Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WIAW: Friendsgiving

This past weekend my friends and I decided to have a last minute Friendsgiving. What started out as my friend inviting us over to watch the Newlywed’s on DVD and order take out, turned into an autumn wine filled feast ending with hooting and hollering over Magic Mike watching a classy film ;) A bit different than the original plan, but SO much fun.

....yes I brought over my own decorations, napkins, and candles to create a tablescape for our intimate gathering. Don't judge!
I was especially excited for Friendsgiving because there were a few recipes that I had been dying to try. I revamped my Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash to be more crowd friendly and made brussel sprouts for the first time (both vegan). With Thanksgiving right around the corner TOMORROW, I decided to share some of our recipes with you :)
Peas and Crayons
As always, hugs to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting the party. I CANNOT wait to see what everyone posts up this week. You should check it out too. I love Thanksgiving so much, and I am so excited for it to come because that means that the Holiday Season is officially kicked off!!! Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though. Can’t be forgetting what we all came here for….. here is What I Ate: Friendsgiving Edition (recipes at the bottom)!

Quinoa with Raisins and Butternut Squash
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Salt

"Dinner" side of the table. My friend Susy made mozz stix from Pinterest. I did not partake in these cheesy little guys, but my friends said they tasted kind of like healthy mozzarella sticks. Not sure if that's good or bad? We also had french bread and lots of wine. 
Dessert side of the table. My vegan re-vamped dark chocolate chip oatmeal bars with tons of extra spices for the season (recipe to post soon), and my friend's chocolate cake with vanilla icing. BOTH vegan! The chocolate cake was Ah-Mazing. So decadent and chocolatey. The secret ingredient is apple cider vinegar, who knew?! The recipe has been in her family for generations. So glad we were able to have a slice (or two) of this home-made heaven.

 And that's Friendsgiving!
...now here are the recipes!

Quinoa with Raisins and Butternut Squash-
The measurements in this recipe are not exact because I just kept adding cinnamon, salt, and pepper to taste. Feel free to add spices to your liking as well!

1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups water
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 T cinnamon
¼ cup of raisins
1 cup diced butternut squash
olive oil
a few pinches of salt and pepper

1.   Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
2.   Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and dice into ½ inch sized pieces. 
3.   Spread squash out on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and evenly sprinkle on a tablespoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Toss to coat. 
4.   Bake squash for about 20 minutes, flip/toss, and bake for another 20 minutes (or until soft and golden brown). 
5.   While the squash is baking, put the quinoa and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Let boil until all of the water is absorbed (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. 
6.   Add raisins, balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 2 pinches of salt, and 1 pinch of pepper to the quinoa. Stir until combined. 
7.   Add butternut squash to the quinoa mixture, and combine. 
8.   Season to taste, and enjoy! This dish can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature, and it’s still delicious :)

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Salt-
This is literally one of the simplest recipes in the world. Also, who wouldn’t love a vegetable that comes on a crazy looking stalk?!

1 brussel sprout stalk
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of garlic salt (I used McCormick's Gourmet Garlic Salt. It’s AMAZING.)
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of pepper

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
2.  Cut the individual brussel sprouts off the stalk, and trim the stems off of each sprout.
3.  Cut the brussel sprouts in half, and place into a bowl. 
4.  Add the olive oil, garlic salt, salt, and pepper, and toss until combined.
5.  Spread the brussel sprouts evenly on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.
6.  Remove tray from the oven, and lower the oven temp to 350 degrees. 
7.  Toss the brussel sprouts, and return to the oven for about 20 more minutes. Keep an eye on them in the last 10 minutes or so. You want them brown and crisp, but not burnt!

What’s your go-to Thanksgiving recipe?
If you’re a vegan, how are you approaching eating this holiday season?
Whooooo’s excited for the holiday season to officially kick off tomorrow!? (can you tell I am?) 

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Remember back forever ago when I said I was going to post which acorn squash recipe I decided to try? Welp....better late than never!!

I chose the Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash from about.com! I made a few alterations to the recipe, however, to accommodate what I had in my pantry and my personal tastes. Here is the recipe with my adjustments:

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash-
  • 2 1 acorn squash
  • approximately 1 tbsp vegan margarine olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water (I used water)
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (didn't have any...)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion (I was too lazy....)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup candied or regular pecans (I'm allergic)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

 Slice acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Spread a bit of vegan margarine olive oil on the inside of the squash, then place on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until soft. 

