Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Favorites

1. buffalo wing popcorn is perfect for Oscars night
2. a beautiful, dark (and late) valentines themed martini
3. need a smile? adoptable dogs in produce should do the trick
4. drooling over double chocolate coconut strawberry brownies
5. I recently made cauliflower wings, and now I want to try these
6. this salad involves pan-crisping deviled eggs and I'm all about it
7. setsubun is beautiful and this post is a great read
8. vegan Ben and Jerrys is finally a thing
9. some pretty creepy films were watched by Nixon in the White House
10. here's a helpful list of new cocktails to try if you like their inspired originals
11. been having a love affair with all things Japan lately and this japanese avocado toast looks tops
12. diamond ring jello shots - need I say more?
13. she had me at marshmallow and again at blood orange sugar (and some more with champagne)
14. sometimes I need to explain the pleasures of reading a recipe, which this article details very well

Lazy Hamlet cat in the sun

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Weekly Eats Six (2/15 - 2/21)

I love anything to do with noodles - whether it be Italian, Thai, Japanese, or other cuisine - or just plain noodles with vegan butter and salt. However, there's a special place in my heart for Asian noodle dishes, especially those that I haven't tried yet. I had never heard of Singapore noodles until I read this post and I knew I had to try them! The combination of tamari and curry powder is amazing, plus that "sauce" is maybe my new favorite glaze for tofu and it only has a few ingredients! Instead of baking the tofu and pan-glazing it, I pressed, cubed, and fried my tofu in coconut oil in a large skillet (the same one I used for the whole dish) until lightly browned on all sides - about 10 minutes. Then I added the sauce and let cook for 3-4 minutes until glazed. I did this while my rice noodles soaked in hot water, so when both of those things were done, I could start the rest!

These are the first "true" granola bars (i.e. not raw/no bake) I have tried to make. These only took a few minutes to come together, and baked for only half an hour, but apparently I'm not that great at making granola bars. These had a perfect apple pie flavor, complete with plenty of cinnamon and a hint of sugar, but most of them fell apart. Of course I still ate them, but I'd like to have nice, neat little bars to pack up for trips. I think my mistakes were a) not measuring my melted coconut oil properly b) not pressing down my bars firmly (I would use a thin, metal spatula) c) not letting them cool completely before cutting into bars. I am about to try a different granola bar recipe that instructs you to let cool, then refrigerate before cutting, so we will see if those cut more easily. 

I've had my eye on these beautifully golden, crunchy tacos for a while now. We really enjoy Mexican food, so of course we had to try making these at home. The result: why have I never shallow-fried tacos?! There's nothing really to this recipe - just mashing some homemade beans with onion and cilantro, frying and pressing tortillas to make crispy little shells, then smothering it all in salsa and hot sauce - but they just taste so much better then regular tacos. I'd love to try these with different fillings, and will certainly report back our results. The recipe says it serves four, but we happily ate all of them in one sitting. Next thing to try will be making our own tortillas!

This has been on my to-make list for a bit now, and I finally decided I needed a healthy little boost for dinner. Plus who doesn't love a recipe that takes literally no time to make? The dressing was exceptional - especially with a little lemon juice and extra freshly ground pepper. I subbed black olives for kalamata for expense purposes, and used romaine instead of baby greens because I prefer a crunchier green sometimes. This would be perfect with a soft cooked egg or cooked salmon as well, to make it a protein triple threat! Plus lentils in salads is the best, and I just love cooking them on the stove because they release a smell that is very reminiscent of jasmine tea. 

Ideas for the upcoming week: use up leftover produce; Old Bay cauliflower chickpea burgers; garlic-curry fries; toasted coconut almond granola bars; creamy tahini chopped salad; use up snow peas 

Weekly Eats Five (2/8 - 2/14)

One of my favorite things about cooking with vegetables is being able to use them in many different ways. I had some butternut squash leftover from the previous week, so I set out on a search on how to use it up. So I decided to roast it with onions to make this incredible buffalo mac with tofu bacon! I'm all for vegan mac that doesn't involve soaking cashews or long ingredient lists, so this was perfect. The tofu bacon was a delicious addition as well, which didn't take time at all! This recipe lasted me quite a few days, and I even had some leftovers for the beach as well!

When does something become a tradition? Can you simply name it that, or should you do it a few times before it really holds that meaning? In any case, we repeated this from last year's Valentines trip: 1) the beach 2) fish from the local market 3) put off making dinner until as late as possible and neither one of you really want to do anything but you do anyways. These three things combine for a magical, cozy Valentines dinner at the condo. We spent the day frolicking around a nice shopping center where we tried out a brewery restaurant and a wonderful sushi spot (we highly recommend both!). After watching a movie, we whipped together this super quick fish taco bowl, and doused it in Singapore sauce that we got from the sushi place. These bowls were filling, insanely flavorful, and the best ending to such a great day. And every time I cook fish, I always ask myself why I don't more often. So this is something I'd like to work on! It was also lovely to have some quinoa, which I don't eat nearly as often as I used to.

I have been on a somewhat random, crazy matcha/green tea kick lately, so it has been most of what I've been drinking lately. I picked up this cute little juice box of matcha/apple juice for the trip home. It was delicious, definitely gave me a boost, plus the willpower to drive over 3 hours and not go crazy. Hooray! I'd love to order some of their loose teas as well.

(See above for green-tea-mania explanatory note) This stuff is a kick in the pants if you really need it. I should probably keep a case of these in the fridge at all time, you know, just in case (but really because they are so good). This would be a perfect pre-work out boost or I'm-too-sleepy-to-function drink, but I sadly had to pair it with the one above to even stay focused on the drive home. I'm not a fan of long trips, but lots of caffeine helped in more ways than one!

Breakfast: Smoked Salmon Avocado Smash Toast/Bagel

Another beach trip "tradition" is this easy, protein-packed breakfast that I make at least once while we are away. First I toast either two slices of GF bread or a GF bagel (their everything bagels are tops for this). Then I smash one avocado with juice of 1/2 a lemon, a little lemon pepper, sweet Hungarian paprika, cumin, and salt. Taste for seasoning and acidity. Spread generously onto each piece of bread/bagel. Instead of smoked salmon, I buy nova bits by the pound from the Fresh Market (tip: its cheaper and doesn't taste any different) - you only need a little over 1/4pd for this. Tear into bite sized pieces and place on top. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and devour! It will keep you full for hours and it's the best damn thing you'll have for breakfast.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Weekly Eats Four (2/1 - 2/7)

Dinner: Miso-Curry Roasted Squash, Tofu, and Potatoes over Rice

Some of my favorite winter meals consist of a tasty marinade/sauce, some cooked grains, and a huge baking tray of roasted things. This delicious meal is a great example of this! I have made a riff on this recipe, which comes from Super Natural Every Day, but you can try a still amazing take on it using harissa and miso. The best part of this meal is that it will last for days, and can be eaten with many different things. It pairs wonderfully with simple brown rice, but the addition of diced avocado and some hot sauce are also great! I can see a fried egg going well with this as well.

Afternoon Pick Me Up: Encha Ceremonial Grade Matcha 

I picked up one of these single-serve matcha packets from Vida Pour Tea here in Greensboro, and finally made a little matcha latte this weekend! I mixed it with steamed coconut milk, raw sugar, and a little peppermint syrup - it was delicious! I've never had real matcha before - definitely not the stuff you get at most coffee shops, this is the real deal. I am now seriously considering investing in a large amount of matcha, plus a whisk, spoon, and bowl. Curious to know how matcha makes you feel compared to other forms of caffeine? Here is a great resource!

Snack: Banana-Nut Muffins

We purchased some discounted bananas from the store last week - 8-9 for less than $2! I used some of them for smoothies, but the rest I decided to use for these muffins. This recipe comes from Isa Does It and took no time at all to make. I don't usually make muffins since they can take more time/effort than I like to put into my work snacks, but I will definitely be making these again! The ingredient list is short, minimal prep, and the payoff is amazing. I used walnuts for the nuts and subbed part of them with chocolate chips!

Dinner: Pasta with Raw Tomato-Garlic Sauce

I had some tomatoes in the fridge, so I decided to make an easy dinner with a raw tomato sauce. I just chopped up two tomatoes, minced 1-2 cloves of garlic, and added a heavy glug of olive oil along with Italian herbs, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Fresh basil is amazing in this if you have it. I recommend letting the sauce marinate for 1-2 hours, or at least 30 minutes if that's all you have. Top your pasta with the sauce and enjoy! I'm sure it would also be wonderful cold the next day.

Super Bowl Dinner: Black Bean Quinoa Soup

We were trying to find the perfect chili for Super Bowl Sunday, when I saw this recipe in the latest version of Vegan with a Vengeance. It has ingredients similar to chili, but a slightly different flavor, plus it took less than 30 minutes to cook! I don't use quinoa often because of the price, but it really made this soup delicious. We topped our bowls with crushed corn chips and diced avocado, and hot sauce would also be great with it. Since Super Bowl is over - this would be a perfect idea for any weeknight as well!

I've been dying to make cauliflower wings for some time now, but settled for these amazing sriracha cauliflower bites from the Thug Kitchen book! They take no time at all to make, plus the flavor is incredible - just spicy enough, yet not overpowering. I was hesitant about pairing this with a peanut sauce, but it turned out to be the perfect sauce for these! I would love to make these for a party since they do well with toothpicks and are fast to prep!

Overview: I definitely could've cooked more this week, but happy over all! I went to the gym 5 times last week too, which I am very proud of! This week I'd like to cook more, although we will be at the beach this weekend. That being said, I am hoping to not eat out since we will be out of town.

Ideas for the upcoming week: butternut buffalo mac and cheese with tofu bacon; apple pie granola bars; Alton Brown fish tacos

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekly Eats Three (1/25 - 1/31)

Overnight slow cooker oatmeal is a real life saver when you need to be up at 5:30! It takes no time at all to make - and you can easily sub in chai or Lady Grey tea! I used vanilla extract in place of the rosewater as well. This recipe yielded about 3 breakfast servings

Dinner: Tortilla Soup

The snow storm last weekend led to us raiding the pantry and fridge for an easy meal! This tortilla soup is something I've blogged about before - in fact, this picture is from last year. I love this soup because it seriously takes less than 30 minutes and it's so flavorful. Happy to report these beans were still from scratch (leftover from a large batch I made) and lasted us several snow days!

Dinner: Spicy Tofu Stew with Jasmine Rice

For Christmas, I received a very thoughtful gift - a subscription to Vegetarian Times! I'm so excited to have a thorough, vegetarian magazine to cook and adapt recipes from. I decided to make the first recipe I came across in their latest January/February issue - spicy tofu stew, which was voted one of their most popular recipes from last year. I was scared that this stew would not be super flavorful, but I was so wrong! I added a heavy dose of lemon pepper and Northwoods fire seasoning, plus a little vegan butter and more sambal. It only takes ten minutes to make this ridiculously filling and flavorful stew! Highly recommended with some jasmine rice for balance and bulk.

Snacks: Cajun Hummus

I made a batch of slow-cooker chickpeas, which went towards the last two recipes! This batch of Cajun hummus was a great snack to take to work - with corn chips, carrot sticks, or celery sticks. It's also nice to have a healthy snack to munch on while I'm home. I also found another use for breakfast - mixed with eggs for breakfast plus hot sauce. I love trying new hummus recipes, and this one is a new favorite!

Dinner: Buffalo Chickpea Stuffed Potato

Looks like I've revisited a lot of old favorites lately - and this one is no exception! Another lovely 10 minute meal that is hearty, filling, and super spicy! I cooled it down with a little extra vegan butter, but if you have vegan sour cream/vegan ranch, that would also be amazing. I seriously forgot how delicious buffalo sauce is!

Breakfast: blood orange - chia - apple - banana smoothies

Overview: Admittedly, I ate out way more than I wanted to this week, so I would like to not do that this week. I'd also like to post on time this week! On a positive note, I did cook all of my beans from scratch and did not spend a lot on groceries. Plus I had snacks for work last week. I'm excited to try new recipes this week and hopefully some new snack recipes as well.

Ideas for this week: banana bread granola bars; crunchy black bean tacos; Old Bay cauliflower burgers with garlic-curry fries; tequila sunrise chili; cauliflower buffalo wings