Monthly Archives: January 2011

Quin-who?

Quinoa is what’s up!  Since this has been a week of firsts, I have to share my first quinoa experience with you!

I have heard about this grain for a long time but have never gotten around to buying it.  Not anymore.  I swaggered over to Whole Foods and loaded up on some red quinoa.

Quinoa is grain discovered in South American which was touted as the “gold of the Incas.”

And you cannot believe how good it is for you!  It’s a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutrition.  A complete protein is very rare to find.  It’s a great source of protein and gluten-free!!  That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what this wonderful grain does for us!

My first and only use thus far has been breakfast.  I used the base recipe from here and topped it with coconut butter, sunflower seeds, blueberries and a dash of agave nectar!

DELICIOUS!!!

Quinoa, along with lentils and oats, are now a part of my staples!

Do you cook with quinoa?  What are your favorite recipes?

 

22 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian

Tempeh Joes

I’m 28 years old.

At the age of 9 when I tasted my first sloppy joe.  And, I still remember the sauce.  Delicious sauce!  I remember seeing the commercials on TV for Manwich sandwiches and see the kids wipe off the red sauce from their mouth with the back of their hand (“I want a Manwich please!”) and wanting my next sloppy joe (and a napkin).

At the age of 13, I had my last sloppy joe.  For no other reason than I moved to high school where sloppy joes were somehow left off the school lunch menu.  And, my Indian mom sure as heck would not be making a sloppy joe at home without adding her own Indian flair to it.  So, in an attempt not to dilute the original, I never requested it.

15 years later…

I bought some tempeh and marinated it in my favorite BBQ sauce.

Ignore the burnt spatula – I love that thing despite what I’ve put it through!

I added it to some sautéed onions, garlic, red and green bell pepper.

And I made my own Tempeh Joes!

And you can’t leave out the slaw (mine was shredded cabbage and carrots quickly warmed in a pan) or the pickle.

I finished and relished every bite!  It brought me back to the cafeteria lunch line, ya’ll – minus the mystery meat, which I discovered at age 15.

Tempeh Joes Recipe

Adapted from here

Ingredients

  • Tempeh, 1 8oz package
  • 1 and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce of your choice*
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  • Crumble the tempeh with your hands or a grater until it resembles ground beef.
  • Marinade the tempeh in 1 cup of the BBQ sauce.  I added 1 tsp of Tabasco for a kick.
  • While the tempeh is marinating, prepare your veggies.
  • Heat non-stick pan over med-high heat.
  • Once heated, add oil and wait to heat over same heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, jalapeno (optional), and saute until soft.
  • Add red and green bell peppers and continue to cook until tender and the onions have browned.
  • Add the tempeh and the BBQ sauce to the veggie mix.
  • Cook until heated and cooked through.
  • *Add the 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and cook until warm.
  • Serve on toasted buns (*snicker*)!

*Note:  I like my Tempeh Joes on the saucy side.  If you do not, then omit the 1/4 cup of BBQ and do not add it at the end.

This was my first experience with tempeh and it definitely won’t be my last!

P.S. I made a killer dressing to the slaw that’s creamy without any dairy!  That post is coming up soon! 🙂

Do you cook with tempeh?  If so, what do you do?  What’s your favorite way to cook it?

16 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Times They Are a-Changin’

I have been eating pretty well recently (both in deliciousness and health).  I have maintained a plant based/centered diet for the past week and a half (at least), and I honestly can say that I feel better!

I feel great about myself that I have stuck to this.  It’s not a diet, it’s not a trend, it’s not a phase.  It’s just a conglomeration of my choices!

If you would have told me a year ago that I would put down my pancakes, bacon and eggs and picked up on of these for breakfast, I would have laughed at you.

Then I would have really gotten a chuckle out of it, if you told me that I would slurp this and call it delicious!

Present me:  It is so so delicious!

Remember when I said eating color is key?  Take a look at my lunch/breakfast prep table:

I am very proud of myself.

