Wednesday, June 30, 2010

" I've got a feelin..."

And let me tell you, it was NOT a good feeling. I woke up yesterday morning feeling like "something" wasn't right. My ear kinda hurt, my head kinda hurt, and my nose was stuffy. Great. Just what I needed. Regardless, I went off to work that evening. After coming home around midnight & relaxing a bit, I realized that the "something" I felt this morning had now traveled to my stomach. OH NO!!! Please don't let it be what I think it is...

The 24-hour stomach bug.
What is it about this darned "bug" that makes it only attack you when you're just about in a deep sleep? Almost there...sleepy sleepy...then BAM!! You wake up feeling like your insides are going to war. I don't know about you all, but for me, nothing is worse than being sick to your stomach. I'll take the sniffles and sneezes ANY day. So needless to say, I was up until 5am bargaining with the toilet Gods..."pleeeease, if you make my nausea disappear I swear I wont go to starbucks for 2 days. " Something like that. Well, I guess since it went away at 5am I had to keep my promise. No starbucks for me today. The thought of coffee alone made me gag.
So what do you think a girl should do when she's sick like this?? Beg her Mama to fix her homemade soup, of course!! And as any good Greek Mama would do, she agreed. In my opinion, Mom's homemade chicken noodle is THE ultimate comfort food. It heals the sick stomach, warms the cold soul, and creates world peace...well, i'm sure it could if the world ate it.
PLEASE make yourself homemade chicken noodle just once in your life. I promise you won't regret it. Here it goes...
Mama De Luxe's Chicken Noodle Soup
First, Mom defrosted 2 chicken breasts and placed in a large soup pot with a 2 stalks of celery (whole), 2 carrots (whole), and half an onion. Season with a good amount of S&P. Fill the pot with enough water to cover all these ingredients & Bring to a boil...let simmer for at least 30-40 minutes (or until the chicken is fully cooked-NO pink).
Next, chop up another stalk of celery, one more carrot, and the remaining 1/2 of onion. Place in a different soup pot with a little olive oil and saute for 2-3 minutes.

At this point, take the contents of soup pot #1 & strain them into soup pot#2 (shown above). The point of doing this is so that any impurities from the chicken (like fat or whatever) will not go into your soup bowl.
Into the broth mixture, add either 1/2 cup of your favorite broth or 1/2 tsp of chicken base/bouillon. Then, my favorite part, throw in the NOODLES! Here is the brand I prefer:

It's healthy, whole grain, AND has 6g of fiber + 8g of protein per serving! Can't beat that. Make sure you about 1.5-2 cups more water at this step. REMEMBER, the pasta expands and sucks up a lot of water so you want to be sure to keep all the contents of the pot covered...unless you want broth-less soup.

Ok, while the pasta is simmering away, dice up your chicken breasts. I also use the cooked celery and carrots because I just love the taste. Totally optional though. Right when your pasta is just about tender, stir in the chicken.

Guess what...WE'RE DONE!! You have just completed your homemade chicken noodle soup. And all in about an hour. What better than something totally homemade that you can keep for tomorrow as well? Perfection.

I hope you enjoy this. My stomach couldn't handle more than this bowl but hopefully tomorrow I'll be back in action & ready to tackle more of this warm bowl of comfort.

Come back tomorrow afternoon, readers. I have to show you two NEW drinks BFdeLuxe surprised me with today. Here's a clue- One is a wine (shocking) and the other is something I'm sipping on right now in my bed which is making my sour stomach feel soooo much better.

Goodnight, bloggers!! (and thanks Mom & Bf)...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vegan Chocolatey HEA-VEN

I'm nowhere close to being vegan...but one look at this recipe I found on Alicia Silverstone's blog, The Kind Life, (yes, the same girl in "Clueless") and I was so anxious to put on my apron!!
Healthy Brownie Bites

Do you see that melted, gooey chocolate inside?!

Have you ever eaten one of those Lava cakes with the goo inside that oozes out when you stick a fork in? These are the much, much healthier version which taste identical.

What to do:

- Preheat your oven to 350F

-Spray your muffing pan with cooking spray. You can either make 8-10 regular sized muffins OR 16 mini muffins, which is what I did (they're I can eat more of them, right!?)

-In a small bowl, combine 1 cup UNsweetened applesauce + 1 tsp canola oil + 2 tsp vanilla extract

-In a large bowl, mix together 3/4 cup flour (I used part white, part buckwheat) + 1/3 cup UNsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 Tbsp instant coffee, and 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (regular work also).

