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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Hi guys,

Im going to start putting together a series every so often on “Things I’m Loving (Right Now)”- just things I am into at the moment, from food to books, to soaps, dog toys, etc. Anything and everything making my life better- and things you guys might be into as well.

So this Months List Includes the Following:

  • Dr. Bronner’s Miracle Soap in Lavender. It really does clean everything! I use it to clean out my tub, and then in my tub for a really relaxing soak. Lavender is the most calming sent to me.
  • Galaxy Granola. I was sent a few free samples a month ago and it is amazing! All natural, no added sugars, flavor baked in. It is super crunchy and has great flavor. My favorite was the Raspberry Granola with real pieces of dried raspberries in it. Yum! Try over cottage cheese for a great snack.
  • Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. A great read that really pulls you in from the first page about a refugee from Nigeria and an Englishwoman whose lives intersect. I’m really enjoying it- but its keeping me up every night!
  • The Good Fork Pork Dumplings, and the fact that they are now sold at a booth at the Brooklyn Flea every Saturday in Fort Greene. Hands down the BEST dumplings I have ever had- so juicy with amazing flavor, and this incredible sauce on top. I almost peed myself with happiness when I saw them at the Flea.
  • Pilates. I’m so into it right now! Its changing my whole body- strength, tone, flexibility, and helps you breathe better. Find a small group class near you with reformers (the machines) and go! You will love it- just shop around for a good, knowledgeable teacher. And start with a Beginner’s Class.
  • The Highline. I visited this Manhattan development this weekend for the first time- it was incredible. So cool! Old train tracks now covered in an amazing boardwalk type thing with seating, foot pools, and incredible gardens. Eventually it will run from downtown to mid-town. You must visit it when you are in NYC.

Hope that gives you all some inspiration/ ideas for the month. Feel free to add your own- I love hearing from you. 🙂

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Well, things have been pretty normal ’round here, and I’ve been getting my fruits and veggies- or trying to. And probably too many doses of chocolate, but of course, those go undocumented!

Here are some of my latest culinary creations:

A big ol’ veggie sandwich… (basically an excuse to buy this really good mayo I bought the other day)…

YUM!

With lots of crunchy fruits and veggies on the side…

A yummy wrap for lunch with hummus, baba, and lots of fresh veggies…

YUM #2!

A lovely bowl of cereal with fresh fruit,

And black beans + sweet potato tacos, with a side of “okra fries”.

This was the first time  I’ve made the “fries”, and they were delish! Spiced them and popped ’em in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes.

Mmmmm, tacos!

Oh, yeah, and a dog!

Not to eat, of course, but to play with. We took the plunge and adopted a dog (i.e. I have been begging for a dog for 2 + years and on my birthday, Loren finally conceded to the inevitable) who I can partially blame for falling of the face of the blogosphere, because she is just too cute/ demands all my attention/ loves to cuddle/ needs lots of walks/ jumps on trees at the dog park and tries to destroy them/ my cats hate her so I have to spend my time breaking up potential dog/ cat fights.

Her name is Sya and I am in love. 🙂

That is all for now- we will be back! 🙂

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So, I have a confession to make. Lately, I have been rather lazy and uninspired in the kitchen. And I have been craving lots of “bad” stuff: cheese, carbs, melted cheese, hot carbs, cold cheese, crunchy carbs… you get it. Same ingredients, different ways: not great for the waistline!

And a few days ago all I wanted for dinner was a big plate of cheesy nachos. I thought about going to pick some up, or going out, but then I took a step back and said to myself, “Self, you can make tasty, but healthier nachos at home. Stop being so lazy!” (Sometimes I have to just be straight up with you guys- I talk to myself).

So I grabbed a can of TJ’s Cuban Black Beans from my pantry…

These are great for those lazy nights because they are pre-cooked with onion, green peppers, and lots of spices. Great flavor! Even if you don’t have a TJ’s near you, I am sure you can find beans in your store that are cooked with spices and veggies. This will save you a lot of time on nights when you just don’t have the energy to do it yourself.

I heated up a big bowl of beans and topped them with chopped tomato, part-skim mozzarella cheese, low fat yogurt (instead of sour cream), and salsa. I had some sweet potato ruffle chips (also from TJ’s) and corn chips on the side.

