunes
Items in italics are subject to being moved throughout the day or not consumed at all. I find that it’s better to overpack my lunch than to underpack it. For some reason I feel more satiated when I leave work with one extra item left in my lunch than when I’ve eaten everything because I brought the exact right amount.
Alright, eyes closing for sleep in t-minus fifteen minutes.



I should probably be in bed.

I’m working tomorrow (6am-6pm), so I really should just be in bed sleeping right now, but I decided to post this blog entry instead. You should feel so loved.

Interesting tid bit of information –> Apparently we’re losing our ability to read. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but this is a cool article about how the internet is affecting our brains. (It’s from last year, but it was on my mind today)

I wasn’t going to post about yesterday’s lunch, but it was so delicious that I felt the urge to share a photo:

pb & pear sandwich w/roasted brussel sprouts & carrots (w/garlic, rosemary,  & thyme)

Now down my great kitchen experiment. It actually turned out to be pretty darn good! I think that in the future I might play around with upping the spice and/or adding tomatoes, but it was definitely a good recipe as is. So, without further ado I give you…

Vegetable & Tofu Stir Fry in a Peanut-Curry Sauce
Ingredients –> Peanut-Curry Sauce
– 1/2-3/4 cup yogurt
– 1/4 cup peanut flour
– 1/2 tbsp indian spice powder (or curry)
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 2 tsp coriander
– 1 tsp turmeric
– lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
– water to make runny
note: the above are estimations, I sort of just poured
Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl/cup and stir until smooth. Add enough water to give the mixture a saucy consistency. Set aside for the right moment.




Ingredients–> Stir Fry
– cooking spray
– 1 container extra-firm tofu, chopped into bite-sized squares
– Extra-virgin olive oil (enough to cook your veggies)
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 red onion, chopped
– 1/3 head red cabbage, shredded/chopped
– 3 carrots, chopped
– 2 heads of broccoli, chopped

Directions
1. Heat large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Add tofu and cook until golden on all sides. Remove tofu from pan and set aside for later.

2. Get all your vegetables nice and chopped. I ended up putting them all in a large bowl because I was running out of space on my cutting board. Heat oil in large skillet (I used nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and cook until crisp-tender. I ended up having to do two “loads” because I had so many veggies!

3. Mix tofu and sauce into the cooked vegetables. (I put everything in the same large bowl form earlier and stirred it up)

And you’re done!

I ate my serving with chopsticks just because I love them so much. It doesn’t look the prettiest, but I assure you it was a kitchen success. (My boyfriend even said so)

OK, I think it’s bed time. I’ll likely post about today tomorrow just to keep my living-in-the-past status going.