Monday, March 29, 2010

Petite Dejeuner

STEEL CUT OATS TOPPED WITH DRY SHREDDED COCONUT, BROWN SUGAR, AND GHIRADELLI CHOCOLATE CHIPS :)

Just another in my line of  " Is it breakfast or is it dessert?" oatmeal ... like the pumpkin pie oatmeal, apple pie oats, and white chocolate cheesecake raspberry oats.  

If the morning is just cold enough, any kind of bowl of oats will do. But as spring has officially arrived in Sunny Cali the mornings are getting warmer and breakfasts will have to change. I see smoothies and overnight oats in the future. 

Today, however, was a simple compilation:


One organic egg in a "basket" of Nature's Own Double Fiber Bread, topped with a bit of basil. Served along with one Roma tomato, sliced, filled with slivers of garlic, seared and topped with sea salt and dried mint, and two slices of Canadian bacon. 

Speaking of hot days and cold food remedies, I have been munching on Trader Joe's frozen slightly sweetened cranberries all day. All that is left is an empty bag and the beautiful berries sitting in a cup thawing with the heat generated by my laptop.... I will take a pretty picture with my next purchase of these red jewels.. I promise.

There is supposed to be a post here

about Breakfasts.... but darn blogger won't upload the pics I have!  I will try again later today.  In the meantime enter my Racconto giveaway :)

I promise a review will be coming this week. Its just one of those months where everything that is planned gets turned upside on its head.... u know what i mean.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Purely Decadent

Have you tried this yet?  I read about it on some vegan blogs, but never really got around to trying it. Mostly I was deterred by the $4 price tag. But then I realized (duh moment) that I pay more than $4 just for 1 serving of Pinkberry, and this has 4 servings!!  Plus, I have been on a search for new foods lately.

For example, I have never eaten fish before -- cooked or raw and i tried a piece of my friends spicy tuna roll.  It definitely wasn't fishy, but the texture was not fun for my palate -- too soft, too much mayo, too mushy.

Back to the coconut milk "ice cream" -- it was amazingly light and refreshing. The best part is that it has less calories than "premium ice cream" and it has 6 grams of fiber per serving. If you havnt tried it, you should. I tried the coconut flavor, but I'm sure the others are just as great and I will get around to it sometime soon. 

Whats your favorite flavor?

I still havnt cooked since Sunday. It has been amazing to have homecooked meals every night without scrounging around last minute. Actually, there is still some left in the fridge!  Though, last night was a day off. I have class in Century City till 8 pm so I usually just grab an early dinner at the Westfield Mall with Esther before class and the hubby had dinner at his Aunt's.

I totally not food related subject: guppies. Does anyone else have an aquarium? I'm trying to figure out how to keep them alive for longer than a month. The females seem to not like my aquarium and give up in a couple of weeks :(    The guy at PETCO told me that the males stress out the females so I should try to have more females than males -- trying that as of today. Lets see if it works. 

P.S. Dont forget to enter the Racconto giveaway. [To those who already have, thanks for participating :) ]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Racconto Giveaway

This week has been going fabulously with the help of my pre-prepared meals. They have been supplementing as both lunch and dinner... and its kind of like a restaurant, but only with three choices. We each eat whatever we are in the mood for that day and are both happy with the results.

However, tonight, I think I will delve into the box of samples Racconto sent me :


It is an amazing offering of products I am eager to try:
1) Glycemic Health Rotini
2) Organic 8 Whole Grain Rotini with Flax Seed
3) Organic San Marzano Tomatos
4) Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
5) 8 Whole Grain Capellini/Angel Hair
6) Organic 8 Whole Grain Pasta with Sprouted Wheat Grass




In fact, Judi from Racconto has made two generous offers. First, if you ( my wonderful readers) visit the Racconto site and comment on this post letting me know what products you are most interest in, Judi has offered to run a special on the most popular products for a whole month!  Second, and I know you will be excited about this one, Judi has offered to send an Easter/Spring basket to one lucky winner!

