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Blend!

Posted on July 18, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

So, my parents got me a Nutribullet for my birthday. And because of the time crunch and the fact that it’s warm out, the only things I’ve made with it were my smoothies and one batch of salad dressing. Since I had some time between doing paperwork and chores (yay bill day), I decided to make…something.

Butternut squash popped into my head; there’s a lot of different sauces and soups you can make out of that wonderful gourd. Now, I’m still doing the low carb thing, but I kinda wanted pasta. Luckily Whole Paycheck ( I mean Whole Foods) has pasta made without any grains, so I picked up some red lentil pasta. It’s higher protein, higher fiber, lower carb. That being said, it did get a little mushy while cooking, but it was still pretty good.

While looking for the squash, I decided to add some yellow beets into the dish. I do realize the last few dishes I’ve made have been very yellow, but it’s summer and that’s a bright color.

This dish is very easy (made easier by the Nutribullet, you can still do it without) very healthy, and could in fact be a soup if you don’t want to add the pasta. And, if you wanted it to be vegan, like  a lot of my recipes, just leave off the goat cheese.

Lentil Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Tofu and Yellow Beets

Here’s what to get from the store:

Butternut Squash
Shallot
Tomato
Vegetable Broth
Yellow Beet
Tofu
Lentil Pasta

Butternut Squash Sauce with Yellow Beets and Tofu

1 butternut squash, halved
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 yellow beet, sliced
1/4 block tofu, cubed
Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, red pepper flake
Lemon juice
Balsamic vinegar

  1. Coat the squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool.
  2. Once it is cooled, scoop the squash out. Add it to your blender along with 1/2 of the shallots, 1/2 of the garlic, the tomato, the broth, lemon juice, balsamic and seasonings. Blend. If you have the Nutribullet, put it on it’s heating system so it warms.
  3. In a saute pan, saute the rest of the garlic and onion until fragrant. Add the beets and tofu. Saute until almost cooked through, then add about 1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar and let reduce. Taste to adjust seasoning.
  4. Once your pasta is almost cooked, add some of the sauce to a pan, then add the pasta, stir to coat. Top with the tofu and beet mixture, and goat cheese if you would like.

I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to post next, I have no days off in the foreseeable future. Honestly I’m impressed that I’ve been getting up before work to exercise.  I’m the opposite of a morning person, so that’s really hard for me.

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Man I’m Baked

Posted on July 18, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Side Dishes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Potatoes, that is.

First off, I have to say my birthday was the best. Thanks to everyone who came out, mom, dad, Shawn, Kati, Petra, Brian..and everyone who couldn’t due to price or me wanting to go home early.

My low carb diet had gone so well, I decided to keep it up. (That being said, right after making and eating this, I also ordered Dominos, but, balance, right?)

I had been trying to figure out what to do with the broccoli mom and dad brought, and for some odd reason sweet potatoes came to mind. Granted, if you’ve been reading for a little while, you know my feelings on sweet potatoes. I wanted to do something simple, but yet tasty, and something that had buffalo chickpeas involved (no clue why) So I came up with this dish. It was supposed to be twice baked stuffed sweet potatoes, but I can’t ever get the potatoes out of the oven fast enough before the skin falls apart; so they ended up being baked mashed potatoes.

This dish is super easy, super low carb, super healthy and could be a good side dish for a meal. If you want to make it vegan, all you have to do is leave the goat cheese off, or substitute your favorite vegan cheese.

Baked Mashed Sweet Potato with Buffalo Chickpeas and Goat Cheese

Here’s what to get from the store:

Sweet Potato
Broccoli
Chickpeas
Goat Cheese
Buffalo Sauce

Baked Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Buffalo Chickeaes

1 sweet potato, cut in half
1/2 small head of broccoli, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 can chickpeas, diced
Buffalo Sauce
Salt, pepper, paprika

  1. Coat the potato with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through.
  2. When the potato cools, scoop out the middle, mix in the broccoli, garlic, salt pepper and paprika. Use a potato masher to mix everything together.
  3. Place the mixture in a greased ramekin, or giant muffin tin. Top with the chickepeas and goat cheese. Bake until the goat cheese is starting to brown.

