Weekly Roundup

Weekly Roundup

First off, I would like to thank those with the immense support and love from my most recent post. When I started this blog with Serena 3 years ago and even today, my hope for this blog is not to gain a large following – rather, if I can influence and help one reader from my ever-growing journey towards health and happiness, then I believe I have done my part. Each and every well-wishes and encouraging messages motivates me to not lose hope in my journey to recovery and I wanted to say a huge thank you that.

Away from all the cheesy-ness (is that even a word?), here a few snaps from the past week.

IMG_7410
@Cloud Gate in Downtown Chicago

My mom and I took a quick two-day trip to Chicago and New York for college tours (cue in the sad faces….). Most of the trip involved taking red-eye flights, checking into hotels after midnight, sleeping for less than 6 hours, running around catching Ubers, trying to stay awake during the college information sessions, and shivering from the frigid Chicago and New York City weather. To be honest, I’m surprised at how much my mom and I fit in 48 hours.

So there was not much time to find yummy places to eat as my mom and I had to deal with the short time we had.

 

IMG_0054 2.jpg
Besides the frigid cold weather, Chicago was amazing – it was one of the cleanest and nicest cities I’ve been to!

But while in NYC, my mom and I had enough time to stop by by Chloe, a vegan restaurant that serves burgers, salads, pastas and also pastries! We ordered the guac burger, quinoa taco salad and the artichoke dip. My mom, who usually is not a big fan of modified food (aka veggie burgers), put a big thumbs up for this meal – so that’s saying something!

IMG_1567

 

The following weekend, I went out with my childhood best friends for an early birthday lunch. We went to Brio (my first time!) and it was so good! I ordered the grilled salmon with sweet potatoes on the sides.

IMG_9603

It was a pretty quick week, especially with the whirlwind two day trip. I’m ready to enjoy the last week of my spring break by sleeping in and eating lots of good homemade foods!

How was your week?

xoxo,

Stephanie

VIDEO: Avocado Toast

VIDEO: Avocado Toast

I decided during lunch today (while my parents were out attending a wedding), to film a video of how I make my avocado toast lunch.

As you can see from the video, it’s super duper simple to make this lunch! Let me know of what you think of the video. I really want to start doing more video content so if you have a suggestion for a type of video you’d like to see me do, leave the suggestion in a comment!

Enjoy!

 

How do you like to eat your avocados?

xoxo,

Stephanie

 

Winter Roasted Veggie Bowl

Winter Roasted Veggie Bowl

After seeing hundreds of amazing looking roasted veggie bowls on Instagram, I have been craving a good one for the last couple weeks. Well, I finally got to making one this weekend and it was sooo satisfying!

Honestly, you can put anything in roast veggie bowls. Potatoes, squash, mushrooms, cucumbers, tofu, the possibilities are endless! For mine, I put roasted organic sweet potato that I baked in the oven for 35 minutes and 425 degrees.

I drizzled some olive oil so that the potatoes would crisp up, and added cinnamon for a boost of added nutrients.

Also, I’m not sure what kind of sweet potatoes these are, but they have a slightly milder sweetness than conventional orange sweet potatoes.

Next, I roasted some zucchini and carrots in s&p for 20 minutes.



Finally, I added a bed of spinach, the roasted veggies, and a fried egg to the bowl and dug in!


This bowl turned out so delicious, especially with the runny yolk from the egg. You definitely need to give it a try cause I’m telling ya it was GOOD.

What are your favorite ingredients for roasted veggie bowls?

Love,

Serena

Canada Part 1: The Green Door Restaurant Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Canada Part 1: The Green Door Restaurant Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I just came back from a vacation to Ontario, Canada and one day in Vermont and I’ll be writing a series of posts about the food I encountered there 🙂

My first stop was The Green Door restaurant in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. One thing I learned about Ottawa is that practically all of the good restaurants are super expensive. I found the Green Door when I was searching for a highly rated restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by the entire dining experience.

First of all, everything is displayed buffet style, and it’s a sort of vegetarian-vegan cafeteria. The food is priced based on weight.

This was great for my family because my parents hate waiting a long time for food. Plus, you don’t have to pay tips because it’s self-serve.

I was extremely pleasantly surprised by the amount of healthy choices there were. Some of the dishes were even vegan!

Side soup and a dish with (clockwise from top left) spanakopita, falafel, marinated mushrooms, sauerkraut, (hidden) tofu, Japanese (cold) noodles, sweet potato puree, pasta with pesto, edamame bean salad, spinach (?) puree.
The best part for me was the dessert bar! I have a major sweet tooth and a lot of times, I have to admit that I don’t resist the desire for sweets.

Cookies, pie, brownies, and all the good stuff

More pie-like fruit desserts, tofu chocolate cake, chocolate hazelnut bliss balls.truffles, chocolate swirl cheesecake, vanilla cheesecake
A lot of these desserts were vegan, so since I don’t eat gelatin, I didn’t have to worry about it. The amount of desserts I saw was so inspiring, especially since a lot of people label the vegan diet as eating rabbit food. Also, I was happy to see vegan dark chocolate hazelnut bliss balls. I have a similar recipe on the blog!

