Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Starbucks Coffee Tastes Ethiopian

So what is all this talk about the new coffee at Starbucks?

Ethiopia Roast does not only have brilliantly satisfying taste, but it is a medium roast coffee which is great for those like me, used to drinking my venti pikes every day.  What a great day to try a new brew on national coffee day?

I was definitely in the house today for Coffee Tasting. It was almost like a happy hour type of thing walking into Starbucks and getting somewhat of a shot worth of this new choice on the menu.

And who would have thought that you could actually taste the flavor of the citrus and dark cocoa in coffee? Most people mask coffee with all the sugar and cream or milk that they can add, only getting the caffeine in their body. But for those who like the taste of coffee, this one is definitely worth trying.

Here is something you probably were unaware of. A cup of regular brewed coffee when drunk black, like the pike, African roast or even the Kama Sutra, yields about 5 calories per cup.  But when you add all the extra stuff like caramel, whipped cream, hazelnut, sugars and creams or even milk, that is when the coffee becomes a high caloric drink. 

Luckily, I appreciate the taste of coffee and I enjoy it black, but then again, nothing wrong with going outside the box every once in a while; especially for counting calorie freaks like myself who used the method to enable weight loss of over 70lbs in under nine months.

Disclaimer:

I am not an employee of nor am I being paid by Starbucks to write this blogpost. I am however, a fan of their store and a consumer who like to share the things I come across just in case another consumer is not aware that it exists.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hummus Crisps from Kashi


 
 
 
What is it about those hummus crisps that got people putting their hands in the bag more than they should?

One chip is never enough. For one thing, it is a healthy snack that is bursting with flavor. When I say flavor, I mean it tastes good. And these yummy chips have only 120 calories per serving with 30 calories being from fat.

But guess what? 27 chips make up one serving. Not such a bad thing to keep putting your hands into the bag to grab another chip when it is healthy and low-fat.

Did you know that these chips all-natural? This healthy snack made by Kashi is made with Chick peas and whole grains and was flavored with sea salt, parsley and extra virgin olive oil.  
 
If it is not for the all-natural ingredients or the fact that these chips have 3g protein, 4g fiber and only 180mg of sodium, it could also be the attractive packaging that these delicious chips come in.


 

 
 
 
I mean that was attracted me. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but by the cover alone with Kashi, you know exactly what you get and will be left putting your hand back in the bag for more. They are just that good.
I first tried these chips as a Bzzagent and was thrilled at the idea of these healthy snacks now all into the things I eat and my weight and these are great treats. I definitely will be back to the store for more when these are done because they are so me. Tasty and healthy.

 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Diet and Exercise According to to God


 
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthian 6:19-20 NIV).

God tells us to honor his temple and our bodies are the Lord’s temple. 

That says a lot about our bodies and our physical state.  Who are we to hate the temple that God says to honor because of where we physically are?  To hate yourself is to hate the wonderfully made temple that God created with his own hands. But there are things that can be done to perfect even the perfection that he made; even when we do not see it for ourselves.

Eating

 
“God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food’” (Genesis 1:29 NIV).

Besides all the meat and rice and pastas in the world, there are fruits and vegetables.  If you eat according to the bible, you will include them into your diet because obviously, they must be good for you if they were hand-made by God just for you to eat. A plate should have more vegetables on it than the meat and other food content of your meal. Fruits should be included into our diets.

The Bible actually tells us how to eat.  It recently dawned on me about eight months ago when I was about to hit 230 pounds and after praying to God for a way to better my health, he lead me to eat differently. Who knew l’d be the one eating barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer? 70 lbs later, my health has improved and I feel so much better. My body is no longer in pain and ironically my heart stopped pumping really hard just from walking up a few steps. Changing my eating habits made a difference because food is a luxury and should be eaten in moderation. We can eat and eat and eat unhealthily until we cannot eat no more or the doctors tell us we have to change our diets because we are pre-about to start having to take pills for the rest of our lives, or we can choose to honor God’s temple and feed it with gentle love by blessing it with healthy foods. For more biblical verses about eating healthy, please visit http://www.openbible.info/topics/healthy_eating

 

Exercise

 

Timothy 4:8 says “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

In other words, exercising prolongs life. It strengthens our bodies for days to come and to be able to be strong for the days ahead. If we hate our bodies but are not doing anything about it, we are wasting our breaths and energies.

