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I Am Thankful For The Present 11.23.17

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!! I am so happy to be home, spending this holiday with my family–as it is a MUCH needed break from my crazy busy life! Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. It is one of the very few holidays that isn’t surrounded by gift giving (well unless you’re one of those black friday shoppers, which that’s technically the day after thanksgiving!) Thanksgiving at my house, while there are only four of us  plus three furry friends, looks like a GIANT feast. As you can imagine, my food obsessed family loves a holiday that’s surrounded by fellowship and eating! No gifts necessary, just sharing around the table what we are thankful for over a wonderful meal :)

With my college career ending in just three weeks, It is hard not to think about the next big thing or the next task I need to complete…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  However, I feel like often times when we have this mindset, it’s easy to lose sight of the present moment! Enjoying the little things and being aware of all the good around you! After all, your past and present are simply illusions. They don’t exist. Don’t let life the right here, right now, pass you by. I’m not going to act like the present is always peachy, because believe me, it’s not. BUT I am a firm believer in that you can find something good out of every bad situation, every struggle is a lesson, and everything happens the way it’s supposed to! Positivity is contagious and gratitude for all that you DO have is the key to a happy life. You don’t have to have it all together to be appreciative of the present moment! Life is a process and half the battle is just getting to where you wanna be–so live for the NOW and let the future happen when and how it is meant to happen :)

With that being said, I challenge all of you to reflect on what you have right here, right now, and express gratitude for all the good you have going on (whether it’s little or big) !! Go after what you want and never look back! Don’t obsess over the past and let the future worry about you. Be present in all that you do and live in the moment! :)

I hope you all have a great thanksgiving, spending it with the people who mean the most to you!! I am thankful for y’all!

Just a few things I am thankful for…

I am thankful to have an amazing family that has my back in everything I do. I am thankful for my fur child Nola and the joy she brings to me everyday (also my two pups that live at home). I am thankful for the friends that have never left my side and continually make an effort to be in my life. I am thankful for good health and being able to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies, cycling, without pain. I am thankful for good restaurants and talented chefs for inspiring my passion for cooking. I am thankful for nutrition and the power it has to completely transform your life. I am thankful for having the opportunity to pursue both my passions (cooking+nutrition). I am thankful to have a steady job where I do what I love. I am thankful for having the opportunity to travel to places like New York City and New Orleans that have completely captured my heart. I am thankful to call the beautiful state of Kentucky a second home and for Chicago, always being my #1! Most of all, I am thankful to God for making all of these things possible :)

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FNCE 2017!

IMG_6714.jpgFood & Nutrition Conference & Expo 2017 Chicago, IL

Have you all ever been somewhere where you felt like you were exactly where you were meant to be?! Like I’m talking 100% in your element! If you’ve never heard of it before, it is the biggest annual nutrition conference in the world..FILLED with thousands of dietitians, as a future RD like myself, it is a pretty freakin cool place to be! I went to FNCE 2015 in Nashville and I was so insanely blown away by the whole thing that I told myself I was definitely coming back! Here we are, two years later, in Chicago (of all places) for the 100th anniversary of FNCE!! It was the absolute perfect time to go…AND I got to spend it with my mom and one of my good friends AND visit home all in one weekend!

While we were there, we attended plenty of educational sessions and actually learned some pretty neat (and sometimes strange) information such as…..

  • It only takes one week (bedrest) to lose 1 kilogram of muscle mass and 6 MONTHS to gain it back (stay active y’all)
  • Most insects (see below) contain more protein than beef, eggs, and milk (time to grocery shop at the pet store lolz)

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  • We (as a country) do NOT get nearly enough sleep.. Hawaii is the state with the least amount of people getting greater than 7 hours of sleep and South Dakota is the state with the highest percent of people getting more than 7 hours of sleep! (I’d probably sleep a lot too if I lived in South Dakota)
  • Depression and weight gain (obesity) are directly correlated to sleep quality–being two main causes of daytime sleepiness! (mental health is HUGELY important)

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ANND then there is the EXPO…If you think you’ve already been to a foodie paradise, THINK AGAIN! This place will absolutely blow your mind! So many amazing companies, FREE samples, and merchandise…Did I mention, FREE SAMPLES!? SO many free samples that I ended up bringing home two huge tote bags filled with stuff! (talk about snacks for DAYS)

Below are just a FEW of my favorite booths…

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{KIND, Glutino, Kodiak Cakes, Califia Farms, La Croix, La Colombe, Go Macro, Banza}

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***FNCE 2018 DC, I’m coming for ya!!! :)

 

Until next time,

xoxo

Kelsey

 

 

 

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3 Ways To Style Your Cauliflower Pizza

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Good morning y’all ( or whenever you’re reading this ) it is labor day weekend and I had a great time spending it with my family! On Saturday, I had my garde manger 7 course meal final, which officially means I am done with that and moving on to international cooking (which I am pumped about) !! In other news, my final semester at UK is in full swing and it is hitting me hard that it is my final few months of college! I have loved loved loved my time at UK and wouldn’t change a thing–As I’ve said a million times, I am so thankful that my rocky road led me to this place! However, I am SO ready to be done and on to the next big thing!

