I Love Lucie, Basel Episode

It may seem strange to travel to another country and stay with someone you don’t know.

 

I didn’t hesitate.

Lucie was so kind to open up her home to me for the first leg of my travels.  It was funny – I didn’t really occur to me that I didn’t know her in real life until someone commented that it was brave on both our parts to plan to spend this time together.  Thankfully it went off without a problem!  (I think… Lucie will have to tell her side of the story. ;))

Lucie and Laura

Fresh off the boat… I mean train…

… 

Read More »

Coconut Curried Chicken + WIAW

No one likes a complainer.

 

Especially me.

I’m making an exception.  It’s COLD.  This arctic tundra has got to go.  I live in the South.  I should never see this:

no global warming

 

Ice in my shower is something else I should never have to see.  I left my faucet dripping just like the newsman said because we hit a record low of 6 degrees in Atlanta.  When I woke up, I was rewarded with an ice-lined tub.

Try motivating to shower for work when faced with this:

frozen shower

________________________________________________________________________________________

This WIAW I am FINALLY back on track.  I had the biggest meal prep in weeks on Sunday and felt ready to get back to the “real” world of having a routine.WIAWbuttonRead on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

Read More »

Mango Protein Lassi

Indian food is my jam.

 

As evidenced by the fact I’m apparently unable to post about anything else lately.

Someone mentioned a mango lassi the other day and it has popped up everywhere since then.  Long ago I made a Savory Protein Lassi, but this time I (for once) decided to go the traditional route and make a mango version.

At least the idea of it was traditional… I have serious doubts that you’d find a “real” lassi with spinach and protein powder.

Mango Protein Lassi

 

Who needs real when you can have a protein version?  This shake was a refreshing post-workout refuel treat.  With spring temperatures here, I’m loving the return of smoothies.  And smoothie bowls.

I add a little more ice to keep it thick.  There’s just something about eating them with a spoon that makes a protein smoothie that much more satisfying.

coriander

 

The coconut extract and coriander enhance the sweet mango.  Greek yogurt adds a creaminess, but if you don’t do dairy you can leave it out or use tofu or avocado to add to the cream-factor.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with coriander, it’s a subtle flavor that is warm and a bit nutty with a slight hint of citrus.  Coriander brightens and deepens flavors, but in a gentle way where most people wouldn’t be able to pick it out.  It rarely overpowers or detracts from other ingredients.  Rather, it only adds.  It’s good in sweet and savory dishes (I also used it in my Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry).

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Mango Protein Lassi

Mango Protein Lassi

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 champagne mango (~1/2 C)
  • 1/2 in piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C spinach (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • Stevia or other sweetener, to taste
  • Optional: 1/8 tsp of each Xanthan and Guar Gums (to thicken)
  • Ice + water, to taste

 

Place everything in a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend until smooth(ie).

Enjoy by the spoonful.

***

I’m stopping with the Indian for a bit (I think).  My sister is coming back to the States and Cinco de Drinko Mayo is coming.  I’m feeling like a fiesta!!!

Have you ever used coriander before?  It’s great in baked goods too!

Is it warm yet where you are?  It’s warmer in ATL… but raining.  Obv.

 

Griddled Chicken & Grapefruit Pizza

This will be shocking: the recipe was inspired by a recent meal at an Indian restaurant.

 

One day I’ll get over this Indian obsession.

In my defense, this #strangebutgood creation doesn’t actually involve Indian flavors (for a change).  Unless you count cinnamon and ginger, but I put those on basically everything. Several weeks ago I enjoyed a meal at a new Indian restaurant, Chai Pani.  New to Atlanta, I should say.  They have a location in Asheville, NC.  It’s an Indian street food concept, but it actually is a sit-down restaurant.  And it’s good!

The inspiration for my pizza creation came from the Tandoori Fish Wrap I ordered.  It consisted of “Tilapia seared with tandoori spices in a griddled wrap (brushed w/ egg) with onions, cilantro, rice, roasted lentils & chutneys.”

