Saturday, April 28, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Sunshine Smoothie

Full of flavor and color, this smoothie not only tastes great and looks pretty, but has antioxidants, protein, live yogurt cultures and fiber. What more could anyone want?

Steam off the carrots ahead of time and toss in the fridge so they are cool and ready when you need them.

1 cup steamed & cooled baby carrots
1 whole fresh peach
1 navel orange, peeled
1/2 cup nonfat unsweetened Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp Splenda Blend
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 or 4 ice cubes

Throw it all in the blender and let 'er rip. I usually blend all the ingredients but the ice and toss that in after everything else is liquidy and smooth.

Calories: 352
Total Fat: 1.5g
Sat Fat: 0g
Carbs: 65.4g
Protein: 15.6g
Fiber: 15.5g


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Truffled Deviled Eggs

I made another recipe from Chef Anne Burrell's book Cook Like A Rock Star. And found out I like truffles. Great. That'll be a nice, inexpensive ingredient. Darn you Chef Anne!

I found the truffle oil with no problem in Whole foods. I'm cooking my way through her book one recipe at a time without making substitutions. But.....

...the recipe called for actual truffle peelings and truffles were nowhere around the week before Easter. After checking Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Shoprite with no luck a very informative staffer at Wegman's told my hubby, Monsterfink, that the truffles were coming in in terrible shape so nobody is ordering them for a while. At least we knew to stop searching for them.

This recipe came together very easily - I used an extra tablespoon of truffle oil since I didn't have the peelings. Absolutely delicious - I loved them.

And I found out why my family never has deviled eggs at family functions. They don't like them. Glad I didn't lay out all that money for the peelings.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Secret Smoothie

Eating healthy is no prob for this omnivore but sometimes I just need chocolate! How to satisfy the sweet tooth but keep the nutrition rockin'? Flavor the smoothie with the yum ingredients and use the more nutritious stuff for body and texture.

Cocoa, banana and peanut butter are a classic flavor combo (and add antioxidants, a serving of fruit and protein). For bulk and creamy smoothness there's uber healthy beans and avocado.

I use smoothies for breakfast or quick lunches when I'm in the middle of projects and don't want to stop to prepare a meal because, generally, the calories are too high for a snack.

3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 scoop protein powder
(I used Whole Foods vanilla whey)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp Splenda Blend
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup beans, cooked and cooled
1/3 of a whole avocado
1 tbsp peanut butter
3-4 ice cubes

Put all the ingredients, except the ice, in a blender and whiz until smooth. Add the ice and blend again until smooth.

Calories: 520
Total fat: 17g
Saturated fat: 1.8g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
Monounsaturated fat: 5.1g
Carbs: 68.9g
Protein: 23.1g
Fiber 12.3g

This smoothie is a great way to sneak beans and avocado into kids, providing they don't see what goes in the blender.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


There's something wrong with my brain. As a kid I could read music, even hum out an unfamiliar tune while scanning the notes, but put an instrument in my hand and it sounded like I was choking a cat.

My experience with bento is the same way. My efforts to put it in a box, as in how it is supposed to be served looks like this:

It's like a train wreck. Not in the I-can't-stop-looking-at-it way, but in that it looks like it was actually hit by a train.Yet if I try it on a plate, it looks much better:

See, pretty!

The plated pics are my bentoish experiments for my daughter who has a PB&J addiction so pronounced it needs an intervention. To keep me from going barking mad making the same food all the time, I amuse myself with different ways to present it. The flower plate is PB&J, string cheese and strawberries. The sandwich pieces were cut with Ateco round and oval cutters.

Bento comes from Asian culture and is, very basically, an attractive way to present a variety of foods within a container. There is some AMAZ-ing bento out there. But that's the pinnacle, not the every day. Regular bento is food served at a restaurant in a pretty lacquered box or a parent using odds and ends in their baby girl's lunch. To get started making bento for kids, there are some great sites devoted to it.

Since I haven't displayed natural talent at assembling bento in a box, I now feel I have to do it and will be obsessing on figuring it out.The latest experiment looks alright:

The hearts are just wheat bread made with a cookie cutter from Michaels but you'd think it was filet mignon the way my daughter reacted. When hubby saw it, he said it made him smile. That's what food's all about, isn't it?

- DK

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Yogoyummie Smoothie

This is a great after dinner snack smoothie when I realize I've had barely any fruits/veggies all day, virtually no milk and I've eaten almost all my calories. (I've lost 55 lbs so far and only have 10 more to go, but that's a whole post of it's own!)

