If seasons had personalities, I have decided that winter is mean and spiteful. It always decides to dump 18 inches of snow on you when you least expect or want it, canceling flights and travel plans and trapping you inside! Then you are cooped up and cold from all of the snow shoveling, there is nothing to stand between you and your insatiable carb-y comfort food cravings. Not like this happened to me recently or anything…
Comfort food does not have to be a diet deal-breaker, however. Take this rice bowl inspired by Post Punk Vegan Kitchen for example! The brown rice provides a starchy base to give the dish a healthy weight. The black-eyed peas and soy chorizo come together to give the warmth and heartiness that marks all good chilis. The original recipe doesn’t call for the chorizo, but I splurged at the grocery store in my pre-blizzard stocking up. I love the added flavor and texture that it gives the beans, which I successfully cooked in my slow-cooker! (Seriously, this trick is life-changing. Play around with this tutorial. You may never buy canned beans again!) The greens add volume and nutrition that is missing from many comforting favorites. My favorite part, however, is the hot sauce! I interpreted the sauce to use what I had on hand, and I could literally eat this from the food processor. I love anything spicy! There is so much flavor and heat to this dish that you don’t miss the cheese that marks many heavy winter favorites.
You can’t get me, winter blues!
Question: What do you crave when it is cold and snowy?
Spicy Winter Greens with Black Eyed Peas and Rice
inspired by PPK, serves 4-6
1 cup black-eyed peas, cooked in 4 cups water with 3 bay leaves for 5 hours on low in a slow cooker
1 package soy chorizo, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp liquid smoke (optional)
Crumble the soy chorizo into a hot frying pan and brown. Add the drained cooked beans, chopped parsley, and liquid smoke and stir.
1 lb bunch collard greens, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
Saute red onion in olive oil until soft. Add half of the greens and all of the water and heat until wilted. Add the other half of the greens. Season with vinegar, garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat until greens are soft and water is evaporated.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot
1/3 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
Drain cashews. Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
Fill bottom of bowl with 1 serving cooked brown rice. Top with greens and beans. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp hot sauce. Enjoy!
My original plans for the weekend before last were to drive to NJ to see a certain little someone turn a year old. Mother nature had different plans though!
Guess 24.9 inches of snow in 24 hours is pretty impressive… but still doesn’t help my restlessness from being snowed in! I decided to use my housebound time fruitfully: I finished my FASFA, did some paperwork for school, cleaned, and cooked… a lot. And I proved to myself that there is still a chemist left in me! I successfully made homemade bagels on my first attempt! I dutifully followed the recipe as closely as possible, but had to do a lot of converting since I don’t have a functional kitchen scale. (Anyone know where to buy weird batteries?) I found this really helpful chart that made the recipe possible. I was a little worried when the dough was really dry and tough initially, but the final result was impressive! A good-sized, fluffy bagel with a crunch to the outside and a soft fluffy interior! If I can bake bagels, I am convinced that anyone can! I had fun with the toppings – sesame seeds on 6, and chia seeds on the other 4. I can’t choose a favorite, both are so good! Nothing better after a morning of shoveling than a hot, fresh bagel sandwich waiting for you.
If you have a kitchen scale, follow the original amounts. It will most likely have even better results, and more evenly sized bagels. If you don’t, I included my conversions below to save you some work!
Question: How did you spend your snowed-in time?
Honey Wheat Bagels
original recipe from here, makes 10 bagels
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups + 1 tbsp bread flour
1 3/4 cups water (80F)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant dry yeast
Please see original recipe for instructions. A few notes: the recipe is a little too big for most food processors. You can mix and knead by hand! I also had to add a few drops of water to get all of the dough to combine.
As much as I love cooking and sharing recipes, I also love getting a chance to share resources for healthy lifestyles with you guys! I am so passionate about health (guess I am in the right field!), and that stems from so many more places than just the kitchen. What we fuel our bodies with is more important than many think, but a healthy lifestyle also includes exercise, rest, good hand washing, and seeing a doctor every once in a while!
We may feel like we have a lot to work on personally (have you written down your goals for the year?), but how are we doing when it comes to our kids? Too often, we treat kids like they are little adults, but they are so much more complex than that! They are growing and learning and, most importantly, modeling themselves off of parents and caretakers. Kids need to be taught that fruits and vegetables are delicious, nutritious and important. They need to be shown that physical activity can be more fun than TV or video games. They need to be encouraged to wash their hands and brush their teeth. They need your help in staying healthy!
