I’m Still Alive!

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Howdy ho readers! To say that I have been absent for a bit would be quite the understatement. On the next to last day of the first month of 2014, I am making it a mission to get back on track with writing frequently. February and March will prove to be quite the rigorous months ahead, but I wanted to take some time this evening to play a little catch up on life so here goes:

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday. It was quite the holiday memory for our family. My parents and brother decided to go to New Jersey to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family which left all of our Christmas festivities focused on my husband’s side of the family which was great since we didn’t get to see them while spending Thanksgiving in Michigan in November.

Me and Hubs at Christmas

Me and Hubs at Christmas

On Christmas day we had a delicious brunch at my mother-in-law’s house. A few of my friends from high school were also having a get together on Christmas night for everyone to catch up. Since my parents were in New Jersey/New York for Christmas, I did not have original plans to drive the 2 1/2 hours to my hometown of Fort Payne, AL. However, I really wanted to see my friends and decided drive up that early evening to see my gals. My husband and I had driven separate cars to my MIL’s and I was set to drive his car up to see my friends. After stopping at the gas station near my MIL’s, I hopped on the interstate and was ready to go. After driving for about half a mile, I started to hear a “thud” noise followed by witnessing the entire tread/tire fly off of one of the wheels and shoot across to the far left lane of the interstate. I don’t know how I managed to avoid hitting all of the other cars around me, but I made it to the right shoulder and immediately called my husband hoping that he was still close by with his family. Fifteen minutes later, my husband rushed over in my Camry to fetch the “runaway” tire tread and then back over to me to put the donut on the car. He was quite perplexed since the tire was <1 year old. We found out later from the tire place that it was a defective tire (SCARY). After he fixed the donut, I told him I just wanted to drive back home to Tuscaloosa. He reminded me how little often I get to see my friends and encouraged me to drive my Camry up to Fort Payne.

After a wonderful evening of catching up, I left my friend Brittany’s house at 9:15 p.m. I debated on sleeping at my parents’ house and driving home the next day but figured I was caffeinated enough to make it home to my hubs and Lou. At about 10:20 p.m. as the only car on the interstate on Christmas night, a hugely massive 8 point buck ran into the front side of my Camry. I made a girly scream and then proceeded to veer off to the right shoulder. Smoke was coming from the front of my car and none of my lights worked. It took a bit of time for anyone to stop and I was a little nervous since the deer was still in the interstate and people were veering into the shoulder (barely missing my car) to avoid the deer carcass in the road. A man in a truck finally stopped and told me he had been traveling in the opposite direction when he saw me hit the deer. He removed the deer from the interstate and waited until I called the police to come help. About 15 minutes before my altercation with the deer, my husband had told me on the phone he was going to bed. I called him about 16 times before he sleepily answered the phone…surely confused by my hysterics while under the power of sleepiness. And after all was said and done, a tow truck came for my Camry and the nice driver took me to the only place open on a Christmas night: Waffle House. Since I was still quite a ways from Tuscaloosa and my hubs was driving his car that now had a donut on it, it took about 2 1/2 hours for him to come fetch me and take me home. Talk about a memorable Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚

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My poor little Camry in all her glory at the body shop

Fast forward to January. After about 3 weeks in a rental car, my beautiful Camry is looking better than ever. During January I also had a personal surgery done which rendered me the most horrendous post-op nausea and no appetite to be found. Luckily today my appetite is better than ever, especially since we had a #snowpocalypse winter gridlock here in the state of Alabama. All is well now but many folks had to sleep in their vehicles or find shelters due to the treacherous travel conditions.

Our humble abode during the first day of snow on January 28th in Tuscaloosa, AL

Our humble abode during the first day of snow on January 28th in Tuscaloosa, AL

Okay, I think that is enough ramblings for now. I promise my actual food and nutrition posts will be back soon ๐Ÿ™‚ For now, I will leave you with a couple of the images used in the “Awkward Family Photo” themed Christmas card sent to our friends and family this year ๐Ÿ™‚

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My Health Reboot Portion Plates

Hello friends! My goodness it has been awhile since my last updates, and boy do I have a lot to catch up on!