Chai Pani tandoori fish wrap

Tandoori Fish Wrap at Chai Pani

 

My non-Indian pizza version was a simple baked chicken breast.  The sweet and tangy grapefruit against the plain chicken was refreshing.

The bit of basil on top was a nice green addition, both in terms of taste and looks.  Of course I topped it with a little more cinnamon.  The warm spice always reminds me of dessert!

Griddled Chicken and Grapefruit Pizza

 

This could so easily be made vegetarian with tofu.  I absolutely love the way it puffs up when it bakes… that will for sure be my next version!  I think you could even use a flax egg in place of my “real” egg whites for a vegan version.  Someone let me know if that works.

Griddled bread.  Coolest idea ever.  It’s like French toast from the ‘hood.  (Get it?  Wrap?  Rap?  Blessed are those who amuse themselves…)  See the crispy, egg-y goodness peeling back from the tortilla?  That’s #strangebutgood heaven, friends.

Griddled Chicken and Grapefruit Pizza

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 Griddled Chicken & Grapefruit Pizza

Griddled Chicken & Grapefruit Pizza

  • 2 T egg whites
  • 1 tsp flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 1/2 grapefruit, sectioned
  • 2 oz chicken, cubed
  • Basil

In a small bowl, combine egg whites, flax, and spices.  

Place tortilla in a small pan over medium-high heat.  Pour egg mixture on top.  

Cook 1-2 mins, until egg starts to firm.  Flip the tortilla, cooking 1-2 mins more. 

Remove from heat and place on a baking sheet or pizza stone (or keep on pan if oven-proof).  

Top with grapefruit sections, chicken, and basil.  Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired.

Place in oven under broil for 15 mins, until slightly browned.  Watch closely so as not to burn.

Remove from oven, plate, and enjoy!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 Who else has enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family (or the occassional restaurant worker) stare with strange but good creations this week?

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!

Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)

 

***

I’m headed back home today.  I packed all that food, but now I have NO idea what I’ll eat until I get to the grocery store Saturday afternoon!  Whoops!

Have you ever had a griddled wrap?

What’s been #strangebutgood in your life lately?

 

Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry

Curry leaves have been a mystery to me.

 

This only means it’s a #strangebutgood creation WAITING to happen.

This actually isn’t so strange.  It’s just outside of my culinary comfort zone (yes, I do have one).  I’ve always loved using Indian spiced in my dishes.  Ginger is a staple – I once made this Ginger Tempeh Stir-Fry every night for a week.

At restaurants, I love to order the curry; however, I’ve never tried my hand at making my own.  Having seen curry leaves at my local farmer’s market, my curiosity finally got the best of me.  Curry dinner = ON.

curry leaves

 

Curry leaves sort of look like bay leaves.  This begs several questions: Do you eat them?  Are they just for flavor?  Do you decorate with them?  Can you dry them?  

It turns out, you can eat them.  And they don’t have to be fried in oil first (a popular preparation in Indian restaurants).  I also read that you can freeze them.  I’ll have to report on that later.

Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry

 

Back to my dish.  It was amazing.  I know it’s wrong to brag… but seriously.  I wish I had made 3 pots of this stuff.  Actually, I kind of did.  This is by far my most-tested recipe.  How come research wasn’t this much fun in college?  

I worried about the flavors – there are a lot of spices in this!  Too much of this, not enough of that… and finally… juuuuust right!  I was amazed.  The list is long, but it does come together quickly.  Just line up your spices and dump ‘em in the pot!  The curry leaves add an awesome dimension, but if you can’t find it don’t worry.  These spices are enough to stand alone.

Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry

 

I’ve made this several times now, with full-fat coconut milk and with the light stuff.  It is still ok with light, but it’s 100x more flavorful with the real deal.  You can also use different veggies and protein.  I’m a huge cauliflower fan, so that’s been my favorite.  The recipe below uses Swordfish, but I like it just as much with Escolar (fish) , chicken, and tempeh.

