How Not to Spread Yourself [or Your Peanut Butter] Thin

How Not to Spread Yourself [or Your Peanut Butter] Thin

Preface

About a year ago, I started a new job. It wasn’t the exact position I wanted or originally applied for at this company, but it was a job in the nutrition field nonetheless. I was excited to get my feet wet and gain experience all while making money and contributing to my family financially. I also registered for two summer classes- Microbiology and Basic Chemistry. I thought to myself, “Great! I’ll work my ass off and save over the summer while knocking out a couple of classes”. In addition, I also signed up for a remote summer internship.

Sounds admirable, right? Well, after 3-4 weeks of working and going to class every single day, I came to the unideal conclusion that I had absolutely no time for the internship, let alone a social life or enjoying summer in Chicago with my husband and two pups (the 3 months us natives cherish). Not only did I have little to no free time, but I didn’t have a day off between work, classes, studying and homework for 2 months straight. Being the sensitive person I am, I fell into a deep depression (of which I won’t share the intimate details about, but it was one of the worst bouts I have ever experienced). Having limited time to exercise and partake in self care rituals only exacerbated this dark time in my life. I felt utterly defeated.

At first, I tried my best to internalize these “blues” and normalize my routine. After all, I had been the one to apply for the job and register for classes. It was MY responsibility to see them through and to carry my own weight. I already felt like I failed with throwing in the towel at my internship, so there was no way I was going to say decline additional work shifts or skip class. That just wasn’t an option in my stubborn mind. I stuck this brutal schedule out at the expense of my deteriorating mental health, and even my physical health. The stress had caused me to relapse with my disordered eating patterns. In hindsight, I think it was the only way for me to feel in control at the time. I barely made it through the summer, but when I did, I vowed to NEVER spread myself that thin again.

I added this preface to the article to share my first hand experience, in the hopes of being more relatable, and to let you know that you are not alone. Work addiction, work exhaustion, and work-related stress can be prevented and managed. There is hope. Allow me to help you begin navigating your way to a healthier and happier you while still maintaining success in the office.

How Not to Spread Yourself [Or Your Peanut Butter] Thin

As the title implies, not many people desire to be overworked and undernourished, in any sense of the definitions. This combination can be detrimental to our health, and it is quite unnatural for us as humans to self-induce exhaustion. We need rest and proper nourishment to regenerate and grow, and this starts on a cellular level.

Unfortunately, today’s world (at least in America) instills social pressure to be the most productive, successful in terms of career hierarchy and financial income, and the best at every single thing we do. There are only 24 hours in every day, and there are only 7 days per week…we know this. So how do we keep up with the demands of our families, jobs, and schoolwork while simultaneously enjoying life?

One way to approach this chronic epidemic of overworking is to simply ignore the “norms” of society and ask yourself, “What do I need that I am not receiving?”. If you are a husband, a wife, a mother, or a father, you need to take care of yourself first and foremost in order to optimize your duties as a spouse or parent. Some may call this selfish, but I call it an intelligent plan on action. If the answer to your question is clear, further explore how you can achieve what you so crave. Do you need a little more alone time? Do you need a date night with your significant other? What about indulging in a long lost hobby you no longer make time for? Whatever is missing, figure out how to incorporate that into your life.

Secondly, recognize that we as humans are very similar biologically, but our mental, emotional, social, psychological, and physical thresholds vary. You, and only you, know your true limits, so listen to your body’s cues. Do you feel physically fatigued? Then rest and get some sleep. Do you feel emotionally or mentally drained? Reenergize the best way you know how. Give yourself and your body what it needs and deserves. Only then can you optimally function and perform, in life and at work.

