Friday, May 28, 2010

New Blog Address

I've moved my blog to Wordpress.  Here's the new link:

Please update your subscriptions and readers :)

Lazy Gal's Mexican Fiesta

I love Tex Mex food (almost as much as I love a good margarita) and actually I've found that homemade Mexican inspired cuisine can be both healthy and vegan :)  As much as I enjoy cooking, when I finally get home around 7:30-8pm after work, long commute, and working out-I'm often exhausted and just want to eat without much fuss or energy.  Therefore I'm always on the prowl for yummy healthy and fast recipes/meal inspirations.  And I present to you Lazy Gal's Mexican Black Bean Soup based on this recipe from the Happy Herbivore.


  • 15.5 oz can black beans
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 4 oz  can of green chilies
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Place all ingredients into medium sauce pan
  2. Blend using immersion blender
  3. Heat then eat!

This yummy soup is quick, easy, and healthy.  If you don't have an immersion blender, heat the ingredients on the stove then transfer sections to your blender or you can leave it chunky.  Makes about four servings (depending how much you want to eat at once).

I ate this paired with one of my Mexican fiesta salads:

Spinach, yellow summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, silken tofu blended with salsa (fabulous dressing)

This meal is both satisfyingly delicious and very healthy (key after a good workout) with ample amounts of protein (tofu and black beans) plus a gazillion veggies.  Blending silken tofu with salsa (and other liquids-I've done balsamic vinegar and Bragg's liquid aminos) creates a great salad dressing filled with protein!

Do you have any quick recipes for those busy night when you don't feel like cooking??

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Feeding the Non Vegans in My Life

Now I might be a horrible vegan BUT my brothers and father are not about to eat my tofu hot dogs.  So when I cook for my family, I often cook meat and other animal products.  But I do my best to make healthy meals that my brothers and father will enjoy.  For my meat eating readers here is one of my favorite recipes to make for the boys: Pizza Biscuit Casserole


  • Fat free or low fat refrigerated biscuits
  • 1 (or 2) jars favorite pizza sauce
  • Fat free or low fat mozzarella cheese
  • Ground beef (turkey, soy crumbles, etc)

1. Open biscuit dough and cut into quarters and place in a 9x13 dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover entire bottom of dish.

2. Pour jars of pizza sauce over cut up biscuits.

3. Add ground beef (browned)

4. Top with  mozzarella then bake at 375 F for 30 minutes or until the sauce bubbles/the cheese has melted.

Voila!  Very simple and quick casserole that's a crowd pleaser.  My family loves pizza but this casserole puts a new twist on the pizza pie.  I round out the meal with some green beans sautéed with garlic plus I make my brothers pick a piece of fruit too (typically banana or strawberries).  This can be incredibly "healthified" by using ground turkey or soy crumbles and fat free mozzarella plus if you're a vegetarian you can use soy crumbles and you've got a yummy vegetarian main dish.  On nights when I cook for my Dad and brothers I will just whip up something else for me to eat that's vegan friendly. 

Do you ever make multiple meals to please every member of your family?  And if you are a vegan/vegetarian do you ever prepare meat or animal products for the non veggies in your life?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Eats

I've been in a massive food rut for the past couple of weeks.  It's been salad after salad after salad.  And while I absolutely love and adore massive amounts of veggies, I'm getting bored of the same meal.  So one of my coworkers told me about Bragg Liquid Aminos which he told me has a similar taste to soy sauce/tamari.  I decided to research the importance of amino acids in a healthy diet.  According to the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Arizona, amino acids are the building blocks of protein and proteins regulate almost all cellular activity (aka we could not live without protein).  Humans can only produce 10 of the 20 essential amino acids necessary for human life.  Therefore, humans must consume the other 10 essential amino acids EVERY SINGLE DAY from food because humans do not store amino acids.  Plants have all the necessary enzymes to produce all essential amino acids therefore the soybean based Bragg liquid is an excellent source of non animal meat amino acids.  With this knowledge, I marched off to Whole Foods and purchased a spray bottle of Bragg Liquid Aminos to create a fabulous stir fry with these other ingredients:
Tofu Shirataki Noodles, frozen stir fry vegetables, baby spinach, 1 serving lite firm tofu, and Bragg Liquid Aminos

Which became this:

I love me some aminos :)  I spritzed some Bragg Liquid Aminos on my veggies, tofu, and noodles.  I did not miss sodium packed soy sauce plus I definitely consumed the 10 amino acids that I can't produce plus the extra 6 aminos that I can produce.  I hope my proteins are happy!

