Asian Tofu, Fruit, and Quinoa Bowl

I am 100% diving into Tone It Up world. If you haven’t seen my recent Instagram posts, you may not know what Tone It Up is or how awesome it is.

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It’s basically these two crazy awesome women who started this program called Tone It Up. They have recipes, workouts, motivation tips, and there is a whole community involved in it. It keeps you motivated and you can do “check-ins” every day about what you’ve eaten or what you did for exercise that day. There’s also a 100 by Summer (or 150 by Summer) which means 100 miles by June 21. I am already at 13 miles and pretty proud of myself. It can be hard and time consuming since I can’t run (stinkin’ bulging disc) but it’s forcing me to put the time in and earn the miles, which is good. Also, one of my friends is doing it with me which makes me that much more accountable and it makes it that much more fun.

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Tone It Up is also motivating me to eat well. I even got a kid’s size at Coldstone! Half chocolate and half frozen yogurt! With cookie dough, but still. A kid’s. Normally I get a Like It of Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip with mint and chocolate cake batter yogurt but I refrained.

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And I made this delicious concoction. Sometimes things just come to me. I think about flavor combinations and I get inspired. Normally, I whip up a salad or something easy for dinner but last night I wanted to make something a little special since I was going to be writing papers half the night and I wasn’t working.

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Asian Tofu, Fruit, and Quinoa Bowl
Note: I made all the tofu but only used half in the recipe and saved the other half for later. You can either do what I did, half the tofu recipe, or use the tofu recipe and have a stronger sauce.

For tofu:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 package tofu, cubed
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder

For sauce:
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

For salad:
1 mango, chopped
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 of tofu
3/4 c quinoa

1. Set oven to 375°F.
2. Combine tofu ingredients, minus tofu.
3. In a bowl, combine tofu with ‘tofu’ ingredients, and stir. Allow to sit for a few minutes, stir again, and sit for a few more minutes.
4. Lay tofu out onto a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients.
6. Once the tofu is done, make the salad ingredients and pour the sauce over. Serve warm.

Cheesy Sun-Dried Tomato and Caper Quinoa Bites

I go through phases.

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I remember my close friend in high school would go through phases. Sometimes she was obsessed with TV shows, sometimes books, sometimes music. I never really understood that until now.

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I am SO addicted to Harry Potter right now that all I want to do is lay around and read. Seriously. I’m reading like 3 chapters a day. To the normal person, that probably doesn’t sound like a lot. But to a student – that’s like adding hours into a day. What? You have time to read in graduate school? No. I just make time. Priorities, people. Harry Potter > research papers.

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I’m sure this will bite me in the booty soon but for now, I am blissfully unaware. What won’t bite me in the booty are these quinoa bites. They are SO good, SO easy, and SO healthy. I am still 100% on my ridiculously healthy kick (even though those Redd beers are really calling me in the fridge..) and am keeping strong on my planks, crunches, and Tone It Up workouts. And you know what? I feel good. There is something so amazing about exercise and eating well. I mean, it’s such a simple thing but we all hate doing it.

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I am breaking that by making it fun. Trying new recipes is fun. Working out to your favorite new song is fun. Make it fun, people. Eat bite size, dippable quinoa nugget bite things. That is the new scientific term for this dish, in case you were wondering.

Quinoa Bites
Adapted from Fork and Beans

1/4 c cooked quinoa
1/3 c Italian breadcrumbs
1 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp capers
1 egg white
1/4 tsp 8th World Wonder Spice
Marinara sauce for dipping

1. Combine all ingredients except for marinara sauce.
2. Form small patties.
3. Place on a sprayed baking sheet and baking for 15 minutes, flipping halfway, at 350°F.
4. Dip into marinara sauce.

Almond Butter Cranberry Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potato

Today is the first day of my second semester of graduate school.

almond butter sweet potato 1

Thinking it HAD to be better than my last semester, with Thursday night class from 6-9 and a test every Monday, I was optimistic. However, after reading the syllabus for just one class, I see that Sunday Night Cram Sessions will not be coming to an end. And Tuesday Night Cram Sessions will be officially starting.

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Awesome. Not. But, despite the start-of-school blues, I have something tasty to share with you. This is kind of like the kitchen sink version of sweet potatoes. Except the ingredients thrown together were well planned. We all know cranberries and pecans pair well. And I wanted this to be sweet, so I added cinnamon and brown sugar. Then I decided to add a creaminess, hence the almond butter. And this is Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. Additional sweet goodness.

Almond Butter Cranberry Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potato

1 small sweet potato (adjust portions if sweet potato is larger)
1/4 c cooked quinoa
2 tbsp pecans
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch brown sugar
1 tbsp almond butter

1. Cook sweet potato in microwave, wrapped in a paper towel with the sides poked with a fork, for a few minutes on each side, until softened.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds to allow almond butter to melt.
3. Cut sweet potato open and stuff with quinoa mixture.
4. Serve warm.

Pumpkin Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

It’s begun.

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Pumpkin. Everything. Can we brainstorm about the endless possibilities? I have a whole bunch of pumpkin left that is screaming my name. And it’s not even October yet. Pie. Cocoa. Reese’s cups. Cookies. Muffins. Bread. Granola. Frosting. Frozen yogurt. Brownies. Smoothies. Soup..

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I’m also so pumped for fall. Hellooooo, big chunky sweaters and leggings and boots and tea and skinny jeans and dark nail polish and marshmallows and fires and blankets and so.many.great.things.

So, I keep my AC at 75°F – yes, as a vegetarian, I get cold at 74°F – but today my AC hasn’t turned on ONCE. It’s perfect. Hello, cheaper bills. Gotta love fall.

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And this? This fat, plump, stuffed pepper? Delicious. And quite filling. It pairs well with red wine. I’m doing another “make myself like red wine” project. This current bottle of red wine… not so good, though. Fish Eye’s Pinot Grigio? On point. Their Cabernet Sauvignon? Not a big fan. Probably a personal problem more than a company problem.

Pumpkin Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Inspired by What Jew Wanna Eat

1/4 c uncooked quinoa
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c red wine
1/2 c spinach
1/4 c pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 c fiesta blend shredded cheese + more for sprinkling
1 large bell pepper
2 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs

1. Cook quinoa according to directions.
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. Add garlic directly into oil to allow flavor to infuse into garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add onions. Stir to coat the onions and garlic with olive oil.
3. After 3-4 minutes, add the red wine vinegar and reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow to cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce to low.
4. Add the spinach, milk, pumpkin, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cheese to the skillet and stir until the cheese has melted and is well-combined. The wine will probably have completely soaked up, but the milk will allow for some creaminess and moisture.
5. Once the quinoa is done, add it into the skillet and stir to combine.
6. To prime the bell pepper, take a paring knife and run it around the top to take off the top and stem but still leaving the rest of the pepper intact. Stuff the pepper with the quinoa-pumpkin mixture.
7. Top the pepper with cheese and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
8. Place the pepper, upright, in a small, oven-safe container (such as a Pyrex). Fill the bowl with water until about halfway full, careful not to get water inside the pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F.

Herbed Lemon Quinoa and Cannellini Bean Dish

I have so much to tell you. Seriously, get ready. And… it’s good news.

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1. I cycled today for fifteen minutes pain free. Oh, hey, God. Thanks. Prayers are answered.

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2. I cycled on the COOLEST thing. It this stationary bike but it has a screen that makes it look like you’re playing a video game. You’re racing against opponents, overlooking the ocean, and the handlebars even move! Win.

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So, I’m officially addicted. I was sweating within minutes and haven’t felt this great in a long time. Let’s go, spiffy, high-tech bike. You and me, again tomorrow.

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On a food-related note, this dish is super full of flavor. Herbs and lemon and deliciousness.

Herbed Lemon Quinoa & Cannellini Bean Dish
Adapted from Food and Wine

1/2 c quinoa
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp lemon juice (ex: bottled lemon juice)
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Pinch of black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon + juice of half lemon

1. Cook quinoa according to directions.
2. In a small skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and onion. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring. About 5 minutes in, and the 1/2 tbsp lemon juice.
3. Add cannellini beans to onion mixture, and add thyme, parsley, and pepper.
4. Combine quinoa and bean mixture, then add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.