Sunday Kind of Love

Happy Sunday! I have the dreaded task of homework to look forward to today, but hopefully you have some free time to chill out, max, and relax all cool. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

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  1. I’m so inspired by the March For Our Lives. I wish I could have gone into Boston yesterday. Be sure to sign the petition against gun violence!
  2. The Lamplighter, Maria Susanna Cummins—Maybe 19th century sentimental fiction isn’t quite your “thing,” but I am absolutely obsessed with this book right now. The tale of little Gerty is so heartbreakingly sweet. Here’s a link to the Kindle edition, which is free!
  3. Should I do this? It’d be nice to have Spotify Premium again, but I’m so used to that no-commercials Hulu life, that I’m not sure I can go back! It would save me $7/month, and I’d get another service. I’m torn!
  4. This tweet destroyed me. Bless the person that saw that connection.
  5. Give me this vegan queso immediately.
  6. And on that note, I’m making these tacos ASAP.
  7. I’m so excited to watch Champions on NBC! I’m into anything Mindy Kaling is involved with, and the cast is stellar!
  8. Did you know that students and educators get a discount on digital subscriptions to the New York Times? It’s crazy affordable. I just subscribed and am loving all of this nonstop crossword action!
  9. And, last but not least, John Oliver’s staff wrote a book about gay bunnies getting married in response to Mike Pence’s Marlon Bundo book, and it is truly, truly inspiring. It’s out of stock at the moment, but as soon as it’s back, I’m buying one for my future kid.

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See you next week, bunnies!

xoxo,

c

 

 

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The G.O.A.T.s (Greats Oats of All Time)

Overnight oats are one of the only foods I can tolerate eating in the morning. If I had it my way, I’d fast until 2pm every day and skip straight to lunch—burritos anyone? Don’t get me wrong—breakfast food is incredible, but I’m not making my incredible hollandaise sauce on a weekday morning before work, you feel me? And for the especially lazy among us, here’s some info from Oats Overnight.

Oatmeal is a bland, neutral food, so it tastes good no matter what you put in it. I’ve been trying to get creative and move away from the traditional, I’ll call it Starbucks, method of brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit. I cut the sweetness way, way down, since breakfast is supposed to be healthy, but feel free to sweeten to taste.

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The main instructions for overnight oats are incredibly simple:

Place 2/3 cup (a whole cup makes soooo much) oats and 2/3 cup milk (non-dairy/unsweetened preferred) in a mason jar, yogurt cup, or bowl. Mix. Put into the fridge at night. Take out and eat in the morning.

Basically, for all of the following, put the listed ingredients in at night and save the toppings until morning. This yogurt cup I found at Target is the perfect vessel. Here are some of the varieties I’ve come up with to spice up my morning forcefeeding.

Just Another Matcha Monday

2/3 c organic oats (or Quaker, you do you)

2/3 c non-dairy milk

1 tsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp matcha powder

1 tsp honey

optional topping: coconut flakes, blueberries

Graceland (inspired by this recipe)

2/3 c oats

2/3 c milk

1 tbsp organic peanut butter (crunchy preferred for texture)

1/2 tsp all-natural maple syrup

1 tsp chia seeds

dash of freshly-ground Himalayan pink salt

topping: 1/2 banana, sliced

The Blanched Dubois

2/3 c oats

2/3 c milk

1/2 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp chia seeds

2 tbsp blanched slivered almonds

optional toppings: 1/2 banana, sliced, handful of sliced strawberries

Tropic Thunder

2/3 c oats

1/3 c milk (2/3 if juice is omitted)

1/3 c all-natural fruit juice (pineapple, orange, or a blend)

1 tsp chia seeds

1/2 tsp organic coconut sugar (omit if using sweetened juice)

toppings: fresh sliced mango, coconut flakes

A few other ideas for things you could add to any of the above recipes: flax meal, protein powder, maca powder, spirulina (in the Tropic Thunder)

These all fall under the category of “sweet breakfast,” but I plan to follow this post up with some savory variations! I have an idea for an “everything bagel” variety that I can’t wait to test.

Until next time,

c

 

 

 

 

Mexican Breakfast Pizza

You heard me correctly! Mexican. Breakfast. Pizza!

