Kung Pao Tofu
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Kung Pao Tofu

After the failed snowstorm this week, I can’t help but be excited for Spring in the city. Not going to lie, I was extremely stoked for snow, after all growing up in the desert, snow is a rare occurrence (Ski Dubai does not count!!). But, of course, just like the sequester, sNOwquester in the city did disappoint! I did, however, manage to capture this lovely image while the snow/rain was rather heavy – for a total of 20-30 minutes.

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Quick Mushroom & White Bean Soup
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Quick Mushroom & White Bean Soup

I think I just found one of my favorite soups to prepare. Ever. Yup, you heard right. This is a healthy, delicious, hearty soup that can be made in under 30 minutes! There was a ton of mushrooms in the fridge just waiting to get in my belly, and I thought I’d try something different. I’ve never made a mushroom soup before, but the thought of mushrooms in a soupy broth really appealed to my taste buds.

mushroom-carrots-onion-white-bean-soup

Upon scouring my foodgawker app (as I usually do), I found this interesting recipe that is originally intended for the slow-cooker. I didn’t have time, or necessarily the desire to wait till TOMORROW to have soup, I decided to adapt the recipe to my time-frame and palate. I think everything tastes better with ginger and garlic, so of-course I had to add it to the recipe.

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Spiced Corn Stuffed Mushrooms
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Spiced Corn Stuffed Mushrooms

Q: Why did the Fungi leave the party?

A: There wasn’t mushroom.

-insert awkward silence/laughter here- Yup, I know, that was a mushroom joke, but you gotta admit it was pretty funny. Okay, kind of funny. Just laugh!

white-mushroom-shell

I love mushrooms, and if it was my party, no one would ever tell that joke. Mushrooms are always welcome on my plate. It’s kind of weird that I love to eat a fungus so much…but what’s not to love? They’re like the ‘meat’ of the veggie world and can be used in a variety of dishes and cuisines. If you don’t want to have a meat burger, you can always sub it with a portobello mushroom burger and still be pleasantly satisfied.

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No Ordinary Granola
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No Ordinary Granola

quinoa-granola-apricot-cranberry-raisin-almondI wanted to switch it up from having smoothies for breakfast everyday and because processed cereals are out the door (for obvious reasons!) during my cleanse, I wanted to make granola. I’ve seen tons of recipes when I browse my foodgawker app, and it made me realize that making granola is a relatively easy process! Like I said before, there are tons of recipes out there on how to make granola, what ingredients to add.

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Day 1: Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo w/Okra
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Day 1: Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo w/Okra

Yesterday was spent prepping for the food cleanse I am about to embark on! I was at a couple of grocery stores for about four hours. No. Big. Deal. A word of advice: the weekends are not meant to go grocery shopping. Why? It’s so chaotic out there with everyone doing the exact same thing!! Repeat after me: weeknight, weeknight, weeknight!

I never realized just how challenging it would be to find non-processed, free from sugar foods at the store. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making things from scratch, but sometimes, it’s nice when you can save some prep time by using canned goods instead. Have you looked at labels recently? This shopping trip was definitely an eye opener. A lot of the canned goods had preservatives (duh, it is to be expected), but it’s kinda scary at how many they had. I couldn’t pronounce half of those chemicals: malto dextro, sodium ditrithiWHAT?!

Did you know that some brands of canned beans have sugar added to them?! Yup, that’s right! You would think for beans, you would just have the basic ingredients of: water, beans or salt. But, nope, there might be a surprise too! So, instead of going the canned route, I chose to buy my beans, lentils and grains in bulk, and ended up with: quinoa, green lentils, brown basmati rice, tabouleh, polenta, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas. I don’t know about you, but it is oddly satisfying to me to know that I can prep&cook the lentils/beans myself rather than having it come out of a box/can pre-cooked.

black-eyed-pea

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Happy New Year 2013!
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Happy New Year 2013!

I cannot believe I am sitting here welcoming in another year. New beginnings, new everything. 2012 was one hell of a ride for me…a lot of ups, a lot of middle, and a lot of downs. I’m excited for what the new year has to offer me!

As you know, I am trying to recover from the flu, and so far, for the past week, it’s been kicking my butt. I was supposed to start off today by starting a 21 day cleanse from processed foods, but right now, that’s going to be pushed back till my immune system isn’t fighting so hard. I’m so so so tired, and all my body wants to do is sleep, while my mind is so over it! Ahhh

Once I am back to normal, I am going to start the healthy, non-processed food cleanse. You could call it a food-challenge for better eating, eating more vegetables and whatever comes out of the ground. It’s incredibly scary to read labels at the grocery store and not know what half the ingredients are!

I’m looking for recipes that are simple to prepare but hearty and delicious; recipes that have no processed products, no dairy products, no refined sugars, no meats. So, in a nutshell, going back to basics…have you ever done anything like this before? I would love to hear your suggestions & recommendations on recipes.