God gave us full use of our legs and feet. Use them and walk a little bit.  Walking just for twenty minutes a day can not only help to improve heart health but can clear your mind because in that walking, there is somewhat of a meditational moments when you are one-on-one with God.

“ Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (Corinthins 1:9:24 ESV). Perhaps we cannot all be winners in a race, but we can win against unnecessary diseases caused by overeating and idleness like diabetes, heart disease and cholesterol. While everyone does not have the knee or ankle strength to go running like Olympic gold-medalist Alice Coachman, our bodies can still be honored in a number of ways; here are a few ideas:

1.       If we have a desk or apartment on the third floor of a building, instead of taking the elevator, take the steps up and down and burn off a few calories.

2.      While watching television, lay down in front of the screen and do some sit-ups, abdominal crunches, bicycle twists or other strength training exercises.  Perhaps you will be a little sore but I know you will not hate seeing muscles form on your abdominal area.

3.       If you live about two to three blocks away from your bus stop or train station, get off a few stops before and walk the rest of the way. Your heart will definitely be thanking you for exercising it.

4.      It is the summer time and you decide that all you want to do to keep you away from boredness is to play your favorite computer game solitaire. Why not go out with your favorite young person in your life and play basketball, softball, tennis or catch?  Maybe you could turn on the Wii Fit and do some of the calorie-burning Wii fit games.  I always enjoy the boxing game. Even better if you have two remotes, you can play interactively and have a whole lot of fun while also working out.

 

Respect



Regardless of where you are in life whether you are a size 2 or a size 26, you are still loved in the eyes of God.  According to Songs of Solomon 4:7, “you are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Did God say that?  How can we deny his word and message to us? 

If you feel there is something not so wonderful about yourself in your eyes, love yourself by making moves to change it. It is one thing to complain and not do anything about our own situation, but it is something else to get up and make a decision to press forward toward the mark of the higher calling. 

After I prayed and made my weaknesses known to God even though he knew them already, he lead me to diet and exercise and after eight months of hard work and dedication to my own cause, I lost 70 pounds and dropped about seven sizes. Anything you want to accomplish, even if it is to love yourself more should include God. Instead of looking in the mirror and dishonoring the perfectly made temple of God’s,  love it like the unconditional love God gives, and decide for yourself to build it up and make it as beautiful as you want to see it, even though God sees you as beautiful already. There is nothing wrong with trying to perfect yourself. Love should be the one thing that you do not deny yourself of regardless of your stage. It takes a lot of work, persistence and also will-power. If you remember that you can do all things through Christ, you already know that if you hold onto his hands and never give up the faith, you can thrust forward into anything you want to accomplish. But nonetheless, respect your temple because it is God’s.
 
 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Greek Inspired Scrambled Tofu with Bacon


I am not a big fan of eggs like I used to be. 

Just a few months ago, I used to frequent the deli in the morning and get scrambled eggs all the time. Who knew that my stomach would turn at the mere smell of them? 

Nowadays, if I have eggs, it is mostly hard-boiled.  But sometimes a girl wants to have one of those scrambled egg or omelet dishes. And then I discovered that I could scramble tofu and use them as a substitute. So that is exactly what I did when I made my Greek Inspired Scrambled Tofu with Bacon.

The egg version of it was delicious. I used to have it with a croissant when I was eating bread at the time. Now that I do not and don’t miss it at all, I do without and simply enjoy the scrambled concoction that consists of tofu, spinach, feta cheese and bacon.  Yummy! Here is the recipe:

 

Greek Inspired Scrambled Tofu with Bacon

Serving Size 1

Calories per Serving 255
 
Cooking Time 15 Minutes

Fat 19 G

Sodium 792 g

Protein 15 g

Cholesterol 35 mg

 

Ingredients

1/5 of Soft Organic Tofu

2 Slices of Bacon

1 Cup Organic Baby Spinach

¼ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

1 Tbsp Butter

 

Instructions

1.    Take the feta and spinach and mix them together in a bowl

2.    Take bacon and place them on a microwaveable safe plate or bowl and place them in the microwave for 2 minutes and 10 seconds. (2 Minutes if you like them less crispy or 2 minutes and 15 seconds for crispier).

