Build a Bowl!


Oh, it’s good to be home!  I’ve missed my kitchen and cooking food the way I know I like to eat it.  Don’t get me wrong – my eats were great in the 3 weeks I was away, but nothing beats cooking for myself!

Friday night I made a quick sweet potato and red lentil soup that was light yet filling, and with a surprising kick to it.  I ate leftovers for lunch on Saturday!


my leftovers - often in a mason jar
my leftovers – often in a mason jar

Both Saturday and Sunday mornings were some variation of oatmeal.  On Saturday it was cinnamon and banana and on Sunday it was pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and banana.

banana and cinnamon
banana and cinnamon (and upside down!  Weird…)
pumpkin pie!
pumpkin pie!

Lunch on Sunday was red lentil dal.  It was supposed to be a red lentil soup – but I swear, it never turns out soupy enough.  And since I “thought” it would be a soup, I didn’t make rice.  So….I ended up eating my non-soup with saltines.  Still good though.


I was up before everyone on Sunday, so I made a batch of pumpkin spice muffins.  I used this recipe – and it was amazing.  I subbed Ener-G for the eggs and used maple syrup instead of honey, but they’re moist and yummy – and incredibly easy.


Clearly I want Fall to hurry up and get here!

Dinner last night was my favorite.  Like most families, we have our stand by meals (like Taco Tuesdays, anything Italian, soup & sammich night, etc), so I sometimes struggle coming up with something completely new.  Perhaps I was feeling more creative coming home after several weeks, but I put on the meal plan that Sunday night would be Build-a-Bowl night.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to make, but knew it would involve a buffet-style dinner where everyone could build the meal they wanted.  Sort of like how we do tacos, but with an Asian flair.

It was a raging hit!  Here’s what I did…

  • Put a big pot of rice in the rice cooker – this was one of the “bases”
  • made a homemade Asian-style broth and then simmered rice noodles in it – this was the other “base”  (broth recipe below)
  • peeled, diced, and roasted 2 sweet potatoes
  • steamed 1 bunch of asparagus
  • cubed and pan sauteed 1 block of pressed tofu.  Sauteed in a small amount of coconut oil until they began to brown, sprinkled with garlic salt, and then soy sauce – let the soy boil off and done!
  • 1/4 head of shredded napa cabbage (kept raw for a crunch)
  • 1 can bean sprouts, heated
  • 1 bowl of steamed carrot slices
  • 1 bowl of steamed broccoli slaw (would have used regular broccoli, but my youngest has braces and she can’t eat an actual stalk right now!)
  • put out jars of soy sauce, ginger miso, BBQ sauce, sriracha, Korean BBQ sauce – in case anyone wanted additional flavor

Crissie’s Asian-ish Broth


  • 1 small onion, large dice
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 8 cups veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 chopped green onions


  • heat the chili oil over medium heat in a large stock pot (you can use any oil – I considered using sesame, but was afraid it would over power the dish.  The chili oil gave it a little bit of heat)
  • saute the onion, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger for a few minutes – until the onion starts to brown.
  • Add the broth, soy sauce, hoisin, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for about a half hour
  • at this point, I strained out some of the onion chunks, the cinnamon, and the cloves, then added the green onions.
  • About 10 minutes before dinner, I turned the heat back up to medium and added the rice noodles

Everyone was given a bowl and went to town – with pleas that we do this again!

WP_20150906_006 WP_20150906_007 WP_20150906_009

bad pic, but this was my bowl.  M had taken most of the broth, so I had a little bit, some noodles AND rice, plus all the tofu and veggies toppings!
bad pic, but this was my bowl. M had taken most of the broth, so I had a little bit, some noodles AND rice, plus all the tofu and veggies toppings!

I have a big bowl of leftovers to take to work tomorrow!


After lots of hemming and hawing – I went ahead and canceled all my gym memberships.  It’s not like I go anyway, so it was just burning $210 a month, which is ridiculous.  If I have a burning desire to be in a gym environment, my office has one (I just have to find it!).

Since my favorite activity is running anyway, this will work out fine.  As such, every day since I’ve been home has been a run day!  Yesterday’s was especially good, as the weather was cool (80), cloudy, and a bit wet and misty.


It’s been a really nice weekend, and I really am happy to be home.  All of my kids are home this weekend – so it really feels normal!

Saturday was cleaning day, and we all spent about half the day scrubbing, changing sheets, doing wash, etc.

Ginny – either wanted to help clean or wanted us to stop….can’t really tell what her intentions were! Could be she just wanted to sit in a bucket.

Between cleaning and running, I’ve been working, cooking, but mostly studying.

Today will be more or less business as usual, except M goes back to the dorms and I have a learning team meeting at 6 pm (that’s my study group for school).  I’ll also be making sure everyone is ready to go back to normal routines tomorrow!  R goes back to middle school, A is in school and now working 2 jobs, M is back to university, D is back on day shift (he spent a week on night’s for a go-live), and I go back to the office!

Going to relish my morning java a bit longer before life gets hectic again…


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I am a 45 yo busy career single mom and doctoral student attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

One thought on “Build a Bowl!

  1. The eats look great, my red lentil soups usually turn out thicker too. Good for you one saving money canceling the gym memberships.

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