Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Friday Favorites & a Virtual Race!

Hello friends! I know it’s been a while and I’m doing a bad job at this whole ‘blogging on the reg’ thing, but we’ll take what we can get, yes? It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over (sure there’s technically a month left, but if we’re being honest, August is just one giant Sunday night). But let’s get to the good stuff!

by Chloe
I’ve gone to this restaurant three times since it opened two weeks ago, and I would absolutely go every day if I could swing it. In fact, just last week I went for lunch and dinner on the same day. I’m planning on doing a full post about it soon, but in the meantime I wanted to mention here how I’m completely obsessed with it and want to try every single menu item (and I’m well on my way).

Guac burger. Possibly the best veggie burger I've ever had

Guac burger. Possibly the best veggie burger I’ve ever had

I remember watching Chloe Coscarelli on Cupcake Wars and I’ve made a few of her recipes, and they’ve all be fabulous… and her restaurant is no exception. If you’re in the NYC area, you need to get yourself over to by Chloe in the village. Whether you’re a vegan or not, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by this deliciousness. I promise!

Nothin’ But – coconut chocolate almond granola bar
This was a total impulse purchase earlier in the week at Whole Foods. I popped in after spin glass to grab a coconut water, and somehow left with coconut water, a box of whoopie pies, and this granola bar. Oops?

Nothin' but delicious

Nothin’ but delicious

It’s a sizable bar, and the flavor is fantastic. It isn’t your typical hard and chewy granola bar; it tastes like homemade granola and you can tell that it just has simple, whole ingredients. I want more.

May Designs notebooks
I’ve become slightly obsessed with these notebooks, and I’m not ashamed! It’s no secret that I love notebooks and pens/pencils (so I’m obviously loving that it’s back to school season) and these are my absolute favorites.

maydesigns

They are small and portable, but big enough so you don’t feel like you’re straining to write in them. They are completely customize-able and offer a ton of really fun options. There are multiple prints and monogram options to choose from, and also different kinds of notebooks; I have both lined and unlined books, an agenda, and even a food + fitness journal!

The Mustache Dache!
So this is a race I’ve watched play out year after year, envious of everyone that was able to slap on a fake mustache and run a 5k. I had hoped the event would make it’s way to my area, and while it hasn’t just yet, they have the next best thing – a virtual race! Earlier this week I was contacted and asked if I’d like to participate and if you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE MUSTACHES, so I didn’t even have to think before replying yes!

Side note: Don’t ask me why I love mustaches. I have no logical explanation. I just do. They’ve somehow become my ‘thing’ over the last few years and I now bring some type of mustache to every party or wedding (finger tattoos, ones to put on bottles, ones on sticks… I’ve tried them all).

See!  This is just a small sampling of my mustache photos!

See! This is just a small sampling of my mustache photos!

Anyway, when I said that I’d be interested in participating in the virtual run, I was able to get a discount code for my readers, too! So, if you’re interested in running the virtual Mustache Dache with me this November, you can sign up here! And if you’re in the NYC area, we can all do the run together (yes, I will provide fake mustaches for us)! Just let me know in the comments if you register!

So that’s what I’m currently obsessing over. Still not really running, but thankfully I’ve been keeping myself busy with other workouts. I have a follow-up doctor appointment today, so we’ll see what she says about my lack of real progress.

So tell me…
What are you loving lately?

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Life, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Recipe: Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

It was starting to feel like fall late last week, so I picked up an acorn squash at the Farmer’s Market on Thursday thinking I could put it to good use this week with the cooler weather. Naturally the temperatures have been in the upper 70’s all week – summer forever, please! – which doesn’t really put me in the mood for a warm fall dish… but I made one anyway. And when I shared it on Instagram and everyone was interested in the recipe, I figured I’d share it with you all!

This comes together pretty easily and it doesn’t require you to do multiple things at once which I always appreciate. I made this as my main dish, but you could easily have it as a side to something else. Acorn squash are great vehicles to stuff with pretty much anything – so get creative!

