Syracuse Inspired.

So last weekend was the newly annual Syracuse University rage-fest with my fellow fave ‘Cuse alum. The weekend consisted of too much beer, fried pickles, laughing until I thought I was going to pop a rib, living at Chuck’s/Harry’s/Lucy’s, shot with John Wallace and Harlem shaking through campus. We might have lost to Georgetown, but that wasn’t going to slow our roll.

Let's Go Orange.

When I returned home on Sunday night, fresh I was not feeling. I looked like I had aged 10 years, was in desperate need of a shower and was left with that sad, sad realization that I am not 22 anymore and am no longer in college. I was also in the hungover spiral of eating. I wanted pizza, and I wanted to switch it up a bit. So here my friends, is the Syracuse inspired (GO ORANGEMEN…. no, not orange), sweet potato crust pizza.

The picture may not be pretty, but this was heaven.

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SYRACUSE INSPIRED SWEET POTATO CRUST PIZZA

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST:

2 cooked medium sweet potatoes

3/4 cup almond flour

3/4 cup of whole wheat flour (for the flour mix, any type will do)

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

1 cup parm cheese, or any cheese of choice

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne – more or less depending what you can handle… wuss

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp paprika

s & p to taste

TOPPINGS **this is what I used, get wild and use whatever you like:

2 feta turkey sausage

broccoli

onion

black olives

mushrooms

blue cheese crumble

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 375. Spray your pizza pan down with non-stick spray.

2) Combine all crust ingredients in a large bowl. To save time cooking the sweet potato, throw them in the microwave for 5 minutes. 5 mins in the microwave vs. hour in the oven… now that’s time management.

3) Using a spatula (or your hands, I could not find the spatula), spread the dough onto your pan. You want it to be approximately .5 inch thick.

4) Assemble your toppings.

5) Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how done you want the pizza, let cool. Eat. Be happy.

Until next year, ‘Cuse.

Nat in the Kitchen is back, Thank You Kale.

It’s back! I was really ambitious about this whole blogging thing when I started in September. But then November and December happened and the only post I put up was written by someone else (thanks Gab). If that isn’t slacking, I don’t know what is. Truthfully, lots of eating happened in those two months, but little of it was anything I cooked. But now I am back on the wagon, and will try to kill it in the kitchen in 2013.

I hope all of you were on a holiday food and booze bender like I was, because let’s be honest, that’s true fun right there. Like usual though, January was a slap in the face, and a month long salt and sugar-fest did not leave me feeling fresh. So this weekend, in attempt to reverse the damage, I drank lots of water (and some wine…), ate produce, yoga-ed it out, took my vitamins and…. made some epic kale chips. Make them.

FIERY ALMOND BUTTAH KALE CHIPS

Ingredients:

IMG_0001

1 bunch or bag of kale

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spray a cooking sheet with non-stick spray.

2) Cut your kale into chip-size pieces, or a bit larger as they shrink when drying out. Remove the rib of the kale (I left mine on, which was a major fail – they take way longer to cook than the kale leafs).

3) Whisk all ingredients for the sauce together, minus the salt.

4) Put your kale in a large bowl and pour your sauce over it. Get messy and massage the sauce evenly into the kale.

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5) Spread the kale on your cooking sheet and pop in the oven and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the kale is crispy. Eat your kale.

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BUTTERNUT GUEST POST: Gab Frank (My Main Squeeze)

Soooo I’ve been seriously slacking on the posts.   Blame it on the working & the partying (truth). I apologize. Well… my number one girlfriend, Gabrielle Frank, is helping a sister to get the blog rolling again. If you do not know Gab, she is one of my best friends. She has really incredible dimples. She was my first friend in college, where we had a lot of fun, did not do anything good for our health (lots of vodka & late night KFC runs – see picture below), and fell in love.

Then and now… in the infamous purse bathroom.

college

purse bathroom

*******

Hello readers of Nat in the Kitchen!

I feel so honored to be writing this FIRST EVER guest post for Natalie’s blog! If you know Nat, you probably know me, Gabrielle… But for those of you that don’t, we met freshman year at Syracuse University. Our dorm rooms were right next to each other (yeah Flint 1A!) and we’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since.  We share a similar mentality of eat healthy when you can, but if you splurge on the cals, you’ll pay for it on the treadmill! Nat inspires me daily with her commitment to Jillian Michaels, healthy eating, and kicking her own butt at the gym.  I try to keep up with her!

 So last night, we decided to celebrate Thursday by drinking wine, cooking, and watching Lindsay Lohan’s new Lifetime movie. My contribution? PIZZA! I modified this recipe from a similar pizza I had at Nicoletta, located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street – highly recommend it! Their version included sautéed onions, which I will have to try next time I make this yummy dinner. Enjoy! Here we go…

 close up

Ingredients:

 Sage

Garlic

Butter

Extra virgin olive oil

1 butternut squash

Crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1 lb. Shredded mozzarella cheese

Whole-wheat pizza dough (because Jillian is always watching!)

  1. Cut up butternut squash into small pieces. (This is easier if you can buy the butternut squash already cut up – saves time!)
  2. Cut up 3-5 pieces of sage leaves.
  3. Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add garlic.
  4. Once garlic has sautéed a bit, add butternut squash and sage.

sous chef

5. Continue to sauté the squash until it is al dente to tender. While the squash is sautéing, roll out pizza dough onto an oven-safe pan.

6. Now it’s time for the cheese – gorgonzola can be strong, so first cover the pizza dough w/ mozzarella cheese (lite if you’re counting cals!). Then add the crumbled gorgonzola so it is not overwhelming. You can discern how much to use!

7. Once the butternut squash is ready, add it to the top of the pizza.

8. Cook in the oven at 450 for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it!

9. Cut up and serve!

pizza

I hope the picture makes this pizza look as tasty as it was!

Thanks for reading!

Natalie’s Girlfriend Gab

SoPo Hurricane Cherry Ballz

Well, it has been a VERY weird week. The wrath of Sandy left me affected in SoPo (south of power), so I lived a refugee lifestyle. I’m telling you, it was creepy. I don’t know what was worse, the cold showers, unexplained noises in my building, the constant sirens. Lots of alcohol was consumed to get us through, and now I am working to resume my pre-Sandy healthy(ish) lifestyle.

The hardest part was throwing away everything in the fridge. Especially Adam’s venison that was frozen from his last hunting trip (thanks Bob). Somehow though, I managed to throw together the Cherry Chocolate Coconut balls below which blew my mind.

CHERRY CHOCOLATE COCONUT BALLZ

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup unsweetened cherries

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut

3 tbsp dark chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp agave

Directions:

1) In your food processor, process the oats and almonds together until they become a fine flour.

2) Add all other ingredients other than the chocolate chips and pulse until they mix together.

3) Stir in your chocolate chips.

4) Form your ballz, coat in additional coconut, refrigerate, enjoy your ballz.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Approved Protein Packed Carrot Cake Pancakes

It’s cold out. All I want to do is eat BAD things. I’ve also had carrot cake on the mind. If I had the real thing in the apartment, I would be eating it by the slice right now. Luckily, the closest carrots cake is 3 blocks away, and I’m not leaving the rabbit hole. So I improvised, and created a protein packed carrot cake pancake. I’m talking almost 30 grams of protein people, that’s a lot of protein. I bet Arnold would eat these.

SIDE NOTE: I have been getting fancy with the pancakes lately, minus the flour since gluten is not my best friend. You can sub the flour for sweet potato, banana, protein powder or almond meal, as long as you use a decent amount of egg to bind it all! So enjoy.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER APPROVED PROTEIN PACKED CARROT CAKE PANCAKES

 (source)

Ingredients

1/2 cup of carrots, shredded

4 egg whites

1 tbsp milk (I used almond)

1 tbsp ground flax seed

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (*you can sub this for flour – about 1/4 a cup – but it will not be Arnold approved)

1/2 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking powder, to make those babies rise

Toppings: Walnuts, shredded coconut, maple syrup!

Directions:

1) Put all ingredients in a food processor (minus the carrots and toppings) – process together! If you don’t have a food processor, you can manually mix them together.

2) Stir in your carrot. In my book the more the better.

3) Heat your non-stick pan with non-stick spray under medium heat. Pour your batter in your pan for one large pancake.

4) Cook for 3-4 minutes before flipping and cooking the same on the other side.

5) Plate your cake! Top with syrup, coconut and walnuts. Or whatever else you want to dabble in.

6) Eat, lift heavy weights, star in an action movie, avoid having an illegitimate child with your housekeeper.

On a Date Kick

Lately I have been getting wild in the kitchen with dates and all the possible recipe combos they have to offer. I also have been seeing that it is possible to make your own nut butter as long as you have a processor. Nut butter + dates = a sweet and satisfying snack. Below I have incorporated my favorite nut, the pistachio, with the date. The sweet and salty combo is perfection!

PISTACHIO STUFFED DATES – serves 4

Ingredients:

8 large dates

1/2 cup of pistachios

Touch of sea salt

Unsweetened coconut

Directions:

1) Put your pistachios in your food processor. Add a pinch of sea salt.

2) Process your pistachios until smooth. This takes between 3-4 minutes. You may have to stop the processing half way through to scrape clumps downward that get stuck on the wall of your processor.

3) Spoon in a glob of pistachio butter into each of your dates.

4) Dip the butter portion of the date in coconut flakes. The flavor of the coconut adds a delicious tropical twist!

shiiTAKE me to the Quinoa and the Chicken

Quinoa and chicken. My two go-to ingredients for quick and delicious meals. I’m not sure if any of the ingredients in this tasty quinoa shiitake mix-up qualify as fall staples, but this definitily got me in the autumn mood.

AUTUMN QUINOA WITH SHIITAKE & CHICKEN

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 tsp fresh tyme (dried can be used too if you cannot find fresh)

4 oz (about one package), of shiitake quinoa AKA the best shroom of all time

2 cloves of garlic (I used 6 because I’m mental, if you go the uber garlic route don’t plan on going to work or getting close to loved ones anytime soon)

1/2 cup of walnut pieces

Handful of fresh parsley

8 oz. chicken

Salt and pepper – to taste

Directions:

1) Cook your chicken – I used one large breast, brushed it with olive oil, chopped into cubes and cooked on the stove until done. Set the chicken to the side.

2) Combine your quinoa with your vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, throw the lid on for about 15 minutes and then boom – you have your cooked quinoa.

3) Heat a dollop of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and thyme, cooking for another 5 minutes. Finally add the mushrooms and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes.

3) Combine your quinoa, chicken,  veggies, nuts and spices, salt and pepper to taste. I usually don’t salt too much when I use broth of any kind to cook the quinoa, the flavor transfers over.

4) Serve on a bed of spinach and devour.

Edamole – No Avocado Necessary

Sometimes avocado skeeves me out. The sliminess paired with the green color doesn’t do it for me. The only time I make an exception is guacamole, ONLY if it lacks avocado chunks.  I have recently seen various recipes for “edamole”, a twist on guac where the main star is edamame, and I thought I would whip up my own version. There is always edamame living in my freezer, and this puts it to good use. Plus, the edamame really boosts the protein content in comparison to regular guac. We like protein. Win.

Pair the edamole with pita chips, veggies or slather onto a turkey sandwich. The possibilites are endless.

EDAMOLE – Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 cups cooked edamame

1/2 red onion, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Handful of cilantro, minced

1/2 cup of baby tomatos, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp water

1/2 tbsp hot sauce of choice (I used Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce)

Ground sea salt, to taste

Shake of cayenne – if you can handle it

Directions

1) Take your edamame out of the freezer and cook as directed. Once cooked, put the edamame in a strainer and cool under cold water.

2) Put the edamame in your food processor with all ingredients MINUS the tomatoes. Process until the edamole is at the desired consistency. You could make it really smooth, or as I liked it a bit chunkier.

3) Put your edamole mixture in a bowl, fold in your tomatoes distributing them equally throughout the mix.

4) Refridgerate the edamole for an hour, serve cold.

In other news, one of my best friends, JACKIE, gets MARRIED today! Her husband to be is a total fox. I’m so excited to celebrate and for the wild wedding weekend ahead!

Peachy Ginger Chicken Bake

This dinner recipe was a bit outside of the box for me… because I think cooking chicken in the oven is scary. Cooking chicken in general induces anxiety, since I think I somehow will leave traces of salmonella somewhere. This fear may be stemmed from that year I lived with my grandparents… watching Grandpa Larry bake a chicken caused heart palpitations. Without going into too much detail (think un-washed chicken hands in the ice box), I can say that the reason I never got sick was thanks to Grandma Anne, who literally would bleach the kitchen out after Chef Larry would cook (always something magical, I might add).

ANYWAY, this recipe ended up being a keeper…. I will call it the peachy ginger chicken bake.

PEACHY GINGER BAKE – serves 4

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

1 lb chicken breasts

salt & pepper

1 tbsp minced ginger (I recommend buying pre-minced ginger… I think it’s worth paying up for – mincing ginger myself always leads to F-bombs being thrown around)

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp olive oil

For the rest:

1 bag (1lb) frozen peaches, unthawed

1 red onion, halved and sliced

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp red-pepper flakes

Directions:

1) Salt and pepper your chicken and put in a bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients for the marinade and pour over your chicken.

2) Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes (or up to 8 hours).

3) Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

4) Pour your pound of peaches and onion into a large bowl. Add your soy sauce, olive oil, ginger and red pepper flakes. Toss until all is coated.

5) Place your chicken in a casserole dish with the marinade. Add your peach and onion mix to the casserole dish. Make sure peaches and onion surround the chicken evenly.

6) Put the chicken in the over, and bake for 45 minutes. Depending on how hot your oven gets, I would check around minute 35 to see how things are cooking. My oven decided not to cooperate, so I think cooking time may be a bit less.

7) Once chicken in done, serve over a bed of spinach and brown rice.

Heaven in a Date Ball

Before I head to the gym in the morning, I need to pop something quick in my mouth so I don’t pass out on the treadmill. If I have low blood sugar, you can bet that I will not be doing anything active. The recipe below is for your perfect pre-workout snack. A quick carb pick me up that give me something to look forward to as I try to convince myself to stay in bed, instead of getting my sweat on.

These balls are actually perfect anytime. They are so good that I would consider eating a bowl of them and calling it a meal. And they are fun to make.

HEAVENLY DATE BALLS – Yields 25 balls

Ingredients:

15 pitted dates

1/2 bar of Lindt hint of sea salt dark chocolate bar

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds

1 cup of rolled oats

zest of one orange

1/4 cup of water

salt (just a touch)

tsp of vanilla extract

Unsweetened coconut for rolling

Directions:

1) Break up your chocolate and add to your food processor. Process until the chocolate is in chunks.

2) Add oats, pumpkin seeds, orange zest, your TOUCH of salt, vanilla extract and dates to the food processor. Process until all ingredents mix together (this will look chunky).

3) Slowly add 1/4 cup of water, about a tablespoon at a time, and continue to process your mixture.

4) Once all water has been added, the mixture should now be very sticky.

5) Start taking spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls by hand. After balls are formed, roll in coconut. This will keep the balls from sticking to each other.

7) Store in the fridge, grab whenever you want a datey delicious snack!

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