Now I can eat a bowl of oats and banana every single day especially with some chia seeds and dark chocolate dreams (it's like dessert for breakfast).  But I've been getting hungry less than an hour later.  I drink plenty of water (and me, don't come between me and my coffee) so I don't think hydration has been the problem.  So I decided to experiment with protein powder so I searched my blogs and discovered on Jarrow Brown Rice Protein Powder from the Fitnessita:

I added 2.5 T (55 calories, 12 grams protein) plus 1 tsp chia seeds to my oatmeal mixture along with a huge banana for some fructose sweetness and potassium.  I'll keep y'all posted how the protein powder effects my morning hunger.

Do you ever fall into a food rut and how do you climb out?  Any suggestions for filling additions to my oatmeal?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Favorite Restaurant

I'd like to thank you all for your wonderful comments, emails, texts, etc.  I shared my story and my struggle to open a window into some of the "hidden" truths in food blogging.  Personally, when I read certain blogs, I allow myself to feel like a failure for not eating kale (24/7) or train for marathons or owning a Vitamix.  I love the fresh taste of a spinach smoothie but I NEVER feel full after drinking one.  I mainly wanted to share my story to "clear the air" and help anyone struggling with food/body image (etc) realize that he/she is not alone.  I struggle almost everyday to love my body.  So please if you are struggling, remember that a number is just a number and beauty flows through all of us whether we use Stevia or Splenda in our coffee.  Again thanks :) And if you have more questions for me, please email me or comment on one of my posts.

If I could write songs, I'd write my own Ode to Joy to the wonderful Open Kitchen Bistro in Falls Church.  What makes Open Kitchen so amazing:

  1. Wonderful/friendly service who doesn't look utterly confused when you state that you are a vegan and really don't want another salad
  2. A menu with items that are vegan and/or easily veganized
  3. Gorgeous decor and patio-perfect for the crisp Spring night
  4. Pot of tea for $3.50
  5. Vegan (and non vegan) cooking classes
On a beautiful Spring night here in the lovely DC metro area, my friends and I decided we needed a good meal ASAP preferably in VA so we could all drive with outdoor seating and a restaurant where vegan food would not be a salad without the cheese and meat.  And Open Kitchen Bistro seemed the perfect restaurant.  I started with a chamomile citrus tea that arrived in this:

(my own teapot...adorable)

And for my meal I had this:

Vegan Zucchini and Basil Soup


Quinoa Vegetable Medley

I absolutely loved the soup!  The accent of basil with the pureed zucchini left me wanting another bowl or two.  I gobbled the soup up in 3 seconds and then started analyzing the quinoa vegetable medley which upon first sight disappointed me.  I thought that a vegetable medley would include more vegetables than a couple pieces of carrots and onions (which I love but do not agree with my poor tummy).  Then when I took my first bite, my suspicions were confirmed.  The quinoa and veggies had no flavor.  I'm a spice girl (lol...I'd be Garlic Spice) and the quinoa just tasted boring and bland to my overly seasoned tastebuds.  So instead of eating dull quinoa I decided to snap pictures of my friends' meals (which I didn't sample as nothing about them were in the neighborhood of vegan).

Herb crusted Tuna Burger with side salad and homemade chips

Steamed Mussels

Both dishes smelled wonderful and both of my friends were in love with their dishes.  Since I didn't enjoy the quinoa, I didn't eat it (why waste my calories) so my friend V. took them home for her lunch the next day.  However I'm planning on returning soon to sample some of the other vegan options including a cauliflower steak...yummm :) And Open Kitchen also offers vegan cooking classes.  I'm going to attend a Vegan Indian cooking class later this month.  Though the quinoa disappointed me, I LOVED Open Kitchen because of the great service, numerous options, and  decor (sorry no pics this time).  I will definitely be back soon!