Stuffed Acorn Squash | FoodosaurusRex.com

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
– Serves 2 – 

Ingredients:
1 acorn squash
3 cups kale, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 can (15oz) black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cous cous
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar blend)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Slice the squash in half, remove the seeds. Spray a baking sheet and cut side of the squash with non-stick spray and place the squash cut side down. Bake for 30-35 minutes. 
3. Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous by bringing 3/4 cup of salted water to a boil. Add the cous cous, stir, cover and remove from the heat. Fluff after  5 minutes. 
4. Heat the tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the kale, sauteing for another 5 minutes. 
5. Add the garlic, beans, spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano). Cook until beans are heated through, about 2 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine the kale and bean mixture with the cous cous. 
7. When the squash is done, flip them over and spoon the filling into the squash cavity (it’s okay if it’s overflowing). Top with cheese and bake another 2 minutes until the cheese is melted. 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

A Banana-Free Protein Smoothie!

I know I’m in the minority, but I hate bananas… and they’re everywhere. In cookies! Muffins! Smoothies! After races! I can’t escape them. I know they’re good for me and believe me, I’ve tried to like them. But I just can’t do it. My mom jokes that she must have fed me too many when I was little, and that’s why I don’t like them anymore. I’ll take her word for it and accept the reasoning, since I have no recollection of ever enjoying a banana. Just the thought of them puts a bad taste in my mouth!

I should also note I took to Twitter to ask whether or not you liked bananas and the responses were hilarious. Below are two of my favorites. And yes, the two favorites are proponents of bananas – go figure!

bananas

But enough about bananas – this post is about how you can make a delicious protein-rich smoothie without them! When searching for smoothie recipes, I’ve found most of them include a banana – usually frozen – added for texture. I was never really sure what to use to replace the banana, so instead of trying I completely skipped attempting to make smoothies at home. I remember trying to make a “green monster” a few years ago with frozen spinach and a crappy blender, and it was gross. I begrudgingly gulped it down, spinach mush and all, because I thought I was supposed to like it. I’ve since come to my senses and no longer try to like things just because they’re “cool.”

I like to think that I maintain a mostly well balanced diet, but I know there is always room for improvement. And since marathon training is about to start, I know that my diet is even more important; I need to make sure I’m getting enough calories from the right kinds of foods. That isn’t to say I’m going to stop ordering a side of waffle fries with my breakfast egg skillet that includes potatoes at the diner after a long run (yes, I did that on Sunday), but I need to make sure that aside from those moments of pure gluttony, I’m maintaining a well balanced diet. If there’s anything I’m learning as I get more and more into running – which is an entire post for another day – is that that there is more to it than just running.

Since I want to maximize my nutrition, when I realized I had a big bag of spinach in my fridge, I started to think about how I could use it in a smoothie. Like I said, the first (and only) time I made a smoothie using greens resulted in something I could barely drink. After a few minutes of looking through my pantry, I decided I’d throw a few things in the blender and hope for the best. Thankfully, it turned out really well! It’s funny how limited I felt by not liking bananas when it came to smoothies, when the reality is that there are endless possibilities. I’m looking forward to trying different combinations!

Vanilla Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie | FoodosaurusRex.com

 

Vanilla Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie
– makes one smoothie –

Ingredients:
12 oz. Vanilla flavored non-dairy milk (I used coconut-almond)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Plant Fusion vanilla bean)
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I used Earth Balance’s coconut peanut butter)
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender
2. Blend until smooth
*feel free to add some ice cubes to the blender, or just drop them into the smoothie once it’s all blended together

Tell me…
Do you like bananas? 
Have a favorite (banana-free) smoothie recipe you’d like to share?

11 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Summer Cooking

It’s no secret that summer is my favorite season. Sure it can be oppressively hot, but the days are long, the sun is shining more often than not, and I can get away with boycotting pants much more easily than during the winter months. It also means that I don’t turn on my oven much… which is something I think I get from my mother. We didn’t have central air conditioning in my house growing up until I was in high school, so the mere thought of turning on the oven to make the house hotter during the summer was unbearable. Just writing about it brings back memories of sitting in front of the giant oscillating fan propped in the kitchen, skin hot and sticky, while in my summer uniform – a bathing suit.

