Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Do you have any friends who a await the arrival of the Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte?  It has been here for 2 months and people love it.

Unfortunately, a Venti (20 ounces) will set you back 510 Calories! (whole milk and whipped cream included)

ummm, ouch.  There is 60% of your daily value of saturated fat in this single drink.

But, since you read Branappetit you are probably ordering the TALL size (still 200 calories).  You can have all kind of fun on Starbucks’ website playing with what you add to their drinks ([[ Pumpkin Spice Latte]]).

Frankly, I don’t like the Pumpkin Spice Latte because I find it too sweet.  I do adore pumpkin spice so I thought I would attempt my own version.  It turns out that ANYONE can make their own pumpkin spice latte.

Why would you want to make your own?  You will save:

*Calories – mine is 130 calories less than Starbucks’ lite version

*Money – saved about $2.50

*The Environment – no paper cup and lid to toss away

You don’t need an espresso maker with a milk frother to make this drink.  You can buy a milk frother that runs on batteries called an Aerolatte.  I have one (first saw it in Europe) and it works great! 

Buy some pumpkin spice from the baking section of your supermarket, skim milk, sugar, and you are ready to go.  Try adding just one teaspoon of sugar and see if you like it.  You don’t need a lot of sugar to make this taste delicious.

pumpkinlatteb

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

4 ounces coffee or espresso

1/2 cup skim or nonfat milk

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (plus extra to dust on top)

Brew coffee and heat milk until hot in microwave.  Foam milk with Aerolatte or other milk frother.  Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice in coffee and pour milk on top.  Enjoy!

(77 calories, 0.2g fat, 14.8 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g protein)

 

Bio:  Lisa Cain, Ph.D. writes about healthy snacks on Snack-Girl.com. She is a published author, mother of two, and avid snacker.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The other day I awoke with The Jackson Five in my head…

[Source]

…and the need to make gazpacho in my heart.

Wait, Sarah. Hold the phone. I know you come up with recipes from the strangest circumstances…but The Jackson Five? Gazpacho? I don’t think I’m the only one who is thinking you are C-R-A-Z-Y.

Yes, y’all, crazy or not, it’s true. The dulcet tones of the pre-pubescent King of Pop inspired my culinary creation of a simple summer soup, often* referred to as “liquid salad,” and otherwise known as a big old bowl of refreshing vegetable goodness, perfect for beating the heat here in Texas (or wherever you might be…unless you are in Antarctica, in which case I think you might have some trouble finding fresh tomatoes among the penguins…but you are with penguins, so at least you have that).

*OK, once. That I know of.

So how did The Jackson Five inspire me? Well, although I Want You Back makes me want to dance around in my kitchen, and The Love You Save conjures up choreographed hand motions that would make even ‘Mr. Schue’ proud, it is the classic ABC that will be aiding and abetting us this day. [Don’t you love how saying ‘this day’ is so much more monumental than ‘today’?]

I’m gonna teach you…all about gazpacho
Sit yourself down, take a seat
All you gotta do is repeat after me:
A-B-C, as easy as 1-2-3
As simple as Do, Re, Mi
A-B-C, 1-2-3
Gazpacho’s easy!

A
Assemble your ingredients.

Three medium tomatoes, minced garlic, one large cucumber, a lemon, a lime, a green and red bell pepper, a red onion

Parsley, basil, and red wine vinegar (as well as some S & P)

Don’t forget the tomato juice!

B
Blades: Get them.

C
Cut, Can-Open, and Combine

Peel and dice your cucumber…

Slice and dice your peppers…

(I know some people choose their veggies based on external beauty…I tend to choose based on interesting-ness.)

Seed (as best you can, but there are no perfectionists in The Smart Kitchen) and dice your tomatoes.

Cut up 1/4 of your onion.

Open your tomato juice can in the old-school Juicy Juice style from when you were a small child.

Combine 1/2 of your veggies (and all of the onion and garlic) in a food processor.

And now…
1

First round: liquify.

Then pour it into a large bowl.

2

Second round: pulse the remaining veggies, and 1/4 cup parsley and 1/3 cup basil, 10-15 times

Then add it to the liquid in the mixing bowl.

