Category Archives: Healthy

Orange-Glazed Tofu Bowls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalancedMealsMadeEasy #CollectiveBias

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Excuse the radio silence here for the past few weeks, but I have so much to catch you guys up on!

With June right around the corner, dissertation-writing has officially kicked into overdrive: I still have my final chapter to go (eeps!), not to mention tons of revisions, an intro, and a conclusion. But what’s 100+ pages in four three months anyway, right? *cry*

To keep myself sane, I’ve been trying a whole bunch of new, exciting things lately–which I know sounds like a completely crazy proposal, but sometimes I think these new challenges are the only things keeping me on my feet! For example, my co-coordinator and I recently wrote a 100+ page Oscars-themed murder mystery party that turned out to be so much fun! I’m taking a break to visit Portland for the first time soon, and my friends and I are doing some major trip planning for this summer (so stay tuned!).

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One of the biggest developments is that I’ve also been semi-training for my first ever (sprint) triathlon this Sunday! If you’re unfamiliar with sprint tri’s, it’s basically a 400-meter swim, a 13.1-mile bike ride, followed by a 5k run. I’m incredibly nervous because I haven’t had a chance to train very much due to my crazy schedule, but I can’t wait to check this new challenge off my bucket list. Wish me luck!

In order to supplement my training regimen, I’ve been focusing on incorporating more balance and wholesome foods into my diet leading up to the race. This orange-glazed tofu veggie bowl has become one of my lunchtime favs recently: not only is it super simple to prepare, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a morning swim-run combo!… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner

Quinoa Salad

Guess who’s back, back again? I’ll give you a hint: it’s this girl, and she’s back all the way from beeeeautiful Europe!

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Okay, that was more of an answer than a hint–BUT only because I’m seriously excited to share all of my adventures with you. As I mentioned in my penultimate post, travel planning for this three-week trip had basically swallowed up my life (and the better part of my sanity) in the months leading up to August, so getting in the groove of blogging again is a super squeal-worthy enterprise. In fact, I got so ahead of myself that the first thing I did after hopping off my 12-hour flight was barrel into the grocery store to pick up a few A LOT of fresh ingredients and start cooking.

There’s really nothing like a month away from home to make you fall madly in love with your kitchen again!

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But more on Europe later, because first I want to tell you all about this quinoa salad. Does it look innocuous and unassuming to you? HA!

Sorry. Sorry.

But also not sorry, because it’s seriously great stuff. The tangy flavors of lemon and rice vinegar in the dressing blend perfectly with the subtly earthy taste of cumin, the nuttiness of sliced almonds, the freshness of chopped tomatoes, and the sweetness of raisins. After three weeks of basically eating my heart out in delicious, occasionally coma-inducing bliss through England, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy, I simply couldn’t wait to create a homemade dish full of greens and vegan-friendly produce. Luckily, I kept a running memo pad throughout my travels of dishes that I wanted to try making (you’ll see them over the next few weeks!), and quinoa salad was at the top of my list. Can you guess where I was inspired?… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Salads, Vegetarian

Tofu Pineapple Veggie Rice Bowl with Tangy Asian Peanut Sauce

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChineseNYeats #CollectiveBias

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It feels like it’s been forever. It really has been forever, hasn’t it? HI!

Things have been flat-out crazy around here lately, hence the radio silence recently. I drafted up a Life Plan-of-Attack a few weeks ago that basically boiled my hours down to a fine dust: 63 hours of research, 20 hours of miscellaneous writing work, 15 hours of blogging, 15 hours for teaching prep, and 15 hours for swimming. That left 40 hours in the week for sleeping, and next to the word “social” on my whiteboard are two giant symbols:

“??”

Thankfully, it turns out that the weeks of sleepless fervor were well worth it, because now that we’re entering February (WHAT), the dissertation writing momentum is finally, finally starting to pick up. I’ve waded through what must be a quarter of the school library’s tomes on evolutionary theory and child development, not to mention haunted the local Starbucks in more stuporific dazes than I care to mention. Meanwhile, I’m slowly reintroducing parts of my social life back into its place, and guess what? Now that I’ve done some preemptive cramming, I actually get to spend this coming weekend rocking out with my fambam for Chinese New Year’s!

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CNY is kiiiiinda a crazy weeklong affair for my family. While we’re pretty Americanized in a lot of ways (helloooo, English major and not yet disowned! hooray!) this is one holiday on which our household definitely does NOT skimp.

The end of every year always starts with a head-to-toe house cleaning, followed by the plastering of new fortune papers and placing of tangerines all around the house. This year will be the year of the monkey, so we’ll spend the next lunar year in the company of the troop of cartoonized red-cheeked primates that will deck our walls.… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Parmesan Cheddar Broccoli and LEAN CUISINE® Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BalancedNewYear #CollectiveBias

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Being back in the pool this year feels SO wonderful. While I’m not a huge proponent of New Year’s resolutions in general, I did make it a goal to kick off 2016 by swimming 6 times a week.