Like all good meals, this is best enjoyed with a good friend (who gave her stamp of approval) on a patio followed by a walk in the sunshine.  Spring has sprung.

Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry

These leftovers are what’s making my Monday Marvelous.

That plus a hair cut and a clean house (a.k.a. best money I ever spent). ;)

Marvelous Monday

________________________________________________________________________________________

Cauliflower Eggplant Curry

Cauliflower & Eggplant Curry

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1/4 C red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 C tomato paste
  • 1/2 large eggplant, diced (~1.25 cups)
  • 8 oz Swordfish (or other protein)
  • 1/2 C coconut milk
  • 200 g cauliflower florets (~1 small head)

 

Place the dry spices in a medium-size pot and toast over medium heat until fragrant, ~2-3 mins or until they start to pop.

Add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and ginger.  Stir to coat in spices and cook until the onion is soft.  Stir in the curry leaves and tomato paste.

Add fish and eggplant to the sauce.  Pour in the coconut milk and cook until the eggplant is soft and fish is cooked through (~7-8 mins).

Finally, add in the cauliflower florets. Season and cook for a few more minutes until tender.

Spoon into plates and enjoy!

Makes 2-3 servings.

Note: This could easily be made vegan by eliminating the fish, or using lentils or tempeh instead.

***

Last week is was Indian Bison Burger creations, this week curry… my sister’s in India and it apparently causes me to crave Indian food.  LOL!

What recipe have you worked the hardest on to perfect?

Do you like Indian food?  Have you ever had curry leaves? 

 

Strange But Good: Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

My sister is vacationing in India.

 

She won’t let any of us forget it.  I’m not jealous.  I don’t need a vaca…

I would say I made the burgers I’m sharing today in her honor… but really I was inspired after seeing Madelyn’s recipe.  Before I start, a note: I realize this is a meat-centric post and many of you don’t eat meat… these flavors/ideas would also work well with tempeh, lentils, beans, or soy meat crumbles.

The burgers themselves aren’t so strange (other than the fact that I’m confident there are no bison in India), but I think what I did with them might qualify.  I wanted pizza.  Bison is sort of like sausage.  Bison for breakfast… why not?  Sometimes I feel like this in the morning:

bison

 

He doesn’t look so nice, but I wanted a hit of sweetness (read: fruit) with this creation.  I decided mango was a perfectly acceptable topping.  It works really well with Indian spices and provided a little cooling effect against all the extra red pepper flakes I added.

A corn tortilla made for a delicious, crispy crust.  And it’s fast – there is no way I’m making dough before noon!

 

Mango Bison Pizza

Mango Bison Breakfast Pizza

  • 1 corn tortilla
  • Tomato sauce*
  • Bison burger
  • Spinach, steamed
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Basil

 

Spread the sauce across your tortilla and add toppings.  Place under broil for 5-7 mins, watching closely.

Remove and enjoy!

 

*The sauce might be the strangest part to some of you.  I mixed fire-roasted tomatoes with nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and cinnamon.  Yes cinnamon.  It’s awesome with tomatoes.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Or how about crumbling a perfectly good, already cooked bison burger and using it to stuff a kabocha squash?  With coconut milk.  And curry leaves.

Curry leaves do not taste like curry powder.  They are actually a little bitter and have a hint of lime to them.  More on that when I post the curry recipe I promised on Instagram Tuesday. ;)

Indian bison stuffed squash

 

I roasted half a kabocha while I prepped my green stuffings.  This was an important distraction step for me because I am normally way to impatient to wait for a squash to roast.

I had to add the coconut and some Indian spices to go with the burger.  So glad I did because this won the prize for meal of the week!

 

indian bison stuffed squash

Indian Bison Stuffed Squash

  • 1/2 kabocha squash
  • 1/4 in pieces fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 C broccolini
  • 3 Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 8 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 T coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • Red pepper flakes and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bison burger (recipe below)

 

Place the kabocha in the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about 20 mins, or until tender.

