Cumin Zucchini Salad with Pinto Beans

I thought about inserting a disgruntled statement on the excessive pumpkin spice-ing of everything at the grocery store, but I don’t want this blog to be too pessimistic.

Instead can we just be reallllllllllly, realllllllly excited that fall is here???!???!?!

The good news is that I love when the leaves turn colors and the air is cool and the apples are crisp and I can wear scarves with every outfit and I could keep on going and going, but I’m not ready this year — at least not culinary-wise. I’m still over here cranking out zucchini recipes, eating salads, and enjoying peaches like it’s early August.

Whaaaaatttt?

In fact, the story gets worse when I confess that I’m wearing sandals and shorts and tank tops and hoping my subtle leg tan doesn’t fade too much. I’m thinking about the beach and still working on my bikini bod. Basically, I’m still summer-ing over here like it we aren’t long past the 4th of July. Eeeeeeeeek.

Dear squash,
I see you over there and I’m coming for you… in a week or two. First, I need to hit up the pool one last time. Before I join the masses eating chili, soup, and all-things gourd, allow me to enjoy a few more summer-y things… like this salad, which is full of zucchini. This would make a perfect side dish, but I also liked it thrown into a tortilla shell and eaten like a taco. Yum. Yum. Yum.

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Cumin Zucchini Salad with Pinto Beans 
Source: Naturally Ella 
Printable Recipe

2 medium zucchini, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1T olive oil
1 1/2tsp cumin
1/4tsp salt
1 red pepper, roasted and diced
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/3C minced cilantro
1/4C pepitas
juice of 1 lime
salt

Preheat oven to 400.
Line baking tray with parchment paper or non-stick silpat.
Place zucchini and onion on the prepped tray.
Toss with olive oil, cumin and a pinch of salt.
Roast at 400, until lightly browned. Toss halfway through to ensure even cooking.
While the onions and zucchini are cooking, toss beans, roasted red pepper, cilantro, and pepitas in a bowl.
Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the bean mixture and stir to combine.
Allow the zucchini and onion to cool slightly.
Combine with the bean mixture.
Taste and add additional salt if needed.
Enjoy!

Pesto Quinoa

A few days ago I realized that I’ve never washed my reusable grocery bags. I guess it never occurred to me to do it. I had a little panic attack when I realized how many million times I had used them without ever even contemplating cleaning them so I quickly threw my assortment of randomly colored and sponsored reusable bags in with a bunch of clothes that also needed laundering.

You’re probably thinking that the story ends here. That I’m simply reminding you… and you… and you… and you… and you to wash your reusable bags once in a blue moon.

Nope. That’s not the moral of this story. Unfortunately for me and my modesty, this story keeps going.

A few hours after I so intelligently washed those bags, I found myself in the checkout line at the grocery store. I proudly handed my freshly laundered bag to the bagger… and he promptly opened it, reached inside, and lifted a pair of my freshly laundered underwear in the air confusedly asking, “Are these yours or are we selling these?”

Consider yourself warned.

Separate your laundry carefully… and always triple-check the bottom of your reusable grocery bags after washing them.

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Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower 
Source: inspired by Simply Quinoa
Printable Recipe

2C cooked quinoa (~1C uncooked)
6C baby spinach
4T pesto
1/2tsp salt
1/2C parmesan cheese
1T olive oil
1/2 head of cauliflower*, cut into florets

Preheat oven to 425.
Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper.
Roast at 425 for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned.
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
While quinoa is still warm, toss quinoa with pesto, salt, baby spinach, and 1/4C parmesan cheese.
Top with roasted cauliflower and remaining parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!
*Feel free to swap cauliflower for roasted bell pepper, tomatoes, or whatever else your heart desires.

Ginger-Garlic Tofu

It’s been a hot minute since I posted a tofu recipe. I love easy tofu recipes with simple flavors that can be served with a side of rice… or a top of bed of sautéed veggies.. or even just thrown into a salad.  This dish is p-e-r-f-e-c-t.

