Tag Archives: dinner

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree

20 Apr

Picture this: it’s 10 PM and you’re so hungry that your growling stomach is sure to keep you from falling asleep. So you grab some chocolate, or a handful of trail mix, or pretzels. Sound familiar?

But is 10 PM really the right time of day to eat? Most would argue it’s not wise. But do you understand the science behind it?

Today’s guest, Kevin Jones, shares how to determine when you should be eating. The recipe that follows is a great example of what you should be eating – a healthy, high-protein, dairy & gluten free dinner that’s perfect following a workout or simply a busy day at work!


Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Breaking Down the Details on the Best Times of the Day to Eat

About The Guest Author: Kevin Jones writes for a number of sites across the web, sharing his wisdom and expertise in the health and fitness industry. He has written extensively for NordicTrack and ProForm, offering out-of-the-box workout plans and nutritional advice. During his free time, he likes to be very active with his wife and two children, hitting the slopes of Park City, Utah or chasing down Salt Lake City’s Korean food trucks. Connect with him online; LinkedInTwitter.

My grandmother – a very opinionated woman – has always been very vocal about the way you should eat, and when. Her philosophy, passed to me in my formative years, was that you eat heavy in the morning, heavier in the afternoon, and light in the evening. “And none of that silly no-fat nonsense…give me my butter, or lose a hand!”

For a long time I ignored these lessons, eating with the gusto and carefree nature of youth. Now that I am older, and I have to think of weight gain, heart health, and indigestion, I have started wondering if she was right.

We all know that healthy food is good food. But what are the best times to eat it?

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Erratic Diets and The Harm They Do

Eating irregularly is bad for you. That might seem like a drastic statement, but it has been shown to be true again and again. A study by Harvard University found that just a few days of eating on an opposing schedule could cause serious sugar and insulin spikes where none had been present before.

Another study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that nighttime eating could cause an increase in weight gain. Still another found that late eating impacted circadian rhythms and disrupted sleep patterns.

So, to recap, eating late at night, or just in a way that is different than your usual pattern of meals, can screw with your blood sugar levels, your sleep, and even make you fat. That seems like a pretty serious thing to me.

Eating Post Workout

Another factor to keep in mind is when working out. Exercise taxes the body, eats up all the food-provided energy in the system, and puts strain and tears within muscles that need to be repaired. Protein rich snacks or meals following intense activity are crucial for the body to function properly.

But did you know dehydration may keep you from getting the nutrients you need? Long distance runners are familiar with runner’s trots. But anyone can experience diarrhea following a workout, often sparked by improper hydration.

Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

What All This Tells Us

We can make a couple of assumptions about diet based on the above facts. First, eating late at night is a no-no. Second, proper hydration is crucial for proper nutrient retention. Third, our bodies are delicate tools that have to be properly balanced.

Eat well, eat often, and don’t eat too late. Oh, and keep drinking water. While the eight glasses a day rhetoric may be a myth, the need for keeping ourselves nice and hydrated is not.


Is it Time to Eat? Guest Post + Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

With that in mind, here’s a protein rich meal that’s great for dinner! Tofu’s texture is not for everyone, but when pressed and roasted, it’s much more palatable! Pair this with a simple puree of roasted vegetables, and you’ve got dinner in the bag. Enjoy!

Roasted Tofu with Roasted Vegetable Puree

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 block firm tofu, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper – to roast
  • 1/2 C vegetable stock, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Roasted pepitas, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and spray with oil.

Wrap the drained tofu block in a clean tea towel and place a heavy object on top of it, like a heavy pan or book. Let this sit while you prep the veggies.

Chop all the veggies – neatness doesn’t count in this recipe! Lay them out on one of the baking sheets with the garlic and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Stir a bit and make sure the veggies are in a single layer. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Slice the pressed tofu into long, thin strips. Place in a single layer on the second baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, until dry and crispy. It’s best to put the tofu in the oven 10 minutes after the vegetables have been in.

Once the vegetables are roasted, transfer them to a blender, along with the warmed vegetable stock, seasonings, and vinegar. Puree until smooth, taking care to let steam escape from the lid by removing the middle piece and holding a towel loosely over the top. Taste and adjust as desired.

Pour the vegetable puree into four bowls. Top with the roasted tofu strips and garnish with roasted pepitas. Enjoy hot!

Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions

28 Mar

Good ol’ Bloody Mary’s – the perfect hangover drink for that Sunday morning after a party-hard Saturday night. Or perhaps the base for a humble weeknight dinner? Yep! Lentils are given a kick in the pants when cooked in spicy Bloody Mary mix. Sure, you could use plain tomato juice, but where’s the fun in that?

