Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's in your fridge?

Sometimes it is good just to try new things. I have talked about this before in my posts and it may sound repetitive but I truly believe that when people just get out of their comfort zones things change. Perhaps it is scary for a lot of people but without taking risks and learning new things life just becomes a routine. Dull and boring but really all it takes is a little time and creativity to find that something that just may get you in a happy place. Yes, time is precious and tight but if you are having fun and experiencing something new- time does not matter. I have learned this the hard way. Being a nurse I see on a daily basis how this affects so many people and I always respond like this- just get out there and do it now before the chance to do it goes away.

With that said... I totally free-styled in the kitchen today. No set menu or recipe, just opened the fridge and the pantry and threw a few things together. Warning- this may not always work especially if you really do not feel comfortable in the kitchen but once you start to know what flavors go together then the experimenting gets easier and a lot more fun. Here we go-

What you will need: (may vary depending on what is in your fridge)
Pork tenderloin:
1 1/2 Lbs pork tenderloin
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp Evoo
1 Tsp butter
Salt & pepper
1/2 C red wine (one that you would drink!)

How to make:
Mix all the spices and rub on the tenderloin. On medium high heat place a skillet and add the evoo and butter. When the butter melts, sear the pork for 5-10 minutes on each side until a nice crust forms. Place in an oven safe pan, pour the wine on top and let it finish cooking in the oven at 350 degrees until internal temperature of 150-160 degrees. This will usually take about 30 minutes per pound of pork. Take it out of the oven and let it rest- DO NOT cut right away otherwise the juices will not redistribute properly.

Pasta with mushrooms:
16 oz whole wheat spaghetti
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 C white wine (one that you would drink!)
1/2 C marinara sauce
2 C cleaned & chopped baby portabella mushrooms
1 Tsp dried basil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 Tbsp Evoo
1 Tsp butter
Salt & pepper
Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

How to make:
Boil pasta as directed in the instructions of the box. In a separate pan on medium high heat, add the evoo and butter and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes *be careful because garlic burns fast and it will get bitter*. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and saute for a couple of minutes- just until you see the mushrooms change color Add the wine and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Add the paste, marinara basil and sprinkle some of the cheese - mix well. Drain the pasta (leave a little of the water in the pot) and add the mushroom sauce and mix everything well. At this point anything else is game- taste the pasta and if you want to add a little sweetness add a little ketchup (trust me this works wonders to balance the acidity in most red sauce pasta sauces). Add more seasoning and cheese as desired.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Homesick...Oh so homesick!

Today I saw a video online that made me incredibly homesick. I have been blessed with amazing traveling experiences and even though some of those places have taken my breath away- there is nothing better than to be at home. For me home is Medellin, Colombia. There are so many things I could share with you about my country that it would be endless. What I can tell you is that the people there are always willing to party and lend a hand when needed, the food is amazing, there are many beautiful places to visit, music of all kinds and traditions that will always be alive.

Thankfully I live in a city that is flooded with Colombians so I have access to a lot of the typical foods- not to mention what we make at home. One thing that is a must in this- or any- Colombian house though is the arepa. Now, many people try to translate this to a corn flatbread or patty but in my book there is no other word than what it is.. Arepa. This versatile food is made of ground maize dough and it can be baked, fried or grilled. It is a staple in every Colombian house. We can practically eat this as breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner. They can be small, large, cut in pieces, stuffed.. you get the point. I want to share with you some of my favorite things to put on it and even though some may sound a little bizarre- they end up being oh so delish!

Cooked Arepa

~Scrambled eggs, cheese and ketchup- pile it up but before you do make sure you put butter on it
~Calentao- whatever you had the night before (chicken, beef and even fish) mix it with rice, throw an egg into the mix and boom!
~Ham, cheese and crackers with any flavor jelly
~Butter and salt. Simple and to the point.

~Tuna- mix a can of tuna with ketchup, mayo, pepper. Butter the arepa, add cheese then spread the tuna, add some avocado -- fire!
~Cheese, ham, fried egg, and a big slice of pineapple.. heaven.
~Shrimp- defrost, cook. Mix with mayo and ketchup. Butter, cheese, pile on the shrimp and dive in
~Ketchup and lime. Say what? yes.. if you are using it as a side dish, get a small plate, drop some ketchup and lime.. mix it. Break off a piece of arepa and dip it in there.
~Shredded beef. Enough said... any style will go good on top.
~Pork cooked with fruit.. the next day. Yum...

