Winter Blues

This New York gal has got the blues. It’s fair enough to say that I think we’ve gotten our fair share of snow this winter. And with great snow, comes great shoveling…

Now, to stay on the bright side, I have to say I don’t mind shoveling, since it’s productive (yes, I need to get my car out of it’s snowy tomb) and it’s quite the workout! So we’ve had about 7 snowstorms so far (and one complete with thunder!) and we’re in the midst of an ice storm.

Check out my car, it looks sort of like an orca whale’s eye, if you look at it the right way… No? Just me?

Now, with the 18+ inches of snow we got last week, and the ice storm we’re waiting out right now, I have a hard time motivating myself to leave the comforts of my warmer-than-outside home. This hasn’t boded well for my food intake, or my fitness. So, I’ve taken to doing simple things to make better use of what’s going on outside the house and inside my body!

This is a unique opportunity for me to get extra creative with what I cook. I could whip up a batch of chile with my eyes closed under any normal circumstances, but with no onions left, and not many other supplies, I’ve had to dig into the depths of the pantry and use what may has been neglected.

Dried beans have been my savior and I’ve eaten chickpeas more ways than I can count. Luckily I find if I add enough spices, you can make anything taste gourmet. Chickpeas with chile powder, cumin, garlic, onion powder, curry powder and a can of chopped tomatoes made an excellent last minute meal.

It’s also made me realize just how much food goes to waste, even in my household where we’re extra conscience about how much we buy. There have been some eggplants sitting in the crisper (which is by far the worst place to keep food in my opinion, how easy is it to forget that it’s there?!?) so those also went into making an impromptu indian dish (see the spices above, substitute eggplant for chickpeas). Bam! Another easy meal, without even having to leave the house! Other than to de-ice the driveway for the 3rd time…

As far as indoor fitness goes, I’ve been lucky enough to have held onto an Amazon.com gift card for quite some time, and purchased myself an Xbox with Kinect!

After visiting my college roommate in upstate New York and experiencing playing around with this, I was convinced that I needed one. It gets me moving and it’s interactive, which is something I definitely need. I’m not good at doing workout videos, and I’m a little hesitant to join a class, but for some reason if it’s a game, I’m all for it!

So those are just my wintertime hibernation solutions that I’ve been using to stay well so far this winter. And even though the groundhog may not have seen his shadow and Spring is on it’s way, I have a feeling we’ve still got some more shoveling ahead of us…

 

Marissa

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Stir Fryday

Happy Friday, everyone! Is anyone else sick of the snow? Another day shoveling, slipping and sliding outside, plus work and dragging myself to the gym left me craving a massive meal. I had a craving for stir fry with a spicy sauce, and luckily had all the ingredients.

Marissa introduced me to Daily Garnish and told me to check out the post on peanut flour. If you haven’t already, read Emily’s post on peanut flours. I too am a nut butter lover and I think that this is a great alternative. Peanut flour has significantly less fat and calories per serving than peanut butter, while still containing a lot of protein.  Mike was nice enough to pick some up for me when he ventured out to Trader Joe’s the other day, and I must say, I am a big fan. I don’t count calories on a regular basis, but I am conscious of what and how much I put in my body. My running has decreased slightly due to my crazy schedule and because of the mass amounts of icy grossness outside. Using peanut flour allows me to get the satisfying taste of peanut butter with the benefits of protein, without the high calories. Win!

 

To make the sauce, measure out 2 tablespoons of peanut flour (or use 2 T of peanut butter). To hydrate the peanut flour, I added a few sprinkles of salt and 2 T of water

Ta-da! To the peanut butter, add 1 1/2 T soy sauce, 1 T warm water, a few drops of sriracha, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 T rice vinegar

 

oh! And 1 teaspoon maple syrup

 

Use the good stuff- it really makes a difference

 

Stir all the ingredients until combined.

I was worried that the sauce might not turn out as well as it might with peanut butter, but this out perfectly!

 

For the main meal, I chose the lazy microwave route. First I made some brown rice (1 part brown rice:3 parts water, microwave for 30 minutes), then chopped up kale, carrots, brussel sprouts, and peppers. For protein, I threw on a little tofu and a handful of edamame. Into the microwave for 6 minutes, and we’re good to go


 

Top with scallions if you like, and drizzle the peanut sauce on top.

 

This was very filling, fast, and delicious.

 

Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 T peanut flour or peanut butter

1 1/2 T soy sauce

1 T warm water

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 t garlic powder

1 T rice vinegar

1 t maple syrup

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or sriracha

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated. Drizzle over your favorite stir fry, chicken, or anything else you want to make more delicious!

 

Have you revamped any of your favorite recipes lately? We’d love to hear your new recipes!

