Friday, August 19, 2011

argo tea

I tried Argo Tea for the first time this past weekend in NYC. delicious! The pomegranate iced tea packaged in a beautiful re-usable glass bottle & the iced hazelnut coffee hit the spot.

Any favorite tea and coffee places you go to on a regular basis? Personally, getting a big iced coffee everyday is my favorite day time treat.

Friday, August 5, 2011

carrot fries

Last night I successfully accomplished giving carrots a new meaning. Well, a new meaning in my book, that is. Say "see ya" to sweet potato fries and "HELLO!" to carrot fries.

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods in the world. You cannot eff-up a sweet potato. But carrots? You can eff up. Not with this recipe. Give it a shot. Give it to your kids. Give it to your grandparents, parents, enemies (nah! not them!) and friends.

A tasty & healthy way to enjoy 'fries' without feeling fried yourself.

What You Will Need:
-Five large fresh carrots
-2 tbsp olive oil
-Salt & Pepper
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp chilli powder
-1 tsp parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Once the carrots are cleaned and peeled, slice them up into slivers (think of the shape/size of french fries. )
3. Toss the raw carrot fries in a medium sized mixing bowl with olive oil & the dry ingredients.
4. Once the carrots are coated evenly with the ingredients.
5. Lay the carrots out on a parchment paper (sprayed with PAM or some sort of a non-stick spray/oil) lined baking sheet.
6. Quickly drizzle the carrots with a bit of olive oil & bake until crispy (about 20 minutes)

7. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

coconut-y kale & fruit smoothie.

I don't know about you but I love a good mid-day snack. Of course I always crave something salty but i'm putting those urges out by the curb lately. Recently, my usual go-to snack is hummus & rice cakes. However, today I came home with a huge amount of kale (which is so delicious, healthy and so cheap.) to cook with for the next couple days and I decided to throw it in a smoothie.

Kale is like the Hollywood It-Girl of food blogs. Everyone screams 'kale!' at the top of their lungs. It's a versatile, tasty and affordable. So I decided to try it out in a cold, nutritious hodgepodge of flavors.

Coconut, Kale & Fruit Smoothie

What You Will Need:
-1 cup of assorted frozen fruit (I used a tropical blend of papaya, kiwi, mango and melon)
-1/2 cup of shredded coconut
-1/2 cup of milk
-1/2 cup of orange juice
-One handful of fresh kale (I know this is vague but that's all you need to do)

Add everything into a blender and blend until smooth & ready to drink.

refreshing barley, greens & corn salad

Guess what? I've got the perfect recipe for when it's hot out and you know you should be eating something healthy and refreshing.

Trust me, I'm always down for a hot panini all day everyday, but I'm trying to be better with my eating habits lately. In fact, that is a huge reason why I'm blogging about food and cooking so much. The first step to eating better is to prepare your own meals and adapt the meals to what you like. I'm a carb girl. I can do without cookies, cake, chocolate, etc. But carbs? Bleh. My absolute downfall. SO when I discovered this barley salad recipe at the Small Kitchen College picnic, I knew I needed to try making it myself. Barley is an extremely versatile (and basically guilt free) grain that can have a similar consistency of rice/pasta but with a ton of fiber.

It's an extremely simple and clean recipe that tastes delicious cold, wakes up your taste buds and fills you up without putting you into a food coma.

Adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen's recipe here.

What You Will Need
-One cup of barley (rinsed clean)
-One 15oz can of corn
-3 tsp chopped chives
-2 tsp fresh basil (julienned!)
-2 tsp mint
-Juice of one lemon
-1 1/2 tbsp of Olive Oil
-2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 tsp of Oregano
-1 tsp of Parsley
-1 1/2 tsp of Cumin
-Decent sprinkling of salt & pepper

note: adding green onions would be SO good too.

1- In a medium sized cooking pot, bring 2 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp of salt to a boil.
2- Add the barley & return to low heat.
3- You're going to want to simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes until the liquid is almost gone (if any remains, just drain it using the lid of the pot)
4- Once the barley is drained and cooled, combine in a bowl with all of the remaining ingredients.
5- Mix together thoroughly and then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

beautiful kitchen soap

Cucina Kitchen Hand Soap Set - $39

Keeping your hands clean in the kitchen is imperative. Whether you're chopping fresh vegetables, dealing with different types of meat or stirring pesky sauces that bubble up and get on your hands. Cooking is a messy activity and having the right kind of soap is key. Keeping your meal & skin clean and it's a great opportunity to accessorize your kitchen.

