Posts filed under food

Dairy free tomato soup! YUMMY!

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Yesterday I made a tomato soup. I read different recipes and came up with my own. The final product was delicious. A definite thumbs up!

Ingredients:

10 vine ripe tomatoes cut in quarters

5-7 garlic cloves

EVOO

1-1.5 tsp cumin

1tsp coriander

salt

pepper

basil

oregano

1 Cup chicken or vegetable stalk

cayenne pepper (optional for a little kick)

goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450

Dice tomatoes into quarters and put them in a baking dish. Cover the tomatoes with EVOO and add plenty of salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. I would say add enough salt not TOO much, but do not be afraid to add the pepper, oregano, and basil.

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In the dish place 5-7 garlic cloves. They will get nice and soft as they cook in the oven and will add great flavor to your soup.

Place the tomatoes and garlic in the oven for 35 minutes. As they cook you will notice juices emerging from the tomatoes and a wonderful smell will fill in the air! Mix the tomatoes twice. Once after 15 minutes and again after 25 minutes.

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After the tomatoes are cooked, carefully take the dish out of the oven as the tomatoes will now be sitting in a lot of tomatoes juices.

Heat a large pot (one that you would make a soup in) and add EVOO or vegetable oil, crushed garlic, cumin, coriander, and a little cayenne pepper if you want a kick.  I would add about 1/2 tsp-1tsp of each, less for the cayenne. Feel free to add more of the seasonings and make sure there is enough oil so that the seasonings do not get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Do not let the garlic burn. Put the fire on medium to low heat. You want it to sizzle for about 3-5 minutes. Keep mixing.

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Add the tomatoes and all of their juices to the pot of seasonings and mix for a minute.

Add 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Mix everything and simmer on low for about 3 minutes.

Take the tomato mixture off the heat and let it sit and cool down. After about 10 minutes  blend everything. You can puree if you have an immersion blender. Or you can pour it in your blender like I did! Works great.

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I made the soup with a grill cheese sandwich on the side. YUM. For my camera man I added a tsp of crumbled goat cheese, in his bowl, to give it a little more creaminess. Camera man said he LIKED the tomato soup!!!! This could be one of the very few dishes he has given positive feed back on. WOW.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Cooking a whole chicken. Excuse me if you "don't eat no meat!"

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photo (58)

Today is the first time I bought and am going to bake a whole chicken; skin, bones and all.  I asked my facebook fans for advice and some chimed in with amazing recipes and tips:

  • " I like stuffing mine with lemon and thyme and roasting with root veggies around it."
  • "Use plenty of fresh herbs and put lemons on the bottom of the pan. Also, I cook mine at a higher temperature to get it crispy. 400 degrees for an hour."
  • Simple recipe where they do not use butter:  Her advice "watch out for your smoke detector b/c of the high temp... Also get twine and truss it! (this video is helpful)"
  • Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe
  • "Boil it and make chicken noodle soup. Its easy, just labor intensive. "
  • " I like to have a thin layer of water on the bottom of the pan too - keeps it moist  and baste, baste, baste!"
  • "Stuff it with lemon. Put sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a little bit of olive oil on top."
  • "I was scared the first time I cooked a whole chicken too but it's super easy. I use Ina Garten's recipe. Also I don't eat the skin (and I'm guessing you don't either) so I cook it breast side down and it stays super moist!"
  • Roast Chicken Magic, their secret is Citrus!

I have decided to cook my chicken tomorrow because I will not get home until 7:30 tonight and my chicken will not be ready until 8:30pm, which is kinda late for me.  Because I have the chicken today, but am not going to cook until tomorrow, I am thinking about brining the chicken in order to make it super moist. Have you ever tried this? Does it work?

I am looking forward to my adventure today when I brine, and tomorrow when I cook. I have no problem (usually) eating a nice cleaned chicken breast, but when it comes to touching the raw chicken it kinda grosses me out... anyone else?!  EW I am flinching just thinking about it. I have to over come my fear of raw chicken and cook it. I am going to cook it like a CHAMP!

One of my favorite movie scenes from My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Skip to 4:15 for the "eat no meat" reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3N5V9ml2VU

Posted on January 2, 2013 and filed under food, entree, savory.

