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Jan 10

Setting the Tone for a New Year + Amazing Kitchen Mistakes

Life is full of failures.

 

I am going to discuss one on Monday, in fact.

Sometimes they are happy accidents!  One of my favorite stir-frys happened because I couldn’t figure out how to use my spiralizer.  This Indian Ginger Tempeh Stir-Fry happened when I wanted zucchini pasta but failed to  spiralize:

 

Or how about last week when I accidentally sprouted a spaghetti squash I’d planned for my meal?  That forced me to come up with this Sweet Potato Chicken Salad Strange But Good (don’t forget tomorrow’s link up!) creation:

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

 

Breaking my jaw playing roller derby was a fail… but without that experience I would have never come up with one of my favorite oatmeal discoveries: Blueberry Pie.  Made smooth enough to slurp thanks to an immersion blender.

Jaw-breaking in action.

 

Or how about when you leave for vacation thinking you’re going to Argentina, but end up in Chile?  That was one FUN fail!

All that said, don’t be too discouraged by fails.  Trust in what will be and happy accidents you shall see.

And now I’ll shut up and let Kat tell you about hers!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Because I blog bi-weekly, this is my first opportunity to say, “Happy New Year!

I had an A-typical New Year’s Eve, which I used to help me set the tone for the year.  I went to a hot yoga class that lasted from 10:30pm-12:15am.  Yep, meditating, thinking about goals, who I am, who I have been, and who I want to be this year.  It was amazing!  I felt centered, and was happy to bring in the New Year thinking about health, community, and grounded-ness. (Editor’s note: Remind me to do this next year.)

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

 

I want to share a couple of my goals, so you all can partially hold me accountable.  First, I want to say, “No,” more often – in work, in family, and in social aspects of my life.  This seems easy for a lot of people, but it give me knots in my stomach just to think about possibly disappointing someone.

This goal is in support of my second goal, to stop stretching myself so thin.  I tend to take on way too much, and some things I do become a little bit less “quality.”  So, in order to enjoy what I do more, and to have more quality, I have to reduce quantity.  These are lofty goals.  I also started a journal for the first time since I was 12, to help keep me working towards my goals and thinking about them often.

 

thequieteryoubecome

 

I later got to celebrate with a holiday party, a West Side Story theme.  I got to get all dolled-up, and I was SO excited to get dressed up and dance the night away.  My feet and legs were definitely sore afterwards!

I’m also back on track with all of my runs and work outs.  I didn’t mention it, but December was rough for me and threw me through a loop.

alldolledup

 

I’ve also been cooking at home like a madwoman!  I had a New Years Day party with mocktails and healthy food to start the New Year catching up with a few friends.

Many didn’t make it due to hangovers and being out way too late, but it was still fun!  The mocktails were delicious, but too sweet, and kept me up all night from sugar!  I made Indian food, pop-corn (Kat-classic), and a number of other fun dishes with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

 

NewYearSpread

 

Eating and cooking more at home, for me, means many unplanned meals, sometimes just throwing whatever I have in my fridge together, and last week, amazing kitchen mistakes!

I was making dinner for a friend this week, and I had left over quinoa and brown rice, extra fresh broccolini, kale, and sweet potatoes, and some random tofu.  So I just got started, and this is what ended up happening:

 

kitchenmistake1

Amazing Kitchen Mistake

 

I sautéed the veggies with fresh ginger and garlic, re-heated the quinoa/brown rice combo (about 75% quinoa, 25% brown rice), and felt like the dish needed something else.  Tofu.  The tofu preparation was the amazing mistake.  I wanted to sort of “fry” it, so I coated it with some brown rice flour mixed with cayenne, salt, and white pepper.  I carefully coated each cube and placed it on a plate for frying.  But I totally forgot cornstarch!  This would have gotten the flour mixture to stick to the tofu and fry properly.  Instead, when I put it in the hot coconut oil, the flour started to stick to the bottom, and it wasn’t going very well.

So, to save the tofu, I took part of a box of Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup and poured some in the pan with the tofu, stirred and scrambled the tofu with the soup and flour mixture, let it simmer, and made THE most delicious scrambled tofu I have ever had.  (Editor’s note: will you plase make me a mistake too?)