To be entered in the giveaway, all you have to do is comment on this post letting me know what your favorite products are on their site. I know I couldn't pick just one. This entry will increase the likelihood that your favorite product will be on sale very soon, and of course give you a chance at the gift basket. ( THIS ONE IS THE MANDATORY ENTRY FOR THE OTHER ENTRIES TO BE VIABLE)

The following are other ways you can earn an entry in the giveaway ( make sure to let me know about it):

1) follow my blog 
2) Add me to your blogroll
3) Tweet about the givewaway
4) Mention the giveaway on your blog

Originally, I was planning on hosting this giveaway 2 weeks ago, but as you know, due to a family emergency I have been away for a while. As a result, you will receive the "Easter basket" after Easter. 

This giveaway will run through Wed. April 7th .

Best of Luck! I can't wait to hear which products you find the most interesting :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dinner for Two - Weekly meal planning

For those of you who are law students or have been law students, or know someone who is a law student you know how limited time is when it comes to cooking, particularly if it is healthy, well balanced cooking. This is particularly true as the daunting finals weeks approach.

Now that I am a couple weeks past the half-way point in the semester, I've resolved to adapt to law school. It is time to be resourceful :)  (  I know, its about time ).  So, as part of my resolution, I made a trip to Whole Foods and picked up some organic produce, organic herbs and organic meat and a few new finds I will mention in an upcoming post.

Yesterday,  I bought two large organic bone in, skin on chicken breast and simmered them in a pot which I will use to not only make a batch of chicken stock for the week, but also prep the chicken my weeks recipes.

Into the pot went 3 small onions (skinned and quartered), a handful of garlic cloves, 1 serrano chile (halved), 1/8 cup fresh ginger  (sliced), the stalks of one bunch of organic parsley, the stalks of one bunch of organic cilantro, 3 organic carrots chopped into big chunks, 4 stalks of organic celery chopped into big chunks, 1 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried mint, sea salt



In a large pot, place the chicken on the bottom, the remaining ingredients on top, then cover with water so that the water stops one inch from the top. Bring to boil, then reduce to a energetic simmer.

Simmer until the chicken begins to fall of the bone. Remove the vegetables and herbs and now you have a homemade organic chicken broth!

Next, take out the chicken breasts, remove the skin and bones. Separate each breast into pieces and separate into bowls -- one breast per bowl.


I chose to turned one chicken breast into cinnamon chicken -- altering the recipe slightly. Instead of cooking the chicken with all the sauce ingredients (which is a short cut) I simply sauteed the onions, added the tomato sauce, broth and spices and simmered it for about 5 minutes. I then added the cooked chicken and let it simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the chicken absorbed the sauce and the sauce thickened a bit.


The other chicken was metamorphed  into a fusion indian/thai curry chicken (recipe later this week).

To be continued....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm back -- finally.

Hi all.  Sorry for the absence. The family emergency has been an emotional roller coaster ride and a very wierd journey. It's not over just yet, but mitigated enough for me to come back to the blog. To top things off, while I was driving to class on Thursday, an individual decided to make a right turn from the middle lane, hitting my car in the drivers seat door.... right where I was sitting. This then caused my car to spin out a good half block, with my car stopping facing east in the westbound lane.  Thank God I didn't hit any other cars while spinning out.

Anyhow, I am planning a trip to the grocery store today once I get a rental car and I will be back to actively posting on the blog.  Additionally, I will be hosting a giveaway from Racconto later this week as well as a review of their products.  They were kind enough to send me samples a couple weeks ago right when the disasters began to happen for our family - and as a family oriented company were understanding about the delay.

I look forward to sampling their amazing and unique products ( I will post pictures soon) and give you details of the giveaway. I think you will be very excited about this one!

Also, I think I understand why I didnt get to many people participating in my Amazing Grass giveaway earlier, as I myself tried the products and had my peers (both young and old) sample them, I did not get a very good response.

