Tag Archives: salad

In the Dark

Yesterday, the day I usually photograph my What I Ate Wednesday eats, my house lost power. It was a complete shock because the weather was not very hot (which is usually the cause of power outages thanks to the numerous air conditions running). Consequently, I was unable to document my eats as usual. No power meant no oven, no microwave, no lights. It was time to get creative.

I must have been wearing a pair of crabby pants because the minor inconvenience made me quite irritable and grouchy. I was a complete grump—I’ll own up to it. Fortunately, I used it as a learning experience. Instead of giving into myself and just going to sleep early, I stayed up late (as usual) and tried to find things to do. Sure, cooking was a challenge by candle light and flashlight, but reading was actually enjoyable. I very rarely read without any other stimulation (music, lights, tv, etc.), and by the end I found myself more relaxed than ever. Surprisingly, all my anxieties were gone.

Once I realized that I really had no immediate need for electricity and could get along just fine, I wondered what was really bothering me. It came down to this:

  1. Fear. I am very routien-oriented and fear any kind of deviation. Although I did not need power to survive, not having it made me feel off balance and fear the unknown. Ultimately, I was afraid that a bigger problem was at hand. I felt unsafe and powerless.
  2. Hunger. Truth be told, my blood sugar was low, and I needed food FAST. Usually I can keep my hunger-induced grouchiness under control (relatively), but not yesterday.
The first reason, fear, was difficult to remedy. By reading quietly, I finally relaxed. However, I know that the problem is much deeper. I’m a work in progress! Luckily, the second problem was much easier to solve. Here’s some of the eats that the camera caught before the power went out:

Vegan + Gluten-Free Strawberry Scones (made with avocado instead of butter/earth balance)

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas, Basil, and Tomato Sauce (Nooch sprinkles on top!)

Vegan Ceasar Salad (Made with Raw Avocado Dressing)

Blacked Tofu with Crispy Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus, and Eggplant Fries

In the end, I’m almost glad the power went out. It gave me a chance to relax completely and served as a learning experience. In the end, I’m just thankful to have power in the first place. I now realize that I often take this precious gift for granted.

What do you like to cook when the power’s out? What’s one thing you’re thankful for today?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

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Free At Last

Well, hello there! How are you on this beautiful Monday? It’s been much too long since we last chatted!

Now that senior testing week and AP exams are over, I’m finally free. I still have one month of school left before I graduate, but it is going to be pretty chill. Instead of going to classes like usual, I am doing an internship at my school’s early childhood center. I look forward to waking up each morning, knowing that I get to play with 16 loveable, sweet, energetic 4-and-5-year-olds all day long.

This weekend was devoted to recovering lost sleep (I’m still greatly in debt!), college shopping with my mom, and just enjoying the smile beauty of summer. Because of that, I haven’t been concocting anything too blog worthy lately. However, I would still like to share a few things I have been enjoying amidst studying.

Now that summer is here to stay, my salad cravings have been out of control. I enjoyed both of these salads (one with roasted asparagus, the other with roasted broccoli and carrots) right before AP exams.

There were the perfect light, fresh foods to keep me fueled through 6 (yes, SIX!) grueling hours of testing.

I was also lucky enough to enjoy big, succulent long-stem strawberries from my great uncle. For Christmas, he gave my grandmother a subscription to Harry and David’s fruit of the month club. Her and I look forward to sharing the box every month. It is honestly some of the freshest, juiciest fruit I’ve ever tasted!

We’ve had quite an abundance of strawberries in my house lately, so I decided to make showcase them in homemade scones.

I made these scones super healthy by using whole grain (gluten-free) flour, stevia instead of sugar, and even avocado instead of butter! These scones were definitely not the butter-and-sugar-laden bricks my great-grandmother used to enjoy with tea, but I’m sure she would have enjoyed them just the same.

 

What foods are you enjoying with the increase in temperature? Have you ever tried to health-ify one of your family’s recipes? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

 

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Lentil Burgers

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Mine was (not surprisingly) busy, but this time it was filled with outings rather than mounds of homework… and that’s just how I like it. However, being out so much didn’t leave much time for food preparation for the week. When this happens, I usually try to make the simplest recipe that I know will keep me adequately fueled.

It’s times like these that I revert to old favorites that I can practically make in my sleep. Don’t let the time simplicity fool you; these sun-dried tomato basil lentil burgers are full of flavor! I love eating them on a big romaine lettuce salad filled to the brim with fresh veggies and topped with a drizzle of dijon mustard. Yum!

