Tag Archives: easy

I’m Dealing With Some Stuff

Readers, I am quickly learning the value of a good schedule. When the quarter ended, I had three weeks before my new job started. Three weeks when my daily life looked a bit like this:

8:30AM–Wake up. Sort of
9:00AM–Realize that I had not actually woken up. Panic and start yelling at Mike to get out of bed and get ready for work.
9:15AM–Make Olive and Mike some breakfast.
9:20AM–Convince Olive that YES, her hair does need brushing.
9:30AM–Realize I have not packed Mike a lunch. Panic and promise myself to pack his lunch tonight before bed. (I won’t remember).
9:40AM–Throw Mike out of the house with a baggie of veggies, a piece of fruit, and a leftover I’m pretty sure he’s only been eating the past few days to make me happy. Kiss him goodbye and thank my lucky stars he’s polite enough to at least try to eat it.
9:45AM–Realize that he’s probably been getting subway every day, since the leftover comes back mostly untouched. Become filled with rage. Resolve to punish Mike for this later (I won’t remember).
10 AM–Eat WHATEVER I WANT FOR BREAKFAST. Usually this is a delicious fruit and veggie filled smoothie I made during my panic to get Mike out of the house, with a piece of toast. I then savor at least one cup of coffee.
10:30-11:30AM–unspecified internet time. I tell Olive I’m doing important work. Important work often includes reddit. Hey, I gotta keep the routine.
11:30-12:30PM–Gardening/miscellaneous chores/whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes that means laundry, cleaning the bedrooms, or weeding. Sometimes it means Olive and I get fancy and have a tea party, leaving the dusting for another, unspecified occasion. Sometimes this means I take a shower and think about things I could potentially do. Sometimes I have another coffee and doodle for a little while. It’s a very productive time.
12:30-1:00PM–COOK AND EAT WHATEVER I WANT FOR LUNCH. Remember I am lazy and opt for PB&J again. Yum.
1:00–3:15PM–Remember that I’m an adult and am supposed to do things. Freak out, clean the kitchen, clean myself if I haven’t already, and try really, really hard to remember if there was something I was supposed to do. I completely forget until Mike gets home.
3:15PM–Mike gets home and I remember that I was supposed to go to the grocery store. Hey Mike, wanna go to the grocery store?
3:15-5:00PM–Miscellaneous Mike’s home stuff.
5:00-6:00PM–Dinnertime stuff. We eat whatever I want to cook. It is glorious.
6:00-8:00PM–More miscellaneous stuff. We often sit around talking about what we want to do. This sucks up most of the actual free time. Usually, we let Olive play outside for a bit or run errands. What am I saying? Usually, I forgot that I Was supposed to do something, uproot everyone from what they were doing, and go do the other thing instead. This is also a very important part of the routine.
8:00-8:30PM–Olive’s bedtime. This often involves stories, songs, and pleas for more goodnight kisses. I can not stress the importance of routine enough, people.
8:30-10:00PM–I drive to the gym and get in a decent workout. Sometimes. Other times this part of my day involves me bargaining with myself to go tomorrow instead. This time can also be facebook time, movie time, or eating vegan ice cream from the pint time. It’s pretty versatile.
10:30PM–I start to get sleepy.
11:00PM–Convince myself that I’m not tired. Whine to Mike that I still have to do the dishes. Do the dishes with Mike, and then whine that I’m tired some more.
11:30PM–Tearfully apologize to Mike for whining so much.
11:35PM–Wait, wasn’t I mad at Mike about something earlier?
11:45PM–Pass out, if I haven’t already. Remember as I’m falling asleep that I had intended to read/sew/write a letter/call someone. Tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow.

Repeat.

Readers, I was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. That’s why I had scheduled so much “miscellaneous” time. I mean, I could have come up with something constructive to do, and eventually I tried to a little bit, but when you’re broke, burnt out from school, and completely unfocused, it’s nearly impossible.

