Recipe time · Uncategorized

Recipe: Asian-Inspired Vegetable Soup

My boss at work is currently taking a plant-based cooking course, so she brings in all kinds of delicious recipes for the office to try. Last week, she made a great traditional vegetable soup for everyone with lots of potatoes, onions, white beans, and cabbage.

After trying her soup and seeing how easy it was to make (she made it on our lunch break with one pot!), I decided to try my hand at making my own this past weekend but with an Asian-inspired twist. It turned out really, really good and is filling and full of vegetables which makes for a great diet food! I’ve been bringing it for lunch at work all week, and I’m not tired of it yet.

Asian-Inspired Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, diced in 1″ pieces
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/3 head of green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 container shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and diced into 1″ pieces
  • No-Chicken bouillon or broth (8 cups worth)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread
  • 1/3 of a sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring no-chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.
  2. While the stock is heating up, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in Earth Balance spread on medium-high until onions are translucent, then add mushrooms and Hoison sauce. Stir to mix, turn down to medium low and cover until mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add mushroom mixture, tofu, and other vegetables to boiling stock. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Add sriracha to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 6

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Recipe time

Overnight oat obsessed

Ummm , so how did I not try these before? I’ve been reading about other bloggers eating overnight oats for months, but I was never very interested. Dumb.

On Saturday, I hit up Harry’s Farmers’ Market and realized that organic rolled oats were only $1.59 a pound. It was enough of a push to try overnight oats for the first time.

I based my oats off a recipe from Kathy Eats Real Food and after a few days of playing around, got to a consistency I really dig. I like mine best with vanilla Greek yogurt, agave, and cinnamon. Soooooo yummy.

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Only a few simple ingredients.

I make mine in a mason jar so that it’s easily portable. I love having some left over for a mid morning snack! Plus, everything looks cuter in mason jars.

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Super filling, super delicious, super cheap. Winner in my book.

What’s your go to breakfast food?

How do you like your oats?

Recipe time

Granola goodness

I love, love, love granola. I eat tons of it, especially in the morning with Greek yogurt. So I was thrilled when I got to my mom’s house for dinner and she has whipped up these yummy granola squares.

My mom found this recipe on allrecipes.com. The original has corn syrup, but I modified it slightly to use agave syrup instead.

Gobble Up Granola Snacks

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, and raisins. Set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine brown sugar and agave syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over cereal and oat mixture. Mix well.

3. Press mixture into greased pan using the back of a large spoon. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

These are super delicious and satisfying. And they make the perfect snack while watching football!

What are your favorite football snacks?

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Recipe time

Power protein smoothies

Being a lacto-ovo pescatarian ( I eat eggs, dairy, and fish, but not other meat), I haven’t really found it hard to get enough protein. It’s one of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I’m not eating chicken, pork, or beef. My response is that it really hasn’t been an issue or something I’ve had to think hard about.

However, with the gym at my complex reopening, and having access to weight machines again, I went ahead and bought some protein powder. I felt like I needed something that is easily digested for immediately after a workout.

After reading some reviews, vanilla powders were getting the best reviews as smoothie ingredients, and I’m a smoothie lover.

On Friday, I decided to try it out after running 2.62 silent miles for Boston and hitting an upper body workout.

blender pic

smoothie ingredients

I threw a banana, about a half cup of pineapple, and four extra large strawberries into a blender with 4 ounces of almond milk and 4 ounces of plain yogurt along with a scoop of Body Fortress vanilla whey protein powder.

I would probably pare down to half a banana and add some more pineapple next time. It was really good, but the smoothie needed a little more fruit flavor to combat all the liquid. This kind of smoothie would be a meal at close to 500 calories, but it did a really good job of keeping me full for about 3-4 hours. The recipe also made a lot of smoothie—about 24 ounces!

protein smoothie

Pretty.

If I’m just going for a post workout snack, I’ll just mix the powder with a cup of almond milk for a 200 calorie protein shake.

This powder doesn’t fall into the “clean” category, but I do believe that it will be beneficial to my workout regime. I’m a big believer in women building muscle, so I need to up my protein intake some. I’m ready to burn some fat and reveal some hard-earned muscles!

Do you have any protein powders or other supplements you swear by?

What is your favorite kind of smoothie?

Get fit · Healthy living · Recipe time

Clean(er) eating

I’ve mentioned before that I’m focusing on eating a cleaner, mostly vegetarian diet. I hear it over and over again: “abs may by formed in the gym, but they’re revealed in the kitchen.” So…Wendy’s is bad for showing my six pack? Who’da thunk it?

However, while I know that fast food is not waistline friendly, I’ve relied pretty heavily on highly processed foods for a long time. They tend to be super cheap and convenient, which was very attractive to a brokey like me.

As I’ve changed my focus from quantity of food to quality of food, though, those processed quickie meals don’t make the cut. I’m pretty tired of having absolutely no idea what I’m putting into my body.

Am I going to eat 100% clean 100% of the time? Hell to the no.

But I’m going to eat as clean as I can as often as I can—even if that just means choosing the apple dippers at McDonald’s that day. Whatever the healthiest option is in the situation I’m in is the option I’ll try to take. And sometimes the healthiest option will be to let myself have a treat. After all, I’m so not about depriving myself anymore.

