Rebuild Me. πŸ™

Top of the Morning to You Food Lovers!

It is 3:13 in the morning and a FRYday…my favorite day of the week. I am up trying to make food label templates. So far, no good. It’s okay though, because during a coffee break I decided to log into my blog. It has been one hell of a year. From breaking through an alcohol stronghold to losing several loved ones in a couple of months, a minor slap in the face was not being able to write. I didn’t have writers block…I just had no access to the actual blog. Minor in the grand scheme of things, major in some moments because I needed to go back and read some of the writings for specific reasons. I thought the entire blog was gone. After completely leaving it alone for months, something nudged me to try again; and here we are. Sweet. πŸ™‚

I don’t have much to say these days; I more so sit and listen to what is being said to me. All I know is that I am grateful for this day and the people who are in my life. I have shed a lot of toxic energy in the forms of people, places and actions. It has made room for more love and guiding lights. Less unneccessary competition and all other types of B.S. in between. My life has been forever altered and my heart and mind are working on ways to properly heal. I am learning new things while breaking old habits. Some days are spent under covers drenched in tears, while other days angels are pushing me out of the bed shouting, “Get up! I will help you.” Each day is real though. Winston Churchill said it best: if you’re going through hell, keep going.

It’s good to be back. No need to start over; just rebuilding my strength. My hope is that this finds you well.

May The Spirit of Your Mind Be Blessed,

The Smitten Chef Β πŸ™πŸ·πŸ™

 

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Kiwi Lotus Flower: A Tribute to Sam Cooke πŸŽ€

…Hey Food Lovers!

Today marks the birthdate of the late and forever great Mr. Sam Cooke. I woke up this morning, whispered a hello and sent my friends the blog I wrote about him in 2013. About one year after I wrote that entry, my goal was to either add a recipe to each blog, a food photograph I was proud of, or both. It was already in my mind not to write about him again in detail because I still feel the same way. So I decided to choose one simple item, photograph it and perhaps send you to a link I listen to of his famous song, “A Change is Gonna Come” upon close.

I chose kiwis (also known as kiwifruits & Chinese gooseberries) as my photography source. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked! They are one of my favorite fruits; easy to eat, sweet, and small enough to bring places when on the go. And they are BEAUTIFUL!!! Reminds me of paradise, the colors contrast naturally and without competition. Not to mention when I opened up the fridge there were two staring directly at me. πŸ˜‰

So I got my camera out. Looked for good lighting. Thought about the angle I wanted to capture- emphasis on the fuzzy brown skin and bright green fleshy inside. Wondered if it needed a prop; a napkin or a spoon? Took a few photos…assessed the depth of field to what my mind was envisioning. Then in the midst of my critique I remembered Mr. Cooke: and I knew capturing the moment was all I needed to do. The rest is up to the audience to enjoy.

I present to you, a kiwi lotus flower! My first time making one. My first time making any fruit into a piece of art. I had fun trying. Thanks to Mutita EdibleArt on YouTube, for the tutorial and inspiration.

To Paradise,

– The Smitten Chef πŸ΄πŸ’‹

The inverted version; because the purple looked pretty.

 

My Kiwi Lotus Flower

 

QUICK SMOOTHIE RECIPE:

Ingredients:

β€’ 1 banana, peeled & chopped
β€’ 5-7 strawberries, tops removed
β€’ 1 kiwi, peeled
β€’ 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
β€’ 3/4 cup pineapple/orange juice

Directions:

1. Place the banana, strawberries, kiwi, frozen yogurt, and pineapple/ orange juice blend in a blender. Blend until smooth.

2. Enjoy!

SautΓ©ed Kale…with Beer?

Happy FryDay Food Lovers!

I have always wondered what kale would taste like if beer was added to it…this week I did 2 tests and guess what? I love it! Whilst I already fancy kale, it is beer that I don’t drink. I do use it for marinades and thought kale would be a great stepping stone for possibly marinating veggies or just a new flavor for people who want a new twist on the green.

It worked! I didn’t measure anything, but what I did notice was how fast the leaves dissipated once the beer was added to the pan. What I was hoping would be three servings, turned into one…the good news is if this happens to you, just add more chopped kale to the pan and voilΓ : you’re back to being able to share. πŸ˜‰πŸ‘

Let me know if you try this, or use a different beer. I am not too familiar with brands of ales, but I do know the flavors range like wines, so I will include the specific one I used. My favorite thing about this dish is the fact that no meat was added to it for flavoring.

