Friday, March 14, 2014

cooking with b: quinoa detox salad recipe

as i mentioned in my last post, i've decided that occasionally i'm going to share some of the creations and recipes that i make with you, in case you want to try them. because in all honesty, i am a pretty good cook.

one of my biggest efforts to keep my "healthy-ish" lifestyle going is finding new things to take for lunch each week. going out is too expensive and too easy to add a side of french fries to. so i try to bring at least 4 days a week to save money and calories. but since i normally take the same thing every day for a week to cut down time and money, it can get monotonous. so i'm always on the hunt for something new to spice up my routine.

this past weekend, i went to brunch at le pain quotidien, which is french for something i never remember, with my friend nicole. we split the "organic quinoa detox salad," and it was awesome. i mean, just look at how pretty it is: 

so colorful! so pretty! so obviously not my photo 
normally, i'm in agreement with my girl honey b on all things salad:

but this one was surprisingly filling, fresh and tasty. and as i was enjoying it, i was thinking that i could easily recreate this myself to take to work for lunch this week. so i did, but with my own enhanced twist.

i'm not a photographer. and i use tupperware. oh you fancy, huh?

so before we get into the "how to make phase" please note that i do not know how to write recipes correctly, and normally i just throw things together. the directions will be stream of consciousness because that's all i really know how.

quinoa detox salad: adapted from le pain quotidien (i'm trying to give credit so i don't get sued)
makes 1 large salad

in a big bowl, start with 2 big handfuls of spinach and baby kale each.

add a handful of grape tomatoes - about 7 or so.

take a medium carrot and either shred it with a box grater or peel into ribbons with your vegetable peeler, which is what i did. add that to the bowl.

thinly slice about a quarter of a cucumber, or as much as you like for crunch.

add a big handful of chopped red cabbage (i normally buy pre-chopped because i'm lazy, but a small head of cabbage is so cheap so you might as well chop it yourself.)

now here is where things get complicated: quinoa and tofu.

quinoa: cook according to package directions, but add in a heaping tablespoon of tumeric to the water before you turn the water on and give it a swirl. once it's cooked, stir in a big handful of chopped parsley.

tofu: drain as usual then cube. season with your favorite spices - i go with garlic, salt and pepper. add to a heated non-stick pan that has a slight coating of pam, just in case. cook over medium heat until warmed through and slightly brown all sides. it doesn't matter if it gets crumbly, it's all going to be okay.

add a 1/3rd cup of the cooked quinoa and 1/3rd cup of the tofu to your salad.

then, add 2 tablespoons of some kind of hummus to the plate. since the original salad had sliced avocado on it, i've been using hope spicy avocado hummus, and it's been a good kick for the taste.

top with some kind of tahini-based dressing and the juice of a lemon half. toss to coat and then chow down.

according to my calorie tracking app, it's around 430 calories, 13g of fat, 14g of fiber and 23g of protein. not too shabby for a full meal. plus i'm sure it's got like a ton of other important nutrients and other good stuff in it.

so just eat the salad and let me know what you think. it may sound daunting, but it's really not. but i bet if you served it at an impromptu brunch, people would be impressed. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

MARCH-ing on

march is my favorite month of the year. because it has a few of my favorite things:
  1. my #birthweek: yes, i'm a brat who not only celebrates for a week, but also created a custom hashtag that i use for any and all events associated with it. i'm sure this is one of the reasons my friends secretly dislike me.
    my excitement over cake last year. cake is ALWAYS exciting. photo cred: my dear platt
  2. st. patrick's day: the kickoff point for said #birthweek, i always enjoy any reason to celebrate my theoretical irish heritage. particularly if it includes drinking mass quantities of good beer. and occasionally doing three  a car bomb. i know it's amateur hour, but i can't help myself. 
  3. SPRING! while my girl elsa and i agree on many things, 
    obviously. elsa's no fool.
    there is one thing that i simply cannot get through my head.
    the cold actually has been bothering me. a lot. for months. with nary an end in sight. but now that it's march, spring is theoretically here. (though it did flurry on my commute this morning). but i went out this past weekend in a dress and NO TIGHTS. and it was sheer pleasure. thanks for that march. 
  4. cataversary: a year ago, i adopted my furball buddy and life has been great ever since. 
    i mean, look at that face. d
  5. march madness: weirdly enough, i wasn't super into college basketball always, despite my love of any and all things gators. but i've realized how exciting and fun it is, regardless of how good your team is. luckily, my team's been pretty good lately. especially this year. i can't wait to watch them dance their way to success. 
    please note the arms on young (#4). they are literally what my dreams are made of. 
so basically, march is the best month. and i'm actually really excited for the 2014 edition, because i've spent the past two months focusing on what i want, and not going to lie, it's fucking great. i've found a new hot yoga studio that i'm obsessed with. i've created a few new recipes that are delish and healthy - which i'm going to share in a blog post in the near future - that aren't impossible to make in my miniscule kitchen. i've said no to things that i didn't want to do and felt zero residual guilt. and i have an appointment in a week to officially add the color pink to my hair, something i've been toying with for months on months on months. 

i feel like i'm heading into my last year of my twenties with a "woo!" instead of an "eek!" which is what i've been anticipating. the idea of aging is never an appealing one, but i'm choosing to embrace it instead of running from it this year. and maybe it'll truly become the #yearofbetsy that i've been working for. 
penny hartz: my spirit animal
but then again, come see me when the big 3-0 is looming. i'll probably be slightly less cool about it.