Anyway, a few weeks of this went by and before I knew it, I was employed again, and my schedule starting looking like this:

6:00-6:30AM–Hit snooze button every ten minutes. Bargain with alarm clock to turn back time a little. I know it can do it and is just keeping the technology from me. Please?
6:30AM–Give up on the alarm clock. Wake up, get dressed, and pack gym bag.
7:30AM–Commute to gym.
8:15-9:30AM–Gym/shower/get dressed for the day.
10:00AM-4:00PM–SPREADSHEETS.
4:00PM-5:00PM–Commute home.
5:00-6:00PM–Hug family, cook dinner, thank god I am not staring at a computer screen.
6:00-6:30PM–Eat dinner, tell Olive that yes, she does need Mike’s help brushing her hair tomorrow morning, and no, I don’t think I’ll be able to teach him french braids.
6:30-8:30PM–Family time. This still occasionally involves panicked errands. Old habits are hard to break.
8:30-9:00PM–Olive’s bedtime routine. It hasn’t actually changed, it’s just a bit later.
9:00-10:00PM–Dishes and lunch packing for tomorrow. This includes me, Mike, and three days a week, Olive. Yes, I do pack them little notes. I have yet to find a note in my lunch bag, though. I resolve to give Mike what for about that later (I won’t remember).
10:00PM–Insist that I’m totally down for watching a movie or playing a game with Mike, as soon as I’m done with my blog/reddit/facebook/stalking Edward Norton.
10:30PM–“Actually, can we watch it upstairs, instead? I’m kind of tired.”
11:00PM–“No…no…I’m…I’m awake. I swear.”
11:05PM–/transmission

Now, you may have noticed that a large chunk of my day once devoted to panicking, using the internet, and whining, are gone. They are now completely devoted to spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets. This has caused me to organize things a little better in order to manage things, and to appreciate my evenings with my family. As a result, I go to the gym before they’re even out of bed (the lazy jerks) and eat my breakfast afterwards. This means that my delicious breakfast smoothie and toast are a no-go. The smoothie doesn’t pack well guys; please accept this as a fact and do not go through the process of learning this heartbreaking lesson for yourself.

I had a few go to foods initially. Sometimes this would be a cup of cheerios, some nuts, and a piece of fruit. A few times I packed a peanut butter sandwich with fruit. These are all fine and dandy, but lets face it, when you’re used to waking up and having your only dietary limit being what’s in your kitchen, they’re just plain boring. I needed something awesome and quick that would pack well and give me the nutrients I needed after a really hard workout.

Yogurt Oats
1 cup plain non dairy yogurt (omnivores and lacto–ovos, get what ever you’d like, but please check the ingredient list for gross stuff.)
1 cup of fruit (Any and all are fine.)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
A handful of nuts (optional)
maple syrup, honey, or jam to taste

Ok guys, do you have a thermos? No? Go get a small one, they’re $2 at Walmart or target and infinitely useful. Mine even has it’s own little spoon hidden under the cap. So convenient! Anyway, to pack this, you’ll need a thermos, and I recommend putting it in your freezer for about ten minutes beforehand to get it cold.

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Please pretend that the froggy ice pack you see in my freezer is Olive’s and not mine. Or accept that adorable cartoon frogs are a very adult way to keep your lunch cold. Whichever.

To sweeten the plain yogurt, I usually use about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I was in the mood for berries this time though, so I added a tablespoon of my favorite jam.

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Add the yogurt.

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Yeah, you could buy flavored yogurt, but the big tub is cheaper, and do you really want to commit to one flavor for an entire week? I don’t. Besides, I like being able to control the amount of sugar and omit sweeteners. Aspartame for breakfast? Or ever? No thank you!

Add the fruit, oats, and nuts if you want them. I lift weights at the gym, so I like to get a teensy bit of extra protein. Besides, I’m also a big fan of healthy fats, and it’s not like I can get to a fridge to spread avocado on a piece of toast anymore.

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You can’t see it, but I added both berries, and a banana. Mix and match whatever you want. I have my suspicions that raisins and apples would be pretty awesome in this, too.