 

kitchenmistake2

 

Amazing Tofu Carrot-Ginger Scramble (Mistake)

  • 1 block firm Tofu, 1 in cubes (which are later scrambled)
  • ½ C brown rice flour
  • Salt, Cayenne and White Pepper to taste
  • 2 T Coconut Oil (for frying)
  • ~ ½ cup of Carrot-Ginger Soup (Trader Joe’s or Imagine Brand)

 

kitchenmistake3

 

Follow the directions above and serve with the brown rice/quinoa mixture and sautéed veggies!  This was definitely a healthy meal too!

It feels good to give.  I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t also say that I’m donating blood today.  It’s SO important.  I also tend to be low-iron so I’ve had an iron-packed diet this week.

Note some things you should eat to pump up your iron (Editor’s note: I read this in an Arnola accent):

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Raisins
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin seeds

All of these give you almost as much iron as a big steak, and is less harmful to your body if you ingest too much iron because they contain nonheme iron.  They also give you more per serving than the dark, leafy greens that are often recommended.  If you eat whatever, nothing can compare to the iron-filled foods like liver, clams and mussels.  And don’t forget dark chocolate and cocoa powder!  Check out their nutrition facts for confirmation!

 

Donate

 

Additionally, I have a theory about blood donation for my own health.  I think it promotes cell-regeneration throughout my own body!  Do something good for others, while doing something good for yourself!

***

 I echo Kat’s thoughts on the importance of blood donation.  My dad suffered from cancer for 4.5 years and made it as long as he did largely in part to blood, platlet, and bone marrow doners.  Click here for more info on becoming a marrow donor.  It only takes a cotton swab!

What amazing kitchen mistakes have you had that you want to share?

How do you get re-centered when you have an “off” month?

 

60 comments

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  1. Elle

    I am still enjoying that Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad!

    1. Laura

      I’m so glad to hear it! :)

  2. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    I wish my kitchen mistakes would work out as nicely as the ones listed here!! One hectic morning, I dumped cumin on my oatbran, instead of cinnamon. It *might* have worked, had they been savory oats, but they were sweet, with berries and cinnamon already. Wasn’t my best tasting breakfast! Oops.

    1. Laura

      Ohhhh… you still ate it?! I am impressed.

    2. Kat

      I think Laura experimented with savory flavors in oatmeal, topped with an egg!! THat’s an awesome idea for a kitchen “mistake”!

  3. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Must find a NYE hot yoga class! That is an awesome way to ring in the New Year!

    1. Kat

      It was really really incredible. So hard to describe… just felt really like that was where I was supposed to be! I’m sure you can find one. There were two in Atlanta this year that I know of.

  4. Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count

    I think that sounds pretty great, Laura. All those different flavors together…Yum. Did you really go to Argentina and end up in Chile?! Holy Cow!!

    1. Laura

      I did! We got booted of the flight to Buenos Aires because they were over weight due to cargo. Weird, right?

  5. Miz

    IM SO SO SO DOWN WITH THE NO.
    I NO’ed all over Austin last year and it rocked.

    xo

    1. Kat

      I’m trying! Laura just sent me the coolest thing about ways to say “no”…. :) hopefully it will help me follow though.

  6. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    @Laura: your vacation destination switched while traveling. That would have completely freaked me out. Hence the reason I need to be less structured and to go to Chile….obviously.
    @Kat: great goals (and kitchen mishap): it’s so hard to say no and so easy to stretch yourself too thin, but absolutely worth it in the long run. I try to schedule some “me” time every week even if its only an hour or so. Sometimes it works, which is better than never. And I love the list of iron rich foods. I have a friend with low iron so I’m going to whip her up a batch of roasted pumpkin seeds stat.

    1. Laura

      It was a lesson in adapting… I’m lucky to have been with 2 really great (flexible) friends.

    2. Kat

      Love your comment. My whole life theory is “in the long run,” both running and in life… how to make the most of your time.. and this year is a *quality* focus! Thanks for the feedback and comment!

      I since discovered that mussels really really are packed with iron – 40% in one serving… and my doctor told me that sardines and muscles “work” better and are absorbed more easily by the body than veggie/seed iron!

  7. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)

    I LOVE happy accidents in the kitchen! Since I have to experiment so much in the kitchen, I try to embrace my delicious disasters and not get worked up if things don’t go exactly as planned.

