Get Healthy Salad and a New Lease on Life

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the past week, but it really came to a head when I woke up this morning. I skipped breakfast because I wasn’t hungry, and I NEVER skip breakfast.

When I came back from work around 11 my appetite was picking up a bit so I decided to throw together a “get healthy” salad, basically just using whatever struck my fancy in the fridge. This meant kale, grapes, pecans, cheese and an egg. Since this isn’t really a recipe, more of a throwing together of random ingredients, I’ll just describe the process.

I’ve grown to love kale over the past couple of years, especially when I was vegan, but I definitely prefer it slightly cooked and warm. So I tore it into bite size pieces, cut a bunch of grapes in half and massaged all of it together with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I added pecans and put everything over medium heat on the stove top.

When it was cooked to my liking, I tossed it with some parmesan, pan fried an egg, added some hot sauce, and voila, lunch was served.

kale salad

Now I think it’s time to do some talking about my diet. As my faithful readers know, I was vegan since June 2012 up until about June 2013. I loved being vegan. I felt healthier, I learned to use a lot of new ingredients, I cut down on a lot of bad stuff in my diet. But when I got home from school last June, my parents basically gave the ultimatum “Eat what we cook or buy your own food and make it yourself.” OK, so it might not sound too difficult just to make my own food. But between juggling a 50 hour a week job and an internship, there wasn’t going to be a lot of time for me to be able to do that and eat enough to stay healthy. So I relented and became vegetarian.

The transition was a little tough but after a month I was feeling more comfortable about adding things to my diet. But the thing is, I felt about the same as I had pre-veganism, when I was eating everything. So when I came back to school I started toying with the idea of going full omnivore. Another reason for me was that I love to cook for people but no one wanted me to cook for them if they weren’t going to get any meat. Furthermore, I live with two omnivores who stock up our fridge with meat. Life was getting pretty difficult, so finally I made the switch.

To be honest, I wish I was still vegan but I don’t think I am at the right point in my life to be eating that way. It doesn’t fit with the college lifestyle and it doesn’t fit with my friend’s or family’s lifestyle. I stay away from red meat and I still avoid dairy for the most part, but now I’m all for an organic, whole food diet. AKA I’m staying away from processed food and only eating stuff I can name the ingredients of. A lot of veggies and fruit, nut butters, free-range chicken, eggs and good grains (quinoa, whole-grain pasta, etc). I feel pretty good.

Another new aspect that I’m working with is exercising more. I’ve always wanted to be good about going to the gym but I made a promise to myself that I would do it as much as possible this year. Thus far I’ve been pretty faithful and I can feel the difference. Honestly the difference of being in shape versus not being in shape is a lot more than being vegan to not being vegan.

Well, that’s all for now. If you have any questions or want to berate me for giving up my vegan ways, feel free to comment. But for now, enjoy the Petite Kitchn and bon appetit.

Quinoa-Broccoli Patties (Vegan option)

Once again, a dish made that’s practically vegan… and if you want it to be vegan, just omit the cheese or use vegan cheese, your choice.

One of the reasons I started blogging again is the fact that I felt I kept cooking the same dishes everyday. Pasta. Chicken sausage. Sautéed veggies. I needed to switch it up, and the only way I would do that is if I got inspired. So now I’m back at it, reading blogs everyday and looking for some recipe ideas. So let me know if you have any!

Today’s lunch features quinoa again. I’m trying to use healthier grains in my diet rather than just pasta. But I’m on my last few servings of quinoa, and that stuff is expensive, so look for some brown rice recipes coming up!

quinoa, vegetarian, lunch

Ingredients:

1 cup of broccoli, chopped

1/4 cup quinoa

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup bread crumbs, Italian style

1 cornstarch egg (1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoons water)

One lemon wedge

As much parmesan cheese as you want

Salt and pepper

Garlic powder

Olive oil for panfrying

Directions:

1. Steam broccoli and then cut into tiny pieces.

2. Add quinoa and water, bring to a boil then let simmer until all the water is absorbed.

3. Add all ingredients, including quinoa and broccoli, into a bowl. Mix together until everything is well distributed.

4. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.

5. Form mix into balls.

6. Add balls to the pan. Cook each side 6-8 minutes, until golden brown, then place on paper towel to drain excess grease.

I ate mine over homemade tomato sauce. They were so SO good.

Bon appetit!

Back At It- Tomato Chickpea Soup

Well it’s certainly been a while! Lots of updates (obviously the biggest being the fact I am no longer vegan, hence the name change).  But no time for that now when I have a recipe to share… ironically, it’s vegan! I’ve been craving soup a lot since there has been a never-ending amount of snow. So here is something I threw together that ended up being absolutely delicious and healthy. It’s also incredibly easy to make, and it’s a one-pot deal.

vegan, plant-based

Ingredients:

Tomato Chickpea Soup

Two tablespoons of oil

Clove of garlic, minced

Half a white onion, diced

One cup of chicken stock

One cup of water

One 18 oz can of diced tomatoes

One 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed

One cup of quinoa

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

Directions:

1. Heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic.

2. When garlic is lightly golden, add onions. Cook until soft and golden.

3. Add chicken stock, water, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil.

4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and quinoa. Bring to a boil again then let simmer until the quinoa is completely cooked (15-20 minutes).

Bon appetit!