the sexy flexitarian

Eat flexy, feel sexy!

Category: Vegetarian

Dinner Tonight: Springtime Quinoa Fried Rice

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Tonight’s dinner came to be thanks to my friends Carol and Shane. See, they just bought their first home, but before moving out of their old house they harvested what they could from their garden.

The garden box, which Shane built, was brimming with kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, corn, onions, broccoli, and much more. Carol kept telling me as she harvested that the veggies were organic. “Oh, did you buy organic seed?” I asked. “No! But they’re organic–no spray!”

Fair enough.

She sent me home with a bag full of kale, spring onions, and zucchini, which I used in tonight’s dinner, as well as some really little carrots that looked like little, err, never mind.

Maybe you’re not as lucky as I am to have a friend share her springtime bounty with you, but your local farmers’ market is a great place to get everything you need.

Springtime Quinoa Fried Rice
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to directions
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small or one medium zucchini, diced
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
Pinch red chili flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp shoyu
4 green onions, diced
Eggs

On medium-high heat, heat oil in frying pan or wok. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add zucchini and cook until softened and a bit brown, then add kale and cook until slightly wilted.

Add chili flakes and cook a few minutes longer to wake them up.

Mix cooked quinoa in with veggie mixture and toss to combine. Add shoyu and warm through.

Remove pan from heat and stir in green onions.

Top with your favourite style eggs.

Serves 2.

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: 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: Indian-Stuffed Butternut Squash

stuffed squashWOW–has it ever been a long time since I’ve been here. Not here, as in my mom’s comfy reclining chair, heating pad under my bum, but here, as in my blog. Now, I could give you many excuses as to why I haven’t been here, but truth be told, I just didn’t want to be. It was becoming quite a chore updating this thing several times weekly, and frankly I got bored.

Flash forward to now. Here’s the thing: I’m newly single, and I have a lot more free time on my hands. Well, that’s not entirely true, actually. Truly, I have a lot less free time–I’ve been filling my days up to the max, keeping myself busy and trying my best not to sink into that hole that beckons so lovingly post-breakup. And guess what, so far I’ve succeeded–GO ME!

So, while I’ve been spending tons o’ time with friends and family, working out, enjoying what little sunshine we west-coasters get, and reading (right now I’m reading, err, 50 Shades of Grey; Salt Sugar Fat; Dreadfully Ever After; and On the Road), I’m kind of lacking in the hobby department. So, I think I’m going to try this again. It’s a new chapter for me–cooking for one, that is. So I figure why not put it out there for everyone to see?

Also, I think I’ll work on becoming a freestyle rapper. But first I need an MC name … suggestions?

In the meantime, here’s what I made for dinner tonight. I had a friend over and she said it was good, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t lying.

stuffed squash ingredients

Indian-Stuffed Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash, cut in half widthwise and some of the flesh removed to create a “dish”
2 tsp EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to instructions
1 Tbsp safflower oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1″ piece ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, grated
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 green onions, diced
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

  1. Preheat oven at 400 F.
  2. Place butternut squash halves on a baking sheet and coat flesh with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa and set aside.
  4. Heat safflower oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and allow seeds to pop for about a minute, or until popping slows.
  5. Add ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until ginger and garlic brown but do not burn. Add onion and cook until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add spices and cook for a minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in cooked quinoa, chopped apricots, chickpeas, green onions, and goat cheese.
  7. Stuff cooked squash halves with quinoa mixture, drizzle with olive oil, and place back in oven for about 10 minutes. You’ll have lots of stuffing leftover, but it tastes great leftover for lunch on its own.

Serves 2.

Dinner Tonight: Tomato and Basil Frittata

It’s been a while since I last posted, yes. But this isn’t my only blogging venture now! Recently, alive magazine (where I work as an editor) launched its new website. To keep up with the times, we added blogs to our health, lifestyle, and food sections. And guess who’s been contributing to the food blog daily? Moi, of course!

For those of you who don’t know, alive magazine has been around for over 35 years and is Canada’s trusted source for natural health and wellness (no, I don’t work in marketing. HA!). It really is a great magazine though–so pick one up at your local natural health food store for–wait for it–free! Yes, free! (You’re jumping up and down with excitement, aren’t you?)

Anyway, back to dinner–my favourite part of the day. I don’t know why I haven’t already added this recipe–I’ve made it so many times (or some variation of it, since I never refer to a recipe). All instances have elicited moans of enjoyment, so I recommend you try it out yourself. Plus, it’s like ridiculously easy, and requires only one pan. AND it’s packed with veggies, and eggs, obviously–so it’s a great meal to have post-workout.

Tomato and Basil Frittata

1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 medium-sized waxy potatoes, cut into a small dice
1/2 small red onion, cut into a small dice
1/2 green pepper, cut into a small dice
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 free-range eggs, beaten
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
3/4 cup cubed feta cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
6 basil leaves, chopped

  1. Preheat oven broiler.
  2. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced potatoes and cook, stirring often, until slightly browned. Add onion and green pepper and continue to cook until mixture is browned and cooked all the way through. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of skillet.
  3. Meanwhile, beat eggs in medium-sized mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and gently mix together.
  4. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in skillet. Cook until eggs are relatively set, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place skillet into oven on bottom rack. Once eggs are completely set, transfer to top rack and cook until browned on top.
  6. Cut into wedges and serve.
Serves 4
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