Happy New Year, y’all! I hope everyone’s holiday celebrations were great and 2022 is treating y’all well so far! I fell off the face of the earth last quarter and let a lot of posts sit in my brain rather than put to web paper… sorry about that!
For the last two weeks leading up to the new year, I was ill (thankfully not COVID-19 though!) and feeling miserable to the point where I was bed ridden for a few days. It’s a shame I couldn’t enjoy time off being well and healthy, but being alone for an extended period of time gets my mind racing about the things I wish I had done and accomplished, things I wish I hadn’t let fall to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong – I’m truly grateful for everything I have but something is just missing within me and I can never figure it out despite my efforts. And it’s a pattern where I start something strong and motivated but then it dissipates just as quickly and it’s hard to get back on the horse again. It’s an everyday effort to get myself to stay in a habit to be consistent – with anything honestly.
And that’s what I want 2022 to be about – re-establishing and maintaining consistent good, positive habits that serve me and only me. It’s not necessarily a resolution because those have a negative connotation of being short-lived, so it’s going to be a long-term commitment. In that commitment, I’m taking a step back, amidst the conveniently timed Omicron spike rates, to be alone. I did a lot of reflecting about the last year or two and how I haven’t been happy with myself. I was too busy running away from me and trying to be someone else, fit the mold and perform for others – friends, relationships and even family. I am myself to a certain extent but have always felt I had to be what everyone wanted of me and expected of me, so now I want to re-discover myself and become the person I want to be.
Wow. It feels like it’s been ages since I posted any meals, but we’re about right on time! Some key takeaways for me the past couple of weeks is I’ve grown more accustomed to not eating meat, especially red meat, and more salads are filling my plate. Check them out:
So, originally, this was supposed to be the Stuffed Pepper Bowl from Cassey Ho’s 2022 Glowup Sessions recipes, but I had bad luck with the tofu! Apparently the seal had been opened (I’m not sure how I didn’t catch that shopping), and the tofu smelled a little funky. Needless to say, I had to improvise and decided to make a skirt steak bowl, and my goodness it was super filling! And to be honest, it’s been so long since I’ve cooked red meat that I feel like I’ve lost touch on how to get the perfect pink middle!
The social media algorithms are getting to me! I’m seeing more and more delicious vegetarian and/or vegan recipes pop up on my feeds, and they’ve all looked and tasted delicious. The Balsamic Salad is no exception. It’s super simple to make – the only long wait “cooking” time is toasting the seasoned chickpeas.
The Kimchi Pasta redemption arc! If you remember previously, I tried to make this before but had moldy kimchi, so I tried it again. The recipe calls for any regular pasta, but of course, I cooked it with veggie spaghetti. This was my first time making carbonara, and I think I did an okay job! Instead of bacon, which I never eat/cook myself, I substituted with cut pepperoni circles. Overall, this kimchi version is definitely an interesting take on the classic carbonara, so if you’re looking for a new twist, try this one!
For whatever reason, finding this recipe came at a coincidental time because I was craving cooked mushrooms, which rarely happens honestly. The full recipe makes a lot of servings, so it’s definitely one you want to portion out throughout the week. One major takeaway, er confirmation, I got from making this is I most definitely prefer my mushrooms to be a supplement to a dish rather than the focus (i.e. on pizza, in risotto, etc.)
Okay, this dish was one I was most excited to try, and my mom specifically requested to eat as well. I told her about the original Jen Aniston salad (coming soon!) and how this recipe adapts it to a more tabbouleh approach. I’m proud to say my mom had 1.5 servings for lunch with me and even ate another helping when she got home! It feels really accomplishing when my chef of parents try my cooking and love it. This salad is going on the repeat list for sure – it’s fresh, it’s tasty and you get a great amount of veggies with it. The only down-ish side is the amount of prep there is; cutting so many vegetables takes time, but at least you can do that while the quinoa is cooking.
Sticking with the cleaner eating has been so good for me, and I’m honestly relieved switching to more vegan options hasn’t upset my body’s equilibrium or rejected the change. At the end of the day, I’m glad I never have to doubt I’m nourishing my body and providing what it needs to be healthy. Crossing my fingers I don’t have any future doctor appointments with consistent bad news!
More great recipes finds were discovered! As I’ve been slowly incorporating more plant-based and vegan elements to my diet, it’s been even more fun to be cooking. And I cannot express how GOOD it feels to know you’re feeding yourself healthy food instead of the guilt I feel when I eat unhealthy. I can’t go through another “bad news” doctor visit ever again!
From the past two weeks, this was my favorite dish to make/eat. It’s a lot of prep work to chop all the vegetables and bake them, but once everything is together, it tastes divine. The recipe yields a lot for one person, so I was happy I was able to share some for lunch with my mom and send her home with her next lunch at home! Definitely going to make this again.
The more I make sandwiches, the more I understand why people say it’s an art to put one together and have the flavors work in harmony. This is by far the best sandwich I’ve made, and I also made one for my mom, which she loved! Having a regular turkey, tomato, lettuce and cheese sandwich is already delicious, but adding a smear of hummus and a smear of green goddess dressing is SUPERB.
This recipe may need some refinement on my part, but honestly, I was playing “What Do I Have Left in my Fridge?” like my dad does, and it was semi-successful. The salmon could have been less cooked – it was a little tough tough – and I’m still trying to perfect the best fluffy rice technique!
