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Vegetable Juice and Spirulina: The verdict’s in.

6 Apr

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May be my new go to drink.  Yesterday, I blogged about Spirulina and how I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Spirulina considering the reviews posted on Amazon, here and here.  I made some vegetable juice using red vine tomatoes, sunburst tomatoes, celery, carrots and kale.  I added a little seasoning.  Sample the juice.  Check. Add a teaspoon of Spirulina. Check. Blend juice well (I used a blender bottle). Check. Sample juice again. Check.

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The verdict is: my juice tasted like vegetables with and without the Spirulina.  Since I just did this roughly 20 minutes ago, I’ll have to wait and see if I feel like it has any effect on me.  Some people reported increased energy and a general sense of well being after using this supplement.  Some of the positives sound too good to be true, so I’ll listen to my body and see if it’s worth me using this supplement on a regular basis.  A pound of this dirty green stuff runs almost $30.

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(Completed product: Vegetable Juice and Spirulina)

It’s Green, stinks, but it’s (supposed to be) good for you!

5 Apr

Spirulina that is!

In a previous post, I talked about the juicing book I bought, The Big Book of Juices, by Natalie Savona.  Some of the recipes included Spirulina. Spiru what? Spirulina.  In my research, I found out that it’s a Superfood derived from the Ocean.  What was never mentioned (until I read an Amazon review) is that it is dark green and stinks.  In this review for Spirulina powder marketed by NOW foods, it’s described as everything except delicious, great-tasting, and platable.  However, in this review, many say Spirulina can be tolerated.  Apparently, where it’s harvested has a lot to do with the flavor which makes a lot of sense.  The Spirulina I bought is harvested from waters in Hawaii.  The earlier product from Now is harvested in India and it stinks (literally, lol!)

I describe myself as adventurous, so I immediately ordered a bottle of Spirulina Powder to add as a supplement to my fresh vegetable juices.  I just got it today, so I haven’t taken it for a test drive.  To be completely honest, I’m a bit scared.  I opened it up and it looks exactly as described: dark green powder resembling algae.  I quickly put the top back on and put it in the fridge.  Now all I have to do is make some vegetable juice, mix the Spirulina and Juice using this Blender Bottle I bought, as take it all down….I’ll be sure to check back in once I’ve become brave enough to drink the juice…

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What’s your go-to natural supplement?

A Perfect Day for Grilling + The Death of My (almost) Famous Chicken

5 Apr

I woke up with the thought of making Enchiladas for dinner, but as the day progressed, it warmed up and I decided grilling would be much more fun.  I cleaned my chicken and marinaded it in my top secret special ingredient, Lawry’s Baja Chipotle Marinade.  Minutes before I began, I found out that one of my local grocery stores was running a special on Lawry’s Marinades, making them $1 ea, when they normally sell for almost $4 ea.  In a hurry, I made sure the chicken was bathing in Baja Chipotle so I could rush to the store and clean them out of it.

At the end of last year, I bought some of the Baja Chipotle marinade on clearance at Target.  I figured hoped that Target was the only store getting rid of it.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  It appears that my favorite marinade has been discontinued.  My grilled chicken will NEVER be the same again.  I’m devastated….you know how I feel.  We all have that special ingredient or favorite cooking accoutrement that we use to give our meals that special ummph.  What am I going to do?!?!?  I’m so devastated that I had to send Lawry’s an e-mail about this.  I can’t believe this is happening.

I normally make my famous grilled chicken by seasoning to taste and letting in marinade in the Baja Chipotle for as long as possible.  Once the grill is smokin’ hot, I throw several pieces on the grill, turning frequently and basting with the marinade.  Once it’s finished, I take it off the grill, let the juices rest, then serve hot.  It’s a hit!  All the years I’ve made this chicken, no one really knew what the secret ingredient was.  All people know is that they couldn’t duplicate it, nor could they eat just one piece.