We keep Bloody Mary mix on hand, always. I have had great luck with the brand that Aldi’s sells, and it comes in several flavor varieties. But what happens when you crack open a bottle of the good stuff on a Sunday, and don’t use it all up? With all the spices, it *can* sit in your fridge for a while. Or it can help make a delicious dinner when you’re tight on time.

Split red lentils cook up quickly and really soak in the flavors of the spicy tomato mix. Add some sauteed celery to mimic the hangover cure, and serve atop roasted onions for a meal that’s quick and delicious. No vodka necessary.

Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions

Serves 4

  • 4 medium yellow onions
  • Olive oil, for roasting
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 C split red lentils
  • 1.5 C vegetable broth
  • 1 C Bloody Mary mix
  • Hemp seeds, to garnish

Preheat oven heat to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM.

Cut onions in half and remove skins; rub with oil and place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes.

Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add celery; cook for 5 minutes. Add the Bloody Mary mix, broth, and lentils; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve two onion halves into each bowl. Spoon the stewed lentils over the onions and garnish with hemp seeds. Enjoy with a cold beer!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans

21 Mar

We finally took another trip, and this time, it was centered around bourbon! Yep – Chris and I drove down to Kentucky with our friends, Matt and Ashley, and met up with another couple, Barry and Stacey. We spent four glorious days visiting distilleries, learning about the history and creation of bourbon, and of course: sampling a wide variety of delicious bourbons! We ate good food, drove around Kentucky, and laughed way too much.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Lunch stop on the way to Kentucky at Milktooth in Indianapolis. Mango Michelada, strawberry-kumquat poptart, and a savory Dutch baby pancake with roasted broccoli, hazelnuts, aged cheddar, micro greens, and fennel.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bourbon flights!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The crew at Buffalo Trace – definitely the best tour and experience!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Kissing a barrel of what will someday turn into Eagle Rare – my favorite bourbon, aged 10 years!

After four distillery tours and several bourbon bars, I have expanded my palate for bourbon: something I have only been interested in for a year or so now (thanks to Chris!).

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Maker’s Mark has beautiful rolling hills!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Makers Mark also has fantastic artwork and bourbon!

Unfortunately, the trip had to end and we were on our way back home on Sunday in no time. The 6.5 hour drive wasn’t too bad, and we stopped for lunch in Lafayette, IN (nothing to write home about). But that meant that we’d be home for dinner…after four days away and a rather barren fridge.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bulleit Experience @ Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Luckily, the monthly Recipe Redux challenge asked us to develop a recipe made with at least three ingredients that we had on hand, with the intent to do a little “spring cleaning” of the kitchen. How perfect, given our current situation after several days away!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

As a Wisconsinite, I always have cheese on hand; usually several types of cheeses at any given point have residence in our fridge. Upon returning home, there were full blocks of herbed Havarti and aged cheddar, a half bag of shredded cheddar, and a half tub of whipped cream cheese (Chris’s favorite). What’s more, there were a few fresh vegetables leftover from the week prior, begging to be cooked into a tasty dish.

Finally, I always keep a variety of grains stocked in the pantry. It had been a while since I cooked couscous, so it seemed the best choice in the effort to spring clean the pantry. Add in a high-protein beefless ground, and I have a dinner that’s healthy, vegetarian, and uses up quite a few ingredients!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4

  • 1 C frozen green peas
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • olive oil and black pepper, to roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 C vegetable stock
  • 1 C medium-grain couscous
  • 2 C beefless ground or other ground meat-free product
  • 4 oz herbed Havarti cheese, diced

Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM. In a single layer, place all the veggies on the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper. Roast for 23 minutes at 400.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and vegetable stock in a pot. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and set aside for six minutes.

Heat the beefless ground in a microwave-safe bowl for two minutes.

Once the couscous is done, stir in the diced cheese and heated beefless ground. Cover with the lid and let sit until the vegetables are done roasting.
Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com
To serve, spoon the couscous mixture onto plates or bowls, and top with the roasted vegetables. Enjoy hot!
Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers

20 Feb

How was your weekend? Ours was packed – Chris and I had date night on Friday at Odd Duck, one of our favorite restaurants in Milwaukee. The food was amazing, and the dessert was even better! We checked out two new breweries afterward for some tasty beer to cap off the night. Saturday was full of fitness and more beer – it’s unseasonably gorgeous outside (61 degrees in February in Wisconsin is unheard of), so I went for a run, followed by yoga at another local brewery, and a walk around the neighborhood with Chris. At night, we poured beer at Food & Froth, a beer festival/fundraiser for the Milwaukee Public Museum. So, all the housework and my long run was left for Sunday.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Left: Date night with Chris, including an amazing flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse. Right: pouring beer at Food & Froth at the public museum – got to hang out with the Eskimos!