3.    Add butter to a medium sized pan and place over medium fire to melt.

4.    When butter has melted, add spinach and tofu and mix occasionally to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

5.    After about five minutes, sprinkle feta and bacon slices broken into small pieces over tofu and leave on fire for a few minutes more. 

6.    Your breakfast is then ready to be eaten. Best eaten warm.

7.    Pairs well with a nice cup of hot brewed tea.

I never thought I would enjoy tofu as much until now.  I have grown accustomed to cooking it in different fashions; even to the point of using them to make smoothies.  But to be able to have my scrambled breakfast meal again makes a difference. Funny thing is it looks like eggs if you simply peak at it but it is not eggs at all. It's tofutilicious. Food just got a whole lot better.

Carrot Parmesan


So you go into a pizza shop and you see on the menu Chicken Parmesan and the alternative for non-meat eaters is usually eggplant parmesan, but why no other vegetable?

Okay, I admit that eggplant might be tasty with pasta but I think other vegetables would be just the same.  This is why I decided to try it.   I used carrots.  My carrot parmesan was quick to make and came out pretty tasty.  Here is the recipe:
 
Carrot Parmesan

Serving size 2

Calories per serving 80

Sodium 232 mg

Cholesterol 10 mg

Protein 5.5 g

Cooking time 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

2/3 Cup Frozen Small Crinkle Sliced Carrots

¼ Cup Organic Parmesan Shredded Cheese

¼ Cup Crushed Tomatoes with Basil

1/3 Cup water

Instructions

1.    In a small pan, add water and carrots. Leave it over a medium fire until the carrots have defrosted and the carrots are soft

2.    Sprinkle parmesan cheese over carrots and allow to melt

3.    Cover carrots and the cheese with the crushed tomatoes and just allow to get warm

4.    Your dish is now ready to be served

I didn’t have it with pasta or in a sandwich like many chicken or eggplant parmesan dishes are served, though I have tested carrots with spaghetti before and it was not a bad combination. I kept my Carrot parmesan as the main dish and instead had other vegetable dishes to keep it more on the healthier side. My sides included garlic sautéed potatoes and steamed vegetables. 
The whole entire concoction was great. A light meal for dinner that also had a fair share of protein, fat and low sodium count; healthy and delicious. Try it for yourself!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Slow Cooker Quinoa Shrimp chili


I’m all into this cooking with quinoa bit now and one of the things on my to-do list all the time is to find a new and exciting way to cook it; which is why I was tempted to make a dish with it using my slow cooker.

I have experimented different quinoa recipes.  I heard so many people talking about snacks or foods for the big game. Then I heard someone say that one of their menu items was going to be chili. I have always wanted to make chili but a vegetarian version of it. That’s when I decided to make Quinoa chili for the big game; not a vegetarian chili though, a pescatarian one.

I am so used to adding black beans to my quinoa that it seems like second nature. Who knew adding that plus a few more items to it, including shrimp would make it so delicious? I know what you are thinking, shrimp in a chili dish. Sounds a little odd but it came out excellent; so good that I will be making this dish more often.  Here is the recipe!


Slow Cooker Quinoa Shrimp chili
 
 

Serving Size 4

Calories per Serving 441

Cooking Time 4-5 hours in the slow cooker

Ingredients

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Medium Tomato
¼ Cup of Crushed Tomato Canned
 ½ Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 Can Sweet or Creamed Corn
½ Can of Black Beans
½ cup chopped Green Pepper
1 Cup White Cooked Shrimp – Peeled
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Tsp Black Pepper corn
¼ Tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 ½ Cups Water
1 Cup of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Separate by ¼ Cups Each)

 

Instructions

1.    In the Slow Cooker Dish, Add Quinoa, Black Beans, Green Pepper, Tomatoes, Crushed Tomatoes,  Corn, Onion, Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, Pepper Corn, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin and Water.

