Posts tagged ‘lunch’
There is so much in my life to be thankful for that it is overwhelming at times. Family, friends, boyfriend, health, roommate, home, school, mentors, opportunities. My life is beyond blessed, and I should remember to thank God on a daily basis instead of waiting for this season to roll around. This year, I am most thankful for a “big” family Thanksgiving again! Ever since my extended family relocated to Florida, Thanksgiving at my house has been a quiet affair. Not this year! My sister and I are both bringing home our boyfriends, and my best friend is bringing her husband and baby. We will have a table of 9 again! We will be eating on Saturday to accommodate schedules and travel, but it’s not the date that makes this day special. It’s the spirit of gratitude… and the food!
There have been numerous Thansgiving recipes and round-ups floating around the blog-world this past week. So many are drool-worthy, but most of you probably already have your menus planned. My family has a few traditional favorites that we always make, but we usually incorporate or swap out one or two new dishes each year! This recipe was inspired by some flavors that grace some of my Mom’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The lemon and thyme have a Thanksgiving earthiness that welcomes it at any holiday table, but the lightness of this dish makes it a great lunch option for the days leading up to or following Thanksgiving. I know my stomach always needs a rest after the heavy meal! Make this and serve it warm as a gluten-free option for guests, and then have the leftovers as a cold and light post-holiday lunch!
Question: What are you thankful for this year? What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Is your menu set yet, or are you still looking for ideas?
Lemon Thyme Quinoa with Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 8-oz. package mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 tsp pepper and pinch salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 lemons, juiced
Add quinoa to a dry pot and toast until you hear a faint popping noise. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Cook until soft, about another 5 minutes. Add in shredded zucchini and turn off the heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the quinoa and stir well. Juice the 2 lemons over the dish. Turn the heat back on and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the remaining liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm or cold– tastes great either way!
It has been a while since I have posted, and even longer since I have joined a WIAW party! Forgive me, friends, but sometimes life is just really busy! My day-to-day routine is dramatically different from what it was just a short few months ago, so I thought it would be fun to give you a peek into my new life as a 3rd year medical student. (It is official now since I found out today that I PASSED MY BOARDS!) My days are long and busy, and there is not always as much time for cooking, running, and relaxing as I would like, but I would not trade this experience for anything. Enough with the chatter, let’s get to the food! (Forgive the phone pictures – I forgot my camera!)
I am a morning person by nature, but let’s be real. This is an awful hour of the morning to wake up! I am awake, showered, and out the door by 6am, 6 days a week. Thank God for coffee!
I am on an “away rotation” right now, so I have a 45 minute commute out of the city every morning. The good thing is that I drive opposite of the traffic patterns, leave before rush hour starts and come home at the tail end of it, and carpool with 2 classmates so that I have good car conversation.
I eat my breakfast as I am grabbing my white coat and stethoscope before rounds. I try to eat as close to rounds as possible, since they can often mean hours on your feet with little break. Breakfast lately has either been peanut butter and jelly roll-ups or peanut butter and banana overnight oatmeal. The protein from the peanut butter helps keep me going through a busy morning! I always have a granola bar in my white coat pocket just in case, since it would be pretty embarrassing to pass out in a patient’s room on rounds… Not like that almost happened to me on my first day or anything… My oatmeal kept me full until lunch today, so I squirreled the granola bar away for later.
Each day, we have our lectures over lunch break, or noon conference. (Ironically, noon conference starts at 12:30, but I just show up as told ;)) Lunch is provided on occasion, but most days I bring my own food. Hummus wraps and leftover dinners are my standard items, and I have started eating my bigger meal during the lunch hour so I have enough energy for a busy afternoon. Today, I had some leftover whole wheat pasta with homemade tomato-basil sauce and zucchini. It was filling and delicious, even though the carbs left me pretty sleepy. (Whoever decided a lunch conference is a good idea promptly forgot their days as an overly tired student/resident…)
I am trying to stick to one cup of coffee a day, so have switched to black tea when I need an afternoon boost. Today was just one of those days. I picked at some cherries while I did some research and wrote my progress notes.
The workday ends around 5pm, unless you are admitting patients or haven’t finished your notes for the day. After letting the overnight resident know about my patients, I am on the road. Most days, I am too hungry to survive the commute back home, so I keep fruit or a granola bar on hand. Today was a granola bar day since I knew I wanted to run when I got home.
It has been harder for me to find time to exercise with 12 hour days and commuting, but I have been trying to run 2-3 days a week. My runs are short, between 2 or 3 miles, and are unfortunately less of a priority than they used to be. On days that I don’t exercise, I get some studying done or catch up with friends or chores. I appreciate any time I have to clear my head and my lungs, though, so even today’s short 1.5 miles was satisfying. I followed that up with some ballet barre exercises and light weights at home.
