Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fishy & fruity

With such a large post-run lunch numero dos, dinner ended up getting postponed til 9pm! Kind of late-ish for me, but that's alright! I needed time to make room for this delicious dinner.

Have you ever prepared fish by boiling it? Sounds weird, but when done right (boiling for just a few minutes), it's so soft and juicy! We add dill, parsley, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and salt, and actually drink the broth with dinner! ...Not sure if this is a Russian thing, but it's sure is my family's thing! This is our definition of fresh dinner super fast!!!

Another dinner highlight: my adorable date, Gizmo, and a new episode of New Girl.

Oh, and the fresh fruit tart can be added to the list of dinner's highlights, too. :)

Have a good night! Thanks for stopping by :)

Run to eat & Eat to run

Hey there! What a BEAUTIFUL day it was today!!! High 50s and lots of happy sunshine! I couldn't wait to get home from school!

Lunch was 'aight. A combination of last night's leftovers - our awesome homemade pizza with mushrooms and caramelized onions, and yes, with lots of delicious ketchup! Plus a pretty salad and a juicy green apple.
I can't say I was full after this lunch - I had every intention of having lunch numero dos once I got home. But this was enough for me to feel content.

I couldn't not take advantage of such perfect weather - perfect for a run! My left foot was feeling funky today, so I was hesitant to go running. But, I told myself that I would stay on grass the entire time, and if it continued to hurt after a few minutes, I would just go for a walk.

Today's run was one of those I'm-totally-zoned-out kind of runs. I forgot about the funky foot. I didn't even think about where to turn or how far I was going. I didn't think about the pace. I just ran to feel good. And felt good I did!
...except for the last mile when I guess I zoned back in and realized how tired I was! And how hungry I was getting!

My post-run lunch numero dos began with a small bowl of mushroom soup and scrumptious Wasa crispbread with lots and lots of good ole' hummus + roasted red pepper. An hour later, I was craving nuts, and I opted for pistachios.  [I can't get over how beautiful they are!] It's seems like if I go a few days without nuts or a nut butter of some sort, my body starts craving it! Not a bad addiction to have, methinks! :)

Refueled and satisfied, back to studying I go! Hope your day is going well!

Please enter the FSTG giveaway if you haven't done so already! Winner will be announced tomorrow!

A leisurely breakfast {overnight yogurt oats}

Top o' the mornin' to ya!
Doesn't this breakfast look beautiful? I was looking forward to it since last night! 
[That's usually the case with me and breakfast]

Last night, I combined Chobani Peach Greek Yogurt with 1 tbsp. instant oats and 1 tsp. chia seeds. I also added about 2 tbsp. water because the chia and oats would absorb the moisture overnight.

Because class didn't start til 10am today, I took my time to enjoy this leisurely breakfast.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Today is the last day to enter the FSTG giveaway!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Is that ketchup on your pizza?!

...I think the pictures did the talking here... 

Perhaps these thoughts are going through your mind right now...
"Is this Russian family Italian wannabes?" -or- "Did they really just use ketchup on their pizza?!"

We sure are (sort of)! And we sure did!

The pizza is just one meal that represents my family's love for homemade, wholesome cooking. We make (almost) everything from scratch, from fresh ingredients whenever they are available. Preparing our family meals and enjoying them together brings us the greatest pleasure and joy. That's something that Italians know how to do truly well, and that's something we can all learn from their culture. 

Why ketchup? ...I'll admit that Russians love the taste of it, that's all! There is nothing wrong with "cheating" or "tweaking" recipes to accommodate your taste buds (or your time constraints). When we have time, we make tomato sauce ourselves. Now that is really our wannabe Italian side shining through. But personally, I love ketchup... I was the kid that probably could have lived off of bread+ketchup sandwiches (though my mom and grandma didn't let that happen!).

Oh, and P.S. - tonight's pizza featured sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions, underneath parmesan cheese, and yes, ketchup. :)

I don't know who reads my blog, but whoever you are - thank you for stopping by! I hope my silly recaps and reflections inspire you to prepare simple, fresh, and wholesome meals.

♥ V.

