Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cashew Sour Cream Sauce



Recently, I cooked our first all vegan dinner from my new "Oh She Glows" cookbook by Angela Liddon. It's Sweet Potato Enchiladas with a Cashew Cream sauce. And when I told my husband what we were having, he laughed & said "ok" (in a very distrusting voice). Then I told him I was making this Cashew Cream for sour cream...again it didn't go well.  Trying to fed meat lovers vegan food, feels a little like a taking a road trip with no destination...nothing will ever be good enough but I realize I am not the first person to do this & I won't be the last. Besides I don't give up that easily.

So, I placed the cashews in the blender, while he's over there poking fun & acting like I am about to serve him something crazy weird. But he's playing along & he's helping me so I don't dare say anything. And before we knew it, we had made the sauce. At first taste, we both quickly discovered the solution to cream sauces for anyone looking to cut out fat!! I am probably the last person on the planet to discover the Cashew Cream but at least I know NOW!! And now we use it for everything. No more heavy cream for alfredo, no more waiting on a sauce to come together, this is how food should be done. It's quick, easy & tastes great!!!! And best part is, it's so versatile.  If you want a garlic cream sauce, just add minced garlic. We have even added a Pesto to this & made a Pesto Cream sauce, while we were in Destin on vacay & it was amazing!! 


Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/2 - 3/4 cup water, as needed
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste


Directions:
1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for at least 2 hours (overnight or up to 8 hrs if possible)
2. Drain & place in the blender.
3. Add water, lemon, vinegar, and salt and blend on high. Don't be surprised if you have to stop every once in a while to scrape down or add a touch more water to get it going. Blend til smooth & ENJOY!!

Recipe credit: Oh She Glows













Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Lays Potato Chips Review


The new Lay's potato chips creations are here & if you haven't tried them, you should head out to your nearest Walgreen's (the only place I could find in Memphis that was carrying them) & grab some before they are gone. There are 4 flavors total & they only give us 40 days to try them & vote for our favorite. Keep in mind only 1 can win, so vote here!!

Let's dive into this review...I had a blast taste testing these. I took them all to work & got as many people as I could to try them. And this is how the the majority of my taste testers felt.

First up is the Wavy Mango Salsa & let me say I am impartial to wavy chips because of their super crunchy quality and dip-ability (yes, I made that up!). So we agreed, upon taking the first bite that the mango takes the forefront & then light salsa aftertaste comes in. There is no heat with these chips. In fact, most agreed that these are more of a fruity chip.  And they could use a little more salsa flavor. Overall, we liked them & the dipping possibilities are endless.

Next is the Wasabi Ginger & these are spicy!!! There is soy sauce in these so proceed with caution if anyone is gluten free, like me. I made an exception for these & I did try them. We really enjoyed that wasabi kick, it was not too spicy but just spicy enough, so good balance of flavor. And there's just a hint of ginger, which finishes them off. Overall, everyone liked them. However I wish they would add gluten free soy sauce in there, so everyone can enjoy these. 

And finally the Cappuccino & shockingly these were not as bad as everyone was saying. However, we did take into consideration that coffee & chips are probably not the best combination. But with that being said there are tons of great flavors going on here, there's coffee, butter, creamer & brown sugar. The complexity of flavor was right on, salty but sweet. I did eat several of these & enjoyed the craziness that was going on in my mouth. But we see this flavor being a much harder sell to the public than the other ones. Overall, we agreed that the world is not ready for an infusion of sweet coffee & savory chips & that's ok. But I applaud the person who created these, it takes a very eclectic thinker to infuse flavors like these.  

So sorry to report that the Bacon Mac & Cheese was no where to be found. But I will continue to search for them. I feel like they are going to be the winning combination. 



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Healthy Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough" Bars

When I decided to get healthy, the first thing that occurred to me was how I was going to have to give up was desserts & I was not at all happy about that, who would be?! Especially since we were inhaling at least a quart of TCBY yogurt/ice cream a week & that really added up over time. But I kept telling myself I needed that to keep my tummy calm because it had probiotics in it & was seen as a healthier alternative to full fat ice cream. Not to mention my sister works for one of the best bakeries in Memphis, Frost & they have the most amazing Chocolate Silk Pie, you will ever put in your mouth!!!  Bottom line, no one wants to have to give up desserts when they start eating better & no one should have to. I am happy to bring you this healthy alternative to something we all love, Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. I admit it, back in high school my best friend & I would eat raw cookie dough straight out of the tube (she still does sometimes but we are working on that, hoping this will help).  But raw cookie dough can make people sick, so for me the risks greatly outweigh the flavor. So, I have a great alternative that will leave you feeling great & your waste-line will thank you!   

