I was just telling my roommate how I’m ready to go back to school and finish up my RD. In case you missed it: Last year around this time I decided to walk with (just) a Master’s degree in nutrition and bypass another year-and-a-half of work to become a Registered Dietitian. I’ll finish it at some point but ehhhh… organic chemistry, man.
So basically all that stands between me and RD are two MF chemistry classes that I’d like to take this summer.
Well. Two MF chemistry classes that I’d like to take this summer and the donut ice cream sandwiches I made today.
My mom used to eat microwave popcorn every afternoon with a glass of Lipton iced tea. It really wasn’t until writing this post and recalling that memory of her posted up on the porch waiting for a hurricane of kids to come whirling off the bus that I came to truly appreciate the ritual of her daily snack. Probably the only 20 minutes or so of alone quiet alone time in 18 years of raising small humans.
I grew up mimicking my mom’s snack patterns. Popcorn in the afternoon. An orange before bed. Always some kind of post-dinner chocolate. Luckily, I like to think these are all healthy patterns to imitate. Though perhaps I’ve added a little chocolate to post-everything.
When I was in college I got hooked on the “diet” popcorn trend, and my friends will surely never forget the fateful day I realized the “single-serving” snack I was eating by the bagful actually contained 7 servings. (HAHAHA.)
But the thing about microwave popcorn is that no one really likes it except the person eating it. Have you ever popped popcorn in an office or a dorm room full of people not partaking in the popcorn ritual? Everyone else there hates you for it. And for good reason (beyond just the unpleasant smell it creates).
Turns out a chemical used to coat the bags (PFOA) is a known carcinogen. And one of the chemicals in that delightful fake butter (diacetyl) in those damn diet popcorns I ate 7 servings at a time has been found to cause bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn workers’ lung” in the factories where it’s created.
So what’s a popcorn lover to do? Make it home, duh.
Stovetop popcorn is super simple, and it actually doesn’t require a JiffyPop dome. (Though those are great fun. Seriously, what was better than Granddaddy busting one of those out over the fire on a camping trip?)
All you need is a large saucepan with a lid, some oil with a high smoke point (I used grapeseed), and popcorn kernels (ideally organic because most of our corn supply is genetically modified at this point). Add seasonings of choice for a lovely little unoffensive snack.
I like this because you can make popcorn on your own for pennies compared to microwavable options, and you’ll have more control over what’s in it and on it.
Everyone knows that Reese’s Easter eggs are significantly better than the traditional Reese’s cup, not only because they are only available once a year and are therefore novel, but also because they are larger and have a greater peanut butter to chocolate ratio, thus making them superior.
Duh. (Everyone knows this.)
The only thing better than a Reese’s Easter egg is nothing. But this is followed at a close second by a homemade Reese’s Easter egg that’s vegan and awesome. So that is what I’ve made for you today.
If you’re not down with the traditional peanut butter + chocolate combo (you rebel), you could use any nut butter you desire.
["Any nut butter you desire" is an awkward phrase worth repeating out of context.]
I also experimented with carob chips on half the batch for my poor, chocolate-less boyfriend, and while he was thrilled with it, I found the carob coating to be too sticky to deal with. (It wouldn’t even set up in the freezer. RUDE.) I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m just saying it wasn’t pretty. (The eggs in these photos are real-ass chocolate-covered, for the record.)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (or carob chips if you dare)
2 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon nondairy milk
Mix together peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut flour
Place PB dough between parchment paper and roll to about ¼-in thick
Freeze PB dough for at least two hours before cutting
When your PB is frozen, combine chocolate chips, coconut oil and nondairy milk and microwave to melt
Cut your PB dough into egg shapes (I used a circular cookie cutter bent into an oval) and dip in chocolate
Arrange on parchment paper, and place back in fridge or freezer to set
They’re a little tedious and time-consuming, but I promise they’re worth it. The coconut oil in the chocolate helps it to set up nicely when chilled and the coconut flour in the peanut butter makes it more solid and Reese’s-esque without mass amounts of powdered sugar, which is how most people make Reese’s imitations at home.
Give it a try and don’t EVEN come at me with this boosh that Reese’s Christmas trees are better than Reese’s Easter eggs. The conversation is over.
I’ve come to a horrible realization that my (digestive) life is a significantly better when I steer clear of dairy. I don’t eat much of it anyway–cow’s milk makes me queasy and most white creamy substances are a no-go–but I am a big fan of the cheese.
This really requires no major life adjustment for me. I already drink almond milk and coconut milk and whatnot. And while I refuse to put a label (other than vegetarian) on my diet, I eat like 90% vegan anyway. But, goddamn, I liked that 10% of cheese… And frozen yogurt. BUTTER.
It’s basically muesli (or “overnight oats” in blogger world) but with quinoa instead of oats. I eat it like cereal happen to think it is the jam but I think most people would hate it. I like it because it keeps me full, but the toppings are key for that; I add peanut butter and coconut chips and other protein- and fat-heavy items to fill it out.
Also, since I’m pretty sure it’s never been seen in the Sweet Tater world, this is what my hair looks like straight. It has looked like this once (in this picture) in the last seven years and probably won’t happen again so live it up.
My weekend was pretty packed with awesome things: hosted a PlateShare video conference, went to the farmer’s market, watched Silver Linings Play Book (yeah weird love!), spent time daydreaming in Bryant Park (the Charlotte one, not the Chicago one), presented a nutrition lecture at Flywheel Charlotte, watched my Elephant Journal article move to the popular page (wee!), POPPED MY LEFT HIP THANK GOD, ate a Sunday feast prepared by Adam, etc. So when I say that this Saturday brunch was perhaps the highlight, rest assured it is a true winner (winner chickpea dinner). Continue reading …
So in addition to making this sweet potato hash, here is your weekly to-do list:
If you’re in Charlotte… Bryant Park is definitely one of the best views of Charlotte from my hood and I’ve never felt a need to drop by. I popped in yesterday and will post up here daily once the weather creeps above 60 degrees (which right now feels like it will never happen). I think someone could have the coolest wedding ever up there and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t Google it and it no one has so… Dibs.
Also if you’re in Charlotte… I’ve avoided this restaurant forever because I just have this idea of crepes being super heavy and cheesy and not vegetarian-friendly. I was wrong. I had a PlateShare meeting there and couldn’t even focus beyond the seriously killer meal that accompanied it: roasted brussels sprouts with pesto, spinach goat cheese crepe and a date arugula salad with FRIED MANCHEGO.
If you’re in the yoga world, odds are you read Elephant. Last week I wrote a piece on the intersection of yoga and disordered eating for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. You can read it here: Beyond the Body.
Tone It Up
Another thing I’ve avoided and kind of wish I hadn’t (this appears to be a habit): Tone It Up workouts. To be honest, I kind of hate the names of the workouts (ex. Itty Bitty Bikini) and the overall excessive girly-ness of it all. I also think their website is poorly organized making the workouts a hassle to track down. However, I finally started doing their workouts last week and I’m a believer. I don’t subscribe to their nutrition plan but from what I can see they promote a whole-food/real-food approach, which I can appreciate. Check ‘em out. (I’ve saved a lot of their workouts to one easy-to-find public Google doc folder.)
OK. Now that your week is full, here’s your sweet potato hash…