Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recipe Renovation: Salmon Sensation

Like usual, my posts come sporadically. My life in the last month has brought new and exciting opportunities which has kept me away from my blog and cooking. Nonetheless I have been baking up some delicious treats! Ironically, I cook healthy foods and sell my delicious, buttery, and sinful cupcakes to others! I say, moderation is key, therefore here is my recipe renovation! Plus, it is nearly impossible to say "NO" to these cupcakes! Let's just say the gym and I have spent some extra quality time together in the last few months!  :)

I am going to have to brag about this recipe because it was easily one of the best Salmon recipes I have ever tasted! I paired it with a cauliflower mash, which made for a PERFECTLY balanced and flavorful meal!

Salmon Sensation (yields 3-4)
3-4 Salmon Fillets
10-15 sprigs of a combination of tarragon, oregano, and thyme
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (use combination above)
18 thinly sliced lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
S & P, to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.
In a separate bowl, combine the dijon, chopped herbs, garlic, and olive oil. Mix until combined and set aside.
On parchment paper, put a layer of herbs and 3 lemon slices. Place the salmon fillet on top. Top the salmon with 1/3 of the dijon mustard mixture and 3 more lemon slices. Seal the parchment paper and cook for 20-25 minutes; depending on your preference. Unwrap and enjoy!!!

(Recipe slightly adapted from Eatingwell.com)

Happy Healthy Eating, Foodies!

The Fashionista Foodie

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Vegging

Sorry for my absence from posting new recipes. I have been busy trying to get The Cupcake Cutie up and running. There are a lot of new and exciting opportunities happening for me with that!! I will keep you guys posted when everything is finalized!

What did you all do this weekend? I spent my weekend with Erika   and a few other friends in DC to celebrate my brother's birthday. On Saturday we made the trek back to my house and vegged out on the couch all day watching movies and eventually got up to cook a delicious meal with Erika. It was a much-needed relaxing weekend with friends!

Since I have been lacking on my "recipe renovation" posts, I figured I would just give you guys one of my favorite "go-to" recipes. Vegetarian quesadillas, guacamole, and plantains...DELISH!

Vegetarian Quesadillas
Servings: 4
1 small onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
7-8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used white button, but use your favorite or whatever you have on hand)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tomato, diced
2 tbsp. E & M's Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper, to taste
8 corn tortillas
1/4-1/2 C shredded cheese

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 400 F.
In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in 1-2 T evoo, until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and brown. Add the garlic, zucchini, and tomatoes. Add in spice rub and seasonings, to taste.
On a cookie tray, put 1/2 the cheese on one side of the corn tortilla. Divide the vegetables evenly among the 4 corn tortillas. Top with the rest of the cheese and a corn tortilla. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or slightly crisp and brown.

The Best Guacamole You will Ever Have!!
2 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tomato
Juice of a Lime
1/4 C cilantro, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Cholula hot sauce, optional

For best results, make sure you pick ripe avocados. It makes it creamier and easier to mix up.
This is best made with a molcajete, but you can also use a food processor or a fork and bowl!

Green Plantains

Directions: Slice the plantains about 1-inch thick. Heat the EVOO on med to med-low heat and slightly brown the plantains on each side. Be careful not to get them too brown. The goal is to slightly cook them through. Remove from heat, with a plate smash the plantains. Add a little more evoo to the pan and finish the cooking process. This should take about 2-3 minutes/side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, to remove excess oil. Season immediately with salt and cumin! ENJOY!

This was my weekend meal. It was delicious and a perfect way to spend my weekend! What did you all make??


The Cupcake Cutie ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

Hello to all my southerners out there who love them some shrimp and grits. Of course they are delicious when you all you can taste is the butter. Well, you know how I feel about butter :). When you try my renovated version of this, I promise you will not miss the butter or the grits. You do get to keep the shrimp though! Bonus, this is also vegetarian friendly as well (if you are a seafood eating vegetarian).

My recipe...SHRIMP AND CAULIFLOWER MASH. I have to be honest with you guys, I only made this with a half a head of cauliflower, but I ate the whole thing...BY MYSELF. It was delicious. I just simply could not say, "NO". It was creamy and buttery and tangy and of course a little spicy. It had me saying, "mashed potatoes, what??". I am sure I have you guys drooling now and anticipating trying recipe!! ;) So, without further ado...my scrumptious dinner I shamelessly devoured tonight.

JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!! I would never use butter...bleh.

For the shrimp: (yields-2 servings)
10-12 medium to large sized shrimp
1-2 T EVOO
1-2 tsp. oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
Squeeze 1/2 Lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a bowl, combine the shrimp and the rest of the ingredients. Allow to marinate for 10-15 minutes, but no longer than 15!

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes.

For the Cauliflower Mash: (2 generous servings)
1/2 head of cauliflower
1-2 Cups *Almond Milk
2 cloves garlic, peeled
salt, to taste
1-2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 Cup crumbled feta
cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions: Combine cauliflower, garlic cloves and almond milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add about 1/2 cup of the milk. Pulse until smooth. Add more milk, if needed. Add dijon, feta, and cayenne. Pulse to combine.

*You can use skim milk as a substitute or any other milk you have on hand. I love almond milk and happened to have some so that's what I used!

I am sorry I do not have a picture. My camera is broken at the moment. Hope to get it fixed shortly. :/

I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!! This is a recipe I will be adding to my favorites list!! Let me know how you guys like it!

Also, if you have any recipes that you want to see made over, please let me know!! I will be happy to renovate it for you all!!

I am excited about the my new readers out there! Please stop by and say, "hello"! I love reading your comments. Make sure to leave your blog website so I can visit yours and get to know you as well!

Hope you all enjoy!!

~Meghan Rae

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"

 It is a common saying that "everything tastes better with butter". I am here to prove that butter isn't always better. It is easier to refuse cooking with butter when you have alternatives that leave you believing that the recipe is dripping in butter.

Fortunately, the beauty of cooking is that the options are only limited to your creativity! Being successful in changing your lifestyle to healthy eating is learning how to replace the richness and flavor that butter gives to dishes. This is my list of five alternative foods to butter without sacrificing flavor.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
The benefits that EVOO offers far exceeds that of butter. It is full of omega-3 fats that your body is unable to produce on its own. The majority of the fats that people consume are omega-6. Many people are lacking in the Omega-3's, which are the heart healthy fats. While it is important to remember that this too must be used in moderation, it is one of the healthiest fats to use in your cooking. It packs a fruity punch. Open a bottle one day and smell the delicious, fruity notes that it gives off! Use it to whip up a quick vinaigrette for your salads and in an endless amount of ways.

2. Caramelized Onions
Now use that EVOO, turn your burner on low and slowly saute the onions until they are "melt in your mouth delicious". I often refer to caramelized onions as candy. I don't mean to brown the onions quicly. Caramelizing onions takes a little bit of patience and time. The heat needs to be on low because this allows for the natural sugars to slowly develop in the onions. This process takes the sharpness out of the onion and turns it into this velvety, sweet, creamy, and buttery flavor and texture.

Add these to a flatbread, soup, mushrooms and many other dishes. Trust me, you will not miss butter with these additions to your meal!

3. Goat Cheese
If you have never had goat cheese, now is the time! It is creamy and tangy, but also low in fats. It is one of the healthier cheese options out there! (of course, remember moderation is key!) Spread goat cheese on crackers, crostini, or crumble it atop a salad to experience pure decadence. It is sharp and makes your taste buds dance!

4. Roasted Garlic
Like caramelized onions, cooking garlic slowly brings out their natural sugars and removes the sharpness of flavor in it. Roasting garlic provides a dreamy experience to any dish. Use it to add to soups or spread on to grilled bread! When using this method, you can never add too much garlic. And guess what...you will not need butter!! The options are endless to how you can use this!

5. Drunken Noodles
This may be a stretch for you, but if you have never eaten Thai drunken noodles then you should go find a Thai restaurant and experience this foodgasm! The noodles just melt in your mouth. Unfortunately I do not have a recipe for you guys for this. I never make it and leave it to the experts to cook this for me. However, my suggestion to you is to go get some and try it right away! These babies make eating fun and guiltless!!!

There you have it! Foods that you can devour without sacrificing flavor! After all, who wants to eat "diet" food for the rest of their life? Not me and you don't have to either!! And remember, there are foods that are better without butter!


Meghan Rae

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Obsessed with Quinoa

Earlier today I was talking to a friend about Quinoa. Sometimes I feel like I am saving people by telling them about the "secret" of this miracle food. I am absolutely obsessed with it. It is full of fiber and packed with protein. You do not even have to pair it with a legume to make it a complete protein! Not only is it good for you, but is a breeze to prepare. All it takes is a little bit of water and 15 minutes!

I thought I would share with you one my favorite recipes. It is simple and inexpensive, but does not lack in deliciousness! I make this often and am always craving it!

What you need: Yields 4 servings
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water

Directions: Add rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover until tender. About 15 minutes.

1 can organic black beans
1 medium onion
1 red pepper, optional
1-2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
E & M Spice Rub

Directions: Saute onion and red pepper on medium heat in 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for about 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Add the black beans, garlic, bay leaves, and spice rub. Heat on medium low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Top the quinoa with black beans and enjoy! Top with guacamole or sliced avocados, if desired! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Recipe Renovation: Taco Seasoning

You have heard it said over and over, but it is the truth. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients in a food you eat, DO NOT EAT IT! I love tacos and any cuisine that is Mexican/Spanish inspired. Growing up, the store-bought taco mixes was all I ever knew. It was not until I started to make health a priority in my life that I looked at what was in the mix.

Many of the brands contain monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG. If you do not know the harmful effects that MSG can have on your health, check out this brochure I found. The most important decision you can make is to become educated about what you are putting in your body. Knowledge is the key to SUCCESS! 

Here is a simple spice rub I put together in substitution of that scary, pre-packaged taco seasoning.

E&M Spice Rub

1 T Paprika
1 T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Onion Powder
1 T Oregano
*Pinch Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

*Add as much or as little as desired, depending on the heat level you prefer.
Tip: Make a large batch of this and keep it in an air-tight container to use when needed.

This seasoning works well on Salmon Tacos, chicken, and beef. I also like to add it to canned, organic black beans on top of quinoa! Delish!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Picture from skiptucker.blogspot.com
I know I am a few days late, but I was in FLORIDA (again!) and did not have access to the internet. But I am excited about 2011 and growing my blog. As you guys read previously, Erika and I went on a mini roadtrip and met up with some fellow bloggers. We had a blast, and I learned a lot about the best way to grow my blog. And, boy, do I have so much to learn. This post is dedicated to some things that you can expect to see from me throughout this year and also a few of my New Year's resolutions!

Recipe Renovations: This is a project I started a few months ago, and I let it dwindle. However in 2011 this will be posted each week! In the last year, I have put an emphasis on health and eating better; not a diet, but a lifestyle change. This portion of my blog is where you can find a recipe that is "renovated" in a healthier version of a not-so-healthy original. I love food just as much as the next person, but I also love knowing that what I am eating is benefiting me, and I want to share that with my readers as well!  I promise that all the recipes are easy and can be put together quickly. They will also be budget-friendly.

Meal Plans: Let's be honest. Sticking to healthy eating can be difficult because it does require a little bit more effort than throwing in a TV dinner. But the results and the benefits far outweigh the latter. Each month, I will post my dinner menu to help you stay on track with eating well. If you see something that interests you, feel free to e-mail me. I would love to send the recipe!

New Year's Resolutions:

1. Quit chewing gum.
        ~I have this terrible addiction to gum. Now, I do not think that it is bad for me per se, but it is not so friendly to my wallet. I am talking, I would go through about 6-10 packs of gum a week. This a problem. Therefore, I am quitting cold-turkey! So far I have not cheated. Wish me luck, please!

2. Lose 15 pounds.
I am in 2 weddings this summer, and I would like to feel fabulous! I am going to make sure that I am dedicated to my workouts and eating right while also portioning my food. Right now, I am not going to keep a food journal, but if I am not seeing results, I may turn to that. What are your strategies for losing weight??

3. Get my small business license for The Cupcake Cutie!

What are your New Year's Resolutions?? I would love to hear them and be able to help encourage you all to stick to it! There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you worked hard to meet your goal! Good luck, and I hope to get to know more of you through your blogs! Happy 2011!