Friday, May 23, 2008

Last-Minute Meals

For the past few days, mealtimes have snuck up on me. Usually, I have a general idea of what I want to make before I get into the kitchen, but recently I have been focusing on my upcoming summer classes and all that they require (textbooks, ID card, proof of immunization...). To begin my journey to RD certification, I will be taking Intro to Nutrition and Human Anatomy. I am pretty psyched for my nutrition class because it is an obvious passion of mine; plus, the course is even using the same textbook I used for my independent study in high school. Hopefully, that means I'll ace the class:) My anatomy class has got me nervous though. I am an English and psychology major at my current university, so I have never taken a college-level science course, much less any course with a 4-hour lab! Yikes! I'll definitely have to bring some snackage for lab days, although I am not so sure I'll be in the mood to eat anything amidst dissected human flesh...

Anyway, as a result of my distractions, my meals have been pretty simple and spontaneous.

Thursday morning I tried oat bran for the first time. I prepared mine by cooking them with unsweetened apple sauce; I topped the bowl off with some cinnamon, sliced almonds, and a drizzle of agave. Quite an enjoyable breakfast! I'll be sure to experiment with oat bran in the future.
Yesterday's lunch presented a rare experience for me: I just didn't know what to eat. I stared at the pantry shelves for a good ten minutes before I gave up and made a banana and peanut butter sandwich. It may be simple, but it never fails to disappoint. When I got around to preparing my salad to go with it, my creative juices started flowing a little more freely. I topped my greens and sliced tomato with soy nuts and a dressing made from Grey Poupon, balsamic vinegar, and agave nectar. This meal kept me full forever!

For dinner, I was desperate to get rid of these refried beans. One annoying thing about being the only vegetarian in my house is that it takes me forever to finish a can of beans. Nobody else eats them, so I am stuck with 15 oz. of the same ingredient all week long! Anyway, I decided to make a cheese-less quesadilla (inspired by Cafe VegNews) with refried beans, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and a touch of garlic, spread on a Rudi's whole grain tortilla. On the side I had some salsa for dipping, steamed broccoli, and a salad. While I was preparing the quesadilla, I got distracted and left it to cook. When I came back I found a big mess! (See below for the evidence). Oops.
My snack last night was a raspberry smoothie, using nonfat organic plain yogurt, silken tofu, raspberry Spirutein, wheat germ, and maple syrup. Totally hit the spot.
Again, this morning I had no idea what I wanted for breakfast, so I turned to the freezer for inspiration. I dug out a carob muffin top that I had made over spring break. I thoroughly enjoyed dunking it in a glass of almond milk. I also had some berries with wheat germ.
Due to an afternoon of shopping and a grocery run, I didn't get to eat lunch until 4 PM today. Needless to say, my tummy was flat-out yelling at me. I decided to make a Trio Salad Plate, inspired by a restaurant near me called O'Carr's. Amongst other things, they serve chicken salad, garden salad, fruit salad, plus exotic and tasty crackers. My version wasn't exactly exotic, but it was tasty. I had three-bean salad and my absent-egg salad atop greens with Kashis and a red pear on the side.
With a squash in the fridge and a new can of no-salt added tomatoes in the pantry, I decided the time was ripe for ratatouille. I have no idea how to make authentic ratatouille, but I made my version by sauteeing the squash with diced onion and half a can of diced tomatoes. I added a generous dose of herbes de provence and a sprinkle of salt. I let it simmer for about 15 minutes, and I perfect summer meal was born. I enjoyed this dish with a side salad and some pieces of flatbread (yes, I still have wraps and tortillas left!). For a sweet ending to the meal, I had some fresh strawberries and blueberries with sliced almonds and a drizzle of agave (I use a lot of that stuff, don't I?).
Tomorrow I head to the gym of the university I'll be attending this summer. Incidentally, my sister takes her MBA classes from the same university, so we're heading over there together tomorrow morning. I am super psyched because it is a new recreation center, complete with all new equipment, a track, and even a lazy river! Yes, I realize I am a fitness dork.

Afterward, we're headed to the lake again to celebrate Memorial Day. (Sunshine and watermelon, anyone?) Enjoy the long weekend!


VeggieGirl said...

Best of luck to you with your journey to RD certification!! Exciting!!

