Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots…

It was a crazy week but I really want to start posting more, so maybe I will set a few hours aside and queue up some recipes/posts and have them up throughout the next few weeks 🙂

First up from my Thanksgiving post are my carrot ribbons two ways!  They are two super simple recipes and don’t require a lot of ingredients, prep, or cook time.  They are not overpowering so they make a perfect side to most proteins and even make a great topping for pasta/rice and other veggies.

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Sesame Ginger Carrot Ribbons

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

2 large carrots washed and peeled with a veggie peeler (after they are washed and peeled, continue peeling carrots so they look like long ribbons)

1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds (if you only have plain sesame seeds that’s totally fine too)

1/3 cup water

1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of powdered ginger

  • In a covered medium sized sauce pan bring 1/3 cup of water to a light boil
  • Add powered ginger and make sure it’s dissolved
  • Add carrot ribbons to pan, combine them with the gingery liquid you just made, cover with lid again
  • Uncover after 2-3 minutes and continue to toss and mix so they wilt evenly
  • Continue to cook uncovered and keep mixing so they wilt **DO NOT COOK THOROUGHLY**
  • When you notice most of the water is gone (after about 2-3 more minutes)
  • Add sesame oil and black sesame seeds
  • Toss one last time and turn off the heat

Toasted Walnut Spiced Carrot Ribbons

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

2 large carrots washed and peeled with a veggie peeler (after they are washed and peeled, continue peeling carrots so they look like long ribbons)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast these by heating a small pan, adding a spray of coconut oil/or your choice of oil spray, once that’s hot add your walnuts and toss in the pan for 2-4 minutes until they are darker/more golden in color – remove from pan and set aside)

3 tablespoons of brown sugar (light or dark – doesn’t matter)

1/3 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup of dried cranberries (I like to soak these in red wine and vanilla extract a few days ahead – it plumps them up really nicely, but this is optional)

  • In a covered medium sized sauce pan bring 1/3 cup of water to a light boil
  • Add brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg and make sure they are dissolved
  • Add carrot ribbons to pan, combine them with the spiced brown sugar liquid you just made, cover with lid again
  • Uncover after 2-3 minutes and continue to toss and mix so they wilt evenly
  • Continue to cook uncovered and keep mixing so they wilt **DO NOT COOK THOROUGHLY**
  • When you notice most of the water is gone (after about 2-3 more minutes)
  • Add toasted walnuts and cranberries
  • Toss one last time and turn off the heat

Optional: After done cooking you can top it with crumbled goat cheese like I did in the picture 🙂

Carrot ribbons are super easy to make — these are just two of the combinations I’ve tried.  The main thing is to wilt the carrots and not cook thoroughly so they have a bite to them — after that it’s all about what you have on hand. Other examples of how to make them are: sriracha and super finely diced ginger or adding a little coconut oil and almonds.

Is it strange that while I remember the movie Disturbia I do NOT remember Shia LaBeouf’s character being named Kale? Kale. Yup.

I love kale and I feel that sometimes people get annoyed with the love people have for kale, but you know what? My love for kale can’t be bothered. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Why do I love kale so much? It’s a freaking super food – it’s low in calories, insanely high in vitamin A (206% in just one cup), tons of vitamin C and it’s a fantastic source of minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Plus, it’s super versatile – you can add it to smoothies/juices, mince it thinly and add it to pastas, soups, salads, steam it, saute it, blend it into sauces or add it to eggs in the morning (which is so amazingly delicious – I’ll post more on this later).

Anywhoo, here is a quick pasta recipe using kale – I love recipes where I can swap things out – so feel free to make it your own. For example, use shrimp instead of chicken if that’s what you have on hand or what you are craving. Or you can put more of an Italian twist and swap out the smoked paprika for fennel seeds, parsley, and basil. Or you can swap out the rigatoni for orzo or brown rice – the carb choice is up to you, my friend. And if you choose to leave out carbs it’ll still be tasty, I promise. No rules here, just good food 🙂

IImageServes: 4-5 people
Prep: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Marinade (at least 1 hour before cooking, the more time – the better):
2-4 raw skinless and boneless chicken breasts (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons dried roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Pasta:
1/2 box of Barilla Rigatoni Pasta (make sure it’s a little under cooked aka al dente)
1/2 a medium onion diced
3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 cups/ approx. 15 small button mushrooms (thick slices)
2 cups finely minced raw kale
1 cup/1 medium zucchini (thinly sliced)

Annnnnnd here we go!
1. Cook pasta and make sure it’s slightly under cooked because it will be put in a hot pan later on.
2. Heat a medium-to-large sauce pan on medium heat.
3. Once the pan is hot, add the marinated chicken and cook thoroughly.
4. After the chicken is cooked add the onion and garlic – 2 minutes.
5. Add the mushrooms and a splash (1/4 cup) water and cover with lid. – 2 minutes.
6. Add zucchini – mix everything really well in the pan. Cover. 2 minutes. Make sure to not overcook it.
7. Uncover. Add pasta and combine everything making sure the pasta is mixed in really well. 2 minutes.
8. Toss in finely sliced kale. The steam and heat from everything will wilt the kale. 1-2 minutes.
9. Shut off heat. All done!

Happy Kale Adventures!

“You can use those oats to make oatmeal, bread, whatever you want. I don’t care. They’re your oats.” — Dwight Schrute

For years I was a savory breakfast person – I loved making a massive meal out of breakfast. For example – omelet with sautéed kale, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese in the middle of two slices of whole grain toast and homemade salsa verde and fresh coffee with French vanilla creamer. Or how about scrambled eggs and spinach tacos with homemade chipotle salsa and chocolate iced coffee? Delicious, right? Healthy? Not really – I was in school and working which meant I was on my ass all day and not burning any of that off.

So why the change? Long story, long – I had a health scare this past year and I finally decided to take my health back and make some changes. My mother, who has been having oatmeal for breakfast for years, inspired this recipe.

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Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup Quaker quick oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (plus 1/4 cup more the next morning)

You can use any milk – if I’m feeling extra healthy I use unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk, but the choice is really yours.

Refrigerate overnight. I like to prep them in mason jars (pint/16 oz jars) – I usually prep enough jars for the week that way I don’t slip back into my not-so-health ways.

In the morning, I usually add a sliced banana and 1/4 cup (to 1/2 cup) extra milk since most the milk is absorbed by the oats and chia seeds overnight – it can be warmed up but I like cold oatmeal.

Here are some other options ingredients you can add during prep:

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds/walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cranberries or raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter (good source of protein and it has a nice texture)
  • 1 tablespoon of your dried fruit of choice (I limit it to 1 tablespoon because dried fruit tends to be high in sugar and a little goes a long way)
  • **Update** 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice = pumpkin pie overnight oats!! Yum City!

And you can change up the fruit you add in the morning (I don’t recommend adding fruit in before the morning since it will probably get mushy or brown).

Here are some fruit ideas (no matter the fruit it’s usually a 1/4-1/2 cup serving for each and I do one kind of fruit at a time):

  • Diced apple (honeycrisp and granny smith are some of my favorite to mix in because they’re so crispy in texture)
  • Diced peaches (this tastes even more delicious when you add a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger)
  • Blueberries (amazing and super healthy when you mix this with a tablespoon of walnuts)
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis (this one I don’t measure – a small one is usually perfect)
  • Pineapple (I love pairing it with a tablespoon of slivered almonds and a teaspoon of toasted coconut)
  • Diced mango
  • Or whatever you favorite fruit is 🙂

I changed up my breakfast routine this year but I haven’t compromised having a hearty and delicious breakfast – make it your own, combine your favorite things – I’ve tweaked this recipe for a while and it’s really flexible, so I’m sure you’ll make it your own and really be surprised at how exciting prepping different combinations will be.