Meanwhile, saute the veggies, adding the coconut milk, ACV, and spices at the end to preserve the moisture.

Crumble the burger and toss with the veggies.  Remove squash from over and stuff with your mixture.

Place the stuffed squash back in the over to bake for 10 mins.

Devour.

 

At the end of the day… I wonder to myself why I make burgers if I’m just going to crumble them.  It is a little strange.  Then I remember and important lesson: don’t question a good thing.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

Indian Spiced Bison Burgers

  • 1/2 lb ground bison (or sub in your protein of choice)
  • 2 T cilantro, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard

 

Mix everything together and divide into patties.

Cook in a pan over medium heat for 3-4 mins on each side, or until desired temperature is reached.

Allow to cool slightly so the juices soak in before you dig in.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Who else has enjoyed making co-workers, friend, or family stare with strange but good creations this week?

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

 

Sprint 2 the Table


Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

I got lazy this week and took all my pics with my iPhone. #sorryimnotsorry

Have you ever eaten bison?  Do you like it or ground beef better?

Do you prefer using a smart phone or a "real" camera?

 

Curried Apple Tuna Salad

Did you see Friday’s Strange But Good?

 

The mystery stranger was a Curried Apple Tuna Salad.  You guys know I’m a fan of the sweet and savory.  This recipe is a perfect storm!

 

 

The tuna salad my mom made for lunch after church on Sunday’s always included apple.  I stopped eating seafood for years, but I always enjoyed the crispness of chopped apple in salads.  When I was looking for a new way to jazz-up me tuna salad, it was an obvious addition.

Mom also added a boat-load of mayo to our tuna (Hellman’s not Duke’s).  Mayo is certainly NOT on my diet these days.  No big deal – I haven’t liked the stuff for years.  But I do need something to add moisture to my tuna, and to make the flavor less like… errrr… canned tuna.

 

 

The sauce I came up with is a rich tahini curry.  Tahini’s sweet sesame flavor is perfect with a little nuttiness from nutritional yeast.  Both are natural pairs with the warm, almost ginger-like curry powder.

Turmeric is a big component of yellow curry powder.  I’ve always loved the flavor, but  it is also a great source of antioxidants.  Just a teaspoon of curry powder has as many antioxidants as ½ cup of red grapes!

 

 

Arugula is one of my favorite greens.  In fact, it may be my absolute favorite.  It’s peppery taste is perfect with curry, and the sweet apple balanced those stronger flavors.

This is an awesome tuna salad for those who don’t particularly like tuna salad.

Recipe at bottom.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Workout Recap

This week we moved up to doing 15 reps of each exercise.  You wouldn’t think 3-5 more reps would make a big difference, but I assure you it DOES!  Between that and the 100 pull ups I stayed sore all week.  It hurts so good.

Saturday I picked out my suit (if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the fabric), and this week I need to go find costume jewelry and get some super-dark make up for my soon-to-be orange skin.  The sodium cut and the pull ups are working.  I’m really starting to see a difference in my body.  It’s pretty cool… though I have a lot to work on in the next 19 days.  Time is flying!  

 

 

Workout Recap (10/8 – 10/14):

  • Monday – Chest/Bis, 100 pull ups, Calf raises, 2 mile incline walk
  • Tuesday – Shoulders/Glutes, 1.5 mile incline walk
  • Wednesday – Back/Tris, 100 pull-ups, Calf raises, 1.75 mile incline walk
  • Thursday – Shoulders/Glutes, 100 pull-ups, 2 mile walk 
  • Friday – Chest/Bis, 100 pull ups, Calf raises, 1 mile walk
  • Saturday – Legs (with trainer)
  • Sunday – Back/Tris, 100 pull ups, Calf raises, 2 mile walk

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Curried Apple Tuna Salad

  • 2 oz canned Albacore tuna*
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/2 C arugula
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

 

Combine the tuna, apple, and arugula in a bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients with enough water to form a sauce.  Pour sauce over the tuna mixture and stir to combine.

