Archive for the ‘big salad’ Category

Hooray!  I’m so so glad you guys like the new look.  I could never have done it without Julie’s services, so if you’re looking for a blog makeover, she’s your gal.  Seriously.  She took a sketch of a header I drew and made it into the reality that you now see.  It’s amazing.  And she was ever-so-patient with my (nonexistent) technology skills.  Not that it’s over…there are still some kinks to be worked out, but for the most part things are running smoothly. 

Feel free to click around and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is greatly appreciated so I can make my site as user friendly (and pretty) as possible.  Aside from the font, which people have mentioned can be difficult to read, let me hear your thoughts!

Moving on…

Night shift steam rolled on by these past two days. 


I actually really lucked out with my patient load…not only were they the sweetest group of people, but they were stable and compliant and slept through the night.  In the words of Michael Scott: win win win.


Now that I’m riding my bike to work, it allows for a more restful day too.  I don’t feel rushed and/or anxious about when I’m going to squeeze in exercise (while still letting myself sleep in some) and my commute time is always the same.  For those unfamiliar with LA traffic, having a constant like that is invaluable. 

Biking to work means I can leave the apartment at 5:45 pm, arrive at the hospital at 6:15 pm, clean up, change into scrubs, relax, and I’m ready to get my nurse on when 7 pm rolls around.  Much better than guessing how the day’s 405/Wilshire drama is going to go down (my commute by car can take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, no joke).  That construction is getting to be too much stress! 

Next month they are closing the entire freeway down (July 15-18th) and the hospital is already looking to recruit staff to spend the night.  I predict a riot.  Or maybe a plot for J.J. Abrams’ next movie…


The only thing you need to know about this bowl of oats is that it was made with almost as much peanut butter and raisins as oats


The combo of PB&R (not to be confused with the beer PBR) makes breakfast (or early dinner in my case) taste like cookie dough. Anyone else think that raisins are very underrated in the oatmeal world?  Or maybe you never consider the rankings of breakfast ingredients like I do…  Eh.  Your loss. 


Work eats were packed, as per usual…


Sidekicks of mixed nuts, Three Sisters honey graham cereal (obsessed!!!), apples, and cherries.


Salad with veggies and grains galore, topped with chopped seitan


This salad was an everything in the fridge kind of situation.  In other words, a delicious, one-of-a-kind beast.  It fueled me all through the night.  Also, I had fun coworkers to work with, which always makes shifts fun and fast.

How is your work commute?  Do you drive?  Bus?  Subway?  Is it the same every day or does traffic come into play?


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Working on the weekends isn’t too bad when the days are mellow and the weather is mediocre (I swear I heard the phrase “June gloom” six hundred and fifty three times yesterday).  Having interesting patients helps too…

My shift flew by and as 7 pm approached I texted dinner plans to Kyle. 

me: Veggie Grill take-away tonight?

kyle: yes.  what do you want?

me: Baja Fiesta salad, add chik’n, dressing on the side


Done and done.

I got this same order last time so I knew it would hit the spot. 


This time I had my camera to take photos of my Baja Fiesta salad at home (as opposed to my cell phone for sub-par pics).


Chopped romaine, papaya, avocado, roasted corn salsa, quinoa, cucumber, cilantro, tortilla strips and a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (plus the chillin’ chickin’ I added on).

I love their ginger papaya vinaigrette, but I also squeezed some lime juice in for an acidic punch.  It complements the avocado.  :)  


I also dumped some extra quinoa on top because I like carbs


Obviously none of these tweaks were necessary, and getting the salad how it’s intended in the restaurant is perfectly delicious.  I’m just unable to leave anything be once it enters the kitchen.  Cookbook recipes included.  Anyone else have this problem?


Kyle got the All Hail Kale salad, which is one I’ve been eyeing for some time now.   I’m glad he got it so I could scope out how it looks. 


It has marinated kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts with a ginger-papaya vinaigrette (you can add blackened chickin’ or tempeh for extra).  Kyle got it with blackened chickin’ and a side of sweetheart fries (aka sweet potato fries).


He said it was really good.  In fact, he was talking about it all night…so I’m not sure what he was expecting, but clearly it was way better than he was anticipating.  I don’t think I need to say how the fries were.  They were obviously outstanding. 

The Veggie Grill is definitely becoming a staple take-away in our lives.  It’s such an easy option – fast and fresh – plus I adore that they are bringing veg-friendly fast food to the masses.  I will support that.  They recently opened a new restaurant in The Grove, too.  Expand and dominate a la Starbucks!  Now if only they would open up their next location on the I-5. 


