Friday, April 18, 2014

How To: Easy Green Smoothies

My journey of giving up alcohol for the Lent is almost over.  In the meantime, I thought I would supplement the urge to drink with something besides sweet tea. I love fresh juices and smoothies but I don't drink enough of them.  I've been drinking a ton of sweet tea lately but making my own green smoothie was definitely worth it.  A common complaint that a lot of us have with trying to eat healthy or trying juicing at home is that it's too expensive and you're right.  Sometimes prices can get a bit out of control especially when you're on a budget but want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The great thing about this smoothie is that you can play with the flavors and textures but also, it's relatively affordable and very easy to make.  You won't break the bank and you still have a delicious and healthy smoothie packed with nutrients and your favorite fruits. I followed "the formula".  Have you seen these formulas yet floating around on Pinterest? I pinned recently and was immediately convinced I needed to make a green smoothie. So here we are.  I'll show you how to make an easy, simple and delicious green smoothie.

         This photo makes me laugh because this photo is missing the almond milk that I used. Oh well.

The "formula" is pretty easy: 2 cups of a leafy green (spinach, kale, collards, etc.); 2 cups of a liquid (water, almond milk, coconut water, etc.); 3 cups of fruit (bananas, mangoes, apples, pineapples, grapes, etc.).  

For my smoothie, I used spinach, almond milk, 1 cup of chopped mangoes, 1 cup of frozen pineapples and 2 ripe bananas.  I had to stop myself from eating the mango that I was good.  Make sure you use at least one frozen fruit to chill the smoothie; this also eliminates having to use ice, which waters down your smoothie.  Dole has great frozen fruit chunks; I used their frozen pineapples

Another note: be sure to blend your smoothie in batches. Blend your leafy green and your liquid first, then when you add the rest of the ingredients, blend again.  This helps you not have a chewy smoothie.  Gross.

You can also made this smoothie using green tea matcha powder.  Certainly you can 'boost' your smoothie with protein powder, chia seeds or acai powder. I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top of my finished product just to give it a bit of extra flavor - it smelled nice too.  Definitely a great way to enter the weekend!

Try it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prosciutto & Gruyere Croissants

I love easy food ideas.  Who doesn't?  Simple yet elegant meals or appetizers are what I'm all about. I came across a beautiful photo on Pinterest a few weeks ago of prosciutto and gruyere croissants. No recipe, no details just a beautiful photo with what looked like the most amazing croissants known to man. The melted cheese looked as if it was slowly oozing out of the croissants while you could see bits of prosciutto peeking through the freshly baked bread.  Is your mouth watering? It should be.  I have to admit, I didn't go and bake homemade croissants like the photo probably reflected. Obviously, if you have time, patience and you enjoy baking, homemade baked goods would be fantastic. I enjoy baking (sometimes) but not enough for these croissants. I do, however, believe in taking shortcuts only when it's appropriate and only when it won't compromise the results.  


These are great. Perfect for a party.

Interested in recreating? It's really simple.

Pillsbury Crescent rolls
gruyere cheese, sliced into matchsticks
black pepper
egg wash (egg+water)
dried rosemary (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375.

After unrolling your crescent rolls, layer cheese and prosciutto; sprinkle with a bit of black pepper.

Roll up the croissants and brush lightly with egg wash.

If you like, you can sprinkle with rosemary or any other herb you like.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Weekend

So sad when the weekend is over but I'm looking forward to a short week (no work on Friday).  This weekend we headed to the movies to see Wes Anderson's latest film, Grand Budapest Hotel and had a little birthday dinner with friends.  I tried to get some much needed cleaning done on Saturday then frolicked to Atlanta for another birthday party.  Lots of birthdays around the spring. I got a chance to see friends that I don't get a chance to see that often since we all live in different areas and are busy with life.  We ended the weekend with a trip to the 4 Bridges Arts Festival - the weather was perfect and there was food trucks!  

I had a delicious grilled cheese from the Muenster Truck.  The sandwich was called the Uncle Phil (yes, from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - it was a tribute to James Avery who played Uncle Phil and recently passed away.  I ended the weekend with one of my favorite comfort foods - spaghetti!  I love making spaghetti at home.

To the person who told me they were a fan of my blog this weekend - thank you.  You have no idea but you made my day!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cardamom Ginger Cookies

When I was younger, I loved ginger snaps.  I loved the kind that came in a brown bag (can't remember the brand) but they were very crunchy and sort of burned your mouth after you ate them.  The flavor was fantastic but the burn is what I loved most; not really sure why that is but I did.  Recently, I became reacquainted with the deliciousness that are ginger snaps.  I found the 'brown bag' brand in my grocery store and almost immediately, nostalgia.  As the cookies slowly disappeared (because I couldn't stop eating them) I thought I should come up with a plan to recreate them on my own.  Sure, I could always head back to the store and continue purchasing the delicious brown bag brand of ginger snaps but I wanted something a bit more - something I could call my own. Is this crazy? Does it even make sense?

Lucky for me, I'd already pinned two types of cookies that encompassed just what I was looking for.  Once I *finally* found time to bake these gingery cookies, I was way too excited. I developed an obsession with cardamom sometime last year and when you mix it with ginger - oh the magic.  These cookies were perfectly chewy (mainly because of the molasses) and they smelled sort of like Christmas.

I didn't really alter the recipe but I did eliminate one of the steps, which was to let the cardamom sit in a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for a few days; I couldn't plan that far in advance.  

Visit Reclaiming Provincial for the full recipe.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Weekend

What a fantastic weekend! John and I had a chance to frolic with some other couples while "enjoying" a baseball game, listening to jazz music and visiting a museum.  I put enjoy in quotation marks because I like sports but baseball isn't one of those sports that I enjoy.  So the girls and I pretty much just talked the entire time while the guys watched the game.  I was more entertained by the mascots that were doing really weird performances in between innings - it was really disturbing.  Anyway, I did some much needed cleaning Saturday, which doesn't sound that exciting but I loved it!

Sunday, I did some much needed cooking - I was a bit behind on my cooking to do list for my column and my blog so I tried to get stuff done.  The last few weeks have been quite busy and hectic.  I'm hoping this week will be a little calm and will give me a chance to catch up on this thing called life.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Taqueria Jalisco

When I lived in Atlanta, my friends and I had a Sunday afternoon ritual that included tacos, enchiladas (and whatever else we had a hankering for) and of course, margaritas. When I say that it was our Sunday ritual, I mean every single Sunday and sometimes Saturdays, you would find a group of us enjoying the weather and a pitcher of margaritas.  Since moving to Chattanooga, I have yet to find that special place that has all of the components of delicious tacos mixed with flavorful and strong margaritas.  Honestly, the margaritas weren't the issue, it's finding a decent place to enjoy some tacos, chips and really delicious and spicy salsa.

Since moving here, people have been so shocked and surprised that I'd never tried Taqueria Jalisco.  Well, I tried it. I came, I saw, I conquered and I left very happy.  Now, the margaritas are nonexistent but you can BYOB.  Sure, I wish I could have a freshly made margarita but the food makes up for this.  The chicken tacos were so flavorful, the mango juice was like sticking a straw into a mango and the salsa had just enough kick to it.  Ahhh, happiness.

a crate of tomatillos

So glad there will be a new location soon in walking distance from my home - this could mean trouble! Currently, you can check them out at:

1634 Rossville Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37408

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