I am starving most nights, and so gourmet dinners are currently infrequent on my menu. Most nights, I have a salad or pasta. Breakfast for dinner is always a good option, too. Tonight, I made Chelsey’s Over Easy Savory Oats With Kale, topped with some red chili flakes and extra nutritional yeast. I had a handful of unpictured almonds and raisins to cap off the night.
After a little more reading, packing my breakfast and lunch for the following day, and catching up with friends, I try to maintain a reasonable bed time of 10:30. No matter what time I fall asleep the night before, though, the next morning alarm still comes too early! Life is busy, but life is good. Happy Wednesday!
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!
Lunch to go. A necessity I had almost forgotten about during my self-induced sequestration for a few months to study for the boards. Now that I am out of the house most of the day for 6 days a week, easy grab and go lunches are essential. I made this layered salad recipe at the beginning of last week, and then just grabbed a jar each morning and threw it in my backpack as I was pouring my coffee. The recipe is loosely inspired by Angela‘s layered Whole Foods salad re-creation, and I am sure I will make many more variations on the theme. My basic framework for a layered lunch in a jar is a grain base (my favorite is quinoa, but pasta or rice would be good), a big veggie layer with some sort of flavorful dressing, and a protein on top (like tofu or edamame).
Luckily for me, there are plenty of lectures that seem to happen throughout the hospital each week that bribe attendees with free food, so my lunch-in-a-jar often became dinner at the bus stop after a 12+ hour day on my feet. Hot or cold, lunch or dinner, sitting or standing, this jar will keep you going for your busy weekdays!
Edamame, Broccoli Slaw and Quinoa Layered Salad
makes 6 lunches
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
12 oz package broccoli slaw
1 head broccoli, broken into florets
3 large carrots, chopped
12 oz edamame
for dressing (adapted from here):
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
In a small sauce pot, cook quinoa in broth, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, prep and steam the veggies. Steam the carrots and broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes. Add the broccoli slaw and steam for one more minute. Remove from steamer. Steam the edamame separately. In a separate bowl, mix all dressing ingredients together. Pour over the broccoli slaw mixture and shake well. When ingredients are at room temperature, approximately, begin to separate into jars. Layer 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup vegetables, and 1/4 cup steamed edamame. Divide remaining dressing liquid between the 6 jars. When ready to eat, shake and eat straight from the jar or pour into a bowl to serve.
Between Pinterest, stars in my Google reader, old bookmarks, and saved family recipes, I have more meal ideas than I know what to do with! To deal with some of the recipe overload, I have been making some other blogger’s meals for the past week with delicious results. The only problem is, for every recipe I try, I find three more to replace it with! Inspired eating is never a bad thing, so I am not complaining. Here are some of the things I have tried and loved lately. All of the pictures are from the original websites, since I was to lazy to photograph my recreations.
A microwaved sweet potato with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt, almond butter and cinnamon. I was inspired by Sarah at My Less Serious Life during a WIAW post. I was a little skeptical at first since I usually associate sweet potatoes with savory meals, but gave it a try anyway. I had a small sweet potato and enjoyed it for breakfast, and am so glad I didn’t let my skepticism get in the way of this delicious meal! It is definitely something I would make again.
For lunch, I have been enjoying a healthy, hearty and delicious layered salad. Angela at Oh She Glows recreated a favorite from the Whole Foods salad bar, and it is easily one of the best grain salads I have ever tasted. The quinoa and edamame help keep you full all afternoon, and the citrus dressing is incredibly light and refreshing. I didn’t follow the recipe for the dressing exactly since I didn’t have apple juice on hand, but used what I had to approximate the flavors. Check out this recipe for a week of easy, healthy and portable vegan lunches!
For all of you cauliflower fans out there, this recipe from Heather at 101 Cookbooks is for you. If you aren’t a cauliflower fan, I would bet you’d still like this meal. The chiles and cilantro give the dish a great kick, and the turmeric adds a fantastic pop of color. To make this a rounded out meal rather than a side, I added some roasted red potatoes and some adzuki, lentil and pea sprouts. My friend went back for thirds, so let that speak for the bold and amazing flavors in this vegan dish!
Looking for a dairy-free alternative for a crudite platter, I tried out Katie’s vegan Ranch dressing. It is tofu based and has a great dill flavor. I made a lot of substitutions to use what I had on hand (real onions for onion powder, Greek yogurt for vegan mayo, and a touch of extra salt) and loved the result. This recipe makes a pretty large batch of ranch dressing, perfect for a party dip. I think it would also be great thinned out a bit for healthier, protein-packed, salad dressing!
