1 can of black beans + 1 avocado + a little corn and a little red onion + dash of S&P = lazy dinner for one. Healthy food is not ridiculously expensive. Bypass surgery, Lipitor, blood glucose monitors, gym memberships, Nutrisystem… those things are ridiculously expensive.
I hosted book club at my apartment this last week. The book was Great Gatsby so of course I wanted to do a little 1920s theme. The only problem? The prohibition-era was all about dairy, eggs and meat. The solution? Mason jars, vintage fonts and a huge Waldorf salad. I typed out labels in a vintage-style font and stuck them into wine corks. For the food, I used a sweet lemon dressing for the Waldorf salad instead of the heavy, mayonnaise-based dressing that is usually used. After adding some pasta, roasted veggies and pudding (topped with Oreo crumbs!), I ended up with delicious vegan meal. My sister’s wedding had a 1920s theme and she served a drink called Bee’s Knees. It consists of gin, honey and lemonade. I did a slight twist on this drink and simply used gin, lemonade and a splash of orange juice. It was very refreshing and not too sweet. The dinner went well and I’m already looking forward to my next opportunity for a themed veggie dinner party!
Links to select recipes:
Food has been changing for the last 100 years into forms that are barely recognizable today as food. Gogurt, Cheerios, Oreos, Doritos, Fruit Roll Ups, Gushers… The fact that food can be “invented” seems insane. What was wrong with food before? Why did we need to create strawberry-flavored Fruit Roll Ups when we could just eat strawberries? Why do we eat Doritos corn tortilla chips instead of eating corn on the cob? We do this because someone realized they could make money inventing food items. Suddenly, a lot of people realized they could make money off of new inventions.
Now consumers are left wandering supermarket aisles that more closely resemble the aisles of a Best Buy. Do you want The Fruit Snack 3000 that also plays Blu-Ray DVDs or do you want the cereal that transforms your milk into a touch screen display AND lowers your cholesterol? Decisions, decisions. All these newfangled foods live in shiny packaging and promise to make consumers skinny, healthy and generally well-liked in the workplace.
Of course, no single food can’t promise to do any of those things. The sum of one’s diet is certainly greater than its parts. Even so, why fill your diet with a product that served simply to make someone else rich? Humans and other animals have tried and tested natural foods for thousands of years. Therefore, I prefer to look to the past when filling my plate.
Eat foods that nature perfectly and meaningfully designed. Eat foods that our ancestors were proud to grow and eat foods that you are proud to consume. Stick to the basics: choose whole, unrefined, non-processed foods. Our food becomes a part of us. Allow the food you eat to be your best feature.
But unfortunately, I don’t think Gretchen Weiner’s father, the inventor of Toaster Strudel, would be too pleased to hear about this.
I haven’t had many exciting recipes in my life lately because I’m often eating salads and how exciting can that be? The key to creating an exciting salad always comes back to the dressing. It really doesn’t matter what veggies you throw in as long as the dressing is delicious. Having said that, the second crucial component of a salad is an avocado. But hopefully you already knew that.
Ingredients for Braised Tofu:
- 1/2 package of tofu
- 3 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt
Ingredients for Salad:
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped carrots
Ingredients for Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1/8 cup veganaise
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
1. Heat 2 tsp of the sesame seed oil in a skillet over high heat. Cut the tofu into thin slices and place into the hot oil. Heat for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned on both sides.
2. Remove the tofu from the pan and cut into triangles. Add the remaining sesame seed oil, soy sauce, black pepper and salt to the skillet. Return the tofu to the pan. Cover and cook, while stirring occasionally, an additional 5 minutes over medium heat until golden brown.
3. Combine all of the ingredients for the salad dressing into a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly blended.
4. Combine the salad ingredients. Top with the tofu and lightly coat with dressing.
Yields 2 servings
I started a 21-day cleanse on Tuesday. This is my second time doing a cleanse and I’m basically doing the same thing this time around. I am eating certain fruit, certain vegetables, legumes (except soy), and gluten-free grains. Considering the cleanse diet is very similar to my regular diet, it really hasn’t been much to adjust to. I’m used to eating soy, gluten, and sugar so these items are hard to leave off my plate. However, it is definitely easier than I thought it would be. I’ve also made changes to my exercise routine. I have been running 3 miles each morning and walking 3 miles in the evening. It’s going well so far and I hope to post a few fun, healthy recipes from the cleanse.
Is it just me… Or is the name of this recipe something Jay Z and Beyonce would name their child? I think Blue Ivy and Quinoa Mango Tabouleh would get along well except during long road trips. But Jay Z and Beyonce don’t take road trips so we’re fine there.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp fresh mint
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 mango, chopped into small cubes
- 5-6 thick slices of cucumber, cut into fours
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. I suggest rinsing the quinoa and combining it with 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Allow it to boil then simmer for 12-15 minutes until a little germ ring forms around the grain (like in the picture above).
