Tag Archives: recipe

Raw Pad Thai-Style Salad

On Monday before spin class (which was much later in the evening – 7:15) I decided to try out a recipe for a Raw Pad Thai salad that I saw on the blog Oh She Glows. The salad is a mix of carrots, lettuce, zucchini, edamame, and red bell pepper with a peanut garlic sauce. Delicious! If you don’t read her blog, check it out as she makes some gorgeous (vegan) food and takes incredible photos! Her photos of this particular salad are much better than mine so definitely check them out! 🙂

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I followed the recipe almost exactly, although I substituted some iceberg for the red cabbage because my grocery store mysteriously didn’t have any cabbage. Oh well. I also substituted soy sauce in for the tamari in the sauce recipe. And let me tell you, the sauce for this salad is delicious! It may be the perfect peanut garlic sauce (although as usual I think it could use more garlic! :-)) that I’ve been looking for.

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For the salad itself, I ended up using a peeler to make zucchini and carrot “noodles” instead of julienning them mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to get the julienne blade on my mandolin and I gave up in frustration. Oh well, next time! 🙂 This salad is delicious, crisp, and has just enough of that “Pad Thai” flavor to satisfy a craving – although it can’t replace true Pad Thai from my favorite take out place!

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Since I followed her recipe exactly, head over to Oh She Glows for her Rad Rainbow Raw Pad Thai Salad recipe. I enjoyed it! 🙂

Questions of the Day
What are some of your favorite recipe blogs?
Do you get most of your recipes online (from blogs or other sources) or from cookbooks and magazines?

“Protein” Pancakes

Yesterday was one of those days when nothing seemed to go my way. The weekend in general seemed to slip by rapidly, which I think is what happens when you spend Saturday afternoon/evening on the couch not feeling well. At least I had the new show “Orange is the New Black” to binge-watch on Netflix (I highly recommend it by the way).

Orange is the New Black

On Sunday, I made a big batch of slow-cooker “refried” beans (recipe to be posted later this week! :-)) and for the first time in my life, I got a pepper burn on my hands from chopping the jalapeños. At first I couldn’t figure out why my hand was bothering me so much. I’ve chopped jalapeños numerous times in the past without incident, but this time around I learned my lesson and will use definitely be using gloves in the future. I spent the afternoon with my left hand throbbing, trying every home remedy in the book (lotion, aloe, dish soap, lemon juice, ketchup, yogurt, etc) with no luck. It turns out time is the only thing that really gets rid of the burn.

I had planned my first “long run” for Sunday (5 miles) and it did not go according to plan at all. My first mistake was trying to run outside at 3 in the afternoon. After about a mile, the heat and humidity had done me in and I jogged over to my community’s gym to run on the treadmill. Less than a mile in on the treadmill, I felt terrible. My stomach was starting to really bother me. Worried that the bug from Saturday was returning, and feeling utterly useless and disappointed in myself, I returned back to my apartment to shower and continue my “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” day.

Alexander's Bad Day
Alexander, I know how you feel brother

I made and ate a cheese pizza for dinner (pretty much the same one I had last Monday, as two crusts came in the package), which of course didn’t cut properly and stuck to my baking stone, in keeping with the theme of the day. A couple hours later, I was still hungry and looking for some sort of comfort food to heal my battered soul. I was considering making a couple pancakes using my whole wheat pancake mix, which is one of my go-to late night comfort food snacks when I remembered all the pins I’ve seen for making pancakes with bananas and egg.

You know the pins I’m talking about, don’t you? I think I’ve seen them a million times (though I’ve never re-pinned any). They all swear you can make pancakes using just eggs and banana (usually labeled “Paleo” pancakes, since they don’t contain grain and are high in protein). To say the least, I’ve always been skeptical that this combination would really produce fluffy pancakes like all the pins claimed. But I decided to give it a shot.

The ingredients – one banana, one egg, and a dash of cinnamon.

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I spent a few minutes mashing/mixing the ingredients together with a fork. If you don’t mind dirtying your blender or food processor, that would probably be a faster method but the “batter” came together easily enough using just a fork.

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I added a little bit of coconut oil to a hot pan and then dropped the batter in. The batter cooked just like normal pancakes, and I flipped them after they turned a nice golden brown. FYI, the one banana/egg combo made two pancakes – a perfect single serving! And, much to my amazement, the recipe did make nice, fluffy pancakes!

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The pancakes had a great texture, and a delicate banana flavor. They tasted way more like pancakes than I was expecting. I’m not sure what kind of black magic is behind this, but it’s a neat trick! I ate mine with a little butter and syrup, but they would be delicious with lots of other topping options.

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I’m already thinking about adding a few chocolate chips to these next time I need a late night, comfort food snack!