Tomato, basil, and mozzarella Frittata.

I want to first wish everyone a very happy and healthy new year! I wish you all amazing things. Here is the perfect New Years Eve workout for you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue-a0CoGWzo&feature=player_profilepage

Now to the great frittata I made yesterday. I went to whole foods a couple days ago and picked up a fresh mozzarella ball and tomatoes. I knew I had a lot of basil in my fridge and did not want it to go bad, and what goes better with basil than mozzarella and tomatoes!? Yesterday morning I was so excited to make a beautiful tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese Frittata.

PRE HEAT your oven to 350

First, I heated a pan with EVOO and garlic. Then I added diced tomatoes. I let it cook and continuously mixed for about 4 minutes. I mixed 5 eggs (for camera man and I) and added a tiny bit of water (makes the eggs fluffy!) and about 1/2 a cup of chopped FRESH basil, salt and pepper!

om raw egg and tomaote

om raw egg and tomaote

After the tomatoes were cooked enough I added in the egg and basil mixture. The pan is now set to low/medium heat. I let the egg mixture settle for about 1 minute in the pan.

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After about a minute or two sitting on low heat I removed the pan from the stove top and moved it in to the oven. MAKE SURE that your pan can go in the oven before you do this!! I do not want your pan to melt!

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I let the egg mixture sit in the oven for about 15-18 minutes. The length of time you let your eggs sit in the oven all depends on how well you like your eggs cooked. Take some peaks at it by looking through the oven, try not to open it, and you will know it is cooked when the sides start to puff up. Some people like the top a little runny, this is up to you.

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Now comes the FRESH mozzarella  After about 13-15 minutes of your eggs in the oven you want to add some  slices of fresh mozzarella to the top. Open the oven and place the mozzarella slices randomly around the frittata, close the oven and let the cheese melt for a couple more minutes.

I opened my package of what I thought was fresh mozzarella....

om mozerella

om mozerella

I accidentally bought whipped cream cheese!!!! Oh man!

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om cream cheese

Instead I topped my frittata off with some sliced avocado. It was delicious. The avocado gave the frtittata the creamyness it needed! Perfecto!

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om avocado

Have you ever made a Frittata in the oven? What did you put in it?

Posted on December 31, 2012 and filed under food, breakfast, entree.

Are your triceps feeling jiggly?

photo (11) It always happens. The time between Christmas and New Years where people start to slack at the gym. My class numbers slow down and then BOOM come the New Year the number of students in my classes sky rocket and people are back at it. I myself have been eating more "sweets" than normal, and my workout schedule has been all over the place... so really no schedule. This is partly due to the fact that a lot of my classes have been cancelled due to the holiday and new year.

I just got back from lunch with my mom and future sister in law. I got a salad nicoise, actually one of the best salad nicoise I have ever had. And then we split the masterpiece featured above. We didn't even know where to start! It was huge, so we didn't end up finishing it, but it was good. It was filled with vanilla and raspberry ice cream and some kind of vanilla cakey stuff.  I also had a cup of peppermint tea. YUM.

Here is a video to get you back into the groove. Lets target those triceps, and get rid of the jiggle in time for the new year. On Friday I will be posting a full body workout to get you ready for your New Years little black dress!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r15_bd548Vc

Posted on December 26, 2012 and filed under video, food, fitness.

Healthy Holiday Recipes for your next Holiday Party!

21-happy-holidays

21-happy-holidays

I searched the web to find what I felt were the top 3 easy to make and  healthy holiday recipes for you to bring to your next holiday party!

Stuffed mushrooms

Goat Cheese and Apple Canape

Quinoa Pizza Bites

I have never tested nor tried these recipes but I am planning on making the Quinoa Pizza Bites tonight, with a few changes. Have a healthy and happy holiday! Let me know which ones you make and how it goes!

Posted on December 23, 2012 and filed under food, apps/side dish.

Pumpkin Protein Pankcakes

protein pancakes

protein pancakes

Most of my clients are away for the holidays/New Year, so it is a very slow time of year for me. I am not complaining  and am actually embracing the time I have for myself. I will be able to blog, work out class formats, make videos, and COOK! I will say it. I am NOT a good cook. I try, I experiment, but I am really not that great. My mom and dad are both great cooks, and both my parents agree that my mom used to stink. So, I still have a chance.

