Blueberries, blueberries…

December 14, 2010

Now that is the bestest! It’s yumma!

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Break the Fast

August 25, 2010

Good morning!

I swear, this is the alarm I wake up to every day now.

So you know what’s nasty? Eating cafeteria food every day. Living on campus (AKA having a required meal plan) is lame. You know that food’s not good for you, especially at breakfast. How can you call processed sausage “meat,” fake scrambled eggs (they use instant egg powder, nasty much?) and butter filled grits a great way to start the day? I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I could do that, even if I was able to eat that shiz. The whole “roll out of bed and drink a cup of coffee for breakfast before running to class” thing is not for me. And don’t even get me started on skipping breakfast all together. If you do that, you just lost a ton of cool points. So what do I start my day with? What keeps my full through class, work, dorm events, and a busy social life?

It sure as hell ain’t cafeteria grits, y’all.

Fruit and veggie smoothies!

Soy/Coconut milk yogurt with oatmeal and fruit.

Banana freaking pancakes.

CHOCOLATE banana pancakes. Seriously, why wouldn’t you start your day with these?!

Weetabix with maple syrup, almond milk, and strawbz. AKA the cereal laxative.

Aaaaand my absolute morning favorite! I’m sure this beautiful girl would approve…. oatmeal!

The stuff truly is wondrous. It’s such a blank canvas. You can make anything.

From PB&J oats…

to green tea oatmeal…

…to strawberry banana oatmeal..

…and even cinnamon raisin oatmeal so good it’ll make your tastebuds dance!

You could even make chocolate covered strawberry oats. Katie approved and all!

So you see, if eating a healthy breakfast in a dorm room is possible, it’s possible anywhere! Here are my top tips for a fantastic, fulling, and delicious breakfast.

1) Go for fiber! Fiber helps keep you full as well as helping you…well, you know. Adding fruit to your cereal can be a great boost, nutrition-wise. I think bananas are epic in nearly everything breakfast-y.

2) Fatten it up. Add a glob of peanut butter to your oats, go for coconut milk in your cereal, heck, melt a square of dark chocolate to anything. (Fellow cheap college kids: you can usually find peanut/almond/soynut butter in your caf and pilcher as much as you need!) Fats are like fiber – they’ll keep you full for longer because they have more calories per gram. Remember: they are your friend!

3) Swap out your sugary cereals for their healthier, 100% whole grain, refined sugar-free counterparts. Seriously. Stop eating Sugar Smacks and Cookie Crisp. Come on, man. Those don’t even sound healthy. If my cereals contain any of the following, they are out like Seacrest: high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated anything, [refined] sugar, refined grains, artificial colors/flavors, dyes, preservatives, or chemicals. These little devils leave you craving more and hungry with a headache later. They’re the reason so many kids fall asleep in lecture.

4) Make sure you have 100% juice if you must drink it. Fresh pressed, unpasteurized orange juice is a winner. You’ll get a crap ton of vitamin C as well as a serving of fruit. Fresh apple juice tastes so much better and has so much more going for it. When buying juice, remember this: the murkier your juice is, the less processed it is.

5) Plan the night before. Set out everything you’ll need for breakfast the night in advance. My mum has done this for years and it’s never failed her. Maybe try making this stunning gal’s overnight oats. Simply put your oatmeal, milk, banana, and whatever else you want in a bowl and let it sit overnight. Viola! Breakfast will be waiting for you once you’re ready to eat. If you’re gonna be on the go, make a green monster and put it in a portable coffee mug. A little planning goes a long way.

6) Wait until you are hungry to eat! This is probably my favorite tip. Breakfast should be savored, not shoveled down your throat because you didn’t plan ahead or because you have to leave the house in a hurry. If you’ve followed the whole “plan ahead” idea, you should be able to eat when you’re hungry, not when your schedule says to.

7) Buy a blender. Do it. I invested in a single serve blender to make breakfast smoothies and it’s super convenient in my room as well as on the go between classes (the top swaps out and it becomes a cup!). It was cheap, definitely under 20 bucks, and it’s lasted quite a while. Smoothies are a great way to sneak in fruits and veggies, especially if you tend to consume a lot of *ahem* beverages or find yourself eating too many slices of pizza or bowls of ramen.

So there you have it. What I do for breakfast, and how to start the day off right.

Of course, it won’t start out right unless you have the same alarm as me. 😉

What’s your best “healthy breakfast” tip?

I’m Addicted

August 5, 2010

I’m not ashamed of my addiction to that TikTok song by Ke$ha.

I’m sorry, really, I am. It’s just so catchy!

I’m also not ashamed of the fact that I put far too much lemon into my food, especially during the summer.

It’s just so refreshing!