*Note: Tempeh would work well here to make this vegan.

Makes 1 serving, easily doubled.

***

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Do you like tuna salad?

Was there a dish your family had on certain days of the week?

 

Lure Me Into the Weekend

Like I ever need any luring into the weekend…

 

However, I was excited for the events of this past weekend.  I’ve recapped the best parts below, including purple basil, watermelon salad, my BFF’s baby’s 1st birthday (remember when he was born?), and dinner at the latest #ATL seafood hot spot.

 

First I want to take a moment to express my condolences to the people of Aurora, CO.  It is beyond me how anyone could do such an evil thing.  Furthermore, I don’t understand why it’s legal to buy those guns.  I know some people consider shooting to be a hobby, but we as a society have proven to ourselves over and over that assault rifles bring nothing but harm.

On to brighter things…

_______________________________________________________________________________________

1. Purple Basil

I found this delicious herb at my local Saturday farmer’s market:

 

 

Purple Basil is not quite as sweet as the green variety, and a bit heartier. Much closer to a romaine lettuce leaf in texture.  I loved it on a P28 Protein Bagel with some Greek yogurt and an heirloom tomato (also from the market).  served with a side of these Indian Roasted Chickpeas – an old recipe, but one I return to often!

 

 

 

2. Baby Jackson Turned 1

My nest friend’s little boy, Jackson, had his 1st birthday this weekend.  I’m sure he won’t remember any of it, but we have a fantastic time celebrating with him!  Doesn’t he look just like his daddy (pic below)?

 

 

We had a some tasty eats compliments of the baby’s grandmother.  I brought a new take on this cotija-watermelon salad that I made for his mamma’s baby shower a little over a year ago.

This new twist contained:

  • Watermelon
  • Cucumber
  • Blueberries
  • Jalapeno
  • Feta cheese
  • Mint
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Light drizzle of olive oil
  • Pepper

 

 

Of course there was cake.  Ever the gentleman, Jackson wasn’t about to face-plant into that baby cake like his Aunt Laura would have.

 

 

3. Dinner at Lure

My friend Keith and I headed to the latest restaurant concept by Fifth Group (an Atlanta restaurant group), Lure.  This group is one of the best in Atlanta, due largely in part to their staff.  The serve and attention to detail is always top-notch, and Lure upholds that tradition.

 

We began the meal with a couple of small plates:

The seared scallop crudo with sugar snap peas and horseradish was a huge win.  I can’t recall ever having a more fresh piece of seafood.  The slightly sweet, crisp snap peas was the perfect light pairing with the scallop, and the dollops of horseradish gave a nice kick to the dish.  This was my favorite dish of the night – love at first bite.

 

The next dish was a plate of French Horn mushrooms with baba ghannouj, chickpeas, and a parsley salad.  I loved the mushrooms, and the bright lemon juice the dressed the parsley.  I found the baba ghannouj to be a bit salty (I’m sensitive to salt, so you may think it’s perfect).

 

For round two, we ordered one more small plate and a main.  We were absorbed in conversation, so we didn’t notice our second dishes were taking a while to come out.  That didn’t stop a manager from coming out to apologize and off us free soup!  I didn’t get a pic of the Tom Yum Shrimp Bisque, but we very much appreciated the gesture.

Our entrees did arrive, and they were beautiful:

The small plate we chose was grilled octopus & pork lettuce wraps with basil, cilantro, red onion, rice noodles, and spicy Vietnamese sauce.  I loved the heat in the sauce.  The octopus was good, not too chewy… but I barely remember the pork.

