I’m not dead.

I’m not sure if anyone truly cares or actually “keeps up” with my blog, but for those of you that do (whaddup, mom!) you may have noticed I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus.

The reason is threefold.

  1. My phone does NOT take pictures anymore! Ok, that’s kind of a lie, but it only saves about 5 pics at a time, then says I have no room left on my phone when I know for a fact I have plenty. You see, I am not an app person, I barely have any music on my phone, and I literally have 3 pictures saved to it. Sadly, I think this old fashioned gal needs a new phone. ANYWAY, I’ve been really wanting to up my blogging game, so in lieu of my phone’s demise, I bought a fancy shmancy camera to take food (and life…but mostly food) pictures with wooo!
  2. With this focus on upping my blogging game, I’ve decided to either revamp or completely start my blog from scratch. I’ve recently made some pretty significant life changes and I really want my blog to be something that reflects that. Although my past issues surrounding food and body image have definitely shaped who I am both as a person and a cook, I’m not sure I want it to be a part of my blogging life anymore. PLUS, with a fancy new camera, I GOTTA have a fancy new blog, right? We’ll see…
  3. What is this life change I’m speaking of?? Well, yesterday I put in my two weeks at my oppressive corporate job and landed a position as an Assistant Pastry Chef! Though I am not a baker at heart and prefer cooking stove top, I’ve always wanted to learn the art and now I have the opportunity. Unfortunately, the bakery I will be working at is not vegan, but I am so stoked to vegan-ize the recipes and craft I learn to take my cooking game up a notch.

While writing has always been and always will remain one of my life’s passions, writing for a marketing company 9-5 under florescent lights in a cubicle pretty much sucked all of my creativity and love for my craft dry. The office life has never been for me, and I’ve been wanting to delve into the world of cooking professionally for a while now and finally found the guts to change my life for the better.

Yes, I will be taking a pay cut.

Yes, my hours start at 4 in the morning.

Yes, I will most likely have to work weekends.

But money means shit to me, I am an early bird, and weekends are just days in a week…that’s it.

And although I have to work the next 14 days straight between finishing out my old job and training for my new one, I am elated.

While this year has been one filled with tremendous happiness, I have found myself crying simply from the thought of going to work. I have had countless “is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?!” thoughts and feelings of general oppression just from realizing I have to work for the rest of my life… that we all do.

If I had it my way, I would spend my days exploring the world, helping animals, cooking beautiful meals for the people I love, and living off the land.

Maybe someday this will be a reality, but for now, I just have to try and shape my life into its best self.

This took some evaluating and some risk, but I am confident it will pay off.

Overnight Oats Two Ways!

HELLO BEAUTIFUL BLOGGERS!

As you can probably tell, I’ve had a bit of a creative lapse and have not been cooking nearly enough exciting, let alone new, dishes.

I’ve been quite content (obsessed) lately with just jasmine rice, stir fried veggies, and chickpeas. Legit that’s what I’ve been making myself about 4 days a week and for lunches to take to work.

We all know I love Asian food, but c’mon tastebuds, I don’t want to get boring now!

I decided that since I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to lunch/dinner, I’d post a breakfast recipe!

While I love breakfast, I’ll always be a devoted dinner junkie 4 lyfe so this is a rare post, people!

My boyfriend just got a new job as a Horticulturist and has to be to work at 6 AM every day, which makes for an even groggier, spacier boy than his usual absent-minded self. Since he now has to think about eating breakfast and make sure he eats enough, he asked me to teach him how to make overnight oats, one of my favorite weekday breakfasts.

I whipped some up last night for the both of us. I have been craving cinnamon rolls, so I made a cinnamon raisin concoction for myself, while I made an almond variety for Collin. Both have blueberries though, seeing as our CSA share is giving us hella good summer fruit.

While I used steel cut oats, since that is all I had on hand, this recipe is obviously just as good (or even better…I’m a classic old fashioned rolled oats girl myself) with regular rolled oats. With steel cut, I do recommend the extra step of microwaving it to partly cook the oats to ensure they are deliciously soft in the AM.

Without further ado, here are two varieties of the pinterest supastar: Overnight Oats.

