the sexy flexitarian

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Category: Flexitarian

It’s a Grilled Cheese Party, Bitches!

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Do I have your attention?

Yep, you read that right: grilled cheese party. And in case you’re unsure of what that means, it’s an entire party dedicated to grilled cheese of all varieties (duh). Basically I’m a genius.

Okay, so Rachael Ray is the actual genius–or more appropriately one of the contributors in her magazine is–but can you think of a better person to throw a grilled cheese party than meeee? There are few things I love more than cheese and bread, and they consist of cheese AND bread and probably my mom.

See, last week I turned the big 2-7. Up until this point I still considered myself a youth, if you will. But 27 is different. It’s verging on 30. Yep, it’s official, I’m an adult. So I did the only thing I could think of to celebrate my adulthood: I threw a grilled cheese party. When I told my dad, he said, “Why don’t you just go to Crash Crawlies and play in the ball pit?” Pfff.

Trust me, I would have if I didn’t think they’d kick me out.

So you’re probably wondering, “Amy, how do I throw a grilled cheese party?” Because, like, doesn’t everyone want to throw a party of such utter deliciousness? Yes. Yes they do.

So here’s how:

1. Figure out what kinds of sandwiches you want. Do you want straight up just bread and cheese, or do you want something Eat Street-worthy?

2. Gather the necessary items, including all the breads, spreads, dips, cheese, and fillings, as well as plates, napkins, cups, electric griddles, panini presses, etc.

3. Help your guests out with some sandwich ideas. I created a visual guide that showed guests how to make nine different sandwiches. Feel free to steal my idea, or get creative and come up with your own.

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4. Present all the ingredients in an orderly fashion so guests can create their sandwiches like an assembly line. If you check out the photo below, you can see I’ve got the bread then the spreads then the fillings and lastly the cheese, which is grated because it melts better.

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5. Let you guests grill their own sandwiches; this frees you up to mingle and keep everyone’s drink full.

6. Ask for help. Thankfully I had some lovely family members helping me set up for this shindig. If I hadn’t, I would have been overwhelmed with the prep. So thanks, y’all!

7. Get everyone involved. Now, this is something I didn’t do, but I wished I had. Rather than collecting and buying all these ingredients myself, a more economical option is to assign everyone a sandwich and ask them to bring the ingredients for that specific sandwich. Because, as we all know, cheese is, like, hella expensive!

So what d’ya think? You’re totally throwing a grilled cheese party aren’t you? Also, apologies for not getting any photos of actual grilled cheese … they were camera shy.

Also, a big shout out to Golden Ears Cheese Crafters for hooking me up with all this delicious cheese!

Dinner Tonight: Sexy Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce via My New Roots

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I tell people that I stepped through a portal to an alternate universe, and this is my life now: new job, new place, new roommate, new friends.

It’s freaking sweet.

I’ve never been good with change. Growing up I experienced so much of it that I grew to fear it. My parents divorced, my mom came out, both my parents dated, and, amidst all this, I lived in over a dozen homes, attended several different schools, said goodbye to friends, and struggled to make new ones. All I wanted were some roots.

Finally, in the ninth grade I moved to a small-ish suburban town … home. It’s far from perfect, but it’s where I made my best friends. (Y’all know who you are!)

I was away from “home” for five years, but now I’m back, and I’m stoked. I live by the river now, with trails all around me–perfect for quiet contemplation (and angry runs!).

And despite being ridiculously busy with this new life of mine, I’m doing my best to keep y’all updated on what I’ve been eating/making.

Tonight’s dinner comes from My New Roots (How appropriate, right?), an amazing blog by Sarah B. I encourage you all to check it out–it’s packed with awesome healthy recipes and nutrition advice. And yes, the food actually tastes good!

Case in point: Sexy Spring Rolls.

As an added bonus, they are so versatile. You can use whatever produce you’ve got sitting in your fridge, plus any protein that you have: chicken, tofu, shrimp–whatever!

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We pretty much followed the recipe; however, did a little improvisation with the dipping sauce. Rather than almond butter we used peanut butter. Spicy peanut butter. What? Ya, it freaking exists. Don’t believe me? Check it out, yo!

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Being that the peanut butter was, like, burn-your-tastebuds-off spicy, we skipped the chili flakes.

Also, we found that wrapping the rolls once and then wrapping them again in another rice paper wrap helped them stay together better. If you do this they’ll keep well for lunch the next day, too. I know this because I ate two in the lunch room while someone else ate a Lean Cuisine … sucker!

