Oct
30

There are certain things that we all take for granted. We easily forget how blessed we are to have caring people in our lives, to have good food on our plates, and to have opportunities in our future. Little things like a simple conversation with a friend or an embrace with a loved one may seem to always be there. We go through our day to day motions of buying overpriced cappuccinos and putting gas in our cars without a thought. We hardly ever think about how privileged we truly are.

There are days when we even take ourselves for granted. We forget what we love to do, those passions we all have, and get lost in the big world for a moment or two. Often, we put our dreams aside because we’re afraid to fail. We forget to say I love you to those who matter. And sometimes, we just forget to be ourselves. Our pursuit of happiness gets buried somewhere.

And so before we talk about super amazing things with bacon and maple syrup, I thought I’d write you a little inspirational post about how awesome you truly are. Because I think sometimes we all need a little reminder about the things we should never forget.

Never forget you’re beautiful and unique. You aren’t like anyone else on the planet, so don’t even try to be normal. Always, always be yourself. Embrace your quirks and weirdness. Be who you are and then you will find what you want.

Never forget to believe in yourself and those around you. This is life. We’re all just getting along on our journey; figuring it out and taking those uphill battles one day at a time. In some way, we’re all struggling, so offer compassion to those around you. Be encouraging to both yourself and others. Projecting kindness never feels bad.

Never forget to follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure, because it leads to success. Having a passion is daring, but it makes you inspiring and remarkable. Remember that part of life is pursuing a happiness. Forget what others think or say, go after what’s in your heart. Life is short and moments are always passing.

Never settle. On love or in life. You deserve something amazing because you are amazing.

Read more.


Aug
21

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!

 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Chips
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Appetizer, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Zucchini coated in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese then baked until crispy and golden.
Ingredients
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with Parchment paper.
  2. Place egg whites in small bowl. In separate small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
  3. Dip each zucchini slice in egg whites then dip each round into the Parmesan bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat it evenly on boat sides. Place slices evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Flip and bake another 5-10 minutes or until zucchini chips are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
Notes
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. Feel free to add or subtract spices to suit your tastes.


Jul
08

I get really intense cravings.

Usually for peanut butter. Sometimes for a big banana milkshake. Always for a slice of pumpkin pie. But today, I wanted sweet potato fries more than anything else in the world… with a little somethin’ special: homemade honey mustard dipping sauce.

If you’re wondering what the combination of the two is like, it’s quite difficult to say. I mean, how do you explain magic when it happens?

Honeymustardoholic: Not a word, but probably will be soon. This stuff is addictive.

With only three ingredients this honey mustard is incredibly easy to throw together. All you need is low-fat mayo, honey, and dijon mustard. Whip the three together in a small bowl, then be prepared to make more. Why? Because you will be putting it on everything.

It’s unusually versatile: Slather it on a slice of bread and top with turkey, dunk your kids chicken nuggets in it (eating them yourself, obviously), dip some veggies in it (you’re so healthy!), or just do like I do and eat it by the spoonful (I like you).

Oh and now you want to know about these crispy, LOW-FAT sweet potato fries?

I’ve been making my own fries for a couple of years now, so I’ve experimented with several different methods. Here are five tips that I’d like to pass along to ensure a crispy, delicious baked sweet potato fry.

  1. Cut them thick. Cutting your fries into large slices about 1/2-3/4 inch thick will ensure a nice sweet interior that doesn’t dry up when baking.
  2. Use cornstarch to keep them crispy. Sweet potatoes are made up of a higher percentage of water compared to regular potatoes which causes them to sometimes get soggy when baked. Coating the fries with a little bit of cornstarch prevents this, as the cornstarch will form a crust on the outside of the fry. I got the corn starch idea from The Art of Doing Stuff. I’ve also thought about using flour, but I’m not sure it would have the same effect.
  3. Drizzle them with a little olive oil. We’re not fry baking them, so a lot of olive oil isn’t necessary. Usually 1 or 2 tablespoons is sufficient enough to crisp them up and add flavor.
  4. Give them room to breathe. Don’t allow your fries to touch on your baking sheet. You want the air to circulate around them so that they will bake and crisp evenly. You can use two baking sheets if you are making a lot of fries; be sure to rotate the sheet halfway through baking time.
  5. Turn them halfway through. We want crispy fries on all sides, not just one.
Hmm… what else could you possibly need to know about these?

Oh yeah, how about how to flavor them?

My favorite way is with a little bit of cinnamon and sea salt, but it’s up to you! If you like your sweet potato fries spicy, try adding cayenne pepper. Another great option is cumin and garlic powder for a little bit of mexican pizazz. I know a lot of people who prefer paprika as their seasoning of choice too. It’s fun experimenting with different flavors.