2.    Put the Slow Cooker on High and cover to allow to cook.
 
 

3.    In about two hours, take shrimp, place it in a mortar and mash them up until they are in small broken little pieces and add them to the slow cooker.

4.    Stir to make sure that the quinoa or beans are not sticking to the bottom of the dish.

5.    In about two to three hours later, your quinoa is ready to be served.

6.    For each serving, take ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese and sprinkle over each serving of chili while it is hot to ensure that it will melt nicely over your meal.
 



Slow Cooker Quinoa Shrimp Chili is a complete meal in one plate. I got a little greedy though and had mine with Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Zucchini chips; not because it needed a side but because I knew I was going to need something to be able to stomach the 109 yards goal taken by the Ravens'  Jacoby Jones immediately after one of the best ever halftime shows featuring Beyonce, that helped the Ravens later take home the title.

Either way it was a healthy dish and one that I thought was worth sharing. Best eaten when hot! Great dish for cold days because it is hot and spicy. If you decide to try it, I hope you enjoy it.  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Snack Ideas for the Big Game or for Anytime

I was listening to the news today and on it, they said that the number one thing that Americans snack on today is yogurt and the number two is bars and listening to that made me think; what are we going be snacking on while watching the big game?

 
 
 
Okay, I have to admit that I am not the biggest football fan.  I haven’t sat back to watch even one game this entire season, but I will sit down to watch the National Anthem, the commercials and the half time show. I guess you can say that I will be watching most of the game then.

Just because it is an opportunity to snack does not mean it has to be an unhealthy one.  There are so many things that we can snack on to keep things a little bit healthier but also tasty.  How about some apples? 

As a snack an apple is pretty good. Maybe you are concerned about the sugar content.  I saw in the store the other day apples sold in small packs.  I guess you would call that what a serving of fruit should be as opposed to eating the whole fruit.  Not so bad if you take those apples and dip it in one of those single serving pouches of peanut butter. 
Alright, maybe my taste is not the same as yours but nonetheless, a snack is a snack.  So here are some healthy snack ideas that you might find enjoyable and perhaps may even try.
 
·         Sliced Apples, Bananas or Celery with Peanut Butter
 

·         Crackers with Canned Tuna Fish in Water

·         Sliced Carrots with Cottage Cheese

·         Healthy Pop Kettle Corn Popcorn from Jolly Time

o   One serving of this yummy popcorn equates to 1 cup and is 25 calories. Even if you got a little hungry and decided to dig into the entire bag which serves about 3 ½ people, you’d still be dipping into a snack that is less than 100 calories. Not bad.

·         Oikos Blueberry Yogurt with ¼ cup of Kind Maple Walnut Clusters or granola

·         Strawberries with dark chocolate dipping sauce and Sutter Home Moscato

·         Homemade Zucchini Chips  

o   Slice the Zucchini into rings, dip into milk and place into a batter of parmesan cheese and panko and place over an oven dish coated with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.
 

·         Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Shrimp
 
 


·         Special K Sour Cream and Onion Chips           

o   Chips always seem an appropriate snack and sometimes it is hard to stick to the suggested serving sizes noted on the box sometimes, which also indicate how much calories we will be eating per serving. Unlike a serving of Pringles which is 15 chips or Wise Crunchy Cheese Doodles which is a 1/2 cup, a serving of Special K chips is like 27 chips and they taste pretty good.  You get more chips per serving and they are healthy (low sodium, sugar content, calories from fat). If you are a lover of chips, these might work with your appetite.

·         Toasted Almonds
 
 

o   Take your almonds, whether shelled or sliced, put them in a baking pan and place them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. You can entice them with your favorite flavorings like honey or agave to make them honey roasted, cinnamon to make them cinnamon toasted or whatever is appealing to your taste.

·         Coconut Shrimp scampi


·         Corn Souffle


These are just a few suggestions.  I guess you can tell that a girl loves to eat.  But snacking does not have to always be the traditional buffalo wings for it to be good.  Why not try something else? These ideas have been tried and have proven to be really great. Hopefully you will like at least one idea.
 
