Monday, July 11, 2011

Weird stuff I eat when no one'e around

Today was HOT. Really hot. Really really hot. 103 hot. BLAH. I worked at home messing around with a paper for resubmission. I finally left the comfort of my air-conditioned house at 6:30 to go to the gym and I guess the word OPPRESSIVE was the only way to adequately describe the heat and humidity that accompanied my jaunt outside. It was like walking into a dragon's mouth.

WO today was back to square one on the Fitnessista's summer shape-up. I went through the 4 weeks, loved it, saw great results... and now I'm going for round 2. I move up north after week 3, so it will be a little disjointed this next time (well, I guess taking a week off to turn on my dissertation disjoints things quite a bit as well).

Well anyway - today was Monday, and workout one, and the gym, like the terrible outdoors, was also a million degrees. I was so hot afterwards I came home and laid on my floor. Yes I have air conditioning. Yes I was that warm and uncomfortable. Yes my dogs were confused.

When I finally felt as if I were back to my 98 degree homeostatic set point... I was craving fat. Not like burger and fries fat - I wanted goat cheese and avocado. Mmmm couldn't stop thinking about those two things as I "walked" the dogs (Bella pulls me, and I pull Dylan). So I made this weird food:

I drained a can of black beans and diced an avocado. I whisked together the juice of a lime, a minced clove of garlic, some cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of olive oil, and Na++ and pepper. I then proceeded to add the avocado and black beans to the little liquid concoction and had a pseudo salad. I was thinking of Kath's salads, where she generally throws leftovers on top of lettuce. That sounded like something I could manage, so I dumped the bean/avocado mixture onto arugula and magically had a real green salad. Magic!

On the side are what I like to call little polenta cupcakes. Three 1-inch polenta rounds topped with thin slices of goat cheese. Oh yeah. Nice healthy fats that I was craving. I'm stuffed. Yay cooking for one! Yay not having to wake up at any specific time! And yay True Blood back on the air. That is all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stuffed Banana Peppers

I have not been cooking lately. My dissertation is due in TWO WEEKS and I have been writing and freaking out a lot. Add to that the well over 90 degree temps here and I have not been very hungry. However, I have been trying to use up produce as I buy it so it doesn't go to waste.

This is one of my very favorite things: stuffed banana peppers. These are ALL OVER western New York, but are nowhere to be found down south. Now that my husband knows that I know how to make them it's hard to get him to stop asking for these. I added vegetarian sausage to this batch and it was delightful!

Stuffed Banana Peppers
4 banana peppers
1/4 tube veggie sausage
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup bread crumbs (more if you need it)

Cut the peppers open and remove the guts. You can microwave them for a minute or two after they are emptied to make them easier to stuff. Just cool them for a bit afterwards.

Saute the veggie sausage, and when browned add the cream cheese and mix. Add everything else and there you go. Stuff into peppers (not your mouth)

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes depending on your desired level of done-ness.

I served these with some tilapia I breaded with bread crumbs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning after dipping it in an egg-white wash. Also my fave roasted asparagus!

Very simply, very quick dinner. Now back to proofreading!!!!

1/4 cup

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Green Day

Woo wee - I am so pooped. It is so hot here in NC I can't even stand it. Not sure how I've made it through 5 summers without dying. I like to eat light in the summer - so I did just that today.

Before my workout today I needed a little snack. I sliced up some zucchini (I LOVE raw zucchini) and plopped on some hummus. Once you start making your own hummus you can never go store bought again. It's just so simple and so CHEAP. I've made THIS recipe from Oh She Glows one or two times before. The only difference is that I used canned chickpeas. I have bad luck making beans on my own. they always come out tough! This time I added a handful of spinach and it came out green and tasty.

A glimpse into my life: snacks, my laptop, reviewer comments, advisor comments, my dissertation minimized while I watch Twilight trailors :-)

For dinner I made an old favorite. I seriously love this recipe. And I have sauce left over that I will likely put over a green bowl!

I made it a little differently tonight, but still, check out the old link to see pictures of cute little Dylan. :-)

Green Pasta
1 red onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil
Na++ and Pepper
1 container Nayasoya silken tofu
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup basil
Na++ and Pepper

Same as before - boil water. Heat over to 450- Rub onion and garlic with oil and salt and pepper. Wrap onion and garlic in tin foil and bake for 20 minutes. This is perfect timing to boil you water and make your pasta.

When the 20 minutes are up- put the tofu, spices and salt and pepper into a food processor and blend away. So good - even the carnivorous husband loved it (though he didn't remember the past 15 times I've made it for him). To top my day off I had some vanilla avocado and banana ice cream a la Averie from Love Veggies Yoga. No picture since mine is ugly- but it is so so so so so so good! Make some!

Now time to rest - I am beat!

Jar of oatmeal

Today I felt like I had gotten punched in the head when it was time to wake up. I still kind of feel like that - put together the 93 degree heat yesterday with my intense sunburn and I feel like every ounce of strength has been sucked from my body. This sucks because today starts summer shape up by Gina over at the Fitnessista. My workouts have been totally crappy lately so I am looking forward to doing some different stuff to break out of this rut. I tried her spring abs workout Saturday AM and it was intense! Nice and short and intense. I hate hanging around the gym forever! Unless I am avoiding something - like work - then I will stay all day.

