WIAW: Mini Rants

Hi eaters!

How are you doing?

I should say that I’ve had a great day. Yes, I had an 8:30am class. But it was ceramics. And my only class for the day. Then I spent the rest of the day at the gym, eating, reading, and cooling my heels in the pub suite of my school’s newspaper (which I’m an editor for). But really, eaters, this day almost sucked.

I’ll take advantage of the day and explain through…

Breakfast:

I didn’t take a picture. I ate the same thing I’ve eaten for most breakfasts for months — 2 over medium eggs with salsa on a piece of Genesis toast. Sometimes I add nutritional yeast. Sometimes I add extra hot sauce. Sometimes I accidentally break the yolk.

None of those things happened today.

Class:

This was lovely. I finished my first project — a coil pot replica to scale of a 400 year old Asian pot. I’m now ready to start on my next project — a slab box to test glazes and glaze waxing on.

Gym:

Life's Basics Plant Protein

The best plant protein mix.

I prefaced my workout with my usual protein drink — a grande unsweetened ice coffee with soy and a scoop of my protein powder. While standing in line at Starbucks a guy in front of me noticed my shirt.

Fo'realz.

He started laughing at me, but then gave me daps. I, being the pop culture-ly awkward ‘Baby that I am, somehow did NOT mess up the daps. That, too, was lovely.

What wasn’t lovely was that when I had finished 2 out of the 3 circuits I wanted to do the mirror area in front of the free weights was swarmed. Guys took my weights, used the benches, and just generally clogged things up. This explains this tweet:

Dr. Dre is right.

Lunch:

Recycled picture of my leftovers.

This was just as delicious as yesterday. I added a few drops of sriracha to push things over the edge, and then a finished off the meal with a little dessert to bring things back from the edge.

Fage Greek yogurt, a splash of vanilla extract, honey, raw rolled oats.

This is the only way I’ve been eating yogurt lately. Well, sometimes I’m feeling a little feisty…

Super star sprinkles.

Afternoon:

I spent the afternoon trying not to fall asleep while reading a book I don’t like.

As an English major I realize that I will have little to no time for personal reading during the school year, so I try to pick classes with assigned reading that I like. Thus far, my contemporary fiction is striking out.

Also, I walked into my room for some reason and smelled something funky. A little investigation quickly identified the source:

These used to be yellow.

My TOMS smell rank. I love my TOMS, especially these ones (I have 2 other pairs), so it breaks my little ‘Baby heart, but these are going in the trash. The trash outside. A long way away from my apartment.

Eventually, I went to the pub suite to do my office hours. Every editor has to spend 2 hours in the office every week to answer writers’ questions and act as the face of the organization.

Really, I just sat there and tried not to fall asleep while reading some more. And stared down 2 dozen Krispy Kremes that our layout editor brought in.

Dinner:

Peanut butter and an apple that I wish was crunchier.

One of the greatest things I’ve learned since starting college is that I don’t have to eat three square meals a day. I can eat whatever I want whenever I want. I’m not going to die. No one is going to tell my mom.

It’s really a very freeing thing.

And now, I think I have some wine bonding with my ‘mates (who I will introduce you to at some point soon, along with my new humble abode).

Thanks for listening to my mini-rants.

G’night eaters!

Inspired Stir Fry

Greetings eaters!

I don’t really have anything to small talk or chat about tonight. I could ask you your feelings on towel patterns because I just noticed that all of mine are striped. But that’s really not something worth talking about. So I’ll ask you: what do you want to chat about? Anything that’s been on your mind lately?

Now, let’s talk turkey. By which I mean bacon. By which I mean money.

Did you follow?

I’m a huge fan of meal planning. When I learned how to meal plan I gained two very important things: 1) some of my money back and 2) variety. Before meal planning I would buy whatever grabbed me at the store, most of the time that was the same thing week after week.

Moral of the story: meal planning might be my best friend.

Sometimes, though, my friend and I don’t totally mesh. Sometimes I just can’t think of meals that I want to eat. So sometimes I just go to the store and see what’s on sale. I did that this week and wound up with a big bag of green beans and a few summer squash.

At first I didn’t really know what to make. Roast them up and serve them with lentils? Saute and cover in tomato sauce?

No, I was feeling something Asian. Unfortunately, I ditched most of my condiments when I moved out this summer so I had limited options when it came to a stir fry sauce.

But I decided to trust my instincts, start cooking, and wait for inspiration to hit.

First, I lightly steamed the chopped green beans and tempeh (that I had sitting around in my fridge).

Whenever I stir fry vegetables that take longer to sauté to soft I always start them off with a little steam. This gets them to the right crispness without gobs of oil. Also, steaming tempeh cuts down on the bitterness.

While that was going I started poking around in my cabinets and boom!

low fat Asian peanut sauce

Hello inspiration.

Inspiration came in the form of peanut sauce. I mixed ¼ c peanut flour (I still have a small stockpile), 2 T tamari, 1 T vinegar, and enough water to more than thin it out.

Note — you want to thin the sauce out more than you think you’ll need to because once you pour it on the hot vegetables some water will steam off and it’ll thicken up nicely.

Once the water had evaporated I added some oil and some sliced squash. Then inspiration struck again! Yesterday one of my ‘mates gave me a few mystery peppers from the garden at a school she volunteers at.

Anyone know what these peppers are?

I chose the red one, which I think is a habanero. A few quick passes of the knife and into the pan it went.

Once everything was just soft enough I turned off the burner and poured on the sauce. A quick toss, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and lunch was served!

For a meal that didn’t start with any planning I am more than happy with how this turned out.

It had a nice combination of textures, all coated in a nice slightly tangy, slightly spicy sauce.

And it was crazy cheap and satisfying, which are two things I look for in my meals.

