Spinach and Ricotta Naked Ravioli

Scandalous name for a post, no?

That’s just the kind of mood I’m in

Does that sound bad?

Eh, it happens

I actually got the idea for this recipe here

Only I upped the ante by making my own butter and ricotta for the ravioli

I’m so fancy

So what exactly is a “naked” ravioli?

Let me break it down for ya

You know when it’s summer, and sweltering hot, and you’re trying to sleep but your damn blanket is making you so sweaty so you end up throwing it off in a fit of rage in the middle of the night? Wel,l that’s how I imagine naked ravioli was born. The little spinach ricotta filling just got too hot one day and while baking in the oven split open its little pasta blanket shell. And whoever was making them thought “why don’t I just get rid of this shell and let this ‘oli breath?”

That’s why these are such an awesome summer recipe, they are comforting and creamy thanks to the ricotta and the spinach keeps it fresh. And because there’s no pasta, there is no carb overload to weigh you down.

But wait, the plot (or rather, the sauce) thickens!

I dressed these raviolis ever so lightly with a brown butter sage sauce

What you’ll need:

2 cups of fresh Spinach – when cooked…roughly 2 bunches

2 cups Ricotta

1 cup Parmesan, grated

1 Egg

1 tsp. Nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 stick Butter

1 bunch Sage, stems trimmed

What to do with it:

Preheat the oven to 500

Cook the spinach in 1 of 2 ways – wilt in a pan or boil for 1 minute. Don’t kill the spinach, you want it to retain some form, but you don’t want it to be stiff

Drain spinach thoroughly – squeeze it until you think it can’t be squeezed anymore. Excess water will ruin your ravioli’s curvacious figure

Once drained, roughly chop the spinach

Combine Spinach, Ricotta, Parmesan, Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get them a little dirty

Scoop out Tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball – I prefer them be oval, but if a round ball tickles your fancy, go for it

Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil
Cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the tops are gently brown

While they are cooking, heat butter in a pan on medium heat

Allow the butter to brown ever so slightly then add the sage leaves, cooking until the leaves begin to crisp and curl

*I have added the sage at the same time as the butter and found that the leaves crisp up too much and end up tasting just a little too burned plus the burnt pieces break off and muddle the gorgeous color of the browned butter

When the naked raviolis are done place them on your serving platter and top each with a few sage leaves, then pour butter across the tops

Maybe pair it with a refreshing gin and tonic?

Just a thought

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Parmesan Thyme Crackers

Sometimes I think we take the carbs in our lives for granted. Breads, crackers, chips, ect. They are always there when we need them, they last for a considerable amount of time, come in a multitude of flavors and pair nicely with TONS of stuff.

So, this post goes out to the crackers of the world. I salute you and your ability to accompany cheese so delightfully.

But first, let me introduce you to someone special. Someone that I rarely get to spend time with due to distance and my busy schedule when I do come into town.

I’d like you all to meet my mother’s Kitchen Aid Mixer.

It’s big, blue, and beautiful and my mother has adorned it with a many fantastic attachments.

If anyone was to ever bestow upon me this fine piece of machinery, I very well might die of excitement. I just don’t know what color I would want yet…mint green, royal purple, copper? With over 20 different colors how is a girl ever supposed to choose!?

I would surely feel the need to buy every attachment as well; the pasta maker, the meat grinder, the ice cream bowl, the citrus juicer, the ravioli maker. Yea, Kitchen Aid would make a lot of money off of me.

Anyway, moving on.

Crackers. I don’t make a habit of keeping them in my house. But they are one of those things I have always wanted to make myself.

I thought to myself, if I’m gonna take the time to make crackers, they are gonna be fancier. Personally, I think that anything containing fresh herbs are automatically elegant. And, as you may know, I adore anything with cheese.

Parmesan Thyme Shortbread Crackers seem to fit the bill.