This week our Alabama Obesity Task Force held its quarterly meeting in Clanton, AL. My colleague, Dr. Lauren Whitt, who directs the employee wellness efforts at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, shared a really cool product from MyHealthReboot.Com. This is a new company that Dr. Whitt has been involved with and just launched the page and their products a week or so ago. The first product they’ve launched is a children’s portion plate, based very similar to the Choose My Plate graphic. These neat little plates also come with a placemat and dry erase marker where kids and parents can color in and check off the food groups that are eaten throughout the day. What I love about the plate the most is the color schemes/designs that are currently available. Being a company based in Alabama, the company offers an elephant plate (The University of Alabama) and tiger plate (Auburn University) for the kiddos. They also offer a green apple plate that can appeal to all nutrition lovers.

Imageย My Health Reboot is also featuring a 2nd Helping program that will provide a plate to a child in poverty for every plate that is purchased on the website. I can’t wait to order one to check out in person and even consider for fun stocking stuffers this Christmas. If you end up trying this product with your child or clients, let me know what you think!


Alabama’s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities

Hi folks! As a way to get the word out about an exciting event happening in Alabama, I’m taking to my blog to share! Some of you may recall me mentioning my work on the Alabama Obesity Task Force. On October 29th we are hosting an exciting event with a number of all-star speakers across the state. Please see all of the event information below and share with any colleagues that this may be of interest to ๐Ÿ™‚

Please join us for โ€œAlabamaโ€™s Wellness RX: Healthy Families, Healthy Schools, Healthy Communitiesโ€ hosted by The Alabama Obesity Task Force and Alabama Action for Healthy Kids. This one day summit will discuss solutions for creating a healthier environment to live, learn, and play in our Alabama communities. Featured speakers include State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice, Stephenie B. Wallace, MD, Robert Murray, MD and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox just to name a few.

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Mark your calendar for Tuesday, October 29th and invite colleagues in your respective organizations. School professionals, community and government leaders, health care providers, health professionals and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend this exciting event. The summit will be held at the Pelham Civic Complex from 8am-4pm. Cost is only $10 per person. Register and pay $10 online to ensure a spot and lunch choice at http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/events/event/52. Due to limited seating, you are strongly encouraged to register and pay online. For individuals that would like to pre-register for the event but plan to pay at the door, please call (205)348-0205 and leave your name, lunch choice, and email contact information. You may also email sqgregg@cchs.ua.edu. Registration will be accepted until one week prior to the event. For more information, please visit http://www.adph.org/obesity.

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Registration and payment will also be accepted at the door but seating may not be available.

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AGENDA

NPA OTFagenda 0913na UPDATED


Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

oven roasted corn and okra salad

Okay clearly I have been on an okra kick lately! I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but ever since buying some okra a few weeks ago at the farmer’s market, I haven’t been able to stop myself from purchasing this amazing vegetable another time. ย I am happy to say that this recipe was inspired by this recipe from Cook Up a Story Blogย that I am so happy was shared in the comments to my Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon dish from a few weeks ago. I love both corn and okra so when it was suggested to me to try them together, I could not resist. The delicious flavor of the roasted okra was well paired with the contrasting sweetness of the corn that I roasted in the oven, off the cob. If I had to make this recipe again I’d likely use a little less okra (I bought 2 lbs and used all of it) so that I could roast the corn and the okra on the same cookie sheet.

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Ah take a look at this beautiful okra from the farmers market!!

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After I washed up the okra, I chopped it up, only omitting the heads and placed them on a cookie sheet.

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After coating the okra, I seasoned with freshly ground black pepper, ground sea salt, and a little sprinkle of some garlic powder. After seasoning, I put the okra in the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees then started to work on prepping my corn. I knew that I’d have to use a separate cookie sheet for the corn and from the recipes I saw on the internet, it looked like the corn wouldn’t need as much time to roast but would need an oven temperature adjustment (~475 degrees).

