Not Succumbing to Monday Blues + Curry Roasted Veggies over Garlicky Polenta Recipe!

After a rough end to what was a beautiful weekend, and a rough start to my morning, my Monday is finally looking up as my work day slowly but surely draws to a close.

I won’t go into detail about the situation surrounding why I came into my office with cry-eyes to put any drunk girl at a college party to shame, but I will go into detail about why my weekend was so truly wonderful, and of course my Sunday dinner recipe from last night!

My best friends are twins, and one of them moved to North Carolina two  years ago, and we only get to see her every few months. We have been inseparable since we were 8 years old, have grown up together, spent every waking moment hanging out, adventuring, crying over boys and family issues, been through just about everything together, so only being able to see J once in a while still feels unnatural after we’ve been a trio attached at the hip for so long.

Well, I was in Syracuse visiting V, and Jaclyn surprised us by flying in on Friday night to spend a few days with us! We had a reunion full of screams and crying noises, and spent the weekend being completely ridiculous together.

It was this simple silliness with one another that we had been craving. Not some big adventure or lofty talks or endless hugs and tears…just jabbering, laughing, being with each other. Nothing felt different, we were able to instantly be who we are without reservations like we hadn’t all moved from home and began new lives.

It reminded me once again how lucky I am to have such a strong best friendship with not one, but two incredible girls I love so damn much.

On Sunday, I came home disgusting from a lack of showers and from forgetting my toothbrush over the weekend (sorry mom!) and on the verge of tears from hearing devastating news that morning. My sweet boyfriend just hugged me and let me cry and be still for a few moments before I got myself together, skipped my run (which I NEVER do on days I have them penciled in) and cooked a much-needed meal. We ate my delicious (if I do say so myself…) creation, talked about our weekends, and walked to the Red Fern for some coconut milk ice cream to cheer me up.

It was just what I needed. Today, when I was sad at work, my friends here were so good to me as well and snapped me out of my Monday/Sunday blues. It makes me proud that I spend time making true friends. Though at times it may feel lonely not constantly having people around me now that I’m away from home, it is worth it when real friendships blossom, and when the ones that already have roots keep me grounded no matter what.

Curry Roasted Veggies over Garlicky Polenta

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

GARLICKY POLENTA

  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. earth balance vegan butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

CURRY ROASTED VEGGIES

  • 1/4 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 large pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into medallions
  • 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring 1 cup veggie broth and 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in polenta and cook until it begins to thicken. Turn heat on low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until polenta is tender. Check polenta every 5 minutes or so to stir and add remaining 1/2 cup of veggie broth as needed. Once you are stirring in the last bit of broth, add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and earth balance. Stir until it’s incorporated and silky.

While the polenta cooks, preheat oven to 420. In a large bowl, add coconut oil, curry, tumeric, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk. Add the chopped veggies and use your hands to completely coat them in the oil/spice mixture. Pour mixture on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are crispy and middles are tender. Serve over the polenta and enjoy!

The Beauty of Wine and Women

Last night, I went to my new friend’s house where she was throwing a girl’s night for some of the women on the production floor.

I met up with my other friend who happens to live right next door and we walked, wine in hand, to girl’s night chatting about everything under the sun with the giddy excitement that comes from girls just being girls together.

When we arrived, G’s coffee table was bursting with hummus and pita chips, salsa and tortilla chips, carrots, crackers, cheese and of course, lots of vino! Right away we sat around the table, poured each other wine in palm tree cups you’d find at a collector’s yard sale, snacked and got to the nitty gritty talks that come with new friendships.

We talked sex, drugs, food, body image, types of people, the ones we hate at work, the ones we love at work, everything. Inevitably, the conversation broke off into small groups, but it always came back to everyone, and everyone could contribute something to each topic we discussed.

As much as I hate growing older, I truly love being an adult woman. I now know who I am, am comfortable and open when I talk about most aspects of my past and how I came to be who I am, and I am now educated enough to truly be confident in my opinions and outlooks. The best thing about this girl’s night with new friends is that we are all grown women who all seem to know who we are and are confident and comfortable with ourselves.

It was truly beautiful, us gathered around, wine in hands, speaking passionately or giggling uncontrollably. I not only learned about when everyone lost their virginity, what they love about guys and what they hate about guys, I learned who they are, which is something I am very proud of about my generation of women and who I surround myself with. We speak from the heart, aren’t afraid to share our thoughts, and truly love being engaged in conversation from the minute details of a day, to what the meaning of “love” is.

It’s incredible, and I am so excited to begin beautiful friendships with the lovely ladies I now spend more time with.

Weekend Bliss

What a relaxing weekend filled with things that I love it was!

