Vegan Meatless Monday Breakfast: Red Quinoa Bowl

Are you looking for Halloween recipes? Sorry, not going to find it here.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about a Vegan Meatless Monday Breakfast I'm eating right now: Red Quinoa Bowl.

I'm not a huge fan of quinoa. There, I said it. But I was getting tired of eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast and thought I'd give quinoa another try.

Here are a few tips:
1) Toast your quinoa in a bit of oil in a hot pan before adding liquid. Try not to use water: instead, use a vegetable broth to increase the flavor. For the ratio, use 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait about 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with the fork.

2) Toppings: toppings are the key. Think different textures, colors, flavors. This time I chose Marcona almonds, blistered tomatoes***, kalamata olives, cilantro, and fermented beets.

I'm pretty satisfied with this breakfast and I'm sure it'll keep me full till lunch!

***To blister tomatoes, heat a cast iron skillet and add tomatoes. You don't need oil. Toss the tomatoes around until the have blackened skin. Done.


How To Decorate Pumpkins Without Carving Them

pumpkin, diy, crafts, arts & crafts, halloween

When I was in College, we had to do an exercise of saying one adjective that described ourselves that started with the first letter of our name. Mine was O, and all I could think of was objective. Looking back, I should have chosen obsessive because I get obsessed with things.

My current obsession is mini pumpkins! They are so cute, inexpensive and cheerful!

You don't have to carve them. Leave them as is or add a bit of liquid glue and glitter!!! Easy, chic, and they can last through New Year and serve as winter decorations.

Don't forget to check out my nail polish pumpkin decorating tutorial from a few years back.

pumpkin, diy, glitter, fall, home decor, halloween

What are YOU obsessed with?


Meatless Monday: Chaia Vegetarian Tacos in Washington DC

vegetarian, tacos, washington dc

Over the last year I've heard a lot about vegetarian tacos at Chaia. They started selling their creations at farmers markets, but I rarely wake up early enough to visit the markets on the weekend. Or even if I do wake up early enough, I'm too lazy to get dressed and wash off the makeup after a night of dancing to metro over to a farmers market.

But then Chaia opened a location in Georgetown! This, I could do. I waited, however, for the weather to cool down a bit and for Uber to have one of their specials where I would pay only $3 to pool from my condo to Georgetown (instead of taking the metro, which is especially a mess on the weekends, and then walking).

Anywayssssssssssssssssssss. I finally made it to Chaia a few weekends ago to meet with my friends Alyssa and Nazilla. The restaurant is adorable. Great music. Welcoming decor. I liked that there were only 5 tacos to choose from because sometimes I get overwhelmed by the choices.

From the menu below I chose the mushroom taco, creamy kale & potato taco, and an eggplant taco. I liked them all. They were filling, delicious, and creative. I also liked the hot sauce available at each table. You get 3 tacos for $11, which is a pretty good deal.

mushroom feta, red sauce + cilantro
creamy kale + potato pepper jack, poblano crema, green sauce + pickled onions
smoky eggplant ricotta salata, parsley sauce + cilantro
moroccan carrot goat cheese, chipotle yogurt + mint
garlicky lemon greens queso fresco, roasted tomato + smoked paprika salsa
So if you are looking for a Meatless Monday dinner, check them out for sure! Or you can use the ingredient combination as an inspiration for your next meal. 


Brussels Sprouts: Love Them Or Hate Them? Brussels Sprouts With Sriracha & Roquefort

Brussels sprouts...love them or hate them?

I happen to love them but only when they are prepared properly: crispy on the outside, tender, but not overcooked on the inside.

The latest combination of flavors, and a new technique of preparing these beauties, comes courtesy of Gina aka SkinnyTaste. Magically, I happened to have all four ingredients (or their cousins) on hand to make a version of her Buffalo Brussels Sprouts with Crumbled Blue Cheese.

I liked Gina's method of first searing and cooking Brussels sprouts on top of the stove and then finishing them in the oven. You could, however, do the same technique in the oven by first searing the halved Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes cut side down and then continuing to roast these shaking the pan occasionally.

I did not have Franks Hot Sauce and used sriracha instead. For the blue cheese, I used Roquefort Society Bee variety. So good. All you have to do is top the roasted Brussels sprouts with sriracha and crumbled cheese right before serving.

Yes, I ate the entire mini skillet worth of Brussels sprouts for lunch.

How do you like eating Brussels sprouts?


Marcus Samuelsson's The Red Rooster Cookbook: Sunday Tomato Eggs

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook

When I went to NYC this past February, the one restaurant I really wanted to visit was Red Rooster in Harlem. Luckily, my friends were happy to check it out with me for dinner. I loved the cheerful atmosphere, live band and the food. Well, now you can make some of the recipes from Red Rooster because the owner of the restaurant, Marcus Samuelsson wrote The Red Rooster Cookbook!

The book comes out October 18th, and I'm excited to attend a Macy's Culinary Council event in Washington DC at Metro Center Macy's on October 26th to meet Chef Marcus Samuelsson and to learn more about the book. Additionally, there'll be Harlem-inspired food and entertainment from W.A.F.F.L.E (We Are Family For Life Entertainment) and The Rakiem Walker Project: maybe I'll bring my dancing shoes ;)

For more information on the event and to purchase your tickets, click here.

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy's; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I searched for a recipe from the book, I found one for Sunday Tomato Eggs published on WWD. The recipes reminded me of shakshuka, and I decided to make it this past Saturday.