So now that I’m in charge of making my own meals, when it comes to summer cooking you can usually find me throwing something on the grill, occasionally turning on my oven’s burners (but never the oven itself), or making things that do not require any cooking at all. Aside from the heat-in-the-house factor, who wants to be inside slaving over an oven when it’s gorgeous outside, anyway? I could take the “easy” route and just eat the same thing every night, but that’s boring. Enter my most recent creation – vegan curry tofu salad! Yes, it has “salad” in the title, but it’s not the leafy greens type of salad… though you could put it on top of one if you wanted.

The idea to make a vegan curry tofu salad stemmed from my love of sandwiches. As a vegetarian, I often feel like my sandwich options are limited since they so often revolve around meat… which isn’t necessarily the case. There are plenty of ways to enjoy sandwiches as a vegetarian, you just have to get creative! I had been thinking about tuna and chicken salad, and how not only are they quick and easy, but you can really make them as simple or dressed up as you’d like (add some apples, celery, spices… it can get crazy!). Since I don’t eat chicken or tuna, and am not a huge egg salad fan, I immediately thought of tofu as a substitute and tried to figure out how I could make it more than just a mushed tofu sandwich (gross). Throw in some curry powder for flavor, some (vegan) yogurt and mayo for creaminess, and something for crunch, and you have yourself a quick, easy, oven-free salad that you can use as a sandwich, a dip, or a salad topper. I’m pretty proud of myself for this one – I had it for dinner on Tuesday, followed by breakfast and lunch on Wednesday. I guess you could say I liked it!

Even though the recipe is vegan, you can definitely use regular yogurt and mayo for a vegetarian version. Or, you can completely ignore the meat-free part and add in shredded chicken! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Tofu Curry Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

Vegan Curry Tofu Salad
– makes enough for 4 salad sandwiches –

Ingredients:
1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt
1/4 cup vegan mayo (i.e. Nasoya or Veganaise)
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes*
1 cup red onion*
1 cup diced green apple or celery*

Directions:
1. Drain the tofu for 10-20 minutes (I do this by placing it in-between two plates with a heavy book or weight on top, with a paper towel on each side to help absorb the liquid).
2. Once the tofu is drained, add it to a large bowl and mash it with a fork – you want the consistency to look like scrambled eggs. Chunks are good!
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, and curry powder.
4. Add the curry/yogurt/mayo mixture to the tofu along with your red onion, green apple, and/or celery. Stir to make sure the tofu is evenly coated.
5. Enjoy on bread, a top a salad, or as a dip!

*Notes: The ingredients with an asterisk are optional. You can use more or less red pepper flake for a little kick. The onion, celery, and/or apple give some crunch and flavor, but you can choose which you do or do not want to include.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite no-cook (or minimal cooking required) recipes for summer?

3 Comments

Filed under Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Marathon Spectating: Boston 2014

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of cheering at the 118th Boston Marathon.

Even though I didn’t run and am far from qualifying, it was a truly electric and magical weekend. It took only a few minutes of being in Boston to understand why runners so desperately want to run this race. It’s about more than the prestige of hitting a qualifying time. It’s about banding together with thousands and thousands of people just like you – people that love a sport that can be so uplifting and heartbreaking – and having an entire city there to support you, like you’re a rock star.

My magical weekend started on Saturday with a 4.5 hour drive up to Boston after my last longish run before this weekend’s half marathon. The first event on the list was a Strength Running meet-up in Clarke’s at Faneuil Hall. Since Jason is actually my running coach, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet him in person. Of course, being the awkward turtle that I am, I simply introduced myself as Danielle and just assumed he knew who I was (who do I think I am?!). Since the e-mail I use for running related things is tied to my blog, it would make sense that a lot of people know me as “Foodosaurus Rex.” So it wasn’t until I was leaving that I mentioned my last name, and of course felt like a jerk for not having said something earlier. But at least we got a picture together!

Me & Jason!

Me & Jason!

After the meet-up I went to Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge for dinner and had a phenomenal veggie burger. I always like to search for vegetarian restaurants when I’m traveling since there aren’t a lot in my area. So when I saw this was a vegetarian diner, I was pumped to give it a try. I started with a beer (of course), and ordered their Kendall Square burger (hello beer battered onion rings) with a side of french fries. It was so delicious.

