Tag Archives: strawberries

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

 

Advertisements

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

Salad Morning, Noon, and Night [What I Ate Wednesday]

Heya, bloggies! How’s your week going so far?

Now that I’m back in school after a two week spring break, mine is busy as usual. I only have ~6 weeks until the end of my senior year, so we have a lot to fit in! Fortunately, after that I get to enjoy the final few weeks until graduation by doing an internship for my “Senior May project”. I will be going back to my elementary school to work with junior kindergartners. I can’t wait!

Among other things, I hope to teach the 4 and 5 year olds to try new things (especially vegetables at lunch haha!). In fact, today I put my lesson to good use by trying something new for breakfast. Without further ado, here’s this week’s What I Ate Wednesday…salad style!

This morning I had a breakfast salad with romaine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, apples, and bananas. For my dressing, I mixed hemp protein powder, cocoa powder, pumpkin, and stevia. It was delicious!

Since I ate it during my free period at 9AM, I was a little worried that my friends would think my breakfast salad was weird. They’re pretty used to my monstrous green eats, but even this was a little more unconventional than usual, even for me. Fortunately, they embraced it with open arms! Many of them told me it looked really good and that they were going to try the combo at home soon. I think it had something to do with the chocolate sauce. Chocolate can win over almost anyone.

Part of my lunch included my second salad of the day. This time, my salad was eaten savory style. Since I had already had greens for breakfast, I felt pretty energized and was excited to enjoy the crunch of more fresh food.

My salad of romaine lettuce, steamed broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, and chickpeas with a spicy mustard dressing certainly did not disappoint! It was simplicity at its finest.

Although my dinner did not include a traditional (or untraditional in the case of breakfast haha) salad, I still made sure to get in my greens. My nightly sauteed kale is easily one of my favorite things to eat. I change up the flavors and the type of kale so I don’t get bored. Tonight’s version included pan-crisped dinosaur kale with a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos.

Now I look forward to my kale every night!

Eating so many greens today has really made me feel amazing! I really must do this more often. In fact, I think breakfast salads are going to be a new staple. There’s nothing like fresh food to get you going in the morning.

***

I hope that you are inspired to eat your greens as well. If nothing else, try to add an extra serving of veggies to your plate at every meal. Just that little healthy habit adds up and makes you feel great.

What’s your favorite green vegetable or salad combination? What do you think of the breakfast salad idea?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

WIAW #16: Idea Edition

Hi there, beautiful people! How are you on this wonderful Wednesday?

 

What’s so wonderful about it? Well, aside from it being one Wednesday closer to spring break, it’s also one of the first days where it’s felt like spring. The Midwest enjoyed some pretty beautiful weather yesterday, and fortunately it’s supposed to continue today. I hope you’re enjoying some sunshine where you live, too!

 

Of course another thing that makes this Wednesday so wonderful is WIAW @ Peas and Crayons. I love sharing my delicious eats and getting inspired by everyone else. Isn’t it amazing how many different ways of balanced, healthful, and tasty eating there is?

 

 

Breakfast: baked cocoa strawberry oats 

I suppose breakfast was a no-brainer today; it’s the third Wednesday (or really Tuesday) that I’ve enjoyed it. Truth is, I love dark chocolate cocoa powder. Since I didn’t have my usual chocolate banana soft serve for dessert the night before, I was left craving some chocolatey goodness. Naturally dark chocolate (88% cocoa, of course) was involved as well. You can never have enough chocolate.

***

Snack: chopped mango

Fun fact: my best friend used to called me Mango and I would call her Kiwi. Everytime I eat either of these fruits now I can’t help but smile.

 

***

Lunch: crispy tofu dippers with sugar snap peas; apple, Mary’s Gone Crackers, and salad with yellow tomatoes (unpictured)

My lunch was actually eaten in stages + in a hurry because I had to quickly jet off to my school’s girl’s middle school. I am a mentor for a small group of 7th grade girls, and today we met together. Every time we gather for good food (homemade donuts will make anyone listen. seriously.) and constructive discussions.

