Monday, April 30, 2012

April Wrap-Up


Summer is upon us and we felt it all through this past month as we head into what will hope to be a fresh new month of May filled with (fun!) feel-good goals and goodies!  Our April goal was to refocus on health as we became aptly aware of the change in season, allergy season (yuck!), and changes everywhere that make us want to take extra good care of ourselves!

We were able to accomplish featuring our Food of the Month - Eggs – by celebrating with some fun Easter eggs and some not-so-healthy, but totally feel-good cakes and cupcakes!  Christina then made up for my not-so-healthy habits early in the month, by zeroing in on our April goal with a healthy smoothie and an inventive, quick and easy lunch.  I was able to get some creative inspiration through my wedding tasting and later in the month, the bridal event I attended – and I even got economical after Easter and used leftovers with a healthy, hearty soup!  Christina rounded out the month with one of our favorite feel-good creations in the entire world – sushi pizza.

Stay tuned for next month for some energizing, fun and festive happenings!

Feel Good!
Alycia 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bride's Night Out


One of the things I'm going to miss once October rolls around is that I won't have a (really) good excuse to attend the city's wedding events as an eager, excited bride.  Tonight, however - I attended The Wedding Salon's bridal event at The Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th street, and ate it up - literally.

Check out the yummy goodness that the vendors had to offer:

(Cake Boss!)
Lemon-Raspberry Cake Parfait
Brownie Cake Pops

Vanilla cake with fruit and whipped cream frosting

Blue cheese and pistachio-covered grapes
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory-themed place setting
(My favorite one for obvious reasons!...Hellooo chocolate!)


The night was a success!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sushi Pizza


This may be strange, but in my mind there is just something about Spring weather and sushi that go hand in hand. Alycia and I are long overdue for a sushi date, so for lunch yesterday I decided to bring our favorite dish to us: Sushi Pizza.

Sushi Pizza may very well be one of my favorite foods on earth. The formula is typically a simple three layers of yum:
  1. Some sort of ‘crust’: at home in NJ this is similar to the shell of an eggroll, at our favorite Sushi Pizza spot in the city it’s a scallion pancake.
  2. The filler. I've had Sushi Pizza with a middle layer of rice, and Sushi Pizza with seaweed salad. The one pictured above just had a layer of spicy mayo. Anything delicious to sit between the crust and the sushi will do. I prefer the rice, but my diet prefers the seaweed.
  3. Sushi – and lots of it. Tuna, salmon, etc. is evenly layered atop the middle layer, and then drizzled with spicy mayo or other special sauces.
Now that I've made your mouth water, you’re probably wondering where you can get this delectable little treat. Here are some locations I've scouted out in my desperation to bring Sushi Pizza to wherever I am:
  • Fuji – My mom bought me my first Sushi Pizza here and the obsession began.
  • Fatty Fish – My neighborhood spot. It is very dangerous to have this place less than a quarter mile from my apartment.
  • Biny Japanese Restaurant – When I just can’t stand not having Sushi Pizza in my life, I order it for lunch at work from here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Leftover Easter Ham Bone Soup

A promised - this past weekend I made my first ever ham bone soup!  I couldn't believe how easy this recipe was.  I also loved that after making a ham last weekend, with ham leftovers, I could still get another week's worth of food out of this thing (that's a whole lot of ham)!



Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry great Northern beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper


Directions

Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes.




After the 60 minutes of soaking, return the pot to high heat and place the ham bone, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard and bay leaves in the pot. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes.




Remove ham bone and discard. Stir in the chopped ham and simmer for 30 more minutes. Season with ground white pepper to taste...




...and Enjoy!








Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Quick Weekend Lunch


While pretty much the entire population of New York City was in Central Park yesterday, I was at home taking care of a sick boyfriend. Feeling particularly lazy and not up for ordering in, I decided to search the fridge for something to whip up for lunch. What I came up with was surprisingly satisfying.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad



Ingredients:
1 large cooked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1 apple, cored and diced
1 tbs of poppy seeds
2 tbs of mayonnaise
1 tsp of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small handful of slivered almonds
1 small handful of dried cranberries

Instructions:
Mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with chicken, almonds, apple, poppy seeds and cranberries. That’s it! A quick and easy lunch for when you’re feeling lazy. Recipe serves two.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wedding Tasting


So I’m less than five months away from being a married woman (!).  I’ve already been through seven glorious months of wedding planning, color picking, dress choosing and check writing.  Finally, about a month ago – I got to the fun part – food eating!!

