Chef Time #5: Four Smoothie Bowl Recipes

Chef Time #5: Four Smoothie Bowl Recipes

In this Chef Time post, I tell you about four different smoothie bowl recipes I made. Recently, I’ve been inspired by all of the smoothie bowls I’ve been seeing online and in restaurants. I love how healthy they are (obviously depending on what you put in them) and how pretty they can look depending on what toppings you use.

None of these recipes have exact measurements- you get to decide how much you want to put in! The Dragon Fruit has a pretty strong flavor, so it will cover up any veggies you try to sneak in 🙂

Here are the four recipes I created:

Recipe #1

This is my favorite smoothie bowl recipe- I think it had the best base in terms of taste and consistency. For the base, I used: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, some almond milk, 1 Avocado and some mixed frozen berries. You can’t taste the Avocado, but it makes the bowl nice a creamy. For the toppings, I used: a spoonful of almond butter, chia seeds, fresh strawberries and granola.

Recipe #2

In this smoothie bowl, I mixed: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, some almond milk, 2 frozen bananas, some frozen raspberries and some frozen mango chunks. The base came out too soupy, so if you use almond milk or something similar, make sure to watch for this. The toppings I used were granola and chia seeds.

Recipe #3

In this smoothie bowl recipe, I used: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, 1 frozen banana, some riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s, some frozen raspberries, some frozen mango chunks, and some almond milk. I promise that you can’t taste the cauliflower; I put it in to provide some additional nutrients. For the toppings, I used chia seeds, granola and almond butter- I love how the almond butter accidentally came out looking like a flower!

Recipe #4

In this recipe, the bowl ingredients are: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, 1 frozen banana, some frozen mango chunks, some frozen raspberries, and 3 strawberry yogurts. The toppings are chia seeds and granola (I like Udi’s granola!). I used yogurt to give the bowl a creamier texture, I don’t like it when the base gets too soupy.

I hope that these recipes inspire you to make smoothie bowls at home. If you do make them, tag me in the pictures on Instagram @thecrosscountrymillennial- I would love to see them! Also, a great spot to look for the dry goods (granola and chia seeds) used in these recipes is Thrive Market – I’m obsessed with the prices. If you use this link, you’ll get 25% off your first order (this post is not sponsored, I just love Thrive Market). Bon appetite!

17 Things I Learned in 2017

17 Things I Learned in 2017

This year I worked really hard to work on myself and I set goals that I thought would be achievable. Here’s what I’ve learned from setting my 2017 Goals:

  1. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals actually work. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I learned this acronym in college and I applied it more to academics, but never to life. When I made my goals for 2017, I applied the concept of S.M.A.R.T. goals to them because I wanted to make sure I could achieve them.
  2. Accountability is key. I don’t think I would have maintained my exercise routine without having it in my calendar, receiving reminders, and being charged if I cancelled a class too late. Also, sharing your goals with people is a good way to be held accountable.
  3. Traveling is a great way to learn more about yourself. Whether you want to learn more about yourself or other cultures, you will learn something new about yourself on each trip you take.
  4. One of my big goals was to learn how to budget more and actually stick to that budget. I found that apps really didn’t help me achieve this goal, so at the beginning of the month I’ve started writing out my expenses for the month, the days I get paid, and the amount I get paid to figure out how to manage my spending for the month.
  5. It is important to keep learning. Taking classes through UCLA Extension has been one of the best things I decided to do this year. I’ve loved what I’m learning and it’s been one of the more enjoyable things I’ve done this year.
  6. Setting goals related to exercise should be focused on seeing what your body can do and not just weight loss. When I initially set my goal of getting better at cardio, the real goal was to lose weight. A few months into the year, I made the mental shift to focus on pushing my body more vs. focusing on weight loss, and I accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I ran a mile faster than I’d ever run before- 12 minutes! Which to some is a bad time, but for me that broke a 13-year record! Due to my mental shift, I was able to accomplish my cardio goal and achieve my secondary goal of losing weight.
  7. Your body can do more than you think. I know this is related to #6, but it’s definitely a lesson I learned. Up until this past year, I had never really lifted weights. I had used little weights in PT or a gym class, but never truly lifted weights. This year I have learned how to lift weights and I’ve increased the amount of weight I can lift throughout the year. It’s been nice to see that I’m able to do this because I’ve had shoulder and neck issues.
  8. Cooking is a lot easier than you think. I usually get overwhelmed by cooking a meal, but recently I’ve started being creative in the kitchen and created my own recipes. I’ve actually found this process to be fun, and I’d never had that experience before. An example of this is my obsession with making a DELICIOUS egg sandwich.The-Cross-Country-Millennial-How-to-Make-an-Egg-Sandwich
  9. Eating out or ordering in usually isn’t as good as you think it’ll be. The more I ate out this year, the less I enjoyed it. I would go to some of my favorite places and I just didn’t like it or I felt sick afterwards; which is obviously not a reaction you want to have. I definitely think there needs to be a balance between eating out/ordering in and cooking at home.
  10. Find things that you love outside of work. This for me has been key- without this blog I wouldn’t have a creative outlet and work would be my life.
  11. Be open to exploring new places. Whether you’re exploring a brand-new country or city or walking around where you live and you stumble upon a new place, you should be open to trying new things. This is how I created my Ktown Hidden Gems series- it simply happened because I started walking around where I live.
  12. Stand up for what you believe in. This applies to politics, issues at work, with your friends- you get the point. This is an important skill to have and it applies to any aspect of life.
  13. Take care of yourself. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to learn. I’ve tried really hard to take care of issues before they become bigger problems, and I think this approach is making me more aware about how my body works and reacts to things.
  14. Go to interesting events. In 2017, I was really lucky to have the opportunity to see a lot of performers and speakers that I never thought I would see. This includes seeing Hamilton the Musical, movie screenings, the Backstreet Boys, and Dan Rather. Attending different types of interesting events makes you think differently about different aspects of life and you appreciate them. Every time an opportunity would arise, I would just ask myself, “when will I be able to do this again?” If the answer was probably never again, then I would decide to go. Taking advantage of opportunities is key.
  15. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve always had the rule that I am willing to try anything once, but sometimes fear can make that hard to follow. This year I tried to actually force myself to try things that scared me or were completely new. The major thing I tried was skiing. I had never skied before, but I had always wanted to try. So, when the opportunity arose, I said yes. Was I great at it? No. Am I willing to try it again? Yes.
  16. Friends and family are everything. Going on all of my adventures in 2017 wouldn’t have been as memorable or enjoyable without everyone who participated in them. From Nashville, to trying new restaurants, to Hawaii, to going to concerts and speakers- these memories wouldn’t be half of what they were without the people who attended them with me. For this, I am eternally grateful.
  17. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is just a key thing to be able to do in life. Things are going to happen in life and you need to be able to be okay with it.

Continue reading “17 Things I Learned in 2017”

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

As I mentioned in my post about my experience at Egg Slut, I am on a mission to figure out how to make the best egg sandwich at home. After I went to Egg Slut, I figured out the missing ingredient- avocado!

Cook and Prep time: 10 minutes

What You’ll Need:

1 or 2 eggs

1 Tbsp. of garlic olive oil (I use the Trader Joe’s version)

1 or ½ an avocado

2 slices of Gouda cheese

1 English muffin or roll (I like the Euro Classic Hamburger rolls)

Single Egg Pan

I like to start by prepping the bread, so that way once the egg is cooked I can just put it on the sandwich and it’s ready to eat. Here are the steps:

  • Lay out both halves of the bread
  • Slice up the avocado and put it on both sides of the bread, so the sandwich is balanced.

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  • Put the two slices of Gouda on top of the avocado- this way they melt once you put the freshly cooked egg between them!

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Now that the rest of the sandwich is ready, then I start with the tasks related to cooking the egg(s). Here’s what I do:

  • Put a little bit (about 1 Tbsp.) of the garlic olive oil in the single egg pan- I like to put enough that I know the egg won’t stick to the pan, but not too much where it will spit back out at me while hot.

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  • Crack the egg into the pan- I like to cook it sunny side up

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  • Once the egg whites look cooked, then I like to flip it

When you think, the egg is done, take it off the stove and quickly get it onto the prepared sandwich. Once you put both halves together, it will melt the cheese.

I hope that you enjoy my super easy and healthy egg sandwich recipe! Comment below with any recipes that you’ve created and feel like sharing 🙂

 

 

An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

An Eggsellent Meal at Eggslut

One of my favorite things to do is explore parts of Los Angeles with my friends, and of course, try new restaurants. I think that one of the most underrated places to eat in Los Angeles, is Grand Central Market; however, within Grand Central Market there are a lot of amazing and diverse eateries. I love the produce shops, coffee shops, bread stores, and all the eateries and stores in this iconic location; one of my favorites is Eggslut.

I’m currently trying to make the best egg sandwich when I cook at home, so I’m trying different egg sandwiches around Los Angeles for inspiration. The menu is fairly limited to just egg sandwiches, but they do have an option that’s gluten free and comes with a salad. A friend and I both got the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese sandwich (mine with avocado, because it was national avocado day) and my other friend got a Slut with a side salad. They honestly know how to make the best egg sandwich at Eggslut and I need to know how they do it! I loved the crunchiness of the bacon, and how the cheese melted on the egg. The avocado topped off the sandwich.

One downside of Eggslut is that it is a small restaurant, so there usually is a crazy long line. However, this gives you the opportunity to take turns waiting in line with your friends while letting one explore Grand Central Market. It also allows you to socialize before ordering, so that way you can enjoy your amazing sandwich.  🙂

Eggslut is a great breakfast option, and being in Grand Central Market makes it even more enjoyable. Look out for a future post about my adventures trying to make the best egg sandwich at home. Happy Eating!

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Chef Time #3: 3 Rounds with Instafood

Honestly, I thought, “how hard is it to bake an egg in an avocado?!” One day, I fell into the deep abyss of Instagram looking at food I would want to cook. I stumbled upon a picture of an egg baked in an avocado. Immediately, I knew that this was the next dish I wanted to master. I found a recipe on All Recipes for egg baked in avocado. In the Instagram pictures, I stumbled upon, and the picture on All Recipes, it looked so effortless to make; however, this was not my experience.

The first time I tried to make it, I didn’t scoop out enough avocado and the egg part over flowed. Also, this happened because I didn’t balance the avocado, so I ended up folding up tin foil and wedging it under the avocado to keep it balanced.

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The avocado over flowing problem also happened the second time I baked the egg in an avocado. This time it happened inside the oven, so I’m thinking the heat affected the baking pan and made it bend or something.

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The third time was the charm. I got my avocados balanced and nothing over flowed. YAY!!!

The lesson I learned from this cooking endeavor was that seeing things on Instagram and thinking that they’ll be perfect the first time you cook them isn’t true. You need to try something a few times, and learn all the hacks associated with cooking the meal.

Here’s the recipe from All Recipes for Baked Eggs in Avocado:

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • Any seasoning you want to use

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl, being careful to keep the yolks intact.
  3. Arrange avocado halves in a baking dish, resting them along the edge so avocado won’t tip over. Gently spoon 1 egg yolk into the avocado hole. Continue spooning egg white into the hole until full. Repeat with remaining egg yolk, egg white, and avocado. Season as you please.
  4. Gently place baking dish in the preheated oven and bake until eggs are cooked, about 15 minutes.

This is a super easy meal to cook (once you know the hacks for it), and it’s really healthy! Let me know some of your cooking tips below!

Happy Cooking 🙂

Chef Time #2

Chef Time #2

As someone who’s trying very hard to learn to cook, I thought I would share two of my new favorite recipes.

 Tuna Fish and Noodles

I know this recipe seems a bit bland or unusual, but for me it tastes like home. It possible is my favorite dish that my mom makes.

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Ingredients
8 oz. wide or extra wide noodles
6.5 oz. tuna fish (you can use 2 small cans or 1 large can)
Cream of Mushroom soup

Steps
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring pot of water to boil; add noodles and stir.  Cook until done, drain & rinse with hot water.
Drain tuna and break chunks up.
Add ½-3/4 cup milk to soup.  (I usually put soup in 1 qt. pot over low heat and gradually stir in milk.)
Grease casserole dish with butter or margarine.
Layer noodles, tuna, soup (thin), & repeat, ending with soup.
Cook 1 hour.

*If you want to add peas or another veggie to the recipe, you definitely can!

 

 

Eggplant and Mozzerella

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Ingredients

Eggplant Recipes – use a rimmed cookie sheet for both
Eggplant Sorrento Style
2 medium to large eggplants (approx. 2 lbs. total), sliced about 1/4-inch thick
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced approx. ¼-inch thick
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
24 large basil leaves

Steps
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheets. Brush both sides with olive oil (you can use olive oil spray instead).  Bake until softened, about 10 min.  Turn & bake until almost tender throughout, about 5 min. more.  Remove from oven.  Add salt & pepper (I don’t use this). Top with 1 slice of tomato, 1 slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Bake until cheese melts (5 min. or so).  Serve immediately.

 

If you have an easy recipe you want me to try, please share it! Enjoy!

Chef Time

Recently, I have been working on improving my cooking skills. In the past, they have been one of my most abysmal skills that I possess. Deciding that I was going to start attempting to cook again definitely brought up some road blocks, but I knew that I had to try. I decide to try making Lamb Chops and Pasta Salad, and both recipes came out amazing. Here are pictures and recipes:

Lamb Chops

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Recipe

Rinse & place on broiler pan; if you want, you can put a little aluminum foil under it to make cleaning easier afterwards. You can bake them at 350 degrees for 20-30 min., then turn, put some oregano on, and cook for another 20-30 min. OR you can broil them – you have to watch carefully so they don’t burn.  It’ll probably take 5-10 minutes per side.
Cooking time can vary, depending on how thick they are.

 

Pasta Salad

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Recipe

Boil a full bag of bow tie pasta. Once it’s done, you rinse the pasta in cold water, then drain it. Put pasta in large bowl so you can stir. Chop up half a cucumber and half a red pepper [I used tomatoes instead of red pepper] or other various veggies and throw into the pasta bowl. Add balsamic vinaigrette or dressing of your choice to pasta, stirring so the dressing is coating all of the pasta and veggies. Leave pasta in fridge for one day and serve next day!

To improvise I added some feta to the pasta salad 🙂

Both recipes are super easy, and taste amazing.

Bon Appétit!

Sometimes I Can Cook…

Since I graduated from graduate school, I have been trying to learn how to cook more. One of the dishes I wanted to master was stir fry with chow mein. This past attempt was my best one, and I was extremely surprised based on my track record. For the stir-fry, I used chicken, mushrooms, bean sprouts, chopped white onions, and water chestnuts. I cooked the chicken in a bit of garlic olive oil and teriyaki sauce. Then I cooked the vegetables in soy sauce. Then I mixed in the chicken with the cooked vegetables. In a separate pot, I made the chow mein. Overall, cooking this meal took about 15 mins and it was simply delicious. I encourage anyone who is cooking challenged to attempt making stir-fry. Bon Appetite!

 

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