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.

IMG_0625-2

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!

IMG_0509-2 (1)

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?)

Follow along: Bloglovin // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Facebook

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.

DIY Ice Cream Bar

Birthdays are such a wonderful reminder of the amazing friends and family who surround me. I felt so loved yesterday! Thank you to all that made yesterday an absolutely fantastic day!

When I was thinking about birthday stuff, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to have a party. We’re only a couple of months post-wedding and that sort of cleared the “party planning” out of my system. But then I started thinking about an ice cream bar, and suddenly I knew this had to happen. Friends and ice cream? This needed to happen.

DIY Ice Cream Bar Party

ice cream cones

ice cream party

It’s not like you don’t know how to buy ice cream, but just in case you wanted to recreate this little party idea, here’s a quick list of everything you’d need:

DIY Ice Cream Bar

And of course, you need a whole bunch of friends to help you eat it all.

adult ice cream party

Last year certainly was a wonderful year but something tells me 26 is going to be pretty grand!

What was the best birthday party you ever had?

Parmesan Sweet Potato Chips

I’ve gone through a few different sweet potato phases. For awhile, I was obsessed with sweet potatoes + almond butter. (Sounds weird but it’s delicious, I swear.) Lately, we’ve been enjoying Alexia’s sweet potato fries. But now, I think I may be on a sweet potato chip kick. They’re so easy to make and still pretty healthy! 

Obviously you could just slice these and roast them and you’d essentially have chips. But why not make it a little more fun with Parmesan and garlic?

Parmesan Sweet Potato Chips.jpg

5.0 from 2 reviews

Parmesan Sweet Potato Chips
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 oz fresh parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and slice thinly using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife. The thinner the chips, the crispier they will get.
  3. Grate the parmesan into a small bowl and combine with the salt and garlic powder.
  4. In a separate bowl, toss the sweet potato slices in a bit of olive oil until they’re lightly coated.
  5. Spread out on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with the Parmesan mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown and crispy.

I love how crispy and salty these are! We had ours with some Parmesan tomato soup and it was delicious.

Parmesan Tomato Soup

I wish I’d made a double batch of the chips, because we ate them up pretty quickly! I’m pretty sure those will be a veggie burger side dish on the regular.

Alright, time to go drink some coffee and enjoy my last day of being 25!

What’s your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?

Birthday Wish List (+ Giveaway)

My birthday is later this week and I got to do a little bit of early celebrating, while my friend Alexa was in town for a visit. Despite the rainy weather, we made the most it (and obviously ate lots of delicious food) while enjoying our time together!

bev's ice cream

We stopped by Bev’s ice cream- Alexa went with raspberry, Alex had mocha almond, and I dug into espresso Oreo. It was absolutely as delicious as it looks.

I didn’t really have much on my Birthday wish list, since after the wedding we got more stuff than our apartment could possibly hold… and then I came across Uncommon Goods and now I want everything.

Uncommon Goods Wishlist

Wine Paring Towel Set //Anniversary Journal // Box Wine Dispenser //Fixie Pizza Cutter // Travel Journal//

We’re the boxed wine type and that dispenser would certainly look a lot nicer on the counter top… But seriously, check out some awesome gifts for cooks here and some cute personalized options here. I’m going to go fill up my Pinterest board. But since this is a marvelous Monday, I thought it would be nice to share the wealth, right?

You can win the fixie bike pizza cutter for your kitchen! Just leave me a comment and tell me what’s on your wish list and I’ll randomly select a winner on Friday. 

All opinions are my own and all of the items are my wishlist were chosen by me! The adorable pizza cutter is courtesy of Uncommon Goods

What’s on your wishlist?

Edamame + Quinoa Salad

Ok so I’ve got 4 reasons why today will be marvelous. Let’s talk through them.

1. My best friend from Ohio is flying in to visit this weekend and we’re going to do some early birthday celebrations. My birthday is next week and there’s nothing wrong with some early birthday festivities, right?

me and alexa at the wedding

2. I get to find out if I’m getting a little niece or nephew! I can’t wait. And I’ll get to see this little cutie pie why my brother and sister in law are at the doctor:

Jumping Jack

I can’t believe that photo is 7 months old. Little Jack is basically twice as old now. Clearly I need some new photos.

3. After a few boring workouts (where I was really just puttering around the gym) I finally found some motivation and had some great workouts this week. These circuit workouts from Popsugar got my heart pumping and left me with sore muscles. Mission accomplished. Click the photo to pin the workouts for yourself!

circuit workouts

4. I’ve got a yummy recipe to share with you today. High protein? Check. Vegetarian? Of course. Gluten free? Bonus. Delicious? Yes.

Edamame and Quinoa Salad (1 of 1) I ordered some edamame through Relay and I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it, but since it has so much protein I knew it would come in handy eventually. Edamame (aka a soybean) has about 30% more protein than black beans. (Click here for a cup to cup comparison.) While I wouldn’t advocate eating a ton of soy, particularly in the form of fake meat products and processed foods, I think soybeans have a healthy place in a varied diet.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Edamame + Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Gluten free and high in protein, this vegetarian salad is hearty enough for a main dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 avocado
  • 1½ cups soybeans (frozen is fine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp diced red onion
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • Dash of crushed red pepper to tasted
Instructions
  1. If using frozen soybeans, heat the oven to 400 and cook for 15 minutes until warm. (You could also just unthaw them in the microwave if you don’t want to heat the oven.
  2. Boil the quinoa and water and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes until the water is absorbed.
  3. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  4. Slice the avocado, remove the pit and the peel, and slice into chunks.
  5. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the Parmesan into very thin strips. (I used a vegetable peeler to go the length of the cheese wedge and then broke apart the long strips.)
  6. Squeeze the lemon juice into the quinoa and stir.
  7. Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and serve warm!

This made enough to fill Alex and I up for dinner with some leftover for lunch tomorrow. The dish is gluten free and full of protein. I wasn’t really sure how it was all going to come together but the creamy avocado, salty Parmesan, and crunchy edamame made a pretty good combination!

Alright, time for some coffee to get this day rolling! (Linking up with Lauren.)

 Do you have big plans for the weekend?