In-a-Hurry Lunch/Dinner/Workouts/Life

I have worked a lot of jobs in my life (barista, waitress, tap dancing instructor, teacher, au pair, web designer, researcher, marketing consultant, etc.) but until this week I had never actually worked in a 9-5 office environment. But bright and early Monday morning I started a dreamy dream job working for an non-profit I really believe in doing work that I love. But the hours behind a desk, the office culture & my ears popping every time I take the elevator? All that will definitely take some adjusting…

This week I was far too busy getting mentally prepared for my new job to do much planning for things like food or fitness but I’ve been just barely getting by by cutting corners wherever possible.

1) Workouts

I’m currently between gym memberships so it’s been all about the outdoor running lately. For cardio I have lovingly found my way back to this pyramid interval run because it is super quick and always leaves me panting. And while I’ve been pretty light on strength training due to my lack of gym access, circuit workouts like this one (jotted down on a random envelope?) are definitely doing the trick.

Repeat this circuit for 10-15 mins for a short and sweet (and by sweet I mean suprisingly hardcore) workout!

2) Dinner/Lunch Combo Prep

 Seriously people, even if you don’t have time to do an epic weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoon, you can always prep your lunch while you make your dinner. Such a simple idea but one that has totally saved my dress-pant-wearing butt this week.

Tonight, for example, I whipped up a quick little dinner of one-pot curried cauliflower & pumpkin stew (topped with some pan fried haddock, basil & lime)

This isn’t a full on recipe but in case you’re interested…

Directions

Sauteed a handful of chopped carrots, a chopped celery stick and 2 cloves of garlic in sesame oil. Once fragrant add 2 cups cubed fresh pumpkin, 2 cups cauliflower & 2 cups of veggie broth  then simmer until all the veggies are very soft and you can lightly mash them with a fork. Finally season to taste with curry powder, soy sauce, ginger and a little squeeze of agave…then top with basil, lime & siracha for the perfect one pot dinner!

And now on to lunch…

Since those ingredients were already out of the fridge and handy I decided I would whip up a second dish that I could use as the base for my lunch tomorrow…

You’re shocked, I know. It’s a kale salad. What can I say? I’m easy to please! This salad is dressed in sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, flax oil & agave then topped with sunflower seeds and chopped carrots. All the ingredients used in the previous recipe just repurposed with lunch in mind! A simple way to save time prepping lunch (or money buying it!)

Do you work in an office? How do you usually prep for the busy week? 

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Tibetan Food & My Take on Deep Fried Tofu

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time getting acclimated in my new neighborhood…which for me involves a whole lot of eating.

Exhibit A)

My first taste of the Tibetan food that is ubiquitous in this area of town.

Dumplings & Veggies & Silken Tofu OH MY! 

And did I mention that whole plate cost SIX DOLLARS. So good.

After enjoying that plate of yum I was inspired to whip a batch of silken tofu at home, just for a little variety from the firm stuff. The recipe itself was very simple and involved only 3 steps…

Wannabe-Deep-Fried Silken Tofu

1) Slice silken tofu into blocks and quickly pan fry on a dry nonstick or lightly oiled pan until just browned.

2) Dip silken tofu pieces in a marinade of: 

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
Then dredge soaked tofu in a second mixture of
  • coconut flour
  • salt and pepper
 3) Pan fry again!
Serve with remaining marinade for dipping! 
This tofu is making a special appearance in my lunch box today as well…
Gotta love leftovers 😉
Off to work! Hope you’re all having a lovely week.

Peanut & Ginger Collard Green Coleslaw

Finally! Back in the kitchen and eating something other than cookies. Yes! Yes! Yes! This salad is my favourite three things: flavourful, healthy & cheap. It’s also bright and colourful, which was just what I needed to mirror this unseasonably springlike on this beautiful March day.

Peanut & Ginger Collard Green Coleslaw

For the slaw

  • 4 cups broccoli, carrot & cabbage coleslaw mix
  • 2 cups collards, stems removed and sliced into shreds
  • 1 cup cooked edamame 

For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 heaping tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp ground chia (optional, helps to thicken)
  • 2 tbsp flax oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 inch or so of minced ginger (I always freeze my ginger and grate from frozen!)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 chopped scallions 

Directions

  1. Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan until just below boiling.
  2. Melt molasses and peanut butter into the almond milk and stir until combined. If usin, whisk in ground chia and cook an additional minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in oils and seasonings. Whisk in vinegars next, 1 tbsp at a time to prevent the almond milk from separating. (If it does, don’t worry! It will still taste delicious.)
  4. Toss together dressing and slaw mix in a large bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Makes about 3-4 servings which – if you’re anything like me – will be polished off in one day. Come to think of it…I might need to go back for thirds right about now….

Am I alone on this one or do you also start to crave a little colour in your meals when spring weather hits? What about in your wardrobe? 😉

Lunch Trio with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Earlier this week I was visiting a friend, a busy mom with two young and ridiculously adorable children, and she was kind enough to offer me a bowl of the creamy roasted red pepper and tomato soup she was preparing for lunch.  As I ate my first spoonful of that rich and comforting bowl I was reminded of 2 things:

1) I used to eat these prepackaged soups all the time and I still freaking love them. Apparently even my healthy-food savvy taste buds aren’t immune to that familiar combination of sugar, salt and modified milk products. Mmm…mmm…good.