2. Toss all ingredients with the quinoa and serve chilled.
Yields: two servings
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Ok so I’ve made up a word. I’ll confess. It’s supposed to be a cross between tempeh and bacon but it’s also a tribute to Peyton Manning. So just deal with it. I love Peyton. I would enjoy being married to him. I think we would have cute kids. Not that I’ve ever thought about marrying him and having 3 kids named Peyton II, Peyton III and Tony Dungy II. We would obviously have three sons just like Archie. And a golden doodle named Vince Lombardi.
Anyway, all of Indianapolis and pretty much the entire state of Indiana (except for the part by Chicago which should technically surrender and become part of Illinois) is super depressed about Peyton leaving. Like super depressed. And this is part of a tribute to a legend who turned a silly little city into a really great town. It was great to have him here and we are sad to say good bye. As for my future with Peyton, I guess I could get used to Miami. Or Arizona. Or Denver. Or Washington. For now, let’s move on to the “bacon.”
Bacon was on of the last “red meat” items for me to give up. I don’t think I’ve eaten bacon for at least 8 years now. When I did eat it, I enjoyed it. However, there are much better things to consume. Like tempeh. I’ll admit: tempeh took me a while to warm up to. I still prefer tofu and seitan over tempeh but they serve other distinct purposes. Tempeh consists of fermented soybeans and it is probably the best item to use for fake bacon. It can be sliced thinly without completely crumbling.
I first had fake bacon during my freshman year of college. I had been a vegetarian for about two years by that point. Our RA (resident assistant) in our dorm made breakfast for everyone one morning. At the end, she announced it was completely vegetarian from the sausages to the bacon. No one seemed very amused (I was excited!) but it was probably just too early in the morning for college students to care about nutrition. Anyway, I found it interesting that she announced this fact shortly after serving the fake bacon. She probably waited until this point because the bacon looked like this:
Ah Morningstar. Bless your little hearts for trying. There’s really no confusing a meat eater here. With many meat products there’s not much use in trying to “veganize” it. And why try? I hate this Freudian idea that food companies have. They insist that we all have meat envy. I very rarely will eat “fake meat” products unless it’s something I’ve made myself. Fake meat can also be incredibly expensive in comparison to the costs of making “meat” yourself. So here’s a DIY bacon recipe from good ole Vegetarian Times. I definitely want to try this on a BLT asap.
- 1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, sliced into 24 very thin slices
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
- 2 tsp. liquid smoke, optional
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- Smoked paprika, optional
1. Lay tempeh slices in 2 13- x 9-inch baking dishes. Bring soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, ancho chile powder, and ½ cup water to a boil in small saucepan. Boil 1 minute, then remove from heat, and stir in liquid smoke, if using. Pour over tempeh slices. Let cool, then cover and chill 2 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Carefully transfer tempeh slices to prepared baking sheet, and discard marinade.
3. Brush slices with canola oil, and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Flip tempeh slices, brush with oil, and bake 5 to 7 minutes more, or until crisp and dark brown.
Morningstar picture source: http://www.morningstarfarms.com/morningstar-farms-veggie-bacon-strips.html
I use my salad dressing bottle from Target constantly. I refill this bottle at least biweekly. This bottle has a few different recipes for dressings labeled on it. I have tried any of them yet but I’m sure I will eventually. I found a lemony dressing recently that has been my go-to recipe for the last couple months. It tastes fabulous on fruity salads, which are my favorite right now. I initially used this dressing when I prepared a meal at work for 60 people. I used a spinach, green apple and dried cranberry salad for the dressing. The salad disappeared quickly. I didn’t even get to try any! But, I have made up for this times a million considering how much of this dressing I consume.
In other news, I accepted a job offer today within my company. I will be working MUCH closer to home and I will basically never have to leave downtown. This is good for three reasons:
1. More time to cook
2. More money to spend on food
3. Basically won’t have to use my car
I plan on walking to the grocery store whenever I need to stock up. It’s an expensive grocery store but I will be saving money elsewhere so I figure it’s worth it. I’m excited to embrace this hipster lifestyle of walking everywhere. As if I wasn’t already slightly hipster. Carbon footprint = what carbon footprint?
Sweet Lemon Dressing
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp diced onion
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
Combine ingredients in a bottle and shake!
Do I ever get tired of fruity salads? Apparently not – they’re just too good!
- Mixed greens
- Orange slices
- Dried cranberries
- Lemon dressing
54 degrees and sunny today in Indy, which is fabulous for January in the Midwest. Might as well celebrate the good weather with a summery salad. I’ve eaten this same salad pretty much twice a day for the past week – it never gets old!
- 1/2 granny smith apple chopped
- 3 strawberries chopped
- 1/8 cup red onion diced
- 1/8 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 tbsp lemon vinaigrette
Combine ingredients and drizzle with dressing.