Traveling & Bookmarking Recipes

We’re back in Richmond! We had quite a weekend, heading from Minnesota to Grand Forks, North Dakota for my cousins wedding. Things kicked off on Friday night with S’mores around the fire. Catching up with family is even better when toasted marshmallows are involved.

We had an absolutely wonderful time celebrating with them at the wedding on Saturday. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony and the weather could not have been more gorgeous!

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts (and lots of Airborne, Zicam, and hand sanitizer) I caught whatever cold Alex had so I’m battling a pretty stuffy nose and a headache. No fun! Luckily today is a holiday so I’m going to attempt to sleep it off rest while watching Netflix marathons. 

In the mean time, here are a few recipes I recently bookmarked some drool worthy recipes on Pinterest so be sure to check these out if you need some meatless inspiration:

pinterest meal ideas

1. Healthy Mexican Casserole // 2. Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad // 3. Sweet Potato & Kale Pizza

Follow me on Pinterest for more meal ideas!

Any tips for how to kick a cold faster?

Frugal Fridays- Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus

It’s our last day in Minnesota! We’re heading to Grand Forks, North Dakota later today for my cousin’s wedding, so it’ll be fun to see more family! It’s been quite a week. On Wednesday, Alex and I went to the state fair and ate lots of cheese curds & cookies so on Thursday we decided to be a bit more active.

I went to a Zumba class with Alex’s mom which was so much fun. I hadn’t been to a Zumba class in awhile and I forgot that it’s basically a non-stop dance party. I need to hit up a Zumba class more often.  After getting our exercise, Jana, Nicole and I spent the evening canning pickles. It was so much fun!

Pickle Canning (1 of 3)

Pickle Canning (2 of 3)

 I can’t share the recipe because it’s a Thomson family secret. ;) but since it’s Friday, I do have another budget friendly recipe! This week, it’s goat cheese pasta with asparagus!

goat cheese pasta with asparagus

Not only is this one budget friendly, it’s also super easy.

Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus

  • 4oz goat cheese – $3.50
  • 12 oz whole wheat pasta- $2
  • 1/2 pound fresh or frozen asparagus- $3
  • 1 tbsp butter $0.25
  • Salt & pepper

goat cheese pasta

Click here for the goat cheese pasta recipe.

I love this recipe because it’s easy to make, it only takes about 15 minutes to get dinner on the table, and I usually have these things on hand. If you don’t have or can’t find asparagus, fresh or frozen peas would work well! I’m not normally a creamy pasta person but this sauce is still very light so you don’t feel weighed down after eating!

What’s  your favorite kind of pasta sauce?

Minnesota Meals

After a weekend of cupcakes and cheese curds we started Monday off on a healthier note. I wanted to eat all the veggies in sight. So this little What I Ate Wednesday recap is what I actually ate on Monday. I kicked off the day with 1/4 cinnamon raisin bagel and 1/4 Parmesan bagel from Einstein bagels. (Alex had the other halves.) I topped the cinnamon raisin one with a little crunchy peanut butter and left the Parmesan plain. Eaten with a few very ripe strawberries that were on their last leg.

breakfast

Alex and I are working remotely this week so we were pretty much parked at our computers all morning. I think I’m more productive when I’m not in the office because there are less distractions. By the time I looked up from my screen it was almost 11am.

lightly salted almonds

I had a handful of almonds for a little mid-morning snack. They were lightly salted and kept me full until around 1pm. We took a quick break from our computers around noon and went on a run for about 20 minutes. I hadn’t run for about… 5 months, so mine was a bit more of a run/walk, while Alex would just run ahead and run back for me so I didn’t get lost ;) I felt pretty good and I only whined about running like, 40% of the time.

lunch

Once my stomach was growling, Alex and I threw together some simple salads. Lots of greens, feta cheese, and a little balsamic vinaigrette. I also had some tortilla chips and extra veggies with hummus. Seriously, give me all the veggies. So crunchy and delicious.

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Of course, I had to have something sweet to end on so I snagged a mini chocolate cupcake. Chocolate frosting is my favorite.

Eventually we finished up work and headed to Uptown to meet Alex’s friend Andy and his girlfriend Laura. The weather was perfect so I was glad we got to walk around a little bit.

dinner

We ate dinner at Chino Latino which was an interesting fusion of Mexican food and Asian dishes. I was debating between tacos and vegetable Pad Thai (Seriously, how often do you have to make that decision at a restaurant?) and we decided to split Pad Thai and some sort of dish that was french fries topped with black beans, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Yes, really. I left the restaurant pretty stuffed, obviously. I mean, it’s a law that you can’t let guacamole go to waste.