P.S. >>>Food Should Taste Good Giveaway<<<

Lunch combo

I rushed home from class today thinking that I had another clinical off-site in the afternoon. Ha was I wrong! In the process of looking up directions, I double-checked my assignment and found out that I didn't actually have to be anywhere this afternoon. It felt like 4 hours of my day just freed up, even though technically they were free all along! Yay!

And so, I got to slow down and actually relax for lunch, which was wonderful. (1) Rassol'nik (Russian dill pickle soup) from Saturday's Lunch; (2) Pan-roasted brussels sprouts from last night's dinner; and (3) Pepper stuffed with mushrooms and barley (from Saturday's dinner, which I missed because I was babysitting!).

[A note on our Stuffed Peppers: Boil the peppers for about 10 min to soften them up! Then fill with stuffing of your choice, arrange in a dish pan, pour over sauce of choice (we usually use tomato juice, cheese, and extra veggies), and cook in the oven at 350F. Cooking time will depend on the nature of the filling. If it contains meat, it will be about 30 min. Today's pepper with already cooked barley and sauteed mushrooms stayed in the oven for just 15 min!]

And then many small snacks and breaks followed in the afternoon!

... Tea time with Trader Joe's dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt = wow... Some Popchips and Vegetable Straws with hummus... A coffee break with some cheese and toast... I also foresee having a piece of fruit before dinner time... I  know, I know... it's a snack-attack-kind-of-day.

Grandma and I need suggestions/inspirations for tonight's dinner! We are all out of ideas! :)

You folks have just one day left to enter the Food Should Taste Good Giveaway!!! Don't miss your chance to win 5 free bags of chips of your choice!

I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, 
I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them.
— Anne Rice

There is a monster... in my jar! {S^3 green monster smoothie}

What do you do when you find a green monster in a jar?? You 
 drink it of course!!! Don't be scared. It's a nice monster... In fact, it's a superfood nice monster!
The name of today's green monster smoothie, as many smoothie lovers tend to call these friendly guys, is S^3 >>> simple soupy smoothie!
  • Simple: because it has it has minimal number of clean, super nutritious fruits and veggies.
  • Soupy: because I had to first use a food processor and then a hand blender to make it, since I don't have a real blender. Came our a little chunky, like a chunky soup! But don't you worry, my little green friend - I still loved you to chunks pieces!
  • Smoothie: because, well, that's what it was! :)

S^3 Green Monster Smootie:
3 big kale leaves
a little bunch of parsley
1 small ripe banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tsp. chia seeds
  1. Tear up the kale leaves into smaller pieces. Rub them with lemon juice and allow to stand overnight in the fridge.
  2. In the morning, blend together all of the ingredients + water for desired consistency (1/4 - 1/2 cup)
  3. [...and be sure to not only brush your teeth, but also look in the mirror before leaving the house so that you don't come to work/class with something green stuck between your teeth! #truestory...]
Sorry for the delayed breakfast post! I woke up later than expected and was rushing to get to class!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another DIAB {dinner-in-a-bowl}

A fabulous dinner-in-a-bowl yet again! (1) My ginormous & beautiful salad (grandma and I splurged on roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes today at Costco). (2) Brussels sprouts, pan-roasted with onion and garlic. (3) Organic Chicken Apple Sausage in roasted-pepper-garlic-tomato sauce.

My taste buds are like wow right now.

[...and the weird-looking green-ish stuff in the right lower quadrant is dried seaweed! >>> SO GOOD!]
A few animal crackers with green tea, and that's a wrap for dinner!

Late snack featured these beauties: blueberries and a pear! Love pears, but now I want more quince :)

They dined on mince, and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon; and hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon

[The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear]


>>>Food Should Taste Good Giveaway<<<

P.S. Look what I found on sale today at Michael's! I love flowers, so to keep the summer spirit going in my room, I try to fill the space with as many flowers (live and not) as I can! These certainly aren't real, but they are beautiful, and the round vase is so unique!

Stuffed {Pel'meni with Seitan}

I came across Ksenia's recipe for veganized version of Russian Pel'meni (dumplings most often stuffed with ground beef, pork, or turkey, or any combination of these) probably a year ago (or possibly even longer than that... I've lost all sense of time in medical school). It's been on my mind for a while, and at last, today, it became a reality! ...All thanks to my grandmother. I caught her making Pel'meni with ground meat, and asked if she could make a few more with the seitan I had bought earlier this week. 
Oh My Goodness. These were AWESOME. 

