Roasted Broccoli (aka one of my new favorite side dishes)

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Oh my god. ROASTED BROCCOLI! Holy hell, is it GOOD. I love broccoli, but the regular steamed, or alternately the typical cheezy bake/soup/sauce has gotten a bit mundane. I also love the stuff raw, but it’s one of the tougher raw veggies for me to digest unfortunately, so I keep my raw broccoli consumption to a minimum. I’ve found that roasting broccoli keeps it crunchy and subverts the sogginess that often happens when steamed.

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A little golden, a little crispy, filled with a tasty, slightly different broccoli flavor this is a side dish I’m loving these days. This recipe is also so simple it’s amazing how easy it is to incorporate this green food into just about every meal, or as a crunchy, savory snack to enjoy at any time through out the day.

Roasted Broccoli

2 cups of raw broccoli

1 tablespoon olive oil

hefty sprinkling of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

Toss broccoli in oil, salt, pepper, and nooch in a large bowl. Spread florets out on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 10-15 minutes, until the florets are golden. Once I begin to smell the broccoli toasting up, I usually take a spatula and try to flip the florets so they can crisp up evenly.

IMG_4936Might seem weird to some, but my dinner the other night: tacos and roasted broccoli.

This is hands down my favorite new way to eat broccoli. I’ve seen all sorts of recipes online for roasted cauliflower, but broccoli seems to stay fairly standardized in its preparation and consumption. Roasting the florets pulls out their flavor and the crispy texture the oven gives them is something that’s simply amazing. I’m imagining these served up with some sort of vegan ranch sauce. One of my favorite restaurants has fried broccoli which has a very similar texture and flavor, which must be the subconscious inspiration behind this recipe. One of these days I’ll perfect a vegan ranch and won’t have to just go out to eat to get that flavor. And then my baked broccoli consumption will be complete.

Enjoy the holidays, everyone! This dish would be a great little snack/appetizer for family and friends to enjoy. I’m headed up to NC TODAY for a whole week! Packing up Fini and driving 9 hours north to my parents’ new farm to hopefully relax. Getting tattooed (I’m in dire need of a touch up!) and visiting friends in Carrboro on Sunday, and hopefully just enjoying the season for the rest of the week. Cooking a lot. Laughing a lot. Chasing my demon child cat around the basement and guest room he’ll be roaming for the next few days. Hopefully doing my yearly review/blog updates. Can’t wait. Until then, be safe!

 

Restoration

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I’m so happy to have a calming, relaxing couple of weeks ahead. I finished up my papers fairly early this term, last Monday to be exact, and since then I’ve been lucky enough to get some good quality rest in after a full first semester. So far that’s meant a good bit of Netflix (Sunday I basked in the joy of lots of tea and Criminal Minds) a much needed repose after a hectic week of finishing things up for the fall. I’ve been loving having the chance to just be LAZY for a few days before I head back to work this week and then up to NC to see my family this coming weekend.

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It feels so good after that last push to be able to look fondly on the piles of books and leisure reading I have strewn about the internets and my apartment, and to take a break from all that is art historical for a little while. Well, I say that, but I’m never too far away from it.

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Man Ray, in a lovely dress and hat.

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Pho! A ginger miso broth base, leftover mango tofu, fermented jalepenos, lots of basil, marinated carrots, greens, rice noodles.

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Surrealist mannequins from the Exhibition Internationale Surréaliste in Paris, photographed by Man Ray.

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Macro bowl with lots of greens, chickpeas, brown rice, a TON of kraut, marinated carrots. Hemp seeds. YUM.

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On sale at the co op this week, so I grabbed one to try. Not bad. But I think I’ll stick to Lara bars.

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I consider this an investment in my future.

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Yes, I might or might not leave a section of the bed unmade so he can sleep in the sunshine in the covers.

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With the purple platypus.

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Making holiday gifts.

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I do love a good long bath this time of year. I usually pour some Dr. Bronner’s right in the bath water–it makes the bath is lovely creamy white and it smells amazing. The cat of course, never leaves my side if he can help it. Sweet little demon.

There’s nothing better than these few days of repose, the quiet break in between the mad whirlwinds of academia that surround this time of year. I love nothing more than this peace and solitude. There’s something so meditative about it–this pure time of restoration.

Recent Eats (Things in Bowls)

IMG_4711Gluten free (brown rice) pasta over crisp romaine salad with lots of olives and kraut.

 I love bowls. Probably my favorite dish. You can eat (or drink as a matter of fact) everything out of a bowl. I recently told a friend: I’d love a Japanese style minimalist house with a rice mat on the floor, one cup, one bowl and one set of chop sticks. Kindle and laptop. Bliss. That’s the ideal any way.

And I do have more than one bowl currently. As little furniture as possible, but several bowls. In fact I have 5 bowls that I use to eat out of regularly. And several pairs of chopsticks. Any way, moving along, my favorite meals are ones I can eat out of a bowl, cradled in my hands or maybe on my lap, all toasty and warm especially this time of year. Lately, with all of the stress of finishing up papers etc., eating out of bowls and crafting bowl-appropriate meals has been a welcome distraction from working on academia. So, in this post I give you several of my favorite bowl-filled meals of late. Ooh, and this mango tofu recipe I have to share is simply divine. Something I think I’ll start making fairly regularly.

