Tasty Tuesday #3 stir fry edition & exciting news

Hi friends! I hope you all have had a wonderful Tuesday so far. Mine has been filled with a whole lot of nothing…in a good way though! I wasn’t feeling very well so I spent most of the day resting, reading, and watching Netflix. My boyfriend was kind enough to have a Netflix marathon with me.

I highly recommend “Spinning Plates”, one of the documentaries we watched today. It profiles three very different restaurants and gives you an inside look at their ideas, how the restaurants are run, and what inspired their restaurants. One of the restaurants featured in the documentary is Alinea, right here in Chicago. They are rated three stars. the highest Michelin rating given to a restaurant and thus an expensive place to eat. I think it costs over $200 to eat there! Regardless, it was cool to learn about a restaurant not too far from where I live, about the Michelin rating system,  and about what owning/running a restaurant is actually like. I will say Alinea is just a LITTLE bit out of my price range though ;).

Well… sorry for the random tangent about Netflix, now onto what I really wanted to share with you all: a simple stir fry recipe! This stir fry is super easy to make and can be modified in many ways, from the vegetables you use to the protein source you chose. I’ll admit the pictures and recipe are actually from our dinner Sunday, but it’s been a few days since I posted so I thought I’d still share the recipe today. It was my first time using the Wok my boyfriend’s parents got me for my birthday a few months ago and I have to say if you have a Wok, use it! It is much more fun and easier to stir fry in a Wok than a traditional frying pan. This recipe is super easy and takes under a half hour from start to finish, perfect for those busy nights. 🙂

Simple Vegetarian Stir Fry

yield: 3-4 servings

ingredients

1 cup of Jasmine rice plus 2 cups of water (or brown rice)

1/2-1 block of extra firm tofu

2 bell peppers

1 zucchini

1 can of water chestnuts

canola oil

seasoning ingredients

1 Sun-bird stir fry seasoning mix (doesn’t have MSG!)

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup water

dash of ginger

1. Clean the bell peppers and zucchini. Peel the zucchini. Chop the vegetables.

2. Prepare the rice as indicated on the package, If using Jasmine rice I recommend 2 parts water to one part rice for tasty “sticky” rice.

3. Put some canola oil in the Wok and turn the heat on high.

4. After a couple of minutes add the veggies to the Wok.

5. Press the water out of the block of tofu and then chop.

6. Add the tofu to the veggie mixture in the Wok and stir fry for a few minutes.

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7. Prepare the seasoning as indicated on the stir fry seasoning mix packet (mix the contents of the packet, the sugar, soy sauce, and water together).

8. Add the water chestnuts to the Wok as well as the seasoning mixture once the tofu and veggies have started to brown.

9. Stir fry the entire mixture until thickened (approx. one minute).

10. Serve the stir fry over the rice and add a dash of ginger if desired.

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I probably make tofu stir once a week because I like it so much and it’s easy! I think it would be extra tasty with some stir fried pineapple too.  My boyfriend commented that since we make stir fry so much we need to make up our own seasoning mixture and I agree with him 100%. We made a spicier one with jalapeños once, but other than that we usually just use that seasoning mixture. Expect more stir fry recipes in the future as we experiment/try other seasoning combinations/ stir fry recipes! 🙂

Now onto my exciting news!

running update

As some of you already know, I am recovering from a case of IT band syndrome and have not been able to run much for the last month. Well, on Monday, my boyfriend and I went to a local running store to join in on their fun run night. It ended up being a pain free three miler for me! I did yoga before and after the run and rolled out my awful IT band with bruises to prove it, but a day later my IT band is still no tighter than before! Finger crossed, but it looks like after an entire month of no running I’m BACK at it! I’m am still going to take it very slow- running every other day (with cross training in between), but with continued yoga, rolling out, and my IT band rehabilitation exercises I am hoping to be back for good. I long to run further distances and to start training for another race, but I take a completely pain free run as a small victory and that definitely has made my week so far!

Well, friends I hope you all have an awesome night!

What Netflix documentary would you highly recommend? Also, what is your favorite way to season stir fry?

All moved in (finally) & tasty Tuesday #2-black bean burger edition

Good evening. I hope you all are having a great day! As of today, I’m happy to say I’m finally all moved into my apartment and I now have Wi-Fi here! It’s been a busy, but fun few days.