Swim club has been great about keeping me right on track: this weekend, a few of us hit up the pool for some workouts and reminded me how fun it is to be back in a swim community again. After just a few weeks, it feels good to know that when my arms pull through the water, my body is actually inclined to move forward at a relatively fast pace again. I’ve even been motivated enough to squeeze in a few (just a few!) double days of morning and evening practices, which I honestly haven’t done since dinosaurs roamed this earth. Good lord, it’s like I’m actually making progress!

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With this zealous swim calendar and an even crazier work schedule, though, I’ve found the hard way that it takes a world-class juggling act to maintain any sort of balance in my life. After a week of solid swim practices and absolutely nothing in my fridge when I came home wet and hungry, I decided to swing by Walmart one weekend and scour the aisles for something satisfying, but balanced enough that I could eat right after workout.

I was on my way out of the store after picking up some broccoli and shredded cheese when I finally found the golden ticket: LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Collection Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. I probably can make this sound any cheesier if I wanted to, but it really was love at first sight, because if there’s one way to my heart of comfort food hearts, it’s mac & cheese.… Read more

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Filed under Healthy, Lunch & Dinner

Cheesy Garlic Cauliflower Breadsticks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EatLightEatRight #CollectiveBias

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I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling just a wee bit nostalgic now that the holiday season is over. Classes started again this week, which means that I’m back to being a responsible (er, “responsible” adult on a teaching schedule and that my three-day stretches of wearing only PJs are over. Research, teach, work, blog, repeat…

And then, of course, there’s the food, best enjoyed with the fam. Who wouldn’t miss the food?

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Comfort food with family and a healthy start to the new year might sound like an oxymoronic combination, but thankfully I’ve done my fair share of digging and discovered some neat ways to reconcile the two. You might have heard of the power of cauliflower–have you ever tried using it as a carb sub? If not, you’re TOTALLY in for a treat!

To be honest, I didn’t believe the hype until I tried it myself a few months ago. I made a version of these cheesy garlic cauliflower breadsticks and instantly fell in love with the major gooey oozing shredded cheese that I’d smothered all over the light, delightfully gluten-free cauliflower crust. But how does it work, precisely? So glad you asked…

In full-blown vegetable mode, cauliflower seems like a formidable substance to handle. Luckily, all you need to do here is give it a few good chops, throw everything in your food processor to create cauliflower “rice,” and then microwave the whole shebang! From there on out, I’m happy to report that it gets even easier…

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Microwave! Oh boy oh boy. After microwaving your cauliflower rice for 8-10 minutes, you’re ready to mix in some eggs, cheese, minced garlic, garlic salt, pepper, and dried basil. Then it’s off to the oven!… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Tomato Bisque + Veggie Corn Dogs

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallWithATwist #CollectiveBias

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Confession time: so by the time I finally got around to photographing these veggie corn dogs and writing this post last week, there was only one left. ONE. Apparently I had eaten all the others without realizing it (okay, I definitely realized where this was going and liked them too much to care), so that’s why there is a single veggie corn dog in these photos…

Growing up, I loved corn dogs. They hold a special place in my heart because whenever my mom and I went clothes shopping at the mall, we would always stop by the food court stands and buy two corn dogs, plus a big cup of freshly squeezed lemonade to share. Since transitioning to a 95% vegetarian lifestyle a few years ago, I began searching for alternative options that would fit the bill, but nothing seemed to stick (ha ha, get it?). Believe it or not, it’s hard to find a veggie corn dog that can stand on its own two feet! Er, wooden popsicle stick.

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I don’t care whether you’re vegetarian or vegan or pescatarian or an avid meat-eater–whatever you are, these veggie corn dogs are it. One of my favorite things about being a food blogger is getting asked to try new foods and rambling on about my favorite ones endlessly. The corn breading and veggie hot dog in the center are so on point!

Ramble ramble ramble.

I LOVE THESE VEGGIE CORN DOGS.

I personally can’t tell the difference between these and the original–if anything, these taste ten times better because they’re so light and don’t weigh me down after I devour one! Or two. Or four. Possibly right before swim practice.

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In other news, haaaave you met this tomato bisque?… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Lunch & Dinner

Apple Cheddar Veggie Meatball Skewers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeClean#CollectiveBias

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Everyone in my family has an obsession. My dad and brother are obsessed with football; I’m crazy about cooking (obviously); and my mom–well, she loves puzzle games and…paper towels.

I kid you not.When we went out for some quality grocery shopping time a few weeks ago while my dad and brother were at home watching the football game, she said to me: “Now where’s Viva?”

“What?”

“Viva. You know, Viva.

I had just begun to look around in bewilderment for a dog or person who might answer to this strange name when I looked up–and realized that we were standing in front in the paper towel aisle.

“Oh,” I said. “Ohhhhhh. VIVA.”

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My mom likes to tell the story about how she once visited a friend in Boston and brought her own paper towels with her, heaven forbid Massachusetts suddenly put a tax on all paper products and there was a towel shortage or something. The roll she brought with her was, predictably, a Viva® one–and the friend, as it turned out, must’ve made excellent use of it after my mom left, because the next week my mom received a phone call. It was her friend, who demanded to know how she had never used such incredibly soft, absorbent paper towels in her life.

Again, this is a true story.