It appears Amazing Grass is a very demographic specific product - -either you love it or hate it. Unfortunately, all the individuals who tried the samples did not like the product at all. For example, I had my little cousins ( ages 5-11) try the kidz chocolate powder and told them it was chocolate milk. That did not confuse them at all! They all made a face and commented that it tasted like a weird tea with "extra stuff" in it. They all made a face and refused to drink any more of it. Even their parents sampled it and voted against the product. 

I had a similar reaction when I had my peers try the bars and powders. They all agreed that it had a slight alcoholic flavor and wasnt a product they would go out and buy for themselves. One individual pointed out that the protein and fiber content of the bars was the "Bare minimum" and they could get more value and taste out of other bars.

Nevertheless, my only conclusion out of this experience is that Amazing Grass appeals to these who already have a very healthy lifestyle and diet. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any diligent healthy individuals like I have found on the blog world, but I am sure they would love it.

I'm off to rent a car now, be back soon!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Comment and Giveaway winner

Hi all,

Sorry for my absence lately - we are going through a family emergency of sorts and it is taking a physical and emotional toll on us both. Cooking is pretty much an afterthought, or nonexistant as we cope.

However, I did want to announce the winner of the AMAZING GRASS GIVEAWAY - Ashlei. ( if you don't receive my email to you, please email me your contact/address so I can ship it out ASAP)

I used random.org and generated the number "4" . Congrats!

Anyhow, posting may be slow for a while. Please keep us in your prayers. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

AMAZING GRASS and Giveaway



I came home last night to find a UPS box sitting on the front porch.... and look what was inside! Samples from AMAZING GRASS for me to review :)  I was super excited to give these a try, and I will be posting reviews  throughout the next couple of weeks as I try the different products.


In my haste to make it to school on time, I packed a quick salad of mixed baby greens, cucumbers, carrots and avocado -- and grabbed the AMAZING GRASS "GREEN SuperFood Berry Whole Food Energy Bar" to have for breakfast.
  I have to admitt, the first bite took me by surprise. I had no idea what it was going to taste like, and honestly, I have never had such a power packed bar before. The ingredient list is amazing - inspiring in fact :

Organic Dates, Organic Cranberries, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry, Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Organic Goji Berries, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Adidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Cashew Butter, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Almonds, Organic Cranberry and Raspberry Flavor, Organic Vanilla Extract.
Allergy Information: Contains Almonds and Cashews 


At first, the bar reminded me of Chinese herbal teas -- i soon realized it was simply the taste of pure unadulterated goodness  (ingredients not really prevalent in most other bars).  I gave a piece to my friend Esther to try, and she enjoyed it as well, commenting that it tasted " fruity" and had a slight "alcohal flavor- like rum". I'm guessing this may be from the extracts, or the concentrated flavors of so many ingredients.

I started out nibbling at the bar slowly, curious at the flavors, trying to fully absorb the palate. I loved it! It definitely doesn't taste like any other bar I have had.... BUT I truly  feel more awake  and energetic now -- like I actually fed my body a breakfast it can use wisely.  I can not wait to try the rest of the stash.

I know you too must be curious and excited about this product, so thanks to the generosity of the great people at AMAZING GRASS I will be hosting a giveaway of the below pictured items:

There are several ways to qualify to enter the giveaway (open to US readers only), though each entry must be made through a separate comment for numbering purposes as the winner will be chosen by a random number generator:

1.   MANDATORY ( in order to benefit from the remaining possible entries, this entry must be done first):  Visit the AMAZING GRASS website and let me know one new fact you learned about the company/website, or if you have already tried their products, which one is your favorite and why.

2.    Follow my blog ( let me know )
3.   Add me to your blog list ( let me know)
4.   Blog about my giveaway on your site and link back (let me know)

EDIT: I have extended the giveaway deadline till March 9th -- in hopes of having a few more participants. I promise though winners will be announced and I may add a few more goodies to the stash! Love- 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bertolli to the Rescue!

