Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tips for Making Healthy Fast Food

As you have probably already guessed Monday is a complete blur to me by now. Sadly Tuesday feels very similar but at least it is in a good way.

Healthy Food Fast:

My week is a tad overscheduled which means I have been rushing from place to place and just trying to keep my head above water. When my schedule is out of control like this I rely on very fast food for our sustenance. Since many of you say you don’t have time I wanted to tell you what I do when I only have a few minutes to devote to any particular meal.
First, smoothies are always an option. You can toss any number of things into your blender and come up with something that this both delicious and nutritious. Never underestimate the power of your blender.

Second, dinner leftovers are great on salad. This one was baby spinach dressed with a little sherry vinegar and then the fruited quinoa, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers from Sunday. I have been known to put almost any leftover sauté on top of salad and they always work for me.

Third, fruit and nuts always work. Bananas make great portable food since you don’t even need a bag. Little snack containers are great to hold nuts. I also like to keep washed oranges and apples in bags in the refrigerator along with a few nuts. That way I can grab the bag and toss it in my purse and run out the door.

Fourth, soup in the Vitamix is also a great quick meal. If you want something creamy add a few raw cashews to the soup. This is one of my favorite uses for the Vitamix. A simple “cream” soup has come to my rescue many times. All you need to add is salad and you have a meal. If you have leftover cooked whole grains in the refrigerator they are great to stir into the soup for texture.

Fifth, use your refrigerator as part of your pantry. Leftover soup came in very handy the last two days for me. The same thing applies to keeping cooked beans on hand in your refrigerator. You can turn them into a salad, use them to top a green salad, add them to soups or sautés. The options for beans are almost endless. I also like to keep cooked whole grains on hand like: barley, farro, and brown rice.

Sixth, the microwave is great for cooking a fast white or sweet potato that you can top with salsa, marinated mushrooms, or leftover beans. You could also add the potato to your salad or soup if you like.

Seventh, quinoa only takes 15 minutes to cook. While the quinoa is cooking you can make a quick vegetable sauté for on top of the quinoa. Add a few nuts and you have a healthy and nutritious meal.

Eight, black-eyed peas only need to cook 6 minutes under high pressure in the pressure cooker. I can turn them into soup in well under 30 minutes even allowing 10 minutes for the onions to sit after I have chopped them.

Ninth, if you have stashed some leftovers in the freezer days when you have not time is the perfect time to pull those out. Tofu lasagna, mushroom ragu, all soups and stews and seitan all freezer extremely well.

Tenth, savory oatmeal is very quick and probably feels more like dinner than breakfast to most of you. Add any veggies you have in the refrigerator or freezer and you have a complete meal in well under 10 minutes.

Eleventh, keep your freezer stocked with vegetables. I use this often to make simple salads, add to grains, put in soups or on top of savory oatmeal.

Twelfth, if you have nut butter in the house you can make sandwiches or fill in into celery. I like to have celery and nut butter with my salad. This was celery stuffed with homemade cashew and macadamia nut butter that I had in the refrigerator. The nice thing about homemade nut butter is that it keeps a long time under refrigeration.

Thirteenth, when you really don’t feel like cooking anything you can always hit the salad bar at your local grocery store. This isn’t terribly cost effective but it is better a lot of options.

Fourteenth, if you don’t even feel like going to the store find a local Asian carry out place that has brown rice. You can order the steamed veggies with the sauce on the side. Dan likes to have them add cashews rather than tofu (he claims to only like my tofu) to his meals. Seriously, steamed veggies over brown rice with a little drizzle of sauce and you are good to go. If you are really lucky they may also have some veggie sushi or a vegetarian miso soup that you can pick up. Just a quick note on miso soup, traditionally it is made with dashi (that included dried fish) but many of our local Asian restaurants also have vegetarian versions (which are actually vegan though they call them vegetarian).

I hope that gives you some ideas of how to make food quickly when you don’t have a lot of time. Since many of you ask me that quick I wanted to share a few tips that have been relevant for me the last couple of days.

Did you notice that my felines have not gotten the memo that they are carnivores? I didn’t have time to scoot them out of the photos the last few days. But as you can tell my babies like their mommy’s cooking a bit too much. LOL


I spend most of my Monday sleep deprived because a certain little fuzzy angel didn’t want his mommy to sleep Sunday night/Monday morning. All I can say is it a good thing that I love my little children otherwise somebody would have been in a lot of trouble yesterday for keeping me up for hours.  However it is hard to get upset with them when they are being cute and wanting to cuddle. I do wish they would not require two hours of cuddling though.  *rolls eyes*


I went to see Will give his presentation on theatre and food in the afternoon. Knowing nothing about theatre I had no idea what to expect. The food part I understood but the theatre aspect when over my head. Even so I thought he did a nice job and the professor seemed to agree from what I saw and heard.

Dan, Walid, Jackie and I are going to see Ottmar Liebert tonight in Annapolis. After I bought two tickets I also won two and you have guessed the rest. As luck would have it Jackie actually was also a fan of Ottmar so I am sure we will have blast. I have my camera in my purse and will try to get a few shots for you tonight.

Happy thoughts:

• It has been a beautiful few days weather wise here in Baltimore. We have had sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 70’s. I love that spring is finally here.

• I am really looking forward to the concert tonight. Being a fan of Ottmar for over 20 years I am sure this is going to be great. I will tell you all about it tomorrow.

• I really enjoyed watching Will give his presentation this afternoon. It was very nice of him to let me tag along. Although I am sure the other students were wondering if I was him mom. *sigh* Nothing like spending time on a college campus to remind you that you aren’t a kid anymore. ;-)

• Monday I had a little time to do some weeding in my herb garden. Seriously I really needed to spend more time out in the garden but I had too much to do to lose more than an hour out there. How did I ever get things accomplished at home when I also had a job? That still boggles my mind. All I can say is that my standards had to have been lower then.

• My toe is finally starting to show noticeable improvement. Though it still hurts at least I can touch it now. I think tomorrow I am going to try putting on my running shoes to see how that works.

Signing out:

I need to start getting ready for the concert tonight. I have no idea where my Tuesday went. Tomorrow will be another busy one for me but Thursday should bring a little down time. *fingers crossed*

I will talk to you again tomorrow with the concert update. Here is hoping that you are having good week too.


  1. Great tips. I think having a well-stocked freezer is a great help for weekday meals in a hurry. Thanks to you, I realized I could indeed freeze things like rice and barley! Hope you have a great evening.

  2. Love the photo with kitty's nose smelling the soup!

  3. Great tips. I am rarely home for meals which means if I want cheaper and healthier options I have to pack lunches and dinners or cook and eat something in very little time.

  4. Yay! thanks for this! I can't wait to try some of your tips! They are so practical! I'm glad that the site is back up too!

  5. Great tips! You do a wonderful job of showing how easy it is to eat a healthy, balanced vegan meal.


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