Because I followed the recipe pretty closely, I'm not going to retype it. Basically, you make a tomato sauce using Mexican chorizo, onion, celery and garlic. Of course you add tomatoes (crushed)! The fun additions in the sauce were capers, olives, chipotle in adobo and horseradish!

Marcus says to poach the eggs directly in the sauce and serve them on top of toast topped with buratta and basil.

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook

I already had a hard boiled egg in my fridge, so used that and fresh mozzarella. The recipe was easy to make, and the sauce is delicious if you want to use it as the base for chili or to serve mixed with pasta or on top of polenta!

breakfast, marcus samuelsson, red rooster cookbook


Happy Fall Weekend

Pumpkin, fall, autumn, October, weekend

Fall, trees, October, weekend


Beef, Bagels & Brunch in NYC & Brooklyn

This past Friday I took Amtrak to New York City for a four day weekend. The occasion was my friend Jenny's wedding. I loved celebrating Jenny and Chris, getting out of town, hanging out with my friends Laura & Carlos and their kids and eating all the things.

The theme for this post is the letter B ;)

Above is an incredible sandwich of roast Beef I got for my Amtrak ride back to DC from the newly opened Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors at The Pennsy. To be honest, I wasn't sure about paying $12 for a sandwich, but it was so worth it. Sesame bread, goat cheese, watercress and pickled onions with thinly sliced roast beef: perfection. My fellow Amtrak passengers were probably super envious. {Thanks Jenny for the recommendation!}

Below is an everything bagel from Absolute Bagels that came highly recommended by Jenny and also my airbnb hosts. It was only a 5 minute walk from where I was staying and had a relatively short line thanks to Monday being a holiday. The smoked salmon was like butter!

I had not one, but two bagels in NYC. The other one was also an everything bagel, but with white smoked fish salad from Murray's Bagels. Fun place. Be ready to stand in line.

And finally, a double B: Brunch in Brooklyn at Rabbithole. It was a super rainy Sunday, so we had no trouble finding a table. There were roasted potatoes, bacon, Bloody Mary (ooh another B!), pancakes, hot chocolate and fun conversation.

Can't wait to go back to NYC to eat at more places!


TGIF: Happy Weekend

Wishing you a happy weekend.  Good food. Good company. Perfect fall weather. 

This is an apple pie I made at the baking class at Buttercream Bakeshop.  I'm taking it with me to New York today. Adventures await. 


Dinner In 20 Minutes: Seared Tuna Steak With Sautéed Eggplant

tuna, eggplant, recipe, quick and easy, seafood, domenica marchetti

Dinner in 20 minutes that's healthy, satisfying and is great as leftovers? Yes, that's possible!

This Seared Tuna Steak With Sauteed Eggplant recipe is courtesy of an idea Domenica Marchetti gave me when I asked what I can make with a tuna steak I had at home. Yes, it's nice to have a cookbook author as a friend.

Luckily,  I had Domenica's Rustic Italian cookbook in my possession as well as pretty fairy tale eggplant from Washington's Green Grocer. I overly simplified Domenica's recipe for Tuna Tagliata with Eggplant Salad and Oregano Oil, but the end result was still awesome.

Seared Tuna Steak With Sautéed Eggplant

Ingredients: the quantity is up to you!
olive oil
fairy tale eggplant, diced
white onion, diced
sherry vinegar
tuna steak

1. Pour enough olive oil into a skillet to cover the bottom. Allow the oil to heat. Add diced eggplant and onion and season with salt. Saute for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and add a few splashes of sherry vinegar. {Domenica used red wine vinegar in her recipe, but I did not have it, so used with sherry vinegar.}

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet. Season tuna steak with salt and sear on both sides for 2-4 minutes depending on how rare you want the fish to be in the middle. I wanted mine to be pretty rare!

3. Slice tuna across the grain, as you do with any other steak, and serve along with the eggplant and onion mixture. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.

tuna, eggplant, recipe, quick and easy, seafood, domenica marchetti

I was not sure how the eggplant would go with the tuna, but I had nothing to worry about. The combination was stellar! I had leftovers straight out of the fridge next day at work and they were almost better! {Side note: please never ever heat fish in an office microwave room!}

Simple. Nutritious. Pretty. I'd make this dish again for sure!


Meatless Monday: What To Do With Black Radishes? Black Radish & Chioggia Beet Crudo

Meatless Monday: What To Do With Black Radishes? Black Radish & Chioggia Beet Crudo

In my last week's order from Green Grocer, I received black radishes and Chioggia beets. I also won a super cool little mandoline/slicer that I've been obsessed with for days. I used all these things to make a pretty plated salad that's colorful, crunchy, and vegan!

Black radishes look like turnips but taste like regular radishes. You don't have to peel the skin. Use them in salads or pickle them or roast them!

Chioggia beets, also known as candy striped beets, have a beautiful pattern inside. If you can't find these, use regular beets or golden beets.

Crudo is thinly sliced raw fish drizzled with acid and olive oil. Think thinly sliced raw salmon or scallops topped with fresh lemon juice and fruity olive oil. I decided to do something similar with vegetables!

thinly sliced (use mandoline!) black radish
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) Chioggia beets
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) Persian cucumbers
thinly sliced (use mandoline!) lemon
black cured olives
lemon juice
olive oil
kosher salt

1. Arrange the vegetables and lemon slices in a pleasing pattern.
2. Scatter olives.
3. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil and salt.

The radishes were really spicy. I ended up cubing and roasting 2 out of 3 radishes in 425F degree oven for about 40 minutes simply drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt.


La Shana Tova: Rosh Hashanah Sunday

Wishing you all a sweet and happy year!