My Awesome Lunch: Easy Chick Pea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

I had an awesome lunch today. And it took me all of 15 minutes to make it last night.

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Easy Chick Pea, Cucumber & Tomato Salad

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 English cucumber (quartered and chopped)
  • 1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 a medium red onion (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced or grated)
  • Juice of half a lemon (or a whole lemon depending on how juicy it is)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix, mix, mix and enjoy. You can eat it solo, on a bed of lettuce, in Romaine lettuce cups, or as a side dish! It’s light, fresh and delicious!

Roasty Toasty Weekend (Recipes galore)

It’s HERE!

snow

 

It makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket, get all nice and toasty and read all day, but alas… things called school and work (and cleaning off the car in order to go to school and work) must happen.

And schoolwork went slightly by the wayside this weekend as I roasted and toasted all of this…

food 11.12.13

 

Upper left: Honey Roasted Cranberries and Carrots Upper right: #GF, #DF Buckwheat Waffles with Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Relish on top (tip… I cook my relish for about 10min with some whole berries in it to get it to gel a bit…mmm) Lower left: BBBrownies & PB (recipe coming later) Lower right: Roasted Brocc & Walnuts

And now the recipes! Let’s start with the easy ones (healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated 🙂

Honey Roasted Cranberries and Carrots

  • About a dozen medium carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1.5C fresh cranberries (if you want it sweeter you could use craisins)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic (I know that’s weird, but it’s good I promise)
  • 2 TBSP honey (you can adjust the sweetness by adjusting the honey or adding a little extra sugar
  1. Season
  2. Mix
  3. Roast @400 for ~45min or until the carrots are tender (mix them every once in awhile)

Roasted Brocc & Walnuts (aka mouth candy)

  • 4C Brocc florets
  • 1C Walnuts
  • 1-2TBSP olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  1. Place brocc onto a sheet pan and drizzle with as much or as little olive oil as you’d like
  2. Add seasonings
  3. Roast @350 for 30min
  4. Add walnuts to brocc and mix around
  5. Roast another 15-20min or until brocc is tender and walnuts are toasty… yum

#GF, #DF Buckwheat Waffles (this is a time and time again tested recipe, and I think I’ve finally gotten something GdoubleODgood… and Buckwheat is so good for you!)

  • 2C Buckwheat Flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1TBSP cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, separate the whites into a glass/metal bowl
  • 2TBSP honey
  • 2TBSP coconut oil
  • 1.5tsp vanilla
  • 1C almond milk
  1. Mix dry together
  2. Melt honey (if raw) and coconut oil together
  3. Add honey/coco mix, vanilla, egg yolks and almond milk to dry mix
  4. Whip egg whites into soft peaks
  5. Fold whites into batter
  6. Make waffles!

(NOTE: I use an ice cream disher to measure out my waffle mixture…it’s ~1.5 scoops for each waffle, but that depends on your maker)

Hope you enjoy all of these as much as I am for breakfasy, lunch and dinner this week 🙂

Girl you know it’s true: wine in a jar & almond cookies

First, some #motivationalmonday thoughts… It’s good to be yourself no matter if it pleases everyone or not! I promise it’ll make you happier than trying to be someone you’re not!

shotoftequila

And thinking about being true to yourself made me think about some Milli Vanilli (oh yea)

Second, I’m currently in the process of packing up my life to move back to Pittsburgh and pursue my Master’s Degree. That means all of my dishes are pretty much in a box, so last night this happened…

Image

Not that I’ve never drank out of a jar before, but it’s usually not filled with a classy $7 bottle of wine from the grocery store. 😛 And I also made these scrumdiddlyuptious Coconut Almond Butter Cookies… they’re gluten/sugar free and vegan…make them, eat them, love them!

almond cookies

Coconut Almond Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
1 flaxseed egg (1TBSP milled flaxseed + 3TBSP water)
1C almond butter (I use Maranatha)
1C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp powdered stevia (or other sweetener)
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350

2.) Make flax egg and set aside to coagulate

3.) Mix other ingredients

NOTE: I recommend measuring your almond butter by weighing it rather than trying to get it from the jar it into a measuring cup and then back out into a bowl… you’ll have a mess and waste a lot of almond butter (who wants to do that?!)

4.) Line a baking sheet with parchment

5.) Using a small ice cream scoop or teaspoon, put rounds on cookie sheet

6.) Flatten with a fork making a criss-cross pattern

7.) Bake until golden brown (about 12-15min)

 

Mountain Monday…BYTOM

Before I talk mountains here’s some Monday Motivation for ya from Mia Angelou…she’s so smart! Reminds me of the lovely Powercakes mantra… #betruetoyou We all (men and women but maybe more women than men) need to like ourselves a little more!

angelousuccess

So on Saturday I crossed something off my very extensive bucket list… I climbed a mountain!

