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.

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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)

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.

I Love Trader Joe’s : 4 Product Reviews (+meal ideas)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you have likely seen Trader Joe’s products scattered throughout. My love of Trader Joe’s runs deep. I love that I can walk in and find products that you can’t find anywhere else. And they’re good! And they’re good for you! And (most importantly) they’re affordable!

I thought that today I would share some old favorites and new finds with you, and then maybe you can tell me what your favorite finds are.
Love # 1 – Trader Joe’s brand Sprouted Rye Bread
Nutrition stats per slice: 60 calories, 1g fat, 130mg sodium, 7g carbs, 3g fiber, 5g protein
Grade: A+ 
This bread is an old favorite of mine. I’ve loved it since I tried it. I love the flavor of rye bread, but it is unfortunately almost never whole grain in grocery stores! So we have here a partially sprouted (partially flour) bread that’s full of fiber, protein, and flavor. I just can’t stop myself from going back for more. (And why would I want to?)
See below the second love for one of the ways I love to use it.
Love #2: Trader Joe’s Fresh Goat Cheese Medallions

Nutrition stats per 1oz. medallion: 70 calories, 6g fat, 60mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 5g protein
Grade: A+
If you’re familiar with goat cheese, you know that it can have a very strong flavor. I chose this product mostly because I wanted to get more goat milk based foods in my diet (apparantly it’s good for you). I am sooo glad that I bought this cheese. It is so creamy, only mildly goaty, and has a great nutrition profile. It went wonderfully on my…
Tomato, Basil, & Goat Cheese Egg Sandwich (served on Trader Joe’s Sprouted Rye Bread)

Step 1: Spread a thin layer of spreadable butter w/olive oil (or just plain butter) on both sides of two slices of bread and cook each side on a skillet.
Step 2: Spread a goat cheese medallion on one slice of the bread.
Step 3: Cook an egg over medium in the pan sprayed w/cooking spray.
Step 4: Top the goat cheese with basil leaves, tomato slices, and the egg.
Step 5: Eat up and enjoy the ecstasy in your mouth.
Love #3: Champagne Pear Vinaigrette
This dressing is pretty sweet, so if you’re not into sweet dressing, this may not be for you. The gorgonzola in the dressing adds the perfect touch to any salad. I think probably my favorite part of this dressing is that it isn’t “light,” but it is.
side salad w/champagne pear vinaigrette
Love #4: Organic Baked Tofu (Savory Flavor)
Nutrition stats per block: 150 calories, 5g fat, 540mg sodium, 13g carbs, 3g fiber, 16g protein
If you don’t like tofu, you will like this tofu. It has a thicker texture than the regular stuff and loads of flavor. It’s a little high in sodium, but well worth it to plan into your day.
I made Quinoa & Savory Tofu Salad with this delicious goodness. This meal is sort of like tabbouleh on steroids. My changes to the recipe: I lowered the oil by 1 tbsp, replaced the bell pepper with sugar snap peas, and replaced the cucumber with zucchini.
served up over a bed of romaine lettuce
This is a meal that I seriously crave every once in a while. It packs excellently for lunches and will make you the envy of your coworkers (or classmates).
So there you have it. A small selection of my Trader Joe’s food loves. Don’t forget to tell me what your favorite brands/products are.


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.