Category Archives: “Cooking”

BAKED CHICKEN TENDERS

Perfect Baked Chicken Tenders

These flavorful, juicy baked chicken tenders come together in less than thirty minutes and would make a great foundation for any meal!

So, fun fact before I move on to today’s recipe.  Did you know that retailers can’t use any sort of language that indicates perfection in their stores (or on their websites) in China?  Like, it’s illegal.  I have no idea why, but at work we always had to make sure none of our marketing included the word ‘perfect.’  Pick Your Perfect Pair denim campaign, back-to-school 2015?  Not happening, throw all the freshly printed marketing right into the trash.  Good times.  I actually hesitated before publishing this post with its current title, but then remembered I obviously have nothing to worry about.

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One week meal plan and grocery list

One-Week Meal Plan & Grocery List

This meal plan includes a grocery list and simple, healthy recipes to cover all five breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.  Prep on Sunday and enjoy some extra time throughout the work week!

Hello and thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you’ve had a good week.

When I thought about my goals for the blog this year (and I use that term loosely, since I never actually wrote anything down), I knew I wanted to focus more on creating value with each post.  I started Blunders and Absurdities as a fun side project and have no current plans to turn it into something different, but I still view it somewhat like a business.

One of the first ideas that came to mind when I planned out posts for the month was a meal plan, mostly because I wish someone would create these for me.  Even though I’m unemployed and have a lot of time.  So I sifted through my Pinterest profile and pages saved from Cooking Light and compiled a weeklong schedule of relatively healthy, inexpensive meals.  The quantities will serve two people but can be divided or multiplied easily.  Let me know what you think!

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A Week of Easy Meals

Well, good morning.  Let’s continue on with my recent confessions, shall we?

  1. I spilled a little chunk of brownie and ice cream from a Dairy Queen Blizzard on the center console of my car last week and haven’t cleaned it up yet.
  2. Until this weekend, I hadn’t grocery shopped properly for at least a month.  Just didn’t feel like it.  Nothing sounded good except ice cream.  When I had other things to pick up at Target, I would throw some random food items along with coffee grounds and 25-calorie hot chocolate packets (the essentials) into my cart and eat those.

I finally snapped out of it on Saturday and decided to make a meal plan for this week, which I’m sharing today.  The shopping list and portion sizes are for one, with the exception of the yellow cake baked oatmeal which serves 10.  You can eat this “oatmeal” at any time of day and pretend it’s healthy, so it’s nice to have on hand.

groceries

What, you don’t unpack your groceries like this?

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Healthy Blueberry Muffins

During my recent Advocare cleanse, I wanted to eat a lot of dessert as usual but obviously couldn’t indulge in regular baked goods.  HOWEVER.  I had hoped to improve my cooking and baking skills through writing this blog and realized I’d been given a golden opportunity to work with some new ingredients.  Isn’t my life exciting?

I decided to use almond flour, which is actually just a bunch of super-finely ground almonds, and coconut oil, because I read that its neutral flavor is good for baking, to make some muffins.  I also might try oil pulling with the coconut oil – have you guys ever heard of this?  Apparently you can eliminate bacteria that causes everything from gingivitis to breakouts around your chin and jawline by swishing a mouthful of the oil around for twenty minutes every morning.  Super weird but intriguing to me for some reason.

Moving on…I developed this recipe on my own, so I’d keep your expectations low.  But it’s actually healthy – the sweetness comes only from honey and blueberries – and pretty satisfying as an alternative to heavier desserts.  Let me know if you decide to try it!

blueberry muffins 2

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whole foods bulk bins

Red Lentil Soup

This past Saturday, my mom promised me at least four times that the soup she served that night would soon make an appearance on this blog.  I ignored her but naturally proceeded to wake up on Monday with a headache and sore throat.  When I hadn’t improved the next day, I thought I should eat something more nourishing than pasta (read: macaroni and cheese) for dinner, so I texted her for the recipe and here we are.  Also, I was confused to discover when I unpacked my groceries that in my feverish haze, I’d bought a variety of tea that supports healthy lactation instead of whatever I intended to.  So there’s that.