But seeing as my dissertation is due to my committee in EXACTLY ONE MONTH I don't have time to avoid writing.... crap I should stop blogging about breakfast and get my life together.

Anyway - I love the idea of oats in a jar. Kath does them a lot - and given my extreme love of peanut butter they definitely help me get out of bed in the morning.

Monday Oats
Almost empty reduced fat peanut butter jar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 large banana chopped
shake cinnamon
shake splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup fat free plain greek yogurt

Mix everything together in the jar and leave it overnight. Easy enough, right?

Umm yum. So filling. So good. Serve with a side of 5 cups of coffee for hallucinogenic purposes. (Weird science - give me that PhD instead).

Ok I'm going to digest, write some dissertation crap, and head to the gym for Summer WO number 1. Yay!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Desserts and MUSSELS

Since I have been eating seafood - I've been having non-veg meals about 2-3 times a week. These mussels were super easy to throw together and the broth can be tweaked considerable to meet your needs/likes/wants/desires. When my friend came to visit recently she threw these together with heavy cream and red curry paste. I wanted a non-cream version and came up with these.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup white wine
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup flat parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 pound mussels

Heat a nice large dutch-over type contraption on your stove.

You know the drill- heat the oil - add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute of two longer. Add the wine, try not to cry at the non drinkable portion you just put into food. Pour yourself a a glass to minimize sadness. Add lemon juice, and half of parsley and zest.

Dump the mussels in and cover. They will open in 6-8 minutes. DON'T EAT THE ONES THAT DIDN'T OPEN. Just throw them out. They lived a full bivalve life- it's okay. Portion into 4 bowls and top with remaining parsley and zest, Yum.

I used a full cup of wine... I know, I know... that's a lot. But they taste great - so just pour it in and look the other way. Or just put your face over the smoke the wine creates and get really drunk. Just kidding. Don't do that. You also shouldn't pour vodka over the stones in a sauna for a buzz. That is bad also.

On the side is a couscous salad based on one of Angela's recipes. Just israeli couscous, red pepper, cucumber, and garbanzo beans in a dressing of cilantro, olive oil and lime juice (and a splash of balsamic).

You may also spy some chilled cucumber soup in a tiny little bowl. If you've never made this you should really give it a try. All you need is a food processor, a large cuke (half peeled, half not), and about a cup of plain greek yogurt. I usually use dill- but I used cilantro and parsley since I already had some on hand. Add some salt and pepper at the end and use whatever spices you like. Add more yogurt to thin out if you wish - but I like it thicker. You just put all the ingredients together and blend. So easy and also low in calories. I love cucumber.

I made another batch of healthy cookie bites. I love these things so much. So healthy and 59 calories! YAY! These are the only baked good I make - I put two in my lunch every day and they are such a nice sugar-free treat :-)

Speaking of healthy - I just made myself some cherry banana soft serve. SO GOOD. And it's basically just a banana. But so decadent!!!

Off to bum around- I need to get some sleep. My aunt drove through last night and wanted to head to see some blues music. She got in at 11 - so I was up WAY late - we ate pizza and watched scary shows and talked until 3:23 on the dot. Then she woke up at 8:00! Oh boy- I'm exhausted!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gazpacho and Bean Burritos

Today has been totally lame in the science way. Around noon I got an e-mail from my advisor telling me a recently submitted paper had been rejected. The e-mail contained reviewer comments - which he asked me to go ahead and handle for the next draft of my dissertation that is DUE WEDNESDAY. That's almost now. So I was cruising along, trying to finish up all of my corrections for him, and got this curveball thrown at me. In addition, he asked that I address the comments for a resubmission before I defend, which is July 20th. SO my diss. is due July 6th, I defend the 20th, and somewhere in between there I have to rewrite a paper, prepare my public defense, start packing up my house.. I don't even want to go on.

I just had to get up right that second and go for a walk downtown for a few minutes to clear my head and calm down. It will all get done... it's just a stretch. A big one.

Anyway- food today was good. I was hungry almost every second of the day- so I will have to add some snacks tomorrow so that I don't feel like I am about to die at 4:30 like today.

Breakfast - egg whites with salsa verde. Green smoothie - banana, strawberry, greek yogurt, lots of spinach and some almond milk.

Lunch - some tuna salad boats with this tuna salad.

Dinner- Gazpacho and Burritos.

I wanted to make these today since I had leftover guacamole from yesterday. However, when my husband got home from the gym he fixed that issue - so we were Guac-less.

The Gazpacho is Angela's recipe. So, so, so good and simple. Great flavors. This will be added to my tuna boat lunches!

And because of the debacle this morning/afternoon/whenever it was - I made true emergency bean burritos.

