Archive | January, 2015

Five for Friday: Indoor Workouts

30 Jan

January has come and gone, which means 1.5 more months of winter (fingers crossed) for DC. Come on, Spring! It’s Friday and I’m linking up with Cynthia, Courtney, and Mar for a Friday Five Link Up. (Said another way: it’s Friday and I’m avoiding studying for my impending pharmacology midterm. Blech.)

This is what happens when you google image “winter fitness,” in case you were wondering.

Back around my birthday, I wrote about some new goals for increasing strength, flexibility, and agility by taking more classes– here are some of the indoor workouts that have helped me achieve these goals.

1. – I wrote about this last year, when it seemed like we’d never leave the house again after the 18th snowday last winter. Back then I was really into Dawnelle Arthur’s classes, and these days I’m taking a lot of the Rockin’ Bhakti classes with fun names like “Kick Your Asana.”

2. SolidCore–I have said it before and I will say it a million more times– SolidCore is the best cross training I’ve ever done. I have gained tons of strength in those stabilizing muscles that are so crucial to injury-free running, plus it’s fun and a never-ending challenge. PS- If you live in Old Town and want a FREE class, email me at cookingupkefi[at]gmail[dot]com and I will hook you up! They are opening an Alexandria location and want to give you a preview!

3. AfroFunk — a small-but-mighty little studio just opened two blocks up the street from my house, and I have loved the variety of dance, barre, and Pilates classes there. Dee opened up the studio after losing an amazing 300 lbs(!) and is still going strong. Her kickboxing had my arms so shredded that it was tough to type the next day, and The AfroFunk class keeps my heart rate high and my thighs burning! Right now you can get 10 classes for $55 (excluding Pilates Reformer classes), which is a ridiculously-good deal.

4. Spinning— this is kind of a nobrainer. But, if you’re in DC and can make it, try and check out Arthur’s 630 on Monday class–he is NOT playing with his music or his instruction.

5. The 12-Minute Athlete — file this under “things we should have thought of before.” This web site puts together 12-minute circuits and you can search by equipment, target area, or even choose neighbor-friendly circuits if you’re in an apartment like me.

What are you favorites? And who’s going to sweat through SolidCore with me?


Chocolate Oatmeal Chunkers

27 Jan

I wish today were Monday so I could participate in my first ManCrushMonday, but it’s Tuesday so we’ll just have to go with RCT: Righteous Chef Tuesday. It’s probably for the best anyway because my true Man Crush is Yotam Ottolenghi … but he’s going to have to get used to sharing Chef Kefi, RN with Orange County, NY’s prodigal son, Johnny Iuzzini. MamaKef bought all of us his cookbook, SugarRush, for Christmas because it turns out he graduated from our high school and she is the unofficial president of the non-existent alumni association, so she had to support. The cookbook is awesome and filled with lots of interesting takes on old favorites. So I’m all about it.

I made these gluten-free chocolate oatmeal CHUNKERS (his caps, not mine) and found them stupendous.


This is very much an “inspired-by” recipe– go here for the original (which is easier and for which you probably have all the ingredients… just use butter for coconut oil, regular sugar for the unrefined stuff they list, and grind up quick oats to make oat flour). I couldn’t find gluten free rolled oats and had to sub in steel cut oats (seriously, Whole Foods?!), which then required me to change the liquid, oven heat and baking time… so my result was a deviation, but still so yummy. I mailed them off to CafeKef and ChampagneOnlyKef, so we’ll REALLY be in business once we get their stamp of approval.