Mix it up, and let it hang out for a little while. If you’re making this at home, just put your bowl in the fridge and eat it an hour or two later. If you’re on the go, keep it in your thermos, and when you get to eat it after your workout, it will be delicious!

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Letting the oats soak in the yogurt makes them very chewy. Some of you may have had muesli the traditional way by soaking it in milk overnight. This is kind of like that, but with yogurt and less nuts. It’s porridgy, and really filling.

Now, I’m not saying it’s best to eat your breakfast at your desk. I love sitting down with my family for as many meals as possible, including lunch and breakfast. Still, if I worked out at night, Mike wouldn’t see me, and if I worked out in the evening, Olive would start to miss me. This way, I get my day off to a great start and they get more time with me. If you have to pack your breakfast, this is an awesome way to get something that is tasty and healthy without spending your hard earned paycheck on something sub par. Everyone wins!

Plus, now I don’t have to deal with those two monsters in the morning. Of course, that has nothing to do with why I leave the house so early.

…I lied, it’s a huge a perk.

I mean it. They’re horrible. Remember the three bears?

Still, they’re my bears. And those bears are far, far away.

Eat something good today, readers!

Money Saving Monday–Welcome Back Courtney!

I’m back readers. Did you miss me during my vacation?

What’s that? You didn’t know I was taking a vacation? Shame! You’d have heard about it if you liked me on Facebook. Tsk tsk.

In reality, it wasn’t much of a vacation, since it was only a break from blogging. We were so busy, it was stupid. We had a lot going on. Here’s a recap for those of you not in the know:

We went to the zoo.

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I reunited with old friends, and saw some new ones.

We played hide and seek…kind of.

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I started a new job.

We celebrated Father’s Day with giant batches of brownies and our own…unique kinds of presents.

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We wore chef hats and fancy aprons.

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(Thank you Momma Kamper)

Olive made friends with some super heroes.

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I went to Comfest (giant festival we have in Columbus every year) for music, tie dye, and art.

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Someone turned five.

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And everyone ate pink cupcakes. Pink cupcakes that were AMAZING, I might add. Yes, you can have the recipe, but no, not today. I didn’t get to take any pictures of the process OR the cupcakes, due to the frightening speed in which they disappeared. I was enthusiastically told that they were the greatest thing I had ever baked. Later guys, you can have it later.

Besides, a whole week of comfort food and sweets and I’m done. When we grilled our dinner, we kept it simple–vegetables, corn, and baked beans. Easy, healthy, nourishing, delicious. Except there was just one problem. I didn’t have any dessert, energy, or cupcakes (those of you who ate more than one, I’m looking at YOU, jerks! Didn’t you know I was going to have cupcake breakfast?).

So we had apples. Because no matter how tired, broke, or sweet deprived I am, I always have apples, and they’ve never let me down.

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Grilled Apples
Serves Four
2 Apples
Cinnamon, to taste
Ginger, to taste
Blueberries, to garnish
Sugar (optional)

Cut the apples in half. Remove the core with a paring knife OR, if you’re my mother and managed to deeply cut yourself on tongs last week, a dull spoon, some elbow grease, and a lot of determination. A melon baller would probably also work fine.

Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, ginger, and sugar, if using (you don’t need to, I think they’re amazing as is. But for a tart baking apple, a bit might help). Place the apples, cut side up, on the grill until they start to look soft. Turn them over for about a minute to cook the cut side. Remove from grill, fill cavities with blueberries while still hot, and then serve them to your family who ate waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many cupcakes last weekend, ate waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many chocolate donuts, and had waaaaaaaaay too many juiceboxes. Remind your significant other that apples are a dessert and no we do not need to go to the grocery store to pick up Swedish fish and no, you are not making him another batch of chocolate coconut fudge, and no, the fudge would not be healthier if you put peanut butter in it.

Seriously though, these are yummy, are nothing but fruit and spices, and are full of vitamins and nutrients that round out a meal perfectly. I’m not saying there isn’t a time for pink cupcakes or peanut butter fudge. But that time isn’t today.