 

–Ariel

Want to vs. Have to

Every weekend is a slight battle of the want to versus have to. I WANT to go for a run and spend all my time outside soaking in the beautiful autumn weather. I HAVE to write a paper that is extremely time consuming and requires way too much research. I WANT to buy new shoes for fall. Like these. And these. Oh, and these. I HAVE to conserve my funds so that when I’m living in a cardboard box after graduation, I can at least buy some food. And maybe some fro yo. You know, the essentials.

I WANT to have something tasty and filling for breakfast. I HAVE to eat something good for me so that I can function for the rest of the day. Luckily, the oatmeal bowl I’ve been making as of late combines the want to and the have to. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve made the switch to having oatmeal in the morning. During the spring and summer, I usually have yogurt with protein powder mixed in and some fresh berries, but dropping temperatures and increased winds means something warming.

I kind of made this up the other day when I wanted to incorporate fresh apples into the oatmeal. First take your favorite kind of apple. Mine is braeburn or gala, but this is a red delicious. Chop it into medium sized pieces, then throw it in a microwave safe bowl.

Sprinkle quick oats and cinnamon (optional, but recommended) on top. I believe I used 5 tablespoons of oatmeal and a few shakes of cinnamon. Pour 2/3 of a cup of water over the whole thing and pop in the microwave for 3 minutes.

Take it out, stir, and put back in for 2 minutes. Once done, I like to sprinkle more cinnamon on top and drizzle some pure maple syrup over the top. Yeah, the pure stuff. None of that imitation, sugar-free stuff. Go for the pure thing, you’ll thank me. Like most of my recipes, this is adaptable! I imagine this is great with slivered almonds or some sort of nut butter mixed in. Pumpkin butter and dried cranberries?! The possibilities are endless. Just like my damn research paper.

What are your favorite autumnal comfort foods? Do you have a daunting research paper to do?

E-mail us at apositiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com!

–Ariel

Operation Veggie Monster

There are some people in this world that can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and not gain an ounce. I am dating one of those people. While I may be tempted to make Mike deep fried Oreos and a Cherpumple, I want his interior to look just as healthy as his exterior does. While he’s a relatively healthy guy, his schedule is just as hectic as mine is. He forgets to eat a lot or just doesn’t have time- the other day I asked him what he had for lunch and he replied “fries and corn.” Headdesk. Therefore I have made it my mission to make sure he always has snacks and water, and a hearty dinner full of veggies!

I mentioned before that I used to not be very microwave savvy, but I’m going to be honest- the microwave has been a staple in meal prep as of late. Because I work part-time at the university I’m currently attending, they provide me with a lovely apartment. However, I do not have a real kitchen. I could either have a pseudo kitchen or a meal stipend, and I chose the stipend. There is a kitchen in my building and I would rather have free money to use at the hospital cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee or some greek yogurt between classes. I have a microwave, toaster oven (thanks to Mike’s sister), a blender, and a coffee maker. Oh and a full fridge. Le duh. I used to be opposed to microwaves and while I don’t think I would want one in my future big-girl house, I think they’re super for quick meals.

The toaster oven has been great for throwing together roasted vegetables. Autumn makes me think of roasted root veggies, so I’ve been making parsnips, carrots, and sweet potatoes pretty frequently.

Roasted Roots

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 2 small sweet potatoes
  • cooking spray
  • chili powder (to taste)
  • cumin (to taste)
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Coat baking tray in cooking spray and preheat oven to 425°. Chop root vegetables in rounds or half-rounds, then toss with spices (I like a fair amount of spices, about 2 tsps of each). Place on baking tray and bake for 30-45 minutes. Enjoy! I like mine with sriracha and/or spicy brown mustard.

Onto the main course! As I mentioned, the microwave is your friend. I’ve made everything from rice to chicken (for Mike) in the microwave, and 99.8% of it has turned out fantastically. I figured if I can make rice in the microwave, why not pasta?

First, place the amount of pasta that you want in a bowl or container, and then add enough water to completely cover the noodles. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook in 3, 3 minute intervals. After each 3 minute interval, give the noodles a good stir. When the 9 minutes are up, drain the pasta and add whatever you like. 

I’m a big fan of using whatever you have in the fridge, so I added 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes, some hot sauce…

roasted red peppers (that Marissa made!!!)

Oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and pepper

and lastly, some fresh mozzarella, about 1.5 ounces (again, from Marissa! Because she’s awesome)

Throw it back in your handy dandy wave of micros for 2 minutes

Viola! Doesn’t that look good? And it was so simple! Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back.

pescatarian/health nut tested, boyfriend approved 🙂

(he even ate and loved the root vegetables! Win!)

What are some of your go-to meals during the week?

–Ariel