What I Ate Wednesday

Hiiiiii friends! I’m back after taking my first What I Ate Wednesday off this year last week. Gasp! Not to worry, there’s enough What I Ate Wednesday noms to make for for two whole weeks!

I tried to cut myself a break last week as sticking to a blog schedule has been making my writing feel a bit forced and unnatural. You’ll have to do the same and cut me a break for forgetting to snap my half of our morning banana.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Breakfast was weird this morning. I was beyond chilly after walking my sweaty tank-top-clad body out into the cold air after the gym, so a smoothie was out of the question. I tossed a handful of quick oats into a jar with some chopped fresh figs and almond milk. When I got to work, I nuked it for a few seconds for a warm, naturally sweet, and dead simple breakfast.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I’m one of the chairs of our office wellness committee and we hosted an awesome mindfulness and meditation session this morning, which of course included snacks. I snagged a cup of strawberries, a plain vegan yogurt (if I’m being honest, I don’t like this brand), and sprinkled on some Ezekiel cereal I brought from home. Yum!

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I was SO pumped to eat my lunch today!! I prepped a few Apple Quinoa Fall Salad bowls this weekend and I couldn’t wait to dive into this bad boy. It was every bit was as crunchy, sweet, hearty, and savory as I imagined. Eating at your desk ain’t so bad when you have something like that to look forward to!

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

After lunch, my coworker and I walked to Stauf’s [my fav coffee shop] to soak up the sun, and of course some decaf. I munched on an apple in the almost uncomfortable warmth.

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

I was on serious snack patrol all day. A few extra crunchy banana chips made their way into my belly [and jammed into every crevice of my teeth, grrr].

What I Ate Wednesday | AreYouKitchenMe.com

For dinner, I really wanted something super healthy and light but John wanted a big plate of pasta and some fake meat. We settled on half and half- a simple green salad with some whole grain spaghetti, homemade tomato sauce, and Whole Foods brand chickenless patty. Compromise, for the win!

Because my snack tooth just wouldn’t shut up, I made a little dessert after dinner. A small chopped apple, some date paste, cinnamon, almond butter, Ezekiel cereal, and a splash of milk, – tasted like apple pie in a mug! There’s no pic because it honestly looked like a cuppa doo doo. Appealing, right?

Aaaand that’s all folks! Keep snackin’!

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what does two or three do?? Because apple season is here and I am about to be the healthiest kid on the block. I’m ready to start jamming my favorite fruit into every meal possible. Evidence: Apple Quinoa Fall Salad allllllll week!

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad | AreYouKitchenMe.com

The first day of fall was only a few days ago but I’ve already scooped up bushels of apples from our farmer’s market. I eat apples year round, sometimes having to resort to pathetic bagged miniatures, so this time of year is like heaven on earth. Big, ripe, crisp, juicy, local, fresh honeycrisps, pink ladies, fujis… I can’t even.

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad | AreYouKitchenMe.com

The obvious thing to do when apple season hits is to bake all the sweet cinnamon-y desserts. And don’t get me wrong; I’m SO into that. But I wanted to play around a little and make something savory for a change. I’m thrilled with the dressing for this recipe as it’s oil-free (!!), bright, tangy, and laced with hints of fall spices.

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad | AreYouKitchenMe.com

It’s not so freezing yet that all I’m craving is warm, comforting casseroles and soups. I’m still trying to milk the last few drops of warmth from the sun so I settled on a salad to get through the transition. Plus, salads are perfect lunches- I now have a salad for every workday this week all packed and ready to go!

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad | AreYouKitchenMe.com

Apples to apples, no other salad can compare!

Apple Quinoa Fall Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 large salads, 6-8 side salads

Ease the transition from summer to fall by incorporating fall spices and flavors into a hearty, crisp salad! Apple Quinoa Fall Salad is the best of both seasons!

Ingredients

    Dressing
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup mustard (brown or Dijon)
  • 3 Tbs. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, & sage
  • Salad
  • 1 head kale, finely shredded
  • 3 small apples, chopped
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, prepared according to package directions (or see notes)
  • 4 green onions, green parts only sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins

Instructions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.
  2. To keep the apples from turning brown, mix one cup of water with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and a splash of apple cider vinegar and pour over the chopped apples. Wait about a minute then drain and rinse the apples. Set aside to dry slightly.
  3. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

How to Cook Quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve before adding to a small pot with about 2 cups of water (I use a little less) and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes with lid on, then fluff with a fork.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/apple-quinoa-fall-salad/

Fresh Tomato Sauce

As summer winds down, so many people jump headfirst into all things fall, leaving the sunny season a warm but distant memory… I like to take this transition period to savor the last of summer’s bounty and Fresh Tomato Sauce is just the way to revel in the flavors of the heat.

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This is the time of year when tomatoes hang low on their branches, filling with sweet juices until deftly twisted off the stem. They’re on sale at the grocery, abundant in gardens, and overflowing at the farmers markets. In fact, some vendors at our market have big boxes of the “cosmetically challenged” fruits, marked down to next to nothing. Jackpot!

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Imperfect, bruised, and overripe tomatoes practically beg to be pureed into sweet smooth sauce. They may not make delicate sandwich slices or hold up in a hearty chopped salad, but the flavor is unmatched.

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Homemade staples like tomato sauce can seem like a daunting task, but this one is a snap and great to have on hand. If you’re well versed in canning, you can totally process these to be shelf stable. I’m not that handy, so I just pop a jar in the freezer for quick pasta dinners.

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I knew this effortless recipe was a success when John immediately ate all of the pasta drenched in thick red sauce. He’s “more of a cream sauce guy”, so I took it as a major win when he licked the bowl.

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Make the sauce, lick the bowl, and don’t rush out of sunshine just yet.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Summer's bounty will soon be gone! Celebrate the end of summer with sauce made of fresh, end-of-season tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (optional)
  • 2 lbs. (about 5-6) tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 large basil leaves, or 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. salt + ¼ tsp. pepper, more to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare the onion, garlic, and tomatoes; it’s your choice to leave the tomato seeds in or out. I usually take some out but don’t fuss over getting them all.
  2. Heat a medium to large pot over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Once warm, add onions. Sautee for 5- 8 minutes, until soft, stirring frequently.
  3. Add garlic, tomatoes, salt, and pepper and sauté for about 20-30 minutes, stirring as needed, until the liquid as reduced and the tomatoes are breaking down.
  4. Add contents of pot to a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamx) with basil or Italian seasoning and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust salt if necessary- I added about another 1/2 tsp. salt. If the consistency is too thin, feel free to add the sauce back to the pot to reduce for another 10-15 minutes.

Notes

This sauce will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days, or in the freezer for a few months.

http://www.areyoukitchenme.com/fresh-tomato-sauce/

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