I’m still working a lot, but it’s paying off financially, which is what I wanted. I actually like working; sure I’m exhausted and I barely have time for anything, but I get to meet new people and run around instead of sitting at a desk.

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More Crack a lackin

Posted on July 3, 2017. Filed under: Appitizers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I’ve been working a LOT. Doubles most days, only have had 2 days off in the past month or so. I really haven’t had the time or the energy to make anything more than just my smoothies and salads, and that’s fine, but I’ve been getting the itch to cook.

Today I was supposed to go in for a lunch shift, but while I was on the train, the manager called me off, so I came back home. Now I don’t have to be there until about 2:30. I didn’t want to nap because I knew I’d be more groggy, so spinach crackers came into my mind.

Now, about a week ago, I decided no more processed or non fruit and vegetable carbs until my birthday. So, basically no bread, pasta, grains, crackers, chips, ect. Now, at the 2nd job, that’s been pretty easy. At Unos, not so much, but I pulled through just eating salads, veggies, hummus and almonds. I have to say, it’s been paying off. (That and the exercise) I can actually see my muscles changing and it’s kind of cool.

Now, that being said, I need more snacks, and yes, I know these crackers have carbs in them, however, I modified the recipe I found to use wheat flour and milled flax seed instead of while flour. That did mean I had to use a little more water, but that’s fine.

This recipe is very easy and takes very little time. It’s 100% vegan, and decently low carb, in my mind.

Whole Wheat and Flax Spinach Crackers

Here’s what to get from the store:

Spinach
Wheat Flour
Milled Flax seed
Baking Soda

Whole Wheat and Flax Spinach Crackers
(Based Off Elephantastic Vegan)

1 cup wheat flour
2/3 cup milled flax seed
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup  or more of water
2 loosely packed cups spinach

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F
  2. Wash the spinach and put it in a blender together with the water and blend until completely smooth.
  3. In a mixing bowl add in the dry ingredients, whisk and then add in the spinach-water and olive oil. Mix and knead with your hand until it’s a smooth dough. Add more flour if your dough is too sticky.
  4. On a floured baking sheet roll out the dough until thin and evenly.
  5. Cut it with a pizza cutter length- and width wise.
  6. Bake them in the oven for about 20 minutes (until they get crispy). 5 minutes in, if you would like, top with garlic powder and paprika.

I turn 32 on Saturday. I really am proud of myself, at 32 I’m in better shape than I was when I was 22. I have a great life, awesome people, I’m not only financially stable, I have money saved up. I have very little debt, in fact I could pay it all off today if I wanted (I’d have no savings, but I could). The management and Unos loves me (like, really though) and I’m getting along pretty well at my new job.

While I’m not working some high paying job, or stage managing all the time, I’m happy. If you had told me 10 years ago where I’d be now, I wouldn’t have believed you, but I’m glad where my life has taken me. Sure, not everything has been the best, but that’s ok, life has ups and downs. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring me.

 

 

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CRUSTY CRAB PIZZA!

Posted on June 10, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Ok, there’s no crab in this dish but that’s all I can think of for a title. It’s been a long week, I’m tired.

This week was my first on the floor at the new job. I was planning on easing in; my 5 normal shifts at Unos and 3 at the new place. What happened was I told my new manager I could work more than that. I’ve doubled every day except today.

I’ve pretty much been living on salads, smoothies and Greek yogurt (ok, and the occasional doughnut). Issue with that is I’ve noticed I haven’t really been eating enough. Sad part is, I’ve almost been to tired to eat. I’ll get used to working two jobs again, it just takes a while to adjust.

All week I’ve been thinking about making a pizza with a broccoli crust. When mom and dad came up to see the show, mom brought me some of last year’s broccoli, and I didn’t want to do something normal with it. Cause, why do that?

I had a short trip to the beach today, and while lying on the sand, I came up with the toppings. I’m actually pretty impressed with the result. The crust wasn’t as crispy as I’d like, but I didn’t get all the extra water out of the broccoli so I’m sure that’s why. Since the broccoli I had was already cooked and frozen, I did things a little differently than the recipe that I originally used.

This recipe is pretty easy and very good for you. If you’re doing the low carb thing, this is for you. Or, if you just want to try something different, this is for you.

