Cheesy Black Bean Rice

I think we should all drink a cup of coffee every once in a while to know what it feels like to be SUPER focused.

cheesy black bean rice

At work the other day, I created a coffee concoction. No, it wasn’t healthy. No, it doesn’t follow the clean eating I am trying to do, but yes, it was amazing. And I was 100% focused and 200% awake.

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I normally just drink tea. Like green tea. And maybe black tea if I have an 8am. There is like… a fraction of the caffeine in tea as there is in coffee. Hence. WIDE AWAKE AND READY TO WRITE A WHOLE NOVEL.

It was fortunate that I had had that coffee because we also didn’t receive the food shipment until 9pm. Aka. I was there, by my little self, jamming to country music, until almost 11pm. Thank you, coffee, for saving the day.

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Now. This was one of those “I don’t want to cook but need to eat” meals. I have lots of those.. Being a graduate student essentially sucks the life out of you. All free time is allotted for watching Parenthood (which I have officially finished and am now devastated about), so there isn’t always a lot of time to cook fancy dinners. And there definitely isn’t enough time to take pictures of fancy dinners when you get home at 6:30pm and the light is slowly fading into the darkness of the night.

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Hence. Easy Sunday meals that last for days. And by days, I mean this was the equivalent of about two sides. But, you know. Two days is better than one.

Cheesy Black Bean Rice

1 c black beans
1 c brown rice
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp Mexican fiesta cheese
3 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Combine all.

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Mexican Style Spinach Salad

Today is about you. No mess, no fuss, just some simple salad ingredients.

mexican rice spinach salad 1

spinach | tomatoes | bell peppers | brown rice | pineapple salsa | garlic pepper | cumin | olive oil | lime juice

Happy Tuesday. Treat yourself to a happy, healthy, delicious salad.

Red Bean and Rice Burgers

The Wop makes me laugh every time. Watching those Vine videos of people cleaning and doing the wop – it’s great. Can’t handle it.

red bean rice burger 1

This is a great stress relieve. If you need a good laugh, you should watch it.

Another thing to help relieve stress is a good meal and a beer with your boyfriend. I have been having a hard time adjusting to this new grad school schedule. I’m either surrounded by freshman who think they’re better than me or PhD students who actually are better than me. I’m trying to figure out where my classes are and how to get to the “bus stop” on time and all these shenanigans.

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And realizing I have 3 more years of school? Don’t even get me started. But the boyfriend has been crazy unbelievably supportive and this post is a shoutout to him.

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He loves burgers. And not only does he like beef burgers,  he now likes bean burgers. Win! This is the perfect combination of manly meal meets vegetarian.

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I added a little Texas Pete to this because he loves his hot sauce, and I added some cheese because we all know I’m a little addicted to cheese. First step is admitting it, right?

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Slap this bad boy onto a mixed greens salad (and top with some cottage cheese!) and you have a hearty veggie meal. Or, man-style, stick it on a bun, add some ketchup and hot sauce, and have a salad on the side. Yes, men eat salads, too.

Red Bean and Rice Burgers

1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 c brown rice, cooked
1/3 c Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic pepper
Pinch of dried basil and oregano
1 tsp Texas Pete
1/4 c Mexican cheese

1. Mash red beans in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and combine well.
2. Form mixture into patties and set on a plate.
3. Spray a saute pan with Pam and set burgers on medium low heat. Cook, flipping occasionally, until slightly browned on both sides.
4. Eat on a bun or over a salad.

Copycat PF Chang’s Tofu with Walnuts and Honeydew

My family and I love PF Chang’s.

pf changs copycat

Birthday? There. Graduation? You know it. Randomly in Greensboro? Happening. When I ate seafood, I loveloveloved the Shrimp with Candied Walnuts dish. Then I became a strict vegetarian. Thinking my “Shrimp” with Candied Walnut days were over, I took a chance and asked if they could substitute tofu. AND THEY COULD.

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I’ve been in love ever since. Now, sometimes the tofu is good, and sometimes it isn’t. But the sauce, walnuts and honeydew are always good.

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When I went there for graduation, I decided I wanted to try to replicate it. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the flavor of the sauce at the time, but the sauce in this recipe is still really fabulous. My mom called it “better than PF Chang’s.” That’s a stretch, but I’ll take it.

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These walnuts are not candied. I’ll probably redo this recipe later and candy them, but for now, this is a healthy version of the beloved Shrimp with Candied Walnuts.

pf changs copycat 5

Tofu with Walnuts & Honeydew
Inspired by PF Chang’s

Main Dish:
1/4 block tofu, drained and cubed
2 tsp blood orange olive oil (or any citrusy flavor, or plain)
1/2 c rice
1/3 c honeydew, “cut” in balls
1/4 c walnuts

Sauce:
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp blood orange olive oil
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp spicy brown mustard

1. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the tofu in the olive oil, flipping to allow each side to brown. Cook until crispy on the outside.
2. Cook rice according to directions.
3. Top rice with tofu, walnuts and honeydew.
4. Combine sauce ingredients with a whisk and pour over rice bowl.