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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lunchhhhes

Yep, more of me actually too lazy to make lunch despite really needing to save money:

Lentil, kale, asparagus salad in a grain mustard dressing from Paradis. This was pretty perfect. Eaten in the other park perviously mentioned but I did not take photos of the environs because it was apparently the site for an open-call casting of White Girl, whatever that is, and I didn't want the line of white girls to ask me questions.

Whole Foods bar: fattoush salad, sans pita, with three falafel, a bit of tabbouleh, and some melting hummus eaten in the park in 102 degrees. The salady stuff stayed cool. The hummus was obliterated by heat. It was all still very tasty.

Zatar-spiced chopped salad over lentil-bulghur tabbouleh with cucumbers, pepper, and watermelon radish, also from Paradis.
One of the reasons I like Paradis is because it appears they make a shit-ton of one basic ingredient (this week was apparently lentils) but find infinite creative ways in which to use it up. This is my sort of cooking - get the hard part over with all at once and then play around with the easier (and more raw) other fun ingredients and variations.
Looks like this week's theme was legume-y protein over delicious raw veg. It works.

Quantum Leap

Things have been sort of weird lately. And when I say weird, I mean, let's not talk about it. Today was a little less weird than usual so G and I celebrated and went out for dinner at Quantum Leap, a mostly vegetarian place in the West Village.
G got a Fiesta burger (veggie burger topped with pepper jack cheese, chipotle BBQ sauce, guac, and pico de gallo) , the only thing he ever orders at QL ("Why stop now?"). Indeed. I tried to take a photo of it for you but he was already halfway through it and I didn't want to embarrass him. Let's just say, we asked for exxxtra napkins.
I opted for the Asian Soba Salad (cold soba with Asian veggies, green seaweed, hiziki, marinated tofu, green and red cabbage with wasabi-shoyu sauce).


It was pretty good. The carrots were a little dry and the onions seemed out of place. The hiziki was weirdly flavored but I'm picky with seaweeds. However, I don't even usually like (green) seaweed salad and this one was very good. It was fun to eat mixed with the soba. The tofu was well-cooked and marinated in some sort of ginger-y sauce, which was a nice counterflavor to the salty shoyu. It was a fun plate of texture and flavor.
Also, 2 for 6 dollar Miller High Lifes! It made for a good night.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sweet Treats

I went for a therapy consultation (yeah, I know) after work yesterday. I'm kind of proud because it was a big step towards maybe getting my head on a little bit better and is actually long overdue. Whatever. I grabbed something at Whole Foods that I could eat for a quick dinner between work and the session (vegetable juice and a green Vega bar) and then I grabbed a couple other things just for a treat cuz I was so dern proud of myself.
This Righteously Raw chocolate bar:


(In which my hand looks maaassssivvveee). The caramel-y inside is made with dates and lucuma, a fruit that naturally has a caramel flavor. It isn't gooey or anything but it is soft and creamy, almost. The bar is pretty expensive (7 bux) but at least that forces me to take my time with it. It's also super rich. The chocolate isn't bitter at all, for being 90%!
I also got this raw Go Chia Nopal (!) bar from GoHunza. I occasionally buy their brand of superfood berries and cacao nibs and usually only ogle their sort-of expensive bars (this one was 2.36 or something weird like that.)


I wasn't really sure what to expect, because nopal is a cactus (that people make into tacos etc.) and I've only had it in savory dishes (like, uh, tacos). But it was really good. The bar had a nice crunch from the chia seeds and nuts. The coconut wasn't particularly noticeable but if you've had apricot kernels before, you can pick out that flavor. I also really liked the bit of kick from the chili! Definitely left a bit of spice in yr mouth.
Anyway, I guess that's another thing I do that "they" say you shouldn't - reward myself with food gifts but, hell with that. Rules, maaaannnnn, bringing me dowwwwnnn. (Also maybe partially why I am in therapy.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lunchtime in the City

Lunch today was cool (temperature-wise) and simple (do I do anything else?)


Brown rice, thinly sliced cucumber, shredded carrot, scallion, crumbled tofu tossed with rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and (post-photo) sriracha.
Tasty but kinda boring (maybe?), so I thought I'd also give you a couple of my lunchtime-y rituals and surroundings - eating while reading (I know people say not to do it and to be "in yr moment" of eating, but it's a good book! And yes, I'm a big baseball fan.)