Bean Burritos - the fastest and easiest ever
1/2 sliced onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
Na++ and pepper
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1 can fat free refried beans
1 cup shredded low-fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a pan with some cooking spray and add onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and add frozen veggies. Add cilantro once the veggies are thawed. Add spices. Done.

Put 1/4 can refried beans on the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with veggies. Roll up. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Garnish with salsa. So fast, so easy, so good.

Now I really need to get to work!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fish tacos

I have been on my husband's case lately because he is always talking about how he LOVES to grill - and how he is just the best at it - and he can grill ANYTHING. Oddly enough, I never catch him actually grilling anything. He'd much rather wait for me to make something - no matter how un-meaty it may happen to be. Last week when I made this nice seafood dinner - I mentioned how the entire meal could have been grilled. He got the hint and we eventually came to the agreement that he would start preparing 1 meal per week. He took this seriously for about 15 minutes and started doing some "meal planning"

He came out of the office the other day with a grilling cookbook he got as a wedding gift. He found a recipe for fish tacos and started reading it aloud to me. The ingredient lost was 500 items long, and the prep time was about 4.5 days. It was a little too ambitious for somebody who hasn't touched food since way back when he was single.

My sister-in-law consequently posted a recipe for fish tacos on her blog that sounded much simpler. As the two filets of tilapia defrosted for a full 4 days, I appealed to the husband to simplify the recipe. We used the marinade listed above - just some lime juice, olive oil and jerk seasoning. A LOT easier than what he was originally planning. He even had the foresight to smoke some hickory chips to add to our charcoal grill. The fish was so smoky and delicious.

To garnish:
whole wheat tortillas
romaine lettuce
quartered cherry tomatoes
shredded cheese
Mango Guacamole. Mmmmmmmmmmmm x 1000

On the side: refried black beans
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 seeded jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp red wine (why the hell not, right?)
1 can black beans - with juices
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Saute garlic and onions until soft-ish. Add jalapeno and saute a minute or so more. Add the cumin and saute until the smell is so overwhelming you can barely breathe (about 30 seconds). Add the wine - magic! No more suffocation! Add the can of black beans and turn heat to LOW. Simmer about 15-20 minutes- they will be nice and CREAMY. Add cilantro and love them.

The verdict? Everything was great! Well, I also did everything except smoke the fish. But it's a start, right? Now it's time to solve some cases with Mulder. I just saw this scene.

I am lucky.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salmon and Mango Strawberry Salsa

Salmon is one of the few fishes that actually benefit your health. With respect to cardiovascular health - the fatty fishes are your best bet. I won't go into any lipid sciences - since I find it boring (two of my best friends are in lipids- but I don't necessarily understand what they do). I do know that fish oils are great for you - mainly by reducing arachidonic acid - which is a pro-inflammatory protein. Fish oils work to dilate blood vessels and stop platelets from stickign together - which lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also work in the liver to limit the production of LDL (the bad cholesterol). So BAM - fish oils are pretty good.

The catch (haha get it) with salmon is that it has to be wild salmon - coho or atlantic. Otherwise the natural diet and environment aren't incorporated into the dead fish bodies for your consumption (sounds appetizing, right?) Well, it is. Deal. When you buy salmon, is it PINK or is it nice and SALMON colored? If it's light pink, the color is added in - since the natural diet fed to farmed salmon makes them almost white. So spend the money and buy the better stuff.

Well, enough with that. I happened to make some salmon tonight that was DELISH. I made a paste of 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp coriander, Na++ and pepper, and a shake of cayenne. I then proceeded to rub this on a filet of salmon, which had previously been rubbed with Na++ and Pepper.

I paired it with some roasted sweet potato wedges that I put a teaspoon of honey at the end for good luck. Also some roasted asparagus with olive oil. Yum.

All of these things can go in the oven at 450. The potatoes stay in for 30 - everything else for 10 -ish. Be your own judge!

What's that on top of the salmon? Oh just a little strawberry-mango salsa.

One mango
3 strawberries
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Na++ and Pepper

Mix together and let sit for as long as you can stand it.

Angela's vegan enchiladas with cilantro avocado cream sauce

I waited WEEKS to make these. WEEKS. Seriously. I first saw THIS RECIPE on oh she glows on May 4th. I finally bought everything to make these LAST SUNDAY. No, not this past Sunday - the Sunday before that! But last Wednesday I traveled to an interview, and didn't get back until last Friday. On Friday my husband wanted to go out to dinner, but I can't even remember if I did since I was so exhausted.

Oh nevermind, I did. I made Kath's scallops. They were fab but I took no picture. Really fab. Oh and ou must try the risotto this way - so easy and so delicious. My husband killed what were going to be leftovers.

Anyway... this weekend and this week my husband kept coming up with reasons why we couldn't eat at home - or why he couldn't more specifically. Finally, last night I made these enchiladas and they were worth the wait. I had some stomach issues yesterday and came home early from the office - but nothing was going to stop me from using all of the ingredients before they rotted away. Luckily things seemed safe. Since I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast I had no guilt eating 1/2 an avocado on my enchilada. So good.

