Repeat offender

I have a confession to make. It is a two part confession.

First , I made another batch of fro-yo bites today and they were tasty. A new favorite snack…better than the last.

-1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
-1small banana chopped
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup dried coconut, shredded
-1 handful cocoa nibs (1/2 cup maybe?)
-1cup heritage o’s (or cheerios)

Mix in large bowl, scoop into ice cube trays and freeze.

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The second part of my confession?

I happened to sneak a bite of the vanilla yogurt and–gasp!–I kind of enjoyed it!

I don’t know what to say. Was it a fluke? Or have I turned over a new leaf in the yogurt department? I just don’t know!

In other news… stir-fry for dinner. I am so spoiled!

Local beef, butternut squash, carrots, beet greens,  red onion, mushrooms, garlic and Farmer Ben’s Thai sauce, cooked in coconut oil and served over rice.

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What did you eat today?

Cheers! Happy eating!


Fro-Yo Bites-2 ways.

I wanted to make the Lean Green Bean’s Frozen Yogurt Bites, but I didn’t have any granola on hand…and I didn’t feel like making any.

So I took everything out of the cupboard that was almost gone and dumped it into a bowl improvised.  I think I did pretty well…but I’ll let you be the judge.

These bites are so easy to make, it’s just silly. Seriously, I can’t even call this a recipe. I’m going to give you two ways to make these, the first what I actually made and the second, what I would have done if I had these items on hand.

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Before the freezer

The sky is the limit with these, so play around with your ingredients!

Fro-Yo Bites-2 ways:

Adapted from the Lean Green Bean

First Way-What You’ll Need: 

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt, I used Strawberry
  • 1 small banana chopped
  • ~1/4 cup flax-seed meal
  • ~1/3 cup  chopped cashews
  • ~1 cup Heritage O’s (or Cheerios)
  • ~1/3 cup cocoa nibs

Second Way-What You’ll Need: 

  • 1+ cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
  • 1 small banana, chopped
  • ~1 cup puffed/crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • ~1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • Optional: coconut flakes, to taste

What to do-Either Way:

Combine ingredients until everything is well coated. You may need to add another spoonful or two of yogurt, depending on your taste (I did).

Scoop mixture into ice cube tray and place in freezer until  mixture hardens. If you don’t have a free ice cube tray, you can also line a pan with wax paper, freeze and cut into bars.

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Evidence…

If you’re feeling adventurous, dip frozen bites into melted chocolate. Re-freeze. Definitely do this step with the second variety. Yum!

Makes 14 bites. Store in freezer.

Enjoy!


Easy Peas-y (Tuna & Egg) Pasta Salad

I’ve been really into salads lately. Farmer Ben and I went grocery shopping on a rainy Monday night because I desperately needed to eat something green. We purchase Olivia’s Organics brand when the greens are out of season, they are an (awesome) east-coast based company. Check them out!

Since Monday, I’ve eaten approximately 47 salads. Now, I know this sounds crazy. But I get creative.

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His & Hers Salads for lunch.

Yesterday, my salad consisted of leftover chicken, avocado, tomato (grown in VT!), radishes, red onion, sprouts, a Serrano or two…and some spring mix/spinach as an after thought.

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I can totally fit more in this bowl.

You see, I belong to the school of thought that believes that the salad is not about the lettuce. It’s about the toppings. Some days, I’ll cover my greens with bleu cheese, other days, I’ll pick seeds, nuts and other crunchy goodness… Lately, I’ve been loving Serrano peppers and cranberries. Tomorrow it could be steak. Most of the time I have so much on my salad that I don’t even use dressing. That would be overkill.

I guess I’m just trying to say that salad is delicious.

Today, my greens are covered in a tasty pasta salad and a few other veggies.

I opted to use olive oil instead of mayonnaise (mayo would work just as well and probably be more just as delicious) to make it a bit healthier. And per usual, I didn’t really measure, so this recipe is more of a guideline.

Easy Peas-y Pasta Salad

*Makes about five 1-cup servings (because if you’re like me, you usually have seconds).

What you’ll need:

  • About 8 oz (half a box) of pasta uncooked. I used elbows.
  • 1 can tuna fish, drained
  • About 3/4 cup peas (I used the canned variety)
  • Green Olives, pits removed and chopped, about 1/4 cup…or more.
  • Spices of your choice, to taste (I used dill-lots, smoked salt-just a pinch, smokey paprika-about 2 tsp, garlic powder-a couple of pinches, and a lot of cracked pepper)
  • 2 Serrano peppers, chopped (These are super hot, jalapenos would also work really well)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I left this out because a certain husband doesn’t like raw onion, sigh.)
  • A few splashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • ~1 tbsp.Dijon Mustard
  • ~1 tbsp. olive oil (enough to coat the pasta)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • A splash or two of balsamic vinegar (This was a brilliant afterthought…that I forgot)

What to do:

Cook pasta according to package. Drain and let cool (I stuck mine in the fridge to speed up the process).

