Monthly Archives: February 2012

WIAW #15: Paper Edition

Whew! I’m happy to say that just a few minutes ago I finished my AP European History paper on the successes and short-comings of different treaties. I wrote 4 pages of it over the weekend but ended up scraping most of it a few days ago. Sometimes I can just go-go-go, but other times I go through countless drafts. Writing is always an experiment, that’s for sure. What’s your writing style?

Anyway, enough about my paper; let’s get to the WIAW party over at Peas and Crayons. Here’s what’s powered me through paper writing (+ tons of snacks). I can’t say enough how important it is to fuel your brain with healthy foods; it really does make a difference!

” alt=”” border=”0″ />Breakfast: cocoa strawberry baked oatmeal + bits of an unpictured experiment

I actually made a blackberry lime variation with cinnamon for breakfast, too, but it ended up being sort of a flop. It tasted amazing, but I had a hard time getting it out of the ramekin. Thus back to the drawing board I go!

Lunch: salad beast with sugar snap peas, carrots, chickpeas, and hummus, featuring maple curry roasted cauliflower and other goodies; apple + Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side as per usual

I have a feeling I was “mmm”-ing while eating this since a few people curiously asked what I was enjoying. My maple curry roasted cauliflower ins’t exactly the standard bag of MnMs that the other studiers were munching on, but I’d venture to say I enjoy it more. I do love that sweet and spicy flavor!

Dinner: crispy teriyaki tofu with pan-toasted crispy kale, roasted red peppers, and roasted asparagus

(I filled up my plate multiple times—I still can’t figure out why this plate is so tiny haha)

I’m convinced that this kale is what got me through writing the paper. I always feel much more alert and energized after eating greens. I guess that’s why I love Green Monsters so much!

…chocolate banana soft serve, peanut butter, + coconut cookies (unpictured) as a dessert reward after finishing!

What do you eat while studying/working? Do you find that certain foods give you more energy than others?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Maple Curry Roasted Cauliflower (Sweet + Spicy!)

I have a confession to make: I’m that person at the grocery store…you know, the one who gets so excited about her favorite product being on sale and proceeds to stock up like crazy, all while acting like it’s perfectly normal to not be able to see over her shopping cart.

But, in truth, I do thing a little bit differently. You usually won’t catch me heading for the aisles to look for the best ice cream, soup, or cereal deal. No, I frequent a different section: the produce department. It’s here that I found my bargain this week, cauliflower the size of my head, only 2 for $5.

Call me crazy, but I have a thing for cauliflower. Like broccoli, I eat cauliflower every day without fail. I just can’t get enough! In fact, I like it so much that I usually just stick to the same, simple way of preparing it (usually steaming or cauliflower rice). But not this week. Thanks to the great deal I found, I was able to venture into a whole different world where sweet and spicy roasted cauliflower tantalize every taste bud.

Spicy. Crispy. Sweet. Melt-in-you-mouth goodness…

Where was I? Oh, right. Shopping. If you would have seen me at the store, you probably would have thought I was preparing for winter hibernation or something, thanks to all the cauliflower I was carrying in my arms. 2 for $5? It’s like they’re asking me to buy more. Don’t mind if I do, actually.

It’s a good thing, too, because when I make a batch of this maple curry roasted cauliflower, there’s no stopping me. I may or may not have eaten the whole head by myself. And honestly, I’d gladly do it again. Being that person really does have its advantages.

Maple Curry Roasted Cauliflower (Sweet + Spicy!) 

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 TBS curry powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (can sub agave or honey; use more or less depending on your preference; I like 1-2 tsp, but most people would probably like 1-2TBS)
  • pinch of salt (REALLY important; it makes the flavor come alive)
  • coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray or grease with coconut oil (or any high-heat oil).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, curry powder, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle with coconut oil. (The amount you use will depend on how wet your cauliflower is from washing. Since mine still had some water on it, I didn’t use much.) Toss to combine, making sure to coat each piece fully.
  3. Spread spiced cauliflower in an equal layer on the roasting pan.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower and your crisp preference.
  5. Enjoy hot or cold (if you can wait that long). (The roasted cauliflower is especially good the next day after the flavors have melded. Eat it on cold salad beasts the next day… if it lasts that long!)

