Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Portobello Bulgogi Korean Tacos

A vegan twist on Korean street tacos using portobello mushrooms!

portobello bulgogi Korean tacos

With Halloween next week, this month's Recipe Redux theme is a scary one. They've got us dusting the cobwebs off those spooky spices we're afraid to use and conquering our cooking fears. Cue the Jaws theme!

This was a tricky challenge for me. As someone with an extensive spice collection and a close, personal relationship with each and every one, at first glance, none of my spices seemed all that intimidating. There are plenty of things that intimidate me, but spices are just not one of them. Every jar is already on regular rotation in my kitchen. Well, except for caraway, which I once bought for a cabbage recipe forgetting that it is the third most disgusting thing on the planet (right behind papaya and mealy red apples, of course).

portobello mushrooms for korean tacos

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Build a Perfect Grain Bowl

how to build a perfect grain bowl
California grain bowl - instructions listed below

It's exciting when something I've been doing awhile suddenly becomes a thing. Like when Mumford and Sons became popular after I had been listening to them for almost a year or when everyone started selling owl necklaces similar to the vintage one passed down by my grandma. It all made me feel much more hip than I actually am, which is not very.

I got a similar sense of excitement when The New York Times published an article on How to Build a Grain Bowl. Basically a big, hearty salad built on grains, rather than greens, it has been my go-to lunch for quite some time. It's filling, portable, doesn't wilt, and is endlessly adaptable.

Since starting my little ole' blog, I've realized just how well-liked grain bowls are. Looking back at my most popular recipes, most are variations on grain bowls - Buddha bowl with marinated tofu, broccoli and brown rice bowl, Jamaican Jerk tofu bowl. Even my first post, the horrendously photographed but amazingly delicious sushi salad, was technically a grain bowl. The grain bowls I've included with personalized meal plans have received such rave reviews as "this is genius!" and "finally I found a salad that doesn't leave me hungry an hour later!"

perfect grain bowl with broccoli chickpea
Roasted Broccoli, Chickpea and Brown Rice Bowl with Soy-Miso Dressing

Clearly, everyone loves a good grain bowl. Well, everyone except paleo and low carb dieters. But hey, I've got an option for you too!

There's no right or wrong way to create a grain bowl. Often times, I'll simply throw leftover roasted vegetables over a small batch of grains and add canned beans or wild salmon. Drizzle it with a little olive oil and lemon juice and call it a day! 

Over the years, I've come up with a basic formula for creating the perfect filling and healthy grain bowl. It ensures that you will get a good balance of fat, protein and carbs, and allows you to mix and match to your hearts content. To build your grain bowl, start with a serving of your grain of choice at the bottom of a bowl or tupperware container. Then chose a protein and however many and however much roasted and raw vegetables, fermented foods and extras you like. Drizzle or scatter your choice of fat over the top and pack half a lemon, lime or a bottle of vinegar for dressing. Serve cold or at room temperature and either mix it all up, or do like I do and make each bite different! 

Build a Mexican grain bowl
Mexican Millet Bowl

Formula for a Perfect Grain Bowl

Pick a grain // ½ cup brown rice, quinoa, farro, black rice, barley, millet, spelt, wheat berries, rye berries, cauliflower rice (low carb/paleo option), sweet potato rice (paleo option)
Protein // 1/3 – ½ cup tofu or tempeh, 1/3-1/2 cup beans or lentils, 2-3 ounces wild fish, 2-3 ounces organic meat or poultry, 1 1/2 ounce grassfed or organic cheese, 1-2 hard boiled pastured or organic eggs, 2 tablespoons hemp hearts, 1 ounce nuts or seeds
Roasted vegetables* // zucchini, winter squash, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, bell peppers, green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers
Raw vegetables // radish, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, fennel, corn, cucumber, snap peas, sprouts, salad greens
Fat // 2 tablespoons nuts or seeds, ¼ cup olives, ¼ avocado, 2 tablespoons guacamole, 2 tablespoons hummus, 1 tablespoon tahini, 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil or other nut oil
Fermented (optional) // kimchi, miso, naturally brewed soy sauce, fermented relish, sauerkraut
Extras // sun-dried tomatoes, nori, nutritional yeast, salsa, spices, herbs, flax seeds, chia seeds, capers, Bragg's liquid aminos, black olives
Dressing // lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar

*To roast vegetables, I simply toss them with about a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, spread evenly over a large baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until lightly browned and tender. Most vegetables take 20-30 minutes, but smaller, thinner ones may take less time while denser vegetables may take longer. 

California grain bowl how to
California Grain Bowl - recipe below

Here are some of my favorite combinations…

Mexican Millet Bowl:
Millet + black beans + roasted zucchini + cherry tomatoes + radish + guacamole + salsa + chili powder + chia seeds + lime juice

Sushi Bowl:
Brown rice + smoked salmon + roasted mushrooms + snap peas + carrots + sesame oil + soy sauce + nori + rice vinegar

Niscoise Bowl:
Farro + tuna in olive oil + roasted haricot verts + cherry tomatoes + olives + capers + parsley + lemon juice

California Bowl (pictured):

Quinoa + chickpeas + roasted Brussels sprouts + shredded carrot + avocado + hummus + black olives + sauerkraut + flax seeds + lemon juice

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites 10/17/14

Hello friends!

