stove top granola

Today we are treated (hehe) to a recipe from one of my absolute favorite humans, Miss Tegan Rich.  Tegs was my first roomie in Providence when I moved here 5 years ago, and man, was that impulsive cohabitational decision serendipitous.  Not only did we share a desire to live the same strange life (endless hours of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix? destination trips to magical but far less-than-local Whole Foods branches? yes, please), she also taught me how to make (and pronounce) quinoa, how to properly hard boil an egg, and the wonder of Crazy Jane’s salt.  Today she shares one of her most recent kitchen tricks: quick and easy stove top granola…IMG_4379

Stove top granola is great in a pinch when you’ve decided your late night snack, or breakfast is desperately in need of a crunchy, sweet, nutty, hearty goodness.  I make enough to last me through the week and sprinkle it over my yogurt in the morning, my smoothies, and sometimes I just eat it with my fingers straight out of the tupperware (shhhh).IMG_4376Stove top Granola: because everyone loves granola, and sometimes you don’t want to wait 40 mins as you toast up a gigantic batch in your oven.

3/4-1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup nut(s) of your choice
2 tbsp. flax seed
1/4 cup coconut oil
3-4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ginger
as much or as little honey as you like
*the nutmeg and ginger are personal choices.. but they’re especially tasty and apropos for this time of year
**I always use a healthy drizzling of honey… 


IMG_4378

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, toast the oats in the pan
2. As the oats start to toast up (don’t let them get too brown or toasty) add in the dried coconut.
3. Once the oats and coconut are toasting away, add in the nuts. Let these dry ingredients cook for a little bit, stirring often to avoid burning… you can always lower the heat if the cooking seems to be happening too fast.
4. Before adding the oil, add the pinch of salt and whatever spices you are using
5. Once everything is combined, add in the coconut oil and continue stirring to avoid burning!!!
6. After the oil is just about combined, add in as much or as little honey as you want, stir the ingredients around to combine everything
7. Keep cooking for about a minute or two more. turn off the heat. pour the granola out onto a pan or cookie sheet to let cool down and ENJOY!

IMG_4377

Thank you Tegan for sharing your recipe and drool-worthy photos of that crunchy granola goodness!

treat yoself

image

January is a rough month.  It’s long.  It’s cold.  It’s still fairly dark when your alarm goes off in the morning, and it seems like April is mocking you with its Eastery glow…3 hard months away.

To combat the winter blues, also known as SAD (seriously), a few friends and I have decided to brighten these grey days by initiating a “treats rotation”.  For those of you unaccustomed with this particular institution (I think we made it up?), each day one of us is responsible for bringing in a yummy treat for the rest of the group.  The first week I made everyone a little batch of almond butter and packaged them in mini mason jars with rustic twine bows.  It was pretty adorable.  This week I tried out a new recipe and made these things called “energy balls”, which are apparently extremely delicious, as well as deceivingly simple to make!  Here’s how I did it…

photo 2

First combine 2 cups of nuts (I used 1 cup almonds, 1 cup pecans) in a food processor until coarse.  Then add in one cup of dates (I used medjool), and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and process again for about 2-3 minutes.  Then shape into balls and roll in shredded coconut for a shmancy touch.

photo 1

Et voila!

Outside the regular treats rotation, I’ve been attempting to cure my cold weather slump by making myself some special snacks, including a homemade granola using Alex’s family recipe, and a delicious muesli, the recipe for which I created as I went along.  Dedicating my Monday nights to the kitchen and surprising my friends with yummy bites has really helped lift my spirits as of late.

afterlight

 I’d love to know, how do you boot the winter blues?  Would you ever consider a “treats rotation” with your friends?

on drowsy dancers

CW1A9762

Recently, I received an email from a young ballet student seeking advice and thought it might be constructive to share my response with all of you here.  See, Caitlin’s inquiries on combatting exhaustion around performance times and pesky interloping negative thoughts about her dancing may feel completely isolating, but they are actually shared by almost all dancers- even professionals!

Today, let’s  focus on how we’re spending our time outside of rehearsal, and more specifically, the time we spend with our feet up and our eyes closed.  Let me start by saying this: feeling drowsy during a performance weekend is completely normal.  Although the hours are often shorter and an adjusted schedule might allow you to sleep in a bit, this slight change to your daily routine may be the real culprit contributing to your sluggish state.

Performance weeks are full of long rehearsals, nerves, excitement, anxiety, preparation…the list of sleep-stifling obstructions goes on.  Even if you fell asleep the minute your just de-blushed cheek hits the pillow, you still wake up the next day feeling super groggy, and guess what?  There’s a scientific reason for that.  When we feel our bodies need extra rest and our work schedules finally shift to allow it, oversleeping seems like the obvious choice, but catching too many zzz’s throws off a group of cells in our brains that are responsible for internal rhythms.  These cells are the same ones tasked in controlling hunger, thirst, and sweat, and their pacemaker-like-system is what keeps the body’s energy levels steady throughout the day.  Since they rely on a natural rhythm, changing this schedule can break the whole cycle, leaving you feeling less rested, despite the extra shut eye.

