easy recipes

Strain then Stir (Episode 3): How to be Ingredient Conscious (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Strain Then Stir, a no-cameras, diary-esque cooking show blog where I attempt to transform myself from a two-meal Tina into a full course Frank…or at the very least, be capable of feeding myself more than cereal and pasta.

It has been quite a while since our last episode, though I suppose I have the holidays (and blunt procrastination) to blame for that. It always seems like the beginning of November turns into the beginning of January in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?

If you remember last episode at all—don’t feel bad if you don’t, I had to go back and look because I had absolutely no idea—you’ll recall I talked about being ingredient conscious, which was essentially just me learning to better utilize leftover ingredients rather than letting them go to waste. Going back and reading it, I was a little disappointed in myself for not including some actual recipes I was using. So in the hopes of making up for that, I’ve brought some today!

In these last few months, I again noticed that my pantry and refrigerator were starting to pile up with ingredients that weren’t being used and were just sitting there taking up space. Eventually I got tired of looking at them and I went on a mission to start using them all.

Here are some recipes I found to help:

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Leftover Ingredient: Bananas

Recipe: Banana Bread

Have you ever bought bananas, brought them home, eaten 1 or 2 and then totally forgotten about them until they are brown and gross? Yeah, that’s me almost 100% of the time I buy bananas. Luckily, banana bread thrives on overripe bananas, and acts as a haven for your forgetfulness. I came across this recipe about a month ago when I was on the verge of throwing my bananas away, and it was so delicious, I will never again commit such a crime! (Find the recipe here!)

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HT_Chrissy_Teigen5_cf_160226_4x3t_384Leftover Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I also happen to be guilty of buying sweet potatoes and forgetting about them until they’ve grown vines and look more like a monster than a food. In my last post, I talked about using sweet potatoes in an omelet, which was great, but this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is to die for. (Find the recipe here, find her cookbook here)

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Leftover Ingredient: Brown Rice & Frozen Veggies

Recipe: Rice Bowls

Whenever I go grocery shopping I like to buy brown rice and frozen vegetables in bulk, figuring the combination of the two is always an easy and healthy option. The only problem is, after a while rice and vegetables can get a little bland. An easy solution I’ve found for this however, is to:

a) Get more creative with my rice bowls, for example, you can check out a bunch of recipes here and here.

b) Add more flavor to my rice bowls. Growing up I was never much of a spice person. I’ve always been super sensitive to spicy foods and as a result tend to shy away from almost all spices. Recently however, I’ve been trying to ease in different herbs and spices to—wait for it—spice up my life a little bit, and let me tell you, it’s been life changing! (Check out this article for 15 easy ways to spice up brown rice) 

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p_R103186Leftover Ingredient: Cannellini Beans

Recipe: White Bean & Tuna Wraps

When I was working my way through Kayla Itsines’ book in the first episode, I bought a couple cans of cannellini beans for one recipe or another but then completely forgot about them. As a result, they were sitting in my pantry for months! My biggest issue with finding a recipe home for these guys was that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were or what they tasted like, and oftentimes when I’m making dinner, I’m too hungry or lazy to do that kind of research. But in the spirit of cleaning out my pantry, I finally took the 2 minutes to google “cannellini bean recipes” and I came across this bad boy. Honestly, I’m mad it took me this long to find it. (Find the recipe here)

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Over the next month or two I’m hoping to dive into another cookbook and find some new recipes to learn. If I were to sum up what I’ve learned so far in only two words, I’d say, who knew?! because it seems like the farther I go into this journey, the more I’m finding that is always something else to know.

July/August Favorites (2016)

So remember that blog I posted a couple months ago about a few of my favorite things for the entire first half of 2016, the title of which—2016 Favorites (So Far)—suggested that I might post a “part 2” at the end of 2016? Well I’m finding that impossible.

You see, posting that blog seems to have opened up some sort of sharing door (sharing window?) (sharing sun roof?) that my body refuses to shut and I constantly find myself wanting to talk about how great things are! Which, seeing how easy it would be to discuss how much things suck, I feel as though doing the latter is a far better use of my time. Thus, behold a second—and let’s be honest, nowhere near the last—edition of Favorites.

 

Cooking!

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But after months of buying random ingredient-ish things from the grocery store and being consistently disappointed they didn’t conjugate in the pantry to form a heart healthy, hip friendly and Heaven flavored meal, I decided it was time to change my methods. So last month, after my sister and I got back from our vacation in Ireland and were looking for a way to shift our diet away from beer and café pastries, we started scouring cookbooks and Pinterest for relatively easy-to-make and cheap-to-buy-for recipes and made grocery lists.

Yes. Actual lists. Like adults with their shit together type of lists. It was magical.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I followed. All of which were delicious and none of which required a degree in Culinary Latin to decipher the instructions or a black belt in Kitchen Jiu Jitsu to put together.

(All images property of the brilliant recipe creators themselves)

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The Fundamentals of Caring

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I had heard very little about this movie before watching it, not reviews from the critics, not gif filled articles on the Internet, nothing. All I knew was that it was on the front page of Netflix and starred a few people I admired (Paul Rudd & Selena Gomez). That being said, I absolutely LOVED this movie with my whole heart. It made me feel all the feels. All of them. And after it was over I immediately wanted to watch it again, which I did. There’s really not much else I can say except stop whatever you are doing, no matter how time sensitive or crucial to the survival of mankind and watch this movie because it’s great. (Find it here)


 

Stranger Things

Staying on the topic of Netflix for a minute, I give you Stranger Things, the object of my obsession for the last few weeks. There is no way for me to describe to you what this show is about, as the plot is so twisted and incredible that attempting to do so would ruin it. So just take my word on this and watch it because it BLEW. MY. MIND. (Find it here)

Also, for any of you that have already seen it, I give you this meme:

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#ElevenWillAlwaysBeMyWomanCrushWednesday


 

Bitmojis

Meet Kimoji, the bitmoji version of me:

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She laughs,

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She cries,

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She surfs,

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She poses for the cover of People magazine.

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She does it all. Including most of the talking in my text message conversations. Earlier this month, my entire family made a ‘moji and since then we rarely have a discussion without one of them making an appearance. It’s glorious. You have no idea how much time we’re saving by using our Bitmojis to express emotions that would have otherwise required minutes of thumbwork. Honestly I would go on record to say that Bitmojis are probably saving us from carpal tunnel. (Find the app here)


 

The Olympics

I mean, how could they not be? They are arguably (though whoever wants to actually argue with me will undoubtedly lose) the greatest thing you could ever watch on television and on August 5th they finally arrived! It could never be overstated how much my family and I love the Olympics, and if you need any proof, refer to our DVR that is probably about as tired as a toddler without a nap. We spent an insane amount of hours absorbing every minute of every sport we could feast our eyes on, and expended buckets of energy screaming at the competing athletes, even though we were well aware they couldn’t hear us. And while I’m incredibly bummed they are already over, it’s important to focus on the positives…ONLY 526 DAYS UNTIL THE 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS!

Alright that’s it from me (for now). Have anything you’ve been loving lately? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See the previous favorites post here.