Kale with Tomato Risotto

This is not my original recipe but I have altered it for the Vegan Challenge. It comes from the Superfoods cookbook by Dolores Riccio that I picked up in Portland, OR. It’s super easy and can be made mostly in the microwave!

Healthy Vegan Kale with Tomato Risotto

Ingredients:
1/2 pound Kale
One 13-ounce can of vegetable broth
1/2 cup Diced canned tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp Arboria rice or 1 cup white rice
1-2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Directions:
Wash kale and cut stems off of the leaves. Fill a large pot halfway with water, bring to boil and blanch the kale for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender. Drain and chop the kale.

Combine the broth and tomatoes in a large skillet and bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer until needed.

In a 3-quart casserole dish, microwave the onion and garlic in the oil on high for 3 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the rice and stir well to coat it with the flavored oil. Add the hot broth mixture, cover, and microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes, until boiling. Change the setting to medium and continue to cook for 10 minutes, until rice is just tender and the liquid has absorbed. Blend ii the Nutritional Yeast if desired and stir in the kale, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

kale with tomato risotto

I used white rice so mine is not as creamy, but you should be able to obtain the creamy consistency that risotto is known for if you use Arboria rice. The starch content in it is what causes the creaminess in the dish. I did not add any Nutritional Yeast to mine because I liked it as is, but if you’d like a little cheesy flavor, go right ahead. And for non-vegans, add 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

kale with tomato risotto

Easy Stir Fry

It’s such a simple dish, yet can have so much variety that you’ll never get bored! I make stir fry pretty frequently and enjoy adding whatever veggies I have on hand at the time.

easy stir fry

What you’ll need:

1 package of firm tofu
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 carrots chopped
1 head of Broccoli, chopped
1/2 green or red pepper, chopped
4-5 cups spinach (loosely packed)
2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Drain the tofu and pat dry. Cut tofu into cubes and place on greased baking pan and bake for 45 minutes. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the oil, carrots, broccoli, and pepper until soft. Then add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Cook for few minutes until heated through. Enjoy!

easy stir fry

All the Oatmeals of My Kitchen

Welcome to my kitchen of oatmeals! I used to hate oatmeal as a kid unless it was the Quaker Instant Oatmeal with all of the added sugars. As an adult, my love of oatmeal has blossomed and become a more healthy relationship (pun intended). Making it at home gives me the opportunity to make it healthy and flavorful without having to eat the same thing every day (unless you were the cool kid with the variety pack).

Here’s my current favorite: Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal!

cinnamon apple oatmeal

I make mine quick and easy, no boiling necessary!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats (I use the quick 1-minute oats from Quaker)
1 cup milk (soy or almond)
1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
Cinnamon to taste (usually several dashes to evenly cover the top)
Nutmeg to taste (usually a generous dash)
Generous pinch of brown sugar (for non-vegans)
Half an apple, chopped

Place everything except the apples into a microwavable bowl and mix it all up, then microwave for 1.5 to 2 minutes

Stir well, then top with apples and a dash of cinnamon.

cinnamon apple oatmeal

It’s so darn good. I say brown sugar for non-vegans because it turns out, most sugar is filtered with bone char from animals. However, there are some brands that don’t. The Vegan Products Guide has a list of those companies that are bone char free. I may have to invest in some of those sugars, because I can’t live without something sweet!

Now for some other oatmeal topping options. The three basics (oatmeal, milk, chia seeds) are still the same, but I like to throw in other options every once in a while. Here’s a list:

Chopped pecans, walnuts
Sliced almonds
Macadamias
Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries,etc)
Chocolate chips (non-vegans)
Honey (non-vegans)
Fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, banana, raspberries, blackberries, pear, peach, apple)
Jam, jelly, fruit preserves
Nut butters
Shredded coconut
Coconut butter (I’ve been dying to buy some of this)

There are really endless possibilities! Top your oatmeal with any toppings that suite your taste. Enjoy!

Wait… It’s not Spaghetti?

That’s right… and it’s not worms (which can sometimes be confused for spaghetti…).  It’s squash! Spaghetti squash. Have you tried it before? I was my first time last night (that’s what she said).

Last week I saw Spaghetti Squash for the first time at my local grocery store. Is it a seasonal thing? Because I had checked over the summer and they didn’t have it. Anyways, you get all the great flavor of spaghetti without the calories!

Check out my beautiful squash:

spaghetti squash

There are a lot of ways to cook it but I decided to follow the instructions that came with him.

spaghetti squash

So I cut him in half and gutted the seeds, then baked him for 45 min at 350 F.  Here’s him out of the oven.

cooked spaghetti squash

Then I took a fork and scraped out his stringy pulp. There’s obviously a lot more than what’s in my bowl, this is just my serving.

spaghetti squash

I heated up some veggies: more squash, green pepper, kale, and cucumber. Then added in some sauce, got it all nice and warm and then poured it over my spaghetti squash. Yummy!

spaghetti squash

It was full over flavor and very filling!  And it was all veggies!

Daniel approved of the dish so I think this is a keeper, as long as those grocery stores keep it in stock!

Here’s the rest of Wednesday’s Meals:

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Corn Flakes 100
Almond milk 30
Fiber One Bar 90
Snack Almonds 180
Potato chips 200
Drink Dirty chai latte 150
Lunch Left over chipotle 230
Dinner Spaghetti squash and sauce 200
Snack Hummus chips 200
Total 1380

I went a little over calories again, and I didn’t work out.  I was so focused on studying! However, I think my test went well!

Now I can enjoy my weekend.  I plan to catch up on a lot like: finally finishing the staining of the 4th chair from our dining set, washing my car, looking up companies for internships, catching up on other homework, reading my bloglovin (I have almost 200 blog posts I need to catch up on! I think I follow too many blogs haha), and getting more sleep!

What are your weekend plans?!

Kale Chip Bandwagon

As I mentioned yesterday, I jumped on that kale chip bandwagon, but first, my meals from wednesday:

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Corn Flakes 100
Almond Milk 40
Snack Banana 100
Fiber One Chocolate Chewy Bar 150
Vienna Bread 120
Chips with Peach & Mango Jalapeno Salsa 100
Lunch Left over salmon and rice 320
Dinner Spinach and fruit salad 250
Kale chips 58
Total 1238

I’m doing better in the food department. Look at all that healthy-ish-ness!

I had the left over bread/crusted salmon from the day before. Still just as tasty! And I made more of those spinach and fruit salads for dinner. I had two bowls!

crusted salmon

As for my exercise yesterday, I ran 4.5 miles! Ok, one of those miles I actually walked. My foot was starting to hurt so I took the third mile to rest it and then ran the last mile. I think I’m getting faster in my miles! Most of them are around 9 min/mile when it used to be 10 min/mile. Progress!

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for… KALE CHIPS! Anybody ever make these before? There are TONS of recipes out there so I just “averaged” them so to speak.

I bought a bag of kale from Wal-Mart. I didn’t realize it but it was already pre-chopped. Sweet!  I probably used half of the bag and placed it in a bowl, added about 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil and tossed them around.

I spread them out on a baking sheet and sprinkled paprika and salt lightly over them. I’ve heard a lot of people over doing it on the salt so I just added it sparingly. Then I baked the kale for 16-18 minutes at 300 degrees F. I attempted to flip them over halfway through but I’m not sure if that’s really necessary. The smaller pieces had shrunk considerably so it was hard to flip them.

kale chips in the oven

They turned out nice and crispy!

Kale Chips

I will definitely be making these again sometime! I actually liked the smaller crunchy pieces over the bigger pieces. The bigger pieces weren’t as crunchy. If you can, try to make yours all uniform in size. And remove big stems, they will become chewy and not crispy. Enjoy!

Has anybody gotten creative with their kale chips and add crazy flavors?

One-Ingredient Ice Cream

I’ve come to realize bananas are magical. They’re so versatile and the perfect filler for anything. I love them in my smoothies, mixed into my cereal, and as my ice cream. Yes, you heard me right. Ice cream. It’s a dream come true. A healthy dessert, an oxymoron, is now becoming more common. And you don’t have to sacrifice the flavor you’ve come to expect from your sweets just because it’s deemed “healthy.”

One-ingredient Ice Cream using bananas

Here’s how you accomplish this simple sweet.

Take a couple bananas and chop them up. Set them on a plate and place it in the freezer. Once they’re solid (about 2 hours) they’re ready.

banana

Blend the bananas in a food processor. They should become fluid like soft serve ice cream.

blended bananas

If you want, you can add some extra flavor. I put in 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella. Blend until addition is evenly distributed.

blended Nutella and bananas

Some recommend refreezing now so you get more of an ice cream consistency but I liked it as is. Thick and Creamy (also, I couldn’t wait that long to try it!).

banana ice cream

Delicious! It was the perfect combination of chocolate hazelnut and banana. And guilt-free!

Some serving suggestions using 2 bananas:

  • add 2-3 Tbsp of Nutella
  • add 1/4 tsp of almond extract (and maybe some shredded coconut?)
  • add some frozen strawberries or strawberry syrup for a strawberry-banana flavor
  • add 2-3 Tbsp of peanut or almond butter with 1 Tbsp honey

I definitely want to play around with more flavors and see how these would turn out.

I hope you enjoy it!

Baked Coconut Swai with Apricot Sauce

Well, so much for getting back on track…

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Corn Flakes 100
Almond milk 90
Lunch Leftover Almond Crusted Salmon 322
Corn 70
Snack Mediterranean Pizza with thin wheat crust 430
Honey Roasted Peanuts 350
Dinner Coconut Swai 360
Apricot Sauce 75
Rice 50
Total 1847

We were out thrifting for a cabinet to conceal our shoes by the door and were getting a little hungry. We ran across this new place called Wheat State Pizza. I guess they just opened back in May. Everything looked so good but we finally agreed on the 10in Mediterranean Pizza on their thin wheat crust.  Look at all the cheesiness!

mediterranean pizza

Then we went to a free movie courtesy of some coupons my mom gave us. We decided on watching We’re The Millers. It is hilarious! Also, the bloopers at the end are great! I’ve been quoting them to Daniel ever since, haha!

During the movie I ate my fair share of honey roasted peanuts. They’re so addictive. And the calories add up so fast.

Later for dinner, I wanted to try that coconut recipe out but not on the shrimp I had previously mentioned. We had Swai and I figured it would be just as good on fish as it is on chicken. I combined a couple recipe ideas and here’s how it turned out:

coconut swai with apricot sauce

D-e-licious!

Coconut Swai with Apricot Sauce 

Ingredients

  • 2 4-ounce Swai fillets
  • 6 Tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Flake Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup Apricot Preserves
  • 1 Tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard (or 2 Tbsp of Dijon Mustard)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the coconut, Corn Flake crumbs, and Panko. In another bowl, whisk the egg.

2. Dip the Swai in the egg and then in the coconut mixture. Place on a baking sheet covered with foil. Lightly spray the Swai with olive oil and bake for 15-18 minutes.

3. For the apricot sauce combine the preserves and mustard and mix thoroughly.

Makes two servings @ 360 cal each (without apricot sauce)

The sweet coconut flavor and tang of the apricot sauce are a tasty combination!

Now, I have go take Daniel to Chipotle because he’s been “subtly” hinting that he wants to go there, haha. I hope you all are having a fabulous Tuesday!

Green Tea Smoothie

Yesterday I went on another 4.5 mile run. And I didn’t even walk the whole time! I realize that a month ago I could barely run two laps around a quarter mile track and now I can go over 4 miles while carrying a decent amount of conversation. I admit during the last mile I wasn’t able to talk as well but I could spew out a few words every now and again. Improvement!

So during the last mile I had some time to think while Daniel ran ahead for a bit.  To get me through workouts I like to think about what I’m going to eat afterwards (hey, it works). I had yet to have green tea for the day and I typically like a smoothie right after a workout so I was thinking about how I could combine the two.  Here’s what I came up with:

green tea smoothie

It was the perfect combination of fruit and green tea. And super easy to make! I think it’s going to become one of my new favorites.

Here’s everything you need (minus lemon juice):

green tea smoothie ingredients

  • 1 bag of green tea steeped into one cup of hot water
  • One banana
  • 1.5 cups of almond or soy milk
  • A handful of frozen grapes (about 1/2 cup)
  • A handful of frozen peaches (about 2/3 cup)
  • A handful of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • A few squirts of lemon juice
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Makes two servings @ 132 calories each

green tea smoothie

I think next time I want to play around with different fruits. I was really wanting mango but I didn’t have any on hand. Grapes, peaches, and bananas were definitely a good combo though. I’m very pleased with how they turned out!

Here’s what else I ate yesterday:

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Corn Flakes 100
Almond Milk 90
Snack Green Tea 132
Fiber One Lemon Bar 90
Chip crumbs 60
Dinner Fish Tacos 410
Rice 100
Drinks Lambrusco 194
Dessert Fiber One Peanut Butter Brownie 90
Total 1266

I’m did pretty good for burning 400 calories and staying around my calorie range.

Wednesday’s Shark Tacos inspired me to make our own fish tacos at home. We already had all the ingredients needed. We invited Daniel’s friend Garret over to help us consume them.

I had two! They were soooo good!

fish tacos

We cooked up some tilapia (first marinated for 15 minutes in some olive oil with lemon juice, lemon pepper, red pepper, and garlic powder), then I made my own version of pico de gallo with 1 Roma tomato, green pepper, parsley, lemon zest, lime juice, garlic powder, ground red pepper, and lemon pepper. Basically a random bunch of stuff we had on hand and pulsed it in my food processor a few times. We had Garret bring some mango salsa as well that was delicious in combination with the pico de gallo. And of course it’s not a taco without lettuce and cheese!

After a delicious meal we played some card games and Dominos! I had never really learned the rules of Dominos so I was reliving my childhood last night the right way. It was fun, but I lost. As loser, I had to drink the rest of my glass of Lambrusco.  I’m ok with that 😉

I hope you all are having a fabulous friday!

Tilapia Milanese

I made a bad decision last night. Daniel and I went to the store hungry. And you know what happens when people go to the store hungry? They buy things they shouldn’t. Like a bag of chips. And then they proceed to eat almost the entire bag of chips. Whoopsies.

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Corn Flakes 100
Almond Milk 30
Lunch Fruit Smoothie 180
Spinach and Fruit Salad 207
Snack Fiber One Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie 90
Chedder & Sour Cream chips 300
Dinner Another Spinach and Fruit Salad 200
Tilapia Milanese 626
Drink Lambrusco 98
Total 1831

We found a tilapia recipe that sounded good. It’s similar to the Almond Crusted Tilapia procedure-wise, but we needed to go to the store for a few ingredients we didn’t have on hand. That’s when we fell into the trap. We were running out of bread. And this recipe calls for SIX slices of bread! So, unfortunately at the store I go to, the bread aisle is also the chip aisle. And boy was I hungry. We agreed on the cheddar and sour cream which is my favorite! But once we were home we started eating the chips immediately while watching Despicable Me before we started cooking. We got so distracted by chip eating and movie watching that we ate at least half the bag. I roughly estimated how many chips I ate. It was definitely a couple servings (16 chips per serving). But each chip is a different size, so how do you know what’s accurate?!  Oh and if you haven’t watched Despicable Me, you should! It’s so cute! I haven’t even seen the trailer for the new one but if there’s minions in it I will definitely be seeing it.

Ok, so Tilapia Milanese. This recipe calls for 6 oz filets and ours were only 4 oz so I adjusted the calories per serving accordingly. We also ended up using just 3 slices of bread. You pulse the bread in a food processor to make crumbs and I just have a small food processor so only 3 slices fit. It turned out to be plenty to cover our four 4 oz filets so we didn’t need to go down that bread/chip aisle after all! Dang it. We adjusted a few more ingredients so I’m giving you the list of what we actually used but you can click the link for the original ingredients.

Ingredients:

4 4-ounce tilapia fillets
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
3 slices whole wheat bread (preferrably Sara Lee 45 Cal bread), torn into pieces
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
4 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups baby arugula Arugula is nasty! You can read about my personal experience here and here.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Soak the filets in a bowl with the skim milk and 2 cups ice for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a shallow dish (I don’t like adding a lot of salt to my recipes so I always reduce it, unless it’s bread! No salt in bread = yucky). Lightly beat the eggs in another dish. Pulse the bread, parsley, and lemon zest a in a food processor until crumbs form, then transfer to a third dish.

Line a baking sheet with foil, set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove two fillets from the milk and dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip in the eggs, then coat with the breadcrumbs, gently pressing to coat both sides. Transfer to skillet and cook until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Then transfer them on to the baking sheet. Repeat with the last two filets, adding the rest of the olive oil and butter.  Once all filets are on the the baking sheet place them in the oven to bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Serve the fish with a lemon wedge.

tilapia milanese

Pretty simple! I loved the lemon zest in the bread crumbs. You could taste it after being cooked but I like a little more lemon so I added a few squeezes of juice to the top of mine. Then we made our second Spinach & Fruit salad for the day to go along with the fish.

As for working out yesterday, I went on a 3.5 mile run with Daniel. I wanted to go another mile but Daniel was really hungry by that point so we called it a day. When I got home I did a lot of stretching and 20 push-ups! My arms were so tired after that. I need to start doing push-ups more often so I get stronger. I was wanting to incorporate more strength training into my workouts but I’ve been too lazy lately. I need to get back to doing the Five Day Workout Plan. Maybe when school starts and I have access to all the weights at the gym I’ll start it up again.

Here’s the links for each day: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

Anybody try a new fish recipe or incorporate something new into your workouts?

Curry Pumpkin Soup, Almond Crusted Tilapia, & Blackberry Cobbler

I had an amazing anniversary yesterday with Daniel.  We spent a good portion of the day still unpacking but dinner was delicious. We picked up a few more things from my parent’s house and my dad happened to be making Curry Pumpkin soup, a recipe he got from his friend Monica in Germany. She actually made it for all of us while I was there. It’s spicy and sweet! My dad did a fairly good job but added a bit too much of the spice. He gave us extra so we’re going to buy some more canned pumpkin to add to tone it down.

Curry Pumpkin soup

I don’t know the exact ingredients but it contains canned pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, red curry paste, and a spice mixture that Monica had given him (perhaps cumin, ground red pepper, and coriander?).  I might add a little coconut milk or sweetened condensed milk to it as well.

For our anniversary dinner we made the infamous Almond Crusted Swai, but with tilapia this time! Instead of adding a lot of parmesan we mixed the almonds with Panko bread crumbs and a little wheat germ and only sprinkled a little parmesan on top. Healthy and tasty!

Almond Crusted Tilapia

For dessert I decided to make a recipe I found off of abeautifulmess.com. Blackberry Cobbler! I bought some ramekins because I thought they’d be perfect for portion control when eating desserts. They work great for this recipe which makes 3-4 ramekins. Mine are smaller so it makes 4.

Blackberries

Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler

They turned out great! I added some vanilla bean ice cream on top. Definitely keeping this recipe around. It’s only 235 calories per serving. Not bad for a little dessert!

All you need is:

16 oz blackberries
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp skim milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
5 Tbsp melted, then cooled butter

Here’s the directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl mix together the blackberries and brown sugar. Distribute evenly among your baking dishes.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Last, stir in the melted butter.
Spoon the batter over the berries. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Serve warm.

Super easy and delicious!

Here is the rest of yesterday’s meals:

Meal Food Calories
Breakfast Cereal 100
Almond milk 30
Lunch Spinach & Fruit Salad 207
Dinner Curry Pumpkin Soup 121
Rice and Veggie stir fry 150
Almond Crusted Tilapia 404
Dessert Blackberry Cobbler 235
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 60
Drinks Sangria 150
Total 1457

I went over but it was a celebration!