Buying beautiful kitchen soap that smells wonderful and refreshing will work wonders in your kitchen.

So go get your hands on (ahem..literally) some of these fantastic brands & their equally fantastic packaging:

Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Liquid Soap $22

Method French Lavender Soap $3
C.O Bigelow Lime & Coriander hand wash $12
Waterworks Olive & Sage Kitchen Hand Soap $28 Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap $4

Caldrea lotion & soap kitchen set $24
Mangiacotti Ginger Line Sink Set $35

Southwestern Sheppard's Pie

One of the best reasons to cook a somewhat large meal is the opportunity for leftovers. Instead of heating up the same dish in the microwave and eat it again, get creative. Think of ways to incorporate that with other ingredients and mix it up a bit. You will get more bang for your buck, no waste involved and it also spices up your regular routine. Sometimes it will be successful, sometimes it won't be. That's the risk you take when you create anything. With this Southwestern Sheppard's Pie, I used leftover ingredients (the meat & veggie filling) from my Simple Summer Enchiladas.

Now, not to pat myself on the back too much or anything...but this meal was pretty effing delicious. Like, so good that I had to leave the house to prevent myself from eating the whole thing. Is that a self control issue? Probs! But having a delicious homemade meal in front of you doesn't help it, that's for sure.

So do yourself a favor and make this. You'll thank me, I think. Or you'll tell me to go to hell because you will find yourself eating an exorbitant amount of comfort food all at once. Sorry in advance, y'all.

What You Will Need:
-Lean ground beef
-Sweet corn
-Black beans (drained)
-Chopped baby spinach
-2 cloves of garlic chopped
(Follow the ingredients from here)
-Mashed potatoes (about 4 1/2 cups)*
-2 1/2 tbsp of butter
-1 cup of shredded cheese (I used a mix of good quality mozzarella & parmesan)
-Salt & Pepper

*= For the mashed potatoes, you can use instant or make your own from scratch. If you don't know how to make your own, here is a straight forward recipe to use (although I'd probably leave out the cream cheese.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2. Get a medium sized baking dish & 'grease' it up (I just used PAM cooking spray and that was enough.)
3. Spread out your veggie & beef filling evenly on the dish.
4. Evenly cover the filling with mashed potatoes so it forms somewhat of a cake/pie look. Everything must be mixed together so it bakes in a balanced way.
5. Once everything is evenly distributed, sprinkle the cheese over it equally covering up the entire dish.
6. Cut up your butter into tiny cubes so you can place them all over the dish in every crevice and corner so all of it gets that buttery-crust without using too much butter. So use the 2 1/2 tbsp wisely.
7. Salt & Pepper it up! And put it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it is golden & crispy.
8. Once it's ready, let it sit and then use a spatula to 'slice' it for serving.


I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook!

I'm clearly late to the party but Trader Joe's is like a wonderland of, for a lack of better words, cool things. And by things, I mean food. Not just food. Beautifully packaged food! Kiss your generic packaged veggies, cookies, juices, meats, etc. goodbye as soon as you step foot into good ol Joey's (T.J's?). While it might not be wise to go food shopping for a family of 5's weekly groceries there (Hello-higher-price-tags-than-the-average-grocery store) unless you've got a large budget, but for a couple of 20 somethings cooking a small meal or college students? It's perfect. Let me introduce you to the I Love Trader Joe's College Cookbook.

With delicious recipes with ingredients easily found at Trader Joe's, it's proving once again that they are a grocery store that puts in just a bit more for their customers. A little something extra, if you will. Shopping there is an experience in a league of it's own and now with this book, cooking at home can now be in that same league.

Head over to Small Kitchen College to enter for a chance to win this fabulous book!

In order to participate you must:
-Leave a comment on this post & tell them your favorite thing to buy pre-made from the grocery store
-Be a subscriber to the SKC Newsletter
-Become a fan of SKC's Facebook page
-(Extra Entry) Tell facebook fans about this contest - post the link & @Small Kitchen College
-(Extra Entry) Tweet about the contest @BGSK College!

Good luck! xo