Olive Oil Taste Testing

If you’re looking for a new way to season your vegetables, spice up your fish, marinate your meats, or just create a great dip, then olive oil and balsamic vinegar tastings might be for you.

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Olive oil is a staple in most Mediterranean diets and has become popular in Western cooking in the recent decades. Many may not know this, but there are over 20 different types of olive oils, infused with various herbs and spices. When paired with infused balsamic vinegars, the flavor combination possibilities are endless.

Generally when it comes to taste testings wine might come to mind, maybe even cheese or coffee, but never oil. The best way to taste test the quality of olive oil is to place a small amount in a glass, and take a sniff. It should smell fresh. If it smells slightly musty or like cardboard the oil is not pure or has gone bad. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie to all of this, the expert doing the tasting will guide you. And if guzzling a little oil by itself sounds unappetizing, you can always pair the oil with a balsamic vinegar or dip in some bread.

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Eating my way through D.C.

Ever want to just get up and go somewhere you’ve never been? Or maybe it’s a place you’ve already gone to but wanted to revisit? Instead of course, you do the more practical thing and brush that day dream under the rug because, well—life. For once I did that—I needed a break. Mostly, I needed a season change–Florida heat can make anyone go a little crazy. So I asked Boss Lady for two weeks off, which she gladly gave me  because she’s an angel, called up my friend in Washington, DC, cousin in New York, and college roommate/bestie who had just moved to Brooklyn and told them I was coming up. My mission: to go anywhere and everywhere there was food.

Founding Farmer’s “Quality and natural ingredients”

Tip:

Make reservations the day before

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Why I Love It

Their ingredients come from sustainable American family farms, and taste incredibly fresh. It’s clear Founding Farmer’s takes their holistic approach very seriously. Plus the founder has an obvious sense of humor for puns; being in the capitol city, it only made sense to fashion the name of this establishment after  the nation’s Founding Father’s.

Something you might not know

As we sat down to eat our waiter told us the one time they had a tomato shortage in their kitchen, all they had to do was call up the local farmer who distributed them their tomatoes and have him bring in a new supply that day!

They have an open floor layout downstairs as well as a quieter intimate level upstairsIMG_1999
Catch up on your farming and food know-how in the reading section while you waitIMG_2000

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To accommodate for my wheat allergy, the server substituted the biscuits that came with the platter for fruits

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Pitango Gelato

Their specialty

Gelato, sorbets, and coffee-espressos. They use organic grass-fed milk, cream, and free-range eggs. For you vegans or lactose-intolerants, their sorbets are dairy free.

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Why I love it

Pitango’s gelato and sorbets are free of artificial ingredients, colorings, flavorings and chemicals, and low on fat and sugar content.

There’s always something new to try

Aside from the classics, they have exotic flavors like mojito, rhubarb, and passion fruit.

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I tried the NEW flavor CAFFE ESPRESSO

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Oyamel Concina Mexicana

Vibe: Vibrant, ambient, modern, artsy

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Specialty

They’re a tapas style restaurant. Everything comes out in small plates and is meant to be shared. It becomes a little pricey as you add on more platters. Don’t expect to leave on a full stomach from their portions.

Why I like them

They have a diverse allergy-friendly menu that not too many restaurants have and it is color coded at the top. Gluten, vegetarian, vegan, shellfish, nuts, & dairy. Plus their GUACAMOLE IS BOMB.

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Why I won’t be going back

They still made their ingredients with Soy. Having a soy allergy is probably the number one reason it’s difficult for me to eat out at restaurants, but I just ended up being creative and picked the one item on the menu which was soy-free and added some salsa and guacamole on top. Did I mention how good their guacamole was?!

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Protein Bar

Vibe: Modern

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Why I LOVE them

Aside from the fresh, great taste, Protein Bar is considered a Fast Food restaurant AND healthy — huhwut?! You can go in and place your order at the counter just like any usual fast food restaurant and have a smoothie, green juice, salad, wrap, quinoa bowl, or chili ready for you in less than 5 minutes.

Why I think there should be more

Protein Bar is an expanding franchise but it is still very very new–you can count the number of stores they have on two hands. I’m pretty sure if there were more franchises like this available in every local community, it would be less tempting to eat poorly when looking for a quick bite to eat. If Chipotle could do it, I think Protein Bar can do it too.

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 So that was my food adventures around D.C. in a nutshell, give or take a few that weren’t worth mentioning. 

