Quinoa Sushi + Vegan Artichoke Spinach Dip

September 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Heya all! I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth quite yet…just muddling through all my reading and frantically trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing (briefing?! outling?! hornbooks?! commercial summaries?!?!?!) It’s confusing to say the least. I mean we don’t have exams until December and I can’t really wait until then to figure out the best way to prepare for my exams. Basically running around with my head cut off! But in a good way 🙂 I love what I’m learning and I love the people and feel SO lucky I get to do this!

okay enough of that…

So my favorite recent creation has been quinoa sushi. You heard that right. I prepared the quinoa how I would prepare rice I would use for sushi (cook normally, then add more water while still cooking as well as some rice wine vinegar. The extra water makes the rice sticky)


Then I spread the quinoa on a piece of nori and put some sliced raw zucchini, raw sliced carrot and tempeh in there and rolled it up. 


Protein packed sushi without the hefty price tag (or the white rice!!)


I’ve definitely made this a few times since then!!!

I also went to a potluck for my small section at school. I went back and forth over what I wanted to bring and finally decided on some kind of dip. Once I found Happy Herbivore’s spinach and artichoke dip recipe I was sold.


It came out really good! I did add about a quarter cup of garlic hummus at the end to make it even creamier and more garlicky (always a good idea when hanging out with new people right?!)


It was a huge hit! (Of course anything served with Stacy’s Pita Chips always are so I knew I’d be safe 😉 ) And I’m sure no one would have guessed it was low fat and vegan. Thanks Happy Herbivore for another killer recipe!!

With lots of reading during my days, I keep things interesting by always changing location. I study at the school during the day then come home in the evenings and study in the apartment. I’ll start at the desk…move to the dining room table…then to the couch..sometimes the bed. Basically I’ve taken over. But on the weekends I need to get out of the house and I’ve found my spot.

There’s a little independent coffee shop near us with a nice Toby friendly patio and lots of shade.


I get to set up my office and have a nice, refreshing, fruity iced tea


Toby gets fixed up with a drink too 😉 (please excuses the plastic bag attached to his leash)


Good times.


On my Honor, I will try, to update the blog more regularly and not get sucked into the great abyss that is first year law school….

I will have some product reviews to do soon so get ready for that!!

I think it’s time for a sweat session break then it’s trying to finish up some work before James gets home at 8! He has tomorrow off!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which unfortunately means we go look for apartments for the 32923989328 time. No fun. Moving sucks.

But yay for getting to spend all day with him tomorrow!!!! Okay time to get Toby and hit the pavement! My ipod is updated with the latest This American Life and I’m ready to go.


Have a good one!

Where is your favorite place to study??

I love coffee shops but if I need to do some serious studying, the library is the best place for me.

One Week Down…

September 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments


Of course on my first day of law school, we had to do the obligatory “first day of school” pictures (which I’m told are always taken in front of the fridge. anyone?):

Strategically planned outfit:


Yes I laid my outfit out the night before. And packed up my backpack. And lunch box. I was all set!

Preparing for the commute:


I love that backpack! It’s a NorthFace Borealis and was DEFINITELY a splurge but absolutely worth it. It gives my back soo much support and it has a TON of room in it. Just as an example of the heaviness: when I put my backpack in the passenger side of my car, the buckle seat belt sign starts blinking. So basically my backpack is a small child.

This week has been a pretty exhausting blur (but also exciting!!!) so I’ve been putting together some fast dinners involving different variations of stir fries and putting them on top of romaine:


This stir fry included

  • 1/2 c. prepared quinoa
  • 1 carrot cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 c. chickpeas
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • glug of soy sauce
  • 1 T. Mu Shu sauce (loving this right now)
  • 2 tsp. creamy peanut butter
  • garlic salt

All of that added at the apropriate time (carrots first since they take the longest to cook etc.) to a olive oil sprayed pan and cooked until it was all perfecto. The amount of sauce may seem small but I find that a little goes a long way. I’m using the sauces for additional flavor, not for masking up the flavors. I’m loving cooked carrots right now too. Perfectly sweet.

Because of all the romaine I have chopped up this looks like a TON of food! I chopped up 3 different romaine heart middles. You know the part where the leaves get pretty small? I think that part tastes sweeter than the rest! I guess James doesn’t like them though because there were 3 in the fridge!



All mixed up:


I chopped up the romaine with a knife to give it more of a restaurant “chopped salad” feel. The little bit of peanut butter in this totally made the meal. SO delicious!! You seriously only need a little bit to get that nutty flavor distributed over everything.

When I have a salad for dinner, I like putting stir fried veggies on top. It makes it seem more substantial and is more satisfying for me than a cold salad. The addition of quinoa was also nice and helped to fill my carb craving!

On the agenda today is lots o reading. We went out to Big Boss Brewing  last night so I’m dragging today from going to sleep later then normal (I was the driver! But still tasted everyone’s beers. Very yum). They had just finished their Harvest Time beer which is their pumpkin brew for the fall! So excited for fall flavors!!

I’m getting a running bug with all these races starting to pop up! I really want to run one but don’t know if it’s too soon with my leg. I had promised myself before I wouldn’t race anything until the Chapel Hill 10 miler in April but maybe a 5k wouldn’t hurt…I do need to get new running shoes and one of those water bottles that hook onto your hand. Anyone know a site that has good deals for those bottles??

Okay Toby and I are off to a coffee shop for some reading for me and more sleeping for Toby. Hopefully a good cup of java is just what I need for a kick start today!


Happy Saturday! and happy 3 day weekend!! WOO!

I’m a law student now

August 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

*said to the tune of the Toys R’ Us commercial*

So I officially made it through orientation! Now the real work begins. They do a good job of scaring the bajeezus out of you during orientation and then quickly saying “but don’t worry! You’ll be fine!” Comforting.

To get me ready for a day of studying, James whipped up some of his delish eggs for a little protein power. These fluffy delights were infused with some garden peppers and cheese.


But the real star of this feast? Homemade jam made by James’ mom. Yes she does everything. We also have some homemade V8 juice she made in our fridge…Pretty much the elixir of life ready to sucker punch any bad germs that comes remotely close to you.  That means you, swine flu.

But back to the jam….


Oh yes. Sign me up for a case of this stuff.


Made from fresh strawberries. Jarred with love. And smothered on TJ’s Fiber bread.

I can now tackle the day!

Which is going to look a little something like this:


I knew that pocket Constitution would come in handy….


Everyone always says how stressful law school is (this fact was reiterated MANY times during orientation…) so I know I have to keep my body in tip top shape to be able to endure sitting for long hours and getting less R&R then I’d like. For my own sanity and well being I know it’s important to make the time to keep up with my healthy eating and regular exercise. Let’s face it though, sometimes you need a little something extra.

I got this sample for Greens+ a while ago and knew I wanted to save it for when I first started law school to try and give myself a healthy push to start off my journey.


The berry flavor is high in antioxidants, has 150% dv of Vitamins C, 100% of Vitamin D (

and 50% DV Calcium. The company claims their mixture of all natural ingredients will help increase energy levels, support the immune system, enhance mental acuity  (yes please!!!!) and cleanse the digestive system. Bring it on!


I’ll report back after a while of taking this to see how it goes! James has been using it in his smoothies and you can’t even taste it. No idea if it’s giving him more energy though..he’s possibly one of the most energetic people I know anyway so it’s hard to tell!

But what’s REALLY going to get me through law school is this guy right here:

You have to remember to laugh, right?

Well I’m off to read and then take a break to go get my car inspected! Toby is snuggled at my feet and I’m ready to go! Have a great weekend!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

August 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

We are slooowly working our way through our tomato stash! And what better way then with some homemade tomato sauce?? This sauce turned out really good and got two thumbs up from James!


Homemade Tomato Sauce

  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can garlic oregano tomato paste (or any tomato paste)
  • 3 glugs of balsamic vinegar
  • Red chili flakes – to taste

Place tomatoes in a colander and allow them to drain for a few minutes. Then put them in a large pot, along with the garlic and onion, and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes, or until significantly thickened/cooked down.  Add in the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar and allow to cook for another 15 minutes. Add water if it it starts to get too thick (I had to do this! Just put in enough to get your desired consistency).

I put the tomato sauce on top of some roasted garden eggplant, a sliced up roasted garden green pepper,  and some black eyed peas.



Very good and satisfying! The roasted green peppers really gave this dish a larger variety of flavors. I also liked that the eggplant was a really good and mild contrast to the balsamic vinegar infused tomato sauce. Stacking things is always the way to go! James made a sandwich out of his eggplant + tomato sauce and really enjoyed it too! He was afraid at first that I was going to use up all the tomatoes for something not garden tomato worthy but he saw the light in the end 😉 He was telling me for days afterward how good the sauce was! I would say it’s a winner.

Who Needs a Farmers Market??

August 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

What a great time we had visiting James’ mom in Lynchburg! I was tired when we got there though. We had just dropped my sister and Dan off at the airport and then came home, unpacked from Asheville, packed for Lynchburg and off we went!

There are a LOT of animals at this house. Toby tried to claim his territory


Please excuse the crazy hair.

James’ mom is an awesome gardener and so one of the first things she did when she moved was to build a place where her garden would be protected from all outside evils (aka deer, groundhogs and moles!!)

Welcome to the garden fortress:

Six foot walls that go up to keep out the deer as well as  3 1/2 foot fencing BELOW ground to keep all those burrowing critters out.


It was the end of the season so this place was even MORE full of plants and vegetables earlier this summer!! I couldn’t believe it when she told me that! The second I got back from my run one morning, we got to picking.


Cherry tomatoes:


These are seriously like candy. I was just eating them off the vine. YUM!


Fairy eggplant: The skin on these isn’t bitter like the large eggplant. They’re even a little sweet tasting!


Rainbow tomatoes: These were absolutely HUMONGOUS!!


Basil (she also had parsley, mint and rosemary)


Chard: How beautiful is this?? Who knew nature could make such a gorgeous and vibrant color?


James trying to dig up some Jerusalem Artichoke..too bad we couldn’t find any   😦


Our bounty:


And Toby was guarding it all of course


And there was other stuff in there I didn’t get pictures of! Green beans, larger eggplants, banana peppers, zucchini, 2 kinds of squash, green and yellow peppers and earlier this season she had grown potatoes! Have you ever had a freshly grown potato? They’re supposed to be amazing – very buttery tasting! And all of this is organically grown – can’t say they’re organic since we don’t know what was put in the soil before James’ mom moved here.

One of  my favorite things was walking out to the garden the night I was helping to make a Ratatouille and just picking the eggplant I would be using. They were still warm from being in the sun.

The recipe for this was from Cooks Illustrated so I can’t give out the recipe but it was pretty easy. The majority of what was in here was from the garden which made it even better : green and yellow peppers, zucchini, fairy eggplant, tomatoes, basil, parsley. The only thing not from the garden was the onion and the cous cous it’s served over!


If that’s not fresh food I really don’t know what is.


Now we have a HUGE amount of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers on our counter and I’m trying to think of every way we can possibly use them. I don’t want one cherry tomato going bad. They’re too delicious to waste!

First day of orientation today! Eek! Let’s hope I can figure out the parking/bus system at this crazy school.

Stuck on Repeat

August 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments


You’re probably wondering “How many pizza posts is this girl going to do?!”


Probably a lot. Buckle in for the ride, my friends.


It’s too good to ignore. And WAY too good to not share with everyone. Because it’s the meals that I look at and say “Damn! We need to make this again!” that I always want to post about. And note that I already took a bite out of a piece. It couldn’t be helped. It was taunting me.

And, I mean, the topping vary so there’s some variety, right? 🙂



This was a simple din made while my wonderful sister was in town visiting. We used our usual pizza dough recipe but had some new players in the toppings arena.

Toppings included:

  • Avocado (a new one for me! Definitely liked it)
  • Red + Green Pepper (used a whole one of each! Loved that there was so much of it!)
  • Mushrooms
  • Red Onion (carmelized before put on the pizza)
  • fresh tomato
  • Pineapple (also new! And at my sister’s suggestion)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Marinara sauce
  • Mexican blend cheese (only on one piece)

I put BBQ sauce on half of my slices and marinara on the other half. This pizza was delish. So many different flavors and I’m just loving bell peppers right now. They are so incredibly fresh tasting. I can’t get enough!

I can’t believe I have orientation on Wednesday! AH! Exciting yet scary. Sorry if I keep bringing up law school..it’s all I can think about these days!

Good thing I have Toby to help keep me occupied! This picture is for my mom since she requested a picture of Toby and I today 🙂 Love you Mumsy!!!!


Toby and I have been enjoying lots of runs together lately and my leg isn’t giving me any problems! Yippee!! My goal was to be able to run 3 miles 3 times a week by the end of August and I am definitely there.  Man did it take some patience though. And it’s still taking some patience when I realize how much harder running 5-6 miles is now then it used to be. I know I’ll get back there though. No one ever said running was easy!

There’s a basket of unfolded laundry with my name all over it! Better get on it!

Roasted Veggie Sandwiches With a View

August 17, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

My sister has been in town with her boyfriend for the past week and we took it as an excuse (like we need one) to go to one of our fave places: Asheville!

Relaxing on the porch and enjoying the glorious mountain air:


The trip was fantastic as usual. Lots of crazy weirdos around which makes us feel right at home! And my mom even heard about a J.Crew sample sale which we happily flocked to on Saturday. BOY was that an experience! Boxes and boxes of J.Crew clothes and dozens and dozens of women digging through them all! I did get a white wool winter coat for 15 dollars which made going through the mayehm worth it! Especially since James waited in the heinous line while I continued searching 🙂

After we had recovered from our hunt, the “kids” worked on making dinner (it seems whenever you go home, you’ll always be considered kids no matter how old you are! Which I’m completely fine with.)

Earlier that day we had gone to the North Asheville Tailgate Market and stocked up on plenty of local produce to make some killer roasted veggie sandwiches.

Per James’ request (and all of us happily agreeing) we had dinner outside on the lovely porch. One end looks into the woods and the other looks out onto downtown Asheville. Talk about killer ambiance.


Oven roasted veggies: Yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant and red peppers

All of these were from the farmers market + from local farmers. Love it.



Sweet potato fries seasoned with chili + cumin. (I should have put more seasoning on it! live and learn)


Fresh peppers (and some vegan cheese in the background for my sister!)


Country log bread from the tailgate. Mmm this bread was full of hearty grains and was soft and pillowy.  You could tell it was freshly baked!


Dan’s infamous Guacamole! So good. Cilantro + lime are key.


 Fresh Dill-icious goat cheese (really the name of it….though I do appreciate the corniness 🙂 ) also from the North Asheville Tailgate. SO good. SO creamy. Holy yum. These totally made the sandwich…and the cracker…and my spoon….

And the farmer that sold this had pictures of her goats all over her booth. You could tell she loved them and treated them well. Happy to support it! I heart local farmers.


My plate  was full of all of the good stuff. On my sandwich I put some guacamole, goat cheese and all the roasted veggies I could stuff in there!


Love roasted veggies!


James wanted a picture with his awesome sandwich too. I love this guy!!

J & sandwich

(Got this photo off my sister’s blog! Oh and I’m wearing a pointy hat because we were celebrating my step dad’s bday early! It may or may not have had Elmo on it….)

And I made a quinoa salad for some protein packing action. This was quinoa, chopped zucchini, 1/2 a red onion, a can of black beans (rinsed) with a marinade of balsamic vinegar + lemon juice (to taste). First I put the zucchini, red onion and black beans in a bowl, then I dumped the hot quinoa over – that kind of cooked the zucchini + onion a bit. I think lemon juice + balsamic make a fantastic marinade with this combo of flavors. Love. And so easy. And a hit with omnivores and veggies alike!


I have been wanting to try this seasonal Highland brew since I heard about it! Organic wheat beer?! From one of my fave breweries?!?! Yes please.


Nice and refreshing! Just perfect for a summer dinner outside. I was one happy girl with this spread. But i was about to be made even happier…


Yup. Those would be Vegan Tiramisu cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. With a chocolate covered almond on the top. Yes. These are as good as they look. Our step dad thought we had bought them until we told them they were homemade treat!


Vanilla cupcakes with a kahlua + coffee mixture poured in the middle and some vegan cream cheese frosting that also had some coffee flavoring + cinnamon on top. Heaven. And there is still on in the fridge for me waiting to be devoured 😉

The ride back was uneventful.


Toby didn’t understand personal space.


Dan ate a tiny burger.

I’m pooped! What a fun weekend! We got to do everything we wanted and then some. The weather there was GORGEOUS! It felt like fall. I got to do 2 runs while I was there and loved all the hills and revisiting my old running routes. I love the mountains! Can’t wait to go back.

Now it’s back to reality and trying to get all the lose ends tied up before law school. Eek! I have orientation next week and then the first day of classes is August 31st!  How did I get here?! When did I grow up??

Different Takes on Take Out

August 17, 2009 at 1:44 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

James and I have our differences. One of them comes in the form of take out. Since I haven’t felt like cooking lately due to the constant spinning of my stomach, we decided to grab some take out last night, a rare treat for us!

I thought I’d give you a glimpse into our non-environmentally friendly Styrofoam boxes (I’m cringing as I type this).

First up we have a trip to the beloved Cook Out, a North Carolina based drive thru with 41 different flavors of milkshakes.  J got a Cajun Style chicken sandwich, fries and hush puppies.


There’s also an unpictured Heath Toffee Bar Milkshake. Who can go to cook out and not get a milk shake?! They really are pretty phenomenal I won’t lie. And they have 41 different flavors! 

My din was a little different..but did still have a fried component.





Grape leaves..my fave!


Greek salad




Unfortunately all I could get down was one falafel dipped in hummus and that was it. Darn you stomach!! It’s okay. This made great leftovers!

Hippie Loaf + Gravy

August 10, 2009 at 11:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

When you have the stomach flu, writing on a food blog is pretty much the last thing on your mind.

I made this meal over a week ago but every time I thought about posting it, I died a little inside. But I’m finally starting to feel better and I just had to share how delicious this recipe from Happy Herbivore. The second I saw her recipe for Hippie Loaf I knew I had to make it! First of all, I love embracing the hippie in me. Living in Asheville and dating a guy that has hippie-ish tendencies (you do J!) I’ve come to appreciated many things hippie (one of those things NOT being the lack of hygiene).

I knew the brown gravy would win James over (we picked out our dishes because they had a lip which I was told is good for “gravy holding” ). I won’t lie, I was skeptical of the gravy. I don’t have much experience with cooking with nutritional yeast and I was afraid it would taste “off” somehow and send James running for the hills. But I  have to say I was SO pleasantly surprised! At first I only made half of the recipe, but the second I tasted the finished product, I went ahead and made the other half of the recipe! MAKE THE GRAVY! IT’S SO DELICIOUS!!! I was literally standing at the stove licking the mixing spoon.


This meal warmed my soul. I love it completely. And will be making it again for sure.

Since I have been eating all things bland and beige, I have nothing else interesting to show you.  I do have some action shots of t-dizzle chasing after his beloved “red dot”.  Some people think it’s mean to use laser pointers with dogs but it just makes Toby so happy! And he knows it’s us shining it. He always looks to us when it disappears and if I pick up the laser pointer he starts looking around for the dot. Smart pooch.


Please ignore the decapitated pheasant in the background.




Will he catch it?!?! Only time will tell.

Tomorrow’s my last day of work (goodbye data entry!!!) and my sister gets here the day after tomorrow! Then we’re off to Asheville for the weekend! YAY! As I type this there is a Biltmore commercial on right now. It’s a sign that Asheville will be amazing 🙂

What’s your favorite recently discovered recipe?? I love hippie loaf and gravy! Wish we still had some…

Black Bean + Sweet Potato Croquettes

August 4, 2009 at 12:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Croquettes might be a stretch. These are more like mini bean burgers.

I used to love getting croquettes back in Miami. They had a creamy filling and a crispy outside and were definitely a favorite treat of mine. Actually any Cuban food is a favorite treat of mine. Too bad I have yet to find a good Cuban place outside of Miami. Sigh.

Moving on. Back to the black bean croquettes. These were a mixture of two recipes. One was this one from a favorite magazine, EatingWell. The other was from Caitlin


I don’t really have many measurements because I was using up leftovers in the ol fridge. But here’s  what mine had in em

  • 1 small sweet potato sans skin, cooked
  • ~1/4 c. black beans, mashed
  • ~1/3 c. ff refried black beans
  • ~1/3 c. corn kernels
  • some chopped onion
  • 3 chopped up mushrooms
  • garlic powder
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (aka best seasoning salt eva)
  • 3 T. salsa
  • 1.5 T whole flax, ground
  • sprinkle of panko bread crumbs, ground up with flax

I mixed everything together, minus the flax and panko bread crumbs. Then I rolled each of the balls in the flax + bread crumb mix and baked them on a greased cookie sheet at 425 * for 30 minutes.

I liked em! Next time I would make them bigger though. I used a tablespoon to scoop them out and thought it would be more fun to have a lot of balls (seriously I keep throwing myself into this) but I think the texture would be more croquet-ish if I had kept the balls bigger. I also wish I had seasoned the flax mix with some chili + cumin. Next time!


Well at least we got through Monday, folks. I actually got into work early this morning so I was hoping I would be able to leave early. Not so much. About 20 minutes before I was supposed to leave I was handed a project that absolutelyhadtobedonetoday. Oh joy. So I ended up staying later then I normally do. Ah well! I’ll leave early tomorrow 😀 Which actually works out nicely because James has tomorrow off from trabajo!  See that silver lining folks? I like it. PLUS tomorrow is “Dime Cookie Tuesday” at Whole Foods in Cary.  Heard about that on twitter. See twitter IS important!

K James just got home. Time to go! Tata!

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