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a fork, be sure to break-up tuna fish and stir.

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Loving all the green, yellow and red!

Serve over a giant salad, as a side dish, or… right from the bowl.

*Nutrition Highlights According to MyFitnessPal: 

265 calories, 31 carbs, 7 g fat, 16 g protein, 2 g sugar, 285 mg sodium, 27.5 mg potassium, 4.3 g fiber, 20.1 % Daily Value iron

Happy Friday! 


Tuna Noodle Goodness

A few nights ago,  I stood in the kitchen, as I often do, holding the refrigerator door open and wondering what I was going to possibly have for dinner.

If you’ve been to my house, you know this isn’t that unusual.

If you’re my husband, this probably drives you crazy.

I pulled out the giant brick of Monterey Jack that’s been living in the fridge and ate a slice… then I took a few bites of Coffee Heath Bar crunch… mulling over what I was in the mood for….

I wanted something creamy. Something that reminded me of childhood… it was settled, I was going to make Tuna Noodle Casserole–which is kind of weird because this wasn’t something that was cooked a lot at my house–no big deal.

Except the thought of cream of mushroom soup nauseates me… not to mention the fact that we don’t keep anything close to that in the house… so I improvised.

This is what I came up with. The thing I love about this meal is that you use one skillet. How easy is that?

I imagine you could probably get away without pre-cooking the noodles. I’ll experiment and let you know.

Tuna Noodle Skillet

Serves ~6. Adapted from Eating Well.

Ingredients: 

  • 4 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked (I used gobetti, elbows or egg noodles would also work)
  • 2 cans tuna fish, drained  (to give your casserole a little more moist-ness, use the stuff packed in oil). We use Wild Planet.
  • 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. smokey paprika
  • A few good cranks of black pepper
  • A few splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • About a tbsp. of dill
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped,
  • 1 cup Cremini Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (chicken would also work)
  • Scant 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ~1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ~3/4 cup Monterey Jack, grated
  • A few tbsp. Mazto meal or Bread Crumbs

What to do:

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. 350-400 is perfect.

In a small bowl, combine tuna fish, peas, mustard, paprika, Worcestershire, pepper and dill. Set aside.

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Prep

Melt butter in a large oven-proof pan over medium heat (a cast-iron skillet is perfect!).

Add in onions, mushrooms, garlic and carrots and cook until softened, about five minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking.

Add in vegetable stock and cook until it’s *almost* all evaporated.

Add in second tablespoon butter and let melt most of the way

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About halfway through flour-sprinkling. Don’t mind my terrible photo.

Sprinkle in flour a little at a time and stir to make sure vegetables are evenly coated.  The mixture will start to resemble a roux/paste.

Add in milk and black pepper (I like to use a lot, but use your best judgment).

Stirring occasionally to ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, bring to a simmer. And try not to slosh milk all over your stove.

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See the sauce starting to thicken?

Stir in tuna-pea mixture.

Stir in half of your cheese.

Let simmer for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in noodles and continue to stir for another minute (again, use your judgement here).

Remove from heat.

Sprinkle the last of the cheese and the meal/breadcrumbs over casserole and place in oven. *I actually grated the cheese directly over the pan….in case you’re feeling fancy.*

Broil until cheese is melted and casserole is lightly browned and bubbling.

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This will be a huge hit… whether you are ten or thirty.

Note: Be careful removing skillet from oven…not only is it hot, it’s also going to be HEAVY!

Enjoy!


Real Talk: Tuesday Night

This is happening in the kitchen… well, technically in the freezer, right now.
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I promise I will be back with regular posts tomorrow.

Happy Tuesday.

PS. I originally titled this post Monday Night. It’s going to be a long week.


Crunchy Quinoa Granola

I went a little granola crazy this weekend. The hubs and I decided to do snacks and foodie items for Christmas this year, so I made two batches of granola. It went fast.

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Wholesome Crunchy Gift Giving

The first was adapted from this recipe by Joy the Baker.  I also got the mason jar idea from her. Genius.

Not gonna lie, I wasn’t sure about the goji berries, but they were awesome! 

The second was something  I sort of made up on the fly because I was running out of oats. And it was absolutely amazing.  It was also super festive because I used red quinoa, cherries and pistachios. Did I mention that it was delicious?

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Totally festive, crunchy, protein packed granola. No big deal.

This is a super savory granola, but if you want to sweeten it up, feel free to add more agave nectar. I don’t think it needs it…

The quinoa and cocoa nibs give this an awesome crunch and the coconut oil gives a super savory, rich flavor. I think this is my new favorite granola!

Look at this recipe as more of a guideline than something set in stone.

Crunchy Quinoa Granola

Ingredients

4 cups rolled oats.

2 cups red quinoa, uncooked–be sure to rinse and drain it!