INGREDIENTS:

β€’ 1 TBSP of Olive Oil

β€’ 1/2 red onion

β€’ 3 garlic cloves, chopped as fine as you’d like.

β€’ Sprinkle of crushed red peppers

β€’ 1/2 bag of Kale (I used half the bag of the precut and bagged type)

β€’ 6 oz. Heineken Beer (I used the one from the bottle)

β€’ Agave nectar, optional.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat large sautΓ© pan with olive oil on medium high heat.

2. Add the red onions, garlic and red peppers to the pan. Stir frequently and until all sides become a nice golden brown.

3. Turn stove down to medium. Add the kale into pan, one handful at a time. Stir until it cooks down; add another handful. Repeat process until all kale is added.

4. Add beer to pan. Cook until greens get tender and a large portion of the beer is absorbed into the kale.

5. Taste the greens: if too bitter, add a few drops of agave nectar to the mix and keep cooking. If the greens are still too chewy for you, add your liquid of choice: water, broth or more beer.

* What I learned: if you completely cook the greens down to where there’s no more beer in the pan, it makes for double sautΓ©ing. Nice accident & those greens were used for a pesto pasta salad! *

Worth A Try,

The Smitten Chef πŸ΄πŸ˜‰

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Pasta for Breakfast?

Sure. Why not?!

Pasta, veggies, pesto & spice. Add a few pieces of cooked chicken breasts on top (leftovers work just fine) and you’ve got a meal packed full of goodness. This is one of my favorite things for three reasons: quick, flavorful and gives me energy. That’s why I enjoy having it in the morning. And if I decide to workout, it is not too heavy to have before or after.

Ingredients:

* I do not measure anything for this recipe, because I never know how hungry I will be. *

β€’ rotini pasta (I start with 1 cup)
β€’ basil pesto
β€’ sweet peppers, sliced thin
β€’ 1/4 of a small red onion, finely diced
β€’ fresh spinach, stems removed
β€’ cracked black pepper
β€’ salt to taste

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

2. In a medium pan on medium-low heat, add pasta. In about one minute, add remainder of ingredients. Stir and cook until ingredients come together. About 1-2 minutes.

3. Remove from pan. Good by itself or with a slice of French bread. ☺️ Enjoy!

Side Note: some of my friends make a whole batch of this and then store the rest in the fridge to make a cold pasta salad for later. Add cherry tomatoes and black olives for a new flavor. Yummy.

To Each His Own,

The Smitten Chef πŸ΄πŸ˜„

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Fun with Food

Hey Food Lovers!

I must first tell you of a prayer I had a while ago: to learn how to have more fun with food. I thought I would have to research a far away spice or try a new technique.

Little did I know I would have to fry small strips of bacon together too closely, and they would MAKE LETTERS. ☺️

It truly is the little things. F is for fantastic, B is for bacon.

Live a Little,

The Smitten Chef 🍴🍜

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Silly Snails (Cinnamon Rolls)

Greetings Food Lovers!

I thought we should start the year off right with a very fun recipe my niece and I copied. I saw a picture of cinnamon rolls turned into cute snails and made them the next day for breakfast. The recipe below is from Pillbury’s website, but the pictures are the final product we created at home. Not only was it fun and easy, my niece said she had a terrific time and that these are super cute…mixed with a large amount of YUM!

Good Times,

The Smitten Chef πŸ’πŸ΄

Ingredients

1 can (17.5 oz) Pillsburyβ„’ Grands!β„’ refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
10 miniature chocolate chips
10 miniature marshmallows
10 toothpicks

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 350Β°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2. Place rolls on cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Unwrap end of each roll and pull away from roll slightly; roll end of strip under and firmly pinch to form head.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack. Frost warm rolls.
4. Meanwhile, press 1 chocolate chip, point side down, into each miniature marshmallow. Break toothpicks to desired length. Insert 1 toothpick into each marshmallow. Insert 2 toothpicks into the head of each baked snail.

Here are our creations!

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Welcome, 2015!

May your year be bright & full of tasty treats!

Sincerely,

The Smitten Chef πŸ’

The picture featured is a photo I took in 2014 at a very fun concert. At first I was a little disappointed I didn’t capture the artist in the shot. Then after taking a step back I thought it would make a nice backdrop to anything celebratory. I blurred the lights to make them look like stars, then just add desired fonts. What started off as a complaint turned into a photography success. Now in 2015 I can use this backdrop for many things!

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