Archive of ‘Food’ category

BONE BROTH: The Benefits & How To Make It

Bone broth is super trendy lately – and for good reason! It is SO good for you! It’s also very easy and affordable to make. I’m obsessed.

BENEFITS

  • Helps heal & seal your gut
  • Improves digestive health
  • Helps you grow strong, healthy bones
  • Promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails
  • Reduces joint pain & inflammation
  • Prevents infection

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 pounds beef marrow, knuckle, & meaty bones
  • Salt (optional), pepper, & other spices, to taste
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Water

THE STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat bones in olive oil, place on baking sheet, & put in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until their golden brown
  • Put roasted bones in a large stock pot, add apple cider vinegar & water, & simmer for 1 hour
  • Add water as needed to cover the bones, & periodically skim the scum from the top of the water & discard
  • After 1 hour, add vegetables & spices, & bring it all to a boil
  • Reduce to a low simmer, cover, & cook for 24-72 hours (if you’re not comfortable leaving it simmering overnight, turn off the heat & let it sit overnight, then turn it back on & let it simmer all day the next day)
  • Let the broth cool, strain it (optional), & enjoy!

Major Food Coma from The Melting Pot! (Weekly Vlog 8.5.14)

Take a look at the above video for your weekly dose of Lauren randomness, including date night at The Melting Pot (keep reading for specifics on that), some car time chit chat, and a gut reaction review to Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J’s “Bang Bang” song.

SO, like I said, the other night, Charlie treated me to a fancy date night dinner at The Melting Pot in Pasadena. It. Was. Awesome. I’ve been to The Melting Pot (at different locations) a few times before, but it was Charlie’s first time there. It did not disappoint.

We were tucked away in a back booth, which was really nice…made for a very intimate dinner, like it was just the two of us in the whole place (until someone knocked over what sounded like a shelf containing every single plate stored at the restaurant and reminded us that there was indeed a bustling restaurant going on). But anyhow…I digress.

We went all out and did the 4-course special. I mean, you’re going to be forking over a bunch of moola anyway for dinner, you might as well go big, right?! Here’s what we got…

  • Course 1 (one cheese fondue to share): Quattro Formaggio Cheese Fondue (Butterkase and fontina cheeses, roasted garlic, basil and tomato pestos, fresh mozzarella, and Parmesean) with veggies and bread for dipping
  • Course 2 (one salad each): California Salad (mixed baby greens, Roma tomatoes, candied pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, and raspberry black walnut vinaigrette) and The Melting Pot House Salad (crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, fresh tomatoes, crispy croutons, and sliced egg, with ranch)
  • Course 3 (two entrees with one cooking style): We chose the Seasoned Court Bouillon as the cooking style and our entrees were The Classic (Angus beef sirloin, Memphis-style BBQ pork medallion, Pacific white shrimp, herb-crusted chicken breast, and teriyaki-marinated sirloin) and Land and Sea (filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken and Pacific white shrimp)
  • Course 4 (one dessert to share): I created a custom dessert by combining two of the desserts, the Turtle and the S’Mores, so it was dark chocolate, crush graham cracker, caramel, and marshmallow with a bunch of yummy goodies to dip (marshmallows, bananas, strawberries, brownies, goldies, pound cake, pineapple, etc.)

Dinner was amazing. A great thing about The Melting Pot, though, is that not only are you getting really awesome food, but it’s a super fun experience too. I’d definitely recommend it for your next special night out. Or, if you don’t wanna fork over all the dough for a big spendy meal, you can go in with some friends and share a cheese fondue or dessert. However, if you do go for the FULL meal, just know you will surely end up with a pretty major food coma. But it’ll be well worth it.

How To Make Homemade Banana Ice Cream (Quick, Easy, & Delicious!)

As you guys know, I’m doing a 90-day fitness challenge right now, which means lots of healthy eating and lots of working out. And less trips to get ice cream and fro yo. BOO. But I’ve figured out a little trick to be able to have delicious homemade ice cream – and it’s HEALTHY.

Here’s what you do:

  • As far as service size, I use one banana per person.
  • Choose bananas that are on the riper side for the best flavor.
  • Cut the banana into uniform chunks.
  • Arrange the sliced chunks evenly on a freezer-safe plate.
  • Freeze the bananas for about 2-3 hours.
  • Put the frozen banana chunks into a food processor and chop until the consistency is nice and smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

You can also add peanut butter, cocoa power, or cinnamon (or anything else really!) to the bananas while chopping them up to jazz up the flavor more. Once you’re done, you can top it with chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream – you name it!

(Another quick tidbit…potassium – there’s lots of it in bananas – is really good for sore muscles, so not only is this ice cream HEALTHY, but it’s good for your tired muscles! Another bonus!)

GHEE & BROWN RICE / QUINOA PASTA (#JuneBlogADay #8)

Two things I’m digging lately, ghee and Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa fusilli pasta. photo5

1. Ghee.

I’m pretty new to using ghee and have been thrilled to find out that there are a bunch of health and cooking benefits. Basically, ghee is clarified butter, and is made by simmering butter and then separating the liquid part from the chunky party (yes, very technical description) — the liquid part will solidify once cooled, and that’s the ghee! (I smell a future DIY project….). Ghee is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, but can also be used as a replacement for butter or oil.

First impression…tastes a lot like butter, but with a consistency very similar to coconut oil. I used it on top of my pasta tonight with a pinch of salt and some parmesan cheese.

Here are just a few of the great things about ghee:photo6

  • It has a high smoke point (482* F), which means you can cook and fry with it at high temperatures and it will not break down or burn.
  • It does not spoil easily, so it doesn’t really require much refrigeration, if any.
  • Apparently, when ghee is made, the milk solids are separated (that’s the chunky part I mentioned above) and removed, so people who are lactose intolerant can usually have ghee with no issue.
  • Ghee is super nutritious: high in Vitamins A, D, and E, a rich source of K2 and CLA.
  • It’s rich in fatty acids, which are a good source of energy. It also has butyric acid, which aids in digestion and decreasing inflammation in the body.

If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE butter (a friend has even endorsed me for “Butter” on LinkedIn…it’s that serious. But more on that later…), and ghee is kind of butter 2.0. I will never give up the real thing, but ghee is a great (healthful!) addition to my cooking. Order yourself some Ghee: Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter (Ghee), 8oz.

2. Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli Pasta. (Order here!)

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I’m Italian. I was also an athlete my whole life, which means I used to eat pasta ALL THE TIME…dinner, microwaved for breakfast the next morning, you name it. And being a young, spry lil thing that ran my butt off in soccer practice and other sports nearly every night, it didn’t matter one bit how much pasta I consumed when I was younger. Nowadays, not so much. Today, pasta is more of a treat. I try to eat clean 80-90% of the time, and pasta does not factor into that clean eating plan. The grains I usually eat are brown rice and quinoa. So, you can imagine how THRILLED I was to discover quinoa and brown rice PASTA at TJ’s. And I kid you not, the only ingredients are brown rice and quinoa, and guess what, those count as clean eating! I honestly feel like I’m cheating each time I eat it — it really tastes like the real thing.

First impression…It completely satisfies any pasta cravings I ever have. It’s so good! Now, if you know your pasta, you’ll notice that it’s not EXACTLY the same as the real thing…with normal pasta, it’s smooth and your teeth cut through it easily. The brown rice and quinoa pasta is “stickier” and the tiniest bit chewy, but man, for an imposter, it does the job.

Ultimately, if you’re trying to eat healthy but absolutely needing to get your pasta fix, try this stuff out. Plus, it’s organic!

Tonight, I added a touch of ghee to my boiling water instead of olive oil, and then put a little bit on the finished pasta. YUM.

Healthy & Refreshing Appetizer/Dessert (#JUNEBLOGADAY Post #4)

The other night, I whipped up a VERY TASTY appetizer that was inspired by one of the dishes we ate at AOC. It also doubles as a healthy and refreshing dessert!

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Here’s what you need:

1 peach (sliced)

1 apricot (chopped)

Handful of pomegranate seeds

Dollop of ricotta cheese

Squeeze of half a lime

Mint sprigs to garnish

Aside from the full fat ricotta (you can use low-fat if you want, but trust me the real stuff is AMAZING…and worth it), this is a pretty healthy appetizer/dessert. Enjoy!

Dinner at AOC (#JUNEBLOGADAY Post #2)

 

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On Sunday night, we went to AOC in Los Angeles for dinner to celebrate Charlie’s sister’s birthday! I’m pretty sure we ate one of everything off the menu. And it was INCREDIBLE.

Here’s some of what we ate (apologies for the photo quality — most of the time we ate them up as soon as they hit the table so snapping pics was tricky!)…

Cocktails

The “Oxaca Sour” – la penca mezcal, angostura, lemon, vanilla & egg white

Appetizers, Small Bites, & Main Courses

3 cheese plate

Bacon-wrapped dates

Marinated olives

Brioche, prosciutto, gruyère & egg flatbread

Grilled peaches, ricotta & pistachio aillade salad*

Curried cauliflower*

Spanish fried chicken*

Hanger steak with gorgonzola butter & shallot rings

Half roasted chicken

Baby broccoli with garlic & chili*

Desserts

 Vanilla pot de crème with spanish chocolate & marcona almonds

Butterscotch pot de crème with fleur de sel & salted cashew cookies*

Chocolate torta with coffee cream*

Medjool dates

Candied almonds & hazelnuts

Assorted house-made chocolates

Mini s’mores bites*

* = SUPER FAVORITE (let’s be real though, I loved everything!)