I’ve finally jumped on the Sunday food prep bandwagon. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long, as the routine of cooking and baking a bunch of food on the weekend is actually quite relaxing. It’s also satisfying to know that most of the week’s meals are ready to go.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But you can’t forget a delicious Sunday dinner! Craving something naughty, but wanting something nutritious, I combined the best of both worlds. The flavors of a cheeseburger are packed into these stuffed bell peppers. Traditional stuffed peppers are made with rice, but to reduce the carbs and increase the veggie intake, I replaced rice with shredded zucchini and carrot. You can’t tell the difference and it is SO much better for you! You can’t forget the cheese, and these peppers use two kinds for a delicious meal you can feel good about. It’s high protein, low carb, vegetarian and gluten free; make this vegan with dairy-free cheese!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers, adapted from Skinny Kitchen

Serves 4

  • 4 bell peppers, washed, tops sliced off and ribs removed – I used a variety of colors, but use whatever you prefer!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 10 oz Beefless Ground – tempeh would work if you crumble it up
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup – such as True Made Foods, whose condiments are made with all veggies!
  • 1 tbsp mustard – any kind works – I used beer mustard
  • 1/3 C Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 C shredded mozzarella
  • 3 oz shredded aged cheddar – I prefer 5-year aged

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the bell peppers and slice off the tops. Clean out the seeds and ribs. You may need to also slice just a bit off the bottom of the peppers, if they don’t stand up on their own. Place them in an 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish; set aside.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and saute the onion with the shredded zucchini and carrot. Cook until everything is nicely browned and the water has cooked out from the veggies. Add the Beefless Ground and cook another 5 minutes, to brown.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard and Bloody Mary mix. Then, mix in the mozzarella.

Use a spoon to pack the cheeseburger mixture into each pepper. Pat down the filling and top each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese.

Carefully pour a cup of water into the base of the baking dish. Sounds weird, but this will help steam the peppers so they’re nice and tender! Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

Gently remove the baking dish from the oven and use tongs to serve. These taste amazing with beer-soaked oven fries, which can conveniently bake at the exact same time!

Confessions of a Mother Runner

I’m linking up with Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk and Two Wands for #MeatlessMonday!

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

22 Jan

Have you ever added up how much you spend on food? The daily coffees, lunches out with co-workers, dinner dates, picked-up meals and weekly groceries all add up to a LOT of money. Whether you’re working on a New Year’s goal related to spending habits, or just want to be able to cook more frugally, the Recipe Redux has you covered this month!

We’ve been tasked with creating a recipe that costs less than $3 per serving. Now, as a vegetarian, this is much easier for me than my meat-eating friends. I noticed the drop in spending immediately after I gave up meat – both at the grocery store and at restaurants. But the bill can still add up and sometimes in a less than healthy way.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So I wanted to develop a meal that was not only low cost, but high in flavor, protein and fiber. Have you seen those legume-based pastas that are available? Black bean spaghetti, red lentil rotini, even chickpea penne! Yes, they sound a little crazy, and the first time you make black bean spaghetti, I guarantee you will be weirded out by the color of the cooking water. But these are such an incredible alternative to traditional pastas. (Which I totally have nothing against, especially since I began making my own!) Sometimes, you just need a high protein meal that comes together quickly and can be easily dressed up.

This Alfredo delivers on all of the above. Red lentil pasta, which clocks in at a hefty 21 grams of protein per serving, is tossed with a simple yet flavorful goat cheese sauce. Dress up the finished product with a bit of balsamic glaze and voila: a healthy, quick, delicious meal that only costs $2.22 per serving.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

Serves 2

  • 6 oz red lentil gluten free pasta (can substitute for black bean pasta, or another favorite) – ($1.50)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.15)
  • 1/2 C soy milk (or other preferred milk) ($0.12)
  • 4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese or chevre ($1.99)
  • 1 oz parmesan, freshly shredded ($0.36)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic glaze, to garnish ($0.32)

Grand total: $4.44. Per serving: $2.22!

Cook pasta according to package directions. These legume-based pastas have pretty specific directions, so it’s best to follow them!

While the pasta boils, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Once melted, stir in the milk and then the cheeses. Keep stirring to melt all the cheese into the milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Drain the cooked pasta and immediately transfer into the skillet with the hot Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat completely. Serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze (this is optional, but the sweet tang of the glaze makes the creamy sauce pop!)

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