Yoga Night at the Museum

Happy Spring! If you didn’t know already, Thursday was the official start of Spring, and like seasons past I like to ring in the new solstice with some epic yoga. Many yoga groups and schools around the world hold open events to the public during the Spring and Summer solstices especially. Mine just happened to hold it in an art museum this year! The only event that could possibly top this experience would be going to New York for Solstice in Times Square this summer. I didn’t get to go last year, but hopefully I’ll be able to make it there on June 21st. (Two hippie) fingers crossed!

Solstice in Times Square 2013

Solstice in Times Square 2013

Thursday’s event was held in the Chie Fueki art exhibit and the room was a buzz with 125 chattering yogis, newcomers and old awaiting for Continue reading

Healthy Glazed Peaches Recipe

As promised from yesterday’s post  A Peachy Sunday Morning here is the recipe for Glazed Peaches. It’s dairy free, gluten free, naturally soy free, and sugar free. For the pancake recipe check out Almond-Oat Flour Pancakes. Enjoy, share, and let me know what you think. Happy Monday! 

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In a sauce pan on medium heat mix for 3 minutes:

  • Melt 2 Tablespoons of Coconut oil
  • Add sliced peaches
  • 1 teaspoon stevia

Add the next ingredient in and stir for 1 minute:

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Add remaining ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes:

  • ¼ cup Orange Juice
  • 1/3 cup Water

Remove from heat and let cool so the sauce can thicken.

*Optional

For a slightly thicker sauce you can add ¼ teaspoon Xantham Gum 

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How to Cook Juicy Pork Tenderloin in Under an Hour

The key to making a juicy pork tenderloin lies in the technique, and the steps are really simple.

For a 2lb. Pork Tenderloin:

  • Sear for ~ 10 minutes
  • Bake for ~ 40 minutes

* ~ approximate, depending on the heat range of your stove

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1) You’ll want to set your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and your stovetop to medium-high heat.

2) Season your pork tenderloin as you usually would and coat with oil.

3) Sear all sides of your pork tenderloin in a deep pan for 10 minutes or until it achieves a nice color to it. Add a little water to the pan to keep the meat from sticking and to prevent it from over drying.

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4) Place into your oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the internal temperature of your tenderloin is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to add in onions, potatoes and 1/8-1/4 cup of water to keep the pork moist in the oven.

The key to a juicy pork tenderloin is to not overcook the meat or it will dry out. If your pork is just a hint of pink that is fine. If pink doesn’t sit well with you, you can leave the tenderloin in the oven for an extra 10 minutes.

5) Take out the pork and let it rest with aluminum foil over the top.

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I like to pair my pork with glazed peaches and Weber’s Barbecue Sauce. It’s gluten-free and has no high fructose corn syrup.

Banana Fig Pudding

I’ve been craving pudding like nobody’s business, which is weird for me to say since I’ve never been a fan of anything mushy or slimy but this pudding is quite the contrary. I’m a big fan of bananas, just not overly ripe ones. This pudding tastes best when the bananas are still slightly green at the stem and what’s great about this recipe is that it’s also dairy and sugar free.

Pudding Base

  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 cup chopped Figs
  • 1/3 cup Almonds (blanched)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Coconut Whip Cream

  • 1 1/2 cup Full Fat Organic Coconut milk (canned, should be solid when shaken not milky)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Stevia (or to taste)

Directions for Pudding

1. Blend almonds in food processor for a few seconds until it reaches a meal consistency

2. Add in other ingredients

Directions for Coconut Whip Cream

3. Pour out the cream from the can and throw out the liquid part that usually sits on top

4. Add the stevia and vanilla and whisk to blend ingredients together

You can let these chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge or overnight until ready to serve. Lasts in the fridge for 2 days.

Egg Burrito

I’m not a big morning person. I’ll usually set my alarm a good two hours before I have to leave the house for work, because that’s literally how long it takes for me to stop wrestling with my sheets and get myself ready. And when I am up, I’m frantically trying to make up for the time I spent under the covers. One thing I make sure I never do is skip breakfast. I need my eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, fruits, and nuts ALWAYS. Eggs are sometimes hard to take on the go, but not unless it’s a burrito.

The best way I’ve found to make a egg burrito is to cook the omelet, which will become the ‘tortilla’ on medium-low heat and about half way through cover the pan with a lid so the steam cooks the top of the omelet. When the top isn’t as runny anymore just flip to cook both sides evenly. Wrap in parchment paper or aluminum foil and you’re good to go.

