Try This—Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

“when the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, four. I don’t think I can eat eight.” —Yogi Berra

Now that’s the kind of portion control I can get on board with, especially when it comes to pizza or rice noodles. I went to the Asian supermarket on Saturday and picked up 12 bundles of rice noodles. Rice noodles are a pantry staple in my house. I literally can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Super quick to prepare and the possibilities are endless. I’ve been ODing on Pancit lately, and I just have to share my favorite recipe with you. Pancit (pronounced PUN-SIT) is a Filipino dish that I’ve loved since I was in high school.

When my older sister was at Cornell University, her dorm mate was Filipina and she used to cook the most amazing food. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old, so her dorm mate made all of these traditional Filipino dishes for me with no meat. Did I mention she was super sweet?! Anyway, my absolute favorite has always been Pancit, but up until recently, I’d never tried to make it on my own. Then I found this recipe courtesy of the Veggie Chick, and it’s about as close as you can get to the Pancit I remember. You must try this!!!

Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 package (15 ounce) extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces and pressed with paper towel to remove all moisture
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 head)
  • 2 cups baby broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt

Directions

  1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl; cover with warm water and let sit. When the noodles are soft, after about 20 minutes, drain and set noodles aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until browned, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the tofu from the wok. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the carrots, cabbage and broccoli. Stir fry until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tamari, ginger, veggie bouillon cube, vegetable broth and sea salt. Stir until the bouillon cube is dissolved. Add the cooked tofu, rice noodles and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Serves 8. Best served immediately. Stays fresh in the fridge for 1 day.

Recipe: the Veggie Chick for more plant-based cooking inspiration go here.

Food Trends to Watch For in 2018

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Fact: The closest I came to dieting in 2017 was when I deleted some of the food photos from my phone gallery. I’ll admit, when I’m talking about dieting here, I’m almost never talking about weight loss. What I am talking about is the way diet totally effects how we feel.  I’m here to tell you that skinny vegetarians can feel like crap too. Take it from me. I’m also here to tell you that big girls can be amazingly fit. Case in point: this fierce yogi. So, with less of an emphasis on weight, nutrition and health take center stage. This year, we can expect to see some super nutritious additions to last year’s growing list of healthy food trends. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally ready! Seriously, after a steady diet of cake, sweet, sugar, pastry, and cocktail since Halloween, I’m determined to start this new year off right. Let’s take a look!

2018 Food Trends

Whole Foods Predicts…

Whole Foods just released their annual report on food trends, giving us a clue as to what we’ll be seeing a lot of this year. Plant based products, floral flavors, mushrooms (anyone ready for a mushroom coffee?!), airy snacks like jicama crisps, root to stem recipes (zero food waste, hello!), and both Middle Eastern (mmm, Halloumi Burgers) and Filipino cuisine are all set to have a huge impact on 2018.

the dairy aisle gets some help from Sweden

Last year, while I was in Stockholm, I had one of the best lattes ever, y’all. I went to this coffee shop called Snickarbacken7 in the Norrmalm neighborhood. Anybody that knows me knows that me ordering a latte is always a production. Vanilla soy latte, one pump of vanilla and light on the foam. I’m trying to buy coffee, not air bubbles and simple syrup. Does that make me picky? Anyway, Snickarbacken7 didn’t have any soy milk, and I was so over almond milk and coconut milk lattes the second I tried them. The barista offered me an oat milk latte instead. YOOOOOOO!!! Oat milk is absolutely amazing. Creamy, subtly sweet, and easily my new favorite dairy alternative milk. Look for the Swedish company Oatly to hit US shelves in February.

Move over, matcha, Make Room for Moringa.

While matcha has made it’s rounds in everything from lattes to must-have beauty products over the last few years and while it doesn’t show signs of stopping, get ready to see a lot more moringa. Moringa is made from the leaves of the moringa tree, a plant native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder that has a deliciously earthy flavor, not so different from matcha, but with comparable anti-inflammatory properties to turmeric. This year, you’ll see moringa in smoothies, nourishment bowls, health bars, and even lattes. Moringa powder is readily available on amazon making it easy for a home cook to experiment with it’s unique flavor.

The next big thing after Instant Pot

In 2017, our Instagram feeds were flooded with delicious Instant Pot creations. That versatile little kitchen appliance combined the capabilities of a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, and skillet into one convenient device. The Instant Pot gave us healthy meals in a fraction of the time, using a fraction of the energy. What it didn’t give us was fried food. Um. We need fried food. Enter the air fryer. What sets fried food apart is that familiar crunchy texture we all love. What makes it unhealthy is the loads of oil we have to use to get that tasty crunch. The air fryer remedies all of that by evenly circulating air around your temptation of choice, giving you that fried food comfort without all the guilt. These gadgets aren’t exactly new, but more and more companies are joining the trend and offering more affordable options. If you wanna go for broke because fried food is your happy place, you can opt for the pricier, latest version of the Phillips Air Fryer. A more frugal version is yours for under $100 here.

I’m so excited for this year! You guys! 2018! Can you believe it?

Try This— Scone for One + Clotted Cream

One of the many things I miss about vacationing in London is afternoon tea. One of the many things I miss about afternoon tea is a warm scone with clotted cream. I’m ashamed to admit that before I went to London, I’d only had scones a handful of times, plucked from a display case, out of pure desperation while ordering some overly sweet latte from Starbuck$$$. But in London, scones with clotted cream is totally a thing, and from what I experienced, it’s such a thing that you don’t have to go out of your way to a specialty bakery to find it. I found myself stopping by Waitrose (a grocery store chain) every couple of days to get a package of scones and a tub of clotted cream. This was my go to breakfast, tea time treat, and occasional midnight snack the entire time I was across the pond.

When I got home I fell back into my regular breakfast routine of yogurt with toppings. Delicious and satisfying, I know, but I have craved scones and clotted cream consistently since my return. Alas, my fear of commitment wouldn’t allow me to just go ahead and bake a batch of scones for myself. Plus, the fact that clotted cream isn’t readily available here in the States (a fact that I lament on nearly a daily basis) had me questioning the meaning of life.

The answer to this and pretty much any other existential crisis, is to find some method of instant gratification like a cinnamon roll in a mug. Totally quick, totally easy, and deliciously noncommittal. Amiright? So, I found this amazing recipe for a scone for one! Yes! Talk about living the dream. I can now have a different flavor of scone every morning if I want to and I don’t have to fly all the way to the UK to do it. You must try this!

Simple Scone Recipe for One

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp mix-in of choice

Directions

  • In a small food processor or blender combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  • Pulse the butter into the dry ingredients until it breaks up and resembles crumbs.
  • Next add in the mix-ins and milk and pulse until the dough pulls away from the side of the mixer, which should only take a moment.
  • Carefully pull the dough away from the blade and shape into a circle, patting it to about 1/2 inch in thickness.
  • Bake at 450 on a piece of parchment paper for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly.

Possible Mix-ins

  • cherry + walnut
  • blueberry
  • cranberry + walnut
  • lemon + poppy seed

Simple Clotted Cream

ingredients

  • 2 pints heavy cream (be sure that it isn’t ultra pasteurized0
  • heavy casserole dish

directions

  • set your oven to 180F
  • Pour the cream into the casserole dish. It should come up about 1-3 inches on the side.
  • Set the dish, uncovered, in the oven and leave undisturbed for 10-12 hours. Be sure to leave the oven on the whole time. For me, it’s easiest to do this overnight.

