Where to begin.

It’s hard to say. I’ve obviously gotten so out of the habit of writing on this thing. And now I’m just trying to figure out where to pick back up. I feel highly motivated to talk about how the past year has been eye-opening and older-feeling and how I’m loving it but I pretty much did that here already. At this moment as I sit at my kitchen tablette with a first attempt at homemade cranberry sauce on the stove, I have nothing to complain about. Nothing bogging me down. I am content in this moment. It feels awesome, what can I say?

Image

So I guess I’ll talk about all the things that have been going on in my kitchen lately.

(And thankfully no fruit flies were involved)

1. Homemade Nut Butters

(and other food processor awesomeness)
Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Finished Bliss AKA Coconut Butter

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Shredded coconut + food processor = bliss-in-the-making

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Chopped almonds, set aside for CRUNCHY almond butter

Almond butteroundandround

Almond butteroundandround

The finished goods

The finished goods

Asian Ginger Dressing

Asian Ginger Dressing

2. Raw & Roasted Salads

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Curried Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

Raw & Roasted Salad

This has been my lunch for weeks now. It’s the perfect transition of lunch-salad into colder weather. Simply roast a large baking sheet worth of vegetables with desired flavoring

Favorites: coconut butter + curry powder, olive oil + chili powder&cumin, olive oil + zatar, coconut oil + cajun seasoning

Then combine a bunch of raw vegetables with a separate dressing

Favorites: lemon juice + olive oil + apple cider vinegar + dijon mustard (add additional seasoning to complement roasted flavorings)

Protein can be tofu roasted with the vegetables or beans/lentils added with the raw veggies.

3. Homemade No Sugar Added Cranberry Sauce

Before

Before

After

After

(As I finished the post, I finished the sauce. And let me tell you, it’s delicious. –> Recipe to follow)

Alright, I think I’ve covered it.

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Who más

Howmis?

Humm is

Him us

Hummus.

Seriously, who doesn’t love hummus?

I grew up eating homemade hummus, and I must say that it has spoiled me into viewing a lot of store-bought hummus with a fair helping of disdain.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some brands (one-that-I’ve-tried) that taste like homemade (Trader Joe’s for the win), but seriously

this just doesn’t taste real to me {Probably because of the ingredient list: Cooked Chickpeas [Chickpeas (Garbanzos), Water], Tahini (Ground Sesame), Soybean And/Or Canola Oil, Garlic, Salt, Citric Acid, Seasoning And Spices, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate Added To Maintain Freshness.}

In my holier-than-thou humble opinion, hummus deserves to be made with extra virgin olive oil and without preservatives. And it’s so easy to make (and cheaper– just think of the cost comparison) that there’s no reason not to!

So without further adieu, I give you hummus. (With the extra-special-secret ingredient my Syrian Uncle told me about)

Hummus

Ingredients
– cooked (or canned) chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 2 cups worth)
– tahini (sesame paste) (about 1-2tbsp)
– extra virgin olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp)
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your preference)
– a couple splashes of white vinegar (<–secret ingredient)
– a couple grinds of sea salt
– a few good shakes of cumin
– a few good shakes of paprika
– water

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender (but seriously, it’s easier in your food processor unless you have a super-high-powered-expensive-blender) except the water. Process until it’s as smooth as it can get.

2. Add water (reserved water from your chickpeas would be really great) gradually until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

3. Get in your belly!

I’m telling you, the vinegar kicks this baby up a notch! Also- feel free to experiment and add spices/other foods (olives, pine nuts, etc) to make it your own.

What’s one homemade item that you can’t stand to buy from a store?

Have you ever made hummus?

Healthy(er) Cookout Fare

I suppose Memorial Day weekend marks the start of cookouts. Can you smell the grills firing up? Can you taste the delicious cookout grub? Me too.

So, being me, I feel that I must bring healthy dishes to cookouts just to even out the burgers/hot dogs/chips/all-the-delicious-but-not-so-healthy-foods-of-cookouts. For my friend’s cookout this weekend, I set out to make a healthier coleslaw and a healthier fruit crisp without compromising taste. I think that I succeeded. Here goes…
For the coleslaw, I pretty much followed a recipe from my Whole Foods recipe app on my iPhone. However, I made some substitutions (yogurt for the buttermilk, stevia for the sugar) and some omissions (didn’t have any green onion or chives):
Coleslaw with Apple Cider Yogurt Vinaigrette
Ingredients
– 3 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
– 1 1/2 cups red cabbage, shredded

– 1 carrot, shredded (or peeled w/vegetable peeler)                           
– 1/4 cup yogurt
– 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 1/2 tbsp organic apple cider
– 1 tsp ground mustard
– 1 tsp stevia for baking (or 1 packet stevia, or any other sweetener)
– 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
– 1/2 tsp ground pepper
Directions
1. Combine all vegetables in a large bowl.
2. Combine yogurt through pepper in a smaller mixing bowl. Stir well until uniformly mixed.
3. Pour yogurt mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Vegetable Mixture
+
Dressing
=
fastest cookout side dish you will ever make.
Nutrition Facts (assuming 8 servings)
For the fruit crisp, I looked at several different recipes but ended up creating my own using various elements of several:
Strawberry Apple Rhubarb Crisp
Ingredients
-3 apples, chopped
– 1/2 cup frozen rhubarb slices, chopped
– 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, chopped
– 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
– 1/8 cup flaxseed meal
– juice and zest of 1 lemon
– 1/2 tbsp cinnamon                                
– 2 tbsp butter, melted
– 2 tbsp raw honey
– 1 cup 5 grain hot cereal (or rolled oats)
– 1/4 cup Teff Flour
Directions
1. Combine fruit, apple juice concentrate, flaxseed meal, lemon juice/zest, and cinnamon in a medium-sized saucepan. Mix well. Simmer on medium-low for about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine melted butter, honey, 5 grain hot cereal, and teff in a small-medium mixing bowl. Mix until it has a uniform look.
3. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Pour fruit mixture into a 11″x7″ baking dish. Sprinkle dry mixture evenly on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.
fruit-mixture ingredients
all mixed up
after cooking
+
topping mixture
=
ready to go in the oven.
+
20-30 minutes
=
yumm
Nutrition Facts (assuming 10 servings)
Alright, folks, time to head out the door! I’ll be sure to fill you in on how everything went over with the group later. 🙂

Fun Friends Weekend

This weekend was pretty awesome. I got lots of friends time in and lots of relaxation time in. Plus I tried a new vegetable and invented a new dish! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
FRIDAY
Friday was a pretty cool day. Started it off right with…
Friday’s Breakfast

Bob’s 5 Grain Hot Cereal
prepared with 1/2 milk, 1/2 water
+ 1/4 cup pumpkin, 1/4 cup blueberries 1Tbsp flaxseed meal, and 1/2 Tbsp almond butter
It was soooo yummy! I love the flax/almond combo with the pumpkin. An hour later I was off to the gym for…
Friday’s Workout: Strength Training Circuit
Circuit 1: 3 sets w/2-25lb dumbbells–> 10 squats, 8-10 chest press; 8 40lb assisted pull ups
Circuit 2: 3 sets–> 10 plie squats w/50 lb, 8 of this shoulder exercise w/15lb dumbbell
Circuit 3: 3 sets–> 10 triceps dips w/15lb added, 10 straight leg dead lifts w/2-25lb dumbbells, 8 curls, hammer, and concentration w/17.5 lb dumbbells(changed each set)
Core: 40 sit-ups on stability ball, 20 jackknives w/stability ball, 15 russian twists w/15lb dumbbell, 20 reverse curl w/leg lift, 40 butterfly crunches, 20 side plank dips, 45 sec alternating leg/arm kneeling superman w/supporting foot lifted, 60 second forearm plank w/knee touch-downs
I was feeling pretty awesome with this workout! Not weak like the last time I did my strength workout. So that was a big plus!
I re-fueled with my typical cocoa-yogurt-cereal but added some peanut flour to the mix! Sooo goood. And after a few errands I fixed myself…
LUNCH

Yummo salad with spinach, spring mix, broccoli slaw, white mushrooms, sugar snap peas, black pepper, and lite balsamic dressing. And of course my new favorite peanut butter and pear sandwich w/cinnamon sprinkled on top.
A short while later, I set about conquering this:
The Chayote Squash
I had been eyeing this baby at the grocery store for a while. It’s so intriguing-looking don’t you think? So this past week I decided to finally take the plunge and buy one. I had no idea what it was like or how to prepare it, but I figured I’d just go ahead and add it to my roasted vegetable mix. And it was a success!
Friday’s DINNER:
Leftover Mexican Vegetable Pie with Roasted Sweet Potato, Chayote Squash, & Carrot
My wonderful boyfriend ended up surprising me by stopping by for dinner! We polished off the last of my Mexican Vegetable Pie, and as luck would have it, I was preparing a big enough batch of vegetables to feed both of us and still have leftovers. I heated the pie up in the oven as I was roasting the vegetables. I highly recommend reheating things in the oven covered with aluminum foil (or the dish cover). It makes it taste like you just made it.
Roasted Vegetable Method:
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Chop veggies into 1 cm cubes and place them in a baking dish.
Mix in enough extra virgin olive oil to coat everything, and add dried thyme, dried rosemary, salt, pepper, and 3 cloves minced garlic.
Cook for 25 minutes, stirring once or twice in the middle of roasting.
Friday night was spent out late with friends, but let’s jump to Saturday, shall we?
SATURDAY
Saturday I woke up at about noon. I never sleep this late, but it made sense since I went to bed at about 4am. Anyways, I woke up 30 minutes before my friend’s cookout was going to start! And I was supposed to bring a dish! What to do?
So I decided that it was time to get the creative juices flowing and make something up out of the items that I already had in my kitchen. I already knew that this was an awesome combination:
(Green cabbage, bulgur, and chicken broth) But I felt that it needed a fresher feel to be cookout-worthy. So I thought, “Hey, what about adding an apple?”

And thus Apple, Cabbage Bulgur Salad was invented.
Ingredients:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
1 cup bulgur
2 cups chicken broth
sea salt
fresh-ground pepper
generous sprinkling of all spice
1 apple, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
Directions:
Pour just enough oil to the thinly coat the pan into a large non-stick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cabbage and saute until the cabbage starts to soften.
Add the bulgur and mix until well-distributed.
Add the broth and spices.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover. Cook for 12-15 minutes, until the liquid is well-absorbed. Remove from heat and drain any excess liquid. Stir in the apple and lemon juice. And voila!
A yummy side dish to eat at home or take to a cookout! (like I did)
Saturday’s cookout was pretty awesome. The rest of the evening continued to be an awesome friend day, so I was a very happy camper all day!
Today’s Workout: 45 minute Cycle
It was an awesome class! (as usual) And it was sweet being able to go first thing in the morning. It just starts my day off on the right foot.
Later, I visited with my parents and then some friends. And I’ve pretty much been relaxing and getting ready for work this evening.
Oo time to go check on my yogurt that I made today! I think this post has been sufficiently long. I will leave you with this: