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couscous salad and today’s eats

Hey hey everyone!  How’s it going?  As promised yesterday, I have a newbie and an oldie recipe for you!

First up is Couscous Salad

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup couscous, uncooked
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1.5- 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1.5 can low sodium corn
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 chopped avocado
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder

Directions

  • Bring vegetable broth to a boil.  Add couscous. Remove from heat and cover.
  • Chop bell pepper, onion and scallions and set aside
  • Whisk together oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and cumin in a large bowl
  • After couscous has sat for 5-10 minutes, fluff well with a fork and transfer sauce in bowl
  • Add black beans, corn, bell pepper, chopped onion, scallions, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper and mix well
  • Add chopped avocado just before serving

recipe adapted from here

This salad is great chilled, but can also be served hot.  I made this recipe for my family Easter gathering, and I brought home a couple servings worth of leftovers.  So, if you’re making it for one, you may want to half this recipe.  I love having leftovers on hand, though.  I took a bowl of this for lunch today, and it was filling as a meal too!

You guys have got to try this – I absolutely loved it and so did my fam!

Next up is my version of Averie’s Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

This was actually my second time to make these, but I altered a couple of things from the last batch, and I think they turned out even better!

Ingredients

one ripe banana, mashed
1.5 cup oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup natural pb
1 scoop of Jay Robb Brown Rice Protein Powder (or protein powder of your choice)
3 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp whole flaxseed
2 tbsp chia seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Mash banana in a large bowl
Combine the rest of the ingredients a few at a time and mix well
Place saran wrap in 8×8 pan (Averie’s idea:)
Press mixture into pan with hands
Cut bars right away – I cut mine into 16 squares
Freeze bars

I think these bars are best served right out of the freezer, but you can eat them any way you like!  As you can tell these are quite calorie dense, but they are so sweet and delicious that one small square is satisfying!  After freezing mine, I took them out of the dish and wrapped them individually.  Instant portion control!  I was so happy because these were a total hit with my family.  Usually they aren’t too keen on my concoctions, but I think they really loved these.  Score!

My eats today were pretty basic.  For some reason I wasn’t that hungry today.  I sipped on my green smoothie throughout the morning, whereas I usually finish it on my drive to work.  I even took the last bit of it to lunch with me.  As mentioned earlier I also had leftover couscous salad for lunch.

I also packed all of this!


Kiwi, carrots and almonds…with a side of plastic;)

Whole soy yogurt and sliced almonds/dried cranberries (my favorite!)

Pretty kiwi:)

So, I actually didn’t end up eating the kiwi or the carrots because I just didn’t need it.  It’s sitting in my fridge at work, waiting to be eaten tomorrow!  I don’t think I’ll be able to resist it tomorrow – I love kiwi!

Dinner tonight was Whichwich.  We just didn’t feel like cooking – we both had a lot to do tonight and wanted to just chill out and skip kitchen duty. So, Whichwich it was!

Tomato and avocado on whole wheat with lettuce, pickles, pepperoncini, mushrooms, bell pepper and onion – my fave!

Well, it’s getting pretty late and I still want to go out for a walk with Jon and Olive.  Our walks are always the highlight of my day!  I think we may have some storms coming in though, so off I go!  See you guys tomorrow!

Btw, I do have some potential developments in the works regarding this post.  I’ll update as soon as I can!  Please keep your fingers crossed for me:)

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basic pasta sauce

Don’t forget to enter my chia seed giveaway that is going on – only 6 more days!

Happy weekend everyone!  How has your Saturday gone?  I love Satudays, and this one has not disappointed.

Jon and I slept in this morning, and then got up and headed out to our favorite running spot.  We have a small “lake” out north of town that has a 3.1 mile asphalt path all the way around it.  We actually did most of our marathon training out there last year.  Anytime we mention to someone that we once ran around it over 6 times they think we’re crazy.  And we probably are.

Anyways, we only made it around once today.  The wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour, and coming off the lake it was chilly!  But I have to say it felt great.  I have been having a hard time getting motivated for running lately, and I think I needed a good, solid, happy run to cure me!

We didn’t get going until about 11am, so I decided I need a little carb boost for energy.  I popped about 5 of these little guys

High in carbs and all the sugars are natural.  No added sugar for this girl!