2 cups kale
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 red apple
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp Splenda Blend
1/4 cup water
3-4 ice cupes

Toss everything but ice in the blender and spin until smooth. Then toss in the ice and do it again. For a little variation, I sometimes throw in a tablespoon of dried goji berries. They add nice red flecks to the green smoothie and since there's also 2 cups of kale in this baby, it's so good for me I can just about fly after drinking it.

Calories: 189
Total fat: 1g
Sat fat: 0g
Carbs: 33g
Protein: 15g
Fiber: 7g


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sysco Epicurean Food Festival

Me and the hubby, Monsterfink, were lucky enough to ditch the regular day jobs for a bit on 3/26 and attend the Sysco Epicurean Food Festival. It was essentially their annual food show at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. If you're a foodie and you've never been to a food show, make friends with someone in the industry and insist they take you. Every booth, and there are ALOT of booths, have free samples to entice buyers Some highlights...bacon wrapped hot dogs (crash cart please!), kobe sliders, wild boar sausage, striped lobster ravioli, walnut apple danish and 54% Mysterio chocolate.

As an Operations Manager for a healthcare dietary department I'm authorized to purchase at food shows but I generally don't buy too much. Mostly I collect information on items I can use in the retail area or catering. Then I go back to the facility, plan for how to use the items and buy the items from my vendor at that point. Purchases on the show floor only happen when I have an immediate use for the item to take advantage of the show special. Purchasing without a plan is not good for business. Discounts in the form of show specials are not nearly good enough to offset a pile of unplanned for food showing up at the door and languishing in a freezer while we take care of the busy day to day activities in the department. (We serve 1000 meals a day even when we don't have a big event going on.)

But seeing the food, touching, tasting and discussing with the people who work for the companies is so valuable! When I'm planning an upscale event for local healthcare magnates and politicians 6 months from now, I'll have a flash of memory of that "perfect" item for the event and POW! catering perfection happens. Tasting the vegetarian sausage from Morningstar Farms and knowing it will be perfect as a Meatless Monday breakfast offering opposed to wondering if it's really that good when I'm looking at a computer screen at work is what it's all about.

As always, I was disappointed there wasn't more offered for my patients and residents. But low fat, low sugar, modified consistency foods aren't sexy or exciting so that's not what gets showcased.

Enjoy the pics and let me know if you've been to any food shows lately in the comments.

Pleasure centers in brain lighting up!

Great, free tech!

GMO free, gluten free, kosher and every flavor supports a different charity!

More awesome foodie tech!

And I thought my job was strange!

*sigh* healthcare can't afford these high end beauties

Yes! Please!

Everything is cute in mini form

Great idea for food centerpices

Healthcare can't afford labor for desserts. Sweet Street is my go to for catering.

Beef was wonderful but lacked seasoning and a handwritten sign?!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Smoothie Saturday: Rainbow Smoothie

Didn't have enough calories after a busy day today so I whipped up this yummy number. Not having enough calories over time leads to a decrease in metabolism so eating enough healthy stuff is crucial to maintaining my weight loss. Veggies and protein, great colors for healthy antioxidants and parsley for a bright kick.

1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1 medium red apple
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 scoop protein powder
1 tsp Splenda Blend
1/3 cup water

Toss it all in the blender and spin till smooth.

Calories: 301
Total fat: .8g
Carbs: 47.5g
Protein: 31g
Fiber: 7g


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Cupcakes

The status is not quo. The combination of white almond sour cream cake and buttercream dream icing is one of my all time favorites. But I make it so often...I'm not bored with the flavor combination but I feel like doing something different than just frosting a cake or an icing swirl on a cupcake.

Since this sugary ennui hit in the spring, I thought I'd try an Easter theme. To me, nothing says Easter like a basket weave and alternating a sunny yellow with bright white just drives home the spring feeling. 

For some reason, I really believed I had a grass tip in my decorating kit. It wasn't until the basket weave was done did I realize the grass tip was not purchased on the last culinary outing after all. At this point the cupcakes were liberally sprinkled with copious amounts of profanity. So much cursing goes into my desserts, that I now believe they would not taste the same without it.

After experimenting with a few star tips, I found one that made serviceable looking grass and then added Easter egg sprinkles to finish them off. They were very well received by my crew at work and, if I did catering on the side, I would have walked away with a few orders. But caking for me is a hobby, not work, and I want to keep it that way. So no side orders. Plus the NJ Department of Health makes big 'ol frowny faces when food is sold professionally but prepared in a home kitchen. So there's that.


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