Roasted Sweet Potato with Refried Beans, Salsa, & Lime + The Best Roasted Broccoli

For the last few weeks I’ve started to feel unmotivated to follow recipes. When I first started this blog, I would find recipes throughout the week and collect them in an online folder. Then on Saturday morning, I would plan all our dinners for the week, make a shopping list, and buy groceries.

Almost every meal I made was tasty, so that was fun for a while. Then I decided that I really wanted to put original content on this blog instead of trying and modifying what others had created. It’s just better blog etiquette as well. The problem with that is that I’m relatively new to recipe development and more often than not, my creation doesn’t turn out quite how I want. I also don’t constantly have ideas and it takes a while to write out my own recipes to try. I end up trying maybe 2 original recipes a week and one is successful if I’m lucky.

Vegan "Margharita"  Pizza that was a total recipe failure
Vegan “Margherita” Pizza that was a total recipe failure

However, posting just ONE recipe per week on a food blog is not ideal. Plus I started feeling guilty when I made others’ recipes or just scrounged around for dinner when I should have been focused on trying out my own new recipes.

So I’m changing it up again! I’ve decided to stop planning my meals/recipes as much and just let myself make whatever I feel like that day. This week, I went grocery shopping and bought whatever produce and ingredients called my name. It was great! I’ve been experimenting and making what I felt like in the moment all week and it’s completely reinvigorated my love for cooking. That doesn’t mean I haven’t followed recipes here and there, because I absolutely have, but it’s been because that’s exactly what I wanted to do, rather than what I felt like I had to do.

Brown Rice, Red Lentils, Satueed onions, garlic, carrots, & broccoli in garam masala
Brown Rice, Red Lentils, Sauteed onions, garlic, carrots, & broccoli in garam masala

So what does this mean for the blog? I’m not quite sure yet. I definitely still aim to post new recipes here, but I will probably also be doing posts where I just show you what I’ve been eating lately, a la the “What I Ate Wednesday” trend. Having said that, I’ve already eaten quite a few delicious meals this week (and some not-so-great meals) and I would love to share with you!

OK, so I have to start with the not-so-good meals, because that’s an important part of this journey. The above rice/lentil/veggie mix I made was just ok. I should have flavored the whole dish as one rather than just the veggies & used more than just garam masala. It was edible though and very healthy.

Then there was this salad.

20150730_144347

I mixed romaine and cherry tomatoes with some leftover rice & lentils. I then made an avocado dressing (avocado, lemon juice & zest, garlic, onion, water) to top it with and for some reason I poured THE WHOLE THING on top. I thought I’d made one serving, as it wasn’t very calorically dense, but it was literally twice as much as I needed.

20150730_144500

The dressing was ok, not great, and it literally drowned the other ingredients. I only ate about 2/3 of this before I had to abandon it. Sometimes I do stupid things.

Ok, onto the good! There was THIS masterpiece! Roasted garlic lemon broccoli + Roasted sweet potato topped with vegetarian refried beans, chipotle salsa, and lime juice. THIS WAS SOOOOO GOOD!!!! (Can you tell I’m excited?) And it was totally improvised that day, healthy, filling, and super fun to make. Dinners like this remind me that sometimes I actually can cook 😛

20150730_185905

Here is what I did if you want to try it out! (This made 2 servings of the above.)

Roasted Sweet Potato with Refried Beans, Salsa, & Lime + The Best Roasted Broccoli

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup vegetarian refried beans
  • 4 Tbsp. spicy chipotle salsa
  • Juice of 1/2- 1 lime

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Poke some holes in two sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
2) Chop 4 cups broccoli and toss with 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, tossing the broccoli halfway through. Squeeze lemon juice on broccoli when done cooking.
3) Cut each sweet potato down the middle and top with 1/2 cup vegetarian refried beans (I use Trader Joe’s!), 2 Tbsp. spicy chipotle salsa, and a squeeze of lime juice.

And here are some recent breakfasts!

20150730_090304

This vegan pancake recipe was totally delicious! I didn’t even feel the need to top it with syrup or anything. Check out the recipe here. (I halved the recipe.)

20150731_090447  20150731_090530

I topped this banana “nice cream” with 1/2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder, 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup, and half a chopped peach. Simply blend up 2 frozen bananas until smooth & top with whatever toppings you desire. Eating “ice cream” for breakfast was pretty awesome.

That’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed seeing what I ate!

Vacation in NH + Recent Eats + Smoothie Formula

Hi guys! I just wanted to pop in and update you a bit on what’s been going on ’round here.

I spent Friday-Monday in New Hampshire with my parents visiting my Dad’s side of the family. It was a great weekend filled with lots of socializing, good food, and great weather. I was a bad blogger (as usual) and didn’t take many pictures, but I did manage to take a few.

20150724_191325  20150724_190952

On Friday night, I made my Massaman Curry recipe for myself, my parents, my aunt & uncle, and 2 cousins. I tripled the recipe, so I had to make it in this huge pot. You really can’t tell how big the pot is from the picture, but it was ridiculous. There is an industrial kitchen in the back of my aunt & uncle’s house, so that’s where the cooking was done! It was a very nice dinner and evening.

Saturday morning, I ran 12 miles and then we headed over to cook more for a family barbecue. I made this Mint Pesto Couscous recipe that I’ve made many times before. It was quite well-received at the get-together, especially by those who were not interested in partaking of the lobster feast that was prepared. (I sat inside with some people during that time, far away from the lobster eating!)

20141015_194136

We spent the day talking with family, including meeting new baby cousins who were 3, 5, and 9 months old. So cute! Later in the day, I also had some Peanut Butter Newman-O’s  that I’d bought so I could have a vegan dessert instead of sadly watching everyone else eat cheesecake & brownies. They were SO good. Highly recommend them if you are not in the mood to actually make a dessert.