 

My main was a sautéed black grouper served atop silver queen corn, curry, yogurt sauce, and a spicy lime pickle.  I was surprised at how well the strong flavors worked with the flaky fish.  It was perfectly executed.  The spice from the curry was excellent with the sweetness of the worn and the slightly sour citrus of the lime pickle.  It didn’t top the scallops, but it was close!

 

We were comfortably full… but it was my cheat day… how could I pass up dessert?  After polling everyone via Instagram, I selected the guava and coconut bread pudding.

This deliciousness was served with a creme anglaise and toasted hazelnuts.  We loved the bread – a brioche from the famed H&F Bread Co.  The toasted hazelnuts we like the icing on this cake.  Ever the texture lover, I enjoyed their nutty crunch with the chewy toasted coconut that coated the soft bread pudding.  It was also the perfect size and sweet-level.  Just enough to hit the spot without regrets.

 

Overall, this 5-day old restaurant impressed me.  As I said, the service was perfect.  The food was solid as well; it has a distinct “Fifth-Group” feel.  In comparison to The Optimist (the other new Atlanta seafood restaurant I wrote up last week), it is different.  The Optimist is more “farm-to-table” seafood; it uses few ingredients and allows the main ingredient to speak for itself.  Lure focuses more on spices and offers many dishes with of an “ethic” twist.  Both good in their own way.

Side note: Lure’s wine list is much better, another signature of this restaurant group.

______________________________________________________________________________________

I didn’t just eat my way through the entire weekend!  I stuck to my workout plan and was very good about getting in my 7 meals after admitted last Wednesday to not being excited about eating anything.  This week’s workouts were pretty exciting to me – I’m starting to notice bigger gains in my arms.  I was able to do preacher curls with an EZ curl bar that I couldn’t think about curling a month ago!

The real boost happened Saturday at the farmer’s market.  I was walking around, eating free samples (it was cheat day!), and one of the women working looked at me and said “flex.”  I said “excuse me?” and she repeated herself.  I thought she was kidding, but she was serious!  I blushed hard… but obliged.  LOL!  It made my day.  Thank you, free sample lady. :)

 

 

Workout Recap (7/16- 7/23):

  • Monday – Back/Triceps, calf raises
  • Tuesday – Shoulders/Glutes, 2 mile walk
  • Wednesday – Chest/Biceps, calf raises, 1 mile walk
  • Thursday – Legs (w/ trainer), 2 mile walk
  • Friday – Back/Triceps, calf raises, 100 push-ups, 2 mile walk
  • Saturday – Shoulders/Glutes, 3 mile walk
  • Sunday – *rest day* … easy 3 mile walk

***

I also cooked a lot this weekend.  I cannot wait to share some new recipes this week, including one reader request! :)

What was the best part of your weekend?

What new item have you tried recently?  Have you ever had purple basil?

 

Tempeh Spinach Curry and Sugar-Free Berry Crumble

Long weekends should end appropriately.

 

It should be a relaxing evening with crisp wine on a patio, a flavorful dinner, and a light dessert.  And that’s exactly how I spent the last few hours of this long weekend.

 

I need this sticker.

 

Dinner was a lazy version of a recipe I’ve been eyeing by Richa @ Hobby and More.  Hers is a Tempeh and Kale Tikka Masala.  Mine is so bastardized that I didn’t feel right calling it a Tikka Masala, but it quite delicious!  The tempeh I used was pre-flavored, cutting back on half the prep, and I used spinach instead of kale (I’m having a love affair with spinach).

 

 

The heat in the spices was right on.  Enough to get your attention and wake the palate, but not so much that your eyes water.  If you wanted to tone it down even more you could add additional  yogurt or milk, but I like my sauces with a kick.

 

 

Curries are traditionally served over rice, but I wasn’t feeling anything that heavy in the summer evening.  Instead I made a parsnip rice (like this one).  It was just the thing; the parsnip added a sweetness that balanced the intense Indian flavors.  My dinner guest had never heard of parsnip rice, but she said she really enjoyed it!

