Friday, February 22, 2013

Cuisinart Espresso Maker & WIAF

Cuisinart Espresso Maker...if you want to get technical, it's this one. My new beauty.   

I’ve been pondering this purchase for quite some time for a couple of reasons. Espresso makers are not cheap, Starbucks is a huge chain and I rather support small companies, non-organic coffee is becoming problematic (check out the Gutamalan tradedy of this years coffee crop), and sugar is a drug. I spend almost $5 dollars on my daily Starbucks habit. A grande soy cappuccino costs me $4.45, that is insane to me. I get charged 0.60 cents extra for soy milk. Over the course of the year this habit costs me $1624.25. That is a lot of money for a college student. So getting to the point. I decided to invest in an espresso maker for the sake of saving money, but also for my health. Sometimes I question whether or not I like the taste of coffee or the creamy delicious soy milk that accompanies it. I don’t really consider a grande soy cap a “sugary” drink, but with a whopping 15 grams of sugar, it's a sneaky sugar source that could be avoided with home brewing (Starbucks has recently taken off the sugar part of the nutrition facts, nice move). Unsweetened almond milk with a dash of Stevia to the rescue and I’m eliminating a whole lotta sugar. Don’t even get me started with alcohol, but honestly I’m not even going there. So I bought the espresso pictured above….and this morning was my first attempt at my Stevia sweetened almond milk cappuccino/latte. I knew it wouldn't have the manicured taste of a Starbucks, but I really enjoyed it along with the satisfaction of my savings. I would love some other suggestions for my next can of espresso!

The extra gadgets it came with. So far I'm really satisfied, but I'll keep you updated.
          This machine has the ability to steam the milk and make it nice and frothy just how I like it.
And of course the day must go on.
I started off my morning with a probiotic and a green juice with LOTS of green.

Juice foam<soy capp foam

This juice was a little too green for me today. I drank about 5 ounces for breakfast and saved the rest for after my workout.

Then I drank my almond milk cappulatte (try and figure that one out).

After my super awesome kickboxing workout I went to my school's dining hall and got some gluten free tofu pad thai and I added some steamed sweet potato and an egg when I got home;)


 It was pretty yummy considering it was from the dining hall and I liked that is slightly resembles a heart.

Matt and I went to Shipyard for a drink and their amazing happy hour from 4-7 Monday thru Friday. Shipyard is a brewery from Maine so I love that they opened a location in Winter Park, it makes me feel more at home. ;) Face down in a glass of wine.

So pensive.
I came home and whipped this awesome meal, it was delicious.

 This meal was amazing. I was trying to buy a mandolin for slicing vegetables, but I accidentally bought a Julienne mandolin, which slices veggies into shoestring like size. I decided to try and make shoestring fries! I used a sweet potato and a turnip, they didn't crisp up like I wanted, but the flavor was amazing. My meal consisted of a buffalo burger topped with sliced avocado, a broccoli bread stick, salad with my curry dressing, and fresh heirloom tomato. I changed up my buffalo burger recipe by adding salsa and it was so juicy. My boyfriend said it was his favorite version of my burger so far.

So my take on eating meat...I grew up in a plant based household and ate very little animal products. I believe in the healing power of a plant based diet for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc, but it is not for everyone. I believe animal products in excess are not health supportive, but since introducing more meat and fish into my diet (always grass fed from a local farm or wild caught) I have seen many improvements in my health. After going gluten free two years ago, I felt being gluten-free and vegan was making me very unhappy so I reevaluated my diet. This doesn't mean I'm going to eat meat forever or even next year, it's just what it right for my digestion and health at this moment. I don't use labels because they create stress for me. I'm a whore for quality food (local, organic, seasonal-you get it), let's just leave it at that.

 I finished the night off with some ice cream that totally hit the spot.

Ice cream in the dark?
My "ice cream" recipe is sofa king good.

OMG I totally forgot. Today is National Margarita Day! So let's get real and have a little fun. Cheers to the weekend!

Will you celebrate National Margarita Day? What's your favorite brand of coffee? Fill me in and comment below.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ode to Roasted Veggies & much much MORE.

Ode to Roasted Vegetables
My love for you runs deep,
I dream about you in my sleep.
Your crispy outside and your tender insides brings joy to my palate.
I've known you for so long, you've never cause me harm.
You're easy and you're sweet, your taste cannot be beat.

 Roasted Vegetables.

      I love vegetables. I like them raw and I like them cooked, but I crave them roasted. The winter is a great time to enjoy vegetables this way. Root vegetables are abundant at this time of year and they caramelize in the oven perfectly. Golden brown and slightly crispy is how I like my veggies. I’d say roasted vegetables are my specialty, but that's up to you to decide.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
4 cups of any of the following: Brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, delicata squash, turnips, or any vegetable of your liking. I prefer root vegetables for the winter
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or organic coconut oil
1 Tablespoon chopped herbs (I like sage, rosemary, or thyme)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (if you feel like it)
¼-1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

      Chop desired vegetables into similar thickness (about ½ inch, I quarter my Brussel sprouts) and place into a mixing bowl. Chop herbs and garlic and combine with the vegetables. Add the remaining ingredients and make sure the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil. Spread out the vegetables onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the preheated over for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

It started with a kiss...


And ended up like this....



If you didn't notice, this is a compilation of the photos of roasted veggies I've taken, some have herbs and spices, some have garlic, and some are just plain with salt and pepper. You can create whatever flavor you're craving, whether it's savory, spicy, or sweet!

                   Steaming and sautéing, there's just no going back.

Roasting is here to stay. At least until spring.

The beauty of it all can take a person who despises vegetables (brussel sprouts for example) and present them with a dish that will not disappoint a hesitant veggie eater. My boyfriend told me yesterday he once ate brussel sprouts and threw up he hated them so much, but then he tasted my roasted delights and has since found a new found passion for eating my plate.                                   

 But don't worry my green juice, you are going nowhere.

       After last weeks shenanigans it was time to get back to business with my diet. I like to eat healthy most of the time, but I felt like I was craving things I didn't really want to be eating. When you enjoy a few cocktails you have to remember the next day isn't a free for all, AND SOMETIMES I FORGET.
So back to basics. I've been enjoying a nice green juice in the AM along with my additional veggie intake throughout the day and I'm feeling pretty, prettyyyyyy; good.

Look what I got in my new farm share. Jealous?

This was the first time I ordered from the co-op and it definitely won't be my last. If you're in the Orlando area: check out Homegrown Co-Op

Oh and ValenTIMES Day was fun too! Look the beautiful card my boyfriend made me:)

Ospray, Big Ole love bird.

I made my boyfriend a breakfast sandwich and gave him some local hot sauces I found at the co-op.

We went to Universal Studios for the day and made our way to Hogwarts.

And no Valentines Day is complete without a few selflies;)

Hope everyone had a lovely V Day and kept warm this weekend. Are you a veggie queen like me? What's your favorite kind of juice? Leave a comment, I dare you. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

INDIAN Lentil&Sweet Potato&Chicken CURRY.

After an awesome Saturday at the beach and some vino Saturday night, I was ready to relax ALL day Sunday and play in the kitchen. 
Sangue De Giuda (Blood of Judas). Best wine ever.
Would have been better with my girl DJKJ 
I was oooowing over this recipe for some Indian inspiration last week and yesterday I finally got around to creating a dish. I love Indian food, the depth of flavor and bold spices bring a smile to my face. The whole dairy in Indian food is a buzz kill so I decided to create a dish sans dairy. I added organic free range chicken to this dish, but feel free to omit it if you want to stay plant based. I'm always experimenting with my diet and lately I've been including some meat into my diet (thats a whole other post). Did I mention its gluten free?
                         Chicken, Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry
over brown basmati rice
Serves 4
1 cup green or brown lentils
1 chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups of veggie broth
1 onion, diced
½ large sweet potato, chopped into bite size pieces
1-2 cups of chopped greens (kale, chard, spinach)
¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
the juice of one lemon
1 ½ Tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
1 inch fresh ginger, grated

In a 2 quart pan, sauté onions, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt on medium heat with one tablespoon coconut oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Mix the spice mixture, pour half of it (including fresh grated ginger) together into the onions and garlic. Let the onion and garlic absorb the spices and then add the broth and lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then down to a simmer. Set the timer for 45 minutes. After 10 minutes add the chopped sweet potatoes and tomatoes to the mixture.

For the chicken: Chop into bite size pieces. While the mixture is simmering take a frying pan with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and place the chicken, some of the broth from the curry (1/2 cup works), the remaining salt, and spice mixture into the pan. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is partially cooked. When the timer has 20 minutes remaining add the chicken into the lentil mixture.

