Special Delivery

So the other day I was sitting at my kitchen table with my laptop open to an SPSS dataset and six weeks of Biostatistics notes spread all over the place. I was trying to complete my midterm project, which I had already been working on for about six hours longer than I thought I would, when the doorbell rang. At that point I was glad for any distraction, but was even more excited when I realized it was a special delivery.

Yes, that’s right, it was a HUGE box of Chobani Yogurt. The lovely people over at Chobani sent me six of their 16 oz. blended yogurts and eight of their new 5.3 oz. Flips to sample.

Some of these flavors I’ve had before (like the mango, pineapple, and black cherry), but the others (peach, blueberry, vanilla chocolate chunk, and both the Flips) were brand new to me and I could not wait to try them!

Yum!

After trying both of the Flips, it was the Vanilla Chocolate Chip with Raspberry Flip that won my heart. It had the perfect amount of sweetness and  a hint of chocolate. So delicious! I’m sure these will end up in my shopping cart in the future.

As for the Honey Banana Flip, it was just okay to me. I really liked the honey yogurt part, but the banana mix in portion I didn’t care for as much. It was very sweet, a little too sweet for me.

With the blended yogurts I decided to put them to use in some baked goods! Mixed berry muffins sounded swell to me, so I decided to use the blueberry and black cherry yogurts in the mix. They turned out great!

Classes were cancelled for today and we thankfully still have power so I decided to bake these muffins right away. I’m not going to let Sandy get in the way of me and my baking, no siree. To all of you on the East Coast be safe, and prep some food while you can!

Mixed Berry Muffins

Makes 8

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup black cherry Chobani yogurt

1/2 cup blueberry Chobani yogurt

1/8 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup agave syrup

1/3 cup applesauce

1 flax egg (combine a tsp of flax seeds with 1/8 cup of water and let sit for five minutes until it thickens to a gel-like texture)

To make these muffins, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and spraying a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Make your flax egg right away as well and set it aside so it can thicken while you prepare the rest of the muffins. Next, combine all the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, and brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the yogurt, almond milk, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, flax egg and applesauce and stir to combine. Then spoon in the muffin mix into the muffin cups. Put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Baking is cathartic,

Sydney

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Temp Tacs

Nothing says celebration like these glorious tempeh tacos (a.k.a temp tacs), and this week a celebration was in order! I finished my first round of Graduate midterm exams, hallelujah. Also, it was my first week at my new job!! I found an amazing part-time job that will allow me to gain experience in both the Public Health and Nutrition fields. I am so grateful for this opportunity. So here’s to a great week and hoping you all had one too!

These tacos burst with flavor and are just about the easiest recipe to make. Only fifteen minutes from beginning to end!

The tempeh used for the main source of protein, and all the veggies mixed in for various nutrients yield unbelievably scrumptious and healthy tacos.

What are you celebrating this week? Find something and go make these tacos!

Temp Tacs

Serves 3

3 whole wheat flour tortillas

1 package of tempeh, crumbled

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp rosemary

1 tsp ginger citrus seasoning

1/2 cup corn (frozen)

1/2 cup bell pepper (frozen and chopped)

Topping ideas: fresh cilantro, grated cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa and plain greek yogurt

To make the temp tacs, start by taking the corn and bell peppers out of the freezer about an hour before you intend to start cooking. The corn and peppers do not have to be completely thawed before you start, but the more thawed they are the quicker the cooking process will go.

When you are ready to start preparing the tacs, chop the onion and ‘crumble’ the tempeh. To crumble the tempeh you can just chop/dice it until it resembles the size of a ground meat product.

Next, heat the oil in a skillet to medium heat, add onions and sauté about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened.

Then, add in the tempeh, corn, bell peppers, soy sauce and all the seasonings to the skillet. Cook for about 5-7 minutes and stir frequently. At the end of about 7 minutes your tempeh mixture will be cooked through and ready to eat!

Assemble your tacos with whatever toppings your heart desires and serve!

Go apple picking,

Sydney

Salsa Celebration and Splendid Side Dishes

Have you ever been Salsa dancing? If not, you need to get on that right away. Seriously. I went Salsa dancing with my friends for the first time last week for a birthday celebration, and it was the BEST night ever. So much fun. I cannot wait to do it again. Until then I think I need to find a Zumba class to keep me going! Here is a picture of us after we danced the night away :)

I could hardly take my mind off of it all weekend, I just wanted to go back out again and dance. But luckily I had some new recipes to try and lots of cooking to keep me occupied.

So today I’ll share a few scrumptious side dishes that will perfectly round out your meal. They are all quick and painless, healthy, and extremely tasty. First of all is a Fresh Kale Salad.

So many unbelievable flavors and textures in this salad!

Crunchy apples, sweet dried cranberries and tangy vinegar dressing are some of the stars of this dish.

