Cinnamon Peanut Banana Smoothie

Since finishing grad school, it has been a struggle to find the time to work out and stay healthy.

I’m often found, late at night, in my kitchen pulling piping hot homemade pizza out of the oven. Because, after a long day of work and stress –  homemade pizza drenched in fragrant tomatoes and cheese is the only thing that makes it all seem better.

And while it is DELICIOUS. I’m trying not to continue the trend of late night pizza and frying mac and cheese (yes, it is actually amazing) because eating pounds of cheese and carbs chased with some black cocoa brownies is really just not okay (my pants have informed me of this).

So…. after puttering around the kitchen this morning and mumbling to myself about eating black truffle potato chips and french onion dip for breakfast…. I whipped together this smoothie and put the chips back in the pantry.

It’s delicious, filling, and most of all easy to put together.

Cinnamon Peanut Banana Smoothie (Kaprise Kitchen’s substitute for chips for breakfast)

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1 slice of fresh ginger (I love ginger so I used… a huge slice, but feel free to scale accordingly)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  1. Put it all in a blender and whizzzzzzzzz together
  2. Drink.

 

** You could also toss a sprinkle of cocoa powder for some extra dessert like flavor, or some vanilla extract, maca powder, chia seed, hemp seed…. or anything that you like!

*** No pictures because we all know that blended brown and yellow things don’t make for pretty pictures. But…. in the world of smoothies, it just has to be really yummy!

 

The Sanctuary

When I was younger,  I would banish everyone in the family from the kitchen as I baked. It was my sanctuary, and I was ferocious about protecting it. In a weaker moment and a moment of poor judgment, I threw a still fairly hot baking sheet filled with cookies at the entrance to scare my younger sister out of the kitchen (and for those of you who are younger sisters – I commend your grit, determination, and for putting up with your older siblings… because the older sisters/brothers are a tough bunch). Needless to say, that spazz out got me a stern talking to from my parents, and a good load of embarrassment that I live with to this day. I mean really… what on earth was I thinking?

My parents, with their usual calm approach, told me that I should be the person I want to meet in my life. They told me that throwing things is not the right way to communicate, and because she is my sister – that I had a duty to protect her, just as she protects me. My parents are pretty damn cool, if I say so myself.

As I have gotten older, I realize much more of their wisdom… They always provided me a sanctuary, so to speak. They protected me, and still do, from the onslaught of anything that would hurt me… They are the protecting type. So, it should be no surprise that in my very suburban neighborhood with few pests and animals – our property manages to attract  all of them. My father was never one to shoo away the nesting birds, and he would leave the acorns for the frantic little squirrels, even if it made it difficult to mow the lawn. My mother would shoo us away from the little bunnies that popped up now and again in our yard, and help the birds stay away from the reflective windows so they wouldn’t get hurt. They respect every single living thing…. I remember my mother gently scooping a black ant onto a piece of paper and depositing him outside, softly admonishing the ant to “go home.” And when my father smushed a very toxic looking spider – he and my mother both said they were sorry, but he was too dangerous since there were kids in the house. (My younger sister was horrified that they would kill the spider, and burst into angry tears that they would kill anything – needless to say we are of the “scoop and release” variety of human. I’m pretty sure that green spider is the same guy I keep depositing outside).

For a while we had a problem with burrowing little chipmunks, and my mother just redirected their tunnels away from the house so they could live and we could enjoy the yard. We also have a resident skunk, that occasionally waddles past my office window and all you can see in the darkness is his bright white stripe.