I’m back in the office right now, since it is Monday after all, and feel a lot better than when I was getting ready for work. I tend to get a little jittery and anxious about coming into work every Monday just thinking about the voicemails and scripts to be written and emails to answer, etc. but I was pleasantly surprised today when I had no voicemails and only a handful of emails to get through AND I’m caught up on the scripts I have to write…so far. So, before it hits 9 and the work day really gets buzzing, I’m going to reflect on my weekend filled with good friends, good food, quality runs, too many drinks, and lots of love.

Friday: After work, where we got out an hour early for having a stellar week, me and my friends went to happy hour at Acme where Collin met up with us and destressed, talked music and movies and had 2 for one drinks. Then a group of us traipsed to the Red Fern for their 1st birthday celebration where they had discounted meals and free mini brownies! We sat outside and talked, laughed, thoughtfully discussed, and goofed around. Everyone got to meet Collin and I finally felt completely like myself with my new friends. Afterwards, Col and I vegged out and fell asleep early instead of hitting the town and it was so worth it.

Saturday: My sister was supposed to visit, but she got kidney stones and couldn’t, so I had to change my plans and kept myself pleasantly busy all day! I went on not one, but two awesome sunny runs, cross-stitched my ass off since I haven’t had much time for it, discovered the Mindy Project thanks to my friend Beccah, and cooked a lot. I made a spaghetti squash lasagna with eggplant, zucchini, and homemade almond rosemary ricotta style vegan cheese! It was so delicious! The cheese made the meal! I swear this shit is better than regular ricotta. It’s nutty (duh), rich, savory and a bit sweet. Pictures are of the cheese ingredients and finished product. Col and I ended up going out with some of our friends to our favorite bars and though I had fun, I drank too much and had to call it an early night. I think I’ll lay off the vodka tonics for a while…

Sunday: Since Col had to work all weekend, I had a lot of alone time, which I needed. The week is so full I never get to just be with myself and this weekend I was able to. Even though I spent Sunday pretty hungover, I am not the kind to sit around. So, after a few hours in the morning of breakfast, coffee, cross-stitch, and Mindy on Hulu, I got ingredients for juices and berry crumble I promised Collin (pictured below), and went for a run to sweat it out. I cleaned the house, got rid of old mail and stupid junk, made an amazing post-run salad (pictured below), made us slow cooker curry, took a nap, and stretch A LOT. All in all, it ended up being a great end to my weekend.

Ricotta Ingedients!

Ricotta Ingedients!

Lasagna with almond ricotta cheese!

Lasagna with almond ricotta cheese!

photo (3)

Vegan Blueberry Crisp!

Vegan Blueberry Crisp!

Quinoa Hummus Spinach Salad Recipe

I get bored easily.

I know a lot of people say this, and I’m sure they’re right, but I can almost 100% guarantee I get bored of things faster than most of the people that say this.

If I have the same breakfast two days in a row, I’ll feel like my life is going down the drain.

Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but I do take “variety is the spice of life” very literally, and like to fill my life with new things, whether it’s recipes, activities, workouts, whatever. I’ve been trying really hard to satisfy my cravings for variety when I pack my lunch for work everyday. Though I do like to have something different each day, with my favorite things on a pretty steady rotation, I ALWAYS make sure to have some component of my meal have plenty of veggies!

Recently, I’ve been getting sick of my usual huge salad with tahini or veggies and hummus with a veggie sandwich. So, I did a little research, got inspired by mason jar salads, and decided to come up with my own little recipe. I wanted something hearty that would keep me full for a few hours, but also light and, like I said, with plenty of veg power. I had quinoa on hand, so I based my salad off of it and used other veggies I usually find in my fridge and some hummus and voila! A cute, little jar of some of my favorite things!

INGREDIENTS(PER JAR):

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. hummus
  • 1/4 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 a small bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed spinach
  • drizzle of lemon juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a pinch crushed red pepper flakes

In a 16 oz. mason jar, layer hummus, then chopped veggies, then quinoa. Drizzle the olive oil, and add spices. Top with spinach and drizzle lemon over it. That’s it! I made enough quinoa for two batches (two days worth of lunches…two of the same lunches. I never do that, but I need to learn to accept some consistency and if it’s something I enjoy, why not!), so you can double this recipe or triple it or make a whole week of them if you wish! 

Quinoa Hummus Spinach Salad Recipe

I get bored easily.

I know a lot of people say this, and I’m sure they’re right, but I can almost 100% guarantee I get bored of things faster than most of the people that say this.

If I have the same breakfast two days in a row, I’ll feel like my life is going down the drain.

Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but I do take “variety is the spice of life” very literally, and like to fill my life with new things, whether it’s recipes, activities, workouts, whatever. I’ve been trying really hard to satisfy my cravings for variety when I pack my lunch for work everyday. Though I do like to have something different each day, with my favorite things on a pretty steady rotation, I ALWAYS make sure to have some component of my meal have plenty of veggies!