Anyways, I don’t know if you all have noticed but cauliflower is all the rage these days! It’s like people just now discovered how versatile it is and started cooking with it all at once! For me, I have been a cauliflower fan for a hot minute now just because it is often an awesome substitution for gluten free people (like myself)

Introducing: the famous Trader Joes Cauliflower Crust— I am sure most of you have tried it or at least have heard of it! However, it is one thing to buy it, but a whole other animal to actually know how to style it and what toppings to add! It can be rather bland unless you create really tasty and creative toppings! Annnnnnd I am here to help you with just that :) I’ve got three (tested and approved) ways to make your best cauliflower pizza!

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1. Pesto/Mushroom/Goat Cheese/Balsamic Glaze

Out of the three I made, this one definitely takes the cake as my favorite! Probably because I am such a pesto fanatic. The combo of pesto, mushrooms, and goat cheese really cannot be beat—and adding a little balsamic glaze? Perfection! This one is also super simple. First, start off by making your pesto (basil, nut of your choice, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper) add on your sautéed mushrooms and goat cheese and you’re ready to go!

2. Black Bean/Bell Peppers/Mexican 4 Cheese/Avocado

Oh, how I love mexican food! This one turned out so so tasty. If y’all haven’t heard of better bean company– you should definitely get acquainted! They sell awesome varieties of pre cooked beans that you can add to literally anything for some extra flavor! The ones I used for this crust are the Cuban Black Beans, topped with the sautéed peppers, mexican cheese, and fresh avocado slices! So much flavor!

3. Marinara/Parmesan/Chicken Sausage/Arugula 

I love this one a lot because it tastes the most like a traditional pizza– with the marinara, cheese, and meat, you won’t even realize it is on top of a cauliflower crust! Chicken sausage is my go to protein because not only is it freakin delicious, it is also low in fat, lower in cals, and high in protein compared to your traditional pork sausage! Adding the arugula on top gives this “pizza” the best little colorful touch and flavor to tie it all together!

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If you haven’t yet tried a cauliflower pizza–I would TOTALLY recommend! And if you aren’t feeling like buying one, they are so so simple to make! HINT HINT–> there’s like a million trillion recipes online ;)

Hope this helps add some creativity to your life and gives you ideas for your next cauliflower pizza!

Enjoy!

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey

 

 

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Homemade Chicken Taquitos

I don’t know about y’all–but I am all about that easy and convenient life! Especially with school in full swing, I am always looking to find a reliable recipe that I can make ahead of time and enjoy for the whole week! This recipe is just that! Growing up, I was obsessed with flautas which are extremely similar to taquitos EXCEPT for the fact that they are made on flour tortillas (which I can no longer eat) Maybe I’ve been feeling nostalgic or maybe I was just craving mexican food…but the idea of making taquitos hit my brain and I went with it! Minus the fried part, these taquitos are just like the ones you’d find in a restaurant…maybe even better, if i do say so myself ;)

 

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Chicken Taquitos

  • 1 rotissere chicken (shredded)
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • 1 TBS cayenne (if ya like it hot)
  • 2 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS seasoned salt
  • 1 TBS black pepper
  • 2 TBS paprika
  • hint of lemon or lime
  • splash of olive oil
  • corn tortillas

Filling

  • 2 bell peppers (julienne)
  • 1 small yellow onion (julienne)
  • shredded cheese (as much as you want)
  • top with salsa and hot sauce (as much as you want)

Directions—>

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. cut up the chicken, gather all the meat and put it in a bowl–where you will mix together all of the spices
  3. microwave tortillas for 10-15 seconds or until soft
  4. spray tortillas with a little bit of cooking spray, add chicken and filling (SAUTE THE ONIONS AND PEPPERS BEFOREHAND), roll up and place on cookie sheet. (Repeat this process for how many taquitos you are making)
  5. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until tortilla begins to get crispy
  6. *** for the last 3-5 minutes place the oven on boil to get the taquitos browned and extra tasty!
  7. ENJOOOOOOY :)

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Hope you enjoy!

