Power Lunch: Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls

You guys, sh*t is gettin’ real over here.  How real?  Well, my gorgeous diploma for my B.S. in Nursing came in the mail yesterday, my NCLEX (that’s the nursing licensure exam) is 2 weeks away, and I had my first job interview this week!  I have been losing myself in daydreams about how much I want this job.  It’s a resource position, which means I would get to fill in for other nurses on vacation, sick days, or family leave, and it’s at one of the best hospitals in the state.  I’ll be hearing back next week and am excited/terrified!

In the meantime, I’ve been truly enjoying my unemployed-cation.  I have time to cook most of my meals at home, have been going on long walks with my dog, and I’m catching up on Homeland just in time for Season 2.

Even if you are working a 9-to-5, this power lunch bowl would be an easy and energy-boosting work take-a-long.  Just sauté your ingredients over the weekend (make enough for several days to save time), cook some rice, and you’ll have an envy-inducing lunch on Monday.  The protein from the turkey and the fiber from the brown rice will keep you satisfied for hours.  Which is also a plus for a homebody like me whose kitchen is only steps away.

Turkey, Veggie, and Brown Rice Bowls
makes 2 servings

– 1/2 cup brown rice, cooked
– 1/2 lb ground turkey
– 1/2 tsp chili powder
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
– salt, to taste
– 1/2 avocado sliced

Cook turkey and spices in a large skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, peppers, and about a pinch of salt.  Cook for another 7-10 minutes until peppers are tender.  Serve over 1/4 cup warm rice topped with 1/4 avocado.

Peanut, Cabbage, and Sesame Slaw

Usually when I’m making something that can be easily construed as “health food”, I make just one serving.  I’m usually pretty sure that my boyfriend, Jeremy, will not be interested and I’m usually right.  A funny thing happened, though, as this asian-inspired coleslaw sat on the table waiting to be photographed.  Jeremy walked over to it to see what it was.

“Can I have some?” he asked.

“No, I’m not finished taking pictures yet.”

He walked away.  A few minutes later, he’s back in the kitchen.  “Just a bite?”

“No, I’m still working with it… Now, are you messing with me, or do you really want me to make you one of your own?”

His face lit up.  “I want one!”  So I made another bowl of salad just for him and he spent the rest of the day telling me how good it was.  He even asked if I would make one for him every day.  I told him that I couldn’t make that kind of commitment.  But it felt good to be asked.  🙂

Peanut, Cabbage, and Sesame Slaw
makes 4 servings
adapted from The Kitchn

For the dressing:
– 3 Tbsp peanut butter
– 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 Tbsp soy sauce
– 1 Tbsp sesame oil
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients with a fork or a whisk until smooth.

For the salad:
– 1 head green cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
– 3 large carrots, grated
– 4 green onions, thinly sliced
– 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
– a small handful of roasted peanuts

Mix the cabbage, carrots, and green onions together in a large bowl.  Toss with peanut butter dressing until well-mixed.  Top each individual serving with sesame seeds and peanuts.

Spelt Banana Bread (No added sugar or oil)

My long and leisurely spring break is coming to a close and it would be a tragedy if I didn’t get some baking in before classes begin again.  This wholesome banana bread is sure to keep me happy during my long day in the classroom tomorrow.

Especially if it's slathered in coconut butter.

My spring break was decidedly laid-back.  No beach vacations for this girl.  I stayed in Portland for some quality reading and kitchen time.  Other highlights include: my sister coming to visit (all the way from Ft. Worth, TX), a day of walking around in the sun and shopping with some girlfriends, game night, and seeing an AMAZING show with the bands Onuinu and Yacht.  (My boyfriend produced and mixed Onuinu’s record and plays drums in the live show…so of course I like them.  As for Yacht, I have never seen a show like theirs.  They are from outer space.  In a good way.)

But back to the banana bread.  I like this recipe because all of its sweetness comes from the bananas.  It’s got no added sugar, no oil, and it’s whole grain.  And it’s vegan, if that matters to you.  I hope you enjoy!

Spelt Banana Bread
makes 1 loaf
adapted from GB&J

– 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
– 1/2 cup almond flour
– 1/3 cup rolled oats
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 cup coconut milk (or other type of your choice)
– 5 ripe bananas (the riper they are, the sweeter the bread will be)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 tsp almond extract
– 1/4 cup almond butter
– 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
– 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix together flours, oats cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas well and mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, and the almond butter.  Alternatively, you can give all those ingredients a whirl in the food processor or blender.  I used my Vitamix, which was incredibly easy.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Pour batter into a loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

* I added this post to this week’s Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Real Food 101, and Make Your Own Monday.

Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Lemon Dressing and Walnuts

Until this year, I had never heard of such a thing as shaved brussels sprouts.  As far as I knew, they were good for roasting in the oven.  Period.  Now, suddenly, it seems like every foodie restaurant I walk into has a variation of the dish on the menu.  I don’t know if this is a new trend or if I’m just becoming more observant.  Either way, you won’t hear any complaints from me!  Served this way, they add a more delicate flair to your dinner and they just require a quick visit to the frying pan.

I tried shaving them in a few different ways.  A mandoline give you a bit more control over the angle and width of slicing, resulting in a more uniform product.  But I’m never using a mandoline again because it usually ends in tragedy (this time, I lost a substantial chunk of my thumb…is this just me?  Aren’t those things supposed to be safer???).  The slicing disk of my food processor went quite a bit faster and kept my fingers safely away from sharp objects.  The downside was that the result was slightly less visually appealing.  Personally, I’m fine with that.  Or you could always use a good old fashioned knife.  But no matter how you cut it, this is a wonderful addition to a winter (yes, still very much winter here) meal.

Warm Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Lemon Dressing and Walnuts
serves 2

– 1 cup brussels sprouts (about 8), washed and stems trimmed
– 1 Tbs olive oil
– juice from half a lemon
– 2 tsp honey
– a handful of walnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Using a food processor fitted with a slicing disk, mandoline, or sharp knife, thinly slice brussels sprouts.  Separate leaves with fingers.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add lemon and honey, stirring to combine.

3.  Quickly add brussels sprouts and cook just until the start to soften and sizzle, about 5 minutes.  Place in serving bowls and garnish with walnuts.

* I added this post to this week’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Traditional Tuesday.

Raw Apple Chips

During the week, I usually feel like the length of my “to do” list and the amount of time I have available just don’t match up.  This week is no exception.  There’s a pile of reading and homework that somehow just didn’t quite get done over the long weekend, a bit of a mess happening in my apartment, and some added stress related to spending my first week on a pediatrics rotation at the hospital.  On the bright side, I’ve learned that I like working with kids! (I haven’t spent much time around the youngun’s and so I really had no idea of what to expect.)  It’s their parents that can be hard to handle.

Just kidding.

Not really.

What does this have to do with raw apple chips?  Well, I think they are a perfect snack food, whether I’m trying to give myself a reward for doing ALL of my reading for class or trying to calm my rumbling stomach during a busy day of patient care.  They’re also a great way to be able to buy lots of apples when they’re on sale and preserve them for later.  I was lucky enough to have gotten a dehydrator from Jeremy for Christmas and these are the treat I’ve used it for most often.  If I top them with cinnamon, they make the whole apartment smell warm and festive as they’re drying.

There isn’t so much a recipe as a method.  Cut your apples in half, remove the core and seeds, and cut into thin slices (probably about 1/8 inch thick).  Place slices close together on your dehydrator sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.  If you want them to be technically raw, you’ll have to keep the dehydration temperature at under 115 degrees F and you’ll let them go overnight.  You can speed up the process by starting at a higher temperature (145 degrees F or so) for an hour and then reducing to the “raw” temperature.    Store in an airtight container.

* I added this post to this week’s Fresh Bites Friday, Wellness Weekend, and Fight Back Friday.

Kale Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Walnuts

It feels like winter has set in.  Gloves, hats, and scarves have found their way out of my closet and we’ve been using our fireplace almost every day.  My bike ride to school usually involves numbed fingertips (any suggestions for good gloves to bike in?  I’ve got some lined leather ones that I’m using but I’ve also got circulation issues!)  It’s time for soup and other comfort foods.  So why on earth did I make a big salad yesterday?

Well, I found a recipe that looked right for the season.  The heartiness of kale seems appropriate for cold weather, citrus fruits are coming into their best season, and fennel adds an unexpected flavor punch.  The citrusy-miso dressing rounds everything out.  I’ve learned that even in the winter, a good salad can really hit the spot.  I served it over a warm sweet potato to bulk things up and to make it a filling, satisfying lunch.

Kale Salad with Orange, Fennel, and Walnuts
(adapted from Gena’s at Choosing Raw)
serves 2

For the salad:
– about 4 cups of kale (about 5 generous leaves), de-stemmed, chopped and washed
– 1 small bulb of fennel
– 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
– 1/4 cup walnuts

For the dressing:
– juice from 1/2 an orange
– juice from 1/2 a lemon
– 1 Tbs miso
– 2 Tbs olive oil
– 1/2 tsp sesame oil
– 1 tsp soy sauce

1.  Mix dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

2.  Add dressing to kale in a large bowl and use your hands to “massage” the kale until softened and coated with dressing.  Add remaining salad ingredients.

That’s it!  If you want to try it with sweet potato the way I did, pierce a small potato with a fork several times and microwave on high for 4 minutes, turning it over halfway through.

I hope everyone enjoyed the extra hour of sleep we got for daylight savings.  I know I needed it.  Now I’m going to bundle up and get myself outside for a run.  The sun is out and it’s not raining, which means it’s a beautiful day in Portland.  🙂