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup cocoa nibs

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut-I like the flakes because it adds some awesome texture

1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped (I chopped mine a little too much, you’ll want big chunks for that beautiful green color!)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 pinch smoked salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 1/2 cups dried cherries

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients except the cherries in a large bowl, give it a good toss to make sure it’s well mixed.

Heat coconut oil and agave nectar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until combined. 

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Add to dry ingredients and mix well, ensuring the mixture is well coated.

Pour granola onto baking sheets, making sure to spread evenly.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown, pulling out twice to toss mixture (so it doesn’t burn).

Let cool completely and add dried cherries. Granola will last several weeks in an airtight container. Serve over milk, yogurt or by the handful.

Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!


Daniel Fast-The Plate

In my last post, I spilled the beans on what the hubs and I have been up to for the last three weeks. I also gave a brief explanation as to what the logistics of the Daniel Fast are… In my next post, I’ll discuss my personal experience.

This is the fun post. I’m talking about the food.

So, what’s been on my plate?

As you probably know, I am a huge breakfast person…as in, I can barely survive if I skip it. That being said, I stuck with oatmeal most days of the fast.

Because you can’t have dairy or sugar during the fast, I would just cook with water, then throw in some apples, cinnamon and peanut butter to spice it up a bit. Other days I would do bananas and pecans. It all works.

Toward the end of the fast, I started cooking the oats in (unsweetened) almond milk to add a little more calcium and iron. I’ve been tracking my food on MFP for a long time and was noticing that I wasn’t getting enough of the two. The almond milk definitely helped. 

My main snacks were popcorn, apples and matzos with peanut butter.

The key to making this fast work is to plan your meals. It’s possible to go out for lunch or  dinner on this plan, but it’s very difficult–Mostly because you never really know what restaurants are putting in your food.  Thus, you want to plan ahead and cook a  few meals at a time.

I tried to snap pictures of what I was eating throughout the 21 days. Apples and oatmeal aren’t very pretty, so here are a few photos of other meals.  Keep in mind, these are all meat and dairy free; Vegan, with more restrictions. 

I’d say we still ate some pretty delicious things!

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Burrito Bowls: quinoa, beans, vegan sausage (ToFurky Brand), onions, tomatoes garlic peppers, olives and guacamole

 

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Skillet Meal (makes multiple servings): Corn, black beans, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and peppers served over volcano rice. Great with a splash of hot sauce.

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Veggie Packed Miso Soup: Red Miso, Water, rice noodles, peas, broccoli, sprouts, tofu

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Veggie Packed Tabouleh: sprouts, carrots, avocado, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, scallions, cashews, lemon juice, parsley served over romaine

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Tofu Breakfast Scramble: tofu, curry powder, potatoes, onion, garlic, broccoli and spinach.

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Mostly Plain Pasta: Organic Bow-tie Pasta, Olive Oil, smoked salt, black olives, parsley and some secret spices

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Fresh Tomato Sauce and Pasta: Whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, olives, garlic, onion, basil, parsley, capers and peppers

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Salad and Latkes–kind of: greens and broccoli with balsamic, shredded potatoes and onions, olive oil and leftover tomato sauce.

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Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao): One of two times we ate out, veganized for us.

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This was probably one of my favorite meals-more salad with balsamic and a Moroccan chickpea stew over rice. YUM!!!!

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger (I adapted the Lean Green Bean’s recipe) over greens with Tabasco sauce

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Veganized Minestrone with rutabega, kale, potatoes, carrots and loads of other veggies.

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Popcorn: my snack of choice for the fast, popped on the stove in the trusty old cast iron, seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper and smokey paprika.

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Thai coconut curry soup with lots of veg and tofu

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The other time I ate out-a burrito less the shell: rice, peppers, onion, tempeh, black beans, tomatoes and roasted potatoes, with salsa. Yum!

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Another pasta sauce with vegan sausage. Onions, garlic, peppers, basil, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and capers.

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Tofu Tikka Masala

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Another breakfast scramble.

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Another salad, matzos and peanut butter ( another go-to snack)

Again, this isn’t everything, but it’s a good description of what our diet was like.

We ate a lot of beans, dark leafy greens, pasta, potatoes and rice. I’m not complaining. I love all of these things. We also ate a lot of tofu and tried tempeh in a few meals.

Peanut butter and apples became a staple (not that both of these weren’t before..but it was more pronounced).

We also experimented with seasoning and made sure to pack in a lot of veggies in almost every meal. I noticed that the amount of fat, sugars, and cholesterol I was eating dropped a lot, not that it was high before, but it was even lower in these three weeks.

I mentioned before that we didn’t have any coffee… I tried to trick myself by drinking hot water out of my coffee mug. It worked about half the time.

Anyway, stay tuned for my next post where I will give you a look into my personal experience with the fast.

Do you have any favorite vegan staples? Do you think you’d be able to give up meat, dairy, drinks and sugar for three weeks? What would you miss the most?  Let me know!