  • When it’s done, you’ll notice a thick golden crust has formed on top. This is the “clotted” part
  • Remove the dish from the oven and set to cool (I usually set it out to cool for at least a couple of hours).
  • Then cover and refrigerate for a couple more hours.
  • Remove from the refrigerator and scoop the thickened cream (top layer) into a jar or jars, and cover and put back in the refrigerator.
  • Clotted cream will last for 4-5 days

Scone Recipe Source: Heather Disarro

Clotted Cream Recipe Source: Farmette

Countdown to Christmas + Cyber Monday Deals

Hey, you guys!!! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, or at least one that wasn’t filled with too many awkward family moments and unwanted house guests. We did alright over here. There were only a couple of cringe-worthy moments, but we managed to balance it out with liqu— er, I mean, laughter. Anyway, this time of year, this countdown to Christmas time, is pretty much my fave. I love the planning, I love the decor, I love the lights, I love the shopping, and I love the eating.

So to help you along with your countdown to Christmas, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites

For the Beauty Obsessed

Whip up this quick and easy eggnog hair mask to save your tresses from the winter blues, or try one of these soothing Winter skin treats.

For the Fragrance Obsessed

Homemade Winter Potpourri (Stove Top or Slow Cooker)

Almost nothing is more inviting and cozy than the sweet smells of the holiday season. Fill your home with the soothing aromas of this DIY stovetop potpourri or try one of these ideas to make your home smell like Christmas.

For the Checklist obsessed

You can download and print some pretty useful checklists here. And for a super cute Advent calendar DIY project, you can find the tutorial here.

For the Decoration Obsessed

There are tons of ways to add holiday flair to your home. Even in the tiniest spaces, on the most meager of budgets you can add a little something festive and transform your home for the holidays. Check out some amazing Christmas tree ideas here, and some even more amazing style tips for small spaces here.

For the Brunch Obsessed

Try This---Eggnog French Toast

Add this amazing eggnog french toast recipe to your holiday brunch menu. While you’re at it, check out these 46 Christmas brunch ideas that are all just perfect for your holiday gathering.

For the Drink obsessed

Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail or a hot winter treat, you’ll find the perfect drink recipe here.

For the Wrapping Paper obsessed

Take your gift wrap to the next level with these 21 ways to upgrade your butcher paper gift wrap.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only got 4 weeks left until Christmas! Hopefully, I’ve given you some helpful tips. There’s certainly more where this came from. Stay tuned throughout the month of December for some cool ideas to get you into the holiday mood!

Also, as promised, you should check out these links to my fave Cyber Monday Deals from Houzz and Overstock!

Overstock Cyber Monday Sale – Valid through – 12.7.17 @ 11:59 PM MST

Houzz—Up to 80% off highest-rated home products

Try This—Spanakopita Grilled Cheese

So I broke my Huel diet last night on the most divine sandwich I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t feel much like cooking some elaborate meal so I opted for the tried and true grilled cheese sandwich. I usually put sliced tomato directly on a grilled cheese instead of making a side of tomato soup. Two birds, one stone. But alas, I had no tomato. I had no tomato soup. I didn’t even have any cheddar cheese. So as it goes with most tasty new recipes, last night’s sandwich was born of a combination of desire and improvisation. I bring to you the Spanakopita Grilled Cheese. You must try this!!!

Spanakopita Grilled Cheese

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 4 slices good-quality bread
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • One 10-ounce bag baby spinach, or 2 big handfuls
  • Pinch salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese

Directions

  • Preheat your panini press (you can make this on the stove top, but for next level sandwiches you really should invest in a panini press).
  • Divide butter evenly between the four slices of bread, spread thinly on one side of each slice.
  • In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add the garlic and shallot, and cook about 4 minutes, or until the garlic is golden-brown. Add spinach and salt and pepper, and cook for a few more minutes, until the spinach is wilted and most of the moisture is cooked out. Add dill and feta, turn off heat, and mix.
  • Assemble the sandwiches by placing two slices of bread butter side-down on your press or pan, add one slice of provolone to each, then divide the spinach mixture in half and place half on each slice. Top with the remaining 2 slices of cheese and slices of bread, butter side-up.
  • If using a panini press, put the lid down and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If using a pan, flip after about 5 minutes, then cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: Alexandra V. Jones