Old Rag

Specifically, a great group of friends and I hiked up Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. I realized I don’t get out of the city nearly enough, and that perhaps in another life I was a park ranger (but I probably the girly kind who still painter her finger nails).

It was a BYOTM (bring your own trail mix kind of a day), which I did… a mix of Chex, craisins, almonds, marshmallows, and some cinnamon… but I also made a big pan of my homemade granola bars for the trek…my add-ins were sunflower seeds and craisins this batch.

banana oat bars

I always get asked for the super simple recipe…and I’ve modified the original recipe to be vegan! To make a larger pan its:

  • 1 large mashed banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp stevia (I use dry)
  • 1 TBSP (or more) cinnamon
  • 2-2.5C oats
  • Splash of almond milk (only if things doesn’t seem to be holding together enough)
  • Add-ins (whatever you want!!) I usually add in some protein powder (a mix of rice protein and pea protein so that they are a complete morning grab ‘n go meal)

Mash up bananas, add in vanilla and stevia. Mix oats and cinnamon together (you could add some ground flaxseed in if you want but remember to add a little more liquid). Add wet to dry (including add-ins) and mix. Things should hold together without being wet. If there’s a lot of loose oats add a splash of almond milk. Firmly press into a pan (the larger the pan the thinner the bars) and vice versa. Bake at 350 for 10-12minutes or just until the top is dry to the touch.

What’s your favorite grab and go breakfast? (ps I feel like commenting is confusing on here bc it’s the speech bubble at the beginning of the post! but I want to hear from you)

 

Thankful Thursday: “Ice Cream” edition

So a few Saturdays ago I got the cooking bug, promptly wrote this post, and then somehow forgot about it in the wake of my work week! Today, I’m thankful that everything happens for a reason and that this post was sitting around.

I’m also thankful that the weather is starting to heat up! Maybe (like me) you’re ready for a frozen treat since it’s hitting 90 degrees in DC this week! I’m so thankful for wonderful concoctions like frozen whipped up bananas that make a great ice cream replacement on hot, humid days! (for those of us dairy-free dudes and dudettes out there)

I wish I had a picture for you, but alas all I have is a recipe for a lovely Frozen Banana CocoNUT Pie!

The crust: I’ve been looking for a good gluten-free, dairy-free crust substitute (this one is sugar-free too). I say substitute because, let’s be honest, nothing tastes like a real pie crust without gluten! And if you beg to differ…send me your recipe PLEASE!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 C oats
  • 1 C nuts (I used walnuts, but any nut will do)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP oil/butter (I used coconut oil)…melted
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup or honey OR you could add Stevia/Truvia etc to desired sweetness 🙂
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350* Put oats, nuts, and salt in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Stir melted oil/butter with sweetener of choice (you could also add some vanilla for good measure), and then add to food processor. Pulse a few more times, transfer to pie plate/tin, and press until evenly distributed. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned.

The filling: So simple it’s mind-blowing…

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk (doesn’t matter the fat content)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C shredded coconut (unsweetened if you’re going sugar-free)

Put all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Pour into completely cooled crust. Place assembled pie in the freezer until set. NOTE: You really need to give the pie some time to thaw before you eat it or it will be a little crystalized. So, I say take it out at least 30min before you want to serve and use a knife heated in some hot water to cut into slices. Top with some caramelized bananas perhaps? Coconut whipped cream (oh yea, that’s a real thing…that’s Oh She Glows recipe) or regular whip with some crushed pecans is what we went for… YUM!

 

Thankful Thursday: I might be a hippie edition

I have loads of things to be thankful for today… the beautiful weather, great friends, the fact that summer movies have started up again here in DC! Went to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade al fresco last night…there’s just something about sitting outside in the grass without shoes on that just feels right

nomaAnd, like last Thankful Thursday I’m thankful for my kitchen abilities and adventurousness that might be leading me toward becoming a hippie! Today I got to taste the first batch of home brewed Kombucha my friend Joyce and I have been working on!

kombucha 2

We recycled some GT’s bottles for our own brew

Joyce procured us a very robust SCOBY (we call him Scooby Doo) and we’ve been brewing (or should I say fermenting, which kind of feels like babysitting) for about 2 weeks now. Today was the first day the Kombucha was finally fermented enough to try it out. We made a gingerberry flavor and regular ginger… SWEET SWEET SUCCESS!

Right now you’re either thinking one of two things… Scenario #1: OMG how did you do that I freaking LOVE Kombucha!  Scenario #2: What the heck is Kombucha?