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Picked up this package of corn from Publix grocery in my city.

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I feel like I made a mess during this process but was still able to avoid not losing too many kernels. Next time I am going to plan to use this technique with a bundt pan. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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All 4 ears of corn with the kernels removed raw off the cob. I did the same light drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder as I did with the okra. About 8 minutes into the okra cooking I raised the oven temperature to about 475 degrees. At the 10 minute mark I added the corn in the bottom rack of the oven and roasted both the okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes with an additional 5 minutes at the end rotating the corn and okra to the top rack to broil on low for a little teeny extra browning ๐Ÿ™‚

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Okra out of the oven!!

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After the veggies finished roasting, I added an additional drizzle of olive oil, some extra salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder (although I think that minced garlic would be really nice with this too) and a few shakes of red pepper flakes to give it some kick.

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We ended up pairing this concoction with some steaks off the grill. I apologize for the blurry picture; I honestly didn’t want my husband to catch me “again” taking pictures of my food before eating it….and I was pretty anxious to get to try all these yummy flavors in my mouth ๐Ÿ™‚

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And without further ado, here is my recipe:

Oven Roasted Corn and Okra Salad

Ingredients
1-2 lbs okra, washed and chopped
4 medium ears corn
sea salt or kosher salt grinder
freshly ground black pepper
garlic powder (or minced garlic if available)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions
Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees. Wash okra, chop into 1 inch or so sections, removing the “head” but leaving the tails. Place chopped okra on a cookie sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and using a brush or hands, make sure okra is lightly coated. Next add 1 tsp or so of sea salt or kosher salt followed by black pepper and garlic powder as desired. Place in oven and set timer for 10 minutes. While okra is cooking, wash raw corn and remove kernels from cob; place raw corn on a separate cookie sheet and oil and season in the same way the okra was prepared. At the 8 minute mark on the oven timer, increase your oven temperature to 475 degrees. When the timer goes off at ten minutes, add corn to your bottom rack of the oven and roast both okra and corn for an additional 15 minutes. If you’d like to get some additional browning on your okra or corn, alternate the vegetables to the top rack and broil on low for about 5 minutes total or as desired. After roasting and broiling is complete, add cooked vegetables to a mixing bowl and mix together, adding an additional drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder (or 1 tsp minced garlic) along with a few shakes of dried red pepper if you want it spicy. Serve warm.

There really is no specific way to make this dish and you may find yourself wanting to experiment with the oven temperatures a bit. The next time I try this recipe I will likely heat the oven to 475 from the get go and also use a tiny bit less olive oil on my okra to yield a slightly crispier texture. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how you like it and if you had some additions so that I know some things to try next time!! ๐Ÿ™‚


A trip to the Farmer’s Market and Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes, and….BACON!

sauteed okra with tomatoes and bacon

Gah! Yes I know, it has been quite too long since my last post and I’m sad that I went an entire month of August without any posts! But today I am back at it with some current happenings going on. I’m hoping to catch up from summer activities to be able to share on here. But in the meantime, I wanted to share my recent trip to the farmer’s market as well as a yummy little Pinterest recipe to use with the okra I picked up.

Below is a picture of me and my interns that are currently doing their community rotation with me. We decided it would be fun to have a table set up at our campus farmer’s market to share recipes featuring the seasonal produce available at the market. My interns also created a nifty Pinterest account for folks to follow in they didn’t feel like being bogged down with paper recipes. Don’t they look cheery? ๐Ÿ™‚

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The great thing about the campus farmer’s market is that we have folks that drive in, ride their bike in, or walk in from after class.

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Many of the vendors are featured at our local restaurants in Tuscaloosa, including Epiphany Cafe (I will have a post on them coming up soon!) which boasts a Farm to Fork concept. Market goers can purchase meats, veggies, handmade soaps, cheeses, baked goods, and a variety of other goodies ๐Ÿ™‚

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At my most recent trip to the Farmer’s market, I picked up okra (yum), tomatoes (red and green), basil, sweet potatoes, and a watermelon. I absolutely love okra but always forget to buy it in season and make something yummy out of it. ย I did a pinterest search (I LOVE the search feature on pinterest BTW) for okra and tomato recipes and found a Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon (YES BACON) recipe from the Martha Stewart website. Apparently the original recipe came from Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis in their cookbook, “The Gift of Southern Cooking” which already screams delicious from its title. The original recipe from Martha’s website can be found here.

