Saturday, February 19, 2011

kefir is a keeper.

reading break = break to read
reading break =/= break from reading

the good news?  the reading I've done has been about probiotics!

despite it being a homework-filled holiday, the break from classes has meant:
#1.) more time to make breakfast in the morning
#2.) more time to blog about it during study breaks

fluffy banana oats
the goodies:
* 1 person portion size. multiply per person!
- 1/4 c. old fashioned oats
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1/2 banana, chopped in small pieces
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla

- 1-2 tbsp. kefir
- your favorite berries (mine were blue!)

the fun part:
#1.) put your oats, chia seeds, banana, milk and water into a small sauce pan and heat on medium.
#2.) when the oats begin to bubble, start whisking your mixture by hand for about 5 minutes.  add the vanilla and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
#3.) transfer your oats to a bowl and garnish with your kefir and berries.

recipe adapted from: KathEats

what your body will like:
there are lots of goodies that your body will like in this recipe, but today we're going to talk specifically about how much your body likes kefir.  [we'll talk more about chia seeds later, I promise!]

what is kefir? kefir is similar to a drinking-style yogurt, but contains beneficial yeast as well as friendly probiotic bacteria.

{fyi: you can find ready-to-eat kefir in the dairy aisle of most supermarkets.}

#1.) probiotics: the primary health benefit of probiotics is improved gut health.  probiotics are non-pathogenic [good] bacteria which fight of pathogenic [bad] bacteria.
#2.) digestion: attention all lactose intolerant friends! digestion of the proteins present in this dairy product is enhanced due to the presence of bacteria.  this stuff will have you running to the fridge for more, not running to the... never mind.
#3.) bone health: kefir is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus which all help to fortify your bones and teeth.  stay away osteoporosis!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4 valentines > 1 valentine.

a day dedicated to love?  yes please!

- 4 boys, 4 girls: check
- handmade valentines: check
- delicious dinner: check
- tiny tea-lit apartment: check
- love actually sound track: check

 valentine's day 2011 = success

enjoy our documented dinner party!
(recipes to follow, I promise!)

- zinfandel
- cab sav

{many hands make light work}

{how many happy valentines can you fit around 1 table?}

{dinner is served.  paired nicely with wine. demolished.}
- masala chickpeas
- chicken veggie curry
- brown rice

{sweet treats}
- chewy chocolate heart shaped cookies
- festive pink ice cream
- sliced strawberries
- coffee, tea, cinnamon hearts

{multiple valentines = multiple bouquets}
now valentine's day will last all week in our apartment with our beautiful flowers.  
thank you!

what your body will like: 
your heart will be as full as your tummy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

birthday bake-off.

february is birthday month.
friends, sisters, roommates, grandmothers... oh my!

back-to-back birthdays = back-to-back baking.  

week 1 = 2 birthdays + 1 cake recipe + 2 separate frostings.

birthday #1: how do you make a birthday cake for a surprise birthday party with the birthday girl/sister/roommate is at home? 

{baking outside of the box}
my mix master went on a field trip all the way from my kitchen to my bedroom! 
while the birthday girl enjoyed a glass of wine in the living room, ingredients and utensils stealthily made their way into my bedroom one by one.  the result... a hodge-podge cake ready for a surprise party!

-  cream cheese icing
- nutty chocolatey toppings (aka: pantry raid)

birthday #2: pretty cupcakes for a pretty girl: peanut butter frosting and reeses peanut butter cups.  

- quartered peanut butter cups

secret ingredient: two diligent delivery girls who will tote platters of cupcakes around vancouver by foot. thank you, sweet friends!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

sweet [potato] dip.

super snacks for the super bowl!

I've posted this delicious dip in perfect timing.  there are several reasons:
#1.) serve it up with a big platter of veggies and/or pita chips and impress your fellow football fans

the super bowl was smart to host the big event on a sunday.  this is a wonderful recipe to make at the beginning of the week, which will help you with your subsequent lunch packing:
#2.) throw it in a container to dip your veggies into
#3.) spread it on your bread to sass up your favorite sandwiches

the goodies:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 tbsp. tahini (or almond butter)
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. curry powder

the fun part:
#1.) wash and cube the sweet potatoes into pieces a little larger than bite size.  put them in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender - about 15-20 minutes.
#2.) meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots and onions into smaller pieces and put in a separate sauce pan with about 1/4 cup of water.  simmer until soft - about 8 minutes.
#3.) when potatoes are ready, drain the water and puree them along with the tahini, cumin and curry powder.  this can be done in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.  add the carrot-onion mixture and puree until smooth.

what your body will like:
#1.) calories: 2 tbsp only puts you back 21 calories.  think of what a nice alternative this is to other dipping sauces and spreads!  an equal amount of ranch dressing is nearly 150 calories.  this adds up.  yikes!
#2.) beta-carotene: beta-carotene = vitamin A.  vitamin A = healthy eyes.  vitamin A = healthy immune system.  yippee!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

baja bonanza.

this week was the first week back to teaching after school cooking classes to elementary students.  goodbye sweet primary kids, hello defiant intermediates.  

what's the best way to introduce the 4 food groups and balanced meals to a room full of pre-teens?
quesadillas, of course!  tortillas, cheddar cheese, sliced turkey and peppers.  all kid friendly... right?  wrong.

imagine my delight when a 9 year old student approached me and said, "actually, I don't particularly like orange cheddar.  I'd much prefer honey infused gruyere."  I'm sorry.. what?!

to this, I only have one retort: "I don't particularly like cheddar cheese, sliced turkey quesadillas.  I'd much prefer the baja bonanza."  so here it is friends: moxies made it.  I modified it.  the wait is over.  I'm revealing my secrets.    

feel free to substitute your favorite infused cheese as you deem necessary.  

mexican inspired quesadillas:

the goodies:

- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- 1 small yam
- 1/4 bell pepper
- 1/4 onion
- 1/4 c. black beans
- 1/4 c. corn kernals
- 1/8 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. bbq sauce
- 1 tsp. pureed chipotles

the fun part:

#1.) cut your yam into small pieces, and put in a pot of boiling water.  cook for  5-10 minutes, or until tender.

#2.) meanwhile, chop the onion and bell pepper into bite size pieces and sauté them until soft.

#3.) toss in the beans and corn, turn off heat and set aside.

#4.) when yam is ready, mash it up.  spice things up a bit by throwing in the cilantro, oregano and cayenne. mix.

#5.) get your quesadilla ready by spreading the bbq sauce and chipotle puree on it. next add the yam goodness, and spread over half of the tortilla.  top with delicious bean and veggie medley.  sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

#6.) fold the neglected half of the tortilla over your masterpiece, and place your moon-shaped quesadilla onto a skillet and cook until all the goodies inside are nice and warm, and the one side is crispy. cautiously flip, being careful not to have all your hard work spill onto the stove.

#5.) enjoy your yummy (and balanced) meal.

what your body will like:

#1.) balanced meal: as I said, you've got your 4 food groups covered, and they are all in proportion to how much you should be getting of each.  the highest percentage is fruits and veggies: yam, pepper, onion, corn.  secondly, grains: tortilla.  next, milk and milk products: sprinkle of cheese.  lastly, your meat and alternatives: beans!  more food groups = more variety = more nutrients = more health!
#2.) saturated fat: by substituting yam instead of cheese, you are drastically reducing the saturated fat content.  did you know that 1/2 cup of shredded cheese = 20 grams of fat, which is more than vanilla ice cream which measures in at 16 grams at the same serving size?  so next time you think you're making the healthy choice by choosing cheese over ice cream... think again!  cheese is delicious and shouldn't be eliminated all together... just remember, all things in moderation!