I know that the majority of the country is dealing with a super harsh winter with snow and crazylow temps, but over here on the West Coast, it’s 80 degrees, and it’s time to start thinking about summer. For me, this means no more convincing myself that I need to eat ravioli every day (because it has protein so it’s okay!).

Luckily, some people out there are expert salad makers, and have lots of different ideas for how to put them together, and even to easily make them ahead in mason jars. What I like about these is that the portions are right, unlike when i toss a ton of foliage on a plate and enough toppings to match.

This is one salad I definitely plan to try soon: Spinach Salad With Mozzarella, Orzo, And Snap Peas


But there are so many more options out there! Buzzfeed in their wonderful way compiled a list of salads that look delicious and healthy, and best of all, EASY!

I’d love to hear any salad ideas you have as summer quickly creeps up on us pounces on us without warning!

These days, I’m looking for anything that’s quick, easy, and packs in a good amount of veggies. Luckily, I found just that!

For some reason, I decided I wanted to make some cold sesame noodles. I looked up several recipes, and found that a lot of them called for fancy ingredients that I just didn’t have, and didn’t want to buy. So, I got a list comprised of several ingredients, from several different sites, and made my own sauce that is amazing, but most importantly it’s cost-efficient. I wish it was on everything I eat!

And for you meat eaters, simply toss some chicken on this, and you’re good to go!

What I think I like best about this though, is that it’s equally as good hot as it is cold, making it a good addition for dinner, or a cold pasta salad for lunch.

seame noodles



What You Need:

1 package pasta (I used whole wheat pasta, but any thin, stringy kind will do, including ramen noodles)

1 red bell pepper (sliced thinly)

1 orange bell pepper (sliced thinly)

1 yellow bell pepper (sliced thinly)

handful of cilantro (chopped)

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1/4 cup soy sauce

2-3 TBSP sesame oil

1-2 tsp chili sauce (like Sriracha)

1-2 TBSP white granular sugar (the normal kind)

1 TBSP canola oil (for the sake on consistency, can be removed if you aren’t a canola oil fan, just use light  olive oil so it doesn’t change the flavor too much)

1-2 TBSP rice vinegar (optional)

What You Do:

Cook the pasta/noodles

While cooking, mix the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar (I made it without the rice vinegar and it was still wonderful, so if you  don’t have any, don’t let that keep you from making this) NOTE: start on the small end of the measurements because all of these ingredients have strong flavors. Taste it and decide how much to add of what

Prepare the bell peppers. No need to cook them, just slice them thinly.

Strain the noodles, then toss in your veggies and cilantro, top with the sauce. Depending on how much pasta you used, you will probably need to make another batch of sauce, but feel it out before you do.


Messiness – This is actually one of the least messy things I make that tastes this good. Just a pot to cook the pasta in, a cutting board, and a bowl to mix the sauce in.

Simplicity – SUPER simple. The good news is that you almost can’t screw this up. It’s just combining lots of wonderful flavors that compliment each other no matter what. The only things to be weary of are not going overboard on the sesame oil and the chili sauce for those with mild tastebuds.

Budget – This one ranks on my super cheap list. The sesame oil is around $5, so, a bit of an investment, but everything else should be right around $1 each, if not cheaper. The best part is that it makes a lot, lot, LOT of food. I’d venture to guess that I got at least 8-12 servings of pasta out of the package I used, and enough sauce for about half of that. All of this to say, there’s enough for a week of lunches and even dinners if I want.

Deliciousness – So yummy. I think the fact that it’s so simple just makes it taste better too!

I must admit, this recipe has been a long time coming. Not sure why it took me so long to post, but let’s just say it’s worth the wait.

It’s a new year, which means more people are trying to watch their waistlines than they were two months ago. For lots of people, this will mean cutting carbs and upping your foliage. Since rabbits and I have the same diet, I’ll try to be of service to you.