Has anyone ever had difficulty ordering food at restaurants?  I hate when my family wants to go to steakhouses for dinner.  I've even hidden a PB&J sandwich in my purse to supplement the iceberg lettuce I always get served.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Extremely Healthy VS. Unhealthy Obsession

*Warning: this blog post will address some very personal issues regarding weight, weight loss, etc. So if you are sensitive to this subject please skip this post*

As a food blogger and avid reader of numerous health/food blogs, I've decided that I need to be completely honest in regards to my body image, my health, and my mental attitude in regards to food/exercise.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I've lost over 100lbs over the past four years yet I didn't mention my obsession with food and exercise. It's nearly impossible for me to remember a time in my life that I didn't struggle with body image.  I struggled with being overweight for most of middle and high school even though I swam regularly and ate fairly healthy for a teenager.  I could never be that teenage girl who could eat french fries and still be thin.  The idea that I couldn't eat like my friends completely boggled my mind until I joined Weight Watchers after my freshman year in college when I discovered that all metabolisms are not created equal.

Though I weighed my heaviest in high school, I faced the most emotional trauma in middle school.  I had a girl cut my hair and write nasty things in school notebooks because she thought I was fat even though I fell within the healthy range for my height and age.  By the time I reached high school I still struggled with weight by constantly being on a diet in public while eating ice cream and candy in my bedroom increasing my emotional dependence on food.   By my senior year, I weighed close to 200lbs (190lbs according to my physical at the beginning of my senior year) yet I would eat salad for lunch then come home and eat an entire bag of Starbursts.  I overcompensated my unhappiness by allowing "friends" to walk all over me because I felt unworthy of friendship or love because of my weight.

I graduated from high school and started attending Virginia Tech where I began heavy drinking on the weekends and daily ice cream trips to one of the dining halls.  Unlike numerous colleges, Virginia Tech is known for having fantastic food.  So after one semester (and my senior year of high school) I had gained another twenty five pounds.  I would go through phases of unhealthy eating then crying to my best friend about how I hated my body and being fat.  Finally she told me she didn't want to hear me complain anymore until I did something about being overweight.  That day I went to the gym in my dorm and told myself I would do at least 30 minutes of cardio.  I spent the entire semester working out and loosing almost 10lbs just by exercising.  That summer my mother and I joined Weight Watchers and I began my journey to learning how to eat to live not live to eat.

Fast forward to present day, I'm a vegan (with occasional soda indulgences) who exercises 5-6 days a week.  You'd think I'm much healthily than the girl who joined Weight Watchers almost five years ago but unfortunately I'm not.  At 5'4, I weigh (fully clothed and having eaten several meals) only 110lbs, 89.4lbs of muscle and my body fat is only 14.9%  (the minimum healthy body fat percentage for women under 40 is 20%).  Because my body fat and weight are so low, my metabolic age is 12 (and I'm 23) which has caused some other complications since I'm physically 12.  My bone mass is 4.8lbs which is barely considered healthy 110lbs and under (healthy is 4.3lbs though if you weigh over 110bs you should have 5.3lbs of bone mass).  In fact the only healthy number is my percent body water which is 62.6% which means I currently receive all my minerals, nutrients, etc.  As a matter of fact, my iron level is incredibly high for a twenty something female due the massive amounts of spinach I consume on a daily basis.  My biggest problem is I eat the right foods I just don't eat enough of them.

I've transitioned from eating food for comfort to being terrified of what food will do to my body.  When you've lost any amount of weight, the idea that you have to gain weight and actually eat fat is terrifying.  After dieting for five years I can't shut up the inner voice in my head that's mentally counting calories and freaking out over highly fattening foods even ones that are good for you like avocados, nuts, etc.  I can't handle hunger when I get hungry because I have no fat reserves.  I've allowed myself to become so hungry that it hurt to thiuk. It makes me feel like a hypocrite to blog about healthy eating when I know I'm not healthy.