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(My version of this recipe.)

Tofu bowl with mango sauce

1 block trader joe’s sprouted tofu (cut into triangles)

the fruit of 1 fresh mango

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

1-3 tablespoons sriracha (depending on how spicy you’d like it)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar + vinegar for the carrots

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 carrot, grated or thinly sliced with a veggie peeler

1/2 teaspoon agave or maple syrup

cucumbers

fresh basil

cooked brown rice

lime wedges, diced peanuts, scallions (optional)

Grate or slice the carrots and drizzle with a hefty dose (enough to fully coat them) of rice vinegar. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of agave or maple syrup. Set aside and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Cook up the tofu in a bit of oil until crisp and golden. While browning, combine mango, garlic, tamari, sriracha, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and cardamom in your food processor until smooth. Add the sauce to the tofu in the pan after it has browned up on both sides. Lower the heat, and simmer until the sauce is bubbly and thickened. Serve immediately over brown rice, top with fresh basil, peanuts if desired, fresh cucumbers, limes, and marinated carrots.

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Molé chili with gluten free cornbread, heft side of veggies with tahini dip.

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The brunch bowl: tofu scramble, avocado, leftover cornbread, wilted greens, lots of sriracha and black pepper

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Another breakfasty bowl: tofu scramble, roasted herbed potatoes, avocaod, sriracha, cheezy cashew sauce


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Roasted chickpeas, avo, sriracha, tahini, lots of garlicky kale.

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Roasted sweet potato, sunflower mac, avo, sautéed spinach, and you guessed it! Sriracha.

The possibilities for a bowl meal are truly endless. For me it’s often a.) a meal salad or b.) some sort of protein/grain/green/sauce macro bowl combination type of deal. The chili was a rare occurrence. But delicious. Bowl food allows for a lot of versatility and is a great platform on which to combine leftovers with freshly cooked or raw items. And of course, there has to be sriracha.

Traditional Medicinals Women’s Wellness REVIEW

IMG_3778Back in the early spring, I partnered up with Traditional Medicinals and tried their dandelion detox teas as part of my “What’s on Your Face?!” series. They contacted me soon after moving to Florida about doing another post for them, this time reviewing their new line of women’s wellness teas. I asked them to send me a few I thought might be most useful for me as a childfree female designated person. They sent me four teas to try out: PMS tea, Back on Tract, Weightless, and Healthy Cycle. I’ve been using their Raspberry leaf tea (also part of the line) for years and it’s one of my favorite tasting herbal teas, but the revamping of their ladies’ line brought a few new brews to my palate and to my tea cup.

First off, a note about properly brewing your herbal teas. Be sure to read the package directions. As herbal blends aren’t as strong as black tea for example, you’ll need to let them steep longer. Most of us are used to letting tea steep for 2-3 minutes. A lot of herbals need at least 5 minutes, maybe even longer to completely infuse the hot water. A lot of people like to cover their herbals while they brew. I’m not a stickler for this, but I do have a fancy little tea cup set complete with its own lid, so I will often do this especially in the winter when I want my tea nice and hot.

I tried all 4 teas and definitely have my favorites, though I’ll keep drinking all regularly. So here’s the breakdown:

PMS tea

Flavor wise, probably my favorite of the lot! The cinnamon is warming and soothing especially during the holidays. This is the tea I’ll probably drink most often, even when I’m not after its medicinal properties. This tea is perhaps most like a black tea, even though it’s caffeine free. It’s got a warm earthy, flavor and that cinnamon! So good.

Back on Tract

Java tea and cornsilk, used for eons to remove bodily impurities are combined with cranberry and hibiscus for a fruity tea blend that eases potential urinary tract distress or keeps it at bay. A little sweet for my taste, but delicious nonetheless!

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Weightless

A blend of fennel, parsley, red clover, uva ursi, cleavers and chicory, as well as cranberry and hibiscus work to relieve water weight. Love this tea for those days when I’m feeling a little bloated or just want a kick of cranberry in my life. The fennel and parsley really stand out in this tea despite its rich cranberry color. It’s definitely not what you’d expect, but from the first sip I feel health pumping through my veins.

Healthy Cycle

Raspberry, nettle, angelica root, blessed thistle, and cramp bark offer support for a whole slew of menstrual symptoms especially aches and pains. Love using this one when I’ve got a back or headache. Cramp bark was something recommended to me several years ago by a nurse practioner. This tea is a great and affordable way to incorporate that into your wellness routine and it’s augmented by these other delicious goodies.

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A little PMS tea (hands down my favorite tasting of the group!) before bedtime.

I’m THRILLED to have these teas stocking my little tea cabinet this winter. Not only are they delicious, but I love reaping the health benefits associated with drinking all sorts of herbal goodies. PMS tea–definitely my favorite flavor. Healthy cycle–my favorite medicinal tea of the group. The other 2 are great also, but these 2 really stood out as fantastic herbal blends that work well for me and for my body. Be sure to give the teas a try if you’re also a female designated person and are interested in alternative medicine or just some damn good tea!

They do have a Women’s Wellness package! Makes a great gift!