This was SO GOOD! I think the key to making this dish healthy is to load up on beans and skimp a little on the chips. The chips are great for a little crunch, and to satisfy the carb craving, but the beans are really what keeps you feeling full and satisfied. And low fat yogurt or sour cream gives you that hearty, creamy taste without all the fat.

And as long as you are eating chips, might as well go for the sweet potato ones and have some extra vitamins, right?

A perfect bite…

I’m sure you guys have made “nachos” at home- no big cooking revelation here- but t it really was so satisfying for me. So much better than going out for a big plate of Mexican food, and coming home feeling nauseous, bloated, gassy, and like you just gained 5 pounds in salt/ water retention. Sometimes it’s just not worth it!

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Last night, I made the most yummy dinner- and it was really quick! Perfect for a weeknight meal.

I was in the mood for pasta, but I wanted to try something a little different. So I put together the following ingredients in my kitchen:

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Roll of polenta
  • Trader Joe’s “Giotti” canned tomato sauce
  • Goat’s milk gouda

I decided to combine all of these ingredients into mini eggplant/ polenta “lasagnas”- and they turned out really well!

I preheated my oven to 350, sliced up the eggplant, and cooked it in a pan (about 3 minutes each side) on medium heat with some EVOO, salt, and pepper. While the eggplant cooked, I sliced up the polenta. Then, I just stacked the soft eggplant and the slices of polenta (just 2 slices of both- didn’t want them to topple over!). I topped the “lasagnas” with the TJ’s sauce and a slice of yummy cheese on top.

I popped the whole thing in the oven, covered in aluminum foil, for 20 minutes. I took off the foil after 20 minutes and let it sit in the oven and bake for another 5.

And, VOILA!  A cheap, easy, and really tasty dinner!

If none of you have cooked with polenta in the past, I highly recommend it. It’s actually made of cornmeal, and you can find it in any supermarket these days, usually in the pasta aisle. I like to buy it pre-made in a roll (wrapped in plastic) which is easy to cut up and bake or pan fry. I was really happy with this version… as I don’t use recipes, I’m always happy when I play with ingredients and it works!

All of the flavors worked perfectly together. You could definitely play with the ingredients and add things like zucchini, peppers, fresh basil, a sharper cheese, etc. This dish is very forgiving! Especially if you have a great sauce (This TJ’s marinara is highly recommended by yours truly).

This dish also makes plenty of leftovers (if you are two hungry eaters, like we are). It made enough for 2 filling meals for both of us!

Hope you all give this a try at home. If you do, don’t be afraid to add new flavors and ingredients- and let me know how you like it!

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Hi guys! While I certainly haven’t been posting as much as usual, I have been taking pictures of some of my most delicious eats over the last week or so. There’s been some great meals! So let me share…

DINNERs

We’ve been low on groceries, I’ve tried to keep cooking…

First up, a simple and delicious meal: A tomato and cucumber salad with a warm tuna melt.

I just made the tuna salad, scooped it on some bread, topped it with some shredded Gouda and toasted it up! This is a Loren/ Kat favorite. And the cats always want some, too!

One night, when we were very low on groceries, I was proud of myself for putting together a healthy, veggie-filled meal from the pantry and my freezer. I combined some frozen chopped spinach with a big can of Trader Joe’s tomato sauce and some chickpeas. I just made some whole wheat angel hair pasta (the best kind of whole wheat pasta because it has a nice texture) and topped it with the sauce. I also made a green salad on the side.

YUM!

If you don’t like the texture of whole wheat pasta, and therefore don’t eat it, I highly recommend you try angel hair whole-wheat. You can find it at any grocery store.

But my favorite dinner that I’ve cooked in the last week was definitely wild salmon- baked in aluminum foil in covered with a sauce of olive oil, lemon, capers, and dijon grain mustard. In the oven for 22 minutes at 400.

And voilà, the best salmon EVER. And I cooked up some really easy veggies to have on the side: corn and haricot verts (fancy word for skinny string beans). They were so easy because I could just boil both vegetables (at different times) in the same pot.

And there you have it- a 20 minute meal. 🙂

BREAKFAST

These are some of my favorite breakfast as of late…

Apple/banana oatmeal.  I added half a chopped green apple and half a sliced banana to the oatmeal and let it all cook together for about seven minutes. I added lots of cinnamon and some maple syrup as well.