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Since I was in the area for work, I drove back up to Lowell (about 30 minutes north of the city) and crashed hard. And before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to head back down to the city – this time for an Oiselle Team meet-up! I got to the city early to make sure I wouldn’t have a problem with parking, and did a quick lap around the expo. After the expo I made my way to our meeting spot and we posed for a picture before heading off towards the Charles.

A gaggle of birds

A gaggle of birds

I had three miles on my schedule that day, so I decided to run with a group that was doing a 4 mile shakeout, including Stephanie, Mollie, Mary, and Sara. I also had a nice mini-reunion with (two out of three) of my favorite North Carolina runners, Allie and Ellen! While on our run we actually passed Desiree Linden, and we got a little head nod and wave from her. Of course I geeked out and tweeted about it, which she favored… which resulted in more geeking out. After our run we took a short walk to Render Coffee, which a teammate’s brother owns. They were kind enough to offer free coffee for all of us, and I thoroughly enjoyed my hazelnut latte. Of course I continued my geek fest when I sat down next to none other than Lauren Fleshman, and wanted to say everything but instead said pretty much nothing. She was (no surprise) super friendly and down to earth, and I wish that I actually had things to talk to her about!

Hanging outside Render Coffee

Hanging outside Render Coffee

After coffee I took the T and wandered around Harvard a bit, had a delicious Easter brunch at Beat Hotel (in running clothes, while everyone else was in their Easter best… whoops), and then got to meet up with one of my college swimming teammates for dinner and drinks!

When my alarm went off Monday morning I was ready to go. I knew that the earlier I made the trip from Lowell to the Boston area, the better. I wanted to cheer around mile 23, figuring it’d be far enough from the massive finish line crowds and at a point where people really start to need encouragement. I made it to Brookline around 8am and stopped in to Eagle’s Deli for a breakfast sandwich to fuel the day of cheering. I walked up a few more blocks and positioned myself a few hundred yards away from the mile 23 marker. I had expertly staked out my spot, and was ready as soon as the first wheelchair competitors came whizzing by.

Rah rah!

Rah rah!

I’d been following the elites on twitter, so I knew what was going down in both the women’s and men’s race. At the beginning of the race I – along with almost everyone else – was completely consumed with the women’s race and Shalane. Unfortunately her race started to unravel a bit by the time she reached me at mile 23, but that didn’t stop me from screaming basically in her face as she ran by. I could see the discomfort and disappointment in her face, but I knew she was doing everything she could, and everyone in Brookline was thrilled to see her and applauded her gutsy race. And then, all of a sudden, we realized that Meb was leading the men. I’ve always been a big Meb fan, but my appreciation for him grew after the 2013 New York City Marathon, where he struggled but ran it in with someone and was so humble about it. To think that at (almost) 39 he was leading the race was such a thrill. He was almost 5 minutes ahead of the chase pack when he flew by, and we all screamed as loud as we could in hopes of propelling him those last 3.2 miles to the finish. Of course I was mesmerized by the thought of Meb winning, and followed along on the live stream… I was ecstatic when I saw him cross the finish line!

After the elites went by, I focused on trying to find all of the people I was tracking either via the app or text messages. It was kind of hard to keep track of everyone – for whatever reason I had a hard time figuring out from the 30k alert how long it would take them to get to me at mile 23. Plus, I was so afraid I’d look down at my phone and miss someone! I saw almost everyone I hoped to cheer for  – Jason, Jess, Jenny, Laura, Mary, Sara, Corey, Lindsey, Dani, Mollie, Julia, Stacey, and a few others I’m probably missing. It was tricky to try and yell loud enough for everyone to hear me and see me, but I was able to pierce the sound of the crowd around me for a few runners. My favorite was Mary, who happened to be running right on the side I was cheering. I basically screamed in her face – I’d like to think it helped propel her to her amazing PR! Unfortunately I missed a few people, and some people didn’t hear me, but I spent four solid hours cowbelling; I have the bruises and raw skin on my hand to prove it!

