Parsley and Apple Ravioli

Let’s talk about things we would do if there were 4 extra hours in the day. For necessary things.

apple ravioli 1

I would… have time to fold the laundry, clean the kitchen (and oil spots off the floor from when I sautéed the tofu..), read Harry Potter, menu plan, meal prep, paint the jar that’s been sitting in my living room for 7 months, play the piano…

apple ravioli 2

…respond to letters from friends, do more cardio, bake more, call up old friends, catch up/start that show Starcrossed (UM! Liam from 90210?! Yes.), sleep.. 

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What would you do? I think every single day, ‘I could totally use another couple hours today.’ 

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In your extra hours, would you make this ravioli? Because you should. It’s super easy (can we say, almost one-pot meal?), delicious, and refreshing. Apples + pasta = genius.

Parsley and Apple Ravioli

2 c cheese ravioli
1 small apple, sliced
1/4 c chopped parsley
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c Italian blend shredded cheese

1. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Combine all ingredients.

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Almond Butter Cranberry Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potato

Today is the first day of my second semester of graduate school.

almond butter sweet potato 1

Thinking it HAD to be better than my last semester, with Thursday night class from 6-9 and a test every Monday, I was optimistic. However, after reading the syllabus for just one class, I see that Sunday Night Cram Sessions will not be coming to an end. And Tuesday Night Cram Sessions will be officially starting.

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Awesome. Not. But, despite the start-of-school blues, I have something tasty to share with you. This is kind of like the kitchen sink version of sweet potatoes. Except the ingredients thrown together were well planned. We all know cranberries and pecans pair well. And I wanted this to be sweet, so I added cinnamon and brown sugar. Then I decided to add a creaminess, hence the almond butter. And this is Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. Additional sweet goodness.

Almond Butter Cranberry Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potato

1 small sweet potato (adjust portions if sweet potato is larger)
1/4 c cooked quinoa
2 tbsp pecans
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch brown sugar
1 tbsp almond butter

1. Cook sweet potato in microwave, wrapped in a paper towel with the sides poked with a fork, for a few minutes on each side, until softened.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds to allow almond butter to melt.
3. Cut sweet potato open and stuff with quinoa mixture.
4. Serve warm.

Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Cranberries

What is your dream?

dark chocolate healthy bark 1

I have lots. I had to do an assignment that asked what our dream was, who we would work with, what our hours would look like, etc. I answered several: food photographer, cookbook writer, nutrition and diet book writer, cooking show host… I mean, the list goes on.

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Let’s just pretend for a minute that I’m a food photographer. Did I pass? Could this be in a book? If I had more props (and a better camera and maybe a photography class?) I’m sure it could be better.

Okay, NOW let’s pretend I’m going to write a book.

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How cool would that be? The Skinny Muffin Diet? The Eat the Rainbow Diet?  Would you buy my book? Come to my signing? Watch me when I was on the Today Show and the Ellen Show?

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I knew you would. Thanks. As a reward for being a diligent follower, I made some bark for you.

Small Batch Dark Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Cranberries

1/2 12oz bag dark chocolate
1/4 c pistachios
1/4 c dried cranberries.

1. Melt chocolate on the stove by stirring over medium heat until chocolate melts.
2. Pour chocolate onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Spread thin using a spatula. Sprinkle nuts and cranberries on chocolate, press down slightly to secure the toppings in the chocolate, then refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
3. After the chocolate has set, break or cut apart into pieces.

Fall Bean Salad

So the other night I was bored.

fall bean salad 1

For the past 4 months, I have done nothing but study study study and go on an occasional date with the boyfriend. Oh, and watch lots of Vampire Diaries. But now, with my first semester of grad school 99.999% over, I have nothing to do.

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I was home alone, I had already cleaned the kitchen, played the piano, done laundry, and watched the Taylor Swift Fearless series on Netflix. Uh.. now what?

So I texted my friend who has a big girl job, aka doesn’t have homework to do on the weekends – sadly, she lives an hour away or we would have been hanging out – and she has this FABULOUS list of things to do when you’re bored and she sent it to me. And I’m sold.

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What do you do when you’re bored? I, for one, am going to memorize a song on the piano (YES, MEMORIZE!), bake too many Christmas goodies, make homemade Christmas cards, work on this book I’ve been writing for 5 years, continue with the Harry Potter series, and up my cardio. Christmas break, you’re on!

Fall Bean Salad
Adapted from Internet Cooking Princess

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 c spinach
3/4 c pecans
3/4 c dried cranberries
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice

Combine.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A couple weeks ago, I worked with Cindy from Market Basket Nutrition at a health fair in Greensboro.

acorn squash 1

She had an assortment of nutritional things on the table, including several fall squash. She played the game “Name That Squash.” And we asked people if they knew what each of the squash was. Well, there was the typical butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and pumpkin squash but there was also delicata squash and gold nugget squash. New to me.

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She let me take the acorn squash home, and I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever cooked one, but MAN did it turn out well. There is sweetness from the cranberries and brown sugar, heartiness from the rice, crunch from the nuts, and bite from the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard.

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Aka. You’ll want to serve this at your Thanksgiving meal. Move over, turkey. Vegetables are taking Thanksgiving by storm.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash
1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
1/2 c brown rice
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/4 c roughly chopped pecans
1/4 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1. Cook rice according to directions.
2. Stab holes with a knife or fork into the acorn squash. Microwave for 4 minutes, then flip and microwave for another 4 minutes.
3. Cut the squash in half and spoon out the seeds. Sprinkle brown sugar over squash flesh.
4. Combine the rice, pecans, and cranberries in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over rice mixture, combine, then spoon mixture into acorn halves.