Sauteed Okra with Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon

Ingredients
5 slices bacon
1 pound (next time I’d go with 1.5 to 2lbs) okra, washed, trimmed, and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 large sweet onion cut into 1/3 inch wedges
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

Directions
In a large, skilley, cook bacon over low heat until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Next add okra to skillet (yes in the remaining bacon grease— everything in moderation, right?) and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion wedges, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, partially covered, until tomatoes are just heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon slices over tomatoes; serve warm.

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Oh okra, I truly believe you are one of my favorites.

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Chopping up those delicious tomatoes!

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Can see why I’d like to double the recipe on the okra next time? Just not enough ๐Ÿ™‚

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Delicious sweet onion

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Adding those wonderful tomatoes

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And finishing it off with some crumbled bacon. YUM.

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And ta-da! It was very yummy. If you are weird about the texture of your onions, you may want to cook them a little longer prior to adding your tomatoes. I did add just a teeny tiny dash of garlic powder while sauteing the okra that I did not mention in the previous recipe instruction. I would love for you to share YOUR favorite okra recipes— when I pick up okra again this week I think I’ll be making some bhindi masala— WEE!


Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Chicken

sundried tomato pesto pasta

Hi folks! I do believe it’s been awhile since my last post- my husband and I did some traveling to a wedding in Virginia and also visited DC for a quick trip which I will be sharing soon. However today I wanted to highlight a delicious recipe I made for me and the hubs this past weekend. I currently follow the Food Network’s facebook page and saw that they had shared Giada’s recipe for pasta with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. I decided to make it while also adding some meat to be more appealing to my husband ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see, I went with the Barilla plus penne pasta (as I used before with my balsamic basil summer pasta recipe)… it was on sale again this week at my grocery store and since I enjoy the texture and added protein and fiber, why not? ๐Ÿ™‚ You may also note that I didn’t have any freshly grated Parmesan but instead using some leftovers in our fridge by Sargento.

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As far as protein goes, I went with chicken breast cutlets, though I think that chicken sausage or similar would be just as delicious. ย I added sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder to each side of the chicken and then brushed the tops with olive oil to seal in the moisture while roasting. I had 1 lb of chicken breast cutlets roasting at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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While my chicken was roasting and my pasta was cooking according to package directions, I started to create the pesto. I added the whole jar of sundried tomatoes, including the olive oil it was packed in.

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Next I thoroughly washed the 2 packs of basil I bought- at first I only washed enough for the “1 cup packed” that the original recipe called for but then went with using both packages.

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Add your basil, garlic, and salt & pepper to food processor and give it a go!

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It doesn’t look like it yields very much to go over the pasta but I had to remind myself that I would also be using the 1 cup reserved pasta water to moisten the mix (in the end, I ended up using about 1/2-3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water for this dish)

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Mix in your pasta as well as some of the reserved pasta water to your liking.

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Along with the Parmesan cheese, I added some additional sea salt and black pepper to taste…I also chopped up the cooked chicken (I used kitchen shears) and mixed it in as well.

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I forgot to take a picture after this, but I decided to sprinkle about 1/4 cup of additional Parmesan cheese on top and baked this in the oven (at 375 degrees since my oven was still set there from the chicken) for about 20 minutes prior to eating with my hubs ๐Ÿ™‚

I really hope you like this recipe— looking back in hindsight, I wish I had added more garlic but overall I really liked this dish. I think I ended up using a good bit of the pasta water since I knew in the back of my head that I would be sticking this in the oven and did not want the pasta to dry out. I like the fact that this isn’t an abundantly sauced pasta and it provides a lot of great flavor. My husband said it was so filling and flavorful without feeling overly rich or heavy— I will consider that a win! ๐Ÿ™‚

