Icelandic Horses

 

Once upon a time, I spent a week in Iceland.

I’m sure you’ve seen a picture or two of Iceland – they’re all over the internet. Stunning waterfalls, incredible fjords, majestic mountains, black beaches, and breathtaking views of the arctic ocean are impressively abundant. It’s the type of scenery that mostly leaves you speechless. I ran out of creative exclamatory remarks approximately four minutes after landing in Reykajvik, and quickly resorted to simply shouting ‘oh wow!’  and ‘I can’t believe this is real!’ at the sight of every new landscape.

Also, the horses. Let’s talk about the horses.

Iceland (192 of 238)

I’ll preface this by first confessing I’m not really a ‘horse person.’  I have nothing against horses, but I didn’t grow up riding horses or owning horses. My ‘My Little Pony’ collection was really small as a child, and I never owned (or wanted to own) a pair of riding boots. Honestly, I’ve only been horseback riding once which resulted in me spending a lot of time with a poorly trained horse named Tootsie who wanted to spend the majority of her time snacking on weeds in the woods and little time listening to me. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience.

Iceland changed me. There are horses all over Iceland… and I mean ALL OVER Iceland. We spent quite a few hours of our trip standing in open fields petting the small, friendly, and stunning Icelandic horses.

I’ve never been a ‘horse person’ nor have I been a blogger who likes to tie together the blog post and the recipe I post.

Harissa. Iceland. Quinoa. Horses. Broccoli. Horses.

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Harissa-Roasted Broccoli, Tofu and Quinoa Bowl 
Source: Bon Appetit 
Printable Recipe

1/2lb firm tofu, drained and pressed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2T harissa paste
7T olive oil, divided
1/4C apple cider vinegar, divided
kosher salt
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 1/2C quinoa, rinsed
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/2″ slices
sliced avocado

Preheat oven to 425.
Cut tofu into 1″ pieces
In a bowl, whisk garlic, harissa, 1/4C + 2T olive oil, and 3T vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss broccoli, onion, and tofu into the harissa mixture.
Transfer broccoli, onion, and tofu onto a baking sheet.
Roast at 425, tossing occasionally for 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through.
While broccoli, onion, and tofu are roasting, cook quinoa in a pot of boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Drain once cooked. Toss in 1T vinegar, 1T oil, and salt/pepper.
Divide quinoa into bowls. Top with broccoli mixture. Garnish with avocado.
Enjoy!

 

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Not Cheese

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Nacho cheese recipes should probably contain cheese in the same way that applesauce should probably contain apples.

Allow me to mention the time I made cheese-less nacho sauce.

This feels a bit like a confession to me. I feel guilty. I am guilty. I totally did make cheese-less nacho cheese. Furthermore, I liked it.

This cheet-oh-color orange, spicy, salty, smooth dip holds up to a pile of chips just like your favorite combination of cheddar-y, monterey-jack, (+/- velveeta), more traditional nacho sauce.

Are you going to confuse a cheese lover with this recipe? No. Absolutely not. They will know that they are not eating cheese.

Are you going to get a cheese lover to like this recipe? Yes. Absolutely yes. They will like this recipe.

Vegan Nacho Dip
Source: Vegan for Everybody Cookbook 
Printable Recipe

12oz russet potatoes (washed, peeled, and cut into 1″ pieces)
1 carrot (peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces)
3T vegetable oil
1 1/2T nutritional yeast
1 1/2tsp white vinegar
1tsp salt
1/3C finely disced onion
1/3C finely diced poblano chile
1 clove garlic, mined
1/2-1tsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4tsp cumin
1/8tsp mustard powder

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add potato and carrots. Cook until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
Combine potato, carrot, 1/3C water, 2T oil, nutritional yeast, vinegar, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth.
In a saute’ pan, heat 1T oil over medium heat. Cook onion and poblano until softened. Add in garlic, chipotle, cumin, and mustard. Cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the spiced onion and poblano mixture to the potato mixture. Pulse a few times until combined.
Taste and add more seasoning if needing.
Serve immediately with chips.
Enjoy!

You Made Me Make Cauliflower Tacos: Swift Thoughts

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I can’t help but quote Taylor today. The new song she dropped has been on my mind (and radio) for the past week.

I’ll be honest. I patiently waited for the song to be released … and immediately listened to it 15 times in a row late at night last Thursday.

I’m confused. Like, realllllly confused.

Taylor, what did I make you do? And why exactly did I make you do what I made you do?