Slowly I'm working on my food issues and trying to listen to my body cues.  I've had cycles of binge eating where I'd blindly eat half a jar of peanut butter in a matter of minutes not realizing that I ate that PB because my body NEEDED that fat.  But with the help, love, and support from my family and close friends, I'm working on being okay with eating and loving my body.  I have to eat when I'm hungry, eating is not a reward for intensive exercise.  It's okay that I'm hungry and it's okay to eat when I am hungry especially if I'm eating healthy and nutritious whole foods (and I don't have to eat a salad for every meal).  My body loves me and now I need to learn to love my all of body.  I'm going to take it one day at a time realizing that some days will be better than others but I've wake up every morning appreciating my body and what it does for me.

If you struggle with body image or weight loss or another type of "eating disorder" please contact a health care professional or a close family/friend for help.  I've shared my story because I hope I can help someone who has struggled like me.  You are NOT alone.  The National Eating Disorders Association website has numerous resources for individuals struggling with ED or friends/family members who believe that a loved one is struggling with an ED.  Or if you would just like to talk to someone feel free to email me at

Here are some pictures that document my "weight" story over the past couple of years:
My senior year of high school (Spring 2004-195lbs)

My junior year of college (Spring 2007-160lbs)

My senior year of college (Spring 2008-140lbs)

Spring 2009 (120lbs)

Spring 2010 (110lbs)

Right now I'm trying not to focus on a specific number but my body. When I'm no longer metabolically 12 and my body returns to one of a woman, I know I'll be at a healthy weight.  

Again, I've shared my story because like many other girls, women, and even men, I struggle everyday with loving myself and loving my body.  I want you to know that you are NOT alone in your struggles.  And you ARE beautiful regardless of numbers or pant sizes.  Food is not your enemy, it's necessary for life.  If you're struggling with body image or food or exercise, please contact someone (even me) if you want to talk about it.  As corny as it sounds, the first step is always admitting/realizing you might have a problem and then talking about it with someone close to you.

And since I've been so mean to the poor girl in the pictures I've shown you in this post, I've apologized because I'm still that girl with a little less body fat but with the same beauty, intelligence, and integrity that I've always had.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Almost Friday :)

It's almost Friday...THANK GOODNESS!!  Any exciting plans for the weekend?

Thank you all for the positive feedback from my last post.  I think that like every single woman (and some men) I struggle with maintaining a positive self body image.  It's difficult when the girl on the treadmill is sprinting twenty thousand times faster than you or your friend maintains her "perfect" figure while still eating chocolate or you're in the fitting room trying to find a pair of pants that actually fit you.  In those situations, I have to mentally check out for a few moments and focus on my body and realize all the wonderful things my body does for me.  I might not run as fast as the girl on the treadmill next to me but my body carries farther and faster than I ever thought possible.  I might just have to take Stacy and Clinton's advice and start getting my pants tailored or wear dresses every day :)  

I don't maintain my "girlish figure" with pounds of chocolate but my body adores all the fruits and vegetables and oatmeal that I eat every day.
LOL...I couldn't resist :)

Speaking of wonderful food, since my new conversion to veganism (two weeks on Sunday), I've been becoming more adventurous in the kitchen.  After searching my favorite blogs I discovered an interesting recipe from one of my favorite vegan blogs: Happy Herbivore.  Here's an ingredient teaser...
Any good guesses???

I made Lindsay's Mock Tuna Salad.  But since I'm only so ambitious I altered her recipe to my tastes and lack of desire to make yet another trip to the grocery store (as in some days I've gone to Whole Foods twice due my lack of proper planning).

  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 T yellow mustard
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.  Place in food processor and pulse until no whole beans remain.
  2. Remove skin from carrot and shred using a cheese grater (perfect for grating veggies)
  3. Mix carrot and garbanzo beans.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate for a couple hours to let flavors intensify (or eat right away like I did). Makes about 4 1/2 cup servings. 
Here how I ate one (or two...) of my servings:
"Tuna salad" on a whole grain La Tortilla shell with a massive pear and massive salad...yuuuuum.

Do you ever alter recipes?  I try to make recipes with ingredients that I have and sometimes the results are quite comical but I still eat them mainly because I hate wasting food.  Also have you ever tried the "mock" meats, etc?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love Your Body

As a female and former self proclaimed fat girl, I've struggled most of my life with loving my body.  Starting as early as middle school I remember being frustrated with my body and my looks.  It never helped that as a competitive swimmer I got to see myself in a bathing suit every single day.  Towards the end of high school, I slowed my swimming schedule (after ten years I'd finally burned out) and the pounds slowly crept on.  I hit my heaviest weight my freshman year of college when I weighed close to 220lbs and when I started Weight Watchers that summer, I weighed 207lbs.  Over the next several years I discovered food blogs,exercise, healthy/natural foods which seemed to only increase my obsession to find the perfect body.

BUT what defines the perfect body?  The more weight I lost the happier I became yet I still wanted to lose more.  I'd spent so many years dieting how could I stop.  I went from weighing a size 16 unable to find cute clothing to being smaller than a size 0 again struggling to find clothing that fit.  I've had days where I've justified how much I ate based on how hard I worked out.  I've started to tear up in frustration during a group exercise class because I messed up the steps and I wouldn't burn as many calories.  With the support of my family and close friends, I've slowly started to change my mentality.  I've started to love myself again.  I've even asked my former "fat" self for forgiveness for all the harsh words and hatred I forced upon her.  And today I discovered this poster via The Now Foundation:
Shannon Wu
Orange Village, OH

I almost started to cry when I saw this poster and looked through the other contest winners.  I immediately started sending the ecard version to all my friends and family.  And now I'm sharing the message with you.


We are all uniquely beautiful and special.  

There is NO perfect body: Hollywood be damned.  

I've shared my story with you in hopes of helping you realize that if you struggle with self image or body hatred, you are not alone.  I know that I often look upon other food bloggers with slight twinges of jealously or envy.  I will feel guilty for not lifting enough or running far enough or drinking coffee with splenda instead of green tea.  But no one is perfect: I'm NOT perfect.  And the only person who knows what's best for me is me.  And same goes for you!  So love your body and your body will love you back.  Sure you will have your good days and bad days BUT always remember that your body is with you through the good and bad.  And if you wouldn't say it to your best friend then don't say it to yourself.  

Here are some of the other posters (from this year and past years): 

Sarah Neuser
Eagan, MN

Marie Bushbaum
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Beryl Roda, Grand Prize Winner
Silver Spring, Md.

Check out the website to send ecards or participate in the Love Your Body Foundation.

You Are Beautiful!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Yummy Eats and Shopping Treats

Happy Hump Day!  How's your week been so far?  Besides a mini crisis on Monday my week has been wonderful even with the icky rain on Tuesday.

Today I got to relive my Denver experience by eating at Jason's Deli.  I discovered this deli in Denver because of its location right next to my hotel.  I ate there everyday for lunch because of the fantastic salad bar and its commitment to healthy and organic food.  Needless to say when I discovered a location in Tyson's Corner I began planning a return trip immediately.   The salad bar is packed with spinach, romaine, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, artichokes (yummmm), hummus, onion, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, different seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc.  Basically it's salad bar heaven :)  Here's my plate (with a fruit cup):

I got spinach, bell peppers, olives, cucumbers, broccoli, mushrooms, artichokes, and topped it off with some balsamic vinegar.  I strongly dislike most balsamic vinaigrettes but I love the pure I weird??  After devouring my salad, I ran back for a second helping (lots of artichokes and olives).  It's a bit pricey but for an unlimited salad bar with such yummy eats it's completely work the price.  No icky iceberg lettuce in sight.

And finally, I made my first purchase at Lululemon.  Typically I'm against spending lots of money on clothes I sweat in BUT my friends and family have been harassing me about being a Scrooge and whining about hating my workout gear.  Plus I'm going on a bike trip this weekend in Gettysburg and it's supposed to be cold and rainy on Saturday so I don't want to freeze to death.  After consulting with the Lululemon experts and a couple of deep breaths, I purchased this:

It's the very cute Define jacket costing me slightly over $100 which is A LOT of money for me to spend on workout wear.  However, Lululemon's quality is impeccable and created to last at least 5 years.  The jacket is cute and will definitely keep me much warmer than my yucky old Northface which I destroyed in college.  I'm testing it out tomorrow morning on route to my 6am Body Step class!!

Do you own anything from Lululemon or otherwise expensive workout wear?  What's your policy on workout clothing?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Broke, Single, and Hungry

Happy Sunday!!  Congratulations to all the ladies who ran the Cherry Blossom race today :)

My healthy cooking on a budget talk went incredibly well. I kept it sweet and simple to not bore senior girls stuck inside on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon listening to me talk about depressing things college graduation and not eating takeout for every meal.  I posted my presentation on Google documents if you care to read it.  I named my presentation Broke, Single, and Hungry because it's funny and kind of summarized my first year of post college graduate living.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I made a recipe to show the girls that cooking on the cheap can be cheap and healthy.  For choosing a recipe I needed a portable food that included healthy and inexpensive ingredients that could be used in multiple recipes.  I hate recipes that require me to buy "weird" products that are expensive and I'd only use once.  Simplicity is key.  I decided that breakfast is often one of the most skipped meals due to lack of time in the morning.  After searching blogs, recipe websites, and cookbooks, I decided to make baked oatmeal bars based on this recipe from Kath of Kath Eats Real Food.

Cherry Craisin Oatmeal Bars



1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients (oats, salt, cocoa, Craisins)

2. Mix wet ingredients (milk, eggs, vanilla)

3. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients then press into a 9x13 pan covered with parchment paper

4. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for ten minutes then cut into desired number of servings.

I made 24 servings since I had twenty girls who'd want a sample.  For 24 servings 1 bar includes: 74 calories, 5.5g fat, 1.8g dietary fiber, and 1.6g protein.  For a more adequate breakfast (or snack) bar, I'd suggest halving the serving making 12 bars not 24 bars and eat with a large piece of fruit, yogurt, etc.  I chose these ingredients because all these ingredients can be used for other recipes. These bars can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the freezer for a quick snack or breakfast. 

Taste verdict: DELICIOUS.  Not all the seniors attended (silly girls missed out) so the girls who did attend ate several and took some home.  I managed to snag one for my long drive from Baltimore to DC (ughhhhh Sunday traffic).  I'm giving myself an A+ on my cheap and healthy food presentation so now I'm eating some popcorn and watching Hoarding on TLC (these people have some crazy shopping issues).  Enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beautiful Saturday :)

I finally made it back to Body Step this morning for the first time in a couple weeks (since I've been house sitting and super busy thus doing my own cardio workouts aka jogging, eliptical, etc).  I absolutely LOVE body step even though I feel I should be wearing sparkly spandex and leg warmers. Body Step is a Les Mills workout class that incorporates cardio, target training, and dance with a step for a full body workout.  For me, Body Step is an hour long party that gives me tons of endorphins and a fantastic booty :)

After Body Step, I went to Toscana Grill to meet a bunch of other DC bloggers for lunch coordinated by the lovely Anne P.  After boring my friends and families with my incessant food talk, I loved being with a bunch of other foodies who love food as much as me!  Toscana Grill joined with Compassion Over Killing (an animal rights group not PETA) to make April a vegan month so their menu for the entire weekend is completely vegan!
Check out this swag:
The is a sticker which I want to put in my car's back window :)

The menu looked fantastic but since I had massive amounts of hunger after Body Step and had a piece of toast with peanut butter I decided to stick with the Minestrone Soup.  However, I thought it left much to be desired.  For a restaurant that tries to encourage a healthy organic lifestyle, the soup mainly included broth, maybe 8 red beans, a green bean or two, and WHITE pasta.  I spent more money of a bowl of soup than the ingredients I could have bought to make a healthier and more tastier soup which is another reason I semi dislike eating out.  I always think I can make something healthier and maybe tastier.  However I loved meeting all the lovely bloggers and we had fantastic conversations about good food and exercise (my favorite topics). And provided me with lots of inspiration for a talk that I'm giving tomorrow to a bunch of college seniors.

I'm an advisor for my sorority at a college in Maryland and tomorrow I'm giving a talk about cooking/eating healthy on a budget without dining halls and Mommy making us dinner every night.  My first year after college I lived paycheck to paycheck but still managed to lose twenty pounds (not because I starved myself with lack of funds for food) while eating organic food, tons of fresh produce, and even shopping at Whole Foods.  So I'm going to be sharing the tips/tricks that I learned with these college seniors who (like me) might struggle with that first difficult year after graduation.

I'll (hopefully) be back tomorrow with a recap of my talk and the recipe I made as example of a quick, cheap, healthy breakfast for busy career girl who doesn't have time for making a pot of steel cut oats. Here's a teaser:

And no it's not oatmeal!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cake Taste Update

My entire family (myself included) LOVED the cake.  My youngest brother (14 and therefore a sugar expert) said "It's the best cake I've eaten in a long time".  Even I indulged in a piece (a rather large one) trying to forgot the millions of chemicals in the frosting and cake mix and focus on the egg whites and applesauce. Hey, everything in moderation, right?  

Don't you love the yellow and blue layers?? Because I do :)

Here are some more peepshi pictures to brighten up your Monday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

What do you get when you combine chemicals, sugar, peeps, and a mother/daughter duo looking for a cute easter treat for the church brunch?


Thank you to the genius minds of Serious Eats, my mother and I created the perfect Easter coffee hour treat.  

Happy Easter!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Baking Like Sandra Lee

I absolutely love watching the Food Network!  I spend most of my free time reading cookbooks, food blogs while watching FN...okay maybe I'm just a little obsessive.  But for some reason...
drives me crazy.  Now I'm blonde and peppy but even I have my perky limits and somehow in less than thirty minutes Ms. Sandra Lee can push me to the edge.  Maybe it's the crazy tablescapes????

BUT I will admit that she has some good ideas and excellent tips/tricks for the busy family.  Her 70/30 rule is not for your snobbish foodie yet ideal for the busy mother trying to make a good meal for her family.  Today in the spirit of Sandra Lee I created a "semi homemade" Easter cake for my family dinner tomorrow evening.

Basically I took these: 

and made this:

It's my "semi homemade" Easter cake :) Now it looks pretty (not quite Ace of Cakes but pretty close) though I haven't tasted it yet.  But personally aesthetic appeal is much more important to taste.  It took me less than an hour to bake and decorate my cake thanks to the wise inspiration of Sandra Lee.

Spring (Easter) Cake

Cake Ingredients
  • One cake mix box (I used Pillsbury Classic White)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1.25 cups water
Frosting Ingredients
  • 8oz tub of Sugar Free Cool Whip
  • 1 oz package of Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used Splenda...don't judge)
  • 1 tsp sugar
Cake Decor:
  • Food coloring
  • Jellybeans
  • Sprinkles

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Combine all cake ingredients in electric mixer and mix until smooth
  3. Distribute batter evenly into 2 9 inch greased cake pans (I used cooking spray)
  4. Use food color to dye cake batter (I did blue and yellow)
  5. Cook for 30 minutes then use a toothpick to check if cakes are done baking
  6. When done, remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes.  Then use dinner knife to loosen cake from pan and place cake on cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool to room temperature before frosting.
  7. Combine all ingredients for frosting in electric mixer while cake is cooking and mix until smooth.  Add food coloring (I used red and blue to make pink).
  8. When cakes are room temperature, frost cake.
  9. Decorate cake with frosting, sprinkles, and jelly beans (or whatever you feel like)
Voila!  You've made a fabulous spring (easter) cake in less than thirty minutes.  And if you're feeling all fancy you can make more layers or even cupcakes.  I'd like to thank Sandra Lee again for making me feel okay for using pre-made almost everything (except those egg whites which are a pain...any tips???).  

I also took inspiration from this outfit to do my kitchen work 

Or not...I wore my ratty old PJs.  Why risk ruining such a wonderful outfit??

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Oats

Oh oatmeal how I love and adore thee!  And I've discovered the new love of my oatmeal life...
Oats In A Jar!!