RECIPE

Giada De Laurentiis’ Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Recipe (with a few additions from Sheena :))

Ingredients
12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
Garlic powder
2 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb chicken breast cutlets (or any other meat that you would like to add)

Directions
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. While pasta is cooking, prepare chicken breast cutlets by adding to lightly greased cookie sheet— sprinkle chicken on each side with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Brush tops of chicken with olive oil prior to roasting in oven at 375 for about 15 minutes or until reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.ย Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Cut cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and add to pasta mixture. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. If desired, sprinkle about 1/4 cup shredded/grated Parmesan on top and bake in oven f0r 20 minutes at 375 degrees.


A {Very} Little Taste of Charleston

It is hard to believe that it’s nearly been a month since my trip to Charleston — and sadly I am just now getting to upload a few of the pictures from my short trip! I can honestly say that Charleston food is worthy of a food coma for sure. Thankfully though, I was with 5 other lovely ladies that are foodies in their own right, so our eating adventures were quite fun. Unfortunately I didn’t get to take a picture of every single meal we ate (probably a good thing ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but I did want to take an opportunity to share a few pictures from my eating excursion, especially if anyone thinks about visiting this beautiful area any time soon. This was my first trip out there and I am dying to go back soon!!

When we first arrived in Charleston, my best pal Sally and I ate atย East Bay Meeting Houseย for a late breakfast… super delicious. She had the smoked salmon on bagel while I had the Portobello mushroom, ham and cheese quiche with fruit as seen below – simply divine.

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That evening, the six of us ended up atย Cypressย for dinner. We decided to order several different appetizers on the menu including their fried mac & cheese, sweet and sour meatballs, beau soleil oyster platter, and pimiento cheese with grilled bread and pepper jelly. Everyone also opted to get salads as we shared appetizers and I opted for the Almond-fried Brie salad (below) with cranberry-walnut chutney, baby greens, and a champagne vinaigrette. OH MYLANTA this was delicious.

20130531_215114During the small time frames during the day that we weren’t at the beach, we decided to check out the Historic Charleston City Market which had bookoodles of fun things, included a lot of gourmet sauces, mixes, and food items. This is one time that I regretted flying with just a carry-on bag.

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As a lover of any kind of rice, I was really interested to try this plantation rice. I’m sure I looked funny inhaling/savoring the aromatics of the rice bags ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The Charleston Bloody Mary Mix is something I really wanted to bring home; my husband loves some Bloody Mary’s, but unfortunately this was a no-go for my suitcase. Boo.

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๐Ÿ™‚

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We have some of this Slap Ya Mama at home as well as Tony’s seasoning..MMmmmmMmmm.

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Sweet Charleston is where I picked up the crickette snacks, which you may remember me eating in my youtube clip.

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There was a man with all of these funny hand-made signs…I took a few pictures of my favorites:

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After we went to the market, we had brunch at Fleet Landing Restaurant which was probably my favorite dining experience out of everything that we had in our short stay in Charleston. I will say that this is aย must if you are going to visit ๐Ÿ™‚

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Our delicious fried-green tomato appetizer with lump crab meat…..

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The quiche of the day that several people at our table got served over creamy lowcountry grits. This quiche had cheese, spinach, rock shrimp, and bacon. I asked Sally for a “small” bite and it was as delicious as it looks. Note the size difference between this quiche and the one from East Bay Meeting House ๐Ÿ™‚

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Me and Lori both ordered the pulled BBQ pork with buttermilk biscuits, fried eggs, and Carolina Bar-B-Que sauce…my husband would have been proud.
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Two of us also ordered the Pan Roasted Crab Cake with poached eggs, grits, and red pepper Hollandaise. I didn’t have a bite but the girls assured me it was delicious.

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To take a break from eating, we stopped in a hat shop. I needed a photo op to send to my husband so he knew I hadn’t died yet of a food coma.

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Once we “walked off” our brunch, we stopped at River Street Sweets which is famous for their freshly made pecan pralines. They were oh so delicious and I’m trying to forget the calorie count I saw on the box after eating one.