I couldn’t tell you why, culturally, I like to eat beans with breakfast, but I always have. However, there are only so many ways to do breakfast burritos before you get bored. Enter the Mexican pizza. Inspired by the not-so-classy Taco Bell dish, this is a super healthy, vegetarian version that will keep you full all morning. Plus, if you get your proportions right, you can eat it like a pizza!

Here, I jazz up your average refried beans as unfried beans—all of the fiber, way less fat! Pulsing spinach into the beans adds a hidden serving of greens that even the pickiest eater won’t detect! Bon appetit!

Mexican Breakfast Pizzas

prep time: 5-10 minutes, cook time: 5-10 minutes (serves 2)
  • 2 flour tortillas (8″-10″)
  • olive oil
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 c. salsa, more to top
  • salt
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • shredded cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans with 1/2 cup of salsa, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of spinach (baby spinach or stems removed). Pulse until it reaches a hummus-like consistency. Salt to taste. Heat in microwave or on stovetop.

Place 2 tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp.

Whisk together 3 eggs and scramble, cheese optional.

Place each tortilla on a plate. Spread the bean mixture onto the tortilla, divide the eggs evenly between the servings and sprinkle with cheese. If you are deeply ambitious, broil it for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

Add toppings to your heart’s content! Slice 4 ways with a pizza cutter, or dig in with a fork and knife. Bonus points if you serve it with a Tequila Sunrise.

Optional toppings:

  • Hot sauce/sriracha
  • Salsa
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Sauerkraut (don’t @ me, ‘kraut is good on everything)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Pico de gallo
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced black olives
  • Pepitas

This is, quite literally, one of the easiest breakfasts you’ll ever make. It’s so fun to get creative with your pantry staples! We tried to get a picture of these, but accidentally devoured them instead. Oops!

xoxo,

c

 

Picante Chickpea Lentil Chili

Sometimes, you’ve just got to make chili, but you don’t have any beans, meat, or meat-adjacent foods in the house. So you improvise! My husband is a garbanzo fiend, so I knew he wouldn’t sweat the substitution.

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no, not that chilli!

It’s been bitterly cold in New England for the past few weeks (no lie—we got a storm that was called a “bomb cyclone” in case we weren’t miserable enough), so something hot and spicy was what the doctor ordered.

I whipped this up using ingredients I had on hand, but it turned out so delicious, I wanted to record the recipe for posterity! Enjoy!

P.S. I highly recommend using all organic ingredients, if possible, because of course I do.

Picante Chickpea & Lentil Chili

  • 2 cans garbanzo beans*
  • 1 c. green lentils
  • 6 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 potatoes, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotles in Adobo sauce, diced**
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 c. premade salsa (or diced tomatoes)
  • 1 oz. bourbon (or 2 oz. beer), optional
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. Adobo seasoning***
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • salt to taste

*You’re probably a better person than me and make your own chickpeas from dried. In that case, 2-3 cups should suffice.

**Add as much chipotle as you want—just be warned that going heavy on the peppers will make this very, very spicy.

***If you don’t have Adobo seasoning, get some  sub garlic & onion powder, tumeric, paprika, black pepper, and oregano.

Instructions:

Over medium heat, melt the coconut oil in the bottom of a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add the red onion and celery, lightly salt. Saute until soft. Add the red pepper, potatoes, and zucchini and saute until soft. Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, 30 sec-1 min. Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with bourbon, if using. Return to medium heat and add garbanzos, lentils, tomato paste, salsa, chipotles, and spices. Stir until fragrant, 1 min. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 mins. At the 30 min mark, check the lentils and potatoes for doneness (I know this is a meat term, but I’m appropriating it!). If soft, turn off heat and add lime juice. Salt/spice to taste.

Serve with brown rice and top with avocado, cilantro, sour cream, or shredded cheese!

 

“Kitchen Sink” Juice

It probably comes as no surprise that I’m into juicing. I mean juicing like kale smoothies, not like steroids, of course. Ah, juice: $7 cups of raw goodness that pick you up without a caffeine crash later. Heaven!

Well, heaven for Gwyneth Paltrow and the GOOP co., maybe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the funds for a $7/day juice habit! In a perfect world, yes, I could endlessly patronize my local juiceries, but I had to find a more practical way of incorporating this healthy habit into my lifestyle.

