THE CHEW

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About a week ago, my mom and I took a trip into the city to see a taping of ABC talk show, The Chew.

I wish I could say that the whole experience was on a whim, BUT a lot of planning went into making the day a success.

I don’t personally watch the show daily (especially not when I’m in school), but over the summer I would always find myself catching episodes while I was at the gym, go figure! Knowing I was going to be home for spring break, I figured it would be a great idea to witness what goes behind the scenes of a food themed TV show.

Steps to get YOU to The Chew:

  1. Request Your Tickets: About a month or two before the show date you’d like to attend you must fill out a request at ImageTHIS website stating who you are, how many people are in your party, the date you’d prefer to see the show, and a back up date.
  2. RSVP: If they have room and can fulfill your request, they will email you the date (out of the two that you provided) as well as a time(as they shoot at 9 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday) . If you can attend, you reply to their email with the information they requested (the parties name, the full name of everyone in your party)
  3. The Follow Up: After RSVP-ing you will receive a few emails as the show approaches regarding what to bring and what wear for the taping. The show I saw was on the first day of spring, so we were told to wear bright and jewel tone colors!
  4. The DAY: On the day of the taping, they tell you to arrive a little more than an hour before the show starts, no later (We were told to arrive BY 11 a.m. for our 12:15 p.m. show). However, I would
    suggest getting their earlier because there really is not guarantee you will get into see the tapping. Once you arrive at the studio, you wait outside on line and producers usher you in by group. Once you get in, you receive a ticket and they guide you into the waiting room which has small snacks and water.  THEN, they begin to call tickets and take you into the studio, seat you, and you enjoy the show!!!

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FUN FACTS:

  • I went to see the show on a Thursday; however, it was really the Friday morning show they were taping.
  • I was really interesting to watch all the people and preparation that goes into the show before they started taping and during commercial breaks. They went from having the 4 co-host being the only ones on set to a mob of 30 people moving things and setting up during breaks.
  • It was also incredible how many young people were working on the show. Most of the producers had to be only in their mid twenties!

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    Left: Carla and Michael Symon greeting some audience members. Right: Clinton taking a selfie with an audience member.

  • The hosts, Chef Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and guest host Chef Curtis Stone (taking the place of Daphne Oz and Chef Mario Batali) were incredibly friendly.  During commercial breaks, they talked and danced with all of the audience members, especially Carla! They took pictures and chatted with the audience after the show ended and all of them seem to be having a really good time  and were enthusiastic towards being there.
  • The people who sit on the tasting panel are chosen in advance of the show, which was kind of a bummer because I would have lover to be up-close and personal to the cooking!

During the show Chef Michael Simon made grilled shrimp and a pea salad, which the panel and a handful of audience members go to taste, Curtis Stone made Tipsy Arnold Palmer made with ginger ale and Bourbon, and Carla headed the craft corner for this show, making springtime table centerpieces out of coffee filters. The one thing I wished was that they supplied the entire audience with sample of what they were making, but you can’t have it all I guess!  After seeing the taping of the Chew, I realized it isn’t as much about the preparation and technique of creating the food or crafts, but rather the personalities of the co-hosts and their interactions with each other, guests, and the audience.

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Left to right: My mom, Carla Hall, and I

Seeing The Chew was a really fun and inexpensive experience ( the tickets are free, the only thing you need to worry about is transportation to the studio and maybe getting a bite to eat after the show).  If you live close to the city and are looking for a behind the scenes look at a fun and fresh talk show environment, I’d recommend you check it out!   

 

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My Take on TACOS

Being home for spring break and having what seems like an abundance of time and resources to concoct a culinary masterpiece, I combined three recipes I had been dying to try and held a healthy alternative to the classic taco night for my family!

When you think of the classic taco, you think soft/hard corn or flour tortilla, some kind of protein (beef, chicken, or fish), some sort of salsa or pico de gallo, maybe some rice and/or beans, and cheese. All those wonderful ingredients evoke the flavors of comfort and excitement on your tongue.  I LOVE TACOS, I love most Mexican food to be completely honest because most dishes give such a depth of flavor!

So I took those normal elements and found an alternative to make them a bit healthier by creating a lettuce wrapped taco stuffed with jalapeño-lime chicken, spicy quinoa with corn and peppers, and a zucchini, corn and tomato salad.

The quinoa I made was based off of THIS RECIPE, with some added changes to make it my own!

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The quinoa was a nice spicy addition to the tacos. It could be used as a side dish or inside the taco (I did both). Along with the jalapeños the recipe states, I also added some red bell peppers for a more mild flavor. In the taco, it acted as beans and rice as quinoa adds a starchy element and the corn and peppers add a little bursts of flavor and freshness.  Adding the cocoa to the quinoa really gave it that mole kind of flavor, really adding to the Mexican flare.

