During my younger years, my Mom used to bring me along to grocery store while she went shopping. I was always excited to go on these weekly trips because I knew she would buy me the crispy wedge fries from the Deli counter. They were incredibly delicious and basically everything you need in your life at the age of four. Especially when you’ve got ketchup to dip them in.
I specifically remember the fries having this incredible crunchy golden brown coating on the outside with a hint of spice. But the inside? Pure bliss. An incredibly soft texture that I still remember to this day. We called them Joe-Joes; I’m still not really sure why.
Anyway there I’d be sitting and snacking delightfully on my little bag of Joe-Joes with a little (or A LOT) of ketchup all over my hands and face. I was probably grinning ear to ear.
Is it wrong that I kind of want to do that again? Probably. Well because adults don’t sit in shopping carts, nor do they have messy faces or hands.
Growing up is tough guys… especially when you grow out of eating joe-joes. However, I’ve realized that fries can be so much better with flavor combinations that could fill up an entire book and dipping sauces that are completely creative.
Welp, it’s Monday. I have a lot of things that I need to share with you. So let’s just get to it!
1. I got an iPhone. My life has officially changed… I don’t know if it’s for the better since I’m pretty obsessed. This weekend my godson downloaded like 5 ninja apps. He also read my texts. Yes, quite entertaining. Oh and obviously I now have Instagram. I basically just take photos of food, brown butter, and things that don’t matter. SO COOL, right? Wrong.
2. I’m headed to NYC this week! Eeeek! Can you believe that I’ve never been before? I am SO excited. I’ll only be there a few days, but trust me,you are going to want to see the recap. We’re staying in the Trump tower! I also really need some incredible restaurant recommendations so send them my way puhhhlease?
3. My birthday is in like, a month and 10 days… but who’s counting? ANYWAY due to this immediate holiday coming up, I have to start thinking about what I really want to do. I have concluded that I need an incredible meal, followed by a HOMEMADE pumpkin pie served with real whip cream. Really, it’s all I want. Or a trip to Greece. Either one would work.
4. That being said, Thanksgiving is soon. There will be epic desserts on this blog in the next coming weeks. Bear with me as we expand our waistlines… OR you could just make the recipes for other people and give them yoga pants for Christmas.
5. This HUMMUS needs to be made by you. Also bonus points if you make homemade pita chips and eat it for breakfast because you know that’s what I did. I have to thank the fabulous Giada for the inspiration. I have to thank myself for slathering it over everything in sight.
My basil plant is still producing huge leaves, so I decided that it was time to use them up. Holy italian-hummus-love this is GOOD. The basil, garlic, and white bean hummus makes the perfect appetizer and is pretty great on just about anything.
Hummus on sandwiches. Hummus for breakfast. Hummus snacking is totally good. I would know, I dipped carrots, snowpeas, and every veggie imaginable in it. At one point I contemplated putting it on a granola bar, but decided that was taking it too far. But I don’t know. It might still happen.
Oh and the whole making your own pita chips thing? Probably the easiest thing you could ever do. I usually buy the 100 calorie whole wheat pita bread. Western Bagel makes an amazing high-fiber, lower-carb pita bread, but feel free to use any you like!
I have a few foods that I have fond memories of. They continue to be my favorites throughout the years.
This got me thinking… what makes food memorable? It is simply the taste of it? Or more of what we associate with our food experiences?
Every time I have hot chocolate I’m taken back to when I used to ice skate with my girlfriends. We’d grab a cup of rich creamy hot cocoa with excessive jumbo marshmallows, whole milk, and all things that fitness magazines say we shouldn’t have.
When I want to indulge in things like that, I remind myself that I’m just living life. You know, enjoying those simple moments filled with laughter, good food and friendship. In fact, those moments are building memories. So damn right, I’m having that hot chocolate!
With extra whip cream thank you very much.
Often times I wonder why I find pumpkin pie to be the best dessert on the planet. I mean, it’s so simple! But eating pumpkin pie reminds me of the first time I made a pie by all by myself. How I crafted the crust with such determination. In that very moment, I was discovering my passion and creativity for baking. So really it’s not the dessert itself, it’s the memories that come with each bite.
Now it’s my soul food; it feeds me happiness in the form of good memories.
To date, one of my favorite meals was scallops with spaghetti squash, roasted red peppers, with this incredible creamy sauce. It was finished with a chocolate soufflé and rich chocolate ice cream. Which of course I devoured. I think it’s memorable to me specifically because of the person I was with.
Time spent with good people can make food special. This I know to be true. Just think about some of your favorite foods. Or the best meal you’ve ever had. It was probably more of an experience and memory rather just based on taste alone.
It’s coming to a point on my Facebook where everyone is becoming engaged. I don’t know what’s happening?
I mean, any time I even think about having a boyfriend I can’t help but laugh; all of the guys I go on dates with are either A) committed to work, B) completely awkward, or C) have questionable intentions. But I guess that’s what happens when you are 23.
So for now I think I’ll stick to single lady things until the man of my dreams (who might resemble Joshua Jackson aka Pacey from Dawson’s Creek) comes into my life. Plus if I had a boyfriend I probably couldn’t get away with making him eat quinoa and kale instead of manly beer battered onion rings and cups of BBQ sauce… or whatever Burger King is advertising this week.
What are your thoughts on that?
Hmmm, got it.
Let’s move on discuss adult things. Like salads.
My mom used to make a big batch of raw kale salad with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and bell peppers. She would let it still a few hours until the lemon juice broke down the kale and the flavors became melded together; it was sensational.