Well, to kill two birds with one stone… Kombucha is simply a fermented tea. A “mother” AKA SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) feeds off of the sugar in a sweet tea base you brew up.

How did we make it? Brew up…

  • 2C hot water
  • 2 TBSP (about 5 tea bags) of any kind of tea
  • 1C Sugar

You take 3/4C of this base and 3 1/4C filtered water (all at room temp) and add it in with your SCOBY (we are doing continuous brewing and it’s super easy!) Save the rest of the base for later in the week. You add on a schedule of 3 days, 3 days, 4 days, until there is enough Kombucha to be bottled. Then, you drain some off into glass containers and add more base/water large mixture. The bottles need to sit for at least a week at room temp to ferment and get fizzy 🙂 which is when you can add your own flavoring…next stop for me is Strawberry!

What the heck is it? Kombucha came from China (altho the word itself most likely comes from the Japanese word for tea), spread to Russia in the early 1900s and then the rest of Western Europe. It’s medicinal properties are highly disputed and WedMD will tell you NOT to home brew because you can brew bacteria, but hey…they’re doctors…they have to say that! Down with the man! <—hippie comment I know!

But the hippies really knew what they were talking about…It’s dang good and (altho it’s disputed) dang good for you and your gut…

kombucha!

What does it do? The claim is that Kombucha has detoxifying properties because of it’s acidity. Our bodies are constantly fighting to maintain homeostasis, which also means maintaining a neutral pH. Since most of the foods we eat are acidic (meat, eggs, dairy, sugar, coffee, most processed foods, fruit, grains, yeast, etc) we should be eating more alkaline based foods (dark leafy greens and veggies) to balance ourselves out.

Kombucha and other forms of probiotics help in this pH neutralization quest because the “good bacteria” in them work with (and not against) the acids in your stomach and react with minerals such as Calcium, Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium in the body tissue and blood, to form alkalies.

Too much acid can be harmful though so 4-8ozs is the RDA (and if you’re supplementing with Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha should replace it for the day).

Ok enough science…

Have you ever tried Kombucha? Have another favorite health drink you swig every day? 

#KitchenLoveAffair (AKA creating Cannellini Ranch Dressing) & #plankadayinMay Challenge

First off…watch tomorrow for some info about #plankadayinMay a challenge to do a plank, any kind each day in May! Sign up through Challenge Loop HERE! I’m working on getting some super sweet prizes for the winners 😉

Second… Happy Monday! Here’s some late afternoon #motivationmonday love…

MM4.29

This quote really holds a dear place in my heart because even though I know I have special skills, I’ve never thought about myself as inherently talented in the sense that I’m not a great athlete or musician…I have no outstanding external talents that make people go ohhhhh ahhhhhh (that’s not a cry for pity… keep reading)

It’s taken me a long time to appreciate all the internal and amazing talents that I DO possess, that everyone possesses! The question is do we use them to benefit the world? Aristotle posits that that’s where we find our vocation (our purpose) and I would argue where we find true, passionate joy. Part of my joy comes from my #kitchenloveaffair

minnie cooking

This past Saturday I spent about 2 hours in my beloved Minnie Mouse apron prepping for the week to come with pretty awesome results! I’ll share the most absurd and highly creative of the recipes now, but I roasted some veggies, made quinoa burgers, pecan sandies cookies, oat bars, kiwi dressing, and…

brocc soupSuper Easy Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 head broccoli (cut into florets)
  • Cheyenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Water to boil broccoli
  • Chicken/veggie broth

Place the broc in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Allow to boil until you can stick a fork through the stems. Remove brocc placing it in a blender with the spices, a few cups of the water you used boil it, and a squeeze of lemon juice. NOTE: you could use broth to blend the soup for added flavor but either way, it tastes super fresh!

In the pic above I stirred some pre-cooked quinoa into the soup to make it a #powerbowl combo of veggies and protein.

I also made the most absurd sounding and amazing recipe I’ve ever created entirely on my own!

                                                                              Cannellini Ranch Dressing

ranchIngredients:

  • 1 can (15oz) cannellini beans, drained and throughly rinsed
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • 1tsp black pepper (more if you want a peppercorn ranch flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4C almond milk (or use regular milk if you’re not #dairyfree)
  • drizzle of EVOO

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times. Then start to drizzle EVOO into the top of food processor until you have the consistency you desire. It’s not exactly like ranch, but it is a darn good substitute for dressing that actually adds protein and healthy carbohydrates to your meal! You’re welcome!

What the craziest thing you’ve ever created in the kitchen? 

And p.s…I also may have spent the vast majority of my Sunday trying to complete this…

#dontjudge

#dontjudge