My camera man is very critical of everything I make. Rarely does he say something is "GREAT". So when he says something is good, I know he means it. He always jokes that he is going to send me to cooking school. He says it so much that I am starting to think he is serious.

I woke up early this morning with a craving for pancakes. I remembered a friend/student of mine talking about  Carrots 'N' Cake Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, and how she loved them! Tina, from Carrots 'N' Cake took my ZUMBA class at Equinox a little while back. TIna was so sweet and down to earth, I loved having her in class.

carrots and cake pic

carrots and cake pic

I searched her blog this morning for the famous "Pumpkin Protein Pancakes (Wicked Good)" recipe. I was nervous I was not going to have all the ingredients since I definitely need to do some major food shopping.

Luckily for me the list was short! Phew:

  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal

Look here at Carrots 'N' Cake blog for the recipe.

I changed a couple of things. I did not have nutmeg so I added a tiny bit of vanilla extract and some pumpkin pie spice. I also added a tablespoon of chia seeds into the mix.

protein pancake

protein pancake

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burn1

My first attempt was a fail. I think my pan was too hot and I flipped too early. It was stuck to the pan and fell apart.

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My second attempt was a success. It flipped easily and looked great. And the taste you ask? Delicious! I was surprised by these amazing little pancakes. They are "wicked good"!

Do you have a quick and easy homemade pancake recipe?

Posted on December 19, 2012 and filed under food, breakfast, sweet.

Cabbage, kale, white bean, carrot, celery and brown basmati rice soup!

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photo (51)

I love making soups. Soups are usually easy to make and are a nice low calorie option to keep you warm during the cold winter months!

This soup does not look great, but it tastes great. I put this soup together myself, so no recipe followed. You can tweak the measurements if you feel necessary. This recipe makes a lot of soup. So cut in half if you wish to make a smaller batch! As I was writing this blog I realized that I need to do a better job at recording my measurements for people who like to cook with measured amounts of seasonings and such, which hmm is probably most people. Sorry I'll do a better job next time!

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photo (52)

Ingredients:

  • half head of white cabbage (fist time I used it in a soup and I love it!)
  • 3 carrot sticks
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 onion (I left this out, but you can add!)
  • Kale- 5 leafs? I am not really sure but that sounds about right.  You can use more or less.
  • White beans (I used raw white kidney beans and then cooked them myself, you can grab a can if you wish)
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  • 1cup of basmati rice (you can use regular brown rice, or you can totally leave this out)
  • 6 cups chicken or veggy broth (for soup) I know so MUCH. you can add half water half stalk.
  • garlic, minced about 2 tbs
  •  salt to taste (don't be afraid to add it. Mine did not have enough)
  •  pepper to taste
  • EVOO- 2tbs, add more if needed
  • dried thyme to taste. I added a lot. It was so good. Don't be afraid
  • Cumin (if you wish)

Directions:

  • First I dealt with the raw beans.  I brought 1 cup of white kidney beans to a boil took it off the heat and let it sit for an hour as I was prepping the soup.  This allows the beans to soften a bit.
  • dice the carrots, celery, and onion
  • Slice the cabbage in little strips, you do not need to make the strips small but try to not have them too thick.
  • In a pot add some EVOO and mix in some garlic, let is sizzle a little then add in diced onions, cabbage, carrots and celery. Mix for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat. You will slowly see all of your veggies shrink. Mostly the cabbage.
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photo (54)

  • Add in your 6 cups of broth,white beans and kale. Mix and then let it sit uncovered until it comes to a boil.
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photo (53)

  • Lower heat to "Low" and let it cook for (SHOOT I didnt time it but this is an estimate) about 45minutes-1hour. Mix every 20 minutes. You should test and just feel it out. When veggies seem cooked, you are done! Take off heat and enjoy.
  • **As your soup is cooking, make your brown rice. Then mix into soup at the very end. This is optional. I did it and find the soup more filling.
Posted on December 6, 2012 and filed under food, savory, entree, apps/side dish.

Pomegranate: how to deseed (and EAT!) the crazy fruit

How many times have you bought and eaten a whole pomegranate? Probably not many. I am assuming because they are such an odd fruit and so hard to eat.  With some searching I found and tested a method that makes eating a pomegranate SO EASY.