I’m deeply saddened to hear that the ‘old Taylor is dead.’ I understand the need for reinvention, but must we kill off the old Taylor? I really liked the old Taylor!

I’ve since read all the internet opinions, recaps, and synopsissis (purposely misspelled for drama). I’ve heard that the song is about Kanye, Kim, Kamye, and Kimye. I’ve heard that there is a touch in there for ex-boyfriend Calvin, and a spiteful few lines directed towards the paparazzi. I’ve heard she disses Katy Perry a time or two among the lyrics. I’ve seen the music video which I completely loathe as someone who is admittedly terrified of snakes.

 

Dear Taylor, 

I’m sorry that I (or Kanye, Kim, Katy, Calvin, etc) made you do what I’m (we’re) now looking at you do. I don’t really want you to be the actress starring in my bad dreams. I’m disappointed that you can’t come to the phone because you’re dead. As a fan, I’m relieved that you got smarter in the nick of time, but I’m thinking you should put down the list of names with the red underlining at this point. In the end, I don’t think I’m cool enough to walk around town singing this song. Can someone prance around their kitchen singing ‘look what you made me do’ while making cauliflower tacos with mango slaw and cilantro sauce? Because in all honesty, that’s what it looks like you made me do. 

Love,
Andrea

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Baja-Style Cauliflower Tacos 
Source: Vegan for Everybody Cookbook
Printable Recipe

3C coleslaw mix
1/2mango, chopped into 1/4″ pieces (~ 3/4C)
1T fresh cilantro, chopped
2T lime juice
1T jalapeno, minced
salt, pepper
1C unsweetened shredded coconut
1C panko breadcrumbs
1C canned coconut milk
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp chili powder
1/4tsp cayenne (alt: 1/2tsp sriracha)
1lb (small head) cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
corn tortillas
cilantro sauce (1C dairy-free sour cream, 1T lime juice, 1/4″ fresh chopped cilantro and water to thin)

Heat oven to 450.
In a bowl, combine coleslaw, mango, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno and a generous pinch of salt. Stir, cover, and refrigerate.
Spritz baking sheet with non-stick spray.
In a dish, combine coconut, panko, and a dash of salt.
In a different dish, whisk coconut milk, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne. Toss cauliflower into the milk mixture.
Transfer cauliflower (1 piece at a time) from the milk mixture and into the panko mixture. Toss to coat and place each piece on baking sheet.
Bake cauliflower at 450 for 25 minutes, flipping once or twice to ensure even browning.
Serve on tortillas topping with slaw and a drizzle of cilantro sauce.
Enjoy!

That Time We Went to Colorado

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Let’s all go on a trip together, just the 4 of us. We can find cheap tickets to Denver and spend a few days hiking in the mountains.

Let’s laugh at how little each of us packed for the trip. Let’s avoid the extra fees that airlines charge for checked bags and carry-ons by jamming everything into a small backpack.

Let’s not do much planning in advance. Let’s allow a combination of spontaneity and last minute google searches guide us on our vacation.

Let’s lease a very small car that isn’t equipped for driving in the Rockies. Let’s all be very quiet when we end up on a deserted gravel road that almost certainly isn’t intended for a 2 wheel vehicle like the one we rented. Let’s pull off on the side of the road every so often to give our brakes a break.

Let’s fill up on gelato after a long day of exploring.

Let’s rent an RV that is parked in someone’s backyard … in the woods… in the middle of nowhere… with no cell service. Let’s joke about how likely we are to get murdered – this is most certainly a setup.  Let’s not tell Mom.

Let’s hike on strenuous trails, full of tight switchbacks, steep drops, and the most amazing views.

Let’s pretend that we definitely see the mountain goats that all the other hikers spotted.  Yes, let’s tell everyone that we definitely see the ‘4 small white dots’ that they are pointing at.

Let’s ascend 13000 ft above sea level, which is a lot of height for a group of midwesterners who live at 700ft elevation. Let’s ignore the lightheadedness, dizziness, and headaches that are likely the first signs of altitude sickness because the scenery is entirely worth it.

Let’s talk about our favorite family memories. Let’s discuss politics and solve world problems. Let’s swap recommendations for books, podcasts, and music. Let’s complain about our struggles with jobs, school, and life.

Let’s get in a fight or two… or three… or four. It’s tradition.

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And when we all part ways at the airport, let’s look at the pictures over and over and over. Let’s reminisce about the million memories we just created, and laugh about the zillion funny things that happened to us while traveling together.

