I Just Want a Quickie

Sometimes I feel like making out a complicated, in-depth, interesting meal. You know, lots of chopping, lots of ingredients, lots of prep work. But other times, I would much rather spend my time watching a movie, or checking blogs, or playing on my awesome new computer than hanging around the kitchen for an hour plus.

So I bring to you two easy, lazy meals.

Meal #1: Chinese Leftovers Recreation

OK, so this is more a what-to-do-with-all-those-leftovers option. I’ve noticed that in a lot of Chinese restaurants (American Chinese restaurants, that is), they give you way more of your protein source than necessary. So, if you’re like me, you think to yourself, “Man, I want to eat all of my vegetables, but there is way too much protein-source in my meal to be a good ratio for cleaning my plate. But I won’t want to eat just my protein-source for leftovers in the future. WHAT TO DO?!”

Well, if you’ve ever thought that, today is your lucky day because I am going to tell you what to do. Take this:

Excess Tofu w/Sauce

Then prepare some assorted vegetables in your favorite method (roasted, steamed, stir-fried). And mix everything together:

Voila!

If your meal did not have enough sauce leftover, you can always add some soy sauce and vinegar (preferably rice wine, but apple cider vinegar will work too) to your leftovers before mixing it all together. I added apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili-garlic sauce.

Meal #2: Quickie-Butternut Squash & Vegi Bean Stew

serves 4-5

The ingredients. (Un-pictured: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Curry Powder)

Step 1: Chop up your desired stew veggies (I used 2-3 cloves garlic, 1/2 sweet onion, 1 red bell pepper, and 1 large carrot). Heat some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a pot over Medium to Medium-High heat. Sauté the veggies until crisp-tender.

Step 2:
– Add 1 1/2 cups of the Vegi Bean Soup mixture (that you rinsed beforehand) to the pot. Mix well.
– Add the quart of Butternut Squash soup plus 1 1/2 cups water.
– Add about a tablespoon of your favorite curry powder.
– Bring to an almost boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

I forgot to take a final product picture, but let me tell you: it was delicious. Plus, it required very little active time. So while I waited I could fully attend to a documentary that my sister had on about stress. As you can imagine, it was a pretty sweet evening.

So to end this sweet evening… OK just to end the post (I’m about to go to a friend’s), I will leave you with a video of the lovely Adele singing one of my favorite songs on 21.

Advertisements

Failure

Failure. I hate failure. Does anybody not hate failure? I imagine the scale of hating failure falls from mild distaste to extreme hatred. I realized yesterday that cooking-failure leaves me wounded. Especially when I was planning on eating a delicious dinner and it turns out to be a mushy-gross-mess.

Yesterday I had two things in mind when I thought about dinner: chickpeas and speed. So I decided to sauté some vegetables and then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, a cooked-up grain, and some spices. Sounds good, right? Well, as it turns out, I chose the wrong grain. Or at least prepared it incorrectly. I chose to cook Kasha (toasted buckwheat) in broth. Bad, bad idea.

Doesn't it look like an alright idea?

The veggies and tomatoes looked good at least.

I should have known when the final product looked like this.

It was… mushy. It felt like a breakfast hot cereal that I had added a weird vegetable mixture and chickpeas to.  I literally couldn’t finish my bowl. All night long I was in disdain because of this dinner. It just felt like a waste of a meal. And it drove me to drinking. (OK, so maybe I was already planning on drinking with friends) 

But I didn’t throw it away. I had a goal in mind: make this better. Don’t let your food and time go to waste!

Visualize.

I decided that this dish needed (1) crunch… or at least more solidness and (2) flavor.

So I thought back to this dish I made a while ago and never posted: Chile Spiked Quinoa Pudding with Corn

The recipe called for me to mix up the ingredients and then bake it in a baking dish on 375˚F for 45 minutes. I decided this was what my dinner needed. Plus I added a couple chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce that were called for in the above dish.

Step 1 of Dinner Improvement

I still wanted to add even more flavor and some crunch, so I roasted some cabbage and sweet potatoes and added them to the mix. 

 

And what I found was success. (Moderate success, but success nonetheless)

Great Improvement

It was a pretty solid cooking-just-for-me meal

What do you do with your kitchen disasters? (If you have them, that is)

Does a bad meal mess up your day? (Or am I just a weirdo?haha)

A Special Package

OK, so before we get into what the special package was, I figure that I should probably clear up some rumors that I totally made up myself have been going around regarding my absence the past week.

1. I did not join a travelling circus.

2. I was not abducted by aliens

3. I didn’t change into a kitten.

The truth? I was just busy getting ready for my camping trip (and attending the camping trip) this weekend.