After dinner I had a lot lot lot of dessert.  I lost track of the number of rice cakes I had, but I know that the peanut butter jar was left feeling significantly ravaged. 

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I’m not an overly dramatic person (must be the residual effects of my tomboy youth…) but I have to say, the lack of candied ginger in ALL the local Whole Foods stores has me freaking out.  I am officially out.  Like Kyle’s chapstick stash, I had back-ups upon back-ups, but they are all depleted now.  Yikes.  Hoarding fail.


It gets worse!  The above photo is the last of my carob chip stash too.  Folks, this is a state of national emergency. 


My pre-packed work eats will just have to do without my beloved ginge. 

More leftover Surprisingly Vegan waffles with frozen bloobs (they thaw by the time I eat/heat it the next day). 


Plus, some Artisana raw cacao bliss nut butter.  For the record, this flavor needs mega kneading before it’s ready to squeeze, but it’s worth the hand exercise.  Mmmmm…


Cherries, apple, dried fruit, yadda yadda. 

Not the best snacks for eating on the go, but the weekends are generally slower paced on the weekends so I pack fewer bars and more fresh fare.


I did have one of my favorite desserts though…easy enough to eat whenever and/or wherever.  Nana’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies are a gift to vegans. 


My salad is admittedly hideous, so for the record, please ignore it’s appearance.  It has huge amounts of avocado and leftover tofu stir-fry on mixed greens


Happy weekend all!  Who else is working?  Who is lounging in the sun for me?

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If I had to summarized Monday through Thursday in a single post…well…I can’t, so I don’t know how to end that sentence.  But, where I was going with that intro was to say my week has been packed and amazing.

Highlights reel?  Sure, why not.

Monday slash Tuesday I had night shift stuff.  The only thing of note food-wise was how many berries I consumed over the course of the day. 


I have likely met my Vitamin C quota until October. 

I also made a pita pie (for those of you who keep asking about the-best-pita-ever, it’s from Whole Foods and the brand is called Turlock Pita Bread). 


My gorgeous pie was toasted then layered (generously) with Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter and very thinly sliced golden delicious apples.


Any meal that has fewer than five ingredients, takes under five minutes to make, AND tastes this good should be illegal.  Or accepted into the Foodie Hall of Fame.  Is there such a thing?  Nope. 


I also did some late night therapy baking.  I find it a very soothing thing.  Just me and the oven, and the rest of the day fades away…


Kyle’s a big fan of these nights.  Unlike retail therapy, they don’t cut into our vacation rent funds, plus they yield delicious treats.  Who else uses cooking/baking in this way?


(Vegan) peanut butter and jelly thumbprint muffins.  Recipe on the way!

Wednesday morning wasn’t notably interesting, but I did make a really really yummy tropical smoothie.


I had it with a massive bowl of cherries (since the strawbeezies are done-zo).


I didn’t measure anything, but it had: light unsweetened soymilk (365), vanilla soy yogurt (Stonyfield), frozen tropical fruit mix (Costco), and some ice.


I tried to go slow and eat cherries in between, but you know I froze my brain up because I have no self control.

Of course to compensate I had to make some tea.  I may be having issues with my body core thermal regulation, because I always seem to be the temperature of whatever I’m eating.  Humans are supposed to be warm blooded.  I may be a lizard.  My poor patients have to deal with my frigid hands poking and prodding them (ok, ok, I’m not that rough).  Good thing I suck down coffee like a fiend all morning long which is when I do most of my assessments…at least the heat from that helps my hands stay a bit warmer.  I’m sure the fact that I’m cracked out of my mind and bouncing off the walls doesn’t even phase them. 


Fact: I drink Yogi tea more for the inspirational messages than the flavor of the tea.  This flavor happens to be Cocoa Mayan Spice.  It’s no Chai, but it fills the roll when my Tazo stash is on empty.


Wednesday afternoon we picked up our friend at the airport.  In our new car.  His name is Carson and he’s a new 2011 silver CRV.  Yes, we name all our cars.  Who doesn’t? 


The best feature is the cup holder in the door.  It fits a Kombucha perfectly.

After navigating our way back to Santa Monica (LA traffic wasn’t that bad actually), we immediately dropped off Dean’s luggage and walked to dinner.


Blue Plate is one of my absolute favorite places ever and I have been craving their falafel burger for a solid month now. 


We started with chips ‘n guac for the table.


Plus a nice white bean dip with bread crisps (on the house).


Kyle got the chicken & veggie soup and the falafel burger


Dean got the falafel burger with fries.


And I got the falafel burger on a salad with fresh greens, cucumber, carrots, sprouts and huge amounts of avocado


I used all the balsamic dressing, plus the remainder of the guacamole that wasn’t eaten with chips.  It would be a crime for avocado to go unclaimed!