Have you tried any alternative recipes to traditional pancakes? How did it turn out?

Caprese Pasta Salad

For Fourth of July weekend, I went camping with my parents down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I always try to split the food duties with my mom, so I brought down hot dogs and hamburgers for our 4th of July BBQ, as well as some pasta salad and succotash to have on the side.

I got the idea for this pasta salad because of my deep love of the combination of mozarella, basil and tomatoes (see my margherita pizza and bruschetta recipes). I absoluetly love when summertime comes and fresh, local tomatoes are in abundance. I used to have some success growing my own tomatoes on my apartment balcony, but last year I moved and my new balcony doesn’t get enough sunlight. My new apartment is terrible for growing plants, in fact – it’s where plants go to die.

I thought a Caprese Pasta Salad would be quick and delicious, and it would travel and sit outside well since the dressing is oil and vinegar. Perfect! And the recipe really couldn’t be any easier!

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Caprese Pasta Salad
Serves eight.

    – 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
    – 1, 8-10 oz container mozarella balls (you can halve them if they are large, mine were super petite so I left them whole)
    – 1/4 cup shredded mozarella (optional)
    – A large handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
    – 1-2 cloves garlic, pasted
    – 10 ounces pasta, cooked and cooled (I used rotini, but any short-cut pasta would work)
    – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    – up to 1 cup olive oil
    – Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta and set it in a colander to cool. Halve the tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Chop the basil and add to the bowl.

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Add the mozarella balls, halving them if necessary. I would usually cut them in half, but this time the mozarella balls were super tiny so I left them whole.

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I also added in about a 1/4 cup of shredded mozarella because I was worried there wasn’t enough cheese. Is there such thing as enough cheese? 🙂 At this point, I also added the garlic, salt, and pepper and stirred to combine.

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Add the cooled pasta, and dress with the balsamic vinegar and oil. Stir thoroughly. We ate this pasta salad for lunch several days in a row on the camping trip and it was a big hit! I’ll definitely be making it again.

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Southern Succotash

In my box from Washington’s Green Grocer last week I got some beautiful corn on the cob. One of the first things I think of when I see corn (other than eating it off the cob) is succotash. Succotash is one of my favorite side dishes, and after I created this version a few years ago it really stuck. I was really proud because it was one of the first recipes I ever created totally by myself and it turned out so well! 🙂

The idea came from a corn side dish that I ate at Bonefish Grill which had bacon and red bell pepper in it. When I tried to recreate it at home, I added lima beans and thus this succotash was born!

First, a little trick for getting corn kernels off the cob that I learned from Rachel Ray. If you turn a smaller bowl upside down inside of a larger bowl, you can brace the corn upright on the small ball, and as you cut the kernels off the cob, they are caught by the larger bowl. Check it out:

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Pretty cool, right? I still manage to get a few kernels on the counter but it’s the least-messy method I’ve found so far.

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Southern Succotash
Serves six.

    – 4 slices bacon, chopped
    – 3-4 medium sized cobs of corn
    – 2 cups lima beans, frozen
    – 1 red bell pepper, diced
    – 2 cloves garlic, minced or pasted
    – 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
    – Salt and pepper, to taste

Sautee the chopped bacon pieces in a pan over medium heat until crisp. If there’s a lot of grease from cooking the bacon, you can drain off all but a few tablespoons. I usually use the center-cut bacon which is a little leaner and I don’t drain the bacon.

Add the red bell pepper and garlic to the bacon and grease and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Then add the corn and lima beans, crushed red pepper, salt, and cracked black pepper and stir to combine. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the corn is tender and the lima beans and heated through.

Note: this time, I added a few diced garlic scapes since I also got them in my Washington’s Green Grocer box. They were a delicious addition!

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Margherita Pizza & 50 Mile July!

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July holiday weekend!

I did my best to “unplug” for the weekend and went camping with my parents down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We had beautiful, although very hot and humid, weather. We spent most of the weekend relaxing in the campground at the pool, or fishing off the pier but we also ventured out to two of our favorite wineries that happen to be on the Eastern Shore – Chatham and Holly Grove – and into the town of Cape Charles to a wine and cheese shop. Of course, I couldn’t unplug completely so I did Instagram a few photos. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see some of the food and other fun stuff that doesn’t make it to my blog.

Thanks to the insane traffic on Sunday it took me 6 and a half hours to make the 3 and a half hour drive home. My nerves were fried by the time I made it back to DC, but I forced myself to make a quick trip to the grocery store for smoothie making essentials and a few other items. When I finally made it home, all I wanted to do was relax and watch The Walking Dead marathon on AMC – but of course my cable was out. I made do with binge-watching my Game of Thrones DVDs.