What have you been eating?

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Glad to be a Thomson

Since our wedding was in Virginia and a lot of Alex’s family couldn’t make the long trip, Alex’s parents threw us a reception in Minnesota. It was awesome, because I got to meet more of Alex’s extended family and friends. My mother-in-law, Jana, made tons of delicious food and decorated the whole yard. She even incorporated little details from our wedding.

Minnesota Reception (2 of 15)

Minnesota Reception (4 of 15) Minnesota Reception (3 of 15)

Jana made tons of food including a delicious baked spaghetti. (You can find the recipe here.)  She also made little veggie cups that had dip in the bottom of each cup, so you could just grab one and go! All of the veggies came from Alex’s Aunt Holly who has a massive garden. These were literally just picked from the ground! These were genius and I’m stealing this idea for my next party! (This helped balance out all of the homemade cookies & cupcakes I ate…)

mixed veggie cups

Honestly though, the best part really was just spending time with family and friends. We played lawn games, a few card games, and spent the evening chatting while the sun went down.  Minnesota Reception (1 of 1)

Minnesota Reception (13 of 15)

Minnesota Reception (12 of 15) Minnesota Reception (10 of 15) Minnesota Reception (9 of 15)

Jana and her sisters threw me a surprise wedding shower which was so sweet and thoughtful. It really made me feel like one of the family. I received lots of lovely gifts, including a cookbook from Alex’s grandma. I can’t wait to make some of the recipes!

me and jana

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I’m so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful, loving family. The Thomsons are a fun bunch and I’m so blessed to be one of them!

Does your family have any fun traditions?

Frugal Fridays- Spicy Peanut Stir Fry

Hello from Minnesota! Alex and I flew back late last night and we’re spending some time with Alex’s family. I’m so excited to be back for a visit. His family is awesome and I’m sure we’ll be fitting in some fun nights with friends & card games.

I enjoyed your comments on last week’s Frugal Fridays post and I’m glad I’m not the only one who is trying to save money at the grocery store! (I mean, who doesn’t want to save money?) So let’s jump back in with another healthy & budget friendly recipe.

Frugal Friday

This week, let’s do a stir fry with a spicy peanut sauce! Stir fry dishes are a great way to use up all of those leftover veggies sitting in your fridge. Feel free to sub in whatever you have on hand. (Zucchini, snap peas, bean sprouts, cabbage… any of that can be tossed in!) I usually like mine with just noodles and veggies but if you want a little extra protein, you could add in tofu, tempeh, or chicken (if that’s your thing) and you’ll still be able to fit it in the $10 budget.

peanut sauce dish

Spicy Peanut Stir Fry Ingredients

  • 1 box rice noodles- $1.50
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter- $0.20
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce- $.50
  • 1/4 cup honey- $0.75
  • 1 head broccoli- $2.50
  • 4 large carrots- $1.00
  • 1 package of tempeh or tofu- $4.00 (optional)
  • Spices* & olive oil

You can substitute sriracha or hot sauce + curry for the red pepper curry paste if you don’t have any on hand! Making substitutions, rather than buying something new, is a great way to save a few bucks.

spicy peanut sauce

Click here for the Spicy Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe.

What’s your favorite sauce to use in a stir fry?

6 Easy Ways to Be Healthier

Long term goals are great and we can all agree that your health won’t change overnight but sometimes you need some short term motivation to get you going. You already know that you should drink more water and take the stairs but here are a 6 (slightly unconventional) easy ways to jump start your health!

6 easy ways to be healthier 1. Set a curfew for e-mail. If you go to bed at 10pm, don’t let yourself check your e-mail past 9pm. A task like that gets your brain working in overdrive. Pretty soon you’re tossing and turning in bed trying to solve a problem as you fall asleep… and you won’t remember the answer in the morning.

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2. Set a “Do Not Disturb” time on your phone. I have mine sent from 10pm – 7am meaning I don’t get any notifications during that time. (If someone calls twice, it’ll ring the second time, so you don’t have to worry about emergency calls.) It means your phone won’t be lighting up all night with Groupon offers and Instagram notifications.