GF SF Chocolate Oatmeal CHUNKERS


  • 3/4 c coconut oil in liquid form (or softened unsalted butter)
  • 1.5 c palm sugar (or regular– you do you)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c steel-cut oats, finely ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 c + 2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c hot (but not boiling) coffee (or other yummy flavored liquid- simple syrup, hot chocolate, Godiva liquor, and Bailey’s all come to mind)
  • 1.75 c carob or bittersweet choc chips
  • 1 c gluten-free flour (I used Cup4Cup and suggest you do, too, for best results)


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and steel cut oats. Add the hot (but not boiling– I mean it!) liquid and let sit for about 30 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix coconut oil/butter with sugar on medium low until incorporated, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add eggs, and mix on low. Scrape down the bowl again, increase the speed to medium and mix until you have a creamy mixture, which will take 4-5 minutes or so.

3. With the mixer back on low speed, slowly add the oats/cocoa/liquid mixture and stop as soon as it’s combined. Add the salt, carob/choc chips, then add the flour 1/2 c at a time. Let the first 1/2c of flour combine before adding the second, but don’t dillydally, as that will overwork your batter.

4. Spoon heaping tablespoons about two inches apart from one another onto your cookie sheets and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (note: I did one batch without chilling and they were still good, but the ones out of the fridge were better).

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes on the pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Eggplant Pizza for Your Snow Day

26 Jan

If you’re part of the bazillions of people for whom meteorologists are predicting impending doom, here’s a CuK throwback — eggplant pizza! Grain free and awesome– served with a side of 90s nostalgia.


Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”

21 Jan

This post could also be called “The Time I Ate 6 Oz of Feta in One Sitting,” but as I am drowning in school work, I will save that story for another day (Care to chat about anticholinergics? Call your girl). I had every intention of simply Greek-ifying this ridiculously good-looking cauliflower-based grilled cheese, but once I sampled the “bread” I got impatient, remembered I actually don’t really love grilled cheese that much, and decided to scarf down the patties on their own instead. 2015 is all about living with no regrets, right?

Anyway, these are simple and so yummy. The “bread” is plenty cheesey already and without the round of extra toasting they turned out very similar in texture and crispiness to hash brown patties.  They also marked my inaugural trial of the Ninja food processor (vs my beloved Cuisinart), so more on that later. Do any of yall use the Ninja? Any fans out there?


Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”


  • small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz Feta (I used fat free because I am powerless in the face of Feta… but you do you)
  • 2-3 TBS chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is a fine grain. Throw it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. Let cool. Put in a cheesecloth or fine strainer and strain as much water as possible out of it.

2. Combine strained cauliflower, 2 eggs, and remaining ingredients. If the mixture will stick together to form a patty, congrats, you’re done. If it doesn’t, throw the other egg in there and mix again.

3. On a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet, shape the mixtures into patties (I used my fingers and the back of a fork). Cook for 16-25 minutes, depending on how successful you were at getting out the water. They’re done when they are browned to your liking.

Garlic Mustard Tofu Lettuce Wraps

14 Jan

MrKef and I have been trying out Washington’s Green Grocer, which is an awesome CSA that lets you pick from a few different types of boxes, order by the week (rather than subscribe), and swap out the items you don’t love with the ones you do. Annnd they deliver! We love it for the weeks I have grossly underestimated how many brussels sprouts two people can eat, or for the times when my work schedule was too weird to make it to the grocery store before Thursday. We don’t use it every week, but it comes in mighty handy when we do.

Anyway, this week we got some romaine lettuce in our box. I was determined to make something other than a sub-Sweetgreen salad, and so I whipped up these fun little wraps. They couldn’t have been easier, and I had lots of filling left over to use in my eggs and tortillas for the rest of the week.

photo 2

Garlic Mustard Tofu Lettuce Wraps


  • head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and dried
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • one bag of Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw (or any bagged slaw mix)
  • 1/2 bag of frozen roasted corn
  • 1 package of extra firm tofu, diced
  • 3 TBS mustard
  • 1 TBS garlic paste (the cheap jarred kind, not the fancy tube kind)
  • 5 TBS tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 bunch of green scallions, cut quite small (I use kitchen scissors)
  • cilantro, to taste


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the frozen corn until warm. Pour in a bowl and set aside. In the same large pan, throw in the broccoli slaw and cook until tender, about 7 minutes.

