What I Ate: Saturday

This past weekend was splendid. As I mentioned on Monday, it was a little chaotic but it certainly wasn’t boring and I’d take chaos over boredom any day. We woke up around 7am and I immediately made some coffee and ate breakfast. I’m one of those people that has to eat breakfast and have coffee as soon as I get out of bed. Why wait, ya know?

good news granola

So it was Greek yogurt, frozen blueberries and this Hudson Henry granola which is not only local but also delicious. I’m pretty sure I could eat an entire bag straight from the bag but I’ve managed not to do that in order to have some to sprinkle on my morning yogurt. A true test in self control, I assure you.

As soon as we finished breakfast, we got to work. Alex set up his new Miter saw (which was an undertaking in itself) and we started adding some trim to the stairs. It basically involved lots of cutting and lots of small pieces of trim. It was time consuming but I did learn how to use a nail gun so that was pretty cool. (Honestly, it was harder to aim than I expected, but had we not been using such tiny pieces of wood, I think I would have had a much higher success rate.) I also ran outside every hour or so to add another coat of spray paint on this patio furniture.

Somewhere in between the stair trim and the spray paint I whipped up a pan of baked ziti. (It’s a super easy recipe so that made it easy!) We took a quick break around noon for lunch. I had a giant plate of kale salad with some almonds sprinkled on top for a little extra protein. I wanted to use up the rest of the kale in the fridge and I had a bottle garlic tahini dressing from Whole Foods (which is the best) so it was an awesome lunch.

kale with almonds

Of course, running around the house painting and nailing certainly worked up my appetite and I was hungry by 3pm. Our house is seriously lacking in the snack department (which is kind of intentional… because I can be a huge snacker) but luckily I had popcorn in the pantry. After a few minutes in the microwave I was happily munching. I intended to share it with Alex but if we’re being honest, it wasn’t really a fair deal.

popcorn

Obviously we only eat popcorn in adorable polka dot containers. Obviously. (Not really. But I found them in the cabinet while I was cleaning and they were just too cute not to be in a picture.)

Once we wrapped up the house projects my brother, sister in law, and nephews came over to visit. I hadn’t seen my little nephews in a while so it was awesome getting to play with them. We all had dinner together before the Wisconsin game.

baked ziti recipe

click for the recipe

Mmm. Ziti. Carbs + Cheese = happy me.

We all watched the first half of the game together and then I headed over to Christina’s house for a glass of wine, some snacks & few girl scout cookies. By that point, my camera was off duty so there is no evidence of said cookies but trust me… they we’re good.

It was a jam packed Saturday but it was full of all the things I love, so no complaints here!

Are you a first-thing-in-the-morning breakfast eater?

I’m linking up with Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

Easy Shortbread Cookies

Sundays are usually when I clean the house and prepare for the week. I get the kitchen cleaned, I pack up leftovers for lunches, I get laundry put away. I get ready.

But last night, I walked into the house after an awesome night of Cooking Club and the house was just… chaos. The latest Home Depot purchases are scattered around the kitchen floor. Laundry piles are everywhere. The newspaper is in 10 parts around the living room. The sink is full of dishes which can’t go into the dishwasher because it’s full. Mind you, we don’t even have kids. How did we make such a mess?

And believe it or not, we actually worked pretty hard this weekend. Alex bought a miter saw that had to be set up and then we worked on wood trim going up the stairs. I also painted some patio furniture which required 4 coats of spray paint.

We ran errands and we got stuff done and yet there is still. more. to. be. done. I’m not the only one feeling this, right?

So in the midst of the mess I decided to make cookies. (Hey, the kitchen was already messy, so why not?) There is something peaceful about baking and this recipe is so simple that it didn’t require any brain power to make. Really, all it takes is some patience, although a good stand mixer certainly helps.

Sometimes you just need that recipe that let’s your mind wander while you mix. So these cookies aren’t particularly healthy but they are simple and delicious… and sometimes that’s what life requires.

3 ingredient shortbread cookies no egg

5.0 from 2 reviews

Easy Butter Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Makes 10 small cookies. You can add a splash of vanilla extract or some sprinkles if you want to spice it up!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix for 10 minutes. Yes, 10 minutes.
  3. I used a stand mixer on low. You could use a hand mixer, if needed.
  4. Scoop into tablespoons onto a cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes until they just begin to brown on the bottom.
  5. Remove from the pan immediately after you take them out of the oven.

