So I’m back in Tampa again, this time for the two weeks surrounding the Christmas holidays. I usually stay with my mom, who is notorious for all the goodies she has lying around the house. And since she began baking as a side business, there are at least four kinds of baked-from-scratch cakes/pies/tarts chilling in the fridge.
The temptation, I tell you, is daunting. Absolutely daunting.
So I came up with the idea of having a small stockpile of healthier foods that I could integrate with things already at her house and keep eating healthily during these two weeks (more on that in one of my next posts).
If I must say so, I’m pretty proud of tonight’s concoction. And it’s definitely getting a repeat for a future Meatless Monday.
I got the idea for dinner from this post on . However, since I don’t eat tofu(more on that here), I used part-skim ricotta to add a bit of creaminess to the pasta. And since all the chicken in the house was frozen (and I’m not one to be patient and wait for thawing), I used a Qorn Chik’n patty I bought at Whole Foods. I love these meatless “chik’n” patties, because they taste just like a chicken sandwich, and they have no soy!
After fully cooking and draining spiral pasta (my favorite ), I stirred in a heaping tablespoon of part-skim ricotta until the pasta was fully-cooked. Next came about 1/4 cup of some of my mom’s amazing, better-than-crack (an assumption, of course) spaghetti sauce. Finally, I added a handful of spinach and the diced Chik’n patty and turned the heat back on to low and stirred it around occasionally just until everything was heated and the spinach was wilted to my liking.
It reminded me of chicken lasagna… without… well… lasagna noodles. It was so delicious, I’ll be making a giant pot of it for my family this week. But this time, I’ll make sure to wait for the REAL chicken to defrost.
I’m heading back to tomorrow, where I’ll be spending a lot of time in … most likely stocking up on a few things from the Hogwarts House I was sorted into (insert judging of my extreme nerdiness here).
If you’re a bit bored, and maybe wondered what house you’d be sorted into, and take a quiz.
Yours truly is a proud…
I’ve returned after a brief (okay, not so brief) hiatus, where things have been surprisingly busy– joblessness aside.
Since I was last here, a couple things have changed.
Number one, I’m about 8 inches shorter.
The 8 inches, of course, are referring to my hair. I had made an appointment in Tampa to get my hair trimmed by a friend from college, and I decided the night before that I’d be cutting a bit more off and doing something better than littering the floor of the salon with it.
I donated my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which creates wigs free of charge to women who have lost their hair while battling cancer. It’s not as well-known as Locks of Love, but I chose to go with them for several reasons.
To check them out, . If you’re thinking of changing your hairstyle soon, think about chopping it into a bob… or a “lob” (long bob) like mine and donate your ponytail to Beautiful Lengths!
As for the second thing that’s new, I’ve been trying to stick to Meatless Monday. Every Monday, I abstain from anything that requires an animal to be killed. No to fish. No to chicken. No to beef. Yes to eggs! Yes to dairy!
This will be my third week trying out Meatless Monday! The first week, it was a breeze. The second week, a little harder having to watch The Dude eat chicken apple sausage. This week, I stomped through the grocery store, starving and frustrated that all the hot meals had meat in them. And I almost gave up.
But I didn’t.
And now it’s the end of my third Meatless Monday, and again, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It’s even better that neither Christmas or New Year’s fall on Mondays (I can’t even imagine Nochebuena without pork ).
Here’s something I made a couple weeks ago. It’s delicious, it makes me not miss meat, and it tastes like something a little sinful: it’s BBQ tempeh, some veggies, and a pile of creamy mashed potatoes.
I treated the tempeh and the veggies much like I would a stir-fry. I browned up the tempeh in a skillet and threw in some mixed veggies, seasoned them with a little red pepper flakes and some Trader Joe’s Every Day Seasoning, and then added a couple tablespoons of BBQ sauce (mine’s from… surprise… Trader Joe’s).
For the mashed potatoes, I boiled a batch of multi-colored potatoes (hence the different colors of potato skin in the potatoes and the slight purple color) and blended them with 1/2 a tablespoon of butter, some non fat Greek yogurt, and a few sprinklings of sea salt.
Since it’s only week 3, I’m considering today’s grouchfest in the grocery store part of the learning curve. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, but if mashed potatoes are involved… how much can a day without meat suck?
Believe it or not, I just haven’t been in the mood for a hot bowl of oats. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of Overnight Oats when I have the foresight to make it the night before. But the idea of hot oats just hasn’t appealed to me. I even made a bowl of pumpkin oats the other day, and I left it barely eaten.
Until this morning, that is.
I woke up craving something sweet for breakfast– which hasn’t been happening often– and the heater in my apartment is currently broken (hey landlord, wanna come remedy that like… yesterday??). Needless to say, eating cold cereal with fruit was out of the question.
My feelings on having to wear my hoodie indoors while my $17 Target space heater makes my apartment feel warmer than the low 60s:
So with my apartment feeling like the Arctic Circle (okay, it’s only 55 outside, I’m exaggerating), I decided to give a piping hot bowl of oats a second try.
And boy am I glad I did.
I made a bowl of steel cut oats (way more filling for me than quick-cooking or even rolled oats) with Greek yogurt to make it creamy. For fruit, I stirred in some frozen blueberries in its last minute of cooking.
Creamy Blueberry Oats
makes one serving
- 1/4 c steel cut oats
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c almond milk
- 1/4 c no-sugar-added applesauce
- 1/4 c non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 c frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Mix the oats, water, almond milk, and vanilla in a large microwave-safe bowl (steel cut oats expand A LOT while microwaving, so make sure it’s a large bowl or you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning afterward) and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes.
- Remove bowl from microwave and stir in blueberries and applesauce. Microwave for another minute.
- Allow to cool for a minute, remove from microwave, and stir in Greek yogurt. Top your oatmeal with a few things, too! I used almond butter and puffed millet.
In other news, I’ve actually given myself quite the to-do list for today in lieu of some plans that got canceled. It goes something like this:
- Clean the apartment, you messy, messy girl.
- Do an hour of yoga– gym or DVD, just do it.
Apply to jobs.DONE!!
- Continue working on that book you and Keli started almost 3 years ago.
- Go grocery shopping. The only source of protein in your fridge is Greek yogurt and tempeh.
So with my blogging and job-applying done, I’m moving on to a little more writing. This time less about food, and more about… well… you’ll see if we ever finish our book.
In the meantime, enjoy the sight of the orchid plant from The Dude (he’s amused by his nick name) I’ve yet to kill…
… and my wake-up juice that’s sitting next to a laptop where very minimal Facebooking is being done. I swear, I’m being productive today. Mostly.