Recently, I’ve been getting sick of my usual huge salad with tahini or veggies and hummus with a veggie sandwich. So, I did a little research, got inspired by mason jar salads, and decided to come up with my own little recipe. I wanted something hearty that would keep me full for a few hours, but also light and, like I said, with plenty of veg power. I had quinoa on hand, so I based my salad off of it and used other veggies I usually find in my fridge and some hummus and voila! A cute, little jar of some of my favorite things!

INGREDIENTS(PER JAR):

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp. hummus
  • 1/4 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 a small bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed spinach
  • drizzle of lemon juice
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a pinch crushed red pepper flakes

In a 16 oz. mason jar, layer hummus, then chopped veggies, then quinoa. Drizzle the olive oil, and add spices. Top with spinach and drizzle lemon over it. That’s it! I made enough quinoa for two batches (two days worth of lunches…two of the same lunches. I never do that, but I need to learn to accept some consistency and if it’s something I enjoy, why not!), so you can double this recipe or triple it or make a whole week of them if you wish! 

Carrot-Orange-Ginger Juice!

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who “juices.” I even asked my mom for a juicer for my birthday back in june, bought a TON of kale and various fruits and other veggies to juice and got to it!

Well, my juicer broke after two uses, I prematurely stuck a stalk of rhubarb in the stupid thing and not only did the pulp and juice fly everywhere (including my hair and my eyeballs), my juicer just shut down.

I had not only decided that juicing isn’t worth the mess, but that I would never invest in another juicer AGAIN.

…until my mom found a gem of a juicer at a yard sale for 2 friggin dollars! I decided to give it another go, and what do ya know, this juicer works like a dream, is much easier to clean, and like I said was 2 FRIGGIN DOLLARS compared to the 60 bucks I (my mom) dropped on my last “top-quality” juicer.

I decided to go for a zesty zinger as my first juice and it came out totally remarkable! I’m not that into carrots like I had previously mentioned in my carrot cake smoothie post, but I want to be into them, so I keep buying them to use in different things. The orange and ginger combine perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the carrot and the result is a sweet—but not too sweet, and tangy—but not too tangy elixir that fills me up inbetween meals, invigorates me, and is chock full of nutrients and vitamin C!

I think this is a juicing beginner’s best shot at a successful first dive into the world of juicing!

P.S. I HIGHLY suggest using all organic ingredients when you are juicing, since you are getting purely the juice from the produce, which would mean an abundance of concentrated chemicals if not organic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bag organic carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 3 inch stalk of ginger, peeled

Place a large bowl underneath the spout of your juicer, or a measuring cup. (I like to use a bowl to better incorporate my ingredients before I portion them into jars) Juice all of the carrots first, one at a time. Next, juice the oranges in the same way, then the ginger. Once everything is juiced, give it a good mix in the bowl or measuring cup and portion it into two, 16 oz. jars (at least that’s how I portioned it…if you want the whole thing right away, go for it!) I also saved the pulp from the carrots after I was done juicing them and made oatmeal carrot muffins, but you can toss all of the pulp if you wish.

Carrot-Orange-Ginger Juice!

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who “juices.” I even asked my mom for a juicer for my birthday back in june, bought a TON of kale and various fruits and other veggies to juice and got to it!

Well, my juicer broke after two uses, I prematurely stuck a stalk of rhubarb in the stupid thing and not only did the pulp and juice fly everywhere (including my hair and my eyeballs), my juicer just shut down.

I had not only decided that juicing isn’t worth the mess, but that I would never invest in another juicer AGAIN.

…until my mom found a gem of a juicer at a yard sale for 2 friggin dollars! I decided to give it another go, and what do ya know, this juicer works like a dream, is much easier to clean, and like I said was 2 FRIGGIN DOLLARS compared to the 60 bucks I (my mom) dropped on my last “top-quality” juicer.

I decided to go for a zesty zinger as my first juice and it came out totally remarkable! I’m not that into carrots like I had previously mentioned in my carrot cake smoothie post, but I want to be into them, so I keep buying them to use in different things. The orange and ginger combine perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the carrot and the result is a sweet—but not too sweet, and tangy—but not too tangy elixir that fills me up inbetween meals, invigorates me, and is chock full of nutrients and vitamin C!

I think this is a juicing beginner’s best shot at a successful first dive into the world of juicing!

P.S. I HIGHLY suggest using all organic ingredients when you are juicing, since you are getting purely the juice from the produce, which would mean an abundance of concentrated chemicals if not organic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bag organic carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 3 inch stalk of ginger, peeled

Place a large bowl underneath the spout of your juicer, or a measuring cup. (I like to use a bowl to better incorporate my ingredients before I portion them into jars) Juice all of the carrots first, one at a time. Next, juice the oranges in the same way, then the ginger. Once everything is juiced, give it a good mix in the bowl or measuring cup and portion it into two, 16 oz. jars (at least that’s how I portioned it…if you want the whole thing right away, go for it!) I also saved the pulp from the carrots after I was done juicing them and made oatmeal carrot muffins, but you can toss all of the pulp if you wish.