Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie with Cranberry Bacon Chutney

The current Thanksgiving tradition is certainly one to marvel at.  It is a feast of such variety, and so intricate that it is often prepared for days, or even weeks in advance!  Most appreciate the extensive preparation, because it is worth it to spend this holiday with those who matter most.  But what about a college student who may not be able to make it home for a big Thanksgiving celebration, or a newlywed couple in transition who have yet to start their own family and traditions, and thus may only be cooking for the two of them?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"

I am a firm believer in the saying, "You eat with your eyes first."  I remember when I was a kid, my mom once brought home some mint chocolate chip ice cream, but it was a different brand than I was used to, so it was white instead of green.  Now, mint chocolate chip was my favorite flavor so I was the mint chocolate chip connoisseur; and I could tell just by looking at it that the white kind was not gonna work for me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crispy Okra Chips

"When Life gives you lemons, 
make orange juice and leave Life wondering 
how you did it."  -Anonymous

About a month ago, I decided to sign up for my first CSA.  For those of you that are confused, CSA does NOT stand for "Customer Service Agent."  CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) is a food distribution model or program in which customers pay a farm in advance for a season's worth of produce acquired in weekly shares.  This fall, my weekly share typically consists of a "surprise" combination of radishes, cucumbers, turnips, sweet potatoes, greens such as arugula or mustard greens, basil, carrots, green black-eyed pea pods, banana peppers…and okra.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Berry Espresso Protein Shake

So, I have just returned from a week-long road trip to Texas with the best gal-pal, and I am a little overwhelmed by all the things I now need to get done and/or catch up on (i.e. getting ready for the start of the first semester of my senior year on Thursday! Eeek).  I can only hope that I will have enough time to get everything done so that I won't have to alter my schedule too much or put anything on hold.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Farmers Market Salad

The USDA recently designated this week (August 4th-10th) as National Farmers Market Week!  If any of you have never visited a Farmers Market, I sincerely encourage you to do so.  It is such a different experience with a much livelier and friendlier atmosphere than any other kind of market out there.  A lot of people bring their dogs with them, and there are free samples given out left and right!  (I'm sure it's possible to eat an entire meal at the Farmers Market exclusively made up of samples).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last-Minute Sautéed Veggies and My Trip To Monterey

Near Cannery Row in Monterey, Ca.
When a vacation rolls around, it always bugs me when I end up with food left in the fridge that has the potential to spoil (especially produce).  Normally, if I didn’t have time to eat it, I would just freeze it and call it a day; however, before this particular trip, there was scarcely a square inch of space left in my freezer! (One of the reasons why re-organizing the freezer is on my to-do list.)  My mom had sent me some beautiful homegrown veggies shortly before an upcoming vacation, and I was scrambling to figure out what to do with them. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Who in their right mind makes soup in the middle of summer when it’s 110+ degrees outside? ...Oh, that’s right, I do.  Actually, call me crazy, but I made TWO different kinds of soup because I had a large batch of chicken broth to use, and I was in the zone.  Not exactly ideal for the current weather situation; but delicious, nonetheless.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Perfect Baby Back Pork Ribs

I was trying to think of a title for this post that wouldn't sound pretentious or arrogant, but the only word I could think of to accurately describe these ribs was indeed "perfect."  I'm talking fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth, perfect!  Now, I have eaten my fair share of ribs.  Ask any one of my immediate family members about it and the first thing they will tell you is the Chili's story from when I was fourteen and I ate an entire rack of ribs by myself (in addition to all the french fries that came with it and two lemonades…but I digress.)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shrimp and Bacon Cabbage Rolls… and My Favorite Secret Ingredient

Ok, I guess writing about it on my blog makes the "secret" ingredient a "not-so-secret" ingredient, but it's so good I just had to share it.  One of my favorite things to use while cooking in the kitchen is… bacon drippings.  You know, the oily, fatty goodness left in the pan after you cook your bacon. Pure flavor!  In fact, I might just start calling it that, because it has a certain ring to it... "Add 1 Tablespoon of pure flavor."  Yep, I like it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Indian Spiced Lamb Meatballs with Masala Sauce

I have recently become aware of an interesting problem, if I should even call it a "problem" at all.  I realized that I have so many hobbies that it has been very difficult for me to make time for all of them (blogging being one of them).  In my opinion, this is a great problem to have, because it tells me that I am living a full and satisfying life… Which brings me to my point about the importance of one's passions and hobbies.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cinnamon Stracciatella Ice Cream with Candied Carrots and Toasted Coconut

I recently went on a hike that featured many small paths branching off the main path, and I wondered quietly to myself where each one went.  So, the next day, I went back and decided to explore each of these smaller paths that seemingly led to nowhere.  As I would come to discover, each of the paths were at one point connected with each other and the main path in one large network.  They were connected in such a way that you could hike a slightly different route every time and probably never hike the same route twice. 

