Tag Archives: easy

The Perfect Lunch

Title_Image_1After going deep into a take-out only phase during a 2-month GRE study fire drill, I’ve come back out into the world. Which means I’m ready to do things like see people, clean my room, sleep…and start making lunch again. I needed to ease my way back in, and was brainstorming some  basic salad or sandwich options when my fabulous co-author here sent me a recipe with the challenging subject line “The Perfect Lunch?” That name has a lot to live up to. For us nine-to-fivers The Perfect Lunch must be supremely easy to make. It must be easy to bring in, especially if you commute on the most crowded bus ever in San Francisco (me) and have had a traumatic bus experience involving an exploded tupperware of soup, where you had to let it spill into an upside down umbrella until you could get off (yep, me again). This lunch must be nutritious, cheap enough to beat its takeout competition, keep you full all day, and easily combat the “well maybe I’ll eat it tomorrow” feeling when your coworkers tell you they’re doing another trip to the Grilled Cheese Truck. The Perfect Lunch? Obviously, I was intrigued.

This recipe hits all the main points of a solid lunch – filling beans, starchy sweet potato, lots of kale, warm spices. All wrapped up in an easy to eat pita. The recipe calls for making your own whole wheat pita and actually baking the filling in – which sounds amazing, I just wasn’t ready for it. It also calls for lentils, but canned black beans sounded pretty great in this dish and they take all of 2 seconds to open. It was a great foray back into lunch-making in particular and domesticity in general, and I really did feel ok next to the grilled cheese.

Spiced bean, sweet potato, and kale pita pockets
Adapted from here

1 onion
1 bunch of dino (lacinato) kale
1 large sweet potato
1 can of black beans
a pack of whole wheat pitas

Preheat your oven to 350, pierce your sweet potato, and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Slice the onion into slivers and sautee over medium-high heat in a pan with olive oil until it starts to turn brown, about 10 minutes. Add chopped dino kale, salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin and let cook, about another 8-10 minutes.  Add black beans to pan with another healthy dash of salt and pepper, and a few dashes of cumin. Peel your sweet potato and cut into half-inch chunks. Add the sweet potato to your pan. Toast pita and fill with your mixture.

Granola Bars, Part Deux

Good morning hunger pains! Per the usual, I woke up this morning completely ravenous, eagerly anticipating stuffing my face voraciously with granola (also quite typical). Shuffling my sleepy self to the kitchen with a craving for peanut butter, I realized I had prematurely gobbled up my granola supply (#firstworldproblems), so I quickly scrounged up the ingredients for these rockingly easy granola bars. This is a recipe so simple that any pre-caffeinated brain can handle on the emptiest of stomachs. However, waiting for these buddys to set before cutting may be a different story… These are definitely a new essential to keep on handy for satiating frequent morning (or afternoon, midnight, 3am…) hunger pains. Customize with chocolate, nuts and dried fruit to your hearts content! Peanut Butter Granola Bars adapted from here

2/3 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup agave syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

3 cups oats

1 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes

Optional Add-ins:

1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins (or any bite-sized dried fruit will work)

1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped (or walnuts, pecans, peanuts…)

1/3 to 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with tin foil. In a large microwave-safe bowl (think big, you’ll be mixing everything in here), combine brown rice syrup, peanut butter, agave, and heat on high power for 1 minute; stir to combine. Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt.

Add oats and coconut to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add any dried fruit, nuts and chocolate and fold to incorporate. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread parchment paper over mixture, and pack down firmly with a fists. Place pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until you can’t take waiting anymore. Slice bars and wrap in parchment or tin foil for easy snacking and/or breakfasting!