So because I love desserts so much, I did have dessert for breakfast. I know, not the healthiest 🙈 I had a slice of berry pie, and, at first glance, the pie-filling looks exactly like gelatin. I wonder how they were able to create such a jello-like consistency without gelatin?? Let me know your thoughts!

A slice of berry pie with almond milk and cherries
So basically I definitely recommend this restaurant!! I hope you check it out if you’re in the Ottawa area.

Love,

Serena

Kale Veggie Soup Recipe and my lunch

Kale Veggie Soup Recipe and my lunch

Coming back home from a food-loaded vacation, I needed something to “cleanse my system”. Today for lunch I made a kale soup and beautiful grilled yellow zucchini.

Kale Soup Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 bunch kale destemmed and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 heirloom tomatoes cut in cubes

2 tbsp garlic

1 yellow onion

1 15oz can chickpeas

1 cup potatoes (I used assorted baby potatoes) peeled and cubed

6 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Parsley, Oregano, Basil

Process

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. When softened, add kale. Once wilted, add the rest of the ingredients (tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas, vegetable broth, seasoning). Simmer for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Enjoy!

I paired the soup with grilled zucchini that I purchased at an organic farm close to my home. I just discovered this farm and was so excited to find out about it!


What is your favorite soup?

Love,

Serena

Quick and Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas

Quick and Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas

Need some lunch inspiration? Here are two lunches I made this past week that I loved!

Green bowl: quinoa, avocado, kale, pine nuts
“Chicken” salad and avocado sandwich + sweet potato + dragon fruit

To make the sandwich, I used Whole Food’s vegan chicken salad that was purchased at the cold food cases. It tastes amazing! Certainly not the healthiest option, but a very convenient way to whip up a delicious sandwich.

I also used one of my favorite breads- Alpine-Valley’s Multigrain Omega 3 bread! I love using it because it tastes very hearty and its perfect when toasted.


What are your favorite lunch ideas?

Love,

Serena

Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce

Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce

Tofu is one of those comfort foods I enjoy so much. And, there’s an added bonus:it’s healthy. Packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, it’s my go-to substitute for meat.

While pan frying it is a quick and easy preparation, I decided to amp up the flavor with a homemade “teriyaki” sauce. Here’s the recipe…

1.) Start with a block of firm tofu. Drain the tofu, using paper towels to soak up the moisture. Cut into small cubes and pan fry. (I used half a block here)

img_2592-1

2.) Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating half a cup of mirin and half a cup of soy sauce in a small pan. Add half a teaspoon of garlic, ginger, and scallion to the mixture when simmering, and incorporate the cooked tofu cubes.


3.) Enjoy!!

This recipe is super easy and I hope you’ll give it a try.

What is your favorite way to make tofu?

Love,

Serena

Summer Food Go-To’s

Summer Food Go-To’s

As school ends and summer break rolls in, I’ve started thinking about all the recipes I’ll bring back from last summer, and new ones that I’m excited to try.

First, I am definitely making my quinoa bowl. Last summer after my half day math camp, I would come home and make this lunch everyday. The bowl consists of quinoa with spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, minced garlic, and pine nuts in olive oil.

IMG_2700

This bowl is very filling, healthy, and bright. Perfect for a long day at camp!

Next, I will be making nice cream! I made a post about it a while back 🙂

12950265_1721462298098138_672336320_n
This isn’t my pic, but it’s so pretty!

I definitely want to make some bliss balls for an energizing snack.

IMG_2614

Of course, lots of FRUIT! I also love putting lemon and orange slices in my water.

IMG_2353
I stole this from insta 🙂

I’m also super looking forward to grilling some mangoes! This may sound weird, but mangoes develop an amazing sweetness when there are some lovely grill marks.

What are you excited to make this summer?

With Love,

Serena

Ten Minute Lunch: Chickpea Sandwich and Tofu

Ten Minute Lunch: Chickpea Sandwich and Tofu

IMG_2508

On Sundays, I come home starving after church. While there is snack after service, it’s not always the healthiest option (think potato chips, and supermarket cookies). So, I usually make this lunch to satisfy my hunger.

IMG_2510

First, I butter one side of a slice of bread. Placing a slice of muenster cheese on the non-butter side, I place the bread butter-side up on a pan with low heat to melt the cheese, while not burning the bread, like a grilled cheese sandwich minus the top slice of bread. I toast the other slice of bread in a toaster, and then I prepare the tofu.

For the tofu, I drain the water from the package, and then wrap up the tofu with multiple paper towels to squeeze out the water. I heat up a pan with olive oil, and slice the tofu into thin, square shape slices. Then I pan fry the tofu, flipping when one side is golden brown.

Meanwhile, I prep the sandwich filling. I drain some tuna and chickpeas, and I mash the tuna with one teaspoon of tartar sauce. When I don’t have tuna around, I usually mash some chickpeas with one tablespoon of tartar sauce. This vegetarian version really has the same taste.

When the tofu is ready (both sides golden brown, about 5 minutes), I turn off the heat and plate it with about a teaspoon of soy sauce (I’ve also heard that coconut aminos is an excellent low sodium substitute).

When the cheese is melted, I transfer the toast to a plate where I place a layer of spinach, tuna/chickpea mash, and more chickpeas, followed by the toasted bread.

Enjoy!

What is your favorite quick lunch recipe?

Love,

Serena