Summer Berry and Chicken Salad

Just because the school year is right around the corner, it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to linger in summer as long as humanely possible right? Sundresses and sandals will still be my uniform until the weather no longer permits, and I’ll still be out lounging at the pool during the weekend. I think I love summer a little too much to let it go so early.IMG_3874If you’re like me and a bit attached to this lovely time of year, you can satisfy you summer (and hunger) cravings with this Summer Berry and Chicken Salad! This salad incorporates all the light, fresh flavors of summertime and is reminiscent of picnic lunches, willowy meadows, and all good things summer. It can be thrown together in minutes, and is made of simple ingredients, making it the perfect to-go lunch salad. You can take it to school and pretend you’re in some rustic countryside lunch party instead of the sad grass patch behind the history building. Sigh.

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SUMMER BERRY AND CHICKEN SALAD

1 cup spring mix

1/2 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup

1/2 medium sized avocado

1 chicken breast

1/3 cup blueberries

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

poppyseed dressing

1. Cook the chicken breast. I usually cook mine with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

2. Pour the spring mix and spinach into a bowl/container.

3. Top with cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and chicken.

4. Add dressing to taste.

So so easy. You can even cook the chicken and slice the tomatoes the night before, eliminating even more work to put it together in the morning.

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Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap

With the upcoming school year right around the corner, and by right around the corner I mean in one week (for me at least), I’ve decided to do a small series of recipes that will work perfectly for back to school. Sometimes it can be a real hassle making lunch in the mornings when you’re still half-awake, especially if you’re already running late. However, I think that time should never be issue when trying to prepare a nutritious meal for yourself or someone you love, so all of my recipes will be simple, quick, and have steps that can be done ahead of time.

One of my absolute favorite things to take for lunch are sandwich wraps. They’re portable and can be eaten on-the-go and can be filled with savory or sweet fillings, whatever you’re craving for that day!IMG_3895

For the Portobello Mushroom Veggie Wrap, the first thing you’re going to have to do is sauté one sliced mushroom cap and two baby bell peppers with some olive oil and salt.IMG_3898

Then you’re going to need one tortilla to use as the wrapper. I like to use whole grain tortillas, but the options are endless. (i.e spinach, sun-dried tomato)IMG_3901

Then you’re going to take half of a medium-sized avocado, spoon it out onto the tortilla, and mash it all up. After the mashing it complete, sprinkle a bit of lemon pepper to taste.IMG_3903

Place your mushroom slices on.IMG_3904

Then your peppers.IMG_3905

And top the whole thing off with a handful of spinach.IMG_3917

Wrap it all up, and you’re ready to go!

See how easy that was? And don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe. Add things, take things out, make substitutions with whatever you have in your fridge. Make it your own and have fun with it! Happy wrapping!

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM VEGGIE WRAP

1 portobello mushroom cap

2 baby bell peppers (or 1/3 large)

1/2 medium-sized avocado

1/2 cup raw baby spinach

sea salt, olive oil, and lemon pepper (to taste)

grill pan (but honestly, a plain old frying pan works too)

1. Slice mushroom cap and bell peppers. Saute on medium heat with olive oil and salt until cooked thoroughly and there are a bit of grill marks on the peppers. Take off heat.

2. Warm tortilla on the pan until warm and soft. This way the tortilla won’t rip as easily when wrapping.

3. Spoon out avocado onto the tortilla and mash up. Add lemon pepper to taste.

4. Layer on mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. Wrap it up and enjoy.

acai bowl

I just got home from my three week camp at Stanford, and as much as I’ve missed my bed, I’m really really missing camp. I’ve never met a group of people I’ve clicked with so quickly, and I’ve created some great bonds with my housemates over the past 21 days. Everyone was so kind and so genuine, it was amazing to be with a group of people with whom I could have a heated debate over world issues as easily as I could have a gossip session. I learned so much from everyone, in and out of the classroom, and I’m truly going to cherish every moment we spent together. IMG_3200

