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schoolhouse rock

31 Mar

Anybody ever watch that? That whole “conjunction junction” bit?

I actually didn’t. So sue me. Though the idea of memorizing things with music is really appealing to me… I tend to get things stuck in my head easily. Maybe Rebecca Black’s Friday can be considered a teaching tool as well, for four year olds learning the days of the week (because otherwise it definitely shouldn’t exist). But I digress…

The “rocking” schoolhouse I’m really talking about is Schoolhouse Kitchen. I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the Foodzie Tasting Panel by the lovely Jessica at Healthy Exposures (side note: I almost died I was so flattered). So every month, I get to try one item from the Foodzie box and try to come up with a recipe for it. This month? Schoolhouse Kitchen’s Horseradish Dill Mustard.

I love that Schoolhouse Kitchen is based on the notion of giving back. Proceeds go to education, specifically farm-based education programs. And the top of the jar is just too cute/wonderful for words.

The mustard itself was awesome. Tangy and sweet and just slightly spicy. I’m not a huge fan of mustard or dill but somehow I loved it. But what, you ask, did I make with it?

Well, seeing as it arrived today and our submissions are due tonight (silly me forgot to e-mail them my address in a timely fashion), I went with something quick and easy but still delicious: veggie burgers.

Black Bean Mustard Veggie Burger
Makes two patties

1/2 cup black beans
2 tablespoons Schoolhouse Kitchen Horseradish-Dill Mustard
1 egg white
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoon salt (more to taste, depending on whether your black beans are salted)
1/4 cup diced veggies of choice (I used onions and bell peppers)
1/2-1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
2-4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking sheet quite well.

In a small bowl, mash black beans very well. Add in mustard and continue mashing. Add egg white and stir until well mixed. Add in cornmeal, flour, salt, veggies, and nutritional yeast (if using). Stir together well (this will be a kind of goopy mess). If desired, add in breadcrumbs. If your mixture is far too liquidy (it should be pretty wet, but should kind of clump together pretty decently) then add another tablespoon of flour or cornmeal. Add more salt to taste.

Spoon mixture into two separate “patties” on baking sheet (as shown in photo above recipe). Bake for about 5 minutes, then remove and let set for 2 or so minutes. Flip patties over (they’ll be kind of delicate, so watch out) and bake for another 4-5 minutes or until relatively hardened.

Let cool and serve up on a bun of your choosing. I was unable to obtain lettuce and tomatoes, but I imagine that would be amazing.

Of course, you can also serve it up with some more mustard. Just to give it a little extra creamy kick.

As for me? I’m studying neuropsychology and I’ve never seen so many terms in my life… to the tune of “geniculostriate pathway” or “oligodendroglia” or “ventromedial system”.

Too bad there’s no song for that.

Did you actually do the whole Schoolhouse Rock thing? I was a Magic School Bus girl myself ;)

what i ate wednesday… & bell pepper deliciousness

16 Feb

**Notice: For some reason a lot of the comments I make on other people’s blogs are going to spam. I think it’s the WordPress gods telling me to get off of blogs and start studying developmental psychology… but it’s still obnoxious. Check your spam folder!

Also, I love you guys for liking my grandma & Harry Potter references… :)

So this is my first “What I ate Wednesday”. And I don’t intend to post everything I ate, because a) I’m too lazy to photograph my snacks b) I don’t want any judgment about the exact quantities I eat. BUT I will post my major meals. :)

Here’s how my morning started:

I straightened my hair. Because I could. And because I felt like actually putting some semblance of effort into my attire…

Look ma, NO JEANS!

I actually generally prefer my hair wavy, but it’s fun to switch things up a bit. And after wearing jeans + a t-shirt for the past… oh, month and a half?… it was fun to actually put on real clothes. Everyone kept complimenting me for looking cute… Clearly I set the bar pretty low for myself…

Some myspace shots ensued.


I promise I am capable of making normal faces…

There’s a smile!

Then ’twas time for breakfast!

Breakfast: PB-Nana-Java Oats

Basically take Java Oats and add in 1/2 of a banana “whipped” into it and 1/2 sliced on top… along with 2 tbsp of peanut flour (some of it made into paste), because everybody LOVES peanut flour! I ended up adding some real peanut butter on top but was too lazy to photograph.

Do excuse the state of my bowls. I eat oatmeal so frequently that I don’t always wash it thoroughly in between…

Lunch: Eggplant Hummus Wrap! And lots o’ broccoli

Oh no all gone! :(

Ingredients: Whole wheat tortilla, salad bar salad, lots of Trader Joe’s eggplant hummus, alongside steamed broccoli (and more salad, which I ate before photographing…)

Sometimes when they have certain specials at my school the side is steamed vegetables. I discovered on Sunday that I can get just the steamed vegetables sans the main meat dish. This to me is heaven. I also discovered that when they run out of the main meat dish, they will happily give me free refills of bowls of steamed broccoli… Because otherwise it would be thrown away. Needless to say I took it and put it in my fridge.