My picture wasn't great since my husband already dug into these before I could snap a pic. But head over to the original recipe for the directions and the pics. Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Tonight the husband had a sports banquet to attend - so I was on my own for dinner. This is always a good opportunity to make something that I know would prompt complaining from my spouse. I wanted a light dinner since I snacked on random free crap at a bridal show with my friend yesterday (followed by a Sunday special Bloody Mary and home made buttermilk biscuits at the local hipster bar).

I decided to use the spaghetti squash I had been hoarding for an occasion such as this and make a veggie only meal.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara
1 spaghetti squash - obviously
cooking spray
4 cloves garlic
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup red wine
1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes- cut up by your own hands
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 large, large handful baby spinach
Na++ and pepper
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Use your best knife to cut your squash in half. It will be kind of a pain. Then poke it with a fork a couple of times and place cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the delicious sauce. Spray a pot with cooking spray and add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add the herbs and saute until they begin to smell herb-ey. Add the wine and let it cook off until the smoke stops for the most part. Add the tomatoes and paste and bring to a boil. Lower the temp and let simmer until the squash is done (it's convenient). Add the spinach and season with Na++ and pepper.

Make into 4 portions and top with cheese. Yum. Nice and light and delicious.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mango BBQ baked beans

These beans are what I would call "super awesome." That's it. I've made them for some BBQ's - and this time I actually got leftovers to take home. I enjoyed them for lunch yesterday with a salad. While at whole foods, I discovered a contained of my favorite orange ginger beets - the ones I will buy $15 salads just to consume. Well, I bought a container of them for my very own. I heaped them on my salad with some low fat cottage cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper, and pecans. Weird combo? Yes. Delicious? Very. And I was STUFFED.

These beans are from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I adapted them a little, and my changes are listed below.

Mango BBQ beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp Na++
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cans kidney beans - drained and rinsed
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 Tbsp agave nectar

Get your pot ready by heating it over med - add olive oil and onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add everything up to beans and bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour. Everything will be nice and thick and yummy. Turn stove off and add smoke and agave.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Egg-y breakfast

Today I am refining my talk for my final post doc interview. I'm being flown up north to a very prominent university tomorrow. I am so nervous! I leave tomorrow afternoon and get in really late - in fact the guy who booked my flight gave me a 5 hour layover in Atlanta (one of my least favorite airports). Hopefully I can get an earlier flight out of there, because I will be in a BIG city and don't really want to be arriving at my hotel at midnight.

Thursday I meet with the department in the AM, have lunch with a current post doc and accompany her on grand rounds - which is immediately followed by an hour long talk by yours truly about my work. That is the only thing that's really making me nervous- I'm a pretty good public speaker, and I've spoken in front of all types of people, but never for an interview! Ah. After my talk I spend the rest of the day meeting with the lab staff I would be working with, so hopefully it all pans out and we know for certain where we are living next year.

Today I plan on spazzing out over my talk all day - reading old papers of my potential mentor - and getting a new outfit later on. To fuel up I started with a simple egg white burrito on a low carb whole wheat tortilla. I love these with salsa verde, a la the Fitnessista. Accompanied by a smoothie of a small banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup spinach and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk.

Now to perfect this talk!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Three-grain bread --> lunch

Sine I obviously have decided that work is for the birds today, I'm going to share one of my favorite lunches: sauteed spinach and tomatoes over garlic bread. Oh yeah. So good.

I made a loaf of Three-Grain Bread from Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian Family Cookbook this week. I love all of the quick breads, and this one is no exception. The bread is a little sweet, almost like cornbread, thanks to the addition of maple syrup. Yum.

Three-Grain Bread:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Na++
1 cup yogurt (I used 0% greek)
2/3 cup milk (I used almond)
1/3 cup maple syrup (or molasses)
2 Tbsp safflower oil.

Mix dry, mix wet, add wet to dry. Put in 350 degree over for 40 minutes. Easy peasy.

Now onto lunch:
just saute up some halved cherry tomatoes for a few minutes, then add spinach when they start to soften. Add any herbs you'd like if you're feeling adventurous.

For the bread: Either spray with cooking oil on both sides, or rub with olive oil. Add some Na++ and pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese to each side. Broil on each side for about 1 minute.

This bread pairs perfectly with the veggies - but obviously you can use any bread. Great filling, light lunch.

I added a small side of tuna salad for protein because why the hell not? Now I can see how much work I can get in before it's beer tasting time... by myself... because my husband decided yesterday he now coaches softball for free and will be heading to their game tonight. Good thing track is over.

Oatmeal magic

My overnight oatmeal hit the spot the other day- but for whatever reason the temperature here in NC dropped to the 60's - and it's been a little chilly. As a result, I decided to try the same recipe in a warm form (just no chias)

I heated up 1/2 a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and added 1/4 cup rolled oats. After a minute or so of stirring I added a tiny, tiny banana to the mix and a shake of cinnamon. I stirred in about 1/3 of a cup of greek yogurt at the end. I wasn't sure how the greek yogurt would taste- but it made the oatmeal super creamy and delicious.

