Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cauliflower Yam Latkes

I am so happy and grateful to be spending Thanksgiving in Massachusetts this year with my roommate, our friend, and her family. It is beautiful out here and it feels so nice to be out of the city for a little while. We drove around today and the nature is amazing...and we also saw some windmills up close, which was awesome.

I can't wait for tomorrow! It looks like there are going to be about 100 people at Thanksgiving dinner, which is so different from what I am used to coming from a tiny family. I am so excited for the experience! What do your Thanksgivings usually look like? Do you have any special/weird traditions? Please share :)

To further make the most of the season, I have a recipe I'd like to share with you as well. I was getting rid of leftovers yesterday so that I wouldn't waste food, and ended up deciding to try my hand at latkes :) I put my own spin on the idea, but these Thanksgivalatkes came out great! Check them out:

Cauliflower Yam Latkes
Cauliflower Yam Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cauliflower, cooked or crockpotted
  • 1 cup finely grated yam or sweet potato of choice (about 1 medium-sized yam)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour (or flour of choice)
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp salt (+ more to taste) 
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning (or equal parts thyme, oregano, and basil)
  • 2 tbsp marjoram
Directions
  1. In a small pan, sautee the chopped onions in coconut oil until they start to caramelize.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mash cauliflower with a fork and combine with grated yams. Drain well. (This step is really important in helping your latkes stay together!!) You can even take a paper towel and soak up some of the moisture.
  3. Add in the sauteed onions, eggs, almond flour, flaxseed, salt, and spices and mix well. 
  4. Heat up a large saute pan or griddle. Spray with oil if necessary, depending on which you choose...if you are making these on the stove, you might need a little more. Form patties with your mixture as you go before adding to the pan. Cook over medium heat (or about 350 degrees on the griddle). Wait until the bottom of the latke firms up, before turning. It usually takes about 3-4 minutes on one side, and another 1-2 after you flip them over. Using a flat spatula makes the process easy! 
  5. You can also bake these and get great results! Stick in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.
Cauliflower Yam Latkes

Good luck, and enjoy a great Thanksgiving day tomorrow with friends and family! I know I will, and I definitely have that and so much else to be thankful for. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cranberry Meatballs

With all the fun that was this weekend, my healthy eating habits definitely took a downward dive. But it's okay because I know I can focus and get right back on track, and the best way to do that is with exercise. So on Monday after we tested our verticals and sprint times (300s), I continued the great workout and felt so much better afterwards. In case you are curious and want to do a similar one, here is what I ended up doing! My legs were shot afterwards, but it was so worth it. I kind of just freestyle it as I go, so feel free to switch things up according to your needs. I figure as long as you are sweating and feel like passing out at the end, your workout will be a successful one :)

-Elliptical, 10 minutes
-Kettle bell circuit, 3 sets with 30 seconds rest between sets:
  • 10 swings, 45 lbs
  • 5 each arm single arm snatches, 25 lbs
  • 10 squats, 45 lbCran
  • 20 side to side bends, 25 lbs
-Elliptical, 20 minutes
-Cardio circuit, 3x through with 30 seconds rest between sets:
  • 20 side to side skaters (with 15 lb medicine ball)
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 jump tucks
-10 minute abs

It was a monster of a workout but I do feel so much better now! After a good weights and sprinting session today, I am ready for Thanksgiving :) Hopefully it will not take too much of a toll...

Now on to the good stuff, a Thanksgiving-y meatball recipe that you will be crazy about, especially since I got to test it out on some friends over the weekend and I think they would agree :)

Cranberry Meatballs

Cranberry Meatballs

Ingredients
  • Approx. 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
Directions
  1. Pulse cranberries in a blender or magic bullet until they are coarsely chopped.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add ground meat, parmesan, salt and seasoning, and mix well.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or two, depending on how big you want your meatballs to be. (I would say that this recipe makes about 20 1-inch meatballs).
  4. Shape into balls (or burgers if you prefer) and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the meat is browned throughout.
  5. Enjoy! Serve as an appetizer or with my revolutionary Cranberryana Sauce :) (featured in the photos)
Are you going to surprise your friends and family with these this Thanksgiving? :)

Cranberry-Parmesan Meatballs

Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cranberryana Sauce

I have really been slacking when it comes to posting, which can only mean that either life is too busy or I need to be better about budgeting my time. Either way, I now have so much in store that I want to share with you, that maybe I can make myself feel better about it and say I was just building up the suspense :) This weekend was so eventful, from learning so much at my new pastry shop job, to happy hour for my friend's birthday, to make a pit stop at the fruit stand before carrying on with the night, to hosting our very first friendsgiving, to dinner at a middle eastern restaurant (Gazala's in NYC) and lots of coffee and capucchino in between. Other than the fact that I still haven't done the laundry I have been trying to do for a month, it was a great success and so much fun :)


What were your plans for the weekend? Did you follow through with them?

I was able to make some exciting dishes for our potluck, and one that I would like to share with you before Thanksgiving is this awesome twist on cranberry sauce. I also made cranberry meatballs and the combination was on point, but I will start with the sauce :) It is fresh, really easy to make, tastes just like cranberry sauce, is a great dose of antioxidants, and you don't have to feel guilty about consuming the loads of refined sugar in traditional sauce! Sounds like a win-win situation to me...

