Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Give Me Some Lasagna

You know when you're about to check out at the store and all of a sudden you see a "buy 2 get 1 free" sale? Or when you're browsing the aisles and you come across a BOGO sale?

Next thing you know your cart, or basket or whatever, has one to many free items (and a few extra non-free ones). You finally reach the register (or online checkout page) and all of a sudden you're spending more than your budget. That quick <$20 trip turned into a $50 afternoon.

I recently talked about this with a friend. He left a department store with a new waffle maker; he didn't know he was buying a waffle maker that day. That's when I realized this sort of thing happens to me all the time. I go into a store--more likely land on a website--with an idea of what I'm going to buy. However, my checkout cart always--and I mean always--includes random and unplanned items.

What can I say, I can't help. And I'm sure many of you can't either.

Tofu Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (adapted from Minimalist Baker)
Makes 6 servings.
Active time: 35 minutes; total time: 90 minutes.

  • 2 spaghetti squashes
  • Coconut oil spray
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • 25 oz. marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil 
  1. Halve spaghetti squash using a sharp knife (if you've never done this before, I suggest checking out this video). Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out the seeds and surrounding strings so that it looks clean. 
  2. Spray the interior of the squash with coconut oil (or other) oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover each half with plastic wrap and pierce several times with knife. Place 2 halves in the microwave and cook for about 15 minutes, or until skin is very soft. Set squash aside and let cool. Repeat with remaining squash. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375F. Place lemon juice, basil, olive oil, tofu, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese in a food processor and season with salt and pepper; pulse to combine and break up so that you end up with a semi-pureed mixture. 
  4. Using a large spoon, scoop out the squash into a bowl. Set aside. 
  5. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with coconut oil. Spread 1/3 of the squash along the bottom of the baking dish; top with 1/2 of the ricotta and then 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Repeat the squash, ricotta, and sauce layers once more; top with remaining squash. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup vegan parmesan. 
  6. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. If the squash seems to be browning too quickly, cover with foil. 
  7. Remove lasagna from oven and let cool. Serve and top with more parmesan and dried basil.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Quick Sunday Brunch

November is upon us. And with it come late nights, longer study days, and inevitable anxiety resulting from the thought of not being able to finish outlining.

November is upon us. And with it comes no fun.

What a sad way to start a blog post. I'm feeling the law nerd humor, however, so it seemed appropriate. Nonetheless, November also brings cold chilly relatively cooler weather that makes for more enjoyable runs and bike rides. Also, it welcomes tea-fueled study sessions from the comfort of my apartment followed by enjoyable Netflix study-breaks--the longing for daylong marathons makes the shorter breaks that much more exciting. But actually, November is not so bad. It ultimately provides me with a legitimate and unquestionable excuse to retreat from social events and spend time alone, which as you may know, is a crucial factor of my well-being.

Before moving onto the food, just a quick note about the holidays (namely Dia de los Muertos). This year for Halloween, I proudly incorporated culture into my costume. As it turns out, the makeup was a hit!

For a brief background and explanation of the festivities read this or this. And definitely check out this awesome video. Otherwise, for a quick and contemporary info session, go see the Snapchat story!

Grilled Breakfast Sammie (adapted from With Peanut Butter On Top)
Makes 1 sandwich.
Active time: 10 minutes; total time 15 minutes.

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon salsa 
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 slices Ezekiel (or other) bread 
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 3–4 tomato slices
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Daiya shreds)
  • More salsa! (optional)
  1. Heat a non-stick skillet or pan over medium heat; spray with cooking oil. Add egg whites and salsa and cook until resembling an thin omelette, about 5 minutes. Remove egg from pan and set aside. 
  2. In the same pan, cook spinach, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Assemble the sandwich by spreading the avocado on one slice of bread; spread the mustard on the other slice. Lawyer one slice of bread with the spinach, tomato, cooked egg whites, and finally the cheese. To with the other slice of bread. 
  4. Place the sandwich on the pan and cook uncovered for 3–5 minutes, or until sides are toasted. Cover and cook for 1 more minute. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Stir-Fry for One (Week)

I woke up this morning feeling like a large heavy truck ran me over, then reversed and ran me over again. And no, it wasn't solely due to a hangover; it was the result of a long day at ACL.

You see it's easy to forget that our bodies--or at least mine--are not made to stand/jump/dance/skip in the sun for long periods of time with little to none consumption of H2O and plenty of some wine. However, it's also easy to remember this fact the day after doing such a thing.

That being said, my day at ACL was one for the books. I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of music festivals (let's just say the sweaty crowds and porta-potties are not my thing); however, ACL is growing on me. I like that it doesn't feel humongous (even though it has eight stages); it features amazing food (see the list of food trucks here); it boasts amazing views of the city skyline (here's a photo from last year); and the venue is relatively accessible (walk less than a mile to South Lamar and it's actually possible to get a ride). Maybe next year I'll actually make it all three days!

And now for the recipe that provided delicious lunch/dinner for me throughout the week . . .

Cabbage Chicken Stiry-Fry with Green Beans and Broccoli
Adapted from The Runner's World Cookbook.
Makes about 4 servings.
Active time: 30 mins; total time 40 mins.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cups trimmed green beans, cut in half
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot salsa (I used green tomatillo salsa from Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 slivered or chopped almonds
  1. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat (you might have to use two woks or large skillets). Add 1 tablespoon of the oil; add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside. 
  2. In the same wok, add the remaining coconut oil and the onion. Cook for 2–3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. 
  3. Add the shallot and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until golden. Be careful not to let either burn.
  4. Add the green beans, broccoli, shallots, and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. 
  5. Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, and vinegar and cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly reduced.
  6. Return the chicken to the wok, add the cilantro, and stir. Remove the wok from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with almonds.