07 July 2013

Morning Quinoa

If you're a regular reader, you know that I am always trying to get fit. I'll do good for a little while, lose a couple pounds, and then something will happen and I'll get out of my routine and gain those pounds right back. Something happened in the past couple days that has inspired me to get fit (once again) and this time, I'm determined to stick to a plan. Part of my plan is to be vegan before dinner. (This was also one of my 25 before 26 goals that I have failed to keep up with.) This morning I made breakfast quinoa, which is a fantastic vegan breakfast option.

1 part uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 parts non-dairy milk alternative (I like unsweetened almond milk)

Optional Add-ins
1 Tbsp chia seeds (if you use these add an extra liquid, as chia seeds absorb liquids)
Dried fruit
1/2 banana, mashed
Honey, agave nectar, or other sweetener

Combine quinoa and "milk" in small saucepan (and other optional ingredients). Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.

If you're using fresh blueberries, add in when almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. I like to add the nuts at the very end. All other ingredients can be thrown in at the beginning.

30 June 2013

Links for Sharing

Tomorrow is July! This year is just flying by.

A beautiful Etsy jewelry shop.

A fantastic article about the value of learning the humanities, with a focus on the English major, and a response to this article, that gives me (as an English major) hope.

Obsessed with this song.

A few cute summer party ideas!

S'more Pie Pops. Must try.

A DIY tie-dye tank that looks easy enough and super cute!

Shrimp recipes to try: one and two.

Summer Wish List: all of these shorts.

31 May 2013

Simple Summer Goals

Lately, I've been feeling a little lost and lonely. In the absence of a specific life or career goal to work towards, I decided I need to focus on bettering myself in little ways. I was inspired by Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess, to come up with four simple goals to create small but effective changes to encourage a richer and happier life.

1. Find new ways to be active. To start, I'm going to my first yoga class tomorrow, and I plan on trying rock climbing soon! If these activities can take place outdoors - even better!

2. Utilize my creativity. This includes using my poor neglected sewing machine, and calling the lady I met at the wine festival who said she would teach me how to make jewelry.

3. Learn to grill and cook a live lobster. Ok, this is really two separate goals, but they're both cooking oriented. We have a nice grill and a really great patio for hosting bbqs, and I need to take advantage of that during these summer months. 

4. Eat less meat and dairy. A friend of mine went vegan for about three weeks, and she said she really noticed a different in her mood and body. Now she's vegetarian (who can live without cheese?!), but she wants to go back to vegan eventually, or alternate vegan and vegetarian months. 

Do you have any summertime goals?

30 April 2013

Semi-homemade: Birthday Cakes

We have a lot of great cooks in my family, but whenever something sweet is called for at a family gathering, it usually falls to me, which I love.

For my grandpa's 75th birthday party, he requested that I make the cake, saying that the cake I made for Easter was the best cake he had ever had (he says that about everything I make). Since I'm kind of lazy, I decided to dress up a box of cake mix, rather than make the whole cake from scratch, and I must say, it was as delicious as a homemade cake.

I started with a box of Duncan Hines devil's food cake mix. I chose devil's food because it's richer and darker than other chocolate cakes. I made the cake according to the directions, except instead of the cup of water it asked for I substituted 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. I baked them in two 9-inch pans. I used my standard buttercream recipe and added 3-4 tablespoons of cocoa powder and a couple big spoonfuls of peanut butter to make a fantastic chocolate peanut butter frosting. The cake was a hit! (There wasn't even any leftover.) My cousin Dominic then asked if I would make his birthday cake.

Dominic said his favorite cake was strawberry, so I picked up a box of strawberry cake mix and mixed it according to the directions and added a teaspoon of almond extract for extra flavor. I made two 9-inch round cakes again, and used strawberry preserves instead of icing for the middle layer. I used the same buttercream recipe, but left it plain vanilla and dyed it blue, to make the pink cake less girly. Unfortunately, I dropped the cake while I was frosting it (the cake was fine, the plate protected it from the floor), and it didn't end up being so pretty, so I don't have a picture of it. It was tasty though!

08 April 2013

Happy Rex Manning Day!

What is Rex Manning Day, you ask? Well, one of my all-time favorite movies, Empire Records, takes place on Rex Manning Day. See the movie is about this record store that is selling out to some gross corporate chain and the ever so loyal, lovable, and quirky employees try to prevent this from happening. Rex Manning is a washed out, has been pop star who is signing records in the store on this epic day. Everyone hates Rex, except for Cory, who plans on losing her virginity to him, but doesn't end up going through with it (thank goodness!). So there it is. Happy Rex Manning Day, and if you haven't seen Empire Records, I highly recommend you do so! Cheers!

Totally gross, right? And hilarious.

As you can see on the Rex Manning Day poster on the shop door, Rex Manning Day is clearly April 8.

03 April 2013

Breakfast "Pizza"

It's no secret that I love avocados. I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate avocado into my meals, and when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. I was not disappointed! This breakfast pizza utilizes a pita for the crust, mashed avocado base, topped with a fried egg and garnished with crumbled bacon and cheese, if you like. I used center cut bacon and goat cheese, but it would be good even without them. The whole thing came in at about 400 calories, which is more than a typical breakfast for me, but still in the healthy range.

24 March 2013

Eatin' Healthy: Breakfast Edition

Can we talk about one of my favorite subjects? Food, obviously! I love eating and am always planning my next meal in my head. As I'm eating breakfast, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch. Lately, I've been trying to plan healthy meals and snacks. Sometimes I deviate from my food plan and sneak in too many unhealthy snacks (Girl Scout cookies, ugh), but I'm working on it. Here are a few of the delicious meals I've been eating for breakfast lately.

Spinach, tomato and avocado omelet
I usually use one whole egg plus one or two egg whites when I make omelets. First, I whip the eggs, spinach, tomatoes, and whatever spices together in a bowl while I heat a small pan over medium/medium low heat. Spray the pan with pam before adding the egg mixture. Be patient while you wait for the omelet to settle - it takes a while. After it's almost completely set, flip the omelet over. Sprinkle cheese on half if you feel so inclined, and fold in half. Remove from heat  and carefully open up omelet to add avocado slices (I think I use about 1/4 of an avocado). You could add the tomatoes (or  broccoli, asparagus, etc) to the omelet at the same time as you add the cheese, if you prefer. 

Green Smoothie
I use 1/2 cup almond milk or coconut water, one banana, 1 cup mixed frozen fruits, and 1/2 cup spinach. We have what might possibly be the worst blender ever, and it takes forever to blend, but it's worth it. I'm thinking about buying chia seeds to add to my smoothies. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and are supposed to give you energy, which I can always use more of in the early mornings on my way to school.

Scrambled egg on toast
I found this fantastic bread that I've been eating lately. It's organic, and the company strives to utilize sustainable practices. And, it tastes great! Here, I topped it with two tablespoons of goat cheese and one scrambled egg, which I ate with a few halved cherry tomatoes. After I took the picture I added plenty of pepper, too.