Are you a sale shopper? What’s your favorite thing to stock up on? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Cocoa Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Hi, pies! How’s your weekend been?

It’s been pretty crazy over here, as per usual. I spent most of my Saturday writing a paper analyzing the success of the treaties of Vienna (1814-1815) vs.  Versailles (1919) as well as reading a crazy amount of information on the Bolshevik Revoution in Russia. Clearly my AP European History book and I were best friends this weekend.

I also went shopping with my grandmother. We’re on the hunt for pretty kitchen towels to use in my photos, preferably in lots of different colors. Unfortunately, it was kind of a wash out, but I did enjoy spending time with her. Oh, and all was not completely lost because we still walked out with a great find—a (soy) candle that smells like donuts! Yummmmm.

And now that it’s Sunday, I’m starting to think about prepping meals for the week. Since breakfast was so delicious + easy last week, I will probably try many more variations in the coming days.

For now, though, here’s my favorite recipe for baked oatmeal with cocoa and strawberries. My friend who watched me happily munch on it every day in AP Euro class actually mistook it for a brownie multiple times because of it’s delicious scent. Now that’s something worth waking up for!

Cocoa Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Serves 1
  • 1/2 cup GF oats (40g)
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional but highly recommended to enhance cocoa flavor)
  • stevia (or other sweetener), to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk or water)
  • 2 strawberries, chopped
  • toppings of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 375* F. Grease a ramekin or small oven-safe bowl with cooking spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and stevia.
  3. Stir in almond milk and chopped strawberries.
  4. Pour mixture into ramekin.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (*Tip: To save electricity, I usually bake this while I’m using the oven for other things. If you’re oven is at 350*F or 400*F for something else, it will still work; just adjust the cooking time accordingly.)
  6. Eat warm straight out of ramekin or allow to cool before using a knife to flip oatcake onto a plate/into a sealed container. I like to make mine the night before, let them cool, flip into a container, and take it to school with me the next day.

What’s your go-to breakfast? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

WIAW #14: “Veggies are the Apple of My Eye” Edition

Hello, beautiful people! Happy hump day! How’s your week going so far?

I’m so excited to take part in Jen’s WIAW party @ Peas and Crayons again this week. I always love seeing what yummy things everyone’s enjoying and even sharing some of my own. Since it’s still Love Your Veggies month, I couldn’t help but take part. Vegetables are my favorite food group after all. Truth be told, I would eat them all day, every day if I could, but it’s all about balance right?

Breakfast: baked chocolate covered strawberry oatcake

Now that I can buy gluten-free oats at Trader Joes, I have been going crazy with adding oats to everything. In fact, this morning’s breakfast was centered around oats!

Baked oatmeal used to be one of my favorite breakfasts, and I’m so happy it’s back. The only difference I notice with these GF oats is that they seem to be thicker, chewier, and more absorbent than the ones I used to use.

I’m definitely a fan of the texture, but it requires a little different wet to dry ratio. I’ll post the recipe as I continue to revise it so you all can enjoy the taste of chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast, too. Yum!

***

Lunch: orange ginger stir-fry with broccoli slaw, sugar snap peas, carrots, and water chestnuts; (unpictured) apple and Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side for CRUNCH

Stir-fries are really the epitome of veggie-loving for me. I could honestly eat steamed veggies until the cows come home, but adding a creative sauce and stir-frying it up makes lunch feel extra special. Sometimes just making one little change to usual routine makes all the difference. It keeps things fresh!

***

Dinner: two curried sweet potato veggie burgers with roasted asparagus, roasted red bell peppers, and sauteed crispy kale and almonds; more Mary’s Gone Crackers on the side (I just can’t get enough!)

