Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Erika and Meg's Excellent Adventure

It has been way too long since my last post. My internet went out and then Thanksgiving kept me busy cooking and enjoying time with my family!! However, I am back and am so excited to tell you all about a road trip I am taking with Erika , who happens to be my best friend. :) You can follow us on our adventure!

I honestly cannot tell you how excited I am about this!! One day from tomorrow, it will be exactly 17 days until we leave! There is no one that I would enjoy this road trip with more than Erika. She and I share a love of fashion, unique food finds, and meeting interesting people along the way! I actually feel like Britney Spears in crossroads, except for the whole going out to LA to pursue my dreams thing!

I am going to need your help though! We are in search of delicious food and cute little boutiques on a low budget. We want to be able to enjoy an amazing road trip, eat great food, and find cute shopping boutiques on a college student's budget. If you could recommend any places to stop and eat that has delicious food and a great atmosphere to meet new people, PLEASE let us know!!

We plan on stopping at some suggestions featured on Diner's, Drive-ins and Dives! I absolutely love this show and this is the perfect opportunity to frequent some of his spotlights!! It is also perfect because these places will fit in our budget. 

Check out Erika's post "Erika and Meg's Excellent Adventure" to see what she has to say about this road trip!! She is a passionate fashion blogger and very talented. I am truly blessed to call her my best friends and cannot wait to share tons of laughs, heart to hearts, delicious food, and fashion finds with her. I am also so excited to share this with you all!!! 

Ready to Hit the Open Road!!!!

Oh, this also means white, sandy beaches, sunshine, warmer  weather, and a tan!

We are also trying to put together some healthy snacks for the road! If you guys have a good granola recipe or protein bar recipe you would like to share, I would love that!! Or if you have any ideas of how to keep it healthy on the road, your suggestions would be great!!!

Thanks, readers! I look forward to sharing this adventure with you guys!

Savor Each Moment,

Meghan Rae

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe Renovation #2

 Spaghetti and Meatballs

I am such a lover of pasta, but nutritionally it is lacking. Pasta is full of carbohydrates, which essentially your body converts to sugars, and is a high in calories. Meatballs can also be high calorie when made with a fatty cut of meat and then fried up crispy.

My version of spaghetti and meatballs is guilt-free and full of nutrients your body will love you for and leave you satisfied! These meatballs are made with lean ground turkey and loaded with lots of spices, you won't even miss the fat. I put together a quick, homemade pasta sauce and pile the meatballs atop roasted SPAGHETTI SQUASH!!


Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender.

1 slice whole wheat bread, no crust
1/4 C milk (just enough to cover the bread
2 tsp toasted ground fennel
1 tsp toasted, ground coriander
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seed, ground
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 to 1/2 C parmesan cheese
1 large egg
salt and pepper, to taste
1 package of ground turkey, extra lean


Remove the crust from the bread. Cut into cubes. Soak the bread in milk for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti sauce.
1 tbsp. evoo
1 medium onion, chopped
4cloves garlic, minced
2 cans organic, crushed tomatoes 
1 tbsp. basil, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

In a dutch oven, saute the onions on medium in evoo until translucent. Add the minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Prepare the meatballs. Squeeze the milk from the bread. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients to the ground turkey. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on greased baking pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes on 375 F.
Remove from the oven and place in the tomato sauce for 10 more minutes or thoroughly cooked through. 
Remove the spaghetti squash and top with sauce and meatballs.
The Fashionista Foodie

Monday, November 8, 2010

In My Dreams

Today I was thinking, thank God thinking about food doesn't count as calories! Literally, if I absorbed calories from the foods I thought about, I would probably weigh 600 pounds. All I think about is the next meal I get to cook or the dessert that I can't have. Not to mention all of the food blogs I follow that post mouth-watering pictures of food that I only dream of devouring.

It does not help that the second I walk in to my house from work, I immediately turn on the food network. I love cooking dinner while watching others cook dinner! Here are just a few things that I can only dream about...