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey

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Peach Crumble Dessert (Gluten Free)

Hey y’all!! Happy (almost school time) to me! I’m definitely having mixed feelings about this final semester of mine at UK. Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredibly pumped to be finishing up…it sure has been a long time coming! BUT–it’s for sure a little sad and scary to be closing the chapter to such a big portion of my life and moving on to something new. I am forever grateful that my unconventional college path led me to UK–I have had some of my best memories here and Lex totally feels like home to me. Kinda wish I had started here all along, but everything happens for a reason!

Although I’ll be finishing up at UK–I am still going strong at Sullivan finishing up my culinary arts degree by the end of spring. Last weekend in class, we focused on working on some dessert ideas for our seven course practical final. While I was originally going to do a peach tart– I decided on something a little more creative. It is basically a tart–just deconstructed :) And might I add, as not being a peach lover, this dessert was HELLA good! Definitely will make again and again :)

 

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Peach Crumble

  • 4-5 peaches
  • ~ 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • ~ 1 cup COLD water
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (depends on how sweet ya like it!)
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • handful of dates (roughly 4)
  • cinnamon (to sprinkle and garnish)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • sea salt (just a pinch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

*** You’ll need two small ramekins like the one in the picture above to bake the dessert in!***

Directions:

** Preheat oven to 350 & cook for 15 minutes (or until top is browned) **

  1. Make your crumble: pulse the nuts, coconut, dates, sea salt in a food processor until they create a soft mixture
  2. Combine the nut crumble with the oats, a little bit of brown sugar, and set aside
  3. Make your slurry (cornstarch and COLD water) mixed together. (small) Dice up two of your peaches and put them in a pot on medium heat—Add the slurry mixture and continue to stir until peaches break down and form a cohesive mixture. (sprinkle in some brown sugar for added sweetness) This will be your peach filling!
  4. Dice up the rest of your peaches
  5. Make your whipped cream— heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla (kitchen aid mixer, handheld mixer, OR by hand on medium speed until soft peaks)
  6. Assemble your dessert–> peach filling on the bottom followed by the diced peaches, oat/nut crumble and topped off with the whipped cream!
  7. ENJOOOOOYY :)

 

Hope y’all will love this as much as I do! :)

Happy eating!

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey

 

 

 

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The Unofficial Guide To Boujee Appetizers: Recipes Included!

Since I’ve been in culinary school—I’ve taken a wide range of different classes from basic skills, baking, and now garde manger ( which I like to explain to people that it’s essentially “boujee appetizer class” and I LOVE it. I think it is by far my favorite class thus far. My Chef really lets us do things on our own (within reason) which definitely helps strike my creativity! We’ve done a whole variety of things in this class which is awesome because it’s like you’ll never know what you’re going to be doing next Saturday. Some highlights: I’ve learned how to make homemade gluten free pasta–which has always been a goal of mine but never had the determination to just go and do it at home. One day we made sorbet and that was super fun too– I had never used an ice cream machine before and was blown away ( science, man ) I made a strawberry balsamic basil sorbet, and I must say, it was out of this world! And just this past Saturday, I deboned a whole chicken and made a filling to stuff it with–I gotta say this was a little frustrating, but once you get the hang of it, it’s kinda fun! Kinda felt like a surgeon lolz

Annnnnnnnnd let us not forget: the canapes AKA boujee appetizers ;) These are awesome to make–because they don’t really require any cooking (SO EASY) and look super fancy on a plate! I’ve made quite a few in this class and I always always get comments or messages about them on insta so I thought I’d share my three faves that are guaranteed to knock your socks off! (and make your friends think you’re a boss ass chef)

***DISCLAIMER: I don’t typically do things exactly to recipe so the measurements might not be 100% accurate, be sure to taste as you go!

Cucumber/Goat Cheese/Smoked Salmon

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  1. Cut the cucumber into (medium thickness) slices
  2. Make your filling– A half package of goat cheese (about 6 oz), salt and pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic, 1 tablespoon dill (maybe add some cold water, if consistency isn’t quite like a spread)
  3. Top with small slices of smoked salmon
  4. Add dill sprig for garnish
  5. ENJOYYYYY :)

 

Cucumber/Cream Cheese/Prosciutto

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  1. Cut cucumber into (medium thickness) slices
  2. Put a dollop of cream cheese on each slice
  3. Thinly slice prosciutto on each cucumber slice
  4. Garnish with chiffonade (finely cut) basil
  5. Drizzle balsamic glaze and top with a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
  6. ENJOYYY :)

 

