I loves me some grad school

First week, check! Since it was a short week and all with Monday off for Labor Day, I won’t have my nutrition class until next week. But besides that I had the rest of my classes and I think they’ll be great! My first impressions were that two of my classes and professors were exceptionally interesting, and the third class will be very intriguing content-wise, but the professor didn’t seem that enthusiastic. It was only the first day though, so hopefully that will improve as time goes on!

Speaking of first impressions, I’m pretty sure I made a great one on all my new classmates. This is me heading out for my very first grad class!  See how excited I was!?

And this is me once I got back the first night…and probably what I looked like as I introduced myself to countless people at school. Yep, it was pouring outside. Yep, it was like 90 degrees and humid outside. So by the time I made it to campus I was wet, sweaty, and looking pretty darn good.

I think it’s safe to say that I would be awarded the First Impression rose on The Bachelor, if you know what I mean. Seriously, rain boots, shorts, curly and frizzy hair plastered to my face? Irresistible.

But anyway, the rest of my week went really well and I was able to meet a number of girls in my nutrition program. Awesome! Starting next week I will not only be posting recipes but also fun facts I have learned in my classes. I can’t wait to share with you all what I’m learning!

In the meantime, here’s one more recipe. And this one is for the record book. I am going to introduce you to one of the best meals I have had in a long time. My brother and I made this together and were like, really? We just made something this amazing!? Insert fist bump.

So please, go into your kitchen and make these Roasted Portabella and Goat Cheese Burgers with Mom’s Sweet and Spicy BBQ Beans. This meal is like navy and coral with gold accessories. It’s like reading a novel in a park on a crisp fall day while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. It’s like surrounding yourself with people you love and who love you back. In other words, it’s simply perfection.

The smooth and creamy goat cheese paired with the spicy dijon mustard makes this sandwich worthy of all our praise. Check out the layers.

And the beans. Oh my god the beans. These beans are incredible! I would pay money for these beans. They’re money beans. Sweet, spicy, tangy loveliness with kale and onions. Yum.

Essentially, the epicness of this meal can be described with two simple pictures.

Mind.

Blowing.

Roasted Portabella and Goat Cheese Burgers

Serves 2

Adapted from Eat Live Run

2 large portabella mushrooms

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp agave

4 tbsp goat cheese, softened

2 whole wheat bakery buns

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 handfuls of spinach

Are you ready for the easiest meal ever? In order to make the burgers all you need is an oven! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Wash mushrooms thoroughly and scrape out the inside of the mushroom caps. Scrape out all the little flappy-things. Then place the mushroom caps, scraped-out side up, on the baking sheet and spread olive oil and agave equally over both caps. Then sprinkle with a little salt. Place mushrooms in oven and bake for 7 minutes, flip mushrooms over, and bake an additional 7 minutes. You may need to bake them a little longer depending on how big the mushrooms are. When they are done they will be tender.

After the mushrooms are baked, assemble your burgers by placing the rest of the ingredients equally on both buns. Feast!

Mom’s Sweet and Spicy BBQ Beans

Serves 5-6

Adapted from Eat Live Run

2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

~6 cups of chopped kale, I just used a bunch until it looked like it would fill the skillet once it had wilted a bit

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, chopped

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

2 tsp hot sauce

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

To make these glorious baked beans, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is pre-heating, heat the olive oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Once the skillet is ready, cook the onions in the skillet for about six minutes, until softened. Then add the garlic to the onions and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the chopped kale to the skillet and cook for about 5 more minutes, until kale is wilted. Stirring frequently all along.Then add the rest of the ingredients to the skillet and mix thoroughly, cook another minute or so. Then remove skillet from heat and place all contents of the skillet into an 8×8 baking dish and cover with foil. Bake the beans for about 15 minutes in the oven to ensure they are thoroughly cooked/warmed through. Eat piping hot out of the oven. Enjoy!