Since being in LA, I’ve been trying to get out and do as many things as possible. Most days all I wanted to do is eat ice cream but you know I guess I have to get out and do things besides cook. This past weekend a friend invited me to go hiking and have a picnic in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California. We purchased delicious salads at Trader Joe’s (the best place evaaaa) and packed fresh fruit. I mean for heaven’s sake I was eating those peanut butter chocolate chip cookies with sea salt allllll last week so sweat and salad sounded pretty awesome.
Ohhhh and sweat is exactly what I did. The hike was uphill and grueling, but the views were absolutely breathtaking! We could see the beach, the bright blue ocean and Catalina Island in the distance. Sometimes there is nothing more fun then getting out and being a little adventurous. It just feels good, you know?
After our hike I was still incredibly hungry, but I wanted a healthy snack since I knew I was going out for dinner that night and would be most likely stuffing my face with warm tortilla chips and a giant Mexican salad. So what did I decided to make? Zucchini chips!
Don’t you look at your computer screen like that. Just trust in the power of your oven.
Zucchini is in season and if you haven’t found a recipe to use with it, here’s your chance! These are easy to make, cheap, and healthy. Who knew zucchini was such a triple threat?
I should also mention that zucchini is low in calories so I love finding new ways to eat it.
To make these I simply cut my zucchini into about 1/4 inch thick rounds, then dipped them in egg whites and coated them in a bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture. I even added a little bit of red pepper flakes for spice, which I highly recommend!
These would be the perfect side dish to any burger you are cooking up for labor day. However, if you’re chowing down on them for a snack, I suggest dipping them in a classic marinara sauce!
Sometimes I find myself in an entranced state when I cook. It’s as though I get lost in the food; in the flavors, the smells, and sometimes just the simple pleasure that good food brings to my soul.
I also get lost pinning things on Pinterest. Which is mostly just a distraction from what I’m actually trying to do which is work like a normal person and get to the gym.
Speaking of the gym, I have an update on my Big Foot/marine/professional wrestler trainer! Uhhh… he is legit crazy (yes I just said that). He made us do 30 jumpsquats, some weird miliary squats with weights, 20 billion planks, and suicides. It’s like high school basketball practice all over, and again, I thought I was going to die. Apparently he enjoys torturing people while he sits there and plans his next attack as Sasquatch or whatever he does in his free time. I mean he even told us to eat a Paleo based diet, which of course I won’t be doing. Only because I really like carbs and pumpkin pie season is coming (my obsession).
What?! No one tells me what to eat.
…Unless it’s someone really ridiculously good-looking like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek. Then I MIGHT consider his suggestion.
Bruschetta is delicious and quite healthy as far as appetizers go. Well unless you put fried onion rings and bacon on it.. then not so much.
However, I like good-for-you sorts of things. So toasted slices of whole grain french bread are slathered with one of my favorites: heart-healthy smashed avocado mixed with sea salt and fresh lime juice. Then I pile on a mixture of tomato, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Oh and let’s not forget a little fresh basil!
Goodness. These cute toasts are simply delightful. Especially with fresh tomatoes from your garden!
They only take about 10 minutes to throw together.
Annnnndddd they are vegan! But I mean, if you hate vegan things you could just add a little goat cheese. Or bacon.
Hey by the way… did you guys know that I don’t eat pork or beef?
Seriously. What is wrong with me.
Let’s catch up. How have you been?
This week I joined a new gym, where I’m quite certain my trainer is either Big Foot, a marine, or a professional wrestler. He teaches my Nike Training Camp classes, which are a mix of plyometrics, military drills, cardio, and weights. Literally sweating waterfalls every time I walk out of there; it’s very similar to the Insanity videos! I just think he’s trying to kill me. But who knows.
I’ve also been enjoying living next to the ocean as much as possible. Every day I try and make it down to the beach. I don’t mean to make you jealous BUT look at this view from my rooftop! Amazing.
I’m not even prepared for Summer to end or these sunny days that seem to never cease. I’m dropping my roommate off at the airport in a few hours, where she’ll head to Greece for a vacation… on a yacht. WHAT! I can’t even talk about it because I’m so jealous. My weekend plans consist of more cooking, maybe a little surfing, and most likely a dinner with these mushroom + kale quesadillas and probably a couple of roasted blueberry basil margaritas to drown in my sorrows. Only kidding, I’ll be fine.
Maybe my trainer would chill out if I offered him a margarita? But then again, he’s there to push me to help me get in great shape; that’s why I made these skinny! I can’t go around eating pie and doing jump squats; those two activities would not mix well.
These strawberries are a great party appetizer or summer treat for anyone. The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (protein!), key lime juice and zest. All you have to do is hollow out the strawberries then fill them with this mix.
I topped my strawberries with sliced toasted almonds, but I think that crushed graham crackers would add a lovely texture and be more reminiscent of a true key lime pie or cheesecake.
After I filled the strawberries, I froze them for about an hour. I think they would be also delicious if you froze them before filling, but that’s up to you. I also found that I had a bit of the filling left over… UM, thank goodness because I spooned that on top of everything. And when I mean EVERYTHING I mean granola, bananas, almonds, in a smoothie, on a muffin, AND on top of graham crackers. My crazy drill sargent trainer would not be proud that all these things, but you act like I could resist putting this dip on everything in sight. It’s called recipe testing!
So really the filling can act as a dip, too! A creamy, healthy key lime cheesecake flavored dip perfect enough to serve to guests at a party, give your kids, or just to distract you from real pie.
Well until next week when pie takes over this blog and I throw pictures of oreos, bananas, peanut butter, and whip cream in your face. So just trust me, eat skinny things while you still can.