Polenta/Prosciutto/Pesto (MY FAVE)

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  1. Make the polenta: 1 cup of cornmeal into a boiling pot of water/ continue to stir until thickened/ add 3 tablespoons of butter / add 1/2 cup of shredded parm / 2 tablespoons garlic / salt and pepper to taste / spread out on a pan and place in the freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes / Cut into wedges: egg wash and flour each wedge and pan fry on the stove with some oil! They will have a golden brown crust when they are ready :)
  2. Make the pesto: 2 cups of greens any of these will do–>(basil, parsley, arugula, cilantro, spinach) / 2-3 cloves garlic / 1/4 cup of nuts any of these will do–> (TOASTED pine nuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews) / 1/2 cup parm / 1/4 cup EVOO / salt and pepper to taste / Throw all of it in a food processor and pulse until a creamy consistency!
  3. Julienne (thin slices) bell pepper ( I used yellow and red ) saute in a pan with olive oil until soft!
  4. Cut prosciutto into small slices!
  5. Pan fry the polenta wedges, spread them with the prepared pesto, top with the       sauteed peppers, a couple small prosciutto slices, and a sprinkle of fresh parm!
  6. ENJOYYY :)

 

If you’ve ever wanted to be super EXTRA and FANCY with your appetizers–here’s your chance! Hope you all enjoy and if you try them out– let me know!!

 

xoxo

 

Kelsey

 

 

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Travel Eats: Columbia, MO

About a month ago, I went to visit my sister in Columbia! Let’s keep it real here, you’ve probably never heard of this town unless you’ve been to Mizzou or know someone who goes there ;) It’s not really a sought after destination… about 80% of the town is the actual university and then some corn fields (lol) but hey, we had fun and there are definitely some places that I would highly recommend :) With that being said, let’s get on with it…

Geisha Sushi Bar (804 E Broadway) 

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We came here our first night and it was definitely a hit! Although, I was kinda amazed that my (asian) sister had never had edamame before–so naturally we had to order it! (YUM) We both had miso soup and a roll ( I think mine was the crazy roll, but not completely sure. It was 10/10 good though! ) Definitely a casual laid back atmosphere with quality sushi (which is super important)

Andy’s Frozen Custard (610 Cooper Dr N) 

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Y’all seriously have to come here, OMG! I’m not even huge on custard but man, this place sold me! Such a cute late night summer spot for a sweet tooth craving ;) SO GOOD, I demanded we go twice! Both times, I got a chocolate concrete with peanut butter cups!

Nourish Cafe & Market (1201 E Broadway)

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Cannot say enough good things about this place! First came here with the family when we went to a Mizzou Kentucky football game (GO CATS) and I had a goat cheese frittata that rocked my world. Obviously, we had to come back and I had a grilled veggie wrap with pesto and a coconut matcha smoothie! Definitely the best part about this place is not having to worry about any allergy concerns because the whole menu is GF!! (This never happens so naturally, I was PUMPED) Real & delicious food that you can feel good about eating! Side note: they have desserts too that are out of this world. I ended up picking up some cinnamon rolls that had cashew cream frosting, like WOAH! 12/10!

The Roof (1111 E Broadway)

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Welllllllll, I’d for sure come here for the view, drinks, and just a fun night out. This place is a nice bar/restaurant on top of a hotel with crazy cool views of the downtown and comfy seating. The food and service left a lot to be desired, but we still had a good time! However, we did have pretty good brussels sprouts and pork lettuce wrap things that were pretty decent!

Lakota Coffee (24 S 9th Street) 

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I don’t think I could write a travel eats without including a coffee shop, because let’s be real, I am an addict. I really like this place because it has a very extensive menu with unique options, like a coffee shake, which I’m kinda kicking myself that I didn’t get because it looked amazing. I guess you could say I am a creature of habit and stick with my black coffee and a splash of almond milk ;) Definitely a chill vibe, somewhere you could sit for a while and get stuff done. Love, love, love, local coffee shops!

 

Hy-Vee (3100 W Broadway)

—–> LAST, but certainly not least, I have to give a huge shout-out to the local Hy-Vee for quite the impressive “healthy section” where I found the NEW Skinny Pop flavors that I SO highly recommend :) I’m probably the only person that would get pumped to go to a new grocery store and find new products, but hey, it is what it is! #sorrynotsorry You should ask my sis though, I was completely geekin out over this popcorn y’all (lol)

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Annnnnd that’s a wrap :) If ya ever head to Columbia (for whatever strange reason) — I hope you’ll check these places out!

Until next time,

xoxo

Kelsey

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