 

Nonetheless, enjoy the game, the National Anthem, the Halftime Show and the funny commercials that come along with it, happy snacking and may the best team win!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp Salad


I think I have become a little bit obsessed lately with trying to find new and exciting ways to cook so my lifestyle does not get boring and to also maintain a low calorie diet.


Lately, I have been finding favor in cooking with mushrooms.  Usually I get them either in a can or fresh and sliced. But then the other day, I saw some fresh button mushrooms in the store and decided I wanted to try stuffing them.

 

I looked up a few ideas on Pinterest and saw options like Stuffed mushroom with spinach, stuffed mushroom with goat cheese or stuffed mushroom with lobster.  I had some spinach and some goat cheese but no lobster.  I like to experiment with food and the idea of mixing  goat cheese and spinach together seemed like it would be really good.  But then I thought, what if I added some shrimp to it?  That I did, and came up with what I'd like to call, stuffed mushroom with shrimp salad. 

 

Stuffed Mushroom with Shrimp Salad
 
 
 
Serving Size 2
Calories per serving 123
Cooking time: 30 minutes
 
Ingredients
 
4 Mid-sized Fresh Button Mushrooms
¼ cup frozen or fresh spinach
¼ cup crombled goat cheese
1 cup cooked shrimp

 

Directions

 

1.    Turn your oven on to 425.

2.    Remove stems from your mushrooms making sure to be careful with the other portions of your mushroom so that it could remain somewhat like a bowl of some sort. Place the mushrooms into a small baking sheet.

3.    In a small bowl or in a mortar, add your shrimp, goat cheese and spinach.

4.    Use a fork or a pestle to chop up the shrimp cheese and spinach until fine and then mix.

5.    Using a spoon, scoop a portion of the mixture into each mushroom until they are loaded as snug as clothes in a diva’s suitcase

6.    Your mushrooms are now ready to cook. 

7.    Leave mushrooms in oven for about 15 minutes.

8.    A nice side to go with this dish would be Quinoa, or grilled vegetables. I had mine with mashed buttersquash with okra and black beans.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Best Grits in New York City at SOCO in Brooklyn


I have to admit, my taste buds have been programmed to accept almost any type of food and the ability to find something to like about it, but I am now able to make a claim that I have found the place in New York City that makes the best grits.
 

 

The place is called SOCO and is actually located in Brooklyn, the new home of the Nets.

The name of the eatery is easy to remember because it is similar to the shortened name for the alcoholic beverage known as southern comfort. That is exactly what you will find there; style, comfort and southern cuisine that will satisfy your taste buds or maybe even a nice drink to wet your whistle.

 

The first time I had their grits, I thought it was mashed potatoes because of the smooth texture and buttery taste.  The more and more I have it, the better it seems to get.  It could possibly be because they add a lobster tail and nice medium sized shrimps into it, but it tastes so delicious.

 
I know that visitors usually come into New York looking for new and exciting places to visit that they have not seen yet. The Barclay Center or Atlantic Mall might be one of those many destinations.

But they also want to eat great food.  SOCO is a great place to find delicious cuisine and to come with a family, friends or even with a date. The lighting is good and the staff is friendly and quick to respond to customer needs. At least that was my impression from the many times I have visited this restaurant. And also, it is not too far from those aforementioned places to visit. 
 

SOCO is located at 509 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Some of their other delicious dishes are mussels and sausage in habanera sauce, fried chicken with red velvet waffles, rib pizza and more. They have great sides also with a very tasty macaroni and cheese dish and also their corn bread.  You can check out their website to see for yourself the different things featured on their menu. Here is the link: http://www.socobk.com/
 
 
 
 
 
If you are ever in Brooklyn and are looking for a place to eat, go to SOCO and I guarantee you that you might be rambling like me after just one visit.  

Disclaimer: I am not an employee or promoter of the company featured in this blog posting. I was not nor have I ever been hired to write or distribute information based on their restaurant. I am however a consumer with an opinion with a willingness to share product information based on my usage and experience.

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