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Because if she expects to be this fabulous all the time, she’s going to need the energy. She’s going to need apples.

Oh hell, who am I kidding. I need the apples.

Rain, Rain, Go Away, or at Least Let Me Make it to the Grocery Store

Readers, sorry I haven’t been back sooner. I try to make Wednesday posts most weeks, but to be honest, I was just too excited about the fabulous weather we’ve had. You see, it’s been in the 80’s all week long!

This is a far cry from last Saturday which was cold, wet, and disgusting. It was not even normal “gross” outside, it was Cat in the Hat bad. I felt bad for Olive because I had no idea what to do with our time the entire day. I felt even worse for Mike because he had to go teach in it. I felt relatively fine for me because we had plenty of coffee and tea in the house, but I wasn’t leaving for anything, not even to pick up groceries for our relatively understocked kitchen so I could make my miserable, freezing family something good for dinner. It was gross out there!

Hey guys, I know it is wet, and the sun is not sunny, but I made soup, so shut up cuz’ it’s yummy. *

Note: A thank you must go out to my mother, without whom I would have no basis for how potato soup ought to taste.

Two Potato Soup
2 large russet potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1 sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
2 carrots, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 dash liquid smoke
3/4 cup almond milk

In a large stock pot, cover the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots with broth and bring to a boil. Let boil until the potatoes are very soft.

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While the potatoes are boiling, heat one tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.

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Unfortunately, I was out of celery and nothing was going to make me run to the store to pick some up. NOTHING.

Add the garlic to the skillet, and saute for another minute. Set aside.

By this time, the potatoes will be soft, so turn the heat down to medium, and using a slotted spoon remove about 2 cups worth of the chunks. Some carrots and sweet potatoes will get mixed in, it’s not a big deal, so just go with it. Put them in a bowl, and mash the bajeezus out of them.

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Add it back to the pot along with the sauteed onions, celery, and garlic. Stir until the soup has thickened and the blob of mashed potatoes has disappeared (You can, of course, choose to mash a few more potatoes if you want the soup to be super thick, though we thought it was perfect as it was). Add the poultry seasoning, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, and almond milk. Bring the soup to a simmer and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top (this is optional, but delicious).

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Hey, that was easy!

This soup is perfect for gross days because it is so wonderfully warming. It’s comfort food without butter, full of potassium and vitamins, and tons of protein. It is the very best way to eat potatoes, and I love potatoes, so I should know. While it is loosely based on my mother’s recipe (which involved a secret ingredient known as “instant potato flakes”–sorry for ruining the secret, Mom!) and has a similar creaminess, the sweet potato adds a pleasant change of pace to this thick, savory, soup. I really wish Mike hadn’t eaten four bowls of it, because I would have liked seconds.

Oh well, even when it’s gross outside and I don’t have many groceries, I do usually have potatoes.

So I know it is wet, and the sun is not sunny, but soup can bring lots of good fun that is funny. *

*My apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Money Saving Monday: Tofu–Why You Need to Stop Freaking Out About It

How was your weekend, readers? Did you have a nice Holiday? We had a lovely series of events here. Saturday, Mike and I celebrated two years of happiness. We celebrated with ice cream! Then Sunday came and it was Easter! We celebrated with candy! Unfortunately, Easter candy is my favorite genre of candy (and understandably so!) and ice cream is my favorite dessert so I may have…overindulged…a little bit…I never want to look at candy again. Candy, you and I (and my tummy) are enemies! Boo candy!

(I was just kidding baby, I still love you, don’t be like that.)

Anyway, I’m not in the mood AT ALL for sweets, so today, and likely for the week, my blog leans towards savory. Today, I’m going to talk about one of the cheapest dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or–dare I say it–dessert) options available–tofu. Oh my LORD you guys HATE that stuff, don’t you? I mean, I hear about it all the time. The second you tell someone you’re a vegetarian you get a “Oh wow, I’d totally do that but I HATE tofu!”

