Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

Ultimate hangover [+ easy peasy caprese]

Hi friends! I hope you had a lovely weekend, full of relaxation time or crazy time. Mine was a strange combo of both.

My “ultimate hangover” had two parts — food and booze. Let’s just say I was not so good to my body this weekend…

Last week was one of the most stressful weeks  in recent memory. I was waiting to hear about the fate of my current job and whether it would be continued, and if that wasn’t in the cards, whether another position I had interviewed for would give me an offer. My plans for a date were also rescheduled twice then canceled, which not only bummed me out, but brought out some serious insecurities that I struggle with whenever I’m dating someone. I’ve been lied to too many times (in my opinion, once is too many), so I was feeling very vulnerable.

I wouldn’t call myself an emotional eater. When something bad happens, my first urge is to swig a glass of wine, not eat a piece of cake. (Hmm — does this make me an emotional boozer? Haha). Luckily I’ve leaned that a trip to the gym is usually a good substitute that will usually, at least temporarily, chill me out. I am, however, much more inclined to go totally lax on my eating habits when I’m stressed. I tend to tell myself that I don’t care, or that at this point that bowl of pasta bathed in cheese is necessary. Or I’ll go out to eat instead of making something healthy at home.

This was one of those weekends.

Thankfully (and I am thrilled to announce) that I got a call Friday morning with an offer for a new job! Unfortunately, I had stressed myself to the breaking point by Friday, and was in bed with a seriously congested head and a fever when I got the call, but it made my day nonetheless. While I was thrilled (and officially called back to accept the offer a few hours later), my stress levels were still through the roof.

I can say with near complete certainty now that I rarely get sick unless a) I pick something up from riding the bus every day, or b) I am completely stressed out, which is usually coupled with little sleep and not enough fruits, vegetables and other healthy stuff. Alcohol is sometimes thrown into the mix as well. This weekend, my main sources of “nourishment” comprised of mac and cheese, shrimp and cheese grits, buttermilk fried chicken, a steak sandwich and a giant bowl of pasta. There were no vegetables to be seen. But there was lots of beer. LOTS of beer.

Thankfully, these weren’t all in entree size and were instead enjoyed in tastes and sharing sizes, but needless to say, I still felt like…well, shit. I also dealt with two serious hangovers.

Are any of you emotional or stress eaters? How do you get yourself back on track?

After sleeping in to catch up some desperately needed Z’s, I finally got myself over to the gym. Since my cold is still lingering around and preventing any use of my nose, I kept it light to 20 min on the recumbent bike (set on random hills at level 10) and 20 minutes on incline intervals on the treadmill (speed 3.3-3.5 with inclines from 1.0 to 11.0). I tried to complete one of my WH workouts, but after one superset, I realized that there was no way I could do these without doing them half-assed, and that just seemed pointless to me, so I plopped down on the mat and stretched out instead.

And then…Trader Joe’s happened.

While Chicago has gloriously acquired a new Trader Joe’s pretty close to my house (and on my way home from work) on Diversey, it hasn’t been completed yet, so I have to rent a Zipcar if I want to buy more than a backpack’s worth of food and take two buses to get there.

Yesterday was a Zipcar day, and boy did I stock up.

How can you not get completely excited and overwhelmed at TJ’s? They have a zillion new things every time I go, and they have my favorite foodie finds at ridiculously low prices — things like goat cheese (in spreadable, sliced, medallion and every other form you can think of), smoked salmon, frozen shrimp, endive, pre-cut and washed leeks and more. Their produce isn’t always the best but beyond that, TJ’s is essentially my dream come true.

My bill (take a deep breath) was $170. I was almost ashamed of myself, but after a particularly veggie-deprived weekend, I felt good looking down at the four-bag bounty in front of me, full of fresh lemons, avocados, fresh basil, salad fixins, peppers, salt-free spices, white bean chili and even some frozen (!!) brussels sprouts. I also had some goat cheese in there :)

Last night, I was craving something light and fresh since Chicago experienced a freak evening of seventy six degree weather!!! It was damn near balmy outside, so while I cooked some of my mustard maple chicken with the porch door open, I threw together an incredible caprese salad. Into the mix went:

  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes (that needed to be used ASAP)
  • a crap ton of fresh basil, torn + chiffonaded (new word?)
  • good olive oil, as much or as little as you like
  • a good sprinkle of sea salt
  • red wine vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 asparagus spears sliced into 1 inch pieces, sauteed in cooking spray and blanched in cold water immediately after
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped
  • as much fresh mozzarella as you like

Mix everything together, add more olive oil if you like and DIVE IN. You can play around with the ingredients and portions in this recipe as much as you’d like, because I imagine it would be delicious in nearly any combination (for example, some chilled grilled zucchini or some cukes), but any way you spin it, it’s unbelievably easy, fresh and light. YUM!

Pictures of dinner to come later tonight!

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April 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm 4 comments

Avo-goat-o + dabbling in veganism

I made the beeeesttttt sandwich for work today. Lately I have been craving creamy, cheesy comfort food like nobody’s business (although watching Man vs. Food last night probably didn’t help), so I wanted something particularly tantalizing for lunch today, not to mention easy.

Solution: found.

image

I took a Morningstar Farms chick’n pattie that I had hidden at the back of the freezer, two slices of whole wheat bread, half of a PERFECT avocado and some goat cheese. This bad boy made me weak in the knees.

Really though, is there nothing better than cutting into a perfectly ripe avocado? It rarely happens, so I always do a little dance when I get one. <—nerd

I’ve had the goat cheese/avocado combo many times in salads, but never together on a sandwich and all I say say is HOLY COW. Or rather, holy goat. <———bigger nerd

When I was in college and vulnerable to just about any “alternative” idea, I decided to go vegan for awhile. Like many women, I read “Skinny Bitch” thinking it was a diet book and, of course, was horrified to read what it was really about. That stuff is a big shock if you’ve never read about it before, and I had never really been exposed to veganism.

Disgusted, I immediately cut out all animal products in a dramatic cleansing of my cupboards, and found myself with next to nothing to eat immediately after. I did what many “starter vegans” do, buying meat substitutes of every food item you can imagine, as well as some vegan junk food. I tried soy milk for the first time (and hated it, but eventually grew to love it), switched to agave from honey — the whole 9 yards.

Long story short, I slowly began lapsing on my good choices because I found that this lifestyle was simply not practical for me. I am by no means saying that a vegan diet is bad (I think it’s awesome) or that is is impractical in general, but I did not feel my best when doing it and, especially being in college, had a very hard time keeping it up while maintaining the lifestyle that I wanted. (Hello, I lived in Wisconsin — beer and brats, anyone?)

BUT, going vegan for awhile had some very positive impacts on my life that I still keep up with today. After cutting out cow dairy for several months, I found that I had a really hard time digesting it when I tried it again. I now know that I (along with a huge portion of the population) am lactose intolerant, and while I can handle small amounts of yogurt (Greek mainly) and cheese (not ideal but tastes WAY too good to avoid), I absolutely cannot handle milk or ice cream. It makes me sick sick sick and very…er…unpleasant to be around. Heh. I now drink either soy milk or almond milk and don’t even miss milk! I still use half & half in my coffee, but use only a splash and almost always buy organic.

Being temporarily vegan also introduced me to an entirely new world of vegetables. Before that, I would maybe eat broccoli or salads once in awhile, and would occasionally get some vegetable soup. But having quickly realized that you can’t subsist on tofurkey slices and bread all day, I began trying vegetables that I either had never considered or hadn’t even heard of previously. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, jicama, you name it — to this day, I will eat just about any vegetable. Peas (regular, not snap) are my one exception, but I’ll still eat them sometimes anyway.

It was also a great way to learn  how to introduce meatless meals into my diet, and I began to become more and more aware of how much better my body feels when I eat vegetable-heavy, low-dairy and nutritious meals.

Have you ever dabbled in veganism?

March 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm 2 comments

Fancy Schmancy

Oh yeah. Check THIS out…

I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady.

strrretch

hi, mama

Okay, maybe just a little bit.

Camera is way neato. Still trying to learn how to use it though.

Here’s the eggplant parm I made the other night!

cheesy

It was SO GOOD. I used this recipe. The only difference was that I cut the recipe in half and didn’t use the crazy huge amount of tomato sauce they called for. I also had some sauteed brussels sprouts on the side.

With lots of garlic gold sprinkled on top, of course! I will absolutely be making this again soon.

Sorry the pictures are still so amateurish…still learning!

Had a great weekend full of fun…including more tasty food and the ballet! Details to come, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

February 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm 1 comment

Why you need an alarm clock that wakes you up

WAKE UP!

source

This morning was a rough one. I completely slept in, and the worst part? I didn’t even hear my alarm clock! What is going on with me…?

To be (somewhat) fair, I was quite busy last night and crossed a lot off on my productivity to-do list. And while bed by 1 is late, it’s not too unusual, and certainly not grounds for waking up late for work. Had to take a cab instead of my usual bus…and that’s $15 down the drain. Gulp. Lesson learned…I hope.

Tina at Carrot’s ‘n’ Cake had another great post today in her Grocery Shopping: 101 series. It’s on unit price — be sure to check it out!

I finally got my pictures together and ready to go, so look for a post tonight with some fun pictures of meals the last few days. Lunch today was just as I had predicted — delicious! I had the rest of my leftover eggplant and celery stew, a side of brown basmati that I whipped up last night in my rice cooker, and a side of cut-up veggies to munch on. I am QUITE full — all with no meat! I love meatless meals :)

I forgot to mention yesterday that I made one more modification to my stew recipe — I added a pinch each of cumin and chili pepper! It made the whole dish taste a bit more Indian, but since I only used a little, the cumin wasn’t overpowering as it can be sometimes. Added just enough depth and flavor to an already fantastic dish, and the chili pepper kept me interested with each bite.

Sadly, I ate alone at my desk today because my lunch companion/work buddy is out of the office for some not-so-fun doctor appointments. I’m missing her terribly! Work isn’t the same without ya, Kara! Sending good wishes your way today.

I have a busy afternoon at work ahead, and then I’m meeting some friends afterward for tacos in Pilsen. Then we’ll be heading to a reading to see one of my favorite bloggers of all time, Sam from Bitches Gotta Eat. Can’t wait!

January 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment


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