This plate was bursting with so many veggies that I could not even fit them all in the picture, and that’s just how I like it. I believe that you can never have too many veggies!

Veggie burgers are really just another excuse to eat more veggies in my mind. In fact, these homemade sweet potato curry burgers are actually true to their name, unlike so many commercial products; they really are made of just vegetables (plus some beans and oats, of course)!

***

I was unable to capture my snacks due to my busy school day, but I did get a chance to work on a new recipe for a healthy dessert, vegan + gluten-free coconut flour cookies with chocolate chunks. I can’t wait to share… the recipe, not the cookies, that is. With cookies this good, sometimes it’s hard to share. (Note: sharing is caring, though, and if I could give each and every one of you a fresh batch of warm cookies, I would. Anyone up for that? Haha.)

Vegan marshmallows from Sweet and Sarah may or may not have also been involved. Hey, they’re not exactly paczki, but I think I paid my Polish ancestors homage anyway.

Did you enjoy a Fat Tuesday treat? And what’s your favorite way to eat veggies? Steamed, sauteed/stir-fried, or roasted?

***

Another big thanks to Jen for hosting this WIAW party. Check out more delicious eats here and keep lovin’ your veggies!

***

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

Happy President’s Day everyone! How’s your Monday going?

Mine has been pretty relaxing thanks to having the day off. I slept in, practiced yoga, worked on a new donut recipe, and even did some homework. It wasn’t  exactly the most patriotic way to celebrate this awesome guy’s birthday, but it was certainly needed since I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. After taking my advice and getting lots of rest, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better!

And thanks to my renewed energy, I’ve been able to prep lots of food for the week. It’s going to be a busy one, so I know it’s absolutely essential that I have healthy food ready to go so I can stay energized.

One of the lunches I’m most excited about this week is a remake of the balsamic roasted vegetable quinoa I blogged about a few days ago. It’s light enough to keep me from feeling weighed down but filling enough to keep my mind focused on school work. Not to mention the balsamic roasted veggies are absolutely to die live for! I may or may not have eaten half the tray hot out of the oven before even adding it to the quinoa. Story of my life.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

serves 2-3
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • Dressing/marinade: 1/3 cup water + 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar + 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • scallions (optional), for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Lightly coat a roasting pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Cook quinoa. I like to use my rice cooker for this, but you can make it on the stovetop, too. Here’s one way how. 
  3. Meanwhile, salt eggplant: cut eggplant into ~1/2 inch thick round and lay them down close to each other on a flat surface. Sprinkle each round with a pinch of salt. Place paper a sheet of paper towels on top. (This will absorb the moisture as it sweats out.) Allow moisture to release for about 20-30 minutes. At this point either rinse off the extra salt and pat dry or simply use the paper towel to wipe off any excess salt and pat dry. Chop rounds into pieces that are about the same size as the chopped portobellos.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chopped portobellos and chopped eggplant.
  5. Whisk together 1/3 cup water, balsamic vinegar, and dijon mustard to make dressing. Pour half of the dressing over the portobellos and eggplant and reserve the other half for later. Toss the dressing with the veggies until well coated.
  6. Evenly spread dressed veggies in roasting pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  7. When the veggies and quinoa are done, toss them together along with the reserved dressing and roasted red peppers (if using). Garnish with scallions if desired. (I like it better without, but it definitely looks prettier with them—your call.)
  8. Serve warm or cold. (It’s even better after the flavors have melded overnight or for a day or two, so it’s perfect for lunches during the week. My favorite way to eat it is cold, but warm is great, too.)

 

Happy lunching!

 

Mandiee

Remedies for Feeling Under the Weather

Hey bloggies! I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely up for some savory recipes right about now. Valentine’s Day always gives me an excuse to eat copious amounts of dark chocolate (or really, just more than usual; dark chocolate is my love), but by the end of the week I never fail to crave something a little less…chocolatey?

 

After all, man can’t live on chocolate alone. (But chocolate and veggies? Now that’s something I could go for!)