Over the last year, I became a fan of dehydrating things and making other stuff out of them. Like cauliflower and zucchini crust. Let me be frank here: I failed A LOT. So, rest assured that this recipe is the most fail-safe of them out there, and you can use the dehydration process to make not only tostadas but pizza crusts too. Now, they don’t taste like your normal tostada and pizza crust, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. In fact, they’re delicious! But I just want you to be prepared. Is there anything worse than thinking something tastes one way, and then it doesn’t?

So, here’s an easy, healthy, and pretty cheap meatless dinner option (but feel free to add some chicken, steak, etc.)

2015-01-08 13.45.10


What You Need:

1 cauliflower (I used two because I was making them Lakers-themed)

1 egg

3 tomatoes (diced)

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1 orange pepper (optional, the Anaheim Ducks were also playing… it was a festive night in my kitchen. It can really be any kind of pepper, or none)

1/2 red onion (diced, optional)

1/2 cup cilantro (optional)

1 avocado (chopped, optional)

Grated cheese (your choice, it’s for the toppings!)

Wax or parchment paper


2015-01-08 13.43.31


What You Do:

Okay, here’s the hardest part. Take the cauliflower and cut it up into pieces. Not small, but manageable. You can either put these in a food processor, or if you burnt yours out like I did, you can just use a grater. The gist is to get the cauliflower into tiny crumbles.

Put the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl, and micro it for 2 minutes, mix, 2 more minutes, mix, and 2 more minutes if you feel it’s necessary. Then, using a dishtowel or paper towels, get every remaining bit of water out of the cauliflower (this is crucial! If they’re wet you’ll have soggy tostadas and no one likes that).

Mix in the egg, and shape your tostadas on the wax paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through

While this is baking, you can heat up your beans in a pot. If you want to add even more flavor, mince a garlic clove, and add that along with chili powder. This isn’t a MUST DO though.

Then top with all of your goodies and you’re good to go!


2015-01-08 13.44.18


Messiness – Lawdy! This can get pretty messy, especially when you’re shaping the tostadas. BUT let me just say that it’s TOTALLY worth it! Mostly, the messiest part is all of the separate dishes for the toppings though. If you can manage that, you’re in business.

Simplicity – Once you get this down, it’s really simple. No harder than making hamburger patties. However, if you’re an anti-microwave person, this may prove a little bit more difficult. I personally like to nuke stuff as little as possible, but frankly, it’s necessary with this recipe to get the most amount of water out (my refusal to do so is why I failed my first few attempts). But if you’re feeling determined, you can definitely wring out the cauliflower on your own (I just hope you’ve been saving up your elbow grease all day!).

Budget – Each of these ingredients shouldn’t be more than $1-2 no matter where you shop! And one cauliflower head will make a good amount of tostadas, as long as you aim for the normal corn tortilla size.

Delicious Factor – I have to reiterate here: these don’t taste like your normal tostadas, but they’re still great! So, as long as you have that in mind, you’re going to be just fine! And as far as healthy substitutes go, these are one of my favorites.

I love apples! Not just during the fall and winter, but all year long, apples are my favorite fruit. So, naturally, I love applesauce, but I do not love what applesauce does to my waistline, thanks to all of the sugar.

Well, one day I was looking around some blogs and found a great recipe for skinny-ish applesauce!

I made it while staying with my parents, and I had my dad try it. His first question was, “how much sugar did you add?” I was happy to report NONE… sort of.

All of the sugar comes from the honey and the dried fruits. This also makes it extremely affordable to make, and it’s easy too!

applesauce 2


(adapted recipe from HERE)

What You Need:

3 apples (peeled, chopped)



raisins, or whatever dried fruit you have

What You Do:

Preheat the over to 350 degrees

Add chopped apples to a glass baking pan

Lightly coat them in a sprinkling of cinnamon (use your judgement based on how much you like cinnamon)

Add your dried fruit

Drizzle honey all over it

Cover with foil, and bake for 35-45 minutes, or longer if you like your apples softer. Mix them up every 15 minutes or so while they’re cooking.

Mush with a fork and enjoy!

applesauce 1


applesauce 3


Messiness – Surprisingly, this isn’t that messy. I made it on my lunch break while I was working and the cook time gives you the opportunity to clean off all of the tools you used.