A couple hours later we decided to hit up Panera for lunch.  Since it was about 1′clock and I’d had almost nothing to eat all day (so abnormal for me!), I upped the ante a bit and went for a pick two: half a Mediterranean Veggie sandwich (hold the feta please!) and a cup of black bean soup.  Against my initial better judgment I also had a whole grain baguette.  I guess my body needed the carbs!

After lunch I spent a little extra time at Panera getting some grading done while Jon went home to work on some design projects.  I have to say that grading is by far my least favorite part of teaching.  Getting through those essays was brutal today, and I still have half of them left!  Guess I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon:(

One afternoon of grading, a Starbucks soy latte, and some Lost watching later, we decided to cook up some dinner.  Tonight was another “eatin’ cheap” creation.  Very simple – “Basic Pasta Sauce.”

Ingredients:

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
3-5 button mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
minced garlic
italian seasoning
oregano

Add chopped onion and garlic to skillet and cook until onion starts to get soft.  Next, add diced tomatoes, both cans of tomato sauce, chopped mushrooms, 1 tbsp italian seasoning and 1 tbsp oregano.  Mix together, then cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

While this is not a ground-breaking recipe, I love it because it is so fast, easy, cheap and it pleases the palate.  Leaving the meat out of the sauce reduces cost, and bulking it up with veggies is great for taste and satiety! If cooking only for myself, I would have added some chopped squash and zucchini, but Jon isn’t a fan so we stuck with mushrooms and onions.

Jon poured his sauce over whole wheat spaghetti, and I went with bulgur as my base.  Often times I’ll sub in bulgur for spaghetti because it has fewer calories and has 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per 1 cup serving.

I also had a side salad of mixed greens, chopped carrots, cucumber, onions and chia seeds with balsamic poured over the top along with garlic bread – aka ezekiel toast with Earth Balance vegan butter, garlic powder and nutritional yeast.

This piece of toast x 3.

This meal really filled me up with all the volume foods and veggies!

We are off to rent a movie we’ve been wanting to see called Brothers.  Has anyone seen it?  What movies have you guys seen lately that you loved?  I’m always up for suggestions!

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Mexican Fiesta Pasta

Hi!

Whew!  Today has been kind of crazy.  Do you ever have those days where it seems that everything seems to go wrong?  Well, that was today all the way up until 5pm when I arrived home from work.  Enough about it, though, no need to carry it on!

I just have to say, first of all, thanks so much to all of you who have been stopping by and checking out CSM.  Next to seeing my sweet husband, blogging is one of the highlights of my day.  So, when I see that people are swinging by it thrills me to no end!  I would love to hear from each of you in the comments, so that I can know who all is out there!  Please drop me a line if you get a chance!  Don’t be shy:)

And thanks so much to those of you who have been dropping me a line – you totally make my day!

Sorry guys, but lunch today was kind of a repeat.  I love taking leftover for lunch, so when I have a large batch of something, such as Veggie-tel, I kill it!  I did swap out the apple for a pear – just to add a little excitement.  Oh, and threw in some chopped avocado as well.  Somehow I forgot it yesterday.  Doh!

I snacked on some baby carrots and sliced cucumber right after school today.  I had to hold one little hoodlum after in detention.  I threatened him with his life had a good little chat with him, so I’m hoping tomorrow is the last day we’ll spend time together after school.  Somebody’s gotta keep these kids in line! These veggies held me over until my real snack on the commute home – a banana and a brown rice cake slathered with cashew butter.  My cashew butter is almost out, which is not good considering the new budget implementations.  Good ole’ PB will have to come to my rescue.  It’s never a bad thing to get back to the basics I suppose.

Speaking of budget implementations, yesterday I promised a budget friendly delicious meal, and I definitely can’t go back on a promise.  So, without further ado…

Mexican Fiesta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 cans rotel (generic works great!)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can chili beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, no salt added
  • 1 12 oz. pkg whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp ground red pepper (or to taste)  – I douse it!
  • 1 tbsp cumin

Directions

  • Cook pasta
  • While pasta is cooking, dump everything else in a large pot (yes, everything else!)
  • Let mixture cook through while pasta is boiling
  • Drain pasta and add to mixture

That’s it!  That’s one of the many joys of this meal.  It takes all of about 15 minutes to make.  It’s clean.  It’s delicious.  It’s cheap.  Doesn’t get much better.