Question: What is one new recipe you have tried and loved lately?
When I agreed to eat a vegan diet for the month of January, I quite frankly thought I’d have a really easy time with it. I am already a vegetarian, rarely drink milk, and only have eggs on occasion. Cheese, however, is a staple in my daily diet. Cutting it out is really hard, even only a few days in! Maybe it is hardest at first, since my body is still craving what it is used to, but it is humbling to admit that I might struggle with this challenge almost as much as my dad! Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons, here is a glimpse into my first day of vegan food!
I had to start the New Year right with a big bowl of oatmeal! Even after my 30 flavors of oatmeal, there are still more combinations to enjoy for breakfast! (The oatmeal project that begin months ago is finally complete – check it out!) I kept it pretty simple with almond butter and dates stirred into oats cooked in water and almond milk. Enjoyed with some coffee in my new French press – it was a great start to the morning (and year!).
I planned on going to the afternoon service at my church, but read the email announcing a single service right after breakfast. I flew out of my house and managed to make it on time for the sermon! After catching up with Boston friends I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, I headed home hungry for lunch. I sauteed some colored peppers, onion, and snap peas, and then rolled them up with some hummus on a tortilla. Lunch was finished with an unpictured clementine, as well as a handful of mixed nuts gobbled before my run.
This is where the no cheese thing got tough! I layered some polenta and roasted eggplant together and topped that with some bruschetta and Balsamic vinegar. It was good, but I missed the Parmesan cheese I would usually add!
I had a “baked” apple with cinnamon for dessert and planned to call it a night. However, hunger struck when I was watching TV late into the night, and so I snacked on a handful of granola and some raisins and nuts. Without Greek yogurt and cheese as protein staples in my diet, I need to make sure I am eating enough protein throughout the day to prevent nightly snack attacks!
Besides missing cheese, I am really excited to continue to experiment with vegan cooking over the next month. Already, I have been more mindful of incorporating more veggies into my meals, since you can never have too much of the green stuff!
Question: Do you have any diet-related New Years Resolutions?
Around the start of this blog, I was in a carrot conundrum. There are only so many carrot sticks I can eat before feeling like I am about to sprout some bunny ears! I am facing a similar predicament again! Getting 3-4 huge carrots every other week in my Boston Organics box is posing quite the challenge. Yes, I could put them on my “no” list and take a carrot break for a while, but they are tasty and delicious when you find a use for them… Time to bring back the carrot slaw!
I didn’t have cumin seeds on hand this time, so I just used a heavier sprinkle of ground cumin. I also didn’t add the olive oil since I dressed the salad later. To use up some other box produce, I decided to expand this salad. Use whatever you have on hand as a base – I happened to get romaine lettuce and alfalfa sprouts, but I am sure spinach or spring mix would be just as good! Honestly, the dressing pulls everything together in this salad, and is light and refreshing, so do follow the recipe for this component! It leaves you with a nice lemon taste upon finishing the salad – none of that onion or garlic breath that plagues too many good lunch salads. Enjoy the fresh flavors and spice up those carrots!
Question: What is your favorite carrot recipe?
Carrot Slaw Salad
serves 4 for lunch
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite size strips
1 clamshell alfalfa sprouts
1 recipe carrot slaw (requires about 3 very large carrots, or 4 smaller ones)
1/4 cup hummus
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. In a separate bowl, mix together the carrot slaw. In a third container, combine the hummus, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley. Stir until well combined. Top the greens with the carrot slaw, and then drizzle with the dressing. If preparing one salad at a time, store these three components in separate containers until assembly.
I had a lot of fun participating in Peas and Crayons‘ What I Ate Wednesday last week, from taking pictures of my daily eats to getting inspiration for simple meal ideas from other bloggers. I am excited for my second WIAW, and hope to do this more in the future. Yesterday’s meals were pretty simple, pulled together from leftovers. I hate wasting food and will always use up leftovers (or freeze them) before cooking a new meal, even if I am getting bored. Freezing leftovers has been a huge help in the past, since I will often freeze individual containers and then have my own, homemade TV dinners when life gets hectic. Another way I have found to avoid leftover boredom is to reinvent them. Keep reading for some of my leftover makeovers!
Pre-breakfast snack: 7am
I set my alarm for 6:45am, with no intentions of leaving my warm cozy bed for class. Instead, I brewed a pot of my pumpkin spiced coffee, grabbed a handful of peanuts in the process, and crawled back under the covers with my mug and clinical textbook to learn about the cardiac exam.