As you’ve probably noticed, I often relate a lot of the life lessons I learn to the food I eat and/or cook.  After all, food is such a big part of my life that it is hard not to.  Most recently, I was struck with a realization that both food and life share a very important quality: versatility.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paleo Potato Salad and Homemade Mayonnaise

My apologies for taking so long to post.  The end of the semester always lends itself to a lot of stress and very little free time.  Add in a few days of travel, and cooking often goes out the window, as well.  But I am back for the time being, and I hope that with summer quickly approaching I will have more than enough time to keep the recipes and posts coming.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Warm Golden Beet and Cabbage Slaw with Creamy Italian Dressing

As you may or may not have noticed, I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus this past week or so.  WIth finals quickly approaching, I have been buried up to my ears in projects and assignments that I have been scrambling to finish.  Unfortunately, this has taken away a lot of my spare time that I usually spend cooking and blogging to relieve my stress.  As a result, I have turned into one giant stress ball, which I am sure many of you can relate to.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wild Boar Burgers on Portabello Mushroom Buns

As I was creating this recipe, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about along with it.  Okay, actually, I had no idea what I was going to write about...until I tasted the finished product.  As soon as I took a bite, the intense flavor of the burger brought to mind a single word – “umami.” 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Greek Yogurt with Protein Powder

Today’s post addresses those not-quite-paleo foods that are heavily debated among the paleo and primal communities.  Now, I wouldn’t call things like yogurt or protein powder “paleo” by any means (no matter how pristine the ingredient lists are); but the real question here is how often it is ok to eat them, if at all.  One could argue that yogurts and cheeses are “primal” since they are fermented forms of dairy and thus more easily digested, but still not “paleo.”  And some paleo followers advocate egg protein powder, even though it is still a processed food product and not technically “real food.”  I’ll be the first to admit that all of these labels and qualifications can get a little overwhelming.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thai Creamed Spinach and Dandelion Greens

I’ve been trying to incorporate even more leafy greens into my diet this week, since I am planning to donate blood on Saturday, and greens tend to be higher in iron.  I once tried to give blood a few years ago, but I was denied due to low iron levels.  I am hoping that with a significantly improved diet since then (including more red meat), I shouldn’t have to worry about iron...One thing I am concerned about, however, is the amount of fat consumption that is common among paleo-dieters affecting my donation. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paleo Turkey Nuggets

According to Michael Ruhlman, a favored author and food writer of mine, “The world is better when we cook for ourselves.”  In my opinion, this is 100% true unless you are wearing a bathing suit while frying something in coconut oil (which I learned the hard way with this recipe after one or two splatters of hot oil).  For me, cooking serves many purposes, the first and most important of which is

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Green Protein Smoothie

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would post some sort of green recipe.  I love green smoothies made with spinach, but it peeves me that spinach is often called a “superfood.”  Actually, it bothers me that any food is called a “superfood.”  While things like kale, blueberries, eggs, and flax seeds are all healthy, they should not be considered “super,” because in my mind, they are just every day foods. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Butterflied Paprika Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

butterflied chicken

 First of all, I want to address the fact that as elegant as it sounds, “butterflying” a chicken is a somewhat macabre task that involves cutting out the chicken’s spine.  But I guess it doesn’t get much more primal than that unless you kill the chicken yourself...So, bonus points are in order for butchering your own bird!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater...

So for today’s post, I am going to address the topic of cheating (I bet you didn't see that coming based on the title of the post, right?).  Well, there are many forms of cheating which I blatantly oppose...Cheating on tests, cheating in relationships, cheating people out of money – All bad, so just don’t do any of it, because it won’t get you anywhere in life…

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Curry Shrimp Skewers

Life is all about balance...and when that balance gets thrown off, so do a lot of other things (like my immune system at the moment).  As a college student, it is a constant struggle to balance the various aspects of my life.  With class, homework, actual work, cooking, blogging, applying for internships, maintaining a social life, working out and keeping up with other hobbies, it often becomes a question of, “Which things can I afford to sacrifice or put off until tomorrow?” And the answer is usually my social life.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Instant “Baked” Apple with Chocolate-Maple-Raisin Filling