Simplicity – This may be the easiest recipe for applesauce I’ve found, in addition to being one of the healthiest.

Budget – All of these ingredients can be found at the 99cent store, and if not, they’re still pretty cheap. In fact, my parents happened to have everything I needed, which was why this was a perfect chance to try it.

Delicious Factor – 5/5. Easy! And while I’m not a big fan of ice cream, I can see that making this even better. Who doesn’t want a warm dessert fresh out of the over to go with some ice cream?!

I love Greek food! It always tastes so healthy and fresh, and of course a lot of it is vegetarian. But for some reason when I was growing up, I always thought it was sooo gross when my mom would get Greek salads. I’m not sure why I couldn’t get onboard with that concept, but I couldn’t… until now.

I’m not sure what possessed me to make a Greek salad one day, but I did, and I’ve been in love ever since.

The original recipe I used has since been lost, so I found a different one and adapted it!

The last time I made it was for my Nana, so you know it’s good, because I only make the best of my recipes for the family!

This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, who I love, but her recipes end up being pretty pricey. However, this one stuck with almost all of the original ingredients I used, especially when it comes to the dressing, which is amazing!

What You Need:

1 cucumber (sliced and quartered)

1 red bell pepper(diced)

1 yellow bell pepper (diced)

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, or a cup of your favorite chopped tomatoes

1/2 red onion (diced)

4oz (one container) feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 head romaine lettuce (roughly chopped)

1 bunch kale (roughly chopped, optional)


For the vinaigrette:

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup good red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

What You Do:

Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in one bowl

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or something else you can shake… then shake it up!

Mix the two and serve!


Messiness – There’s a lot of chopping and mixing, so as far as salads go, this isn’t the most low maintenance, but its totally worth it!

Simplicity – It’s salad, not rocket science, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that you need a lot of different ingredients. But you may already have a lot of them in your home. To make this vegan-friendly, just don’t add the feta!

Budget – When in season, you can find the majority of these ingredients on sale. The only thing you’ll need to budget in are the olives and feta. But those shouldn’t be too much, and the olives will last for awhile.

Delicious Factor – I could eat this every single day of my life, and I basically hate salad.

P.S. You can find my lettuce-free Greek salad recipe HERE, for a slightly less healthy, but no less delicious option.

black beans spanish brown rice

Whenever I’m trying to eat healthy, I have a few staples that help me stay on track. Eggs and apples are obvious ones, but I recently came up with this recipe for black beans and Spanish brown rice.

Now, if you’re looking for the most authentic tasting Spanish rice, this isn’t it. But, I can say that everyone who has tried it has loved it! It can also be a versatile base for other vegetarian things like tacos and burgers (see the Simplicity section below).

Also, I used dried black beans for my recipe, but you can just as easily use a can of black beans, and since that’s what most people use, I’ll write the recipe using a can.

That said, I’m a big fan of buying bags of dried beans and legumes, soaking them while I’m at work, then cooking them when I get home. Also, it’s extremely cost effective since a bag of black beans is about $1 and will make 3-4 cans worth. Also, then I just always have food on-hand since I try not to stock my cupboard too much ahead of time.




black beans spanish brown rice 2

What You Need:

One can black beans

3 roma tomatoes (chopped)/can of diced tomatoes

Small handful copped cilantro (optional)

1 can tomato sauce (not paste, not pasta sauce, just tomato sauce)

1/2 diced yellow onion (optional)

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP garlic salt (or 1/2 salt and 1/2 garlic powder)

1/2 TBSP oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup vegetable broth (optional – I didn’t use it in the photo above, and it still tasted fine)


What You Do:

Cook your brown rice according to the instructions (I just cooked my beans for 2 hours, then when they were near tender, I added the brown rice and cooked for another 30 minutes, which is why mine have a darker color than usual)

While it’s cooking (before the rice is done), add the tomatoes, onions, tomato paste, chili powder, garlic salt, oregano, black pepper, and vegetable broth. Continue cooking until the rice is tender

Add the beans and cilantro and cook together for a few minutes, until the beans are warm (If you used dried beans, then just add cilantro and serve!)