Some of you may have noticed the lack of tofu recipes on my blog. A few of you have even asked why there are no tofu recipes when I feature weird things like tempeh. Truth be told, we just don’t eat a whole lot of it in our house. It’s not because it’s expensive (four to five servings is only $2 at most stores), nor is it that I don’t like the taste. The reason we never have it is because it expires, and if I don’t know for CERTAIN that I’m not going to eat something THIS WEEK then I just tend to forget it’s around.

Tofu is so versatile, cheap, and yummy though (when cooked properly) that I’m beginning to rethink my soy policy. I’m beginning to think I could actively plan a tofu meal a week. Maybe I’ll even share a few with you?

So, here are some facts about tofu.

1. There are different types: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm. Silken works really well blended into smoothies, soups, desserts, dips, and sauces. Soft tofu makes the tastiest and easiest tofu scramble in the universe. Firm and extra firm are often what you run into at a Chinese restaurant and want homestyle bean curd (drooooooool). Typically, if you want to stir fry or bake it and serve it with dinner, you’ll be using firm or extra firm. Both are tasty.
2. Firm and extra firm tofu usually have to be pressed. Why? Because they’re packed in water and in order for your tofu to absorb the flavor of whatever sauce or marinade you’re using, you’re going to want to press it to get the water out first. Some people have a fancy device called a “tofu press.” Me? I go old school. Really, really, really old school.

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Thank you, Ancient Greek book, for finally becoming useful.

Take a plate, throw your tofu on it, throw another plate on top and find the biggest, heaviest, most pretentious book in your house (we used to use the complete Chronicles of Narnia) to put on top. You can let it sit anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour, but I always prefer to go the hour route to get every last bit of juice gone. Then I drain it off and marinade it.
3. You should probably marinade it. You don’t have to, but it will taste a lot like a sponge if you don’t. I’m not kidding. It will be GROSS. (You could also bread, batter, or deep fry it, but those aren’t really the most healthful options.) So, chop up your pressed tofu to it’s desired size, and throw one of these marinades over it and let it soak in.
Awesome marinades:
Barbeque Sauce (not kidding. It’s amazing)
Taco Sauce (I’m serious!)
Teriyaki Sauce (no brainer!)
Soy Sauce
And more!
Let those marinades soak into your tofu for AT LEAST an hour, or overnight for best results.
4. Bake it! I love baking my tofu. I hardly ever fry it if I can help it, baking it is so easy and healthy. Just pop those little cutlets (or dice, or blobs, or whatever) on a lightly greased baking sheet (they WILL stick) at 350 for about 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Tada! You have baked tofu. Yum, yum, yum.
5. Rice Schmice. You don’t need rice for tofu. You could just as easily…
…eat it in a taco.
…have it as a sandwich.
…eat it with some pita.
…gnaw on it by itself for a snack.
…throw it in a wrap.
…or have it over noodles.
Tofu should NOT be relegated to stir fry!

Seriously, fifty cents a person feeds at least four people a serving of protein and nutrients, as well as whatever fortifications are added, and it is as easy as pressing, picking a marinade, and baking. Give it a try! It’s really not nearly as icky as you think and it keeps great (after you cook it).

Have a good week guys. Expect yummy recipes, soon!

More Tempeh or “How I Managed to Turn Cleaning Out My Fridge Into A Blog Post”

Sorry guys, no witty banter today. One of my dogs went in for a spay and she is nooooot happy. But, since I promised, and since I love you, I give you tacos.

Tempeh Tacos an Idiot Could Probably Make
1 tsp Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 oz block Tempeh
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
2-3 tsp chilli powder (or to taste, I almost always add more)
a few dashes liquid smoke
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs green chiles (you’ll find these canned)
Whole Wheat Tortillas or Taco Shells
Fixins

Ok, I’m going to level with you–even if you’ve never cooked before you can make this. So give it a try. Everyone likes these. 🙂

Take a skillet and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Crumble the tempeh like I showed you yesterday (hold the block and crumble until you’re no longer holding a block) and add it to the pan with the other ingredients. Simmer it for at least ten minutes (I usually let it go for twenty so the tempeh can absorb loads of flavor).

