• Yummy Recipes

    Mediterranean Salad Recipe

    It’s been quite some time since I shared a recipe, but it’s not because I’m not cooking. I haven’t shared any recipes because I haven’t been doing my own spin on meals I prepare lately. This salad is the exception — I didn’t follow a recipe for this, I created it myself!

    This Mediterranean salad is inspired by a salad my parents and I enjoyed at an Afghan restaurant we discovered last weekend. The waiter gave us each a big plate full of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers swimming in a pool of light, acidic, and tangy dressing. I’ve had a strong craving for Mediterranean food lately, so I thought it’d be fun to make it at home! Below is the recipe.

    My Version of a Mediterranean-Inspired Salad (modify as desired!)

    Ingredients

    • 2 large cucumbers
    • 4 small/medium-sized tomatoes
    • A lot of fresh parsley
    • Many mint leaves
    • Several sprigs of fresh dill
    • One lemon
    • Apple cider vinegar (optional)
    • Two garlic cloves
    • Garlic powder (optional)
    • 1/2 red onion
    • Feta cheese
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    1. Peel and julienne large cucumbers (the mandolin my dad got me for Christmas worked wonders for this) and put in a large bowl
    2. Dice the tomatoes and toss in the bowl. Try to keep the guts of the tomato intact so it can add to the dressing.
    3. Chop up more fresh parsley than you think you need, and add it
    4. Chop a ton of fresh mint
    5. I plucked the dill right off of the stem and threw them into the bowl…I don’t know if there’s an “official” way to prepare fresh dill.
    6. Squeeze one lemon over the mixture
    7. Option to add some apple cider vinegar as well. I would’ve added another lemon but I didn’t have any, so I used the vinegar to provide more acidity
    8. Mince the garlic and add
    9. If raw garlic is irritating to your digestive system, I recommend using garlic powder instead. I used both garlic powder and raw garlic
    10. Chop the red onion and add
    11. Season with salt and pepper to taste
    12. The night before you serve, or even right before you eat it, add as much feta as you would like. I added it as late as possible because I think it would dissolve into the dressing otherwise.

    That’s it! It’s quite simple but so satisfying.

    One more note- it’s best to prepare this at least the night before so everything can soak overnight.

    If you make this at home, let me know what your take on the recipe is.

    Happy eating!

    xx Vic

  • Speaking My Mind

    My Birthday Week Recap!

    My 23rd birthday was definitely one of the more epic ones!

    6 November – Election Day

    First of all, our campaign was victorious! It was such a great feeling, especially since it was the last day of the job. All of those long hours really paid off. We won by 53%, which makes it even crazier because if we hadn’t been campaigning, the Referendum that we were advocating for definitely wouldn’t have passed.

    We all celebrated at a local bar, and my boss and my family friend kept buying everyone rounds of drinks to celebrate. Since my birthday was only a few hours away (it was the day after Election Day), my family friend kept insisting we do toasts, not only for our success, but also for my birthday. Then my boss, his girlfriend, and I went to another local bar and had a drink there. We waited until it was midnight, AKA officially my birthday, and then he got me an Uber home.

    7 November – My Birthday!

    The next day I was quite hungover, which was a little annoying but thankfully I wasn’t nauseous. I just had a headache from dehydration from all of the cheap glasses of wine I had consumed.

    My girlfriend came by early in the day to take me to my car, which I had left at the first bar. Then I dropped the car off and we went to my favorite Thai place for lunch! Afterwards, we went to my alma mater to hang out until I went to dinner with my family.

    My second favorite place to eat is a Spanish restaurant which is located where I went to school, and that is where I ate with my family! This was the third year in a row that I’ve eaten there for my birthday because the food is absolutely divine and the atmosphere is wonderful as well. My last two birthdays have been on a Monday and a Tuesday though, so they weren’t particularly lively when we went out to eat at the restaurant. This year, however, my birthday was on a Wednesday and they had live music! I love live music, so I was living it up. It was some groovy salsa band and they were fantastic!

    Here are some pictures of what we ate!