Simmer quinoa, covered, in vegetable broth or water for 12-14 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Add diced onion during the final 5 minutes of cooking time.

Remove quinoa from heat and mix in the raisins, pecans, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and optional nutritional yeast. Season generously with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.

Divide the quinoa stuffing amongst the four two squash halves, gently spooning in.

And that's it! This makes amazing leftovers as well. I diced up the leftover acorn squash and added it into the quinoa with a dash of cinnamon. Yummy lunch for work!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WIAW: Fall backs

Normally I don't write too much on WIAW... butttttt I haven't blogged in a few days, so here goes a quick venting sesh. Feel free to scroll right on down to the food!

Have you ever been eating really well, and then you make one bad move at one meal and everything goes awry? That happened to me last week. I was doing SO well with the whole vegan thing, and then I went out to dinner on Friday and didn't want to be annoying and ask about every ingredient that was in the side dish I ordered, so out it came. Covered in parmesan cheese. I'm cheap and didn't want to waste the money, so I ate it anyway. It wasn't even very good (how good can polenta be at Bertucci's anyway) and I felt like crap for the rest of the night. I figured since I felt like crap and messed up at dinner, I might as well continue my bad streak. Womppp womp. Poor decision there. Let's just say my weekend nights reflected a lot of chocolate caramels and brownie brittle. My body was not happy. Woke up with a processed food "hangover" Saturday morning. I tried to make things better that day, had a healthy lunch of an egg white ratoutille omlette at Parc in Philly with some wheat sourdough bread (avoided the butter!), but yet again when I got home, I had that awful feeling that I effed up the night before so I deserve to feel like crap again. Back to the brownie brittle and caramels I went. Stayed up until 4:30am watching "L.A. Complex" on hulu. Slept til 1pm on Sunday. WOOF. Sunday was a good day, though. Ate well all around, with the exception of a piece of birthday cake for my cousin's 19th birthday. It was worth it to celebrate her bday with her, though. 

Needless to say, my stomach was NOT happy with me by end of day Sunday. But I feel that I have redeemed myself thus far this week. Back on the "vegan" track, and feeling great (I say "vegan" because twice I have eaten egg whites when out for brunch for an extra protein boost). Back at the gym as well! Feels amazing to have those endorphines flowinnnnn.

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting this week's party.

These have been my go-to eats and products that I'm loving this week and last:

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes- I "veganized" my old version of these pancakes using 2 chia eggs instead of egg whites, and I added pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice as well. Even more amazing and delicious than my first version. LOVE.

Veggie Sushi!- This is a super exciting new go-to for me, having just tried sushi last month. Wegmans actually makes deliciousss veggie sushi. I wasn't a huge fan of the ginger wrapped version, but it was all still good, nonetheless!

Edamame- So easy to just pop into the microwave or a skillet to heat up. I also tried these for the first time last month. I swear my entire outlook on vegan possibilities has changed because of all these new foods I keep trying!

Vegan Frozen Burgers- Super easy and quick lunch at work. I brought a whole box to keep in my office freezer in case I don't have time to make a fresh lunch in the morning!

Chia Seeds- An everyday staple, especially now for baking purposes.

Lite Silk Soy Milk- favorite brand so far. It's delicious, light, and tastes just like milk. All around win.

Sabra Hummus To Go- I found this at a Jersey rest stop on Sunday. What a perfect snack for a long car ride! Only complaint, it cost $4.27.... I could have purchased almost 2 whole tubs of hummus for that much, but hey that's what you pay for convenience!

Starbucks Holiday Cups!!!- I was SO freaking excited to see these at the 'Bucks on Sunday when I ordered my Grande Soy Latte! I love holiday themed things. I can't wait to start listening to Christmas music and go Christmas shopping!

I have also been searching for an acorn squash recipe for the past few days and stumbled across these:
Roasted Acorn Squash
Roasted Acorn Squash with Penne (I would omit the pancetta)
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Check back tomorrow to see which recipe I chose!

What have been your go-to healthy foods lately?
Do you ever get stuck in a pattern of bad eating?
What do you do to get yourself back on track?