After I typed the phrase ‘a hot minute,’ I started researching the etiology of it. I know what you’re thinking at this point. Does this girl spend all of her free time trying new recipes and researching random things on the internet?

Yes.

You can 100% judge me for it, but I’d like to point out that I make a really great bar trivia partner and I’d probably even cook up a celebration dinner after our big victory.

But, I digress.

I didn’t ever find a reliable explanation for where the phrase originates, but I now know the answer to the following bar trivia question:

  1. Name the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1995 album title

Hint: The answer is not Ginger-Garlic Tofu.

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Ginger-Garlic Tofu
Source: Bon Appetit
Printable Recipe 

1/4C balsamic vinegar (or Chinkiang black rice vinegar)
2 (14oz) blocks extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
2T light brown sugar
2T vegetable oil
1 4″ piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/4C low-sodium soy sauce
cilantro (for serving)

Slice tofu into even pieces (about 5-6 per block)
In a small pan, bring vinegar and sauce sauce to boil. Remove from heat and add sugar stirring until it dissolves.
Pour this mixture over the drained/pressed tofu.
Marinate for 1-8 hours in the refrigerator. Flip tofu every few hours so it marinates evenly.
In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add ginger and garlic. Stir constantly cooking until it is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove from oil.
Pour off excess marinade saving it in a separate bowl. Pat tofu dry.
Add tofu to heated oil.
Cook tofu on each side for about 5-7 minutes, until browned.
Add remaining marinade along with the garlic/ginger.
Cook until mixture thickens and glazes the tofu, about 1-2 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro.
Serve over rice or veggies of choice.
Enjoy!

ENCHILADA BAKE AND RESISTANCE BANDS

Let’s talk about politics today.

CALM DOWN.

I”M TOTALLY KIDDING.

I’m 99% sure I just spent the better part of my day watching strange fitness vlogs on youtube. And by ‘99%,’ I mean 100%. I’m 100% sure I just watched a million hours of youtube. (I know you can’t see this, but I just shook my head disapprovingly at my own actions)

After watching a lot of strangers talk about how they cook their egg whites and which exercises maximize their hamstring and glut growth, I’m feeling like starting my own vlog.

CALM DOWN.

I’M TOTALLY KIDDING

I will wholeheartedly admit that I was a bit judgemental in watching these videos, but I did get inspired to up my protein intake and try some new moves at the gym. The last time I tried a new move at the gym, I slapped myself in the chin with a resistance band so hard that it left a cute little mark. Gym-ing is hard.

Going forward, I’m going to try (key word: try) to be a bit more aware and/or even increase my protein intake…

WITHOUT eating large quantities of egg whites with every meal.

Example #1: this recipe

I made this with my roommate (hi roommate!) and we both really loved it. It’s full of black beans (hello protein!), quinoa (also a protein source!), and veggies. Plus, I’m a sucker for any recipe that is topped with cheese (technically also contains protein!). While I guess there are more protein-dense recipes in existence (i.e. egg whites, egg whites, egg whites), I think this one is a nice balanced meal… and it’s delicious… which is truthfully the part I care about most.

In conclusion, be careful with resistance band exercises at the gym. Also, make this recipe.
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Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake 
Original Source: Two Peas and Their Pod
Printable Recipe 

1C uncooked quinoa
1T olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds/ribs removed and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1C frozen corn
1 lime, juiced
1tsp cumin
1T chili powder
1/3C chopped cilantro
salt, pepper
2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2C red enchilada sauce
2C shredded Mexican cheese blend
toppings of choice: avocado, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with no-stick spray.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook until softened and onions translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add in peppers and corn.
Cook for about 4 more minutes, until peppers are softened.
Add in lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro.
Stir to combine.
Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, sautéed veggies, and enchilada sauce.
Once combined, stir in 1/2C of the shredded cheese.
Transfer to the 9×13 pan.
Top with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for additional 10 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes. Serve with toppings of choice.
Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I’m listening to an acoustic summer playlist on Spotify right now and drinking a glass of red wine. I’m about as relaxed as a person can be at 8:52 on a Tuesday evening.