I have cut out the mayo addiction, and introduced myself to hummus instead:

I never skimp on the veggies:

And I have discovered the nooch:

And, I have to say, I don’t miss the meat.

Does that mean I passed up the sample of beef with a red wine reduction from Central Market?  Nope!

But, I didn’t buy the ingredients to make at home, and left with some tempeh instead.  Simply Shaka has some fabulous meal ideas for tempeh that I’m wanting to try out!

I have to say that it took me a while to figure out that there is no magic cure for my health/weight issues.  It’s a day by day lifestyle change that comes from me wanting to and not just because it’s in a program.

And, my way is much more worth it!

Happy eating!

Side note/question:  This weekend I’ll be making some delicious Indian food, including naan, daal makhani and vegan kheer.  Anything you want me to try out?  I have space for one more dish and I am willing to take reader requests for recipes!

19 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Health, Life, Lunch, Vegan, Vegetarian

What Weekend?

This is a gripe-y post.  Brace yourselves.

I have no time to myself.

Like none.

I work 60 hours per week on average.  When I get home from work, my time is spent preparing dinner, eating it, watching thirty minutes of TV, cleaning up the kitchen, some form of exercise on some days (walking, running, DVD exercises, yoga), taking care of my puppy (feedings, walking, playing) and then it’s time for bed, which includes preparation thereof (showering, brushing and flossing teeth, lotion-izing).

I used to look forward to the weekends.

Two full days of nothing but “me” time.  Before recently, on weekends, I used to go shopping, grocery shop, get manis/pedis, watch TV, which includes ANYTHING I wanted, including (but not limited to) The Notebook, Love Actually and Moulin Rouge!

Holy moly has this changed.

 

Namely – the parents have invaded. Here is the transcript of my conversation with my MIL (around 12:15 p.m. yesterday):

MIL:    Hi!  What are you doing?

ME:     I’m at the office working.  What are you doing?

MIL:    Oh, we just got out of church and wanted to come see you.

ME:     Sure, what time?

MIL:    We can come over to your house now.

ME:     Oh, no, I can’t right now.  I’m working at the office.  I won’t get out of here until 3 or 4.

MIL:    Oh okay.  Well, we can head over to the house and meet you there.  (They live 30 minutes away.)

ME:     No, I can’t leave right now because I have a lot of work.  I won’t be home until 3 or 4.

MIL:    That’s okay.  We have a copy of the key.  We can just let ourselves in and wait for you.

::crickets::

This is my life people.

I love both sets of parents tremendously.  But, I am getting worn thin.

So, between all this – I relish this following time alone: breakfast.  During the weekdays, Binks takes the puppy for a walk in the morning and I get a full 30 minutes to get creative.  And, have I been getting creative!

Remember the potato-luv post?!  I had extra sweet potatoes to use up.  And, did I ever!

So, please tell me – do you ever deal with this?  Do you find yourself being pulled in all different directions?  How do you cope?  Am I just being a baby?

9 Comments

Filed under Breakfast

Where’s the Beef?

The first meal Binks and I cooked/made/prepared together was tacos!  Binks has this secret delicious taco seasoning that I just might have to pry from his grubby taco making hands!  He uses the packet (which I do not prefer), but there are some additions that make the tacos out of this freaking world.

Now, tacos are a regular for our dinners and leftovers for lunch.

Meet Binks’ tacos:

Notice anything different?

Meet mine:

Have you spotted it yet?

Let me strip this taco down to the bare essentials:

These aren’t just your ordinary tacos, my friend.  Meet The Lentil Taco!

I first made these for a Taco Night gathering where I had a couple of vegetarian friends coming for dinner.  I didn’t feel like I should just let them eat tortilla and sides so I concocted my version of a lentil taco.  At that dinner, I fell in love and I have never made beef tacos since.  So did many of the non-veg friends.  Binks, with his secret recipe, still requests these over beef. 

Yep, it’s that good.

Now, these don’t use taco seasoning but next time I make this, I’ll get the lentils ready and have Binks use his seasoning and see how that turns out.  I’ll keep you posted.