Once the chicken is added you can squeeze the lemon juice into the pot, you can add the chopped greens at this time too. If you use red lentils this dish will cook much faster. I used green lentils so it took a good 45 minutes for them to become tender. This dish is done when the lentils are nice and soft. The chopped cilantro is used as a garnish.

For the rice: I used brown basmati rice that I soaked overnight. Place 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of filtered water into a one-quart pan and cover. Bring to a boil, add ¼ teaspoon salt and down to a simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat, add 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (optional) and set aside for a remaining 15 minutes.

Oh and if you do the dairy thing, feel free to add some goat cheese into the mix. My boyfriend added some into his leftovers today and said it was yum.
Please excuse the lack of good photos!
I would have gone to photo shoot town on this dish, but my boyfriend and I were too busy going HAM on this meal. So basically all I can say is make it for yourself I promise you won't be disappointed.                                           
                        I was thankful my weekend looked like this.....

Instead of this....
      My poor house back in Maine after Nemo got to it!                                         
I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and gets a chance to make my delicious Indian Curry. I promise it will keep you warm from the harsh winds of that bloody storm!

What did you do this weekend? Do you have a favorite Indian dish? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gluten Free Beer Tasting/Ranking.

I've been wanting to do a Gluten Free beer tasting with my friends for a while. I absolutely love beer.  But since beer isn't really an option for me anymore, I occasionally indulge in a gluten free beer. I've tried them all. I don't like them all. Some even repulse me, but I was curious to see if my friends' taste buds agreed.

Here are the contenders...the brave, the beautiful; the best drinkers I could find.

From left: Matt, Drew, Brando, and Margot.
        We tested 10 of the most popular gluten free beers I've tried.

My friends and I tasted, talked, and trekked through the different beers one at a time and rated them on a scale from 0-5 (five being the highest rating). I added our four scores together (one friend dropped out) and averaged them. The clear winner was New Grist, but it was hard to determine because everyone had varying opinions.

An average score of 2.75.
"taste like water"
An average score of 1.75
"The Budweiser of gluten free beers"
An average score of 1.
An average score of 2.25.
"A good beer right there" and "taste more like a beer"
An average score of 2.6.
An average score of 2.
An average score of 2.
"My boyfriend's second favorite"
The three Greens Ale pictured above are very strong and intense beers. I have one and I'm very tipsy, two and I'm drunk, and the one time I had three...I don't remember. Aka I was a sloppy sloppy girl and I'm pretty sure my boyfriend wanted to take me to the pound. Just to warn you.
An average score of 2.75.
An average score of 4.5
An average score of 2.75.
"Very bitter"
 The clear winner was the New Grist and the loser was the New Planet Raspberry Ale. Estrella was another highly rated beer and most agreed they "would have it again". Personally, my favorite is the St. Peter's or the Green Dubbel Dark, although last night the Dubbel wasn't appealing to me for some reason. I was pretty disappointed in the overall response from my friends and their general dislike of the beers. For people who are gluten free, most of these beers are a godsend. I also think that gluten free beer is an acquired taste. The first gluten free beer I ever had was the St. Peter's and I thought it was terrible. It took me a few times to appreciate the taste and now I would be thrilled to see it on a menu.

Happy friends full of beer.
My bestie and I.
The aftermath
But wait! I've also tried these lovely beverages. I enjoyed the Omission when I was on a trip to Colorado and it was just what I needed after a hard day of skiing. Its a fairly hearty beer and wouldn't want more than one or two of them.
 I heard Dogfish Head was coming out with a gluten free beer and I was SO excited, but I was unable to find it anywhere until I came across it at Total Wine. For a sweeter beer, I really enjoyed it. I usually like hoppier beers, but this beer was an exception. I wish I could have included it in the tasting, but after my initial discovery I haven't seen it.
Check out my instagram: Camilleforeal63 and see this picture with an awesome filter**
And not pictured, I've also tried Bards and I do enjoy it. It's crisp, refreshing and has been a "go-to" in the past. I tend to get OBSESSED with one beer for awhile and I'm over it.
So there you have it, my current take on the gluten free beer scene. 

Also ATTENTION*** Restauranteurs: this girl appreciates a gluten free beer on the menu. Get on it.

Tell me, do you like gluten free beer? Have you tried one that wasn't mentioned here?