I don’t eat salads very often, mostly because I get bored of them very quickly. But when a salad like this one comes along it’s a love affair. After the salad I went nuts over last year that involved roasted butternut squash it should be no surprise that this most recent culprit also includes the same fall ingredient. It is paired up with dried cranberries, pistachios, and feta, all mixed into a bed of baby kale and spinach. There’s even these things called red winter berries in there which I had never even heard of until now. I don’t know how to describe them if you are unfamiliar, but they are a bit chewy – in a good way!
Speaking of salads, remember when I told you about the Advocare 10 Day Cleanse? Well I finished! I definitely felt lighter and unbloated even after only 2 days. Now at the end I can actually see a little bit of my abs that I knew were hidden under there somewhere. I learned about this cleanse from Steph who is doing the 24 Day Challenge and hosting a Gobble Gobble Challenge as well. Her amazing results are what inspired me to try the 10-day. I’ve shared my Day 1 and Day 10 photos below (self-conscious moment).
One year ago: Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
If you follow Steph’s Bite by Bite you know that she is hosting Fit-Ober and a 24 day AdvoCare challenge. Although I am not participating in those specific challenges, I did purchase the AdvoCare 10 day herbal cleanse after being lured in by the amazing results Steph has already been seeing. My day one belly looks similar to Steph’s (we’re the same weight too) so we shall see how it goes! Although I have to admit, reading the guidelines about eating 8 cups of veggies/fruit a day, at least 8 cups of water, only whole grains, little to no fat, and no processed sugar makes me wonder how much the cleanse is doing versus the healthy eating. I eat pretty healthy already but need to work on eating more veggies, less fat and no sugar (goodbye cookies fort 10 days = sadness). Either way, if I am a bit leaner in time for being a bridesmaid in Amber’s wedding this weekend I’ll be a happy camper.
Speaking of healthier eating, how about a veggie burger? When it comes to meatless burgers, black bean is typically the first kind people think of. Yet, for some reason I shied away from this version and tried every other kind first. I have no legitimate reason for this other than it simply did not appeal to me. But that all changed when this burger came into my life. It should come as no surprise that part of the reason this burger was so appealing to me was the addition of avocado slices on top. But I also liked that jalapeno and corn were mixed into the patty as well.
I made these burgers before the cleanse began, but to meet the guidelines given by AdvoCare I should have substituted the oil with broth, the bun for whole wheat (although I normally do), and the fries for veggies. Next time ;-).
I know most of you are enjoying pleasant fall weather, but here in Memphis it’s still highs in the 80s and 90s. I cannot really complain though because we had a very moderate summer (for Memphis), with only a couple days over 100 degrees instead of entire months. As a result my electricity bill was never over $85 all summer! Normally I average around $140 because I live on the third floor and everyone’s heat comes to me (while during winter I barely turn my heat on). Add all my baking and cooking and it’s a never ending battle to keep the temperature under 80 inside.
Even though the battle against the heat isn’t very prevalent anymore, I still like to make no-cook meals or desserts from time to time. This meal is legit no cook because it doesn’t even require a stove top or a microwave – absolutely no heat involved. Well, except for some spicy heat from the cashew sauce!
I dropped that ball yesterday and missed posting for Single Serving Sunday. You may not have even noticed (which if that’s the case maybe I should rethink those posts), but in case you did my apologies. I had a quick single serving breakfast recipe that I had every intention of preparing and posting, but the first time it did not come out right and then I ran out of eggs and didn’t get to the store until it was too late to fuss over. Maybe by next weekend I will have it ready haha.
With one week until I need to send the final draft of my dissertation to my committee I have been in super-productive mode. Hence my lack of a post yesterday. I did next to nothing other than write all last week until Friday afternoon when my brain died. After sending my Introduction to my advisor I just couldn’t process nerdy thoughts, so I took the night off and hung out with friends Friday night. The rest of the weekend wasn’t as writing-productive as I would have liked, but I feel less tense and my apartment is cleaner. Accomplishments come in many forms.
For all my fellow stressed out people who are desperately trying to get things done while still getting some sustenance, here is a quick and healthy meal for you tonight. It’s kind of like those healthier pasta recipes that mix in fettucine-sized slices of zucchini. This time whole wheat spaghetti is mixed with broccoli slaw and tofu which has sauteed into a spicy-honey sauce and topped with peanuts, cilantro and green onion. It’s spaghetti gone Thai!
I forgot to tell you some news… I submitted a manuscript on Monday to be reviewed and hopefully published! One of two actually as I have a second coming right behind it. Just have to finish up some minor experiments before I can wrap it up but should be nearing completion within a couple days. Then all I have to worry about it reformatting them both to fit in my dissertation, and finishing the dissertation itself! Is that all?
Yes I am somehow still cooking for myself despite everything I freak out about on a daily basis. Besides, I am trying to soak up every last morsel of summer cooking. Some people have already started to embrace the fall flavors for cooking, but I am not ready yet! I cannot imagine eating anything pumpkin when it is still 90 degrees outside so I made this fresh summer gnocchi dish. The original recipe used corn on the cob, but I had some frozen kernels already and decided to use them instead. Saving money like a
baller grad student.
One year ago: Reese’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie
Every day is a battle to actually prepare a meal at dinnertime for myself instead of opening a blue box of mac and cheese or swinging by Taco Bell. I am actually impressed by only caving once thus far. Oddly enough I spruced up that blue box by topping it off with some lentil soup and fried okra. That is what happens when you are hungry and rummage through the pantry and freezer for random items. Oddly enough it was quite delicious and I may have to do it again the next time I cave.
But on the days I do manage to cook it is rarely anything that takes more than 30 minutes of preparation. And yes, this recipe today falls into the category. It may look fancy and difficult but the hardest part is slicing the eggplant, unless you’re smart and pull out your mandoline (I own one but always forget). The next hardest part? Not eating the entire pan by yourself in one sitting. The creamy pesto was freaking amazing and I wanted to bathe in it.
Oh July, why did you scamper off so quickly? I cannot believe July is almost over, and that today marks yet another episode of The Secret Recipe Club. This month I got to dig around Flying on Jess Fuel. I found lots of tempting recipes such as Key West Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Rainier Cherry Pie – that pie excited me because I love Rainier cherries but couldn’t bring myself to buy them in order to bake it as they were ridiculously priced at the time. I decided to go for a side dish recipe since I don’t make side dishes very often compared to other things. Of course then she posted a recipe for Zucchini Bread Pancakes after I already made this gratin recipe. Guess I will had to add it to my menu later on!
Potato side dishes are quite fabulous. You can cut them up and cook until they are crispy fries, mash them and enjoy a creamy spoonful, slice them and layer with cheese for a gooey experience, or just eat them by themselves with a little butter. Of course the possibilities don’t end there! This recipe incorporates some yellow squash along with the potatoes to not only make it a little healthier, but also add great summer flavor. And the goat cheese worked wonders as usual. It was tempting to add double the amount called for in the recipe because I knew it could do no wrong, but resisted. This gratin also went very well with balsamic chicken I had prepared in the crock pot.
How is it that I cannot remember the details of a memory long ago or things of importance, yet when a song comes on the radio that I haven’t heard in over 5 years I can sign along as if I never stopped listening? Funny thing, the brain. Random thought of the day… on to this pizza!
Since my revival of pizza night last week I’ve been toying with the idea of other kinds of pizza crust. So take a wild guess as to what is my new favorite way to use Greek yogurt? In pizza dough! Its addition results in a fluffy interior with the perfect amount of crustiness on the exterior. I cannot believe how long it took me to put Greek yogurt into dough, but I foresee many Greek yogurt-bread products in my future.
This brilliant brain-child of a pizza dough was also topped off with some special ingredients to create a Greek pizza: artichokes, tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, olives, garlic, feta mozzarella, and tahini. Have I ever told you that I don’t even like olives? Or at least I used to, but lately I don’t seem to mind their presence. Either my taste buds are going numb or I’m growing up. But I don’t wanna grow up!! ::cue ToysRUs theme song::
I love that veggie burgers come in all sorts of flavors. I myself have made a few including edamame and eggplant, and even though there’s never been a disappointment I still shy away from trying a homemade black bean burger. I have zero explanation for this especially after successfully making black bean brownies. Today I once again am sharing a non-black bean veggie burger. Maybe one day I will venture down that road, but for now let’s focus on sweet potato.
Sweet potato might be one of my favorite starches. I first fell in love with it in French fry form, and then later in gnocchi. Twice. So trying it in burgers seemed like the next step. The incorporation of garlic and smoked paprika sealed the deal for me. The flavors were incredible! And of course you know I can never say no to topping it all off with avocado, especially when in cream form.
Speaking of the cream, while it I mistakenly thought the avocado went into the cream instead of just sliced on top of the burgers. However, it ended up being a happy accident because it made the sauce taste that much better, and believe that the avocado slices would’ve squeezed out due to the softness of the burger patty. I should’ve just pretended I did it on purpose and not said a word to you but I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. Especially when it turns out to not be a bad thing!
I have a feeling you are eyeing that creamy goodness in the background. Never fear for it is being posted tomorrow!
During one of my most recent visits to Nashville, I went to a taco stand called Mas Tacos Por Favor and had the best fried avocado tacos. I enjoyed them so much that I had to figure out how to make them at home, or else I would have driven 3 hours just to get some more.
Oven-frying is my favorite way to cook chicken, so I decided to incorporate this method for the avocado and it worked beautifully. I couldn’t remember exactly what else was on the taco, but I improvised based on what I could remember or see in the picture I took with my phone and it came out pretty darn close. The only thing I would change is possibly cutting back a little on the lime or adding sriracha to the sauce. I think a lime-sriracha sauce would be wonderful.
These tacos were also served with a healthier version of elote (Mexican corn), which will be posted tomorrow!