Messiness – This is not messy at all! The measurements don’t need to be exact, so feel free to measure them over the pot to cut down on even more mess.

Simplicity – What isn’t there to love about a recipe that you can leave on the stove while you do something else and it takes care of itself? That’s exactly how easy this is. And it’s easy to make other things with it. For example, use this as the base for some veggie tacos, or shape the mixture, roll it in bread crumbs, and quickly bake for super easy veggie burger patties.

Budget – This is my favorite part of this recipe! Like I mentioned, I use a bag of dried beans, and have a bag of brown rice, so the only things I needed to buy were tomato paste and tomatoes, both of which totaled under $2 (I found 6 fresh roma tomatoes for $1 at Fresh and Easy). Not only is it cheap to make, but it makes a lot! This recipe is enough to feed 2-4 people, or to have that many premade meals for your week.

Delicious Factor – It’s great! Of course, true Spanish rice is made with white rice, so this definitely tastes healthier, but it doesn’t take away from the final product at all.

I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(3) I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!

I love Summer! I love so many things about it, but there’s nothing quite like Autumn.

Mostly because it’s cool enough for me to cook some of my favorite foods again! The other day, I went to Trader Joe’s, and saw a beautiful spaghetti squash that was just waiting to be stuffed and roasted… so that’s what I did.

Now, it’s still pretty hot in the city, so I decided to combine one of my favorite refreshing dishes, a southwest salad, and stuff the spaghetti squash with it!

If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash yet, I can’t encourage you enough to give it a go! Not only is it amazing because it takes on whatever flavors you want, but it’s also pretty filling, and you will feel like you’re eating pasta!

Healthy and cheap! We all win!

However, this time there’s a little twist… I made two different recipes. Here’s what happened:

My friend and I do a podcast every Wednesday night. And again, we decided it was too hot to make the squash, so we just made the salad. Today, I only had enough left to stuff one half of the squash, so I improvised on the other half!

(CLICK HERE for the southwest salad recipe)

I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(2)

What You Need (for southwest stuffed):

1 recipe of southwest salad

1 TBSP olive oil

1/2 TBSP garlic salt

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (to be honest, I just used my toaster oven. It creates so much less heat! But either will work)

Lightly coat exposed inner sides of the squash with olive oil (you may not need the entire 1 TBSP)

Put the unstuffed squash halves in the oven for 20 minutes

Add the southwest salad, along with some pepperjack, mozarella, or any other cheese you want, and cook for another 20-30 minutes

Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash flesh out in spaghetti-like strings


I made a great photo by PhotoEditor Pro!(1)


What You Need (spicy cheesy spaghetti squash):

shredded pepperjack cheese

shredded mozarella cheese

1 TBSP chili pepper

1 TBSP dried basil (you can use fresh if you want)

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 tsp crushed dried red peppers

1 TBSP garlic salt (or salt and garlic powder… or just fresh minced garlic if you have it!)

1 TBSP olive oil

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Lightly coat exposed inner sides of the squash with olive oil (you may not need the entire 1 TBSP)

Sprinkle all of your spices on the exposed inner sides of the squash

Put the squash halves in the oven for 40-50 minutes

Using a fork, pull the spaghetti squash flesh out in spaghetti-like strings

Messiness – If you don’t have a good knife, then dealing with any squash is difficult. That said, I have a knife so dull that it fell right onto my foot, blade-down, and it didn’t even draw blood. And I still make spaghetti squash as often as I can.

Simplicity – SUPER simple. If you choose the southwest stuffed version, then that entire salad requires almost only canned ingredients, and the squash is just cutting, cleaning out, and baking. The other version only requires spices you probably already have. Easy peasy.

Budget – This time of year, you can find a good sized squash for anywhere between $1-3. Which is as much as a box of pasta, only way better for you. Also, the rest is just canned stuff that you may already have in your home.

Delicious Factor – I love this so much! It combines the flavors of summer with my favorite fall/winter vegetable. Also, who doesn’t love a healthier version of spaghetti?!


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