Let’s be thankful for the opportunity to experience this trip…

and most importantly, let’s be thankful to have each other.

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Honey Peanut-Butter Cookies
Source: Taste of Home
Printable Recipe 

3C flour
1C sugar
1 1/2tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/4C vegetable shortening
4T unsalted butter, room temp
1C peanut butter
1C honey
2 eggs
extra sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, bakin powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Cream shortening, butter, peanut butter, and honey in a different bowl. Add in eggs and continue beating mixture.
Add dry ingredients to the mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Roll in sugar.
Place onto baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Store in airtight container.
Enjoy!

Running and Scapes

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Once upon a time, I went out for a quick run. The sky was serene and cloudless and oh-so-blue. The sun was shining so bright I actually decided to wear a hat (which I never ever do). I slathered myself in sunscreen (spf 700), drank a bottle of water, laced up my shoes, and headed out on my favorite trail.

And it was perfect.

Everything about it was completely and entirely perfect.

People often ask me why I like to run and it’s hard to put it into words really.  I’ve been running a few times per week since I was in middle school so a lot of my running at this point is just plain habit. They say that old habits die hard. It’s true.

There are days, weeks, and even months that I don’t really enjoy running.  Sometimes, I actually hate it. But I don’t run for the sweaty, gasping-for air, blistered feet, achy-kneed, sick-to-my-stomach, when-will-this-ever-end running experiences. Nobody runs for those days.

For every so many painful miles, you’re gifted a few good ones and it makes it all worthwhile.

The type of run where your legs feel weightless

The type of run where your breathing is quiet, rhythmic, and effortless

The type of run where the weather (no matter if it is raining, windy, cold, snowing, sunny, or humid) feels perfect

The type of run where your worries vanish, your fears seem irrational, and your problems suddenly seem solvable

The type of run where the minutes become miles faster than they ever do

The type of run where you hope you never reach home again

… and the mere idea that I could have another run like that tomorrow or the next day or maybe 3 weeks from now….

That’s why I run.

 

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White Bean and Scapes Dip
Source: NY Times Cooking 
Printable Recipe

1/3C sliced garlic scapes
1-2T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2tsp salt
ground black pepper
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4C olive oil

Place scapes, lemon juice, salt and pepper into food processor. Blend until finely chopped.
Add beans and blend until it’s a puree. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while the mixture is blending.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Enjoy!

 

Detox Salad

I don’t really believe in the science behind detoxifying foods so I rarely eat anything with the intention of it actually detoxifying my body.

Besides… what exactly am I detoxing away?  That pizza I enjoyed this weekend? The extra 12 cookies I ate at the last baby shower I attended? The sixteen pounds of trail mix (heavy on the chocolate chips) I ate on my last road trip? The decision to make white rice instead of brown rice earlier this week?

That being said, these so-called detoxifying salads/juices/smoothies tend to be really tasty and full of fruits, veggies, and nuts.

Detoxifying? No.

Eating delicious foods? Yes.

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Detox Salad 
Source: Gimme Some Oven
Printable Recipe

For the salad:
3C chopped kale
2C chopped broccoli
2C chopped red cabbage
1C shredded carrots
3/4C chopped cilantro leaves
1/2C slivered almonds
1/3C greens onions, sliced thinly
1 avocado, diced

For the dressing:
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4C rice wine vinegar
1T fresh ginger
2T vegetable oil
1T miso
1T honey (or agave if vegan)
1/2tsp sesame oil
salt, pepper

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Place all the dressing items in a blender and pulse until smooth. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
Top salad with dressing. Enjoy!

Making Beluga

I told the checkout lady at the grocery store I was making beluga.

“You mean… like… the whale?” she said.

Tip: Don’t confuse the words balela and beluga.

This salad is amazing. I’ve been buying it at Trader Joe’s for the past few months, but it’s a little expensive… and I eat the whole container in one sitting. This is a spot-on dupe for the TJ variety.

Eat salads. Not whales.

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Balela Salad 
Source: All Recipes
Printable Recipe

2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2C red onion, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced fine
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, pepper
1/2C mint, chopped
1/2C flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4C olive oil
3T lemon juice
5T apple cider vinegar

In a bowl, combine beans, red onion, tomato, garlic, jalapeno, mint, and parsley. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Toss salad with dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking – I think it tastes best with extra lemon juice. Enjoy!