I topped it with some granola and peanut butter and again was full until 2pm... at which point I went and grabbed a whole foods salad (addiction). When I came back to work I found that my first manuscript had finally been published. Yay! I also received feedback from my advisor that wasn't so bad (about a week's worth of work and 3 whole weeks to complete it) and an itinerary for my post doc interview next week. I was having a sweet day obviously.

For cinco de mayo, my husband and I grabbed some coronas and brought over some nachos to our friends' house (the new parents). I didn't get a picture of the blue corn chips topped with leftover three-bean chili, but I can tell you that I topped it all with MANGO GUACAMOLE which is honestly the best I've ever tasted. I had a mango in the fridge all week and it was obviously destined for this guacamole. Check out the recipe on How Sweet it is and try it, you'll be glad you did.

Another day working from home today - yay!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oatmeal and Enchiladas

I have been having a smoothie every day for breakfast for about... I don't know... 7 months? I felt a need for change after seeing a post of Kath Eats Real Food describing THESE overnight oats. They sounded so good I went and threw some together right that second to have the next morning. I was also tempted by the thought of granola on top of oatmeal - so I threw together some of my favorite granola from a recipe given to me by a friend at work. Check out the recipe on her blog HERE. It's seriously so good and simple to put together! I had a serious addiction to this granola for a long time and was afraid to make it again for fear I would eat every last bit. But it's survived two days so far so I think we're safe.

These oats are based of the recipe above, here's what I threw together:
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 small (and I mean tiny) banana
1 tsp chia seeds
1/3 cup 0% greek yogurt
1 shake of cinnamon

Mix together and leave overnight. Wake up and sprinkle on a Tbsp of granola and a tsp of reduced fat peanut butter. Um yum. I had to take a break while eating this because it was so filling. I lasted until 2pm (seriously) without the thought of food. The entire french press was filled with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee helped also.

I then proofread all 180 pages of my dissertation and sent the first draft off to my advisor to see how much of it he hates. I then took the day off to get some crap done as I haven't had time to do much else other than write.

After a day full of running errands, I stopped home to make some butternut squash enchiladas. My good friend just had a gorgeous baby girl and I asked her what meal she wanted the most. She requested these enchiladas after I had made them for some friends and they kept bragging about how good they were to her. So I threw them together, set two aside for the husband and I and then dropped over for some baby time.

Of course my husband texted me 70 times while I was over with the new parents. All dinner related texts of course. He even threatened to eat without me! Yeah right! That would mean he would have to turn the oven on and warm the enchiladas and resign himself to the fact that there were only 2 and he would surely starve.

I came home and threw together a random chili that I will use to make nachos for cinco de mayo this evening! Of course he had not started eating or dinner prep without me!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chili Crusted Scallops

Um yeah. This dinner is epic. I've made it countless times - it's from a certain diet plan that hall not be named... but includes the counting of points. I probably won't get arrested for posting it - but whatevs. I'll change a few things so that I can't get into trouble.

3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tsp chile powder (not cayenne like I mistakenly read... whoops!)
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Na++
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 pound scallops
1 zucchini - sliced
1 summer squash - sliced

Pre-heat your broiler.

Put everything up to the scallops in a small saucepan - stir with a fork over medium heat for a minute or two so that it gets nice and thickened. Add the scallops to the saucepan and cover in delicious sauce. Get out your favorite baking sheet and spray with some cooking spray.

Stack the squash and zucchini on one side of the pan, and place the scallops and their delicious chile sauce on the other. Broil for 3 minutes - then flip the scallops and broil for 3 minutes on the other. Look at that - 6 minutes and you're done! Maybe 10 minutes total and you've got dinner.

I served with some roasted sweet potato wedges (sweet potato sticks, 1 tsp olive oil, rosemary, Na++ and pepper and 425 degrees for about a half an hour) and kale chips kale chips (torn kale, olive oil spray, 1 tsp balsamic, Na++ and pepper 325 20 minutes).

Monday, May 2, 2011

asparagus pea barley risotto

Well things are going just dandy here over in almost-PhD land. My first draft of my dissertation is due on the 4th - and I've written all that I feel needs to be written until I get feedback from my advisor. Total page count is 169... doesn't seem like a lot when you consider it's a full 5 years worth of work. Today I took it easy and did some formatting at home. At noon I went for an hour long walk around my neighborhood and listened to the Bugle.

This evening I threw together a nice meal of a barley risotto with asparagus and peas. I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of the barley- so I'd suggest using arborio rice instead - and you'd have to adjust the cooking time for that. But if you like barley- this dish is super fast and not that bad!

Asparagus Pea Barley Risotto
2 tsp EVOO
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 cup quick-cooking barley
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch sections
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 tsp lemon zest, plus more for garnish
1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Na++ and papper

Heat oil in a pot and add onion to saute. Saute maybe 6 minutes, and add the barley. Saute that mixture for a minute and then add the broth. Turn the heat to low and cover, and simmer 8 minutes. Add asparagus, chives, and zest - return cover and simmer 2 more minutes. Add the balsamic and cheese and season with salt and pepper. I had a lot of liquid, so I turned up the heat at the end and boiled it off.

