Summer No-Cook No-Bake Recipe Round-Up

Yesterday officially marked the first day of summer and with that I can no longer ignore the heat wave and humidity that is becoming evidently more intense. While I no longer live in an apartment with only a single window room unit and spend my days literally melting everywhere, I still find much less inspiration in anything that requires me to turn on the stove. With that in mind I’ve compiled a set of no-cook, no-bake recipes from breakfast to dessert that require no stove top or oven!

Avocado and Ricotta Tartine with Preserved Lemon

Starting off our no-cook recipes is one from RD Rachael from over at Avocado A Day Nutrition. As she says, “Citrusy preserved lemon cuts the richness of creamy avocado and ricotta cheese in this avocado and ricotta tartine. Perfect for breakfast and a light lunch paired with a salad. ” I couldn’t agree more!

AVOCADO AND RICOTTA TARTINE WITH PRESERVED LEMON

CHILLED OVERNIGHT OATMEAL

A recipe I created back during my times in Brooklyn with no central a/c, not only is this a “no-cook” recipe, but it’s chilled and easy to grab on on the go because it’s ready whenever you are in the morning!

Chilled Overnight Oatmeal

HIYAYAKKO

This dish is one that I used to eat regularly with meals or as a quick snack when I was living in Japan. The Kitchn shares the details of this simple dish and leave the topping options up to you!

Hiyayakko

Snapper Ceviche with Chilis and Herbs

What summer is truly complete without a delicious ceviche? The fish is essentially “cooked” in the lime juice without ever adding any heat.

Snapper Ceviche with Chilis and Herbs

Ethereally Smooth Hummus

Based off of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Basic Hummus recipe which calls for cooking the chickpeas, Smitten Kitchen is a-ok with including a version using canned chickpeas.

Ethereally Smooth Hummus

Rainbow Noodles with Spicy Jungle Peanut Sauce

Emily from over at This Rawsome Vegan Life is the queen of all things raw and vegan. This recipe is one that couldn’t get more delicious if you tried!

Rainbow Noodles with Spicy Jungle Peanut Sauce

Spiralized Yellow Squash with Basil and Mint

Feeling inspiralized? No, but seriously, if you don’t have a spiralizer, this summer is the time to get one and Ali over at Inspiralized is here to show you all the delicious (and nutritious) reasons why!

Spiraled Yellow Squash with Basil and Mint

Mango Black Bean Salad

Simple and clean, this Mango and Black Bean Salad from Kristen over at Oh My Veggies is sure to keep you satisfied!

mango black bean salad

Chilled Gazpacho

There are a lot of different ways to make gazpacho but I particularly like this one as it sticks strictly to readily seasonally available ingredients.

Chilled Gazpacho

Raw Nori Wraps with Red Cabbage, Cucumber, Carrots, Zucchini & Spicy Dipping Sauce

Another one from the Queen of Raw at This Rawsome Vegan Life, these babies are quick and easy to transport to a quick and clean lunch.

raw nori wraps with red cabbage, cucumber, carrots, zucchini & spicy dipping sauce

Carrot Ribbon Pasta Bowl with Coconut Almond Satay

Sarahfaé from over at Addicted to Veggies knows how to make a mean “pasta” recipe using simple veggie-vicious ingredients!

Carrot Ribbon Pasta Bowl with Coconut Almond Satay

Raw Vegan Lime Cheesecake

What’s a meal without dessert? Casey, over at Casey Jade calls this one a “tropical holiday in your mouth!”

Raw Vegan Lime Cheesecake

The Raw Brownie

And finally, last, but certainly not least, to finish off our list is one from Sarah at My New Roots. These brownies exemplify decadence and simplicity in this rich, 5 ingredient recipe.

the raw brownie

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

While not as well known as its comparable counterpart sushi (which had its origins in being a transportable food), onigiri is probably one of my favorite “to-go” foods. When I lived in Japan, I was taught how to make onigiri but was quite terrible with forming it (which is really the main part)- I couldn’t seem to get the triangle shape down! Honestly, it really isn’t that hard but I think I just wasn’t particularly coordinated in the kitchen yet. While in Japan you can find it in most supermarkets and convenience stores, it’s really a simple comfort food. At it’s most simplified, it’s compacted salted rice with or without some sort of filling and nori (an edible seaweed) wrapped around it.

While I’ve occasionally bought it from Asian markets in the states, I never really attempted to make it again until recently. On my birthday back in April I received a kayak from my dad and thus have been kayaking more. I’ve started making onigiri as a simple compact snack (that fits easily in a kayak) that’s full of energy, doesn’t require utensils and doesn’t spoil easily.

