for cookies and for kale

eating well to live well


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Hidden Treasures

I never thought it was possible, but it seems like I may be encountering more kale than I could possibly eat. All of a sudden, the grocery stores and farmer’s markets in Durham are literally OVERFLOWING with kale, chard, collards and sweet potatoes. As much as I would love to take every beautiful bunch of leaves home with me, I have to resist. Otherwise I end up eating kale for breakfast and kale for dinner in an effort to use every precious leaf (no seriously, it happens). Don’t worry, I make up for it in cookies (or this stuff).

And so, it only made sense that after picking up a few adorable orange spuds at the community garden, that I mix them with some friendly greens. I will admit it was my friend, Georgina, who did all the dirty work. She came to visit all the way from D.C. only to dip her hands in to soil for some potatoes she didn’t even get to eat (sorry, George!). I did put them to good use, though! This salad has pretty simple ingredients, but they make a great fall salad. I used lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale or black kale, because it’s a less bitter than regular kale, flatter and easier to chop up in salad. It is a little tough, though, so it needs some massaging (yes, kale like massages, too!). The leaves soften up quite a bit and go well with the roasted sweet potatoes. I added some dried cherries and toasted walnuts to make it a little more special. You can serve this salad at room temperature or keep it in the fridge until you want a full dose of colorful eats.

Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

2 large sweet potatoes

1 bunch of lacinato kale

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

1 t. honey

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. dried cherries

3/4 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped*

For the sweet potatoes:

  • Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly, you may peel them if you don’t like the skin
  • Chop into small cubes of even size
  • Drizzle with olive oil
  • Roast at 350 degrees for ~40 minutes until soft, stirring after the first 15 minutes and let cool

For the kale:

  • Wash and devein kale, chop roughly and transfer to bowl
  • Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt and pour over kale
  • Using your hands, massage kale until it begins to wilt
  • Add sweet potatoes, cherries, walnuts and combine.

*to toast walnuts, spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake for ~8 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring halfway through

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2 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

Ok, I lied. I said I would be back with recipes by the weekend and here it is (Wednesday) and I’m FINALLY posting. I could blame parent’s weekend, or the dismal weather but I can only hope that a chocolate dessert recipe can make up for lost time.

Some of you may be wondering what the magical two ingredients are. One, of course, is chocolate. The other, however, is a little surprising. Try and keep and open mind before writing this one off because I swear it’s worth a taste…

Tofu.

It’s not just any tofu, though. It’s silken tofu (the kind you find in miso soup) which means its super silky and blendable and, when added to chocolate, tastes nothing like you might imagine.  This is my favorite chocolate dessert to have in the fridge. It’s easy to make, super delicious and by some standards, a little healthy! (ignore the excessive amount of chocolate chips) So, if you are feeling a little adventurous or even just a bit curious, make this. You won’t regret it!

2 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

2 packages silken tofu (I used firm)

1+1/4 c. chocolate chips

  • Melt chocolate chips in small saucepan on low heat or in microwave, stirring frequently.
  • Add tofu and melted chocolate in blender or food processor and blend until smooth
  • Refrigerate until chilled

     

Unlike normal tofu, silken tofu is found in the international section along with other unrefrigerated items. I used firm for mine, but I’m sure extra firm would work just fine.


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Reap What You Sow

It’s always nice to have a weekend well spent. This was definitely one of them. I managed to drag a couple of friends to the campus Farm Festival. This year’s was beet themed ,complete with beet juice, beet beer, beet ice cream, beet cake and more. And so, the beet lovers united for a meal of local beef and beet stew, beet salad, cous cous and beet green pesto (a green I didn’t know about?!). The campus farm works with the school catering service to provide a ton of produce for the dining halls. I can’t say I have had much experience in the soil but the perfect rows of greens and vegetables made my heart a little warm. So did our new friend, Elerby.

Sunday morning started early as my high school friend, Abby and I geared up for our first half-marathon. I signed up for the race in the summer and got Abby, on board. We started at 7:30 a.m. with almost 5,000 other women, although it didn’t feel all that crowded. Going into the race, I just wanted to finish but it turned out to be way more fun than I expected. Besides for a hilly last few miles, it was definitely one of those “high on life” experiences. Actually, I think I’m still HOL. Maybe because my friends showed up with some bombass posters (THANK YOU!!!). I followed a training plan that I found online, which allowed a lot of flexibility as far as cross-training goes. I was pretty nervous going into the race that I wasn’t prepared but I think adrenaline was all I needed. I ended up finishing in 1:55.26 (8:49 pace). The only thing that may have been exciting than finishing was the post-race meal. Biscuits rock.