(Sorry about the picture, it was hard to get a good quality image of this one)

Broccoli Crust Pizza with Black Bean Garlic Puree, Caramelized Red Onion, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts and Fresh Mozz

Here’s what to get from the store:

Broccoli
Eggs
Parmesean Cheese
Fresh Mozzerella
Black Beans
Garlic
Lemon Juice
Asparagus
Red Onion
Brussels Sprouts

Garlic Black Bean Puree

5 cloves garlic
1/2 can black beans
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, red chili flakes

  1. In a blender, put all the ingredients. Puree until smooth, taste to adjust seasonings.
  2. Put on top of the broccoli pizza crust

Broccoli Pizza Crust
(From Gimme Delicious)

1 small head of broccoli (about 2-3 cups riced)
2 eggs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning (optional)

Toppings

Black Bean Garlic Puree
Fresh Mozzerella
Chopped Asparagus
Caramelized Red Onions
Chopped Brussels Sprouts

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (highly recommend) or grease with oil; set aside.
  2. Process the broccoli in a food processor or shred with a cheese grater until the broccoli is the same consistency as rice.
  3. Place broccoli in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1-2 minute or until it is steamed. Cool for at least one minute then pour broccoli on a clean washcloth and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the broccoli until you are left with a dry ball of broccoli.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, eggs, cheeses, and seasoning with a spoon until fully combined. Pour mixture into the pre-lined baking sheet and shape into a pizza crust, ½ inch thick.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and add the toppings. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. Cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

The one thing I’ve noticed different about myself is that I’ve actually been exercising before my morning shift at work. If you know me, you know I HATE waking up in the morning, so I normally don’t exercise before morning shifts. But, the past three days I actually have. I’d like to say it’s given me more energy for the day, but it hasn’t. I still end up crashing, but it’s no biggie. I’ll get used to it again.

 

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Branching out

Posted on June 2, 2017. Filed under: Breakfast, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

If you know me, you know I can’t STAND cooked spinach. To me, it looks and smells like a dead alien life form. I keep trying to eat it, but every time I try, it’s kinda mushy.

That being said, only eating my spinach salads every day can get a little boring. Today I wanted eggs, but since I hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet, I didn’t have a ton of options. What I did have was some kale, spinach, and beans. I decide to branch out and actually saute the kale and spinach in a tahini tumeric dressing.

I used a lot more kale than spinach; the kale doesn’t doesn’t cook down the same way as the spinach does, so it still had some crunch to it. I was surprised, I actually couldn’t tell the spinach was even in there. Adding the runny eggs on top helped even more.

This recipe is very easy, full of fiber, protein, vitamins A, and K. The dressing I used has been my new salad dressing, so you can make a lot and use it on more than just this dish.

Sauteed Spinach, Kale and Black beans topped with Runny Eggs and Sriracha

Here’s what to get from the store:

Tumeric
Tahini
Apple Cider Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Olive Oil
White Vinegar
Lemon Juice
Garlic Chili Sauce
Spinach
Kale
Black Beans
Eggs

Tumeric Tahini Dressing
(Note, I didn’t measure anything making this, so use your best judgement)

2 tbsp Tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp garlic chili sauce
Tumeric, cayanne, pepper, paprika

  1. In your blender (or a container you can use an immersion blender in) put all of the ingredients. Blend until combined. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Runny Eggs Over Spinach and Kale

2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cup chopped kale
1 cup spinach
4 tbsp black beans
Salt, Pepper
Tumeric Tahini Dressing
2 eggs, over easy
Sriracha

  1. In a saute pan, saute the garlic until fragrant. Add the kale and spinach, cook until wilted.
  2. Add the black beans and the dressing, saute until warmed through. Serve topped with 2 runny eggs and sriracha.

I recently started a new job at a restaurant that is the complete opposite of every other place I’ve ever worked. It focuses on good for you food and any dietary restrictions a person can have. It’s good because I won’t be afraid to eat there (even though I won’t because bringing food from home is cheaper) and it inspired me to make the new salad dressing. I realized I had been using the same dressing for about 3 years, there’s nothing wrong with changing things up.

I hadn’t been able to keep up with my exercises recently because of all the training at the new job, and because of that, my whole body hurts. It’s kinda cool though, I missed that feeling a little bit.