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

Returning to the action of cupping the warm rice in my hands, carefully pressing in the filling in the center with my thumb before folding it close and pressing it together in a triangle, rotating to compress each side evenly has been very nostalgic. It used to be awkward and frustrating but somehow with the passage of time it’s become something familiar. It seems strange- narcissistic even- that a motion I haven’t done in almost ten years should feel “familiar” to me. I wonder if it’s the transition between doing and becoming one with ideas and memories of others. Friends from Japan and friends from here in the states, near and far, connected by simple motions and gestures within the kitchen. A rice paddle scooping out warm, freshly cooked sticky rice- a slight puff of steam with it and one that I often forget about until it hits my face- to then be carefully shaped by hand is an action done so often in daily life and by so many. My Okaa-san did it for me when I was in Japan, as did my friend and co-worker when she lived in New York with her her two teenage boys. My friend in Heartsdale does it when she makes inarizushi for her young daughter and son. It is a simple gesture for a simple food. I maintain and will continue to maintain however, that the simplest dishes are almost always the most important and the ones filled most with love and memory.

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

This onigiri is different from the ones I used to make in Japan, which were typically filled with some sort of salmon (which is still a favorite of mine) filling. I wanted to focus on the season and creating something related to what’s available now. Onigiri is not an exact science when it comes to creation- as stated before, it’s simply salted rice with some sort of filling and nori. Use enough rice that it feels comfortable within your hand and don’t add too much filling that you can’t reseal it. You will likely end up with extra filling.

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

Makes 4-6

4 Cups (Not compacted) of Cooked Sticky Rice*
Salt
Water
1 TBSP of Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Mirin
2 Small Grated Carrots (40g)
½ tsp Grated Ginger
Crushed Sesame Seed, optional
Dried Nori, optional

Start with the filling.
Combine the grated carrots, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl. Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes before adding to the onigiri.

When you are ready and the rice is cool enough to handle, wet your hands with water and keep the salt on hand. Salt your palms generously and scoop out 2/3 cup of rice into your hands. Flatten it out slightly and place a dent in the middle. Grab a spoonful of the carrot filling (approximately a teaspoon) and place it in the dent. With your hands, carefully press the rice together, sealing up the section with the filling. Compressing the rice together, you want one hand relatively flat while the other is cupped to form a point on the triangle, rotating as you go until all sides are firm and compact. Repeat with the remaining rice, remembering to wet your hands and salt them as needed.

When you have finished forming, if you want to add the sesame and nori, cut the nori into rectangles appropriate for the size of your onigiri to cover the base and part way up the sides. Sprinkle some sesame on the surfaces of the onirigi (skipping the bottom). Place the nori on the onigiri and compress into it so that it sticks and stays. Repeat with remaining rice and filling.

*When it comes to cooked sticky rice, I am lazy and simply use my rice cooker with equal parts Japanese rice to water (jasmine, basmati or other long grain rice varieties won’t work). If you do not have a rice cooker and want to make it on the stovetop, I would recommend checking out some instructions here.

Shredded Carrot Ginger Onigiri

Chocolate Almond No-Bakes + Vega Clean

A few weeks back Trevor, my amazing Vega representative, reached out to me to give me a heads up that a package was coming my way with some products from their new line, Vega Clean. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect because with my #HappyHealthyApril Challenge, I had recently revamped my workout schedule and had started cleaning up my eating routing (hello luscious greens!) and was almost finished my current supply of protein powder. By the time the package arrived- and oh boy was it a package!– I had just finished my spring classes and was looking forward to focusing more on my strength building as well as continuing to improve my cardiovascular abilities. It arrived in the evening right before I was about to head to the gym so I excitedly opened the massive box and fondled the contents like it was Christmas morning. After some brief ooh-ing and ahh-ing, I popped open the Vega Clean Energy and mixed it into a shaker bottle before jumping into the car and heading out. The flavor I tried was “Berry” and while it had a sweet berry taste, it had a slightly bitter finish, reminding me more of a grapefruit than anything else. Admittedly, pre-workouts rarely affect me and when they do, it’s fairly minimal (one of the many woes of not being affected by caffeine). Subsequently, I was excited -and also a little surprised- to find that it did largely affect my workout. I felt stronger when lifting and was less tired between sets (and actually hit a few PR’s that day!). In subsequent workouts I’ve found it to be similar as well and it’s even helped me to have more drive when spinning (haha, that almost was a pun- you know- “drive”…”spin”…ok nevermind).

Protein Packed Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

Protein Packed Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

The Vega Clean Protein I received was Chocolate- my flavor of choice when it comes to protein powders. Before the package arrived I had looked at it online and found some reviewers saying that it was too sweet so I was curious about what my thoughts would be once I was able to try it. To be honest, I actually found it to be slightly less sweet than some of the previous lines but it still had a rich chocolate taste. Needless to say, I was quite happy and this is probably one of my favorite lines to date. It has less protein than their current Vega Sport Protein line (25g rather than 30g) and thus, less calories (130 instead of 150) but as someone who is no longer working out competitively and no longer needs to count every gram of protein consumed, I find it to be just fine. While it’s only a slight difference, I believe it makes it more universally friendly to active people from all spectrums.