    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Homemade guacamole with a variety of homemade plantain, sweet potato, radish, and potato chips
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
    Vaca frita con maduros y arroz con abichuelas and a white sangria
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    Yucca fries

    8 November

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    The day after my birthday I bought these beautiful boots that I’m obsessed with, thanks to my grandparents! They’re by Marc Fisher, whom I’m only familiar with because I had purchased a pair of boots by him two years ago! Those boots are only booties though, whereas these are killer tall boots! The story behind them is pretty amusing too…

    I went to DSW to search for booties without a heel because I only have one pair without a heel. I tried on about twenty pairs of booties, but I didn’t love any of them and the ones that I did like didn’t fit my feet right. They were either oddly too loose or too tight. Even my mom tried some of the booties on and noticed that they weren’t fitting properly.

    After being disappointed with the booties, I decided to try on tall boots. I have two pairs of tall boots but only one of them is more “professional,” so I thought another nicer pair would be great. My mom found these and I tried them on, and it was like a Cinderella moment! The shoes fit like a glove! When I was walking around to see how they felt, a shopper stopped and stared at me and said, “Wow, those are nice boots.” Then I turned around to show her the back of the boots where the studs were, and she was pretty stunned. I then decided that those boots were mine, and I’m so glad because I love them so much!

    9 November

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    My mom is having the bathroom redone so they turned off the water for a few hours. Thus, I took advantage of the community center yoga class and shower that day! I took a great class and then I took a nice hot shower and got super fancy for the day, including my beautiful new boots!

    Then I went to lunch with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in over a year. We caught up at Panera, then migrated to Starbucks. My girlfriend had a job interview in the area so she came by to join us. Then we got two bottles of wine from the liquor store and took the party back to my parents’ house, where they were having their own little gathering. We all drank wine and ate my mom’s burgers and chatted, it was so much fun! Then we watched the first episode of the new Sabrina series on Netflix. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo with my friend, but I will see her one more time before she goes back to New Hampshire!

    10 November

    On Saturday, my girlfriend and I went into the city! We were going to go to a museum but by the time we arrived, neither of us wanted to go. We ended up walking around to see the local sites instead.

    Macy’s had already decorated the store inside and Bryant Park was bustling with shoppers at the boutiques, people dining, and ice skaters. My girlfriend wanted to ice skate but I don’t enjoy ice skating so we ate poutine with duck bacon instead. It was fun to be in such a busy and festive environment!

    Then we went to the Amazon bookstore! I had been meaning to go there for a few months but I never had the chance. The Amazon bookstore is different than other bookstores because they include the star rating of the book as well as a quote from a reviewer. They also do what Amazon is famous for doing, which is suggesting books you may like based on a book you have read. For example, they had a shelf saying if you read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, you may like other poetry books. Amazon’s bookstore also included some Amazon technology. It was a cool environment. I don’t believe they included book prices though…

    After the bookstore, we walked to Rockefeller to check out the tree! It was also a bustling environment but it wasn’t as fun as Bryant Park was.

    11 November

    On Sunday, I spent my day crocheting myself a new hat! The last time I made a hat for myself was four or five years ago, but I had loomed it. You can see it in the photos of me in NYC, but below is a better picture of the type of yarn. It’s a beautiful yarn but it’s not very warm and it’s just time I made myself a new one! So I followed a tutorial on YouTube, which was surprisingly super easy, and now I have a nice new hat! I’d like to get a pompom for the top of it.

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    My old loomed hat

    That sums up my birthday week! It was such a fun time and I’m grateful to have concluded my 23rd year on Earth, in this lifetime, with people I care about.

    Now I’m back to reality, which includes finding a new job and resuming studying for the GRE. I have a new strategy for getting a job this time…I’ll talk about it more if it works out.

    xx Vic

  • Yoga

    What I Eat in a Day: Yogi-in-Training

    While I usually eat pretty well, I’ve refined my diet more to benefit my skin, ovulation cycle, and my body! The meals I’ve been eating have been filling and delicious, so I wanted to share them. I only included breakfast and lunch because my lunch is usually leftovers from dinner.

