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Vegan Spring Rolls w/Ponzu Dipping Sauce

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I mentioned a few weeks ago that I went to a new farmers market that seemed like I had died and gone to heaven.  It was not a fancy place or even a photographic place, but the market was jam-packed from wall – wall with exotic fruits, hard to find items, and things I’ve only seen in magazines.  It had the ingredients that normally I would have to order online if I wanted to try out a new recipe.

The Newark Farmers Market had everything.  One of the things I picked up were these rice paper wrappers.  They had as many sizes and shapes to pick from as letters in the alphabet!  I decided on choosing the large square size because of my skill level in wrapping, and I figured the bigger the better.

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These little spring rolls are a show stopper for sure.  They present well on the plate, they are super easy to put together and rolling was nothing to be intimated by……It is almost guaranteed I will be serving these gems at my next shin-dig.  Let me show you how I did it:

Vegan Spring Rolls w/Ponzu Dipping Sauce

  • 6 –  8″ squares (22cm) of rice paper (Bahn Trang is the brand I used)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 large romaine leaves, torn in pieces the size of your palm
  • handful of rice noodles, cooked

Cook the rice noodles or cellophane noodles according to package directions.  Mine were a little larger than what is normally used, but it is what I had on hand and worked perfectly fine.  I think they cooked about 5-7 minutes but I’m not completely sure because I wasn’t timing. 

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I also used a nifty peeler that juliennes the veggies for you with a quick shaving motion down the side of each vegetable.  If you don’t have one of these tools, I highly recommend investing in one, especially for this project.

It was a snap to do both the carrot and the cucumber.  I only did the four sides of the cucumber and discarded the middle with the seeds.  I also didn’t peel the cucumber so the beautiful green skin was intact.

Slice the avocado in 8 sections.

Using a 9×12 baking dish filled with approximately and 1″ of tepid water, start but dipping one side of the rice paper into the water and flipping it over and repeating on the second side.  Let excess water drain for just a moment and place the rice paper wrapper on a plastic cutting board (they might stick to some wooden cutting boards).  Lay it down on the cutting board diagonally (one point facing you).

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Starting 2″ from the corner place the lettuce leaf, a few strips of carrot, a few strips of cucumber, a few strands of rice noodle, and the top with the avocado.

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Pick up the corner of the rice paper sheet that is closest to you and fold it over the filling and using your two index fingers tuck the corner under the veggies and tightly roll two rotations.  This should bring your roll up to the center of the two side corners. 

Carefully fold into the center the two side corners and continue to “tuck and roll” tightly to finish your spring roll.

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Set aside your spring roll under a damp linen tea towel or paper towel and repeat for the remaining rolls.

At this point, you can slice and enjoy or to store for a few hours, place the rolls on a plate with a little room between each one so they do not stick together and tear and cover with both a damp wet towel and cover with plastic wrap.  I’ve read that they can last in the refrigerator like this for up to 5 hours.  I used this technique and mine were still perfect after about 2.5 hours. 

Prepare the dipping sauce:

Ponzu Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp Ponzu Sauce or soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp scallion, minced

Mix all ingredients in a small container and set aside until ready to use.

This particular recipe is vegan , but you can customize your spring rolls with whatever veggies and protein sources you enjoy!

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Filling Suggestions:

  • Steamed shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Ground Meat (pork or chicken)
  • Carrots
  • Jicama
  • Cucumber
  • Baby Spinach
  • Lettuce, Romaine or Mixed Baby
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Rice Noodles
  • Avocado

The combinations are completely endless! 

What do you consider hard to find ingredients?  What do you like to make with them?

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW #11}

Jersey Tomatoes.  That’s the theme to this weeks WIAW post!  There is nothing like a fresh ripe jersey tomato.  Don’t try to compare it , you just can’t and I will argue it to the death. 

If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying a Jersey Tomato, I think it is  something you should put on your To-Do List.  Because frankly, during the summer months I could live off of them, they are that good!

Thanks again to Jenn for hosting this crazy foodie-people party every Wednesday.

Breakfast: Jersey Tomato, Egg & Cheese Omlete that I split with my son &  fresh watermelon, carrot and cucumber juice!

