Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cabbage Soup & Miami


Who doesn’t love Miami?? …The palm trees, the fresh humid ocean air and the bikinis…The. Bikinis.
That I would soon be wearing – Eeek!
So as I was mentally packing to head to Miami for our little get-away, I was constantly reminding myself that I would soon be wearing a bikini – Every. Day.  This was my last opportunity to cut out all bad foods in an effort to look my best with very little clothing, and possibly (gasp!) be photographed as such, and potentially have something wind up on Facebook.  Yikes!
So on Sunday, I was surfing through healthy recipes when I remembered The Cabbage Diet.  No – I did not do the Cabbage Diet, nor did I do some other crazy 3-day cabbage-type cleanse (I mean, I’ll probably do Blueprint again, it WAS great), but I DID make a super flavorful, super satisfying, super hearty pot of this amazing cabbage soup as an addition to my healthy-before-Miami routine – and in honor of our food of the month, of course!
Ingredients:
·  yellow onion
·  1 bunch of celery
·  chopped carrots
·  1 large can of peeled whole tomatos, drained & diced
·  canned green beans, drained
·  half a head of cabbage
·  two green peppers
·  chicken broth
·  1 package french onion mix
·  1 48oz tomato juice (optional)
·  Season to taste with pepper, parsley, curry, garlic powder, etc. as you'd like (Little to no salt recommended) - I added a little pepper, that's it.

Cabbage Soup Ingredients

 Directions:

1. Spray pot with non-stick cooking spray, saute onions, carrots and celery for about 5min or until tender.

2. Add tomatos, green beans, cabbage, peppers, chicken broth, tomato juice and french onion mix

3. Simmer for a good hour until all vegetables are as tender as you would like.


Cabbage Soup

Maybe I was impatient, but I found that my green peppers and my cabbage were a bit el dente/semi-crunchy, which I actually liked.  Again, salt/pepper to taste and feel free to add chili powder or curry powder if you like an extra kick or spicy-ness (I can NOT do spicy!).  I also found that I only used about 1/3 of my cabbage and not all of my chicken broth or tomato soup - it probably depends on the size of pot you're using - although I thought mine was pretty big!

Here's a photo for inspiration from my Miami trip - I'd like to give all the credit to this week of soup-ing with our food of the month, cabbage ;)


Enjoy...and Feel Good!
Alycia

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mionetto Mixology Masters Challenge: Vote for WhiteTea Bulger

A colleague of mine recently entered the Mionetto Mixology Masters Challenge in hopes of winning a VIP trip to Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit, a Private VIP Tour at the Mionetto Winery in Italy, and most importantly, bragging rights.

Sounds pretty sweet right? Well you could win that trip to Vegas Uncork’d too, just by voting. And what better beverage to vote for than the WhiteTea Bulger: a combination of sweetened white tea, Jameson Irish whiskey (my fav!) and prosecco?

I pose two challenges to you lovely readers:

  1. Go vote for the WhiteTea Bulger, and pass it on to anyone you know who likes a good drink.
  2. Try the recipe out this weekend!

 I love this recipe for a few reasons:
  • The ingredients are simple and easy to find. No funky purees, beverage “flakes” (what is that?!), or rare liqueurs. The white tea and Jameson are actually already in my kitchen.
  • The procedure is also simple, making it easy to concoct while entertaining – there are just 5 quick steps to prepare.
  • The flavor combination sounds natural and enticing. The tea and whiskey make it the perfect beverage to kick-off a night out, but the prosecco screams, “Hey! Forget the mimosa at brunch and drink me!”
  • The name is clever. Here is the “inspiration” for the drink, courtesy of mionettomixology.com:

Whitey Bulger, one of America's most wanted for decades was the inspiration for this Boston-born cocktail. As the city's most notorious crime boss, his spirited 20+ year run from the law took him around the world. Borrowing from the locations of Whitey’s many known hideouts; the “WhiteTea Bulger” marries the effervescent sweetness of Italian Moinetto Prosecco and the naturally sweet and slightly malty flavors of white tea with Whitey’s hometown favorite – Irish whiskey. Together, they combine to create a delicious and easy-drinking cocktail that packs an Irish punch.