This simple little recipe only makes about 10 cookies but you could easily double or triple it if you wanted to make a larger batch. A small batch was just perfect for us.

easy 3 ingredient cookies

After I made the cookies I tackled those dishes in the sink and the piles of laundry. Alex helped move the Home Depot haul down to the basement and after we got the house into some sort of order we still had time to sit down and enjoy a cookie together. Not a bad way to start the week.

Was your weekend productive, relaxing, or a mix of both?

Eating Through Carytown: A River City Food Tour

A few weeks ago, my friend Brian asked if I’d like to check out his food tour of Carytown. A food tour? In one of my favorite parts of the city? Um, yes. Brian started River City Food Tours in January, but he hadn’t had a vegetarian try out the tour yet. That actually didn’t surprise me because as much as I love food, I don’t really do a lot of foodie “events” since most of them revolve around meat. When Brian told me the food tour had vegetarian options at each stop, I started getting pretty excited. (Full disclosure: Brian let Alex and I try the tour out free of charge, but he didn’t ask me to blog about it, I just loved it so much I had to share!)

My old apartment was one block away from Carytown, so I’d been to all of the restaurants we stopped at, but I had a new-to-me dish at almost every stop! I also learned bits and pieces of Carytown’s history along the way, which was pretty cool. We started out at Carytown Cupcakes where I had a taste of a Chocolate Potato cupcake and an Irish Car Bomb cupcake. The potato one was a bit strange (although it was good… sort of like a chocolatey potato bread) but the Irish Car Bomb was definitely my favorite.

carytown cupcakes food tour

I didn’t realize that Carytown Cupcakes does a different flavor theme each week! We caught them on their St. Patrick’s Day flavors but this week I think they did different ones for the French Film Festival. It’s a cool idea and it’s nice to know that they’ll always have new flavors to try!

We headed further down Carytown and Brian stopped along the way to tell us about how Carytown got it’s name. It was nice to have a little history in there! (I mean, it’s not just about the food… right?) We stopped into Water Coastal Kitchen where the meat eaters had fried oysters and Alex and I had a roasted red pepper stuffed with quinoa.

water grille food tour

It was served with pickled celery and honestly that was my favorite part. I need to try pickling some soon.

Brian, our tour guide for the day!

Brian, our tour guide for the day!

Our next stop was my favorite. We went into Xtra’s, where I’ve been lots of times before, but they made us all taquitos and they were amazing.

Xtras Food Tour

The meat eaters had something with beef but ours was potato, goat cheese, and jalapeno. Yessss. It was so good and it was a huge portion size for a tasting! We stayed long enough for me to sip on a glass of red wine which was perfect. This was definitely my favorite stop of the tour!

We made a few more stops at the Virginia Diner Shoppe (the Old Bay peanuts were my favorite) and at Don’t Look Back for tacos.

Virginia Diner food Tour

At Don’t Look Back, they served us vegetarians the potato taco and the TVP (textured vegetable protein) taco. That’s exactly what I would have ordered had I been there on my own so it was perfect.

Our very last stop was the most unique. The Nile, a local Ethiopian restaurant recently partnered with Portrait House, a bar in Carytown (that previously served pizza and burgers) so now they have an Ethiopian menu and a great list of beers on tap. Interesting, right?

The Nile Food Tour

I don’t know what either of these things are called (much less, how to spell them) but the dish on the left was Injera bread rolled with a spicy, creamy cheese. It was super spicy, but I liked it. The pastry on the right was savory and filled with lentils. I loved this dish. I’ll have to figure out what it’s called so I can order it again. Does anyone know?

The tour lasted about 2 1/2 hours and we were stuffed by the end. It was a fun way to experience Carytown a little differently. If you’re from Richmond or just visiting for the day, I’d highly recommend this! It’s best if you’re a somewhat adventurous eater, although it’s nothing too crazy. I absolutely loved knowing there was a vegetarian option waiting for me at each stop rather than wondering if I’d be able to eat something. It’s also a fun way to explore Carytown and learn a little bit more about the history. If you’re interested in checking it out, visit Brian’s site, River City Food Tours.

Have you ever done a food tour?

What I Ate Sunday

Sunday was a day filled with good food and lots of walking. That basically makes it the perfect day in my book.

