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?

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My New Food Crush…

In honor of the many Sunday brunches probably happening around the world today, I wanted to share with you one of my new food crushes and a classic staple to the fancy brunch meal…smoked salmon.  I initially got excited about this somewhat random ingredient during the last dinner on my spring break Carnival cruise last week.  I ordered the sushi appetizer because I was craving it all week and finally able to fill the growing void in my stomach for some yummy raw fish and wasabi.  When the appetizer came out, I was initially disappointed with the minuscule portion size, as there were only three little rice balls with pieces of smoked salmon and various garnishes on the plate.  However, my disappointment quickly turned around and I was already asking for another round of sushi after cleaning my plate in about 30 seconds.  When the trip was over, all I could think about was how to get my hands on some good smoked salmon so that I could relive the few moments in heaven that I experienced during that last dinner.  Luckily for me, The Fresh Market here in Athens knows me well and the employees were able to point me in the right direction to their smoked salmon selection quicker than you can say sashimi.

I thoroughly enjoyed my salmon all week, but I was quite disappointed this morning when I realized that I polished off the last slice of it yesterday and wasn’t able to make an impressive brunch with it.  However, all is well because I’m sure that I’ll be back to The Fresh Market in no time with another package of salmon in my hands when I leave.  I’m only hoping that this food crush of mine turns out to be short-term because my wallet may end up running dry before my mouth does…

If you’re already a fan of smoked salmon or haven’t even had it before and want to try it out, take a look at these yummy recipes with smoked salmon that I’ve provided right below.  It can truly be a great salty snack or meal complement that will give you a boost of omega 3’s and some brain power at the same time!

1. Smoked Salmon Cucumber Wraps

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2. Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

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3. Smoked Salmon Avocado Salad

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4. Poached Egg, Avocado, and Smoked Salmon on English Muffin

Image5. My Own Creation: The Power Breakfast

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 I hope these recipes and mouthwatering photos gave you some inspiration for your own Sunday brunch- have a great day everyone!

Spaghetti Squash Pasta!

Last night, my roommates and I decided to repeat one of our new favorite recipes of a spaghetti squash dish.  We first took on the challenge of cooking with the unfamiliar veggie a few weeks ago with a Pinterest recipe at hand.  We made a few tweaks to the original recipe as we went along and it actually turned out being DELICIOUS!  Spaghetti squash is now one of my favorite veggies!  It’s more flavorful than regular pasta noodles and is MUCH healthier- I certainly had no regrets going back for seconds. 

You can find the original recipe that was used here, but I suggest tweaking it with our changes for a great and flavorful meal.  The first thing we did differently was get two spaghetti squashes instead of one.  We knew that we needed to feed 5 girls with pretty big appetites instead of the 4 small servings that the recipe was made for, but we actually ended up having a lot of squash left over.  The next day, I discovered that having extra squash was a wonderful thing because the leftovers were just as yummy as they were the night before!  My roomies and I also tweaked a few of the ingredients that the original recipe called for.  The first time we made the pasta, we kept in the broccoli, but last night we left it out and instead added more peas and a bunch of fresh spinach.  The spinach was a great touch- just add it to the chicken stock mixture when you put in the parmesan cheese and make sure you use A LOT.  We also marinated our chicken a day before grilling it, which made the dish extra flavorful.  When everything was finished cooking, we each put our helpings into bowls and added our favorite kind of pasta sauce instead of keeping the pasta plain.  I love sauce, so I would never leave a “pasta” dish dry if I didn’t have to.  The first time we had this meal I used a tomato-style sauce and last night I tried it with a pesto sauce.  I loved the dish with both sauces- you can’t go wrong with either in my book!  Both nights we made this meal, we’ve been overly satisfied and excited to try out another spaghetti squash dish!  I hope you try this recipe because it’s a healthy yet filling meal that’s also a great way to be introduced to spaghetti squash if you haven’t tried it yet!  If you need any more incentive to head to the grocery store, take a look at a few pictures of the meal below! YUM. 

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