3. Make a workout-only playlist. I’m guilty of listening to my favorite song on repeat until I’m sick of it. But now I try to put those make-me-wanna-run songs into a list that I only listen to at the gym. That way when I hear those songs, they always get me moving!

spotify-playlist

4. Make dinner at home. Eating out will almost always mean extra calories, large portion sizes, and not-so-good for your choices. Cooking at home can also save you some $$$. Plus, recipes don’t have to be complicated. I’ve got a whole list of 5-ingredient recipes for you!

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5. Eat a meatless meal. While you’re at it, skip out on meat. Vegetable based meals are good for your heart, better for the environment, and you might find you don’t even miss it! Don’t know what to make? I’ve got tons of easy meatless recipes for you!

goat cheese medallions on salad.jpg

6. Eat out of a bowl… not the container. We all know that eating straight from the bag will result in eating more… but we still do it. If you struggle with portion control, take things to the next level and pre-portion tempting snacks. Tackle that giant bag of pretzels and separate it out into sandwich bags filled with individual servings. It’ll be easier to grab a snack on the go and you won’t be tempted to eat the whole bag.

smoothie

Those are a few of the things that keep me in check. I don’t always follow these rules (even when I know I should!) but all these little things do help! Healthy living doesn’t have to be difficult. Make small changes and they’ll start adding up to big results!

What are some healthy habits that are easy to incorporate into your routine? 

Vegan Black Bean Dip

Alex and I had a pretty low key weekend, which was perfect since we’re traveling later this week. We did take a trip downtown for dinner on Friday night and went on a long walk by the canal since the weather was so nice.

weekend collage

On Saturday, we spent most of the day with my brother and sister in law since they just moved into a new house and had lots of unpacking to do. I got the easy job of keeping an eye on that little bundle of cuteness. I can’t believe how big he’s getting! So after a busy Saturday, Alex and I decided to get really crazy and try to learn how to knit. He had gotten me a kit & some books for my birthday so we tried to master a couple of stitches. I’m pretty terrible at it (and Alex is actually quite good at it) so it’s been… interesting. Don’t expect me to be opening an Etsy shop anytime soon.

I forgot to order groceries for the weekend so by the time Sunday came around, we didn’t have a whole lot to work with. I dug around the pantry to see what I could come up with and decided to make something with black beans. I always have them on hand because they’re so versatile and good for you! We’ve had them pretty much every way you can imagine but I realized I’d never tried making my own bean dip. I’m typically more of a salsa or guacamole person, but I like that black bean dip is a bit more filling.

vegan black bean dip

The great thing about this recipe is you probably have these ingredients on hand right now.  It also comes together easily, doesn’t need to be serves right away (don’t worry about trying to keep it warm) and it’s vegan and gluten free.

Vegan Black Bean Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This makes about 1½ cups of bean dip.
Ingredients
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 tbsp diced red onion
  • 1 small tomato (or a few cherry tomatoes)
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp dried cilantro (or a small handful of fresh cilantro)
  • Dash of cumin
  • Dash of crushed red pepper
  • Juice from ½ lime (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Tortilla chips, crackers, or pita bread for dipping.
Instructions
  1. If you’re using corn on the cob, you can grill it and then remove it from the cob. If you’re using frozen, just sauté it in a small pan until it just begins to brown a bit.
  2. Blend everything except the corn (and tortilla chips of course) until mostly smooth. Remove from the food processor and stir in the corn.
  3. Top with extra cilantro & serve!

black bean dip, vegan & gluten free

We sliced up an avocado, stirred it in, and ate it with some crunchy tortilla chips. Maybe not the most well rounded lunch… but it hit the spot! For a few more black bean ideas, here are 10 easy black bean recipes!

Now I’m counting down the days until we leave for Minnesota! I can’t wait to go visit Alex’s family later this week!

Which is your favorite: guacamole, salsa, or bean dip? (Or all three?)

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Frugal Fridays- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Alright friends. Let’s talk about money. Well, money and food. I’ll be the first to admit that when I started this little food blog my grocery budget was out of control. Getting really into cooking (and veganism at the time) meant lots of expensive ingredients. Having just moved to Richmond, I did have to fill up my kitchen… but then I just kept buying and buying. Ironically, a vegetarian diet tends to be a bit cheaper, but it wasn’t for me! I finally got things under control and now we spend a much more appropriate amount on groceries. We buy almost everything through Relay Foods now and I’m spending less for the two of us than I was back when I was single, living on my own. Crazy, I know.