Sunday we had a casual lunch with more family. A bunch of us sat & did a jigsaw puzzle that we had started on Friday for most of the day. (I love jigsaw puzzles & am really good at them for some reason!) Unfortunately, I started to feel quite sick & came down with a fever, so I was a bit in a daze during the day. I still managed to listen to lots of conversations even if I didn’t participate much though! I’m glad I had the puzzle to distract me.

Sunday night, we went out to Thai food and I ordered Massaman Curry. Surprise! It’s just so good it’s hard for me to order something else. I sadly didn’t snap a picture, but I’m going to attribute that to my dazed fever-state.

From the Siam Orchid website. Obviously, mine was with tofu, not chicken!
From the Siam Orchid website. Obviously, mine was with tofu, not chicken!

Monday morning, my parents & I drove back to Boston in time for me to teach my lunchtime group fitness class. Since then, I’ve been trying to get back into my routine but it’s always hard after a weekend away. My boyfriend comes home from CA tonight so I’m looking forward to that!

I’ll leave you with a few other food photos from the past week or so.

20150720_194108
Vegan SouthWestern Salad from Veggie Galaxy
20150723_183351
Salad with Peanut Dressing from Fuji
20150723_184714
Avocado/Mango & Sweet Potato Sushi from Fuji
20150729_155107
Smoothie!

The above smoothie is 1 cup frozen wild blueberries, 1 cup frozen peaches, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 2 cups spinach, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2 scoop Sunwarrior brown rice protein powder.

I’ve been making tons of smoothies with the following formula:

  • 1- 1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or water
  • 1.5 – 2.5 cups frozen fruit (such as wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, & peaches)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 scoop brown rice protein powder (8 grams protein)

Plus whichever of these add-ins I want!

  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter or almond butter

I have yet to make a bad smoothie and I always feel great about my nutrition when I drink these. Let me know if you have any favorite smoothie recipes or ingredients! 

Marathon Training Week 5

Hey guys! Sorry this post didn’t go up yesterday. I was up in NH visiting family for the weekend and the cough/cold I thought was resurfacing turned into a fever. I arrived home yesterday morning and still wasn’t feeling great. I managed to teach my class but I then took the rest of the day to recover.

I got a massive amount of sleep last night and I think I’m feeling ok, but I can’t tell you how frustrating all this sickness has been. I’m hoping the rest of my training is sickness-free!

Overall, my runs this week were quite pleasant. My long run this week went well too but I’m starting to really see how the marathon is going to challenge me mentally more than physically! It’s that halfway point that is the most challenging for me. I didn’t make it to yoga this week because Monday, when I was planning to go, it was still 90 degrees and humid and I didn’t want to deal with that for an outdoor class!

20150720_091312  20150722_111854 20150724_082510  

Here are my past weeks’ recaps! I can’t believe I’m in week 6 already…

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Here are my Week 5 workouts

Monday
3 mile run at 9:36 pace

Tuesday
Strength Training

Wednesday
6 mile run at 9:30 pace

Thursday
Strength Training

Friday
3 mile run at 9:23 pace

Saturday
12 mile run at 9:34 pace

Sunday
Rest

Favorite Run: My 3-miler on Monday! It’s nice to start off on Monday morning with fresh legs after my rest day on Sunday. These 3-milers are also starting to fly by almost to the point that I wish they were longer! Normally, 6 miles is probably my preferred distance, but Wednesday I had started to come down with some bronchitis-like symptoms so running felt significantly more difficult that day.

Least Favorite Run: My long run. I wouldn’t say this was really my least favorite run, because I actually really enjoyed parts of it and I felt pretty great afterwards. However, this was definitely the most challenging run I’ve done yet.

First of all, I was in NH staying at a hotel. I had mapped out a route to run around a river nearby, but as soon as I started to run, I discovered that the route was blocked off with a sign saying “DO NOT ENTER”. I took out my phone and tried to figure out how to get to a bike path I’d been told was nearby. I totally failed at that. Instead, I ran around for 2 miles trying to find somewhere to run. I eventually found what I thought was the bike path but it was simply a path across a bridge that then opened onto roads again. Luckily, I was able to run along Mountain Road from there for most of the rest of my run and that worked out great. It was hilly and difficult but great training!

20150725_104322 20150725_104319 20150725_104316 20150725_104313

At about mile 7, though, I started to feel really tired. I don’t think I ate enough the day before or the morning of my run. (I just had a few pieces of fruit in my hotel room.) I’ve recently noticed just how much I need to pay attention to my nutrition on Fridays and Saturdays to properly fuel and recover from long runs, and I’m sure it will just get MORE important as the distances increase. My energy started to pick back up around mile 9 but it was still not easy. It was definitely mental toughness that got me through to the end!

Fueling: I had about 10 dates during my long run this week, which worked fine, but for runs over 12 miles, I’m going to start using Clif bloks as well to get in some electrolytes (and to give me a break from eating the SAME thing the entire run.) I also used my hand-held water bottle, which I’m definitely starting to get used to. I was glad to have it :)

Entertainment: I’m still obsessed with the podcast I mentioned last week, the Rich Roll podcast. Rich does interviews (or “conversations” as he calls them) with the most interesting people. The two I listened to this week were with the self-proclaimed 300-pound vegan David Carter from the NFL and Australian adventure athlete Luke Tyburski. Listening to the crazy feats that Luke has tackled (like a 250km run across the Sahara and the double Ironman aptly named the Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon) made my long run feel just a bit easier!

On to week 6!