20130602_150004Why yes I’d love a free sample!!

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That evening we ate at Mercato since it was in close proximity to the walking ghost tour we decided to take our last night there. Below is my lasagna. Super delish!
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On our ghost tour we got to stop at Poogan’s Porch since it was named by the Travel Channel at one point in time as the third most haunted place in America. Unfortunately though, we weren’t able to get reservations but it’s definitely on my list for next time ๐Ÿ™‚

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Okay folks, I guess that’s about it! There are still plenty of places that are on my list to eat the next chance I make it to Charleston. The weekend left little time to eat at every place on my list but I think it just gives me a reason to go back very soon ๐Ÿ™‚ ย If you’ve been to Charleston yourself, let me know some of your favorite places and dishes so I can make sure to add it to my list! ๐Ÿ™‚


Liebster Award – Wahoo!

liebster award

I’m so excited to share today that the lovely Sapana at cookingwithsapana has nominated me for the Liebster Award! If you haven’t been to Sapana’s blog, you are truly missing out! She has a great collection of Indian recipes that are not only delicious but are shared in a way that makes us feel confident we can create them too.

For the Liebster Award the rules are:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people youโ€™ve nominated.

3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

11 Facts about me:

1.I am a Christ loving gal.

2. I was born and raised in Fort Payne, AL.

3. I have only been to the Philippines once (when I was 10 years old) but I would like to go back again as an adult and bring my hubby along.

4. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a little girl.

5. Apparently when I was a small child, when I would go to the grocery store with my grandpa (Lolo), I would bang my head against the shopping cart until he gave in and bought what I wanted. (terrible)

6. I have one sibling who is eight years younger than me. His name is Ace.

7. I met my husband on match.com and I’m really glad he tolerates my dancing in the house and the jingles I make up and sing in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and car.

8. I could live off of ice cream.

9. I think I worry too much.

10. I would rather cook than clean.

11. I lost my home in the deadly April 27th,2011 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, AL. Fortunately, I was at my friend’s condo in a bathtub when the tornado went over us.

Questions from Sapana:

1. What is your favorite cuisine?

There are so many that I love but honestly, I think I would pick Italian or Indian.

2.Most happiest moment in your life?

Being proposed to with Crest White Strips in my mouth with an XXXL tshirt on and no makeup.

3.Strawberry or Vanilla?

Strawberry cake…vanilla ice cream ๐Ÿ™‚

4.Have you ever had a cat?

Unfortunately, I am allergic so I have never had a cat.

5. If somehow you find a bag with one

million rupees what would you do?

Donate 40% of it to Christian missions and help pay off the debt of me and my family.

6.What do you like most in blogging?

I really enjoy being able to share helpful information with people related to every day eating and cooking. I think that blogging is also a nice way for people to get to learn more about you and your personal adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

7.What are the best five words that would describe you?

Funny (self-proclaimed), Hyper, Corny, Caring, Dependable

8. What is your phobia?

Pain of any kind— emotional and physical

9. What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Off the top of my head I’ll say eating crickets since that was recent but I’m sure there are weirder things that I’ve consumed ๐Ÿ™‚

10.What was the best childhood book you read as a kid?

I really enjoyed all of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary ๐Ÿ™‚

11. Which chef/cook has inspired your cooking the most?

Honestly, Rachael Ray or Sandra Lee…not because their food is the most exquisite complicated thing out there but more so because I think they did a great job of making me feel like it would be relatively easy to cook at home. I didn’t really start cooking until I went to college and one of the first recipes I tried in my apartment was a pasta and spinach dish by Rachael Ray ๐Ÿ™‚

**

Blogs I nominate (some of the ones listed before likely have 200+ followers in some capacity or another but I’m going to nominate them any way because I like them and sometimes it’s just too dadgum hard to figure out how many overall followers a blog has!):