Save the dandelions that my father abhors because of their itchy pollen, our lawn is dotted with crab grass (a sin in the suburbs here), clover (another sin), and all sorts of different kinds of greenery. My parents never took much stock in having one of those uniform green lawns, and my mother loved the wild little flowers that would grace us in the spring. I particularly love the quiet little violets that spring up under the trees during the summer months.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about human cruelty to animals. Between the fishing baby dolphins out of the ocean to poke and prod on the beach until they die to the horrifying instructions on how to get rid of “vermin” in the yard… it’s a lot to take in. Yes, our house has a resident woodpecker that likes to take chunks out of the trees in the yard, and will occasionally (for fun, I swear that bastard likes waking me up) peck his feathered head against my wooden window frame…. and yes, we have tons of little chipmunks squeaking all over the place. The badgers love running through the moss… and the deer will hang out (like actually sit down) in the yard… but they do not really do anything to us. Sure, the deer and bunnies like to chow down on my garden in the spring and it frustrates me to no end when my heirloom tomato plants are stripped naked – but would I resort to anything so catastrophic like killing the little buggers? No.

My parents joke a lot about how our family home is the neighborhoods sanctuary since even the blue jays and cardinals seem to get along here – but I think it’s an important thing to realize. We can have our home, and the animals can have theirs too. Sure, it’s a little annoying when my tomato plants are naked and that woodpecker (I call him Theodore) wakes me up at 5:55am on Sundays), but they do not make my home any less of a home. And, truth be told, I’d miss the little creatures. They are fascinating.

So. This has nothing to do with food (save for my opening thoughts), but I thought it was an important idea to share about making life more sustainable for everyone. We can do it all… and I think it’s important to provide a sanctuary for the people in your life, the creatures you encounter, and everyone. We can make room.

Bright Orange Kale Carrot Ribbon Salad

My father likes to say that when things are touted as “health” food it’s because “it tastes so bad that people will only eat it if you tell them it’s good for them.” And while I laugh a bit about that – I think that’s pretty fair because in a race between kale and brownies, you bet your butt I’ll be choosing brownies nearly every time. Well, that is until now since I’ve discovered that this bright citrusy kale carrot salad is amazingly easy to prep and eat and it’s all kinds of yummy.

I read a while back that there is a divide amongst the kale aficionados about how kale should be consumed… whether it should be eaten raw or cooked. Personally, I find that raw kale is a a bit difficult on my stomach, so I blanch it quickly here. However, if you feel strongly for raw kale, please feel free to skip the blanching step. I also included a giant pile of ribboned carrots, because my father loves (I mean… LOVES) carrots. And since I had to convince him to partake in a kale salad, when he is a solidly “anti-kale” camper… I knew I had to include carrots. Which brings me to my next little story (before I get into the recipe).  I have read and followed David Lebovitz’s namesake blog about food for as long as I can remember… so when it came to thinking about dressing carrots for a salad, I immediately referred myself to his post on how the French enjoy carrot salad and dressed my entire carroty kale salad in a likewise light and fresh way.

So… without any further asides, here is how I prepared my salad.

Bright Orange Kale Carrot Ribbon Salad (Kaprise Kitchen’s take on kale salad, with a little influence from David Lebovitz)

  • One bunch of dinosaur kale, thoroughly washed
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 cara cara oranges (or whatever other sweet citrus you can get your hands on)
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 of a fuji apple, chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil (less if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon of hemp seed
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seed
  1. After thoroughly scrubbing the debris out of your kale, cut it into thin ribbons, discarding the fibrous stalks where they are too tough (My sister loves the crunchiness, so if you do as well, please feel free to keep them!)
  2. In a pot of boiling water, gently toss the kale in and stir until the kale is just cooked. About 20-30 seconds. Immediately drain the kale and let it cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (Again, if you like raw kale, feel free to skip the first two steps)
  3. Ribbon the carrots – you can use a julienne slicer, box grater, or any method you prefer. I use a vegetable peeler to get thin, long ribbons of carrots – which I prefer to other methods… but again – please choose a method you like most. Set aside the ribbons
  4. Over a large bowl, supreme the cara cara oranges and squeeze the membrane and peel to extract the remaining juice into the large bowl. Set the orange segments aside. Alternatively you can use clementine segments instead of going through the mildly tedious process of segmenting your citrus… and to have enough citrus flavor, squeeze one fruit into the bowl (or a splash of juice will do)
  5. Peel and slice the apple and avocado into chunks/slices, tossing with the orange juices to prevent browning.
  6. Toss the drained kale and ribboned carrots with the orange juice dressed apple and avocado.
  7. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
  8. Top your salad with a healthy sprinkle of hemp and chia seed, and of course, my favorite, roasted almonds.
  9. ENJOY! (I’ve nestled a little cheese turnover in the salad here, and I’ll post a recipe on that soon!)

