The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad

Think you don’t have time in the morning to prep your lunch for the day? Think again.

I must admit, I’ve been lacking in the “food-prep-the-night-before” department this week. Sure, on Sunday I had good intentions and cooked a large batch of wild rice meant to last an entire week, chopped up a few fresh vegetables, and bagged up pre-measured carrots and almonds to grab as hunger-striking snacks throughout the week. But alas, it is Thursday and and no, yesterday I neither prepped my breakfast OR my lunch for today. Yikes! Eating out for lunch today certainly didn’t fall into my [NYC-dwelling, NYU-student] budget so I had to think fast. And that I did. I grabbed the cutting board and the most accessible vegetables in my refrigerator and went in a chopping frenzy. All together, this salad literally took 5 minutes to throw together.


The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad:

Makes 1 salad
1 small cucumber, diced
2 radishes, sliced 
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup light feta cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp Tessemae’s Lemonette Dressing*

Layer the ingredients in a to-go container as follows (from bottom to top): dressing, cucumber, radishes, tomato, feta cheese, spinach. When you’re ready to eat, shake the container with all your might (or just shake it normally…the end product is the same).

*Usually I make my own dressing, but Tessemae’s dressings are a great alternative to homemade dressings. They’re all vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free (READ: paleo-friendly), and can be found in select Whole Foods stores.

If you want to make your own lemon dressing, however, no need to fret. It’s simple and easy:

In a small dish, combine 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 lemon (juiced), 1 clove of garlic (diced), and a pinch of black peppercorn. Whip the ingredients with a fork, and you’re good to go. See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

From start to finish, the salad took me less than 5 minutes to put together. And, might I add, it was delicious, filling, and healthy, just like lunch should be.

What are your favorite quick and healthy lunches? Leave me a comment and let me know!



And so much has happened. These past few months have had their share of ups AND downs, and although there were some things I would have changed, I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. 

Some of the ups:

I visited my family and friends in Michigan (twice). 

I was matched to the NewYork Presbyterian Hospital Dietetic Internship (!!!), and will be starting that in February. This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to me so far since moving to New York, and I will probably have to spend a whole blog post explaining exactly why, but basically, it puts me one step closer to becoming an R.D.!

The boyfriend came to visit and spent a whole week falling in love with the city with me. 

I finished my first semester of grad school at NYU. 

I started a really cool blogging internship with FiTMAPPED.

…and, like I said, I learned some valuable lessons. All in all, the city is making me grow up. Its making me fight for what I want, which in turn is helping me realize exactly what I want, and how to go about getting that. I’ve learned how to balance everything in my life (the hard way, of course), and that I can’t do everything, but that I have to put 100% into what I do…actually, scratch that…130%, because there’s always going to be someone going after the same things as you – the same goals, the same jobs, the same aspirations – and you know what, they might even be better than you, but hey, if you put in ALL of your effort, and I mean ALL OF IT, then you won’t regret anything. I know this is a jumble of thoughts all smashed together and competing for attention, but I’ll focus more on them later. For now, I’m just glad to be back at this. In some ways, blogging is just as therapeutic as a good yoga class or a sweaty run. 

First Day of Classes! Pt. 2 + Easy Savory Vegetable Quinoa & Salmon

Alright, so it has obviously been a couple days since my first day of classes…but if I give you a Pt. 1, you’re expecting a Pt. 2 or even a Pt. 3 or Pt. 4 as well to follow up (but really, don’t expect a Pt. 3 or 4 – that’s just obnoxious). So here it is, even if it’s postponed a few days.


Needless to say, my first day was a rainy one. And with the rain comes the drudge – every bit of dirt and grime becomes visible when the rain washes it up to shore (and by shore, I obviously mean the street).


But somehow, New York still manages to keep its charm even in the rain. There’s just so much beauty in the city that there’s no way a little bit of rain could ruin it.


Once I finally got home, my (non)rain boots were soaked and my stomach was grumbling. Loud. I’m not kidding, if the streets weren’t so noisy, I’m sure I would have gotten a few stares on the way home.

And when I’m hungry, I’m grumpy. So my first priority was to EAT.

Luckily, my pre-day 1 self was prepared for this moment and cooked plenty of food the day before. So all I had to do was heat it up and devour. And boy, was it good. Just what I needed to recover from a cold, rainy day.


Easy Savory Vegetable Quinoa & Salmon:

Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup organic quinoa

1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

6 oz thawed salmon filet (2 3-oz filets)

1 lemon wedge (1/4 lemon)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 large red onion, julienne

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

garlic powder (to taste)

garlic pepper (to taste)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

For the quinoa:

Heat quinoa and vegetable broth in small to medium-sized pot until boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. You will know when it’s ready when the vegetable broth has been absorbed by the quinoa and the quinoa has formed rings around each grain.