Then there was the “waffles benedict”- Yogurt, apple, apricot jam, and PB on whole wheat waffles!

SOOO good!

A simple sunny side up egg on toast. Little bit of cream cheese. Lots of hot sauce!

And my favorite breakie of all: today’s! Scooped out FRESH whole wheat-everything bagel with a little bit of chive cream cheese, capers, sliced tomato, and lox (smoked salmon).

Yes, I am a Jewish girl at heart. This is my people’s food! I’ve gotta love it- its in my blood. 😉

And that’s about it for the greatest as of late. I promise to try to post more regularly- please bare with me!

Today I am actually attempting a double workout- lets see how that goes. I swam for 30 minutes this morning and I am heading to a Novice/ Open pilates class. I’m excited- I really want to get into Pilates- seems so good for toning, stretching, and strengthening the body. And I found a great-looking studio right down the street! Love Brooklyn.

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Loren got me the best present for Christmas this year: cooking lessons for us to take together. After reading a bunch of reviews, he found The Natural Gourmet Institute in Manhattan. It is focused on making healthy, mostly vegetarian, largely ethnic cuisine. Loren and I decided to take a class called “Destination: Morocco” with Myra Kornfeld. Neither of us knew anything about Moroccan food, but we were intrigued by the idea of learning about new textures, spices, and ingredients.

The class was more than I could have hoped for. We took it on Martin Luther King Day, from 2:30 to 6 PM. It seems like a lot of time to cook, but we had so much to make that it went by really fast! We made: Roasted Red Pepper-Sesame Pesto on Toasted Pita Triangles; Green Leaf Salad with Shallots and Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette; Red  Lentil Soup; Chickpea Charmoula Strudel; Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Onions, Cinnamon, Almonds and Cherries; Quinoa-Carrot Pilaf with Saffron, Mint and Harissa Spinach; and Olive Oil Semolina-Walnut Cake. (Sorry but I can’t post any recipes here — they belong to the instructor). Loren and I were a team of two and we made the chicken dish, the harissa spinach, and the quinoa pilaf. Everyone in the class made 2 to 3 dishes, which was great because we really learn a lot about using new ingredients and spices.

I took pictures when I could!

The beginning instruction:

Me, seriously hard at work… (making the filling for the chicken)

Me, happily hard at work…

The stuffed and breaded chicken. They were sauted in a pan and then baked in the oven.

Loren had fun stuffing and breading the chicken!

It was great to learn how to make little “pockets” in the chicken to stuff them with the caramelized onion mixture. I will definitely be trying to re-create this dish with different ingredients at home. I think goat cheese would be really great in it!

It was a lot of fun to play with new spices and herbs. To make the “harissa spinach”, we boiled some hot red peppers and let them sit in the water for 10 minutes before chopping them up and adding some jalapeno and spices. Then, we mixed this spicy plate with a whole lot of spinach.

Yum!

Then, we had a presentation on how to use the filo dough, which we stuffed with a chickpea mixture and rolled up.

What’s interesting about filo dough is that you have to use a bunch of layers to create a nice crust. You also have to brush each layer with a little bit of olive oil. I’m usually really intimidated by ingredients like this, but after seeing how easy it was for us to make, I might try to play with it at home.

Myra rolled it up like a pro!

Once everyone had made their dishes, we got to the best part: EATING!It was really nice that the Institute also provided wine with dinner. For $110, the three and half hours of cooking, the professional instruction, the amazing food (multicourse dinner), and wine were more than I expected. EVERYTHING WAS SOOO GOOD!

We started out munching on a dairy-free red pepper dip and some freshly baked pita chips.

Then, we had the red lentil soup, which had a little bit of yogurt drizzled in it. YUM!

The salad came next. I wasn’t expecting to like this salad, but it was AMAZING. It had been described as kind of a “sweet” salad, which I dont usually like, but the dressing was very light and not overpowering at all. It was topped with crispy fried shallots, which were the perfect contrast to the maple syrup in the dressing and the pomegranate arils and juicy oranges. YUM again!

Next came the entrées and we got to try them all! I was a big fan of both the stuffed chicken breast and the chickpea/ filo dough roll.