Well, the Bertolli came in handy sooner than expected! I decided to stay at school and study in the library for a few extra hours with Esther. By the time I got home, I was definitely ready to eat and I did not want to spend too much time prepping. 

So, I set to work  making half and half pasta -- half whole wheat, half regular. I started the whole wheat first since that takes much longer than the cappellini I decided to use. While the pasta was boiling away, I cooked some fresh broccoli and sliced crimini mushrooms along with 1/4 tsp of garlic salt and 2 tbsp of chicken broth. I only cooked it just long enough to be warmed through, ensuring the broccoli kept its lush green color.

Once the pasta was cooked, I simply tossed 1 cup of pasta with 1/2 cup of BERTOLLI Arrabbiata, and folded in the veggies. I topped mine with freshly shaved Parmesan but truly, the sauce had enough flavor as it was and the cheese almost ruined it. Next time, I'm going to keep it simple and enjoy the flavors of the sauce itself -- reminiscent of childhood homemade pasta sauce.
SIDENOTE:
I received another box from UPS today, I have a hunch it is my samples from AMAZING GRASS to review. I am super excited to see how the nutrient packed drink influences my energy level and overall mood. 

Giveaway announced tomorrow :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Let there be light

WOW. what a difference natural light makes when taking pictures. Let's just say I got picture/camera happy when taking pictures of my breakfast.
Yes, I think im going to post a more than one of my favorites here.... sorry!

Initially I was going to make eggs with some sort of bread or potato. The concept then metamorphed into  " Hey, why don't i make a  breakfast quesadilla except add eggs or eggs whites in the filling -- afterall I have almost an entire bag of flour tortillas sitting in the fridge"

That thought lasted just long enough for me to garner a glance at the nutritional facts on the back of the bag.

One measly medium sized tortilla was 150 calories. Yes 150 calories on its own isnt much, but combined with all the ingredients it would be a "splurge" of a breakfast to say the least.

"Well", I thought, " omlettes sorta of look like quesadillas." In fact, If I only used egg whites ( three to be exact) I could get the perfect size for the maximum nutritional value, and minimal caloric expenditure.

So, that it exactly what I did!

Remember the Bruschetta I made a little over a week ago? Well, we liked it so much, I made it again this weekend. As per usual, we had leftover topping and it is just too good to go to waste --  I decided to use it as my filling .

Topped with about 3 tablespoons of quattro formaggio, it made for the perfect healthy alternative to my original breakfast musings.

Some time later in the day, I had a cup of coffee to get my study mojo going, followed by a glass of soymilk -- i think i'm addicted.
Lunch was late in the afternoon. A nice salad of mixed organic baby green, green onions, crimini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, persian cucumber and 1/4 of an avocado. Trust me, if I could, I would add the entire avocado to the salad but you have to be careful with those -- one fruit has nearly 300 calories and 30 grams of fat. Yes it also has an amazing list of benefits, but everything in moderation is the best route, no?

There are only two circumstances which make me cringe at the thought of a salad:
1) A really bad cold/flu
2) Freezing cold weather

Thankfully, neither of those circumstances happen all that often :)

Since I had a cold last week and this weekend, it was fiance's turn this week. So, in an effort to help him recoup faster, I decided to make a cold-fighting soup packed with vibrant ingredients. Here is a glance inside the pot as I layered the ingredients: a bunch of dill, a bunch of parsley, a bunch of basil, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 lemon ( halved), 1/2 cup baby carrots, 2 small onions ( quartered), a chunk of anaheim pepper, and a chunk of jalapeno.



Here is a picture after I add the water and two chicken breast halves. (Vegetarians beware)

I think i like the first picture a bit more....

Anyhow, once all the ingredients have been placed in the pot, a dash of salt here and twist of fresh cracked pepper there, you are good to go.  Simply cover the items with water and boil for a good 80 minutes. 