Lemon in pretty much any dish is fan-freaking-tastic. It can brighten up anything from cupcakes to smoothies to savory dishes like scrambled tofu and even egg and dairy free quiche. Yup. I’m a lemon addict… but I hate lemonade. Is that weird?

Lemony Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pine Nuts

Sheesh. This baby needs a shorter name. I’ll just use an acronym for now. LOwRBNaPN. Yeah. I can so remember that.

You’re gonna need:

1 butternut squash

1 cup whole wheat orzo

1 lemon

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup basil, julienned

S&P to taste

First, find the least phallic-looking butternut squash you can.

I love these! Erm… I’m talking about the squash.

Don’t know how to prepare a squash? Click here.

Chop it into cubes, and then coat it in olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw them in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until they’re tender and cooked through.

Go play outside for a half an hour! 🙂

But don’t go too far, because just before the squash is done cooking (about ten minutes beforehand), you’ll want to put on a pot of water to boil. Once it’s bubbly boiling, add in your orzo.

Zest your lemon, then squeeze the juice. Immediately put about half of it into the bottom of a large serving dish. Chop your basil and also put about half of it into the bowl. Once your orzo and squash are done, trow them in there too. Top with pine nuts, the remaining basil and lemon juice, and lemon zest.

I think I got my family addicted to this dish.

Proof:

Now if I could only get them to like Ke$ha…

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ahhh! Real Monsters?

June 25, 2010

Okay, not a real monster… a GREEN monster!

Lookin’ classy in a wine glass.

These have been floating around the blogosphere for a supa long time, and I finally decided to try a Green Monster last December because I saw a picture of it on Caitlin’s blog and she swore you would only taste the banana and not the spinach.

I’ve never looked back.

2 cups baby spinach, packed

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

1 banana

1 scoop peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

Whizzed up with ice ice, baby in the blender until smoothie like.


How do you make your Green Monsters?

Also – I’m in search of some protein powder, does anyone have any suggestions? I’m partial to vanilla. : )

Sushi vs Sushi

June 24, 2010

If I had to pick a last meal other than breakfast (which is, hands down, banana and peanut butter pancakes), I’d pick sushi. End of story. There’s just something about it that makes it a perfect meal. Maybe it’s the cool, crisp veggies, the smooth, creamy avocado, the B vitamins and texture of the nori holding it together, or even the carbohydrates from the rice. Whatever is in that combination, it makes sushi a stellar meal for me.

So while we were at the beach, my dad and I sampled two different sushi joints. Both claimed to be Japanese and Thai. Both claimed to have the best sushi in town. Both had legit, almost novel-like menus. Of course, you can’t really have two favorite sushi places, according to one of my friends. So I present to you…. *drumroll please*

The Great Sushi-off Competition 2010


In the first corner, we have Siam Orchid. An old favorite, a seasoned contender, and a fabulous meal every time. Siam Orchid boasts a full Thai and Japanese menu as well as a sushi bar. It also has ballin’ decor.

In our second corner is Sake, a definite underdog. Unknown until a few weeks ago (though they’ve been open since 2000), Sake claims to serve the best sushi in all of town.

Round one: Menus

At Siam Orchid, the menu, as mentioned above, is extensive. But it’s Barbie pink.  That’s a possible weakness. Plus, the pictures can give the diner the impression that the food is more or less the same quality as those takeaway Chinese places with similar pictures. As if I didn’t know what sweet and sour chicken looked like..

At Sake, the menu is NOT hot pink. Plus. But the menu is a novel to get through and has a ton of good options.

See that strength? It’s in a binder, enough said. The food is also clearly divided into sections by geographical location, and is well organized. Plus it has less typos. Round one goes to Sake.

Round 2: Appetizers

At Siam Orchid, there’s only one appetizer that will satisfy a hungry vegan until sushi arrives. And that is… tofu rolls!

Served on a gorgeous plate with scrumptious peanut sauce. The outside tapioca roll is the perfect compliment to its innards. Inside the rolls are the usual suspects – vermacelli noodles, carrots, cucumber, and tofu. BUT WAIT, what’s this?! Arugula? Some kind of spicy green leafy! Unexpected and definitely a good twist. Sake’s going to have to try hard to recover from that blow.

Sake’s appetizer is a pretty legit bowl of vegetable soup. It might appear to be a plain looking broth with mushy vegetables, but looks can be deceiving! First off, the spoon that’s hiding behind is adorable. Secondly, the broth was tasty without being overly salty like a lot of soups are. And the veggies? Crisp and delicious. But what’s this? Mushrooms?!*puke*

Round 2 definitely goes to Siam Orchid!

The Final Round…

MAKIZUSHI.

The long awaited moment has arrived. We’re all tied up in the last round, whoever wins this is going to take it all.