Once combined, mix small bowl contents into large bowl. This will form a Mousse-like texture. So airy and light!

Use a mini ice cream scoop to fill your muffin cups. Don't be shy, fill 'em up to the top!!!

If you're making mini muffins, bake them for exactly 10 minutes. You don't want to over bake these...we want to achieve that ooeygooey middle. For regular sized muffins, bake for 20 minutes.

Seriously, y'all...RUN, don't walk, to your kitchen and make these.

They are a perfect, delicious, guilt-free treat!! And did you notice there is NO sugar in them?!? If you like the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate you will LOVE these. If you bake these, come on back here and leave me a comment telling me how they turned out!!

xoxo, C.

Humpty Dumpty

There is something so wonderful about an egg. You can use it to make decadent desserts. Or you could simply cook it up any style you wish for a meal. You can have it runny, over hard, over medium, scrambled, omelet, poached, hard boiled...the list goes on! You not only can cook it to your liking, you can also top it with pretty much anything. I've heard of some very interesting combos before. My personal favorite is with ketchup. Since I was a youngin' I remember putting ketchup on my eggs. It's weird because no one else in my family likes them this way.
Nonetheless, when my Dad and I spend mornings together I usually make us eggs. Dad prefers a sandwich, whereas I prefer burrito-style. Here's what we created the other morning.

Dad's Breakfast:
-Started off with some eggs from Costco & Pepperidge Farm rye bread (his fav). He likes his with a little mayo.

-Next I heated olive oil in a pan & cooked up the egg.
-Once I flipped the egg, I added S&P and a slice of low-fat swiss cheese just until it melted.
-Dad really likes virginia ham on his egg sandwiches so I threw a couple slices on there for him. Here is his final product!

Now onto mine (which of course I think is better)...

-Started off with Nature's Promise whole wheat tortilla wraps. These are not only soft, but they are healthy!! Unbleached, unenriched flour AND no high-fructose corn syrup. SCORE!

-Next, I scrambled up my egg (I use the whole egg. I'm not afraid of the "fat" or "cholesterol" in yolks. There are a lot worse foods out there).

-Then I cut up the ingredients for my "burrito". I used canadian bacon instead of ham (less fat, less sodium, more protein), mushrooms (because I'm obsessed), and the SECRET ingredient to what makes eggs the very BEST...avocado!!! Don't knock it til you try it. It will change you.

-Put olive oil in the pan, saute the mushrooms & canadian bacon for a few minutes, then add the egg and scramble just until done (4 minutes or so).
-When done, place eggs & avocado in the middle of the wrap...

-Roll up, and serve with a side of your favorite fruit (mine was with super sweet blueberries today...and of course my daily soy latte from SBX).
I know it's hard to make time for a cooked breakfast each day, especially with how busy everyone's life is these days...but do yourself a favor, when you do have a few spare moments, cook yourself something delicious in the morning. There really is no better way to start the day than with a full belly.

Mystery Solved...

Here's a SHOUT OUT to my newest blog reader, Sara @ . Although she was the only one who guessed at what I may have been up to this past weekend, she guessed correctly!! I was in a dance recital (what?!). Yup, that's right...after taking 7 years off from my previous 15 years of dancing, I did it again...and boy, was it FUN!
I didn't realize how much I missed the smell of the dance studio, the feel of my ballet shoes, and the adrenaline that rushes through you when you're on stage with the blaring lights. This recital was extra special because it was the 1st for my four year old niece. She was SO precious!! I hope to share this experience with her again next year.

Anyways, as I'm sure many of you know, it's tradition that dancers get bouquets of flowers after their recitals. I didn't just get one bouquet...

(From BF de Luxe)

I got TWO bouquets!!

(From Sister de Luxe)

Aren't they beautiful?! I love having fresh flowers around the house. They make everything smell so lovely.

That's not all!! From my other sister, I got these amaaaazing little gems from my FAV local Cupcakery.

BF de Luxe recently visited a local winery and surprised me with this lovely bottle...

I was very impressed! It is extremely light & refreshing. Pop it in the fridge for a while and it makes the Perfect drink for a hot, humid summer day. This bottle is described as having fruity notes of melons, strawberries, and vanilla...HIGHLY recommend it!

Last but not least,

The softest, pinkest, most plush after-bath cover up EVER!! I have had my eye on this bundle of heaven for a long time & my Mom got it :) Let me tell you, this is super cozy to wear when you're just lounging around blogging in your room.

Check back soon...I have some more recipes coming...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Mystery

Hey y'all. I have a mystery for you to solve. Guess what I'm doing this weekend?! I'll give you a couple hints...

1. This is not a horrendous bridesmaid dress such as the ones we all saw in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"...thank God.

2. I'm NOT part of a Mariachi band

Leave me a comment below with your guesses...get it right & I'll give you a shout out! On that readers, can you introduce yourselves?? Even if you're stopping by for the first time, say hello & tell me something about you!! Thanks guys.

Twinkle Toes

As I previously mentioned, BF de Luxe (who may be referred to as the following: "D", Spartacus, 300, BFDL, etc.) and I were going to cook dinner together tonight...but while I was twirling my Tutu around ballet class, he graciously decided to start prepping. Sweet deal for many reasons:

1. My hands didn't have to get dirty with raw chicken

2. I didn't cry (and stink) while chopping onions

and most importantly

3. Early prepping = Filling my belly faster.

So when I got to D's house, this is what I saw:

2 different kinds of onions (some for grilling & some for the bruchetta), 2 different kinds of chicken, and 2 different kinds of shrimp. Have you figured out what's cookin' yet?? You'll see!!

Next on the To-Do: slice the peppers

Spartacus didn't want to show his handsome face off on the blog the hands will do for now.

Once in a large bowl, add a good amount of quality olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, and enough salt to season. (I'm not including exact measurements in this post for a couple reasons. First, because I didn't do the prep work. And secondly, because in cooking there really is no exact measurement. Every person has their own preferences and nutritional requirements. I'm not a dietician or anything but I do believe that you when you eat whole, healthy foods, you don't need to measure.)

NEXT...begin skewering!!

"We" repeated this process until all the chicken & shrimp were on skewers. Keeping them separate is a good idea because the shrimp only take about 6-7 minutes to cook, whereas the chicken takes a bit longer. Raw chicken = Bad...unless you enjoy spending the night in your bathroom.


What we used: Chicken breasts & Frozen shrimp (thawed)

1/2 of the shrimp & 1/2 the chicken were marinaded using good olive oil, Juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt and dried oregano.

The remaining shrimp & chicken were marinaded using olive oil, a dash of salt, orgeno and a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick.

While BF was outside sweating over the grill, I stayed comfy cozy indoors & got started on the bruschetta. Someone has to do it!!

Step 1- slice up your favorite loaf of bread & drizzle with yummy olive oil. I used this bread from Costco. It's perfectly crunchy on the outside & fluffy on the inside.

Step 2- Bake the bread for 5 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Step 3- In the meantime, dice up your favorite tomatoes. This would be a great opportunity to get some heirlooms from your farmer's market. You'll also need some good feta cheese for this bruschetta. I prefer the box of Dodonis which contains liquid. This keeps the feta from drying out. Crumble the feta & combine with the tomatoes in a bowl. Add in a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few sprinkles of oregano. (My hands were so sloppy at this point I forgot to take a pic of the bowl. Sorry!)

Step 4: Remove sliced bread from the oven & heavily top each one with the tomato/feta mixture. You can pile these as high as you'd like but REMEMBER that you & your dinner guests have to fit it in your mouths...or you could be like me and dump it all over your dress. That's cute, too.

Final Step- Put back into the 375 oven for another 4-5 minutes.


A perfectly grilled dinner (cooked by a cuteypatooty guy) + a cool, sweet glass of Canyon Oaks moscato = one VERY happy Ballerina.

Thanks, can invite me over for dinner any day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What is it?!

What the heck is that?!?

A bean?

A pebble?

Well whatever it is, it's sitting pretty happily in my belly! Let me introduce you to my NEW favorite fruit...
the Champagne Mango.
This pretty little thing is SO delicious. My dear friend, Emily first introduced me to these at lunch during our cardiac rotation in nursing school. On the way home that evening, after being on the unit for more than 13 hours, I drove straight to the local Whole Foods and picked up a couple of these. They aren't like regular mangoes, which tend to have a more sour, chalky taste. These are extra juicy and perfectly sweet. One bite and I was hooked. I even got my 3-yr old nephew addicted! I don't know where you all live but at our local Costco they sell them in a pack of 6 for 5 bucks (a STEAL).

Do yourself a favor and try one of these next time you're at the grocery store. They are wonderful on their own or even added to some good Greek yogurt. Here is how I ate them today for an afternoon snack...
In a PINK bowl with some super sweet blueberries from Costco. This was perfect on such a stifling hot day.

Do you all like mangoes?! Leave me a message and tell me what's your favorite way to eat them. Check back late night tonight...BFdeluxe & I are cookin' up a great summertime meal for supper. Can't wait to share it with you.