So in preparation for my wedding, I’ve somewhat adopted a new healthier lifestyle. I’ve become a lot more active; fitness boot camps, aquareobics, outdoor runs, and other various alternative forms of working out. I told myself that I’d watch what I was eating, but not go on an official diet because I love food too much to limit myself. Well it turns out that my more active lifestyle is naturally leading to a healthier diet.
I’ve found that before and after I workout, I don’t have the mindset or appetite to eat the heavier food I normally tend crave. For breakfast, I’m eating a lot more low calorie yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola; and for lunch and dinner I’m starting to lean towards a lot more veggie pastas, salads, and grilled fish. In becoming a more active person, my body is naturally starting to crave healthier food options.
I’ve found that I can even be mindful of healthier food options when I head downtown for a drink with the girls. Check out this cool drink a bartender friend of mine came up with just or me…
AJ’s Skinny Peach
4 oz club soda
2 oz Peach Flavored Vodka
2 oz Sugar Free Peach Flavored Liquor Syrup
1 oz frozen Peach Mango drink mix of your choice
Shake with ice and serve. Less than 80 calories or so, tropical and delicious! Did you know a Pina Colada has more calories than a Big Mac? Crazy!
It seems as if we were so busy enjoying our jellybeans that we almost forgot to wish you all a very Happy Easter.
It’s amazing what happens to family traditions when you grow up. I remember when I was a little girl; I’d always go shopping for a special Easter dress and yes, the proverbial Easter bonnet too. My mom and I would go to church with my grandmother and my two aunts, and then head back home for a huge Easter feast. Every year, my grandmother would make me an Easter basket too complete with Easter eggs, jellybeans, and several other fun treats and small toys.
I miss those days. Now that I’m an adult, and I don’t live anywhere near my grandmother, and a good two hours from my mom, I spent the day in bed all by myself. Not very exciting, but hey, it happens. I imagine that once I get married, my more domestic side will kick in. I envision myself gathering both sides of the family together for church and then hauling everyone back home for a huge Easter Sunday breakfast brunch, buffet style courtesy of me! I think that sounds cool.
In the meantime, enjoy this cute little Easter Bunny ditty that is sure to get your toes hopping.
Recently, I decided that I need to expand my culinary skills! Living in Seattle, a city inspired by Asian culture, has peaked my interest in Asian cuisine, and I want to be able to make these dishes at home. One of my friends is also interested in this, so we have joined forces. We both bought cookbooks that feature beautiful Asian recipes. We decided to start with easier recipes and work our way through the books. Thus far, we’ve tried Green Curry Tofu, Miso Soup, and broccoli and soy bean sprout dishes.
I’m surprised at how well these recipes have turned out! Unlike Secret Ingredients cookbooks, where every recipe is time-tested, I find most cookbooks to only have a limited number of recipes that turn out to my taste. Not true with our new books- thankfully! The biggest challenge has been finding all the ingredients, although both books are pretty good about using more common ingredients and listing substitutions. Luckily, Seattle has an Asian specialty supermarket, Uwajimaya, that has everything we need. It’s fun learning about new ingredients and exploring new recipes!
I’ll keep you updated on our new culinary skills and pass on the best recipes as we go…
Today is Oatmeal Cookie Day, and our girl Ashley has the perfect recipe:
AJ’s Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
-3 cups rolled oats
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 cup softened butter
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 cup brown sugar (packed)
-4 tablespoons of maple syrup
-1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 ½ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degree.
Mix all dry ingredients together; set aside.
Mix all wet ingredients together. Fold in dry mix.
Drop spoonful sized cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing.
Who says you have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? My philosophy is you never need a reason to eat, drink, and be merry.
Instead of going the cliché route and finding a recipe for green food, below check out a quick clip for a very simple recipe for classic tasty Irish Scones, and enjoy the Irish melody playing in the background. This recipe would be perfect for the Breads or Breakfast Foods section of any Secret Ingredients Cookbook. By the way, “sultanas” would best be known as golden raisins in America.
Looks easy enough to me. Enjoy the Irish scones and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
I love baking, but only when it comes to desserts. The concept of baking bread scares me, but in my search for Irish related material for St. Patrick’s Day, I came across this clip for Irish Soda Bread. The host makes the task look so incredibly easy, I might actually try it. I can actually see myself succeeding and having a slice of this bread with some melted butter. And of course, it’d be a perfect versatile addition to the Bread chapter of my Secret Ingredients Cookbook.
So there’s no telling when I last went grocery shopping; the evidence is in the many fast food containers in my garbage and the cobwebs in my refrigerator (that part is an exaggerated joke of course).
Anyway, while taking a quick afternoon cat-nap, I awoke to the wonderful aroma of baked spaghetti casserole. I immediately thought my wonderful fiancé had gone grocery shopping after getting out of class at culinary school and came home and made dinner. To my surprise, this delicious smelling meal was actually made from the few remaining staples in my practically bare cupboards.
Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a great man with an incredible culinary mind that can create awesome meals out of practically nothing, and just about anything. He managed to bake a very tasty spaghetti casserole by scrounging up spaghetti noodles, canned tomatoes, and spices from the pantry; plus a few lonely frozen veggies, two leftover frozen chicken breasts, shredded cheese, a jar of Alfredo sauce, and a little bit of Parmesan to top it off.
Cook the chicken, cook the noodles and the veggies, mix everything together, top it with cheese, bake until brown and bubbly, and Voila! I must say, I could’ve racked my brain for hours and would’ve never come up with such a delicious dish, but he did. That’s the great thing about living with such a great culinary mind.
When I went home to Jersey the other week, my youngest aunt made me her famous Taco Dip. I call it famous because apparently the people that work for her absolutely love it and ask her to make it all the time, so I got the privilege trying a batch too. It was very delicious I must say. She’s not a huge fan of spices like me, so when I got home, I took her great recipe and literally spiced it up. Try it out and see what you think.
Drea’s Awesome Taco Dip w/ Some Spice from AJ
(spicy parts optional)
***Slow Cooker Needed
1 pound ground turkey
1 small can tomato paste
1 jar spicy salsa
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pack spicy taco seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
1 diced green pepper
½ diced yellow onion
5 chopped jalapeno peppers (seeded)
Brown your ground turkey with the taco seasoning as directed.
Add the browned turkey, and all the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. Set slow cooker on LOW and let cook for 4 hours.
Serve with tortilla chips (the kind that scoop are the best), shredded cheese, sour cream, and more jalapeno peppers if you can handle it.
Go the extra mile and have a theme night by serving ice cold margaritas with your tasty Taco Dip.
Secret Ingredients offers custom cookbook options perfect for every family. Kate Walling, President and Founder, built her company as a platform through which she explores the importance of food traditions, cooking, and their integral place in the lives of modern families. Check back often for updates on Secret Ingredients products, as well as tips, recipes, inspiration, and ideas!