Ingredients 
2 cups gluten free oat flour (or just quick use quick cooking oats that have gone through the food processor)
3 tablespoons melted butter 
4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup coconut sugar  (click on the link for more info on health benefits)
1/4 tsp almond extract (can sub vanilla if that's what you prefer)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Dash of cinnamon and allspice (optional)

NOTE: This week we added dried cranberries in there too & made these even better!!!! 


Directions
1. In a bowl, combine the oat flour, melted butter, almond milk, coconut sugar, almond extract, salt & seasonings until your mixture looks crumbly in texture (it won't come together just yet)
2. Add dashes of water to the mixture, a little at a time, stir between each until your mixture comes together in a cookie dough consistency 
3. Add chocolate chips & stir til incorporated
4. Spray a 9x9 pan to place your mixture in, wet your hands & then press it in til it reaches the sides. 
5. Place in your refrigerator for about 20 mins & then enjoy

Makes about 16 small bars

Credit: Thanks to Olivia from LoveHealthFitness for the inspiration behind this creation, go check her out!! She has lost over 100lbs & creates some really fantastic foods!!  





Friday, August 29, 2014

Weightloss Journey

Welcome back!!!


So much has changed but we are going to start with the most exciting part first, I am down 16 lbs!!!  This all started back in May, when I decided that sitting around loving food has been fun but it was time for a change. This is my journey back to being healthy, eating right & exercising. Back in 2008, before this blog ever started. I got sick & landed in the hospital for 3 days. When it was over, they had idea what had caused me to be so sick. But I knew it was something I had eaten. And I was determined to figure it out. So, I did the only thing I knew to do, which was cut out tons of food & start over. Unfortunately, I limited myself to the point that I got down to 100 lbs, stepped on the scale & freak out because I was afraid I was spiraling into an eating disorder.  That's when this blog began. So, I feel it is only fitting to stick with tradition & re-design this blog to support my journey back to a healthy 100lbs with lots of muscle, hopefully.  

How am I doing it?? I am counting my macro nutrients, 40% Carbs, 30% Fats & Proteins. And I am aiming to eat about 1400 calories a day (I don't usually hit that much). I am also drinking 1/2 my body weight in ounces of water & working out 4-5 days a week with 20-30 mins cardio (aiming to burn 250-300 calories) & 30 mins weight lifting. I constantly change up my routine to keep my body challenged & it all seems to be working for me. I also have a great inspirational system that makes up several IFBB pros & a Figure Olympia 3x Champion. I have had to completely change my lifestyle but it's been for the better & I am so much happier. 




What's next? I am Gluten Free now & loving it!  I made the switch about a year and a half ago, to see how I would feel & haven't gone back.  I feel more energized, I can think more clearly, no more gluten headaches, etc. So from here on out, I will be posting Gluten Free recipes that are healthy & delicious.  Now please don't get me wrong I make sandwiches with GF bread & eat GF pasta but I don't feel terrible afterwards, like I did before. And this is not for everyone, I understand that. But it works for me.  I have included an link, if you would like to learn more about Gluten Sensitivity

I am so excited to be back & hopefully the healthy recipes I have in store for you will be an inspiration in the kitchen & the gym!!!

Health, Love & Happiness,  
Angie





Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cooper Street 20/20

Cooper Street 20/20 is a prepared foods establishment that's located right in the heart of Midtown.  Owner Kathy Katz, veteran restaurateur at the Southern College of Optometry, opened this place with one thing in mind, to create fresh prepared foods to make all of our lives a little easier.  And that she has done.  She is creating fresh homemade Soups, Entrees & Sides.  It's like a Super Suppers for Locavores.  She is open for business Monday - Friday 8a-7p.  And on Saturday's she can be found at Tsunami Farmers Market. 

We grabbed up her Pimento Cheese (made with Roasted Red Peppers), Italian Spinach, Potato Soup & Chicken Roulade.  All of which are loaded with flavor & we couldn't get enough of.  For her full menu, click here.


Chicken Roulade
A juicy tender chicken breast, wrapped around mozzarella cheese, spinach & mushrooms with a delicate sauce, made up of white wine, chicken stock & lemon zest.  This dish goes to show what skilled hands & a passion for food can easily produce. 
 
