Buddha bowls with Green Goddess dressing

Oh Buddha bowls. How do I love thee.

Buddha bowls are my favorite thing to have for dinner. I make them at least several times a month, and since you can constantly change out the ingredients, I never get sick of them.

In case you haven’t been to any hippie vegan cafes lately, let me define a Buddha bowl for you. It’s a one-dish meal with four basic components:

  1. a whole bunch of vegetables, usually sautéed or roasted
  2. some kind of grain (rice, quinoa, couscous)
  3. a protein (beans, tofu, tempeh)
  4. dressing

Since the ingredients are so flexible in Buddha bowls, you can use your creativity to choose what you’ll include. Roast any type of vegetables, depending on what’s in season or what you need to use up in your fridge. Vary your grain type, depending on what you’re craving that day. For protein, use chickpeas in one recipe, and grilled tempeh in the other.

And when everything’s done, mix it all up with some delicious dressing! There are so many dressings out there that you can never get sick of them all. I went through a long phase of using this peanut sauce recipe for my Buddha bowl dressing. As much as I love peanut butter, I eventually got sick of it. So all I had to do was change my dressing and voila, brand new Buddha bowl!

So here’s a new Buddha bowl recipe that I’ve been obsessed with lately. It uses Green Goddess salad dressing, a simple and flavorful dressing from Tessemae’s. Add avocado as a garnish, and you end up with a healthy and delicious Buddha bowl.

P1000966Recipe: Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl with Green Goddess Dressing
Prep time: 45 minutes

  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, diced into bite size pieces
  • 3 T olive oil or coconut oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup Green Goddess dressing
  • 1 avocado, optional
  • 1 cup feta cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When broccoli and sweet potato are chopped, spread on a baking pan and coat in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste (more is usually better!). Roast in oven for 40 minutes, until sweet potato can easily be pierced by a fork.

Meanwhile, boil 1 1/4 cup water. At boiling point, add couscous and remove from heat. Let sit until grain has absorbed water.

Add cooked couscous, vegetables, almonds, and chickpeas to large bowl. Stir together, then coat with Green Goddess dressing. Serve hot or cold, adding avocado slices and feta cheese if you wish!

Photo credit

Blueberry coconut banana bread {vegan}

blueberry coconut banana bread

I’m a latecomer to the coconut oil obsession that has been going around. But, obsession it has become. I put it in everything now – my oatmeal, my stir fry, my popcorn. I even tried it in my coffee once, but that ended up being pretty weird…

There’s a lot written about the health benefits of coconut oil, like this and this, and also this. But mostly I like how it tastes, and I keep looking for any excuse to sneak it into recipes. So when I discovered this blueberry coconut banana bread recipe, I had to make it immediately. (The blog where I found it, Faring Well, is a beautiful website filled with recipes and food stories, so be sure to check that out as well.) It’s vegan, and could theoretically be made gluten-free if you used oat flour. It ended up being so delicious that I made it again a week later. And I’ll probably make it again this weekend.

Without further ado, here is the recipe for blueberry coconut banana bread. You’ll never go back to regular banana bread again.

Recipe: Blueberry Coconut Banana Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes bake
Inspired by: Faring Well

  • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, plus the salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add in blueberries and coconut. Pour into bread pan and bake for 40 minutes. Try to wait until it cools completely to eat, or sneak a piece while it is still warm. So good!

Photo credit

Inspiration for the weekend

peace-through-yoga from Teach Run Eat

Well it’s official! My students and I survived the first week of school! It was four intense (but fun) days that didn’t leave a lot of time for self-care. This year I’m making it a goal to bring some of that summer calm into the school year. I want to find ways to maintain a healthy life, while still keeping my passion for teaching high. So here are some links for just that:

For maintaining the calm:

7 things I’m grateful for right now.

6 health lessons everyone can learn from introverts.

