Tag Archives: vegetarian

My Favorite Sandwich

Do you ever feel like you experience true happiness from a certain food? I thought I would share with you all a food that gives me great joy the moment I take my first bite. My all-time favorite sandwich is the #9 veggie classic from Nhu Lan Bakery on Lawrence in Chicago. It’s a game-changer. A life-changer! Here is a picture of me enjoying my favorite sandwich and possibly my favorite food ever (no other banh mi can compare):



Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Yesterday, after texting my boyfriend that I was going to make cauliflower pizza, he was skeptical. “I tried cauliflower on a pizza once,” he said. “It wasn’t very good.” It wasn’t until I sent a picture to him later of the finished product that I realized I hadn’t been clear about my newest experimental baking endeavor. I did not put cauliflower on top of my pizza; rather, the cauliflower kind of was my pizza. In other words, I used the cauliflower as the base for my crust as a low carb gluten-free alternative to pizza. Pretty cool, huh? Thanks to Pinterest, trying this recipe out has been on my to-do list for at least a year. I finally got the opportunity to take a swing at it when there was a huge head of cauliflower in the fridge on the verge of going bad.

The recipe is sinfully simple, although it may be a bit time intensive. I highly recommend you give this a shot, though; you won’t be disappointed!


1.25 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2.5 cups grated cauliflower
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Basil leaves (to taste)


1. Grate your cauliflower. I used a regular old box grater (the same I use to grate mozzarella cheese) and it worked like a charm.
2. Chop your onion and grate your mozz cheese. I shouldn’t have to tell you this in a step, but what the heck.
3. Place the cauliflower crumbles into a bowl and microwave for 6-7 minutes or until warm and pliable.
4. Add a whipped up large egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spray the oven tray, then place the mixture onto it. Form the crust (it should be about 10″). Be sure not to make it too thick because then it’s more likely for the middle to be softer when its done. The crispier the better!
6. Place in oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Wait until the crust is browned on top.
7. Remove the crust, spread the sauce, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then sprinkle cheese and onions on top.
8. Put it back into the oven for ten more minutes.
9. If you feel so inclined, sprinkle basil leaves on top.

It’s not actually burnt! The crusts should look like that–nice and crispy. 

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Do you know what tastes amazing and satisfies my appetite perfectly? A portobello mushroom burger, of course! Does this look good to you?



The prep time is about an hour total, but you don’t have to marinate as long if you don’t want to. This is the perfect meal for when you’re in the mood for something healthy, filling, and relatively simple to whip up. This recipe serves two, but you can customize it if you’re cooking for fewer or more people.

You will need:

2 whole portobello mushrooms
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
Spinach and/or other leafy greens
1/4 cup EVOO
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped onion


1. Place your mushrooms on a plate with the ridged inner part facing up.
2. Combine onion, garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.
3. Pour the mixture evenly over the mushrooms and let them marinate for an hour (half an hour works, too).
4. Heat a lubricated skillet on medium.
5. Put the mushrooms and the garlic-EVOO-onion-balsamic vinegar mixture into the skillet.
6. Flip when necessary. When the mushrooms are cooked evenly, you’re done!
7. Toast the bread, then spread hummus on top and add the leafy greens.
8. Place the mushroom on top.
9. Scoop remaining onion/garlic/liquid on top of the mushroom.
10. Voila! Enjoy with a knife and fork for a non-messy dining experience.

Acai Spinach Smoothie

I have wanted to start consuming green smoothies as a way to get more vegetables in my diet for quite some time. Originally, I intended to wait it out until I got a Vitamix. However, given that I don’t have a job yet to finance said power blender, I whipped out my mom’s old food processor. It’s old as in she and my dad received it as a wedding gift. To my surprise, it did a fantastic job of pulverizing the spinach! If you’re curious about green smoothies and haven’t tried out out yet, then make this smoothie! This smoothie has 150 calories and can easily be a breakfast meal replacement.

IMG_98061. First, you need to start with preparing your ingredients (see above). I used an acai puree packet, half a banana, six strawberries, and about 3/4 cup of spinach. If you want to ease into the spinach, go for 1/2 cup.

IMG_98072. Next, put everything into your blender/food processor/whatever you’re using. I also added a dash of almond milk to help everything blend together. If you have a more high powered machine than I do (you probably do), then it’s probably not necessary to do that. Press blend!

IMG_98083. After you can see that everything is blended smoothly, pour your delicious drink into a cup and enjoy! As you can see, mine doesn’t look much like a “green” smoothie, but it still has a decent amount of spinach. The best part? I could barely taste the spinach!

Do you have any favorite green smoothie recipes to share? Tell me in the comments!

Thank You, Yelp!

carolyn yelpyIn February, I had just moved back home after finishing student teaching. One day, I checked Yelp for reviews of a restaurant I was thinking of dining at with a friend and it clicked that all those reviews are written by actual people! It dawned on me that I could easily write reviews on the places I ate and also about anything from the local grocery store to concert venues to my alma maters. I started reviewing up a storm and eventually I applied to become an “Elite” for 2013. My application was approved and since then, I have met a ton of incredible people and tried a ton of incredible food all thanks to complimentary Yelp Elite events.  One of my goals to maintain is to try a lot of new food, which Yelp has really enabled me to do. For example, through Yelp I have tried vegetarian sushi and Afghan cuisine, just to name a few new dishes I may not have tried. Additionally, Yelp has been incredible in helping me get out of my comfort zone when it comes to socializing. I’ll never forget my very first event. I took the L train with three different transfers when I had scarcely ever ridden that train alone before, let alone figured out transferring train lines. Once I arrived, I learned that there were going to be about fifty people there. I took a deep breath and started introducing myself. I ended up making some great friends and I even got to roll my own sushi for the first time!

But more than anything else, Yelp has taught me to really value and pay attention to what I eat. I find that I am much more observant and thoughtful about the food I eat because I know that I will write a review later. This has also transferred to my everyday eating, which contributes to my being mindful of what foods I put into my body. So, in a roundabout way, Yelp has inspired me to be healthy. In my quest to improving myself in a number of ways before my 24th birthday (and beyond!), I’m happy to say that Yelp has been and continues to be an important part of the journey.

Acai Bowl

Have you ever heard of an acai bowl? Have you ever tasted one? If not, you’re in for a treat! I had my first (and only) acai bowl when I was at a health bar in Honolulu two months ago and I’ve been craving them like crazy ever since. After not finding any being sold around Chicago, I decided to make my own. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be able to enjoy this popular Brazilian treat:


You will need:

1 packet acai berry puree (I used the Amafruits brand)
1 banana
Half cup frozen raspberries and blueberries (or any other)
Dash of fruit juice (i.e. apple, cranberry, orange)
Fresh strawberries
Drizzle of honey
Quarter cup granola

1. Mash up the frozen acai puree into smaller chunks, then deposit contents of the packet into a blender or food processor.
2. Add half the banana, half cup of frozen fruit, and dash of fruit juice to help with the blending. If you have a powerful blender, the fruit juice is not necessary.
3. Blend until the contents don’t have chunks. Be careful not to over-blend (I actually did) because the mixture will take on the consistency of soup more than like frozen yogurt.
4. Pour into a bowl (or three if you want to share tastes with anyone else). Garnish the top of the bowl with granola, fresh strawberries, blueberries, and the rest of the banana. Drizzle with honey and voila! You’ve just made a fresh acai bowl.

Warning: You may become addicted to this sweet frozen treat, but not to fear! It’s very healthy and low cal as long as you don’t overdue it on the granola or honey.

Braised coconut spinach with chickpeas

IMG_9770Does this look good to you? If so, I’m going to tell you exactly how to make it! I found this amazing recipe here on treehugger.com. I adapted the recipe below to my own tastes, which I recommend you do, as well!


2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion (or half a large yellow onion)
2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
0.5 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 15-oz can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
1 container spinach (to taste)
14 oz coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Heat the oil in a pot on medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, or until slightly browned.
3. Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and red pepper. Cook for three minutes and stir frequently.
4. Add chickpeas and cook on high heat until chickpeas start to golden and are covered in the mixture.
5. Add spinach one handful at a time while stirring constantly. Wait for it to wilt until adding more incrementally.
6. Pour in coconut milk and add in salt, ground ginger, and lemon juice.
7. Bring to a simmer and cook for ten minutes more, being sure the chickpeas are sufficiently warmed.
8. Feel free to taste the coconut milk mixture and add more of any ingredient (namely, salt and lemon) to your preference.

Enjoy! I bet there will be leftovers, too. 🙂