What I’ve Been Eating

I’ve been trying to cook more to avoid the “ohmygosh I’m too hungry to make something at home but not so hungry that I can’t spend ten minutes prowling the Whole Foods hot bar and another ten in line at the cash register where I spent 1/5 of what I make in a day of substitute teaching” frenzy. At least I don’t have to wash any dishes. Lately, my go-to meal is soup. It’s nice to eat something warm when you keep your apartment at 55 degrees in the middle of winter…and it’s simple! I just throw a bunch of stuff into a pot and let it cook for a while. Last week I made a giant pot of chili with black beans, pinto beans, and lentils and I had lunch and dinner planned for every day of the week. (I don’t want to think about chili for a while).

Today, I was inspired by a recipe from Angela at Oh She Glows. When I read about this vegan tortilla soup, I knew it’d be something I would enjoy so I used it as a guide to make my own. The ingredients in mine:

  • Diced carrots/celery/onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Diced zucchini, red pepper, and green pepper
  • A small can of green chilies
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies (I really like green chilies)
  • A can of black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • Vegetable broth
  • Cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper
  • Cilantro (I buy frozen cubes of cilantro at Trader Joes…best idea ever)

And then I topped it with avocado, cheese (not vegan) and crispy tortilla strips that I made from a corn tortilla. They were tossed with a little olive oil, sprinkled with chili powder and salt, and broiled until they were crispy I got impatient and took them out. The tortilla strips and avocado were incredibly addicting on top of the soup. Next time, I’d leave the cheese off. The soup doesn’t even need it.

And then I did what anyone without a job would do. I ate lunch in bed.

I’m just trying to stay warm.

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The Best Thing I Ever Ate

Okay…this lunch I made might not be the best thing I EVER ate (props to The Grill Room and other Portland restaurants for earning that distinction) but it’s definitely the most delicious creation I’ve made for lunch at school.

I started by chopping and sauteing a summer squash, zucchini, red pepper, and a yellow onion with some garlic and olive oil. Once they were soft and starting to brown a little bit, I added a generous amount of chopped fresh spinach and some dried basil and let the spinach wilt. Then I mixed in some brown basmati rice that I made in my rice cooker (it was a little overcooked because for some reason I’m awful at making rice, even with a rice cooker. #fail) Then, the best part: I crumbled some herb goat cheese into the mixture once it had cooled.

I put it in the fridge overnight and ate it cold this morning (at the high school we eat lunch at 10:30 every day…and I’m always starving by then) and it was amazing. I thought I wasn’t a fan of goat cheese but I was definitely wrong.

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Heaven on Earth

It’s no secret that I love food. Not just any food, though- I love GOOD food. And there’s nothing more delicious than hummus that was made in the next town over and kale that was picked that very morning. Local food is beneficial in so many ways. It is more nutritious because it is picked at the peak of ripeness. Produce that has been shipped from across the United States is picked before it’s ripe so it withstands the journey…and also loses some of its nutritional value. Environmentally, eating local produce (and other products too!!) uses much less gas and energy to transport it from farm to plate. It also supports the local economy! For every dollar spent on local food, up to $3 circulates back into the economy. Local produce is often organic even though it is not certified.

This is why nothing could make me happier than spending a morning at the Portland Farmer’s Market. Wednesday I took my mom and Cash to the Market in Monument Square. It was a gorgeous day and there was so much to look at.

So much green stuff…I felt like a kid on Christmas. My mom picked out some cilantro and a basil plant. I talked her into getting a head of kale as well so I can make kale chips. Mom also bought banana greek yogurt and herbed soft cheese. We couldn’t resist buying three containers of the best hummus I’ve ever tried and fresh baked pita bread which quickly became lunch as soon as we got home.

I still can’t decide which flavor I liked more.

In addition to food, the Farmer’s Market also has clothing, jewelry, coffee, flowers, and these gorgeous colorful prints.

There was even a band!

Cash was very popular as well.

Although he did fall asleep in my arms halfway through the market.

For more information on the Portland Farmer’s Market, click here.

And if you’d like to join Cash and I at the Farmer’s Market one day, feel free. It’s like Heaven on earth

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

So I was inspired to create this recipe when my former roommate Corinne brought a similar (and equally delicious) salad back to school with her that her mom had made. I had no recipe but decided I wanted to recreate it. I literally ate the whole batch myself in a couple days when I made it at school. Trust me, it’s addicting.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Step 1.

Cook 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water on the stovetop. Catch up on reading blogs. Remember that you are cooking something on the stove and check on quinoa to make sure you haven’t burned it yet. Stir and let cool in a big mixing bowl.

Step 2.

Push aside all the junk on the island to take iPhone pictures of produce. Carefully arrange tomatoes (from Maine!!) so the light hits them just right. Then remember you’re only taking pictures with an iPhone so it probably doesn’t matter.

Remind yourself to remove stickers from produce so it doesn’t accidentally end up in the salad. By the way, I only used 3 of these tomatoes.

Step 3.

Scrape the seeds from the peppers into the trash can while wondering why in the world the trash smells so bad.

While you’re at it, remove the seeds and pulp from the tomatoes as well.

Step 4.

Chop the peppers and tomatoes and dice half a red onion that you almost forget to take the skin off of. Arrange in piles on cutting board, placing the red pepper and red tomatoes on either side of the green pepper so it looks better. Give up when you don’t know what to do with the onions.

Step 5.

Drain and rinse a can of black beans that were purchased from your favorite grocery store.

Add beans and vegetables to quinoa and mix. Realize that you forgot to take off a sticker from one of the peppers and fish it out of the salad.

Step 6.

Make the dressing: squeeze the crap out of two questionable looking limes and collect the juice in a small mixing bowl. Add a few glugs olive oil (maybe 1/4 cup), some salt, and some pepper. Whisk vigorously while thinking about how great of an arm workout you’re getting. Add in some finely minced cilantro (I used half the bunch).

Step 7.

Pour dressing over salad and mix so that everything is coated. Dish out three lunch-sized portions to hide in the back of the fridge because you’re worried your sister is going to eat the entire bowl while you’re at work. Cover, refrigerate, and cross your fingers that it lasts longer than a couple days.