WhiteTea Bulger
Photo courtesy of mionettomixology.com

INGREDIENTS:
- 1.5 oz - Prosecco
- 1.5 oz - Sweetened White Tea
- 0.5 oz - Jameson Irish Whiskey (or Irish whiskey of choice)
- Slice of lime

PROCEEDURE:
- Combine sweetened white tea with Irish whiskey in ice-filled    shaker.
- Shake well
- Pour into martini glass
- Top with Prosecco
- Squeeze lime slice and garnish glass

Monday, March 26, 2012

A New York Girl Does Chicago Deep Dish

Hello lovelies! I'm sorry for the complete lack of posts the past few days...I've been in Chicago for work and Alycia has been on vacation in Miami. We really need to coordinate our schedules better, huh?

So this is my second time visiting the Windy City. Last time I was here I left disappointed because I didn't get to try the 'other' great pizza of our country. I was NOT about to let that happen again.So last night I headed over to Bella Bachinos and had this:
Deep dish with sausage, green peppers and artichoke. Mmm mmm good. I still love my NY style thin-crust, but this was something else altogether. 

What do you like better, Chicago deep dish or New York style?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Corned Beef Benedict


This weekend my parents were nice enough to send me home with a good portion of leftover corned beef, which I decided to experiment with rather than making the sandwiches the leftovers were intended for. The result? Sunday morning Corned Beef Benedict.


The boyfriend and I are big on breakfast at home over the weekend, but I woke up on Sunday with little to work with. There were only three eggs left, no bacon or sausage or vegetables; I had two options: go shopping, or work with what was in my kitchen.


So I toasted up two slices of rye bread and warmed the leftover corned beef in the oven. I topped it off with a poached egg, and voila! Corned Beef Benedict. 




I was working with what I had, but next time I'll be sure to add some Russian dressing and Swiss cheese - then we can call it Ruben Benedict.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Creamy Goat Cheese Penne


I’d like to give myself a shameless pat on the back.  Not only have I been regularly making two meals every Sunday (one for myself, one for the fiancé) to eat throughout the week – but last week I made an additional meal to eat throughout the week for lunch (go me!)!

I found this yummy and filling goat cheese penne recipe courtesy of Pinterest.com – the phenomenon that has brought ‘vision boards’ to a whole new level.  At first glance I almost thought “no way is that healthy”, because it looked a little too decadent, but upon closer investigation, I found this super easy recipe is healthy AND delicious.  Love it when that happens.

Ingredients:
Penne (or your favorite pasta)
Chicken
Fresh arugula
Cherry tomatoes
Pine nuts
Goat cheese

While boiling the water for the penne, I oil up my skillet and start roasting my pine nuts (yum, LOVE pine nuts!) and on my grill pan, I start grilling my chicken.

Once the penne is cooked el dente, and the pine nuts are a warm toasty brown, I toss in my warm strained pasta with arugula, sliced tomatoes and pine nuts so that the arugula slightly wilts from the heat.

Add bite-sized chicken pieces to further wilt the arugula and toss well to combine all of the nutty, fresh flavors 
Lastly, break up the creamy gooiness of your fresh white goat cheese and stir into the mixture until everything is coated in white – making you think you have a rich guilty alfredo sauce, but it’s just yummy goat cheese!



Salt and pepper to taste – enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Corned Beef & Cabbage for St. Patty’s Day


I’m not Irish what-so-ever, but I have to admit that St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite days to go to my parents’ house for a home-cooked dinner. Those not-Irish parents of mine cook a mean corned beef and cabbage - I bet it could go up against the most Irish home. This time around, I was smart enough to ask for the recipe. It’s a shame that we only eat this delicious dish once a year, and I aim to try it myself sometime between now and the next St. Patrick’s Day. I think you should too, so here is the recipe my family has been using for years:

Corned Beef and Cabbage
(Makes 6 servings)


