Tag Archives: Cooking

Fabulous Friday: Mexican Poached Eggs

This week has been completely and utterly exhausting. I forgot how draining it is to adjust to a new schedule, especially when that schedule involves 6am workouts … but I’m getting the hang of it and next week I WILL have more energy! Haha.

So last night, my mom invited me to a cooking class! My dad is sick so I took his place. It was us and two other couples and it took place at a gorgeous winery in Rancho Bernardo, CA. We cooked three dishes and drank as much wine as we could stomach in the 3 hours we were there. YUM. My favorite dish by far was the Mexican Poached Eggs. I am trying to go full vegan (at least during the week) but when the dish is as tasty as this, it’s definitely worth eating. Continue reading

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Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Side note: I will have a recipe today, so as not to satisfy a terrorists hunger to be the center of attention. But, please see the bottom of this post for my thoughts…

And now, on to the frosting! Mike is out of town for a couple of weeks 😦 so I have been ultra productive in his absence. It’s amazing how a lack of company will get me motivated. So I made a chocolate fudge cake and had no idea what to use as frosting. The packaged stuff is so full of sugar that it makes me nauseas. So I made my own! And holy bajolies it is delicious.

When warm, it’s melt on your tongue chocolatey goodness. When cold, it hardens into pure chocolate bliss on top of your cake. Also, because I use coconut sugar, it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Sweet!

ChocolateFrosting-published Continue reading

Thriving Thursday: A Different Cook In My Kitchen??

Last night I had a visitor. His name was Dave. I’ve met him twice before. He knocked on my front door, unloaded his tools, and took over my kitchen! It was an odd experience but definitely an enjoyable one. That’s because he’s a SaladMaster Chef!

Now I’m not one to advertise for other people. It’s annoying, I know. But this company is awesome. I love their product and their way of advertising. I’m not getting any kickbacks or freebies for telling you this, I just think you should know.

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I enter drawings at all the festivals and expos I work and I finally won 🙂 SaladMaster is an elite brand of cookware. Now I know that sounds lame but it was seriously awesome (even Mike thought so). Their cookware is surgical stainless steel and, therefore, doesn’t leach any toxins into your food. He did an experiment with baking soda that showed just how much crap our other cookware put into our food. It was gross.

The other cool thing is that the pots and pans are designed to seal when they heat up so the little pot became like an oven. It heats all the food in half the time and keeps it under 182°F. This means that it loses very little nutrients in the cooking process but anything it does lose, it just circulates back in!

So Dave cooked for us while we sat with wine in hand and watched him. Check out the amazing meal he cooked us in 30 minutes (including the cake). 30 MINUTES!

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Because it’s so nice and has a lifetime warranty, this stuff is VERY expensive. Like take out a loan expensive. But for what we spend on healthy groceries, Mike and I are considering it an investment. We’re going to save for the next couple months and see what we can afford. Until then I’m going to be cooking in my pots and pans with a grimace on my face. Haha.

The great thing is that he did give us some freebies for having the dinner. Some bakeware that I’ll be using as much as possible instead of our current pots and pans.

Note to Peoria residents: I’m in the process of setting up our next dinner, but this time I’m going to invite some friends (more freebies!). A free healthy meal and a night with Chef Dave. It will also be a full education on American cookware and how SaladMaster fits into that equation. If you want to come, let me know, I’ll make sure I include you. And yes that means you PFC patients. Anyone is welcome.

I hope you’re all having very happy days. Love and a big grin. -Ash

 

Tasty Tuesday: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

In honor of the Superbowl and the end of my strict January diet, I decided I would treat Mike and I to one of my favorite bite-sized morsels: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates. I copied these from a delicious restaurant in Boston: The Regal Beagle.  I visited a couple of years back with some good friends of mine and fell in love.

These violate my “no cow diary” rule but the dates are good for you and the organic turkey bacon is too! And holy bajolies they are tasty. The blue cheese gets kind of muted when you cook it so it doesn’t have the bitter after taste, all you get is the sweet of the date and salty of the bacon. YUM.