Eating while gazing across the street at Union Square Park:



I usually eat in Union Square Park or in another close, small park (pics soon??). It's no calm and quiet lunch, for sure, but it's sunshine and greenery in NYC. You can see the George Washington statue in the left side of the bottom photo, and the gorgeous ever-present construction of the city in the top.
And just for another glimpse at the stuff I see everyday, here's a bit of a bright spot on the sad walk to the train going to work in the mornings:



Somebody recently put up these statue/altar-y things, complete with candles, and I love them! One morning there was even a pad on the ground in front of the lady, as if someone were kneeling there, praying. There's also a garden box with a creche-like scene of lambs and dogs...
Anyway, I remember enjoying seeing shots of where you guys eat yr lunch - I think either Shen or someone showed their cubicle, which I thought was cute. Thank GOD (or whatever that lady statue's name is) I'm allowed an hour to wander around the city, so I thought I'd just give you a glimpse of that alongside my tofu salad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fruit Salad

Okay, so I have a lot of weird compulsions but the one pertinent for today's post is that I constantly buy bananas. Haha, I know that's not the craziest thing I could possibly do but it's a little bizarre and usually means a lot of fruit flies and frozen bananas in the apartment. I can't see a banana and not buy some, even if I already have some.
Here's a recent breakfast using up one of the, like, six bananas that were in the kitchen:


banana, cherries, strawberries, blackberries dusted with unsweetened coconut flakes and with a squeeze of lemon.
How do you guys use up your bananas?? I really ought to bake some banana bread soon. Or up my intake to two bananas a day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Spring Salad in Summer

What with all the rain today, it finally cooled down and I was actually inspired to make something low-impact and fresh with some typically spring-y flavors.

Spring Fennel Salad
                   serves 2

1 fennel bulb
1/4 onion
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper
1 c. cooked brown rice
8 chopped black olives
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
dried dill

-Thinly slice fennel bulb and onion and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Let marinate for at least one hour.
-In the meantime, cook rice unless you already have some made.
-Divide into two bowls: spinach, topped with warm rice, olives, sunflower seeds, and (hopefully by now) slightly wilted fennel/onion mix.
-Dust with dill and extra black pepper.


Yah so this is super simple but really delicious and pretty versatile. Switch up the grains if you want. It would also taste delicious with chopped zucchini, avocado, or fresh peas, none of which I had in the house but wish I had. I happen to like fennel a lot but some people don't. It's kind of sweet, which is countered well in the salad with the olives. You could also roast the fennel to mellow the flavor out, but I like the crunch.
The end.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Adventures in Eating Gluten-Free and Raw

Most of you know that I already eat primarily gluten-free and high-raw, but I do this by default. I prefer the simplicity and freshness of raw food and tend to feel a bit bloated and over-full when I eat products that are gluten-based (that is to say, I'm fine with soy sauce and beer and the like - just not bread, crackers, or pasta, etc.).
But I was curious to try a product explicitly marketed as "gluten-free" to see how it worked as a substitute. I picked up some brown rice tortillas from Trader Joe's (a dangerous place to go if you've recently been grocery-shopping deprived) and made a wrap for lunch today:


The package does note that the tortillas are fragile and best warmed, so I threw it in the oven at 170* for about three minutes until it was a little more flexible than straight out of the bag. Topped with hummus, onion, tofu, tomatoes, greens mix, avocado, and a little chipotle salsa. (The camera lost the photo! Sorry!) I was immediately reminded why I prefer raw wraps - using collards or chard as the base - over even tortillas containing wheat. The wrap hardened back up quickly and fell apart in a different place each time I tried to take a bite. The wrap itself was also pretty tasteless and just seemed unnecessary. Utensil-free food can be easy and fun but this wasn't really worth it. I needed to get a fork to eat the stuff that fell out onto the plate, anyway. So, fail. Sorry. For those of you who eat GF tortillas more often, is there a specific way you warm it to make it more flexible? Maybe a microwave would work better but I don't use those... Or is there a different brand you prefer?
As for the raw adventure, inspired by Sarah and her dehydrator experiments of late, I FINALLY (I've had this thing for a year or more and it hasn't been used) pulled my dehydrator off the top of the cabinets and tried to make a version of these chocolate GoRaw cookies that I've been snacking on recently.
The ingredients are pretty simple; soaked raw sesame seeds, shredded coconut, dates, and cacao. I was out of dates so I used raw agave in my batch - also my sesame seeds are almost certainly roasted so the cookies weren't really raw. But I mixed the ingredients together (plus a bit of ground flaxmeal to hold it together) and dehydrated them at 105* for almost 8 hours! And they STILL weren't at desired crunchitude. I mean, they still tasted good but I felt like they probably would have dried out just the same if I had left them out in the air for that amount of time. And I didn't know how to form them, so they're basically crumbles and not cookies. They were tasty, nonetheless.
I had them atop a blueberry/banana/spinach/spirulina/goji berry smoothie this morning:


and later, as a snack, with some fresh cherries. This would have been good with some rice milk too.