We boiled them in vegetable broth, mixed in tzatziki, and each ate probably a dozen of them!

Second course was a mix of leftovers - sauteed sour kraut, roasted butternut squash, and sauteed veggies (I added nutritional yeast to boost protein and B12 content - makes it kinda cheesy/creamy! Love it!)
The above plate was refilled twice. I was in food heaven. :)

Grandma and I then went off to Costco to get groceries for the week. I always think/hope that if I have lunch before going to Costco, I'll be able to walk past all the food samples... Once again, I was wrong. 
Cheese, yogurt, cookie dough... you name it, I tried it. Oops. At least we did a lot of walking!

So what are your thoughts about my blog layout... Wordpress? or Blogger?

It's Sunday? What?!

xoxo. Veronica 

The flavors of Thanksgiving {Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats}

I've been craving the flavors of Thanksgiving, and I blame the butternut squash I've been eating for the past two days! This morning, the cravings translated into something-cranberry and something-orange. What could it be? 
Looks like Cranberry Orange Steel Cut Oats to me!
Ha! Looks like it rhymes! :)

In addition to this new flavor, I also tried something new with the oats preparation. As you probably know, steel cut oats take a while to cook - usually up to 45min! I got home from babysitting way past midnight last night, and didn't have the energy, no the time, to stand by the stove top for 45min.
So instead, I boiled water, poured it over my uncooked steel cuts oats, covered it, and let it stand overnight!
In the morning, I brought the oats to a boil, and it took just 5 min for them to cook! Hallelujah!

So here are the details:

{Cranberry Orange Overnight Steel Cut Oats}


1/4 c. uncooked steel cut oats
1/2 c. boiling water
1 T. dried cranberries
1 medium orange* (2-3 slices for the oatmeal; the rest to enjoy on the side!)
*or 1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 t. brown sugar
1 t. chia seeds
a splash of vanilla extract
a sprinkle of cinnamon

  1. The night before: combine oats and water, cover, and let stand overnight.
  2. In the morning: bring oat mixture to a boil.
  3. Squeeze the juice of 2-3 orange slices into the oatmeal, slice up the remaining pulp, and mix into the oats. Add more water, if necessary. 
  4. Stir in cranberries, brown sugar, chia seeds, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
  5. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for approximately 5 min. 

Don't these orange slices look beautiful? Their bright color makes me smile!
And since I mentioned Thanksgiving, I think it's also appropriate to remind us all that we don't need an official holiday to encourage us to express our gratitude for our loved ones and the many wonderful and special small and large things in our lives. A simple, genuine thank you is a truly special two-word sentence that can't ever be taken for granted.
Happy Sunday!

Today's plans and promises

It was another spring day outside! Sunny. Warm. Wind-free. I stuck to my plans and went for a run! A nice 4-miler. kiwis hoping to increase the distance a little more, but my legs were feeling heavy-ish and I was short for time. So 4 miles it was and it was glorious!

I stopped a few times to stretch and to cross the road, but I was looking forward to those stops!
And as planned, a protein-packed post-run snack followed!
Didn't I promise you last night's butternut squash would make its way into one of today's meals? Looks like it did!
I added a little bit of maple syrup and cinnamon to make it sweeter. And in it went between layers of plain Chobani Greek yogurt. Topped with strawberry preserves and KIND Honey & Oat Clusters.
And here I am now - babysitting! The family was very kind to leave dinner for me - fish with lots of veggies!
And for dessert, the kids and I had kettle corn! It was almost as good as the kettle corn flavor of the FSTG tortilla chips! ;)
Ah! The weekend is going by way too quickly! Do you have any Saturday night traditions?
xoxo. Veronica

Saturday, January 28, 2012

There are pickles in my soup! {Russian Rassol'nik}

I bet you've never had a soup based entirely on dill pickles... And if you have, it was either (1) a culinary accident experiment, or (2) Russian soup Rassol'nik. In the case of today's lunch, it was the latter. One of my favorite soups, Rassol'nik is incredibly versatile, healthy, easy to make, and delicious. Because pickles control the scene flavor, the broth can be either vegetable- or chicken-based without sacrificing the traditional flavor at all. So choose your pickles wisely!



Here is a wonderful step-by-step recipe for vegetarian and meat versions of Rassol'nik. Most often, it's made with barley, but we often substitute in rice, quinoa, or even buckwheat. Today was quinoa day.

While making Rassol'nik, my grandma overheard on the Russian TV that cauliflower was good for bone health. Immediately, she went online in search of cauliflower recipes!

I never considered just how nutritious cauliflower is, and I tend to be skeptical about health advice given on Russian television. But, indeed! Cauliflower is quite the powerfood! It's a great source of Potassium, Sodium, Dietary Fiber, Protein, and Vitamins C, K, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Thiamin. WAY TO GO, CAULIFLOWER.


Steamed cauliflower & broccoli, topped with tzatziki + melted parmisan and chopped walnuts.


Simple. Beautiful. Delicious. Nutritious. What else could I ask for?!

A run is tentatively scheduled for 3:30pm. A protein-packed snack, most likely in a form of Chobani love, to follow. I'm babysitting tonight for the most wonderful family that I met 4 years ago. It's so incredible watching the kids grow up... The youngest was just 6 months when I started babysitting for them!

Hope your day is going well. Stay warm, happy, and healthy, and get some fresh air!


>>>Food Should Taste Good Giveaway<<<


I may have officially started a weekend tradition! Last week's Happyolks have become an official treat, and I decided to make them again today for my grandma and me. The first time I made them, they looked like eggs and bread scrambled together... but it looks like I'm finally getting the hang of it! Aren't they beautiful?

Whole grain for moi. White bread for grandma.

As soon as I got our Happyolks off the skillet, we dug in!

I love the runny yolk! Hmm, shall I name this morning's treat Runnyolks? Methinks yes! And local farm fresh organic eggs are a gazillion times more delicious (and more nutritious!!!) than the store bought ones. They are not expensive, and the taste and your support of local farmers is worth so much more than the some-cent-difference.

And so, thank you, Runnyolks, for making my Saturday a happy and bright one! (Yellow is my favorite color, by the way!)

I highly recommend these beauties with grated cheese or a soft cheese on top! SO GOOD!

Have a wonderful Saturday!


Friday, January 27, 2012

The nutterbut squash

How in the world was it 55F degrees today?! It was deceitful, though, because the winds were brutal! I didn't get to go outside, so I'm planning for a run tomorrow. I hope the Wind Gods will have left by then!

When I got home from lecture, I was uber hungry, and because lunch wasn't ready yet, I started munching on pita chips with hummus. The munching went on for too long... I should have known better! So, lunch followed a little later and was on the lighter side. But it was surely delightful! A bowl of pea soup and a bowl of sauteed sour kraut. Grandma has been adding capers to many of her dishes - I love their little bursts of sourness! [This is coming from the girl that eats whole lemons...]

My afternoon snack included greek yogurt, toast, and a cup of coffee. I was sleeepy!

And oh my, was dinner lovely or what!? Salad (duh!), with balsamic glazed roasted butternut sqush, quinoa, and salmon with carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms sauteed/caramelized in tomato paste.

I was so excited to make butternut squash after I bought this beauty today at the Farmer's Market! But I had no idea what to do with it. I figured roasting never fails! So I got to work... First search term: nutterbut... Good job, Veronica. 

Once I figured out why my search failed to yield any recipes, I came across Chelsey's recipe for Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash Fries, and followed it to a T. The result: phenomenal. [I actually roasted about 1/4 of the squash just in olive oil and salt... not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, you'll certainly see it incorporated into some meal in some shape or form!]

Dessert featured a small hunk of freshly baked bread and a spoonful of Nutella. And a cup of green tea, of course!

Does anyone have any nutterbut squash recipes to share with me? Looking for suggestions!

The deadline to enter the FSTG giveaway is almost here!!! Who's going to get lucky?

Have a good night, everybody!

♥ V.

