Nutrition 101: Fruit smoothies

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It’s no secret that fruits and veggies are good for your overall health. Packed with nutrients and flavor, they add a bold freshness to our lives that is a feeling that is hard to mimic. Since we oftentimes look past the abundance of variety, we are stuck eating the same Granny Smith apples or naval oranges all the time! Just like we enjoy different types of music, our bodies enjoy different types of food. To make this a tad bit simple, I’ve constructed this blog to be about smoothies to get you through Summer break.

Smoothies are delicious, colorful, and easy to make. You’d be surprised about the enormous variation of different foods that can go into a smoothie. Yogurt, seeds and nuts are just a few of the optional ingredients to mix in with some fresh or frozen fruits and/or veggies.fruit-veg-rainbow

When making a smoothie, it’s a good idea to pack it full of nutritious ingredients. To make your smoothies, you’ll need a blender. Hamilton Beach makes a good one! It’s just the right size; not too big, and small enough to keep out on your counter for impromptu smoothie nights!blender

When choosing your ingredients, do it in parts. Juice, thickener, fruit, extras. Choosing your juice shouldn’t be too difficult. Just choose one you like and buy a bottle of it to keep in the fridge. I like pomegranate juice because I like the antioxidants. Plus, it gives a nice flavor to the smoothie…almost like cranberry juice. Another juice I like a lot is aloe vera juice. It aids your digestive system… which is good for this because fruit has pulp that is hard for your body to break down. I feel like I’m doing my body a favor. Coconut milk or water is good to as well as orange, apple and pineapple.

greek-yogurt-should-you-be-eating-full-fat-yogurtA thickener is important to have in your smoothie too. It adds a heavier texture than would be if you had not used it. Greek yogurt is my favorite. It also provides a good amount of protein to make you feel full. If you don’t like the flavor of yogurt, you really won’t even be able to tell it’s in there. The fruit masks the flavor. If you’re still reluctant, try ricotta cheese! Bananas are also really good, as well as peanut butter.

Fruit is the star when it comes to making a great smoothie. Choose what you like and don’t be afraid to get creative! Whatever is in season is perfect. Peaches, mangos, blueberries and strawberries are all good… you name it! Get colorful and see what tastes good together.

980xNuts and seeds are considered to be extras. As well as different oils and powders. Even supplements! Sunflower and pumpkin seeds grind up nicely when mixed with everything else and the texture is nice too. A little crunchy, so just add a small handful. Chia seeds are packed with nutrients and don’t really have a taste. They expand in liquid though… So your small handful will turn into a bigger handful when added to the smoothie. Try putting some oils into your smoothies as well. Coconut and avocado oils are great. So are flax seeds or just the oil!

Below are some recipes to get you started:

Strawberry Banana Smoothiestrawberry banana

½ C strawberries

1 Banana

½ C Pomegranate juice

½ C Aloe juice

1 C Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

 

Mango Blueberry smoothieblueberries-and-mangoes

1 mango

½ C blueberries

½ C Orange juice

½ C coconut water

1 C Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp avocado/coconut oil

 

 

Pineapple Strawberry Grapefruit smoothie

1 C pineapple

½ C strawberries

½ of a grapefruit

½ C pineapple juice

½ C coconut milk

Small handful of unsalted sunflower seeds

Directions:

Blend until smooth.

 

So everybody, stay on track this Summer and cool down with a fruit smoothie! You ‘ll wish you had started this sooner, but that’s okay. Better late than never! J

Come be GCC’s Top Chef!

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top chef logoWhat: GCC Top Chef

When: April 24, 2017

Where: The Root at College Village

If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen! This event is sizzling with flavor to get us ready for the end of semester. On Monday, April 24th, there will be a Top Chef competition between GCC Alumni and current students where the top 3 winning teams will earn bragging rights and $20 added to their dining account. Stop by the Root at College Village for your chance to judge the six teams’ hard work as they strive to take home the victory. Anybody can be a judge. In fact, a goal for this event is to have Alumni attend as well as current students. Becoming a judge takes a little extra effort, but it’s not something you want to miss out on! To be come a judge, all you need to do is register with Purple Briefcase.Purple-Briefcase

How to Sign-up with Purple Briefcase:

  • Go to genesee.edu/career
  • Click on the Purple Briefcase banner
  • Select New Student (this includes Alumni, Community members and faculty/staff)
  • Fill out fields and click Submit

If you find yourself with any questions, stop by the Career Services room at B201. The staff over there is very friendly and will surely guide you to the right place.