I love to make a giant batch of these because I never feel guilty about eating them. They are low in fat, and just so happen to be packed with vitamins and minerals! Technically sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat; they’re full of vitamin A, C, and E, plus fiber, potassium and beta carotene. They’re also a complex carbohydrate which means that they take longer for your body to break down, keeping you fuller, longer.  Read more about sweet potatoes and their nutritional value here.

The daily health information session is now over. Let’s get back to drooling.

Crispy, golden orange, salty-sweet, incredible, plus one million other delicious adjectives.

My goodness I love these fries… and I think you should make them.

But don’t you dare forget that dipping sauce!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Serves 2-4

For the fries

Cooking spray

2-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled if desired

1-2 tablespoons of corn starch

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (if desired) or your own spice combination

 

For the honey mustard dipping sauce

1/4 cup low-fat mayo (can also use fat-free or olive oil based)

1/4 cup dijon mustard (whole grain dijon is good too)

2 tablespoons honey

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut the sweet potatoes evenly into even fry shapes and place into a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch over the uncooked fries and use your hands to gently toss sweet potatoes and corn starch together to lightly coat the sweet potatoes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the fries and toss with your hands, adding more if you feel the fries are not LIGHTLY coated. Sprinkle whatever spices you’d like onto the fries (I use sea salt and cinnamon) and gently toss again.
  4. Spread sweet potatoes evenly on your baking sheet(s), making sure that they aren’t touching each other. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip fries with a spatula, and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until the fries are golden brown and crispy. Do not overbake or they will burn. A little caramelization on the edges of the fries is good, but we don’t want black fries.
  5. To make the homemade honey mustard combine mayo and dijon mustard in a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy. Slowly add in the honey and stir again until combined. Keep in refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Notes

  • Preheating your baking sheet will also result in a crisper fry, but sometimes my fries cook quicker so just be aware of the timing.
  • I do not recommend using aluminum foil, as every time I do my fries come out soggy.
  • If you are making a smaller batch of fries, or if you cut them thinner, I recommend flipping them after 10 minutes and only baking for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Try my other five favorite dipping sauces for variety

Oct
25

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a river dancer. Yeah, you know the ones that rapidly kick their feet up on stage.  I used to make my Mom watch me do it for hours.  What strange aspirations I had.

Another year I wanted to be a waitress because my Dad got me a kitchen set for my birthday. It even had fake donuts that smelt like strawberries! I’d take a notepad and ask everyone what they wanted to order from my restaurant.  I even let them order breakfast for dinner, to keep up with the Perkins and IHOP competition.

It didn’t matter what they ordered though– because I’d usually bring them back whatever I wanted to eat.   Mostly donuts, cookies, and pies.

Sometimes Spanish potatoes.

Read more.


Sep
18

There are so many wonderful things about Fall.  Most of them involve food.

Fall baking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, apple picking, pumpkin carving.  I can’t wait!

I highly suggest spending one day doing the following:

Throw on oversized sweatpants and a sweatshirt and cuddle up with a nice big mug of Mexican Hot Chocolate with lots of marshmallows.  Do not worry about hair or make up.  You’ll be watching chick flicks anyway from dawn until dusk.

You could get fancy and throw in a batch of Dark Chocolate Brownies.  If you get lonely and want friends over, then make Sea Salted Caramel Brownies. Also… you might want to peep in a mirror or take a shower.

Now it is Fall so you might want to consider baking Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Obviously bound to be a favorite.

… but since you are a great host (of course), you’ll need to make the perfect Fall meal first.

How about a Quick & Spicy Tomato Soup from Giada? Viola! Warm and delicious Italian.

But wait! You’ll need an appetizer to keep blood sugar levels stable and to keep friends happy.

And of course, what’s better than my Roasted Eggplant & Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Feta on toast?

The combination of all of the above makes a great meal for that relaxing Fall day, even if you aren’t watching The Notebook.

But seriously, invite me over if you are.

  Read more.


Aug
25

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? 

For Blueberry Ketchup, see recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries with Blueberry Ketchup
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Spicy sweet potato fries paired with a cooling delicious blueberry ketchup.
Ingredients
  • 4 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of chili powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spray pan with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes to resemble French fries.
  3. Combine sweet potato strips, salt, olive oil, cumin, and chili powder in bowl. Toss with hands so sweet potatoes are fully coated.
  4. Place potato strips on pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake another 15 minutes or until fries are crispy and golden.
  6. Serves 4
 
 
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