Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Falling in Love with Apples

Fall is officially upon us. Whenever I think of the autumn months, my mind is automatically drawn to all things apples- apple picking, apple cider, and apple pie. One of my favorite fall traditions is taking a drive out east on Long Island, to stop at local farms and vineyards.  I often come home with bags of apples which become the perfect ingredients for all my of my fun-filled, fall recipes!

One plump apple comes fiber-filled and vitamin C-rich. With so many varieties of apples- Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, and Honey Crisp, you can choose the sweet or tart flavor that suits you best! A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found a link between apple consumption and decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. "An apple a day will keep the doctor away" may just be a saying to take a bit more seriously. 

The great thing about apples is their versatility. You can eat them completely in the nude, maybe with scoop of peanut butter, or a dash of cinnamon. When the nights get a little chilly, slice an apple and bake it with a handful of nuts and a teaspoon of brown sugar. Apples can even be incorporated into a savory meal. I love to chop up a couple of apples and mix them into mashed sweet potatoes.  

Apple Cinnamon Cakes

This recipe is sure to satisfy all of your warm, fall cravings. Packed with protein and fiber, you'll be able to keep your energy up when the temperature goes down. Enjoy!


3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
5 oz. apple sauce
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 medium apples, finely diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
4. Add the apples and walnuts. Mix well.
5. Grease small (6") bundt pans with olive oil or a cooking spray.
6. Spoon cake batter evenly into pans.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool and serve.

Makes 3 small cakes

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recipe Redux: Raw Blueberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

I am excited to announce that Noms McGee is now a proud member of The Recipe Redux! Each month a group of food bloggers are put to the test to create a super delicious, but good for you recipe based on a specific theme. September's theme was, "no bake desserts." The raw food diet has gained a lot of recognition in recent years for its fresh, wholesome, unprocessed plant food philosophy. Some believe when eaten in its raw, natural form plant foods offer more nourishment to our bodies.

This theme was definitely a challenge for me as I have never dared to prepare a no bake dessert! All I have ever known is baked cookies, cakes, and muffins. How on earth do you make a delectable dessert that's...raw?! As I started to research raw dessert recipes that already exist, I came across cheesecakes and pies. My mind was beginning to fry at this point when I heard a familiar sound...the ice cream man! It was a beautiful day so, why not make an ice cream sandwich?

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 graham cracker sheets

1. In a food processor, combine yogurt and blueberries. Pulse until completely blended together.
2. Mix in the dark chocolate chips and cinnamon.
3. Break the graham cracker sheets in half. Use a spatula to spread yogurt mix onto one half of the graham cracker. Top off the yogurt with the other graham cracker half to make a sandwich.
4. Place sandwiches on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Makes 6 Ice Cream Sandwiches

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!
(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux Contest entries only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

Friday, September 20, 2013

{Restaurant Review} Tula Kitchen

Last week, my twin sister and I celebrated a major birthday milestone...23! Things really do feel different this time around. I've never loved being home so much, in my bed, watching a movie, with the pups. Well, it's a good thing I have awesome friends to keep me chugging along. So, last Friday night a few of us got together for drinks and appetizers. My friend, Dan picked us up, dressed to the nines as always ready to escort Brittany and I to our awaiting reservation.  Boy, does he know us all too well! This was perhaps the cutest place in all of Long Island, Tula Kitchen.  Beneath the sign was the tagline, "Live to eat. Eat to live." It was love at first sight.

The restaurant offered a cozy, Moroccan inspired ambiance. Lanterns and chandeliers lit up the room. Each table had a candle fixture to set the mood for the intimate evening.

The meaning of "tula" goes something like this...
"Each and every one of us has our own personal goals in life that we strivetowards everyday. The most important things in my life have always been family, friends, love, laughter, health & belief in ones cause. The key to maintaining all of that is through "balance". When i discovered the word "Tula" which is the sanskrit meaning for balance, I knew in my heart that it was the perfect name. To be surrounded by delicious, nutritious food, good company & enjoy oneself implicitly is to be at tula. We thank you for allowing Tula to be part of your balance." 
~ Jacqueline Sharlup

Tempeh Teriyaki

The menu features healthy, organic ingredients with delicious vegetarian options. For starters, you can choose from a variety of options like, the Mediterranean spread for two which includes spinach pie, greek salad, hummus, grilled pita, and tzatziki sauce. This impressive spread could feed more than 2 people, but I'm not complaining! Salad options include a roasted asparagus salad with cannellini beans, red onions, feta, tomatoes, and red wine vinaigrette  Protein add-ons are also available for all salads- grilled chicken, organic tofu, tempeh, shrimp, and tuna. The "din-din" section features coconut and almond crusted tilapia and baked salmon cakes. If you're vegan or vegetarian you aren't limited to options here! Sesame crusted tofu and tempeh teriyaki are only a couple of items to choose from on the list.

Tula's mission is to keep you happy and healthy. Mission accomplished Tula! 

Photos courtesy of Tula Kitchen.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Nonna Francesca's Homemade Sauce

Everyone has their own idea of what a good tomato sauce is. Whether it's homemade or comes out of a jar, a sauce can make or break a dish. Growing up, I had the privilege of knowing some generous cooks who are very talented in the kitchen. Since meeting my best friend, Alex, in kindergarten, I have had the pleasure of joining her and her family for numerous family meals. Each meal I have enjoyed with them in the last 18 years has been equally delicious and creatively presented, to say the least. Everything is always served on a beautiful platter, perfectly garnished, with pristine silverware. 

When Alex told me she would be making a homemade tomato sauce with her grandma, Nonna Francesca, I immediately thought, "This has to be documented!" After hours of hard labor, jars and more jars of a truly authentic sauce were created.

