Hey there, sunflowers :)!
Who's loved the heat wave that hit this past week? I don't know about where you live, but the midwest was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, it was fleeting, as all weather is in Michigan (good, bad, or indifferent), but I soaked up some serious sun while I had the chance. Sunny weather definitely puts a spring in my step!
What's your favorite kind of weather? Is there something special you do when it finally comes around?
Honestly this weather has caused me to want a dog again. I had two dogs when I was younger and have always been an animal lover. Sadly, it's just not in the cards for me right now but this perfect dog-walking weather definitely lights up my desire again. Luckily, I have a neighbor that has an adorable little Yorkshire Terrier who I used to dog-sit for. My neighbor and I get along really well so as the weather continues to get warmer, I'll probably take walks with her and Sammy again. Do you have any pets?
Anyway, this lovely spring weather also effects my food choices. Even though I cannot say goodbye to my good friend Kabocha squash yet (I actually just had some--yum!), I've been loving my greens. Did you know that 90% of peas are frozen because they're only in season for a short time in the spring? Well I was lucky enough to find some of these gems in my favorite produce market (other than the farmer's market, of course) and snatched them right up.
Another green has captured my heart lately, as well. Say hello to my new boyfriend:
Remember this guy? He was a little before my time, but his spinach-fetish did not go unknown. Just look at those muscles! Talk about one macho (macho) man! Well if Popeye is any example, then I can finally say I learned something from cartoons. Who would have thought? Thank you, Popeye, but I've got to be honest: my heart belongs to yoga. Maybe next time.
All my spinach lately has definitely left me saying gug gug gug woooah!
Left-over special with celery, carrots, peas, and leftover apricot-pretzel chickpea cutlets, later drizzled with spicy mustard (see below). I totally believe that sweet and savory is the best combination, making for complex flavors. Oh, and I'm also a total believer that you can throw anything in a salad and it might end up being the best thing you've ever eaten (I definitely came close with the Shelby-inspired salads below and here).
A salad with chickpeas (which I cooked myself--yay!), carrots, mini cukes fresh from the farmer's market, and spicy brown mustard. I've never liked dressing on salads, but lately I've learned how mustard pairs so nicely with spinach, thanks to my mustard muse, Heather.
My favorite new salad combination with carrots, peas, blackened tofu, a chopped up pear, and ezekiel bread [I use Bran for Life because I like its hearty texture and taste] and a duo of red pepper and original hummus on top. I got the idea from Shelby, and it is hands down my favorite combination. I know that pears and hummus sound like a strange combination, but the creamy and sweet flavors work soo well together. Yum (just count how many times I'm going to say that in this post)!
A quick packed lunch wrap with parsley scallion hummus, spinach, sprouts (inspired by the adorable twins Maya and Eliza), a mini cucumber and nectarine
A snack-y salad of celery, cucumbers (the mini ones are so sweet!), and mixed sprouts with a drizzle of mustard
One of my favorite snacks with hidden greens and a nice side of Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I almost think that blending the spinach in makes it sweeter. Maybe it's just me, but either way, you definitely can't taste the greens specifically (just chocoaltely goodness).
- 1 scoop brown rice protein powder
- 2 tsp unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 cup + water or almond milk (use more water if you use more spinach)
- 1 or 2 large handfuls spinach (I recommend removing the stems but I'm not a big fan of them anyway)
- Sweet Leaf Stevia to taste
- Blend, baby, blend!
I also enjoyed some other good eats this week without spinach (shocker after all that, I know).
On one of the colder days, all I wanted was something warm to make me nice and cozy from the inside out. Creamy sweet potatoes and lovely sweet spices came to my mind immediately. Inspired by Mama Pea's recipe here, I created my own veggie burgers of sorts. Since my recipe includes neither potatoes nor basil, it would be an understatement to say I simply edited the recipe a little. Yes, I do frequently change recipes and sometimes even end up creating my own new one instead. What else is new?
