thankful

One of the best things about going to graduate school in San Diego is being a mere 2 hours away from my family. I can hop in the car at a reasonable hour and get home in time for lunch, which is a nice change from the 6-7 hour drive from Santa Cruz!

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. It’s not commercialized and emphasizes being with family and eating amazing, wholesome food. A Thanksgiving feast is the definition of comfort food.

I am so, so thankful to have an amazing, loving, and supportive family. I am thankful for my health, because after being a biology major, you learn very quickly that it’s an absolute miracle that our bodies work as well as they do. With that being said, I hope you used your body and ate tons of food!

Here’s a few photos from this year’s festivities!

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving as well! Now I’m off to see Skyfall ūüėÄ

-K

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sweet potato granola

Granola is one of my favorite grab and go foods, but most commercial versions can be high in calories, fat, and sugar. Most people are surprised by how easy it is to make your own! This recipe uses applesauce to cut down on the oil and the sweet potato adds a touch of sweetness.

I never like showing up to friends’ homes empty handed and since I was meeting up with my favorite ex-boss Lizzy, who is also a fellow foodie, I knew I wanted to bake! I decided granola is always a crowd pleaser and I wanted something that would make my apartment smell like fall.

Handfuls of this granola paired with Lizzy’s awesome ginger snaps were the perfect post-hike snacks.¬† We enjoyed both along with freshly brewed coffee. Surprisingly enough, even in the 90 degree heat of San Diego, it felt like Fall for a few moments.

This recipe is fairly easy and the only real “time-consuming” prep was peeling, chopping, and steaming the sweet potatoes. Other than that, you just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, lay it out on a cookie sheet, and bake!

sweet potato granola

  • 2 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup raw, crushed almonds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a large baking sheet with canola oil.

Mix the mashed sweet potato, unsweetened applesauce, agave nectar, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin pie space in a bowl. Mix the dry oats and almonds with the wet ingredients until everything is evenly coated.

Spread evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges of the granola are golden brown.  It will continue to crisp up after it is removed.

The granola was just barely sweet and would be perfect on top of some Greek yogurt with sliced banana!

Enjoy!

Have a wonderful Monday!

-Katy

whole wheat, cornmeal pancakes with cinnamon apples

Saturday mornings I can usually be found in the kitchen making pancakes. Growing up my Dad would make an assortment of pancakes including buckwheat cakes, classic ones, and most memorable in my mind, cornmeal pancakes. Taking a few notes out of his book, I decided to create some similar pancakes today.

whole wheat and cornmeal pancakes

serves one

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped apple (or any other fruit you desire)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Combine the dry and wet ingredients until smooth.

Heat a large skillet and spray with cooking spray as needed.  Pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter into the hot skillet.  Wait until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake before flipping.

For the apple and pumpkin topping, I combined the pumpkin puree with cinnamon and maple syrup.  I spread a layer of the puree onto the pancake stack and sprinkled the cinnamon apples over the top.  You can also pop the apples in the microwave to heat them quickly (microwaved apples is a favorite late night snack among my housemates and I).

Enjoy!

-K

pumpkin pie spiced almonds

A week ago I was writing about the weather cooling down in San Diego. I was itching to bake and pull out my scarves and boots. I spoke way too soon. Just last week it was in the high 80s and I could be found studying by the pool and acquiring a bit of a sunburn. Oh Southern California, how you amaze me with your freakishly good weather.

With that being said, I am very ready for cooler temps. I came home this weekend and am currently blogging while looking at an overcast sky. I’m going cycling this morning and, dare I say it, may have to pull out some leggings and a sweatshirt. So excited.

Last week I made some roasted almonds coated in a mix of agave nectar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and vanilla. They were really good. So good that I already ate the whole batch…

pumpkin spice almonds

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup/honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325.  Put one cup of almonds in a bowl and pour the dry ingredients right over the almonds.  Toss to coat.   Drizzle the agave and vanilla over the almonds and toss until completely coated.  Spray a cookie sheet with oil and place the almonds onto the sheet, evenly distributed.

Roast the almonds for about 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until they appear toasted.  Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

 

To be entirely honest I kind of burnt this batch. They still tasted pumpkin-y though!

Enjoy!

-K

my favorite kind of meal

Most of the recipes posted on the blog are not things that I eat on a daily basis! As a college student, most of my meals consist of steel cut oats topped with fruit, a simple stir fry, or big salads with tons of veggies. The best meals in my opinion are overloaded with color, while still tasting awesome (it is possible!).

This was one of those meals that left me smiling for hours. The combo of fresh cooked kale and avocado has a tendency to do that! The baked tofu, served alongside a brown rice medley, is also quite awesome when drizzled with sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.

the perfect baked tofu

  • one block firm tofu, drained
  • two tablespoons soy sauce
  • one tablespoon sesame oil
  • one tablespoon sesame seeds (for garnish)

Cut the tofu into slices and marinate in the sesame oil and soy sauce for a few hours in the fridge.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and place the tofu into a metal or glass baking dish. Spray the dish before putting in the tofu slices.  Let bake for about 45 minutes (makes it extra chewy and tender) and flip about halfway.

Kale is one of my favorite leafy greens with good reason! It is hands down one of the most nutrient dense greens that is high in fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C and E. Pick some up ASAP!

the perfect sauteed kale

  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one large bunch of kale, shredded
  • one teaspoon minced garlic
  • pinches of salt

Heat a saucepan with olive oil and toss in the garlic once hot.  Allow the garlic to cook for a minute or two and then throw in the shredded kale.  Once the kale has turned bright green it is done! I prefer mine fairly al dente.  Feel free to add some shredded carrots as well! (as seen in the original photo)

Photo courtesy of The Vegetarian Who Hates Tofu

my favorite brown rice blend

This rice can be found at Trader Joe’s and is my go to grain! It is a combination of brown rice, Daikon radish seeds, and black barley. ¬†The radish seeds pop in your mouth once cooked and the barley adds some additional nutrients. ¬†It cooks perfectly in a reasonable amount of time as well, unlike many other brown rices.

Combine all of these items into a bowl and top with avocado! Healthy, flavorful, and filling!

Enjoy!

-K

 

 

honey whole wheat pumpkin spice bread

It’s been rainy and chilly in San Diego and baking bread sounded like the perfect way to start my weekend!

honey whole wheat pumpkin spice bread
adapted from COOKIE + kate

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup crushed almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 8×8 inch pan.

In a large bowl, whisk coconut oil and honey together. Add eggs, and whisk together.Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla, then the salt and the pumpkin pie spice.

Stir in whole wheat flour. Add baking soda to the hot water and mix into the batter. Spread batter into the greased pan.

Sprinkle a big pinch of crushed almonds on top.  Bake for 55 mins to an hour.

Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy! Happy Weekend!

-K

roasted butternut squash soup with quinoa and chicken

Soup is one of my favorite healthy meals during any season. It is an easy way to take wilty vegetables and create a beautiful, nutrient dense meal!

The smell of roasted butternut squash was enough for my roommates to line up with their bowls ready. The extra effort to roast the squash was definitely worth it. I couldn’t help but snack on it fresh out of the oven. Other than that, this soup is really easy to make and super healthy!

butternut squash soup with quinoa and chicken

Ingredients:
Roasting:
– 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, and cut into chunks
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– a couple pinches of salt and cumin

Soup:
– 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
– 2 zucchinis, cut into chunks
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 2 cups kale
– 4 cups chicken broth (add extra water for a more liquid soup)
– 1 cup dry quinoa
– 2 cups water (to cook the quinoa)
– 2 chicken breasts
– 1 tsp salt and pepper
– 2 tsp nutmeg
– 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Cut and peel a medium sized butternut squash. Toss in olive oil, salt, and cumin. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown with a soft center.

2. While the squash is roasting, chop the zucchini and broccoli and shred the kale. In a soup pot add chicken broth, the vegetables,diced tomatoes, and spices. Bring to a boil and let simmer.

3. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cook for a about 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffed easily with a fork. Place into the main soup pot.

4. In a separate pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Place chicken pieces into the water and allow chicken to turn white and fully cook. Remove chicken and carefully shred. Place the shredded chicken into the main soup pot.

5. Once the squash has fully roasted place it into the main soup pot. Bring everything to a boil and let simmer until the kale is wilted and the zucchini is soft. Top with roasted butternut squash seeds and serve!

Enjoy!

-K