Egg burrito, spinach, onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, crushed red peppers, homemade hashed potatoes, natural cheese

Egg burrito, spinach, onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, crushed red peppers, homemade hashed potatoes, natural cheese

Really That’s How Raspberries Actually Taste?

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I’ve never been the type to hop on a health craze bandwagon, organics included. As long as I know something is as natural as possible without being too genetically modified then I’ll buy it. You can’t even trust labels nowadays, everything is a dupe. I picked up some organic raspberries for the first time to have in my daily morning oatmeal and honestly I didn’t know raspberries could taste so—good! I’ve always liked raspberries, but organic raspberries are taste like another breed. Well, I guess they technically are. They’re firm, not mushy, have a great subtle sweetness to them rather than being too tart. It’s safe to say, I don’t think I’ll be going back to ‘regular’ raspberries anytime soon. Makes me wonder, what else have I been eating that’s not suppose to taste how I’m used to it tasting.

Happy Monday!

Turkey Muffin Recipe

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These little muffins are perfect for when you’re on the go, breakfast, or for a pre-workout snack. They’re packed with protein, gluten-free oats, and healthy vegetables. When I’m in a rush and have very little time to eat something, I’ll usually have a batch of these made and stored away for the week in my fridge. This recipe yields about 16 muffins.

Servings: 16 muffins

Per muffin:

86.5 calories

3 g fat

5 g carbs

9 g protein

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 Celsius)

Bake for ~ 40 minutes

Ingredients

2 lbs. Lean ground turkey

1 cup Ground Gluten-Free Oats

4 eggs

1 cup Bell peppers

1/2 cup white onion

2 celery stalks

2 scallions

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons Garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon Red crushed peppers

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons Weber’s All-Natural Gluten Free BBQ Sauce (optional)

Chop all your vegetables. I like to use a vegetable press. It cuts my chopping time by more than half the time, and not to mention saves me the hassle of dealing with those pesky onions. No tears for this girl.

IMG_0049 Measure out your spicesIMG_0095 IMG_0104 I like adding Bob Red Mill’s Gluten Free Oats for more body to the muffins. It’s also a great filler to help you feel full.

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Throw the oats into a small blender so it becomes Oat Flour

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Combine all your ingredients

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Optional: I like to add Weber’s All-Natural Gluten Free BBQ Sauce for a slight mesquite flavor

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Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutesIMG_0158

Enjoy by itself or in a meal. I like pairing them with sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli!IMG_0258

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe

As promised in How NOT to Cook Chicken Broth, here is how TO cook chicken broth.

If you’ve ever cooked with chicken broth you know how versatile of an ingredient it is when added to homemade dishes. Store bought chicken broth is convenient but it’s also laden with preservatives, corn syrup, and other additives. No thank you. There’s also something unappetizing about having chicken juices come out of a box that’s been sitting on a store shelf for god knows how long. Homemade chicken broth is actually really easy to make and can add so much more flavor to your dishes than anything out of a box can.

Prep time: 10 mins                                         Bake time: 90 mins                                          Simmer time: 30 mins

You’ll need:

Along with salt, pepper, and water.

*Ghee is clarified butter that can be purchased at your health foods store, Indian grocery, or you can make it yourself

The great thing about making chicken broth is if you you’re a pinch of this, pinch of that sort of person like me, you can never go wrong with this recipe. You can add in as many vegetables as you like, it won’t make a difference.

For this recipe I used:

  • 2 golden potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • Half a bag of carrots

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degree C

2)  Place everything into a deep pan and liberally season your chicken as you normally would with salt and pepper.

3) Rub 4 tablespoons of ghee on the outside of your chicken and add a few sprigs of thyme. You can add in the vegetables and a tablespoon of ghee to the inside cavity of you chicken as well.

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4) Add a 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 90 minutes.

5)  When done baking, carefully transfer the chicken and potatoes to a serving plate and keep covered with foil to let rest.

6) Take the remaining vegetables and chicken juices from the pan and transfer to a deep sauce pot.

7) Add 6 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a rapid boil on your stovetop on high heat.

8) Once the broth has begun to boil, reduce your burner to medium-low heat, and simmer while covered for 30 minutes.

9) Once cooled, separate the vegetables from the broth and store in a glass container and place in the fridge or freezer for future use :)

Use it to add to soups and sauces, or spruce up your quinoa or dinner rice. Don’t forget to save the chicken bones from your meal and use it to make even more flavorful chicken stock.