So, I'll keep working with the dehydrator, probably using a couple actual recipes at first. At least I am less intimidated by the thing now. But in both instances today, I feel like I really just have a particular way I like to eat - rawish with minimal prep (which raw dehydrator cooking is usually anything but) and minimally processed (which GF food CAN BE but often isn't - xanthan gum, among other chemical additives to make for a long ingredient list).
Anyway, stay tuned for perhaps some fun experiments but probably a lot of the same old.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Stir Fry

Well, I didn't make it outside today for groceries (or anything else). I'd like to get to a friend's birthday party tomorrow and I want to rest my foot up as much as possible before then.
There were probably a couple random plates I could have thrown together with the food in the apartment but the broccoli and bell pepper were getting a little sad and everything else just wasn't a meal meal. However, reading Jes' post about her farm-fresh veggies, I was reminded of the ever-versatile and oh-so-easy stir fry! I rarely consider that option because I like to eat high raw, especially if I had such a huge selection of fresh vegetables like she did. But the dish is also perfect for languishing produce (and the last of the brown rice I made last week).


Brown rice, red bell pepper, broccoli, carrot, daikon, mushrooms, celery, snap peas, ginger, onion, and garlic (I'm embarassed to say exactly how old some of these veggies were) were lightly cooked in a skillet with about a TBS of olive oil and enough water to steam-fry. The sauce I added was pretty simple, just soy sauce and rice vinegar. Topped it all off with sesame seeds and sriracha.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Invalid!

Well, I sprained my ankle. We have a fair amount of food in the house so I don't need to worry about grocery shopping yet. It happened Thursday night and it's luckily not too bad. I'm in the midst of a four-day weekend now and the worst is just that I'm going absolutely stir-crazy. Hobbling off the couch to the kitchen is annoying enough. Oh well.
Maybe I'll try to make it to the store tomorrow and maybe make a decent meal today but here are some photos of food I made in the last couple of weeks that I've just been hanging onto:

                   Kale salad with tomatoes, sprouts, mushrooms, hummus, and hemp seeds.

                            Kale salad with tomatoes, olives, and tempeh dusted with nooch

Dates stuffed with salt-kissed vanilla sunflower seed butter. A totally decadent breakfast. I'm not trying to tease you all, the stuff is just really good. And like I said, sunflower seeds are lower in fat than other nuts! Fear not. This was a great way to balance the salty seed butter with the sometimes too-sweet dates. And now that I think about it, it reminds me of these two incredible-sounding raw salted caramel dips from One Arab Vegan and My New Roots.
And the most delicious photo yet, my ankle:

Anyway, enjoy the day guys!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Nothing super stand-out today, so back to the basics:

Banana (with sunflower seed butter) and blackberries for breakfast, and not just for the alliteration. Lots of green tea throughout the day.

Lunch was spinach, roasted sweet potato, raw broccoli, olives, and tempeh with black pepper.
Unpictured apple as a snack.

Dinner was shredded collards, raw kimchee, rice, and raw broccoli.
Raw granola for dessert, also some dates! That's all she wrote.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Choosing Raw's Salt-Kissed Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter

Another "shuffle round in the pantry/fridge cuz there's no food and I sure as hell am not leaving the house in this rain" kind of day led to this:




I don't often eat sunflower seed butter but I don't know why! It's delicious and a fun change of pace from my usual almond butter. Sunflower seeds are also way cheaper than almonds - while still being high in protein and lower in fat than some other nuts or seeds. So when Gena posted this recipe, I was intrigued, though bookmarked it for later and luckily remembered it yesterday!
Gena does call it salt-kissed; the almond butter I usually eat is unsalted so that was a little too much for me but otherwise the flavor is really nice. Raw seeds are slightly roasted to bring out the warm nuttiness (seediness?). I love the slight vanilla undertones, but I'd also add more sweetener (I actually used maple syrup) or at least less salt if I made it again.
Hers looks like it got to a better texture than mine but that's probably because I'm impatient and wanted to eat it! It was hard enough having to roast the seeds and process them rather than opening a jar but, again, it's really fun and rewarding to make yr own nut butters - plus you can tweak the flavors like this! It would probably be really good with cinnamon in it too. Anyway, it was fantastic slightly warm (from whirring away in the food processor!) with the crisp, cold, sweet apple.
I'm dreaming up other ways to use it...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Unexpected Greenery

You guys know I love my greens. I honestly feel off-kilter when I don't eat enough of them. However, like I said, I've been kind of busy or, at least, my mind has been elsewhere, and after sadly slacking on grocery purchases, I found myself without spinach or kale, my two staples.
But I needed salad! What oh what to do? Digging in the vegetable bin, I found some recently purchased beets with their tops still on.