Enter, the Jack LaLanne juicer. I’ve linked to the one I actually own, but other choices can be found herehere, here, and here. Funny story—I have been gifted 2 identical Jack LaLanne Power Juicers in my life! The first one came many moons ago from the grandfather of an ex-boyfriend (random), and the second came last year when a thoughtful coworker noticed that I was into healthy eating. I can certainly understand the impulse to ditch your juicer: they’re bulky, they take up valuable cabinet space, and they come with a million parts, all of which need to be cleaned with every use. It’s annoying! However, the five minutes you’ll spend washing your juicer is, in my opinion, worth saving the $5-$10 you’ll spend on a takeout juice, especially since you can make as much as you want at once. I just made a quart of the stuff!

For the longest time I kept meaning to juice, but felt overwhelmed at concocting a recipe. What, for instance, can be juiced? If I throw all of the produce in my fridge into the machine, will it taste disgusting?

As it turns out—everything and no! So, here’s my foolproof recipe, my “everything but the kitchen sink” juice that is as delicious as it is nutritious!

“Kitchen Sink” Juice, makes just under 1 quart

  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 clementines or 1 orange, halved
  • 2 small or 1 large apple, seeds and stems removed
  • 2 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, rough chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • filtered water
  • 3 large leaves cabbage, optional

Wash and prep all of your fruits and veggies. Shove them down the juicer chute to extract juice. Pour into a quart mason jar or pitcher and top off with filtered water. Give it a shake and serve right away! I like to save my leftovers for the next morning, because what kind of psychopath gets up early enough to juice before work? Not me.

Alternate preparation if you don’t have a juicer: combine all ingredients (including filtered water) in a high speed blender until liquefied. Strain the pulp out with a nut milk bag. 


*very Stefon voice* This juice has everything: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B vitamins, folate, potassium, manganese, anti-inflammatory agents, Vitamin E, and calcium! If it were any healthier, I might have to ditch my one true love, coffee, in the mornings! But don’t worry, coffee, that will never happen.

***

I’ve found the trick to delicious juice every time is the addition of citrus and ginger. Apart from the health benefits they each bring to the table, they make anything taste delicious. For instance, I despise raw celery with a passion, but I’m out here tryna get that Vitamin K!

These ingredients were selected, because at least in my limited scope of understanding, you can reasonably expect to have most of this stuff in your fridge at any given moment. The cabbage is optional, since I don’t think it’s common to have a head of cabbage rolling around in your produce drawer, but I highly encourage you all to get on-freaking-board with cabbage. It’s so good, and good for you! Cabbage is the ride-or-die of greens (or is it a cruciferous veg?)—it can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, or boiled in a soup, it’s packed with vitamins, there are a million different varieties, and best of all, studies have shown that eating yo’ cabbage can help to prevent Type II diabetes! #cabbageappreciationpost

P.S. The next National Cabbage Day is February 17, 2018. If our current administration hasn’t destroyed the planet in nuclear war by then, see you there!

Happy juicing, y’all!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowls

I. Love. Noodles. I know that I have argued that tacos and burritos are the world’s best foods, but noodles put up a very good fight for that title. Noodles are versatile AF! There are a million different kinds, all of which are the most fun to eat. There is nothing glamorous to slurping down a big bowl of noodles—perhaps it is the great equalizer we have all sought. Maybe noodles will bring world peace at last.

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gimme these right now!
A note on terminology: I don’t know if this is actually correct, but to me, a noodle is derived from rice, and pasta is derived from wheat. When people call pasta products “noodles”, I get a mild aneurysm, but then again, I never said I wasn’t compulsive.

I grew up a ramen fanatic, and I never grew out of it. I did, however, grow out of that MSG life. Health nuttiness and packaged food ne sont pas les choses qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble. I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul a lot lately, can you tell?

Unnecessary and ill-advised Beatles reference aside, my life’s mission is to eat noodles daily, and this is my go-to recipe when I come home from a long day at work and just want to gorge on something that won’t give me heart disease or diabetes #pieloverforlife. This recipe is also one of many in my personal give tofu a chance crusade, the sword I have chosen to fall on. Enjoy, my loves!