And just LOOK at that presentation from Siam Orchid! The sauteed vegetables were served in a martini glass, which was “glued” to the plate with hot wasabi paste. Genius. All of the basics are covered – makizushi, wasabi and other assorted hot pastes, tofu, and Nigiri-zushi. Looking good.

What this plate of deliciousness lacks in martini-glass-ness, it certainly makes up for it with flavor. It packs a giant tastebud punch (what a pun, ha ha). The tofu (inzrizushi) is moist yet crunchy without being chewy; the makizushi itself is absolutely divine. Having the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside is just plain awesome, because I don’t like the look of nori that much. This plate of sushi was colossal. Amazing. Delicious. I was actually unable to finish it. Om nom nom.

The winner of round 3 goes to Siam Orchid because I just can’t get over that darn martini glass.

So the winner of the first ever Sushi-Off… is actually both Siam Orchid and Sake!

Because wrestling is silly. And sushi is always a winner.

What’s your favorite restaurant and why?

I’m Blue

June 17, 2010

Check out those bangin’ 90’s graphics!

Yep. That’s stuck in my head now because I made blue food for lunch yesterday.

Blueberry Quinoa with Chickpeas

1/2 cup quinoa, dry

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup blueberry juice (I used Naked brand)

1/4  cup slivered almonds

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/3 cup raisins

a dash of vanilla extract

a quirt of agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey to sweeten (to taste)

1/2 t cinnamon (or more , depending on your taste)

a pinch of salt (to taste)

First, toast your quinoa in a pan. It’s like toasting nuts. Don’t add any oil, and just let the quinoa heat up and become golden brown. Just move them around every so often to make sure they’re not burning. When you can smell it getting all toasty, add in your almonds and let them toast for just a moment, too. They may begin to pop like popcorn – if that happens, turn your heat down. After about three more minutes of toasting, add in your water, vanilla, and blueberry juice.

Once your liquid is in, you want to actually cook the quinoa. Cover the pan, bring it up to a boil and then put it down to a steady simmer. You want the quinoa to absorb all of the liquids and become fluffy. Add more liquid if you need to.

When the quinoa is cooked, add in your cinnamon, chickpeas, raisins, and blueberries.

Cover and let it heat through.

Serve, garnished with almond joy.

It sounds like it’s an odd dish, but the flavors really work well together. The chickpeas absorb the blueberry flavor and combined with the quinoa you’ve got a wonderful source of healthy, complete protein. This could be enjoyed warm or cold, as brekkie or not.

Da ba de da ba daaaai.

I remember this song all too well. I used to play it in the car on my supa-awesome handheld CD player over and over again. I was so cool. But now I’ll never look at blueberries the same way again.

What’s your favorite 90’s song?

You can guess what song I’ve had stuck in my head all morning.

I had planned to make my dad super yummy pancakes, seeing as it’s Day 1 of his better half being thousands of miles away in England (she’s such a lucky beg).

So we came downstairs to find THIS joy..

She hasn’t peed on the carpet since she was a young’n.

Ultimate guiltface.

We figure it was because she’s mad about her beloved mum leaving for vacation. She’s staging a protest now, refusing to eat and camping out on the couch, eyes fixed straight outside the window for her mum. Poor thing. Hopefully she won’t keep that up for 2 and a half weeks.

Anyway, today was a perfect pancake morning. It was sort of dreary and cloudy outside, but not quite cool enough for oatmeal. Enter banana pancakes (and look, I actually remembered the measurements!)!

Banana Pancakes

Serves 2-3 people, depending on how hungry they are. This fed my father and I, but I made them fairly small sized.

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup vanilla non-dairy milk (I used almond)

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract

2 T maple syrup or agave nectar

1 t baking powder

cinnamon to taste

1 banana, sliced

Heat up a non-stick pan and spray with cooking spray, or you can use oil. While it warms, slice your banana.

Mix all ingredients sans bananas in a big bowl. You may need to add more liquid to the batter if it’s too thick.

Once your skillet is feeling hot hot hot, start putting pancake batter in, then press in your banoonoos. You want to make sure they get all the way through the batter and touch the surface of the skillet so that they will get nice and grilled and warm when the pancakes cook.

You know the rest of the drill…. flip when you can see lots of lovely bubbles throughout, plate, top with real maple syrup (none of that icky maple flavored liquidy stuff) or the fruit of your choice and then proceed to NOM.

Me: “Dad, can you pour a little bit on my pancakes, please?”

The maple syrup then proceeds to LEAP out of the jug and drown my pancake in syrupy deliciousness.

Dad: “Oh, that came out faster than I wanted it to….”

Me: “That’s what SHE said!”

I would go there.

Have a safe Memorial Day! If you’ve got the day off, what are your plans? Dad and I were going to head to the park with the pup but it’s storming now, so we’ll probably stay in and watch junk TV 🙂