Hint: Quinoa is a pretty bland grain and so much flavor can be added and changed to make quinoa go with any type of dish you are making!

The zucchini and corn salad is based off THIS RECIPEphoto 3 copy 3This salad is great because it is so versatile! It can be served hot or cold and can be used in the taco or as a side dish! With only 62 calories a serving, this salad is a fresh and delicious way to lighten up a taco! I also added diced tomatoes to my own salad to add more a different note of flavor to the salad.

For the jalapeño-lime chicken I followed THIS RECIPE precisely.

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This chicken’s lime and jalapeño flavor went incredibly well with the similar flavors of the other ingredients incorporated into this taco. Tip: Let the chicken marinate for around 24 hours. I only let mine marinate for about 2 hours, and it definitely would have had a lot more flavor if I would have let it marinate for a longer amount of time.

So after all the elements were made, it was now time to assemble this healthy alternative to your normal taco!

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HOW TO ASSEMBLE:
(assembling the taco really gives artistiphoto 1 copy 7c freedom, but here are some tips on how I did it!)

  • First you need to have your lettuce wraps washed and ready to be stuffed   (I used iceberg lettuce, but romaine would work as well!). The light flavor of the lettuce really lets you taste all the different flavors of the various elements of the taco and it also adds another element of crunch!
  • Then add a layer of your quinoa, followed by a few pieces of chicken ( I found that 3 medium pieces worked the best for me), then add a little of the zucchini salad, followed by as much salsas and cheese you desire!
  • ENJOY! AND MAKE A COUPLE MORE WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY!

 

Processed with RookieI made this meal for my parents when I was home for spring break and it was a hit! My parents are pretty health conscious and really think about everything that goes into their bodies (for the most part). They also LOVE spicy food, so I was inspired by them to create this meal! The prep time of the entire meal really didn’t take too long and because the meal has individual elements that can stand on their own, there is a lot room to change it up and make it your own or simply make one of the elements of the taco a solo meal!

ENJOY!!

That’s a Wrap: Breakfast Edition!

So on the last edition of That’s a Wrap, I gave you a recipe to my italian twist on a quesadilla.

STILL having plenty of whole wheat wraps left over and needing breakfast, I decided to take a shot at making a breakfast quesadilla with peanut butter and apples! (It should be obvious that I am a big fan of the quesadilla concept).  The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:photo 2 copy 3

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 apple (I used granny smith)
  • 2-3 tbsp spoons of peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of honey

Instructions:

  1. Wash apple, then cut entire apple into slices (as seen in the picture above)
  2. Set aside half of the apple slices, then take the remaining apple slices and dice then into small pieces.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the diced apple pieces with cinnamon and honey
  4. In a frying pan on medium heat, add the diced apples mixture and sauté until softened and caramelized, usually 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl.

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    Caramelized cinnamon honey apples

  5. Then spread peanut butter throughout the wrap, leaving about a half inch from the edge plain, without peanut butter. Then arrange apple slices on one side of the wrap (See picture for how I assembled it).                                                    photo 3 copy 2
  6. Return frying pan to medium heat and place the dressed wrap flat in the pan. Allow to heat for about 2 minutes, or until peanut butter begins to melt/liquify.
  7. Scatter the previously sautéed cinnamon honey apples on to the wrap.
  8. Fold over the side of the wrap without apples. Leave it heated on this side until the wrap reached desired crispiness. Then flip and repeat.
  9. After your quesadilla is cooked to your liking, remove from heat. Let cool for a moment and then enjoy the peanut butter goodness!

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TIPS&HINTS:

  • I used granny smith apples because they are sour, which is a good complement to the sweet and saltiness the peanut butter brings. However, any apple of your preference would work.
  • As for peanut butter, I prefer Skippy Natural, but any peanut butter of your preference would do the job. I bet this would be great with crunchy pb or even almond butter for an even healthier alternative.
  • Although, I made this on heat you could make this cold if you are on the go or to take for lunch.

Being a lover of peanut butter, this warm mix of peanut butter and apples was a perfect and tasty breakfast! With the apples and the whole wheat tortilla as a source of fiber and peanut butter for protein, this breakfast quesadilla has all the nutrients to start the day off right! And with the added cinnamon and honey to add a depth of flavor, this sweet “quesadilla” is a sweet and satisfying meal.

Soulful Outing

Going to school in the Hudson Valley, for a foodie like myself, is dream come true. Down the road from Culinary Institute of America and surrounded by tons of amazing eateries, I’ve taken advantage of all the good food surrounding me. This weekend a friend and I ate at a place I’ve been eyeing for quite a while,  Soul Dog, and I can tell you it was an extremely soulful experience.

The soulful low down:

Our Dogs: Top- Sam's Paleo Dog: chicken dog with quac and bacon in a bun (usually in a lettuce wrap) Middle- Soul Fries Bottom- My Thai Delight Dog: chicken dog, spicy peanut sauce, cucumber, jalapeño scallions, in a lettuce wrap (usually served in a bun)

Our Dogs:
Top- Sam’s Paleo Dog: chicken dog with quac and bacon in a bun (usually in a lettuce wrap)
Middle- Soul Fries
Bottom- My Thai Delight Dog: chicken dog, spicy peanut sauce, cucumber, jalapeño scallions, in a lettuce wrap (usually served in a bun)

Soul Dog- a glutton free oasis, located in Poughkeepsie, is a specialized hot dog shop providing customers with more than your basic beef hot dogs. They have chicken, beef, tofu, and italian sausage dogs to fit the fancies of all their patrons!  But these aren’t just your normal dogs with ketchup and mustard (although you can get that!). Some of their specialty dogs include:

  • The Picnic: a beef dog with mac’n’cheese, baked beans and BBQ sauce
  • Tex-Mex: a beef dog with black bean salsa, guac, and chipotle cream
  • The Herbivore: a tofu dog with guac and quinoa chilli
  • The Soul Dog ( of course!): a beef dog with soul sauce, sloppy joe, and chipotle cream
  • along with many others that can be found on their MENU

They even have the option to create your very own customized dog in which you select the type of dog, bun, and array of toppings you want all with the option of making them glutton free! They also have sandwiches and other specialty items, including soups, nachos, a beer and wine menu, and a kids menu, so Soul Dog is guaranteed to satisfy.

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A look at the interior of Soul Dog!

Not only is the food awesome, but the interior of Soul Dog is bright and unique. With crayons on every table, guest are encouraged to draw something soulful that they may even hang on their walls!

I LOVED everything I had at Soul Dog (a Thai Delight dog with Soul Fries) and

Our soul-art. Top: My Soul Dog (Obviously I'm not an artist) Bottom: Sam's psychedelic Soul Dog

Our soul-art.
Top: My Soul Dog (Obviously I’m not an artist)
Bottom: Sam’s psychedelic Soul Dog

have made it a mission to try everything on the menu! If you are in the area, I encourage you to check it out because it’s affordable and pretty stinking good. Whether you are glutton free or not, Soul Dog has a little bit of everything to insure a soulful eating experience for all!

That’s a Wrap

Being a college student on a budget, I gotta work with what I got. And as the weeks approaching spring break are dwindling down, I’m trying to use all my perishable food before I leave to make sure nothing goes to waste.  Luckily on my last trip to the grocery store I bought a package of whole wheat tortillas, which are extremely versatile and can be used for wraps, quesadillas,chip and the list goes on.

So utilizing my wraps and some produce and other ingredients I had in my fridge, I made my own version of a quesadilla. The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients: 

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Measured out spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 hand full of raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 spoonfuls of diced tomatoes
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. In a frying pan on medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and spread throughout pan.
  2. Then add raw spinach to the pan and sauté until all is cooked, adding as much salt and pepper as desired
  3. photo 2 copyRemove the pan from heat and set aside cooked spinach in a bowl and mix with the diced tomatoes.
  4. Place the pan back on medium head and place whole wheat tortilla  flat into the pan.
  5. Add a layer of the cheese (about half) on to one side of the tortilla. Then add mixture of tomato and spinach on top of the cheese. Then add the remaining cheese on top. ( seem in the picture)
  6. Before folding the bares side of the tortilla over, let the top cheese melt almost completely. Then you should be able to fold it with a spatula. After you have folded the wrap so it is quesadilla like, you can remove from heat or keep in pan and flip until the wrap has reached its desired crispiness.
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I added a half of a grape fruit to finish off a delicious and nutritious meal!

This meal is definitely an alternative to your traditional quesadilla. By adding spinach and tomatoes, and using mozzarella cheese, it strays far away from the traditional Mexican flavors and instead incorporates some added Italian flair (we all know how much I LOVE  Italian food). This recipe can manipulated and changed effortlessly by incorporating different ingredients, or by adding a little more this and a little less of that it really gives you the opportunity to make it your own. Over all this meal took me about 15 minutes to make, together with prep and cooking (and probably less time to eat it).  So simple,easy, and pretty darn healthy! 

If you like this recipe, have longer time to cook and want to greatly develop the Italian flavors of the dish, check out Giada De Laurentiis’s version of an elevated Italian quesadilla.