We can not wait to try more of her fantastic eats!!


Cooper Street 20/20 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ciao Bella - Memphis, TN

Ciao Bella, has quickly become our go to for everything Italian. They are Project Green Fork, certified and using local ingredients from our local farms, which makes all the difference, as you well know.  In the past, we tend to find a quiet corner in the bar & settle in for an evening.  But this time we decided to get the full dining experience, which only made us fall more in love.    

Executive Chef, Jonathan Steenerson, has been in the kitchen since he was 14 yrs old.  Learning from his father & grandfather. He has even had the honor of cooking for Paula Deen & her husband. And we (hubby & I) were honored to have him cook for us.  We gave him free reign to bring out whatever he wanted.  No menus ever touch our hands.  So, everything that came out, was a complete surprise (and Chef came out, each time to explain each dish) & it was all beyond our greatest expectations.  He brought out things that we might not have even thought about ordering but they were all things he loves to create (and eat) & that's what made this evening so special.  Let the food begin!! 


Octopus Carpacio

Thinly sliced bed of Octopus, topped with salty/vinegar combination from the capers, this dish is light but packed with buttery lemon goodness.  



Chopped Salad

Fresh romaine lettuce, basil, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions,  kalamata olives, mozzarella (just to name a few) & then lightly tossed in house champagne vinaigrette...this is the way salad should be.  You get a mouth of flavors in every bite...hmmm, so good. 


Kobe Beef Brisket Gnocchi

Even as a (recent) vegetation, I tossed it all out for this & I can say it was all worth it.  This is a classic steak & potatoes taking to the next level.  Slow-braised beef brisket, sitting on top of parmesan gnocchi topped with fresh basil & pine nuts.


Old World Chicken Carbonara

Homemade bucatini pasta (which is twice as thick as a regular spaghetti & absolutely cooked to perfection), salty pancetta, fresh basil all tossed in a this luscious cream sauce & topped with a soft fried egg.  The thrill I got from poking that yoke & then stirring it onto the dish, is like the rush you get from riding a roller coaster & going upside down...yep, it's that good. 


Chicken Skewers with Orzo & Spanakopita

Chicken Skewers, breaded & fried, almost like a southern fried chicken, sitting on top of tangy orzo pasta & adorned with the best homemade Spanakopita, in town.   



Watermelon Gelato

Watermelon, a summer favorite, turned into this creamy dessert that just melts in your mouth.   You can't feel guilty eating this for dessert, it's fruit!!  We could even taste the rind, it was that fresh. 



Ciao Bella Italian Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Arugula & Tomato Pasta


I made this the other night because I wanted something that exhibited bright, Summer-like doses of full flavor.  Well, this hit the spot.  Fresh heirloom tomatoes, that are sweet & give this dish a hearty feeling.  The beautiful arugula that becomes milder in flavor, when cooked & wraps the pasta in gorgeous green colors, while maintaining it's classic spicy peppery flavor.  Then you bring in the lemony garlic olive oil, which coats the pasta & brings it to life.  And the heat from the cayenne, really rounds it off.  There's no better way to celebrate the great foods that can be found in any garden.  

Ingredients
8 oz Ziti pasta
1 tablespoon kosher salt (to season pasta water)
2 medium heirloom tomatoes (1 yellow & 1 red), diced 
2 cups Arugula
1/4 - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pasta water
1/2 organic lemon juiced & zested
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, garnish
season to taste with salt, pepper & cayenne

In a 5 qt dutch oven or pasta pot, filled up halfway with water, bring to a boil & add 1 tablespoon salt.  Add pasta & I always add a little olive oil to the water, too.  Cook according to package directions.  Meanwhile prepare your sauce.  In a bowl, add 3 tablespoons pasta water (remove while pasta is cooking), stir in olive oil, lemon juice & zest, garlic, season to taste with salt, pepper & cayenne.  Set aside.  Drain pasta  & return it to the pot, on the stove (burner should be off).  Toss in arugula & the heat from the pasta will cook it down.  Add lemony-garlic sauce, tomatoes & finally your parmesan cheese.  Garnish with fresh basil, walnuts & a sprinkle of parmesan, season to taste.  Serve & enjoy!!!   

Makes about 3-4 servings 
(could be more like 4 if you serve it with a salad) 


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