One thing I’d like to mention, considering this recipe has a lot of canned goods that go into it, is to be very careful when picking out your canned items.  When I first started eating clean, I realized how many random things like sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup etc. can come in things as simple as a can of corn or beans.  There are definitely versions that are clean, you just have to look for them. I often buy Great Value because most of their canned beans, such as black, are pure and simple…they way we like it!

Well, that’s all for tonight!  I’m off to respond to a couple of emails and then hit the sack!  Hope you all had a fantastic day:)

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happy 1st day of Spring! ha!

Spring really came in with a bang today!  The temperature dropped about 45 degrees and it’s been like a blizzard for the last 12 hours.

Mom and Dad McCoy left at about 11am this morning.  We had a great time having them visit.  Yesterday we hit up almost every bargain store in our little city (the McCoy’s love a good bargain!), ate some Mexican food for dinner, grabbed Orange Leaf for dessert, then topped the night off by playing a good couple hours of Wii.

Sorry for the iPhone photos!  I ordered enchiladas with spinach and mushrooms and verde sauce on top (subbed for the cheese sauce).  I ate one of these enchiladas and most of the rice and beans.  I try to not usually order rice and beans with my meal, but for some reason I decided to splurge.  They were pretty good, but probably not worth it.  O’well.  I also had about half a basket of chips.  Dang tortilla chips – almost always get the best of me.  Little know fact – chips and salsa is my all time favorite food!

This pic does NOT do my yogurt justice.  Next time I’ll have to cart my dslr into Orange Leaf.  I had the non dairy Pineapple yogurt.  For toppings I added strawberries, blueberries, cashews and one each of a piece of snickers, brownie and reeses.  I figure that’s the wonder of self serve yogurt shops – you can get the teeniest amount – too bad you can’t do that at all restaurants!

So, I’ve basically spent the entire day sitting on the couch with Olive and Jon watching the snow fall out the window and working on a combination of work stuff and blogging.  We did take a little break earlier to catch up on 3 episodes of LOST – which were awesome by the way.  It has been a glorious second to last day out of school.  I’m really bad about dreading going back to work so much that I let it taint my time off work.  Yes, I realize this is ridiculous, and it’s something I’m really working on.  I’ve been okay today, though.

Oh, and somehow I forgot to mention that I’ve kind of been eating all day as well.  It’s one of those days where I just keep finding myself snacking.  I think it mainly has to do with being cooped up inside all day with bad weather. Here’s a quick recap of my eats so far today:

Breakfast was 1/3 cup of oats cooked for a minute and half in 3/4 cup water.  I added about half a container of soy yogurt on top with a bit of cashew butter and a sprinkle of granola.  Yum!  I absolutely die over cold yogurt on hot oats.

Next up was lunch – a new concoction that I like to call Veggie-tel (veggies+rotel, kind of corny I know:)

To make Veggie-tel

  • Sautee brussel sprouts and carrots in a bit of Evoo and garlic
  • Meanwhile cook 1 cup of bulgur
  • Add one can of rotel tomatoes + half an onion chopped in big chunks
  • Add one can of chickpeas (rinsed to eliminate extra sodium)
  • Simmer veggie/rotel concoction over medium heat
  • When almost all the water has cooked off the bulgur, dump the entire pot of bulgur into veggie mixture
  • Last, add your favorite spices (which for me is ground red pepper) and a couple handfuls of fresh spinach
  • Heat through until spinach is wilted
  • Serve with chopped avocado on top!

I loved this meal!!  It is so fun to me to just throw together my favorite ingredients- i.e. rotel, brussels and chickpeas – and create a fabulous meal!

While watching LOST a couple hours later I may have eaten a couple handfuls of M&Ms, which I seriously regretted about 30 minutes later because my stomach was not agreeing.  I don’t know why I do that sometimes.  It’s like I just get in a zone and eat mindless things that I know are not going to make me feel good.  Live and learn I guess.

Does this ever happen to you?  I have gotten a lot better about not beating myself up over such instances, but I still regret them.  How do you avoid/deal with times when you mindlessly eat foods that basically just make you feel like crap?  Do you think this is something that can be overcome? Or is it something that as humans we will always deal with?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and I hope everyone has a great Saturday evening!  Jon and I are going to rent a couple of movies me thinks – maybe Precious or Time Traveler’s Wife?  Maybe both?  We shall see!

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a happy weekend:)

Okay, so I’m off work AGAIN tomorrow.  I just got the call that we are taking another snow day tomorrow because the roads are still not clear.  This has turned into a 5 day weekend…crazy!  It’s not that I mind having another day to stay at home and not have to commute, but I’ve got my classes on a planned schedule, and this is really cramping my style!   I’m going to have to spend a few hours tomorrow working and rescheduling some things.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll be back in session on Tuesday.  As of today we’ve exceeded our built in snow days so we’ll be adding on a day in May.  Blah.  O’well, I’m just going to try to enjoy being home and get ahead a little bit with planning.  I know I can’t complain about having a day off work!

Anyway!  These last couple of days have been so nice!  Jon and I have just been workin’ away on projects around the house.

First this:

This picture doesn’t even do it justice.  I’m a little embarrassed to post the before pic because it was so bad.  It feels so good to have that task done finally!

Then this:

What can we say?  We love quirkiness;)

We’ve been needing curtains for our bedroom since we moved in last May.  A few months ago we were at Wall’s Bargain Center and it just so happend that they had gotten a shipment of Anthropologie items in.  We scored several things including this cool fabric.  I knew immediately that I wanted to use it to make curtains for our bedroom.  I’m so glad we finally made them, and we’re really happy with the outcome!  What do you think?

And because I mentioned in a post about 3 weeks ago that we got a new bed and pictures were coming…

I also made a little blanket for my friend whose baby shower is next weekend.  It’s a tag blanket, and the baby can chew/suck on the ribbons.  I promise that moms really use these – any moms out there who’ve heard of a tag blanket??

Now for a list of tasty highlights from the last couple of days -

I made tofu for the first time!  It turned out okay, but was a little tough.  I need to find a different recipe to make the next batch.  My problem is that most recipes I find for tofu marinade include high sodium sauces, which I try to steer clear of.  Any ideas out there of low sodium sauces/marinades to use with tofu?  Also, do you marinate your tofu before or after you cook it?  My recipe said to marinate after cooking, but that just seemed weird to me.  Here’s what I did for this meal:

  • sauteed brussels, broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini
  • added in some asian sesame salad dressing found in the fridge
  • heated up some pre-made brown rice
  • cut tofu into one inch slices and pressed between towels with books on top for one hour
  • threw the tofu into the pan with the veggies and pressed it with a spatula until brown on both sides
  • added the rice and a little more sauce and mixed it all together and heated through
  • garnished with sliced almonds

Overall this meal was really good, but I definitely need to work on my tofu making skills (or lack thereof:)!

Next highlight was dessert!

Banana soft serve with vegan chocolate chips/carob chips.  Banana soft serve has floated around the blog world for a long time.  I’m not sure who the original credit really goes to, but please let me know if you have any idea!

Breakfast this morning was oats of course!

I added:

  • sliced banana
  • dollop of soy raspberry yogurt
  • almond butter
  • sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean cereal – Kashi is my husband’s favorite cereal.  I thought a small bit would complement my oats quite well – and I was right!

And last…today’s lunch.  I had cooked up a batch of whole wheat couscous, but hadn’t yet figured out what to do with it.  So, I ravaged the fridge and just threw in some things I had on hand.

  • leftover steamed green beans
  • steamed spinach
  • chick peas
  • black beans
  • corn
  • tiny bit of salsa
  • seasonings

This was pretty tasty.  I love throwing together grain and veggie concoctions!  I’ve been doing different variations for a long time, and you really can’t go wrong.  If you make up the grain ahead of time and have veggies on hand, it’s super fast too!

What do you do for a quick go to meal?  Sometimes I let myself get a little too hungry, and I just want something fast and easy, but healthy/vegan of course.  I’d love to get some ideas from you guys!

Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I’m so excited that January is over, and February is raring to go:)

Oh, and tonight is the last chance to order Jay Robb Protein powder and get 10% off from Heather’s site.  I just ordered mine, and I’m so excited to try it.  I’ve been looking for a good protein powder.

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