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How do YOU eat your vegetables? Do you eat your kale raw or cooked????

 

Persistence

It’s been 7 months since I wrote here… and when I realized how long it had been I sighed to myself. Muttering about how I can’t stay consistent and beating myself up about my on again, off again blogging. But then… I remember that it’s 2016, which means it has been 15 years since I first started writing my thoughts online. I originally started my blog on a different platform – sharing my heartbreak, pains of being a young adult, and my little recipes on how to make flourless chocolate cake and such.

I have had my fair share of struggles in the last few years… struggling with self doubt and insecurity, and other growing pains for twenty-something year olds. I had a lot of anger and disappointment, more than I ever want to admit… but the one thing that has held true through it all is my deep and unwavering love of the things that make me happy.

 

My family, even when they drive me nuts, will always make me laugh, support me and love me… and for them, I am eternally grateful. My friends, because everyone needs a few good ones, and I have that good bunch of friends. And all of the beautiful people I’ve encountered – they have made everything just that much better.

Of course, this is a blog about food and such, so I am thankful every single day for all of the people that love food as much as me and dedicate so much time to posting recipes and fun things online for me to read. I am thankful for everything… even the crappy stuff, because it makes me appreciate everything so much more.

So, 2016 will be the year of persistence, happiness, and all beautiful things.

 

 

Grilled Nectarines

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What does SUMMER mean to you?

Since I grew up in New York, and have 4 seasons – summer is particularly nostalgic. Thunderstorms and hot, humid weather was always a sign that school was finishing up and it would soon be summer. Summer, when my parents would grill all sorts of delicious things and we would get to use the dying coals to roast marshmallows, and if you were a mischievous little one like me, you’d surreptitiously poke all sorts of things into the coals to watch them go up in flames. I loved poking sticks, leaves, and cardboard into the grill and watching the embers redden.

These days, instead of gooey marshmallows, I’ve been roasting fruit over the coals once my meal is done. Large chunks of fruit are perfect because they soften and char as you eat your meat and vegetables. Yesterday, I grilled petite steaks with some portabella mushrooms… and while my family and I feasted on the juicy steak and plump mushrooms, we let these nectarines caramelize and char a little bit.

I like to slice the fruit in half (big chunks = longer cooking time, and more time to enjoy the steak), and brush with a little avocado oil to prevent sticking. A healthy sprinkle of salt helps enhance the natural sweetness. I let my fruit blister and get soft before digging in – about 15 minutes on a medium flame.

(Oh yes… this is another “not recipe” recipe)

What does summer mean for you? Do you grill fruit too?

Sautéed Crispy Broccolini with Grey Salt

I get hung up on certain foods… during the winter, I’ll spend hours upon hours peeling pomegranate and slurping down the seeds. When I was a kid, my mother would buy bushels of corn… and I would spend the afternoon dropping ears into boiling water, and neatly cleaning the cobs of their juicy kernels while I read my novels. I have favorites, and once I start on a favorite, it might be weeks before I move on to something else.

This last month has been a month of charred and buttered broccolini with a little sprinkle of grey salt. I’m sure it’s not a groundbreaking, cutting edge process to cooking broccolini, nor is it the most sophisticated, but it is the perfect way to get some crunchy, crispy greens in your tummy. I’m not sure it really calls for a recipe, but I’ve written up my notes below.