This soup is simple, healthy (lentils have plenty of fiber and protein but no fat), and soothing – perfect for the chilly, rainy spring we’ve had so far.

whole foods lentils

soup ingredients

Tomato paste that doesn’t come in a can you have to throw away after using 1/16 of it!

red lentil soup

red lentil soup 2

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Easy Dinners That Make One Serving

Do you ever eat kitchen scraps for days on end because you just can’t go to work AND cook?  This happened to me a couple weeks ago, and on one night, I felt pretty good because the blueberry granola I ate matched the blueberry Eggo waffles I toasted up next.  On the side I had a bowl of frozen mixed vegetables.  Delicious.

I finally went to Kroger this past Saturday morning, but before that I spent several hours paging through Google results for “meals that make one serving.”  Sometimes I wonder if I will read the whole Internet in the process of writing this blog.  Anyway, I thought having more options I could throw together without having to portion leftovers into containers and do a bunch of cleaning afterward would lead to fewer scrap dinners.  Here’s what I came up with…

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How To Make Smoothie Bowls

Hi guys!  How was your weekend?  My friend Nina and I tried a restaurant and brewery called Hoof Hearted that just opened a location across the street from our apartments on Friday night, then I returned to my hermit ways yesterday and today.

Today’s post is about how to make smoothie bowls, or thicker versions of smoothies served with toppings and eaten with a spoon.  Or, as I think of them, a way to trick yourself into thinking you’ve eaten ice cream when you actually haven’t.  Instead of specific recipes, I’ve just listed the components and offered some ideas of what to include –  almost any combination of flavors and ingredients will work.  I like to add a teaspoon of xanthan gum before blending for extra thickness – you can pick it up at Target.

blueberry smoothie bowl 2

Frozen bananas and blueberries blended with V8 Blueberry Pomegranate juice and topped with bananas, dark chocolate-covered blueberries, chia seeds, and vanilla-blueberry granola

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Recipe Roundup

While I’m sure you enjoy reading about all the exciting activities I get up to in Ohio in the middle of winter, descriptions of how I spent Saturday and Sunday watching House of Cards on my iPhone because my MacBook broke (it broke, I dropped it, whatever) and my cruel and unreasonable employer (KIDDING) has prevented Netflix from running on our work computers would not make an interesting weekend recap.  So, since I had to produce actual content for today’s post, I thought I’d share a few good recipes I’ve made recently.  They’re not quite as healthy as the last batch I posted, but there is minimal cheese and plenty of protein involved.  I consider the day a win if I’m not digging into a giant bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats two hours after dinner anyway.

Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast adapted from Allrecipes.com
This recipe uses ingredients you may already have on hand, and it’s easy to make for one.

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Recipes That Make Great Leftovers

I like my food to look the same cold as it does hot, after I’ve just cooked it – pulling something weird-looking out of a plastic grocery bag and sneaking it into the microwave at work depresses me a little.  So (not being a fan of congealed meat fat) I end up making a lot of vegetarian recipes that actually taste better after the flavors have had time to meld together.  Here are three that make great leftovers for packed lunches or just eating a few nights in a row.

Orzo Carmelized with Fall Vegetables and Ginger adapted from The Kitchn

Orzo with carmelized fall vegetables

Sweet potatoes…like cheese, but not

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A Fresh and Easy Lebanese Meal

I’ve discovered a few personal cooking principles over the years.  I avoid making dishes that require more than two pots.  Nothing you might also see on a plate of chicken wings can be involved (e.g. ranch dressing, celery, fiery orange buffalo sauce).  Fruit is not a valid dessert.  Luckily, my mom got me a Lebanese cookbook for Christmas that includes many recipes that meet my criteria.

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms

Rose Water and Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood

I used two of them to make easy meal you can pull together in half an hour or so.

Fattoush Salad and Hushweh

Hushweh and Fattoush

Hushweh is a mixture of rice, chicken, ground beef or lamb, and toasted almonds.  It’s seasoned with cinnamon, and you stir in several tablespoons of butter at the end that make the chicken nice and juicy — it’s perfect for a cold winter night.  I’ve adapted the ingredient list to use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead of roasting your own.  Whatever you do, I’d advise against trying to butcher a raw chicken with a steak knife. Continue reading