How to Eat Well if You’re a Busy 20-Something

My dear blog, you have been neglected this week. My dear blends (blogfriends), you have been neglected as well. To make a long story short, work has been cray cray. And it will continue to be cray cray until our Legislative Symposium is over and done with on Wednesday.

As an apology, I offer you pictures of the food I have been enjoying. Because even with work being as busy as it is, I’ve mostly managed to eat a homemade lunch at least 4 days out of every week, and have eaten dinner at home just as often. (OK, so yesterday I had an Amy’s microwave burrito for lunch. Sorry I’m not sorry.)

Let these photos serve as inspiration! Join me – let’s prep our food on Sundays and eat well during the week. No slaving away in the kitchen necessary…unless you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

Breakfast

avocadotoast

Avocado toast. This one really got some mixed feedback on Instagram…apparently not everyone thinks avocados are the best thing ever invented EVER. Who knew? {on a related note, leave it to my family members to tell me my food looks gross, ha!} Prep time: 5 minutes.

overnightoats

These are last night/this morning’s Overnight Oats. 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup almond-coconut milk, 1/4 cup plain nonfat Chobani, half a banana and some mango. This was the first time I ever actually finished overnight oats! Usually cold oatmeal makes me gag. I credit the Chobani…their plain flavor is actually palatable! Prep time: 5 minutes the night before.

kindbar

At the end of the 5K I ran, they had boxes of KIND Bars for all the participants to take. I grabbed, err, 4 different flavors to sample.  This one was my ABSOLUTE favorite. The chocolate and cherries make it taste like candy!

Lunch

lunch

This is how most of my lunches go – I make a pot of some kind of grain/legume on Friday night, mix it up with veggies, and then eat it throughout the week with a tortilla (or in this case, tortilla chips). Prep time: 30 minutes when you make it ahead of time, 3 minutes to reheat and devour!

20130415-093650.jpg

I already showed you all this picture on Monday, but that Kale and Chickpea saute is a prime example of my typical lunch. I made two small servings and bulked it up with the pictured brown rice and toast. Prep time: 20 minutes when you make it ahead of time, 3 minutes to reheat and devour!

Dinner

asparagus

#yolkporn central! This was an awesome weekend dinner that I accompanied with sweet potato fries and wine. In a perfect world, I’d eat a big breakfast and lunch everyday, followed by a snacky dinner. Prep time: 30 minutes.dodgeballdinner

A perfect pre-dodgeball dinner. Tons of quinoa and roasted green beans. It was super filling, protein packed, but didn’t leave me feeling too bloated to run around and throw balls at people. 😉 Prep time: 20-25 minutespeanutchicken

My amazing Chicken in Spicy Peanut Sauce dinner that I was obsessed with and shared with you all. Still dreaming about this meal. Prep time: 30 minutes, less if you’ve made the rice ahead of time!

sandwich

I used most of a can of chickpeas to make the aforementioned Chickpea & Kale saute, and then I mashed the leftover chickpeas with some cream cheese (I didn’t have plain yogurt!), lemon juice, salt and pepper…Then I piled on some roasted red peps and spinach and called it a Chickpea Salad sandwich 🙂 Prep time: 10 minutes

miniturkeymeatloaves

After 3 months of being subscribed to Cooking Light magazine, I finally tried out a recipe. It was for Mini Greek Style Meatloaves, which I made into Mini Mexican Style Meatloaves.. because I am me, and I love cilantro. Paired with a mango salsa, it was AMAZING! Prep time: 30 minutesturkeyburger

Last night, I plopped the mini meatloaves on a thin bun and called it a turkey burger. Win. Prep time: 25 minutes (or however long your fries take to bake)

What I Eat if I Do Go Out

jamba

Several Friday mornings this month I’ve craved Jamba Juice. I think it must be the dodgeball beers on Thursday night that make me feel like I need to load up on nutrients Friday morning! I’ve been trying their fruit + veggie smoothies and, while they don’t taste as great as the purely fruit ones, at least I feel revived!

lowbrau

These are duck fat fries from LowBrau. I say if you eat healthily during the day, a bag of fries and an IPA makes a fine dinner 😉 Balance, people! They were screamin’ hot, and super crispy! We weren’t a huge fan of the beer cheese pictured (it reminded us too much of processed nacho cheese), so we ordered another garlicky cheese and were totally in business.

burgersnbrew

Burgers & Brew is one of T-Man’s favorite restaurants, so we go pretty often. Their burgers are amaaaazing, but often a lot to handle. I started getting this Turkey Avocado Melt and hooo boy is it good! Lots of protein and it is STUFFED full of avocado. Definitely recommend if you live in Sacramento or Davis!

What are your go-to breakfasts and lunches during the work week?

How often do you eat out during the week?