Furthermore, the sleep we engage in during performance time may not be as restful as we think.  If you’re anything like me, performance time means late nights in the theater, returning home past my bedtime for a zombie-like shower and a night of less-than-stellar sleep.  Also- and I’m going to try this in the least corny way possible- after leaving the stage, I have a complete buzz: an electricity running through my entire body that doesn’t seem to have a simple on/off switch.  It can be extremely difficult to transition from using your body’s full physical potential to letting it be still for 8 uninterrupted hours.  To aid in this shift of energy, I have taken to decompressing a bit before jumping straight into bed: I’ll soak my sore feet in epsom salts, sip a cup of calming chamomile tea, and reflect on the past day and tomorrow’s tasks, so that when it does come time to crawl into bed, I can let my mind be free.

Whew- that was a lot of information- but what to do about it?  Well, in my (unofficial) opinion, the best thing you can do for your body during performance time is establish healthy habits in your daily life and simply maintain them throughout the run of a show.  This means always getting 8 hours of sleep per night, eating clean foods that provide energy, drinking a lot of water, and finding quiet moments to rest your mind.  Find places to rest slightly and breathe during your performance, and conserve energy offstage by taking it easy as much as possible.

I hope this has been helpful for some of you!  Next time, I’ll give some insight into fighting off negativity- a huge struggle of my own.  If you have any more questions or topics you’d like me to cover, or something to add to the discussion, feel free to comment below.

 

 

photo by Cemal Ekin.

morning muffins

DSC03946

It seems that every year as June rolls around, beach season begins and my desire for a sculpted bikini body directly conflicts with the inevitable decrease in my daily physical activity.  The past two summers in particular (last year I was recovering from an injury, the year before I had surgery on my toe) have been especially slow on the whole work out front, which is perhaps the reason for this year’s boosted motivation.  I’ve been finding some way to sweat every morning (a rotation of ballet class and kickboxing with a few dedicated buds), but sticking to a diet in the summer is about as easy as going to Target for one item and not coming home with a carload of things you never knew you needed (does that happen to anyone else?).

DSC03931

Just when you’re doing really well and eating right, it’s someone’s birthday and one too many drinks must be had.  Then your friend invites you to your favorite pub on a Wednesday night and how do you not order those garlic fries that just walked by only to stop at the table right behind you?  However, recently I’ve set a goal for myself; Maintain healthy eating during the week, and use weekends as little cheat treat days!

DSC03927

Breakfast can be a tough meal to stick to.  Some people just skip it altogether (BIG mistake!  Most important meal of the day to kickstart your metabolism!), but I’m one of those freaks who wakes up with a growling tummy, always ravenous for anything with a side of bacon.  Of course, since that’s not exactly time, budget or diet friendly, I decided to whip up a batch of healthy banana-oat muffins to grab and go for breakfast, snack time, or anytime, really.  These guys are packed with tons of good nutrients and don’t use much sugar, so you can start your day out on the right bite.  I used this recipe, but substituted coconut oil for applsauce (just use 1/2 the amount of oil) and added raisins and ground flax seed for added fiber, but next time I’m throwing in some coconut flakes, cinnamon and chopped walnuts, too!  Yum!

DSC03921DSC03922 DSC03920 DSC03950

taste of october

hummus

For the second annual company “Pumpkin Party” this weekend, T and I made some exceptionally delicious hummus.  But not just any old hummus.  Roasted garlic, rosemary, pumpkin hummus.  Yes, yes, yes.  It was as amazing as it sounds, we will be making it again by the end of the week, and you can have the recipe.  You’re welcome.

keeks in the kitchen: kale chips

DSC02954

I’m starting to think I should change the name of this series to “Keeks Eats Kale”.  Seriously, you guys must be getting SO sick of all the kale recipes.  But alas, I cannot resist its delicious versatility.  So, without further ado, I give you the most surprisingly scrumptious, savory, snack-able kale (k)creation to date: the kale chip.  With just three easy ingredients, you too can munch and crunch on some yummy potato-chip impostor.  And if you have any lingering suspicions as to their tastiness, just take it from my boyfriend…after baking up my first batch yesterday and giving him a little sample, he requested another batch immediately, specifically stating that he’d like “a really, really, really, big batch, please!!!”  Of course I obliged, then my entire supply of kale magically disappeared before my eyes.  These things are GOOD, people.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Now all you need to do is remove the leafy greens from the thick stalk, wash and dry, and arrange kale on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with one tablespoon of good olive oil, sprinkle with some seasoning salt, and bake for 8-10 minutes,  until the edges are brown but not burnt.  I checked on my chips mid-way through and agitated the sheet a bit, not sure if this makes any difference…DSC02955DSC02960

…but they did come out absolutely perfectly, so I’m sticking to my method!  Bon appétit!

keeks in the kitchen: kale berry energy smoothie

DSC02792

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!