We had our tasting at my wedding venue in Lake George and it was one of the most amazing foodie experiences I’ve ever had.  The fiancĂ© and I really got the 5-star treatment.  Ironically, in many ways, the food we ended up tasting and ultimately choosing, are very much in line with past and present goals and recent foods of the month here at FGF!

First off, most or all of the ingredients the talented chefs at our venue use are seasonal (remember our March “eat seasonably” goal??), which makes everything more tasty and more colorful.  Many of the foods are also locally grown, which adds to the freshness factor.

The stationary hors d’oeuvres we chose are visually fancy and fun foods that you could easily replicate at home for a party, snack or light lunch.  We will have a ‘celebration of tomatoes’ selection that will include mini grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, mini pizzas and other similar tomato-type comfort finger foods.  We’ll ALSO have an array of fancy deviled eggs with all sorts of fillings from lobster salad to spicy hummus to cheesy spinach.  This would be a perfect snack or appetizer for this month’s food of the month!!

We went on to try a few salads and then our entrees for the reception - everything was amazing - here are a few photos and descriptions of what we enjoyed and what you could use as inspiration for cooking at home:

Heirloom Tomato and Burratta Micro Basil, 25 yr old  Balsamic, pine nut florentine.

Petite seasonal lettuce, Ice Wine Poached Pear, Gorgonzola Cheesecake, Candied Walnuts, Red Wine Vinaigrette.

(right to left)
Truffle-honey Glazed Chickon, Roasted Shallot Jam Marsala Butter.
Grilled Filet of Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom Confit, Minus 8 Scented Veal Jus.
Swordfish La Plancha, Bouillabaisse Butter, Ratatouille Vegetables.

This whole experience was really inspiring and made me want to get fancy and colorful in the kitchen!  What is your favorite colorful, crafty meal?

Feel good!
Alycia

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zeroing in on Our April Goal


For our goal this month, Alycia and I decided that we will refocus on health. First, I would like to share a lovely smoothie recipe from Linda Wagner. Linda is participating in a 10 day raw food cleanse, and this yummy treat was the kickoff recipe. Alycia and I are planning to try a similar raw food cleanse at some point this month. (OK, maybe we’re going to actually mirror Linda’s…we’ll see!). Here is the smoothie:
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen strawberries
  • 1 10 ounce bag of frozen mangoes
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups Almond Milk Kefir – love this stuff and what it’s done for my body and well being!! I can’t make a green smoothie without it!
  • 2 droppers full of Vanilla Stevia

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth. This recipe makes about 64 ounces so should be enough for two large servings. If you don’t want that much, simply cut the recipe in half.

Image courtesy of LindaWagner.net
Now I would like to share what triggered my need to refocus on health this month. This post is a little dense, but completely necessary to create a baseline for my goal.  I personally was disappointed with myself in March, and in dire need of motivation. At the end of March (almost 3 weeks ago) I attended a medical conference in Chicago, and got the push that I needed. The conference had those machines that calculate your weight, blood pressure, BMI, body fat percentage, etc. Let me tell you – the numbers that I saw did not make me happy. My weight was actually the EXACT number that I’ve deemed my tipping point. This is the weight where I stop allowing myself to make excuses, and I get serious about what I eat and how much I exercise.

Since that dreadful day I have lost five pounds and my body fat content has gone down a decent amount, mostly due to diet. In the last few weeks I’ve made a point of bringing lunch to work instead of buying, and I’ve started cooking healthier dinners and making my own juices again. I usually only make it to the gym about two times per week, and that didn’t change much in the past few weeks, but I’ve added more weights and more running to my workouts.

I would like to lose a total of 15-20 pounds from the number at my ‘bad’ weigh-in. To accomplish this I’ve finally ponied up the money to hire a personal trainer. I know that I don’t self-motivate well, and I’ve worked with great trainers in the past that have gotten me in tip top shape for bikini season. I had my first session today and I am so incredibly pumped. I aim to train twice per week, and go to the gym twice on my  own, which will double my days in the gym.