In the morning, we stuck with our standard routine of drinking coffee, eating breakfast, and reading the paper. I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with some blueberries and granola with lots and lots of coffee.

breakfast yogurt

I would normally go to gymnastics around lunch time but it occurred to me that we had an open day ahead of us. These don’t happen all too often so I demanded we go on an adventure. (I wish I could say it was more of a request but I suppose it probably came a cross as a demand…) The sun was shining so my original idea was to go on a picnic but we ended up finding ourselves in Church Hill. We grabbed lunch at Union Market so we could eat lunch on their patio. I had a delicious pesto grilled cheese with a kale Caesar salad. (They use tofu in the dressing, no anchovies!)

union kitchen grilled cheese

I also washed it down with a glass of ginger Barefoot Kombucha which was awesome. It’s rare to find kombucha on tap so when I see it, I can’t resist! The ginger gave it a spicy kick that I loved. We ended up walking around Church Hill for a while. Alex got me a pedometer last week and I’ve gotten really into it. I’ll tell you my total for the day at the end ;)

When we got home I was in the mood for a nap. I’m not a nap taker so it was kind of weird but it just sounded so good. We ended up napping for about 45 minutes and it was glorious. I totally get why people are into napping!

We headed out to church and I talked Alex into walking (again, that pedometer is motivating!) so we walked to church which is almost 1.5 miles each way so it was quite a hike. We ended up having to walk pretty fast so we weren’t late! Oops.

Once we got home, I did a little recipe testing.

single serving banana bread

The end result was the single serving banana bread recipe I posted on Monday so I ate part of that and then I had a small bowl of whole wheat pasta.

pasta

I kept it simple with olive oil, garlic, salt, and spices. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for this! My plan was to have some greens by making a simple cucumber salad but unfortunately my cucumber had gone bad. Such a bummer!

Alex was excited to watch the Wisconsin game, so I sort of watched part of the game (while browsing Pinterest) and at half time he took me to Sweet Frog for some frozen yogurt.

IMG_8070 You can’t see it all but this was cookies & cream, chocolate chips, cake batter, strawberries, and coconut. Delicious. Not a bad way to end the day!

I ate quite a bit of food but I also clocked in over 15,000 steps! That’s a whole lot more than I can usually get during the week so I’m glad we got to go out and enjoy the fresh air.

 What are your favorite frozen yogurt toppings?

I’m linking up with Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!

Single Serving Banana Bread [Vegan]

Yesterday afternoon, Alex tried to throw away a banana. Some might have said it had gone bad but I quickly snatched it out of his hands since it was the perfect baking banana. (I might have also shrieked “No!!! Don’t throw that away!” Being married to me is an adventure, I’m sure.) Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of other bananas so I figured I’d have to try a single serving option.

My first thought was, “I bet there is already a single serving recipe on Pinterest.” And their was. And it looked great. And I tried it. And it overflowed and exploded all over my microwave. Awesome.

So I decided to make up my own recipe, something basic without lots of fancy flours, eggs, or protein powders. Just ooey, gooey, banana bread. It also decided to make it in the microwave because sometimes you need it now. Are you with me on this? Ok, let’s go.

single serving chocolate chip banana bread

Single Serving Banana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • ½ very ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips (optional, but delicious of course)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mash your banana.
  2. Combine with brown sugar.
  3. In a small ramekin, melt the coconut oil. I melted mine in my ramekin that I was making the banana bread in. (Hello, already greased ramekin!)
  4. Add the oil to the banana mixture and let cool for a minute, so you don’t melt the chocolate chips.
  5. Stir in the vanilla, chocolate chips and flour until well mixed.
  6. Add in the baking soda and baking powder and stir until just combined. (Do not over mix!)
  7. Add into your greased ramekin. Make sure that it is only about half full, since the bread will rise.
  8. Microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes if you light it ooey-gooey, or 2½-3min if you like it more done.

Alex thought it was a little too gooey but that’s just how I like it. If you want it more bread-like, just cook it for an extra 30 seconds or so, as noted above. Seriously, this was like dessert in a dish.

single serving banana bread in the microwave

If you love single serving recipes, try this single serving deep dish chocolate chip cookie, which actually looks oddly similar to this banana bread! (What can I say… I love chocolate chips.)

single serving banana bread

Banana bread in 5 minutes? Yes please. I’ll certainly be making this again soon.

Have you made any single serving recipes?

Crispy Parmesan Edamame

Alex and I spent most of last night working on the basement. We’re tackling it one half at a time (since the other half is housing all of the junk we have in storage). So far ,that has involved cleaning, painting the ceilings with a paint sprayer, sealing all the cracks with concrete filler, painting the walls with water proofing paint (to prevent leaking) and most recently “etching” the floor in order to prepare it for painting. We washed it and used a degreaser on it earlier this week so last night was etching. Hopefully this weekend we can do the painting part and then we’ll get to start all over again on the second half of the basement. Oy.

