Sunshine and Rainbows

Happy spring everyone!!!

Check out the beautiful magnolia blooms that appeared on this tree in my yard over the weekend!
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Last week was absolutely incredible in Boston (and pretty much everywhere else, too, I’m told). It actually reached 83 degrees here last Thursday, shattering the old temperature record, set in the 1940s, by 11 degrees–amazing!

Last week also marked the first week in my half marathon training program.  This will be my third half marathon and it feels great to be “in training” again.  I love being active and getting to spend a lot of time outdoors, and even more than that, I love how easy it is to eat a clean, wholesome diet while training–my body just craves that sort of food!

Despite that temperatures are back to a normal Boston March level today, it certainly feels like my life has been all sunshine and rainbows recently.  Check out some of the bright and colorful things that have made their way across my plate!

BREAKFAST
Normally, I’m not a huge breakfast eater, but when in training this meal becomes a crucial part of my day.  I try to find things that are quick and portable, but also contain a respectable balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats.

Banana Flapjacks from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
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This has recently become my go-to weekend breakfast, mostly because I never seem to run out of must-be-used-now bananas.  For this batch, I added shredded coconut and spread a smidgen of Earth Balance on top.  This recipe is a sure bet any time you are making breakfast for non-vegans who cannot imagine what vegans eat for breakfast if not pig patties stacked with various globs of eggs and cheese.  The recipe produces pancakes that are soft and creamy from the banana and just the right amount of sweet.  Very highly recommended.

Later in the week, I used leftover flapjacks to make breakfast roll-ups.  I spread a small amount of pecan butter in the center of each, rolled it up, and just like that, it was ready for me to take along on the train!
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Freakin’ so delicious, and filling too!

Homemade Yogurt Parfait
It is rare that I eat strawberries so early in the season, but I found a carton of incredibly fragrant, perfectly ripe specimens at Russo’s and couldn’t resist.  I cut them up along with some banana and layered it with Whole Soy & Co.’s Strawberry Banana (which has replaced Apricot Mango as my favorite flavor) yogurt for a sweet treat of a breakfast that was pleasing to both the eyes and the palate.
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LUNCH
In keeping with what I mentioned in my last post about trying to fit in more high-volume cooking, I’ve been buying produce that looks good and cooking it up on the weekends, then finding random ways to use it throughout the week.  My latest experiment involved roasting a small butternut squash with maple syrup and olive oil, as well as a batch of gorgeous beets that I found at Russo’s (where else?)–they were only 98 cents for the whole bunch, leaves and all!  The result was this delicious concoction, which I’ve dubbed The Rainbow Sandwich
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Look at those beautiful colors! Earthy roasted beets, sweet maple-roasted squash, baby spinach, and incredible fresh-baked Russo’s “rustic bread” make for the most delightful and spring-appropriate sandwich imaginable.  Sunshine in every bite!
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I would be lying if I said I did not eat this same sandwich for lunch 5 out of the last 8 work days.

I have a lot more cooking to chronicle and recipes to review, but time is short, and this post is already very long!  Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far.

A final thought: we all know that life can’t be all sunshine and rainbows all the time.  But that is exactly why I treasure weeks like these so much when they do come around.  I hope you all do, too!Photobucket

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Spring In My Step

Good day, fair bloggonians!

I am feeling extraordinarily chipper today, due in no small part to the fine spring weather that has decided to grace us with its presence this week.  Boston is truly a wonderful place to be when the weather turns warm; people take to the streets en masse,  smoothies and iced coffees in hand, wearing smiles and sunglasses and taking extra-long lunch breaks.

In addition to lifting my spirits, the arrival of springtime also tends to make me feel rather industrious.  For example, this past week, I finally managed (after living there four months already!) to make a dent in my long list of things to do around our new house.  I’ve also been doing some serious recipe-hunting and list-making, with every intention of cooking up some big-batch recipes.  This is mainly because I’m starting a new job in a couple of weeks, which for me always means having to make some adjustments to allow for a new schedule, budget, etc.

In the past, I’ve found that having food prepared in advance makes any adjustment period a lot easier to handle.  Often, I do this in the form of soups.  However, lately all I can think about is spring produce!!! Hence, I have other recipes in mind.

As I am particularly excited for spring’s leafy greens, the Weekend Glow Kale Salad from one of my all-time favorite blogs, Oh She Glows, will definitely be on the menu.  This recipe is a little time-consuming to prepare because of all of the vegetable chopping involved, but produces a lot of food and is therefore a great prep-ahead, eat-for-days recipe!

Look at all of the amazing ingredients that get mixed in with the kale base:
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You’ve got your avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, carrots, and dried cherries (because I didn’t have raisins or goji berries).