In the spirit of feeling exceptionally laid-back right now, I don’t have much to say about this recipe.

Seriously, I have nothing to say.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal 
Source: Annie’s Eats
Printable Recipe 

3C water
1C milk (or nondairy milk of choice)
1T butter
1C steel-cut oats
1/4tsp salt
3T brown sugar
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2C shredded coconut
1/3C raisins
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Bring water and milk to a simmer in a pan on stove.
Melt the butter in small skillet. Add in oats and stir until slightly toasted.
Add oats to simmering liquid.
Reduce to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add in salt, brown sugar, carrot, coconut, raising, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Cook until almost all liquid absorbed, continuing to stir occasionally. This will take about 10 more minutes.
Remove from heat. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Top with additional coconut, milk, butter, and/or a sprinkle of walnuts.
Enjoy!

Half Dome and Tabbouleh

Once upon a time, we decided a trip to Yosemite was needed.

In all honesty, it started out as a bit of a joke. We live on a street that is named after the famous national park, and we’ve been continually surprised at how many people mispronounce, misspell, or have never even heard of Yosemite as an actual place …. and not just a random pile of letters.

Yo-SEE-might

Yah-se-might

You-say-mitt

I could go on an on about the pronunciations I’ve heard, but this isn’t really about that.

Half-dome.

When we started researching Yosemite, we quickly set our sights on being able to hike the famous cables to the top of Half Dome. After a last minute lottery entry won us a spot, we found ourselves making a quick pit-stop at a hardware store to purchase $8 gardening gloves so we were prepared.

I’m being sarcastic about being prepared. Sure, we had read a few travel website reviews of the hike on the plane ride to California and we had purchased a few granola bars to eat along the way, but that’s pretty much where our preparation ended. Ha.

Determined we were. Prepared we were not.

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I thought about giving you a mile-by-mile review, but I could sum it all up by simply saying that some things in life (read: views, views, views) are more than worth fatigued muscles and blistered feet.

Sidenote: If someone could comment below on how to properly pose when you are standing on a mountain, I’d really, really appreciate it. I have a few too many extremely awkward, hands-over-my-head-tada-pose pictures.

 

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Tabbouleh 
Source: Ina Garten 
Printable Recipe

1C bulgur wheat
1 1/2C boiling water
1/4C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4C olive oil
1C minced green onion
1C chopped fresh mint
1C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
2C cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp black pepper
salt

Combine in a bowl, combine bulgur with the boiling water. Add in lemon juice, olive oil, and a 1 1/2tsp salt.
Stir and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Once all the liquid has absorbed (about 1 hour), add in scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and the black pepper.
Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Enjoy!  (This tastes best after resting in the fridge for a few hours)

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

Zucchini and I go way back… way back to my childhood when my mom’s garden inevitably overproduced the following:

  1. tomatoes
  2. zucchini

As a child who didn’t believe in eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or anything not coated in cheese or sugar, this was always a rough time of year for me. My mom would recommend I try the garden-fresh produce that we had so carefully watered and tended to all summer and I would throw dramatic screaming toddler rants to once-again prove that I was right and she was wrong.

Times have changed and I know find myself liking loving seasonal produce. Like all trips to the farmers market, my latest one left me with way too much. (it’s so hard to choose!)

What to do with a counter full of zucchini? Make bread and gift it to your closest friends of course.

Your friends won’t be disappointed.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Source: King Arthur Flour
Printable Recipe

2 eggs
1/3C honey
1/2C vegetable oil
1/2C light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp salt
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp espresso powder
1/3C dutch-process cocoa
1 2/3C AP flour
2C shredded zucchini, gently pressed so some of the excess liquid is removed
1C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a loaf pan (8.5″ x 4.5″)
Beat eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
In a different bowl, combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and flour.
Add in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until almost combined. Then add in zucchini and chocolate chips.
Once combined, pour batter into pan.
Cook at 350 for 70-75 minutes,  until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Allow to cool completely.
Slice and serve!