So even though meal planning is still my best friend, sometimes it’s okay to do things without your best friend, right?

Right!

G’night eaters!

BLT: Better Lunches Today

‘Ello eaters!

Another manic Monday is drawing to a close. How did it treat you? Was it actually manic?

Mine wasn’t. It was lovely for the most part, but it didn’t qualify as manic. Manic or not, though, my Monday was lovely. It was not a Moanday. It was not a Miserable Monday.

All those sayings annoy me.

I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, which all of those cutesy little things go against. So in the spirit of positive thinking, let’s talk about a wonderful way to interject at least one positive note into your day:

Lunch.

Without a doubt lunch is my favorite meal of the day. It’s something to look forward to after being productive or working out all morning. It also seems like the most relaxed meal of the day, and I often eat it in the sunshine.

Today I wanted to not only enjoy my much needed break, but to also enjoy a delicious summer delicacy that I haven’t eaten nearly enough this year — BLTs!

I hate raw tomatoes, but loveloveLOVE cooked tomatoes. So step one in this BLT was to cook the T.

I sliced three Roma tomatoes in quarters and spoon out the seeds. A drizzle of olive oil, a few cracks of pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and these were ready for 35 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

While those were getting good, it was time to make the B.

Does this block look especially dark and weird?

I have never found packaged tempeh bacon, so I decided to make my own.

For once, the thinner the better.

I followed Kathy’s recipe Healthy. Happy. Life. almost to a tee, except I added a bit more liquid smoke. After enjoying super smoky bacon with manly friend and his family, I knew that I needed a few extra drops of the good stuff.

I also increased it for a whole block of tempeh. You can never have too much bacon, right?

These are crispy, not burnt.

For the L I went with a huge leaf of good old green leaf lettuce. Normally I’m a spinach ‘Baby, but some times I get in these phases where I just can’t stomach it. This is one of those times, so I went with my second favorite green.

These three components met with a slightly heavy handed schmear of spicy mustard and were happy sandwiched between two slices of bread.

Served with a super fresh peach on the side, this was a more than lovely lunch break.

Sumer staples.

But if sandwiches aren’t your thing (though I can’t imagine them not being), this can be transformed into a wonderful salad.

Simply chop up a few lettuce leaves and tomatoes, crumble the bacon on top, and whisk up a mustard vinaigrette.

3 parts spicy mustard, 2 parts olive oil, 1 part vinegar, and as much pepper as you want.

Whatever way you choose to go about it, this lunch will turn even the most unexciting of Mondays into something to write home about. Don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself.

G’night eaters!

PS- Today is manly friend and my two-year anniversary. Too bad Irene has made it impossible for him to talk to me. I’m a little bummed.

Better Beef and Broccoli

Hi eaters!
Holy hell, eaters, how is it the last day of June? In all honesty, I don’t know if I’m okay with that.
On the one hand, it means we’re closer to the 4th so I’m closer to being in Virginia Beach with Papa and Co, spending the day sipping on the beach with all their friends and watching Sister and her friends pretend they got stung by jellyfish. (Yeah, I’m calling them out.) But on the other hand, it seems like the taste of bad pineapple tequila shots from New Years’ is still in the back of my throat. Or maybe someone spiked my water.
Either way, tomorrow is July and I have a very “Meal Plan: Produce and Protein” recipe for you.
One might be better than the other. I’ll let you decide.
Vegan “Beef” and Broccoli
Serves 2
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 package tempeh
½ lemon, juiced
~3 T soy sauce/tamari
¼ c Thai green curry simmer sauce (I used TJ’s)
sriracha, to taste
~ 2 c spinach
oil
water (for steaming)
Slice your tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Normally, I’m a tempeh crumbler, but for this recipe you really want hunks. Once your tempeh is hunked, set it to steam.
I set up my rice cooker to steam, because I knew I’d have to steam the broccoli, also. Once the tempeh has steamed for about ten minutes, gently dump the hunks into a wide, shallow bowl and pour on some soy/tamari. I said about 3 T, but really, you want enough to leave a small puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Gently toss the tempeh every 10 minutes or so to ensure even absorption.
After the tempeh has marinated for about half and hour, heat a large pan to medium heat and drizzle it with oil. (This would be the perfect time to start steaming the broccoli.) Then add the tempeh. You’re going to cook this just like tofu, so place it large side down, cook for a few minutes and then flip.
Money, money, money. Money!
Incase you didn’t know, those dark golden bits are where the money’s at. They’re worth the carpal tunnel in your wrist from flipping so many tiny cubes.
Give the second side a couple of minutes to cook before getting saucy.
First, squeeze the lemon half over the pan, making sure not to drop any seeds. Then toss in the steamed broccoli and pour on the simmer sauce and sriracha. Gently toss everything to coat and let the sauce do what it’s supposed to do — simmer — for a few minutes. You’ll want to toss it a bit as it simmers, to make sure everything gets good. Then dish up half the pan atop a big bed of spinach and you’re set!
If I had any lingering Chinese cravings, this would have completely satisfied them.
I promise there is spinach under there.
Thanks to the salty marinade and the drippy sauce, this tastes like it’s chock-full-o-MSG. Except it’s not.
And because of the mix of the well-sauced broccoli and the hearty, tender chunks of tempeh, if you close your eyes you might even believe you’re eating take-out Chinese beef and broccoli. Except you won’t be a sodium-filled balloon an hour later.
And for all of you eaters who stick solely to broccoli crowns this is the perfect time to venture south a little and try some of the stalk.
Chop it small and steam it with the rest of the broccoli, you won’t notice it’s in there.
Except that your insides will thank you for the fiber. Yeah, try getting that kind of bodily reaction from real beef and broccoli.
You’re welcome, eater’s intestines. You’re so very welcome.
Later eaters!