Today’s topic was substance abuse. Although it was a little heavy at first, once I opened it up to hear what the girls had to say, I think it really got through to them. Many of the girls expressed an open disgust for alcohol and drugs. (I hope it stays this way!) Sharing my honest experiences with them and expressing that not “everyone” does it was hopefully a good lesson.

***

Dinner: roasted purple sweet potatoes, asparagus, red bell peppers, and pan-sauteed crispy kale (+ lots of munching on extra tofu like I made for lunch; yum!)

After the rest of my busy day at school and a relaxing yoga practice, I made a simple dinner while doing homework. I’ve had extensive plans to make homemade pizza for a few weeks now, but everytime I have time to do so, it’s just not what I’m craving. Does this ever happen to you?

Purple sweet potatoes, however, were definitely on my radar. I’ve been quite the purple sweet potato fiend lately, so my stock is running out. Must find some more ASAP!

***

Dessert: gluten-free + vegan strawberry donuts

One word: yum!

***

Now for my idea explanation. Usually before I go to bed I have a big bowl of steamed or roasted veggies with some raw nuts. While I prepare this snack, I am able to immerse myself in the meditative chopping of vegetables. As I unwind from the day, I often do my best thinking. Last night was no exception. I finally put two and two together: my interest in baking, mentoring young girls, entrepreneurship, and possibly even yoga might be able to come together to form my career one day (or at least something fun on the side). Inspired by Molly Barker or Girls on the Run, I think it would be fun to start a program for young girls that empowers to to love their bodies by teaching them how to cook healthy (and delicious!) food. I have many years of school left ahead of me, so for now I’ll tuck that idea away. However, it’s a great to know that something finally clicked!

***

How did you choose your career? And what foods are you enjoying this Wednesday? 

 

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

Put a Little Sunshine in it

As someone who lives for hot, sunny weather, winter seems to drag on and on. This year I was even deluded into thinking that maybe, just maybe, there would not be any snow. Those days of sunshine, breezy 50* “heat,” and green grass were really devious, making me believe that winter had decided to sit this one out.

But it happened; yes, it finally happened. As much as I wanted to think that winter was  not coming this year, early Saturday morning I was greeted by Old Man Winter himself. So I dusted off my Ugg boots, squeaked through the freshly fallen snow, and greeted the glistening wonderland with a smile on my face. Truth be told, I will always have a special place in my Midwestern heart for the beauty of the changing seasons, freezing weather and all.

That said, I would not be able to get through winter without a few tricks up my sleeve. Hot yoga “Hawaii” is my little escape during the day…and at night? The warmth of my cozy kitchen provides the perfect escape for my warm weather dreams.

Feeling particular inspiration the other night, I ventured into my freezer in search of a taste of summer. Fortunately I found a bag of frozen pineapple, strawberries, and peaches that were so sweet and succulent—perfect for muffins!

In under an hour, my kitchen was perfumed with the smell of fresh orange zest and rich coconut milk. There were no sugar plum fairies dancing in my family’s heads; I put a little sunshine in it instead!

Tropical Sunshine Muffins 

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1-3/4 cup + 2 TBS spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 TBS ground flax seed + 3 TBS warm water + a few minutes to gel)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/3 cup sucanat OR stevia, to taste
  •  3/4 cup canned coconut milk (lite or regular will work)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
  • 3/4 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen tropical fruit (or a mix of strawberries, pineapple, and peaches), cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup toasted coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line muffin tin or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flax egg, coconut milk, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
  5. Stir in fruit and coconut (if using) until well distributed.
  6. Using an ice cream scooper (or however you prefer), place an even amount of batter in each muffin cup.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Bask in the sunshine, even if it’s just in your muffins…
I’m submitting this to this week’s Wellness Weekend @ Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

How do you get through winter? Do you like snow? 

Have a sunny day!

Mandiee

Holding the Sun in My Hands

Okay, I have another confession to make.

Fact: I’ve had absolutely no clue what to do with all my new-found summer free-time. I can’t say that I haven’t enjoyed stopping to smell the flowers, though. No complaints, no complaints.

Does anyone else fall head over heels for flowers? Sunflowers drive me the absolute craziest. Just look at how beautiful they are! I don’t usually talk about faith, but seeing beauty like this always prompts me to thank God for the beauty He has bestowed upon the Earth. If Heaven is full of sunflowers, I don’t think it’d be half bad.

Anyway, back to the free-time thing. It’s been so nice to just de-stress and relax, but all this time has let my mind be free to wander a little too much. As in I can’t get my mind off of someone special.

I’ve mentioned M a few times on the blog already, and as you probably expect, things between us are getting quite close. I won’t go into great detail because 1. this is a food/healthy living blog, and 2. my family reads my blog (hi Nan!), but I will tell you that we both admitted we like each other.

I’ve never dated/had a real boyfriend before, so I’m not really sure where things are going to go from here. M was sweet in saying that it can go wherever I want it to go, and that he will respect that. Sweet, but not helpful in the slightest. I’m not a huge fan of labels, but sometimes it’s just nice to be on the same page, you know?

Anyway, I find it interesting that different schools, age groups, and even generations have different classifications. For example, people at my school don’t “date,” but they do consider themselves “dating” or “boyfriend/girlfriend.” However, at a nearby school school, the teens “go on dates” with different people but don’t always consider themselves “dating” or give labels to the person of the night. SO confusing!

Now I’m sure you understand why my head’s felt a little dizzied. To compensate and try to keep my mind from spinning, I’ve been occupying my time with anything I can.

I cleaned my room (still in process—oof!).

I made strawberry coconut pancakes.

Truth: Cinnamon > syrup. Anyone agree?

I painted my nails.

I baked homemade vegan donuts (recipe to come)…

A LOT of donuts actually. I even brought some to my yoga friends! (Note: my uncle likes these sprinkles the best!)

…Which brings me to my next point: I practiced yoga (naturally!). What a glorious hour of moving meditation! (Note: I own a Jade yoga mat and I couldn’t be happier. I highly recommend Jade!)

And at midnight, when I had nothing but silence and darkness surrounding me (AKA the perfect companions of thought-wandering), I decided to bake scones. Cinnamon raisin scones actually.

There’s nothing like the beautiful aroma of cinnamon wafting through the house to warm your heart. The scones were easy enough to bake in the middle of the night (my favorite time anyway), but they also required enough concentration (cutting in the butter ugh!) to keep my mind from wandering too much. Perfect! Oh, and did I mention they’re delicious, too? They’re wonderfully soft and flakey, but not terribly dry—just like scones should be (and I should know; I’m British, after all.)

Cinnamon Raisin Scones 

vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free optional (use GF flour and Ener-G Egg Replacer)

Makes 8-10 scones 

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend, or organic sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (or 1 tsp if you’re a cinnamon fiend like me)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 cup raisins (or chocolate chips, if you prefer)
  • 1 TBS Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 3 TBS water, or 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 TBS water (equivalent to 1 egg), whipped with a fork
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • additional almond milk for brushing (<–vegan egg-wash!)
  • turbinado sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a a large bowl, combine flour, Stevia Baking Blend (or sugar), cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut in butter. (Here’s an example of what to do.) For flaky scones, some pieces can be left no larger than peas.
  4. Stir in raisins.
  5. In a small bowl, combine egg replacer mixture and almond milk.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just combined. (Make sure not to mix too much as to develop the gluten. If you’re working with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour, you’re good to go.) I recommend using your hands to do this.
  7. Form the dough into a ball, adding just a small amount of water or almond milk, if needed.
  8. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick round. Cut it into 8-10 triangular pieces.
  9. Put pieces on a greased baking sheet or Silpat about 1/2-inch apart. Brush tops with almond milk and lightly sprinkle with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  11. Cool on a rack or serve warm.

Questions: What is something that has made you smile today? Do you have a favorite flower? And how do relationships go for you?

Have a lovely day!
Mandiee