keeks in the kitchen: almond butter

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I recently discovered a new health food blog through an old ballet friend on trusty ol’ Instagram.  Naturally Sassy is written by a British ballerina who decided to go vegan a few years back in a (successful) attempt to cure her chronic eczema.  Since making the switch to a diet of everything diary, gluten, meat and sugar free, Saskia has discovered the many benefits of this new lifestyle.  Inflammatory and acidic properties found in these food groups can have short and long terms effects on your health, including weight gain, acne/dry skin, high cholesterol, lowering of the immune system and digestion and stomach problems. Yuck!  Reading the short bit of information on the vegan lifestyle presented on Saksia’s blog, I decided to give up meat, most of the dairy I currently consume, complex sugars, gluten, and all processed foods.  And what better way to kickstart this new lifestyle than by whipping up a batch of Naturally Sassy’s homemade almond butter?!

With just 3 ingredients and a food processor, you too can make your very own delicious, protein-packed almond butter.  I added mine into a smoothie with banana, medjool dates, flaxseed and almond milk and oh.my.god, you guys, it was so scrumptious.  That’s what has me hooked on this blog; Her recipes are so healthy, but also combine a range of flavors that I can totally get on board with.  Roasted sweet potatoes and avocados galore?  Yes, please!

So, granted I have enough time to actually cook and blog about it this season, expect to see a lot more of my kitchen experiments here on STB!  Other recipes I’m dying to try include the perfect kale salad, sweet potato salad with avocado mayonnaise, and the blueberry and baobab pancakes.

keeks in the kitchen: kale berry energy smoothie

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When the temperatures outside are high, one of my favorite ways to fuel up and cool down is by making a yummy smoothie.  Not only are the blended concoctions deliciously refreshing and packed with natural sugars to satisfy your sweet tooth, but with add-ons like protein powder and chia seeds, the nutrition value is unbeatable.  Here’s how to make a mixed berry and kale smoothie, one of my favorites…

Start with 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries (I used blueberries and strawberries), and about 1/2 cup fresh blueberries.  Throw in 10 almonds and 1/4 cup of ice water or almond milk.  Blend.DSC02789

Next throw in 1/2 cup of chopped kale and whichever powders and seeds you prefer.  Blend.DSC02797

Now, pour the contents into a glass and enjoy!  By the way, if you are worried that adding greens to your smoothie will make them taste weird, I assure you it won’t!  This was a major concern of mine prior to trying it out.  But no- you get all of the vitamins and none of the taste!DSC02798

Bon appétit!

keeks in the kitchen: kale salad edition

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As a dancer, being injured poses a lovely little collection of daily frustrations (3 consecutive months out of the studio really does a number on your psyche…whenever I hear classical music it’s an odd battle between tendu-ing and crying).  Hailing from the same genus as preserving those temporarily useless toe calluses and sleeping in the frog stretch several nights a week to remind your hips what torture turn out feels like, staying fit is one of the most important concerns an injured dancer can have.

Without the intense cardio that comes with 6 hours of rehearsal, maintaining that strong dancer’s bod is often even tougher than anticipated- and believe me, no one was expecting it to be easy over here!  With just a few short weeks left before the start of the season (who’s excited?!), I’m vowing to stick to a diet of healthy greens and protein.

So here’s my recipe for a delicious kale salad, packed with essential vitamins, proteins, and fiber to keep you feeling and looking good…

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Start with some greens.  For this salad I chopped up some romaine and mixed it with kale, my new favorite superfood.DSC02760

Next I added a little steamed, shelled edamame.  These low-calorie little green soybeans are the perfect punch of protein!DSC02763

Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, are always a good addition to any salad, loading it up with their fiber, protein and healthy fats. DSC02765

To top it off, I added some juicy golden raisins, chopped walnuts and a bit of shredded carrot.DSC02768

Bon appétit!

feeling the burn

Everyone knows a work out buddy makes sticking to a new fitness routine easier (not to mention more fun!).  Yesterday, the roommie and I embarked on a 10-day workout/cleanse, and booooy am I feeling the effects today.  Let’s just say 20 minutes of “Insanity” followed by a 7-minute P90X ab workout after being practically immobile for 3 weeks HURTS.  But you know what they say- the first 3 days of any new fitness/dieting regime are the toughest!  So I’m currently scouring Pinterest and Tumblr for more workouts and I’m determined to stick to it.  This is going to require a lot of motivation..thank goodness for workout buddies!