2) While there may have been a time in my life when a bowl of tomato soup would have been a perfectly lovely lunch, that is definitely not the case for me anymore. (See this post for more info on how I eat to fuel my active lifestyle) This fact became all too apparent to me when I got hungry for dinner at abut 2:15 that afternoon…

With both of those things in mind I decided that I must a) recreate this soup immediately and b) ensure that I enjoy it as a delicious addition to my typical lunch fare. Thus I got home and began cooking up this delicious dairy-free version. And it quickly turned my standard wrap/salad combo into a hearty, restaurant-style lunch trio.

Sauteed veggie and tuna wrap in a toasted brown rice tortilla, mixed green salad with carrots, apples, pumpkin seeds and flax oil/balsamic dressing and (of course)…

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup (Dairy-Free)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped roughly
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped roughly
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 roasted red peppers, seeded and chopped (See instructions below)
  • 1/2 package silken tofu  
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, could sub Parmesan cheese for a dairy option)
  • pepper to taste
Roasted Bell Peppers: Easy as 1-2-3
  1. Place whole bell peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil in the oven until the skins have blackened (peppers may start to look “deflated”). It usually takes around 15-20 minutes and typically I flip them about half way through. 
  2. Once the peppers are blackened place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. As they cool this will create a vaccuum seal that will make the skins very easy to peel off.  
  3. Use your fingers to tear the skins away from the flesh of the peppers and remove the tops and seeds. Voila!

Directions: 

  1. In a large pot, sautee onions, garlic and celery over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes, broth and peppers and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for around 15 minutes.
  4. Using a regular or infusion blender, puree mixture until smooth.
  5. Add silken tofu, nutritional yeast and a little pepper. Puree until tofu is completely combined (not grainy).
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired.

Garnish with parsley, fresh pepper slices and a drizzle of your favourite milk. 

Beach Picnic & A Very Green Soba Noodle Salad

After such a busy week I decided to take my Saturday completely off…Off work, off errands…off of all things city. So I grabbed some friends, packed a picnic lunch & headed to relax on the beachfront of the Toronto Island.

I always relish the opportunity to travel by boat, even if it is just a short ride, and the Toronto Island ferry ride is just perfect. Wind in hair, cute families chatting with you along the way + the knowledge that in just a few short minutes you will have your toes in the sand. Dreamy.

And of course no beach day would be complete without a perfectly packed lunch. I opted for something filling, nutritious & loaded with energizing fruits and veggies. I chose Japanese soba noodles because I love the earthy taste and texture of buckwheat (my current obsession, discussed at length here) contrasted against the bright sweetness of the other flavours in this recipe.

The result was fresh, delicious and lasted very well in my bag even without a cooler because all the veggies I used were hearty enough to marinate rather than wilt with the addition of dressing, making the salad that much more flavourful after the journey on the ferry.

Kiwi & Kale Soba Noodle Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch kale leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tsp honey or agave
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (can sub for another oil if you don’t have it)
  • 2 bunches of soba noodles
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1-2 yellow peppers
  • green onions
  • 1 cup cooked shelled edamame (tofu cubes would work well here too if they were marinated in a little soy sauce/rice vinegar combo)
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed salted peanuts (optional)**
**I omitted these in the main recipe due to a friend’s allergy  – but when I used them for my leftovers later on I found the additional salty crunch was a perfect finishing touch!  
Directions:
  1. Cook 2 bunches of soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or until just tender.
  2. Tear kale leaves from their stems and place small pieces into a bowl. Massage leaves with the juice of half your lime, oil & honey/agave for 3-4 minutes or until wilted.
  3. Add in cooked soba noodles (i chopped mine up a bit first so they would be in bite sized pieces), edamame or tofu, thinly sliced yellow pepper & thinly cut slices of kiwi. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add in the remainder of the lime juice, rice vinegar plus a few dashes of tamari/soy sauce. Allow to sit about 20-30 minutes in the fridge. Top with peanuts & green onions then serve!

Healthy as Heck Lunchbox!

Since I started teaching full time this month my lunches have been pretty standard. Last week I showed you Sunday Food Prep Plan of Attack and I pretty much stuck to that (very repetitive but also very delicious) lunch plan for as it lasted. Thursday’s box was starting to get kinda sad so on Friday I just threw together a random mishmash of leftovers which actually ended up being pretty alright.

This week I’ve been back on my A Game, putting together some SRSLY delicious combinations. Today’s was especially tasty and colourful. Oh and yes…I’m definitely eating lunch on the playground…Life of a teacher, anyone?

In the bowl: 

  • invisible layer of romaine
  • visible layer of spinach
  • around 1/2 cup cooked kasha (whole toasted buckwheat)
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 3 or 4 leftover shrimpiez from dinner, coated in masala seasoning
  • big handful o’ cherry tomatz
  • tossed in a tamari/balsamic/sesame oil combo
On the side: 
  • CRAY CRAY** FOR CRUDITEES! 1 whole chopped orange pepper, 1/2 chopped cucumber, 1 large carrot & 1 large stalk of celery (Yes thats a lot of veg but I like to munch through the day – I also like to serve them tossed in some S+P+Herbs, served on the side rather then crammed into my salad)
  • 1 GIGANTIC apple
Note: This is just my lunch and doesn’t include all my EPIC mid-day/late-day/post-work snacks. I work with little ones and need to stay ENERGIZED. Maybe some other day I will post it all…if it fits on one page 😉
**Healthy Hipster Annoying Slang Alert: Cray cray = Crazy. Don’t ask me why.