The unexpected benefit of being bad at yoga Being perfect at yoga, even being good at yoga, was simply not a goal of mine anymore. Instead, I started focusing on how my body felt, on what it was telling me. And, once I listened to it, I could begin giving myself what I needed.

For staying healthy:

Easy refrigerator pickles.

Food that magically regrows itself.

Scrambled tofu dish, for using up any vegetables you have.

For keeping the passion for teaching:

Guiding guided play in New York City’s prekindergarten.
This speaks to me, as a kindergarten teacher who can barely find time for free choice, let alone guided exploration time. Apparently NYC’s school chancellor has a commitment to “joyful learning” (so cool!) and wants to make sure “poor children will theoretically be taught as the city’s affluent are, which is to say according to the principles of immersive, play-based, often self-directed and project-driven learning.”

A very cool research project: Calling all parents who are parenting outside the gender box.

I love these ideas for weekly nature walks with your kids.

“Attention is the beginning of devotion.” – Mary Oliver always gets it right

Inspiration for the weekend


Amazing interview with Sylvia Earle, the first person to walk on the bottom of the ocean.

I used to think I was a complete extrovert, but as I get older I realize that I am much more in the middle of the extrovert-introvert continuum. So I appreciated this article: Six health lessons everyone can learn from introverts.

Rules to live by.

Delicious eats to try: Carrot salad with tahini and crisped chickpeas / Zucchini pickles / Peach and roasted vegetable salad.

The problem with pre-eating. <– I do this all the time. Chips and hummus are my weakness.

The quote above.

Inspiration for the (long) weekend.

hemingwayYou probably have too much stuff.

Choosing the “healthiest” sugar…when really, all sugars are sugars.

Teaching kids kindness by having a Kindness Jar in the classroom.

Delicious eats: Spring green risotto with peas and asparagus / Cauliflower and roasted chickpeas / Rhubarb oat quick bread

I’m always looking for blogs and articles to further educate myself on social justice issues. Here’s one from NPR’s “Code Switch,” about race, culture and ethnicity in America.

Inspiration for the weekend.

Go running

I have the picture above as my computer desktop. It’s so hard to get motivated to run when it’s this freaking cold. So I’m doing all I can to inspire myself. Here’s some more inspiration that I’ve found lately:

The winter abundance bowl from My New Roots. Beautiful recipe that I make so frequently.

Advice to us all: Stop reading this blog post and go do stuff.

The truth is that everyone can do yoga.

The banjo player I am currently obsessed with.

A new favorite recipe blog (aka food porn).

Countdown until spring.

Teacher books I want:

And last but not least, my newest resource for teaching inspiration. This book seriously got me motivated to change how I structure my classroom to make it more full of wonder and curiosity. And it’s free to download! Cultivating Joy & Wonder: Educating for Sustainability in Early Childhood through Nature, Food and Community

Go-to recipe: Ginger Peanut Dressing

ImageFor me one of the most challenging things about cooking foods from scratch is making the time to follow long, complicated recipes. At first I thought this was the only way to do it. Every night had to be a different recipe, with complex instructions and ingredients. As I’ve experimented more and more with healthy foods, though, I’ve realized that a few basic “go-to” recipes will save you a lot of time.

One of my current “go-to” obsessions is Ginger Peanut Dressing. I’ve written before about how much I love peanut butter. This very simple dressing is delicious and very peanut-y. It’s perfect to use as a “I can’t think of what to make tonight and I’m too tired after a long day of teaching to do anything creative.” So what I usually do is pull out whatever vegetables are left in my fridge, saute them in olive oil, and add some beans and rice (or quinoa or couscous or whatever grains you want). Pour over the ginger peanut dressing, add some sliced green onions or chopped cashews, and enjoy.

Recipe: Ginger Peanut Dressing

Prep time: 5 minutes

Inspired by: Ambitious Kitchen

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 t grated ginger
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 t olive oil

If you keep your peanut butter in the fridge, either warm it up in the microwave or let it sit out for a while ahead of time to warm it up. Then add all ingredients in a mason jar, shake vigorously, and pour on top of whatever dish you are making!