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INGREDIENTS:

Base Recipe (Serves 2):

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats, pre cooked for 5 minutes in the microwave with 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • 1 banana, mashed into mixture
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar

Pre cook steel cut oats in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes. Once oats are partly cooked, add all remaining ingredients and mix until combined and just slightly lumpy. You can either gently fold in the blueberries, mash them along with the banana, or omit them all together.

Separate mixture into 2 mason jars.

Blueberry Almond:

  • 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter
  • an extra tbsp. blueberries
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Cinnamon Roll:

  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Top Blueberry Almond jar with almond butter, blueberries and coconut shreds.

Top Cinnamon Roll jar with raisins, cinnamon, and coconut shreds.

These babies can either be enjoyed cold or hot, but I recommend heating them through in the morning. That way you get the melty dates in the center, the gooey almond butter, and the irresistible scent of cinnamon.

Make your morning worthwhile and treat yoself with one of these babies.

Enjoy!

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Lentil Bolognese!

Picture this…

A stormy Friday afternoon…you’re drenched in sweat from a hard run, and make your final dash to the liquor store to pick up a bottle o’ red for a fabulous night in…then you’re stuck in traffic due to a downpour and arrive home HANGRY as hell.

I’d say that calls for some pasta.

I must admit, I am not much of a pasta person and I don’t really enjoy Italian food all that much, aside from the random cravings like the aforementioned one.

I’m a rice girl through and through, and would take a giant bowl of rice and veggies over pasta and sauce any day. But, on an occasion where all you want to do is be cozy, drink wine, and have a huge piece of crusty bread involved in your meal, there’s no denying that the only cure is pasta.

Hence, this lentil bolognese.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 container of mushrooms, diced (any kind will do, but I used baby bellas)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and zucchini, and cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Once the veggies are softened, add the lentils and toss to coat with vegetables. Next, add veggie stock and both cans of tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, simmer over medium heat until lentils are mostly done, but have a little bit. Add the wine, rosemary, and seasonings, and simmer for about 15 minutes more.

Adjust seasonings to taste, add to pasta, and top with fresh basil. Best served with a giant slab of crusty bread with balsamic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

This is a perfect rainy day meal that has the body, texture, and flavor of a “meat and potatoes” type of meal. Plus, it’s pretty damn easy and tastes even better the next day!

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May I present to you….The World’s Best Buddah Bowl

I have an issue.

I want ALL the food when I have a meal.

I don’t just have broccoli, I have broccoli and eggplant and peppers and spinach and kale.

I don’t just have oatmeal with banana, I have oatmeal with banana and blueberries and strawberries and dates and every kind of crunchy topping imaginable.

With this kind of wild imagination and simultaneous desires, it’s no wonder why I’m a huge fan of buddah bowls. It’s basically an excuse to throw everything I love in one bowl and douse it all in a dressing of some kind. And don’t even get me started about the toppings…oh the toppings.

I’ve made asian style, mediterannean style, and mexican style, but this latest asian version is honestly the best concoction I have ever spontaneously thrown together.

I know the recipe may seem involved and there are many steps to creating the bowl, but it’s worth it, and most things can be substituted with whatever you may have on hand!

buddahbowl

INGREDIENTS:

For the Tempeh:

  • 1 package organic tempeh, sliced into strips
  • 1 tbps. hoison sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and add tempeh, making sure the strips are coated completely. Let the flavors make love for at last 15 minutes while you prep the other parts of the bowl.

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce, if you have it on hand
  • 1 thumb grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Whisk ingredients together and set aside to pour over top of entire bowl.

Remaining ingredients:

  • 1/2 package rice noodles, cooked according to instructions
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into medallions
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into medallions
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked in microwave or oven beforehand.

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Bake eggplant, zucchini, and broccoli on a greased or lined cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping every 7 minutes or so. While veggies bake, cook rice noodles and sweet potatoes.

Once the veggies have been baking for about 10 minutes, put tempeh in a baking dish and bake until hot and crispy, about 10 minutes.

Once everything is ready, assemble bowl! Put noodles on bottom, followed by tempeh, sweet potato, veggies, and dressing!