Oatmeal assembly line

Never did I think I would do this, but... Being in a half-asleep state, I somehow managed to cut an apple in half the wrong way... But I'm surely glad I did because it inspired this morning's creation. Apple cinnamon oatmeal that is protein-packed and delicious.

And it was created in a step-by-step process.

...Last night I blended together (with a hand blender):

  • 1/4 cup almond milk

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/2 scoop of SunWarrior protein powder

...I then mixed in:

  • 1 tsp chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup instant oats

...In the morning, I reheated the mixture with additional splash of water and stirred in:

  • 1 tsp Chocolate PB2

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

...And in midst of my pretty-apple excitement, I just put the whole slice on top of my oats! Now how am I supposed to eat that?! So, out went the apple, and in went the apple sliced up!

...Plus KIND Oats & Honey Clusters and CocoChia coconut flakes.


To recap:


Since most of the apple remained (I used just a 1/4" slice for the oatmeal), 1/2 of the apple was sprinkled with cinnamon (can you tell I was in cinnamon mood this morning?) and eaten on the spot, and the other 1/2 was taken to school and eaten with creamy almond butter for snack.... I just can't get over how pretty this apple looks!

Friday is here at last! Do you have any exciting plans?

It's raining here and it's making me sleeeepy!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

When dinner came early

Lunch with my dearest N is always wonderful. She brightens my day with her endless energy (Hi N! I know you are reading this!) :)
Lunch consisted if a salad, an almost-hard-boiled egg (my favorite!), and a side of imitation crab meat (I just realized how weird that sounds... It's made of Alaskan Pollack... and it's actually really good).

As always, N was an incredible hostess. That girl doesn't know how to sit still... She couldn't stop offering me various Indian treats to which I couldn't say no... And so I managed to consume a handful of nuts and some spicy things the name of which I don't know and if i did, I probably wouldn't be able to pronounce. :)
By the time I got home around 5:30 after class and running errands, my stomach was demanding dinner, and I decided to respond promptly to this demand...
With a big bowl of sautéed veggies on top of the nutty and deliciously wholesome quinoa (which is hiding underneath!)... Yummm!



...and a side of my face Russian rye bread! It's made with molasses, which gives it the beautiful dark, almost purple, color.
...knowing myself, there is a 95% chance that I will have dinner numero dos later tonight...
Friday is almost here!!!... And the deadline to enter the FSTG giveaway is 4 days away!!!


Somebody overslept...

I was in the deepest sleep last night... I didn't even hear my alarm going of at all... But apparently my entire family did... At 5:30am :-/

I didn't have time to put together my breakfast last night, so I threw every single cereal into my bowl, topped with banana slices, cinnamon and PB2.

Since I would be running around all morning at the hospital, I needed something more to keep my energy up.
Pita bread with almond butter and more banana! That should do it! ...and two cups of coffee :)
Hope your day is going well! I just finished my clinical off-site and will be meeting up with my best friend N for lunch!
Xoxo. Veronica

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The 30 minute difference

I love it when, to my surprise, 30 minutes somehow free up in midst of an otherwise hectic-no-free-time day. That's what happened today! Yay! As I was driving home from school, I just couldn't wait to go out for a run. The weather was perfect - a little chilly but not cold; sunshine and not a single cloud!!

It surely looks like I paced myself pretty well today! I did my fave short loop - perfect distance to get my heart pumping and to get fresh air into my lungs and to get me home in time for the next bullet point on my to-do list! What a difference it made! I felt so energized and happy.

After the run, I was in the mood for something meal-like rather than snack-ish and something warm. So, I had a bowl cup of borscht and whole grain toast with hummus! It was exactly what I needed!

Dinner came a few hours later, after another meetings and driving all over the place doing errands. Another dinner-in-a-bowl, from now on proclaimed to be DIAB! :)

A colorful salad, a couple of potato wedges, crispy cauliflower (prepared with breadcrumbs!), and veggiemeatballs. Mm-mm-good!



And the meal was finished off with these sweet beauties. The pear was soooo juicy!


That's it my dears! Another day of food, fitness, and fun shared with you! I love when you leave comments, so please do so when you can! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post.

♥ V.

P.S. Food Should Taste Good is ova hurrr --> giveaway!