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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Whats Cookin Good lookin?: Chopped and Screwed

Hey ya'll,

In an effort to live a healthier and financially responsible lifestyle I have been cooking more often. I have always liked to cook but I find it hard to just cook for myself. I am use to cooking for a lot of people. Anyways, I often have random things in my fridge and just try to make the most out of what I have. I rarely cook by recipe but I think I will start planning my meals just to maximize my time and budget. 

Its funny how on the Food Network they have have this show called "Chopped" where the chefs are given random ingredients to make fabulous meals. This show best describes my cooking style though I can't say every meal is fabulous but most of the time its at least edible. But I think that is the sign of a good cook in the kitchen and in life...Someone who can make something out of nothing! Check out the dishes I have prepared on the fly...

First up... Fish Tacos: Cod seasoned with lemon pepper, broccoli slaw topped with greek yogurt.

Next on the chopping block has become my new favorite once hated meal: Brussel sprouts!
Brussels tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic cloves roasted in the oven and spritz with lemon after you take it out..delish!

The following dish is an old time favorite just spiced up a bit: Fried Corn- Fresh corn cut off the cob with bell peppers, onions and red pepper flakes.

The next dish was an experiment gone...okay. I would do it differently the next time around and really develop the recipe: Macaroni in Cilantro Avocado sauce- avocado mashed and blended with spices.

I am not sure what to call the following dish but its something like: Thai coconut soup (Tom Kha Gai) with rice noodles, coconut milk, shrimp, spices and veggies. The first two pics below includes some of the ingredients and the next pic is the final product.  This was pretty good but next time I will do some things differently and be sure to have lemon grass and galanga. (One day I will make my own rice noodles it looks pretty easy and fun to do.)

Soak rice noodles for 20 minutes in cold water before cooking.

And finally dessert...Chocolate Oatmeal - Quick oats add almond milk -heat in the microwave or stove stop and then mix in vegan semi chocolate good and pretty good for you!

Bon Apetit!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Must: Give Your Roses

Hey folks,

Sorry I have been a bit m.i.a.....But a lot has been on my mind to the point where all I have been doing is thinking and thinking...a big part of what I have been thinking about is death. I hate to be so morbid on this post but the truth is death is a part of life and the longer you live the more often you will see it.

My oldest memories of my childhood involved going to funerals, most of which were for family members . The worst funeral I attended was for my Uncle Vincent I was about maybe 10 years old. It was a painful experience that I will always remember because he was like a father to my siblings and I. He would take us to places my parents didn't have time for like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science center and my favorite memory the car wash. My Uncle had his whole life ahead of him. He was the type of man who would literally give you the shirt off his back. He was young in his early 30s, an electrical engineer with a strong faith in God but his life was taken from him by a senseless act of violence. That day was painful for my siblings and I. We couldn't bare to go inside the funeral but some how I mustered up the strength to go inside the church to bid him goodbye. But as I walked down the middle aisle the person I saw laying in that casket did not resemble my uncle. It was him but he laid there lifeless, gray and bloated. I couldn't say goodbye to someone that was clearly already gone. I tell you this story to say "give your roses". This phrase means to show love and appreciation to those you care for because you just don't know when the Lord will call them home.

We know this is true because most recently we lost the beautiful and talented Whitney Houston. It seems as though many people did not appreciate her talent and took it upon themselves to bash her at every turn when it came to drugs and her relationship issues. Its crazy because too often we forget that celebrities are indeed people who have feelings and family. I think we need to take more time to celebrate people and not bring them down because no one is perfect. That is why the scripture goes "judge not lest ye be judge" (Matthew 7) or even "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8:7). In a song created by Kanye West entitled "Roses" he talks about a family member on their death bed. He basically goes on to say we need to celebrate and remember those we love while they are alive on this earth. Check the song and video here:

Recently, I have lost a few people I knew. One person was a grade school friend who had just lost her brother to homicide a year ago from the day she died. The cause of her death is unknown. The second person I knew was a college schoolmate who was in the same pre-college program with me. You can read about her here.  I was not close to her but I have a few close friends who were but every time I did interact with her she was a nice person to be around. In that article you can tell the impact she had on the lives around her and I could tell by the floods of messages left on her Facebook wall. Her birthday was only a few days from mine and that is when it hit me, she did not get to make it to her 30th birthday. This hit so close to home for me because it really makes me think that I need to seize every moment of life that God blesses me with. I will make a good effort to stay connected to those I love and to make sure I "give them their roses" before they die. Imagine how much better you can make someone feel or behave when you celebrate them while they are alive. Since tomorrow is not promised to anyone, don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. 

P.S. The rose bush you see above is from my boyfriend from Valentine's Day. He is not the mushy or romantic type and I didn't think we were going to celebrate the day. But these were a great surprise for me because he knows I like flowers.

God Bless.

Monday, February 6, 2012

DYL: Wholefoods Haul

Hey folks..I hope your Monday started off great! I got some much needed rest over the weekend. 

Anyways for this post on "Design Your Life" (DYL), I wanted to show you guys a few things that I picked up from Wholefoods that I may bring to lunch sometimes. 

First up: Snap Pea Crisp by Snack Salad for $1.99 - Baked Snap peas coated in rice flour (I think) and baked in oil. As far as taste goes these are great...I think they may be a better alternative than potato chips and a nice snack especially for little kids who wont eat green veggies. Also, these are a great alternative for croutons in salads.  However, the downside is these are a little too greasy. I am going to try to make some on my on and see how they come out. Give them a try!

What the Snap Pea Crisp look like

The next treat is from Jovial. It is a chocolate cream filled organic cookie. As far as taste goes I like them. The outside "crust" of the cookie takes a little getting use to but its taste good. These cookies come in at 160 calories for 2 and they are gluten free!

The third item that I take for lunch sometimes when I didn't have time to make my own is a soup by Amy's Organics "Spanish (Brown) Rice and Red Bean Soup". The flavor and ingredients of this soup are really good. A can of this soup comes out to about 280 calories but watch your sodium because this comes to about 1380mg.

One of the last items I wanted to show you are by Odwalla and Naked Juice which are mostly fruit and some veggie juices. They have lots of varieties in flavors and you can see some I have chosen below. These juices taste great but that's mostly because of the high sugar content from the fruit. On the bright side they claim to not add any sugar. I liked to add water to these juices and I am not sure if I would continue to purchase these in the future. I may just continue to juice my own fruits and veggies as I have been doing. (Interesting thing I found out is that Pepsi is owned by Naked Juice and Odwalla is owned by Coca -Cola..things that make ya go hmmm)

Okay thats it! What are somethings that you like to buy from Wholefoods??