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Crunchy!

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: Appitizers, Snacks, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Let’s talk snacks. Pretty much all of my posts are either healthy meals or desserts. I never really write anything about snacks. Which is weird, because I LOVE snacks. Like a lot. Especially if they’re crunchy. Even better if you can dip them in something. My favorite? Tortilla chips and queso dip. Or Unos croutons in bleu cheese (judge me, but it’s sooo gooood).

But, when I cut out processed carbs (save a mocha with whipped cream, and yesterday’s rhubarb loaf, I haven’t had any) I had to figure out what to eat for a post show/work snack, or even a during work/show snack. I bought some flavored cashews and almonds, but I wanted more. Then I remembered, I had chickpeas. You know what chickpeas makes? Hummus.

Hummus is such an easy dip to make I’m almost embarrassed to say I had been buying it. But why buy it? It only has a few ingredients, and they’re all pretty easy to find. I say pretty easy because in Chicago, Tahini sauce is pretty common, thanks to the diverse population.

This recipe is very easy, as I said. You can serve it with pita chips, or as I’ve been doing some crunchy veggies.

Sriracha Lime Hummus

Here’s what to get from the store:

Chickpeas
Tahini Sauce
Garlic
Lime Juice
Sriracha

Sriracha Lime Hummus

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Sriracha
Salt, pepper, paprika

  1. Put everything  (including the liquid from the chickpeas) in your food processor and blend until it’s your desired consistency. Taste to adjust seasonings. Serve with your favorite veggies.

I’m very proud of myself. I generally have very good self control, except of course when it comes to my favorite snacks. That being said, I’ve now been grocery shopping twice and haven’t even looked at the chips. I did have a dream that I was eating Oreos, but I don’t really crave the bad stuff. Tonight some friends and I are going to Kuma’s Korner for burgers, that’s going to be interesting. Mainly because I haven’t had anything really fatty in a while. Last night I ate a lot of the loaf batter (because, you have to) and my stomach kind of hurt after. So we’ll see how my stomach will deal with cheese burgers.

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More Rhubarb!

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: Breads, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Twice in one day, I know. Sometimes I get on a roll and have to keep going.

I still have more rhubarb at the apartment, and at my parents’ house, so I had to try more recipes, of course. I originally wanted to do a shortbread, but I didn’t have enough butter. I didn’t want to do pie because, well, that’s what everyone does. After a while on Pinterest, I found an old fashioned rhubarb loaf. I decided to use my mini loaf pans instead of a big pan, it was a good choice,

I had to substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and almond milk for the regular milk, but it still came out really well. (Ok, I also only had baking soda, but I clearly did the math right because it fluffed out just fine). That being said, the worst part about making this is the dishes.

Mini Rhubarb Loaves

Here’s what to get from the store:

Rhubarb
Flour
Sugar
Eggs
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Greek Yogurt
Almond Milk

Rhubarb Loaf
(From Noshing with the Nolands)

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
½ tsp. each baking powder, baking soda and salt
½ cup light sour cream (or Greek Yogurt)
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups rhubarb, diced small

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standup mixer cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Alternatively add the flour with the milk and sour cream, starting and finishing with the flour. Mix well. Fold in the rhubarb.
  4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan, smooth top and bake for 60-70 min. until a tester comes out clean. Let cool 10 min. and then remove from pan and cool further on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container for a few days if needed.

Like I said in my last post, I’m so glad the weather is getting better. I do so much better in the warmth.

 

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Stack it

Posted on May 17, 2017. Filed under: Breakfast, Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The 16th of every month is probably the most responsible day of the month for me. I go to the bank and pay all my bills.Granted, the past few weeks I’ve been overly responsible anyway. Makes for easy living, but slightly boring, for sure. Friends and I are going out tomorrow, it will be quite needed.

After hours of bill paying, cleaning, ect, I had to eat something. I haven’t gone to the grocery store yet, so I don’t have a ton of options, but I do still have options. I still had some sweet potato left (I had bought a huge sweet potato), but I didn’t want to do the same thing I had been doing. I decided to grate it, put it into ramekins, bake it, and top it with black beans and eggs. I have to say, it was pretty perfect. It could be breakfast, I suppose, but not really being a morning person, I made it for dinner.