When I got to the campground on Thursday, they were hosting a 10 a.m. 2 mile “fun run” which my family participated in. Actually, my parents were in the walker category and my sister ran most of the 2 miles with me before walking the last bit. It was my first two miles of July – which is good because I’m trying a “50 mile July” challenge. I read on Active that challenging yourself to get 50 miles in a month is a good way to establish a solid weekly base mileage. The months of July and August, I’m going to focus on running three times a week, establishing a solid weekly mileage, and getting in one hour per week of non-running cardio (i.e. swimming, elliptical-ing, or cycling). I’ve read that this hour of cross training is important to increase your cardio thresholds, without the wear and tear of running. Currently, the only cardio in my workouts is running so this is going to be a new challenge for me.

For Meatless Monday last night, I whipped up a quick pizza from a store-bought whole wheat crust, some tomato sauce, and sliced mozzarella. I drizzled the pizza crust with olive oil and some pasted garlic, because I can’t cook anything without adding garlic – seriously, I’m an addict.

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Then I topped the crust with sauce and sliced fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of dried herbs (parsley, oregano, dill). Easy peasy! And delicious!

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It was a quick and easy dinner that my friend Heather and I shared while catching up on our holiday weekends. After a long few months of traveling, I’m looking forward to staying around the DC area for the next two months.

Question of the Day
What is your favorite form of cardio?

Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

On Saturday after Body Pump I headed over to Barnes and Noble to buy a planner for 2014. Around late summer each year, events start to pop up in the January/February timeframe for the upcoming year. In true OCD-planner-user fashion, I want to write them down, so I’m forced to hunt down a new planner for the upcoming year. I could say I wanted a new planner because I was excited to write my first half marathon on the calendar, which is true, but I honestly do this every year. Take note kids, this is what obsessive planner-ing will do to you.

I did find an adorable little paisley planner for 2014 which means I got to spend the afternoon filling it out with birthdays and other important dates. Seriously, these are the things that make me happy. I also used this as an opportunity to get an Iced, Soy, Chai Tea Latte from the “Starbucks” inside Barnes & Noble.

Iced Soy Chai Tea Lattes are one of my favorite drinks, and before Saturday I hadn’t had one in what feels like forever. The summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, and throughout the breaks of my junior year, I worked at a local coffee shop. I was hired at the coffee shop by the owner/manager before the grand opening so for the first few weeks the other staff and I got to learn and practice grinding espresso and pulling shots, grinding coffee, using loose leaf tea, steaming and foaming milk and mixing various drinks using the flavored syrups. We had the unique opportunity to experiment with different combinations of flavors and create the original drinks that ended up on the menu. The coffee house is still up and running (now with 2 locations! :-)), it’s called Bean There Cafe so if you’re ever in the Hampton Roads area, check it out!

As a perk of working at the coffee shop, we could drink all the coffee and tea our young-adult bodies could handle. And we took full advantage of this perk. The two exceptions to the “all you can drink” rule (due to their cost) were soy milk and chai tea concentrate.

Of course, these are the two ingredients in my favorite drink – an Iced Soy Chai Tea Latte. Isn’t that the way the world works?

So that summer I did not drink my body weight in Chai Lattes, instead saving them for special occasions. And it’s probably a blessing that I didn’t – seeing as to this day I don’t drink coffee because I feel like I overdosed on it that summer.

After absolutely inhaling my drink from “Starbucks”…err the Barnes and Noble Café, I almost bought a container of Chai Tea Concentrate until I noticed 1) the price and 2) all the unnecessary ingredients on the label. I had never thought of it before, but certainly this was something I could make myself at home! Pinterest to the rescue!

I found this recipe for Chai Tea concentrate which looked pretty straightforward. And it cooks in the Crock Pot! I love any excuse to use the Crock Pot.

I made two minor changes to the recipe based on what I had in the house. First, I used ground cloves instead of whole since I keep ground cloves on hand for my Cincinnati Chili and I didn’t want to buy a whole new bottle of spices just for this one project. Also, I had to substitute ground nutmeg for the cardamom seeds. This substitution was the result of me not paying attention – as I thought I had cardamom seeds in the house. Turns out what I have is coriander seeds – which I Googled and are unfortunately not the same thing. The wise internet suggested nutmeg as an alternative and I was happy with the final product, so I guess that was another spice bottle I was saved from buying.

Because of the ground spices, the final product does sometimes leave a little bit of “grit” at the bottom of the glass, but the drink was not gritty in texture at all. Personally, it doesn’t bother me but next time around I may use cardamom seeds and whole cloves like the original recipe.

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Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate
Adapted from ‘@ Home with Gina C’

Makes approximately 4 cups.