Adapted from: Ina Garten

Makes about 46 crackers

What you’ll need:

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temp

6 ounces finely grated Parmesan Cheese

2 1/2 cups Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tbs. water*

What to do with it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mix butter with an electric mixer or a hand mixer until creamy

2. Add in the Parmesan, then the Thyme, salt and pepper

3. Slowly add the flour 1/4 cups at a time

*if the dough seems a bit dry, add water

4. Flour a cutting board and when the dough has been well incorporated place it on the board and divide into 2 evenly sized mounds

5. Roll into 9 inch long logs (2 logs total)

6. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 25-30 minutes to firm

7. Take out of the freezer, unwrap and cut the dough into 1/4-1/2 inch slices with a very sharp knife. I got about 23 crackers per log

8. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven. For a moister, breadier cracker, bake for 24 minutes, for a drier, crisper cracker about 32 minutes. Check on them all the while, I wanted my crackers to develop some extra color, so I left them for the 32 minutes.

Put a little salami on top for a protein filled snack

Smear a little cream cheese over it and top with a baby sprig of thyme for a creamy and cooling afternoon treat.

Or because I know you all to be crafty little foodies, make both of them, turn ’em in on each other and have a mini meat and cheese sandwich.

These crackers are herbaceous and savory and wonderful and addicting and light (despite the butter) and unique and a crowd pleaser.

So make them. You won’t regret it.

RAW Food Challenge Day 5

Today, it’s Friday.

Friday is glorious for me because it’s the start of my weekend.

Friday is also tragic for me because it’s the end of my weekend.

I’m in school Mon-Thurs and then I work Sat, Sun, Wed

I usually try to make Friday count by doing fun stuff around the city, but every once in a while, I have to spend my Fridays doing domestic stuff. Like laundry, cleaning the house, scrubbing the stove, ect.

Today is that Friday.

Since pretty much every other day I’m up between 7:00-8:00am, I slept in today.

Until 11:00!

I probably could’ve gone longer, but that’s when Matt, my main (and only) squeeze, text me asking how I slept. I told him I was still sleeping and rolled over for another 30 minutes, just ’cause I could.

When I finally deemed it an appropriate time to get up I made myself a cup of coffee, played with Fletcher, and lounged in my silky robe (scandalous).

Fletcher has lazy mornings every morning. Lucky boy.

After a long hot shower where I sang Lana del Rey at the top of my lungs, or I rather, in my best chilling soulful voice, I got dressed and discovered that I can put my belt one notch tighter! This raw challenge is doing some unexpected good!

I think its time to invest in a new belt, since this one is hanging a little too much now. Such a shame since this has been my go to leather belt since the day I found it for $7 at a thrift store!

Breakfast: Berry Banana Smoothie

When I started thinking about breakfast, I looked through my fridge and saw that all my raw food has really been dominating every square inch of it (sorry roomies)! Part of the problem is the half full containers of fruit and tomatoes. I wanted to clear up some space so I pulled out the blueberry and strawberry containers and dumped them in my blender to make a nice berry smoothie.

I pulled out my almost empty jar of almond milk and a frozen banana, for good measure.

In my opinion, there is nothing better than fresh semi-tart blueberries. I may or may not be know for going through entire containers of them in one sitting. (Better blueberries than chocolate though).

I blended everything together for a minute, by everything I mean:

2/3 cup of Blueberries

10 medium sized Strawberries

1 Frozen Banana

1 1/2 cups Raw Almond Milk

4 ice cubes, optional

Gosh, I really do love smoothies in the morning.

Perhaps another reason I love this smoothie so much is because it matches the color of my walls.

A short story: When my mom was pregnant with me, her and my dad decided they wanted my gender to be a surprise so as a result, they chose to paint my room yellow (because a boy would love to grow up in a bright yellow room, obviously). Then, when I moved into my first apartment, I shared a room with another girl and the color that coordinated with both of our bed spreads was yellow, who woulda known? Now that I am in an apartment that allows me to paint, in a room to myself, I decided to fulfill what my childhood deprived me of, a pink room!

Speaking of which, let me give you a short tour of my humble abode, or at least just a tour of my room.

Anyway, back to my smoothie!

Oops, I guess there’s nothing to get back to!

Lunch: Ants on a Log

This meal was inspired by my sweet baby-angel younger sister, Julia. When she was in kindergarten she participated in an after school program, Cubbyville, where once a week they would have little cooking lessons (mostly done by the teacher), nevertheless, I thought it was such a cool idea to expose kids to how easy it is to make healthy food. It was adorable because every day after that class, Julia would come home with her “recipe book” of what they made that day so she could excitedly show me her latest food project.

Ants on a Log was the cutest, so thank you Jules for the great idea!

You start with some freshly rinsed celery that has been patted dry

Fill in the celery with your favorite nut butter, I couldn’t choose between almond and peanut, so I did a few of each!

 

Top with some delicious and raw sun dried raisins

 

Oh gosh, munching on these made me feel like I was a little kid again!

Dinner: Thai Inspired Salad with a Peanut Butter Vinaigrette

My mother is the Salad Queen. Hands down, nobody can put together a salad like her. Whether the main vessel is lettuce (or greens), or pasta, or potato, or egg, or fruit, or meat Momma Kerley can make one composed dish. God bless her.

This is the raw interpretation of one such salad, minus the shredded chicken.

I’m sorry for the wacky lighting in some of the pictures, it was getting dark so I had to use flash in some of them!

The ingredients are simple, and not exact:

Romaine Lettuce

Grated Carrot

Bean Sprouts

Snow Peas

Green Onion

For the dressing:

2 Tbs. Raw Peanut Butter

2 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbs. Agave Nectar

2 Tbs. Sesame Seeds

2 Tbs. Water

Normally, I make this with Balsamic Vinegar and sugar in which case the sugar content would be lower, but I upped it in this recipe since Apple Cider Vinegar is so pungent! This is all to your taste, of course!

Before mixing ^

Top with a big handful of cilantro and its ready to eat!

I had a very nice and relaxing day by myself, I’ll tell ya, sometimes I really enjoy having time alone. Even if that means I just putter around the house bleaching my sink, vacuuming the rugs and cleaning out my desk drawers. I felt very productive and accomplished.

Lucy and her friend came home a bit ago and are making molten lava chocolate cookies, so I have barricaded myself in my room to avoid the temptation!

Wish me luck for the next 2 days where I will be surrounded by non-raw food at work! Lordy!

RAW Food Challenge Day 2

Hello all!

Today is Day 2 on my raw food journey, I’m jazzed!

I woke up at 7 this morning feeling great, just a little tired since it was 7 and I went to bed late (pretty much the story of my life).

I made a tasty batch of Almond Milk with the almonds I’ve been soaking and was so captivated by the taste I decided to build my breakfast around that!

This is what my almond milk looked like before I strained it

Since I’m not a breakfast person, I wanted something that wouldn’t feel too breakfast like, something that I like eating any time of the day. Then it hit me, a smoothie!

Breakfast: Banana and Two Nut Smoothie

This recipe is great cause it takes literally 5 minutes and is so simple!

This smoothie consists of

2 Frozen Bananas (or fresh bananas, and then include ice. I used frozen to kill 2 birds with 1 stone)

1/2 cup Raw Peanut Butter

2 cups Raw Almond Milk

1/4 cup of Raw Almond Meal, optional (I did this to get a little more texture and protein)

I love the color banana skins turn when they’ve been frozen, its the perfect mustard yellow!

The one thing I hate about frozen bananas with the skin still on is what a pain in the butt it is to take frozen skin off!

Toss those 3 (or 4, if you include the Almond Meal) ingredients into the blender and let it run for a minute or so

Then pour it into a glass and enjoy!

Lunch: Kale and Good Stuff Salad with Sweet and Seedy Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing

Tuesdays are my long day at school, so I decided to buy lunch on campus. We have a salad bar that I frequent about 2 times a week, so I know they have a nice selection of produce to eat. The one thing I was worried about was the dressing situation.

Def haven’t seen anything raw in that department. So I made my own and packed it in a tiny 1 oz glass jar this morning.

My recipe is not exact but roughly it goes like this:

2 parts raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

2 parts Cold Pressed Olive Oil

1 part Agave Nectar

1 part Chia Seeds

Mix together in a bowl, adjust quantities if needed, and put in glass jar for transportation

As I was packing up my dressing, I started thinking about all the things I could have on my salad today; corn, green beans, carrots, peas, edamame, chickpeas, raisins, sunflower seeds…and then I realized NONE OF THAT IS RAW! The place on campus blanches all the veggies, the raisins are probably not sun dried, and the sunflower seeds are toasted.

SHOOT.

So I hurried my butt up and threw together a salad. Here’s how it went:

Started with some Kale then added:

Diced Cucumber I had leftover from yesterday’s lunch

Clover Sprouts

Blueberries

Halved Grape Tomatoes

Broccoli Florets

Mushrooms

Avocado, lots and lots of avocado

And a big handful of Raw Hulled Hemp Seeds

I inhaled this, that’s how good it was. I eat every single one of these things raw all the time so it just made sense to make them into an awesome salad!

Snack: Sliced Watermelon and Kombucha

Breakfast this morning seriously filled me up, so I didn’t even need to eat my snack until the interim between lunch and dinner, and even then I wouldn’t have classified myself as starving. Protein early in the morning is the way to go.

Sidenote: I will be drinking a Kombucha everyday with my snack, because I like them, they are raw, they are good for you, but mostly ’cause they were on sale at the market, $5 for 2, when normally they are $4 each.

Today I went with GT’s Trilogy, which has a nice pungent gingery taste

I had half of that baby watermelon left over from yesterday as well, so I sliced it up to go along with my drink.

Dinner: Fiesta Stuffed Bell Peppers

Growing up, my mom used to make these amazing stuffed peppers that I crave to this day. She would take a bell pepper; red, orange, yellow, or green and fill them with a mixture of beans, rice, onions, corn, and ground beef or turkey, all of which was cooked in a slightly spicy sauce. She would top with a generous amount of shredded cheese and then put them in a deep skillet with a couple inches of water and let the steam slightly cook the bell pepper which simultaneously melted the cheese.

That was my inspiration for dinner tonight.

I found these adorable tiny orange bell peppers at my corner market for only 59 cents!

I cut the tops off of them and cleaned out their guts

Then I stuffed it in layers, starting with some raw garlic hummus I made

After the hummus went:

Green Onions

Sprouts

then some homemade Pico de Gallo

I made my Pico de Gallo with:

Grape Tomatoes

Cilantro

Red Onion

Lime Juice

The best part about the stuffed peppers my mom makes is the melted cheese on top. One of the hardest parts about going raw is not eating cheese, since I love it so much.

I was sorely craving some cheese on top when I remembered…Nutritional Yeast! It’s known for its cheesy flavor! A few of my friends reminded me that it’s raw so I bought some a few days ago. A healthy sprinkling of that on top, and my fiesta peppers were finished!

Today’s meals were great and minus the prep work of the almond milk and hummus, the construction of my each one took less than 20 minutes. Having the extra protein this morning certainly made me feel more alert, however, my lack of sleep caused my body to ache all over. I’m gonna head to bed soon and get a proper nights rest to circumvent feeling like this tomorrow!

My goodnight questions to you are, what are some of your favorite hummus flavors? And how do you use nutritional yeast?

RAW Food Day 1

Today is my first day of my RAW food challenge!

I woke up this morning freezing cold, which made getting out of bed a rather harsh experience. Especially since I was getting up 30 minutes earlier than I usually do to make my breakfast.

That has been the first adjustment on this challenge. Normally, I just drink coffee in the morning and then go about my merry way until lunch at about noon. So the act of eating at 7:30 in the morning was a little tough. But I’m really excited about what I made!

Breakfast: Overnights Oats, Fruit and Seeds

1 cup raw overnight oats

1 apple of your choosing, I went with Fuji

3 Tbs. Chia Seeds

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. All-Spice

1 Tbs. Agave Nectar

Best part? This is super easy to make

1. Soak your raw oats in water the night before, just enough to cover the amount you will be eating

2. Chop up an apple

3. Measure out your Chia seeds, agave nectar, cinnamon, and all-spice

4. Mix together

5. Devour

Snack: Raw nut mix and Kombucha

I have school on Monday’s from 9-11 but today I am going to be out and about working on a few articles for the magazine, so I thought it would be good to pack something to munch on. I erred on the lighter side and went with a mixture of raw:

Sunflower Seeds

Walnuts

Pecans

How to make it?

1. Put nuts in a Tupperware

2. Close with lid

TA-DA!

Then, I pulled a Kombucha out of my fridge, I went with GT’s Passionberry Bliss for today.

I packed these in my bag and left for school. Easy. Healthy. Tasty.

Lunch: Fruit and Veggie Salad with a Homemade Tahini Dressing

On the bus ride home from school I started thinking about what I was in the mood to eat for lunch. I knew I wanted some sort of a refreshing salad, and something with the Tahini sauce I made this morning. Then I thought, well, cucumber, tahini and dill taste good together. Cucumber and watermelon taste nice when paired together. Watermelon and Asian pear are a wonderful combination. And then I decided that some jicama would round the dish out quite nicely! Thus, my lunch was born!

This is extremely simple to make, start with:

1 Cucumber

1/2 Jicama Root

1/2 of a small Watermelon

2 Asian Pears

A hearty handful of fresh Dill

Homemade Tahini dressing to taste

Dice all the produce into bite sized pieces and put in a plate

Use a heavy hand to sprinkle Dill on top of it all

Top with a few Tbs of Tahini

I ate quite a bit of this because it was so yummy!

Dinner:

I wanted my first dinner to be something unique and a a bit of twist on an old classic. What’s more of an old classic than pasta?!

Raw pasta? Yup. Raw fettucini in fact. Vegetable fettucini.

How did I do it?

I used my handy dandy vegetable peeler…and after I got past the peel, I just kept going!

I wanted lots of color so I used:

1 Zucchini

1 Yellow Squash

1 large Carrot

and about 4 stalks of Asparagus

The asparagus proved to be a little hard to peel because of those most wonderful tips, so I just chopped them off and saved them to top my pasta with!

Now let’s get a little saucy with it.

What kind? Marinara, obviously.

I really enjoy roasted red bell peppers added to my marinara, so I decided to spice up my marinara with some raw bell peppers.

I kept the sauce simple by using:

10oz of grape tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic

1 whole red bell pepper

and a pinch of salt

I threw them in my little purple food processor and chopped it for a few seconds, tasted it and whew! That garlic sure did make the sauce spicy!

I finished the meal by putting my fettucini in a bowl, topping with my sauce and then garnishing with some roughly chopped basil.

Super good and incredibly fresh tasting and only took about 20 minutes to make.

My one qualm, it was cold. (Duh, its raw). But it’s cold out right now, and cold vegetable pasta just doesn’t warm you up the way normal pasta does. But hey, I guess that’s what blankets are for!

As the end of Day 1 fast approaches, I gotta tell ya, I’m feeling pretty nice. I’m a little tired (but then again, I only slept 6 hours last night), otherwise, I feel decently energized. Tomorrow, I’m gonna try to eat a little more of each meal, because I definitely didn’t eat 6 pounds today and I got super hungry a few times throughout the day.