Monday, February 29, 2016

My Blue Apron Experience

As a Christmas gift my sister got me a week of Blue Apron meals. I had heard about Blue Apron before so I was really excited to give their meals a try. I patiently stalked their website waiting for a weekly menu that appealed to me. That menu finally came on the week of February 22nd. The way it works is that every week they have six dishes to chose from, which you'll get three meals based on your dietary preferences (e.g. if you're vegetarian, don't eat pork, or don't consume shellfish). Early this past Friday my meals were delivered, and they were packed with dry ice to keep all of the ingredients fresh.

They send all of the ingredients in the exact amounts you'll need to make the dishes so you don't have to worry about leftover ingredients. 


Along with the food comes detailed step by step recipe instructions with pictures of each step, along with a picture of the finished product. 
One thing that I didn't like is that as I was selecting which of the three meals I wanted for that week, there were restrictions on certain combinations. For example, if I chose one particular meal then I wouldn't be able to select other specific meals. This was disappointing because they had a moo shu vegetable pancake meal that I wanted to try. Since I had already selected two other meals, however, I had to go for something else. A part from that it was a pretty straightforward process. For my meals I ended up getting the Trinidadian chicken curry with coconut grits and collard greens (sounds amazing, right?!), the acorn squash risotto with a radicchio salad, and spicy spaghetti with cabbage and toasted breadcrumbs. I've decided to start by making the Trinidadian chicken curry first and I can't wait to report back on how it comes out. My mouth is already watering. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Just one of those weeks...

Don't take it personal. There are weeks when it is impossible for the weekend to come fast enough. This was one of those weeks. Fortunately, my Friday and Saturday have been - one could say leap years (haha!), better than my Monday through Thursday. That's the magic of weekends - they are the ultimate reset button. 







Sweater: Forever 21, Faux fur vest: Target, Skinny Jeans: Target, Shoes: Asos, Bracelet: Old Navy, Shades: Amazon, Bag: Ralph Lauren via Macy's
Weekends coupled with a cute outfit and some good food (think tempura lobster roll with avocado and spicy mayo...yumm) can work wonders!

Hope this weekend is being good to you:)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Culinary Pursuits: Jalapeño Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

I spend a good deal of my free time thinking of ways to incorporate as many of my favorite foods as possible into one dish. Enter my jalapeño sweet potato turkey burgers. My new faves. Full disclosure: the first time I made these burgers I made a rookie mistake. I didn't cook the sweet potatoes before making the patties. The problem was that since ground turkey cooks much faster in the oven than sweet potatoes, the sweet potatoes weren't fully cooked once the burgers were done. The burgers still came out okay just not as amazing as I knew they could be. The second time I fully cooked the sweet potato and let them come to room temp before mixing them in the patties. This time they came out perfectly. I mean super delicious and juicy! You can opt to make them as meat balls too by dividing them up into smaller sizes and making them more round.

Ingredients:
For the patties:
1 1/4 lbs. of Lean ground turkey (I used 97% lean)
2 1/2 cups of diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of diced yellow onions (white onions would be fine also)
1 tbsp of ground jalapeño (can be found at Walmart)
1 tsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of sea salt + extra for the sweet potatoes
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1/4 tsp of Tony Chachere's creole Seasoning

For the wrap:
Romaine heart
Ketchup (I used sriracha)
Hot sauce (optional)
Goat cheese (optional)










Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray some non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Peel the skin off of your sweet potato and dice it into one inch cubes.
  3. Lay the cubes flat on a cooking sheet and spray them with non-stick spray. Sprinkle some sea salt on the top. 
  4. Cook your sweet potatoes until soft (30-40 minutes depending on your oven and how small you dice your sweet potato. If you dice it more finely they'll cook faster)
  5. Once your sweet potato is done cooking. Take them out and let them sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Dice a medium sized yellow onion and measure out a healthy 1/2 cup serving.
  7. In a large bowl, take your ground turkey and add in the spices.
  8. Next, add the onions and the sweet potato cubes and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
  9. Divide the ground turkey mix into five patties.
  10. Lay down wax paper or aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray and then place your patties down.
  11. Switch the oven from 350 degrees to a low broil. 
  12. Broil the patties on low for 15 minutes.
  13. Check to make sure the patties are cooked all the way through. You can use a thermometer or take a table knife and cut in the center. If they are not fully cooked, give it 2-3 minutes and check again (you don't want to let them overcook because they won't be as juicy).
  14. Let your patty cool for a few minutes before placing it on the lettuce bib.
  15. Top with ketchup, goat cheese, and hot sauce.
  16. Enjoy!

I highly recommend this spice combo. The spices all came together beautifully. 

Sidenote: I guess instead of Meatless Monday I should call it Meaty Monday. Or insanely delicious turkey burger Monday. But I don't know if that will catch on. Here's to a great week!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Aztec Vibes

Every now and again I stumble across pieces that become wardrobe staples. This waterfall cardigan definitely falls into this category. I purchased it from Asos a few years ago and have gotten so much wear out of it. It's great for lounging around the house in the winter or throwing it on top of simple outfits (like the one pictured below) to liven them up. At this point, the cost per wear is so low that it has paid for itself over and over and over again. I just wish there were a formula to follow for finding these items. Sometimes you buy something and you know that it's going to be a go to piece, like my chambray denim top from Topshop. Other times you buy something on a whim and it turns out to be more versatile than you ever imagined. I love when that happens.



I'd actually describe this as more of a coatigan than a cardigan. You get both form and function. It's comfortable and warm but also quite stylish. It makes for a great airport outfit in the winter months. We all want to travel in style but don't want to sacrifice comfort in the process. This piece lets you do both. And the great thing is you can find items similar to this at Asos, Nordstrom, Macy's, Zara...you name it. It's trendy without being too trendy so it's always on trend. Does that make sense??




Coatigan: Asos, Long-sleeved black top & boots: Forever 21, Black skinny jeans & shades: Target, Bag: Ralph Lauren via Macy's; Bracelet & Necklace: Thrifted
Any unexpected wardrobe staples in your closet? Drop a note below:)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Heart Healthy Spread

Three cheers for another Friday!!! Usually my weeks are so hectic where it feels like time just flies by, but not so much this week. I did things on Monday and now that it's Friday, it feels like the stuff I did on Monday happened in a completely different week. Weird. Anyways, my week was pretty awesome. I came off of an incredibly productive weekend which always leaves me feeling like super woman:) I managed to get some big ticket/major dread factor items done, so I entered the new week feeling much lighter.

This week also gave me a chance to do some baking which I really enjoy. For my Persuasion seminar yesterday, I led discussion and we have a tradition where whoever leads discussion brings in snacks. With Valentine's day right around the corner I decided to do a "heart healthy spread" with nutritious and yummy treats for all to enjoy.

Sidenote: Can I just say these are the types of things that make me happy. I even went to World Market to pick up a heart shaped cutter.

I baked some chocolate cranberry muffins with dark chocolate chunks and they were a huge hit! Everyone was surprised they were healthier. I also brought in a trail mix with blueberries, walnuts, almonds, and pecans, some chocolate rice cakes, harvest wheat crackers, a fruit and almond butter spread with dark chocolate and coconut, and some red velvet tea. As an extra touch I thought it would be cute to share some interesting heart facts and heart healthy tips on heart shaped post its. One of the facts was that a woman's heart beats eight times more in a minute on average than a man's. Who knew?!






Now let's talk about this spread! When I first tried it I thought it was okay, but it's really grown on me. I had some this morning smeared on a banana with some caramel corn rice cakes and a little cinnamon and it was really good! I picked it up from Fresh Market on a whim so if you go to one consider picking up a jar. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.