SO GOOD.  There’s no two ways about it, Blue Plate makes a damn fine falafel.

Wii tennis and golf duels took up the remainder of the night.  We are party animals!


Thursday morning was not meant to start at 5 am, but that it did.  Why you ask?  Because we have crazy effing birds that crow incessantly like they are the alarm clock for the entire West Coast (and their home base happens to be directly outside our window).  The rage I was feeling…gah!  Let’s just say there’s probably never been a more conflicted vegan.  I may not be a member of PETA, but I’m still not into shooting down angry birds.  


In any event, our plans to got for a hike in Malibu were simply pushed forward a few hours.  So after a trip to WF for coffee and a picnic lunch, we headed off to Point Mugu State Park.


We had a fun hike.  It was relatively mild and only took a bit over an hour.  The weather wasn’t really cooperating, but if we had waited ‘til later on, the cloud cover probably would have blown off.  Sun or no sun, we enjoyed the views. 


After reaching the bottom again, we made our way to the beach for lunch. 


Not too bad of a view. 


I got a veggie sando from WF with hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and mustard


I could’ve used more hummus, but that’s pretty much always the case.  In life.


The rest of the day was mellow.  We strolled on the Promenade, stopped by the Santa Monica Pier, watched some volleyball games, and enjoyed the sun that finally did show up.


For dinner there was no question about what we were making.  Dean simply HAD to try some home-made vegan waffles.


We tried out Surprisingly Vegan’s latest flavor and I have to say, it’s even better than the OG recipe.

They really are SO good.  Unfortunately, they take quite a while to make from scratch…and grinding and blending and mixing everything uses up just about every single appliance and counter space in our kitchen.  Needless to say, I’ll be glad when these babies finally hit shelves, because just-add-water is so much simpler. 

The good news is that by late summer they will be sold online!!!  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you all know when, where, and how you can get your hands on them. 


Vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and nutritious.  :) 

If you’re wondering about the above creation, it’s a waffle ‘wich that I made with two waffle squares, blueberries and Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese.  I had two servings.  And even though I was very full after my double serving, I didn’t feel like my stomach was coated in lead.  Heavenly!


And now I am getting ready for a Friday at the hospital.  Big salad, quinoa with tofu, Inka Crops corn nuts, apple (x2), Nana’s fudge bites – yep, it’s gonna be a good day. 


Lunch is packed and I have a breakfast of vegan waffles ready for early morning leftovers.  Yeah buddy. 

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One of the perks of being a food blogger is you get to try new things that you may not ordinarily try.  For free. 

While I was in Europe, I received a Tasting Box by Foodzie


It had all kinds of goodies including:

Dried Pineapple from Peeled Snacks – Brooklyn, NY
Traditional Alfajores from Sabores del Sur – San Francisco, CA
Lemon Poppyseed & Almond Biscotti from Biscotti Bari – Petaluma, CA
Pure Southern Iced Tea from Pluff Iced Tea – Bluffton, SC
Assorted Fresh Herb Sea Salts from Woody’s Gourmet – Campbell, CA
Classic Seaweed Snack from Sea Snax – Los Angeles, CA


The peeled snacks were the first to go.  For 12 hour shifts I’m always looking for easy on-the-go eats that are healthy and practical (meaning portable and not messy).  These caught my eye because they were both organic and pure.


See that ingredient list?  Just one thing, organic pineapple.

You see, when it comes to dried fruit, there’s often some additives involved (sulphur dioxide) and occasionally extra sugar sneaks in, too.  Dried pineapple rings used to be my favorite snack, but the out of control sugar content actually got to be too much for me.  In my opinion, fruit doesn’t need help in the sweetness department, it’s naturally perfect on it’s own.  And as far as preserving the fruit’s color (which is why other companies use sulpher dioxide), I actually prefer eating food that don’t look like it has been plucked from the Land of Oz.  No offense to the Lollipop Guild.


I was nervous the pineapple chunks were going to be a bit tougher, given the natural state of the fruit, but I’m happy to report they were soft and flavorful.  I could easily see myself snacking on them all day (and night) long without breaking my jaw from chewing. 

Peeled snacks also offers mango, apricot, apple, banana, fig (!!!), and cherry flavors, which I’m pretty excited to try as well.


As for the rest of my work food…I was on night shift, so it was more snack heavy than my day shift eats are.  I had roasted almonds, candied ginger, Hersey’s special extra dark chocolate, dried apricots, two apples, and a big salad.

My salad was bit of a beast actually.  It had spring greens, roasted butternut squash, bell peppers, edamame, carrots, and those crazy addictive sesame sticks.  I’m 100% certain I could put those sesame sticks in every meal and I’d love it.  Why is salt so good?

After I got home from my 12 hours, I failed at falling asleep right away, so instead I made oats.


I kept adding more and more ingredients to the oats…


Unmeasured amounts of:

  • almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • carob chips
  • diced apple
  • mashed banana
  • raisins
  • cinnamon
  • Sunbutter


Just throw it in the bag…uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.  [Son I’m from Brooklyn, what it look like!?]

Anyone else thinks of Fabolous when adding multiple ingredients to a pot?  No?  Just me?


FYI, I don’t cut corners when it comes to nutbutters. 


Normally I’m not an advocate of food induced comas, but after all-nighters, you gotta do what you gotta do.  And this girl needed to zonk out. 

This bowl (followed by a second one) helped me get into the very necessary sleep state. 


Because you can’t do a second night shift when you’ve only slept two hours.  Oh wait.  Yes you can.  [It sucks, but it’s doable]

Sadly, I woke back up before noon and had no success napping the rest of the day.  And then back to night shift I went…


I’m not even sure what meal I’d call this since timing is irrelevant in zombie-night-shift-land.  This combo is a staple for me – carrots, seitan, quinoa, and Bragg’s liquid aminos.  I rarely take pics of it anymore because it’s such a basic meal, but I love it immensely. 


I also love these caramel dark chocolate almond clusters immensely.  And since they cost FAR too much for the rate I’m downing them (is a box not a single serving?), I’m going to have to learn to make them myself.


I don’t think it’s overly complicated.  I don’t know if you can mess up chocolate and nuts.  And even if you do, the “mess up” will probably be delicious too. 

Super random question: When you buy a new product, what do you think is the most important thing that determines if you purchase it or not?  Does the cute package catch your eye?  Do you put the nutritional info first?  Are you more likely to buy from recognizable brands (that you’ve gotten other items from) before other lesser known ones?

I used to think that the cuter the package, the more likely I was to buy something.  But nowadays it’s an item’s price and ingredients that dictate what goes in my cart.

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A few months ago my parents went to this restaurant in Newport Beach.  And when they told me about it, I was actually kinda jealous…until I found out a Santa Monica location was coming soon.  Hooray! 


Kyle and I went to celebrate him being done with finals.  One year down!  Since the weather was gorgeous, we walked to Santa Monica Place.


The menu has a variety of options, from vegan to meat courses.  They even indicate which items are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free to assist the diner.  Also, the staff is super knowledgeable about why certain dishes aren’t vegan (the panang curry has shrimp paste that can’t be left out).  And they are able to help you make certain non-vegan dishes animal-free…which is what I did.


Tuscan Kale Salad made vegan.  But first we had shared some starters.

Kyle and I both brought our appetites, so we got two different appetizers.


This is the Herb Hummus with pita bread, tomato, onion & feta.  It was savory and delicious.  I navigated my way around the feta and olives, but hogged all the tomato and cucumber which were marinated to perfection. 


The second app we chose was the Shiitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups with ginger, cashew, and toasted garlic. 


If you’re familiar with P.F. Chang’s version of this dish, you know taste-wise what we’re dealing with.  Now imagine all that flavor, but with fresh, local produce.  It was stellar.  All of it.  Even the lettuce was amazing.  I could easily order twenty-four plates of these as my entree. 


Pretty cool that we could watch them in the kitchen the entire time. 

Foodie that I am, I scoped out the menu before we arrived.  But, true to myself, I changed my order six more times before finally choosing the Tuscan Kale Salad.  Despite the fact that there were several vegan items on the menu, the kale caught my eye.  I asked if they could leave the parmesan off and add tofu for some extra oomph.  They were perfectly happy to oblige and voila!


Look at this beauty!!

The salad was topped with a yummy lemon based dressing and breadcrumbs.  So good.  Also, there was quite a bit of tofu, which was totally awesome. 


Kyle got the Roasted Chicken with basmati rice, English peas, and Indian spices. 


He moaned (literally moaned) out loud the entire time he was eating it and swore it was the best chicken he has ever had.  And he repeated this to me multiple times.  Aside from the perfect preparation of the chicken, he couldn’t get over how flavorful the rice was.  He thinks the spices were chimichurri, which calls to mind one of the dishes I miss most from NYC


Kyle’s beer was from Weed, a tiny town we passed on our I-5 drive up to P-town.  I tried a sip and loved it.  I’m picky with my beers, and this had delish flavors with no bitter aftertaste. 


As you can see, the restaurant is quite spacious.  I love the open feel with the views of the staff prepping the food and the chefs cooking.  It also felt down to earth and casual without feeling cheap.  It is definitely going to be a new favorite spot. 


What’s especially cool is how much they support local farms and emphasize the produce in their cooking.  On the wall in the back of the restaurant is a list of their favorites, along with the items they purchase from them. 


Oh, hey there Alana…methinks I’m gonna have to seek out this roasting coffee soon.  All in all, I loved True Food Kitchen.  I’m planning on returning frequently. 

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I’ve seen this game going around, and since I’m a fan of such activities, I’m going to give it a go too!

A is for Apple, what’s your favorite variety?


Galaaaaa.  Can’t you tell by their unwavering presence in my daily eats?  I have two a day minimum.  My record is over a dozen in one day.  Just as between meal snacks, mind you.  Yes, I like apples.  A.  Lot.

B is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?


Well, whole grain (specifically whole wheat) is my all time favorite.  However, I am partial to anything that’s freshly baked.  Being in Europe, that meant baguettes around the clock.


Recently I’ve been all over Whole Foods’ pretzel baguettes though.  Have you seen these heavenly creations? 


They are TO DIE FOR. 


If you like pretzels and soft chewy bread, you must tackle your nearest Whole Foods store manager and beg them to start getting these goods. 


[They are in the baked foods section where you buy individual muffins, rolls, bagels, etc.]


With hummus, with peanut butter, with nothing at all…I know for a fact, that I could live on bread alone.  As you can see, I’ve had quite a few loaves. 

C is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently? (just one)

Are you kidding me?  Seriously, didn’t I just discuss this.  Picking one, and only one, is like my personal Sophie’s Choice.  [FYI, I’ve never even seen that movie, but it’s so often referenced, I’m guessing the struggle I face with this question is very similar to her own struggle]


Three Sisters Graham Crackerz are my current numba one stunnaz. 

D is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?

When we were little we used to get doughnuts after church and I always chose the old fashioned kind with maple glaze.  Kyle thinks I’m a freak for liking that kind, but the traditional ones aren’t appealing to me at all. 

E is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?

As you guys know, I rarely rarely rarely eat eggs, but while in Spain, I couldn’t turn down my all time favorite meal…


I basically lived on tortilla espanola when I studied abroad in Barcelona, so I relished the opportunity to enjoy Spain’s finest cuisine.

F is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?

It’s kinda hard to think of products like this.  I know I like skim products, but I don’t know how to sort them in my mind by their fat content.  I’m thinking greek yogurt is the only thing officially designated “fat free” in our fridge.  But I like fruit and veggies and I know (most of) those are fat free too, right? 


Stonyfield Oikos organic Greek yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry granola.  If you’re wondering about the lap photo it was an on-the-go meal. 

G is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours?

Whole Foods.  No ifs, ands, or buts.


H is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?

Do you really have to ask? 



I is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

Anything with chocolate…topped with anything else chocolate-y. 

J is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?

I pretty much only eat jam in PB&J sandos…and I like almost any berry flavor.  Strawbeezies, blackbizzles, and raspberries are the best of the best.  My mom makes a killer plum jam though (tutorial here).


K is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?

I can’t really recall the last Kashi product I bought.  I think they have some pretty bombass cereal.  Not a big fan of their bars, though. 

L is for Lunch, what was yours today?


Hugh Jass salad, apple, Equal Exchange organic extra dark chocolate, & candied ginger.  [I eat the chocolate with the candied ginger – it seriously rocks]


Plus Sabra hummus and the bestest tortilla around.  I’m talking about Alvarado Street’s sprouted tortillas, yo!


Were you wondering about that salad I mentioned above?  It was legit.  I swear, there’s no such thing as a bad salad once the ingredient list gets longer than five things…the more the merrier, fasho.  The lettuce was fancy, and had mega organic baby greens including normal things like red and green romaine and crazy things like oak leaf, lollo rosa, tango, organic red and green chard, organic mizuna, organic arugula, organic frisée, and organic radicchio.  Earthbound Farms has really stepped up their products. 


Aside from the lettuce, there was green bell pepper, carrots, corn, tomato, and kaia foods sprouted pumpkin seeds.


I fell in love with these after I got a sample at EXPO West.  The flavor isn’t too strong.  It’s perfect as a salad add in because the crunch and spice is just enough to bring some extra pizzazz to veggies. 


The dressing I’m all about lately is a simple balsamic, but for some reason this Oro Nero Balsamic is better than your average vinegar.  You can get it at Dean & Deluca (or online).

Ok, M through Z will continue in a later post…

Feel free to chime in with whatever letter suites your fancy!

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