If you are not familiar with the fruit I'll update you!

Pomegranate is a fruit that has edible seeds. The skin is red and tough and not edible. You can get pomegranate juice all year round, but the season for fresh pomegranates is September through January.

BEST WAY TO DESEED A POMEGRANATE!!!

After you take the seeds out of your pomegranate there are plenty of ways to eat:

1. Scoop with a spoon and eat- my favorite way

2. Freeze and then eat. Refreshing snack.

3. Toss in your salad to add some color, nutrition and a fun crunch.

4. I have also added them to my greek yogurt, YUM!

How do you eat your pomegranate seeds?

The rare times that I drink pomegranate juice is with my mixed drinks, eeek! BUT a glass of Pomegranate juice  has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries. Pomegranates  are just all over amazing and contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols. They also contain potent antioxidants offering protection against cancer and heart disease. So go get your pomegranate today and show off your NEW cool deseeding trick!

Posted on November 28, 2012 and filed under food.

Pret A Manger coming to BOSTON! And I am not afraid of brownies...

My first encounter with Pret A Manger was in London. I was roaming the city while my fiance was at work.  I was  hungry  and so I began to search for a place to eat. I came across what I thought was a little unique cafe to London. I grabbed an already prepared salad that had some type of lentils and vegetables.  I can not remember exactly which one, but I remember being so excited about how fresh and delicious the already prepared salad was.  I started taking pictures of my food and the store so I could remember this cafe and we could revisit. When my fiance got out of work I told him I discovered the BEST cafe, "Pret A Manger"!! He laughed and informed me that this "one of a kind cafe" is actually a fast food chain that can be found on every corner in London and NYC. I was shocked and a little embarrassed. But the food has my approval, and I am so excited for its entrance to Boston. I only noticed two locations opening in Boston one on Franklin St., (right near Equinox) and one on Boylston Street, across from Marshalls.

Yesterday, outside Pret A Manger, there was a man giving out "chocolate brownie bites". I talked to him for a little and at the end he offered me a brownie. So I took it...YES! I ate a brownie, well half of one. I ate half of the brownie not out of deprivation but because I was satisfied and did not need more.  It was delicious. Rich, fudgy and just oooooh so yummy. People often ask if I eat anything other than vegetables and grains. YES I do. Before I ate the brownie I read the ingredients. My rules: if the brownie has anything artificial in it, or if I can not make this brownie myself from the ingredient written, I will have NOT eat the brownie.  And that my friends is the truth.

I could understand and read every ingredient, so I joyfully ate half the brownie. I drooled over every bite. I did not have any regrets while I ate the brownie, do not have any regrets today and I will not tomorrow. I do not eat a brownie every day, but I say if you are going to eat the brownie... eat the brownie! Meaning: do not worry about it, embrace all its goodness... you are eating a brownie so enjoy it and don't ruin its yummy-ness with your regret!

OH one more thing! Pret A Manger is going to be giving away 1,000 FREE lunches on the 15th and 16th of November! OR Maybe its the 16th and 17th?! I forget but keep your eyes open and try this place out!

Posted on November 6, 2012 and filed under food.

Butternut Squash.. DELISH!

photo (35)

photo (35)

OK. Go buy butternut squash and bake it. It is so good!!!  Squash  is also rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6! My cousin from a far away land emailed me a salad recipe. One of the ingredients in the salad is baked butternut squash. I had intentions of making this salad and blogging about it, but could not get past step one in the directions! I could not stop myself  from  eating the warm, baked, butternut squash. It was SO GOOD! I put NOTHING on it. Just baked it at 375 degrees for about 30 min- to an hour (or until a fork will easily go through it). Do not rush the baking process.

I tried the butternut squash plain, and then I dipped it in my favorite ketchup. YUM!  Below is a comparison of sweet potato and butternut squash. They are both delicious and  healthy but have their differences!

                         Butternut squash 1 cup                   Sweet potato 1 cup

calories                        63                                                                         130

carbs                          16.4                                                                         33

fiber                              2.8                                                                          4

sugar                            3.1                                                                          7

protein                        1.4                                                                           2

fat                                   0.1                                                                       0.0