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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Grub Roundup: Quesadillas, Mac 'n Cheese, Pumpkin Banana Bread + More!

Hi guys! I know, it has been too long since I've posted. I apologize for that. If you didn't know, I moved to California in September, so needless to say, I've been settling in over the past month. Moving to a new state has been so much more challenging than I ever imagined it would be. The first few weeks were especially rough because I missed the comforts of home, my family, my best friend, my dog, and the familiarity of my hometown, amongst other hardships. But I kept asking myself, "what was your original intent in moving?" because I kept getting caught up in my temporary emotional state. My original intent was, in fact, to get out of my comfort zone and do something completely different and a little bit scary. I wanted to go on an adventure, at least for a year, and what better way to do that than to live in a new place?

Reminding myself of my original intent has helped me to stay committed to my decision and I am so glad that I did and didn't take the easy way out by going back home. The truth is, I wasn't happy in Dallas because I felt like there was more out there for me and that time to take that opportunity was passing by everyday. I really felt stuck for a good year and a half. I felt something deep in my soul pushing me to venture out and grow. So, what would I gain by going back so soon? I'd go right back to where I was. Crazy enough, I have already learned so much being here for just one month. I have already grown immensely. I think that's because I became so uncomfortable feeling stagnant that I had to do something about it, and once I did, growth took place immediately. I watered my plant, so to speak. :-P 

Anyway, I've still been cooking often, although I haven't been creating many new recipes just because I've had to start all over. I drove my car halfway across the country and only brought the essentials. My car was heavy enough with just the essentials! And maybe I'm stretching the word "essentials" - do numerous boxes of clothes count? Probably not, but the point is, I had to leave most of my cooking tools/appliances and food behind. It was a hard goodbye (don't fret - they were adopted by my best friend). But now that I have acquired some spices and other cooking materials, I do have a few recipes I have been testing out, like one shown below on this weekly grub roundup, that I am beyond excited to share with you... a pumpkin banana bread! *gasp* So. Good.

Because I haven't posted anything for awhile, not even a Healthy Share with Claire video (will do soon!), I thought I'd share what I ate this past week and where to find the recipes. I've cooked some absolutely divine meals with a new friend of mine, Karissa, who I adore. She has been the reason I have settled in quicker than I would have had I not met her. It's interesting... if you look back at hard times, there is always at least one positive thing that is keeping you afloat.

Without further ado... my meals & desserts this week... and I can't pick a favorite because they were all to die for!

Top row left-to-right: 
■ Quesadilla (without the top tortilla because I wanted to show the pretty filling ingredients) - Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla, a spread of store-bought original hummus, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, & avocado. I brushed the tortillas with grapeseed oil, and toasted them in a non-stick skillet over low heat for 2 minutes on each side. *Adapted the recipe from Chloe Coscarelli's new cookbook, Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen
■ Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Apple Pizza *Recipe from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen
■ Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes *Recipe from Minimalist Baker

Middle row left-to-right:
■ Nachos with Cashew Cheese *Recipe from me!
■ Mac 'n Cheese with Roasted Broccoli (sprinkled with smoked paprika) *Recipe from Detoxinista
■ Tempeh Bacon Wrap - I made this up spontaneously for lunch one day. I was in awe of its deliciousness! Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla, a spread of vegan mayo, tempeh bacon, lettuce, and Daiya cheese. *Recipe for my tempeh bacon

Bottom row left-to-right:
■ Olive Oil Pancakes *Recipe from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen
■ Nice Cream Cookie Sandwich - I used Vegan à la Mode's (my friend, Karissa) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe and put So Delicious's Butter Pecan Vegan Ice Cream in between! How did I do this? I froze 2 cookies for an hour, took them out and scooped some ice cream in between & then pressed the cookies together, and put it back in the freezer for another hour. You will become addicted to these! Check out my nice cream cookie sandwich recipe here.
■ Pumpkin Banana Bread - PERFECT for the fall! A new favorite of mine. *My recipe!

Jeez, I just realized how much comfort food I ate this past week. It's no wonder! Ha.

Happy fall, y'all! ...even though it doesn't feel nor look like fall in California...


  1. Thanks for the mention Claire :) so happy I have helped you settle in and adapt to San Diego a little better! I am truly lucky to have you as a friend! And San Diego is lucky to have you as a resident!

    On the bright side of a somewhat challenging move, you've gotten to eat some amazing food!! I am so eager for you to post your banana pumpkin bread recipe! It was incredible :)
    p.s. that tempeh bacon wrap looks so good! great idea!

    1. My nice cream sandwich wouldn't have happened without you making those delightful cookies so thank *you* for making them & sharing them with me!

      You have helped me beyond belief! I am forever indebted to you for being so wonderful to me during this tough transition. It is completely refreshing to meet someone you immediately connect with because it doesn't happen often! Thanks a million for letting me vent about anything & everything. <3 So excited for all of our adventures ahead... and more taste testing. :-D


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