I swear, the simplest projects can take exponentially longer than you expect.

Lucky for you, this recipe is exactly as easy as it sounds. It only requires a few ingredients, it’s packed with flavor, and it’s low in calories but high in protein. Does it get any better than that? (If only it could clean our basement.) It makes a great side dish or high protein snack!

easy edamame recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews

Crispy Parmesan Edamame
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups of shelled edamame (frozen is fine!)
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese (note: freshly shredded is best!)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. If you’re using frozen edamame, defrost it for a few minutes in the microwave until it is thawed.
  3. Toss the edamame in the olive oil.
  4. On a baking sheet, spread out the edamame into a single layer.
  5. Lightly cover with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. (You can always add more after baking.)
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cheese is golden brown.

 

edamame recipe

We snacked on this during the Ohio State vs. VCU basketball game, before we starting working on the basement. I’m not really a basketball fan but I went to Ohio State and I live in Richmond so I felt like we had to watch it. I didn’t really care who won but sometimes I like to pretend I’m really into it.

One of these days, the basement will be finished and I’ll show you some before and after pictures. For now, you’ll have to settle for the edamame. Fair? Fair.

What projects are you working on?

What I Ate Tuesday [Breakfast for Dinner]

I was out of yogurt so I whipped up a quick smoothie for breakfast. It was delicious but I didn’t add much protein powder so it didn’t stick with me very long.

banana smoothie

Ice, almond milk, stevia, banana, peanut butter, and vanilla protein powder. Tasty, but not filling enough.

Luckily work was pretty busy so I didn’t have too much time to spend wishing I’d packed a snack. However, once I got to the cafeteria I went a little crazy and got a little more food than I really needed.

lunch

It’s also unfortunately that I got some pretty un-photogenic food. It happens. (Fun fact: black bean hummus might be the least photogenic food ever.) This was tabbouleh salad with hummus and pita chips plus a side of chickpea and potato soup. I couldn’t even finish the soup because I was so full. Oops.

The afternoon was a whirlwind of meetings and snuggies. Yes snuggies, the blankets with sleeves. We all got a free snuggie yesterday so obviously it was a good day. After I wrapped up in my snuggie for a minute I pushed the candy cart around the office (not while wearing my snuggie) and settled in with a cup of gummy bears for myself. Yes I do live in a magical world full of rainbows and joy.

gummy bears

My friend Eric was in town for a quick visit so he and Alex and I stopped by the Betty on Davis for drinks. (You can read my full review of the Betty on Davis here. Hint: I love it.) The three of us split a carafe of red wine and Alex and I shared some hummus, veggies, & pita.

Yes I had more hummus. It was delicious.

We headed back home and had our small group over for dinner. We did a little breakfast for dinner thing with pancakes & breakfast foods! Chocolate chip pancakes are my favorite.

breakfast for dinner

I had a couple of pancakes and a few strawberries. This day is a good example of how it is easy to load up on carbs carbs carbs as a vegetarian. Oops! But it certainly was a delicious day of eats. There’s always time for protein tomorrow!

What’s your favorite pancake add-in?

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Linking up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!

5 Ingredient Olive Oil Bread (No Yeast Required)

After following the Tone It Up meal plan (more or less) for a week, I was ready for some good old fashioned bread on Sunday. There are few things I love more than a fresh slice of bread. The issue I have is that I don’t usually want to make an entire loaf of bread… because I will eat it all in a matter of days. Why aren’t there more single serving bread recipes? Just in case you love bread as much as I do, here is a super simple recipe for some warm and fluffy bread.

I’m not really sure if I should call these biscuits or rolls or just little mini loafs. You could make it in a bread pan so it would look more like regular bread but I made mine in a skillet to save time and avoid preheating the oven. Seriously, this recipe could not be easier! Ready?

olive oil bread

4.5 from 2 reviews

Olive Oil Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • (Rosemary or other herbs, optional.)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend for 10 seconds.
  2. While running the food processor on low, slowly add in the olive oil and water.
  3. Blend for 30 seconds or until a dough starts to form. (You’ll be able to tell; it’ll start to clump up.)
  4. Warm a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  5. Sprinkle with olive oil and swirl around the pan to lightly coat.
  6. Shape the dough into 4 small patties.
  7. Drop into the heated skillet and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.
  8. You can sprinkle them with rosemary or other herbs while they’re cooking.
  9. Serve immediately. (They will only keep for a day or so.)

