A Glorious Week

Having my sister spend the week with me was AMAZING!! We crammed as much fun into her visit as we could, and I think we accomplished a lot!

Here we are at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I really couldn’t believe how big the balloons were in person. They were so huge!

After the parade we headed home to start making our feast. Here are scrumptious Red Velvet Cake Balls in the making!

Homemade Vanilla Bourbon Cranberry Sauce. Used as a topping over freshly made brownies for dessert. Yum.

Pumpkin Cornbread. Yep, it’s a heavenly combo.

Final place settings.

And a close-up of our meal. In addition to the cornbread we had citrus rice stuffed butternut squash and a sweet potato apple salad with dijon vinaigrette.

Lovin’ the leftovers on Friday. Vanilla Bourbon Cranberry Sauce Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Then a stroll in Central Park!

Watching people ice skate at Rockefeller Center. The lines were a tad too long and the temperature was a bit nipster so we decided to pass on skating ourselves. Next time!

Luscious cupcakes from Crumbs Bakeshop.

One of the last mornings my sister was here we went out for breakfast. So glad we did! This was the best freshly-made juice I’ve ever had. All it was was carrots, apples, lemon and ginger.

Also probably the best pancakes I’ve ever had too. These were banana walnut. Oh my word.

We also made a trip to the Empire State Building before she left. And saw some amazing decorations. I love the holidays!

The view from the observation deck was fantastic. We were even able to see the Statue of Liberty from one side of the building! So cool.

We took a lot of pictures this week, but I think this was my favorite picture of them all.

Thanks for an unforgettable week Sis,

Sydney

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Seriously Delicious Sweet Peanut Tofu Burritos

I cannot believe how fast this month is going. November 18th, already? Thanksgiving is next week!? So crazy. I have been working non-stop for weeks in order to just stay on top of school work, man I love grad school. Definitely not like undergrad where there was actually time to work ahead. But that’s okay, because in the end I am loving it!

This weekend has been a whirlwind, but I have successfully completed a paper, studied for a nutrition exam, and caught up enough on school work that next week I will be able to relax and enjoy the holiday. I worked especially hard this weekend because my little sister is coming out East to spend the holiday with me all.next.week!!

We are sisters, yeah!

I cannot wait for her to see my new place, show her around my campus, watch the Macy’s Day Parade live (!!) and so much more. We are planning a magnificent vegetarian Thanksgiving feast that I can’t wait to share the recipes for. We are also planning to go shopping on Black Friday. We have never really done the whole get up crazy early, wait in lines for hours and shop ’til you drop tradition of Black Friday, but this year we are going for it. And if we survive, next on our list will be to spend an afternoon ice skating at the famous Rockefeller Center ice rink. It is going to be an amazing week!

But until the fun begins, I wanted to share with you a recipe that was absolutely phenomenal. It was quick, delicious, and compiled from ingredients we had leftover in our fridge! Behold, Sweet Peanut Tofu Burritos.

Unbelievable. Even if tofu normally isn’t your thing, I promise you this time it will be.

Sweet Peanut Tofu Burrito

Makes four burritos

Four whole wheat flour wraps/tortilla shells

8 oz. block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

A few handfuls of chopped kale

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 cup of mushrooms, diced

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp water

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp honey

To make these burritos, start by draining all the excess water form the block of tofu. I find the easiest way to do this is by placing the tofu in between a clean kitchen towel and placing a heavy item such as a can on top of the tofu, letting it sit for about 10 minutes until the excess water is absorbed by the towel.

While the tofu is draining in a large skillet on medium heat sauté the kale, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and beans in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 6-7 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. At this time remove veggies to a separate bowl, and proceed to cook the tofu.

First chop up the tofu until it resembles crumbled bits, and then heat the skillet to medium heat again with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the tofu with the chili powder and cook for about 5 minutes in the skillet.

While the tofu is cooking, prepare the easiest and best peanut sauce ever! Simply combine the peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, water, red pepper flakes, garlic and honey in a bowl. After the tofu has been cooking for about five minutes, add the sauce to the skillet and stir until the tofu is coated. Continue cooking an additional 3-4 minutes and then remove the tofu from the heat and assemble the burritos.

I just added a little cheddar cheese and was good to go, my brother enjoyed the burritos with a little added hot sauce. Enjoy!

Breathing is important,

Sydney

A Trip to an Island and Back

One of the cool things about my normal route to school being closed earlier this week due to the Sandy storm aftermath, was that I was forced to take an alternative form of transportation into the city. I know, at first I thought it would be a drag too, but it ended up being a great way to see parts of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. So off I went, bright and early Monday morning I headed out to enjoy my first ferry ride to NYC!

Here are some of the views I enjoyed on my way over.

The actual trip itself was super quick, so I only could snap a few photos. On the way back that evening I took in the beautiful sunset and city skyline.

Breathtaking.

Once I was home that evening I prepared a wonderful fall inspired salad for dinner. Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad with Walnuts and Balsamic Vinegar.

This was sooo good you guys! Sweet potato with cinnamon and fresh kale with earthy beets, absolutely scrumptious.

You’ll want to try this recipe asap. Super simple, tasty and nutritious.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Beet Salad with Walnuts and Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 1

3 large handfuls of chopped kale

1/2 cup sliced beets (I used canned and sliced beets from Whole Foods that I found with no added salt or sugar, score!)

1/3 cup walnuts

1 small sweet potato

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

In order to make this salad, start by preparing the roasted sweet potato. Turn your oven on to 400 degrees, and while the oven is preheating slice the sweet potato into four wedges. Place the sweet potato on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with cinnamon. Roast the sweet potato for 40 minutes, flipping them halfway through. While the potatoes are baking away, prepare the rest of your salad by chopping the kale, beets and walnuts to your preferred size. Once the potatoes are done simply cut them into bite size pieces and place atop the salad. At the end drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the salad and then enjoy!

Play some board games for me,

Sydney

Four Bean Vegetarian Chili and Glorious Beer Bread

I hope everyone on the East Coast is beginning to recover from Sandy and is safe and sound! My brother, roommate and I are alive and well in our place and are so grateful to have escaped the brunt of the storm. We were without power for about two and a half days, but luckily had running water the entire time.

Here’s our Pre-Sandy food and beverage stockpile from Target.

Unfortunately they were already out of a few things by the time we got there…

But thankfully I was able to score these Dark Chocolate and Mint Morsels! Haha, morsels.

So here is what our living room normally looks like,

and here it is after a little re-vamp and gearing up for the storm. Thankfully all our windows survived!

We weren’t sure if we would have running water, so we prepared for that too. We also filled both the bathtubs.

Here we are sitting on some yoga mats enjoying a meal.

Then a few hours later that same night…complete darkness.

On the second night without power we decided to get a little crazy. We wanted to party it up. Candle lit Uno anyone?

All the while the temperature was dropping in our place, let’s just say I was getting a little chilled. Anyone who knows me is aware of my lack of proper circulation. When the temp drops down into the sixties in the fall, for example, most people are still out and about wearing shorts. I however am quick to don my gloves and a parka. Anyway, that’s why I am doing jumping jacks. Trying to improve the blood flow.

We knew all the food in our fridge and freezer was going to quickly go bad without power, so we wanted to use up some of our frozen foods while we could. The thawing process took a little longer than anticipated however…

Although it may not look it, that appetizing frozen rectangular block seen above is actually a delicious Four Bean Vegetarian Chili that we made the week before. So tasty and lovely as leftovers! Also a great recipe if all you have are a bunch of non-perishables on hand.

This chili is such a comforting late fall/early winter dish. It smells heavenly as it is simmering and tastes even better!

I topped mine with some fresh cilantro for an extra touch of yum. I loooove cilantro. I also baked a loaf of fresh beer bread. It turned out amazing! I’ve never had a loaf of bread turn out like this. And by ‘this’ I mean fully cooked and edible. Having an oven that actually works and cooks things all the way through is amazing. You have no idea how thankful I am for an oven that evenly heats!

Not only does it look perfectly golden and crusty on the outside, but on the inside it was gloriously dense and moist. Please do not be intimidated by the whole bread-making process, this was painless and involved only a few simple ingredients. Anyone can make this bread!

Hello heaven.

Four Bean Chili

Serves 8

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups multi-colored bell pepper, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 15 oz. can cannellini beans

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 15 oz. can black beans

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans

2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tbsp chili powder

1/2 tbsp curry powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Making this chili is a cinch! Start by prepping the veggies that need to be washed and chopped, and rinsing and draining all the beans. Then heat the oil in a stock pot to medium heat, and add in the onions and peppers. Cook the onions and peppers for about five minutes allowing them to soften a bit, stirring throughout to prevent sticking. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Yep, add them all in and give a good stir. Then let the chili simmer for about 15 minutes, or until warmed through. Now you’ve got yourself some chili!

Glorious Beer Bread

Makes one loaf

Recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 12 oz. can of beer (get creative!)

1 tbsp butter, melted

You won’t believe how easy this recipe is either! Definitely not my healthiest recipe ever, but nevertheless a satisfying treat. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. In a medium sized mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then stir in the agave nectar and beer, and incorporate until just mixed. Next, pour the batter into the loaf pan, and drizzle the melted butter overtop. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Inhale!

The Vegetarian Imperative is a really good book,

Sydney