Hands down, the most memorable and remarkable college course I took was “Women in the US Criminal Justice System” my senior year. The class took place in the recreational center of the local prison in our college town. Yes, you read that correctly; the course met once a week for 3 hours in the women’s minimum-security section of the correctional facility. No, we were not teaching the inmates, we were all, in fact, students. When we entered the so-called “classroom”, we were all equals; the college students referred to as “outside students” and the women living in the jail referred to as “inside students”, never once using the word “inmate” or “prisoner”. (I know you’re probably wondering right now why the heck I am telling you about this class in a blog post promised to discuss quitting my job on Wall Street to pursue my passion in the kitchen, but stick with me here.) At the end of the semester we were required to write a paper reflecting on what we learned from this experience. As incredibly moving this course was for me, and as much as I learned about the criminal justice system, I walked away from our last session with the realization that the inside and outside students all shared one thing: the fear of the unknown.
How to wow a crowd
Believe it or not, this was one of the first meals I cooked after my concussion. This whole roasted cauliflower, which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ABCV), has been on my “recipe to-do list” for an incredibly long time. I was sitting on my couch with my mom when she mentioned her and my dad were going to stay over for dinner followed by her asking, “what should we order in?” As someone who loves to cook for those I love, and have always promised my dad for a home cooked meal after work one day before his commute home, I finally had the opportunity at my fingertips. It was finally time to cook my parents a delicious and impressive meal in my own kitchen. Although I had just suffered a pretty serious concussion and was still unable to turn on majority of the lights in my apartment, which also showed me how magnificently calming a dimly lit home can be, cooking was the one thing I was most definitely capable of.
Your guide to tackling a gluten free lifestyle!
Everyone loves bread; pizza is notoriously one of the tastiest foods out there. However, some of us, unfortunately, have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or have been tasked with an elimination diet. Cutting out gluten can at first be pretty depressing. How the hell am I going to attack and eliminate this beast that is such a staple in the American diet!? Fortunately, as this “lifestyle” has become more prevalent, there are a ton of great options out there in both restaurant and grocery stores. Also, that is why I am here to help; providing you with a 5-day plan of gluten free meals with corresponding recipes and a master grocery list.
Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…
This is a pic from after this morning’s run. It was, for me, a slow-paced 2.5 miles. A run I typically would’ve considered a “waste of time”. But not this time! This photo and run exemplify so much more than the time or distance will ever show; it is my first time feeling like myself and finally being able to run in over 30 days. One month ago, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. It still sounds crazy to say out loud (or type) – how the hell does that happen!? For those of you thinking to yourself, “by crossing the street while fixated on your phone without realizing a car is coming”, I hear you. However, I was not on my phone. In fact, I had the walk sign and I still looked both ways before crossing the street. Turns out, unfortunately, you can’t control everyone else around you. After spending many more hours than I would’ve liked in emergency rooms over the two days following the accident, I was fortunately released with a healthy physical body but a bit of a bruised-up brain; diagnosed with a concussion. As someone who unfortunately has had her fair share of concussions (this whole failed attempt at a back h andspring on cement floor in 6th grade really seems to keep biting me in the ass), I thought I knew what was ahead of me. A bit of light sensitivity and nausea and a few days of headaches. I thought to myself, “okay, so you have to stay inside the rest of the weekend and just relax, you can do that.” Boy was I in for a surprise.
The foolproof way of eating cake for breakfast
I’m back on my muffin kick and I’m not mad about it! Every Easter (and now somehow almost every holiday) I am responsible for one thing in my family’s household: carrot cake. Each year I’ve slowly evolved it into a healthier and healthier version without anyone noticing a difference in taste. In fact, each year my sister becomes more and more obsessed. Since my family will be traveling for the first time on this year’s Easter, I needed to find a way to make this carrot cake breakfast approved so that my family (aka sister) could enjoy her favorite creation of mine throughout the week. My solution: carrot cake muffins. Oh yea, that just happen to be vegan, gluten/grain/dairy free, sweetened only by maple syrup, and BOMB DOT COM.
The best vegan dessert I’ve ever had
This past Sunday I found myself cooking up a storm in my kitchen for majority of the day (putting all the finishing touches on my Whole30 5-day meal plan) and when it was all said and done and I sat down on the couch to unwind, I immediately began daydreaming of new dessert creations. With a few hours to spare before dinner and a running imagination that just wouldn’t sit still and relax, I got up, went back into my kitchen, and assessed what ingredients I had on hand. After realizing I had majority of my favorite things (banana, almond butter, tahini, and chocolate chips), I decided to combine them into the best vehicle possible: a skillet cookie. Being that I am currently dairy & gluten free and that eggs right now don’t seem to be working too well with my stomach, I slowly realized when I popped this baby in the oven that this recipe is actually vegan. While I spent a few minutes questioning who the heck I have become, none of that mattered once I took a bite of this baby. Plus, I happened to have just purchased a pint of Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream (chocolate and mint chip) so I knew I was just about to elevate this to the best (and first?) fully vegan dessert I probably have ever had.
Your guide to tackling a week on Whole30!
I am SO incredibly excited to share something with you all that I have been working on for over the past few weeks. As you all probably know by now, I just recently completed Whole30. In my pieces on both my blog and Mindbodygreen, I make it very clear that my number one tip on how to survive Whole30 is meal prepping. Many people respond to this statement saying they don’t know how to meal prep because they don’t know what to make, they don’t have the recipes, or they are overwhelmed in a grocery store trying to make sure they buy the correct amount of food. Well, friends, I am here to help. Behold, my five day Whole30 Meal Plan. This pamphlet contains a meal plan schedule for Monday-Friday with individual recipes for each meal and, most importantly, an organized master grocery list.
Why and how I wake up before 5AM
My days begin at 4:40 AM. I know, you think I am crazy. And don’t start figuring out the difference between the time when you and I get out of bed in the mornings because, let me reassure you, we probably do not go to bed at the same time; I am a proudly declared grandma. Plus, no two people are the same. Let it be said that I sincerely love the mornings. I love watching the sunrise. I love having time to decompress before rushing out the door. Most importantly, I love having the time to myself before the rest of the city wakes up. So, why does my alarm go off at such an ungodly hour? Because my day starts long before I get to my desk. During my first year at my full-time job I came to notice two things: I was incredibly tired and un-energetic in the mornings, and I was continuously missing workouts when my after-work plans suddenly changed. Between work happy hours, client dinners, meeting up with friends, and just having downright no interest in going to the gym after a 10+ hour work day, I found myself not exercising as much as I would have liked to. Personally, I am someone who views working out as a form of therapy. Playing sports all my life, my body craves the movement and the act of sweating. To be quite frank, without it I turn into a bit of a crazy lady. So, here I found myself, a year of full-time work under my belt, a slew of missed and neglected workouts, the beginnings of some pent-up stress and anxiety, and a new (and very unwelcome) digestive issue. Continue reading “My Morning Routine”
Healthy turkey chili with a spicy kick
Personally, I’m a beef chili person, but when I had so many people ask me whether they could replace the beef with ground turkey in my meat chili recipe (which, yes, you can), I decided it was time to create a new chili recipe for this poultry lovers. In my mind, the a chili with beef deserves to be hearty and simple; hence the minimal ingredients and the doubled beans included in the recipe. However, I decided to amp up the flavor and ingredients for the turkey chili and decided to go a Mexican route, throwing in some canned corn and green chili peppers. Although the recipes may be differ, I promise you, it is still just as easy of a meal to make.
Continue Reading Continue reading “Mexican Turkey Chili”