Pumpkin spicin’ up my life,

Sydney

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Sweet Sixteen

Happy Birthday Sasha!!!

My little kitty turns 16 today, my how the years have flown by!

Here she is after a trip I took to Los Angeles with my Dad a few years ago. I brought home a couple of t-shirts for my sister to pick from, but before I could ask her which one she wanted Sasha had claimed them both :)

Here’s to a wonderful kitty birthday filled with fun in the sun porch, some cottage cheese, and fresh catnip!

The dish I have for you today Sasha would definitely approve. She would love these Vegetarian Enchiladas (or rather some of the individual ingredients in them) because a) she loves dairy products, and b) she also loves whenever we order Mexican food. So here’s to a Mexican inspired dish of cheesy loveliness!

These enchiladas were scrumptious! The spinach that creates the majority of the filling is the star of the show in my opinion, and pairs perfectly with the creamy cottage cheese and sweet onion. The fresh asparagus sautéed in olive oil was a simple and delicious side dish as well. I rarely buy asparagus at the grocery store and have no idea why, I always love it when I make it!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Serves 4

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

1 tbsp butter

1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped

A sprinkle of red pepper flakes

1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and with the water squeezed out

1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 corn tortillas

8 0z. red enchilada sauce

Fresh cilantro

To make the enchiladas start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick spray. Then heat a skillet to medium heat and melt the butter in the skillet. Once butter has melted add chopped onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Then add the red pepper flakes and spinach and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach has warmed through.

While spinach is warming, in a separate bowl combine the cottage cheese and greek yogurt. Once spinach is ready add the cottage cheese and yogurt mixture to the skillet and stir.

Let the whole mixture cook for an additional minute or so, and then simply place a 1/4 cup of the mixture inside each corn tortilla. Roll tortillas and place seam down into the 8×8 baking dish. Continue until all of the tortillas are filled and in the dish. Then pour the 8 oz. of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and as much fresh cilantro as you’d like, then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

The pears are coming,

Sydney

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Happy Labor Day Weekend to you all! I hope the start of your September has been filled with sunshine, relaxation and good food!

I will spend mine absorbing glorious Jersey vitamin D while sitting in a park and doing homework. Yes, that’s right, homework. Although school does not start until Tuesday, many of my professors thought it would be a good idea to assign us hundreds of pages of readings to enjoy with our holiday weekend. Yay grad school!!

But before I hunker down to read I thought I’d share a wonderful recipe. My homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers turned out incredible!

They were brother-approved as well!

These burgers are an immensely satisfying, tasty and a healthy alternative to a meat-based burger.

I set my burger atop a bed of fresh kale, and then topped it off with some avocado slices and fig preserves. Mmmmmm.

On the side I had a wonderful Greek yogurt parfait. Plain Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, two slices of candied ginger and a few squeezes of fresh lime juice over the top. This was good as well!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Makes 4-5 patties

2 tsp olive oil

1/3 red onion, chopped

1/3 cup carrots, chopped

1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp ginger citrus seasoning (or any seasoning you like, really)

2 tsp chili powder

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup instant oats

1/4 cilantro, chopped

Start by preheating your oven to 450 degrees and heating a skillet to medium heat with the olive oil. When skillet is ready, add red onion, carrots, red bell pepper and mushrooms and sauté about five minutes, or until veggies are softened. Then add in garlic, mustard, ginger seasoning and chili powder and stir to coat the veggies. Remove the veggies from heat, and once they have cooled down enough to handle, put them in your food processor with the black beans, oats, and cilantro. I pulsed mine for only a couple of seconds to make sure the mixture remained thick and chunky. You don’t want to over process because then you get a very mushy consistency.

Once you have finished processing, simply form the mixture into about 4-5 patties. Place patties on a non-stick sprayed, foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven for about 15 minutes. Check about halfway through and flip the burgers. When finished they will be lightly crisp on the outside. Enjoy!

Sales are great,

Sydney