Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Playin' Catchup!

Howdy from the Midwest everyone! Hope you made it past Hump Day!

Things have been pretty crazy at casa de Indy's Veggie Fix from post-vacation hibernation, to an ultimate kitchen repair, plus the last & final dish made by the memorable, ugly & half functional old yellow stove/oven.

While the lovely men of Lowe's hauled away the barely functioning, circa 1970 oven, I now get to look at this beauty!

H-E-L-L-O there gorgeous!  :)

Still waiting on an over-the-range microwave to be installed, I went face to face with the beyond oooooogly yellow countertops.  Time to whip this place up into shape ma' friends and start actin' like it belongs in the 21st century!

However, before said over-the-range microwave is installed, I'm a wee-bit nervous to cook anything stove-top style, cause' let's face it, first thing outta the get-go, ya' know I'm scorch something into a small-ish fire with no hood there to help me from triggering our ultra sensitive fire alarm... naturally!

Let's talk about more pleasant things, eh?

Want to know the secret to an exceptionally good day?!?!

a) An extra long & good night's sleep: CHECK! This is a hard one for ol' insomniac ova here!

b) Morning walk with the pups to welcome the incoming #autumn season: CHECK!

c) A much-missed restaurant meal item for a light dinner: yummy CHECK yummy! :)

I thought I'd take advantage of the cooler temps from actually getting up at a decent hour coupled with the extra sleep by goin' on a perfect, welcome-fall-weather morning walk with the pups! Totally changed the whole day that gave such a burst of positive energy, then showered up and was ready to take on the day!

Did someone say blue socks were in?!... Probably NOT.... But putting away laundry has never been our strong suit, so to each their own, eh?! Let's make it work peeps!

The pups were so happy!! And ya' can't argue with the smell of fall in the air, which was merely the cherry on top of an impromptu pup walk.  

PLUS!,  I got to see some of my town's favorite decor that I've always loved and been oh-so curious about.  Does your town/neighborhood have a festive type of decoration that's put out every year?

For us Irvington-ites, you know it's fall when ya' see the blue-bottle-bouquets or the white & decorated candle-lit bags lining entryways of people's houses (I'll keep ya' posted upon first sighting!)... and let me just say, after 3 years here, I still don't quite "get it" but it's nice and festive, so no complainin' here! And PS: I asked my husband who grew up here, and he isn't really sure of the tradition either, so apparently we're just outta the loop!

And of course fall = fallen, orange/red/brown leaves and the changing flower colors before they hibernate for spring!.... How can you NOT love fall, I ask?!?!?!! Any other season is just blasphemy, I tell ya' ;)

While on the blissful walk, catching glimpses of autumn comin' our way, I dreamt of getting a PLS  (Pumpkin Spiced Latte), but I didn't really need the caffeine jolt and could always use the extra $5+ in ma' pocket, so instead whipped up a delicious & energy boostin' smoothie of Yoplait Greek Yogurt (HELLO PROTEIN!), vanilla almond milk, frozen berry medley of strawberries/raspberries/blueberries/blackberries, and a handful of fresh spinach for a mid-morning mini-meal! Give it a go, I tell ya'!


Between vacation and gettin' down n' dirty back into work mode, it came as an exciting but stomach wrenching surprise when I received a reminder email confirming my first TV shindig this comin' Monday.... Oh-my-dear-goodness!.... and considering I flinch at the thought of public speaking and bite my nails on a horrendously-more-than-regular basis but even more so when I'm nervous, this was only fitting, but I must say, she doesn't look far enough as nervous as I did this afternoon!... I don't think I'll have any fingernails left come Monday :\ EEK!

After texting Alex and making a mental, then physical list of what the heck do I need to do beforehand?!?!!? I started preppin' dinner to get ma' mind off of all the disastrous things that could happen that were floatin' round' my head and let me just say, I need some more yoga in my life!

 Back to dinna' though, cause' this was a WIN! In my life, cravings wait for no man woman! I believe it was somewhere between mile 1 and mile 600 during our 13+ hour drive home where many Applebee's caught our glances on several exits en route to and from the can-we-go-back beach vacation, I began to remember a very regular high school diet staple of mine. 