On that note, I can’t wait to share my new recipe for balsamic roasted vegetable quinoa. It’s relatively simple and soo delicious. However, I’m feeling a little under the weather, so it will have to wait a day.

I’m not sick per say, but I’m definitely not feeling my best. I have really bad allergies, and when the weather changes rapidly or I’m really stressed, they get aggravated. Considering both of those things happened this week, I’m not really surprised by my body’s response. Luckily, I’ve learned how to deal with it over the past few years. Here are my top 5 remedies for feeling better while you’re under the weather as well as an article I found about usual remedies. Cheers to good health!

Sleep. Resting for a solid 8-9 hours a night gives our bodies time to restore and keeps us healthy. When we’re feeling under the weather, it becomes more important than ever to allow our bodies to fight off whatever is plaguing us. Whether it’s going to bed earlier and sleeping more at night or taking a nap, make sure to catch some extra zzz’s.

Drink hot tea. Hot tea not only soothes your throat, but also provides your body with antioxidants to fight off infection. I drink a special “health tea” from India (more on this another time), but any tea will do. I find camomile and other herbal teas to be the most soothing.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This one goes without saying: you are what you eat. If you feed your body healthy, vibrant food, you will feel energized in no time.

Acro Yoga

Move. Exercise is a great stress reliever and keeps our bodies functioning properly. If you’re feeling a little bit under the weather, try something restorative like yoga or a light walk. I almost always feel 1000x better after a little yoga sesh.

 

 Spice it up. Warming spices like curry powder, ginger, and cayenne are the perfect way to heat your body from the inside out. They’re also great for clearing your sinuses. Try a quick vegetable curry, ginger tea, or spicy hot chocolate to fuel you through the day.

 

And for your reading pleasure, here’s an article called Coffee, Sex, and Other Weird Ways Not to Get Sick. Enjoy!

 

What’s your favorite remedy for feeling under the weather? Do share!

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

 

 

WIAW #13: Quick & Easy Edition

Hi again! How’s your week going so far? I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day :). Mine was nothing out of the ordinary–just school, yoga, homework, etc.–but still special none the less. My mom gave me a beautiful bouqet of pink tulips, which really made my day. It’s all about the little things, right?

My grandmother also told me a story that warmed my heart. On Sunday, when she was at church, the priest spoke about how important it is to reach out and touch somebody to show them that you care. At the end of the mass as my grandmother was getting up to leave, she felt a light touch on her shoulder. When she looked behind her back, she found a face smiling back at her. The lady explained that she just wanted to reach out and touch my grandmother to share the love she felt in her heart. Although the lady was gone as quickly as she appeared, the love and kindness she imparted lingered on.

On that note, it’s WIAW time. I don’t know about you, but I’m most definitely loving my veggies!

I had two big tests today, so breakfast was fast + easy. Fortunately I made a batch of apple nutmeg muffins and protein pumpkin spice donuts (in bar form this time) a few days ago for snack-y mornings like these.

I also had a So Delicious strawberry coconut milk greek yogurt, because, why not? I just can’t get enough!

Lunch, unfortunately, was rushed as well since my test got out late. I’m so glad I packed something portable for once; cold quinoa, especially when topped with balsamic roasted eggplant and portobellos, really does taste great for lunch, espcially since it powers me through the rest of my day.

Being able to enjoy the beautiful sunshine on my way to my next class was a nice treat. As much as I dislike cold weather, I think there is nothing more beautiful than large flakes of snow tumbling to the ground on a sunny day. Love!

At dinner, I finally got a chance to sit down. Wahoo! In all seriousness, I was totally multitasking while making it, though. While I made the usual sweet potato and tofu plate, I also roasted an extra sweet potato and some veggies to make tomorrow’s lunch + dinner prep a breeze. Healthy eating often takes some prepping, but the extra thought really makes a difference. I’m so much more productive when I have good food to keep me energized!

Things to talk about: What’s your go-to lunch? I’m in need of some inspiration!

Mandiee