April 10, 2014

Banana & Coffee Protein Smoothie: Licuado de Proteina con Banana y Café

Have I told you that I'm getting married...in 10 days??
Have I also told you that I'm not your typical bride??
Like, the kind of bride that doesn't have decorations yet kinda bride.
So needless to say, I haven't really been a morning person lately...

Usually I am just fine with green tea or a smoothie in the morning but these last few days 
that stuff is just not cutting it.
 I had to upgrade my morning stimulant to get me going on this whole wedding thing
 & since crack is whack & I like keeping my teeth, I decided to upgrade to coffee.  
The problem: I don't like the taste of coffee...like, at all. 
So I decided to disguise my coffee in a delicious & healthy fruit-filled concoction that draws on my Latin & American roots...
And so was born the Banana & Coffee Protein Smoothie 
a.k.a. Licuado de Proteina con Café y Banana!
(keep reading to find out what a "licuado" is!)

Banana & Coffee Protein Smoothie:
Licuado de Proteina con Café y Banana
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April 2, 2014

Panko Crusted Mustard-Glazed Chicken Breasts

Other than put mustard on my sandwiches, I can't say I have much use for it.
I kind of just gloss it over when I'm ransacking my fridge for stuff to make dinner out of
& dismiss it as something "I kinda only like on sandwiches".
I swear one bottle lasts me a year...& yes, that is still safe to eat.
Google said so.

It wasn't until I ate at a restaurant out of town that I realized the awesomeness of mustard on chicken.
The chicken I ordered was lightly breaded & pan fried until slightly crunchy.  
It was swimming in an intensely decadent fatty-fat-delicious mustard cream sauce & topped with what looked like melted butter.
So yeah, it was trouble. 
But it was my cheat day so I told myself it was OK...
800+ calories later, it was so NOT OK.
But I don't want you to miss out on having some mustard chicken goodness for yourself so I took all the flavor while cutting out some of the guilt to make this original 800 calorie dish into a new low fat 200 calorie meal!
You're welcome :)

Panko Crusted Mustard-Glazed Chicken
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March 27, 2014

Tart Cherry-Berry Kale Smoothie

You know when you buy something really expensive & you're riddled with guilt so you try to use it as much as possible to justify the expense?

Yeah, that's pretty much what my recent "smoothie-revolution" was born out of.
It's also probably why you may just see me wearing my new orange heel$$ to the supermarket.

I had spent all of this money on a VitaMix & I figured I shouldn't just make dough & chop nuts in it.  Do you even know how many loaves of bread I'd have to make for this little beauty to pay for itself?

So I decided to get on this smoothie bandwagon & what do you know?  
It's totally paying off!

Not only have I not gone to Jamba Juice or my gym's smoothie bar ONCE since I started juicing everything I can get my hands on, but I've also lost about 4 lbs in two weeks...which makes me wonder what the hell I had been eating that made my belly hold on to 4 lbs of obviously easily dispensable fat...yikes.  
I'm not in any way saying that this will happen for you, too...but it can't hurt to try, right?

I had no idea what to put in a smoothie other than strawberries & ice at first so I started exploring with different mixes, fruits-both fresh & frozen, & VEGGIES.  Yes, I know, the whole idea of veggies-in-your-smoothie thing kind of grossed me out at first too, but I started slow with just a 1/2 leaf of kale, then one & now a full cup!  

The tart but sweet cherries I added to this smoothie add a little "pucker" to a normally boring berry smoothie & I think it also helps to cover the "leafy" taste of the kale.  A frozen berry mix & a 1/2 cup of apple juice helped to sweeten the whole thing while the chia seeds add a little omega-3-blood-pressure-lowering-keep-you-full-longer health bonus.