Since I only had one bottle of the marinade left, I intended to get another at the sale, but that was a bust.  I had to resort to using some barbecue sauce to baste as I have this thing where it’s a must that I baste my meats on the grill.  It looked delicious, but when I tasted it, I was disappointed, upset, angry, and hurt.  How could Lawry’s do this to me?

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The chicken was great, cause I’m an excellent cook and I rarely make anything that’s less than tasty :0), but it wasn’t what it should have been!  Lucikly, the potato salad and baked macaroni & cheese saved the meal from being a complete disaster.  We were supposed to have some cabbage too, but I couldn’t bear cooking anything else after the Lawry’s disappointment/disaster/fiasco.

As devastated as I am, I’m now on the lookout for a new ultra secret ingredient to make my grilled chicken famous again.  I’m covered for my next grilling session or two because I found a six pack of Baja Chipotle Marinade on Amazon for a reasonable price.  In my wildest dreams, Lawry’s would wake up and fire that person who thought it was wise to discontinue my chicken’s favorite sidekick, but until then, I need something new to get my chicken kickin’ again.  Anyone have any ideas?

Tried and True: Baked Garlic Prawns

29 Mar

UPDATE:    I made this last weekend and I have to say, I have never been so impressed with one of my culinary creations.  This recipe was perfect!  My almost two year old, that normally despises shrimp, ate more of this than I did.  It was easily doubled and EVERYONE enjoyed this.  I will definitely make it again.  Move over Red Lobster, here I come.

I do have to admit, my creation didn’t look as good as Barb’s over at Life in the Foothills (where I happily stole this recipe from), but it tasted D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!  I thought I had Panko bread crumbs, but it turned out I didn’t, so I used regular Italian Bread Crumbs that I had on hand.  I do want to try this again with Panko.  However, anyway you make it, it will be great, so hurry, gather the ingredients and make this mouth watering delicacy.

P.S. Barb suggests having a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc with dinner.  I think it’s a must :o)

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Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller (Cookbook Review)

29 Mar

Any real foodie loves food porn and I am no different!  I learned about Thomas Keller, his restaurants, and many cookIMG_0629books.  After debating with myself, I finally ordered Ad Hoc at Home.  It’s list price is $50, but Amazon currently sells it for $28.41.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was super excited and surprised when I opened my brown box.

I picked up a huge, heavy, beautiful, collector’s type cookbook.  It features tons of recipes, beautiful pictures, step-by-step instructions, and information.  Keller shares “lightbulb” tips to help you navigate the kitchen or change the way you think about food.  The back of the book features techniques and recipes such as brine, chicken stock, pork brine, etc.  At the very end of the cookbook, there is also a glossary.  I hate to call Ad Hoc at Home a cookbook because it’s more like a masterpiece.

You know how some cookbooks feature recipes that would take hours upon hours and even after spending that time, you end up with a mediocre, barely edible meal?  This cookbook features many real-life, doable recipes.  Recipes for meals which you may already make, but with Keller’s recipe, you may finally be able to perfect your techniques or add a new twist.  Amazon’s description of the book also includes his Fried Chicken Recipe, which I totally wantIMG_0633 to try.

One of the reviews on Amazon criticizes Ad Hoc because of the fat content in a lot of the recipes.  Even so, you can always substitute the fatty ingredients for something you prefer.  It is my personal belief that it is okay to indulge.  I wouldn’t recommend it for everyday eating…or maybe it would be okay as long as you don’t overeat.

Whether you like your meals hearty or healthy, you like food porn or reading, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook is a must have for all.IMG_0632

Williams-Sonoma sells the same cookbook for the list price of $50.  Target.com sells it for about $34.  If you’re in the market for a copy, search for the best deal.  Oh, you can also find Ad Hoc at Home as a part of a set of two cookbooks by Keller.  If I would have known that, I would have bought the set of two…..