Hope you're taking some time this weekend to rest and recharge. Although I'm working Saturday, (which really isn't a bad thing when you love what you do) I've got Sunday all to myself. Scott and I are planning on camping with the pups somewhere nearby - would love any suggestions! Of course, I've got a healthy take on s'mores already planned.

I won't lie, I kind of feel like wonder woman this week. As I mentioned before, I'm not exactly the most athletic. Healthy eating habits are ingrained in my daily life, but exercise is something I struggle with doing consistently. For the past two weeks, I've managed to work out every day (except today, whoops!) and even pushed myself to try new workouts. Last week, a friend and I got our hineys out of bed at 5:30 for an early class at Barre3's grand opening. Holy burning thighs it was a workout! This week, I took a couple hot yoga classes for the first time. I've been practicing yoga a couple years now and this was by far the most challenging class I've ever taken, but in a good way! I had no clue I could hold a steady standing bow while dripping with sweat. Only negative - I'm pretty sure I have to burn my yoga mat. But on a positive note, my post-Bikram boiled peanut cravings gave me a great idea for a hot new sports drink - boiled peanut juice! Patent pending, y'all.

Check out my favorite recipes and links from around the web. For more throughout the week, follow me on facebook and twitter.

Photo Credit: Kristy from Keepin it Kind

Chipotle Chile Con Tempeh (Keepin It Kind) --> Most recipes for vegan chile just taste like spicy canned tomatoes and beans. Booo-ring. This chile, with all sorts of goodies like sriracha, liquid aminos, chipotle chiles, molasses, and liquid smoke seems pretty fantastic.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bars (Uproot from Oregon) --> With less than 1/2 cup of sugar in the entire recipe, these bars are surprisingly healthy!

Photo Credit: Marisa of Uproot From Oregon

Maple Pumpkin Parfaits (Oh My Veggies) --> I'm enabling this whole pumpkin thing, aren't I? This one is made from layers of cashew coconut cream, pumpkin-maple cream and plenty of crunchy bits.

Photo Credit: Lindsay of Oh My Veggies

Black Beans With Salsa Roja, Kale Salsa Verde And A Poached Egg (Not Eating Out In New York) --> I want to eat the computer screen.

Photo Credit: Cathy of Not Eating Out In New York

Butternut Squash Stuffed Mushrooms With Goat Cheese And Balsamic Glaze (The Clever Carrot) --> Most people will eat portobello steaks in lieu of meat. Stuff it with butternut squash and goat cheese and even the biggest carnivores won't turn it down.

Photo Credit: Emile of The Clever Carrot

30 Days Of Five Ingredient Vegetarian Dinners (Oh My Veggies) --> See, eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult.

Turnip For What (Instagram via FLOTUS) --> I'm easily entertained. Watched this video at least 6 times (and maybe danced a little bit)

11 Surprising Facts About Eating Protein (Buzzfeed) --> For a Buzzfeed article about nutrition, this is surprisingly accurate. Protein is important, but chances are you're already eating more than enough, even on a plant based diet.

Mediterranean Diet, Olive Oil and Nuts Helps Reverse Metabolic Syndrome (Science Daily) --> If I had to pick a mainstream diet to follow, the Mediterranean diet would be it. Just make sure it's the real Mediterranean diet, not the Olive Garden version.

8 Things Happy People Do Each Morning (Mind Body Green) --> A happy day starts with a happy morning. I do 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and sometimes 5 and never 6. What about you?

The Survivors: Liberians Who Recovered From Ebola (Yahoo) --> Everyone seems to be flipping out about ebola. It's understandable to a point, because it's a horrible disease. Luckily, it's something 99.99999% of us don't have to worry about - but not if you live in West Africa. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is one of my favorite organizations and they are doing incredible work, risking their lives on a daily basis. I highly suggest looking at these beautiful portraits of survivors that wouldn't be here without MSF, then donate so they can continue to save lives.

This week on Avocado:

When Is It Worth It To Splurge On Unhealthy Food?  
Crispy Potatoes With Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Saturday Six (Oh My Veggies)
Bean Bytes (The Lean Green Bean)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crispy Potatoes with Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

crispy potatoes with spicy roasted red pepper sauce

Writing Monday's post got me reminiscing about my favorite foodie experiences. I'm not gonna lie, going through old pictures and picking out the eight I featured took me much longer than it should have.

I stumbled upon pictures of my first trip with Scott, a week in San Diego and LA a few years before we got engaged. That trip probably sealed the deal for us, because goodness knows I couldn't marry a man who wasn't fun to travel with. The pictures reminded me of this incredible recipe, hanging out on my camera's memory card. It was inspired by our second favorite meal of that trip, which was only second because the first place prize has to go to Spago, where we met Wolfgang Puck, sat next to Jenna Fisher, spotted Janet Jackson, and I got to eat lots of smoked salmon. So yeah, clear winner).

Roasted potatoes with romesco sauce

Although there were no celebrity sightings, our  meal at Cafe Sevilla in San Diego was just as memorable. After spending the day exploring Point Loma and the Mission District, we stumbled upon this authentic tapas restaurant. Over a pitcher of sangria, we savored seafood paella with a perfect crust, croquettes, ceviche and the highlight, patatas bravas, crispy roasted fingerling potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce. Social etiquette was the only thing that kept us from linking the bowl!