Vegan Lentil Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (you can omit this if you do not want that much heat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 4 tsp chili powder (please note this is different from cayenne powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano

Directions

  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  A non-stick works perfectly for this.
  • Add olive oil and heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, jalapeno.  Saute until tender and soft – about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, oregano and lentils.
  • Saute for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell of the spices goes away.
  • Add the bouillon cube, water, and juice from 1/2 a lime, and stir to incorporate with the mixture.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover and let the mix simmer for about 25 minutes.  You want the lentils to be tender but not mushy.I leave the lentils alone for the full 25 minutes and prepare my sides while this is cooking.
  • Once tender, uncover and mash some of the lentils with the back of a spoon.  I leave some lentils whole because I like the texture.  Mash to your liking!
  • Cook uncovered for another 5-8 minutes.
  • Serve into taco shells, tortillas or over a salad!

Enjoy!

Happy Friday everyone!

14 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Favorites, Vegan

Hot Potato

In the land of potatoes, I always thought the sweet potato was the cool girl at school.  The pretty sweet one that dates the athletic russet type.  All the scrawny fingerlings want to date her.  The red/yellow potato girls want to be her.

It makes sense in my head.

But, I also live in the land of potatoes obviously.

In the land of humans, I always considered sweet potatoes so sweet that it was pretty much dessert.  And yesterday, I was craving dessert.  A sweet potato bake, perhaps?  Stat!

First you roast, cool and peel:

Mash and add your favorite milk. 

Spice it up and pour into ramekins for the bake.

And then bring it on home with a sprinkle of the good stuff – turbinado!

Broil and enjoy!

Quick Vegan Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled*
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp turbinado sugar**
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top.

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Mash the roasted and peeled sweet potato to until fairly smooth.
  • Add lemon juice and mash.
  • Add milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, turbinado sugar.  Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Separate between ramekins.  Place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the sweet potato mash seems set and does not jiggle too much.  🙂
  • Remove from oven.
  • Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
  • Broil on top rack of oven for approximately 5 minutes until the sugar has caramelized.
  • Enjoy carefully as everything will be SUPER hot!

Notes:

* Some may not like all the stringy parts of the sweet potato.  You can always use a sieve to remove the stringy parts.  As for me, I don’t mind it.  So, I left it all in.  After it was baked especially, it didn’t bother me in the least.

** I used turbinado sugar.  You can use white sugar.  Make sure you pay attention to the sweetness as turbinado is less sweet than the white granulated.  Also, my sweet potato bake wasn’t SUPER sweet.  In fact, I prefer it that way.  Adjust the sugar to your liking.  As the mix is vegan, taste along the way to see if it’s sweet enough for you.

12 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized, Vegan

I Run This

Yesterday, at the end of my one-hour consultation with a potential client, wherein I told him I will review his case and get back to him, the potential client asks, “Will you get Mr. Binks to help you review my claim or is it just you?

I sat there for about a solid minute staring back at him in disbelief.  There were so many things wrong with that sentence, I took some time to process.

I could share my resume with you.  I won’t.  I’m qualified.

I worked my butt off in law school, had several internships, and worked for a mega firm until I decided to go solo.  I have experience, the know-how and the skills to get the job done.  I should make a commercial.

Despite the fact that I know this about myself, one small-minded client really shook me.

If he only knew.

If he only knew the work I put into this, and the many hats I wear everyday.  I’m an attorney, paralegal, administrative assistant, receptionist, counselor, file clerk, book-keeper, office manager and partner rolled into one – just at the office.

I Run This.

I maintained calm, and responded knowing what is truer than any assumption he could ever make of me:

Yes, just me.

🙂

 

“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

13 Comments

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The Incredible.

I love eggs.

In a sandwich, over easy, scrambled, in a cookie, in a cake, for breakfast, for dinner…I think you get the picture.

Until about a year ago, I was buying the eggs you get in a carton for $1.19-$1.50.  I would get the cheapest carton and not look back.

Binks, when he would go grocery shopping with me, would repeatedly say, you should buy the ‘better’ eggs.  The ‘better’ eggs were $4.00-$7.00 per carton.  I wasn’t having it.

