Sunday, March 3, 2013

Veggie Bake

I decided to throw together a little veggie bake when I had a few different kinds of vegetables on hand and a jar of pasta sauce open.

Veggie Bake

- Roasted eggplant
- Sliced tomato
- Sliced zucchini
- Spices like basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika
- Pasta sauce
- Nutritional yeast

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a casserole dish - I used a small one since I wasn't using that many vegetables.  First add the eggplant.

Then the tomatoes.

Then the zucchini.

Woops, blurry picture.

Then sprinkle on each of the spices.

And then pour pasta sauce over the top.

Followed by a very liberal topping of nutritional yeast.  You could definitely use cheese here instead, if you prefer.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the sauce looks set around the edges and the vegetables are tender.

I enjoyed a portion with some delicious figs on the side.

I think it would also be great served with some noodles or rice, or with some crusty bread to soak up any extra sauce!

It reheats well, too.  This recipe is extremely adaptable - just use whatever vegetables you have on hand and as many or as few spices as you prefer.

I hope you're having a good weekend!  Here's some pictures from mine.

On Friday I had a rare day with no set obligations, so I decided to spend some time at the mall.  I had a coupon for free underwear (gotta love Victoria's Secret) and a coupon for a free tea from Teavana.  Other than that I just browsed and got in some mall cardio.  Oh and I treated myself to my favorite lunch - a chicken pesto crepe and some Perrier!  So good.

Last night I went out to dinner with some friends to a great place called Happy Dog.  It's pretty incredible - you choose whether you want a beef or vegan hot dog, and then you can choose AS MANY toppings as you want, and it all costs $5.  And you can also get French fries or tater tots with unlimited sauces for $3.  Um, yes please.  I got a beef hot dog with marinated cremini mushrooms, caramelized onions, sun dried tomato tapenade, and applewood smoked bacon.  I also got an order of delicious tots with homemade ketchup.  And an extremely delicious beer per my friend Laura's enthusiastic recommendation - Willoughby Brewing Co. peanut butter cup coffee porter.  Yes, you read that right - peanut butter cup coffee!!  Tasty.

In addition to delicious and affordable food, Happy Dog has live music, so it's basically my idea of a perfect hangout spot.

I got to hang out with some great friends, too - pretty good weekend in my book.

And here's a sunset picture because I can't resist.  Especially these days when anything other than a gray sky is a rarity!

Song of the day:

"Heartbeat" by Kopecky Family Band.  I'm going to see their concert next week and I'm so excited!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It's a miracle.  I'm actually writing a blog post...  my first one since the beginning of January.  Woops.

So for those of you who don't know, I am a pretty picky eater.  I don't like quite a few things, like seafood (I've tried!), mustard, cheese, etc.  Actually, I do like a couple kinds of cheese:  Kraft macaroni and cheese (but only the shapes - not the normal elbow noodles - it's all about the cheese to noodle ratio), and cheese on pizza.  But I think we all know that Kraft mac and cheese has less than stellar nutrition stats and ingredients.  (But the shapes are fun, you have to admit - who doesn't want to hang out with Spiderman or Spongebob at dinner?)  Also, I've been avoiding dairy as much as possible for the last few months - I was getting a lot of upset stomachs, and my skin was going kind of haywire, and I think avoiding dairy has really helped.

Anyways... when I saw Angela's recipe for Butternut Squash Mac 'n Cheeze, I knew I had to try it.  And I'm so glad that I did.  Finally, a homemade mac and cheese that I can enjoy!  And this one definitely does have some stellar nutrition stats.

I used a fresh butternut squash, extra virgin olive oil, Earth Balance, almond milk, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard (even though I don't like mustard, I couldn't taste this specifically), garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice, kosher salt, pepper, whole wheat shell pasta (not as fun as shapes, but close!), spinach, and broccoli.

Even though it wasn't quite as good warmed up as it was freshly-made, it was still really tasty and I got 4 or 5 meals out of it!  I heart leftovers.  I know, I'm weird.

So if you're like me and don't like cheese (please tell me there's someone else out there like me!), or if you're avoiding dairy, or if you love butternut squash, or if you just like good, healthy food - try this recipe!  You'll like it.

I'm really going to try to post more regularly.  I haven't been doing a great job of balancing school stuff with healthy eating and exercise, so I need to hold myself more accountable.

Song of the day:

I can't stop listening to "Emmylou" by First Aid Kit.  It's heartbreakingly beautiful.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Homemade Turkey Soup

Happy New Year!

I really don't know where the time has gone, but way back in November, I cooked my first turkey for a Thanksgiving-themed potluck that I hosted for my friends.  I was very nervous but I think it turned out fairly well, and overall it was actually pretty simple.  Even though my friends made a good dent in the turkey, I still had quite a bit left over.  I enjoyed adding it to salads for lunch and heating it up for dinner, but I got to the point where I really didn't want any more turkey, so I decided to put the rest into a soup.

Woops, forgot to get a picture before the turkey was carved.  Sorry for this blurry one!
I just added ingredients as I went and hoped for the best.  It kind of reminded me of the "button soup" story - did anyone else read that when they were younger?  Anyways, I was actually really surprised by how well
it turned out!

Turkey "Button" Soup

- 15 cups of water
- 5 vegetable bouillon cubes
- about 10 green onions, sliced
- about 4 carrots, sliced
- leftover turkey, torn into pieces
- about half a bag of frozen spinach
- 1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- a pinch of dried rosemary
- a hefty shake of dried basil
- 2 bay leaves
- about half a bag of whole wheat egg noodles

Simmer all of the ingredients, except for the egg noodles, in a big pot for about an hour or so, and then add the egg noodles and let it simmer for about another 30 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves before eating.

I'm not very good at photographing soup/ steamy things.
This recipe is extremely easy to customize based on the ingredients you have on hand - you could substitute another type of leftover meat (i.e. chicken, ham, beef roast, etc.) or leave out the meat altogether, use another kind of onion, different kinds of frozen or fresh leafy greens, use different kinds of beans, change up the spices, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

This is a much better picture of the soup, which I had as part of my dinner one night.  I also had a salad with romaine lettuce, a crumbled carrot, beet & bean burger, sliced almonds, and homemade croutons, with half a grapefruit on the side.  
The soup kept well in the fridge for quite awhile and was great to heat up for lunch or dinner.  Even then I couldn't finish it all, so I froze the rest of it and will pull it out sometime during the next semester when I need a quick already-made meal.  I love that I know exactly what's in it, as opposed to store bought cans of soup.

Normally when I make up recipes as I go (which is a very rare occurrence), the results don't turn out very well, but this was definitely an exception.  I'm glad I learned that homemade soup is actually very simple and doesn't take much effort at all!

I hope the new year is off to a great start for everyone!  I got a new phone for Christmas and I've been having fun playing around with the camera on it.  I'm really excited that it can easily take panoramic pictures! I took this picture on a little family trip to Michigan.

Song of the day:

"Coyote" by The Lonely Forest.  My friend Caitlin turned me on to this band and I'm kind of obsessed with this whole album, which is called Arrows.