As an avid food lover, I get all excited & smiley when I discover a new food or a different way to incorporate one of my favorite ingredients. Below are some of my current favs (in no particular order).
Prunes: I feel as if prunes are a whispered fruit..in the check-out line at the grocery store, you may fiddle in your purse as the cashier scans in the prunes, or choose to “forget” something and hurry off towards aisle 5. You don’t want to be caught buying You-Know-What because then everyone would know..you’re having regularity issues. BUT, even though prunes are a great, natural way to help with regularity (something, by the way, is nothing to be embarrassed about), they are absolutely delicious, and I can’t get enough of them! They have a rich, sweet, chewy flavor & texture. When you bite into one, the middle oozes deliciousness (sorry, couldn’t find a better word to suit); it’s like eating candy. In fact, they are better than candy! I eat them by the handful as a snack (they have lots of fiber, so they tie me over for a while), or chop them into small pieces as a replacement for raisins in oatmeal, yogurt, or muffins. When you are buying prunes, look for ones that appear large and moist, with not a lot of wrinkles. And, next time you’re at the supermarket, check-out with confidence as you purchase some good ol’ prunes.
Chocolate Milk + Chocolate in General: Chocolate milk has been quite popular for some time in the fitness world. The power of milk + cocoa is a refreshing, muscle-repairing way to obtain post-workout nutrition. I love it not only for this reason, but also because it is thick, creamy, and a sneaky way to get a lil’ sweetness. I enjoy it most ice-cold, right after a kick-butt workout. Or, if I’m feeling indulgent, in the morning with a bowl of peanut butter oats! My dad recently picked up a new brand, Kalona SuperNatural, which is so creamy, it’s almost like drinking a milkshake! However, I enjoy Organic Valley best.
When I say chocolate in general, I am really talking about brownies. And when I speak of brownies, I really mean my mom’s Deep Dish Brownies. I am hooked. I made them (again) last week for my brother’s homecoming..and couldn’t get enough! They are so chocolate-y & rich (which means you only need a little sliver to be satisfied), and a perfect way to add a little bliss at the end of the day. There is just something about chocolate (especially in the form of a decadent brownie) that makes me swoon.
Scrambled Eggs: I know–scrambled eggs have been around for, like, ever. Since I got back from Texas over the summer (where my Cousin Chris makes the best scrambled eggs!), I have been enjoying scrambled eggs for breakfast or lunch. They are super easy & quick to whip up, and are packed with protein. How I make mine: Heat a greased, round pan over medium heat. Whisk 2 eggs with a splash of milk (any kind), and pour into pan. Once the edges have cooked just a little, use a spatula to continually turn the eggs. Make sure the eggs are fully cooked, but remain soft and light. Transfer to plate and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
English Muffins: I remember that when I was little, my mom ate English muffins often, but I never cared for the taste. Now, I adore them! They are a regular item on our grocery list; we fly through a package of 6 in a week, easily! My dad’s favorite quick breakfast to make is egg sandwiches, where English muffins act as the “bread” part. I love them this way, but I also enjoy them toasted and slathered with almond or peanut butter. I usually have this alongside my scrambled eggs. The two brands available at New Pi are Rudi’s and Matthew’s. I prefer Rudi’s Multigrain with Flax. I love the variations in texture these muffins bring: they are light & chewy in the center, but when toasted, crispy around the edges.
Pumpkin: With fall in full swing, pumpkin is a more present ingredient in the kitchen. I’ve already made Vegan Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Bars, and have my sights set on making my friend Sara’s Pumpkin Muffins in the near future. But pumpkin isn’t just for desserts! My dad and I had fun last night cooking a comforting dinner of Pumpkin Pasta. What we did: Sauté garlic in EVOO. Add a can of fire roasted tomatoes and one small, peeled, cubed pumpkin (no seeds!). Allow to cook over medium-high heat until pumpkin becomes soft. When pumpkin has become soft, use a spoon to mash some of the pumpkin, leaving cubes here and there. Toss in one cooked Italian sausage (spicy or sweet, whatever you prefer), diced, per person. Add one pound of pasta (we used ziti last night) to the sauce and serve topped with freshly grated Asiago cheese and a couple slices of good bread. This was the perfect dish for a fall night, full of bold flavors: saltiness from the sausage and sweetness from the pumpkin. The tomatoes tie everything together!
Nigella Lawson and Cook Like an Iron Chef: The TV that I watch is mostly Food Network or the Cooking Channel. One of my new (although not new to television) favorite shows is Nigella Express, featuring Nigella Lawson. I like this show because Nigella cooks with such ease..she rarely measures and seems so happy to be in the kitchen. She shows us that cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Simple, quick, and delicious! Another reason I enjoy this show is that Nigella isn’t afraid of using sugar or butter; her dishes incorporate a variety of fresh and nutritious ingredients, so why not indulge a little?
Cook Like an Iron Chef is a bit more “chefy”(?) than Nigella Express, but I love to see how Michael Simon incorporates the secret ingredient. It’s interesting to see new cooking techniques, as well as new ideas of using an ingredient. It’s just fun to see what he comes up with! Even though his dishes typically include more ingredients and steps than Nigella’s, they are still simple & fresh.
What are your current foodie favorites?
All for now,