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Meals Lately (feat. Sunbasket and CSA Delivery) + Salad Recipe

I have been so horribly behind on posting meals lately, and I’ve gotten a bit of a backlog of things to share. (A new recipe will be at the end of the post!) Of course, starting with my cat.

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For Christmas, my mom got me 2 weeks worth of Sunbasket meals. This particular meal delivery service was appealing because you have a lot of control over which meals you get, and you can do gluten free! That being said, I picked out 2 weeks of meals, supposedly starting next week, and then last week I got an email saying my meals were shipping. What…? I didn’t even get to pick that week’s worth of meals! But I think I still have the other 2 weeks coming? Unclear. That being said, the meals were not exactly something I would have picked out, but worked out pretty well given various dietary constraints.

The first meal we made was by far my favorite. It was vegetable tostadas, filled with roasted butternut squash and seasoned black beans, pickled onion and radish, queso, and a soft boiled egg.

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I chose to have mine as soft tacos vs. tostadas, but my parents’ tortillas didn’t crisp up too much. I also added a touch of spinach. This meal was delicious and cooking was seamless, minus the soft boiled eggs. We followed the directions and time exactly, but the eggs were a little TOO soft when we started to peel them (which was its own nightmare). We ended up microwaving them to firm them up a little bit more. Not pretty, but still delicious!

The next meal we made was chicken tacos. I’m really not a huge fan of cooking raw meat, but this went fairly seamlessly, minus the fact that the marinade blacked a  bit in the pan, causing the house to smell smoky for days (but it tasted good!) These tacos had marinated chicken (tomato paste and spices), roasted red peppers, cabbage, radish, and lime juice, topped with queso. These were good but we agreed they could have used a little salsa. Served with salad on the side! I also left out the super spicy pepper that came with it.

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Our third and final meal for the week was a little bit more of an improvisation. It was supposed to be blackened sole over herbed cauliflower rice, with a citrus pico de gallo. However, my mom has extreme fish phobia, and we’re not allowed to cook fish in the house. I’m actually not a huge fish eater either, although I like it well enough. Instead, we made basically the same dish, but instead of fish, we topped it with a fried egg with smoky seasoning.

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The cauliflower rice was good, as well as the pico (which went better with tortilla chips than an egg…oops).

Not a bad set of meals, given I didn’t pick them out! Overall, I would say it was a fun experience to cook up the meals. I’ve heard the commentary before that Sunbasket doesn’t have as many veggies as one might like, which I sort of agree with. However, it’s super easy to add a side or throw spinach into a taco if you want more! I’m looking forward to next week’s delivery!

Now, otherwise in food.

Breakfast

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Not a ton to share here. I’ve been on a bit of a smoothie kick since getting my new Ninja blender, but this morning I mixed it up and tried Siggi’s 4% blueberry yogurt (I like it—not too sweet!) with chocolate cheerios, sunbutter, and a Bosc pear.

Lunches lately have really just been leftovers from dinners.

Dinner

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa. I love this one; it has the fun addition of kalmata olives! On the side is Brazilian cheese bread. It’s made with cheese and tapioca flour, and I found them frozen at a few different grocery stores.

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Breakfast for dinner, plus the last of our previous week’s CSA, Romesco cauliflower! I’ve seen this alien-like cauliflower at the store a couple of times, and was excited to try it out! We simply roasted it up with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. It tastes a little like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli.

In the scramble is garlic, mushrooms, spinach, green onions, shredded carrots (I love this addition to scrambles) and Irish cheddar. Plus some toast with homemade jam.

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Healthy chicken minestrone soup. I wanted a new soup to try, and we were in the mood for something that didn’t include squash, since it seems like everything we’ve made lately has included it! This minestrone is lacking all the meh parts (beans and pasta), and instead is packed with more exciting veggies (I really like cabbage), and topped with parmesan and pesto. Served with more Brazilian cheese bread balls.

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Etc.

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I’ve been going to coffeeshops to do work this week since I’ve been ready to get going before the library is open. I mixed it up and went to Peet’s and CHECK OUT THE QUALITY OF MILK FOAM ON THAT PUPPY. It’s extremely high quality. Peets>>>Starbucks.

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This may not look like much but GUYS. I saw someone post about this on Instagram. Sweet Megan makes cookie dough free of the top 8 allergens, and since it has no eggs, it can be eaten straight from the jar or baked in the oven. After several stolen spoonfuls, I decided to be civilized and bake a cookie in the oven. YUM. I got small jars of chocolate chip and sugar cookie to try, but there are a ton of flavors.

