Eating Food, Hanging with People

Well I had a wonderful week. Thank you to everyone for helping make my birthday so special! From amazing and thoughtful cards and gifts,

to unbelievably delicious food,

and wonderful company!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

On my birthday we ordered Mediterranean food from a place nearby, best falafel sandwich ever! Then a few days later some of my friends from school and I celebrated at an outstanding Italian Bakery. Just look at all these cakes!

And to put this into perspective a little bit, this was like one of five huge display cases at the bakery. Unbelieveable.

Then finally last night we went out to dinner in the city to celebrate. I ordered Bi-Bim Bap (pictured above) and it was out of this world. Essentially, it was a coconut rice bowl with seitan, avocado, chickpeas, green and black seaweed, spinach, mango salsa and kimchee. All the food that we ordered was amazing.

I got all crazy and ordered a sake mojito instead of just water like I normally do. And boy was I glad I did. Delicious!

My Bi-Bim Bap dish started with a bowl of pumpkin soup. Need I say more?

We finished our meal with Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake and a Peanut Butter Bomb.

Oh. My. Word. The most heavenly moist and dense chocolate cake filled with the lightest and fluffiest creamy peanut butter mousse. Phenomenal.

We ended the night walking around the city a bit and ended up going through campus. Washington Square Park is so beautiful at night.

A lovely way to end a wonderful week.

With Mango,

Sydney

Chickpea and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

In case you were wondering, your digestive system never stops doing its job. It functions 24 hours a day, continually digesting all that you consume whether it be beets or blueberries. There are a lot of myths about not eating food too close to bedtime or after 9:00 p.m. because your body stops digesting food while you sleep. This, however, is simply false.

In my nutrition class this week we discussed in detail the workings of the digestive tract. While it is true that eating certain types of food before bed can affect your quality of sleep (drinking a heavily caffeinated beverage before you hope to hit the sack, for example), your digestive system never stops working. So free your minds from worry of improper digestion during slumber. Your body is amazing and has everything under control.

So let’s celebrate the wonder of a properly working digestive system by treating it to a scrumptious meal! The Chickpea and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers my brother and I made the other night are un.be.lievable. I think these are the best homemade veggie burgers I’ve had to date!! Try them on a whole grain bun,

Or sandwiched between some garlic naan. Yum!

Either way it will be delicious! These burgers are hearty and satisfying with the perfect amount of heat. I will definitely make these again in the future. They are easy to prepare and nutritious! Once you try these burgers you’ll want to share them with everyone you know.

Chickpea and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

Makes 8 patties

Adapted from Oh She Glows

2 cups canned chickpeas

1/2 brown rice (uncooked)

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup yellow onion, diced

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 tbsp fresh basil

2 1/2 tbsp bbq sauce (we used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp flax seeds

1 tsp red pepper flakes

To start making these burgers, first cook the brown rice. To make the brown rice simply follow the directions on the package. While the rice is cooking, start chopping and dicing the garlic, red bell pepper, onion, carrot and basil. Once chopped put all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

When the rice is done cooking, combine in a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas. Then, mash the brown rice/chickpea mixture with a fork (or a potato masher if you have one) until it becomes a sticky mixture with a few chickpea chunks left.

Now add the chopped veggies into the brown rice/chickpea mix and stir to combine. Also add in sunflower seeds, bbq sauce, oatmeal, flax seeds and red pepper flakes. Stir again to combine. The mixture will be sticky and that’s okay!

Finally, heat a non-stick sprayed skillet to medium high heat. Form the burger mixture into 8 patties and cook each burger for 4-5 minutes on each side. Burgers will be browned and crispy on the outside when ready. Enjoy!

Treat yourself to some pistachios,

Sydney

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Today I finally put together my recipes page! Yay!! So now instead of scrolling through all the posts to find recipes, if you’d like you can simply go to the recipes page and see everything I’ve posted thus far listed in a nice and orderly fashion. Today I figured I’d highlight a past favorite of mine, Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats. I posted it awhile ago but now it seems more fitting seeing as it’s fall and all!

Here is a lovely dark apartment shot of the overnight oats!

Now that’s better! Have you guys ever had the Pumpkin Concrete Mixer at Culver’s? So delicious, and this tasted just like one! Fall in a jar. YUM.

I also just bought this last week at the grocery store!

That’s right, pumpkin yogurt. Come to mama. Thank you Rachael for letting me know if its existence!