– 8 slices of peeled ginger*
– 2 cinnamon sticks
– 1 teaspoon ground cloves (see original recipe for whole cloves)
– 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
– 2 teaspoons vanilla
– ½ cup honey (I use raw, local honey)
– 4 cups water
– 6 black tea bags

*When I buy ginger, I peel the entire thing and place it in a ziplock bag in the freezer to keep it fresh. Then, it’s easy to grate or slice up for recipes.

Place all ingredients except for the tea bags in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours. Add the tea bags and steep for 10 minutes.

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Strain out the solids with a fine mesh sieve or colander lined with cheese cloth.

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Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. I used mason jars with these reusable plastic lids which are my new favorite find!

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To make hot tea, mix equal parts concentrate with hot water. For an Iced Tea Latte, mix one part concentrate to two parts milk (hot or cold) of your choice. You can adjust the ratio to your tastes.

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“Berry Green” Smoothie Recipes

This past Friday I worked from home which meant I got a run in first thing in the morning (yay!), got to wear sweatpants all day (double yay!) and got to enjoy my morning smoothie in a real glass instead of a travel mug.

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That’s my awesome Hogwarts glass from my trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter earlier this year.

I start every (weekday) morning with a green smoothie. On the weekends I usually treat myself to some eggs, French toast or pancakes.

I wrote my very first blog post about my love of green smoothies. Making a green smoothie every morning was one of the first healthy habits that I adopted and I just don’t feel right without them now. It’s a great way to kick-start your morning with fruits and vegetables – and packs fiber and protein to keep you full until lunch. I love that you can get in several servings of dark green leafy vegetables (which are so healthy!) and you can’t even taste them – even if the color of the smoothies can be a little off-putting. I posted my recipe in my original post, but I have definitely fine-tuned it since then and I think it’s almost perfect!

First, I add my greens to my blender. I use kale almost every time I make this smoothie, but I sometimes substitute spinach based on what is in season. I loosely pack the greens up to around the 4 cup line on the blender. In the photo it looks like it’s closer to the 6 cup line but I think it’s just the angle. 🙂

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Next, I add milk to just above the 1 cup line on the blender. Since there’s already greens in the blender – it’s not a true “1 cup” measurement, probably closer to 3/4s of a cup. I find this amount of liquid makes the smoothie the perfect consistency, but on some days when it needs a little more, I add a splash of two or water while it’s blending until it’s smooth. I started off making this smoothie with skim milk, and recently switched to soy milk but you could make it with almond milk, juice, green tea, or even water.

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Next, I add one tablespoon each of chia seeds, flax seeds and Greek yogurt.

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I’m not too particular about getting these exactly at one tablespoon and for the Greek yogurt I make it a huge heaping spoonful which is probably closer to 2-3 tablespoons.

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Next, I add a frozen banana and some kind of frozen fruit. I always keep a big bag of frozen bananas in the freezer for smoothies and I buy up fruit when it’s on sale and freeze it or buy frozen fruit when it’s out of season.

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Depending on what fruit I have on hand, I either add berries or peaches or mangoes. I was very excited to discover recently that the Harris Teeter brand organic frozen fruit now offers mangoes! I find cutting up a mango to be a pretty frustrating experience – and I never seem to end up with much mango. I think the frozen mango is definitely the way to go.

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Depending on what I’m using, I add about a ½ cup of fruit. For large strawberries it ends up being about three berries, or maybe 6-8 blackberries, or about a ½ peach or mango. The smoothie is relatively light on the fruit side.

Then I blend it up really thoroughly. I mean, I let it run for a few minutes at least. If the mixture is a little thick and not blending, add splashes of water until it starts to process correctly. It’s important to blend it thoroughly to not end up with a “chewy” smoothie with chunks of kale in it.

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”Berry Green” Smoothie Recipe
Serves one.

    – 3-4 cups kale or spinach, loosely packed
    – ¾ cup liquid of your choice (milk (skim, soy, almond, etc), tea, juice, water)
    – 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
    – 1 tablespoon chia seeds
    – 2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
    – 1 frozen banana (if using a fresh banana, add ice to the smoothie)
    – ½ cup frozen fruit (strawberries, other berries, mango, peaches, etc)

Here are some tasty combinations to try:

– Pina Colada: Coconut milk or water with frozen pineapple
– Green-Tea Mango: chilled green tea with frozen mango
– Apple Pie: apple juice, frozen banana (double the banana and skip the other fruit), add a dash of cinnamon
– Berry Madness: blueberry or pomegranate juice, mixed frozen berries

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On a different note, I want to announce the winner of the ENERGYbits giveaway!

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With the eleventh comment – the winner is Katie!

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Please email me with your mailing address to claim your prize! 🙂