Protein Packed Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

Their new line, which has the accurate tagline of “ready for anything” is –as always- non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free, vegan certified, made without dairy or soy and contains no artificial, flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Since one of my goals this June is to resume my regular workout schedule, I’m looking forward to continuing sampling and working with this new line.

Protein Packed Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

This recipe is one that I created largely because I wanted to make something with protein powder that wasn’t just a shake (I’ve been making far too many shakes and drinks here lately) but also wasn’t pancakes or brownies like my usual go-to. During the summer, when turning on the oven is almost out of the question, my aunt often makes the most deliciously sinful Chocolate No-Bakes which are full of sugar, butter, peanut butter and, you guessed it, chocolate. While this recipe still has some added sugar, I’ve stayed away from white sugar and kept what was added to a minimum. Full of healthy fats, this snack is sure to keep you full and fueled for hours on end and is easy to transport so it’s a win-win!

Protein Packed Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

Disclaimer: Vega sent me their products to sample and review for the purpose of making recipes- no other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Chocolate Almond No-Bakes

Makes 12

¼ Cup Coconut Oil
½ Cup Almond Milk
¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
¾ Cup Almond Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Scoop Vega Clean Chocolate Protein Powder
2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats

In a small sauce pan, add the coconut oil almond milk and brown sugar. Stir frequently and bring to a simmer until everything is full combined. Remove from heat and mix in almond butter, vanilla extract and protein powder. Once it is homogenized, add in the rolled oats.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, use an ice cream scoop or a spoon and measure out 12 balls (each is about 2 tablespoons) onto a lined cookie sheet or large plate. Roll them smooth with your hands and flatten each slightly. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until they are hard.

*Note: Because coconut oil is either solid or liquid depending on room temperature, I would recommend storing these in the fridge until you are ready to eat- they’re quite delicious chilled!

1 Bar Per Serving: 249 cal, 17g fat, 24g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 7g protein

Sunday Morning Swimming in Strawberries (Recipe Round-Up)

It’s Sunday morning and this weekend I’ve practically been swimming in sugar-sweet strawberries. Between Friday evening and Saturday morning I came into possession of 3 flats (which probably weighted between 15-20 pounds in total) of slightly- sometimes super- squishy, ripe and absolutely must be used immediately, strawberries.

Most of Saturday afternoon was spent standing in front of the sink washing, trimming off the tops and chopping up strawberries to prepare them for freezing or making various jams from the Food in Jars cookbook (Rhubarb Jam with Strawberries and Oranges and Strawberry Vanilla Jam) and Canning for a New Generation’s, Strawberry Lemon Preserves as well as Gabrielle Hamilton’s Strawberry Milk recipe. In the evening, my mom’s hot pink plastic ice cream maker from the early 80’s went screaming late into the night as it faithfully churned away to make Food 52’s Strawberry Sorbet from the Genius Recipes cookbook.

So while I’ve strictly been sticking to recipes this weekend in an attempt to quickly preserve the bulk of strawberries I have before they all go bad, I wanted to do a quick round-up of different strawberry recipes from around the web from some of my favorite blogs!

First off, one of the few recipes I did that’s available online:

THE RIVER CAFÉ’S STRAWBERRY SORBET

This recipe published by Food 52‘s Genius Recipes is ridiculously easy to prepare and only uses three ingredients. I have relatively little experience making ice creams or sorbets but this one was a smash hit!

The River Café's Strawberry Sorbet

STRAWBERRY CHALLAH BREAD PUDDING

Now Alice from Mitzy at Home knows how to do things right! Her photographs will soothe the eyes, while the recipes will soothe your soul.

Strawberry Challah Bread Pudding

STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE TART

I recently rented the book Sweeter Off the Vine from the library and have been pouring through all the delicious seasonal fruit-based desserts each night. This recipe is next on my list to try!

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

STRAWBERRY CHIA OVERNIGHT OATS

I’m a big fan of overnight oats- especially during the summer once it starts getting hot and humid out, besides, what’s better than getting up and having breakfast already done? Give this recipe a try from Kristine over at Kristine’s Kitchen!

Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats

STRAWBERRY AND MINT SCONES

Pastry cook Megan from Hint of Vanilla creates some astounding baked goods (which are admittedly usually more complicated than I’m willing to commit to) and has an amazing attention to detail but these scones hit right on the mark if you want something relatively simple to whip up in the morning.

