Girls Day In

Hey there! How’s your weekend going? At least where I live I feel a beautiful, hot day coming on. It’s the perfect day to spend outside lounging!

me, Josh (who's like a brother to me), and the best friend when we first became really close (in Denmark!)

In fact, today I have plans to hang out with my best friend. One thing I should mention about her is that we’re not the typical friends at all. We live relatively close and go to the same school, but rarely ever hang out. We both have super busy schedules and completely different friends. So how does our relationship work so well? I’m not sure, but somehow it never seems like we’ve been apart and that no matter what, we can spill out our hearts to each other. We’re always honest, real, and compassionate. I could not ask for a better friend!

another blast from the past: the best friend and I on the plane to Denmark (in middle school!)

Anyway, today we have plans to do a whole lot of catching up and whatever else feels right. I have my new bathing suit on under my summery outfit, nail polish laid out on the table, and Vincent the Vita-Mix ready for action. Dear summer, I love you.

Who knows, maybe we will even get busy in the kitchen. The best friend has always been a faithful recipe tester, and for that I must thank her. Eating countless chocolate chip cookies (especially these)  is a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.

She’s never questioned my veganism and has even gone as far as to help others understand it. Even though I know she’s sometimes a little wary of “Mandie food,” she doesn’t even blink an eye when she sees me put spinach in my smoothies or eat things that sound like they’re from another planet.


At work this week I’ve been keeping my meals pretty easy. Here’s a look at some of the goodies. (Please excuse the awful work pictures!)

I’m absolutely crazy for quinoa parfaits! Chilled quinoa, fresh fruit, coconut cream, and peanut flour sauce make the perfect summer breakfast. It’s refreshing, light, and filling (not to mention crazy delicious!) I love that I can prepare the quinoa the night before while cooking dinner, assemble the parfait, and pop it in the fridge to bring to work in the morning. It couldn’t be easier! (Well actually, it could if you just cook a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week or use leftover grain (e.g. rice) from dinner. Yay for time savers!)

Strawberries and Cream Quinoa Parfait 

serves 1 happy camper 🙂

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or grain of choice
  • coconut cream (1 TBS coconut flour + almond milk to thin + 2 drops NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia drops, or to taste) or coconut butter thinned with almond milk
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • peanut flour sauce (1 TBS peanut flour + water to thin + dash of salt + 1 drop NuNaturals Alcohol-free Stevia drops, or to taste) or nut butter thinned with almond milk
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. Layer half of the cooked quinoa in the bottom of a jar or container.
  2. Spread with coconut cream.
  3. Add half of the strawberries on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Layer the rest of the cooked quinoa over strawberries.
  5. Place the rest of the strawberries on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  6. Drizzle with peanut flour sauce.
  7. Eat immediately or place in the refrigerator to chill.

I’ve also really enjoyed eating snack plates filled with roasted butternut squash, roasted bell peppers, chickpeas, Mary’s Gone Crackers (LOVE!), steamed yellow squash, steamed broccoli, and steamed cauliflower. 
In addition, I brought back an old favorite, vegan sloppy joes. Even though I never liked the meat-laden version, I’m a huge fan of lentils and love them in this flavorful sauce. Also, making them is so easy if you just do a little prep work ahead of time or buy pre-made lentils (Trader Joes sells really great ones in the refrigerated section).
Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
makes 3 lunch-sized portions
  • 1/2 cup lentils (dry) 
  • 1/2 onion (60 grams)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (90 grams) 
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce 
  • 2 TBS tomato paste 
  • 1-1/2 TBS chili powder 
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • maple syrup and mustard, to taste (optional)
  1. To cook lentils: rinse lentils and bring them to a boil in a saucepan filled with 3/4 cup water. Boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Drain and rinse again with cold water. Alternatively, you could just skip this step and use 1-1/4 cup pre-cooked lentils.
  2. In a non-stick pan, saute onion and bell pepper over medium high heat until softened (about 5 minutes). 
  3. Add cooked lentils, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, and garlic powder. (You may also need to add a bit of water if it seems to thick.) 
  4. Cover, lower heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. 
  5. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes for the flavor to develop. (Hint: leftovers taste even better the next day!)
  6. Stir in maple syrup and mustard, if using. 
And, of course, where would I be without a wholesome sweet treat to cool off at the end of the day? Thank goodness for banana soft serve! Lately I’ve been a big fan of chocolate banana soft serve with peanut flour sauce and crumbled black bean brownies. In fact, I like this combination so much I’ve been indulging in it every night hehe. Seriously, if you haven’t tried banana soft serve or black bean brownies, you don’t know what you’re missing. And if you try them together, all the better.

Questions: What’s your best friend like? How long have you known each other? And what are some of the foods on your current summer rotation?

Have a lovely day!

3 responses to “Girls Day In

  1. sunshinevegan

    Quinoa parfait?! That is SO creative! What an awesome way to mix it up for breakfast. I will be trying this soon 🙂

  2. That last photo looks incredible!! So delicious 🙂

  3. buttonss - Cherie

    Woaaaah that soft serve looks incredible!

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