Fresh Kale Salad

Serves ~4 side servings

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

1 bunch of kale

A sprinkle of salt

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 apple, chopped (I used Honeycrisp)

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

After your kale is washed and patted dry, tear the kale into smaller pieces and place in a medium sized mixing bowl with the salt. Use your hands to massage the pieces of kale for a minute or two, the kale will shrink in size and become more tender. It’s amazing! Once kale has been massaged, add the onion, cranberries, apple and pecans. In a separate bowl combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar and sugar and stir until well mixed. Then pour the dressing over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Super easy, super quick!

 

Next up is Orange Basil Baked Sweet Potatoes. Holy cat these were so good. And only 4 ingredients!

Orange Basil Baked Sweet Potatoes

Serves 2

2 small sweet potatoes

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp dried basil

1/2 tbsp dried orange peel

To make these sweet potatoes, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then cut the sweet potatoes into 4 wedges. Place the sweet potato (with the skin-side down) on a tin foil lined baking sheet). Drizzle the olive oil on top of the potatoes and then sprinkle the seasonings on top. Put the potatoes in the oven for about 40 minutes (more or less depending on the oven) and check on them about halfway through. When the sweet potatoes are completely tender they are finished. Yum!

 

And finally, simply succulent Roasted Carrots with Agave.

3 ingredients for this side dish people, 3! Sometimes the easiest recipes are the most flavorful and satisfying. Like these carrots!

Roasted Carrots with Agave

Serves 2

6 medium sized carrots

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp agave syrup

All you’ve got to do is chop the carrots how you like (I cut them in half once lengthwise and once widthwise), and place them on a tin-foil lined baking sheet, sprinkle them with olive oil and plop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Flip carrots over halfway in-between, and once they are done take them out and pour the agave syrup overtop before serving. Enjoy!

Have a dance party in your bedroom,

Sydney

Pumpkin Goat’s Cheese Mac N’ Cheese

Yes, I am going to post about pumpkin again. I won’t apologize though, because pumps are finally in season and I want to be sure to fully take advantage of this heavenly produce while I can!

Here’s a sneak peak of of the finished product.

But before I get to the recipe I just have to share a few more of my favorite pumpkin finds of the season.

First, Pumpkin Cereal Bars from Trader Joe’s.

I’ve put one in my backpack a few times to eat as a snack during class to hold me over until dinner.  I found them pretty tasty for a cereal bar.

Second, oh my gosh I cannot believe my luck, all the stars aligned and let me discover pumpkin frozen yogurt! Yes. Yum. Delish.

I’m not really sure what ‘fist’ pumpkin is…but I don’t really care! This stuff was amaaaazing!

The closest thing I’ve found out East compared to the glorious pumpkin concrete mixers from Culver’s back home.

And third, pumpkin donut holes from Dunkin’ Donuts. I’ve been waiting for these seasonal treats to come out again ever since I had them for the first time a year ago while visiting my brother. Ahhhh, just how I remember them. Absolutely delicious and in no way nutritious.

As you can see it’s been a good week for me. And although I love me some pumpkin treats, I also love using pumpkin in healthier main dishes too. And that is exactly what the Pumpkin Goat’s Cheese Mac N’ Cheese is.

Out of this world, thick, creamy, cozy and comforting mac n’ cheese.

The rich pumpkin and goat’s cheese sauce is complimented perfectly by the hint of chili powder, and the sweetness from the curry powder. Absolutely delectable.

Pumpkin Goat’s Cheese Mac N’ Cheese

Serves 3-4

Recipe adapted from The Diva Dish

1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat penne pasta (or pasta of your choice)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of almond milk

2 tsp minced garlic

3 tbsp roasted garlic hummus

2 tbsp instant oats

1 tbsp whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp non-dairy butter

1/3 cup goat’s cheese

Making this dish is easy, quick and delicious. Start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce by simply combining the pumpkin, milk, garlic, hummus, oats, flour, seasonings and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Once the sauce has been made, heat a medium sauce pan on low and add the pumpkin sauce, non-dairy butter and goat’s cheese and stir until ingredients have melted, combined, and are heated through (about five minutes).

Your pasta will probably be done cooking by now. So once you have drained the pasta pour it into a casserole dish, top with pumpkin sauce and stir to coat. Make sure all the noodles are covered by the creamy sauce, you don’t want to leave any noodle out. Serve and enjoy!

Go put on your leg warmers,

Sydney

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole with Spinach

Last night I attended an amazing fundraising event with some friends of mine. The topic was Race and Place in Food and Co-op Movements, and the panel members were fantastic.

See the person in the middle there? That’s Curt Ellis. You may have seen his movie King Corn or heard of a program he founded called Food Corps. So cool!

It was a fun night filled with appetizers, wine and lively discussion. On the way out we were all handed a goody bag filled with fair-trade organic dark chocolate, organic tea, a water bottle and a food guide to the healthiest and most sustainable restaurants in Brooklyn. What a perfect way to end the night!