For the salmon:

Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit. Place the salmon filet on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Squeeze the lemon wedge on the filet, evenly covering it with lemon juice. Season to your liking – the secret here is to be VERY generous with your seasonings. I use garlic powder first (liberally), then garlic pepper, then finish it off with a little Italian seasoning. Key word: GENEROUS. Seriously, the more spices, the better, trust me. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

For the vegetables:

Heat the olive oil on a pan on medium-heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to look translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and peppers. Cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Combine the finished products together for a healthy, well-balanced meal for you and a friend, or save half for lunch the next day. Mmm.


With a full belly and a brave soul, I was more than equipped to finally survive my first classes of the semester, so off I headed into the rain and onward to campus.





What’s your favorite rainy day meal?

First Day of Classes! Pt. 1 + Creamy Crunchy Banana Oatmeal

After a once-again sleepless night, I woke up before my alarm (again) and scurried over to the kitchen to make breakfast. Making breakfast has become almost a brainless routine for me…and I have no regrets about it. Ever since I fell in love with oatmeal this summer, I’ve had it for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY, well almost, aside from the weekend pancakes or French toast or my mom’s delicious home-made blinchikis.


You might wonder if I ever get bored eating oatmeal day after day, but how could I? With oatmeal, I can get creative and explore endless possibilities of delicious variations. This one specifically is perfect for my current NYC college student budget. Cheap, healthy, and filling!


Creamy Crunchy Banana Oatmeal:

Makes 1 delicious bowl of oatmeal

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup milk of choice (I prefer vanilla soymilk)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

1 Tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter

Alright, so you could easily put all of these ingredients together in a bowl and pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes and call it good…however, I’ll tell you a trick to make it the most enjoyable oatmeal experience you’ve ever had. The night before, combine the oats, cinnamon, and milk in a tupperware container and stick it in the refrigerator. This allows the cinnamon and (soy)milk to infuse into the oats. Then, in the morning, pour the oatmeal mixture into the bowl and heat it in a microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take it out, add the chopped banana and stir. Don’t forget to add that precious peanut butter before placing the bowl back in the microwave for 1 minute. Now the best part…enjoy your delicious bowl of oatmeal (but let it cool a little first before scalding your tongue – this is a step I forget every morning).


Oatmeal and coffee are daily necessities for me, and without both in the morning to start my day, I am even more likely to wander around aimlessly.


And today, I had an agenda…

to navigate my way through campus.

You see, this whole wandering through campus looking like a lost freshman really isn’t my thing. And honestly, what’s even worse is when people ASK me if I’m a freshman, and I have to explain that no, I am a grad student, it’s just my first day. Oy.


So I set out after breakfast to catch a campus tour…and missed it. Yep, back to the lost freshman syndrome. I grabbed a walking tour map and went on my way.


…definitely not in Michigan anymore.


Check back later to see what I made for my rainy day lunch!

Hint: It’s healthy AND delicious.

Exploring + Job Hunting

I haven’t been sleeping much lately, perhaps due to the excitement of being in NYC, but today I woke up refreshed and motivated (once coffee and oatmeal were consumed of course). I started my day with a 5 mile walk + run, bought some fresh fruit at a local food vendor, and went on my way.

My goal:

To apply for jobs…

For those of you who don’t know me, my life has been in limbo for a couple months now. In November, I received amazing news: I was accepted into NYU’s Clinical Nutrition Master’s program. Then in December, I graduated with Bachelor degrees in Dance and Dietetics.

That’s me! Oh and my dad’s to the right of me. He thinks I’m funny…obviously.

So I graduated…then what? A trip to the Dominican Republic of course! And then lots and lots of food and wine later (and my birthday!!!), and I’m finally in New York, a few (okay more than a few) pounds heavier and jobless (temporarily, I hope).

But there’s nothing like a bustling city to get me motivated again. And that’s exactly what happened.

Always a student at heart, I figured the library would be the best place to stay focused and apply for jobs.

Is your library this beautiful??

I applied…and applied…and tweaked my résumé…and wrote cover letter after cover letter. Finally I HAD to eat. So I wandered (as usual) and found Argo Tea (anything with the word “tea” always has my attention) and got this:

Vegan Garden Lentil Salad and Maté Latte – just what I needed!

Since tomorrow’s my first day of grad school, I thought it would be best to act like a responsible adult and prepare food for the week (of course food is always at the forefront of my mind).



And now it’s 2 in the morning…there goes my attempt to be a responsible adult. 🙂

Come back tomorrow to find out what those vegetables get used for and to see how my first day as a grad student went!