To the POD 3.0 (of you ever read this), if I could go back and do camp over again, I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. You guys are honestly an awesome group of people and I’m so blessed to have gotten the chance to be with your company for the past three weeks. Sam, your wit and general cynicism towards the world is already missed. Zita, you are truly a pacifist hipster (in the best way) and as hard as it is to believe you’re younger than me, I hope you sophomore year treats you well. G-Nat, my personality twin and real-life Bambi, I’m going to miss our morning runs and my partner in being awkwardly not as social. Sashel, my abusive husband/shower stalker, I wish you the best of luck this coming senior year and I know that your intelligence and sincerity will take you great places. Sashay, I’ve never met a more hardworking person than you and I hope you don’t get too stressed out over college and just remind yourself that life has great things in store for great people like you. Watcher, my Texas-grown girl, I hope your passion and energy for life never burns out and that I’ll find an excuse to go to Houston soon so I can see you again.IMG_3213IMG_3214IMG_3215IMG_3216

To my fellow Narnians, sadly, as we all know, nothing gold can stay, but remember by friends, although our time together has ended, our friendships have not. It’s really only the beginning. Distance will only make our love fonder and our interactions more special. I wish you all the best in your endeavors, and know that I would do anything to cross paths with you all again. I love you guys and genuinely thank you for making these past twenty one days the experience of a lifetime.

To get back into the swing of things at home, I made myself the most SoCal food I could think of, acai bowls! Healthy and cold, they keep you going and help you beat the heat at the same time. They work great as breakfast, but can serve as a snack, dessert, or other meal as well. Enjoy!

ACAI BOWLS   

serves 2

1 packet frozen acai

2 bananas

1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup frozen strawberries

a splash of cashew milk

granola

fruit to top (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)

shredded coconut

agave nectar

1. Blend acai, one banana, frozen fruit, and cashew milk in blender until a smooth and thick consistency is reached. It should be thicker than a smoothie. I use a VitaMix, which has a tamper to make it easier to get this consistency.

2. Split the base into two bowls and top with granola, sliced banana, fruit, shredded coconut, and agave nectar. Enjoy cold!

NOTE:

– If your blender won’t let you get the right consistency, skip the toppings and add more liquid to make a juice or smoothie instead. Same nutrients, different format.

– I found frozen acai at Sprouts, I do not know of other places that carry it.

Quinoa Fried Rice

For those of you who are not already aware, this is the beginning of Sadie’s season, Sadie’s as in Sadie Hawkins Dance as in ‘girl asks boy’ dance. And as you may or may not be able to tell, I’m not happy.

Usually, when these dances come around, I can most easily avoid them with the simple fact that no boy is going to ask me. Because the fact of the matter is that I’d much rather stay home by myself or go out with friends than have to pay a hundred dollars for an outfit I’m going to wear once, waste two hours doing hair and make-up that will most likely end up smeared and flat by the end of the night, go back to school on a weekend, and do it all with a boy I may not even like. (Pity dates. I’ve seen it happen more than once.) And let’s not even get started on the awkward post-dance syndrome where you and your date won’t be able to make eye contact with each other for a least a couple days.

I’m sure some people have had amazing experiences with school dances. The whole “Prince Charming will sweep you off your feet and take you to senior prom” cliche had to have originated from some truth, I suppose. Maybe I’m just biased because I’ve heard way too many “worst night of my life” stories, but dances just don’t seem that great to me. Personally, I’d rather just have a night in with a couple of friends, movies, and food.

So for the next time you’re feeling like you just need a night in, but fear the food baby and MSG-induced bloating that comes with good Chinese take-out, whip up some of this Quinoa Fried Rice instead! It’ll leave your tummy happy and your body thanking you for not forcing it to process all the bad stuff.

Quinoa Fried Rice:

{approx. 4 servings}

1 cup uncooked quinoa

3 chicken tenderloins, cooked and chopped

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 white onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3  scallions, chopped and divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1. Rinse quinoa a few times in cold water

2. Bring quinoa and water to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, until fluffy and fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil on a frying pan over high heat. Add garlic to the pan. Add carrots, onions, and scallions and cook thoroughly, about two minutes.

4. Add rest of the olive oil and quinoa to the pan. Stir fry until mixed thoroughly, about two minutes.

5. Then add eggs and finish scrambling. Stir-fry until thoroughly incorporated, and then add the chicken.

6. Add the oyster sauce and stir-fry until evenly mixed. Feel free to add more or less oyster sauce to your taste.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.cookingforkeeps.com/2013/03/27/quinoa-fried-rice/

NOTE:

– You may need more olive oil to keep it from burning. Or maybe that’s just because I need a new frying pan.

– If you like spicy, make sure to add Sriracha hot sauce on top when you eat it. It’s a match made in heaven and no other hot sauce complements fried rice in the same way.

– Chicken can easily be omitted be make a vegetarian dish

Kick back, relax, and enjoy!