This recipe is very easy, doesn’t take terribly long and is full of good stuff.

Sweet Potato Stacks with black beans and Eggs

Here’s what to get from the store:

Sweet Potato
Black Beans
Spinach
Eggs

Sweet Potato Stacks

1/4 sweet potato, grated
Olive Oil
Black Beans
2 Eggs
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, tumeric
Spinach
Sriracha

  1. Mix the sweet potato with some olive oil,  and seasonings. Divide into 2 oil lined ramekins and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the ramekins from the oven, flip over onto a plate with spinach on it. Put the black beans on top.
  3. Cook your eggs however you like, I prefer a runny yolk, then put them on top of the stacks. Put some sriracha on top and enjoy.

Today was the perfect day weather wise. I was able to go and read on the beach for a little bit after I was done with my chores for today. I can’t wait for the summer.

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Sometimes, we make mistakes

Posted on May 12, 2017. Filed under: Breakfast, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I was really excited to try this recipe.  I wanted something with less processed carbs, but man, these waffles were dry! Even adding a peanut butter yogurt topping with strawberries didn’t help. I’m going to post the recipe anyway, but man, beware if you eat them. I had added rhubarb to them as well, but not all of it cooked so I think that was not a good choice. That one was my mistake, using the recipe was only half mine. Def not going for anything “low carb” or “gluten free” or “keto” if I’m making anything bread related.

Here’s what to get from the store:

Milled Flax seed
Chia Seed

Flax Waffels
(From Healthful Pursuit)

2 cups roughly ground golden flaxseed
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
10 tsp chia seed with 15 tbsp warm water
½ cup water
⅓ cup avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (if making savory) or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  1. Place your waffle maker on the counter and heat on medium, or your desired setting for crisp waffles.
  2. Combine flax seed with baking powder and sea salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine fully and set aside.
  3. Add chia seeds, water and oil to the jug of your high-powered blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds, until foamy.
  4. Transfer liquid mixture to the bowl with the flaxseed mixture.
  5. Stir with a spatula, just until incorporated. The mixture will be very fluffy. Once incorporated, allow to sit for 3 minutes.
  6. Add in your fresh herbs or stir in the ground cinnamon.
  7. Divide mixture into 4 servings. Scoop each; one at a time, onto the preheated waffle maker and close the top. Cook until it beeps and repeat with remaining batter.

Maybe I did something wrong, but these poor things were pretty much not the best. Maybe you’ll have better luck, which is why I posted it at all.

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Who needs em?

Posted on May 11, 2017. Filed under: Main Course, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The other day I talked about how I had cut out processed carbs, at least for a few days. I have completly curbed my snacking, no chips, no crackers, nothing. All my snacks have been fruit, vegetables or nuts. Cutting that out, my stomach is flatter and I lost 2 pounds. My muscles have not suffered, so that is good. I had been a little worried that my strength would wain (I also hadn’t been able to exercise since last Friday). That being said, I have the energy and that’s important.

Last night I wasn’t really sure what to make, I was hungry but nothing stood out. Then I remembered that I had some sweet potato left over, and thought that I could make something simular to what I had made the day before, but put it on a spinach salad. I added some pickled red onions and a sriracha honey dressing, and it was fabulous.

I’m not going to post the recipe for the sweet potato part, because it is like the spirilized ones I made the other day. I just cubed the potato instead. I will put the basic recipe for the dressing, though. I don’t ever measure when I make it, everything is to taste.

Here’s what to get from the store:

Spinach salad with roasted veggies, pickled red onions and silken tofu

Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Sriracha
Honey
Lemon Juice

Honey Sriracha Dressing

Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Sriracha
Honey
Lemon Juice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, tumeric, paprika

  1. In a measuring cup, put equal parts vinegar and oil, then add everything else. Whisk together, and taste to adjust seasonings.

I’ve noticed a lot of the things I made are more “taste to adjust seasonings” I like that, though. It teaches people to actually taste the food they make. If you don’t taste while you’re cooking, how will you know it will be good?

I have been working hard on my exercise as well, I can now do 11 push ups, which is a lot more than I used to be able to. I’m getting stronger all the time, and it feels great.

 

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