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Get your fixin’s ready!

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We don’t usually have fake cheese, but that time we did! We do, however, always have salsa and guac, because if you don’t, you are not actually eating a taco. You should be ashamed of yourself! You can also add other stuff (some ideas include diced peppers or onions). A taco is pretty much whatever fixin’s you put on the “meat.”

Assemble and enjoy!

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See, a kid could do that. In fact, one did!

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Your helper will probably want to assemble some of these, too. The newspaper hat, however, is optional.

Good night loves!

“Thoughts on Eating Habits” or “Why Courtney Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Watch Documentaries”

Guys, I am not one to drink the Kool-Aid. Hell, I’m not one to make the Kool-Aid. To be honest, I don’t even like juice that much. I do like coconut water sometimes, though that has more to do with Pina Coladas I think, than the actual beverage itself. Maybe I should get a juicer or something someday, I hear that juice tends to be a bit healthier when you make it yourself. Then again, those cost so much and if I end up not liking the juice can I take it back after already having opened the…wait…crap…I was talking about somethi-OH CRAP I WAS TOTALLY JUST WRITING A BLOG POST AND SPACED! Sorry! Sorry!

I have a tendency to be very skeptical, even when it comes to things I already believe in. For instance, I believe that a vegan diet is very beneficial to general health and a multitude of studies prove this. At the same time, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you should still probably get treated for that instead of relying solely on food to reverse the disease. Like I said, I don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

I hate bias in informative literature and film. I know it’s impossible to get around, everyone has a bias, but the informer’s job is to present the facts in as clear and unbiased a way as possible in order to give the best possible information to the viewer. For this reason, I have some HUGE issues with a vegan restaurant chain called, “Loving Hut.” Their food is delicious, I highly recommend eating there sometime if you’re lucky enough to have one near you, but do not, DO NOT, read the complimentary pamphlets or books they have for you to take home. While some of the stuff they say seems accurate enough, they have a very heavy bias and the way they present themselves has a tendency to make the vegan community look a little…well…crazy. They are not the only perpetrators of this!

Every now and then, though, I see a documentary that seems considerably less biased than is standard. Tonight, I finally watched “Forks Over Knives” with Mike, and I have to say it was excellent. It used real research to make its claims and showed many vegans that definitely aren’t the standard (including a very hunky mixed martial artist, and an equally hunky firefighter. Please don’t tell Mike I wrote that. Mike, if you’re reading this, you’re the sexiest vegan I’ve ever met). What really interested me though, was the difference a plant based diet made in heart disease and cancer rates. The facts were impossible to ignore, plant based, whole foods are good for you and your overall quality of life.

I really wish, though, that they had spent more time exploring what one speaker said about poverty and nutrition. It is becoming clear that poverty and poor health are intertwined. I’ve heard, over and over again, that this is all a product of education. Because, since I’m poor, I have no idea what calories are or the benefit of vegetables, clearly. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that crappy food is cheap and fast. When you are working two jobs to put food on the table, you don’t have time to prepare that food, and probably don’t have the resources to just pop in to the local farmers market for fresh veggies. No, unfortunately, you have the time and money for McDonalds or a TV dinner.

Don’t do it! I did that for YEARS and while I understand the need to feed your family quickly and within your means, you can do so much better! And I’m going to show you how, every Friday, until someone says this is a bad idea. Because I want everyone, and I mean everyone, to feel better and live healthfully, regardless of their means.

So, next time you’re going to spend the ten minutes necessary to get something from the dollar menu, get this from your kitchen instead.

