Welcome to Lunch Out Loud!

The day has finally come. The day when I share my first post on my food blog. AHHHH!!!

Welcome to my food blog! I chose this particular name, Lunch Out Loud, because as you can see from my logo at the top of the page it stands for LOL! Some people see cooking as this daunting and exhausting task, but let me tell you, it doesn’t have to be! Cooking can be really fun, especially if you’re making food you like and sharing it with people you like…or in some cases not sharing it because it’s so good. Will there be times that you’re frustrated because you mess up a recipe and accidentally put in the wrong amount of something? Yes. Will there be times when you burn something because you completely forget about it in the oven? YES- certainly guilty of this. But those are the times where you just have to laugh it off (LOL!) and try to enjoy the learning process.

I know, this post is sounding pretty cheesy so far. Well you might as well get used to that sort of sappiness now (and get used to food puns, I love a good pun) if you’re going to continue to follow my blog. While we’re on the subject about cheese, you might as well get used to lots of cheese as well, because let’s be honest, cheese is amazing and there will certainly be some cheesy recipes coming your way soon. Hopefully my food puns will get cheddar, but in the meantime try to brie patient with me 🙂

You may be wondering right now, why am I starting a food blog when I’m in high school? A.k.a. You’re thinking, man this girl has no life and really doesn’t know anything about cooking. Well I decided to start this food blog for my senior project. Senior project is this opportunity given to seniors where they’re able to explore some kind of passion or pursue a potential career interest for the last four weeks of school before graduation instead of going to their academic classes. So basically, I am exempt from school to make food and manage this blog all day. Pretty sweet deal, right?

Cooking and food has always been a passion of mine. I always wanted to start a food blog, and maybe someday open a restaurant of my own, who knows? My current knowledge of cooking mainly comes from helping my parents cook dinner, watching endless episodes of Chopped on Food Network, and reading countless recipes from other bloggers. Hopefully, I can impart some useful knowledge and cooking tips along the way, and if nothing else, get a chuckle from my lame food puns.

I want to gear my blog towards students and really busy people, like myself, who are just trying to find inspiration for what seems to be the most repetitive meal of the day: lunch. I find that there are many people out there who need new ideas for lunch to stray away from their typical Pb&J. Well look no further; I’m here to provide that inspiration for you and also to show you how much fun cooking can be!

 

On with the recipe already!

 

Ok, so as I was thinking about what my first recipe should be on this blog, a bunch of ideas were spinning around in my head. I decided to go for something resembling a fiesta because hey, launching my first blog post is certainly something to celebrate.

 

….I present to you my FIESTA POWER BOWL!!

 

For all of you salad haters out there, fear not. This salad is DELISH and packs a health punch that’ll make you avoid falling into that mid-day slump. The avocado in the salad has got your essential heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and potassium, which helps support healthy blood pressure levels. The kale is high in fiber and is loaded with tons of nutrients and vitamins, hence why it’s known as a super-food. The sweet potato is a great source of vitamin A and the black beans provide lots of protein for you. (For all of you suspicious meat-lovers who wonder how you get protein in your diet without eating meat)

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I love this salad and let me tell you why. It has the right amount of spice and seasoning from the sweet potatoes, a creamy element from the avocado and feta, protein from the black beans, crunch from the pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and a zesty cilantro lime dressing that has a certain zing to it which I love. The interesting combination of flavors and textures along with the nutritional punch that it packs culminates into one great salad. You can add however much of a certain ingredient you like to it. You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly the way it was written, it’s just a suggestion.

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Cilantro lime vinaigrette

Fun fact! Kale, and other leafy greens, are in season during the month of April! Also stock up on strawberries, asparagus, and broccoli at the store this month because produce that’s in season is

A. Cheaper

B. Way more delicious and fresh.

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If you are a big fan of brunch like I am, I recommend making a double batch of the roasted sweet potatoes and then the next day use the leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and avocado and put together a breakfast hash! I’ll put a link to a sweet potato hash recipe that I really like for you guys down below!

http://www.cookincanuck.com/2013/09/sweet-potato-hash-recipe-with-creamy-california-avocado-sauce/

This recipe I have for you today isn’t as quick and easy as I said most of my recipes would be, but I just wanted to kick off my first post with something fun. I would suggest making the salad the night before (without adding the avocado. Cut it up in the morning and squeeze some lime or lemon juice over the avocado before putting it in the salad to prevent it from browning. Also take the dressing in a separate container. It will make the kale soggy if you put it in the night before). Many parts of the salad can be made in advance and then you don’t have to do anything in the morning!

 

Fiesta Power Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, and Avocado:

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 6.57.45 PMServes: 2 (big servings)

Prep time: 20 minutes      Cook time: 20 minutes      Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Roasted Sweet Potatoes-

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 Tbsp. of olive oil

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. salt (add more to taste)

 

Kale-

5 cups of kale

1 Tbsp. 0live oil

Juice from 1/4 of lime (about 1/2 Tbsp. of juice)

1/8 tsp. salt

 

Everything Else-

1/2 large avocado (or 1 smaller avocado)

1 (14 oz. can) can of black beans, rinsed and drained. (I used about a 1/3 cup of the black beans in the salad)

1/3 cup of crumbled feta

2 Tbsp. of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

 

Dressing-

1/4 cup of packed cilantro

1/4 medium jalapeño, deseeded, membrane removed

Juice from 1 lime (around 2 Tbsp. of juice)

5 Tbsp. of olive oil

Salt, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. To roast the sweet potatoes: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes, making sure they are all around the same size so they roast evenly. In a medium sized bowl, toss and coat sweet potatoes with olive oil, cumin, paprika, and salt to taste (around 1/2 tsp.) Place sweet potatoes on tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Flipping halfway.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the kale and make the dressing. To prepare the kale: Transfer kale to a large bowl. Mix in salt, olive oil, and lime juice. Use your hands to “massage” the mixture into the kale to enhance the flavor.
  3. To make the dressing: In a small food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients listed for the dressing. Blend well and season with salt to taste (there will be bits of cilantro don’t worry, that’s how the dressing is supposed to be!)
  4. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled down a bit, place as many sweet potatoes as you’d like, the avocado, black beans, feta, and pepitas into the bowl with the kale and mix in a bit of dressing. Save the rest of the dressing in a container for another time!

Notes:

  • When you rinse and drain the black beans, make sure to keep the liquid that is in the can and put the leftover beans that you don’t use in the container with the liquid, this will help them from going bad.
  • I used Trader Joe’s Roasted & Salted Pumpkin Seeds for this recipe and they worked really well! If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin seeds or can’t find the type that is called for, you can use pistachios if you’d like, that would be delicious as well!

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I hope you enjoy the recipe and will continue to read my future blog posts! Send me pictures of the salad if you make it, I’d love to see them! Go out there and make today a fiesta just like the salad!

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5 thoughts on “Welcome to Lunch Out Loud!

  1. Kathy Weber April 14, 2016 / 2:02 am

    So proud of you AlyBea! Thanks for making my lunch all month.

    Like

    • David Kaufman April 15, 2016 / 1:35 pm

      The full, awesome force of the Kaufmans (big eaters,you know) seconds Kathy’s congrats and will be following your blog!

      Like

  2. Emma Palatnik April 14, 2016 / 4:40 am

    This is great Alyson!!!

    Like

  3. Julie Baigorria April 15, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Love this, and I think even I as the non-cook in the family can do this!

    Like

  4. Judy Tanner April 25, 2016 / 10:19 pm

    Hi Alyson – Wonderful blog and wonderful puns! Dana has requested the fiesta salad and I’m all set to assemble it. My first foray into kale. Thanks for the inspiration and good luck with the project!

    Judy Tanner

    Like

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