I was exhausted by the time I got back to my hotel, but it was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat – and I hope I can be back up in Boston for Patriot’s Day 2015! Next up on my cheering schedule is this Sunday at the New Jersey Marathon. So if you’re running, let me know… I’ll be sure to cowbell for you! But first, I need to run my own race – Asbury Park Half Marathon tomorrow!

4 Comments

Filed under Running, Travel, Vegetarian/Vegan

Sushi Salad and Beer

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It’s no secret that I love beer… and especially trying new-to-me beers. I’ve even dabbled in the arts of brewing my own beer, which I need to get back to doing. So when the opportunity to try Kirin Ichiban beer presented itself, I jumped at the offer. I mean, what could be better than getting some Japanese beer and pairing it with some Japanese inspired food? Not much if you ask me!

I was sent both the Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light to sample, and really enjoyed them both. Kirin Ichiban is a 100% malt beer and only uses the first strain of malt liquid, which results in a crisp, clean, and refreshing taste. Kirin is one of the oldest breweries in Japan, and their mascot is the mythical Kirin beast (which is on their label), which is believed to bring serenity and prosperity. Since I’m currently in taper mode for my half marathon in two weeks, I’ll take all the serenity and prosperity I can get! I had the first beer pretty much as soon as the package arrived, but saved some to serve as inspiration (and as a pairing) for a light and delicious dinner.

Sushi Roll Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

My original plan was to make a noodle dish, but after receiving some goodies to help with sushi making (sushi rice, nori sheets, and some wasabi paste), I figured I could put them to good use with some veggie sushi rolls. As I was cooking the rice, though, I had another thought… what if I turned the sushi rolls into a salad?! Serving all of the sushi ingredients deconstructed over a bed of lettuce was genius; it really cut down on the labor (I’m not exactly skilled when it comes to rolling sushi), and was just as delicious. I really can’t believe I haven’t thought of making a sushi styled salad before – it was wonderful! I definitely plan on making this salad a lot more… and paired with a beer it was perfect.

Sushi Roll Salad | FoodosaurusRex.com

Sushi Roll Salad
– Serves 2 –

Salad Ingredients:
1 cup cooked sushi rice
4 cups spring mix or chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 sheet nori, roughly chopped

Dressing Ingredients:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chili oil [or sesame oil if you don’t want any heat]
2 tsp wasabi paste

Directions:
1. Add all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk to combine.
2. In a large bowl, add the spring mix, carrots, avocado, cucumber, cooked rice, and shredded nori. Toss the salad with the dressing.

4 Comments

Filed under Beer, Food Blogging, Food Review, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Meatless Monday: Southwestern Pierogi Bake

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I’m aware that the title of this blog post may seem a bit confusing; pierogies are typically Polish… so how could I use them in a Southwestern dish?! Well, I’m completely obsessed with Southwestern and Mexican food, so I’ll make it any chance I can. When I was selected to participate in this Mrs. T’s Pierogies campaign, I knew I wanted to do more with them than just serve them as-is with dipping sauce, or with sautéed cabbage. And with 11 different varieties, there’s something for (almost) everyone. Being that I love bakes (who doesn’t like to throw everything into a dish and put it in the oven?) and Southwestern flavors are my favorite, I decided to run with it.

I had visions of this meal the entire time I was running my 15 miler on Saturday, and couldn’t wait to put it all together. It was easy to prepare, and really hit the spot for dinner. Of course I was pretty wiped out after my long run, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening on the couch; though I may have even taken a pancake induced nap in the early afternoon. Conveniently, Mean Girls was on (can you believe the 10 year anniversary is coming up?!), so I enjoyed my pierogi bake while watching one of the greatest movies of all time (yes, I said it).

This Southwestern Pierogi Bake is perfect for any night of the week, and can easily be transported for a potluck dinner or party. Plus, it can be made with real chorizo or soy chorizo, so it’s easily adaptable to everyone’s meat preference. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to think outside of the box when it comes to pierogi meals. While I love a good pierogi and cabbage mix, this may be my new favorite way to enjoy Mrs. T’s Pierogies!