Okay, I admit that I was a tiny bit skeptical when I put this on my meal list, but I’ve been OBSESSED with udon noodles and wanna cook it in all the ways! I ran out of greens to add to this dish, but the sauce flavor is on point. I tried it both with udon and instant ramen (without the packaged seasoning) and can confirm both are tasty!
Some call it madness, but there’s a method to my madness. My meal planning spans all dishes for two weeks so that I’m using the same ingredients without wasting, and I eliminate multiple trips to the grocery store. Next on my list that my mom and I are gonna try is a modified version of the infamous Jennifer Aniston salad!
You threw a grenade. At first I was expecting an awful explosion, so I kept my walls up and sturdy. To my surprise, it was the booming sounds of fireworks, my heartbeat, and a sea of butterflies’ wings. It was great at first, but I soon realized the roaring was really the sound of the earth shattering– from your berating love bomb, tricking me into feeling safe. So I took the blame and endured the bruising on my heart and soul. I can only hope I recover from the deep wounds and stinging scars you’ve left on me. 3/28/22
There have been some good recipe finds in the last couple of weeks’ meal plans! That’s always exciting (: I’m really bad about eating enough vegetables, so I’m glad I stumbled upon these recipes. What did I have? Find out below!
This was one of the great finds for my meal plan! Green goddess dip was delicious, so I was excited to try it out in soup form! It’s a great source of vegetables (90% of the dish), and you wouldn’t even know it tasting it, especially after you add coconut milk – that’s all I could taste as I took each bite. To be completely honest, this is best served hot right away versus saving it in the fridge and eating later. That all said, I would have halved the ingredients so it’s half the portion so I can finish it all.
THIS was my favorite meal that I ate. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of fresh salads, but this was tasty and light enough for me to make multiple times and for my family as well! It’s super simple to prepare and make and delicious to eat.
Another great find in my meal plan! It was a new way to eat salmon than my usual with avocado and rice, but boy I need to portion out the red pepper marinade better! The honey burnt so bad it smoked my kitchen! Luckily it didn’t turn into a bad situation, and it didn’t set off any alarms. Anyway, it was delicious and filling! I also sent a picture to my family because I was proud of making it, and my dad, who is a stellar chef, said it looked professional like a restaurant made it. That compliment made my day!
So, this recipe is supposed to be chicken, but I did not check my inventory and found out that I didn’t have any. Luckily, this recipe also works with pork, so I substituted it! Another substitute I made was using potato starch instead of corn starch. This is a simple dish, but it is packed with good flavors.
These are the kimchi udon noodles I wanted to make last meal plan when I ran out of kimchi and then bought a fresh container containing mold. And boy howdy it. is. GOOD. I’m definitely going to make this more often because it’s easy to make and yummy. I love the texture of udon and the flavor is packing!
You may remember this Bang Bang Shrimp recipe from a few meal plans ago, but I brought it back again because I love the flavor and I need a meatless one-dish wonder for Fridays during Lent! However, last time I made the recipe by frying the shrimp with panko in vegetable oil, I got a physical done later that week and the doctor found high levels of triglycerides in my blood and advised me to avoid fast food, greasy and oily foods. So, this time, I tried to pseudo stir fry the shrimp with potato starch and add the sauce in the pan to coat it – almost like a honey glaze for the Honey Garlic Pork I made.
Okay, real talk, ALL of these recipes have been extremely delicious, and I will be the biggest repeat offender of them all. I can’t wait to eat them again plus add more to the meal plan repertoire!
What are some new recipes you’ve found lately? Share them in the comments below!
Here it is! The Kimchi Challenge I gave myself! It was an interesting experience, and I’ll go into detail why. If you recall from my previous weekly meals post, I wanted to challenge myself to have kimchi in my dinner and lunch meals. How did that turn out? See below!
This was probably my favorite kimchi-based dish I made! It never occurred to me to put kimchi in a taco, but it was DELICIOUS! And for the “taco meat,” I tried a new plant-based meat substitute – tempeh – which is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. I would definitely make this again because the flavors all worked well together for a tasty experience.
Kimchi Brisket Bowl
Another gem dish to be honest. There’s no specific recipe for it because it’s more of a put all these things together and see how the different flavors complement each other. I already eat thinly sliced beef brisk with kimchi and rice for my normal “homemade” Korean BBQ, so adding more veggies to the plate with a sriracha/vegan sour cream/mayo sauce was -chef’s kiss! The first time I made it, I marinated the meat, but I think it tastes better un-marinated because there are already strong flavor profiles competing against each other.
So, this is where things got … interesting. I ran out of kimchi before the week was over, so I did a quick trip to the grocery store to get a new container. Well, that evening I wanted to make kimchi pasta, but there was mold in my new container!!! I was immediately turned off and returned it. Instead, I just made a carbonara-inspired spaghetti dish, which was pretty good for thinking on the fly!
Plant-based Flatbread Pizza
This was supposed to be a kimchi pizza, but see above not having any kimchi and was turned off for a bit. Nevertheless, I did enjoy making and eating this, but what’s tricky is the plant-based shredded mozzarella takes FOREVER to melt.
All in all, it was a good two weeks with a focused theme meal plan. I learned some new recipes that I will definitely incorporate into my everyday lifestyle. As far as “weight loss,” I already had a feeling it wouldn’t make a dent, especially because other items were on my plate. I don’t know if I could fully commit to ONLY kimchi and rice, but I honestly don’t need to anyway.
Do y’all like kimchi? If so, what are some of your favorite dishes with kimchi?