If you have pumpkin yogurt on hand when making the oats I’d suggest getting crazy and using it instead of plain greek yogurt like I did last time. Seriously, go all pumpkin out!

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

For one filling serving

1/2 cup instant oats

2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1  1/2 tsp chia seeds

3 tsp honey

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

A sprinkle of ground ginger

Once again this is super easy to make! The night before you want to eat the oats, simply combine the first five ingredients and all the spices into a mason jar. Make sure lid is screwed on tightly and shake away until mixture is well combined. Then take off the lid, and gently stir in the pumpkin puree. Return to the fridge to thicken overnight and eat it in the morning!

Blogging while I should be studying,

Sydney

Fallelujah

I love fall. Really, I do. I. love. fall.

I cannot wait to experience fall on the East Coast! Especially in NYC. Everyone always talks about seeing New York in autumn, so I am ready to see/feel/taste what it’s like. I’m sure seeing the colors of the leaves change in all the parks will be beautiful, feeling the temperatures drop to a pleasant and crisp range so I can bring out my scarves and boots will be lovely, and tasting all fall-inspired dishes will be heavenly. Oh so heavenly. So in the spirit of the arrival of the most glorious season, I thought I’d share a recipe featuring a favorite fall staple, butternut squash.

But before I get to that, nutrition fun (or not so fun) fact! Are you aware that supplement labels are held to no governmental regulations? While food labels are required by law to include the the common name of the product, distributer information, information about the product’s net contents (such as weight) and the nutrient contents of the product, supplements are held to no such regulations.  I learned all of this in class this week, which made me stop and think twice about the importance of scrutinizing labels and being an educated consumer of all health related products. Maybe it will make you look more carefully at labels the next time you buy things too.

Supplement label regulations aside, butternut squash makes its fall comeback in this delicious dish! Nice segue, huh? This Caramelized Pear and Butternut Squash Pasta is scrumptious. Paired with a satisfying side of Sautéed Kale with Chopped Pecans made for a perfect meal.

The sweet pear, creamy squash and savory brussels sprouts combo is wonderful. With warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg rounding out the dish, the flavors this pasta creates could not be more comforting.

And the kale. Oh the kale. So taste.

Caramelized Pear and Butternut Squash Pasta

Serves 5

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 anjou pear, sliced

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

15 brussels sprouts, chopped

1 tbsp tarragon

1 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle of salt and pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Start by heating the oil and butter in a skillet on medium heat. Once the skillet is heated add the onions, garlic, pear, squash, brussels sprouts, tarragon, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper and stir to combine ingredients and seasonings. Cook stirring frequently for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes. While ingredients are covered and cooking, cook pasta by following the directions on the box.

Once the dish has been cooking covered for 10 minutes, remove cover and stir well. Then add in the cooked pasta and balsamic vinegar, stirring to coat. Then add the parmesan cheese and stir again, and let the mixture cook for about another 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Once it is ready, serve immediately and sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Sautéed Kale with Chopped Pecans

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil

~4 large handfuls of chopped kale

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Once skillet is ready, add kale and onions and sauté for about 5-7 minutes. Once kale has wilted and onions have softened add the balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional minute for flavors to meld. Serve immediately and top with chopped pecans!

Respect your knives,

Sydney

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cups

Oh.

My.

DSCN1347

Word.

I won’t even bother wasting your time with my normal daily musings today. I’ll save that for tomorrow. So now, right now, go make these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels Cups. They have the most perfect sweet and salty harmony of anything I’ve eaten in a long time. Pure bliss!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cups

Makes 8 large cups

Adapted from The Diva Dish

1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup of natural peanut butter

1 cup of pretzels, crushed (leaving some chunky and some finely crushed)

Three ingredients people! So simple and so unbelievably worth it! To make these puppies start by lining a muffin tin with 8 muffin cups and set aside. Then begin melting the chocolate chips in the microwave. I microwaved the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each one, until they were completely melted. Then take about a spoonful of the melted chocolate and place in the bottom of the muffin cup and spread a little up the side of the muffin cup as well to create what will be the sides of the end product.

Place the muffin tin in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened. While those are in the freezer make the filling for the cups by mixing the peanut butter with the crushed pretzels. Once it has been 10 minutes take the muffin tin out of the freezer and place a spoonful of the peanut butter pretzel mixture inside each cup. Cover each cup with another spoonful of the melted chocolate making sure it covers the filling completely and touches the sides of the cups as well. Sprinkle some crushed pretzels on top for a little fun, and place in the freezer for another 10 minutes.