Photo credit: Lori L. Stalteri, Flickr Creative Commons

Inspiration for the weekend.


RIP Pete Seeger

I resolve nothing (or, why not to set unrealistic resolutions about yourself at the beginning of the year).

Two podcasts all about fermentation!

One of my favorite authors, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who wrote Americanah), talks about the danger of a single story. About judging someone before you know them.

Chewy chocolate cookies with Junior mints. My favorite cookies from Emily Eats Sweet Treats.

The definitive guide to homemade hummus. A very helpful infographic.

The February wellness calendar from Back to Her Roots. I print these off each month and hang them in my kitchen.

Guacamole mango quinoa

ImageIt’s always at this point in winter where I start wanting fruit. I love love love winter vegetables, but after 100 straight days of cold and snow, I start to really crave a juicy strawberry or a bowlful of grapes. Don’t get me wrong, I try my hardest to eat foods that are in season and locally grown (and where I live, grapes don’t grow in this wicked cold). But sometimes all that noble effort doesn’t seem worth it . My grocery store is just three blocks away, and they have an impressive stock of fruits that I finally couldn’t resist. So here is my foray into fruit this winter. A delicious and easy guacamole mango dish, with black beans and quinoa. Inspired by Foxes Loves Lemons‘s guacamole rice. A main dish that involves guacamole? I’m sold.

(And yes I know my recipes always have quinoa in them. You can easily substitute the quinoa for any other grain, like Israeli couscous, barley, orzo, or pasta. Quinoa is just so dang delicious.)

Recipe: Guacamole mango quinoa

Prep time: 30 minutes

Inspired by: Foxes Loves Lemons

  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 mango, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 4 oz. feta or goat cheese
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts for some added crunch
  • optional additions: cilantro, corn, tomatoes, roasted sweet potato

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa and bring to a boil, then let simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Keep checking it until it’s fully cooked.

Meanwhile, chop all avocado, mango and onion and add to a large bowl. Stir in black beans, cooked quinoa and feta. In a separate little bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Whisk together and drizzle over salad. Taste and add more salt or lime juice as needed. You want it to be tangy and delicious.

Sweet pickled carrots (refrigerated)

So I think I am slowly jumping on the fermenting bandwagon that is all the rage right now. I used to have a hatred of pickles (as in, whenever one would come next to my sandwich, I would yell and push it away so it didn’t contaminate my sandwich bread). But as with most foods that I used to be super picky about, I am slowly developing a love for pickled things. I picked up the book everyone keeps talking about, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, and I’m starting to be swayed by his love for fermentation. I don’t quite understand the science behind it yet (or yet understand the difference between “pickling” and “fermenting”), but as I delve further into the book I know he’ll explain it.

All I know right now is that I got a huge CSA share full of winter vegetables and I have been trying to think of creative things to do with all those carrots, parsnips, and cabbage. Behold fermenting! Apparently winter root vegetables are perfect for pickling, and when I figured out that pickled vegetables will last months in the fridge without going through the canning process, I was hooked.

Here is a really easy recipe for sweet pickled carrots that are delicious, and can stay good for at least a month in the fridge.

Recipe: Sweet Pickled Carrots {refrigerated}
Inspired by: The Kitchen Magpie
Prep time: 15 minutes

  • 4-5 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
  • 2 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 t coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 T pickling spice {you can buy this in bulk at grocery stores}
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices into large pot. Bring to a boil, then add the carrots and boil them for five minutes. Take out the carrots {I used tongs to get them out}, put them in a colander, and rinse them under cold water to stop them from cooking. Use the tongs to put the carrots into glass jars, standing upright. Then pour the vinegar mixture over the carrots until the jar is filled. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace (which just means space without any liquid). Put on the lids, let them cool, and then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat them! They seem to taste better after two or more days.