Anyways. That got me thinking about food and budgeting. I’m a huge fan of Mint and I’m kind of obsessed with budgets so I thought it might be fun to do a little series (maybe weekly, maybe monthly, we’ll see) and feature some budget-friendly recipes.

Frugal Friday

Frugal Fridays. 2 meals. $10. Health eating, on a budget.

So here’s the Frugal Friday Recipe of the week!

What to buy:

  • 1 onion- $0.80
  • 1 sweet potato $1.00
  • 3 tomatoes $1.70
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese $2.00
  • 1 can black beans $1.00
  • 1 ear of corn $0.75
  • 8 corn tortillas $1.00
  • Green enchilada sauce $1.70
  • I am assuming that you already have a spice rack + olive oil in your pantry!

Total: $9.95

Click here for the black bean & sweet potato enchilada recipe!

Do you keep track of your grocery budget?

Tuesday’s Meals

It’s only slightly embarrassing how much ice cream we’ve eaten in the past week. But luckily I’ve been able to eat pretty healthy other than that so I’d say it all balances out, right? Here’s what my meals looked like yesterday, linking up with Jenn:

Breakfast

breakfast yogurt

Berry season, please don’t go. I’m normally a yogurt + frozen blueberries girl but when fresh strawberries are around, I make room. Topped with a little cereal for crunch.

Lunch

I’m trying to do better about packing my lunch rather than buying it, and I succeeded yesterday! I love these Lumi juices (they’re a little pricy, but also super convenient) so I packed a Belmont Beet juice with a MorningStar Farms Black Bean Burger. (If you missed the Black Bean (Burger) Tacos on Monday, you better get caught up.) I got some salad greens at the cafeteria and just added a black bean burger on top. So simple & so good.  I also packed a few baby carrots.

lunch lumi juice

I haven’t been snacking much at work because I moved desks and now my office area is so quiet and I feel super awkward eating there. First world problems, I know.

Dinner

risotto

For dinner, I threw together a quick parmesan risotto (which actually turned out to be pretty good) and we had a little mixed green salad on the side. Nothing too fancy, although I love how this particular mix of greens has fresh parsley in it. It was kind of an unexpected kick but I love it!

Drinks

After dinner I met up with Kate & Lindsay for drinks. We hadn’t had girl time in awhile so it was fun getting to chat over some wine at Xtra’s. This used to be a fairly regular occurrence back in our “single” days. These days, it takes a bit more scheduling but it’s just as much fun!

dessert

Of course, when I got back home those cones we’re calling my name. And who am I to resist a cone? It was delicious.

What are you eating today?

Easiest Black Bean Tacos (Ever)

Taco nights happen fairly frequently over here. You don’t need a lot of specific ingredients and they tend to come together pretty quickly. You guys know I’m not into complicated-takes-2-hours-to-prepare recipes. I’m all about easy  and healthy recipes. So I teamed up with MorningStar Farms (one of my long time favorite veggie burger brands) to come up with a 15 minute recipe for you!

Tacos are definitely one of my favorite dinners. Mexican food can easily be made vegetarian and beans are a naturally great source of protein for us vegetarians. While I’ve always enjoyed veggie burgers grilled up on their own, I decided to get “fancy” and incorporate them into taco night. The result was quite good…

morningstar farm burger

Yes, 15 minutes. That’s seriously all you need. Well, and some taco ingredients.

black bean tacos

Taco night just got even easier.

5.0 from 2 reviews

Easy Black Bean Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 MorningStar Farms Black Bean Burgers
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ avocado
  • 4 hard taco shells
  • ¼ cup salsa
Instructions
  1. Heat up a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cook the veggie burgers according to the package directions, which takes about 3 minutes per side. I chopped mine up so it would cook faster and fit into the taco shells a little better.
  3. While those cook, season the rice with cilantro, salt and cumin.
  4. Slice up your avocado half into chunks.
  5. Scoop the rice, bean burger, and avocado into each shell and top with salsa.
  6. Serve hot!

tacos with veggie burger

I liked the added flavor these tacos had, compared to plain black bean tacos. These burgers have a good amount of spice to them which was perfect. I also picked up a pack of the MorningStar Farms Quinoa burgers that I just might have to turn into tacos as well! They’ve got a bunch of different veggie products so definitely check them out! They definitely make fast meals even easier.

What’s your favorite taco combination?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.