Before I went to the event I ate a little of my leftover Cheesy Quinoa Casserole with Spinach to help tide me over. Boy was this dish tasty! Eat it hot or cold and you won’t be sorry.

I loved this dish because it was so light and satisfying. You can fill up on a big slice of the casserole, and yet not feel heavy and blah like after some big meals.

Delish.

This was a lovely meal that my brother and I made on Sunday night and were able to eat throughout the week. It takes a little bit to prepare and bake, but then you are set with wonderful leftovers that will last you awhile and taste just as good as the first night!

Cheesy Quinoa Casserole with Spinach

Makes ~8 servings

Recipe inspired by the lovely Jenna at Eat Live Run

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa

3 cups vegetable broth

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 tsp garlic, minced

6 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

To make this yummy dish, start by pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees. Then heat a large sauce pot to medium heat and add in the oil. Once the pot is ready add in the red pepper, spinach, onions and garlic and sauté for about 4 minutes or until the pepper begins to soften.

Then add the quinoa, vegetable broth and mustard to the pot, stir well, and bring to a boil. Once mixture is boiling reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Add in the cheddar cheese and stir to combine.

Then pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 non-stick sprayed baking dish. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella over the top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Eat it piping hot when the cheese is still melty and lovely, but please don’t burn yourself. Enjoy!

Buy yourself some Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter,

Sydney

Oh, Hey Brooklyn

So I guess it was bound to happen. Some people say it’s a part of the initiation process. But I thought I may bypass it, I felt naturally savvy at navigating public transportation. I’ve lived in and traveled around NYC for a little over a month and I’ve never had an issue. And then last night happened. Ha!

I was on my way to a film screening in Manhattan for this new documentary about healthcare in America which looked absolutely amazing! After the show there was a scheduled Q&A session with the filmmakers themselves and a number of influential individuals in the healthcare field. And after that, a wine bar and mingling. Did I mention that I got a free ticket to attend!? I was wearing my blazer and had heels ready to go in my bag, I was prepared for a lovely evening! Sounds perfect, right? Well, maybe it would have been if I made it there.

Alas, my navigation skills did indeed fail me, and I succumbed to the cruel initiation process of learning the NYC public transportation system. Basically, I got on the wrong subway. And here’s how it all went down.

After I had finished class for the day I walked to the nearest subway station. I waited a few minutes and then boarded the subway which I thought would take me north in Manhattan, a straight shot up to 47th street. So when 20 minutes had passed, I started getting a little antsy. According to google maps it should only have taken about 15 minutes to get to my stop. But, what is five extra minutes I thought?

And then, I saw this.

Daylight? Blue skies? I was so confused. I was on a subway that should have remained underground in the dark, unbearably hot and sticky tunnels.

I tried justifying this sighting to myself, maybe I looked at the map wrong and this subway line does go above ground for a portion of the trip…I wasn’t really convincing myself though, and what I saw next only confirmed my belief that I was unfortunately not heading into Manhattan.

 Yes, that’s right. Water. Lots and lots of water. And for those of you not familiar with the geographical layout of Manhattan, you will never cross a large body of water on a subway when going from one end of the city to the other. No, you really won’t.

Needless to say, I was headed to Brooklyn! I quickly came to terms with the fact that there was no way I’d be making it to the film screening. By the time I could get off the subway in Brooklyn and get all the way back up to where I needed to be in Manhattan it would be too late. I was bummed, but what could I do? I decided to have as much fun as I could with my spontaneous trip to Brooklyn and took pictures to document the occasion.

See the big red circle with the ‘you are here’ arrow? That’s me in Brooklyn. Now look to the left of the map, and you can see the East River separating me from lower Manhattan.

The rest of my photos didn’t turn out so great, but the most important ones documenting this mini adventure did so I can’t complain.

I ended up getting back home earlier than I thought I would have if I had attended the film screening, so I had some free time in my schedule. And what did I do with that free time you ask? I baked Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Candied Ginger. It’s safe to say that the evening turned out nothing like I’d planned, but that was okay because I got to eat these!

So delicious. Vegan too!

Crack one of them open and see all the hidden glory inside! Yum yum.

Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries and Candied Ginger

Makes 6  muffins

Recipe inspired by Healthy Happy Life

1 cup whole wheat flour

A sprinkle of salt

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/8 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup agave syrup

1 flax egg (combine  1 tsp of flax seeds with 1/8 cup water and let sit for five minutes until it thickens to a gel-like texture)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/8 cup, finely chopped candied ginger

To make these muffins, start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and lining a muffin tin with six muffin cups. Make your flax egg right away as well and set it aside so it can thicken while you prepare the rest of the muffins. Next, combine all the dry ingredients (the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the pumpkin, almond milk, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, flax egg and applesauce and stir to combine. Fold in the dried cranberries and candied ginger, and then fill up the muffin cups with the mixture. Put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Just laugh,

Sydney