Mmm, I LOVE all of your spontaneous meals - and that carob muffin top?? Divine!!

Have a lovely time at the gym tomorrow with your sister, and have a great Memorial Day weekend!!

romina said...

Stressful times can mean that you have less time to think about food. But you are AMAZING at dealing with that!! Most people resort to prepared foods, but you have done a great job of preparing your own stuff, great work!!

Have a great weekend!

Caroline said...

What you could do about your refried bean dilemma is to freeze any leftover beans in a small baggie and take it out whenever you have a hankering for that ingredient again. Best of luck with summer classes!

Green Eyes, Green Heart said...

What type of Kashi crackers do you eat? I think a lot of them have milk as a key ingredient...
I would just hate for you to find out something you love isn't vegan! :/


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ugh, I have that problem all the time. I try to plan out meals in advance, but I never know what I’ll be craving when the time comes to eat. But you’re right—ya can’t ever go wrong with pb and banana.

Oat bran is my FAVORITE! I’ve been in a food rut with it—I think I’ve had it in some form, at some meal or snack, every day for the past month!

Ruby Red Vegan said...

I love how you store baked goods in the freezer and defrost them when you're ready to eat them! That takes amazing willpower; I have to make very small batches of baked goods so I don't have leftovers to tempt me. :)

I really want a peanut butter banana sandwich right now! I've never made ratatouille before (love that Disney movie!), but yours looks delicious, especially with flatbread on the side.

I'm so feeling for you and that 4-hour summer lab. Ugh. I'll have to start up the same routine pretty soon. The things we do for RD certification!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

All your meals look so good that I can't decide which one looks better!

Cassie said...

You have been tagged on my blog!

Jennifer said...

Good luck on your certification! Be sure to pass on any interesting nutrition tid bits if you can.

All this food looks so good, I can't decide which is my favorite.

lighterportions said...

Even though you say your meals were pretty much all spontaneous, you still managed to throw together some pretty tasty looking stuff!

I've never tried oat bran before but I just bought some recently and I keep forgetting about it. I really need to give it a taste!

The uni gym has a lazy river, seriously? How cool is that?!

loveofoats said...

ahhh watermelon... one of the best things about summer :)

Anonymous said...

Can you post the brand of spirilina you use. I know you posted thr website but I didnt know which kind. Which one do you recomend as far as flavor? And are they sweet at all?

Sorry for all the q's


ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: Thanks for your well wishes--I'm excited too.
I actually got the idea to make carob muffins from your blog, I think!
Romina: Well, I wouldn't really consider myself stressed yet. Trust me, when I'm truly stressed, I start eating trail mix 24/7.
Caroline: Thanks for the tip! I will have to remember that for the future, but as for right now, I need to use up some of the stuff in my freezer before I can free up any space for beans and such.
Green Eyes: Yes, the Kashi crackers do have milk ingredients, but I still eat some dairy (mostly organic). I am more of a lacto-vegetarian than vegan right now.
CCV: You're an oatbran fan too? I'd love to hear what kind of creations you've used it for.
Ruby: I put my baked goods in the freezer because I usually get into "baking moods" and bake way more than I could possibly eat before they go bad!
Yep, the 4 hour lab sucks, but maybe since it's summer we'll get out early occasionally...can't hurt to be optimistic, right?
Alice: Thanks!
Jennifer: Believe me, I'll be on the lookout for cool nutritional trivia to share with you all:)
Lighter Portions: You should try the oat bran...let me know what you come up with!
The lazy river is amazing! I can't wait to try it on a rainy day when I can't swim outside.
Cassie: I'll get to the tag ASAP.
Loveofoats: Agreed!
Anonymous: The brand is called Nature's Plus, and I use Spirutein (they also sell Herbatein and Fruitein). I like both the sweetened and unsweetened varieties, you should add your own sweetener to the unsweetened varieties because they can be pretty bland. Any of the flavors that include chocolate are excellent, but the strawberry ones are not my favorite. Hope that helps!

Erin said...

It's funny for me to hear that someone struggles to get through a can of refried beans - I love them so much I have to ration them as to not eat the whole can in two servings! Your salad plate looks like my idea of a perfect lunch.

ChickPea said...

I love refried beans too! However, I try not to eat too much in one sitting because the brand I buy is a bit high in sodium.