INGREDIENTS:
  • 3-4 Lb. corned beef brisket
  • ½ cut shopped onion
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • A dash of ground cloves
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled
  • 6 carrots
  • 6 cabbage wedges
  • Prepared powdered mustard (Coleman’s)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced


Place corned beef in a Dutch oven and barely cover with hot water. Add onions, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, or until tender (3 hours is probably enough). Remove meat from liquid; cover with foil and keep warm. Add whole potatoes and carrots cut in 2” or 3” pieces to liquid in Dutch oven. Coer and bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or so and add cabbage; then cook 20 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, glaze meat and spread fat side of meat lightly with mustard powder. Combine brown sugar and cloves and sprinkle over mustard. Bake in shallow pan at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. Arrange corned beef and vegetables on a warm platter for serving. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Restaurant Review – A Voce


Right after returning from Europe, my boyfriend and I received a dinner invitation from his uncle and aunt. I love going out with them in the city – they are delightful to be around and definitely have their fingers on the pulse of great food in Manhattan. I broaden my horizon every time we go out with them. This occasion was no different. The spot? A Voce in Flatiron.

The restaurant itself was absolutely beautiful. The lighting is well orchestrated, and the back wall is lined with these wooden structures that I really loved. I wish I had snapped a picture. We sat at a table in the middle of the room, which had these excellent leather swivel chairs. I felt like I was in an executive meeting, but they were very comfortable and somehow fit. The service was a well-choreographed dance – at times it seemed like we each had a personal server.

The Menu
We began with three shared plates:
·         Ricotta: cows milk ricotta, extra virgin olive oil, mint, thyme, chilies – the cheese was rich and creamy perfection.
·         Funghi Al Forno: roasted trumpet royal mushrooms, fonduta, truffle, hazelnuts – The mushrooms almost tasted like meat. I can’t find the right words to describe it – they were smokey and delicious and the truffles were the perfect accessory.
·         Terrina Di Polpo: thinly sliced octopus, cerignola olives, citrus – The presentation of this dish was unique, the thin slices were in one uniform layer on a clear dish. I was embarrassed to announce my new food-blogging hobby, so I did not take any pictures until the end of the meal when my boyfriend announced it for me!  I wish I could have snapped a shot of this dish.

After the appetizers we shared some first-course pastas:
Casunziei: spinach and sweetbread filled pasta, fennel, pecorino, garlic – This was my first experience with sweetbreads, which are certain organs that usually come from a calf or lamb (according to Wikipedia the actual animal and part vary). I am glad I tried this dish, I absolutely loved the sweetbread. It was creamy and crispy on the outside.

We had another filled pasta that had sausage and goat cheese, but it’s not on the regular menu and I cannot remember the specifics. Anything with goat cheese gets an A in my book.

For my entrée I had the Branzino:grilled mediterranean sea bass, baby bulb onions, yukon gold potatoes, clams, bagnet vert, which was flavorful to say the least. Here is the only photo I took at dinner, Branzino:

With our entrees we also had sides of kale and polenta, which were perfect.

Have you been to A Voce? What did you think?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Product Review: Stash Herbal Iced Tea and Truvia Natural Sweetner

I am having the most wonderfully lazy Saturday. I am not ashamed to admit that it is 3 p.m. and I am still cozy in my pajamas (I also swear that I am showering and getting myself together right after this blog post)!

For a lazy day, I have done a lot. I cooked an amazing breakfast for the boyfriend, cleaned up the kitchen, created a Feel Good Foodies Facebook page, and made two liters of delicious herbal iced tea. I'm a member of Influenster, an online community where trendsetters can provide feedback on products. They essentially send me products that I can review and share with you readers! This week they sent me a box that included Stash Premium Tea and Truvia natural sweetener - the perfect start to a whole lotta iced-tea-goodness.


Since my juicer has been broken, I haven't been getting nearly as much fluid or nutrients compared to what my body is used to. Herbal tea is a great way to stay hydrated. I made two different iced teas: Wild Raspberry Hibiscus, and Mango Passionfruit. I learned in my three years as a Starbucks barista to double brew iced beverages - this basically means that since you will add ice, which will melt to water, you should brew your beverages with twice as much coffee or tea, and no additional water. This method prevents your drink from getting a watered down taste. 