A Little Nutrition

Newlywed Nutrition

Lifes a Little Nutrition

The Story Telling Nutritionist

Food, Faith, and Family

The Guy Domestic

The Grown-Up YA

Cooking From the Heart

Itโ€™s a Wonderful Lifestyle

Frozen Pizza, Again

Lifestyles of the Destitute and Obscure

QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES:

1. If you could only tell a stranger one thing about yourself, what would it be?

2. What’s your favorite dessert?

3. Favorite high school memory?

4. Cats, Dogs, Neither, or Other?

5. Your celebrity crush

6. Your favorite TV show

7. Who would be your “call a friend” lifeline if you were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

8. How would you describe your clothing style?

9. Favorite cuisine to cook?

10. Favorite cuisine to eat?

11. Where do you see yourself in five years?


Delicious, Nutritious, {Roasted} BROCCOLI!!

roasted broccoli

Shout out to my broccoli lovers in the house! I consider broccoli to be on my personal list of super foods. Why? Need some fiber? Bam, here’s your broccoli! Need water soluble vitamin C or fat soluble vitamin A? Get some broccoli. Or maybe you need some calcium and folic acid…yep, broccoli is there to the rescue. Maybe you’d just like some nice phytochemicals to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases—bring out the broccoli.

For some people however, broccoli can be a daunting task to eat. I used to relish the opportunity to put raw broccoli florets in my salads at work until I realized how sensitive my tummy was to raw broccoli. If you didn’t know, broccoli is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables (which includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy) which has been known to provide stomach discomforts to some people in its raw form due to the fiber content, providing subsequent bloating from the gases that are formed in the stomach during digestion. Doesn’t sound too fun huh? Though broccoli and other cruciferous veggies have their best health benefits in the raw form, cooking broccoli appropriately (avoiding overcooking) can help diminish these negative tummy effects while also keeping the nutritional integrity of the veggie.

Most people steam their broccoli but yesterday I found a fantastic recipe for oven roasted broccoli at The Gingered Whisk. She has some incredibly delicious recipes! Last night I thought I’d put her recipe to the test right after pinning this bad boy on Pinterest. ย This recipe was originally from The Amateur Gourmetย who adapted it from the wonderful Ina Garten.

20130604_182133Get out the delicious broccoli…

20130604_182504Chop into florets to arrange on a foil lined baking sheet

20130604_182855Aren’t they so cute and delicious looking?!

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Pull out your seasonings…I didn’t have any kosher salt so ended up using some sea salt; I also pulled out the garlic powder to supplement with the minced garlic I ended up using

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425

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Add your lemon juice and Parmesan cheese…I had some leftover Sargento in the fridge

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YUUUUMMMMMM!!!!

Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Ingredients
4-5 pounds of broccoli
5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
zest and juice from 1 lemon

Directions
Preheat your oven to 425
Take 2 large bunches of broccoli and cut it into florets.
Wash them and dry them super thoroughly.
Put some tin foil on a lined cookie sheet.
Place your broccoli on the cookie sheet and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, sprinkle with kosher salt and some black pepper to taste.
Slice 4 heads of garlic and place these on the cookie sheet, too.
Now toss it all together.
Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli is crisp tender and getting a bit brown on the tips.
Remove the pan from the oven and zest a lemon over the broccoli, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice.
Drizzle a little more olive oil on top, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and toss.
Enjoy!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to eat broccoli any other way. The lemon juice and zest really enhance the flavor of this dish. My husband and I paired the broccoli with some roasted chicken. If you try this recipe, please tell what you think! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. Next up this week will be my tasting of some bacon and cheese flavored crickets I picked up at the market in Charleston. Video will be included so you don’t want to miss ๐Ÿ™‚


One Year Anniversary {Personal Post}

Once again it has been a hot minute since my last post. I’ve been away on a small getaway to Charleston which has left me with exhaustion but plenty of yummy things to share this week. However, today I wanted to post pictures from my recent one year anniversary shoot with my husband. Being the food and dessert lover that I am, I had to incorporate some cupcakes! It was hard to choose the handful that would go on my final disc. These pictures were done by JWoodbery Photographyย who can also be found on facebook.

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