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Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

Ingredients (2 or 3 servings)

  • 10 organic medjool dates, sliced open and pitted
  • .15 lbs blue cheese
  • 5 strips organic turkey bacon
  • toothpicks or cupcake baking pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Stuff blue cheese inside the cut dates. Only enough so that the dates can still close.
  3. Cut the bacon in half and wrap it around the dates.
  4. Pin each roll with a toothpick or set it in a cupcake pan to hold it together
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bacon is done.
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Sushi Night!

With the holidays and all the other things I have to say, I haven’t posted a recipe in a few weeks. I’m going to bring back the routine with a very easy and very fun recipe you can do with two people or 7 people. Make Your Own Sushi! For Christmas, my siblings and I decided to give my parents something they don’t get very often: all of us together. So we wracked our brains to think of how we could do a cheap, healthy meal and instead of going to a crappy restaurant, we cooked for ourselves!

There is a little hardware involved in this one ($2 bamboo mats you get at the grocery store) but people can share so you don’t need many. The prep is SUPER easy and the dinner making part is really fun. Just try it why don’t you!

photo 3 copy photo 4 copy^ Prep everything in slivers.photo 1 copy< Lay it all out.photo 5 photo 1photo 2^ Roll your sushi!photo 3photo 4^ My brother had the great idea of taking a roll to work the next day 🙂photo 2 copy^ Isn’t my family beautiful. Gosh I miss them so much, this photo makes me want to cry. Blehhhhh.

Supplies:

  • plastic wrap
  • bamboo mats, 1 per 2 people – $2 at your grocery store

Ingredients (can really be anything you want but this is what we used):

  • short grain rice (brown if you can find it)
  • rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you don’t have it)
  • Nori seaweed paper
  • carrots
  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • crab (sushi grade)
  • salmon (sushi grade)
  • mango

Instructions:

1. Prep the rice – sushi rice is prepared in a very particular way.

  • Pour the rice into a bowl and cover with clean water. Slosh the rice around with your hand for 15 seconds then drain it. Repeat several times until the water coming out is pretty much clear.
  • Add rice and more clean water to a pot at slightly more than a 1:1 ratio.
  • Cooking on high heat, stirring every couple of minutes, until the water boils. Lower heat and cover for 6-8 minutes, stop when the water is absorbed. No need to stir.
  • Remove the rice with a wooden spoon so as not to damage it. Also, don’t scrape it off the bottom of the pot, just use what comes out easily.
  • For every 3 cups of rice, add 1/2 cup rice vinegar. Stir it together and you’re done!

2. Cut the fillings into long, thin slivers.

3. Lay it all out on the table and let everyone go to work!

  • Our photos are clearly the work of amateurs. Just check out this link for the best instructions I found on the internet. Sushi rolling takes some serious technique so it’s really funny trying to do it. But everything tastes delicious no matter what it looks like and, eventually, you get the hang of it…on the last roll. Haha.

And that’s all! And when I say “that’s all,” I mean this meal is an adventure. It’s so much more fun than going out to eat though, and so much cheaper!

Has anyone else ever done this? How did it go? Much love everyone. I hope you all have happy Tuesdays 🙂

Fun Times Friday: Date Night Creativity

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you know that Mike and I go on a date every Saturday night. Each week we switch off planning and paying for them and, if possible, we make it a surprise. So last week was mine and, considering I’m on a VERY tight budget I’ve had to get pretty creative with what we do. My budget most weeks is about $25 for both of us. How the heck do I figure that out??

Well if you keep an eye out for free events going on in your town, you never know what you’ll find! There’s a nice, upper class area called Peoria Heights that I drive through every once in a while and I saw a sign for “Chocolate in the Heights.” You know those signs that you tend to ignore because you’re just too busy going about your day? This was one of those. But since I’ve come to realize my not awesome financial state, I’ve started actually looking at those signs! There was no description of what it was, just that it was the next Saturday (yes!) from 10am-5pm. I did a little searching and found a slightly more detailed poster for the event.

