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Roasted Cauliflower, Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato, Cauliflower, Kale Salad

It’s a brand new year, and I’m officially starting school to get my Dietetics certification in less than 2 weeks.  I’ve spent the last month or so getting ready to move up to Cambridge, and after a few painful days of packing, driving up the East Coast and unpacking, I’m finally settled in and cooking again.

For the new year, and the resolve to detox just a little after the insanity that was the holidays, I made up this easy, super healthy, vegan salad that can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator and then warmed up when you’re ready.  The tahini dressing that goes with this salad can also be used for other salads or as a marinade for fish, so feel free to get creative with it.

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 cup of dry farro
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T cayenne powder
  • 1/2 T paprika

What you do:

  1. Start by soaking the farro for 6 hours or overnight.  This will greatly reduce the actual cooking time. When ready, bring farro to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.  It will have a slightly nutty texture to it.
  2. Lightly coat the sweet potatoes and cauliflower in the olive oil, cayenne and the paprika.  Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft.  Remove from oven.
  3. For the kale, you should lightly saute a pan with olive oil, and then cook the kale down until just barely wilted.  Add in the sweet potatoes, cauliflower and toasted pumpkin seeds.
  4. When the farro is finished, stir the farro into the vegetable mixture and top with the tahini dressing mixture (directions below).

What you need for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 T olive oil

What you do:

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl adjusting flavors as necessary.

Are you also in serious need of a detox after this holiday season?  How are you going about your detox plan?

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Crab, Corn and Tomato with Papardelle

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For my birthday, Josh took me to Chincoteague Island, which I highly recommend to everyone because not only are there wild ponies on the island (my inner-child was screaming with happiness) but there is also some of the most amazing seafood.  We ate at a bunch of great restaurants, and also brought home a bunch of frozen seafood to experiment with on our own.

The last of our stash was a pound of crab.  We kept trying to save it for something really special, but couldn’t figure out what we wanted to be.  Then, last weekend, we hit it.  Crab goes great with corn and tomato, and pasta, well it goes well with everything, so here you go: Crab, Corn and Tomato with Papardelle.

I based some of the recipe off of one of Rachael Ray’s.  I’m not her biggest fan, but this dish, which is pretty American, she does a great job.  The only thing I did different was leave out the red peppers.  The key to this dish, that you absolutely must make sure you include, is the tarragon.  This was my first time cooking with it, and wow! it makes SUCH a difference.  I’m trying to find more recipes to work it into because I thought it was so good and really brought the dish to life.

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Baking with Pumpkin

I’m heading out to Martha’s Vineyard this weekend with my boyfriend and a bunch of his friends, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to escape DC for a little bit.  Since shopping is limited/much more expensive on the island, we’re all making food to bring and share.  I’m going to make a big batch of this butternut squash soup, but I’m also thinking some baked goods need to be involved.  I’ve been really curious about pumpkin cookies for a couple of weeks now, and I think now might be the time to try them out.

These are a few recipes I’m considering making, but I’d love to know if you have favorites that I should try!

These Spiced-Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies from Chow look awesome. And they have oatmeal so I can sort of pretend they’re healthy.

Source: Chow.com

Source: Chow.com

Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Cookies with Brown-Butter icing look heavenly.

Source: MarthaStewart.com

Source: MarthaStewart.com

These Harvest Pumpkin Scones from King Arthurs Flour also look pretty spectacular.  So many decisions!

Source: King Arthur Flour

Source: King Arthur Flour

Let me know if you’ve tried anything spectacular lately, I want to make it!

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Comfort Food: Meatloaf and Wild Rice, Kale, and Butternut Squash Au Gratin

Meatloaf with Wild Rice Au Gratin

It’s finally fall!  I’m so excited to be sitting here wrapped in a warm blanket and sipping on freshly-brewed hot coffee.  I’m in Boston right now, so it’s a little colder than in DC, and it’s absolutely perfect.  In honor of the first gorgeous day of Fall, here’s a post on my absolute favorite types of comfort foods: ones that involve cheese and lots of veggies.

The Meatloaf

Alton Brown’s recipe is perfect.  I leave out the red peppers, use panko bread crumbs in place of croutons and make sure sriracha is the hot sauce I choose.  I also stick a hard-boiled egg in the middle (I used a saffron-pickled duck egg this time around since I had one on hand, but feel free to use just a normal one.)  The egg will pick up all of the yummy flavors and juices from the meatloaf and just taste amazing.

The Au Gratin

This is based off of a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  But here’s what I did since it’s a little different:

  • 1 onion, cut into half and then into thin slices
  • 1 clove garlic, cut into slivers
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups kale, cut into ribbons
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces and roasted until soft
  • 3 cups wild rice, cooked
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • panko bread crumbs, toasted lightly with 1 T butter
  1. Start by heating 2 T olive oil in a large cast-iron (or any other oven-safe) skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add in the onion and the garlic and cook while stirring until the onions are caramelized.
  2. Add in the kale and cook until wilted.  Then, stir in the butternut squash and the wild rice.
  3. Remove the mixture from the stove and stir in one cup of the shredded swiss cheese and the vegetable stock.
  4. Top the mixture with the remaining Swiss cheese and toasted panko bread crumbs.
  5. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are a nice golden-brown color and the cheese is bubbling.
  6. Enjoy!

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We paired our meal with this red-wine blend from Argentina.

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Discuss: Nutritional Information

This article just came out from Gallup about a recent study that was done on how much people pay attention to the nutritional content information that is posted on restaurant menus.  Apparently, only 43% of Americans pay even a fair amount of attention to this information, whereas 68% of Americans say they pay at least a fair amount of attention to nutritional content information that is posted on food packages.

Personally, I pay attention.  If I’m going out to eat, and I have advance warning, I’ll make sure to look up the calorie and nutrition content online beforehand to make an informed decision.  If I’m stepping out for lunch to grab something really quick to eat, I always always always look at the calorie and nutrition information when I’m making a decision.  I have regretted way too many times finding out that a particular tortilla is over 500 calories or that the cheese on a sandwich adds up to at least 250 calories.   Not to mention, knowing if your particular order comes smothered in mayonnaise or another cream heavy sauce, helps you to decide if you’re willing to put in that extra time at the gym to burn off that additional 200 calories or if you’d rather save that time and calories for something else and ask for that sauce to go on the side or to not go on your meal at all.

So I’d love to know, do you pay attention to the nutritional content that is posted at restaurants?  Has it helped you at all to make healthier, better decisions?  Or do you just ignore it and still eat what you want?

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Peach and Blueberry Whole-Wheat Crisp

Peach and Blueberry Whole-Wheat Crisp

Ever since I got a cast-iron skillet for Christmas last year, I’ve been trying to come up with new fun ways of using it.  I’ve done cakes in there, eggs in there, anything I can think of, I use that cast-iron skillet for.  So when my sister showed up two nights ago with bags of produce (including tons of peaches and blueberries) I decided to go ahead and make a crisp in the skillet.

What I used:

  • 2 fresh peaches, cut into slices
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature

What I did:

  1. First I combined the flour, sugar, vanilla and butter in a bowl using a fork until it became crumbly.
  2. Then, I arranged the peaches and blueberries in the cast iron pan.  You can grease the pan if you want, but you don’t have to.
  3. Next I spread the crumbly mixture on top of the fruits and baked it in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until it was bubbly and the crumbly mixture was golden brown.
  4. Let it sit until cooled down and serve with frozen or regular yogurt (or ice cream, or whatever else delicious you want to put on top).
  5. Enjoy!

Peach Blueberry crisp

Let me know if there are any other kinds of fruits you like to add to your crisps!  I usually stick to the basics (strawberries, blueberries, peaches and rhubarb), but I’d love to know if you have any interesting suggestions!

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Homemade Tofu and Kimchi Dumplings

Tofu and Kimchi Dumplings

I think I mentioned that on our last trip to the Asian grocery store that we came home with about a gallon of kimchi and another gallon or two or tofu right?  Well, we’re still on our quest to figure out what we’re going to do with all of this food.

After digging around on the internet for awhile, we found this recipe.  It looked really easy and so we went for it.  The only change we made was to not use leeks and to use a whole onion instead.

Putting the filling in the dumplings was a lot of fun, but a little challenging at first because it can hard to figure out how much filling to put in.  We made about 50 dumplings, but still had some filling leftover which I turned into kimchi fried quinoa (also yummy).  The dumplings freeze really well if you space them out on a cookie sheet.  After they freeze, just pop them off the sheet and put them into a bowl.

Tofu and Kimchi Dumplings

To cook the dumplings, we steamed them for about 2 minutes and then pan-fried them until they were crispy and golden brown.  Then we used the leftover dipping sauce from the tofu spring rolls.  If you have the time, I definitely recommend making these at home. They’re SO good!

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Morning Smoothie

We start every morning off with a smoothie.  It’s a great way to get a ton of fiber, protein, vitamins and probiotics into your system before the day really begins.  Smoothies are super transportable (don’t put them in a metal container–it tends to alter the flavor in a bad way) if you’re running late to work or delicious as a side to a plate of scrambled eggs and toast when you have time for a relaxed breakfast.

Here’s what we had in ours this morning:ImageI use yogurt, banana, almond milk and spinach as a base in pretty much every smoothie I make (unless I happen to be out of an ingredient).  I play around with adding different fruits, seeds (flax or chia), sprouts and sometimes nut butters to make smoothies a little bit different every day.

This was my first time adding carrots to a smoothie, and it actually turned out really well.  The carrots blend really well and add a little bit of sweetness without the calories.

I’d love to know what you put in your smoothies! Any cool fruits or vegetable combos I should be trying?

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