ten-minute stir fry

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ingredients: garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, cooked rice, brown mushrooms, spinach, eggplant, eggs, sesame seeds, fresh basil, ginger, sea salt, and black pepper.

chop up the garlic and sauté in sesame oil. crack the eggs into the pan (season with salt and pepper) and chop up the mushrooms and eggplant while the garlic and eggs are cooking in the pan. add the mushrooms and eggplant into the pan, then add the cooked riced, and cover in soy sauce (and a little more sesame oil). chop up some ginger and fresh basil, and add into the pan. add the spinach in and watch it shrink down. season with salt and pepper, take off the heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

i’m pretty sure this post took me longer to write up than making this dish for dinner tonight.

cauliflower rice and a 12 week challenge

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ingredients: cauliflower, lime, green onions, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

put the cauliflower in a food processor until it has the right grainy texture (not for too long, so it doesn’t get mushy). chop up the garlic and green onions, sauté in a pan with olive oil; add the cauliflower, stir around for a bit until it looks ready then place in a bowl. chop up the cilantro, add it to the newly made cauliflower rice; squeeze fresh lime all over the dish, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a protein like chicken.

this is the meal i had right before i took my “after” picture for the 12 week challenge at work (spoiler alert: i didn’t win).

the only reason i even entered the competition was because the company paid the entry fee, and it happened to coincide with me actually wanting to get back into shape anyway. i was hit with the “enough is enough, i feel gross, unhealthy, and fat, and it’s time to do something about it” feeling that i haven’t felt in a few years. i hid my body in loose-fitting clothes all the time, and convinced myself that everything was okay because guys still found me attractive. well, there was one problem with that… i didn’t find myself attractive.

so, i committed to making a change. one that was sustainable with my lifestyle though and didn’t force me to give up all the things i enjoyed about life (aka huge bowls of homemade pasta and wine). i monitored my calorie intake and joined an expensive gym (so i’d force myself to go, to get my money’s worth) that is conveniently located in-between home and work and has classes that fit in with my schedule (side-note: studeo 55 is one of the best gyms i’ve ever joined).

the struggle is far from over, even though i’ve made a lot of progress. i do feel healthier, stronger, and more confident with my body, which is a huge step for me. i’ve realized it’s all about balance, and finding something that works for you and your body. my method and routine works perfectly for me, but might not be for everyone.

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spaghetti squash with sausage and kale

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ingredients: spaghetti squash (get them to cut it in half for you at the grocery store – if they’ll do it, it will save you a lot of hassle), sausages, kale, garlic, onion, pine nuts, fresh parsley, sea-salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

pre-heat oven to 400°, scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds, place the pieces of spaghetti squash on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

while the spaghetti squash is in the oven, chop up the garlic, onion, sausages, kale, and parsley. put the garlic and onion in a pan first with olive oil – eventually add the sausage pieces to the mix, then the kale, pine nuts, and parsley.

once the spaghetti squash is ready, fork it out into a bowl and then add the sausage and kale mixture to it. season with salt and pepper.

make your leftovers taste different the next day by adding different spices to it – i recommend rubbed sage.

simple salad dressing

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ingredients: olive oil, honey, lemons, shallots, garlic, dried cranberries, sea-salt, pepper, and mushrooms (optional).

mince garlic, slice shallots, and heat up both in a pan with olive oil. add the cranberries (and mushrooms), squeeze fresh lemon juice in, add a bit of honey, then season with salt and pepper.

pour over your greens of choice – i usually opt for kale and add a bit of avocado in there as well.

mint in meatballs? delicious.

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mint in meatballs… i was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be absolutely delicious.

i would normally post a link back to the original recipe, but i deviated so much from it that there’d be no point. well, i didn’t deviate from it ingredient-wise, but i just didn’t agree with the techniques she used. firstly, the author told me to set my oven at 425°C, and i did at first, but then all this smoke started to emerge from the oven so i turned it down to 350 before a fire started. the author of the original recipe also wanted to GRATE the zucchini and sear the meatballs over the stove before placing them in the oven – ain’t nobody got time for that! i chopped up the zucchini in my blender (it had a “chop” button that i’ve been wanting to test out) and i stuck the meatballs straight in the oven until they were fully cooked. i love finding efficient ways to do things, without compromising quality. some might see it as laziness, but i prefer the term “being resourceful.”

besides, who wants to cook a laborious dinner after returning home tired from a full day at work? that’s what i thought.

ingredients: ground turkey, zucchini, green onions, fresh mint leaves, cilantro, cloves of garlic, egg, sea-salt, pepper, and cumin.

pre-heat oven to 350°C. chop up the ingredients and place in a bowl. crack the egg in there, add the spices, and mix everything around with your hands. shape into meatballs, put on a baking tray (i lined mine with a sheet of wax paper), and bake for around 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are done.

easy, simple, and delicious.

crockpot magic: dinner that will make itself, and leftovers for lunch

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crockpots are one of the most incredible inventions of mankind. the greatest thing about crockpot recipes is that most of them require little to no prep, you can toss all the ingredients in there in the morning before work, leave it to cook for the day, and come home to a delicious dinner that cooked itself.

here’s the recipe to a dish i tried last week. i didn’t use measurements as usual, but just felt it out according to my personal preferences and taste-buds (eg. i like garlic, so i put a lot of garlic in there).

ingredients: chicken, black beans, corn, onions, garlic, chicken broth (just enough to almost cover everything), cilantro, avocado, sea-salt, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, and rice.

the only real prep that this recipe requires is chopping up the onions and garlic, which i did the night before. i put all the ingredients (except for the cilantro, avocado, and rice) into the crockpot, and left it to cook for the day on the “low” setting (i turned it on at 7 am and came home to it at around 6 pm). then i shred the chicken up into pieces (with a fork and knife) without taking it out of the crockpot, stirred it around, and left it to cook for another 15 minutes. while it was cooking, i made some rice in my rice cooker, chopped up cilantro and avocado, and then put a bowl together when it was all done.

i also had leftovers for days, and i brought a tupperware full with me to work the next day. bringing my lunch to work is something i’ve never been good at, but managed to successfully do four out of five days last week – it was quite the milestone for me, as this was the first time that has happened in my entire working life. according to this article, people who go out for lunch every single day spend roughly around $2,500 a year on lunch. definitely something to think about.

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spaghetti squash with bacon

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ingredients: spaghetti squash, bacon, onions, garlic, parsley, sea-salt, and pepper.

preheat over to 350°. cut spaghetti squash in half or have it cut in half for you at the store – they usually will if you ask nicely, and it will save you a lot of time and frustration (trust me, cutting a squash isn’t fun). scoop the seeds out. place the squash halves face-down on a baking tray that’s lined with a tiny bit of water (to ensure the squash doesn’t burn). bake the squash for about 40 minutes and then scoop the strands out with a fork when done.

make bacon in a pan and save the bacon fat. chop up garlic and onions, and fry in the bacon fat. add the spaghetti squash in. chop up the bacon and add it in as well. season with parsley, sea-salt, and pepper.