Quick and Yummy Meal for 3-9-12: Beans and Rice (serves 4)

4 servings rice, instant or otherwise, cooked (I keep this in my fridge, just in case)

1 can of whatever beans you want, drained and rinsed

1 can tomatoes

Garlic Powder/Chilli Powder/Soy Sauce/Hot Sauce etc, to taste

Mix together, nuke for a few minutes until hot, and eat. Have an apple with it or some carrot sticks and you’ve got a nutritious and well balanced meal that is filling, yummy, and cheaper than whatever you were going to get at KFC. This shouldn’t even be considered a recipe it’s so freaking easy. If you have some extra time, bake a sweet potato and stuff it with this recipe. It’s a yummy meal that only seems fancy. In fact, I’m pretty sure you can even make this in a dorm room. I should know, I was the floor cook in mine.

Anyway, this was barely a post, but hopefully at least some of you will go see “Forks Over Knives” and maybe think about eating just a little less meat and dairy. I have a feeling you’ll feel better fairly quickly.

And stay tuned for next Friday! I’ll be tackling Kale Chips!

See you Monday, guys!

 

Instant Gratification-role

Sometimes, you want to just give your family twenty bucks and send them to Pizza Hut. At the same time, you aren’t angry with your family…this time…and you still want them to eat well and avoid whatever monstrosity their poor judgement would lead them to. You just really don’t want to cook again. Today was one of those days.

Now, don’t get me wrong readers, I love cooking for my family. It’s not uncommon here to eat three hot meals a day, if I have the time. Food is a priority in my house, and I try my best to create the time necessary to make sure we get to eat a few special meals, even if it’s just me for the night. But damn it all to hell if I don’t live in that kitchen most days, and the idea of cooking AND washing dishes sounded awful.

This morning, I solved the problem with peanut butter toast and fruit.

Time spent in the kitchen: 5 minutes (including coffee)

For lunch Ollie and I had fruit, veggies, and peanut butter sandwiches.

Time spent in kitchen: 7 minutes. Peanut butter ingested: Probably too much.

Dinner was trickier. I knew my family wouldn’t go for any more peanut butter and I really wasn’t up for the drive to Loving Hut or Northstar. (Northstar is a local place, but you might have a Loving Hut nearby. It’s yummy, but I’m not going to lie, the owner might be a cult leader, we’re not sure.) At the same time, the idea of hanging out in my kitchen for an hour meticulously cooking god knows what just to give them a nutritious meal just sucked. I could not get behind getting behind my oven today. Call it late onset feminism.

Back in the old days, I’d have solved this problem by dumping some cream of mushroom soup on some rice and veggies, throwing in a cup of cheese, and calling it a day. We don’t do that any more, and you shouldn’t either. I needed an equally quick casserole that wasn’t going to cause us horrible pain upon leaving our bodies (cheese makes you constipated, it’s a poop joke), I needed some healthy Instant Gratification-role.

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Time in the kitchen: 20 minutes.

Before I tell you the recipe, let me just say this–I wrote this purposefully with the intention of you being able to change it. Want to use dairy cheese and milk? Go ahead, if you need to. Don’t have nutritional yeast? Swap if for Parmesan cheese or just skip it. Use whatever kind of beans you want OR use crumbled tempeh or tofu. Skip the zucchini and chop up some broccoli or peas. Seriously–add whatever you want. This is like a really, really awesome dress. You can pair it with whatever sweaters or jewelry you feel like wearing and it will always be great.

Anyway, enough stupid similes.

Instant Gratification-role
2 cups rice, cooked (use broth instead of water)
1 15 oz cans of black eyed peas
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1/2 cup non dairy cheddar style cheese (I used Daiya, but Vegan Gourmet is pretty good too. Buy whatever is cheap.)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Ok, pay close attention to all the instructions because this is going to get tricky. Put all of those ingredients in a bowl. Mix them. Put it in a casserole dish or individual ramekins (if you’re fancy). Bake for about 15 minutes.

Give it to the ingrates.
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And savor. You’ve earned it. After all, it took you a whole twenty minutes to make. 🙂
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It’s cheesy, it’s warm, it’s comforting and it’s simple. It’s everything a casserole should be and what’s more–it’s healthy! Hopefully this will get dinner on your plate sooner and your ass out of the kitchen.

Because damn, I spend too much time in there.