Here is the lovely conversation I had with my dear friend, Alex:

Describe the steps to making the sauce.

Clean all mason jars and tops well!
Place basil leaves inside each jar.
Have pots ready for cooking the tomatoes.
Have a bowl ready for when the tomatoes come out of the machine.


1. Wash the tomatoes.
2. Cut tomatoes into chunks.
3. Cook tomatoes on stove with salt for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Make sure to stir well.
4. Put tomatoes through electric puree sauce machine.  This may need to be done a couple of times until tomatoes reach a liquid consistency.
5. Pour puree into mason jars and tighten lid.
6. Fill pot about half way with water. Place jars inside the pot and cover. Place as many jars that can fit (Approximately 5). 
7. Boil the water and keep the cans in the water for an additional 20 minutes. Done! 
*Note: Steps 2-5 will be done throughout the day. Step 6 should be done once all the mason jars are filled and sealed.

How many hands did you have helping you?

In total there were 5 of us.  Early in the morning my mom and grandma began cleaning the tomatoes.  Then, the three of us began cutting the tomatoes into chunks.  Later in the morning, my uncle arrived.  He was in charge of the electric puree sauce machine.  My mom and I continued to cut and cook the tomatoes throughout the day. My grandma supervised of course and poured the sauce into the jars.  My dad tackled the sealing process.

How long did it take?

It took a very long time! If you want to make a lot of sauce, prepare to spend at least 12 hours in the kitchen. We started at 7 am and the last batch of jars were sealed around 11:30 pm. We used 4 large batches of tomatoes which is the most we have ever done.

Any words of advice from Nana?

It is important to lay out everything ahead of time before it becomes chaotic. Lay out exactly where you'll be cutting, where the machine will placed, and where the mason jars will be lined up. You will need a lot of tables! This is a nice way to spend time with family and an opportunity to make your own sauce! Just remember it takes a lot of work but it is worth it!

Thanks Alex! And to all, buon appetito!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Roasted Potatoes & Heirloom Tomatoes

Everyone loves potatoes. Whether you're a meat and potatoes kinda guy or a french fry kinda lady, they never go out of season. Serve these roasted potatoes as a delightful side dish whenever the seasons permit.

Roasted Potatoes & Heirloom Tomatoes


5 small russet potatoes, chopped
1 cup mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
½ yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro to garnish


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and chop potatoes. Put in a medium size mixing bowl.
3. Slice tomatoes and onions. Add to bowl with potatoes.
4. Spoon vinegar and olive oil onto potatoes.
5. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. 
6. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and let bake for 30 minutes.
7. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Serve.

Serves 5

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Citrus Edamame Salad

One of my guilty pleasures is to spend a Friday night playing Frank Sinatra, lighting candles, pouring a glass of wine, and cooking a classy dinner.  The atmosphere, ambiance, and decor of your dining experience can make a meal even more enjoyable than the meal itself.  Growing up, my family and I always looked for restaurants with live music, the cafe that's just too cute to resist, and the unbelievably romantic wine bar. Today, we are Tommy Courtney's groupies (a singer at a local restaurant we all are madly in love with) and the ultimate winos.

So, as soon as I heard the whole family would be joining us for dinner on Friday, I automatically went to work. A lot of planning goes into a dinner party. You need an impeccable table cloth, matching plates, and an adorable flower arrangement.  Nance (aka Mom) cut the hydrangeas from the backyard and I set the table. You can't have a dinner party without a lovely dinner so, we sliced up some zucchini, threw chicken onto the grill, and boiled a pot of pasta. Now for the appetizers! It needed to be something so crisp, so delicious, just so perfect.

Citrus Edamame Salad


For salad:
1 bag arugula
1/2 bag salad mix
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame
1 cup frozen corn

For Dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
dash of salt and pepper


1. In a large bowl, combine arugula and salad mix.
2. Slice the fennel and red onion, then add to the lettuce mixture.
3. Add the edamame and corn. Mix well.
4. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Toss onto lettuce and mix.
5. Garnish salad bowl with lemon and lime slices.

Serve as an appetizer or side for your next dinner party.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fuelin Up for the First Day

Thursday, September 5th marked my first day back to school. Yes, I have made my way from sunny California back to the hustle and bustle of New York. As I stood in LAX airport , I contemplated canceling my flight, making a dramatic exit, running out to the street to call a know, like what you see in the movies? I quickly came back in touch with reality and spent my flight reminiscing on my unforgettable summer memories of being a beach bum, exploring the California coast, and spending time with loved ones. Work hard, play hard, right? It paid off for me. Besides all my summer fun, I took some major steps in optimizing my career as a young professional. In the past few months, I have started my very own blog, created award-winning recipes, and formed a network of life-long mentors. Life is good.

The completion of my very last semester as an undergraduate college student is filled with advanced nutrition classes- medical nutrition therapy, research methodologies, nutrition communications, and community nutrition. A whopping 17 credits puts me in class from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm. You know what that calls for? Energy! Lots and lots of energy! I'm the girl who eats breakfast an hour before class and is already hungry 10 minutes into my first class. With a half an hour commute to campus (without traffic), it is my responsibility to prepare and pack nutritious meals and snacks to get me through this busy day. And so, I have photographed my day of school meals...

Breakfast: Whole Grain Shredded Cereal + Blueberries + Walnuts + Skim Milk

Lunch: Greek Yogurt + Pistachios & Almonds + Baby Carrots + Larabar

Nutrient dense snacks filled with fiber, protein, and carbohydrates will keep you satisfied all day long. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables to compliment your meals for an extra boost of antioxidants!

Have a healthy and successful year back to school!
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