After those 10 minutes are up, take the cups out of the freezer and store them in a container in the fridge for a tasty, tasty, treat! Once you take them out of the fridge eat immediately because they will start to get all melty. And because if you don’t eat them right away someone else will!

Nutrition for the happy,

Sydney

Omg, Is That Pistachio Fro-Yo!?

I had such a fun week of school! Hope you all had great weeks as well! The weather was gorgeous this week (thankfully!) and I was able to get out and explore around campus a little more.

I enjoyed this Ginger Lemon Peel water while reading in the park about social determinants of health.

It was soooo refreshing and I loved the fact it was sparkling.

I had never seen this brand before and it was on sale so I decided to try it! I’ll definitely try a new flavor next time.

I also went out to dinner with a few friends after lab one day, and we had the best Thai food I’d ever eaten. I didn’t get a picture of the tofu pad thai I ordered but it was unbelievable!

After dinner we strolled around a bit and stumbled across bakery after bakery. I was in heaven. We even found this brand new place that sells solely macaroons. Fancy macaroons. I’d never seen anything like it. We were still too stuffed from dinner to indulge in any of these amazing spots, but by the time we passed a frozen yogurt bar our stomachs had settled a bit and we couldn’t resist.

The flavor selection was fantastic!

They had too many choices! Does anyone know what taro is?? They also had a large assortment of fruit flavors, but this time I went with pistachio (my new favorite), peanut butter and thin mint cookie.

Topped with chocolate covered pretzels and a little coconut, divine!

Back in my kitchen I’ve made a bunch of different smoothies recently, and I thought I’d share the recipes today. Delicious!

Banana Cappuccino W/ Chia

Serves 1

1/2 cup soy milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup cappuccino gelato

1 tbsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined!

Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup soy milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 frozen avocado

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Again, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined!

Nectarine Green Monster

Serves 1

1/2 cup almond milk

1 frozen banana

1/2 nectarine

1/3 cup pineapple Chobani yogurt

A huge handful of spinach

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend away!

So simple, so tasty,

Sydney

Magnificent Mondays

Top o’ the morning to ya!

Since attending my first nutrition class, Nutrition and Health, I can now say my life will be complete. Seriously, I feel like I have been waiting forever to take a class like this! The professor is an amazing woman, who not only teaches our class and two others, but also works as a Registered Dietitian in Manhattan.  I can already tell this class is going to be fantastic because of all the real life examples she will have to offer us. In our first lecture we went over the syllabus and did a general overview of what the field of nutrition is and involves, but next week we will get into the good, juicy details. Our topic for next week: nutrition standards and guidelines.

In yesterday’s lecture I learned something very interesting.  Did you know that out of the top seven leading causes of death in America, four are related to nutrition? The top three leading causes of death and the seventh are all effected by nutrition. Number one is Heart disease, number two is different forms of Cancer, number three is Strokes, and number seven is Diabetes mellitus.

There are obviously other factors involved in a person contracting these fatal illnesses, but the mere fact that they are all related to nutrition solidifies the importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet. This is why I am pursuing my Master’s in Public Health Nutrition. It is so important to learn about proper nutrition in order to prevent many prevalent chronic illnesses!

So, let’s start combating them today by making this yummy, nutritious recipe!

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos!

Tasty tasty. These were quick, easy and a comforting food for the beginning of fall! With some fruit (grapes) and veggies (asparagus not pictured) on the side we were set with a healthy meal. Lots of protein, fiber, and other nutrients going on here people!

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos

Serves 2-3

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced very thin

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

~1/2 tbsp cinnamon

~1/2 tbsp chili powder

~1/2 tbsp curry powder

Spinach

Goat’s cheese

Salsa

4-5 corn tortillas

In order to make these lovely little tacos, start by heating your olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Once the skillet is ready, add the butternut squash and sauté on medium-medium high for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add in black beans and corn and onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, again stirring frequently. Add in the spices, more or less than 1 1/2 tbsp depending on how strong you like the flavors, and stir to incorporate with the rest of the veggies.Turn heat back down to medium and continue sautéing the ingredients for another five minutes for the flavors to meld, the mixture to be warmed through, and the squash to become softened. Once the squash is completely cooked, the mixture is ready! Add spinach to the bed of your taco and top with creamy and tangy goat’s cheese and the salsa of your choice. Enjoy!

Savor the flavor,

Sydney