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Mid-Morning Snack: NatureBox South Pacific Plantains & cup of tea

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Lunch:  SPALT!  Spinach, Avocado, Lettuce & Tomato Sammie on two fresh slices German Rye bread from Big Sky Bread a local artisan bakery I found at one of my many trips around to local farmers markets.  I drizzled the avocado with lime juice to add a bit of zing and added a colorful side of sliced bell peppers and basil from our garden plot at work!

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Afternoon Snack: I came home to find my little neighbor kids selling lemonade. This little cup set me back $.50 It must be the inflation. LOL! But I gotta support small business peeps when I see them, even if they are only 7 years old!  

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I enjoyed the lemonade with my first shot at a Quest Bar that I was lucky enough to receive from The Vitamin Shoppe.  This one is Vanilla Almond Crunch. 

With 20g of protein this was perfect for my pre-workout meal this thing tasted like a creamy/crunchy salt water taffy all rolled into a neat little protein bar!

Quest Bar

Dinner: Corn on the cob!  Yes ~ just corn on the cob!!  Perfect for a scorching hot day!  I like to have my ears of corn with a little butter and fresh ground pepper and lime juice! I think I polished off like 3 total! 

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What easy summer meals do you like to prepare during the dogs days of summer?  How do you like to change-up the classic BLT?

What I Ate Wednesday {WIAW} #10

wednes·day /ˈwenzdā/Noun
The day of the week before Thursday and following Tuesday.

Wednesday is in the middle of the common Western five-day workweek that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday OR if you’re a blogger it’s the day of the week where you share your eats with the rest of the blogosphere.  Thanks Jenn! She’s our gracious host!

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Breakfast: Using up the fresh tortilla chips by making Lighter Chilaquiles all week {recipe}.  My chips are now gone, sadly.

Chilaquiles

Mid-Morning Snack: plantains cooked in Coconut Oil with Cinnamon Almond Butter

Plantains w/Cinnamon Almond Butter

Lunch: Made a double batch of these zucchini fritters over the weekend and can’t get enough; they’ve been on my plate for lunches and dinners all week {recipe}.

Zucchini Fritters

Afternoon Snack:  Daily Chobani Fix w/Blend Swag from Bob’s Red Mill

Chobani

Dinner:  Grilled Cheese w/fresh spinach and avocado.  My shredded cheese didn’t quite melt enough so I popped it in the microwave for a minute.  Ooooyie ~ Goooyie! Perfect! 

Grilled Cheese

Mmmmm…..and a Gingerberry GT Kombucha while sitting at the pool watching my son dive! 

BREAKING NEWS***  I’m so excited, after work tonight I’m heading to a friend’s house and she is gifting me a SCOBY.  This time tomorrow I will officially be home brewing my own Kombucha!  I’m so excited about this (like pissing my pants ~ excited!!!!)  Seriously.

GT Kombucha

Look for my blog posts over the next few weeks about how I did on my first batch!

Chilaquiles ~ Lighter Version

One of the things I miss most about living on the West coast is the food. The food on that side of the country is just so fresh and light and even the heavy dishes don’t seem like they weigh you down like food on the East coast. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely find some nice light satisfying dishes on this coast, but you really have to be on the look out for current and trendy restaurants in order to be able to get a meal that is fairly healthy. This side of the country is starting to catch on to the health trend, I just don’t feel like it’s fully up to par yet.

Anyway, I had bought some beautiful tomatillos at the Newark Farmers Market on Friday morning along with the freshly made tortilla chips. These particular chips were a bit thick for my liking and were not the chip n dip that I thought they would be. They needed to be soaked in some kind of sauce or used in a soup of some kind. I decided to whip up one of my favorite dishes that I was used to in California. Chilaquiles. However, if you know about this dish there is usually a whole lot of frying and oil involved plus heavy sour cream.

This is my lightened up version of Chilaquiles. I opted to use the chips I got from the market, but you can make it even more calorie friendly by baking the chips from fresh corn tortillas.

Chilaquiles ~ Lighter Version

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  • 1/2 lb of tomatillos, quartered
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeño, quartered
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • plain greek yogurt, lime wedges and cilantro for garnish
  • tortilla chips (either baked or store-bought)

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In a large pan, over medium high heat cook the tomatillos, onions, jalapeño and the garlic until blackened and soft.

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Add to a blender or food processor the water and the cilantro, pulse a few times to incorporate. Transfer the hot tomatillo mixture to the blender, add the lime juice and 1/2 of the avocado. Puree until you get a smooth consistency.

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Whip the egg whites, cumin, salt and pepper; cook over medium high heat in a small to medium-sized pan that has been coated with either coconut oil or non-stick spray to keep the eggs from sticking.  Separate cooked eggs into to portions.

To Assemble:

For each serving add a handful of tortilla chips to the bowl. Top with the cooked egg whites and a slice of the remaining avocado.

Add 1/4 cup of the warm tomatillo sauce, a dollop of greek yogurt and a few cilantro springs for garnish. Serve with a lime wedge.

Makes: 2 Servings

 

 

 

 

June Edition: Pin-It Party #2

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If there is ever a time where I have lost massive amounts of time on the internet, its getting sucked into the Social Media Bermuda Triangle of Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. I love them all. Each social media outlet lets me express a different side of my personality; especially Pinterest.

I have been a long time do-it-yourselfer. I’m one of the those people that sees something and says ” I can make that”. Now, do I usually come right home and replicate the fun and crafty project I saw for tons of money in the store ~ usually NEVER.

But that’s not the case when it comes to food! If I see a dish that completly intrigues me then I almost certainly will run to the store and buy all the ingredients I need to replicate the dish.

That’s where this post comes in to play. Last month, Lindsay over @LeanGreenBean blog hosted a Pinterest Party to link up atleast five of our all time favorite pin worthy posts. (of course mine was all food ~ but well ~ it is my passion). It was such a success, that she is hosting it again this month.

Do you want to follow me on Pinterest?  Head on over to my Pinterest Page and see what else I’ve been pinning!

Here are my 5 FAVORITE pin worthy posts from the last month:

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Eggs Over Swiss Chard

Eggs Over Swiss Chard

Do you like to pin pictures on Pinterest and then try them out?  If not, where do you draw your inspiration from?

 

What I Ate Wednesday #5 + Recipe

Hey there peeps ~ it’s hump day and time for another WIAW post. I love looking forward to Wednesdays now because the creative juices are flowing wildly over here at the IAAMF camp. I love looking at all the posts of what others include in their daily eats. It’s a great way to get new ideas and make your meals interesting, learn about new foods, and introduce them into your own meal plans.

Here’s the deal: Every Wednesday Jenn over at Peas & Crayons holds a link up post where you can go to see what EVERYONE eats on Wednesdays. Sometimes its theme related, sometimes its just a days worth of eats and sometimes the posts revolve around vacations and trips. It’s a super fun way to share with you some unique foods, recipes or new products.

I finally got some oomph back in my menu planning and have been adding some new things this week. Check out what’s on my list. This month Jenn has declared June Sensible Snacking Month so each Wednesday in June I will be including a new healthy snack option in addition to all the other tasty stuff on my Wednesday meal plan.

This week I’ve been fumbling my way around the kitchen cooking up some interesting snack  items using plantains and kale. (Check back later this week to see how I used the kale)

Breakfast:

Shredded Veggie Quesadilla w/ Plantains & Avocados

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Mid – Morning Snack:

Chobani w/Love Grown Granola ~ Sweet Cranberry Pecan

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Lunch:

Black Bean Hummus w/Homemade Pita Chips & Salad

Afternoon Snack:

Carrots & Red Bell Peppers w/Black Bean Hummus

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Dinner:

Baked Stuffed Flouder w/Peas & Mushrooms

Baked Stuffed Flouder w/Peas & Mushrooms

Dessert:

Left over plantains from breakfast and topped them with a little

cinnamon Almond Butter for a rich and satisfying late night snack (no pics ~ I forgot to take them) 😦

Recipe: Black Bean Hummus

  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender.

I love hummus, so if you want additional recipes for hummus using chick peas click here.

Hope you enjoyed my Wednesday Eats!  Interested in my other WIAW Posts?

WIAW #1, WIAW #2, WIAW #3 & WIAW #4

How do you make snacking sensible?

Plantain & Avocado Breakfast & P90X Update

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Years ago when I lived in California, I had a fascination with Mexican cooking and ALL THINGS chili peppers. It is really what started my food adventure. Learning to cook authentic mexican food from my neighbors in Ventura County was one of the best times of my life. I will always have a passion for a good tamale, west coast refried beans and homemade corn tortillas.

However, when I moved back to the east coast my cooking adventures took me in other directions. Since I loved the flavors of mexican food, Cuban cuisine was rightly next on my list.

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve had a cuban dish in front of me, but oh how I miss the flavors of mangos and plantains.

The plantain is not unfamiliar to me, but it’s been many years since my cuban/mexican cooking days that I’ve actually cooked and eaten them. This weekend I prepared a gorgeous breakfast of Plantains & Avocados along with a shredded veggie quesadilla.

To cook the Plantains:

  • 1 plantain
  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil

Choose plantains that are yellow/greenish with some brown spots on them. They will yield a sweeter cooked plantain chip.

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Make a slit down the front side of the plantain, and gently peel away the skin in sections.

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Slice the plantain into rounds approximately 1/2 inch thick.

Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat and add 2 TBSP coconut oil. Lay the sliced plantains in a single layer around the pan.

Fry until crisp and brown edges appear ~ 3-4 minutes depending on the heat of your pan.

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Carefully flip each round and finish cooking on the other side.

Serve warm with slices of avocado drizzled with lime juice. Top with fresh cilantro.

I used half of the plantain as breakfast side dish and the other half I re-heated later that evening and used as a snack.

I topped the plantains with a bit of Cinnamon Almond Butter I had purchased from the farmers market over the weekend.

p90X Update:

I have been mixing up my P90X workouts because I’ve been pretty sore, and it’s lasting a little longer than I remember the first round.  So until my muscles get used to working out everyday again, I’ve been mixing the schedule up a bit from the normal Classic Version. 

Saturday I opted for Plyo ~ It is one of my favorite parts of the P90X workout.  This workout really gets your heart pumping, but not in a normal cardio fashion.  There is not a lot of consistent jumping around, even though its Plyo and a jump training session.  Some of my favorite moves are the Mary Katherine and the Heisman.  But it gives you a great workout, gets the blood pumping and works your glutes & thighs like no other P90X workout.  It’s Tuesday and I’m still feeling it from Saturday. 

Sunday I opted for a little stretching and did 45 minutes of Yoga-X.  It was definitely what I needed to stretch my sore glutes. 🙂

Monday I did Shoulders & Arms ~ while not my favorite arm DVD (Back & BiCeps is my all-time favorite arm dvd) it still gets you a good pump going.

I opted to continue with the 8-10lb weights for most of the moves, but used the 6-lb weights for tricep kickbacks and shoulder flys since I’m still battling my rotator cuff soreness.  I have to say though that after the workout last night, my shoulder feels a heck of a lot better today.  I was actually surprised with that, because I thought I would wake up stiff, but my shoulder actually feels great today.

The rest of the weeks schedule looks like this:

  • Today = Kenpo X
  • Wednesday = Chest & Back
  • Thursday = Legs & Back
  • Friday = Plyo
  • Saturday = Yoga

I will be starting up on the following Monday with the regular classic schedule as my body should be ready for the workout by then.  If you want to workout with me follow me on teambeachbody.com, you can find me in the supergym with my scheduled workouts.

Do you like to follow your workout schedule or do you follow cues from your body and mix it up like me?

Chick Pea Salad w/ Quinoa, Cilantro, Avocado & Lemon Dressing

OMG!  This salad is so freakin’ good I thought I was gonna eat the whole damn bowl!

The picture caught my eye, but the taste grabbed my heart!  I’m in love!

Chick Pea Salad w/Lemon Quinoa, Cilantro & Avocado  

Recipe Adapted from DivaDish

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  • 1 cup cooked tri-color Quinoa (red, black and white)
  • 2 cups cooked chick peas
  • 1/2 cup ripe tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Add to a large mixing bowl the quinoa, chick peas, tomato, spinach, cilantro and red onion.

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Add in a separate bowl, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.  Whisk dressing until fully emulsified.

Add dressing onto the other ingredients and mix to combine. Adjust salt and pepper.

This salad is packed with so much goodness from the quinoa, chickpeas and spinach all the way down to the avocado and tomato!  There is absolutely nothing bad about this salad except that I think there might not be enough to share!  Serve with a big loaf of crusty Italian bread!

Toss one together and let me know how you like  LOVE IT!

Enjoy!

 

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