While I can't remember the last time I even went to Applebee's (pre or post becoming a vegetarian), I DO remember my absolute fave and ordered without a second blink menu item I got when I frequented this chain staple.  While I never think of foregoing my vegetarian lifestyle, I cannot and will never say that I don't strongly crave ol' classics of my pre-vegetarian days.

INSERT: Bring on the Applebee's Staple, VEGGIE STYLE!


I don't even think I could count how many times I had this to-go or dined in, but if anyone for any reason was going to Applebee's during middle/high school, let's just say it came to a point where no one had to ask "What does Katie want?"... Pathetic, yes, I know! But

Since we've been without stove since return from the all necessary indulgent and long overdue beach vacation, I've been eating lighter meals and more throughout the day to help de-bloat, recoop, and sort of get back into a semi-routine while lettin' my digestive track take a mini-vacation of its own.  

CopyCat Applebee's Oriental Chik'n Salad
Serves 1-2

While I remember the staples of the base of the salad, I really didn't know where to start on the exotic salad dressing, but this recipe came to my rescue! Awesome reviews and what sounded exactly like what that delicious, luscious white dressing tasted like, I was SOLD!

Whisk together your light mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey and sesame oil and you've got yourself a true copycat. I'm tellin' ya, this needs to be entered into some sorta' contest cause' it's no joke ma' friends!... Former employee's concoction, I imagine?!

Before you begin whiskin' the dressing together, preheat your oven to 425 degrees and bust out some Quorn Chik'n Nuggets.  Compared to fried chicken, ya' can't beat these babies health-wise OR tastewise! Less 250 calories, very little saturated fat, loads of protein, and an acceptable amount of sodium in just 4-5 nuggets. And these are a vegetarian and non-vegetarian must-have freezer item, and let me tell ya', just trust this once skeptic on this freezer friendly delicacy! NOM NOM!... I still remember the first time I extremely hesitantly took a bite of my brother-in-law's Morningstar veggie hot dogs and was forever hooked!... But for now, back to the NUGGETS!

Get out 4-5 nuggets onto some aluminum foil, and pop into the oven for 14 minutes, flippin' at 7 minutes until golden brown while you're whiskin' away the dressing!

Once the nuggets are cooked and browned, let cool for about 5 minutes, then slice lengthwise into 3-4 strips. 

Time to start assemblin' your salad! Since it's been 5+ years since I've had an actual Applebees Oriental Chicken Salad, I wasn't gonna skip a bit of this old classic, so on we go adding the chopped romaine lettuce. 

Then top with a handful of red cabbage and shredded carrots. 

Next, top off this ol' baby with a small handful of nugget strips, sliced almonds, chow mein noodles and 1 finely chopped green onion.  Serve the aforementioned dressing on the side to either slather on the salad or to dunk each fork-filled scoop into..... Your choice ma' friends!

Why yes, that would be the sounds of my mouth still watering! (TMI?) ;)

Fresh greens, crunch from the carrots & chow mein, salty from nuggets and sweet from the perfect copycat dressing.... I'm never one to preach, but it's recipes like these that make it oh-so-easy for me to be a vegetarian and not miss the classic menu items I loved oh-so-much!

As delicious as I remembered and more -- SO GLAD I made extra dressing tomorrow's leftovers! FTW!

Delicious to the last fork-full ;) Slurp, slurp!... That's finger-lickin' good ma' friends!

And my BIGGEST apologies for not announcing the QUORN #giveaway winner yesterday, but congratulations to Rebecca B.H.! Please email your name and mailing address to and I'll getcha your prize! You have until 9/25 at 5pm EST to send me your info so I can mail you your free #QUORN product supply!

Alrighty folks, eat, cheers and welcome the lovely fall!.... And yes, I'm very aware that while many are wishing the summer to extend through November, I am happily welcoming the fall! 


Off to watch, why yes, more Gilmore Girls in anticipation of some long-awaited new seasons of my very favorite shows comin' up next week! WOOT!

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