After making it halfway through my reading, I decided to face the day and my cold apartment. I finally made myself some Pumpkin Oatmeal! I saw it on so many WIAW’s last week, and pumpkin recipes keep appearing everywhere, so I knew I had to have some. I followed this recipe at Oh She Glows for the oatmeal, but skipped the suggested toppings, choosing a few toasted almonds and some fresh ground cinnamon instead. So yummy! A hearty breakfast that sneaks good-for-you veggies without you even realizing… (Yes, pumpkin is a vegetable and it is rich in fiber and Vitamin A!)
Lucky I had leftover Subway sandwiches on hand for what turned out to be a hectic afternoon. The break in the rain I needed to bike to campus never came, and so I was resigned to taking the bus. Unfortunately, the bus takes at least 3 times as long, and so I had to inhale my lunch as I was getting ready and flying out the door. I gave the Veggie Sub a little more staying power with a slice of melted cheese on one side, some hummus on the other, and a few extra pickles in the middle. Perfection. Good thing my new travel mug kept my peppermint tea piping hot until I got to school! Peppermint tea works way better than gum as a breath freshener (no one wants their (future) doctor to have Subway breath!)
A long day of learning about heart sounds and the complete cardiac exam left me quite hungry by 4:30pm. I didn’t want to eat too much, since my yoga class was in an hour and it is not advised to go to hot yoga after eating a meal. I ate the pear I had picked out for lunch and didn’t have time to eat, and drank a whole lotta water in preparation for yoga. Good thing! This was the hardest yoga class I have ever taken! Granted, I have only been to 3… but it was a challenge, and I loved it! My arms feel strong, my legs feel stretched from the previous day’s 10.5 mile run, and I sweated more than I knew possible! (TMI? Sorry!)
The only One problem with not being able to bike to class is not being able to bike home! I was probably a treat to sit next to on the bus – sweaty, tired, and hungry (read: cranky). I heated up some leftover winter melon soup (almost through that gigantic pot!) but was sick of having eggs with it. Instead, I sauteed a few mushrooms in chili oil and added them to the soup with some soy sauce for a different spin. It was a nice change since I have eaten a lot of this soup lately, and it was good to have so much liquid after hot yoga.
Still pretty hungry after my big bowl of soup, I sought a sugar-free dessert. This is a trick from my roommate for “baked” cinnamon apples! Just cut up an apple, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and microwave it for 2 minutes. The apples give off a bit of juice that makes a quasi-sauce, and the natural sweetness and spice of the cinnamon really shines through. Not eating added sugar really opens up your taste buds!
Still hungry, I munched on some peanuts and raisins after my apple. I was really craving something salty, and needed a bit more protein in my day.
I settled down to finish studying for the evening, and was still hungry and thirsty from yoga! I made some decaf green tea with a few slices of fresh ginger (my new favorite night time drink!) and had a slice of toast with Smart Balance. I may or may not have sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on my toast… finally hit the spot!
Question: Have you ever done hot yoga? Do you experience weird salt cravings afterwords, or does it take your body a while to recover from the fluid loss?
Figgy pudding. Fig Newtons. That used to be my only understanding of figs. And I was not a fan. That all changed when I ate my first fresh fig this summer in Bosnia. Azra had green figs, and Melissa and I were weary of them at first because you could pretty much just grab one and eat everything but the tiny stem at the top. Inside, the pink fruit was unique and like nothing I had ever seen before. There, I learned to love figs. They are sweet, not to juicy, and easy to eat. I definitely ate my fill while I was gone, in everything from sandwiches to gelato!
I thought my fig season was over when I returned, since they are usually quite expensive in the States when you can find them, not to mention that I had never even seen them at my grocery store. Costco, however, was selling figs when my mom went shopping for Amanda’s rehearsal dinner. Remembering how much I loved them, she bought a case of them and split them between us. Now my fridge is was filled with figs! I ate probably about half of them plain, but had fun finding other flavor combinations. Some good breakfasts:
Question: Have you tried fresh figs before? What is your favorite way to eat them?
Fig, Goat Cheese, Cucumber and Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Viniagrette
for 2 lunch salads
small head of lettuce
2 oz goat cheese
4 figs, quartered
2 pickling cucumbers, sliced and quartered
2 tbsp hazelnuts, toasted and slightly chopped
4 tbsp balsamic viniagrette
Toast the hazelnuts in a toaster oven for 5-7 minutes until warm. Rip lettuce into bite sized pieces. Top each bowl with half the cucumbers, goat cheese, figs and hazelnuts.Drizzle each salad with 2 tbsp balsamic viniagrette, or simply dress with oil and vinegar.