Things I've Been Cooking Lately

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Okay, let's start here: I love food. Most specifically: any kind of pasta, all Thai food, ice cream, cookies, french fries, and an occasional burger. If I'm going out to eat for brunch with the girls or a date night dinner, there is 0% chance this girl is ordering a salad. Unless of course, it comes as a side with my order of the Linguine alla bolognese

I've always enjoyed preparing my own food, although don't get me wrong—I still get my Thai takeout once a week to my bank account's dismay. In college I'd cook pasta every night for dinner, experimenting with different sauce concoctions and then treating myself to fresh baked Pillsbury cookies for dessert. Delicious? Absolutely. Healthy? Not exactly. That being said, this past year I've really taken an interest in upping my wellness game. From finding a yoga studio that's become my second home to living 10 minutes away from a Trader Joe's, it hasn't been difficult converting my fruits and veggie purchases to organic and slipping in a glass of green juice alongside my morning cup o' Joe. I love to explore new foods, whether it's with my iPad opened up to my repertoire of recipes living in my Pinterest boards or venturing off to a cozy Korean hole in the wall on the weekends, me and food go together like... parmesan cheese sprinkled atop a big bowl of delicious pasta.

However, cooking my own meals and making healthy choices has proven to be a serious challenge during the busy week nights. For anyone needing some inspiration as we head into this week, these are my go-to recipes that I've come to love—and that don't have me feeling all that guilty as I'm loading up the dishwasher. 

BREAKFAST

1. Oatmeal
I got into the oatmeal game my senior year of college and literally have not looked back. It hasn't gotten old yet, so why fix it if it ain't broke right? It's quick to make and easy to transport. (If you follow me on Instagram, you know I often even make it at work in the morning and eat it from the comfort of my cubicle.) Here's my go-to blend:

  • Trader Joe's Instant Oatmeal - Maple and Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds (high in fiber Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • 1 tbsp. hemp seeds (rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids)
  • 1 cup berries -- I usually do blueberries & raspberries

If I'm feeling super ambitious, I'll add a tbsp. of granola, and if it's Friday—1 tbsp. of organic peanut butter too because, #YUM.

2. Eggs
When I was a kid I literally hated eggs. The look, the smell, the taste... all of it! Nevertheless, they now appear in my grocery cart every shopping trip and I make them all the time, many different ways. I eat my sweet oatmeal 6 out of the 7 days of the week, but sometimes I crave something super savory. Here's how I prepare my eggs:

  • Scrambled, with some salt + peppa! Basic but ohhh so delicious.
  • Over easy. Sometimes I'll even make a little breakfast sandwich with toasted whole wheat bread, 1 slice of pepper jack cheese, pineapple smoked deli ham, and 1 egg over easy. Tip: only use 1 piece of bread if you're trying to cut back on carbs!
  • Omelet style, with whatever veggies I have on hand. My favorite combo is green pepper, mushrooms, onion, and a spoonful of salsa! 

3. The liquids

I love a good smoothie. As much as I try to make them in the mornings, it's proven to fall on the list of priorities next to doing my hair and... pressing the snooze button. However when I do take the time to make them, here's my go-to blend from The Skinny Confidential:

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 2 tbsp. of flax seeds/chia seeds/hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp. raw almond butter
  • handful(s) organic greens (I use spinach + kale)
  • Ice + water (I'll sometimes sub in almond milk)

I also love the Green Plant juice from Trader Joe's and always have a bottle in my fridge! Don't be alarmed by the color. It looks very... green, but is seriously so yummy!

LUNCH

1. Taco Salad
I'm not a big salad girl...like at all, but I love me a good taco. I consider taco salads basically a taco bowl, sans the shell. However I often bring chips & salsa as a side anyways, so who am I trying to impress here? Here's my favorite recipe:

  • 2 cups lettuce (I use butter lettuce)
  • Black beans
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Jalapenos
  • Hot salsa
  • I've cut back on eating meat, but ground turkey with 1 tsp. cumin + 1 tsp. chili powder is also super delicious!

2. Soups
I don't mind meal prepping, but it's definitely not my favorite. I prefer bringing things for lunch that are super easy to prepare, and bonus points if it's just a grab & go. I've really fallen in love with the soups at Trader Joe's... go figure. My favorites are Tomato Feta and Lentil with Ancient Grains.

3. Burrito
I should be a walking advertisement for Trader Joe's... but seriously, their burritos are to die for. I could eat the Pollo Asado burrito everyday and never get sick of it. Add on a drizzle of Frank's Red hot sauce, and I'm drooling!!!

DINNER

1. Veggie Bowl
All. Day. This is my go-to almost every night, and is so so good. It's also a perfect guilt-free option, because it's literally just a bowl of veggies. Here's my normal creation:

  • Riced cauliflower sautéed with garlic, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Mixed veggies such as broccoli, carrots, onions, cauliflower, and snap peas
  • 1 fried egg
  • I'll change up my sauces, from hot sauce to BBQ to steak sauce!

2. Sweet & Spicy Pineapple Stir Fry
Another favorite recipe! Like I mentioned earlier, I've cut back on eating meat so most of my dinners lack protein. I'm tryyyying to get into tofu, but it's a work in progress... However this stir fry is super delicious and would be really yummy with chicken or shrimp!

  • Jasmine rice
  • Sautéed red pepper and mushrooms
  • Top with jalapeno and cilantro
  • Pineapple sauce: soy sauce, brown sugar, pineapple
    • Sauce Directions:
      1. Blend all 3 things together in the blender
      2. Simmer in a sauce pan until a gentle boil

3. Soy Chorizo Tacos with Kiwi Salsa
Okay, to be honest—this is a Hello Fresh recipe, but my boyfriend and I make these tacos all the time. They are so good, vegetarian friendly, and sooo easy to make!

  • Finely chop 1 red onion, 1 roma tomato, 1 kiwi and mix in a bowl with a squeeze of lime juice
  • Slice 1 poblano pepper and cook with olive oil, salt, and pepper until slightly charred, about 3 to 5 minutes
  • Add in soy chorizo (Trader Joe's brand!!), tossing with salt, pepper, and the peppers
  • Mix about 1 tsp. of lime zest + lime juice with 4 tbsp. of sour cream to make a lime crema topping 
  • Wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds
  • Fill tortillas with soy chorizo mixture, then top with kiwi salsa, and a dollop of lime crema. Top with cilantro and squeeze any extra lime juice on top. YUM!

DESSERT

1. Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
I have a maaajor sweet tooth, so I've given up on trying to do away with sweets. Rather, I just try and make healthier choices. I found these cookies on Pinterest about a year ago and I make them alllll the time. They're so easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl, beat peanut butter, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oats, baking powder, and salt
  4. Add dry mixture to wet and beat until combined
  5. Beat or stir in the chocolate chips
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the center is cooked through

If you have any delicious recipes, please share! I'm always looking for yummy things to try. Oh, and please check out my two girlfriends' baking blogs for TONS of incredible recipes and the sweetest stories! 

Sweet Stories by Tori
Sprinkled with Liv