I’ll be back with more exciting (and edible) posts by the weekend!


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Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup

One of the best things about October is the sudden abundance of pumpkin. Pumpkin granola, pumpkin bread (!), pumpkin pancakes–even pumpkin converse. Although some find it to be overkill, I can’t get enough. Maybe its the bright orange color, or the memories of pumpkin picking and carving that stir up the nostalgia, but there is something about these wonderfully misshapen vegetables that just makes me happy.

Last year, my roommate, Liz (<– check her out), and I went crazy for the peanut pumpkin soup in our dining hall. Perhaps it was just the one beacon of hope amongst soggy tater tots and pizza that made this soup seem like the best thing ever, but it was truly great. For three days in a row I had that pumpkin peanut soup over rice and when I went home for Thanksgiving, I swore I would recreate it. I found a recipe online for some guidance and I think my recreation turned out even better than the original (healthier, for sure). This version is thick, hearty and filled with healthy ingredients. It’s dairy and gluten-free and the beans and nuts give it added protein. This soup comes together super quickly, making it a perfect fall dinner.

Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup

1 T. Olive Oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 c. pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)

2 c. low sodium chicken broth

1/3 c. smooth peanut butter

1 c. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 + 1/2  t. curry powder

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. cayenne

4 t. lemon juice

  • Sauté onion and garlic in large sauce pan with oil over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, pumpkin, peanut butter, cannellini beans, curry powder, salt and cayenne. Whisk ingredients together, bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Feel free to add more liquid if you like your soup thinner.
  • Blend in food processor or blender in a couple batches and return to pan. Add lemon juice and reheat until warm.
  • makes~5 cups


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Five Fall Favorites

Although every September I mourn the end of a blissfully long vacation, I am quickly reminded why Fall is the best season. Maybe it’s the beginning of the school year that conjures a realm of possibilities or the first day of scarf season. Regardless, Fall is awesome. In the spirit of Fall, I have put together a list of five things that are rocking my world right now.

1. Bin Candy

Am I the only one that finds the bulk aisle of Whole Foods to be the happiest place on earth? It’s just so FUN. Plus, this trail mix is insanely good.

2. “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

You can try to hate it. Good luck.

3. Harney’s Tea

I’m not quite sure what I like more–the tea or the packaging. I especially love the Paris blend. I’ve never been to Paris before but if it’s anything like this tea, I’m down. It smells just as good as it tastes and it has enough caffeine for the morning.

4. Stonewall Kitchen Black Raspberry Jam

In high school, I was lucky enough to have my grandparents nearby. Whenever I would visit them, my grandmother had a stock of this jam. I forgot to remind her to bring some down for me when she visited last week but she must have read my mind. I didn’t remember just how good this stuff is. Great on oatmeal, in yogurt or out of the jar…

5. The Holstee Manifesto

My friend sent me this video a couple weeks ago and I instantly bookmarked it. It involves a lot of bikes and inspirational music, two of my favorite things! If you can’t tell from the clip, the video was made by Holstee, as a part of “The Holstee Manifesto”. The message is simple and their website is worth checking out.


 


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Banana Tea Bread

Everyone has their favorite banana bread recipe. For as long as I can remember, my mom has made the banana tea bread from The Loaves & Fishes Cookbook. It’s moist, fluffy, incredibly simple and hard to beat. I have since experimented with other health-ified versions (I especially like this one) but as far as desserts go, it’s hard to argue with sugar. I made a few modifications from the original to give it a little nutritional value. The changes are basically undetectable (success!). Even my mom couldn’t tell a difference. The result is the same dense loaf with a slightly less incapacitating sugar hangover. Sounds good to me.

Banana Tea Bread (adapted from The Loaves & Fishes Cookbook)

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 c. safflower oil

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. pecans, roughly chopped (walnuts work, too)

Directions:

  • Combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy
  • Add mashed bananas and mix well
  • Add flours, baking soda, salt and mix on medium speed for one minute
  • Add chopped nuts and combine
  • Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for ~50 minutes at 350 degrees, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.


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The birth of a blog

As with all things, beginning is the hardest part. I don’t think there is any way to appropriately start a blog but I’ll do my best.

Whoever invented the pancake should be sainted. No seriously, what is more fun than flipping a perfect flapjack and watching it puff up in the pan? Nothing. Except maybe a loaf of pumpkin bread. But that’s a post for another time. I saw these pancakes on one of my favorite blogs. These whole-wheat banana pancakes are filled with nutritional goodness and just might be my favorite pancakes to date. They are oil free and the quinoa adds protein to make them a complete and completely delicious breakfast. I topped mine with greek yogurt and homemade granola.