Ingredient of the Week

A few weeks ago, I recognized an all too familiar feeling of tiredness and weakness that’d been hanging over me like a heavy cloud. I’ve been dealing with iron deficiency issues my whole life, off and on, and I could tell that I was yet-again running too low on the mineral. Times like this one, when the deficiency isn’t too extreme, I just start taking some iron supplements and up my intake of iron-laden proteins that I’m not always the biggest fan of. So this time around, instead of ordering a big hunk of meat every night for the next few weeks, I decided to look to one of my favorite but easily forgotten sources of iron: cream of wheat!

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photo via: quemas.mamaslatinas.com

Cream of wheat always brings me back to my childhood, when my parents would heat me up a bowl in the mornings, with a touch of sugar and milk swirled in. My sister and I loved having cream of wheat for breakfast, with its savory-sweet smell and comforting warmth filling our bellies. Not only is it a yummy and filling breakfast, but it’s also very nutritious. Chock full of vitamins and minerals, with iron being its top bragging right, this classic breakfast is anything but simple. While I enjoy eating it plain, the same way that I did as a kid, ever since I decided to add it back into my eating regimen, I’ve been playing around with some fun toppings to give my breakfast an extra kick. I usually resort to adding a sliced banana, slivered almonds, and a bit of honey to my cream of wheat, but after browsing through these recipes that I randomly found, I can’t wait to mix up my routine a little more!

What do y’all think about cream of wheat? Have you tried it before?

(Non) Friday Favorites!

Here are some of my favorite things from this past week- a.k.a. my 4-day-late Friday Favorites post!

Candy Store: Lolli and Pops

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Fall Foodie Guilty Pleasure: Whole Foods Market’s Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

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Cool Weather Colors: Merlot & Sapphire

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Fundraising Fashion: Key To The Cure T-Shirt by Rag & Bone

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Furry Video:

An Awesome Fall Ingredient To Bring Into The Kitchen

Now that it’s the season for fall ingredients to start hitting the grocery store shelves, I’ve been hitting up the local Whole Foods and Fresh Market for the best of the best. One of my favorite fall foods that I … Continue reading

My Favorite Links From This Week

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1. Instagram inspiration for that bathing suit body you’re probably working on

2. A new awesome way to advertise hair products as seen in Sweden

3. A new dessert to lust over and add to your list of cronuts and macarons

4. New spring outfit ideas for the fashionista on a budget

5. Exciting spring products for the beauty junkie

6. A smart and fashionable way to save money for the party gals

Honey-Lime Sweet Potato, Black Bean And Corn Tacos

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Over the past few weeks, my roommates and I have been especially adventurous with our dinner choices.  From grilled pineapple turkey burgers to buffalo chicken spaghetti squash, our meals have been amazing considering they’ve been almost completely made from scratch.  Last night, we decided to continue this exciting trend and tested out a recipe I found on Pinterest for sweet potato tacos.  We usually only have baked sweet potatoes when made the classic way, with a little brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon on top, but this recipe called for a completely new cooking route for the festive sweet potato.  After following the recipe to the tee, we were extremely pleased to have created a BEAUTIFUL and colorful combination of ingredients to load into our warm tortillas.  Just by the look of this meal, we knew it was a dinner that would be repeated quite often.  As we all took our first bites at the same time, with bubbling anticipation, immense pleasure and satisfaction with the flavor quickly spread across our faces.  The combination of the sweet yet spicy potatoes with the rest of the ingredients made for the most unique yet delectable meal I’ve had in a while.  It didn’t take any of us long to clean our plates, and we were even left with a hefty portion of leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  I cannot express how great of a meal this was, especially considering how easy to make and nutritious it is.  I HIGHLY recommend this recipe to anyone and everyone looking for a different yet satisfying dinner.  Check out a few pictures I captured of our meal below and prepare to drool.  YUM.

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Pre-loading into our tortillas– already looking so mouthwatering

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 The plated meal– and it even smelled better than it looked

Homemade Macarons!

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Over my Christmas break, I decided to break in my new Macaron baking kit that my parents got me for Christmas.  I knew I had a difficult task ahead of me because I’ve always read and been told that macarons are only for the expert bakers, but I figured it was worth a shot.  The kit that I used is sold by the company, Lékué, which is sold in U.S. stores such as Sur La Table or online.  It came with a recipe book for a few different macaron flavors, including the one I chose for Tiramisu Macarons.  The first difficulty I ran into in effort to make these pastries was trying to find all of the unique ingredients.  I found the icing sugar, ground almonds/almond flour, instant coffee, mascarpone, and powdered cocoa at Whole Foods, but I had to purchase the amaretto at Total Wine and the basic ingredients at Harris Teeter.  I also had to buy a sieve at Target since I didn’t have one of my own at home.  It was quite the frustrating search but I was happy to get home with everything I needed to make these delectable sweets.

The kit I used

The Macaron kit I used

Since the English recipes in the included recipe book were translated from either Spanish or French, they weren’t very clear and resulted in quite a bit of confusion while I was cooking.  For example, one of the steps asks to sieve icing sugar, which had to be done with the cheap sieve I bought from Target.  Unfortunately, the sieving was a disaster and not only did I lose a bit of the sugar, but I also had to use the unsieved sugar in hope that it wouldn’t make a big difference to the final product.  Therefore, if you try out this recipe, I urge you to invest in a really good sieve and if that doesn’t work, just nix that step because it didn’t seem to noticeably affect my macarons.  Another issue that arose from the confusing recipe was during the step that requires one to whip egg whites, sugar, and salt until it becomes a thick meringue.  I’d never made meringue before so I had no idea what it needed to look like and how long I needed to whip the ingredients.  While pouring the batter onto the baking mat, I learned that I didn’t whip the mixture enough and it came out much thinner and less airy than it should’ve.  The thinness of the mixture could’ve also been partly due to the missing icing sugar that the sieve stole from me in the recipe’s previous step.  The last mishap that I encountered in my baking adventure was associated with my purchase of instant coffee and the vagueness of the recipe.  I think that the grounds from the coffee I bought were too large and needed to be either ground more finely with a food processor or simply purchased in a finer or even liquid form.  I don’t think that the coffee issue heavily affected the flavor of the macarons, but finer grounds could’ve definitely distributed the coffee flavor more effectively.

Aside from those three recipe issues and hard-to-find ingredients, my macarons surprisingly turned out delicious and almost perfect!  The flavor of both the filling and shells was really tasty.  The only major issue was in the shells, which weren’t as fluffy and thick as they should’ve been.  If you’re a baker and have been too intimidated by the fancy ingredients and somewhat complicated process to make your own macarons, I hope this post urges you to take a chance and try them out.  I received a lot of compliments on my macarons and they were definitely worth the small mishaps and tough ingredient search.

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Shack Attack!

Upon recently hearing the news that Shake Shack will be opening in Atlanta next year, I’ve constantly caught myself nearly drooling at thoughts of the amazing Shack burger.  I had my first taste of Shake Shack in August 2012, with my parents as we were leaving NYC from my first summer interning in fashion.  As we waited in line at the original Madison Square Park location for about 30 minutes in the sweltering city heat, we found ourselves praying that the burgers and shakes would be more than worth the ridiculous wait.  Of course, we weren’t disappointed, and I successfully left the city knowing that I had just eaten the best burger ever and found my new guilty pleasure.  Ever since that first Shack burger, every time I’ve been in the city, I’ve made stopping at Shake Shack a necessity.  Each time I dig into their burger, it is insanely juicy and perfectly cooked.  The flavor is honestly mind-blowing, with the delectable combination of their secret Shack sauce, ripe tomato and lettuce, perfectly melted cheese over a natural Angus beef patty, and subtly sweet and soft bun holding everything together.  After finishing my burger without a thought of coming up for air, I almost always have a rich and creamy milkshake and hot crinkle fries waiting for me to perfectly top off the guilt-ridden yet wonderful meal.

I’ve only been to the Madison Square Park location of Shake Shack, but I’m sure that all of the Shack locations make their burgers and shakes just as well.  Whenever you get the chance to pass by one of the few Shake Shack locations, don’t hesitate to stop in for the most satisfying meal ever- you won’t regret it.  While you begin scouring Google for the nearest Shake Shack location, I’ll be home and crossing my fingers that the Atlanta location will open up before I graduate from UGA in May.  If it doesn’t, I may just have to make a trip to the city (if I’m not already living there) to grab a celebratory graduation burger and shake.

P.S.:  below is the Shake Shack website link…I know you’ll be needing it sooner or later after scrolling through my mouth-watering photos below

http://www.shakeshack.com

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