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We decided to have a little happy hour to open up our growler of Reindeer Sweat. This chocolate cherry oatmeal milk stout is SO good. While drinking it, my dad made me cookies as part of a little friendly wager that I won within my family. The cookies of choice were carrot oatmeal, made with carrots from our CSA box! (The recipe is actually from the CSA box too.)

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They came out really well! They tasted healthy, but in a good way!

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And FINALLY, the recipe!

Almost a year ago I went to Sweetgreen in DC (when I was there for the Cherry Blossom Race) and had a delicious salad with beets, goat cheese, and wild rice. I’ve been meaning to recreate it ever since, and FINALLY I did, motivated by regular and golden beets in our CSA box, as well as romaine lettuce.

Beet and Wild Rice Sweetgreen Copycat Salad

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Salad ingredients:

3 grilled or broiled seasoned chicken breasts, sliced

3 large handfuls of romaine, or 3 bowlfuls

3 large beets

3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 cup seasoned, cooked rice blend (I used a brown rice and quinoa microwave rice pouch that’s seasoned with garlic. You could also use wild rice.)

Dressing (from Cooking Light):

3 T balsamic vinegar

2 T olive oil

1 T minced shallots

1 T chopped fresh parsley

1 t Dijon mustard

1/8 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 garlic clove

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beets, and then chop into bite sized pieces. Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and roast for 35 minutes or until tender.

In a small bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients.

When the beets are done, toss all ingredients in a large bowl.

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Enjoy!

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(Served with extra beets on the side to dip in ketchup!)

 

 

Blogmas Day 20: Peppermint Bark Bread

Happy Blogmas! I’m hitting you with another recipe today! Peppermint bark bread. This was another idea dreamed up while sweating through November in St. Louis  and wishing for fall to finally hit (it’s 15 degrees in St. Louis right now though so I guess the cold weather actually hit.)

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Before I get to the recipe, I have to share my ridiculous cat’s ridiculous antics.

I was working on my laptop in my room and I heard a noise. I looked over and my cat with messing with my Blogmas Closet Clean out, clothes to get rid of bag.

After a few minutes, the noise stopped. I got up to see what he was up to, and just laughed.

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Who, me?

*please note that it’s not a good idea to let cats play with plastic bags because of the risk they get caught and suffocate*

As I went to get him out, I noticed a scarf was lying next to the bag…what? It turned out that instead of getting in the opening of the bag like a normal cat, he dug a hole in the bottom and burrowed through the clothes to get to where he was. Cats.

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But now the recipe. It’s loosely based off of Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s triple lemon blueberry muffins. This bread has a mint base and is studded with crushed peppermint bark, and topped with candy cane.

Peppermint Bark Bread

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Ingredients:

6 oz vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup oil (I used avocado)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 tsp peppermint extract

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup crushed peppermint bark (roughly chocolate chip sized)

2 candy canes, crushed

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl (except for the candy canes and bark), and then stir in peppermint bark.
  4. Stir together wet and dry ingredients, and put into a lined loaf pan.

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5. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top.

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6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. If the top begins to brown, cover with foil halfway through baking.

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Enjoy!

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Protip: this bread is also delicious with ice cream. I had it crumbled over vanilla Halo Top with a drizzle of fudge sauce.

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Blogmas Day 13: The Best Bread Pudding Ever

Christmas is in less than 2 weeks. How the heck did that happen??

I have to say, I haven’t felt nearly as festive as of late (well, maybe just after spending all day in the library with Microbiology), but I’m still trying to pack in the holiday activities. And pack in the microbiology. It’s all balance, right?

Saturday I dragged my parents to the mall to do some Christmas shopping/hit all the free chocolate samples.

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See’s Scotchamallow, William and Sonoma peppermint park (the best peppermint bark out there), cider, and hot chocolate, and Harry and David dark chocolate truffle.

Still working on the festive lipstick though…it’s…different.

After the mall my family and I went out to see a sort of Christmas movie (Office Christmas Party), and grabbed paninis and salad afterwards.

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Sunday morning began with a run by the bay. And a walk for the crazy pup. Turns out, she doesn’t love it when I run away from her while she is walking. I didn’t have lofty pace goals when I set out, but 8:35 felt very comfortable. I picked it up for the last mile. Getting faster, and I’ll take it!

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We went to Ike’s, a Northern California famous sandwich spot, afterwards to pick up sandwiches. I split a turkey and avocado on GF bread with my mom. Turns out they use Mariposa bread (the place in the Ferry building) which is insanely good. I think I need to go more often!

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But on to the recipe. I actually didn’t want to post back to back Blogmas recipes, but it needs to be this way to work out with other Blogmas scheduling and logistics.

This recipe is an old family recipe. I don’t have a ton of family recipes, but this one more than makes up for that. My Grandpa used to own a restaurant, and he served this family bread pudding there.