So, my latest sweet kick has been microwaved fruit, as unsophisticated as it sounds.  When I first started eating paleo, I thought to myself, “How on Earth could fruit be considered a dessert?!”  I used to eat fruit as a healthy snack, and it was not exactly something I would crave for dessert.  I was more the giant-piece-of-chocolate-cake kinda girl...That is, until I went paleo and started limiting my fruit consumption due to the fairly high sugar content.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shredded Beef Brisket

beef brisket
This is a very simple crock pot beef recipe that goes well with just about anything... except maybe your vegan friends, who may not appreciate it so much.  Although, I have heard that grass-fed beef has been know to convert a significant number of vegans, because grass-fed cows are treated more humanely (and they taste so much better, though I doubt you will hear a recovering vegan admit to it). 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Daikon Hummus

Ahhhh, Valentine’s Day. What better way to spend a holiday than feeling a sense of obligation and bitterness toward that special someone, or lack thereof, right?  Now, I know that sounds a little cynical, but think about it... Half the population is consumed with spending money on and buying gifts for their significant other while the other half is left feeling pessimistic and lonely because they don’t have someone to buy them things.  Why does there have to be one specific day dedicated to doing something nice for someone you care about?  Moreover, why does that something nice have to consist of buying gifts and other material things? ...Exactly.  It doesn’t.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Loaded Egg Muff-tatas

Okay, before I get into this post, let me just clarify: muff-tata = muffin + frittata. Sort of like a mini frittata, if you will…I guess I could have called them mini-tatas, but I thought that may have been a little too suggestive.  Anyhow...

For breakfast most mornings, I usually make some combination of eggs and vegetables with the occasional strip or two of bacon thrown in there.  One thing I like about egg and veg combos is how versatile the combinations can be. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cinnamon-Raisin Rutabagels

The creation of this recipe is a pretty interesting tale.  Well, I find it interesting, anyway… I actually came up with the name before I even formulated the recipe itself.  I had purchased a very large rutabaga, and only managed to use a portion of it.  So, I had all this leftover rutabaga, and I was trying to come up with some new and interesting ways to use it when the name suddenly popped into my head “Rutabagels!!”  I know, I know, I’m just too clever… or too cheesy… or maybe both.  

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crock Pot Shredded Chicken "Tacos" with Guacamole

You gotta love a low-maintenance, “set-it-and-forget-it” meal.  When I have a lot of things going on, my crock pot is such a life saver!  If you don’t have one, you need to get one; because it doesn’t get much simpler than throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot in the morning and ending up with a fully cooked meal by dinnertime.  It’s multitasking at it’s finest!  I mean, you can cook and not even be in the room.  How cool is that?...Ok, maybe I’m just a bit of a dork, but I think it’s pretty neat.  (And yes, I just used the word “neat.” We have already acknowledged my quirkiness, thank you.)  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pork Goulash over Rutabaga "Noodles"

Goulash is basically a traditional Eastern European stew of meat and onions usually served over noodles or spaetzle.  I have many fond memories of eating my mom’s goulash during the not-so-cold winters while growing up in Southern California.  Even though it doesn’t get much lower than 50ºF there, it was always nice to come home from school to a big bowl of goulash that would literally just warm up my soul.  And with the weather being so cold this past week (30ºF...Seriously, Phoenix?!), I figured it was the perfect time to make a really soul-warming dish.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Greek-Style Beef Cucumber Cups

greek-style beef cucumber cups

I am currently taking a class called Cultural Aspects of Food in which we explore the unique food characteristics of various cultures.  Even though the class is just getting started, the mere concept of the class has inspired me to come up with a recipe that is slightly out of my comfort zone (and I also needed a recipe from a different cultural background for an assignment).  

I rarely use Greek flavors in my cooking, so this recipe is kind of a breath of fresh air.  While lamb is a more traditional

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cocoa-Pear Smoothie

cocoa-pear smoothie

Being a college student has taught me the importance of not wasting food, among other things.  After all, food is money…(I know that’s not how the saying goes, but just humor me).  I have spoken to countless friends and acquaintances about what constitutes healthy eating.  While many of them know what they should be eating, they often comment on how expensive it is to eat healthy and buy organic.  Fortunately, there are many methods that can keep the cost of food in a manageable price range.  I'll save my rambling about all of these methods for another time, but I will share one of my personal favorites.