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Using my deductive reasoning, I assumed that each boutique and shop on the main street would have some kind of deal on chocolate and/or something free to offer. Done and done!

As usual, I planned to take him to this event and then bring him home and cook a nice, sit-down meal for us both.

I kept it a surprise until we parked in the Heights and let’s just say Mike looked less than excited. However! I kept the energy going. I gave us $15 to spend on chocolate and whatever else we wanted and, because I had to work late, we had an hour to do it.

It ended up being REALLY fun. Of course we only took one picture because I was too excited to remember to take more. But we discovered a whole street of awesome shops we didn’t know were there: an oil and vinegar shop with about 30 different types of gourmet vinegar (cool!) and a few more specialty shops with random but also really unusual knick-knacks. We got some great gift ideas for Christmas.

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^ Yep, I look like I’ve just discovered gold.

We used this as our food vacation day and got lots of delectable treats. Free stuff we indulged in: chocolate fountain (see above), chocolate pretzel clusters, oil and vinegar samples, cheese, wine, beer, and chocolate cupcakes. With our $15 we bought an amazing triangle of cheese, a bar of specialty chocolate, and some Pear Balsamic Vinegar. And we had such a good time scoping out the options and then going back to the shops to purchase what we wanted.

So it’s possible! To have a few hours of fun and still stick to your budget. You just have to keep an eye out for free things around your town.

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Thirsty Thursday: Spiked Peppermint Hot Cocoa

I don’t drink very much. In fact, I really dislike being drunk. So when I do drink, it’s because I love the taste and the calmness it can sometimes give me. Anyway! I get lots of questions from patients (whispered of course) along the lines of: please please please tell me I can still have a glass of [insert alcohol here]? Good news! While the company I work for may not condone it, I whole heartedly support a solid glass of something alcoholic every once in a while.

Wine is great, beer is great, and liquor is great BUT (you knew it was coming) there are a few rules to remember when drinking:

1. Alcohol is very high in calories and while I don’t think ANYONE should be counting their calories, they should be monitoring the amount of bad calories they take in. And yes, alcohol counts as bad calories. So if you’re trying to lose weight, limit the amount you consume.

2. Most mixed drinks are loaded with sugar. And I mean loaded. If you’re going to have hard alcohol, mix it with soda water, tonic, or just drink it straight. This keeps the calories and the sugar content down. My drink of choice is tequila on the rocks with lime. Delicious, effective, and relatively healthy.

3. Normal beer contains lots of gluten. Some people are unknowingly gluten-intolerant. If you’re getting outrageous hangovers, a bloated belly, stomach pains, or headaches while drinking it may be time to consider the gluten-free option of drinks. Redbridge is my favorite.

4. Non-organic wines have added sulfites and lot’s of people react to it without knowing they’re having a reaction. If you experience any of the symptoms from #3 while drinking wine. Try organic wine and see if they go away. Organic wine has no added sulfites. Any sulfites in organic wine are naturally produced through the fermentation process. If you find that you have less of a reaction with organic wine, try sulfite-free wine next and see if that feels even better.

Side Note: If you feel at risk for addiction, there are special rules that apply. You should limit or completely stop your intake of alcohol until you speak to a psychology professional.

With that said, I recently made one of my favorites. A delicious, holiday drink:

Spiked Peppermint Hot Cocoa (1 serving)

Ingredients

2 cups coconut/almond/raw milk

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 oz (half a nip) of peppermint liquor

Instructions (not sure why the photos are so crappy, sorry!)

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1. Heat the milk in a pot on medium heat. Stir in cocoa while heating.

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2. Remove from heat, stir in liquor.

Enjoy! 🙂

What’s your favorite holiday drink? Let me know and I’ll try to make a healthy version.