“There’s an APP for that” PART 1

I will not lie,  I spend a majority of my day (whether it be consciously or subconsciously) using some sort of technological device, most commonly my iPhone. So naturally, I have tons of apps that pertain to my love of both food and fitness. SO, I thought it would be a great idea to have a series of post highlighting my favorite apps:

App: Nike Trainer

Category: Health & Fitness

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Different goal choices. (Screen shot from my Nike Trainer App)

This app allows you to customize a workout program specifically to the kind of work out you are looking to get.  To start off, you choose a GOAL (get lean, get toned, or get strong). Next,you choose your LEVEL (beginner, intermediate, or advanced). Lastly, you choose if you’d like to include running into your plan.  From there, the app produces a 4 week workout program to follow with specific workouts for each day, Basically acting as a personal trainer, but saving you hundreds of dollars! The app is formulated to provide you with different types of workouts for different days.

APP HIGHLIGHTS:

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Nike Trainer also includes workout highlights from celebrities and athletes. (Screen shot from my Nike Trainer App)

  • Customizable to your individual goals
  • Includes step by step videos on how to do certain workouts
  • Keeps a log of all the time you spend working out
  • Provides additional workouts (the aren’t apart of a program) that can at  any time
  • Price: FREE from the App Store!

I personally use this app quite often on top of my regular cardio routines. I really love the different variety of workouts that are provides from relaxing yoga to intensive strength exercises.  It is also a great solution to days that I do not have time to make it to the gym because of my busy schedule, with each exercising ranging from 15 to 45 minutes.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE APP!

What are some of your favorite apps? Share in the comments!

Make you BANANA PANCAKES, pretend like it’s weekend now..

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My banana pancakes with chocolate chips!

Pancakes are the perfect Sunday morning breakfast, a bright and fluffy start to the new week. Like many times my eye are far bigger than my stomach and I will eat WAY too many pancakes leaving me stuff for the remainder the day. So when I came across this recipe for three ingredient flourless pancakes that are only 65 calories each, I thought it was WAY to good to be true and of course I needed to try it out and be the judge.

The recipe requires three simple ingredients: 1 banana, 1 egg, and blue berries (or any other added ingredient of your choice).


HINTS & TIPS:

  • This recipe is really simple! And it only took a matter of minutes from prepping to cooking!
  • HINT: The riper the bananas are, the easier it is to mash and combine into the batter.
  • These pancakes are a little difficult to cook, well flip actually, because they easily come a part easier. TIP: Try using a thinner spatula to flip each pancake. It will make it easier to flip the pancake without it falling apart.
  • You can add almost anything to the batter making it your own.  I chose to do chocolate chips and strawberries.
  • TIP: Make the pancakes relatively small ( I used a 1/4 cup to measure out the batter). This allows the pancakes to cook evenly and makes flipping easier.
  • I also added about 1 tbsp of cinnamon to the batter for more flavor.
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My failed first attempt making the banana pancakes with strawberries.

Review of the Recipe: I’m glad I tried this recipe! At first I had my doubts  that they were not going to taste anything like pancakes, but they really did taste like banana pancakes! HOWEVER, my first batch (which included strawberries) were almost impossible to flip because I made them a bit too large and combined with the extra liquid from the strawberries, they did not stay together correctly.  Also, because the batter is only eggs and bananas, the ending pancake definitely had an eggy texture, which I didn’t mind. Altogether, these were a pretty delicious healthy alternative to normal pancakes.  These are great for anyone with a gluten sensitivity or is just looking for a lighter pancake recipe.

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY!

Today, March 1st, marks the beginning of National Peanut Month, and how appropriate that today more specifically is National Peanut Butter Lover’s day!

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Appropriately, this morning my friend surprised me with a peanut butter and jelly cookie! Two peanut butter cookies sandwiching dollops of peanut butter and grape jelly.

I would categorize myself as more than a lover of Peanut Butter,  but instead I would say that I’m infatuated with it.  So much so that sometimes it’s concerning (aka when I finish a jar in two day, woops!).  There is just something about peanut butter that get my taste buds going. It’s a bit sweet, a bit salty, and you can virtually put it on anything and it’s fantastic.

AND not only is peanut butter delicious, BUT it also had added nutritional benefits when eaten in moderation! This is because peanuts:

  • Contain the most protein than any other nut
  • Are a cholesterol- free food
  • Provide your body with important antioxidants
  • For other peanut facts CLICK HERE 

Because of this (and how much I love it), I regularly include peanut butter in my after workout meals/snacks. Some of my favorites include: Apple/banana,rice cakes, and oatmeal all with peanut butter.  I also like combining peanut butter in after workout shakes and smoothies! And of course, I definitely do not object to eating it by the spoonfuls.

Here are a few recipes to keep you in a peanut-y mood all month long (some healthier than others): 

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Obviously showing my lover of PB.

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
Obviously always showing my love of PB.

STAY NUTTY!