    6:30am Breakfast:

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    Toast and Berries

    This isn’t just any toast- it’s toast with goat cheese! I don’t regularly eat goat cheese but since I’ve eliminated dairy from my diet to benefit my skit and ovulation, I’ve chosen not to consume cheese from cows. Thus, goat cheese has come into my life and it’s quite good! I purchased a small, spreadable one from the grocery store and it helps keep me satisfied until I finally eat lunch at noon.  Goat cheese and toast was a recommended breakfast in the book I’ve been reading, Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, because goat cheese has some protein and the toast provides carbs. I eat some berries (and take some to go!) to make things a little more tasty.

    By the way: If you don’t already, you should follow me on Goodreads and I’ll follow you back!

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    Chai and Rose Syrup

    I also make some chai in the morning in lieu of coffee so I avoid the caffeine-jitters. The chai I make is from an Indian store and my girlfriend taught me how to make it. It is my absolute favorite morning beverage, aside from coffee, because it is spicy and flavorful. Lately I’ve been adding almond milk to it and a teaspoon of honey. Sometimes I add a teaspoon this rose syrup too, also from an Indian store. It has a flowery taste and it’s quite delicious! I find it important to note that any form of corn syrup is not an ingredient in this syrup, instead, the main ingredient is sugar.

    Lunch at Noon:

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    Lunch!

    Most of this stuff were leftovers from the dinner my mom had made the night before. Not all of my food is visible but inside this container is salmon, cod, fried eggplant, potatoes, arugala salad, green peppers, and tomatoes. It all can be eaten cold, which makes things more convenient.

    To ensure I get sufficient carbs in my diet, I also bring rice that I make.

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    Rice!

    This is the rice that I prepared the night before to bring for lunch. It is a recipe my girlfriend taught me and it is my favorite food. It’s soooo good because it’s so flavorful and satisfying! I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients to make it correctly so I had to improvise a bit, but it is still delicious and easy to make.

    For this version of my girlfriend’s recipe, I sauteed some chopped yellow onions and cumin powder in a pan of hot olive oil. Then I added the soaked and rinsed Basmati rice and water. After that, you just let the rice boil and the water evaporate!

    These meals are satisfying and delicious, which has been great since I’ve been expending a lot of physical energy during my training.

    What do y’all eat when you are working out or you spend a whole day adventuring/traveling?

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Satisfying Summer Salad!

    I recently made a salad inspired by a recipe from the Yoga Journal, and it was great! I have mixed feelings about salad because at least when I make it for myself, I don’t feel like I have the greatest skill at combining ingredients that go well together. Therefore, salad recipes, albeit simple, are helpful to me. As per usual with the recipes I prepare, I didn’t have every ingredient required, so I had to improvise. The results were still great though!

    I didn’t measure anything for this recipe so I just threw a couple of handfuls of arugula in a bowl and I added a quarter of an avocado, because I had eaten most of it the previous day. Then I added chopped walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, the rest of the parmesan that I had, and a chopped tomato. Lastly, I squeezed half a lemon, drizzled olive oil, added a bunch of black pepper, and a pinch or two of Kosher salt.

    That was it! It was super simple and it had flavors that I usually don’t add to my salad unless I’m at a salad bar or if the salad is made for me.

    Some of my go-to salad ingredients are canned beets, canned mandarin slices, craisins, and red peppers. Clearly, I like sweet salads.

    What are your favorite ingredients for a salad?

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Trying New Breakfast Recipes: Golden Milk Smoothie

    My typical breakfast consists of a delicious bowl of Cheerios swimming in milk. I’ve since upgraded to various Cheerio flavors such as the Limited Edition Banana Nut Cheerios (RIP, I hope they revive it!!) and Peach Cheerios. I’ve also upgraded from skim milk to non-dairy options like rice or almond milk because I’ve learned that dairy contributes to many of my acne issues, among other things.

    Anyway…since I’ve moved back to my parents’ house, I haven’t had to cook or prepare meals for myself as much as I was doing in school. The only meal I have to prepare nowadays is breakfast, if I even wake up early enough for it. Well, I’ve finished the cereal at home and I haven’t bought more yet so on Monday I decided to check out my latest favorite recipe website, The Minimalist Baker! I made their golden milk smoothie and I wanted to share how I modified it and the results!