So for each tea I used:
  • Two herbal tea bags (this will work with any flavor you prefer)
  • One packet of Truvia (I like my iced tea sweet, but not too sweet)
  • A few slices of lemon (I used 3 per liter, and squeezed a little extra lemon juice in at the end
Put teabags and sweetener in a glass/jar/whatever you want to brew your tea in. Heat water in a teapot, and once boiling fill jars (or whatever you're brewing in) with water, about halfway so that the teabags are just submerged in the water. Add your lemons and let sit for 4-6 minutes, then fill the rest of the jar with room temperature or cold water.  If you desire more lemon juice, go ahead and squeeze it into the jars, and then refrigerate and enjoy! I like my tea strong, so I left the teabags in for about 10 more minutes while cooling in the fridge, but the 4-6 minutes should do the trick. 



I usually use TAZO teas, and the Stash tea was just as good, and definitely less expensive! I can't wait to try the other flavors from the sampler box. I was already a big Truvia fan prior to receiving the samples. Truvia boasts that unlike most stevia-based sweeteners, which are typically a mixture of many components from the stevia leaf, Truvia natural sweetener is made from Truvia stevia leaf extract, the best tasting part of the stevia leaf. I've tried other stevia sweeteners, and I really do like Truvia's taste the best. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Juice Recipe: Cellulite Buster


Last week, my boyfriend broke my juicer. I have been CRAVING this juice that I found on Linda Wagner's blog ever since. Will someone please make it and enjoy in my honor? 


Cellulite Buster
  • 1 peeled grapefruit
  • 3 peeled oranges
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 1 inch knob or ginger
Juice and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Colorful, Flavorful, Easy, Filling and Oh-So-Healthy Veggie Chili

So with all of this wedding planning, I’ve put myself on my self-proclaimed “wedding budget diet”.  Meaning I’m trying my best in as many ways as possible (and as painlessly as possible) to avoid the temptation of impulse buys, purchasing “wants” vs. “needs” and cooking at home more.
I’d say I’m doing ‘so-so’ on the first two, but with the cooking at home, I’d like to give myself an A+ so far – and I’d like to think I’m saving a good chunk of change since in the past I’ve found myself eating out at LEAST 4-5 times per week (I know, but I live in Astoria, it’s not my fault the food is so good!).
Enter the weekly dinners.  I’ve been making myself, as well as the Fiancé, dinners in bulk on Sunday nights to last throughout the week (some sort of meat & potatoes dish for him, some sort of much-healthier-version-of-that for me).  One particular favorite of mine is veggie chili.
Colorful, flavorful, easy, filling and oh-so-healthy (I could go on) – a pot lasts me a full week which saves a ton of moo-lah.
Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped
  • 1 (19 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
(FYI – I did NOT use the cumin, since I guess everyone in my neighborhood was making veggie chili too – there was none left at my grocery store.  I don’t think this made much of a difference, but a great addition nonetheless if you do have it on hand.)

1. Sautee onion, carrots & garlic first, in olive oil until tender.

2. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery and chili powder.  Cook until tender.

3. Stir in mushrooms and cook about 3-4 minutes.

4. Stir in tomatos, kidney beans, and corn - all with liquid.


5. Season with cumin (if you have it), basil and oregano (I like to be generous with these, yum!) and salt & pepper to taste.

6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cover and simmer for 20min, stir occasionally.

Tip: Like my mom always says, "you can put salt in, but you can't take it out!".  Season with care : )


You can add just about any other favorite vegetable (like our food of the month, cabbage?? Yum!) or bean to this and could make many different versions.  I keep going back to this one again and again - I love the hearty texture and bright flavors.

Enjoy!
Alycia

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Homemade Birthday Dinner

This weekend, my boyfriend Jamie and I packed up our things and ventured down to South Jersey for his mother’s birthday. Her birthday wish? A home-cooked meal. I quickly volunteered to create the side-dishes, knowing I had a few crowd-pleasing recipes up my sleeve: roasted cauliflower with cherry peppers, and our feel-good favorite, kale salad. I was excited to accomplish our goal of eating seasonably only four days into the month of March!