    Let’s just say I’m a work in progress on getting centered when life gets overwhelming. You would think I was a pro by now at this, but every day is a new day with new challenges…I’m learning to deal with them one moment at a time.

    1. Laura

      I think we have to keep learning every day… how boring would it be if we were perfect? (Not that I’m not damn close… bwhahaha! I kid. ;) )

    2. Kat

      Agreed with both of you! I love that I am a work in progress!

  8. Allie

    How cool that you went to a hot yoga class for NYE!!! I bet that was so much fun :D

    Also, I love when cooking fails become victories! That’s the bomb.com!!

    1. Kat

      Haha!!!! So true! You should definitely try the NYE yoga one year, too!

  9. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    I love kitchen mistakes…or happy accidents, which sounds so much better, right? [Unless they aren't so happy...] I bet that this tofu scramble would be incredible with roasted red pepper soup, too! [My personal favorite. :)]

    1. Laura

      That’s what I thought as I read Kat’s post! I love that red pepper.

    2. Kat

      OMG it would be great w/ the roasted red pepper! maybe I will make that “Mistake” tonight! :)

  10. Nadiya

    I never knew you do hot yoga! I just got into it and it’s amazing :)

    Haha you ended up in Chili? That’s interesting ^^

    Liver is amazing for iron, I eat in once in a while (eastern europeans eat liver like crazy). You have to be careful with it because it has a lot of vitamin A. Apparently if you eat polar bear liver it will kill you due to vitamin A overdose 0.0

    1. Laura

      Not ME! Kat does hot yoga. :)

      I ended up in Chile though.

    2. Kat

      Laura doesn’t do hot yoga but she DID do yoga w/ me after a trail run/hike. ;) How did you find out that RANDOM fact about a polar bear liver?! know someone who died? jeeezzzze!! ;) love crazy random facts

  11. Debbie

    I love me a tofu scramble! :-) I also love “happy accidents.” Some of my best recipes start out that way (which is why I have to write them down quickly because otherwise I forget those accidental ingredients).

    I also tend to be low iron, for blood donating purposes anyway, even before I was vegan. I used to get turned down so often I stopped trying. I should start back up again.

    1. Laura

      Haha – I’m the same way about writing them down!

    2. Kat

      You should start to try to donate again. I have to start getting my iron up at every meal daily for about 3-5 days before a donation. But it helps SO much, so it’s SO worth it!

      I don’t usually like tofu scrambles because they are dry… with soup… WINNER!

  12. Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement

    I was making polenta and had the heat up way too high, so the sides and bottom of the polenta burnt and stuck to the pan. We ate the remainder creamy center of the polenta, and left the pan on the stove to cool. After Dinner when I went to clean the dishes, the burnt polenta came off the pan easily in little crispy polenta crackers. Eating burnt polenta off the pan? Really weird, but really delicious. I am thinking of trying it in cast iron pan like a socca bread.

    1. Laura

      Whoa. Polenta cracker-bread… I LOVE IT!

    2. Kat

      OMG I want someone to make that mistake for me!! Sounds FREAKING DELICIOUS

  13. Alex @ therunwithin

    that scramble sounds to die for. and ahhh the dreaded spreading yourself too thin, i do that way too often. keep up with the great goal setting!

    1. Kat

      Thanks Alex!!! Loving your blog too! OMG> Boot camp! I just signed up for ONE month.. 16 classes 5:50am. I’m going to do it in april i think! yikes!

      The scramble was super great and nutritious! :)

  14. RavieNomNoms

    Isn’t yoga the best? I cannot tell you how great Bikram has been for me. Centers me so much and it is amazing. I love your goals. They are fantastic and I agree we all need to slow down sometimes. It is hard, but it really enriches your life.

    1. Kat

      :) Thank you for the thoughtful comment/feedback! Yoga is the best! Going to do another 30 day challenge!

  15. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    I wish I remembered my kitchen mistakes better! So often they turn out amazing but I forget about them the next day. Thankfully, now I have the blog that I can look back through for mistake recipes! :] Loved this post- yet another great one Kat! Keep em coming!

    1. Kat

      Thanks Carol! Your comments brighten my day every time I see them! Remembering is hard.. ugh. I take notes and pray to remember the rest. I’d share more recipes with ya’ll if I could remember what I did! the pictures definitely help me remember.