Now I've seen oats in a jar over all the blogs however I've never experienced the joy.  I eat breakfast at work and lots of time I sleep through breakfast on the weekends (eek I know I should eat breakfast).  But this lovely (aka cold and gray) Sunday morning, I had to take the family to the airport and I needed some fuel if I wanted to drive to the airport and then do some kickboxing and weight lifting.  I also had a nearly empty jar of Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams from baking on Friday.  I made peanut butter banana cookies ala Fat Free Vegan, I used all whole wheat pastry flour, Dark Chocolate Dreams PB, and no chocolate chips.  Sorry no pictures but the cookies turned out yummy and very banana in flavor (which I love...makes me feel healthier for eating cookies).

Anyways, so I saved my nearly empty jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams (which I plan on buying more of immediately) and whipped up 1/2 cup of oats with a medium/large banana to toss inside my jar.  After cooling for a few minutes, I risked burning my mouth and dove into my oats.  YUM!  Why had I waited so long to do this???  If you have a nearly empty jar of PB, save it for your oats :)  I'm so tempted to buy PB and empty the jar into Tupperware so I can have oats in a jar again tomorrow.  Or maybe this is just an incentive to eat more peanut butter...

Have you tried oats in  a jar?  And what's your favorite nut butter?  I think I finally found mine :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Single eating: the leftovers dilema

As a single girl I often struggle NOT to get bored with my meals.  It becomes routine to make the same salad beast every day and eat the same oatmeal everyday.  So I decided to purchase one of my favorites: spaghetti squash and attempt to create several different meals out of one squash.  I purchased my squash at Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck and returned to my apartment to analyze my pantry and fridge to create a scrumptious meal.  Of course you probably think I should have gone to Whole Foods with a meal plan but I'm trying to be spontaneous (or just too lazy to figure out some recipes).

I discovered a zucchini, salsa, and leftover black bean dip I had made sometime last week.  So I decided to create a Mexican spaghetti squash extravaganza.  I mixed lots of salsa with the black bean dip (basically I had pureed black beans with cilantro and garlic), shredded the zucchini, and tossed them all on top of some spaghetti squash "noodles".

It was absolutely delicious!  I'm saddened that I don't have any more zucchini, salsa, and black bean dip.  But I have leftover spaghetti squash noodles. So for tomorrow, I'm thinking a Mac and "Cheese" dish ala HEAB...

For lunch the next day,  I whipped out some leftover spaghetti squash and used nutritional yeast for the first time EVER.  And created a wonderful sauce using a 1/4 block lite silken tofu pureed with 1 T nutritional yeast and 4 cups spinach I'd sautéed on the stove with some garlic.  Mix the "cheese" sauce with the spaghetti squash and some broccoli, season with some S&P (I used garlic salt because I'm obsessed with garlic), and try not to devour in three seconds.  It looks slightly disgusting but it's wonderful!!  What will I create with my spaghetti squash tomorrow?

Today I needed a quick lunch since I worked up quite an appetite reading Vogue on the elliptical.  The night before I decided I wanted to make some hummus ala a Hungry Girl that used artichokes and Greek yogurt instead of oil and tahini (which actually defines hummus but I wanted to give it a try from her book 200 under 200-1/4 cup hummus for 50 calories...sign me up).  So for lunch I decided to sauté the rest of my spaghetti squash with 3-4 cups spinach, 1/2 cup mushroom pieces, 1 small tomato, 1/2 mini cucumber in balsamic vinegar on the stove.  I topped my stir fry with a generous 1/4 cup of Hungry Girl hummus (which turned out delicious with my addition of extra garlic, I didn't even miss the tahini).  Mix all together and enjoy :)

With one smallish spaghetti squash I managed to create three different meals (don't worry I had other food as well with these meals lots of fruits and whole wheat carbs).  If you're willing to mix random ingredients or combine different recipes or use blogs for food inspiration you can eat yummy home cooked meals designed for one.

Do you have any suggestions on using leftovers?  Or do you get bored eating the same food?  Obviously I don't!!