Technically this recipe makes 4 little mini loaves so if you wanted to be strict on portions you could serve 4 people with these. But they’re so delicious that you’ll probably want to eat (at least) 2. Or maybe that’s just me?

bread for one

I’m glad I can finally whip up a quick mini-batch of bread to accompany soups or salads without leaving a huge loaf of bread out on the counter.

Somehow, I managed to not eat all of these mini loafs (but I did eat 2 1/2… oops.) Luckily it was a gorgeous day outside yesterday and I managed to take quite few walks. I don’t have a pedometer but I’m pretty sure I got in plenty of steps for the day. I’m loving this warm weather!

Are you a carb lover like me or could you pass on the bread basket?

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Currently: March

Thinking: that I’m so happy it’s Friday! The past couple of days have been pretty jam-packed so I’m looking forward to a more relaxing weekend.

Eating: lots of vegetables. 2 more days of the 7 Day Slim Down! I’m not sick of kale yet. (Who am I kidding? I’m never sick of kale.)

fruits and vegetables

Wanting: Everything from Elements Beauty Shop in Carytown. My friend Christina organized an amazing party full of drinks, food,  and make up! I had no idea there was such an awesome beauty shop right down the street from me. Now I want to try some new make up products…

Laughing: at the failed veggie burger attempt last night. I attempted to recycle some leftover taco ingredients into veggie burgers… Let’s just say it didn’t turn out as planned. (Don’t worry, you won’t see them on the blog.)

Using: my spiralizer! Seriously, can I spiralize everything? Why does a curly carrot taste better than a regular carrot?I don’t know. It’s just science.

zucchini noodles

Loving: these paint-by-numbers pictures (or colored pencil by numbers in our case) that my friend Adrienne made. We tested them out during a little craft night and they were SO fun. Creativity + some of Richmond’s most famous landmarks? Yes please. (Follow her Facebook page to order some for yourself! They’ll be on Etsy soon!) Mine is a picture of the museum around the corner from our house. I love it so much; I think I need to frame it.

Sit Pretty Design

Wanting: an avocado salad and black bean soup from Kuba Kuba. It’s probably my favorite restaurant in Richmond. Seriously, this salad is epic. Avocado to vegetarians is like bacon to you meat eaters. Put it in everything.

Kuba Kuba

Writing: a to-do list of house projects to tackle. We’ve slowed down a little bit, which is probably a good thing. It’s easy to get burnt out with those things. Luckily, I’m still feeling pretty excited about working on the house.

Feeling: blessed. We’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of wonderful people this week. Good conversations with wonderful people just makes me feel so full of joy.

What are you currently doing?

What I Ate: 7 Day Slim Down

As I mentioned on Monday, I’m trying to (mostly) follow the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down plan this week. It’s really just lots of fruit, veggies, and protein and less bread-y carbs & sugar. It’s also encouraging me to move more which has been pretty easy since the weather has warmed up! Take a walk? Yes please!

Sunday morning I woke up and had a big bowl of yogurt with blueberries and strawberries. (I skipped my usual granola on top.)

greek yogurt breakfast

After breakfast and a little New York Times browsing, I headed to gymnastics. (You can see video evidence here.)

gym

It was fun hanging out with my friends while getting in some exercise. I was definitely sore on Monday.

I came home and thought I’d be starving afterwards but I wasn’t hungry yet so Alex and I took a walk around the neighborhood instead. I love walking weather! (I think it’s because I like exercising but I also really like talking. So walking + talking is basically my favorite.) Poor Alex has a lifetime of walks ahead of him. If you live near me, we should take some walks together.

Once we got back I started getting hungry so I made a quick salad.

mixed green salad with strawberries

This was mixed greens with strawberries, almonds, and balsamic vinegar. I love this combo- sweet, tangy, and crunchy! I knew I needed more protein though, especially after an intense workout, so I also made a smoothie.

banana smoothie

Ice, almond milk, banana, peanut butter, and vanilla protein powder. I used to eat smoothies all the time for breakfast but now they’ve become more of a midday snack. This combination is my favorite!

I started making some nut”meat”balls before church so when we got back, I just popped them in the oven.

zucchini noodles and vegetarian meatballs

We had zucchini noodles and faux meatballs for dinner. I was actually surprised how full I was! I’m trying not to snack after dinner and luckily I was so full that it wasn’t an issue. (You know what else helps? Crest Whitestrips. For real. Good luck snacking when you’ve got those on.)

I kind of like that the Tone It Up plan focus on lots of veggies + protein but I’ll definitely go back to eating some real pasta and bread on Sunday! Still, it forces me to be a little more creative with my meals!

What are you eating today?

I’m linking up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!