Juicing My Way to Health: Cuisinart Compact Juice Maker (Review) + The Big Book of Juices (Review)

29 Mar

7 years ago, I had my first juicing experience.  I’m not sure how it came about, but I remember being pregnant with my second child.  Eating was difficult.  There wasn’t much that sounded appealing or appetizing.  Juicing helped me consume healthy food without all the “drama” surrounding food.  After my son was born, I sold my juicer on ebay.  For years, I kicked myself, but refused to invest in another.

An old friend brought juicing back to the forefront of my mind.  For $50 something, I got a Cuisinart Compact Juicer.  I couldn’t wait to make juice. So after a trip to the grocery store today, I made some juice…it was great!  My children wanted some as well, so I let them pick the fruits and/or veggies. Image

I picked up a copy of The Big Book of Juices by Natalie Savona.  I looked all over for this book and most places were OOS (out of stock) online for new copies OR the used copies being sold were priced outrageously.  Barnes and Noble lists the book for just under $12 + tax, but sadly they were OOS for shipping too.  I opted to do a store hold so I could pick it up today.  Buying it in-store cost me $20 + tax.

The high demand of this book is what drew me to it.  I even paid for it without taking one look at it.  I’m glad I got it.  The book boasts several simple juice/smoothie recipes.  The best part is that it rates each recipe on Energy, Detox, Immunity, Digestion, and Skin.  The beginning of the book starts out by describing juicing and smoothie making plus the differences between the two.  The author then lists several fruits and veggies + the benefits of them.

Now, I have to tell you that when I began today’s juicing session, I mixed several fruits and veggies randomly.  I was satisfied with all three juices that I made.  BUT, one reason why I love the Big Book of Juices is because of the simplicity of a lot of the recipes.  For example, one recipe includes just carrots and apples.  Another includes Apples and Oranges while a different recipe uses Apples and Guavas.  Many times, I think “the more the merrier”, but this book makes me feel as if “less is more”.  I believe it is a must-have, go-to book for anyone wondering about juicing or just beginning.  It’s great for those that already juice because of the ratings for each juice.

The Cuisinart Compact Juicer is awesome.  My only pet peeve is that it is compact.  Once I began going hard at juicing, I had to stop several times to empty the pulp and the 16oz juice container.  I should have thought my juicer decision through thoroughly before choosing a model.  With six people total in my household, a compact juicer may not be my best bet.  Other than that, the Cuisinart Compact Juicer is priced right at just about $100 most places.  Sam’s Club carries it for about $75.

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What’s for Dinner? Fried Fish and Cabbage

29 Mar

IMG_0598Since I picked up some cabbage on sale, I knew an upcoming dinner would have to include it.  With the holidays quickly approaching, I decided we would have fried fish and cabbage.  Even though I’m on a quest to healthier eating, I gave into friend fish rather than baked or broiled since it’s what my kids like best.

I used Tony Chachere’s Cajun Fish Fry mix.  I never know whether I can trust these pre-made mixes to season my food to my liking.  Knowing how bland I find some marinades and pre-made mixes, I lightly seasoned my Tilapia after rinsing it and patting it dry.  Following the directions on the box, I mixed one cup of milk and one egg.  I emptied the mix into a ziplock bag and let my oil heat while I arranged everything.  An organized kitchen is something I MUST have while cooking.

Once the fish was ready to cook, I chopped the cabbage.  I put a few tablespoons of Olive Oil into the pan.  Once it was heated, I added the cabbage and covered it, IMG_0604stirring occasionally.

I fried the tilapia fillets in batches of three.  They were laid to drain over brown paper bags.  Paper towels can do the same job, but there’s something about brown paper bags that keeps fried foods crispy.  Once the cabbage began to wilt (maybe 10 mins or so), I added a cup of water, seasoned it with seasoned salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  I covered and let it cook while stirring occasionally.

The fish was delicious as was the cabbage.  While my cabbage normally comes out spicy (from the black pepper and sometimes I used crushed red pepper), it didn’t this time.  It was good, but I like it better when it’s spicy.

 

 

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