With that said, I’m trying to get my fridge stocked up with healthy foods to make awesome, easy meals. Both of these meals took me less than 10 minutes to throw together and were pretty darn clean and natural.

Meal A:

easybreakfast

  • 2 whole brown eggs
  • 1 100% whole grain (no white flour!) English muffin
  • 2 tbsp all natural peanut butter
  • 1 large clementine
  • coffee with light creamer and raw sugar

Meal B:

sweetpotchickin

  • 1 breaded chick’n breast from Gardein
  • 1 medium sweet potato, baked in the microwave
  • 1/2 cup boiled edamame in the shell

Serious deliciousness. Because when I get home late at night, I’m not going to spend forever cooking, I need to have easy, healthy, quick options. Otherwise I’m going to say “screw this, I’m eating Thin Mints.” Talk about not waistline friendly.

What are some of your go-to healthy and easy meals?

I go either with meals like the above, or something that’s been cooking in the crock pot all day.

Do you try to eat clean or do you go for convenience?

Eating disorder recovery has made me focus a lot more on what I’m putting into my body versus how much. It’s a much more balanced way for me to approach my eating.

Recipe time

“Chicken” a la Vodka

I’m a sucker for pasta dishes. In a world of carbophobes, I’m a proud carb lover. I’m also a proud cheapskate. And pasta is cheap.

I was craving something beyond normal spaghetti, but not as heavy as alfredo. Then it hit me: vodka sauce! The perfect mixture of tomato sauce and creamy sauce.

I threw in some veggies for color and because, you know, veggies are good for you. Even though I don’t really eat meat (mostly pescatarian), I still haven’t gotten totally on board with no meat in my recipes. Especially when I’m cooking something delicious! So I spoiled myself a little and bought a pack of meatless chicken patties. I totally already threw away the packaging, so I can’t even remember the brand. But they were awesome. Next time I buy them, I promise to post a picture!

The meal turned out absolutely delicious, and I had sweet leftovers to take for lunch this week.

vodka chickn

“Chick’n” a la Vodka

Ingredients

  • meatless faux chicken patties, 1 per serving
  • olive oil to coat skillet
  • 1 box whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 jar Classico vodka sauce
  • 1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • garlic salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add chick’n patties and brown on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. When patties are done, set aside and cover to keep warm. (pic of chicken)
  2. Add mushrooms and zucchini to leftover oil and chick’n drippings. Saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add vodka sauce, balsamic vinegar and pepper, then simmer on low 20 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, boil pasta in a large pot until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander, then transfer back to pot.
  4. Cover pasta with the vodka sauce, then stir to combine. Serve pasta mixture and set a chick’n patty on top. Serve hot.

See? Easy peasy. Because y’all know I’m not about the crazy hard recipes. Okay, that’s a total lie, but I do love my simple, healthy and delicious stuff, too! And each serving comes to less than $3 per serving. Sweet for a broke foodie.

What are some of your go-to recipes?

Are you a carbophobe or carbophile?

Budget shopping · Recipe time

Oh, slow cooker, my love…

Dear slow-cooker,

You are the light of my life. You make the most delicious meals with so little effort on my part. The perfect fall and winter foods are child’s play for you.

Pot roast? No big deal.

Lamb stew? On it.

Pulled pork? Bring it on.

I just thought you should know how grateful I am for your awesomeness.

Love,

Caroline

20091015crockpot

I seriously love the slow cooker. Unfortunately, I’m currently lacking one at my casa, but my wonderful mother let me use hers (exactly like the above picture) all day today to make a twist on a traditional beef stew.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good, traditional beef stew, but I also love trying new recipes and playing in the kitchen.

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So, so, so true.

Yesterday, at Harry’s Farmer’s Market, I came across a pretty good price on stew meat, so I picked up a pound. That’s not even close to how much I usually use, but it will make enough servings for me to have leftovers this week. Remember folks, I’m lame and cook for one.

I decided to take a Mediterranean twist on traditional stew.

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It’s not the prettiest picture, or great quality, but that’s what I get for packing it up and taking it to my house before remembering I wanted to blog about it.

Mediterranean Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 1 bag Whole 365 frozen Mediterranean blend veggies
  • 1 packet garlic vinaigrette mix
  • 2 small potatoes, roughly diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

  1. Put meat and veggies into slow cooker.
  2. Mix broth, water, seasoning packet, and garlic together in a small bowl. Pour mixture over meat and veggies.
  3. Cook on low, 8 hours. Serve hot.

Easy-peasy. It makes 3 large or 4 medium servings. For a larger group, I’d double the ingredients to make a big batch of stew. The stew itself has a nice little kick from the garlic and the red bell peppers, but is still mild enough for most palates. Also, you can leave out the garlic if you prefer something milder. That’s what I love about cooking…the results are almost endlessly customizable.

All-in-all this stew cost me about $9 to make. That’s a little pricy for me, but it still comes out to under $3 per serving. Considering I can’t eat at McD’s for that, I’ll totally take it.

Healthy food and some extra moolah in my pocket? That makes this broke girl very happy.

Do you have any awesome slow cooker recipes? Do tell!

Do you like to cook? What’s your best dish?