3/28/16

Meatless Monday: Miso Soup With Spring Vegetables


Happy Monday! After too many mimosas and a lot of good food at yesterday's Easter brunch, I could use a bowl of Miso Soup With Spring Vegetables. Plus, it's a chilly day here in DC.

I made the soup in the picture above last week by taking a simple packet of Marukome Miso Soup with Tofu and adding a few spring vegetables.

If you have thin asparagus and carrots, there's no need to cook them: slice them thinly and add to the bowl at the same time as you are adding the content of the soup packet and boiling water.

For the portobella mushroom, definitely roast it first with a bit of salt and pepper or saute it in a skillet.

Doesn't this soup scream SPRING!? Plus, it's a perfect Meatless Monday lunch or dinner starter.

3/25/16

Happy Weekend!


Happy weekend! Go outside to enjoy everything that's blooming!!


Cook yourself something you've been craving. Last night I was craving a burger, so made one! Ground beef, red onion, salt (I totally forgot to add it), pepper, Worcestershire sauce) with a side of baked sweet potato fries, herb salad (baby lettuce, dill, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, grated Parmesan), corn salsa from Trader Joe's and spicy ketchup (ketchup mixed with sriracha).


And don't forget to treat yourself to some beauty. Buy flowers!


3/23/16

Perfect Snack: Hummus With Feta, Cayenne & Dill


It's finally sunny and warm outside! What a beautiful Spring day. When the weather is nice, I crave healthier foods for snacks. Is that something you feel too?

Here's a quick and easy and beautiful and satisfying idea that doesn't even require a recipe...it's a snack after all: Dressed Up Hummus!

1, Spoon whichever plain hummus you like (or make your own) into a shallow bowl (I used the one I made in my pottery class).
2. Top hummus with crumbled feta, cayenne and fresh dill.
3. Drizzle with olive oil.
4. Serve with red pepper strips.

Tell me your favorite snack!

3/21/16

Eat The Rainbow: Spring Rolls Or A Salad With Mango & Tahini Sauce


Happy Meatless Monday. Confession: I ate pork for lunch. My breakfast, however, was completely meatless, and so will be my dinner (I'm thinking a spinach salad with feta and roasted beets and cucumbers?).

If you are a true follower of Meatless Monday, or just want a fun, colorful and delicious dinner idea,  this is a perfect recipe you can make for dinner tonight.

Mango Tahini Sauce!?!?! I borrowed this idea from Heather Christo and am so upset I've just discovered such a stellar combination of ingredients. Heather used the sauce for her Vegan Zoodle Fresh Rolls filled with zucchini ribbons and a variety of other vegetables.

I adapted her recipe by using cucumbers instead of zucchini, adding mango slices (because you are already using part of the mango for the sauce), adding pistachios (because turns out they are related to mango), and using cilantro instead of mint.

Eat The Rainbow: Spring Rolls Or A Salad With Mango & Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Heather Christo

Ingredients
red cabbage, thinly sliced
red pepper, thinly sliced
ripe mango, peeled, thinly sliced {of course you'll need to remove the pit first}
cucumbers, thinly sliced
fresh cilantro
scallions, thinly sliced {I chose to keep them in a shape of long sticks, but you can slice them on a diagonal}
pistachios {chopped}
avocado, sliced

sauce
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup dice mango
1-3 teaspoons sriracha
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce


Directions
1. Add all ingredients for the sauce into a blender and puree until smooth.
2. If you are making spring rolls, roll them in spring roll wrappers and serve with the sauce. You can add any and all of the ingredients listed above into the rolls.



I found the process of making Spring Rolls tedious, sticky and complicated, so turned the rest of the sliced vegetables and chopped pistachios into a salad!


What will you be cooking/eating tonight?

3/18/16

TGIF: Mocha Slush Recipe with Halo Top Ice Cream


Sometimes I get lucky :) Last week I came home to a shipment of Halo Top Ice Cream! SURPRISE!!

How fun are these containers? Not only do they look cute, but they also have only 240 calories per pint. You read right: per pint! Not per cup, but the entire container!

No, I did not eat the entire container of ice cream at once. In fact, most of these containers are still sitting sealed in my freezer: remember I told you about my whole "let's eat better and move more" attitude?

Still, I wanted to do something fun with a few flavors of Halo Top Ice Cream and ended up turning leftover iced coffee into a slush!

While Halo Top is low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar, we use only the best, all-natural ingredients to craft our ice cream so that it tastes just like regular ice cream. We know it sounds too good to be true, so don’t just take our word for it – dig in and see for yourself just how good healthy ice cream can be!


Mocha Slush Recipe with Halo Top Ice Cream
1 part chocolate mocha chip Halo Top Ice Cream flavor
1 part vanilla bean Halo Top Ice Cream flavor
1 part iced coffee
1 part ice

Add all ingredients into a blender and pulse until you reach a slush consistency.

Drink up!


This slush was refreshing and slightly sweet with a kick of caffeine! I cannot wait to try the other flavors, especially the lemon cake and the birthday cake!

Thanks Halo Top friends for letting me try your product! {I am not paid for this post!! All opinions are mine.}


3/17/16

Let's Move Visit To The White House & Recipe For Rainbow Salad


I still cannot believe that I visited THE WHITE HOUSE this past Tuesday. Who would have thought starting a blog six years ago would give me such an incredible opportunity?

Together with about 150 bloggers and social media mavens, I attended a #LetsMove event at The White House where I learned about the program started by Michelle Obama, watched The White House Executive Chef Cris Comerfod demonstrate a quick and nutritious Must Have Tuscan Kale Salad To Go and listened to remarks by Dominique Dawes, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, and other women from the USDA passionate about health and fitness of today's youth.


