Bowls

If you haven’t noticed, bowls are one of the biggest food trends right now. Buddha bowls, poke bowls, acai bowls… they are everywhere!

Last week I checked out a new restaurant in Cleveland called Rebol. Guess what they serve?? You got it—bowls! They are 100% nonGMO, organic when possible, don’t use any refined sugar, and only cook with avocado, coconut, and olive oils. You can see why I had to try it :).

Anyways, I got a chicken bowl with zucchini noodles, corn salsa, cauliflower & bok choy, apricot ginger honey mustard, cashews, and toasted sesame. It sounds like a strange combination, but it was delicious. They use lots of bold spices to make the food super flavorful. It just goes to show that healthy food doesn’t taste bad (contrary to what some people believe).

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This week I decided to jump on the “bowl” train and make my own at home. Since I move out of my apartment in about a week I have been trying to use the ingredients I have instead of buying more food. I put my cooking skills to the test and was trying to use up some quinoa and BBQ sauce. I think my hours in the kitchen are starting to pay off because my bowl turned out super yummy…so yummy that I have made it for dinner every day this week.

Here’s how to make my BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowl:

  • Grab a bowl
  • Add about ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • Toss in 3-4oz of shredded baked chicken breast
  • Throw in a handful of broccoli
  • Drizzle on about 1 Tbsp of BBQ sauce (try to choose one that is low in sugar!)
  • Top it off with a fried egg
  • Mix it up and enjoy!

Since I wanted this every night for dinner, I ended up making a bunch of quinoa, baking two big chicken breasts, and steaming a large head of broccoli all on Monday so each night all I had to do was assemble to bowl. No excuses for not eating healthy because it literally takes 2 minutes to put this bowl together, pop it in the microwave, and then add a fried egg.

*Note: I just baked my chicken completely plain because I knew I was going to add BBQ sauce to the bowl but feel free to add any more spices you like.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Dana

P.S. I officially took my last final exam on Wednesday so I am officially done with undergrad! T-9 days until graduation.

Thankful for Fruits and Veggies

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Here is a little update on my Thanksgiving festivities and foods.

Before heading back home for Thanksgiving, my roommates and I had a Friendsgiving at my apartment last Tuesday. It was my first time any of us had cooked for a large group of people or been “hostesses” of a little gathering. Last weekend, we planned the menu and went grocery shopping and then Tuesday after we were all done with class, it was all hands on deck. We had lots of paper chains and toilet paper tube turkeys for decorations, plus lots of peeling, chopping, mixing, and cooking for our meal. We served chicken (I know, not your traditional Thanksgiving but we were all going to have turkey on Thursday so we decided to mix it up), sweet potato fried, corn on the cob, homemade bread, and an apple crisp, plus the mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green beans, broccoli, and pie, our guests brought. We had an amazing time and would love to do it again!

For our family Thanksgiving, I had to get creative after my Fruiturkey from last year. This year, my mom and I made a turkey out of vegetables. Our vegetable turkey was much easier and less time consuming than the fruit turkey, but he was just as cute and delicious.

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We used pea pods, bell peppers, cucumbers, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and broccoli around a bowl of hummus. The body is made of a mini cucumber with a carrot beak, red pepper snood, and black peppercorn for eyes.

I also tried to get creative with the fruit tray this year, but it didn’t work out completely as planned. The goal was to make a cornucopia out of waffle cones and stuff them with fruit. It didn’t quite turn out to look like the cornucopia– Oh well, just an excuse to try to make something new next year. But in any case, grabbing a cone filled with fruit was a new, fun twist on the traditional fruit bowl.

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Scrambled Eggs in a Mug

With one week of school in the books, I am finally getting used to living in a hotel. First, I’ve got my printer working (it was a tragic first few days without a printer). Second, and most importantly, I have just discovered how to make scrambled eggs in the microwave and they were EGGcellent!!