  16. Olivia Hill

    I love that Kat’s goal is to not spread herself too thin. I can totally relate to all the stress that comes with over committing yourself. I just have to remember to say no! :)

    1. Kat

      :-D Thanks so much. Putting it out there helps me hold myself accountable, so thanks for your support and encouragement!

  17. Lisa

    Oh gosh, I have way too many recipe fails to even remember. Some turn out, some definitely don’t. I definitely need to work on not spreading myself too thin as well. It’s hard to remember in the moment, but it’s something to keep in mind! It’s definitely a learning process!

    1. Kat

      Love the learning process of life. I want a healthy happy life, and it takes practice. No one formula for one person for even a week or a year… adaptation. :)

  18. Jody - Fit at 55

    I always wish I liked to cook when I read these posts but alas, I don’t.. it is just about fuel & simple to me! :) Always love this though.. AND LOVE the guest post! YES to NO!!!!! :)

    1. Laura

      I wish I could just see it as fuel sometimes! :)

    2. Kat

      I always think of it as fuel and what will serve my body, but it’s better when it’s tasty!

  19. Jed Gray (sportsglutton)

    Some of the most beautiful creations that I have come up with are by just throwing together what is laying around in the frig. It presses one to be original and figure out something palatable….though there have been plenty of mistakes too. But that is when you call for pizza. ;-)

    Sorry I’ve been MIA. You’re still my favorite nut down in the ATL (I mean that in a good way) and I would have liked to get down for that “blogging conference.” Fear not though…I’m planning on crashing the ATL sometime this year and you’ll have to hang out with this gluttonous fool. ;-)

    Happy New Year my friend!

    1. Laura

      You make throwing stuff together sound so fancy. I love it. :)

      YES to an ATL “conference.” Please!! happy New Year to you, yoo.

    2. Kat

      :) Calling for pizza is always a good back up plan! Wish I could eat pizza… I resort to simple chinese or Zifty.com

  20. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    Kat, I LOVE the way you rang in the new year. I’m going to have to keep that in mind for next year. I rang in the new year sleeping so that I would wake up feeling refreshed and renewed. Yoga sounds like a good option too!

    1. Kat

      Sleeping sounds good, but that would be so hard for me to do! I like to be alert for the new year, I think (you never know, I change my mind a lot). Yoga was fantastic!!!! Definitely try it when you feel like switching it up! :)

  21. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige

    I think a midnight yoga class on NYE sounds seriously amazing. What a cool way to enter a new year!

    1. Kat

      So cool! :) You should try it!

  22. CJ at Food Stories

    Loved your post :-)

    1. Kat

      :) Thanks. Really love comments. Totally brightens my day!

  23. Kelly@Chow-Daily

    Carrot-ginger soup is one of my favorite flavors and all though I’m not a huge fan of tofu, the semi-fried version in this sounds like it would work. Thanks for suggestions on different ways to get iron in your diet besides leafy greens or broccoli. I also believe in donating blood as my mom works at Children’s Hospital in Boston and has always urged me to give when I could, you never know when you could save someones life.

    1. Laura

      That’s great that you donate! You are so right – you never know how much of a difference you are making.

    2. Kat

      Thanks for the feedback! It is really great to have iron options! :) Hope you donate!

  24. Choc Chip Uru

    Kitchen mistakes definitely are a win – after all the brownies were created when a chef put half the flour into a chocolate cake mix ;)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Laura

      Really?! That is so cool. THAT was an amazing mistake. I’m forever indebted.

    2. Kat

      OMG amazing mistake. I had no idea either!

  25. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Oh yes, gotta love a good “happy accident” in the kitchen! I try not to let kitchen fails get me down…unfortunately, sometimes that means I’ll make a particular pancake recipe oh…like FOUR times before I finally deem it “bloggable”! Though I will say, some of my ugliest pancake fails have been pretty darn delicious! In fact, I just made on the other day…I went to flip it and it crumbled into about 4 pieces but it was so cakey and moist (*shudder*) that it didn’t even need syrup! Now if I could only get the recipe to work so that the damn thing sticks together! Lol

    Love the idea of using the soup in the tofu scramble! I’ll have to try that!

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