This is raw beet greens, avocado, red pepper, olives, portabella mushrooms, and red onion. Dressed with mustard-balsamic vinaigrette and black pepper.
Second salad, still spinach-less, I used parsley as my green base! Thanks to Shen for the tip on keeping parsley fresh by keeping it in a glass of water on the counter top. It really helped me out this time.


I think some people don't love parsley because it definitely has a more potent flavor than spinach or other greens, but it is so incredibly good for you. Plus, when you load it up with other delicious veggies and an awesome dressing, the parsley is just a refreshing backdrop. This salad is parsley, portabella (I bought three to cook for Memorial Day and got too lazy to turn the oven on, so raw it is!), cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, olives, and red onion. In a hummus/mustard dressing (2:1 hummus:mustard with water to thin).
And, not exactly a salad but a way to use greens without even trying. I'm not gluten-free but I try not to eat straight up bread or crackers anymore, beyond the occasional treat. I just feel uncomfortably full when I do and I'd rather the taste focus on the fillings. That's what we're there for anyway, right? Bread is just the usual conveyance of food to one's mouth. But it doesn't need to be! I picked up some collard greens today to use as a wrap (rather than a bun or tortilla) for the burgers from the other day.


Stuffed with sprouts, carrot, tomato, red onion, burger, hummus, and mustard. Wrapped up and devoured.
So there ya go. It's easier to get yr greens in than you may have thought. Sometimes ya just gotta expand yr chlorophyllic horizons. Have a good evening, guys.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Breakfasts

Smoothie with spinach, 1 frozen banana, frozen cranberries, chia seeds, and cranberry kombucha. I liked it a lot because it was less sweet than other smoothies I make.

Gorgeous and delicious fresh fruit salad. Ataulfo mango, blueberries, banana. Straight up. Sometimes I add flax meal or coconut to a meal like this, sometimes powdered ginger or cinnamon, occasionally a squeeze of lemon - but it's always good.

Spinach, blueberries, 1/2 vega packet (natural flavor), frozen banana, parsley, lemon juice. The parsley was just slightly noticeable. I added it for an extra green kick - and for the incredible amount of Vitamin K!
Yep, those are my fruity, raw breakfasts of late. I like to get most of my servings of fruit in early in the morning so as to not interfere with digestion later, and so that I don't really have to worry about getting in the fruit servings throughout the day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Eating Out

I typically bring my own lunches to work and head right home after dinner, making for some delicious food, no doubt, but nothing new or special. Lately, I haven't had too much time to prepare lunches in the mornings, so here's some of the stuff I've picked up lately:

Grain-free sushi from the Whole Foods sushi bar. It's all vegetables (avocado, spinach, carrot, cucmber, red pepper) except some silken tofu in the middle there.

These two are salads from a really tiny take-away place right near work. In that small kitchen they work some incredible magic. G has been talking about this place for a long time and I finally got the guts to go in alone and check it out. They have daily specials and whoever runs the menu definitely has an incredible understanding of the local farmers markets, I think. Everything is so fresh and seasonal. The top salad (bad photo, sorry) is massaged kale salad with sweet potatoes and chickpeas and the second salad is mixed greens, lime radish, raddichio, tomatoes, and chickpeas in a dilled tahini sauce. They aren't super vegan-friendly but there is always at least one vegan option and they're incredible each time so I'll take my chances. They also cook their chickpeas really well.


Bonus, not lunch but dinner, and poorly lit; sorry. After a union meeting, G and I caught a quick dinner at Angelica's since it was right across the street. We unfortunately found out that they are no longer BYOB so we consoled ourselves with salads. His kale salad "chiffonade of kale with miso-marinated tofu feta, diced sundried tomatoes and toasted walnuts" and my "Si Se Puede" (obviously still in union mode!); "balsamic-roasted cherry tomatoes and basil-olive marinated chickpeas over mixed greens, with tofu-ricotta crostini." I gave G the crostini. We ate it all and skedaddled.
Don't worry, tomorrow I'll be back with the boring usual. Don't get yr knickers in a twist. Oh! Speaking of which, here's a book that came through work the other day. Compelling reading, for sure. I think.