Monday, June 3, 2013

Okra with tomatoes and rice

After way too long of not cooking, not packing lunches, and generally not caring at all, I'm finally back at it! Mostly because I'm starting to get sick of the lunch options around here (Little Italy is not as impressive as you'd expect it to be) but also because I've pretty much maxed out my credit card but oops so what who cares life goes on.

This okra dish is a Lebanese/Arab classic, something my mom makes all the time. This particular dish is usually made with beef but I've been trying to go meatless at least 3 times a week, so I left it out this time around. I also used parsley instead of cilantro because my parsley plant may or may not die soon and I feel like I need to give it some use before it goes. I also added some chili paste to mine, because I like things a little spicier - but that's optional (but do it!!)

Packed for lunch with grapefruit, apples, and pineapple
What you'll need:
  • Okra (6 or 7)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp allspice (if you don't have any, you can use this mix as an alternative)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup rice
Sautée the onion, garlic and parsley in a little bit of olive oil in a small pot. Throw in the okra, add a little more olive oil and fry everything up. Throw in the tomatoes and the allspice and salt and pepper and let everything simmer for around 15 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water, 2 bay leaves, and cover the pot. Let it simmer some more until the okra is soft. Serve with rice. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kale & Sesame Salad and a protein packed lunch

It's definitely been a while since my last post and I can't even begin to write about all the things that have happened. Lots of life changes in a very small time period and I've been incredibly busy adjusting/dealing with everything. One of those changes included moving into a new apartment! I've been rushing around trying to get everything set up, painted, and actually furnished. I've been here for a week already and I've only JUST decided on a couch that won't arrive until Thursday. And I accidentally bought the wrong sized bed frame (but the bed is a whole other story).

Needless to say, all this has made it a little hard to pack lunches but I'm slowly getting settled in and I'm back on track. The first thing I did before moving in was shop for all the spices, sauces and marinades I could ever possibly need so I think it's pretty clear that the only thing I care about is the kitchen. It's true, I chose bay leaves over a couch and I think that's okay.

This kale and sesame salad is from a little while ago but it was so good and easy that I had to share, and it can easily be taken to work as a cold lunch the next day. My sister and I even made our own spring rolls filled with the ingredients below and some shrimp and vermicelli noodles (but I'm too lazy to type out a recipe for those).

What you'll need:
  • Kale
  • Sesame seeds
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Sesame oil
Shred the carrots and the red cabbage, chop up the kale, and toss with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!

I didn't have any leftover for work the next day, but I did my own take on a Starbucks Protein Bento meal and I think I won. 

  • Kale, smoked salmon, olives and cucumbers
  • Mixed nuts and dried fruit (hazelnuts, almonds, raisins, goji berries)
  • Hardboiled egg and some cheese curds
  • Apple slices and a breakfast bun

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pineapple Tomato Salsa with Trout + lunch idea

Idk why but this is where
my thoughts went
The other night I really wanted some tortilla chips but there was no salsa anywhere to be found. Anyone who is anyone knows that tortilla chips are just not eaten without salsa and cheese only can lead to digestive disasters (TMI?). Just to give everyone a look into my life, what I did find in the fridge was six bottles of ketchup. SIX BOTTLES. With varying amounts of ketchup in them. And not a single jar of salsa. Since I really needed something to occupy me while watching the cheesiest/worst of ABC Family dramas (read: Switched at Birth and The Lying Games - don't judge), I decided to make my own.  And no, I didn't use any ketchup for it but I did include some pineapple and damn it was good.

I ended up remaking this salsa two days two days in a row, which is pretty normal when I get obsessed with a food. I ended up using it as a dip, mixing it with my rice at lunch the next day, and pouring it over fish and pasta for dinner the next day. It's easy, versatile and cheap so it's a win win win all around especially if you like things hot. 

What you'll need:
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 an onion, medium
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup parsley (or just as much as you'd like)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 lemon (or just use some lemon juice)
  • Chili paste/powder or actual chili peppers (I use an extra hot mix that my dad made out of chilis from our garden. It's actually deadly.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Paprika, garlic powder (optional, you just need a little)
  • Pineapple chunks (optional)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

resolutions, freezing cold, and not so healthy eating

Reverse resolutions. That's what my January looked like this year. You know how people talk about January Joiners (and how incredibly annoying they are, because they are)? I'm the opposite of that. I went to the gym religiously before January but the minute it hit 2013 I was like nope, not happening, dropping off for good. Along with cutting the gym out of my life, I also stuck to a pretty healthy diet of chicken wings, poutine, grilled cheese, lasagna, sweet potato fries (forever), and some very very calorific drinks. But so what, who cares and it's not even my fault, it's the cold. I mean, who wants to eat lettuce leaves when it's -25C out? Exactly.

But now that my pants won't button up again, it's time to get back to balanced eating (ie: poutine once a month vs once a week) and a little bit more of a focus on my fitness because let's be real: I JUST WANT MY MUSCLES BACK.
I worked harder on these than it looks!
One thing that I have kept up with (other than never updating this blog) is packing my lunches! Since I've been pretty busy, I've tried to keep my lunch packing down to less than half an hour and I think I've come up with some pretty good things.

Spinach & pistachio salad, rolled salmon and goat cheese, and fruit
Don't judge the editing! I went overboard with Camera+ and can't take it back anymore.
  • Salad: spinach, arugula, toasted pistachios (easy to toast, just place them in a pan with some raisins and a tiny bit of olive oil), olives, pomegranate balsamic, olive oil, and lemon juice for dressing
  • Hardboiled egg, grilled nabolsi cheese, and some foccaccia crackers
  • Fruit: pomegranate and blueberries, apple slices
  • Half a croissant, smoked salmon rolled with fresh basil, goat cheese, and some pretzel sticks
Overnight oats, salad with hardboiled eggs, and fruit
  • Overnight oats: Oats, greek yogurt, a little bit of milk, brown sugar, honey, almonds, goji berries
  • Fruit: cactus pear and bananas
  • Red pepper slices, 2 hard boiled eggs, and a salad: tomato, avocado, onions, raisins, olives, slivered almonds with lemon juice and olive oil for dressing
Okra, chickpeas, and avocado
  • Okra stirfried with garlic, onion, and tomatoes
  • Chickpeas with cumin, salt, and lemon
  • Avocado, cucumber, cheese, and olives
Stuffed grape leaves and warm chickpea salad
  • Stuffed grape leaves (will need to make a post about these!)
  • Warm chickpea salad: chickpeas, tomato, garlic, onion, green peppers with lots of garlic and ginger
  • Cherries, cucumber, and some blueberries with mixed nuts and raisins

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Parsnip, Leek and Potato Soup

One of my coworkers is legitimately the queen of soups. She has a new amazing creation almost every day, most from vegetables she picked from her own garden. This inspired me to start experimenting with different vegetable mixes, which quickly lead to disasters like the turnip and chickpea situation (never again will I touch another turnip). Now I've learned to not make so much soup that I could feed the Duggars and to use ingredients that I'm slightly more comfortable with.

This one turned out really tasty and it didn't require much more than just the vegetables. I asked my coworker what spices she recommended using with a soup like this and she mentioned that the leeks have a special enough flavour that you don't need much more than salt and pepper - she was right!

This one won't take you more than 40 minutes from start to finish and makes enough to feed 2-3 people.

  • 1 large parsnip
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 1 small onion
  • Butter
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stock

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