3

Add 2 cups tomato juice, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, the juice of one whole lime to the mixture in the bowl.

If you are feeling really ambitious, you can garnish with some left over diced veggies and some basil ‘flowers.’

Or pack some protein with shrimp!

Now put on some Jackson Five and get cooking! (I mean…cutting? processing? blending?)

Gazpacho

(Serves 6-8)

3 medium tomatoes, diced (1 3/4 c.)
1 large cucumber, diced (1 3/4 c.)
1 red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1/4 red onion, diced (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c. fresh basil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

1. Put half of the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers in a food processor, along with the red onion and garlic. Process until smooth. Pour blend into large bowl.
2. Put remaining tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, along with parsley and basil in food processor. Pulse 10-15 times, until chopped. Combine with blended mixture in bowl.
3. To the mixing bowl add tomato juice, lemon and lime juices, red wine vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Read Full Post »

Eating is no longer simple.  It is a complex process of choices and purchases.  Gone are the days of the local butcher, farmer and milk man in every town.  In today’s society we talk more of farmer’s markets, co-ops, organics and raising your own food.  Each category has its ups and downs.  The individual eater needs to make the decision which method or combinations of methods to us.  They sound well and good but being informed about each choice is key.  How can you get the best quality of food for your budget?

Let’s start from the beginning of growing your own.  Our ancestors did it and we’ve gotten away from that in favor of farmers doing the work while we slave away in some office.  However growing your own has great physical and environmental benefits.  You plant, work and harvest what you want to eat so there is no waste and no doubt about what is being used in the process.  Not too much can go wrong.  I would love the time to devote to my own tomatoes, spinach and carrots for a fresh summer salad.  Chelle at Little House on the Great Flats as well as Julie from Savvy Eats have a passion for working the earth to bring forth their own food.  I’ve tasted fresher food from Chelle’s garden that anywhere else.  So that’s what a tomato is supposed to taste like?

Like being in Willie Wonka’s factory where a schnozberry really tastes like a schnozberry.  The time involved with producing good quality food is the only downside.  Hours of weeding and pruning are needed to produce the best goods without the use of preservatives and pesticides used on commercial farms.  Even harvesting and preserving your good eats can be time consuming.  If you have the time it is a wonderful endeavor.

For those of us without the time or space to garden there are options.  Container gardens in large pots, hanging planters, or even a small herb garden on a window sill can go a long way to great taste in anything you cook.  Just a warning, once you grow your own and see what good fresh food tastes like you may never go back.

Of course there are other options where you can buy healthy food.  Where I live in Western Massachusetts there are two nearby farmer’s markets.  Both offer a small selection of goods varying from fruits and veggie to cheese and flowers.  Farmers markets allow you to learn more about local purveyors who take great pride in the food they offer.  Grown on their own farms and picked fresh that morning they can tell you the best way to use that white eggplant you think is strange or the summer sweet corn.  Many smaller local farms are not USDA certified organic due to the length of the process as well as time and money involved.  However they do follow the organic standards…who needs that little label anyway?  You can often check out the farms themselves to see how your food is produced. Sometimes you even find interesting offerings like goat’s milk soap, quail eggs and fresh ground whole wheat flour.  You won’t find those things in your big box stores like Wal-mart and Target.

The downside of a farmer’s market is once the season is over for the local fruits, vegetables and herbs so is our farmer’s market.  Then it is back to the grocery store.  Larger areas may have winter markets with a smaller selection but they are rare.  You can take and afternoon to preserve many of the fresh offerings of the warmer months to enjoy through the colder from your pantry.  But that is an entirely different topic.  Check out my post on making homemade blueberry jam for an idea.

Co-ops occupy the middle ground between the regular grocery store, the farmer’s market and growing your own.  Most sell many of the fruits and vegetable from the local growers that you would also find at the farmer’s market along with items you may not.  Our local co-op has a large selection of bulk goods, especially grains and nuts, not found at the local Stop & Shop, Shaws, Hy-vee or your local grocery.

Dried red lentils, whole cashews and candied ginger live side by side with fresh ground nut butters in my local co-op.  In addition to all this you often find things usually available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s such as almond milk and jarred almond butter, a variety of cheeses and milks, often organic from sheep, goat or cow.  Vegan products usually abound as well as natural health and beauty aids made with eco friendly products.  The larger the food co-op the larger the selection and possibility of prepared foods for on the go similar to the Whole Foods salad bar.

The convenient local co-op is great but I believe there is a downside.  Their selection is oven limited to member requested items. Sales often are limited to co-op members as well as various specials through the year.  Membership is a worthwhile if the co-op carries the majority of your food needs.  Take in mind that membership to a co-op requires a time commitment as well to work hours on a register or stocking shelves.  For someone like me however, the co-op is a convenience I use if I don’t have the time to make a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s a few towns over for the same or lower prices.  You have to weigh the local ideal with the budget you can afford.

Organics is the trickiest topic of all and thus I’ve saved if for last.  If you have never read Michael Pollan’s An Omnivores Dilemma or In Defense of Food reserve them at your local library now or make a trip to Barnes and Noble…I’ll wait.  You did get them right?  Trust me they will change how you look at the food we eat in America, organic or otherwise.  Some of the healthy food you think you are eating is just food like substances.  Mr. Pollan does a much better job explaining than I ever could so check it out.

Lest you think I make a profit from the sale of his books I’ll give you my short synopsis on organics and what is worth the price.  Anything…yes anything…can carry the label organic if the company has checked off all the government’s yes’s and no’s.  Of course an organic strawberry or peach are great.  They have been grown in pesticide free environments with no harmful chemical fertilizer.

Then there are the weird things with an organic label because some or all of the ingredients are considered organic.  Yes if there are some organic ingredients in your granola the packaging may have a seal saying “Made with certified organic ingredients.”  It is not entirely organic.  Think does that cereal 12 grams of organic sugar do your body any more favors than the Captain Crunch normally buy?  Yes there is no High Fructose Corn Syrup we’ve heard the evils of but what about 12 grams of evaporated cane sugar isn’t probably doing your body any good either.

Organic in this case is merely an excuse to eat higher priced junk food.

Want to buy organic?  Choose items where organic ingredients make them healthier not more expensive.

Eating is no longer as simple a simple process of buy the food and eat it.  Many little choices are needed for each purchase.  Farmer’s market or Supermarket.  Local or organic.  Organic or less expensive.  Each decision affects how we eat and how that in turn affects our bodies.  There are no perfect meals.  How we handle our choices to best suit our families and budgets make for the best dining experience for us.  So the next time you feel compelled to only shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or the farmer’s market remember that good food can be found anywhere…you just have to look for it and decide.

Thanks Cynthia!

Read Full Post »

Hi Bran Appetit’ers!

My name is Kristin and I write the food, running and travel blog Iowa Girl Eats. Some of my very favorite things to cook are Asian and Thai influenced dishes, which not only have to be delicious, but easy to make, too! My flavorful, yet simple, Thai Tofu Pizza combines pre-made pizza crust with a rich peanut suace, fresh veggies and a burst of sweet mango. So quick and tasty that it won a Nasoya Tofu recipe contest in May 2010. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Tofu Pizza

Ingredients:

1 12 pre-made pizza crust (or homemade)

1 recipe peanut sauce (see below)

1/2 block extra firm Nasoya tofu, pressed and crumbled

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

2 sliced green onions

2 Tablespoons chopped mango

2 Tablespoons chopped peanuts

1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

Peanut Sauce:

3 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon water

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (could use siracha)

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

1. Preheat oven according to package directions.

2. Combine peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth.

3. Mix 2 Tablespoons peanut sauce with the crumbled tofu, then sauté on medium heat until lightly colored, ~5 minutes.

4. Spread remaining sauce onto pizza crust, then top with cooked tofu, cheese, broccoli and green onions. Bake according to package directions, or until cheese is golden brown.

5. Top with mango, peanuts & cilantro, slice and enjoy!


Read Full Post »

Experience The Local Life

Hello Branappetit readers; my name is Clarice from the blog A Crumb Falls. I hope Brandi is having a safe, productive trip in Honduras.
It seems that local travel is all the rage these days as people keep try to keep their dollars in the neighborhood and conserve on fuel. Sometimes it’s easy to get in a local rut though and do the same thing every weekend. Currently, I live in New Hampshire, but I will probably only be living here for about nine more months. Thankfully while living in New Hampshire my husband Jeremy and I have had tons of visitors. The best thing about visitors is showing them your area and often going places you wouldn’t normally go. You don’t need visitors though to experience where you live.
Here are a few tips to enjoy and experience what is around you.
Catch a minor league sports game. Whether you are a sports person or not, this is a great experience. Usually the games are affordable and fun. Get a few friends together, fill up a section, and cheer. Those guys are usually out there for the love of the game, so sometimes I have even more fun than I might at a major league game.
Do a tour. There are tons of places around here to tour – breweries, wineries, little museums, local art galleries, or farms.
Most major areas have suggestions in the things to do section; there is a pretty good chance there might be something that you haven’t thought of in the past.
Look at a map. Are there cities that are within a 1 or 1.5 hour drive of you? Maybe places you could go for a weekend getaway or even just a day trip. I plan to return to Portland, ME in the fall. I’ve been a few times, but it’s a great getaway that isn’t far away at all.
Spend the day in your very own city as a tourist. Do a photo walk; You see things differently when you are behind your camera. Stop a random person and ask where they would tell a tourist to eat. You may end up at your own favorite spot, but you also might find something new.
Enjoy seeing everything that is around you.
—-
Thanks Clarice!
PS: If you haven’t checked out her blog, do it! I went to college with her and she is super  fun and a total sweetheart.

Read Full Post »

Hi guys! My name is Andrea and my little home on the web is over at Offhercork.com.  I talk about various things, but mostly about food because I love it so much!  Food is one thing that everyone has in common.  We all need to eat and every one of us could describe a favorite meal if asked.

One thing that I really try to focus on regarding the food that I eat, serve my family, and serve others is making sure it is as clean as possible.  Clean eating to me means:

Local Foods: Something that is raised, manufactured, created, or made close to where I live.   I try to make sure that the majority of our food intake comes from local sources.  Produce from Farmer’s Markets and other local suppliers.  Local eggs, poultry, and meat.  If I didn’t live in the Midwest, I would be looking for local seafood as well!

Fresh Foods: I try and make sure that what we are eating is supplied to us fresh and not something that has been sitting on a shelf or at the store for very long.

Whole Foods: Not to be confused with the grocery store!  Whole Foods mean real wholesome foods as opposed to processed and factory made foods.  I try to keep our intake of processed foods down to a very serious minimum.  Microwave meals? Nope.  Boxed cake mixes? Nope.  Refrigerated cookie dough? No way!

Unfortunately, the majority of foods that people eat in the U.S. are processed.  We all know that fast food is bad for you, but those “lean” microwave meals, canned soups, and boxed mac ‘n cheese aren’t  a whole lot better.  Those are all processed foods.  Processed foods contain chemicals, additives, and preservatives along with tons of sodium.  Stuff our bodies do not need.  As an individual you should be the one deciding what goes into your body and what doesn’t.  Instead of leaving that choice up to a big corporation who’s main goal is to make money ,not supply you with quality food.

If you make food at home, you are the one who is in control.  You decide what goes into the meal, what seasonings to use, and how much to make.  It’s fresh and you know where it came from.  With processed foods, you have no idea when it was made, where it came from, and what all happened to it before it hit your counter.

Why put that into your body?

To help promote the benefits of meals made at home, I’ve created Homespun Sundays on my blog.  The idea behind Homespun Sundays is that one day out of the week (Sunday), every meal eaten is something that is made at home and from scratch.  If you want pancakes for breakfast, set aside the icky boxed pancake mix and make the pancakes yourself!  If you are going to have a lasagna dinner, don’t heat up a family sized frozen box, instead make it yourself!

Making meals at home is easy and does not have to be time consuming.  They are healthier and they put you in charge of the ingredients!

One day a week, no processed foods.  Are you up for the challenge?  Just let me know and we can eliminate processed foods from our diets together!

Read Full Post »

Hello there, this is Lauren from vegology (http://vegology.wordpress.com) and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write a guest post for BranAppetit. Thanks Brandi! My blog is all about trying new things in the kitchen. All my recipes are meatless, and today’s post is vegan. Don’t be turned off by that though, I think this one has the potential to impress some meat lovers.

Have you tried seitan before? I have had it in restaurants and if you have ever had mock meat anywhere, you have probably tasted it too. Some people call it “wheat meat” because this wheat gluten based product has a texture similar to meat. It is an excellent source of protein and is a good meat replacement for vegetarians and vegans. Seitan is quite tasty when cooked in a variety of sauces because it takes on the flavor of the dish around it.

Unlike tofu, seitan has a dense texture that stands up better to cooking sauces. You do not have to worry about seitan soaking up a spicy sauce and lighting your mouth on fire like spongy tofu. You also do not have to worry about it falling apart in the pan. Seitan generally has a higher protein content and lower fat content than tofu, although both can be purchased in lower or higher fat versions. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in tofu but there is something to be said for seitan, especially if you are transitioning to a less carnivorous diet and miss the texture and flavor of meat.

This is the box of seitan that I picked up in the grocery store:

I decided to make barbecue seitan tacos with some of the barbecue sauce that I picked up from Flynn’s Foods at our local farmers’ market. You can use whatever barbecue sauce you prefer, or if you are feeling adventurous – make your own!

Barbecue Seitan Tacos with Fresh Pico de Gallo

Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • One package (8 oz) seitan strips, sliced to uniform size
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce (more if you’re feeling extra saucy)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ lime
  • 6 small taco size flour tortillas
  • ½ cup fresh pico de gallo
  • Optional toppings: shredded red cabbage or lettuce, cheese or sour cream for non-vegan tacos

Preparation:

1. Add barbecue sauce to seitan strips and marinate for 15-20 minutes in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan.

3. Add barbecue seitan to pan and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until heated throughout. Add hot sauce to taste.

4. Wrap a stack of tortillas in aluminum foil and place on the top rack of a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on counter until ready to stuff tacos.

5. While cooking the seitan and warming the tortillas, slice the avocado and sprinkle with the juice of ½ a lime.

6. Assemble tacos by dividing the ingredients evenly among six tortillas: seitan, avocado slices, pico de gallo. Add optional toppings as desired.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper

Note: I’m going to be honest with you – these proportions constantly change. I do not really measure when I cook, I just taste. So please feel free to adjust!

Preparation:

  1. Dice tomatoes and add to a medium bowl.
  2. Finely chop one onion. I cheated and used my mini-prep food processor because the tortilla chips in the pantry were calling my name and I could not be bothered with finely chopping one onion by hand.
  3. Finely chop the jalapeno and the cilantro. Make sure you remove the seeds from jalapeno because they hold a lot of heat. Also, consider wearing gloves while chopping the pepper, especially if you wear contact lenses. I always wear gloves now, after learning a few hard lessons that involved flushing my eyes with cold water in the shower after trying to remove my contacts while in a Corona and salsa induced haze. You will wash your hands, over and over. You will still burn your eyes when you touch them. And then you will stumble to the shower, blind and screaming, and you will stand under a blast of cold water that just barely numbs the pain.
  4. Toss together in bowl: tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and garlic. Sprinkle with the juice of one lime and mix in. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with chips and on tacos. Try it on your eggs in the morning and your veggie wrap at lunch. This recipe makes an obscene amount of salsa that would take a normal couple almost a week to finish. It takes me and my boyfriend 2-3 days.

We enjoyed this meal with Redhook Rope Swing Summer Pilsner. Check out my Happy Hour post about it here. (http://vegology.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/happy-hour-redhook-rope-swing/)

Thanks again to Brandi for allowing me to share this recipe while she is traveling. I bet these tacos would be lovely after a day of hard work in sunny Honduras!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »