Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I can't stand Giada

I, like most of my friends, don't like Giada De Laurentiis. However, she does make some pretty bomb food most of the time. I was watching her show the other day simply because the first thing that she made looked so light, healthy, and delicious! (not to mention easy)

She made fruit spring rolls (found here) with strawberries, mango, mint, and honey. I can't wait to get to try these!

For the rolls, you'll need
1 1/2 cups cooked Pad Thai noodles, cooled and drained
1/4 cup honey
1/4 packed cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
6 (8-inch) rice paper rounds
Strawberries, stemmed and sliced
Mango peeled and sliced
Toasted sliced almonds 

In a medium sized bowl, toss the noodles with the mint and honey until well-coated and set aside. Soak one rice paper round in warm water until soft and place on a damp towel. Arrange a small amount of noodles, strawberries, mango, and almonds on the rice paper round (while doing this, soak the next rice paper round in the water). Wrap the roll as you would a burrito, folding all sides so that the filling is fully encased. Wrap finished rolls in a damp towel to keep moist until serving. Serve with dipping sauce listed below.

For the dipping sauce, whisk together the following ingredients and serve in a small bowl for dipping.
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 to 3 large limes)

Or, if you'd rather follow along with Giada, here's a clip from the original show...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cinnamon and vanilla are two of the best things in the world

So it's been forever since I last blogged. I suck, I know. Even worse than that? I've posted no recipes. I suck even more now, I know. Still, what's worse than that is that way back in July, I promised the recipe for my beloved banana bread. Well, it never made it up here, obviously. That being said, before I move on to anything else, here's the banana bread, that way I'm not a total jerk-face liar...


Nana bread!
(Tip: When bananas are too ripe to eat, freeze them. When you thaw them to use for baking, they're perfectly sweet and totally mushy! I never use fresh bananas)

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar (plus extra for dusting)
2 eggs
3/4 c mashed very ripe bananas (I usually just use how much I have on hand which is usually a bit more than that)
1 t baking soda
1 1/4 c flour
2 t cinnamon
2 t vanilla
Sliced almonds

(sidenote: I really have no idea how much cinnamon and vanilla I use. These are my favorite ingredients in just about everything so I always do them to taste. Thus, this is my best guess, which still probably isn't very good, haha)

Butter and flour a 9x5x3" loaf pan
Combine all dry ingredients.

Cream the butter and sugar. On medium speed, add eggs one at a time. Add bananas and mix well. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients until batter comes together.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with sugar for a really nice, crunchy crust. On top of the sugar, add sliced almonds to taste. They look great and add a really nice texture to the crust, even after it's gone a little soft after a day or so.

Bake at 350 for about an hour or until the crust darkens and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

I really don't have an idea of how many servings this doles out because I just slice off however much I feel like eating (bad habit, don't do this!) but, let's just say that you got 10 slices out of it. That's about 150cal for each slice. Aka, totally not good for you. Don't make this stuff. You won't be able to stop yourself at one slice, trust me. Fo real.
Adapted from here

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nom nom nom

I'm probably going to be late to work for taking the time to post this right now, but it was too awesome not to share.

This is me on a bad munchy day...

"What? Don't judge me."

Honestly, that was my sole reason for making this post. Have a happy Monday :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She's crafty, and she's just your type

Last night I went to a friend's house to make dinner and oh, did we have fun. We made some deliciousness that is absolutely out of this world (and totally not good for you...)

Let me introduce you to the Pioneer Woman.
We started off by making her bowtie lasagna

Once that was done, we moved on to the garlic cheese bread 

Oh. Em. Gee. So good and so easy! And yes, I know I'm a terrible person for showing you all this. But it's nice to have fun and eat some crazy good food, right?

Oh, and I think you all should head out to LA this weekend for the Renegade Craft Fair! Over 200 hip, indie crafters will be out there hocking their stuff. It's sponsored by Etsy so you know it has to be good. I'll be there and I think you should totally join me :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

8 healthy-ish snacks that actually taste good!

First of all, let me start by saying I have no clue what's up with the spacing on this post. I know it's all wonky in some spots, but oh well. That's life. Moving on...

Last Thursday I headed out with one of my best friends to go find bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. Little did I know that we would not only find the dress she wanted, but I would also do a fitting and buy the dress that day!

This is the dress. Nevermind the fact that the model looks pregnant for some retarded reason (that's honestly all I see when I look at this picture). It's actually a super cute dress and am so happy Nina's got good taste :)

Buuuuut anyway, how am I planning on looking the way that I want to in this without having to sacrifice the amazing food that I love? Here's one thing. Snacking smarter. Thus, the following are some of my favorite healthy-ish snacks (by healthy-ish I usually in no way mean that they're good for you, just lower in the bad stuff).

Cue music... These are a few of my favorite things

1.  Sugar free Jello cups

They come in so many different kinds. Pudding, jello, and these new mousse ones which look to die for. Best part? Each Pudding cup has only 40cal, the jello is 10cal, and the mousse is 60cal. They can taste a little diet-y at times, but for only 10cal a cup, I'm sold. Which brings me to my next treat...

2. Sugar free popsicles

Omg, so good. The popsicles are alright, but the fudgesicles and creamsicles are ah-mazing. The popsicles are 10cal each, the fudgesicles are 35cal, and creamsicles are 20cal. The weather finally figured out that it's supposed to be summer and is now trying to make up for lost time by being a billion degrees, so these are definitely some of my go-to's right now.

3. Fresh & Easy organic sea salt popcorn
I couldn't find a picture for you, nor do I remember how many calories are in it, but it's some crazy low amount. I love this stuff! So much better than the buttered alternative. If you're a salt fiend like I am, the simple saltiness of the F&E popcorn is amazing. If you're not an F&E shopper, I know that Trader Joe's has a similar one and I'm sure you can find something along the same lines at your grocery store.

4. Pirate's Booty or Trader Joe's Unburied Treasure (I opt for the TJ's brand. It's cheaper and you get more!)

Pirate's Booty is kind of like a flavored packing peanut. I'm not kidding. They're the weirdest texture, made from puffed corn and coated with a flavor. The little puff balls may not be for everyone, but I still have yet to come across a skeptical eater who didn't like them. For a 2.5 cup serving (which is a lot of this stuff) there are 140cal.

5. Edamame
 Edamame is definitely my favorite "good for you" snack. Coming from a girl who hates most veggies, these are heaven-sent! I get em from Trader Joe's (they're cheapest there) in the freezer section. Grab a handful of the little fuzzy pods, toss em in a bowl, then nuke em in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and you've got a snack your mom would be proud of. Just pop em out of the shells and enjoy. They're super high in protein and all sorts of vitamins or something. Though, I recently got some from Fresh & Easy and didn't really like them. I'd stick with Trader Joe's on this one.

6. Frozen grapes
Let it be known that this is one of the best summer snacks ever. Ever. I grew up on eating frozen grapes and frozen raisins at my grandma's house. She lives in Bakersfield which is notorious for being, like, a bajillion degrees in the summer. Thus, she always had frozen grapes on hand for us kids when it was just too freakin' hot. Besides, at only 62cal per cup, they're totally worth the inevitable brain freeze. 

7. Celery and hummus
It's funny how only some people know that celery actually contains negative calories. Yes, I said negative. They veggie is full of so much water and contains so few calories, that eating the stalk actually burns more calories than it has in it. A handful of celery plus a bit of hummus is just over 100cal. One of the best things about it is that hummus comes in so many different varieties that you can customize the snack to fit your mood! I happen to love the roasted red pepper kind. Yummm.

Has anyone else noticed that all the fruits and veggies are at the bottom of this list? This happens to be in the order in which I thought of them. ...and yet I wonder why I'm not skinny, hahaha.

8. Frozen banana pops
Um... bananas, peanut butter, and other deliciousness? Yes please. Simple and so good. Half a banana (with no green on it), put a stick in it, cover it in peanutbutter, roll it in some nuts or dried fruit, place on wax paper, and freeze for 3 hours. This is totally on my list for next week. Not too low in calories, but high in all that other stuff that's good for you.

Hope you guys try a couple of these and like em as much as I do.

Happy snacking!

Anyone know how to not eat out of boredom? I'm super bad at that :/

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A little inspiration

My dad was a chef and did some pretty saweet things in the kitchen. My favorite thing he always did with food? Definitely Mickey Mouse pancakes. I thought he was a freakin' genius because of these bad boys.

Check it.

No, this one wasn't done by him, but you get the idea.

In other food news...
No, I haven't been cooking lately. I have to confess, I probably won't till I have a job and start buying my own food again. Lame, I know. But that's life. Suck it up.

However, I do promise chocolate chip banana bread soon! And no, it's not healthy. I just love it so :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If the Buddha Dated...

Hi, my name's Lauren and I seem to have all the time in the world right now.

That means lots of blog reading, book reading, magazine reading (get the picture?)

I recently borrowed a book from my soon to be sister-in-law (8 days! Woohoo!) called If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl.
The book's sort of mission is "how to find a partner without losing yourself." Now, I'm in no way the self-help, relationship, ooey gooey book type girl by any means. However, this one happened to peak my interest. In reading it the other night, chapter 7 Be Willing to Cook in the Spiritual Fire really stuck with me for some reason.

The chapter is all about being willing to give yourself over and really just surrender who you are to the other person and how we can actually find comfort and safety in that vulnerability. Kasl writes, "Surrender actually makes us feel safe, because there is nothing left to hide. We are open and unafraid, we cease being half-hearted with each other. [...]We release ourselves from the misery of holding back and playing it safe." She goes on to talk about how afraid we become of the shadows that lurk in our closet. However, "when the ego wants life in all its little compartments--predictable, neat, secure--smile and answer back, Oh, little child, let me rock you. I understand you are afraid, it's all right. I'm big, I can protect you. [...]Remember, love brings up anything that's hiding."

I dunno, I guess I just think the idea of safety in openness and vulnerability is a really interesting notion. But looking back, when in a relationship do we feel most at ease? For me, it's when that person knows everything and there's nothing left to hide. The constant hiding, guarding, and masking is exhausting and so distant. Love is meant to be ugly so that we can be beautiful together.

Quick, this just got way cheesy, divert attention elsewhere!

Oooo! Shiny!

How freakin' cool are these cupcake tattoos from Ace of Cakes?! I totally want these.

And now, we're back to Lauren's Reading Rainbow

30min ago was the second time today that I came across When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.

I'm taking it as a sign that I should read this book. No, it's probably not a sign at all, but it's supposed to be a funny read and, since I no longer have to read to pass any classes, I might actually enjoy it. Anyone read it or anything else by Sedaris before?