Good luck, and mmm! – I’m getting hungry!chef hat 1

How to Use Different Types of Flour While Cooking

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One of my favorite things to do is cook. I find that it helps me exercise my creative side and allows me to try new things. I like the fact that I reap all the benefits of what I sew and can also share if I feel like it. Since I’ve been on this journey for a while now, I have gotten much more adventurous in my efforts to provide something delicious and nourishing to eat.

In this blog, I am going to incorporate recipes that use varieties of flour that you may not have heard of. Since people who are allergic to gluten can’t eat wheat, alternative types of flour are necessary so they can still have the foods they enjoy.

Almond Flouralmond flour

The first flour I am going to introduce is almond flour. Since it’s highly nutritious, easy to use, and readily available, almond flour is a good alternative choice to all purpose… especially if you’re health conscious. Also, if you’re on a budget, avoid purchasing it in store and buy online instead. The brands I recommend are Honeyville, JK Gourmet, Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, and nuts.com. Note: Stay away from Bob’s Red Mill. This flour tends to leave food runny and messy.

Chocolate chip almond flour cookies

Ingredients:

¼ Cup brown sugar, light or dark

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp butter at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 cups almond flour

½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment
  2. Combine brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter and mix until smooth.
  3. Mix vanilla, egg, and almond flour, stirring to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then mix for 1 minute at max speed.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips
  5. Scoop the dough one level teaspoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheet. A tbsp. cookie scoop works well too.
  6. Gently flatten cookies to about ½ inch thick
  7. Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes until they are golden brown.
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven. Allow them to cool on the pan.

 

Pecan Flourpecan_flour

Another nut flour that’s good to use is pecan flour. Since pecans are less expensive than almonds, it’s a good competitor. I’m going to give 2 recipes that you may find interesting.

Pecan Crust

This first pecan flour recipe is a pecan crust recipe that you can use with pies. Blueberry, pumpkin, and cheesecake are delicious with this crust.

Ingredients

2 ½ C pecan flour

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 c white sugar

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions

  1. Stir together ground nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in melted butter.
  2. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch deep dish style pie pan. Chill the unbaked crust in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Place crust on a cookie sheet and position on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Note: Watch carefully! Nut crusts burn easily; they don’t have to turn black to taste burnt. Cool completely before filling.

 

Carrot Cakecarrot cake

This recipe takes a spin on a good classic.

Ingredients

3 c pecan flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

5 large eggs

½ c honey or agave nectar

¼ c coconut oil, melted

3 c carrots, grated

1 c raisins

1 c walnuts

Cream cheese icing

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. In separate bowl, mix together eggs, agave/honey, oil.
  3. Stir carrots, raisins and walnuts into wet ingredients.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  5. Transfer batter to 2 well-greased 9 inch cake pans
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.
  7. Cool cake for 3 hours then remove from pan.
  8. Ice with cream cheese icing and serve.

 

Vegetable flours are used in a variety of foods… for humans and our pets! The next recipe I am going to talk about is one that I absolutely love to make for Clark, my cat. He loves it too!

Dry cat foodcat

This recipe calls for pea flour. You can buy it online or make it yourself from dried peas. All you have to do is grind the dried peas in a food processor until it’s a soft, fine substance. That’s all!

Ingredients

1 c cornmeal

2 c pea flour

3 c whole wheat flour

1 c wheat germ

1 can salmon with no bones

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp cod liver oil

1 c fat free milk powder

½ C Brewers yeast

2 C water

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, take the fish, oil, and water and mash it all together. Then, in a large bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. Next, mix both bowls together evenly. Make the dough by mixing it by hand and roll it to a thickness of about ¼ inch diameter. Use a knife to cut small ¼ inch pieces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put the bits onto a greased baking sheet; put into oven. Bak for 20-25 minutes while tossing around the bits so they brown evenly from all sides. Let the bits cool completely before removing from the oven. Refrigerate the kibble by transferring them to an airtight container. It won’t spoil for a long period of time.