 

 

For dessert I modified Angela @ Oh she Glows‘ recipe for a Cardamom Almond Pear Crisp.  Rather than pears, I used strawberries and blueberries in one and apples with blueberries in the other (my dinner guest loves baked apples).

 

 

The fruit was fantastic, but my favorite part was the crumble topping.  The oats turn doughy after being baked – it’s almost like eating batter.  My version of Angela’s dish is sugar-free (aside from the fruit)… and you would have NEVER been able to tell.

 

 

The crumble was served alongside a sugar-free vegan ice cream a la Chocolate Covered Katie’s Cake Batter.  I followed her recipe exactly, except I left out the sprinkles, added 1 T Frangelico, and 1/8 tsp Guar Gum (helps achieve the creamy texture).  I’m sure sprinkles are good… but the hazelnut liqueur rocked my world.

The lighting was poor for picture-taking, but the food was good.  That’s all that matters, right?

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Tempeh Spinach Curry

  • Coconut Curry Tempeh (I used this one from Turtle Island Foods)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 C spinach
  • 1/4 C vegetable broth
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili
  • 3-4 drops liquid stevia
  • 2 T plain Greek yogurt (or non-dairy yogurt)
  • Cilantro

 

Toast tempeh in a pan until it becomes golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium pot, add the oil and warm over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally till it becomes translucent.  Add the dry spices and mix well.  Add spinach, mix and cook for another minute.

In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, red pepper, ginger, garlic, and chili until smooth.

Add the tomato mix to the pot and let simmer over low heat 15 mins, stirring occasionally.  This mixture should thicken to a marinara-like consistency.


Add the tempeh, greek yogurt, and stevia.  Mix well.  Taste and adjust spices as needed.  Remove from heat.

Serve over parsnip rice (or plain rice), and top with fresh cilantro or parsley.

Makes 2 servings.

________________________________________________________________________________

 

Sugar-Free Vegan Berry Crumble

  • 2 C fruit (I used 1C apples and blueberries in one, 1 C strawberries and blueberries in the other)
  • 1 T xylitol (or other suagr-substitute)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom 
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 T almond flour
  • 2 T rolled oats
  • 1 T xylitol
  • 1 tsp sugar-free syrup
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • Shake of salt

 

Preheat oven 400 degrees.   Grease two (8-oz) ramekins with butter (Earth Balance).

In a medium bowl, mix the fruit, xylitol, cornstarch, cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to make the crumble.

Add 1/2 of the topping mixture to fruit mixture and mix.  Scoop the fruit mixture into ramekins.  Top each with remaining crumble mix.

Cover ramekins with foil, poked with 2-3 holes.  Bake for 22-25 minutes.  Remove foil, turn oven to broil and allow tops to brown for ~ 1 min (watch closely – they can burn fast!).

Allow to cool before diving in.

Serves 2.

***

I really with there had been leftovers.  At least the crumble can easily be made for 1!

What was the best thing you ate over the long weekend?

Have you tried any new blogger recipes lately?  Share the good ones, please! :)

 

Contemplating Carnivore + WIAW

Don’t cry for me, Argentina…

 

 

I recently decided on my 2012 international trip and there’s no crying here!  Two of my best friends from grad school and I are going to Argentina AND Uruguay!  Leaving just 6 weeks from today!!!

 

Here’s my dilemma: Argentina is known for meat.  I love to travel and try new foods, and I always said that whatever veggie-food thing I have going is out the window when I travel.  No restrictions.  But now I am scared I’ll get sick… and meat just doesn’t appeal to me like it used it.

I did eat 3 bites of meat at dinner tonight… so far so good.

 ______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Meat dilemmas aside, Jenn (who called me a genius last night) @ Peas and Crayons is hosting  What I Ate Wednesday this month in the theme of veggies:

 

 

Check out my veggie eats (plus a couple of meats) below; then click here to see what everyone else enjoyed for WIAW.