I am not yet a parent, and so I don’t know what this looks like personally. However, Kathryn sent me a pretty comprehensive guide that covers family health insurance, healthy eating tips for kids and families, how to get more exercise, and when to bring your kiddos to the doctor. Here are some of the facts and tips I found most interesting and useful:
- The American Medical Association reports that 25% of every healthcare dollar is spent on activities linked to poor health, such as improper diet, lack of exercise, sun exposure, smoking, substance abuse and failure to use seat belts.
- Modeling healthy lifestyle choices is essential… Carve out family time; mealtimes where all family members gather are ideal, and with a little planning can be achieved a few times a week.
- One in three U.S. children and adolescents are overweight.
- Dice vegetables very finely for use in sauces, meatloaf or pasta dishes.
- Crank up the tunes when doing housework and encourage children to dance while they work.
- Encourage children to cough or sneeze into the crook of an elbow instead of cupped hands.
If you have a family, I would love to hear how you model a healthy lifestyle for your kids, or things you want to try in the future! Take some time to browse this article, I hope that you find some good resources to keep you and your family on a healthy path.
Question: How do you model a healthy lifestyle for the kiddos in your life?
We are 5 weeks into the New Year… how are your New Years Resolutions coming? Did you make one? Did you write it down? The following infographic is from the Education Database Online and raises some great points about the benefits of goal setting!
If you are in the majority of those who do make resolutions, it is likely that one of your goals is to lose weight or get healthier. While these are great goals, they are incredibly broad and difficult to measure success on a weekly basis. In my clinical training, I have learned to help people set more attainable goals within their main objective. For example, exercise 3 times a week could be a mini-goal for the month of February, which would be a step towards weight loss and better health. Weight loss can be influenced by other factors, but making a decision to add exercise is something that you can tangibly work towards. Besides providing compelling evidence for written goal setting, I love the emphasis at the end of this graphic on making step-wise, attainable changes! I hope that this helps to motivate you in whatever goals you are trying to accomplish in 2013.
Question: Did you make a New Years Resolution? Share below, and let us know how you are doing! Does anything in the above graphic help you with your goal?
Hi Friends! It has been a while since my last post, so I figured I’d drop by to update you all on my blogging absence! I was in a rut for much of the fall and creating meals became a chore. I had a few bursts of creativity, but some of my passion began to dwindle. Once I had the time and energy to get back to recipe creation, I lost my camera cord! I am currently in the process of obtaining a card reader so I can still get pictures off my camera, but until then, I won’t be doing much posting.
A vacation from blogging doesn’t mean a vacation from cooking though! Follow me on Pinterest to see what recipes I have my eye on and what ones I have tried and loved. I look forward to being back with you all sometime after the new year!
Merry Christmas and I hope you all enjoy the holiday season!
There is so much in my life to be thankful for that it is overwhelming at times. Family, friends, boyfriend, health, roommate, home, school, mentors, opportunities. My life is beyond blessed, and I should remember to thank God on a daily basis instead of waiting for this season to roll around. This year, I am most thankful for a “big” family Thanksgiving again! Ever since my extended family relocated to Florida, Thanksgiving at my house has been a quiet affair. Not this year! My sister and I are both bringing home our boyfriends, and my best friend is bringing her husband and baby. We will have a table of 9 again! We will be eating on Saturday to accommodate schedules and travel, but it’s not the date that makes this day special. It’s the spirit of gratitude… and the food!
There have been numerous Thansgiving recipes and round-ups floating around the blog-world this past week. So many are drool-worthy, but most of you probably already have your menus planned. My family has a few traditional favorites that we always make, but we usually incorporate or swap out one or two new dishes each year! This recipe was inspired by some flavors that grace some of my Mom’s traditional Thanksgiving dishes. The lemon and thyme have a Thanksgiving earthiness that welcomes it at any holiday table, but the lightness of this dish makes it a great lunch option for the days leading up to or following Thanksgiving. I know my stomach always needs a rest after the heavy meal! Make this and serve it warm as a gluten-free option for guests, and then have the leftovers as a cold and light post-holiday lunch!
Question: What are you thankful for this year? What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Is your menu set yet, or are you still looking for ideas?
Lemon Thyme Quinoa with Zucchini and Mushrooms
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 8-oz. package mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 tsp pepper and pinch salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 lemons, juiced
Add quinoa to a dry pot and toast until you hear a faint popping noise. Add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, cook onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and stir. Cook until soft, about another 5 minutes. Add in shredded zucchini and turn off the heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and thyme. Add the quinoa and stir well. Juice the 2 lemons over the dish. Turn the heat back on and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the remaining liquid has been absorbed. Serve warm or cold– tastes great either way!