My favorite post-morning-workout breakfast is an omelet, so after my run this morning I decided I would give microwave eggs a shot in the tiny hotel microwave. These eggs were so fluffy and delicious that they are probably my new favorite microwave food. They were also much easier and less messy than making eggs on the stove, so I will be making these even once I move into my apartment.

scrambled eggs in a mug

Here’s how to make these scrambled eggs:

  1. Crack as many eggs as you want (or as many that fit) into a microwave safe coffee mug and mix with a fork until the yolks are mixed in. I like to use egg whites because you still get lots of protein, without the fat, cholesterol, and high calories in the yolk.
  2. Optional: Add some chopped veggies to make it more like a scrambled omelet. I used zucchini and broccoli this morning.
  3. Put the mug into the microwave on high for 1 minute then stir.
  4. Place it back into the microwave for 1 minute and stir again.
  5. If the eggs are no longer runny, they are ready for you to enjoy. If they are still runny, continue to microwave and stir at 30-second intervals until they are fully cooked.
  6. Enjoy your eggs straight out of the mug or put them onto a plate.

You can also make these in a disposable coffee cup for eggs on the go. Just bring you cup of eggs in the car with you, and they fit nicely in the cup holder.

Eggs are a good breakfast choice (especially with the vegetables) because they are high in protein to keep you satisfied throughout the morning.

Mini Fridges, Microwaves, and Maid Service

My obligatory first day of school photo.

My obligatory first day of school photo.

Day 1 of junior year… check! After a long 8-hour day on campus, I am finally back to my hotel. No, that is not a typo; I am living in a hotel. My on-campus apartment building is brand new and isn’t ready for me to move in yet, so in the mean time I’m living in a hotel. It is a strange feeling walking into a hotel all sweaty from the mile walk back and having the bellhop ask you if you need help carrying your backpack to your room (I must have looked like I was struggling!).

I’m enjoying the 24-hour fitness center along with the clean towels and lotion samples that are left in the bathroom everyday. But, with all the nice hotel amenities come the not so good parts. Can you guess my biggest complaint? The food situation! Three weeks in a hotel means three weeks without the kitchen that I should have in my apartment. I feel like I’m back in my freshman dorm with just a mini fridge and a microwave minus the dining hall.

hotel fridge

The hotel mini kitchen.

Of course there are tons of restaurants to choose from, but I’m not a fan of eating at a restaurant for 63 meals in a row. Thankfully, I have friends with kitchens and spent yesterday afternoon cooking a bunch of meals to stock my mini fridge for the week. Aside from that, here are some healthy snacks I have discovered you have with just a fridge and a microwave:

Fresh Fruits Vegetables
Apples, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and oranges all last about a week so they are great to have on hand for a quick snack or to grab when you are on your way to class. Adding peanut butter or hummus to your fruits or veggies can make an even more nutritious snack.

Cooked Vegetables
Zucchini, broccoli, and edamame can all be kept in the fridge and cooked in the microwave. Click the names below to find out how to cook them.
Steamed zucchini
Steamed broccoli
Edamame 

Other Options
If you have access to a kitchen or can get them from the dining hall, hard-boiled eggs are a great snack with lots of protein.
Popcorn is also a good microwavable snack if you choose one with light butter and salt.
Yogurt and Oatmeal are not only good for breakfast, but also as an afternoon snack with some berries or granola. Check out my post about my obsession with oatmeal here.

Stay tuned for more of my hotel adventures and healthy microwave meals!

Quinoa Veggie Mix

Rice out, quinoa in. Try this Quinoa Veggie Mix instead of a rice based stir-fry. Before you stop reading and say “I don’t like quinoa”, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of quinoa, and I thought this was delicious! Quinoa packs in lots of protein and fiber to fill you up, so it is a great alternative to nutrient-poor rice.

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The vegetables used in this recipe are some of my favorites but feel free to add any other veggies you may like. The first time I made this recipe, I was startled by the amount of veggies it called for. It seemed like I had mounds of vegetables and little quinoa. Turns out the recipe amounts were just right, so don’t hesitate if it seems like you are cutting lots of veggies.

Quinoa Veggie Mix ntrn facts

The approximate* nutrition facts of one serving are shown here for the ingredients on the recipe. The quinoa I used is Village Harvest Premium Whole Grain Quinoa (pictured here). It is very easy and takes about 20 minutes to cook.

Quinoa

If you want this recipe to have a more “fried rice” feel, you can mix in 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce at the very end.

Quinoa Veggie Mix

*Nutrition facts will change depending on the brand and exact amounts of ingredients used.