 

Breakfast:

This morning I woke up feeling jumpy… in a plyo way.  I bounced out of bed and down to the gym for 60 mins of Plyo with Tony Horton (from P90X).  In case you haven’t tried it yet, this plyo DVD with kick your butt.  It left me hot, sweaty, and STARVING.

I ran up to my condo for a tasty Banana-Maple-Ginger Smoothie accompanied by a (vegan) Raw Cookie Dough Ball, compliments of this recipe by Lisa @ Healthful Sense (I always keep a batch in the freezer for a quick snack or smoothie topping).

 

Banana-Maple-Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 C spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca (optional)
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 5-6 drops vanilla liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 in piece of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp maple extract

 

Lunch:

Working from home makes me happy because I get to MOVE so much more.  Bring chained to a desk is really hard for me.  In the interest of movement, I walked to one of my favorite spots – MetroFresh – to meet a friend for lunch.

MetroFresh’s menu changes daily, but they always offer 5-6 soups, 7-8 salads/sides, and a couple of sandwiches.  They also designate which items are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free.  Love that.

 

Today I had a Swiss Chard and White Bean Stew and a Maple-Citrus Wild Rice Salad with Mushrooms, Feta, Cucumber, Black Wheatberries, and Dried Cranberries.  Finger-lickin’ good.

Side note: Did anyone watch Doogie Howser or Party of 5 growing up?  The owner of MetroFresh, Mitchell Anderson, played roles in both hit shows!

 

Snacks:

My lunch was pretty filling, and I knew I was going out for dinner so I was a little light on the snacks today.  I did enjoy a Kombucha, a banana (topped with a failed attempt at chocolate-peanut butter – the texture was nasty), and a piece of chocolate (to help me feel better after the PB fail).

Dinner:

Apparently is was a day for dining out.  I had dinner with my mom and cousin at a local Indian spot called Cardamom Hill.  This place is amazingI blogged about it here when they first opened, and they have only gotten better since.

For appetizers we ordered Pork Vindaloo (pork shoulder slow-cooked in a flavorful vinegar sauce with turmeric and cardamom served with a side of appam), Coconut Curry Vegetable Stew, and a Squid special that was cooked in a red chili sauce and served with a side of fried plantains.

 

I did take a bite of everything… it was the first time I’ve had pork in months.  It was delicious, but I still couldn’t imagine eating a whole order.  The vegetable curry soup was my favorite!

 

Remembering how delicious it was the first time there, I ordered the Vegetable Platter.  It wasn’t quiiiite as good, but that is a preference thing.  They do change-up pieces of the dish, and on my first trip there was more heat incorporated.  I love spicy food. 

 

From L to R: Avail (lightly steamed vegetables in a shaved coconut sauce), Sambhar (a stew with okra, carrots, and potatoes), stack of sliced warm Beets layered with housemade yogurt and mustard seeds, and seasoned rice.

My favorite was the Avail.  That shaved coconut sauce was perfect – not too sweet or heavy, complimenting the root veggies it was served over.

The winner was my mom’s dish (unpictured).  She ordered the Kerala-Style Fried Chicken, served over vegetable pileau (rice with veggies).  Yup, I took another bite of meat… I don’t regret it.  This chicken was among the best I’ve ever tasted.  Don’t skip it if you are in the neighborhood (and you eat meat).

 

Dessert:

Someone once said there is a whole separate part of your stomach for dessert.  They weren’t kidding.  I should have been stuffed after all of that… yet I came home and enjoyed a So Delicious coconut ice cream bar.  The bar is dairy-free and contains only 1g of sugar… and you would never be able to tell.

 

So Delicious, indeed.

 

***

Another reminder to enter my NuNaturals giveaway – there are 4 chances to win the new NuNaturals Orange and Lemon Liquid Stevias!  Contest ends Thursday at 11:59pm EST.  Click here to enter.

Have you ever been to Argentina, or South America?  Any suggestions?

Have you ever gone back to eating meat?  How did you ease back in to it?