~Condensed milk. Yes.. I took it there.

**Note: they usually come frozen if you buy them at the store, so you need that little contraption you see above. Set on high heat and place arepa on one side until it starts to change color. DO NOT walk away because it can burn!. Flip it to the other side and repeat process. If you like it crispy, just flip it for a little longer.

Ok so I think you get my point here. Give them a try, there are plenty of recipes online on how to make them with flour if that is all you have available. If making them is too hard, find them in your local market and even online. Have fun, you can pretty much put anything on these.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Explore the Unknown

The foodie world is one that can be dangerous. It sucks you in in so many sick and twisted ways that in the blink of an eye you can be spending a pretty penny while putting on some serious weight. It is fun, adventurous, exciting but most of all (at least for me) it is an outlet to be creative and feed my passion. With that said, I have this idea that one day I will win the lotto- stop being a nurse, get myself a food truck and hit the road!-- hey, a girl can dream.

I love food trucks and apparently they love me back- they love my hips in particular hahahaha...  But can I just take a moment and talk about a seriously delicious truck- Mr. PB&J. All things peanut butter- heaven in this girls book for sure. You name it, they have it.. and speaking of naming... they came up with this new incredible concoction that needed a name. Long story short- they had a contest to name it and guess who won...this girl right here! Got dibs on the very first one also. So please, if you are ever in South Florida and see this truck- stop, and ask for a "leggomybacon" and get ready to dive into waffles, with bananas, grape jelly, bacon and peanut butter... It is ok to mix it up, explore the unknown, you never know if you will like it until you try it.
Below- the face of satisfaction!

So what can you do with peanut butter? The list is endless.

Quick pick me up before a workout or a healthy snack:
Toasted wheat bread, PB and sliced bananas

Grape jelly stuffed vanilla cupcakes with PB frosting (I have made this... party in your mouth!)

Dipping sauce for chicken:
Whisk 1/2 cup PB and 1/2 cup soy sauce. Stir in 3 tblsp vegetable oil and 2 tblsp rice vinegar

Butter crackers, chocolate spread, PB

Twist on leggomybacon:
Toast, PB, bacon and bananas. Grill it and serve with spicy strawberry or grape jelly for dipping

Give it a shot... there are so many things you can do with PB.


Saturday, April 5, 2014


Sometimes it is just easy to imagine things. We have the potential of coming up with ideas that can change our lives but often are afraid to just let go and be creative. With that said, I think it is good for the soul to take some time and just write things down- what do you want to learn next? what will be your next adventure? what can you change in your personal life? It can be endless but that list can become a timeline of goals to be achieved. It is so easy to get caught in the daily routine that we forget that there are endless things out in the world to be explored. Getting lost in the world of possibilities can truly give you that extra push to get things done. Just let that sink in.. and give it a try- yes, it is that simple.

So here we go. Here is a quick simple recipe for when you have to feed masses.

Pasta with chicken a la whatever you have in the cabinet (true story)

What you need:

4 Lbs thawed chicken tenderloins, cut into bite size pieces
2 boxes of 12 Oz Rotini pasta
2 Jars of 24 Oz four cheese marinara sauce
1 Cup Pinot Grigio
1/2 C pecorino cheese
1/2 C parmesan cheese
Italian dry seasoning
Dry Oregano
Salt & Pepper

How to make:

On a tray or large bowl sprinkle the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the chicken pieces until coated on all sides and set aside (make sure you dry the chicken with paper towels before doing so, getting rid of the excess water will prevent oil from jumping at you when they cook). On medium high heat, place 1 tbsp. of evoo and 1 tbsp. of butter in a large skillet. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken in batches- do not overcrowd otherwise the chicken will boil and do not start tossing the chicken, let it sit a couple minutes before turning it (this will make it nice and brown/crunchy). Remove and set aside to let it rest, repeat this process until all the chicken is cooked (add more evoo and butter as needed).
In a large pot with boiling water, put the pasta to cook on high heat.
Use the same skillet where the chicken was cooked for the sauce. Set on medium high heat, add a little more butter and scrape the bottom- these pieces of chicken will give the best flavor so do not get rid of them. Add the wine and let it cook a few minutes, then add the marinara sauce, stir for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients- oregano, both cheeses and a little more of the Italian seasoning. Lastly, add the chicken again making sure it is all covered by the sauce.
When the pasta is ready, combine with the chicken and the sauce.
Take a moment and taste- adjust seasoning as needed.
This can feed 20 people or 10 with large portions.


Friday, March 14, 2014

I give because it's in my nature to give...

Recently I decided to jump on this Facebook "pay-it-forward" movement because as you have read in my past posts I am kinda into this sort of thing. Originally I thought, ehh not many people will reply or truly understand why this is important for me. Well the post reads as follows:

I'm participating in a Pay-It-Forward initiative: the first 5 people who comment on this status with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year - anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

These 5 people should (note the change- if you cannot do this it is ok, I still want to do something nice for you) make the same offer in their Facebook status. If you're in, copy this text on your profile (don't 'share'). Doing nice stuff for other people makes me happy if it makes them happy so here's to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.

Even though I called for 5 responses I got 7, and 3 of them did not really want to participate, they just commented on what a caring gesture that would be. Well I have now completed 3 of the 7 and I am working on the 4th. Cant I just tell you how amazing it feels? AMAZING!!!! All it takes is a little creativity and lots of love. If only more people would jump on this.. giving is simply contagious.. in my humble view anyways.
I decided to dedicate a blog to all 8 recipients when I complete the movement. So stay tuned.
Now gimme some food!!
Fish Tacos in a jiffy
What you need:
For the fish-
1 Lb of fish (Cod, Halibut, Tilapia- any will do). Cut in small pieces.
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 Lime, zested and juiced
1/4 C canola (vegetable) oil
Salt & pepper
Mix everything, set aside in the fridge for at least one hour.
For the slaw-
1-2 C of mixed cabbage (this is so good you may wanna stick to the 2 C)
3 Scallions, cleaned and chopped
1/4 C White vinegar
2 Tblsp Honey
1/3 C Canola oil
Salt & pepper
Mix everything, set aside on room temp only if you are going to use within an hour. Otherwise put in fridge. Taste, if it is to acidic add a little more honey.
Avocado or guacamole
Fresh salsa
Shredded cheese
Yellow Corn tortillas
There are 2 options to cook the fish. Bake it in the over at 350, for 8-10 mints or grill it if you can.
If you opt to bake, wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and bake them at the same time. 
Add all those yummy toppings to the warm tortillas and enjoy these tacos with a nice cold beer.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

28 Days later..

And so 2014 continues its race to go quickly to the end. So I ask you, what have you accomplished already? You see, every single day that goes by is an opportunity to learn, to live, to love but we are so caught up in the daily routine that we forget that time has no mercy. I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to take a moment of your day and just do something out of your regular activities. Sit outside and enjoy the silence and look at the clouds pass by, go out and take a cooking or painting class, go skydiving, volunteer.. The opportunities are endless. YES they are, I do not care what excuse you have- it is just that an EXCUSE!
So stop making excuses and get going! The worst feeling on earth (in my humble opinion) is regret.

On to the FOOD...
This recipe is an adaptation of Ina Gartens crunchy Asian noodles. It is so dang good it makes me sick!

Asian Noodles

What you need:
Kosher salt
1 Lb thin spaghetti
1 Lb sugar snap peas
3/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1/3 C soy sauce
3 Tblsp dark sesame oil
1 Tblsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced (use a microplane, the smaller the better)
1 Tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tblsp toasted white sesame seeds, divided
1/2 C smooth peanut butter
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
3 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
3 Tblsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

How to make:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain and set aside. This is called blanching.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.

Tips: You can skip the sesame seeds if you cannot find them. If you want more crunch you can use crunchy peanut butter or simply add chopped peanuts. Pair this with pretty much anything, I opted for a simple piece of salmon marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and roasted parmesan asparagus.