Archive for Back to School Healthy

Sweet ‘n’ Salty ‘n’ Spicy Tamari Cashews [Gluten Free & Vegan]

I really am trying very hard to eat healthier. Not that I was eating all junk food all the time before… but what I’m learning about myself is that I need to plan my week better, and basically make it stupid easy for me to make good choices when it comes to food.

Sweet 'n' Salty 'n' Spicy Tamari Cashews [Gluten Free & Vegan]

If I’m hungry, then I’m hungry, and I don’t usually want to spend a ton of time making a healthy meal. I want a peanut butter sandwich to shove in my pie-hole. Now.

My main concern, when I’m really hungry, is protein, and I tend to forget about fruits and vegetables.

What I’ve been doing lately is creating big batch lunches on the weekend, and then I can quickly microwave something when I’m hangry hungry. Last week I stir-fried vegetables and tofu, and that was lunch for the week.

When it comes to snacking, I’m also trying to be better prepared. These glazed, tasty, tamari cashews are a great way to snack.

I love choosing nuts for a snack–they are packed with protein and have that satisfying crunch. You don’t need to eat too many of them to be satisfied.

These are a little like all-dressed chips. They have a little sweet, a little salty, a little smoke and a little spice. I keep them in small ziploc bags in purse when I go out, or grab a soy-sauce bowl sized portion (from my sushi set) to eat at my desk.

Happy snacking! These are the cure for hangry.

Sweet 'n' Salty 'n' Spicy Tamari Cashews

Sweet ‘n’ Salty ‘n’ Spicy Tamari Cashews

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (you could also use Almonds)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • a few drops of liquid smoke or a dusting of smoked sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp (or more if you like it hotter) chipotle powder

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 325, and lay your nuts in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. In the mean time, mix together the glaze ingredients in a bowl large enough to accommodate the cashews.
  3. After 10 minutes, take the cashews out of the oven and dump them into the bowl and coat well with the glaze. Throw them back on the baking sheet, and put them back in the oven.
  4. Bake the cashews for about 30-40 minutes, making sure to stir them every 10 minutes. You will know they are done when you see the glaze really sticking to the cashews.
  5. Turn the cashews out onto a piece of wax paper or foil to cool. The glaze will harden as they cool, and you may need to bash them a little to separate them. Once cool, store in a tightly-closed mason jar or tupperware container.

Ramen in a Jar

Despite crocuses peeking through the mud and the slightest haze of cherry blossoms beginning to show on the trees, it’s still winter here in Vancouver. That has meant a week of deeply unpredictable weather that has spanned from sun and double-digits to a rain that would make Noah run to his workshop.

For me, this time of the year is all about comfort food, primarily soup. My days are really busy right now. I am working my butt off for the next 5 months in preparation for taking the summer off. I know it’ll all be worth it come the end of June, but right now, it feels like a bit of a slog.

ramen in a jar

I spend most of my days at my computer, and sometimes I forget to eat. Or if I do eat, it’s the fastest possible thing I can slap together. I’m trying to be more mindful, honestly–both about taking a break and going outside (when it’s not monsooning)–and also about eating a real lunch.

What’s helped is doing weekend prep. I make lunches in advance, in bulk, on the weekends. Sometimes it’s a big pot of soup, sometimes it’s salad in a jar, last week I roasted some vegetables in the oven, and portioned them up with some stir-fried tofu. A quick zap in the microwave, et voila! Lunch!

This week, I’m making ramen in a jar. This is a riff on salad in a jar, and it has some pretty serious benefits over the packets of ramen or cups of noodle soup you can buy in the store. Yeah, that stuff is portable, warm, and let’s face it, tasty, but it also lacks in vegetables, and the “flavor packet” is packed with MSG. These bad boys are a more healthy option.

One thing I love about these is that you can use whatever you have on hand, just like salad in a jar. There are a million different variations, and they are all good. What’s important here is the order in which you put the ingredients in the jar. Start with your flavoring, then veg, then protein, then noodles, and lastly, anything fresh that you don’t really want to cook.

Here’s how you do it.

ramen in a jar ingredients

Ramen in a Jar

Ingredients:

  • Mason jars (minimum 500 ml) or snap-top glass jars
  • Noodles: ramen noodles, soba, udon, even spaghetti will work
  • Proteins: pre-cooked and cubed chicken breast, tofu, shrimp or any meat-substitute
  • Vegetables: carrots, peas, corn, shitakes, leafy greens like bok choy or spinach.
  • Flavoring: miso paste, Better Than Bouillon, Kimchi, hoisin sauce, etc
  • Fresh ingredients: green onion, cilantro, lime, bean sprouts, dried nori cut in strips

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles until al dente. You want them to be not cooked all the way through, but they need to be soft enough to pack into the jar.
  2. Put your flavorings on the bottom of the jar. I used a tsp of miso paste, a couple dashes of tamari and a few drops of sesame oil. Feel free to use bouillon or soup stock base, but be sure to get one without MSG. A spoonful of kimchi would make it spicy.
  3. Next, layer in your tougher vegetables. You’ll need to grate carrots if using them, I also added shelled edamame to mine. Frozen peas and carrots would work great.
  4. The next layer is more delicate vegetables. This is where you want to add your leafy greens. I used a baby bok choy, but spinach would also be great, or cabbage.
  5. Next layer is proteins: cooked chicken, tofu, etc.
  6. The next layer is the noodles. Pack them in.
  7. The top layer is any fresh ingredients that you don’t really want to cook. You can also pack these into a baggie, and remove it while the ramen cooks, then add them in after it’s ready to eat.
  8. Store your jars in the fridge. Try to remember to bring them out of the fridge an hour or so before eating them, to allow the jar to come to room temp before you pour boiling water into it.

To eat: take off the lid and pour boiling water on your ramen until it is almost full. Put the lid on and allow to sit for at least a minute. Take the lid off, add in your fresh ingredients, stir well, and enjoy! Make slurping noises.

Additional recipes and flavor combinations:

How to Make DIY Instant Noodle Cups

The Food Lab: Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous)

Mason Jar Instant Soup

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