Tart Cherry-Berry Kale Smoothie

I'm not going to go into the details of making a smoothie because, well, there's really not that much that goes into it. 
This total lack of effort is what makes these drinks a nice little on-the-go breakfast option on those morning when you don't feel like cracking eggs & cleaning up countless dishes.
Basically it goes like this:
1. Put ingredients in blender.
2. Turn blender on.
3. Blend until smooth.
4. Drink.
You can't really see the chia seeds in these pictures because my blender is a BEAST & pulverizes anything that it touches.  I like using frozen fruit in my smoothies (or a mix of fresh & frozen) because it allows me to skip the step of struggling with my ice tray at 6am...& honestly at that hour, it's really all about two-birds-one-stone, right?
Feel free to add yogurt, coconut oil, or any other healthy thing you find in your kitchen to this recipe. I've tried them all & prefer the cherry flavor without the creaminess of yogurt but hey, you know what?
 You do you, boo. 
Get it.

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March 17, 2014

Garlic Infused Irish Champ

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

When I posed the question on Facebook as to what Irish dish they wanted to see on the blog, one of my kind readers suggested I make Champ!
Of course I give the people what they want so here goes...
and by people I mean the one person that actually responded.
[insert awkward crickets here]

 But you know I can't just put out any ol' recipe so I'm going to put my little spin on it while trying to keep it as traditional as possible.

So here goes nothin'!

Garlic Infused Irish Champ

Traditionally Champ is a very simple dish made out of very simple ingredients including potatoes, milk, green onions, & butter.
When I heard this ingredient list all I could think was:
Oh, & by the way, they also call this dish "poundies".
That was it.
Anything that has names as awesome as "champ" & "poundies" is gettin' made.

Champ is kind of like mashed potatoes.  The only difference I noticed is that these potatoes are made with green onion that is simmered in milk then added to the potatoes before throwing a whole lot of butter in to make it extra creamy.
I added a little twist to the recipe by adding two crushed garlic cloves to the milk & green onions in order to give it a slight garlic flavor without overpowering the dish & making it a garlic dish vs a potato/onion dish.

Sometimes subtle is nice.
The traditional way to present this dish is to serve it family style, make a well in the middle of the potatoes, put a pat of butter in said well, & let each person serve themselves while taking a bit of the melted butter with them.

And then sometimes subtle is overrated.

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March 16, 2014

Homemade Irish Cream

Top of the mornin' to ya.

Have you been wondering why the supermarket has all of a sudden put out corned beef & cabbage in convenient little bundles?
Why the police all of a sudden decide it's a good idea to put a checkpoint on every corner of your hometown?
Why people at your favorite bar have been drinking that unholy concoction of green-dyed beer?

Yes, it's almost St. Patrick's Day.
Bust out your favorite green striped tube socks, ladies.

Now if you're like me & you don't want to dye your insides green with your cocktail, have I got a treat for you.

Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream is kind of like Bailey's but better.

Last year, I used Bailey's in the frosting for my Guinness Irish Cream Cupcakes.  These cupcakes were a huge HIT with all of my friends because well, I hang out with people who like to eat their booze in cake form.
So as I was baking up another batch of these deliciously deviant little cakes, I got to thinking...
Just what the hell IS Irish Cream & why am I paying Bailey's to provide it?
I mean, I know my stunning detective skills tell me it's probably made out of cream but what else is in this boozy concoction?

I tried reading the back of my Bailey's bottle but quickly realized that alcoholic beverages are not required to list their ingredients so all I got was cream, chocolate, & vanilla. 
After some hardcore googling, 3 cupcakes, & a slight sugarbuzz, I had an answer & a recipe. 
And wouldn't you know it that traditional Irish Cream has eggs in it. 
I know that the eggs give Irish Cream it's rich eggnog-ish quality but I tried it with & without & I like it without...but I'm an egg hater so you really can't trust me when it comes to eggs.

If you have never Irish Cream, let's go over the basics: 
Irish Cream is a cream-based liqueur flavored with coffee or chocolate & is traditionally spiked with Irish whiskey.  The creaminess comes from not only heavy cream but condensed milk & those eggs we talked about..ugh.  A little chocolate syrup, instant espresso grounds & a whole lot of whiskey later & you've got yourself a nice little liqueur.