Move in/ last few days recap:

Saturday: Saturday was moving day. Once all our items were put into the apartment we cleaned the kitchen and bathroom and started unpacking and arranging the place. We did take a break to check out a local pizza place, as it is Chicago after all. 😛 I got a thin crust individual red pepper and basil pizza and my boyfriend got an individual of one of their specialty pizzas with bacon, chicken, jalapeños, and some other things. In all the craziness of moving I forgot to take pictures of the pizzas. We will definitely be back there, though, as it’s not far from our apartment, reasonably priced, and delicious!

Sunday: The first order of business on Sunday was grocery shopping. Luckily, there is a decent grocery store within a half mile of our apartment. The grocery bill was a little more expensive than we were expecting, though. I’m going to try to figure out good things to make that are relatively healthy, but not super expensive. Stay tuned as healthy grocery shopping on a budget in Chicago may be a potential topic here. :P. After grocery shopping, my boyfriend and I decided to try a local coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up and some Wi-Fi. We both had homework and studying to do for our summer classes. The coffee shop we went to had plenty of seating, was cute, and my iced almond milk latte was divine. My only complaint is that it was a pricey coffee shop so this will definitely be an occasional treat.

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After some homework I finished unpacking all my clothes and we rearranged the main room to utilize space better. We live in a studio apartment, but it is spacious as far as studios are concerned. Also, the kitchen here is actually bigger than the kitchen I had in college when I lived in a house with five people!

Monday: Monday was a pretty laid back day, especially because we were already unpacked. My boyfriend convinced me to try a short run with him despite my IT band injury. It has been almost a month since my half marathon and the discovery of my IT band injury so I was a little nervous. IT band injuries can heal in as soon as a week or two or take several months. In my two previous cases of IT band injuries I fell into the few months category. Maybe it took me longer in the past because in college, as a DI cross country/track runner, I still had to get aerobic training in and couldn’t just take some time off during my injuries.

Well, anyway, I tried a short run with my boyfriend and was fine! I was so shocked that my IT band didn’t lock up and that I was not in excruciating pain during the run! This time around I took nearly two weeks off of all forms of aerobic exercise so maybe that helped. I’m still completely shocked,  This short, slow run was basically all I could handle distance wise and I’m going to be cautiously

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optimistic as later on Monday night my IT band felt tighter. And now today (Tuesday) it is a little sore. Sad smile I’m going to be smart and gradually add in running every other day or every two days and keep up with my rehabilitation exercises and yoga. My fingers are crossed that I am on my way back to running healthy and can still run a second half marathon this fall! For dinner we made my favorite food- black bean burgers! My boyfriend also really likes them so that’s a bonus! I will share the recipe below. Smile

Today: I had my summer class today. but while I was gone the guy came to our apartment and installed the cable and Internet. Yay Wi-Fi! Finally! Then after I got back from class, my boyfriend and I ran to the store and explored the area near our apartment more. It looks like we are going on a bike ride later this evening and then cooking dinner. I can’t believe it’s already evening! I guess time goes by quickly when you have class for three or four hours.

Tasty Tuesday-black bean burgers

This recipe is inspired by the Simplest Bean Burgers (pg 660) in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and the Create-Your-Own Veggie Burger Recipe in The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic. I personally don’t add onion, but I included it here because I am guessing most people like onions in their black bean burgers.

yield: 4 black bean burgers

ingredients:

1 can of black beans (preferably lower sodium ones)

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 small onion diced

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder with parsley or chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 teaspoon oregano

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

water as needed to help form black bean burgers

vegetable oil for cooking

1. Drain and rinse the can of black beans. Mash the black beans in a bowl or using a food processor (TIP: putting the black beans in the microwave for a minute may make them easier to mash).

2. Add 1/2 cup oats, the spices, and soy sauce to the black bean mixture. Add some water and mix everything together (The amount of water needed will vary, but will probably be a few tablespoons. You just need them to be moist enough to roll into patties).

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3. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the skillet and turn the heat to medium.

4. Form the black bean mixture into patties

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5. Cook patties until nicely browned (about five minutes) and then flip and cook the other side until browned.

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I usually serve the black bean burgers with steamed vegetables or rice. Add any extra toppings that you desire such as tomatoes or lettuce. They also taste good topped with BBQ sauce.

Besides being delicious, another bonus of black bean burgers is that they aren’t very expensive to make, but still healthy. They will definitely be a regular in our dinner rotation!

What is your favorite thing to cook with black beans?