New Year's Day Cooking Class
While New Year’s Eve is an exciting time of creating resolutions and saying goodbye to the prior year, New Year’s Day can always be a bit, well, uneventful. So, this year I decided that to host a class that would help make people’s goals of eating healthy in 2019 a reality. At 2pm on January 1st, I finally put my longterm goal into action and hosted a 15 person class full of matcha, sweet potatoes, and dark chocolate (just a few of my favorite things). Having so many members of my Granolagrrl community who have been with the blog since the beginning all together in the same space was so crazy and humbling. No, I am not a professional chef or the guru of all things health, but I am passionate about food and friends and forming communities by uniting the two, and that was enough for me to decide to do this class. No, the class wasn’t completely smooth-sailing and there are many things I would change if I were to do this again in the future, but the patience and support that came from all who attended really made the class so amazing. Let’s make 2019 the year of Granolagrrl becoming more than just a digital platform, but rather a jumping off point towards developing healthy communities. With a start like this, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!
Before the class started, I had out some appetizers that are some of my favorites: sweet potato fries and avocado hummus. These recipes have popped up on a couple of other posts but I’ll include them again here since they are such simple crowd-pleasers. The only reason we didn’t make these in the class was to save some time for other, more dorm-friendly recipes!
1 can chickpeas (washed)
1 tbsp olive oil (or avocado)
Spices (crushed red pepper, Tony’s, paprika, salt) to taste
Mix together the olive oil, avocado, and chickpeas in a food processor.
Add the spices and blend until the mixture reaches a creamy consistency.
Sweet Potato Fries
One sweet potato (or more if desired)
Avocado or olive oil
Dash of oregano
Dash of Tony’s Italian Seasoning
Dash of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning
Dash of crushed red pepper
1.) Poke several holes into the sweet potato with a fork.
2.) Put the potato in the microwave for 5-8 minutes and rotate about halfway through.
3.) Top with your favorite toppings! Most of which can be found at a college salad bar.
The first stop on the cooking class train was a build your own lavash flatbread. Not exactly a dorm recipe because it is made best when cooked in an oven, but a favorite all the same. Essentially, I had a bunch of chopped veggies and cheeses (dairy free and regular) prepped for people, and they just topped it however they chose. I included this recipe because I really wanted to emphasize that veggies can be consumed in so many ways, even on a yummy flatbread!
1 piece of lavash bread
2 tbsp pesto
Cheese of choice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Top the lavash bread with all ingredients.
3. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until crispy.
Next up: matcha!! A personal fav of mine so of course I included it in the class. While I definitely do not make this as much in college as I did senior year of high school, it is still one of my favorite drinks to make and is always such a treat. If you do not have a blender, you can always just stick all of these ingredients into a jar with a closed lid and shake. It may not be as smooth as if it were made in a blender, but it will still be delicious.
1 packet of matcha (about 1 tsp)
8 oz of almond milk
½ tsp maca powder
¼ tsp honey
1.) Fill a cup halfway with ice.
2.) Mix together the matcha, almond milk, maca, and honey in a blender. If you do not have a blender on hand, put it in a sealed container like a mason jar and shake (with the ice).
3.) If blending it, pour over the ice and enjoy!
After this, protein balls were the move. I have been loving them so much as a snack throughout the week at college! Plus, they are pretty fun to make.
Nut butter (in the class, I used sunflower butter but almond or peanut butter work well too)
Dark chocolate chips (optional)
1.) Mix together honey and nut butter in a bowl.
2.) In that same bowl, add a little bit of oats and mix. Continue adding oats and mixing until the mixture forms a consistency that can be easily molded.
3.) Add the cinnamon and/ or chocolate chips (optional).
4.) Form the mixture into ball shapes with your hands and put it in the freezer for at least an hour. These are able to last all week so they’re a great thing to prep!
Next up were chocolate covered almond butter dates! These were so easy and make such a good dorm dessert. Yes, the ingredients are not super common for college students to just have on hand, but once you purchase them, you can make these naturally sweetened desserts for so long.
Dark Chocolate Chips
Coconut oil (optional)
1.) Slice each date in half, removing the pits as you do.
2.) Fill the inside of each date with your choice of nut butter and stick both of the sides back together.
3.) Dip the dates in melted dark chocolate. (Done in the microwave by mixing chocolate chips and coconut oil, stirring every 30 seconds.)
4.) Freeze for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.
We did another savory dish towards the end that was better suited for a college dorm than the lavash flatbread. This recipe was always a go-to growing up and I can’t think of a better place to demo it than to a bunch of college and high school students!
Dash of milk (optional)
Mixed vegetables (greens, tomato, sweet potato)
Olive oil or cooking spray
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1.) Spread olive oil on the inside of a small bowl or mug with a napkin.
2.) Add the vegetables to the inside of the mug/bowl. These can often be found in a dining hall salad bar.
3.) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and some milk together.
4.) Pour the egg mix over the vegetables in the mug/bowl.
5.) Microwave for about 1-1.5 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked.
Last but not least, we made a classic smoothie bowl. This is an easy thing to do with any blender and was such a fun way to end the class!
Green Boost Smoothie Bowl
1/2 tbsp spirulina
Handful of spinach
1 cup mango
1/2 cup pineapple
Toppings (we used chia, hemp, granola, and blueberries)
Mix the greens, coconut milk, and spirulina in the blender until the greens are fully blended.
Add in the fruit and blend on a low setting, stopping and stirring as needed.
Top with the toppings of your choice!
One of my favorite details of the class was the overnight oats mixes that were given in the goodie bags! Each one only needs a couple of wet ingredients added to it and it’s good to go! For these, I used about a cup of oats, a few tablespoons of chia, a tablespoon of cacao powder, and a dash of cinnamon. All you need to do is either add honey + milk or banana + a little milk. Breakfast made even more simple! I also added my favorite granola bar, a reusable straw, and a packet of matcha to give everyone in the class a little something to try at home as well.
My main goal for having this class was to emphasize that healthy, simple cooking is something that everyone is able to do. Yes, I still sometimes set off the fire alarm while trying to use a stove (oops, busted), but I didn’t do this class to show off my mad stove skills, I did this class so that I could get people excited about fruits and vegetables and all of the amazing things that can be done with them. I did it so that I could put all of the talk I talk on my account into action.
Let it be known that this class could not have been done without the assistance of my family and friends as well as the support of all of those who attended! Although putting on this class was not necessarily smooth-sailing, the positive energy from everyone at the event made it so much smoother. Cheers to 2019, to trying new things, to bringing together communities, and to turning healthy eating into something that is exciting. Couldn’t have started it better.