It's not creamy like a traditional risotto, but it's a very light meal and pairs well with a nice mixed greens/goat cheese/roasted beet/pecans salad.

On the side are some sauteed cherry tomatoes. These are literally my favorite side dish of all time. I toasted some chopped rosemary in olive oil until fragrant, then added the tomatoes. They cook up in no time and are sweeter than candy. Mmm-mm. Try mixing them with spinach and topping garlic bread with the mixture. Meal from heaven!

Now to turn off my brain and watch Gossip Girl. Love it!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthday Weekend

My birthday was a week ago today and I've had such a great week. My husband and I went out to dinner last week to a local Italian bistro on Wednesday, my girlfriends had a little party for me Thursday complete with vampires and white chocolate fondue. Then Friday - my husband took us up to Asheville - my favorite place in NC. It's such a cute hippie town, I'd love to live there!

My spouse planned a getaway weekend in a cabin outside of Asheville, and it was so cute and peaceful, and had a hot tub.

He made an extra effort because last year, he really dropped the ball. Maybe that's an understatement. But first, let me state: I am not one of those people who thinks my birthday is a holiday. We have a friend, who at age 31, still takes off 3 days from work in celebration for his birthday. I still go to work like an adult, but love going out to dinner and maybe having some wine with a friend or two. No parties, no bar crawls, just some low-key fun times.

Last year - my husband kept telling me that we couldn't do anything for my birthday because he had a night class. Having gone to college myself, and being a college instructor- I knew this was BS because you can definitely skip one class a semester if you need to. So I convinced myself he was using this excuse as a cover to surprise me with something fun. My friends asked what I was up to and I said I didn't know, something with my husband for sure.

I came home from work early that day, and found my husband bumming around on the couch. I told him I'd be workign from home the rest of the day, and he told me he was using a gift certificate that I gave him to take out his brother for lunch. On my birthday! How thoughtful. So he went out and ate, and then went to class... until 9:30. I sat on the couch and finally realized that he had nothing planned and I should just start drinking wine.

After that day I figured surely, he at least had something planned for the weekend to make up for it... but no. There was nothing planned. We did nothing. I don't even remember if I got a gift because it was overshadowed by the fact that my husband planned absolutely nothing. No dinner, no drinks, no X-Files DVD's... just nothing. It was like he had completely forgotten. I waited a long time to say something, and when I finally did he got mad at me and said he just wasn't a planner. After a few months he realized that he had made a mistake, and maybe should make an effort from now on.

Well, that brings us to present day. A surprise weekend trip to Asheville. Not bad husband, not bad.

We had a kitchen, so I grabbed some tortillas, queso fresco, asparagus, an avocado, a can of black beans, zucchini, red pepper and red onion. Well, I easily sauteed those goodies and made some tacos we enjoyed in front of the cute little fireplace.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vegan Carrot Lentil Burgers

I saw these burgers recently on Clean Eating Chelsea. She adapted the recipe a little from Oh She Glows - with great results. These burgers were super quick and so, so, so good. I could have eaten the mix without being baked.

I stacked these on buns with steamed spinach, tomato, vegenaise, steamed spinach and tahini (who doesn't love tahini on random things?) and grilled red onion slices.

If you haven't tried grilling some think onion slices, I suggest dropping everything and doing it. You can do it on your George Foreman, or your actual grill. Just cut an onion into thick slices, rub with olive oil and grill. They turn from gross bad breath raw onions to sweet delicious candy onions. They take maybe 10 minutes and make burgers into magic. Go crazy and run some balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper on to. Then calm down and eat.

I made these exactly as Chelsea did - so check out her recipe by following the link above. I highly recommend them - seriously. Such a great way to welcome summer. It's 80 degrees here in NC. NICE!!!!!!

A late working lunch

Original recipe HERE on THE FITNESSISTA

I used 2 cans tuna, 2 large scoops greek yogurt, 1 red pepper, 10 sliced baby carrots, 2 stalks celery, scoop hummus, handful chopped parsley and salt and pepper. GREAT. Now back to work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sesame Noodles with Chili-Lime shrimp

People, I do not claim to be the best cook in the world. But every once in awhile I make something that is pretty epic. Today, I opened my fridge to find it nearly empty. I had some shrimp, scallions and that was pretty much it. I had some tomatoes, but I think I'm going to stew them tomorrow.

Anyway- I was thinking Chinese today- specifically some cold sesame noodles that I ate in Xi'en. They were fantastic and I felt I could recreate a similar sauce at home. I didn't have any rice noodles so used angel hair with spectacular results. Marinate the shrimp for a bit and the dish come together in about 15 minutes.

Sesame Noodles:
1/2 package angel hair
2 tsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp tahini
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix together all wet ingredients.

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Cover with delicious sesame sauce.

Chile Shrimp:
1 pound deveined shrimp
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
1 Tbsp lime zest
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave
1 Tbsp chinese chile garlic paste
1 bunch scallions chopped into 1 inch pieces

Mix it all (except scallions) together. Mainate in fridge for a bit. After you are satisfied with the marination time - saute the shrimp in the marinade for a a few minutes. Add the scallions and saute for about 2 minutes.