Then after hours of studying/procrastinating it was FINALLY dinner time. I’ve been planning to try this dinner for at least a week…

Dinner: Stuffed Peppers!

Stuffed peppers are SO in right now. Gotta love those roasted red bell peppers…

Here’s my “recipe”. All the veggies came from the salad bar, except the whole pepper which I bought at Safeway. I forgot mushrooms on my first round so I had to go back to the salad bar for just mushrooms… Good thing the lunch lady already thinks I’m insane… You could really vary it up on the veggies, this recipe has LOTS of room for variation!

1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup couscous
3 tablespoons salsa
~1/4 cup spinach leaves, chopped
2 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup Daiya vegan cheese (optional)

Cut pepper in half lengthwise and remove stem. Set oven on broil. Place pepper on lightly sprayed cookie sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes (and try not to set the fire alarm off… nearly happened…) or until it has just a few black spots (or as much as you’d like). Meanwhile, mix together everything else for your filling.

If you’re not in a dorm kitchen with super finicky smoke detectors, just plop the filling in and broil it for a bit until the cheese is melty and the insides are warm. It could also be roasted for a  bit longer at maybe 350 or 400… It’s really up to you. My veggies weren’t entirely cooked but I was being paranoid about aforementioned smoke detector…

Dig in and enjoy!

Also, this was my first time really trying Daiya. It didn’t melt quite enough because I didn’t get to leave the pepper in there long enough, but when it DID melt it was definitely stretchy. Kind of oily when you take it out of the bag, though, and not super rich nutritionally, but definitely a good vegan cheese substitute!

Dessert: Cookies.

I baked cookies. Go figure, right? I’m gonna blog about them another day though… Because now I need to go back to learning about inhibited children and how they become anxious adults (story of my life?…)

And I will probably have more oatmeal later. I’m kind of predictable like that.

What’s the best thing you ate today?

Evolution & Brussels Sprouts

10 Jan

Reason number one million why I’m bizarre: I am craving Brussels sprouts like no other. Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. What normal person craves such things? I can only imagine what I’ll be like when I’m pregnant…

Reason number two why I’m bizarre: I was inordinately excited when we learned about Brussels sprouts and broccoli in biology today. And I whispered unwittingly, “I love broccoli.” And the poor frat boy next to me gave me a bemused look and shook his head.

Here is a biology lesson for you today!

For those of you who did not know, my beloved Brussels sprouts, along with my even-more-beloved broccoli, and other favorites such as kale and cabbage, are all derived from the same plant (wild mustard, or brassica oleracea) being selectively bred for different traits. Such as wide, delicious stalks for broccoli. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Incidentally, I hate mustard. Just saying.

In honor of applying this knowledge, I bring you roasted vegetables (very poorly photographed ones, alas…)

This is what I took to Christmas Eve dinner, then made again for dinner during the week (this time featuring tofu), then prepared again for my New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s not fancy, it’s not particularly gourmet, but damn is it delicious.

Well, if you’re addicted to vegetables as I am.

Nicole’s Roasted Vegetables
Serves… Well, I have no idea, because I usually eat more than half…
It’s also not really a “recipe”, more like guidelines.

Pick whatever vegetables you like to roast… here are some of my faves!
Brussels Sprouts, cut in half
Butternut squash, cubed
Yam or sweet potato, cubed
2 onions, chopped
1 lb. mushrooms (they shrink a LOT!)
4-5 cloves of garlic (or to taste!), sliced
2+ tablespoons chopped ginger
Tofu, cut into triangles (optional)

~2-3 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
~2-3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
~2-3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 tbsp olive oil (optional)
~1/3 cup water
Sea Salt

*You could also add some maple syrup, I did so the first time, but my dad doesn’t like ‘sweet’ things, so…


**If using tofu, it’s delicious to slice it up and let it sit in the marinade for a few hours. But I usually make this without tofu, so, up to you, as are most things about this “recipe”

Preheat oven to 375 (hotter if you want it to cook faster, it’s really up to you!)

Spray a large metal baking pan with cooking spray. Spread vegetables liberally around the pan and drizzle marinade mixture over the top. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and let bake for around 25 minutes. Open, stir, and check on the cooked-ness of the vegetables (I like to add the onions in here, so they don’t get too mushy after the full time). If desired, add a sprinkling more of salt or Bragg’s. If there seems to be too much liquid (which can make the potatoes and squash mushy), drain some of it into a separate bowl.

Return to oven for another 20 minutes, uncovered. Continue checking and roasting until you feel the vegetables are adequately cooked.

Basically, play it by ear, and do what you want. But roast some vegetables. And eat them. They’re delightful. These are, quite honestly, what I have been missing most about eating at home. I would kill for a roasted butternut squash.

Instead I’ll just take my bowl of packaged oatmeal and sit in a corner and cry while poring over phylogeny & Brussels sprouts.

Oh, college.