He would say this repeatedly until one day…

…one day he said, “You know you should really buy the ‘better’ eggs.  It’s healthier for us.

I said in response, “Okay, I’ll buy the ‘better’ eggs for us, but will use the ‘regular’ eggs for when I bake or when it’s not the main part of a meal.

Binks said, “You should think about what the chicken had to go through to give you that egg.  Is it worth it?

I was speechless.  And, just like that – something clicked.

Mind you – I knew about the plight of most chickens in this country – whether it be chickens used for chicken or eggs.  It’s devastating and inhumane.  Yet, despite knowing, I was able to turn my back on buying ‘regular’ eggs just to save a few dollars.  I just didn’t make the connection between my food choices and it’s effect on a much bigger and growing problem.

Most chickens in the United States never see the light of day.  They are stacked one on top in an area surrounded by their own feces.  The abuse that these poor animals go through is unnecessary at the very least.

Please noteI’m not a vegetarian, and while I try to reduce my intake of meat and meat-related products, I do know that being a meat-eater does not excuse me from being responsible for other members of my planet and to make right decisions when it comes to my meals.

Now, whether it be sunny side up, scrambled, hard-boiled, or in a cookie (again, you get it), I will make sure that the eggs come from a chicken that lived like a chicken should – outside, eating grass, had room to run around, and were humanely treated.

My free-range, grass-fed, room-to-run Egg-In-The Basket

This is the first time I made an ‘egg in the basket’!  And, I have to say – it’s a keeper.

What about you?  How much importance do you place on where your food comes from?  What changes have you made for yourself with regard to food choices?

19 Comments

Filed under Breakfast

Stylish Blog Awards!

Two fabulous bloggers, Rachel @ The Avid Appetite and Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean awarded me with a Stylish Blog Award!

Can I just say – this totally made my week/month!  Thank you both so so much!  I started this blog thinking no one would care and in a few months, I already feel welcomed into a network of wonderful people!

So, the rules are simple and you have to pay it forward – how fun!

The Rules:

1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2.  Share 8 things about yourself.
3.  Forward it to 8 recently discovered bloggers.
4.  Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award.
____________________________________________________________________________________________
1.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to both Rachel and Lindsay for the vote!  I read your blogs everyday!  Rachel has awesome recipes, like her new baked potato chips recipe, which I will try for sure (as I have one potato left that has no recipe planned for it).  She is well-traveled foodie who loves to share her delicious experiences with you!  Lindsay – this girl can cook!  And does she have the recipes to prove it!  Her baked mini donuts are on my to-do list (as soon as I find a donut pan).  Lindsay is also a girl after my own heart – an animal lover with an adorable furry family!
2.  Eight things about me:
a.     I believe in the Trinity: Lip balm, lotion, water.  No matter where I am (office, home, running errands), I must have the previous three within arm’s reach.  It used to be a serious problem, as proclaimed by Binks, but I think it’s just a healthy and hydrated lifestyle!
b.     I dine at Sam’s/Costco.  Yes, the samples.  Yes, I come just for the samples.  Yes, Saturday afternoon.  Yes, it’s delicious.  Yes, I’m ashamed.
c.     I am an attorney. And, I love love love my job.  Most people bash attorneys for this that and the other.  While, I run into Mr. This, A-Hole That and others, I pride myself on being myself at work – fair, professional and honest!  I should make a commercial.
d.     I believe in equality in lotion application.  While I cannot believe I’m admitting this, let me explain.  I apply lotion all over my body everyday after a shower.  I do it like so:  I mentally split my body down the middle in two symmetrical parts.  I put equal amounts of lotion on each hand, and apply to each body part on both halves of my body to ensure that no knee is left unturned and subject to unequal ashy-ness exposure.
e.     I love fur.  The alive kind, not the dead.  If I had a lot of money, I would open up a dog farm to house dogs that are abandoned, injured and need a good home.  I hate seeing news stories of puppy mills, dog fights, and just general abuse.  It breaks my heart that people cannot see how animals have emotions and are worthy of love and respect.
f.     I love to bake.  While I love to cook a good meal, nothing gives me more pleasure than baking!  Something about the art and science of baking just agrees with me, and generally makes me happy.  Now, I hope to find healthier ways to bake, and share it with you!
g.    I don’t like color anywhere but my food.  I love black, grey, tan, ivory.  I don’t like white.  I could (and sometimes do) wear black all the time to everywhere (except certain jeans, of course).  I wanted a black car, but due to my inability to keep it clean, Binks and I settled (after serious and lengthy discussion) on a charcoal gray.  My next car will be black – I have been promised.  I am currently planning my house to have all shades of tan and ivory.  My family is trying to show me the light color.  I need to gather myself.
h.     I love; therefore I am.  I believe that everyone exudes an energy that affects everyone and everything around them.  So, if you give love, you will receive love, whether it be instantly or in the future.  I think what we put out is what we get in return.  So, I decide to put forward positive thinking and attitudes for other people and I think whether it be today or the next, I will reap what I sow.
3.  Recently discovered bloggers:
a.  Beth’s Journey to Thin – You have to read her story – it’s amazing.  She is the final motivator that made me start blogging.  She has great tips on how to start running and I visit her running story often to get and keep motivated!
b.  Mile 26 and MoreHeather is a machine.  She’s has a husband, baby, two dogs, a full-time job and finds time to be a fitness instructor.  She makes healthy living a family motto!
c.  Fancy This Fancy ThatAmeena is on my blog roll but I had to give her another shout out.  She has a fantastic blog about finding and maintaining the right balance in life.  She offers a genuine view into her life as a writer, wife, mother, foodie and much much more.
d.  Simply Shaka – Hilarious and a great read!  I have to say one of my favorite blogs to read!  You cannot miss her Frugal Fridays posts either, where she offers you real doable ways to save money on things you love.
e.  The Cookie Battle – You gotta love a girl who loves cookies!  Stephanie offers you a look into her daily life full of recipes, exercise tips and how to lead a general healthy lifestyle!  Did I mention bakes awesome cookies?
f.  Purple Bird BlogChristin makes my breakfast look lame.  I mean her ice cream oat bran sorta blew my mind!  And can it get better that she lives in what I think is the best city in Texas – ATX baby!!
g.  Simply Scratch – Beautiful pictures and well-written.  She makes everything look easy!  Simply Scratch offers you simple methods for preparing your favorite foods and the most basic foods, i.e. how to hard boil an egg, the most delicious looking fried egg sandwich, and more.
h.  Left Coast ContessaKatherine is a law student and a foodie!  She travels all around Los Angeles to give you her reviews of local L.A. restaurants and fun things to do in L.A.  She recently made a quiche that I’ve bookmarked to try!
Thanks for reading and thank you again Rachel and Lindsay for the shout-out!
🙂

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First Day – New House – Happy Me!

To be honest, every moment from the day of acceptance to the day of closing to the day of packing to moving in the snow (Texas snow), I was nervous – I think sometimes more nervous than happy.  I had so many questions/doubts going through my mind.  Namely, my doubts involved whether I could take care of a house and whether I was ‘grown-up’ enough to take care of potential serious problems with a house (leaks, bugs (yes, bugs are serious), repairs, etc.)

To date (well, yester-date), I have been fortunate to live in either my parents’ house or an apartment, which allowed me to be free of any maintenance worries!  Now, the responsibility fell on me (and Binks), and I have to say it was daunting.

Then, came my first night in the house.  I am in love.  It’s beautiful and I’m happy.  I cannot believe that I’m officially a home-owner and it means more than I thought it would.

So, this morning I woke up thinking about the perfect breakfast to make to break-in my new kitchen.  What else but Old Faithful:

Oatmeal (for 2):

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Toppings:

  • Coconut, shredded, unsweetened
  • Raspberry preserves
  • Almonds, raw

A perfect meal in my perfect house.

🙂

10 Comments

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