Now, just add the shrimp to the noodles. You can serve with marinade or without- up to you. I did, and I liked it!

Um yum.

That may or may not be a tequila sunrise in the backround. Sundays are best with cocktails.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fish sandwiches

The other day I came home late and completely frazzled after my advisor requested a draft of my ENTIRE dissertation on May 4th. I figured I would send him a section at a time, but no - I need to have the whole thing done by then- which is pretty daunting. I have my chapters done, and am nearing the halfway point of my intro- which means I have the entire discussion section and all the formatting to do. FUN!

My husband usually asks "what are WE going to do about dinner" the second I walk through the door if by chance I come home late (which is often). I love his use of "we." As if he is part of some dinner-making team. What he actually means when he asks this is: "when the hell are you going to make something for me woman? I am incapable of making anything myself let alone you. Or eating a snack. that would be too difficult as well. Instead I waited until now, 8pm, to accost you for food as soon as you walk through the door. Feed me or I will be cranky, much like a small child."

Well, something on my face (and perhaps the fact I was shaking with rage) tipped him off that I would not be making dinner. when he opened his mouth to ask his usually question, he paused, and looked frightened. Instead he said "I was waiting for you to come home to show me the recipe you were going to use for dinner, because I was going to make it."

Nicely played husband, nicely played.

We continued on the fish kick and made THESE fish sandwiches from How Sweet it Is. Good choice. The only thing I did was make the kale chips, and I burnt them. I am not going into the kitchen until the weekend, so we'll see how he eats tonight!

Nevermind, I did make some summer squash- which I sauteed in olive oil and oregano, and then added some goat cheese too when it was done. That- I didn't burn.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pasta and an Oats Parfait for good meausure

Hey there. I am currently at home blogging. I got a LOT done yesterday in the writing department, so I'm cutting myself some slack (I will write at night and am generally more productive all together when I take my mornings to myself. Just me and my french press Fresh Market espresso. No sharing). I just have to write up a discussion for my third study - and there I go, all three chapters written and done!

My knee has been flaring up again, and I have an appointment with a Sports MD at 2-ish. However, whenever I go get my knee checked out it's like taking in my car. You know what I mean... your car will be making some noise for a week, and when you finally take it in, the noise will NOT present itself and the mechanics can't find anything wrong and everyone thinks you're crazy. Well, I am taking matters into my own hands today by heading to a lunchtime spinning class before my appointment. Spinning REALLY flares my knee up - though it should be zero impact - and my knee ends up swelling up to the size of a grapefruit. A grapefruit that lives on my leg. Well, the doctor today will get a nice swollen knee to look at and I won't waste his time or mine.

When my friend was in town, she pulled out some old magazines to keep herself busy while my husband and I snoozed. I had forgotten all about the February 2010 issue, which is plastered with a beautiful picture of Roasted vegetable linguini. It looked so good, and I had purchased basil for the Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa I saw on How Sweet it Is - so I figured this pasta would be a great way to use it up. The re3cipe was simple and delicious, and made enough for an army. A small portion found its way into mine and my husband lunches both yesterday and today, and there's still more left!

Roasted Vegetable Linguini with Torn Fresh Basil
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 pound asparagus, sliced into 1.5 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped (I used a red)
2 Tbsp/ olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 13.5 oz. package linguine (I used Cavatappi)

Preheat over to 450 - toss all of the veggies with the olive oil, minced garlic and pepper flakes. Roast 20 minutes (use a roasting pan, it will be a lot of bulk). Add the cherry tomatoesand roast 10 minutes more. Dump veggies in a bowl while you make the sauce.

Start making the pasta - be sure to save 1/2 cup cooking water for the sauce

Add wine to roating pan, scarping off any browned goodness on the bottom. Let wine reduce by half. Stir 1/2 cup cooking water into wine. Add pasta and veggies to roating pan and let everything co-mingle and get delicious.

I also wanted to talk about my breakfast lately. I have been looking at the pretty picture of Vegan Overnight Oats Parfaits on Oh She Glows for awhile now. I've never made them because I just didn't feel like getting out my food processor in the morning, and I used to eat overnight oats every day and I got sick of them.

Well, I finally made the plunge yesterday with the Cherry Bomb parfait. Wow - I am so glad I did. Seriously - just putting a banana and some frozen cherries into a food processor is like magic. It really does taste like soft serve ice cream. I made Strawberry Banana softserve today- though the picture came out super crappy. This breakfast is a lot to get down, I reduced the serving of oats to 1/4 cup - I don't need to eat lunch until 1. Crazy. Do yourself a favor and try one of these recipes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm eating fish again

Last weekend when our friends came to town, I had fish at various times. I tend to eat fish with guests or when out to dinner because it is difficult to always eat vegetarian out (like at an oyster roast) and I hate being a pain in the butt by making people plan around me. I generally don't eat fish very often because when I did it would upset my stomach quite a bit, as I hadn't eaten meat in almost 2 years now.