Thirdly, are you participating in self care on a basic level? What I mean by this is are you kindly allowing yourself to drink enough water, get ample sleep, and eat nutritious food (and not only nutritious food, but enough food)? Do you exercise 2-3 times/week? The exercise doesn’t have to be extreme, but movement has been proven to enhance organ function, sharpen clarity and cognitive processes, and improve your mood. Going for a  walk after you eat lunch at work will suffice and get your blood pumping, help you digest the food you just ate, and energize you for the second half of your shift. Another way to ensure health and performance is to eat enough calories in appropriate servings and macronutrient ratios. Don’t fear the fat or carbs! You need both for energy and many other functionalities. I used to stress about eating too much nut butter, but now I simply practice intuitive eating and eat as much damn peanut butter as I my body wants. 😉

A fourth thing to consider is the amount you have on your plate (no pun intended). I am a serial overcommitter, so I am far too familiar with this one. Ask yourself, “What do I want my work/life balance ratio to look like?”. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans work an average of 34.5 hours per week. That is less than most Americans think they work. Work is called work for a reason, and some days and weeks seem longer and more demanding than others. However, after subtracting the time we sleep (I accounted for 8 hours per night- 56) and the average work hours of 34.5/week, we still have 77.5 hours leftover. Sure, many of those hours are reserved for cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and carting the kids arounds, BUT there are hours the individual takes for granted and doesn’t realize he or she actually has. Do yourself a favor and record what one regular week looks like for you to better assess how you spend your time. Perhaps you can tweak or adjust your activities and productivity after taking a better look. This includes scaling it back if you need to, and accepting that it is OKAY to QUIT anything you’ve previously committed to if it’s affecting your health to any extent!

The last thing I will leave you with is to find your purpose. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that finding purpose in life leads to contentment while focusing on being happy doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. Why you ask? For one, if you put too much pressure on being happy, then you automatically take joy out of the equation and are inadvertently self-sabotaging yourself. Viktor Frankl once said, “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” You may or may not agree with this quote, but after reading his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, it clarified the idea of finding purpose before manifesting happiness. Sounds backwards, but trust me that this book makes sense of it all. Many people find purpose in their work, hobby, or as a parent or caregiver. Whatever your purpose is in life, go out and find it- embrace it and don’t lose sight of it.

So let’s review. How can your avoid spreading yourself or your peanut butter too thin?

  1. Figure out what’s missing in your life and make time for it!
  2. Listen to your body’s cues and respond accordingly.
  3. Partake in basic level self care (whatever that means to you). This includes eating as much peanut butter or your idea of indulgent food as your body wants (not what your mind or stress wants).
  4. Figure out your desired work:personal time ratio. Optimize your time.
  5. Find your purpose in life.

As a result of the worst summer of my life, I felt compelled to write this article and help others avoid and manage their work-related stress. I hope these suggestions help make sense of the work demands in America and how we can optimize our time and quality of life while still being successful. Please take care of yourselves- physically, mentally and emotionally. You deserve it, as it’s a basic human right.

XO Danielle

 

Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart

I told you I’m back! Two recipes shared within 3 days warrants a happy dance. *actively breaking it down*. Now that I’ve embarrassed myself in front of my apartment building neighbors across the way, I am proud to introduce you to this wonderful spring recipe. After researching what fruits and vegetables are in season in Illinois in May, the two veggies that stuck out to me were asparagus and peas. I really wanted to capture spring in a savory dish with these limited fresh green goodies, so I came up with a Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart (that I am ready to share with you today) and Minty Pea Hummus (which I hope to share with you later this week).

Let’s start with asparagus nutrition facts. “The bright-green veggie is packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber” (Health). Both the soluble and insoluble fiber asparagus contains can aid in digestion, gut health, and even weight management/loss. Aside from the plethora of minerals and vitamins just listed, asparagus also possesses a large amount of antioxidants, making it a free radical fighter. As mentioned in the linked article, it can also improve your urinary tract by acting as a diuretic and even be labeled as an aphrodisiac- need I say more. 😉

So, the recipe below was developed with a budget in mind and easy assembly. I taste tested it two times and also got the hard-to-please-junk-food-loving husband on board. It’s great to make as a side dish, light lunch, or to bring to a casual spring get together. Let me know what you think after you try it out!

Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart

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Prep time: 40 minutes

Total bake time: 25-30 minutes

Yields: 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 24 oz container of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • thyme sprigs
  • whole wheat puff pastry
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 9″ pie or tart pan with oil of choice (I used coconut oil spray).
  2. Measure 2 cups of the cottage cheese and add to a colander/strainer. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes to drain excess liquids. While this is draining, you may work on the crust.
  3. After allowing your puff pastry to defrost, carefully unroll the log to avoid cracking/breaking of the sheets. Line your pan with one thin sheet at a time, folding the overhanging crust inward. Lightly coat this and every layer with olive oil- just enough to cover but not enough to saturate the dough and make it soggy. Repeat 7-10 times. (I only added 6 layers and it wasn’t thick enough).
  4. Once you’ve completed layering and laminating (adding fat in between dough layers), place a pot that fits on top of the bottom of the crust to keep it from rising in the oven. You may use anything heavy enough to do so that is oven safe.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until just crisp on the bottom. The color should be the lightest golden hue.
  6. While this is baking, you will have time to blend the filling. Add 2 cups of the drained cottage cheese, 2 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and the juice of 1/2 a large lemon to your blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. Remove the lid and take a big whiff- aren’t you surprised with the intoxicating aroma?! Yes, you may try some, but don’t eat too much! 😉
  7. Remove crust from the oven when done and let cool. In the meantime, boil water with a touch of salt and blanch your asparagus stalks. I used thicker asparagus stalks, so I lightly peeled the lower surface and cut off the bottom, woody ends (the last 1 1/2 inches). I blanched them for 4 minutes and let them cool in an ice bath with cold running water. Pat the asparagus dry when cooled.
  8. When the crust is cooled, add the filling in the middle and smooth out the top. Neatly line the asparagus and lightly press into the filling, about halfway in. Generously sprinkle the top with thyme (I pull mine off with my nails against the growth to easily remove the leaves from the sprigs). Feel free to add a squirt of lemon juice for good measure and extra flavor!
  9. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!

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Double Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies

Hay hayyyy! I am back, Feed Me Happy followers!

As was on trend in 2018, the beginning of 2019 proved to be pretty busy for me as well (not that the rest of you are NOT busy). We all have our own work/school/family/personal obligation packed agendas. For me, the spring was filled with 3 heavy science classes, Boston Marathon training, two very part-time jobs, and organizing a few events for the school nutrition association I’m a part of.

Over the past 3 weeks, several of these things have ended, and thus, I have more time to dedicate to my beloved blog and Instagram. My short term goal is to provide you all with fun and new recipes, nutrition facts, food trends, and lifestyle hacks- to feed you happy, in any way you interpret that. All I need from you are some suggestions of what you would like to see from me content wise. Please feel free to email me at daniellencahalan@gmail.com or comment below with your ideas!

Now to the good stuff- a new original recipe! Tahini has always been a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes- baba ganoush, hummus, and it is commonly used as a dipping sauce or condiment. In the past couple of years, it has grown in popularity in the U.S., and even more recently, many food stylists and bloggers are incorporating this healthy fat into baked goods. I dug it and wanted to try my hand at developing a chocolate tahini cookie. Took me 4 tries, but I finally landed on a pretty solid recipe. 🙂 Please note that this recipe is vegan friendly, produces light and fluffy cookies, and requires minimal ingredients (some of which you may already have on hand)! Try it out, and let me know what you think! Follow me @feed.me.happy on Instagram for tahini nutrition facts.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes

Yields: 9 cookies

Ingredients:

Dry

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • chocolate bar/chips of choice

Wet

  • 1/2 cup tahini (I used the one from Trader Joe’s- make sure to stir well)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plant milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with oil of choice (I use coconut oil spray).
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients but the chocolate chips/chunks. I used a whisk to thoroughly mix and break up bigger pieces of flour.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients together until even.
  4. Pour wet ingredients on top of dry and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until dry ingredients combine.
  5. Fold in chocolate chunks/chips of choice.
  6. Use an ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup and spoon to measure dough. Place at least 1.5 inches apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Enjoy this tasty treat and let me know how they turn out! ❤

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Mushroom Gravy Poutine

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As previously mentioned in both my blog and Instagram, I am going to share a #WorldyWednesday original recipe inspired by a different country every week of this year. I chose to start close to home, in the good ‘ole northern land of ‘O Canada. One of Canada’s most popular dishes is one called poutine (poo-teen), or pronounced (poo-tin) by natives of Quebec.

