Welcome Home!

Tomorrow will be my first day teaching in my school’s home building. I’ve been working tiredly on my classroom to make it feel like home & I can’t wait for my students to see it in the morning. I probably won’t sleep a minute, too excited in anticipation.

I wanted to share some of my most recent food creations. Two weeks ago I made some millet – most commonly found in bird seed (seriously!), a non-gluten whole grain. It has 11 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving… pretty intense! You cook it just like a rice – 1 cup grain to 2 cups boiling water, lower heat to medium low and simmer until all water is absorbed. It looks like this when done… nice and fluffy and yummy! 🙂

So, what do you do with it? Basically anything. I like to add it to my salads to increase the protein content. Here’s a Greek salad I made that I’ve also prepped for this week because it was so addicting and I want it in my mouth every day!

Millet Greek Salad:

*massaged kale (with apple cider vinegar)

*cucumbers

*tomatoes

*chickpeas

*red onion

*fennel

*avocado

*millet

*sheep’s milk feta

*cilantro

Doesn’t this look divine?! It surely is, you have to try it!

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Then, with left over millet that I cooked I tried something new — porridge. I warmed the millet up in a bowl, added almond milk, a little bit of maple syrup, cinnamon, and chia seeds. I let it sit for about 10 minutes and bam! Delicious thick porridge! The chia seeds soak up the milk and make this grain a delicious breakfast that keeps me full until lunch!

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I visited my dad in the Adirondacks this past week while on break from school. I made this salad for him and my stepmom one night…

Roasted Fennel & Apple Salad

*Roasted fennel, onion, and radishes — actually sauteed these in a tiny bit of coconut oil at a high heat in a frying pan.

*Thinly sliced an apple

*Arugula (underneath everything else so you can’t see it in the picture)

*Sheep’s milk feta cheese

*salt & pepper to taste

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So my one warm dish for the week —

Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers:

*1 lb ground turkey, sauteed with onion and garlic

*1 cup of red lentils cooked

*1 cup brown rice

*1 cup chopped mushrooms

*2 green peppers, largely chopped

*1 small sweet potato

*2 cups kale

*I sauteed all of the above vegetables, added in some thyme, sage, and a teeny bit of smoked paprika and cinnamon. Then tossed in the lentils, brown rice and a large can of stewed tomatoes. I let this slowly simmer together for about 30 minutes.

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I don’t know what it is about stuffed peppers, but they are one of my favorite comfort foods! Looking forward to this dish this week – going to be a cold one, again.

Stay warm ya’ll! Spring is coming, I hope…

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The Power of Green!

Wow, what a snow day I’ve had! Last night the snow began falling as I watched the Superbowl. A storm was upon us and I could barely sleep! I checked my phone to see if school was cancelled about 3 times before 5am… and then finally once my alarm went off, there it was… there was every school in the entire county, closed. As I type this evening, we have accumulated about a foot of snow at my house, its starting to let up, and now the temperatures are plummeting.

While I knew couldn’t get out of my driveway today, my lesson plans done for the week already (thanks to a super productive Sunday), and my hand feeling better… I decided to be creative.

Hand feeling better you ask? Oh how I must share this story. As a teacher, you can never expect events that happen throughout your day. And this one, I definitely did not. As I was assisting students on getting on the bus for a field trip Friday morning at school, I needed to run back inside to speak with another teacher. A student had just come out of the door, so I ran, put my hand in between the door to stop it and SLAM!… SCREAM!…blood…throbbing pain…

Luckily a colleague covered for me on the field trip and I was able to go home and take care of myself. I cleaned, rotated ice, and medicated. Broken? No. But, went to get an x-ray the next morning just to be sure (and cover my school’s behind). And I was A-OK…

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The lacerations have started their beginning response and a thin layer of new skin has already developed. I’m not sure who always told me to keep a band-aid and neosporin on my cuts, but not leaving them alone for 3 days and only putting on band-aids when leaving my house or getting them wet did the trick! I’m left with some nasty looking bruising and pain after too much use – like I will feel by the time ‘m done typing this.

So anyways, back to the whole point of this post… a full day with nothing to do but be creative! Happiness enters here.

I started with a three-hour craft session where I made these pieces of leather jewelry:

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I’ve never made leather earrings before and struggled quite a bit with these. My heart isn’t even set on them, so if you fancy, let me know. My favorite– the bowtie cuff. I think these will be popular and need to work out a few kinks and get these in production for sure.

I also made a sign for the door of my new classroom that I’m patiently awaiting to be in… just three more weeks! My stepmom would cringe to see the bleeding of my paint on my stencil lines, but I think it adds character 🙂 I know my students will love it and that’s all that matters to me!

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Once I finished up my creative crafting, it was on to the cooking. At the grocery store this weekend I grabbed a huge bag of cut kale. I realized as I stood there looking it that I have not bought or cooked with kale in WAY TOO LONG! The power of green! How I’ve missed you! If you need a reminder, kale is boosted to be the world’s healthiest food by some. This green giant is packed full of protein, antioxidants, flavanoids, phytochemicals, fiber and vitamins. Kale scores a 1000 out of 1000 on the ANDI scale for nutrient density along with swish chard, watercress, and mustard greens.

I wanted to eat it right then and there in the grocery store. But I mustered up the courage and waited. Sunday I made my favorite Kale and Turkey Sausage soup- enough to feed my entire block.

Kale & Turkey Sausage Soup

*I start by sauteing 1 pound lean ground turkey with one large onion chopped and 6 cloves of garlic minced in a little bit of olive oil so that it doesn’t stick to my pan. Once browned, I add in a can of whole roma tomatoes, 1 carton of vegetable stock, and 1 can of white beans. I lower the temperature to a medium-low heat and toss in 1 head of broccoli chopped, one bundle of asparagus coarsely chopped, and 1 cup of crimini mushrooms, chopped.

*In the meantime, I roast 1 medium sweet potato, cubed, and 1 cup of cubed purple potatoes (with the skin on) at 375 degrees. Once these have started to crisp up a bit (about 20 mins), I toss them into the pot, put the lid on and let the soup simmer for about an hour.

*The last ingredient is the best…. 4 cups of chopped kale! Stir this in and make sure its all under liquid – you may need to add water. Lid back on and simmer for another hour.

DELICIOUS!!

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Today when I started cooking I used a new toy I bought myself this week and still hadn’t opened! A veggetti! You have to use an Italian accent when you say it… “Veggetti!” I waited quite a while to buy one of these because I was very skeptical and using my hand peeler to make vegetable noodles is not difficult at all, but as you’ve seen from previous posts — it can waste a lot of the vegetable! So…. here it is! Check out how many zucchini noodles I got from one medium zucchini. Also, that little spiral stick— that’s the inside seeds. Pretty freaking cool!

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So, I was in the mood for some creamed kale and decided to create a sauce to toss these lovely noodles in.

Creamed Kale Sauce

*large handful of kale

*1/2 avocado

*1/4 cup raw cashews

*1 clove garlic

*1/2 small onion

*drizzle of almond milk as needed

All of the above ingredients went into my food processor to create this lovely cream sauce. I then sauteed some cherry tomatoes at a high heat to get them caramelized, tossed in the zucchini noodles just to slightly heat them through and tossed it all with the sauce I made.

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Such a fresh taste & zing from the raw garlic and onions… yum! Now that my belly is full and my creative mind satisfied, I can relax for the rest of the night on the couch…reading a book about the chemistry of baking of course 🙂

Last note — I’ve been eating too many eggs for breakfast lately because I want to get tons of protein in the morning to keep me full until lunch. So, I also made my banana nut quinoa breakfast bake yesterday for breakfasts this week. It’s just a cup of cooked quinoa, 1 banana, 1/2 cup nuts of your choice chopped, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) tossed together with a little bit of almond milk and a chia egg (1 tbs chia seeds to 1 tbs water). Baked at 350 for about 20 minutes just to brown edges and top… I eat this with almond milk as a porridge in the morning 🙂

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Happy Eating!