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Soft Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo

I have two prerequisites when it comes to cooking now: tasty (duh) and simple.

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty damn popular, so I don’t have much time to prepare meals.

Alright, scratch that–truth is, I eat so damn much that I spend most of my free time exercising. So that I can consume more delicious calories. Does anyone else do this?

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On the spectrum of delicious and easy, this one was a 10 out of 10. Wait, does a spectrum have a 10? Or is it just continuous? Is it infinite?

Focus, Amy.

Mexican food is, like, the best. For a long time I thought Taco Bell was Mexican food, and while I could go for a Gordita literally anytime, I understand that real Mexican food relies on fresh, simple ingredients. Not baha sauce (again, which is incredible and totally acceptable on road trips across the border).

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See those corn tortillas? They’re the size of coasters. They’re like little baby tortillas. You know, for babies. Or carnies. They were leftover from a food shoot at work, so best of all, they were free!

Top with some pre-cooked chicken, avocado, and fresh pico de gallo and there ya have it. My dinner.

FYI, I’ve never made good salsa before–I really don’t understand how, because it’s literally six ingredients, but for some reason it always turns out so damn onion-y. Not this time! Check it out. I’m putting this shit on everything.

Pico de Gallo
4 plum tomatoes, cut into eighths
1/2 small sweet white onion, diced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
Handful cilantro, roughly chopped
Squeeze lime juice
Dash sea salt

Combine all ingredients and set in fridge for at least an hour to let flavours meld.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Dinner Tonight: Overstuffed Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Navy Beans

Oh. My. God. I have created something truly amazing. Like, I think I now know what it must feel like to have a child.

No?

Whatever.

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Full disclosure: I ate dinner in bed today. It’s a first for me, I swear. I’d like to think it’s not going to happen again, but then why would I deny myself two of the greatest things in life: dinner and down comforters?

I have a valid reason though. By the time I got home from circuit training, showered, dilly-dallied like a pro, remembered that I needed to put the sweet potatoes in the oven, got distracted by shiny things, and then actually put the sweet potatoes in to bake, it was, like, 8 pm. Duh, I’m eating in bed.

Oh yah, so circuit training. It sucks. I mean, I’m definitely feeling stronger and looking svelter (whoa, svelter is actually a word?) since I started several months ago, but 50 minutes of legs? No effing thank you. Mind you, I am going to Vegas in two weeks for a friend’s bachelorette party, so I bet I’ll be happy for all this torture when I have to endure even more torture by, you know, putting on a two-piece for the first time this season. Yah, sorry to remind you, folks, but bathing suit season is just around the corner

But you know what helps to ease bathing suit-induced anxiety? Healthy eating. You know what makes it worse? Eating five Girl Guide cookies, one donut, and two chocolate-covered Digestive cookies, all in one day. I learned that last week.

But that was last week, and this is this week, and after eating dinner tonight (in bed), I’m starting to believe I can actually do this … Until those damn Girl Guides come around in a few months with those mint-chocolate cookies–they are pure cookie cocaine. Like I would literally crush them up and snort them.

But I digress.

Once again, tonight’s dinner proves that one does not need truffle oil or saffron or other costly ingredients to create something amazing. Nor does one need to use a laundry list of ingredients–simply a few well-combined ingredients will do.

It was, like, amazing. And don’t just take my word on it. Make it. And then eat it in bed.

Overstuffed Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Navy Beans

2 sweet potatoes scrubbed
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
Generous sprinkling red chili flakes (or to your preferred spice level)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
Salt to taste
Goat cheese

Set oven to 400 F.

Poke holes in sweet potatoes and place in oven-proof dish in oven and bake until tender (about 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until it begins to brown–don’t let it burn. Add beans and heat through.

Turn heat down to medium and add chili flakes. Add kale and cook, stirring often until kale wilts. Season with salt. If needed, add a few tablespoons of water to create steam to help kale wilt. Set filling aside.

When sweet potatoes are done, remove from oven and cut a deep slit down the middle of each. Fill with kale and bean mixture (don’t worry if it overflows) and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Makes 2 servings.

Dinner Tonight: Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

Wow, that title is a mouthful hey?! I’m not going to say too much about this dish, except that I was terrified to eat it. Though I know that ahi tuna is typically served VERY rare, I was still nervous eating it. I’ve ordered it several times at restaurants, but for SOME reason I expect that those trained in proper food safety are less likely to poison me (weird, I know).

Anyway, it’s been over an hour since I ate, and I’m not upchucking yet, so I give this dish four stars (out of five, if you’re wondering). For the recipe, check out the Enchanted Cook here.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

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