Poutine translates to “a mess” and was created when a fast food restaurant threw fries and cheese curds in a bag when the place got too busy. Another restauranteur added his signature gravy to the dish later on. Hence, poutine was born and is traditionally made with fries, cheese curds, and gravy. No, it is not normally the the healthiest, but I put my spin on it to keep its traditional ingredients while making it more nutrient dense. JP, my husband, had it for dinner with chorizo and gave it a double thumbs up. He even asked if we can make it again sometime soon. 🙂

Please note before grocery shopping that cheese curds are not available at every store. Trader Joe’s, Jewel, and Target do not carry them, but JP found them at Marianos and I’m sure Whole Foods would have them too. I will more than likely make a vegan recipe in a couple of months when I make it again, but the cheese does add a flavor and texture that really cannot be replaced. *drool*

Happy first Worldly Wednesday (a day late but here nonetheless!). Enjoy!

Mushroom Gravy Poutine

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 40-45 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients

Fries

  • 4 medium size russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Hımılayan sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white cheese curds

Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp tapioca flour or more flour until the sauce thickens
  • 2 tsp umami seasoning (optional)
  • green onions or chives to top (optional)
  • sour cream to top (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line baking pan with foil and lightly coat with oil of choice. I used olive oil.
  2. Cut russet potatoes by discarding their ends and cutting 1/2 thick sticks. Toss and coat with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Separate fries well on pan to ensure they crisp up! Bake for 35-40 minutes before adding the cheese curds for the last 5 minutes.
  3. While the fries are baking, you can now make the mushroom gravy sauce. To prep, slice 3 cups of cremini mushrooms, 1 yellow onion, and a shallot.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion and shallot. Let cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the mushrooms, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and umami seasoning if using. Cook for 8 minutes or until the vinegar scent subsides and the mushrooms brown well.
  5. Add the beef broth, worcestershire, and flour. Whisk until the flour dissolves and there are no more clumps. Let simmer until thickened, and/or add 3 tsp tapioca to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Turn the burner off and let sauce cool. Transfer to blender and blend until smooth. You may add tapioca to thicken of water or beef broth to thin out.
  7. Don’t forget to top the fries the last 5 minutes of baking with the cheese curds so they melt a bit. Top the fries with the gravy and ass any toppings of your choice! I topped ours with green onions, JP added chorizo, and I would have added an egg had I been hungrier. Go nuts and have fun with it!

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Comment below with a review or suggestions. They are always much welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!

XO Danielle

Food Trend Predictions for 2019

Poke bowls. Avocado Toast. Matcha Lattes. Cauliflower Gnocchi.

The food trends of 2018 did not disappoint, but what’s in store for 2019? Based off new products on the market, consumer interest, health benefits, popular diets, and most importantly -TASTE- I came up with my own food predictions for this upcoming year. 🙂 Let’s take a look at what I’m envisioning. It’ll be fun to see if any of these are correct in one year from now.

1. Oolong & Rooibos tea.Don’t get me wrong. I am a borderline matcha addict. Okay, okay, I AM a matcha addict. I have one at least once a day, sometimes twice. But no matter how good a drink or meal is, it’s nice to switch it up from time to time. Tea is the number one consumed beverage in the world, and it is continuing to grow in popularity in the states.

Oolong tea reigns from China. It is a white tea with a light, floral fragrance, and in terms of health benefits, it is one of the healthiest teas one can consume. Oolong contains caffeine, and therefore, promotes weight loss. Some other benefits of oolong tea include: aids in regulating blood sugar levels, promotes healthy skin, acts as an antioxidant, relieves stress, sharpens mental focus, strengthens bones and enhances oral health (10 Nutritional Benefits of Oolong Tea).

Rooibos tea is red in color and is native to South Africa. It is caffeine-free and has a           light, nutty flavor. This tea is abundant in vitamins and minerals and is known for fighting cancer, diabetes, and heart disease (13 Amazing Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea). Believe it or not, rooibos is technically an herb, not a tea. It is semi-fermented and oxidized to transform it into a tea grade product. Many South Africans use rooibos in their cooking as well, which brings me to my second 2019 food trend prediction…

2. Grow your own herbs. 

Many of us have seen the “Grow Your Own Herb” kits at random stores, but have you given growing your own herbs a try? I live in an apartment in Chicago, and with the limited resources I have to fresh soil and ample sunlight, I thought it would be more difficult to grow my own herbs and plants in tight quarters. I am happy to report that I have successfully grown a variety of herbs on my windowsill. Right now I only have basil and kale going, but my long term goal is to get one of those light growers and plant all the herbal goodness! Most herbs need sunlight and water- that’s it! Instead of spending $1.99-$2.99 per week on each herb- grow your own, save money, and get the satisfaction in nurturing a plant for food!

3. Ashwagandha

Ashwa-what? Ashwagandha is an herb that grows on a shrub that is native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. It was added to many food products in 2017 & 2018 and will continue to be highlighted in 2019 as a healthy brain supplement. Ashwagandha is known to improve memory, promote brain function, and optimize critical thinking. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic practices and is thought to assist in the following: arthritis, digestion, stress, insomnia, blood sugar levels, Alzheimer’s, and cancer (Top 10 Food Trends for 2019).

A few products you may see ashwagandha in are Four Sigmatic’s Adaptogen Coffee Mix, Pearl Butter’s Glow Getter and signature coconut butters, and Gaia Herbs Golden Milk mix.

4. Mushrooms

The health benefits this fungi provides is pretty extraordinary. It can fit into nearly any diet plan and is extremely easy to prepare. Mushrooms contain sufficient amounts of selenium, iron, vitamins A, B & C, and the antioxidant ergothioneine. They aid in regulating blood sugar levels, fighting cancer, have anti-inflammatory properties, and promote nutrient absorption. There are over 14,000 varieties, so the versatility you have with them in cooking is extensive. As mentioned with ashwagandha, Four Sigmatics offers several mushroom products- including a coffee infused with this magical food. And Trader Joes just came out with a new mushroom seasoning called Umami- very good!

5. Collagen

Another continuing trend of 2018 is the consumption of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein produced in the human body, but its production diminishes over time as we age. According to a study conducted in London, pairing a daily collagen drink with a hyaluronic supplement has been proven to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of skin aging significantly (Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles). I recently listened to a podcast episode that discussed collagen very in depth. The guest RD did thorough research to provide the best information to the listener. I highly recommend the listen!

My favorite collagen products are made by Primal Kitchen (Vanilla Coconut flavor) and Vital Proteins. I have personally seen a difference in my skin due to this daily regimen.

6. Artisan bread.

Y’all, we have shunned bread and carbs for way too long time now. Some of us even completely eliminated it them from our diet. Well guess what?! Carbs are NOT bad for you! -especially in moderation… It is a common misconception that they are, and as a nutrition student, I would be happy to debunk carbohydrate myths to try to undo the damage done to bread’s reputation. For now, let me just say that bread is on the “rise” again- get it- rise? Hehe. But really. With the FDA changing nutrition label standards, another requirement is to provide the amount of whole grains in bread! Yahoo! Look out for these labels to be more mindful in consuming whole grains over refined carbohydrates. Once you get adjusted to whole grain products, you won’t want the over processed stuff. And artisan bread? C’mon, need I say more about it’s delectable goodness and why people want to eat more of it?!

7. Sushi burritos.

Similar to poke bowls, sushi burritos offer an easy and satisfying on-the-go meal. You can create your own flavor profile by adding whichever ingredients you desire. Sushi burritos contain rice (carbs), and I would recommend choosing brown rice over white. The remaining ingredients should be fairly healthy- fish & veggies- so don’t worry about that! The only other thing I will note is to be mindful of the amount and kind of soy sauce you’re using (if any). Soy sauce can be high in sodium, so either use less or opt for the low sodium version.

8. Earth Bowls

Earth bowls, as I like to call them, have also been referred to as Buddha Bowls, Energy Bowls, etc. They usually contain a grain (rice, faro, quinoa), a plant-based protein, and mounds of veggies! They are SOOOO nourishing and surprisingly satiating! There is just something so comforting in eating warm plant-based food from a bowl, ami right?

8. Non-dairy Dairy

Okay, here me out. Even if you are not a full time vegetarian or vegan, a good non-dairy cheese or milk is worth trying out. I have been on a cashew milk kick lately, and I’m starting to dabble in buying, trying, and making vegan cheeses. I’ll share the brands and recipes as I come across them. The health benefits of decreasing dairy intake and increasing non-dairy dairy intake is the reduction of inflammation in the body. Dairy tends to produce mucous, phlegm and causes slight inflammation in the digestive tract and other parts of the body. As far as benefits, many plant-based milks are now fortified with vitamin D and/or calcium (check nutrition labels for this). Vegan cheeses can be very filling and provide many nutritional benefits as well, especially since many of them are nut based. For this reason, they are also higher in calories, but eat mindfully and until you feel full and you’ll be fine! Enjoy, and please share your experience with non-dairy dairy in the comments below. I’m fairly new to the vegan cheese game, so I’m all ears!

9. Decreasing Food Waste.

I’m sure most of you have heard of Imperfect Produce by now. This company was started by a couple of college kids in Maryland in 2015, and it has gained tremendous traction since. The premise? You sign up to receive a box (you can choose the size) of produce that may or may not look different than the produce you would purchase at the grocery store. Grocery stores only seek to display what they think consumers will buy, that is, “perfect” looking food. However, that shiny red apple isn’t supposed to be THAT shiny. It’s coated in wax to look more appealing to you, the consumer. Imperfect Produce purchases and sells irregular shaped and fun looking produce for a decent price. Help eliminate food waste in America and sign up in 2019!

10. Food Policy Education.

I am minimally educated in food policy and programs in America simply because I’m a nutrition student. How can we live in a country where MILLIONS of people are hungry on a daily basis?! That is flabbergasting and completely unacceptable to me. When you think of people starving, many think of the homeless and people in Africa. There are people here, in America, who are living paycheck to paycheck and decide to pay a bill instead of eat, or feed their child instead of themselves. If we educate ourselves on food policy, government funded programs, and local farms/farmer’s markets/CSAs, etc in your local area, we can begin to learn ways we can assist in solving this problem, making a difference and creating change.

Well, those are my top 10 food predictions of 2019! I hope you enjoyed reading through them. I’d be interested to hear what you think of them, so feel free to comment below! 2019 is going to be an AMAZING year- one of hope, creativity, determination, and love. I hope you all feel this way, open your hearts to all of the possibilities, and either praise or correct me for these food predictions of 2019!

H A P P Y   N E W    Y E A R!!!

Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”

As a precursor to #WorldlyWednesdays (where I share an easy ethnic recipe every Wednesday in 2019), I’m going to share my original recipe of the South African inspired Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”! Now I have made buffalo cauliflower wings before, but these exceeded my expectations on the taste bud scale.

Traditionally, peri peri sauce incorporates paprika, garlic, lemon juice, chili flakes, African bird’s eye chilis, salt, olive oil and herbs. I simply purchased Trader Joe’s Traditional Tunisian Harissa Paste ($1.99), which is made of fresh red peppers (capsicum annum), garlic, salt, sunflower oil, coriander, citric acid, and caraway, in replacement of peri peri sauce. I was curious what others had to say about this wonderful condiment, and I stumbled across these amazing reviews! Check ’em out. Just a heads up before trying harissa paste- it’s SPICY!!! If you don’t like heat in your food, I wouldn’t bother with it. If you do, go for it with this warning in mind. On a positive note, spicy foods are known to aid in digestion and increase metabolic rates. 🙂

I have strayed away from cauliflower for a bit now, but I revisited its nutritional benefits and was met with a pleasant surprise after downing an entire head of cauliflower by myself ; ) . Cauliflower is extremely light in calories. Every cup is about 25 calories, and it contains an array of vitamins and minerals essential for bodily functions. It also contains  nearly 3g of fiber per cup, which aids in satiation and digestive health. I try to provide nutrition content without getting too scientific and because I am technically not a professional yet, but I’m workin on it!

Alright, alright. I’ll give you what you came here for- the recipe!

Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Bake time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup milk or nut milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup of flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Flour) You may need to add more depending on your use and amount of cauliflower.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • sprinkle lemon pepper (from TJs) or regular pepper
  • 1 jar Harissa Paste (may be purchased at Trader Joes)

*The sauce recipe pictured above is a blend of 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp fresh chives, 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Process the herbs first to break down before adding the remaining ingredients. SO fresh and complementary to the “wings”.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with aluminum oil and lightly coat with oil of choice.
  2. Wash and dry head of cauliflower. Cut into medium size florets (about the size of wings). Place milk in one small bowl and the flour, paprika, garlic salt, and pepper in the other. Mix the flour mixture well.
  3. Carefully dip each floret into the milk first. Let it drip a couple of seconds before coating in the flour mixture. If you proceed too quickly, the flour mixture will get clumpy and won’t stick to the last of the florets.
  4. Place the coated florets in the lined baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. While the cauliflower bakes, you may blend the harissa paste to make it more fluid and easy to apply. I did not do this, but in this midst of coating the cauliflower, I wish I had.
  5. Remove the pan and generously coat each floret with harissa paste.
  6. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sauce looks slightly dried and crispy.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with or without the homemade sauce. PLEASE let me know what you think of this recipe! I’d love to hear your feedback before re-sharing it as Super Bowl Sunday recipe suggestions.

Thank you! XO Danielle

Christmas Morning Muffins

5 days! 5 days until Christmas! Eeeeeekkk!! The little kid inside me is bursting with joy and excitement during this magical time of year. I’m really hoping Chicago gets snow before or on Christmas day. If not, I’ll make do and await our snow storms in January, as always 😉

Since this semester has ended, I’ve been racking my brain on recipes I could offer and share for you to bring to holiday parties and to make for your loved ones at home. Cranberry and Orange is a classic Christmastime pairing, so I decided to make Christmas Morning Muffins with this flavor duo plus some walnuts! I used my latest favorite pancake and waffle mix brand, Kodiak Cakes, as the base. A box is less than $5, and it includes most of the dry ingredients you need. As I’m writing this I am anxiously waiting for the muffins to cool so I can taste test them and post this recipe!

The verdict= super moist, fluffy, flavor packed, Christmas-worthy muffins!!!! Yahoo! You will NOT be disappointed with this gem. So, without further ado…

Cranberry Orange Christmas Morning Muffins

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Ingredients

Dry

  • 2 cups Kodiak Waffle and Flapjack Mix (Whole Wheat and Honey Flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • Crushed walnuts
  • 3/4 cup cranberries

Wet

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 medium size orange, grated
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with muffin liners or grease with coconut oil.
  2. Add 2 cups of the Kodiak Waffle Mix to a medium size bowl. Add the spices and mix.
  3. In another small bowl, lightly whisk the two eggs. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Per the muffin mix method, pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry. Use a baking spatula to mix until just combined. Add the cranberries and some crushed walnuts should you want them in your batter. I just topped mine before baking.
  5. Pour the mixture just below the top of each muffin well.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes at 350. Let cool for 15 minutes. Your taste buds will thank you for the rollercoaster ride 😉 Happy Holidays!

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