Cranberryana Sauce


Cranberryana Sauce

Ingredients
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries (About 1 1/5 cups)
  • 2 smaller, ripe, bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (to taste)
  • UPDATE: Adding an apple adds a new dimension and makes it a little sweeter, if desired!
Directions
  • Stick cranberries in a crockpot, and let cook for about 2 hours on high, or 3-4 hours on low. Add the bananas to the pot after about an hour. You can also simmer in a saucepan over low heat, but may need to add oil to the pan to prevent sticking.
  • When soft, mash with a fork, spoon, or anything else you have on hand to make sure that all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add 1/4 cup of honey, and continue to add more until you are satisfied with the sweetness. (I like mine kind of tart!)
  • If you absolutely cannot stand (small) chunks, transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, otherwise just let the sauce cool and stick in the refrigerator to chill. The banana really helps the sauce thicken up, it is genius!
Let me know what you think! This could be a great staple at the Thanksgiving table this year, am I right? :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Honey Roasted Persimmons

I am so set for another "best week ever."
So many things are changing all of a sudden, but for once I'm not stressing, and it feels good.

A little piece of irony for the week: Now that season is over, I got myself a job at a pastry shop of all places! The (non)interview process consisted of me writing down my name, phone number, and days I can work, and so tomorrow you will find me in a black t-shirt and jeans serving desserts and coffee for the first time ever. I am really excited about it because it is so different from my regular routine. On another, more serious job-related note, I officially have an internship lined up for next summer that I feel great about. It is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Other great things happening in the near future: A final presentation, a $20 Czech steak dinner, one of my best friend's birthdays, a much anticipated pre-thanksgiving dinner or "friendsgiving" at our apartment, a Costco and Trader Joe's trip...yup. I am set for another "best week ever".

I also had a great workout today...nothing too crazy but it got the job done! I wanted to lift today, but all of the racks were full and I didn't have a ton of time, so I improvised and this is what happened:

  • Elliptical, 10 minutes (20 incline, 14 resistance)
  • Mile run, incline walk the rest of the time until 10 minutes (7:04)
  • Plyos circuit: 30 mountain climbers, 10 burpees, 30 skaters, 10 tuck jumps (repeat 3 times)
  • Abs, 10 minutes
Try it and let me know what you think :)

What are you looking forward to this week? How about making this perfect fall snack/dessert?

Honey Roasted Persimmons


Honey Roasted Persimmons

Ingredients
  • 2 medium persimmons
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Cinnamon, to sprinkle (optional)
  • Goat cheese (optional, if you want to make a cute dessert sandwich that looks like the one below...i used cranberry yummmm)
Honey Roasted Persimmon and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Directions
  • Slice persimmons (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • In a bowl, toss with honey. If you are making a bigger batch, just use 1 tsp honey per persimmon, or more or less to taste.
  • Place slices on greased baking sheet (I used coconut oil)
  • Bake at 325 for about 20-30 minutes, or until slices are soft and slightly bronzed.
  • Remove, sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and enjoy!

Please continue to spread the word! And you know I always welcome feedback :)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lost In Opportunity

Our season is over as of this weekend, so there have been a lot of "lasts" lately. Last practice, last bus trip, last team breakfast...it's been a long while since the beginning of August, but somehow the time between then and now has blurred by. It's sad how when we wait for something to be over, we tend to not really pay attention to what happens along the way, kind of like what I wrote about in my last post. So what do we do when it's all over? When we get what we want, and it's the end of the season, and we have all of this time on our hands? We finally have this freedom to decide, and when this freedom is finally there, having no one to dictate your actions or schedule for you seems like an great thing.

On the other hand, this freedom is what scares me the most sometimes. Decisions, no matter how small, end up changing the way our futures unfold. There is so much that we are in control of on a daily basis, but how do we determine which course of actions will lead to the best possible outcome? I have always been indecisive, but lately it has been especially weighing on me as I come to big decisions I need to make for next semester and next summer, yet still feel like I have no idea how to deal with them. How am I supposed to know which decisions will trigger the best opportunities? In these cases, the advice tends to be to "go with the flow" or "go with your gut feeling" but sometimes I don't even know what the flow or the feeling in my gut is. And that is what is so scary. Making decisions when I don't even know what I want.

I realize that maybe this uncertainty is the thing that's best about life and I just need to learn how to appreciate it instead of stressing about it. Still, I sometimes wish I could fast forward and see myself in the future, then come back and know what is right. Know how to balance possibility and choice, and what I think I want to do with what I feel I should do. I might never figure out the answers, and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be, but I don't think I will ever stop trying. I think about it though, and even though I might feel lost in the meantime, in the end I am still grateful to be "lost in opportunity." There are so many good things to look for in every day, and no matter what job I end up having or where I end up living, I know that I can make it good.

I am leaving you with a couple of my favorite pictures and a fortune from my first day of freedom, which could also be categorized under the title "Reasons I love New York":


Friday, November 8, 2013

Banana Protein Bread

Happy Friday from Washington DC! We are traveling this weekend, which is always tough but it also means that I can finally catch up on some sleep after last weekend's Halloween escapades. The week after Halloween is always a rough one, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are now starting to seem closer than ever. It is such a beautiful time of the year, and my campus looks straight out of a fairytale with all of the changing colors and falling leaves, so I was a little sad to leave, but excited to be back in Virginia, where I spent last Thanksgiving.

I am short on time this weekend, but I am so excited about this Banana Bread situation that I just had to share. I will probably be making another batch of this soon, just to see what happens if I mess around with it a little more, but this one came out great so I wanted to give you this version too! Try it out, let me know what you think, and I will post a follow-up when I get back :) I am thinking this has so much potential in regards to add-ins too...cacao bits, dried fruit, CRANBERRIES...I will definitely be experimenting with those in the coming weeks, and will keep you "posted" of course (punny, I know).

Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? I'd love to hear about them, and hopefully you can fit a batch of this delicious bread in as well!

Banana Protein Bread


Banana Protein Bread

Ingredients
  • 3 bananas, ripe
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed 
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or 1/2 cup almond flour)
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
Update 1/13: If you do not have arrowroot starch, you can just substitute with 1/2 cup of almond flour, and reduce the amount of protein powder to 3/4 cup! 

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a mixing bowl, mash bananas, and add in protein powder, flaxseed, arrowroot starch, and baking powder. Mix well. 
  • Add in eggs and whisk until the batter is smooth. 
  • Pour into a well greased bread/meatloaf pan (I recommend using coconut or olive oil).
  • Stick in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, checking occasionally. When the top of the loaf starts to turn bronze, turn off the oven, and let cool inside with the door slightly open to prevent the bread from falling. If making muffins, reduce baking time to 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy! This makes a great breakfast or pre/post workout snack!
Share the love please :-)


Banana Protein Bread

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mulled Wine Smoothie

Halloween weekend was definitely a successful one. But now it's Tuesday, and November, which means it's time to get focused and back to work. And by back to work I mean sharing another one of my great creations ;) One of the reasons that the weekend was so successful is that as part of the festivities, I was able to invent the best fall-inspired mixed drink ever. And you could almost argue that it is healthy...actually not almost. I am going to come right out and say that it is healthy, as long as you don't go crazy with the amount you choose to consume. And we all need to treat ourselves sometimes, right? AND one of my friends even described it as tasting like "warm apple pie"...just saying ;) So try this recipe next time you're trying to entertain some friends or just relaxing on the weekend...or on a Tuesday.  

Mulled Wine Smoothie


Mulled Wine Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 4 Apples (gala or golden delicious or any other kind)
  • 2 Pears
  • Approx 1 L red wine (I used Trader Joe's Cabernet, or Uncle Chuck as we like to call him)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • dashes of nutmeg, apple, or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Directions 
  • Cut apples and pears into smaller manageable pieces (doesn't have to be pretty)
  • Place fruit and cinnamon in a crockpot and let cook for about 2 hours on high, or until soft. You can also just steam on the stove if you do not have a crockpot, or want to hurry the process along a little.
  • Once the fruit is soft, pour wine into the crockpot and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes, or until it heats up. If you are steaming your fruit, just transfer it to a saucepan, add the wine, and let simmer over low heat for about ten minutes.
  • Transfer the warm mixture to a blender or magic bullet, and blend until smooth, or use a lower setting if you prefer to preserve some pieces of fruit in your smoothie.
  • Serve in mugs, and enjoy the warm, apple-pie tasting goodness! It will seriously blow your mind.
Thanks for sharing! 


Friday, November 1, 2013

Chocolate Protein Energy Bars

I saw a mouse in our apartment a couple of days ago...and I calmly watched it run under our stove and didn't even scream. Not sure what exactly this means, but I am going to call it a sign of growing up. With that being said, I would still really prefer it if they chose another place to go as the whether start to get cold. This weekend is going to be incredibly busy, with a match and planning Halloween costumes (hah) so aside from making pumpkin protein bread yesterday, I also made another batch of Energy Bars, so I don't have to worry about what food to bring with me when I'm running around. I went with chocolate this time, just to see what happens, and tweaked the recipe a little.....they came out great, yum. Anyways, that is all for now, happy Halloween weekend :-)

PS. I found out that dark chocolate has a ton of caffeine in it, maybe that's why I haven't been able to sleep well lately? Hmmm...

                 Chocolate Protein Energy Bars
Chocolate Protein Energy Bars

Chocolate Protein Energy Bars

Ingredients
  • 2 smaller, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • approx. 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used apricots for these!)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate whey protein (or other flavor)
  • any other add-ins of choice ie. mixed nuts, dark chocolate bits, coconut flakes, etc.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to about 300 degrees
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas and mix in almond flour, flaxseed, cacao powder, and protein.
  3. Add in dried fruit and any other mix-ins.
  4. Grease a small pan or baking sheet, and spread mix evenly until it is about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm.
  6. Cut into bar sizes or squares, and power up!
Please remember to share the energy ;)

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