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Lyon: A Foodie’s Paradise

On Monday, when I shared my recipe for French Ratatouille, I alluded to the fact that I studied abroad in France for a year. I realized that I haven’t talked much about my “French side” (it was one of my majors in college, after all). This was just a French week overall for me, as my roommate and I  even hosted a French friend I met years ago through couchsurfing.org this week!

Before moving to Lyon, I had not been exposed to a lot of what I’d like to call fine dining. It’s not like my parents only ever treated us to Olive Garden and Chevy’s — plus, what kid doesn’t prefer that kind of stuff anyway? But I never really had a taste for it until my later teens. There are a fair amount of high quality restaurants in Santa Barbara, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many college kids who can actually afford them.

In France, being able to go out for a fine dining experience is much more accessible for a larger part of the population. That’s not to say that there aren’t a ton of McDo’s, Subways, and sandwich shops like Brioche Dorée — believe me, there are, and I took full advantage of them and their 3€ sandwiches. But there are also extremely high-quality restaurants who offer a 3-course Menu Fixe for less than 15€.

As part of my study abroad program, we were treated to dinner at a restaurant called La Cuvée several times throughout the year and took little excursions to nearby villages where we were also treated to meals. Here are 3 noteworthy meals from the first semester I was in France, ending with the Most. Epic. Meal of All. Time!!! Everyone I studied with reading this probably already knows which one I’m talking about 🙂

Being that my initial language level was pretty awful, I rarely understood what they said they were feeding us… I will try to be as descriptive as possible!

Before we start, let me just throw it out there that most of my meals looked like this:

I really can’t attest to whether or not my friend Robert and I ate all that warm brie in one sitting…but it is very possible and highly likely.

Our pantry. My side is on the left, and mostly contained nutella and wine. My colocataire was German, and thus knew how to approach European specialties in moderation

Now that we have the ugly truth out of the way, let me show you the good stuff!

(I didn’t always document it, but while browsing these pictures it is safe to assume that multiple bottles of wine are a’flowin.)

“Thanksgiving” Meal in Grenoble, France — November 2008

Considering where we were, this was a fairly decent attempt to treat us University of California students to an American Thanksgiving meal. What do you think?

It started with an apéritif, as is traditional in France.

Salade avec un… breadstick?

Our Thanksgiving plate! Sweet potato, pumpkin gratin, some kind of cranberry, and either chicken or turkey (we couldn’t really tell at the time!)

The best part:

Apple pie!

It was much colder in Grenoble than in Lyon (Grenoble is in the mountains), and it was there we saw our first snow!

La Cuvée — December 2008

This was our second trip to La Cuvée — we had all already grown fond of the restaurant and eagerly looked forward to our return…It didn’t disappoint!

Salade Lyonnaise — A Lyon specialty! Frisée, lardons (bacon), and a poached egg make up some of the key ingredients to the classic salad.

Leg of Lamb, with sauce and veggies

Ice cream with candied orange zest, and Crème Anglaise spiked with Grand Marnier

And without further ado…

The Best Meal of All Time — Chez Marie et Ludovic à Beaujolais — September 2008

You may have heard of Beaujolais before. It is a wine region close to Lyon that releases their wine every fall, and there is a yearly festival to celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau. Marie and Ludovic are long-time friends of the UC Education Abroad program and each year they open their home in the Beaujolais region to UC students. Marie bakes fresh bread, and Ludovic takes care of producing their wine.

Near the beginning of the year, we had an amazing meal in their home that was followed by a tour of their vineyard and bread-baking ovens.

Pâté

Cornichons (pickles)

OK, keep in mind at this point we were already stuffed from pâté, bread, wine and pickles.

There was a main course, too. Beef!

And of course, dessert from the breadmaker. Sweet brioche and other assorted goodies!

By this point, we were all slightly drunk and ready to explode. See, look how miserable I was:

And yes, I do know now what an idiot I looked like wearing a hoodie in France.

This is Marie, preparing fresh bread for us!

Marie and Ludovic, being adorable and French.

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Sorry for the huge barrage of photos. Can I make it up to you with this gem?

I’m sorry. That picture of me defiling a statue of King Louis XIV just made it worse didn’t it?

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Anyway, will all of my readers do me a favor today?

If you like reading French anecdotes, or travel stories and tips in general, I advise you head on over to my friend Adrienne‘s blog Cultured Chaos. Adrienne and I studied in Lyon together, which means she was present for the above amazing meals — Her birthday is tomorrow and after a not-so-happy couple of weeks, I want to wish her a much happier birthday!

Adrienne lives in NYC and has the travel bug like me (but she actually travels, ahem). Click to see her own take on Lyonnais cuisine, and some wonderful photos she took throughout her own travels in France!

Bon anniversaire, Adrienne!