2. While the slaw cooks, mix the mustard, garlic, tamari, and maple syrup.  Give it a taste. Don’t like it? Add more of what you like most until you get the right savory/sweet balance.

3. Pour the sauce over the tofu. Once the slaw is tender (but not soggy), add the corn, then the tofu and sauce. Stir well. Add scallions and cilantro. Stir fry until tofu is just starting to stick to the bottom. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two.

4. Put 1 TBS on each romaine leaf. Roll up and enjoy.

Four for Friday: Some Things to Help You Keep Your Resolutions

9 Jan

It’s the end of the first week of the year, which seems good a time as any to share some things I love that may come in handy for some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. I love a goal and a resolution , so while everyone else is telling you that NYR are a waste of time, I’m that voice in your head saying that you should absolutely go ahead and do everything you can to make it happen. And that’s what I have to say about that.

If your resolution is to…

Get green: check out these razors and toothbrushes that are made out of recycled yogurt containers. I absolutely love these guys. They are comparatively priced, can be recycled AGAIN (re-recycled?) and are pretty easy to find if you live near a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or small natural food store like YES! or Mom’s. (BTW: shouldn’t the plural of toothbrush be teethbrushes? I really need to speak to Webster about this.)

Get fit: I absolutely love the Nike Training Club App. After downloading it for free, you can pick a level, focus, and duration of work out. Then, hit play and your own little personal trainer guides you through a set of tough timed exercises. This is so helpful to me because it pulls out the terrified-of-making-her-coach-mad swimmer in me– I won’t always push myself to do that extra set of squats, but if some computerized voice coaches me through it, I’ll give 110%. Music-dependent athletes, have no fear: you can even set it to play WITH your music. It’s pretty awesome.

Get Trim: I’ve decided it’s finally time to start paying attention to portion size (truly the end of the “One Pizza Must Mean One Serving” Era), and I have found My Fitness Pal really helpful in that endeavor. You enter your goals and it tells you how many calories you “should” eat based on those goals (NB: maintenance is an option, so it’s not all about losing weight). You can track by searching or JUST SCANNING THE BAR CODE, which I find amazing (it can even scan that teeny label on apples and bananas, so it’s not-processed-food friendly). One of my favorite things is that you can pull in recipes from your favorite food blogs (you know… like, this one!) and then divide by servings to keep track of homemade food. Probably my favorite feature is that it tracks exercise, too–so you really see the “point” of working out (ie: you get to eat more!), and if you have a FitBit, it connects to that. If you’re driven by data, there are a bunch of ways to splice and dice the information you give it and really take a look at your intake vs your output… but that ain’t my bag.

Get Saving: There’s tons of advice on how to save money–take it directly out of your paycheck, don’t link your savings account to your checking out, etc. I came across this 52-week money challenge and it seemed like a good place to start. Before you start, read this guy’s thoughts on the matter and consider doing in reverse.

What are your favorite tools?

Vegan Creamy (and spicy!) Tomato Soup

8 Jan

This is an easy, one pot recipe if you’re in a part of the world that is insanely cold right now. And if you’re not…well, good on you.

I used this recipe as a guide, but kept out the brown butter, subbed coconut milk for the cream and pumpkin seeds for pistachios, and then added gf pasta. My adjustments are below.


Vegan Creamy (and spicy!) Tomato Soup

  • 2-3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 springs thyme, stemmed
  • 3 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 large (28 oz) cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch of kale, chopped
  • coconut milk, to taste (I used about 1/4, use more to increase the creaminess)
  • roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish (and eating while cooking)


1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium and add the onion, garlic, and spices. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, and cook for about 3 more minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, broth, and pasta. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes more. Stir every 5 minutes or so, being sure to scrape what sticks to the bottom of the pot.

3. When the pasta is done (around the 20 minute mark), add the kale and coconut milk and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until kale is wilted.

4. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and serve.

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