    First though, I just want to say that this is inspired from Golden Milk Tea, also known as “Haldi Doodh” in Hindi which translates to “turmeric milk.” I’ve made turmeric milk before because it is supposed to help with menstrual pain, which I’ve been having quite a bit of since quitting the pill in April. It is quite effective in my experience so if you want to try it yourself, the recipe is very similar, minus a few ingredients that the smoothie calls for.

    The smoothie calls for a frozen banana, coconut/almond milk, ground turmeric, fresh ginger, ground cinnamon, black pepper, and ground nutmeg. It’s optional to add ground clove and cardamom and fresh carrot juice, but I didn’t have any of those. You can also top the smoothie off with hemp seeds, but I didn’t have those either.

    This is what I did have! (Not pictured is the almond milk)

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    I used one banana, although it wasn’t frozen so I added three ice cubes to the blender. Then I eye-balled the rest of the ingredients based on how much I like them. For example, I added about one dash of nutmeg because nutmeg is very strong so I don’t want it to overpower the drink. Conversely, I added three dashes of cinnamon because I love cinnamon. I was also a bit generous with the fresh ginger and black pepper because I love those ingredients!

    The recipe didn’t call for chia seeds but that’s what I had so I blended it in too!

    I made the smoothie again on Tuesday but this time I added fresh mango because I have a lot of it left to eat and I was hoping it would make the smoothie more golden. I feel like I ended up with a grey-ish, green smoothie though…

    It was delicious regardless though! I enjoy this recipe because it can be as sweet or as spicy as you want it, plus it’s a great way to start the day…probably better than Cheerios.

    Please let me know if you try the smoothie or the tea and what you think!

    xx Vic

  • Yummy Recipes

    Chickpea Sandwhich – Healthy Lunch On-The-Go

    This sandwich makes an excellent and satisfying vegan lunch! Plus, it takes only 20-30 min to prepare, and there is no cooking involved! I actually made it for the first time when I was on a time-crunch in the morning, and it was so easy to make. It’s essentially a vegan alternative to tuna sandwiches, which I love deeply but I don’t eat them anymore since my mom told me tuna has high mercury levels so I should refrain from eating it.

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    Aside from this being delicious and akin to a tuna sandwich, I also love it because there is no meat involved yet it is packed with protein! I haven’t been cooking meat lately because the last couple of times I did, most of it ended up in the trash. The meat was not as fresh as it was supposed to be. I have also been finding the preparation of meat severely unpleasant. I’ve since decided that I will primarily eat vegetarian when I am home and when I go out, I will consume meat if I want to. This has been a great solution thus far, but when I move back with my parents in a couple of weeks, I may consume more meat because my mom may prepare it for me. Otherwise, though, I’d like to eat more of a vegetarian diet when I’m responsible for my food.

    Chickpea Sunflower Sandwich Recipe – How I made it:

    I never follow recipes exactly, which may be why I have some mishaps sometimes. For the chickpea mixture though, I followed the recipe to a T except I used regular mayo instead of vegan mayo. This wasn’t due to anything other than being unsure where vegan mayo is in the grocery store and also pretty certain that it would be more expensive than if I just got a giant jar of regular mayo.

    Oh, I also squeezed some lemon and added garlic powder and basil to the mixture because it sounded like a good idea, and it was! So I guess I didn’t follow the recipe exactly…

    The second time I made the mixture is what is pictured above and I didn’t use lettuce because I didn’t have any at the time, but the first time I had kale so I used that in addition to tomatoes. I also didn’t add onions the second time I made it…if you like onions, add them! Otherwise, it’s not necessary. It’s delicious regardless!

    I’ve never made the garlic herb sauce they recommend to try, but I’d like to try it! There wasn’t any dill at the grocery store when I went though, hence why I added lemon and garlic to the mixture instead.

    Please let me know if you decide to try it let me know how it is!

    xx Vic

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