 

Coconut flourcoconut flour

Coconut flour is surely growing in popularity as more people are using it for it’s many health benefits. It’s delicious, gluten free, and a healthy alternative to other flours. Try using it in this next recipe I have typed for you below.

Coconut Flour Brownies

Ingredients

½ C plus 2 tbsp coconut oil

¼ C cocoa powder

3 large eggs

½ C plus 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ C minus 1 tbsp coconut flour

½ tsp salt

1/3 C chopped walnuts (optional)

1/3 C mini chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch glass baking pan.
  2. Melt coconut oil. In large bowl, combine cocoa powder, and melted coconut oil, and eggs with an electric mixer until combined. Add in honey (or agave) and vanilla extract. Mix again. Add in coconut flour and salt and mix again until batter is combined.
  3. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Cool and serve.

 

I hope this motivates you to get a little creative in the kitchen. We are not all made the same way, therefore we should try varieties of foods to find what we truly enjoy. Good luck!

How to Cook an Easter Dinner All By Yourself!

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easter bunnyCooking a fabulous Easter dinner at home may seem like a giant un-doable feat! I am here to tell you that if you put your mind to it and set aside some time, it can most certainly be done. Below are some recipes and guidelines to get you going and ready to impress any guest welcomed to your home on April 16th.

First is the ham. When picking out your ham, you want to make sure it’s cooked. You also want to make sure you have enough for your guests. The proper method is ¾ of a pound per person for bone-in ham, and ½ of a pound per person for boneless.

For this recipe you’ll need a Reynolds Oven Bag. This helps contain the juices from the ham while it’s cooking. You will need all the juices in the next recipe.

Easter Hameaster-ham

Ingredients:

1 tbsp flour

Bone – in ham

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Shake flour in large sized oven bag, place in a roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Trim skin and fat from ham, leaving a thin layer of fat.
  3. Place ham and fat trimmings in oven bag
  4. Close bag with nylon tie. Cut six ½ inch slits in top.
  5. Bake for 13 minutes/pound or until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees. Let stand in bag for 15 minutes.

This ham should be delicious!

 

The next recipe is one for a delicious treat that is enjoyed down south. Like I said before you’ll be using all the juice from the ham that you gathered with the oven bag.

Greasy Ricegreasy rice

Ingredients:

Rice – extra long grain, white

Baked ham juice

Maybe some chicken broth

With this recipe, you need to use your math skills. We all know that the formula to cooking plain white rice is 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Well, in this recipe, you will be using the ham juice instead of water. So, for every 2 cups of ham juice, you need 1 cup of rice. If you start running out of juice and need just a little more to make a cup, use chicken broth. Like, if you have 3 ¾ cups of ham juice, but need 4 cups to make 2 cups of rice, just add ¼ cup of chicken broth. That should be just fine.

Directions:

  1. Measure out the ham juice from the oven bag.
  2. Use formula from above to determine how much rice you will need.
  3. Bring ham juice to a boil in a large pot.
  4. Add rice.
  5. Cover the pot and turn down heat to Low – or 2 – for 15 minutes. Serve.

 

Collard greens are a big hit down south. They are packed with vitamis and add a pretty green color to your arrangement of foods.

Collard GreensCollard-greens-680x520

Ingredients:

2 bags of fresh, chopped collard greens

1 can chicken broth

1 can beef broth

1 ham hock (can be found at Walmart)

1 ½ tbsp sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

Vinegar is optional

Directions:

  1. Wash the collards by pouring them into a clean kitchen sink filled with cold water. Stir them around with your hands in order to get any dirt off of them. Let them sit while you get the broth ready.
  2. In a large pot, add chicken broth, beef broth, ham hock, and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  3. Transfer collards from sink to pot
  4. Turn down heat to low-medium, or 3-4
  5. Cook for 2 hours until the collards are tender and darker in color.

 

This next recipe is a common fave. It’s sure to make everyone happy campers!

Deviled Eggseaster-deviled-eggs-11

Ingredients:

6 large eggs

2 tbsp mayo

1 ½ tbsp sweet pickle relish

1 tsp yellow mustard

1/8 tsp of salt

Dash of pepper

Directions:

  1. Place eggs in a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover. Remove from heat, let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain immediately and fill saucepan with cold water and ice. Tap eggs firmly on counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold water.
  3. Slice eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks with mayo. Add relish, mustard, salt and pepper; stir well. Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites.

 

Omg I am in love with this next recipe. Pineapple upside down cake has been around in my family for longer than I can remember!

Pineapple Upside down Cakepineapple upside down cake

Ingredients:

1 box of Classic Butter golden cake mix and all the ingredients needed to make it (eggs, butter…etc)

1 can of pineapple tidbits

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Make the cake batter just like it says on the box but instead of using water, use the pineapple juice from the can of pineapple tidbits.
  2. After you have drained and used the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple, dump the pineapple into a medium sized bowl and add the brown sugar. Mix together.
  3. Spread the pineapple/brown sugar mixture onto the bottom of a cake pan and then add cake mixture on top.
  4. Bake it like it says on the box.

 

Enjoy!

 

These recipes will give you a great start on your journey to preparing an Easter dinner all by yourself. I hope you find them easy enough to pull off and yummy enough to make again.

Happy Easter and God bless!

The Benefits of Having a Pet

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cat and ownerPer my own experience, owning and taking care of a cat fills my heart with feelings that are seemingly impossible to ignore. I personally know what it’s like to mourn over another human being, and also know that when I had a cat, I felt better. When I was 22, I made the hardest decision of my life and decided to give my newborn baby to a new family with the hopes and wishes that she would prosper and be provided for under their care. Although I knew I made the right choice given my situation (which was a situation I wasn’t able to escape from), I still felt empty and felt like I had just given all of myself away. Then I met Clark. He turned my life around by filling the space that my daughter would have. He gave me reason to strive to rise from my depressed state so that I could be the cat mom he needed and deserved. There are many reasons that owning a cat or dog are good for you. If you’re struggling on the inside, consider checking out the SPCA!cat burrito

Here are some benefits of owning a pet. Hopefully they will stand out to you and make you want to take action as soon as possible.

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Decreases risk of stroke
  • Therapeutic benefits – Loving and trusting releases a chemical in the brain called oxytocin. By feeling these emotions, you’re soothing and taking care of your body and mind.
  • Boosts immunity- By being exposed to pet dander, you’re increasing your tolerance to allergens and decreasing risk for allergies and asthma.
  • Decreased risk of heart disease and heart attacks
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Increase sociability- Owning an animal makes for a great conversation starter and can enhance the owners ability to socialize.
  • Provides companionshipdog

 

Whether you adopt from a shelter or find a breeder, the only thing that matters is your relationship with your new best friend. It seems that more often than not, people ignore the signs of being lonely. Seeing as how loneliness is extremely unhealthy (not to mention avoidable), that should really make you want to consider who your true friends are and where to find one when in need.

Friendship is based on trust. Make sure your new friend knows that you’re their friend. Afterall, they are animals and take a while to trust. In most cases it won’t be an immediate thing, but instead will take a little patience and time.dog2

Hopefully this helps you decide if having a pet is right for you. If you do decide that it is, check out the SPCA! Those animals are counting on you to at least consider them.

Simple Recipes for Busy College Students

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Eating is something everyone has in common. We all need to do it, so why not make it as simple as possible for those who have busy schedules? Whether you’re strapped for cash, or have tons of homework to complete, you still deserve a good meal at the end of the day. We should enjoy eating. After all, food is said to be a great pleasure all around the world. Let’s bring some of that to your table.

This first recipe is something I created on my own. It’s great for a snack or maybe a side to a larger dish.

 

Bagel PizzasPizza_Bagel_kmrva6

1 Bagel

2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste (get the kind with basil and oregano)

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup of mozzarella cheese

8 slices of pepperoni

To make this easy dish, cut the bagel in half and lightly broil the tops (cut side up) in your oven. This will help prevent the bagel from getting soggy once you put the sauce on. After the bagel slices are lightly browned, take them out of the oven and spread the tomato paste on them. You can add salt and pepper to the paste to make it have more flavor. Once the bagels have sauce on them, sprinkle the cheese on top. Put 4 slices of pepperoni on each bagel slice, and put them in the oven on broil. Leave in the oven until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

 

Crockpot Chicken Chilibuffalo-chicken-chili-1

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast

2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups of chicken broth

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp salt

Dash of pepper

1 ½ tbsp. crushed red pepper (optional)

Place the chicken breast in the crockpot. Pour remaining ingredients over chicken. Set the crockpot on low for 7 hours. Remove chicken breasts from crock pot and shred the chicken with 2 forks. The chicken will be tender. Return the chicken to the crockpot and cook for one more hour. Keep crock pot on warm until ready to eat.

 

Southern Lima Beans and Ricelima beans and rice

1 bag of baby lima beans, soaked overnight

1 can of chicken broth

1 can of beef broth

1 ham hock

2 cups of rice, extra long grain

4 cups of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the cans of broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the ham hock and let cook for 10 minutes. Add lima beans to the boiling broth and hock. Add enough water to completely cover the beans. Set temperature to low-medium (3 or so) and let cook for two hours or until beans are tender. Keep checking to make sure liquid is covering beans. If not, add more water. There should be about an inch of broth/water mixture covering the top of the beans.

To make rice:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt for flavor. Once water is boiling, add 2 cups of white rice. Turn down heat to low and let cook for 15 minutes. Take rice off heat and serve.

 

Teriyaki Chicken Stirfrystirfry1

5-7 strips of boneless skinless chicken tenderloin pieces, cut into chunks

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup frozen green beans

½ chopped red bell pepper (you can use any color, I just like how the red looks in this dish)

¼ c teriyaki sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Steam broccoli and carrots until tender. In a medium saucepan, cook chicken thoroughly. Add in green beans and bell peppers and also the teriyaki sauce. Once the bell pepper is cooked, add the carrots and broccoli. Toss so that everything is coated with teriyaki sauce. May serve over rice.

 

Spaghettispag

1 onion, chopped

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomato

1 can tomato paste

1 container of fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1 pound ground beef

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp dried or fresh oregano

1 package angel hair pasta

In a large pot, add ground bee. Cook on high heat until thoroughly browned. Drain fat. Add back to the pot and add all the other ingredients except for the pasta. Stir well and occasionally while on low-medium heat. Cook for 2 hours or longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the pasta and serve together.

 

Soft chicken tacoschicken-taco

2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup salsa

8 flour tortillas

1 cup chopped tomato

¼ cup preshredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup sour cream

Combine first three ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing well to combine. Spoon about 1/3 cupp chicken mixture onto each tortilla; microwave each taco for 30 seconds or until warm. Top each taco with 2 tbsp tomato, 1 tbsp cheese, and 1 ½ tbsp. sour cream. Fold in half.

 

Lemon baked chickenlemon-chicken-thigh-vert_niz7gu

1 package chicken drumsticks

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsp melted butter

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare chicken by mixing juice of one lemon, olive oil, and melted butter in a small bowl. Lay raw chicken in a casserole dish.  Spoon lemon juice/olive oil mixture onto chicken pieces. Put into the oven. Every 15 minutes, take the dish out of the oven, gather all of the juice from the bottom and spoon it over the chicken again. Bake for 1 hour.

 

I hope these recipes catch your eye and you feel like making them sometime soon. I know they are really good for being able to pretty much cook themselves. What’s good about most of these is that you can get them ready and put into the oven, or on low heat, and then forget about them for an hour or two while you’re studying or taking a shower after a ball game or something. Get creative, but mostly stick to the recipe. And always cook the meat thoroughly.

Have a good Spring Break!