However, at about the 40 minute mark, I opted to remove the lemons. I figured they had imparted their vitamins already and was worried the lemon flavor would over power the soup.

Technically, once the chicken starts to fall off the bone, you are ready for the next step -- this may happen before 80 minutes, so feel free to check. Once the chicken is about ready, remove all the greens, garlic etc.  The next step is to remove the chicken off the bone, and pull it into chunks or bite size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and let it continue to boil so the soup continues to evaporate, deepening the flavor.




At this point I added the following spices: 1/4 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and about 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp fresh ginger and 2 garlic cloves, diced. Remember to salt and pepper to your preference.  Simmer for about 5 minutes. Then toward the very end add about 1 cup of grape tomatoes. Top with torn basil and enjoy.

Almost forgot, I had some leftover cooked basmati rice which I add to the soup at the last minute -- apparantly this made his day. If you decide to use diced potatos or pasta instead, make sure you give it enough simmer time to cook through.

Finally, the rest of the meal. I served the chicken I used to make the soup alongside some freshly sauteed spinach with garlic ( encore appearance) and some barley I made with sauteed onions and mushrooms.

The barely may not look too appetizing, but I promise it tasted great. I simply sauteed one small onion,10 sliced crimini mushrooms, and 1 garlic clove in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. When the onions became translucent I added another 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 cup of barely.

Let the barley sautee for about a minute or so, then add 2 1/2 cups of broth . Bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 40 minutes or until barley is cooked/ moisture is absorbed.







_____________________________________________________________
UPDATES:

As part of the foodbuzz featured publisher program I received two jars of Bertolli's new pasta sauces today. I'm sure both sauces will be appearing as dinner soon -- especially on one of those nights where i don't have much time to put together a more complicated meal. ( Yes, I know as a law student, this should describe every night but I LOVE cooking and baking -- so i make time)

Also, I have three giveaway's planned for the coming weeks so stay tuned -- you may end up being a winner!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This is how March begins...

First off, thank you Sara and Bonnie for your encouraging words.  I finally started off today with breakfast: a bowl of multi-grain cereal and vanilla soymilk.  Though, curiously, I wasn't hungry for breakfast, but I was hungry after I ate. Does that make sense?

For lunch I had a simple salad of mixed baby greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and mushrooms.  I topped it off with a tablespoon of Trader Joes Spicy Peanut Dressing.

Snacks for the day consisted of an organic fuji apple and 94% fat free popcorn.

For Dinner, I decided to make a Roast Chicken Breast, served with spinach sauteed with garlic, and sweet potato for me and a gigantic baked potato for him.

The sweet potato was amazing. I wrapped them in foil and placed them in oven to cook concurrently with the chicken. When I unwrapped it, there was a sticky, ooey decadence to it. It was perfect -- no seasoning required.

For the spinach, I used 6 cups of organic baby spinach..... and it wilted down to about 2/3 cup total. I guess you can call it condensed nutrition?

I sauteed it on high heat with two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and 4 cloves of minced garlic.

Yes, that is half of one single potato. It was massive. I had it baking in the oven for over an hour at 400F and it still wasn't done.I admit, my patience wore off after 70 minutes, and I resorted to 2 minutes of microwaving. Sad but true.
Served with diced green onions and organic sour cream, it was the complete deal.

Alongside his spinach, you'll see the onions that roasted in the same pan as the chicken.

He likes his onions, whether they are raw, roasted or barbecued.

As for the chickens, I let them soak for about 5 hours in a mixture of 1/2 orange juice, 1/2 cup chardonnay , 1/8 tsp curry powder and 1/8 tsp cumin.

Making the meal was the easiest part of all, simply line a roasting pan with foil, add one quartered onion , the chicken breast, and some of the marinade. Cover the pan with foil and make two slits to allow the steam to escape. Bake at 400F for an hour. Then, remove the foil and broil for an additional 5 minutes or until the skin has turned a golden color.