It's commonly used in coffee cocktails (Irish Coffee), over ice alone or mixed with complimentary liqueurs such as Kahlua or vodka (White Russians)...
or in frosting...delicious, alcoholic frosting...mmm.

What I really love about making your own Irish Cream is that it is so easy to make & so customizable!  
Literally, you pour all of the ingredients into a blender & blend for about 30 seconds.
Boom.  Irish Cream.
By adjusting the extracts, you can easily turn this into a mint Irish cream or coconut Irish cream.  Adding more chocolate and coffee turns it into more of a mocha cream & replacing some of the chocolate with caramel syrup gives you a rich & sweet flavor.

So get creative & let me know how your Irish Cream turns out!
That's cheers in Gaelic. 

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March 2, 2014

PeachBerry Bellini

So some pretty awesome stuff has been happening in my life.

  1. I bought a VitaMix.  Only fellow food nerds will understand why this is amazing.  It's like the Mercedes-Benz of blenders...& yes, I just said this & yes, I love it.
  2. I finished planning my wedding.  Like, from start to finish & with a month to spare!  Shoot, even I'm amazed I didn't wait to the last minute!
  3. One of my recipes was featured on Today.com Food Section.  I'm a little overwhelmed that anyone reads my blog, let alone anyone from the Today show.  That's legit. 

So for all of these really amazing things to happen in one week, I thought I deserved a little celebration in the form of a Sunday Bellini.
This drink is also going to make a great addition to our Oscar Party tonight, 
so don't feel like you have to have a celebratory day drink like me.  
You can celebrate at night where the darkness will hide the judgement from others...
but if like me, you don't really give a poo & love yourself a Sunday Champagne Brunch, 
have at it!

PeachBerry Bellini's

Being that I had this brand new blender just sitting there begging to be used, I decided to think outside the box & jazz up my usual o.j. & champagne mimosas.
So I raided my fridge & came up with this PeachBerry Bellini!
Not only is it full of fresh fruit (which is totally healthy, duh) but it makes the champagne feel so much fancier & look amazing which is perfect for a celebration!
I paired this cocktail with my Vegetarian Hash & Basil Vinaigrette Brunch recipe & they were perfect together! 
A little sweet, a little savory, a little buzzed. 

Yeah, Sunday just became my favorite day of the week.


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March 1, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Vegetarian Hash with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing

Ok, so I've been really good these last 6 months.
Most days I try to eat healthy & try to keep my alcohol intake at a minimum...

Then Sunday hits & I don't know what comes over me 
but apparently all bets are friggin' OFF when it comes to brunch.
(I said I try, not promise!)
However, these last couple of Sundays have been a little different...

You see, in about 1 month I will have to partake in the shame-inducing act of squeezing myself into a unforgivingly tight wedding gown & parading all of this goodness in front of close friends & family as I repeat "don't trip, don't fall, don't throw up" over & over again in my head.  

So this Sunday, all bets were slightly back ON.

Now, I don't believe in giving up everything to fit in said wedding dress. 
That would just be crazy.
So I took my favorite recipe for skillet potatoes or "hash" as some fancy-schmancies like to call it, & I kicked the veggie & flavor up a notch while limiting the fat & calories by removing the meat from the hash.  Instead, I used chunky, hearty vegetables to replace the typical "corned beef" & made a kick ass flavorful vinaigrette to make this dish more satisfying & savory.

Vegetarian Hash with 
Basil Vinaigrette Dressing 

Now before you get all cray- cray on me & say, "Hey, olive oil is FATTY", listen here:
Yeah, I know olive oil is fat. However, it is GOOD FAT. 
& yeah, there is such a thing.
You need a little fat to keep your skin & hair soft, deliver, store & absorb fat-soluble vitamins in your body & it provides a highly-concentrated form of energy.
(Do I really have to say more after the whole "keeps your skin & hair soft"?)
So make the vinaigrette, toss your hash in it & don't worry so much!
It's the weekend!

Trust your belly as well as your face & hair will thank you!



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