Sautéed Crispy Broccolini with Grey Salt (Kaprise Kitchen’s current favorite)

  • A medium sized bunch of broccolini
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality butter
  • 1 tablespoon of good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • a generous pinch of good grey sea salt – I used a Celtic light grey I found at my local natural foods store
  1. Thoroughly wash the broccolini is cool water, removing any damaged or wilted leaves
  2. Trim and chop the broccolini in 1 1/2 inch segments, stopping just short of the flowering tops. Divide the flowering tops into smaller bunches. The stem in this picture was a bit damaged, so I shaved the stem and removed the damaged flowered pieces – dividing the larger head into two smaller and easier to crisp segments. 
  3. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of water on medium heat
  4. Add chopped broccolini to bubbling water, stir until bright green and tender
  5. Raise the heat to high and stir until all of the water has evaporated from the pan.
  6. Drizzle in the olive oil and butter. Stir until all of the pieces are coated with butter and oil – I like to set the flowering heads of broccolini on their top to help them crisp
  7. Let the broccolini crisp one side, without stirring. I like my broccolini quite crunchy, so I let the pieces crisp for about two to three minutes before tossing the pan. Stir and crisp until the desired level of crisp and char is acheived.
  8. Turn the heat off, sprinkle with the desired amount of grey salt
  9. Serve hot

Notes:

  • I imagine, in addition to a generous sprinkle of salt, that crushed red pepper flakes would be fantastic for a kickier version. I can also see a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs (say… tarragon, oregano, or basil) would be fantastic in this dish as well.
  • I’ve done a version with fresh sliced garlic, but toss the sliced garlic in a minute or two before your broccolini is done, or your garlic will be a very unforgivable black charcoal chip.

The Rice Crispy Treat For ONE (maybe 2)

Last weekend, in the midst of a friend’s wedding festivities, I had a thought. “Rice Crispy… yes… I need one.”

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The problem with purchasing Rice Crispy (or Krispy, whatever) is that you inevitably get one of those gargantuan slabs of over-sweet goop with soggy rice cereal… or even worse? It’s hard as a brick. I abhor crappy treats.

So, on my way home, I perused some recipes, and again the problem? You get an entirely obscene amount of treats. I mean… really… 6 cups of cereal? One ENTIRE bag of marshmallows? 6 tablespoons of butter? And for those of us who do live alone and have VERY little self restraint, this turns into making an entire sheet of treats, followed by stuffing it into one’s open mouth. Trust me… I know. And if you DO manage not to wolf the entire sheet of treats down in one sitting, or one day – the second day you are left with these sad, dry, and hard treats that are no longer palatable.

So… the only solution? To make your treats in exactly the serving size you want. I used a not-too-dainty amount of cereal, with a dab of butter and just a few marshmallows for a perfectly reasonable sized treat. You could share if you wanted to, but I recommend against it. I pressed mine, every so gently, into a resealable container before devouring mine.

Another note – I also love a caramelized treat, but one that is still chewy – which is difficult since sugar hardens as it caramelizes into that delicious brown color. To accomplish this feat in rice crispy treats? Add the marshmallows in two batches – allowing the first to take on that delicious brown hue and then adding the poufy white marshmallows at the end to just puddle into the chewy, perfectly caramelized treat you want.

Now… go forth and make multiple single serving sized treats, to inevitably end up eating an entire pan anyway! (haha!)

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The Rice Crispy Treat for One (Kaprise Kitchen’s way of eating ONE treat at a time)

  • 1 cup of rice cereal – I used the classic Kellogg’s
  • 1 teaspoon of butter – I used salted Kerrygold here
  • 6 standard sized marshmallows – Jet Puffed for me. Use the normal sized ones – not those humongous roasting ones they have these days, or those mini-me’s.
  1. Heat butter in a small saucepan until melted, medium/low heat
  2. Add 3 marshmallows, stir until melted and caramelized
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the remaining marshmallows (I tear these into smaller pieces so that they melt quickly). Your mixture should look something like this: a mix of just melted, and caramelized. SONY DSC
  4. Add cereal, stir until coated
  5. Gently press the cereal into a small container, lined with parchment paper.
  6. Once cooled, removed the treat from the container, and slice with a sharp knife into perfect bite sized pieces like I did! Or… dig in! **Remember, heated sugar is very hot, so please be sure to let your perfect rice crispy cool enough**

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Perfectly gooey and caramelized at the same time!:)SONY DSC

2015.

Hello!

It has been a while… but Happy New Years! I am sitting at my desk watching the snow fall, and really loving the snow. I love the quiet whiteness, the blanket that covers everything.

2014 was a wonderful year… I accomplished my two biggest goals, and so it only makes sense that I set 2015 off with the same lofty goals. I have quite a few, but I think the ones that are the most important and applicable to this blog and my audience are those that are related to health.

I promise that in 2015 that I will try to exercise more and harder and with an open mind. Up until recently, my only exercise was to put on a pair of sneakers and run until I couldn’t feel my toes anymore. I actually signed up for the gym, and have had some lessons with a personal trainer. It’s been great to get out of the box! Plus, with the perks of my gym, I’ve been hitting the pool to swim laps, and to take an occasional spin class. I have to tell you… I love spin class. LOVE it! Enough to haul my ass out of bed at 5:00am in single digit weather!

I promise to cook more. I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I wanted to in the kitchen…. when I did it was for convoluted, long projects that didn’t materialize on the blog or that I deemed to fussy to mess with. So, I want to focus on the good food, and spending time making delicious meals. I need to… because after working in the West Village and spending my entire paycheck on lobster rolls, steak tartare, and other ridiculousness I gained a solid 10 pounds because portion control is SO much harder when someone else cooks. So here is to cooking, taking care of myself, and really enjoying my food.

Finally… my catch all that I promise myself every year… I promise to be bright and happy. I promise to look at all the good in the world and focus on the good.

I am sending my love to everyone that has stayed with me here over the years, and I promise to come back more often with delicious food, exercise ideas, and other updates.

❤ h

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda….

I hate regrets… “could have,” “should have,” and “would have” are my LEAST favorite phrases. I never understood people with those statements, those regrets, and always thought “just be better.” How silly of me…

These days I’ve been having a lot of “coulda, shoulda, woulda” moments… and I’m just a little bit sad because I’ve been coming across more challenges that have been taking all my breath away. I thought when I left law school that all the sad things were going to be over, but since graduation it was just been non-stop getting slammed with challenges.

The point is, as it FINALLY warms up and the weather starts to perk up, I’ve resolved to stop the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” crap and wallowing in a little puddle of self-pity. I’ve decided that each challenge I’m facing is just making me a better person, and that I can handle it. I can.

I hope that you are all looking forward to beautiful weather, beautiful things, and tackling those pesky challenges. Happy Spring!!

Ohhh Heyyyy Spring!

With the start of spring (please don’t snow again!!) I’ve been sorting through my things and organizing. With my running and work out stuff, I’ve been going through and wearing everyone once more to test if it is worth keeping or not.

For those of you who are into fitness, you are well aware of the struggle. Something might be absolutely amazing when you try it on in the store, and then you wear it to work out and it is a failure. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve purchased with great hopes, only to be horribly disappointed. There were those spandex that slid down my bum as I ran… or the shirt with the weird stitching that made me bleed… and of course the countless sports bras that seemed fine, only to be uncomfortable and awful.

However, on a whim I purchased a sports bra from Under Armour and it has surpassed my expectations in all sorts of ways. The straps are not as elastic and they cross slightly higher than I’m used to – however this has proven to be far more comfortable. The bras come with removable pads, which I like because I can still maintain shape and modesty in tighter tops. Most of all? I like that the bras come in actual bra sizes so you can actually buy a bra that is made for your size.

Check them out here: http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/armour-bra