Top with whatever you like, but here is the (DELICIOUS) combo I used.

-Kimchi

-A sheet or two of nori seaweed

-Scallions

-Sesame Seeds

-Sriracha

-Fresh Parsley and Cilantro

This shit is gold, you guys. I promise if you give it a try, you will crave this exact bowl fo eva eva.

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What I Eat in a Day!

Ever since I became a vegan, I have been constantly bombarded with questions about what I eat during a typical day, if I “miss” meat and animal products, and how can I “possibly be satisfied?!”

So, I decided to give a little glimpse into a typical day of eating for me to clear up the misconception that veganism is A. Super expensive, B. Just salad and C. Doesn’t leave you satisfied.

Now, I don’t count calories unless I want to ensure I’m eating ENOUGH food, and even then I just log my calories maybe once a week to see if I’m getting all my nutrients and getting in enough calories to support my daily runs. I eat loads of carbs, meaning vegetables, fruits, grains, starches, and oats, and eat until I’m full and guess what? I am ALWAYS satisfied at the end of the day, and maintain my fitness and physique without starving myself.

I do not crave meat, dairy, eggs, whatever. I crave the nutrients I honor myself with every day and I have never felt more vibrant, light in my body and heart, and energetic, and as an added bonus, since the last time I was training for a half-marathon, my mile times have improved more than they ever have before without the exhaustion that used to always plague me.

Bottom line: veganism RULES and I truly love the food I eat every single day.

P.S. Sorry these pictures are shit, I either was in a rush to eat my food, forgot about taking a picture until I was half way done, or the lighting was bad. But, you get the idea 🙂

BREAKFAST:

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1/3 cup uncooked old fashioned oats, cooked in 2/3 cup rice milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. I topped the oats with 1 sliced banana, 1/2 cup defrosted strawberries and peaches, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. shredded coconut, and 1 tbsp. maple syrup. On the side I had some steamed kale and a cup of green tea.

AM SNACK:

Clif bar before my lunch break 4 mile run

                                               Clif bar before my lunch break 4 mile run

LUNCH:

Big bowl of leftover vegetable noodle soup and a 1/2 sandwich with frozen grilled veggies, avocado, grainy mustard, and spinach on a huge piece of french peasant bread.

Big bowl of leftover vegetable noodle soup and a 1/2 sandwich with frozen grilled veggies, avocado, grainy mustard, and spinach on a huge piece of french peasant bread.

PM SNACK:

1 pear (I like my fruit super ripe hehe) and 20 almonds or so (I ate some before I took this pic).

1 pear (I like my fruit super ripe hehe) and 20 almonds or so (I ate some before I took this pic).

DINNER:

Again, I started to eat my dinner before taking this I was so hungry after work! It's a huge bowl of 1 cup brown rice, 1 small sweet potato, 2 cups roasted broccoli, 1/2 cup roasted chick peas topped with tahini, 4 peppadews, balsamic drizzle, and nurtitional yeast.

Again, I started to eat my dinner before taking this I was so hungry after work! It’s a huge bowl of 1 cup brown rice, 1 small sweet potato, 2 cups roasted broccoli, 1/2 cup roasted chick peas topped with tahini, 4 peppadews, balsamic drizzle, and nurtitional yeast.

DESSERT (KINDA):

I had a square of the best chocolate in the whole world, dark chocolate with coconut shreds alongside a mug of mint tea before bed.

I had a square of the best chocolate in the whole world, dark chocolate with coconut shreds alongside a mug of mint tea before bed.

I hope this gives you guys some ideas about vegan meals or reminds you that this lifestyle is super accessible, is super affordable (I mean, broccoli, rice, beans, oats? Come on, cheapest food staples ever) and most importantly, DELICIOUS!

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Vegetable Udon Curry

Ahh, spring time. The birds are chirping, the daffodils are out, denim jackets are appropriate again, and the world is sighing in relief that winter has finally passed. April is just the best….

NOT.

April in Rochester actually goes a little something like this: “Snow is melting, woo! Wow, I don’t need to wear my big jacket anymore, this is awesome! Shit, it’s raining, well, at least it’s kinda warm? Oh my god the daffodils are up, it must truly be spring! Fuck my life, it’s snowing.”

Yep, it’s snowing here folks, and it’s about 30 degrees. I could cry. I really could.

Being mad at the weather is the worst because you can’t curse at it or punch it in the face, considering it’s not a solid being, and you end up taking out your frustration on whoever is around to take it. This morning I trudged to work in my warmest scarf, winter hat, mittens, and fleece and saw the hopeless anger in the eyes of every person I passed…we just cannot catch a break here.

One thing that does always cheer me up, even when spring seems like a completely lost cause, is a bowl of veggie curry. It’s got to be one of my all time favorite foods. It’s stupidly easy, so flavorful, and warms up every corner of my heart and soul, even when said heart is as cold as the ice on my windshield this morning.

curry

INGREDIENTS:

For the curry sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1 can light (organic) coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. grated ginger

For the dish:

  • 1 package udon noodles, cooked as directed on package
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 head bok choy, chopped
  • 1 package mushrooms of choice, sliced
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over high heat. Add veggies and stir fry until softened, about 5-8 minutes, then add veggie stock. Cook until stock has evaporated 3/4 of the way.

While veggies cook, mix the curry sauce ingredients in a bowl and pour over veggies. Turn heat to medium and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so. 

Serve hot over udon noodles and garnish with sriracha, cilantro, peanuts, bean sprouts, whatever you want.

Whether the weather is bringing you down, you want to enjoy a bowl of something hot on the couch while watching a shitty TV show, or you’re just in the mood for a comforting, spicy pick-me-up, make this curry and I promise you’ll feel better.

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Couscous Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

All hail the sun, blue skies, green grass, and daffodils popping up around every corner!

With a full week of spring weather (almost) officially under our belts, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve turned the corner towards a pleasant season and a bomb ass summer.

While I was pumped to bust out as many soups, roasted root veggies, and piping hot oven dishes as I could when the colder months rolled in, I am happily bypassing the butternut squashes and parsnips at the grocery store, and instead find myself heading straight for anything with color, crunch, and coolness.

To me, seasonal cooking not only connects me more to the food I’m making, it reminds me that I’m a child of the Earth and should stop, drop, and listen to her when she doles out the differing bounties of each season.

Hippie shit aside, I think eating seasonally has become a frighteningly rare occurrence in our culture, and even though obviously I eat bananas, out of season tomatoes, and frozen berries, I appreciate in-season produce so much and try my hardest to revolve my cooking ventures around the natural turn of the planet.

As the weather takes a turn for the better, my fridge is fast becoming a rainbow and my creative culinary juices are flowing once again, HALLELUJAH! To me, summer dishes mean vibrant hues, grilled goods, huge salads, and tons of fresh herbs. I broke the soil of spring with this couscous salad and swear I could taste summer on my spoon.

couscous

INGREDIENTS:

For the Salad:

  • 1.5 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large red swiss chard leaves, including the steams, chopped
  • 4 large kale leaves, stems not included, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 large handful flat leaf parsley, roughly minced
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can afford)
  • 2 tbsp. organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, add couscous and put lid on. All liquid should be dissolved and couscous should be cooked and tender in around 10 minutes.

Put cooked couscous in the fridge and let cool while you prep the rest of the salad. In a steamer pot, steam swiss chard and kale for just a few minutes until leaves are wilted and the chard steams are fork tender. Take out of pot immediately and let cool.

While the couscous and greens cool, make your dressing by mincing the garlic, and putting it in a small bowl with the oil, vinegar, and oregano. Whisk until everything is combined and set aside.

Once couscous has cooled, grate your carrots, dice your cucumber, drain and rinse your chickpeas, chop your parsley, and through everything into a large bowl along with the greens and couscous. Mix thoroughly, pour vinaigrette and pumpkin seeds over salad, sprinkle a generous amount of salt and pepper, and mix again, ensuring that everything is well coated in the dressing.

Serve immediately or let cool in the fridge until it reaches your desired temperature.

I enjoyed this alongside some Asian style BBQ tempeh on my cute little balcony after a long day’s work. Sink your teeth into the season with this salad, folks!

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once again, HALLELUJAH!