Hard to believe Christmas is less than a week away and I’ve been feeling like I just got to get through this week with the holiday chaos. And I have it pretty simple considering. But between work potlucks, last minute shopping, and preparing to host at our house this year, it’s been an interesting week.
I have been struggling to get workouts in and eat well feeling a little sluggish. But there have been some decent runs and home elliptical workouts.
The gym has been quieter than usual this week with people traveling and having a tough time finding time I guess and I’m not complaining! It was nice buzzing through workouts faster with all the machines available. Last night’s outdoor run was fun because I caught Santa driving through our neighborhood on a firetruck and scored a candy can. I started the run and noticed tons of families sitting in driveways wondering what the heck, haha.
Eating this time of year can be a challenge with so many treats and parties, the amount of junk food floating around at work is crazy. But this dressing recipe is junk-free and very satisfying.
Simple Cilantro Dressing
- ½ bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 small avocado
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. miso paste
- ½ cup of water, as needed
Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend. Makes 2-4 servings.
It’s super fast and simple to whip up and packs perfect creamy texture and zingy flavor. I coated a lighter meal salad with chickpeas and apple, perfect for a light dinner and work lunches to combat the junk food assault.
Today was our holiday potluck party at the office with a white elephant gift exchange. I decided, for some reason, to bring a main dish and a dessert to submit to the dessert contest which sounded fun at the time, but not when I ended up spending 2 hours in the kitchen after work preparing everything. I decided I wanted to bring a raw vegan dessert this year just to see how it went over with the IT crowd and created a simple roasted veggie salad to take.
Roasted Vegetable Salad (vegan, gluten free)
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, diced into ½” cubes
- 2 lbs. apples , diced ½” cubes
- 4 tbsp. sesame oil, divided
- 2 cups walnut pieces
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- 1 orange, peeled
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss sweet potatoes and apples in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of the sesame oil.
- Then place on parchment paper lined baking sheet(s) and bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
- While baking, saute walnuts in 2 tbsp of the sesame oil over medium-high heat until toasted.
- Place orange, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard into a blender and blend to a smooth texture to make the dressing.
- Cool sweet potatoes and apples.
- Mix sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, walnuts, and dressing in a large bowl.
- Serve warm or cold. Makes 8-12 servings.
I actually had no intention of making a formal recipe out if it, it was something I kind of free-handed using what I had on hand and getting inspired by other recipes. I modified the dressing to be oil-free and used more flavorful sesame oil for roasting to get away with using less. A co-worker was so excited about it he requested the recipe to make for his vegan mother-in-law and I had to type it out from memory quickly.
I was impressed with the vegan offerings at the party this year, besides the two dishes I brought, a non-vegan co-worker made very spicy vegan chili, another made vegan fried rice, and another brought fresh fruit for a pretty plate.
And for the dessert, I pulled out a classic book – Ani’s Raw Food Desserts and made the raspberry chocolate ganache cake for the dessert contest. Sadly it did not win, overly sugary ice cream cupcake things did instead, but it was still a hit.
And all got gobbled up. I did lose the white elephant gift exchange, lol. I brought two bottles of wine because you can never go wrong with alcohol and they always get fought over. But I ended up with an oddly cheap sandwich toasting machine that looks like it was sitting in someone’s storage closet for awhile, never used, before being re-gifted. And I will probably be gifting it to a thrift shop, haha.