My dad and I are both bread pudding snobs now, and turn our noses up at the dry stuff you see at most places. This is REAL bread pudding. Hot, custardy, and drenched in rum sauce. I suppose it would be pretty healthy if you made it with whole wheat bread and skipped the rum sauce, but what’s the point? DO NOT skip the rum sauce.

The Best Bread Pudding Ever 

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Serves 6

Bread Pudding Ingredients

2c 1/2″ day old bread cubes (8 slices with crust)

2c milk

3T butter

1/4c sugar

1/2t cinnamon

2 eggs, lightly beaten

dash of salt

1/2t vanilla

Rum Sauce Ingredients

1c light brown sugar

1T cornstarch

1/4t salt

1c boiling water

2T cold butter

1t vanilla

4T rum

Bread Pudding Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 350.

2. Place cubed bread in greased baking dish.

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3. Scald milk, butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

4. Beat eggs, add a dash of salt, in a medium bowl.

5. Stir in warm milk and vanilla slowly into the eggs so that the eggs won’t curdle.

6. When blended, pour over cubed bread.

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7. Place baking dish in pan containing warm water.

8. Bake at 350, about 1 hours, or until knife comes out almost clean.

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Rum Sauce Instructions

  1. Comine brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt into a saucepan and stir well.
  2. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the mixture, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Add cold butter, vanilla, and rum. If you don’t want to burn off any of the rum—you’re done! However, I highly suggest cooking the mixture another few minutes, until some of the alcohol burns off.

Top a serving of bread pudding with rum sauce, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

Blogmas Day 12: Avocado Smash

Over the summer a year ago, I visited one of my best friends in New York. She took me to Bluestone Lane, home of one of the best avocado smashes in the city. And thus, a love was born.

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What is an avocado smash? Basically hopped-up avocado toast. It has way more avocado than just a simple toast, and the avocado is “smashed” such that it maintains a good deal of chunkiness. I recruited the same friend to come help me out with this one.

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We got super lucky in that the avocados we found happened to be the most beautiful avocados. Ever.

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Avocado Smash

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*Serves 4*

Ingredients:

2 avocados

4 pieces of toast

4 poached eggs

feta cheese

tahini

olive oil

cherry tomatoes

cumin

salt

pepper

*please look elsewhere for egg poaching instructions—this is not my forte!

Start by lightly mashing the avocados together with a dash of cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.

Put about 1/2 of an avocado on each piece of toast.

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Lightly drizzle tahini on top.

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Place a coupled of halved cherry tomatoes on top. Then, drizzle with olive oil, and a little more salt and pepper.

Carefully, place the poached egg on top (it likes to slide off!). Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper, and crumble some feta on top.

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Enjoy!

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Have you ever had an avocado smash?

Blogmas Day 3: Pumpkin Gingerbread

Welcome back to Blogmas! I hope you’re enjoying reading these posts, because I’m certainly having a blast making them. It forces creativity and a little more special effort to be put into each post, and having new content helps keep things fresh around here. As I type this up today, I’m cuddling under a blanket with my trusty sidekick.

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I brought him here, oh, 4-5 hours ago, to help me read microbiology and he has not moved. During that time, I’ve done reading, eaten lunch, made this recipe, and walked the dog. He’s still snoozing. No shame.

Today’s recipe is another idea that popped into my head while walking around the zoo and dreaming of the holidays. My FAVORITE healthy pumpkin bread recipe ever doesn’t actually call for any spices, so I usually add a ton of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to make pumpkin bread. But I thought, huh, why not make this into gingerbread? And just add gingerbread spices? I don’t have the original source of the recipe since it’s a print out from many years ago, but I adapted it to make delicious pumpkin gingerbread.

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This loaf has a warm flavor that just feels like the holidays. Even though we have yet to get a tree or put up decorations, when that sweet, molasses-ginger scent fills the house, I know it’s December!

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This recipe also packs a bit of a nutritional punch: it’s filled with Vitamin A from pumpkin, lots of important minerals from molasses (iron, calcium, magnesium, and more), and it isn’t a sugar bomb.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

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Ingredients:

2 1/4 c flour (I used GF but this recipe works well with half whole wheat and half white)

1/2 T baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

1 large egg

1 egg white

1 can of pumpkin (about 1.5 c)

1/4 c oil (I used avocado but you could use any type of vegetable oil)

1/2 c molasses

1/4 c packed brown sugar

1 t vanilla

2 t ginger

1/4 t nutmeg

1/8 t cloves

1 t cinnamon

powder sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients besides the sugar together in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in wet ingredients until well blended.
  4. Pour batter into a tinfoil-lined loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until done.
  6. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!

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*Extra points if you have a holiday-themed plate.