Here we are, chopping away
The entrée was salmon, which we broiled, and Jamie was brave and made Sauce Verte for the fish – which came out incredibly well! I don’t have the exact recipe for the sauce verte, but similar can be found here
Roasted Cauliflower with Hot Cherry Peppers and Breadcrumbs
(recipe courtesy of The Meatball Shop)

THE RECIPE:
Ingredients: 1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into large florets, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup finely sliced hot cherry peppers (stems and seeds removed), 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the hot cherry peppers, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 cup crushed garlic croutons

  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Place cauliflower florets in a 9x13 baking dish. Add the olive oil and salt and toss, making sure the cauliflower is well coated
  • Roast until the edges of the cauliflower beging to brown (about 15 minutes). Toss the cauliflower and continue to roast, tossing every 5 minutes , until tender but firm and well browned all over (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove cauliflower from the oven, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the cherry peppers, pepper juice and parsley and toss to throughly combine. Sprinkle with the crushed croutons just before serving to ensure that they stay crispy.
Kale Salad

sauce verte

final product

And what good is a birthday without some birthday cake?

Happy Birthday Dawn!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March Kickoff: Eat Seasonably & Love Cabbage

Can you believe it’s March already?  Here in New York we’re wondering if Winter even came and went – but Spring is right around the corner (March 20th, if you’re wondering)!  Not only that, but first comes St. Patrick’s Day March 17th!  In honor of the month of March and this green festive holiday, our food of the month is (wait for it…) cabbage!

Cabbage is a nutritious and versatile vegetable that is underappreciated and seems to only get much love during the month of March (think the traditional corned beef & cabbage).  We’re here to get you thinking of ways to use it in both a traditional and experimental sense.  Packed with vitamin C, essential amino acids and anti-inflammatory properties – this is the perfect addition to a meal on a cold rainy night or warm Spring day as the season transitions (sniffles from the change in season?  Eat some vitamin C-packed cabbage!).

Speaking of seasons – our monthly GOAL is to eat seasonably!  This is something we often forget about but can be so rewarding.  You’ll find there’s such a difference if you make a small effort to eat locally (fresher) and seasonably – your food will be so much more tasty and nutritious!   In March, it’s no surprise then that cruciferous vegetables are in season: cabbage (of course!), cauliflower, broccoli, kale and leeks are all great additions to any meal this month.


Let’s see what kind of in-season cabbage-concoctions we can come up with this month!

Feel good,
Alycia

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kale Salad – Taste & Try

Christina and I are fortunate enough to work at a place that values feel-good foods.  From an array of healthy salads and soups to decadent brownies and cakes, there is definitely something for everyone or every craving.  What I also love about our café selection is that everything is made with mostly simple, fresh ingredients – just as you could make at home – except prepackaged into cute little containers (although you can do that at home too!).
My all-time favorite item is the Kale salad.  They make it with fresh green Kale, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and fresh grated parmesan = kale bliss.  I must have bought this almost every day for two weeks, when I thought – why don’t I try this at home??
First off, when you buy Kale at the store you can get a TON for $3-$4.  What I also love is that when I make mine at home, I can add as much cheese, slivered almonds and dried cranberries as I want!  I knew I was on to something when I could make a whole weeks-worth of these salads chock full of the ingredients I love for a fraction of the cost of buying them at our café.
The only other element that was missing is the dressing - which I translated as a mixture of lemon, olive oil, salt & pepper.  My only advice would be to not over-do it on the lemon so that you don't get a too-bitter taste.
I love how my version came out - although I do notice slight differences between mine and our cafe's.  The salad in our cafe appears a bit more green and "fluffy" and the dressing is slightly different.  I'm wondering if they steemed the kale a bit before makingn it into the salad.  I may ask about their dressing recipe, curious.
Christina tried this at home too and approached the dressing the same way, but left out the cheese and used apple slices instead of cranberries. For a heartier lunch, grilled chicken makes a great addition!