Although I'm not a mother, trying to eat healthier and increasing my physical activity is something that has been on my mind for years. In fact, recently I started seeing a weight management specialist. No drastic changes so far, but I'm trying to be more mindful of what/when/why I eat, taking stairs instead of elevator, and trying to do something active while watching Bravo and Food Network. Of course, there are always walks around my neighborhood and Friday salsa dancing nights.


During the visit, I marveled at the beautiful library (see more photos on my instagram), stunning flower arrangements, pretty wallpaper in the bathroom and massive chandeliers. I also had a chance to visit White House Kitchen Garden. Look at the green cabbage! It'd perfect for today's St. Patrick's Day!


Here are a few major points from the Let's Move! campaign:

  • 1.6 million kids attend healthier daycare centers
  • 2 million kids now have a Let’s Move! Salad Bar in their school
  • Over 10 million kids attend Let’s Move! Active Schools where they strive to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Over 30 million kids have access to healthier school meals
  • Nearly 80 million people live in a Let’s Move! City, Town, or County
  • 200 corporate partners have made commitments for a healthier America


Let's move to a healthier future!!


Last night I was inspired to create a healthy dinner with many flavors, colors and textures. 

Rainbow Salad
Ingredients
1 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 endive, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
14.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained {or use any other beans you like}
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
to season: toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar

Directions
Combine the vegetables, beans and pineapple in a large bowl and drizzle with toasted sesame oil, say sauce and rice vinegar to taste.

I served the salad with a boneless pork chop.


Make sure to check out Let's Move! website for more information, motivation, and ways you can improve your health and health of your children.

Special thanks to SheKnows for including me in this event!

3/11/16

Happy Spring Weekend


3/10/16

Vegan Indian Cauliflower With Tomatoes & Peas: Easy, Freezes Well, Healthy

I can't remember whether I saw the recipe for Cauliflower with Indian Spices by The Masala Girl on twitter or pinterest, but I printed it out immediately and knew I'd be making it soon. I love cauliflower. I love Indian food. I love tomatoes.

I also, as you know, love making changes to existing recipes and putting my own spin on them.

In this particular recipe, I increased the amount of tomatoes, added fresh ginger and peas (defrosted), and played around with spices. I ended up creating a great vegan side dish that freezes well and is satisfying, pretty, and good for you!


Vegan Indian Cauliflower With Tomatoes & Peas: Easy, Freezes Well, Healthy
Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup defrosted peas
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
fresh cilantro
rice to serve {I cooked mine with cumin and mustard seeds and turmeric}

Directions
1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet. Add cumin and mustard seeds, turmeric, and ginger and saute for about a minute. Add cauliflower and mix everything together.
2. Stir in tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Occasionally stir the vegetables.
3. Add peas and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Heat through.
4. Serve on top of rice sprinkled with cilantro.



3/8/16

Dinner at Red Rooster in Harlem, New York

This weekend I took Amtrak to New York City for a reunion with my friends Jenny and Laura whom I've known for 14 years!!! I've seen these girls individually over the years, but we haven't been together in the same place in FIVE years. It was time for the reunion of the three musketeers.

We talked. Ate. Watched movies. Hung out with the cutest dog named Otis (check out my instagram feed).

We also went to the 9/11 Memorial and Cloisters. Cooked brunch. Watched HGTV. And went to Red Rooster for dinner.

Red Rooster was the only requirement I had on my list of things I wanted to do. It's a restaurant in Harlem run by Marcus Samuelsson that has quite an eclectic menu, great vibe, and live jazz music on Sundays. I'm glad Jenny made reservations! The place was packed.

Below are some photos, but first a few of my thoughts:

1. Make reservations.
2. Have a few cocktails at the bar: I had Uptown Girl that had the sweet smell from the honey, the sharpness of the apple and a few bubbles.
3. The service was a bit lacking. Practice your patience.
4. Please try the appetizer of fried chicken and waffles for me when you are there: we could not order it because at 7:00pm the restaurant ran out! Sigh.
5. MUSTS: cornbread (sweet with butter), fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs!!!
6. Make sure one of your friends orders shrimp and grits: the portions are generous for sharing with others ;) The shrimp was spicy and perfectly charred.
7. Laura and I shared the lamb shank with mashed plantains: great presentation and flavors, but alas the temperature of the dish was lukewarm. We did not send it back.
8. Order dessert! The sweet potato doughnuts were superb and, lucky for me, the cinnamon sugar did not overwhelm these fried pillows. If the restaurant has red velvet cake, get it. You will not regret it.
9. Go to the bathroom. Yes, seriously! The bathroom at Red Rooster is gorgeous. See the photo below.
10. Make sure you come back for brunch: that's on my list of things to do the next time I'm in New York.











3/3/16

How To Make Popcorn At Home: A Quick Tip

I've been living without a microwave for a bit over 5 years, so whenever I crave popcorn, I make it on the stove. No big deal, really.

A few nights ago, I came up with a brilliant idea, if I say so myself ;) Instead of using a heavy pot with a heavy lid, I used a skillet and a splatter guard! This is perfect if you are making a small portion of popcorn.

The skillet is not as heavy as a pot, and the splatter guard allows you to see what's happening inside and how many more kernels are left unpopped. Try it out!!

A video posted by @mangotomato on

As a bonus, check out my recipe for Smoked Paprika, Black Pepper & Parmesan Popcorn!