Easy Breezy Noodle Bowlsserves 2

prep time: 10 mins / cook time: 10 mins

  • 1 pkg udon noodles
  • 2-3  c. chopped broccoli florets (the broccoli shrinks when cooked!)
  • 1 pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • soy sauce or tamari
  • sriracha
  • sesame oil
  • rice vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut oil for frying
  • agave, optional
  • ginger paste, optional
  • garlic, chopped, optional
  • chopped nori, optional
  • matchstick carrots, optional
  • matchstick cucumber, optional

To start, set a pot of lightly-salted water on to boil. When it reaches boiling, cook your noodles according to package directions. I buy frozen, so it usually takes about 4-minutes of cooking. Drain noodles and set aside.

Next, whisk together your soy sauce mixture. I use a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, and a dash of sesame oil. Optionally, you can add ginger, garlic, and/or agave to this mixture to add more flavor to the final product. But this is the basic 10-minute version of this recipe, so fancy ingredients be damned!

Drain your block of tofu. Press out as much of the water as humanly possible, and then chop into cubes. This is a great guide to pressing tofu! Once cubed, toss the tofu in some cornstarch and pan fry in the oil of your choice—I like to use coconut for this. Fry the tofu until it’s golden on all sides—do your best with this, it’s hard to flip that many little pieces evenly! Then pour your soy sauce mixture over the tofu, toss in the pan until evenly coated, and then remove from heat. Save a little bit of the soy mixture—you’ll want to toss the broccoli in it later!

While the tofu is frying, get out your wok (if applicable) and start cooking your broccoli! I like to cook the broc in sesame oil, because it has such a great flavor. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the broccoli, and stir-fry! I like to let it cook in the oil for a few minutes, and then squirt in a little rice vinegar to help soften the broc (I’ve seen Hibachi chefs do this, so it must be the proper way, right?) After the broccoli has reached your desired texture, drizzle the soy sauce mixture over it, toss, remove from heat, and then proceed to assemble your bowls! Start with noodles, add broccoli, and top with tofu! Sprinkle the whole bowl with sesame seeds, and grab some chopsticks! You’re ready to eat a passably nutritious meal that kicks take-out’s ass any day of the week!


My favorite way to eat this is with an additional sprinkling of chopped nori and some cold matchstick veggies on top (carrots or cucumbers are the way to go). Also, everything tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks, so don’t skimp!

***

That’s it, honeys! I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so this is a common throw-together lunch in my household. This is also a great starter dish for anyone who is looking to cut a little bit of meat from his or her diet. It’s packed with protein (and probiotics if you add the nori). The above method of preparing tofu ensures a nice crisp on the outside that will have even the most adamant tofu naysayer begging for seconds.

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself wondering, “How can I incorporate more tacos into my every day life?” Soft or hard, veggie or bean, I love all tacos indiscriminately (get your mind out of the gutter).

Breakfast tacos aren’t exactly a stunning innovation. The breakfast burrito is a restaurant menu staple for good reason—Tex-Mex and breakfast foods are a beautiful marriage of flavors. But it is my life’s mission to eat (specifically cruciferous) vegetables at every meal, and damn it, I will accomplish it!

These tacos are endlessly customizable, and a great way to pack some serious nutrition into your morning. Plus, everything tastes better in a taco shell. It’s literally science.

Cauliflower is my favorite here, but other veggie options include broccoli, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, or zucchini!

Eggy Brekkie Tacos

  • soft corn tortillas, taco size
  • 1-2 eggs (per person), scrambled
  • leftover roasted veggies (I recommend cauliflower)
  • salsa

Optional toppings might include: shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, bean dip, hot sauce, sauerkraut—if you can dream it, you can do it!

If you don’t have any leftover veggies (I seem to always have something in my fridge), toss your chopped veggie of choice in olive oil, salt, and black pepper, and roast until soft and slightly browned.

Scrambled your eggs and heat up as many tortillas as you plan to eat. I like to heat my tortillas over the open flame on the stove, but the microwave or the oven on a very low setting will work just as well. As soon as everything is piping hot, assemble your tacos by dividing the scrambled eggs and vegetables amongst the tortillas. For the less adventurous (read: messy) eaters among us, combine all desired ingredients into a bowl and top with the corn tortillas, chopped. Dig in!

There you have it: every food group before 10 am. Brb—gonna go whip up some more breakfast tacos!

 

This morning’s variation: spinach, black bean dip, salsa, scrambled eggs, beet & red cabbage sauerkraut, hot sauce