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Lentil Burgers 

Makes 4 burgers 

  • 8 oz precooked lentils (i.e. from Trader Joe’s; you can make your own if you have more time, but the flavor will be different)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce/tamari)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to process too much or the mixture will become paste-like. Leave a little texture instead!
  2. Divide mixture into 4 equal pieces. Shape into patties/burgers using your hands.
  3. Cook on a medium high heat in a non-stick skilled for ~3 minutes on each side, or until a gold-brown crust is achieved.
  4. Enjoy on a bun, salad, or as is! They’re even lovely cold.
Do you make your own homemade veggie burgers? What’s your favorite flavor combination? 
Have a lovely day!
Mandiee

Time Flies [What I Ate Wednesday]

One thing I’ve learned over the past few days is that time flies. Maybe I should revise that; time flies when I  have a million things to do, but it seems to drag when I count down until the weekend. Does anyone else feel like that?

Somehow it’s already Wednesday. How does that happen? Regardless of all the things I have to do, there’s comfort knowing that What I Ate Wednesday will come every week and be a fun time to share meals, even if only through the computer. Let’s do this!

Breakfast: breakfast salad with chocolate protein dressing 

No surprises here! The thing about healthy eating is that it’s sometimes hard to adapt a new routine. But once you’re on the healthy eating train, it’s actually easier to keep going. Case in point: it was easier for me to prepare a breakfast salad than to think of a potentially less healthy alternative. Since time was of the essence, I went with it. I couldn’t be happier that I did. Seriously, breakfast salads are my new favorite thing.

Lunch: salad with ABC roasted vegetables (asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower) and chickpeas 

Here’s another example of food prepping ease. Since I was already chopping romaine lettuce for my breakfast, I decided to throw in some extra and use it for lunch, too. The night before I had roasted some veggies while using the oven for dinner, so prepping the rest of my lunch was a breeze.

Dinner: blackened tofu with sauteed kale and roasted asparagus and red bell pepers

I’ve been crazy about tofu lately. Usually I just eat it plain (after crisping it on the stove top), but this time I decided to do something a little different. It was a complete success!

The tofu was firm, chewy, and even a little spicy. I love enjoying the natural flavor of food, but sometimes it’s fun to ramp it up a little bit (or a lot a bit, as was the case!). I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all later this week.

Naturally I also worked on a dessert recipe, too. I’m on a quest to find the best vegan brownie recipe, so this was just another trial. This brownie’s claim to fame was it’s slight banana sweetness and ooey-gooey fudgey texture. These got rave reviews, but I still want to try more recipes. Regardless, I’ll be sure to post the recipe because they were just too good not to share.

What are you enjoying today? Do you have a healthy eating prep method or ways to keep yourself on track? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Snow in April [What I Ate Wednesday]

Oh, hello there! How’s your week shaping up?

Have you ever had one of those days where absolutely nothing sounds good? While packing my lunch Monday night, I was pretty excited about my usual salad duo (breakfast + lunch). Come Tuesday at school, even my delicious packed food didn’t sound all that appealing. Regardless, I still got in some veggies in celebration of Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday. The show must go on!

For breakfast, I had a slight variation on last week’s breakfast salad with chcolate dressing (recipe here).

Even though my appetite wasn’t feeling it, my taste buds most certainly were. I’m pretty sure I could eat breakfast salads for the rest of my life; they’re just so refreshing!

However, I wasn’t so lucky at lunch time. We had a long assembly at school yesterday, so my lunch was delayed until almost 2PM. By that time I was so hungary I had lost all my appetite. Does that ever happen to anyone else?

In addition, the cold weather whipped my salad cravings right away. It was actually snowing as I walked to lunch! Um, Mother Nature, don’t you know it’s April? Please send some warmer weather our way… or at least some april showers instead of snow. Please and thank you.

I didn’t have much time to eat lunch, nor was I very enthousiastic about eating my beautiful, cold salad (seriously, who am I?), so I just ate what I could and supplemented with the snacks I had in my backpack. I always travel prepared!

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to have a warm dinner. I roasted some veggies in the oven and made crispy tofu on the stove top. If the warmth of the satisfying, hot meal didn’t warm me up inside, the heat from the oven sure did. I devoured my meal before I even had a chance to snap more than one picture. Looks like my appetite returned, after all.

After dinner, I worked on a new dessert, vegan banana donuts. I had originally planned to make the donuts, lightly glaze them in coconut milk + powdered sugar, then dip them in toasted coconut.