Southwestern Pierogi Bake | FoodosaurusRex.com

Southwestern Pierogi Bake
– Serves 4 – 

Ingredients: 
1 box Mrs. T’s Pierogies, any variety [I used potato + cheddar]
1 red onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, diced [you can use less/de-seed it if you don’t like spice]
6 oz. (soy) chorizo [I used soy chorizo to make it vegetarian, but you can use the real-deal, too]
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup of chunky salsa
1 cup shredded cheese blend
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and cook the pierogies for 10 minutes
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat, and sauté the onion and peppers for 10 minutes until they begin to soften. 
4. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until combined and fragrant.
5. Turn the heat down to medium, add the chorizo and beans, and cook for another 5 minutes.
6. In a 9×11 baking dish, pour the salsa and layer the cooked pierogies, followed by the sautéed mixture. Top with shredded cheese.
7. Bake an additional 12 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Feel free to check out Mrs. T’s WebsiteFacebook, or Twitter for more information and to see all the different kinds of pierogies they offer!

Tell me…
Are you a pierogi fan? What’s your favorite combination? 

4 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Souper Simple: Kale, Tortellini, & Bean Soup

Two recipe posts in one week – look at me go!

Whenever I’m training for something, you can assume that I’m hungry at all times. Since my next (goal) race is the Asbury Park Half at the end of April, training has been getting more intense as each week passes. I’m averaging weekly mileage that I’ve never seen before (40+ miles), so it’s no surprise my appetite has grown to match. So when it comes to my meals (especially dinner), I try to get the most bang for my buck. I always want to make sure I’m eating a decently balanced meal that is quick and easy to prepare. On weekdays where I have to run anywhere from 6 to 10 miles, time is of the essence. Plus, I want to make sure I’m fueling and refueling properly.

Enter this Kale, Tortellini, and Bean soup! It comes together in a matter of minutes, has barely any prep, and can easily be doubled (or more!) and frozen. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, and even better for lunch!

Tortellini, Kale, & White Bean Soup | FoodosaurusRex.com

Simple Kale, Tortellini, & Bean Soup
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups your favorite tortellini [I used frozen]
3 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup white beans [Cannellini, Great Northern, Navy beans, etc.]
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat the vegetable broth over high heat until boiling.
2. Add in the tortellini, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Add in the chopped kale, and allow it to wilt for 5 minutes. 
4. Add in the white beans and allow them to heat through, an additional 2-3 minutes. Season with salt + pepper to taste. 

4 Comments

Filed under Food Blogging, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan

Creamy Spring Polenta

While it isn’t spring yet, I’ve been dreaming about it since mid-January. I’ve been buying everything I can get my hands on from Oiselle’s new Spring 14 line, staring at cute floral dresses, and giving my snow boots the side-eye. I must admit that I prefer summer and fall to winter and spring, but at this point, I’ll take anything over winter! I’m just thankful it didn’t snow this past Monday morning like they had originally predicted.

So, with spring only being 16 days away (but who’s counting?) I’ve been thinking about all the veggie packed meals I’ll be making as the days get longer and warmer. Since it was still bitterly cold on Monday, though, I opted for a dish that is still hearty, but included some vegetables that I typically associate with warmer weather. I had this as a main dish, but you can easily have it as a side with some protein. As a mashed potato lover, creamy polenta has quickly become a favorite of mine.

Polenta is a relatively new food for me. I think I had it for the first time in 2010, when I bought the pre-made and packaged kind that comes in a log. I’ve used it in that form quite a few times-usually for some type of bake-but never in it’s original, creamy state. There is a little confusion when it comes to what exactly polenta is, since some recipes refer to it as Italian polenta, while others refer to it as grits, or even just cornmeal. Well I’m here to make it simple for you – it’s all the same! You can use any of the three aforementioned ingredients to make your polenta, I promise!

Before you get to the recipe, though, I want to point you to the note at the bottom of the recipe, since it’s helpful to time everything so the ingredients are all ready at the same time. I oftentimes look at the ingredient list when planning on making something, but never the directions. There have been plenty of times I’ve gone out of my way for ingredients, gotten everything together, and then realized the dinner I was planning to make would actually take 4+ hours. I’d like to say that I’ve learned my lesson, but I still make that fateful mistake every so often. So in the interest of time and making it as easy as possible for you, I added this recipe note to make sure this is a quick and easy meal for you to prepare. 