Strawberry and Mint Scones

STRAWBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CORNMEAL SHORT CAKE

Looking for more delicious cakes and desserts? Don’t pass up on Michelle’s page, Hummingbird High for delicious ideas and inspiring photos!

strawberry upside down cornmeal short cake

LOW SUGAR STRAWBERRY VANILLA JAM

The modern day queen of preserving, I would be derelict in my duties as a blogger if I didn’t share a recipe from Marisa over at Food in Jars.

Low Sugar Strawberry Vanilla Jam

 

STRAWBERRY BASIL MOJITO

And last but not least, I’ll share a favorite recipe of mine for Strawberry Basil Mojitos, because why should desserts and pastries get all the fun with strawberries?

Strawberry Basil Mojito

Discarding “Komono” and Sparking Joy in June

And voila! It’s June. I’m always shocked how quickly time passes- it feels like it’s just passing along slowly and then suddenly it’s another month later and so little was actually done- so much time was wasted.

At least, that’s how it feels.

I’ve been trying to find ways to live more slowly, in the moment and have a more meaningful life. I’ve been much happier lately however, it feels like most days revolve around clearing tables and countertops, washing dishes, doing laundry and folding clothes, cleaning and picking up- repetitive actions that that need to be done and don’t move me forwards anywhere. It always seems like there are so many “things” to deal with and to take care of.

Recently, I’ve been more seriously researching minimalism as a method of getting to that happier, yet productive slow life. Back when I was packing up in January I mentioned how clutter causes me a lot of stress– it makes me feel stifled and uninspired. Whenever I’ve had a big project or a test coming up, I would always feel compelled to clean the area completely beforehand otherwise I couldn’t focus. In the past few months I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts about it as well as read several books on being a “minimalist” and how to minimize as well as why. I recently finished Marie Kondo’s second book, “Spark Joy”, which seems to resonate most with me. While others talk about how objects are just things and you should focus your life on the people within your life (which I completely agree with), I like her approach to objects and choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. For Ms. Kondo, owning objects isn’t inherently bad- it’s having too many things that don’t truly bring you joy or happiness that’s bad. Having too many extra things in a sense cloud your feelings, joy and inspiration. I personally believe that objects absorb feelings and emotions within them- this is also one of the reasons why I love handmade objects over mass-produced, machine made ones. I love many of the things I own but in recent months, I’ve taken it more to heart that there are also many things that I own that don’t bring me joy or happiness- they just happen to be around taking up space and cluttering me.

Very simply described, the KonMari method involves organizing items by type and sorting through them based on whether or not they bring joy. Instead of seeing it from the viewpoint of getting rid of things, you are looking at it from the viewpoint of what you are keeping- what you love and what truly brings you joy.

There are 4 main categories, clothes, books/papers, komono (miscellaneous –which involves many sub-categories) and sentimental items. So far I’ve worked through the first two and have started the komono section. The most difficult things to decide whether to discard or not have been objects that were given to me by people I care about and objects that I used to care about (and sometimes spent quite a bit of money on, only to never use them or utilize them). I’ve been finding that guilt seems to be a strong factor in keeping items that I don’t care about.
Many years ago, a friend, who probably could have branded and written her own tidying book if she had wanted, told me not to keep things out of guilt. She explained that the item was given out of love and should be respected and appreciated as such, however that person wouldn’t want you to be stressed or unhappy because of it so let it go and move on.

She was (and is) a very wise friend indeed. While it can still be difficult to do, I’m trying very hard to take her advice to heart when I come across “guilt” items.

With all this in mind, I want to start June by publicly announcing my goals for the month.

This Month’s Goals:

1. Write introduction and ingredients page for book proposal: I’ve had ideas for a cookbook I want to propose and my goal is to put together a complete proposal with detailed finished sections of parts of the book by the end of the summer.

2. Read 4 books: I used to read regularly in high school and college and then once I started working more, fell behind and stopped reading for the most part. As I love books, I want to start committing to reading more on a daily basis.

3. Finish “komono” items: As miscelaneious items are the largest category of things to sort through and organize (hello kitchen goods, art supplies, tools etc) I want to organize and finish by the end of the month.

4. Resume workout schedule: Towards the end of May I started to fall behind on my gym and workout times. While I’m skipping the gym sometimes it feels good- I do love relaxing at home in the evenings- I always find that by the end of the week or after a period of time I just don’t feel as good. I’d like to commit to my previous cardio and strength training again.

5. Post 2X/ Weekly: Of course I’d be negligent if I skipped out on posting here and committing to all of you! While I’ve been very slow in returning to a regular weekly pattern, I want to officially commit posting here 2 times a week.

This month I challenge you to think about what brings you joy and to set goals to help you get there and be happier! Please let me know  your thoughts on minimalism, sparking joy and your goals in the comments!