I’ll be sure to check in every couple of weeks and share my progress, along with some healthy, yummy recipes that Alycia and I discover when we try our raw food cleanse. 

Do you have any healthy goals this month? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter Recipe!


Happy Easter (again)!  April was kicked off to an eggcellent start (sorry, couldn’t help myself) with lots of celebrating-with-food this past holiday weekend.  I practically lived in my kitchen Saturday and Sunday cooking up way too much food, leading to way too much eating…and we still have way too many leftovers!

Saturday I whipped up a red velvet Easter cake & cupcakes (courtesy of Mrs. Betty Crocker – I totally cheated) and had fun playing with NEON food coloring!!  Between dyeing the frosting and then eggs, my kitchen was practically a rainbow when I was finished…I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend, The Magic Eraser, for the clean-up help…


Easter eggs & cupcakes

Easter Cake


Sunday I whipped up a whole smorgasbord of feel good foods - I baked my first ever ham-with-the-bone-in (this former vegetarian did NOT know what she was missing! Yum!), mashed sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, sautéed kale and made-from-scratch scalloped potatoes (a first!).

I found this really great, super easy scalloped potato recipe I want to share with you:



Ingredients:

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top
Paprika

Directions:
In a small sauce pan, melt butter and blend in flour.
Let sit for a minute.
Add all of cold milk, stirring with a whisk.
Season with salt and cayenne.
Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk.
Reduce heat and stir in cheese.
Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish.
Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.
Repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Top with some paprika for color.
Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F.
photo courtesy of food.com
These came out very delicious – my only caution would be to take your time with forming your butter/flour/milk roux.  I made mine a bit too thick and needed to thin it back out with milk, which may have compromised the quality of the dish a bit (I can be a very impatient cook!).
Overall, it was a VERY successful Easter meal.  Check back next week for a TBD soup recipe using ham leftovers!
Feel good!
Alycia

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Kick-off: Be Eggcellent at Spring Cleaning Your Health


Spring is in full swing!  Open up those windows, get some fresh air and let’s do some Spring cleaning!  Here at FGF, we believe that spring cleaning is not only for your wardrobe, but for your overall health and well-being too!  So let’s put away those heavy winter clothes we may have been ‘camouflaging’ a few extra pounds in for ‘extra warmth’ this winter (right??) and start a new monthly goal to: Refocus on Health.

This could be anything from adding an extra day or two to your weekly gym routine, or adding our eggcellent food of the month – just in time for Easter! 



As most everyone knows, eggs are an incredible source of protein (7 grams per egg!) – they also have only 75 calories, 5 grams of (good) fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins and minerals.  Not only are they nutritious, but they are one of the most versatile foods out there.  Whether you whip up a healthy egg-white omelet for brunch or a veggie frittata for dinner, you really can’t go wrong.

Be on the lookout for future posts using the incredible edible egg that can’t be beat (get it?!) as we welcome spring with a refocus on health and keep on Feeling Good!

Alycia

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Wrap-Up


Good morning! As we gear up for another feel-good month, we want to share the highlights from March, just in case you missed them. Our March goal was to eat seasonably, focusing on cabbage (our food of the month), cauliflower, broccoli, kale and leeks. The leeks never made their way into our kitchens – maybe next month!

Cabbage made an appearance twice, in Christina’s corned beef and cabbage recipe, and Alycia’s hearty cabbage soup recipe.

Kale remained a favorite. Alycia shared a kale salad recipe, which was also on the menu for a Birthday dinner Christina and Jamie cooked for his mom. Also on the Birthday menu: roasted cauliflower with hot cherry peppers and breadcrumbs – YUM.

Outside of the monthly goal/ food of the month, Christina shared a cocktail appropriate for all occasions (and it won 3rd place in a contest!). She also posted a ‘cellulite buster’ juice, and told you what to do with your leftover corned beef. She then set off for Chicago, where she tried her first deep dish pizza.

Alycia shared her veggie chili recipe and made a creamy, delicious goat cheese penne.

Stick with us for a feel-good April, we'll reveal the food of the month and our monthly goal this week!