Well, all of the fish I enjoyed last weekend didn't bother me at all - and it all tasted great. My husband really wants nothing in the world but for me to eat meat again. Well, I will not eat anything else besides fish - but I though adding fish into my diet would make him really happy.

So- Friday night I told him I had a surprise for him, and drove him to Fresh Market and told him we'd be eating fish at home again and he could pick out whatever he wanted. Like the butthead that he is, he acted like my surprise sucked and told me I hyped it up too much and he was expecting something "awesome." In reality, all that I said was that I had a surpise for him. Apparently uttering that sentence was too much "hype," and he probably expected me to take him to NHL tryouts or a Rudy-marathon at a local bar with free beer on tap.

No more surprises for that guy.

The first fish dinner I cooked was some simple Chile-Spiced tilapia with some Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa from How Sweet it Is. It was really good - except for the fact that they only gave us one filet of tilapia to split, thouygh I clearly said I wanted 2. Oh well, we each got a crab cake also.

I served it with my favorite tomatoes (cherry tomatoes sauteed in olive oil for 10 minutes until nice and soft) and KALE CHIPS.

And my husband... he didn't even say thank you! Maybe he needs some more tofu and art shows instead of fish and hockey games.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Writing and eating tofu burritos

I have really been enjoying writing from home. I've been working at a great pace. Everyone's been teling me that a dissertation progress averages about a page per day. I've been at two/day, so maybe I'll be done twice as fast! And my second manuscript is going through final edits so hopefully I can resubmit soon and get that taken care of also. Yay graduation!

One thing I enjoy about being at home during the day besides being with my puppies....

is cooking breakfast and lunch! Yesterday I made these muy delicioso tofu burritos with a tofu cake that crumbled when I went to slice it. It expired yesterday so I guess thats what happens!

Tofu Burritos (makes 4 burritos)
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cake tofu
2 cups spinach
1 tsp curry powder
shake or two of Mrs. Dash or similar salt-free seasoning
4 tortillas

Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add tofu and stir until moisture evaporates, maybe 3-4 minutes. Add curry to turn egg-like color to fool yourself and the rest of the spices. Add spinach and let wilt. Serve on tortillas with salsa and sriracha added to the top! Yum

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Orange Glazed tofu and Broccoli

I always spell broccoli wrong. I'm not sure why. I guess if I took my time and though about it maybe I'd spell it right. Anyway- today was crappy and uneventful (except for my lunchtime power yoga class- that was nice) so here's the dinner I made! It's a favorite from the Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas.

Orange Glazed Tofu

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup H20
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp H20
2 large broccoli crowns - chopped into trees
2 garlic cloves minced --- I am fresh out of elephant garlic :-(
1 red pepper sliced into thin, thin, matchstick strips
1 block firm tofu (the recipe calls for 2 blocks baked tofu, but I like mine squishy)

Mix cornstarch with water until dissolved. Add the rest of ingredients (concentrate, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger) to the mixture - and you have your sauce. Congrats.

Now, mix oil and water in a wok and heat the garlic and broccoli in it for a second, then cover and cook for 2-4 minutes. Add peppers and cook until a little soft, then add the tofu trying not to break it. Add the sauce and stir until thickened - maybe 5 minutes.


I served this with a favorite beet, goat cheese, orange and pecan salad.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Buffalo Tempeh and "Cool Slaw"

Today I was completely exhausted. We had guests in town this weekend, so I was waking up earlier than normal, and doing a whole lot more stuff in general. It was a great time and we drank a lot of great wine and watched some good hockey! I had a presentation to give to my department yesterday- so Sunday night I barely slept, as I kept waking up practicing my talk in my head.

Today I popped into work after working from home all morning, and my advisor popped his head in. My first though is always "what did I do now?" But he handed me a gift certificate for a local restaurant that he said was "on behalf of the department." He said they have some stuff to thank people, and my talk yesterday was definitely worthy of thanks. Wow - just when I thought I had seen everything. Thanks advisor!

I came home late and threw together the simple marinade for the Buffalo Tempeh, which took exactly one hour to marinate... or the length of one nap. These recipes are both from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Buffalo Tempeh
8 oz. tempeh
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup hot sauce (Frank's is preferable - obviously)
1 giant clove elephant garlic (or 6 regular cloves)
2 tsp oregano

Cut tempeh into triangles and steam in a basket for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together marinade ingredients and add tempeh when it's done steaming. let marinate as long as you want to nap (or be productive).

Heat pan and spray with cooking spray. Scoop the tempeh into the pan and saute until brown-ish. Add the rest of the marinade and serve!

Cool Slaw
1 bag cole slaw mix
1/4 cup cashews
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 cup water
5 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard (weber's if you have it!)
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
ground pepper
***I also added 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast because it felt like the right thing to do

Place all ingredients besides cole slaw mix (obviously) in a food processor and process for a good while - 5 minutes or so. Add to the cole slaw mix and let sit for a bit so it gets nice and saturated. That's it.

Enjoy your Buffalo-style veggie meal.