Served on top of raw kale, with Lightened Up Tahini-Lemon Dressing:
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You let it all marinate together and then enjoy!  I adore this salad; its many flavors and textures all combine perfectly to make your tastebuds very, very happy.  I have made this a number of times since last summer and it always lasts me at least 3 days, and sometimes up to a week, because it makes so much (I prepare it in the biggest mixing bowl I have and sometimes bits still fall out while I’m tossing it!).  Obviously you could halve the recipe if you wished, but I personally love the feeling I get when I behold a massive mountain of salad.  Also, after consuming this I always feel incredible.  It’s hard not to when you’re fueling your body with such incredible, vibrant ingredients.  I highly recommend making this!

Well I just realized that the other recipe I wanted to post about today is also from Oh She Glows, but oh well (seriously, it’s an amazing blog…check it out).  This is her High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad.  A perfect recipe for berry season!

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Strawberries, cherries, and [hidden] blueberries, chopped and ready for use.

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All Mixed Up (like 311)

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And who doesn’t love a good quinoa close-up?

This is another recipe that can quite easily feed one person for an entire week (depending on the freshness of your berries), and the quinoa turns an increasingly deeper shade of red/purple each day that it sits.  Delicious, nutritious, and energizing, this recipe is perfect to prepare on a Sunday and use throughout the week as a pack-and-go breakfast.  Alas, it’s still a little too early in the season to make this, but believe me, it’s on my mind and will be first up on my recipe roster once the warm weather truly rolls in to stay!

Enjoy the rest of this gorgeous week!

Time Marches On

It feels great to be back to blogging after a six-month hiatus.  A lot has happened during the time since my last post, which I recap (with photos galore!) below.

I last blogged on August 12, 2011. 

On August 20, H and I moved out of our beloved Brighton to Boston’s South Shore.   Here I am “tail-gating” our move (aka, sitting on the back of my brother-in-law’s pick-up truck, eating a heated-up Amy’s frozen pizza off of the edge of a plate because the utensils were all packed away):
"Tailgating" a Move

I had a second bridal shower, thrown my by mother-in-law and bridesmaids, on September 10.  Check out some of the awesome vegan fare they had for me!

Fruit salad in a beautiful bowl:
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Hummus and veggie wraps:
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Roasted corn salad atop tomatoes, and pickles (of course!):
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All washed down with a chocolate raspberry vegan cookie:
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My cookie even came complete with a warning to protect it from well-intentioned omnivore dessert-seekers:
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Haha!

I spent the next five weeks shuttling back and forth between Boston and New Jersey every single weekend in preparation for my wedding.  On one of those weekends, I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of my best friend.  The following two weekends were the Jewish High Holidays; I went to synagogue by day and stayed up late into the night with my amazing parents and fiance hand-making wedding favors and placecards.  I actually had my final dress fitting on Yom Kippur, while fasting (it fit great).  I chose and ordered my cake and flowers just one week before the event.  I even bought my veil the day before the wedding, on the way to our rehearsal dinner! It was a whirlwind time!!

On October 16th, I married the most wonderful man in the world 🙂
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We spent a magical week on Cape Cod for our honeymoon, then returned to reality.  I busied myself with my job search and with preparing for our upcoming move to the MetroWest suburbs of Boston (yes, we moved twice in three months.  Who doesn’t?).

A week and a half before our move, I found out I passed the bar!!

We moved on November 12th.  I swore in to the bar on November 15th:
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Thank goodness we were able to locate our suits amongst all the boxes and suitcases!

I changed my name.  I looked for work.  I found a temporary position as a lawyer in downtown Boston, which started December 1st.  Then there were the holidays, and New Years. 
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Friends and family came to visit and stay with us (we have real guest bedrooms now after all!). The Patriots had a fantastic season, which we followed avidly (though it didn’t end the way we wanted). We had stay-cations and surprise parties for big events like Valentine’s Day and somebody’s 30th birthday…
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Now here we are.  It’s March.  I can hardly believe it!  So much has happened in such a short time in my life.  There have been a lot of adjustments–I’m no longer a student, I live in the suburbs, and, well, I’m somebody’s wife, to name a few–but life is good and I’m enjoying it one day at a time.

And I am so excited to be back to blogging!!!

I have been cooking tons. Now that H and I are both working full-time, I’m learning the ins and outs of menu planning, make/prep-ahead meals, and most importantly, packing lunches!  It’s been really fun (not to mention delicious) and I cannot wait to share some of the great new recipes I’ve found and time-saving techniques I’ve learned.  I hope you will enjoy them!