And my mom, in usually fashion, simply replied:

Viva.”

“What?”

“VIVA.”

So we’re kind of Viva® purists over here.

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All of this brings me back to the grocery trip a few weeks ago. When the two of us finally got back from the store, scores were in full swing and my brother and dad were “OOOH”ing and “OHHHH”ing like madmen.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Snacks, Vegetarian

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola

This shop has been compensated by Vons. All opinions are mine alone. #AStockUpSale #Vons #CollectiveBias

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Whenever I get stressed, I go on these epic grocery store raids. They wouldn’t really be a problem, either–I mean, who doesn’t need 15 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch sitting around, right?–…IF I had a car for transporting all of my crazy impulse buys back to my place.

As it turns out, I don’t have a car, and with the first week of school upon us (FINALLY) stress levels are at simmering somewhere around a pleasant 7 out of 10. Apart from spending way too much time trying to figure out enrollment issues and kick-start a regular study group schedule with my fellow grads, I’ve also been going to Disneyland and watching a sneak peek screening of The Martian two nights ago um, not been going to Disneyland and definitely not spending my time watching awesome movie screenings. Pffft. (You guys have to see this movie, though.)

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Staying true to the spirit of stress shopping, I decided to take the afternoon off yesterday after class + 6 hours of extra office hours and make the 3-mile trek–yes, on my feet–down to Vons so that I could raid their aisles for some serious schooltime snack food.

Now, this is where things get silly. Have you ever walked into a grocery store with exactly two items on your shopping list…and come out carrying twenty instead? Oh, and here’s the real kicker: it’s only when you’re on the way home in your (hypothetical) car that you realize you’ve completely forgotten to buy the things for which you went to the store in the first place?

This happens to me all. The. Time.

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Now, when you’re without a car (like me) and weak (like me) and seriously distracted (like me), impulse buying + forgetfulness is not a good combo.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Easy DIY Peanut Butter Honey Greek Yogurt Scoops

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Have you ever heard that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?

Well, I’ve got a will–so can we pleeeeeease just have a few more weeks of summer? Please?

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Not that I have any reason to complain: here in the southern locales, the sun is still beaming and the temperature these days ranges from a svelte high 80s to a sweat-bullet-projecting low 100s…

But then again, who ever needed a REAL reason to gripe anyway? If we all waited for legitimate concerns to crop up before we started moaning and groaning about them, I’d never get to embark on all of my crazy life rants about schoolwork and parents and professors and cookie drama and everything else that makes up 100% 70% of my discussions here, and let’s face it: nobody wants to spend all day reading about my picture perfect imaginary world record winning collection of stuffed animals…

(well, except maybe me)

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The absurdly high end-of-summer temps is one of the big reasons why I’m still reluctant to go anywhere near my oven, even though it’s already the first week of September. My parents visited the other day and practically blew the lid of the place off in annoyance because I turned on the oven on the hottest evening of the week, so the whole place felt like the brimstone-and-flames inner core of Mount Doom…

So I’m sticking to no-bake snacks & bites for now. Which brings me to this awesome, creamy, protein-filled, no-bake, & Mount-Doom-free snack.

Haaaaave you met yogurt?

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When the lovely folks at Chobani reached out to me about whipping up a summer celebration recipe with their iconic yogurt as part of their #MadeWithChobani series, I just had to say yes. I’m kind of a diehard fan of their Greek yogurt–

and by kind of, I mean the “kind of” that you say when your in-laws ask you if you love chocolate cake and you say “kind of” just so that you don’t seem like that person who’s going to eat them out of cake and home, but in reality you love chocolate cake so “kind of” is kind of a really big lie.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Snacks, Snacks, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Vegan!)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampbellSavings #CollectiveBias

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You may find it surprising that, although I am a PhD student in English, there are plenty of commonplace words that I would not be able to define for you. Most recently, I heard a word that I had not heard in a very long time – about four years, actually – and that seemed like a ghostly echo from some long forgotten past.

The word: summer.

Can you please use that word in a sentence? 

“In ancient times, the period between two academic semesters, when occurring during the months of June, July, and August, was known as summer vacation.

“Of course, recent empirical studies conducted by a reputable PhD student in English Literature and her colleagues have demonstrated that the notion of “summer vacation” is purely mythical.”

I’m guessing 90% of you out there know that feeling. As the awesome lady of manners Maggie Smith once famously asked: “Wh-what is a weekend?”

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Summer may be in full swing for most of the educational world, but here in Grad School Land, every minute not spend researching dissertation materials is either spetd worrying about not spending enough time researching dissertation materials, or girding our loins for the Back-to-School teaching curriculum that, lo and behold, is only two months away. Now somebody tell me, WHEN AND HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

And I don’t want to hear any Interstellar jokes, okay?

Just the other day, I was mulling over the prospect of starting another school year and started doodling up a list in my notebook. (Note: I love love love making lists!) After jotting down a few thoughts, I realized what I was writing and scribbled a huge title across the top of the page:

<10 Things I Absolutely Do Not Want to Do After Getting Home from a Long Day at School!> <– “Work” also works.… Read more

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Lunch & Dinner, Vegetarian