Now, about that package…

So, you know how I love my Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls? Well, I’ve been wanting to get a better protein powder than the GNC brand that I had been using. (I believe it has a smelly affect on my digestion) I decided on About Time Whey due to its being 100% whey isolate and sweetened with stevia:

I chose the chocolate variety because (duh) my recipe is called Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls.

As you will likely know if you shop for protein powder, this stuff is not really carried in stores. (At least any that I’ve seen) So I chose to buy it online from iherb.com. I chose iherb because when you use a member’s code, you get $5 off. (more on that later) Plus, the price was definitely right on this site.

As I proceded to checkout, I noticed that if I spent just $10 more I could get free shipping. I weighed my options: buy $10 more of awesome stuff, or spend $5 more for shipping. I (obviously) had to choose to buy more awesome stuff. I decided on this:

Artisana Coconut Butter - Deliciousness with a monster-kick of fresh coconut taste. sooooo goooood.

and this:

Stevia in drop form

I was very impressed with iherb for a few reasons:

1. It offered a free shipping option. (score)

2. It had pretty much any supplement that I would want to buy.

3. It has a referral bonus discount code. <– this basically means that you find a person who’s bought from there (oh look, you found me) and use their referral code (mine = EGA134) and get $5 off your first purchase. So, if you want to buy from iherb.com enter EGA134 when you checkout to get $5 off your purchase

I was really excited to try out my Coconut Butter, so I invited a friend over last night and whipped up a new recipe (that I invented):

Coconut Lemon Curry Wheat Berry Tofu Salad

serves 4

Ingredients
– 1 1/2 tbsp coconut butter
– juice & zest of 1 lemon
– 1/8 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
– 1 tbsp curry powder
– fresh ground pepper, to taste
– sea salt, to taste
– a few dashes of coriander & ginger            
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 2 carrots, chopped
– 1 small vidalia onion, chopped
– 2 cups cabbage, shredded
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped                      
– 1 cup dry wheat berry, prepared with water
– 1 container firm tofu, cubed & pre-baked (spread on cookie sheet, toss in oil, bake on 375˚F until golden)

Directions
1. As noted in the ingredients, prepare your wheat berry and tofu.
2. Combine coconut butter through ginger in a small bowl and add a few splashes of water to thin.
3. Heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté vegetables until tender-crisp.
4. To the vegetables, add the prepared wheat berry, tofu, and sauce. Mix well to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Serving suggestion: Top with some Sriracha sauce

Tofu After Baking

Veggie Selection

Saucy Deliciousness

The Final Product

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was probably one of my favorite things that I’ve eaten lately. And it packed fairly nicely in my lunch. (It was more dry and less saucy, but I loved it anyways)

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.


Last Nice-Clothes Day

^^ This is what I consider Thursdays. It helps me to make my work week seem shorter in my head. I just think to myself: “Just one more day of wearing business casual, and then it’s jeans day. ” I live in jeans. Therefore, life begins on Friday. {And sometimes after work (Though if you were watching me right now, you would see that I’m in comfy pants, but only because I changed out of my business causal attire and wasn’t going anywhere)}

I think my favorite part of a three day weekend is only having 4 days of work the next week. (That is, if you have Monday off, and not Friday) But anyways. Let’s get to food. Because that’s why I created this blog, right? Right.

Tonight I made a simple yet delicious meal. I’m quite glad that I decided to make something simple because (as you can see) I have time to tell you about it rather than let the pictures fester in my iPhoto. The delicious part was just toppings on the froyo (I have a mad craving tonight). I was inspired by the recipe here but made a few changes (as you will see if you compare the two).

Easy Roast Salmon Proveçal

(serves 4-5)

Ingredients

– 4-5 servings of salmon (preferably wild & pacific)

– 1 red bell pepper

– 2 zucchini, sliced

– 1/2 large eggplant, chopped in 1 inch pieces

– 1 cup mini portobello mushrooms, chopped

– 1/4 cup Tuscany Italian Dressing

– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

– 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

– 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the Dressing and vinegar in a bowl.

2. Place Salmon on baking dish and cover/surround with the chopped vegetables

3. Drizzle half of the dressing/vinegar combination on the salmon and veggies and toss lightly (just the veggies, not the salmon)

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add the remaining dressing/vinegar and mix. Add the fresh basil and olives. Return to oven and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

The Flavorings

After roasting -- Salmon's underneath

Served up with some pearled barley mmmm....

Plated and delicious.

Probably my favorite part of this meal was the fact that it involved very little active time, so I could do other things while I was “cooking” dinner.

I realized before making this dish that it had been a very very long time since I cooked an animal. On Monday, I had seafood Pho, and I realized that I don’t really eat too much animal. It seems that I’m down to eating it once a week or so. And I’m cool with that. I can’t imagine being as dependent on it as some people feel that they are.

So tell me,

What do you think about work attire?

What was the last simple/delicious thing you made?

How often do you eat meat and why?

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?