However before I had the chance, my family devoured half the batch! I guess that’s the test of a good donut: loving them even without icing.

Does your appetite change depending on the weather? How do you transition swiftly from one season to the next?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Breakfast Salad with Fruit and Chocolate Protein Dressing

Hiya! How was your holiday? Whether you celebrated Passover, Easter, or just a lovely weekend, I hope your days were filled with good food, loving family and friends, and lots of laugher.

 

I had originally planned to (finally) post my recipe for vegan butternut squash mac and cheese, but I thought a detoxifying recipe was more appropriate after what might have been an indulgent weekend. So what better to get back on the healthy train than a salad first thing in the morning?

I prefer sweet breakfasts over savory ones, but lately my usual breakfast options have been feeling a little too sweet. Rather than craving oat bakes or green monster fruit smoothies, I’ve found myself wanting  salads…but ones with crisp fruit and crunchy romaine. So what’s a girl to do? Essentially, make a refreshing, protein-rich, deconstructed green smoothie in salad form, that’s what!

 

Cheers to healthy balance, including indulgent holiday desserts and nutrient-packed breakfast salads to get back on track deliciously.

Breakfast Salad with Fruit and Chocolate Protein Dressing 

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 banana, chopped
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, chopped
  • chopped almonds (optional)

For the salad: place romaine on the bottom of a pretty bowl or to-go container. Carefully arrange apple, banana, strawberries, and blueberries on top. Add almonds, if desired.

  • 2 TBS hemp protein powder (or 1 serving of your favorite powder)
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 TBS pumpkin or applesauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • stevia, to taste
  • almond milk, to thin

For the dressing: using a fork, combine all ingredients until well mixed, adding enough almond milk to thin the dressing to desired consistency.  Drizzle liberally over salad or pack up in a little container to-go.

 

Do you prefer sweet or savory breakfasts? Would you be open to eating a salad for breakfast? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

The Waiting Game [What I Ate Wednesday]

~~~Have you entered my giveaway? It ends Thursday night. Click here to enter!~~~

I woke up this morning with a gasp. It’s Tuesday, I thought (though it’s really What I Ate Wednesday now). Suddenly I felt a wave of excitement and nervousness pass over me. My head felt like it had been spun around a million times as my heart was about to beat right out of my chest.

Only two days, I whispered. Two more days until this rocky road of waiting will be over. Two more days until I find out if I have been admitted to my dream school…If my 15 years of hard work at school has paid off…

With my stomach in knots, I focused on what doing what I knew I could rather than what I couldn’t (aka change the decision). For breakfast, I grabbed a few apple nutmeg muffins and some fresh fruit to munch on.

I then proceeded to park myself in front of my new book, The Help, while I snuggled under a heap of warm blankets. I was so engrossed by the dynamic story that my worry faded away. My stomach, however, brought me back to reality when it growled. Luckily, lunch was already waiting for me in the fridge: a chilled chickpea, broccoli, and fig salad.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by eating plant-based, it’s that greens make me feel absolutely amazing. So in my never-ending quest to sneak greens in my diet whenever possible, I served the salad over a large bed of crisp romaine lettuce.

I also added some more salad toppers to my serving-bowl-for-one salad. I like my salads large and in charge!

Since I’m still home for spring break, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen. Baking is my go-to relaxation because it brings out my creativity. I was definitely thankful for some time away from thinking about college!

…and my family was more than thankful for the caramelized banana-stuffed peanut butter cupcakes I made. I’m glad my baking works both ways!

Once the cupcakes were finished, I jetted off to hot vinyasa yoga, as is my daily routine. Even though I was hot from class, the chill in the wind outside cooled me off pretty quickly. (Seriously, what’s up with this weather?) Naturally I was craving something conforting for dinner.

Enter vegan butternut squash mac and cheese made with brown rice spirals. I almost debated eating the sauce straight up as soup. It was so good, I wanted to swim in it. Maybe next time.

For now, though, I was happy to bring back the pasta of my childhood, served up with crispy kale & marinara sauce and roasted asparagus. It was delish to say the least.

And since I just can’t get enough of The Help, after dinner I settled down on the couch to read more. While I was reading, I also enjoyed a crunchy apple (with cinnamon!) and sipped on hot ginger snap tea.

A new-to-me dark chocolate (THE BEST!) was also involved. Fearless Chocolates, I’m speechless (and officially hooked!).

How do you deal with nerves/excitement? What’s your favorite book? 

Reminder: my giveaway is open until Thursday night. Please click here to enter. 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee