While in London, I ate french fries and gelato every single day. I also indulged in a pint (or two) of craft beer. Every single day. For a month straight. In short, my destructive, unhealthy diet was a sober vegan’s worst goddamn nightmare.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was prepping myself for an intense detox consisting of straight juiced kale and other horrible concoctions nutrition bloggers insist are good for the body and the soul.
While I didn’t *exactly* end up subjecting myself to some kind of horrible, liquid diet (I mean, last weekend was my birthday, so of course I was going to eat steak and cake!), I was able to come up with some yummy, clean recipes.
One recipe from the mix is this roasted vegetable orzo salad. It’s light and summery which made me extra excited to eat it for lunch all week.
Although I’m longing for sweater weather season with soup-based dinners and a nice mug of warm tea before bed every night, I’m still trying to push as much summer recipes into my life as I can before it’s too late!
This recipe is especially great served over spinach with a little extra dressing and a grilled chicken breast.
On a side note: My heartburn has gone away since I started incorporating more veggies and less french fries into my life. Weird right?!
Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad:
1 1/2 c. orzo pasta (whole wheat if you can find it)
2 zucchinis, cubed
2 yellow squashes, cubed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 can chick peas, drained
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted
Crumbled feta, for topping (optional)
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
Onion powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, agave, or honey
Preheat oven to 350* F. Toss zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers in olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Spread onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and let cool to room temperature.
While pasta is boiling, whisk dressing ingredients together until incorporated.
To make the salad, mix cooled roasted veggies with the orzo, chickpeas, and walnuts. Pour dressing over the top and mix to coat the orzo. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Serve with crumbled feta over the top.
Makes 4 entree servings or 8 side servings.
Although I miss the nights of drinking pale ale at the Craft Beer Company in London, eating deep fried foods, and laughing with my friends, I’m also happy to be on a normal eating schedule again!
It’s also nice to not have to take an antacid before bed every single night.
Can’t say I wouldn’t do it all again!
Song of the Day: Smother–Daughter
Hello my wonderful readers!
I’m back home in Reno (although I’m still dreaming of London), but I’ve had a wonderful summer and it’s time to get back to business. Before I came home, I went to my parents’ cabin for the first time in two years which is where I used to spend my childhood weekends hiking, fishing, and riding quads.
It was also my getaway for watching movies and reading countless books which I did not always have time to do with all of my extracurriculars. I cannot even tell you how many times I blew through the HP series up there. 7 books and 8 movies were no match when I had a good two weeks of lounging on the porch swing with an iced tea in my hand.
Some of my best memories from growing up were at my cabin, and I wish more than anything that I could make it up more. Luckily, I have Tahoe just a short 30 minutes away, but there’s nothing like (vacation) home, right?
Anyways, I had a really amazing time with my family hiking, white water rafting, and of course, reading. We also had some really great food.
Before I share with you our delicious dipping recipes and whatnot, let me first disclose that all of the pictures posted today were taken by my baby brother (except for the fondue pic taken above, which was posted by my mom). He’s the guy in the maroon striped sweater. He’s only 17 and far more talented than I will ever be. So thank you to Garrett (and mom!) for the beautiful pictures shared today.
About fondue: Fondue is really really fun. Like, really fun guys. Although I did this with my family, I’m totally considering getting a fondue pot to have parties with my friends. Especially since I learned some good tips and tricks from this experience. We actually did an Italian version of fondue called bagna cauda which is a method of cooking the food in hot oil.
Some tips for a fondue (bagna cauda) party:
1. No more than 4 people should be at the fondue pot at any given time. Just trust me on this.
2. Wear clothes you won’t be totally sad about ruining. I don’t think I ended up dripping anything on myself, but there’s always a risk.
3. Lay down a black garbage bag or old table cloth. There will definitely be some drippage action there.
4. Have plenty of dipping options.
5. Consider having some small appetizers or a nice side salad to munch on. Although fondue is very fun, it’s also time consuming, so you’re waiting a few minutes between each bite.
Are you ready for some kick-ass dipping sauce recipes and also some wonderfully safe cooking instructions?!
You bet you are, champ.
*Recipes and instructions courtesy of Pillsbury. Some recipes adapted slightly.*
Bagna Cauda Ingredients:
4 cups peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
Cubed beef tenderloin, Cubed chicken breast, Cubed squash, Mushrooms, Cheese cubes (coat with melted butter and bread crumbs beforehand), Shrimp, Cubed pork tenderloin, etc.
Pour oil into a fondue pot. Add garlic, if using. Heat until 350* F. Place setting on warm to maintain heat. Remove garlic, if using. To cook ingredients, place 1-2 items on fondue sticks. Place in oil and cook until desired doneness. Dip in favorite sauces.
Garlic Basil Aioli
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt, to taste
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
Salt, to taste
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sour cream
1 Tbs. prepared horseradish
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Directions for all sauces: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*We also used A-1 steak sauce as a dipping sauce*.
In addition to bagna cauda, we enjoyed the sunset, had a lovely campfire where we looked at the stars, and I got to play with my puppy. All in all, it was an amazing weekend.
Song of the Day: Suicide Saturday–Hippo Campus
Midterms are over. I actually think I can hear angels singing right now…
It’s nice having a life after major tests are over.
To celebrate Halloween (and Nevada Day!) and the end of midterms, some of my family and I went to Disneyland. Which was super fun and amazing and Disneylandish.
Me and my mom’s Halloween costumes in Disneyland! Can you guess who I am?
Lately, my roommates and I have gotten into the bad habit where about once every week or two, we stay up too late drinking craft beer (or cranberry vodkas in my case) and doing ridiculous things. Last night we ended up getting nerf guns at Wal Mart at midnight so we can ignore our priorities and hide behind corners to shoot each other with little styrofoam darts.
Luckily, I still do things that most college kids don’t do. Like voting, caring about important issues, making nice meals…
I haven’t given up yet guys.
However, let me tell you now: It gets dark around Reno at about 5 starting in October, so the prep pictures are pretty dark, and this meal is not the prettiest.
However, it does look very comfy and winter-y and I promise you, it’s so good. And it only takes about 30 minutes of actual work. The rest is marinating/cooking time. It’s worth it. I swear.
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp. Dijon, to taste
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
Salt, to taste
2 thinly cut sirloin steaks (or whatever steak you prefer)
1 zucchini, cut in larger chunks
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 red potatoes, thinly sliced
Garlic powder and Onion powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients.
Add 4 Tablespoons to steaks. I put my thin steaks in ziplocs with 2 Tbs. of marinade each, and let them marinate for 2 hours. You can do overnight if you like, but definitely do at least a couple hours!
Cut zucchini into larger chunks. I cut them into four spheres and then cut those into fourths. If that makes sense?
Slice red bell pepper. Remove seeds!
Mix veggies in a bowl with remaining marinade. Let marinate for a couple hours also.
When you’re ready to prepare dinner, dice potatoes into thin chunks.
Preheat oven to 400* F. Place potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. *The reason I did not marinate the potatoes with the rest of the vegetables is because they did not get crispy when I marinated them. You could try to mix them with marinade to make it easier. Totally up to you!*
Remove veggies from marinade and place on baking sheet. Discard remaining marinade. Bake veggies for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
About 8 minutes before veggies are done, pan fry your steaks to desired doneness. This is for thinly cut sirloin steaks. If you use regular steaks, allow yourself more time to make steaks. Alternatively, you can grill them. Which I would have done if it wasn’t 45* outside.
Serve steaks over roasted vegetables. You can cut the steak into strips if you want pretty steak, or you can just leave it whole to make it easy.
Balsamic + Steak + Roasted Vegetables = So good and so healthy. I was a happy Sara.
Until next time, my friends.
*Song of the Day*: Low Light Assembly–The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die