Today I competed in a Chinese take-out cook-off. It was amazing to see the turn out and all of the creative dishes.
We were required to make 250 samples. I know… that’s a lot of freakin’ samples! I spent my Saturday night chopping, dicing, and listening to Bon Iver. I was totally in the zone. There is something about the combination of music and food that leaves me feeling completely content. I mean, I LOVE creating dishes more than anything in the world. Music tunes out everything else. I end up being happiest in my brain thinking about flavor combinations.
I have some very important information to share with you.
I’m on a no pie diet. The importance of that statement can’t be questioned.
Does this mean you won’t see sweet recipes? Nope, it just means I’m going to bake and eat brownies, cookies, and homemade pop-tarts instead. Pie baking is saved for special occasions only (otherwise my thighs would hate me). Wait, my half-birthday is coming up! That’s a special occasion… right? More pie please!
Focus Monique. Obviously we’re not taking about anything sweet here. What we are talking about is a Sweet Potato & Chicken Mexican Stir-Fry that you’ll want every day for the rest of your life. Facts only.
I had oatmeal, a chocolate protein shake, and broccoli for dinner tonight. Wait… what?! Yes, it’s that time of year. Warm weather is on its way, and soon I’ll be spending my days in oversized sunglasses and a bikini. That’s my plan.
I’m getting ready by eating simple meals, but that only gets you so far. I’ve also been attending hot yoga classes. I’m really hoping the next time I go the guy next to me doesn’t smell like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Broth sweat is not cool dude!
Anyway, I’m getting prepared and I’m sure you all can relate. This is real life. I know you want chocolate cake and fluffy cream cheese frosting… I do too. But let’s just play it cool this weekend, okay?
Time to hush up and make some healthy, delicious chili!
They happen to be really incredible and despite my efforts to use Turkey Day leftovers, it didn’t happen. After my battle with the flu, I didn’t want anything heavy. I know your body needs a break from that comfort food too! Lettuce wraps with sassy sauce and delicious toppings might do the trick.
I made these lettuce wraps once before for some guys. There were not any leftovers. Why do guys love buffalo sauce so much? It’s a little mind boggling.
Was it you who ate all the leftover candy from Halloween? Did you rummage through your child’s bucket to find your favorite kind? Did you promise to eat just one piece, but indulged in about 17? No willpower?
I’ve totally been there.
We need to pull it together. How about a cure for that Halloween candy hangover?
This Asian Edamame Salad should do the trick. It’s full of good nutrients your body will love. This salad is ultra healthy and amazing over a bed of lettuce or even some black beans. It includes a soy sauce, garlic and ginger dressing that you’ll devour.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about the title of this post. But before I can explain it, I have to tell you something.
I’m completely jealous right now. Like green eyed full of envy jealousy.
The blogger that inspired me to create my own blog, Emily from SugarPlum, is doing something that food bloggers only dream about… She’s cooking with Giada De Laurentiis! Big congrats Emily, you deserve it!
I love Giada. She’s authentic, adorable and she puts Italian words into English conversation. Plus she’s an amazing chef. I’ve been watching her religiously on the Food Network. Ridiculously addicting.
The Food Network is taking over.
Sandwich King, Giada, Bobby Flay, Paula… oh and Cupcake Wars! What a great show. I even emailed the people from Cupcake Wars to see if I could compete on the show, but they said you need to have your own business. Well guess what, my ‘business’ is baking ridiculously amazing cupcakes. Just ask my mom, friends, or my dog.
What? Animals have rights. And Lucky loves cupcakes. Point is, the Food Network is missing out on my lovely cupcakes.
But this isn’t about cupcakes or Giada.
This is about potatoes. Sweet ones. With a little bit of spice. Okay, okay and everything nice. Just cause I made them for you. ha.
Spicy sweet potato fries.
Super easy, super healthy. And they are super super yummy. Wait, what? Super is a weird word.
But listen, if you want to eat healthy and you crave fries, these babies will welcome you with open arms. Sweet potatoes have lower carbs and they are complex, meaning your body takes longer to digest them. That equates to you feeling fuller, longer.
That also means you won’t be going back for that second piece of pie… or third. And I’m sure you like making healthy choices.
Or maybe you don’t?
If that’s case, we should become friends. Because you’ll choose these over Mickey D’s fries any day.
Alright… I’m getting to the blueberry part.
No silly it’s not tomato ketchup, it’s blueberry ketchup. It’s sweet, but salty… and it’s good.
Spicy sweet potato fries and blueberry ketchup: A match made in heaven.
Where are your favorite french fries from? Do you make your own? Buy them? Are they from a restaurant/fastfood place?
How many times will you drive in your car, laugh at a joke, or hold someone’s hand?
How many sunsets will you watch, thank you notes will you write, or hot chocolates will you drink?
How many times will you fall in love, kiss a stranger, or dance in front of the mirror?
How many lattes will you order, glasses of wine will you drink, or pizza will you eat?
How many nights will you live to remember?
AND How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Does anyone have the answer?
Truthfully, I always wondered as a kid how long it would take to get to the center. I think I tried it once but gave up after 100 licks and ate the pop in one bite. What delicious little tootsie roll pops they were though.
But really, do you ever wonder what life will be like in the future for you? What you’ll be doing? If you’ll have the same people in your life? The same opinions? The same choices? Who you’ll meet? Where you’ll live? What you’ll be known and remembered for?
Sometimes I think I should have gone to culinary school. Yet sometimes I don’t want to cook at all. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right choices; choosing the right path for myself. Sometimes I like going to movies and other times I like reading magazines. Sometimes I feel like oatmeal instead of pie or red velvet cupcakes instead of broccoli. Sometimes I want to run, sometimes I prefer yoga.
But sometimes I really want ice cream. Like big time cravings. It’s as though pints of ice cream dancing around my head. It was like that for a weeks, so I ran to Target and bought an ice cream maker. Now I’m content. No more wondering.
In fact, I’ve learned that giving up something isn’t as hard as it seems. Little changes create big results. That goes for anything, really.
….that’s exactly why they make frozen yogurt, right?
Tastes just like ice cream, except you can have more and it’s healthy for you! Simple swap.
Ooo lala, I know you just fell head over heels in love. Or you will after you try this.
I made this using raspberries, fat free greek yogurt, honey, and dark chocolate chips. It was creamy irresistible love at first bite. I can’t get enough. I’ll be making this again and again.
What’s your favorite ice cream/frozen yogurt flavor or brand? Please share in the comments and like me on Facebook here.