Creamy Spring Polenta | FoodosaurusRex

Creamy Spring Polenta
– Serves 3 –

Ingredients:
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup corn grits/polenta
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium red onion
3 cloves roasted garlic [directions below]
1/2 cup smoked mozzarella
Salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. To roast the garlic: Cut 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch off of the top of the head of garlic, making sure to keep the head intact. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool before handling
3. While the garlic is cooking, dice the zucchini, squash, and red onion and combine in a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper to taste. 
4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and evenly spread the veggie mixture onto the sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. 
5. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta by bringing the 3 cups of vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan. 
6. Once the broth is boiling, slowly whisk in the polenta, and turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. 
7. Add the veggies, roasted garlic, and shredded mozzarella to the polenta, stirring to combine. Serve immediately.

NOTE: To make this time friendly, start with the roasted garlic. After 15 minutes of the 30 minute roasting time has passed, add the vegetables to be roasted. Once the vegetables are in the oven, begin cooking the polenta. That way, everything will be ready at the same time!

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Keeping Warm: Slow Cooker Spicy Beer Chili

Thanks for all the awesome comments and sharing of Monday’s post! I am really glad that it resonated with so many of you since it was something I had been feeling for awhile, but wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to express those feelings. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in those feelings, but at the same time it’s a shame so many of us feel that way. So what better way to follow a post about body image and food relationships than with a recipe?

I actually made this chili last week when the temperatures were tolerable, but now that they’re back below freezing, the timing is perfect. I have to note that I was able to wear shorts on two runs last week and it was pure magic. On Sunday, I was even able to wear a tank top!

See? Tank & shorts! [Proud member of #TeamPurple for the #PickyGames!]

I should provide a little background for why this chili is “spicy” and how you can adjust your spice level based on your own personal preference. As I’ve discussed before, I love spicy foods. Whenever I’m out and a dish can be made mild, medium, or hot, I almost always go with hot. I say almost because there is a Thai restaurant near my parents that makes their hot dishes so spicy I think they’re barely edible. So when I was in the liquor store a few weeks ago picking up some beer, I noticed a lonesome bottle. The title of the beer is what initially drew me in to take a look, and only once I let it process for a second did I realize what it was. The beer was called Ghost Face Killah. At first I thought to myself “oh, that’s a weird name for a beer.” And then a lightbulb went off. This wasn’t just a beer with funny name; it was a beer with chiles. And not just any chili – the ghost pepper chili (along with Serrano, Habanero, Jalapeño, Anaheim, and Fresno). I bought it without hesitation, and after a few fiery sips, knew it would be perfect in a chili. Yes, it’s spicy, but it also has incredible flavor. I realize this beer may  not be available for everyone, so I’ve made some modifications to my own recipe so in case you can’t find the beer, you can still have a spicy beer chili of your own!

Don't let the poor picture quality fool you - it was delicious!

Don’t let the poor picture quality fool you – it was delicious!

Spicy Slow Cooker Beer Chili
– Serves 4-6 – 

Ingredients:
4 (15 0z.) cans of beans, drained and rinsed [you can use any combination here. I used pinto, black, white, and kidney]
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 cups beer [I used the chili beer, but any beer will work]*
1 jalapeño, diced [depending on your heat preference, you can leave in or remove the seeds and flesh]*

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker
2. Set the slow cooker on high and cook for 3 hours, or low and cook for 6-8.
3. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, pasta, or other grains with shredded cheese, avocado, and sour cream.
Note: The spice level will depend on the type of beer you use and the jalapeño. If you can’t find the beer but want it to be spicy, add another jalapeño or two (making it 2-3). If you can find the beer but are uncertain about the spice level, you can leave out the jalapeño, or just do 1 cup of the spicy beer, and 1 cup of regular beer. The possibilities are endless!

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Filed under Food Blogging, Home Cooking, Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan