Happy New Year…and Go Cats!

I’m a few days late, but I hope your 2013 is off to a great start! I got to ring in the new year with my favorite guy celebrating the wedding of friends.

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This is our third holiday season together, but the first we have got to spend together. We are usually celebrating in different time zones!

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Tonight we (mostly me) will be cheering on the Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl. Hopefully it’s a good night for duck hunting.

Check out this Modern Fiesta video for a good laugh. Go Cats!

 

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Very Berry Overnight Oats

I guess I’m a little late to the “overnight oats” party. Better late than never, I suppose.

I have been reading about the overnight oats craze for quite awhile, however, and this weekend seemed as good as time as any to finally try a recipe out myself.

My weekday breakfast does not vary much from my usual oatmeal and hot tea. After discovering Better Oats during my internship, I have been hooked on these for my morning meal (and it’s seriously genius that the oatmeal packet doubles as the measuring cup). Anyway, after attempting my own overnight oats, I’m convinced these will begin to make an appearance in my breakfast lineup. They are easy to grab in the morning and the preparation is relatively minimal. The hardest part is deciding on the flavors to experiment with!

Very Berry Overnight Oats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • pinch of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (approximately)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients (I used a Mason jar), stir, cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  • Enjoy hot or cold the next morning.

I used steel cut oats, but you can easily use rolled oats. Both are whole grains (remember to make half of your grains whole!) and a good source of fiber. The milk and Greek yogurt provide a protein punch and the berries round out the meal for a balanced breakfast. The only thing missing are the vegetables!

I think my next attempt will be apple cinnamon.

Have you tried overnight oats? What is your go-to recipe?

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Creamy Baked Risotto

Remember my bad habit of obsessively collecting recipes from every magazine I can get my hands on? I have created a pretty good organization system for these recipes, but I’m guilty of still having (numerous) piles of magazine tear outs on my coffee table.

One magazine that has really grown on me in recent years is Cook’s Country. I love the tips and thoughtfulness that goes into creating each recipe. Admittedly, while I have quite the collection from this magazine alone, I have actually made few of them. I definitely need to try more of them out, because this recipe is AMAZING. I have a risotto recipe from when I visited Italy that I love, but I think this recipe gives that one a run for its money. So rich and creamy and absolutely delicious.

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Creamy Baked Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 cup Aborio rice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup white white
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring broth and water to a simmer (I seasoned with garlic and sea salt). Cover and keep warm.
  3. While broth is warming, melt butter in a Dutch oven or oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add onion and leek; season with salt and cook until lightly browned.
  4. Stir in rice and cook until edges begin to turn translucent. Stir in garlic.
  5. Add wine and cook, stirring until completely absorbed (about 1 minute).
  6. Pour broth over rice. Cover Dutch oven/pan with aluminium foil pressed down on top of the broth and cover with a lid.
  7. Bake until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  8. Stir in cheese and green onions and season to taste.
  9. Enjoy with the remaining wine.

Modified from Cook’s Country

Perfect for a relaxing evening at home.

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Cinnamon Ice Cream

Over the weekend, our nutrition graduate student group hosted a “Fall Foods” party. We had quite the spread – vegetarian chili, roasted vegetables, various dips, homemade pretzels, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon ice cream (among other things).

I volunteered to make the ice cream since I have one of these fancy machines sitting around my apartment.

This ice cream maker was one of those impulse buys…you know what I mean, right? I’ve had it for several years but have probably only used it a handful of times (mostly because I’m impulsive when I cook/bake/experiment and forget to freeze the base ahead of time and end up with a soupy mess).

I couldn’t have been happier with how the cinnamon ice cream turned out. I was a little nervous about how much cinnamon to add, but it seemed to be a hit. One guy even told me the ice cream tasted like a snickerdoodle. I’ll take that as a compliment.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt

Directions

  1. Freeze the ice cream base for at least 24 hours. It needs to be COLD! (for this machine; if you have a different one, follow those directions)
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and stir well.
  4. Turn on machine and pour in mixture (again, follow YOUR machine’s directions/set up) and “churn” for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

The cinnamon ice cream paired well with the carrot cupcakes we also served, but I think it would go well with other desserts as well. Apple crisp, anyone?

What’s your favorite fall flavor of ice cream? Does it ever get too cold to eat ice cream?

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Cheesy Farro and Kale Bake

I LOVE macaroni  and cheese. So much in fact, that last year, my roommate and I essentially ate mac and cheese {almost} every Thursday night for a good duration of the school year. We generally relied on the “blue box”, which is not the healthiest choice by any means, but we added tuna for some omega-3s and to bulk up the nutrition and tiny bit.

Eventually, I got tired of the weekly “blue box” routine and swore off mac and cheese for a while, even though there is one lonely box left in my pantry that remains from the ginormous Sam’s Purchase.

Lately, I’ve been more into “gourmet” mac and cheese recipes, especially those that can/have been modified to be a healthier option. For example, have you ever tried mixing puréed cauliflower with your mac and cheese? Super yummy and you can’t even tell it’s there (that’s a recipe for another time!)

Now onto today’s recipe, Cheesy Farro and Kale!

First, what the heck is farro? I was introduced to this whole grain during my grocery store rotation at GIANT during my dietetic internship. Farro is an ancient grain that can easily be substituted for pasta or rice in most any recipe and has a somewhat nutty flavor that is comparable to brown rice. Nutritionally, farro is chock full of fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. Want to learn more about farro (and other whole grains)? Check out  the Whole Grains Council.

Moving on to one of my favorite greens — kale! If you’ve been visiting the farmer’s market lately, you’ve probably seen kale. Along with other greens, kale is the best food source of vitamin K. Additionally greens are packed with calcium and magnesium (strong bones anyone?), vitamin A, folate, and fiber.

Cheesy Farro and Kale Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup farro, cooked (you probably could use a little more, this was all I had left!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup skim milk, hot (but not boiling!)
  • ~ 1 cup Parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and Gruyère cheese, shredded (use more or less of each for your own combination; also, feel free to sub other yummy cheeses)
  • Breadcrumbs for a crispy topping (use at your own discretion)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking dish.
  2. Cook the farro according to package directions.
  3. Sauté the garlic in a pan. Add kale and sauté. Remove from heat.
  4. In a clean saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add flour and stir to form a smooth paste. Add milk and stir constantly until thickened. Add shredded cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Combine farro, kale, and cheese sauce in a bowl. Transfer to baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake until the top is browned

Recipe adapted from Carlene’s Figments

Enjoy this cheesy, whole-grain comfort food dish for a healthier mac and cheese fix.

What is your favorite comfort food? Have you ever tried farro?

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What’s Your Passion?

My best friend wants to be a Hotdogger. You know, the person who drives the Wienermobile. Are you laughing yet?

Why a Hotdogger? Because her passion is people and making people smile. Come on, she even has the perfect Hotdogger name – Sarahkraut. Pretty creative, right?

Sarahkraut (or SP, as I like to refer to her) and I spent a good deal of our final years at K-State trying to figure out our passions. Obviously, we are passionate about purple and K-State (#emaw), but after that we were stumped.

As part of Sarahkraut’s  quest to be a Hotdogger she started a blog and created a Facebook page to gain support. I LOVE her first blog post and it was a great reminder that a true passion is something you would do for free. Read more from Sarahkraut below and be sure to “like” her Facebook page!

When I tell people my dream job is to drive the Wienermobile, I get many questions…after I get a laughs, of course. Heck, I’ve been in job interviews with Wells Fargo, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Northwestern Mutual, and all their interviewers asked what my dream job is, and, after I told them, they laughed at me. I know I should say my dream job is the job I’m interviewing for, but I don’t want to lie. I have never dreamt of being a debt collector, rental car sales associate, or a life insurance sales representative.

I was told late in my college career I need to get a passion in life and then do that for the rest of my life. I told my best friend that two professors and my dad told me I needed to find a passion in life and asked for some help. Luckily for me, she was trying to discover her passion as well, so we were able to go passion hunting together.

Part of my problem was that I had no idea what actually makes something I like or enjoy doing a “passion.” I like baking, but I have no desire to do that for a living. I enjoy learning about different cultures, but I would not call it a passion; it is more of an interest. What makes what you like a passion?

My question was finally answered, after a three-month hunt, by a guest speaker in my friend’s class. After a class, my friend and I met in the Kansas State Student Union and she told me that her guest speaker said what makes a passion a passion is that you are willing to do it for nothing. You don’t expect monetary compensation, public recognition, or gratitude. If it is a true passion, you will do it for FREE! Who knew it is that simple? But is it really that simple?

I had no idea what to say; I just sat there silent. My friend asked me what my passion was, and I came up with nothing. I asked her what hers was, and she had nothing. (If you ever want to stump a college student, ask him/her what he/she is willing to do for nothing in return. Seriously, do it. Students will donate time, money, and blood but only if they get a ‘free’ shirt.)

After months of thinking, dozens of interviews, and my college graduation, I finally figured it out: My passion is people. How generic, right? I know! I spent a year of my life trying to find something else to be passionate about, but it just didn’t happen. I like being around people, talking to them about their lives, and making them smile.

My favorite thing to do in life is making people smile, and that is why I think the Hotdogger position is perfect for me!

I hope you will support me in my dream to become a Hotdogger by ‘liking’ my Facebook page, Facebook.com/SarahkrautHotdogger. If you are feeling a little bold, you should let Oscar Mayer know you support me, too!

Ketchup with you soon!

Sarahkraut

What’s YOUR passion?

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Hello, October

Wow. Did September fly by for anyone else?

I don’t know if it’s the hustle and bustle of the semester or all the fun things I’ve been doing (i.e. spontaneous weekend getaway, The Color Run), but September has flown by!

Now that it’s officially fall (isn’t this tree at the end of my street gorgeous?) and October is here, I’m in full pumpkin and other fall food mode. I spent last evening baking fun fall treats with a fellow grad student and wanted to share one of my favorite fall recipes with you (who am I kidding, these cookies are good all year, not just fall!).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies      

Ingredients

  • 1 stick margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350 and grease baking sheets.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar.
  3. Add vanilla, egg, and pumpkin (beat).
  4. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake approximately 14 minutes.

These are so deliciously moist and sure to help you get your pumpkin fix. Enjoy!

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