I love the idea of rolling food together and then cutting along one side to make the presentation very beautiful. I never really cooked this way but it inspired me to spend a little more time thinking about presentation when I cook. The sides — the quinoa and the spinach — were very light. It may seem like we a lot of food but I didn’t feel stuff at all. I think that is because we use such healthy ingredients (i.e. we fried chicken in coconut oil instead of in heavy fats so it didn’t make me feel sluggish or weighed down).

I actually forgot to take pictures of the wonderful dessert- a semolina flour cake which was served with orange slices and vanilla ice cream. I don’t usually like dessert but it was ALSO so good- not too sweet at all!

All in all, it was a very fun day. The Institute definitely exceeded my expectations! (And as a full paying student, I am giving my honest opinion — I am not a paid blogger:) )  In fact, we already have plans to go back in the Spring!

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Hi guys!

Miss me? I took a much-needed break from the blog after realizing on my trip how glued I have been to the computer in my daily life. After lots of delays and snowstorms, we got back to New York on Sunday morning and I’ve taken a few days to think about where I want to go with the blog. I definitely missed writing and communicating with all of you — especially getting comments and feedback. But I didn’t miss the pressure of taking pictures and posting about every single meal. I think I’ve known this for a while, and I have hinted at it, but posting that way wasn’t working well for me- I don’t want this to be a diet blog — I never have. I want this to be a non-obsessive, happy, and positive celebration of food and health. So I think I’m going to begin posting differently…

I will post about a  great meal I have out or cook at home, an article that I read about women’s health, a fresh market that I visit, and so on. The idea of posting every day, three meals a day just isn’t appealing for me anymore. I really enjoyed my vacation. I tried to stay active by walking a lot and swimming where I could, but we definitely all ate a lot of delicious food and we all gained a pound or two.

Being away from the blog helped me realize how much pressure put on myself to eat perfectly and stay at a “perfect”  weight… and it just doesn’t always happen. That’s life. So, in trying to do what’s best for me and become my healthiest self, I want to continue writing and being a part of this blog world that I love so much but without the kind of pressure that is unhealthy for me (I don’t judge anyone else who  wants to post things in a different way…). I hope you guys will keep reading because I so enjoy communicating with you about one of my favorite topics: food!

Argentina was an amazing country to visit and I had so much fun with my family eating delicious food, hiking in the mountains, exploring the city, and drinking lots of delicious red wine! Here are some highlights of the trip:

FOOD!

We visited produce markets in Buenos Aires,

And bought lots of good fruit for snacks.

There was delicious smoked salmon everywhere!

And very hearty bread…

lots of fresh vegetables and great salami and cured meat

And amazing, soft, flavorful cheese.

The hearts of palm were incredible — have you ever seen one so big?! (it’s that big white thing on the plate)

Our hotel had delicious homemade yogurt and museli for breakfast… with lots of fresh fruit!

The coffee was really good — I’m told — I don’t touch the stuff!

Argentina is famous for its awesome Italian food — and it definitely lived up to expectations!

Mmmm… Eggplant Parmesan!

We even had delicious sushi and Japanese food in Buenos Aires, which I  guest-posted about on Karin’s blog. I was impressed!

Seaweed salad,

Miso Salmon with veggies,

And a free dessert (some kind of custard)!

All in a very chic, simple, and beautiful Japanese restaurant.

The desert that we had for Christmas Eve dinner with the best thing I have ever tasted!

It was heaven: a thin crusted tart with vanilla custard, fresh blackberries, a raspberry purée, and vanilla ice cream. With a crunchy slice of apple on top.

Of course, yours truly found a juice bar with vegetarian wraps in Buenos Aires. Who knew? They were filled with humus and quinoa tabbouleh. Our vegetable juices were a crazy concoction made up of carrot juice and coconut milk. It was actually really good!

Of course, I also had plenty of good wine! This one was so spectacular that I had to take a picture.

Not only was it an amazing country to eat our way through, it was stunningly beautiful…

Lakes, mountains, and forests!

The city was also gorgeous…

As all tourists have to do, we saw an incredible tango show

It was steamy!

As usual, Loren and I were total dorks and went swimming everywhere we could.  Don’t we look good? HAha.

It was a truly incredible trip and I had the time of my life.

Thank you, mom and dad for an incredible trip filled with beautiful moments that I will never forget!

And I will see you guys later for some (American) food recaps this week! Hope your holiday vacation was relaxing, fun, and, of course, DELISH!

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