- 1/4 pound sweet potatoes, steamed
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup white beans, mashed (I think I used 3/4 cup but then I realized I might have forgotten a 1/4 cup... whoops)
- 3/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbs whole wheat flour
Mash the beans and sweet potatoes in a bowl (including skin, chopped into more manageable pieces, if desired). Next stir in the spices and flour. Mix until combined and form into 2 patties. Cook on medium low heat (so that they will cook through without burning) until browned and firmed, about 6 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with cinnamon for even more flavor.
[poppin' out of the sando thin]
Black bean cutlet with asparagus and carrots
Welcome back, old friend. Who am I kidding? This is a weekend staple. Favorite. Favorite. Favorite. Did I mention this is my favorite I could eat this everyday? Looks can be deceiving because this mush plate of wonderfulness is one macho stir-fry turned wrap of ultimate yum.
[recycled photo--sorry--but I figured you've seen this a few times before]
There was also some snick-a-ty snack-a-ty action going on.
Who said oatmeal is only for breakfast? Please excuse this horrible picture, but when oatmeal cravings hit when the sun's gone to sleep, this girl's gotta do what she's gotta do, even if it means taking a yucky photo. I also knew I wanted some chocolate and blackberries so why not make a parfait? I used layers of Katie's agar-agar pudding (made with Almond Breeze Unsweetened Chocolate Almond Milk) with chilled oatmeal and fresh blackberries, with a sprinkling of cocoa powder on top. All cravings satisfied? Check! Make recipe for Kaite's giveaway? Bonus!
Where would I be without my ugly muffins? I'm loving this recipe more and more. Unfortunately, my muffins are getting uglier and uglier. These ones did come out quiet nicely on the top, if I do say so myself. When I attempted to take them out, though, it all went downhill. Oh well, good food is good food.
Oh, and have I told you about my new favorite snack? If a company could read my mind, GNU would probably be it. All I can say is thank you, GNU, for creating my perfect snack that is loaded with fiber, made with all natural ingredients that I can feel good about eating, and isn't sweetened (just how I like it!) other than with fruit. I've tried two flavors so far, the banana walnut and cinnamon raisin, and lovely both respectively. They have just the right amount of sweetness while still tasting like, well, a cinnamon raisin cookie, in this case. They are also nice and chewy. Notice a pattern in the foods I like? My only complaint is that they are super hard to find in my area. Boo. Do you hear that, GNU? This girl's got a craving that's not going away. I can only save these little gems up so long before I dig in. Yum doesn't even cover it. [Luckily, though, one of my favorite blogs, Healthy Exposures, is hosting a giveaway for them here.]
[notice that this picture is somewhat covert because I ate most of it before realizing my blogging duties; it was just too good to stop once i smelled the lovely freshly-baked cookie]
I also tried making a chocolate yogurt pudding with Wildwood's Probiotic Soyogurt, Sweet Leaf Stevia, and dark chocolate cocoa powder. I will never tire of dark chocolate cocoa powder (*swoon*); I see chocolate frozen yogurt in my future...
To wrap up my week, I went to the farmer's market with my mom. Let's just say I have a whole refrigerator to myself downstairs now to accommodate all of my produce. Not a surprise, my friends, due to all of my goodies making the upstairs fridge chaotic, but definitely very much appreciated. Thanks, Mom and Nan!
Oh, and I finally tried my flax crackers that I got from the market a little while ago. The verdict? Yummy (if you're still counting, I think that would be yum # 100000)! I love the Italian flavors and in my mind, you can't go wrong with flax. If only they made golden flax seed crackers... well, I don't know what I'd do! I eat gold flax seed at least once a day :D.
As you can see, next week is going to be filled with lovely fresh produce. I'm definitely becoming a locavore, which feels great! Do you consider yourself a locavore or do you buy organic? If you had to choose one, what would you go for?
I'm going to go cozy up with a nice cup of tea in my special Anthro A mug and The Kind Diet. Have a lovely day!