Chocolate Banana Gingerbread
Eggless Banana Cake via ForkSpoonKnife

Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Pancakes

 Ok...so I have quite the sweet tooth! Enjoy :)

The Fashionista Foodie

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie...CUPCAKE???

Lately, I have been ridiculously busy with work and just life in general, but no matter how long of a day I have had or how tired I am I still find the energy to bake up some scrumptious treats. I am sure many of you can relate, but my kitchen is my sanctuary. Sometimes (I emphasize sometimes) just getting in the kitchen and conjuring up something delectable is more enjoyable than devouring my work of art.

I have to confess, I have made about 6-8 different cupcake flavors in the last 3 weeks and have tasted only one of them. I leave the tasting up to my guinea pigs...i.e. my parents and a few lucky coworkers that promise to give their honest critiques on them.

My Sister (Kelly) and I at the Redskins game. We are not twins, but we could be! (She's on the right)
 When I finally own my own cupcake shop, I am naming some cupcakes after my family members. This cupcake and post is dedicated to my sister, Kelly. Growing up, after dinner we always had to have "snack", i.e. dessert. Most of the time it was Kelly's chocolate chip cookies. These are the best cookies I have ever eaten! Of course, she always had to double the recipe because only half of it would actually make it in to the oven. This weekend I made the cupcake that will be named after Kel!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake with Cookie Dough Frosting

(Courtesy of Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella)

The Topping
1/2 C brown sugar
1 large egg
1/8 tsp salt
1 C (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla

*the original recipe calls for walnuts, but I omitted those.

The Cupcakes:
1/2 C butter, at room temp
6 T granulated sugar
6 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temp
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Making the topping: In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, egg, and salt. beat with an electric mixer at high speed until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla extract.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
3. Combine the butter, sugars, and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute.
4. In a separate small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Gradually add the dry  ingredients to the egg mixture and mix with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until fully integrated.
6. Fill the cupcake liners half full. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn up the oven temperature to 425 F. Spoon 2 tablespoons of topping over each cupcake. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for 10 more minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

Cookie Dough frosting 
(Courtesy of The Cupcake Review)

1 3/4 C confectioner sugar
1/2 C unsalted butter, chilled
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 T milk
eggless cookie dough (recipe below)

Eggless Cookie Dough
(How to Eat a Cupcake)

1/4 C butter, softened
1/4 C brown sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
2 tsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 C mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Directions: In a small bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the water and vanilla. Stir in the sifted flour and salt.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and confectioner sugar. Add the salt, vanilla, and milk. Stir in the eggless cookie dough.

Kelly's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2/3 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Use a small ice cream scoop and bake for 8-9 minutes.
Use for garnish.

The recipe does have a lot of steps, but trust me it is definitely worth it! (I did taste this one!)
I sent one to my sister in Richmond, and she LOVED it! Hope u do too. Let me know if you try it!


The Fashionista Foodie

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recipe Renovation

Tonight is the first night of my "recipe renovation" project. Every Wednesday I will transform a popular recipe that everyone loves, and re-create a healthier and more delicious recipe! Who says that you have to sacrifice flavor when eating healthy?

On a side note, one of the reasons that I have chosen to make this one of my projects is for several reasons. About a year ago, I started what I thought would be a "diet". I was the heaviest I had ever been and, while I maintained a good workout program, my "diet" left something to be desired. In September of 2009, I decided to do a workout program called p90x. I will swear by this workout, but I would not necessarily give so much credit to the workout as I would to the nutrition plan that they provide along with the videos. This nutrition plan taught me what foods were beneficial for my body, and how to get the most energy out of what I was consuming.

With that said, 30 pounds lighter and 4 jeans sizes smaller, I have come a long way with making the right food choices. I also will never go on another "diet" because, let's be real, they do not work. The most effective way of losing weight is making a "lifestyle change". So, for those of you who are desperate and cannot figure out why you are not losing weight, hopefully you will find this helpful.

My first recipe is a makeover of chicken stir-fry. This dish can pack up to 1,100 calories/per dish. When you make this at home, you can control the quality of ingredients.

This dish serves 6 people generously.

4 Chicken breasts, cut in to cubes
2 scallions, green and white parts
1 T toasted coriander, ground
1 tsp mustard seeds, ground
1 T ground cumin
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1-2 T honey
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch fresh garlic, minced
1 lime
1/2 C Soy Sauce, reduced sodium
1/4 C terriyaki  

Stir Fry:
2-3 T Cornstarch
2 T EVOO, divided
2 medium zucchini, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
8 0z. mushrooms, sliced (baby bella or button work well)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 C broccoli
1/2 C toasted cashews
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: In a large plastic bag, combine marinade and cubed chicken. Place the bag in a bowl and marinate in refrigerator for up 30-45 minutes.*

Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and reserve for later. Toast the cashews in a skillet over low heat. Keep an eye on them because they will burn easily. Remove from heat.

Reserve the marinade. In a large wok, add 1 T evoo and saute the chicken in two batches on medium high heat until cooked through. Remove the chicken.

Add the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. Cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Mix the marinade with the cornstarch. Add the broccoli and water chestnuts. Add the marinade to the wok and cook until thickened. Add the chicken and cashews. Taste for seasonings.


Best when served over Quinoa!
For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken. The quinoa provides plenty of protein!

*Note: Do not marinate for longer than an hour because the lime juice will start to cook the chicken. If you need to add more liquid, make sure you add a bit more cornstarch to allow it to  maintain its thickness. Cilantro would also make a good pairing with this.

Tips: My recipe turned out a little thin. If you like the sauce thicker, add a little more cornstarch. Also, I did not chop up the garlic or the ginger for the marinade. Next time, I would chop it finely in order to add more flavor into the marinade and ultimately the sauce.

Healthy eating can be easy!

The Fashionista Foodie

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog Lovin

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Fall Flavors

The cold weather has completely activated my taste buds into fall mode. I have been craving flavors like apple, squash, and pumpkin. As my cupcake recipe testing continues, I decided it was only appropriate to find the perfect pumpkin cupcake recipe. While I develop my recipes, I am also developing my decorating skills. In an effort to improve, I went to the craft store and got two new piping bags and a few new tips. In addition, I purchased a practice set of patterns to trace for beginners. Let's just say that "practice makes perfect", and I am in need of A LOT of practice! :)

Nonetheless, I am LOVING this and do not mind baking and decorating all the time! If I had the time (and money), I would bake ALL day! The hardest part is refraining from eating them. I am trying to stick to my one serving of dark chocolate chips as a "snack" at night, instead of the delectable cupcakes that stare me down begging to make the button on my jeans pop.

 These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are the culprits of my temptation! Enjoy :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes:
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 c instant potatoes
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C butter, melted
1 1/2 c sugar
1 egg
3/4 c pumpkin puree 

Directions: Preheat oven to 335 F (I used a convection oven). Set oven to 350 F if using a conventional oven.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the instant potatoes until combined.
With the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg and pumpkin. 

Add dry ingredients slowly until combined. (Be careful not to over-mix). 

Fill about 3/4 up. The batter will not rise much. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Yields 12 cupcakes.

The cupcakes are iced with a cream cheese frosting. I made a maple syrup infused cream cheese frosting and a regular cream cheese frosting, but the maple syrup frosting did not taste any different. My family preferred the regular cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 C butter, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
4 C powdered sugar.

Directions: With the whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar until combined.

Wine Pairings: 
Try a late harvest Riesling. My suggestion: Chaddsford Winery's Late Harvest Style Riesling. 
I also love a semi-dry Riesling from Prince Michel Winery & Vineyard.
Not a fan of Riesling? Try a bold, port wine. 

Readers, I leave you with this old Latin saying: "It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason."

Bon Appetit!

The Fashionista Foodie