Dec 5, 2013
This very popular Peruvian dish is made with fresh pieces of raw fish (or shellfish) marinated in lime juice, onions and cilantro which slowly causes the fish to "cook", in very much the same way that heating does. The results are bright and refreshing with an opaque appearance and firmed texture of cooked fish. This dish is also gluten-free, paleo friendly and low-carb.
A few weeks ago I went on a fun tour to one of the world’s best professional culinary colleges – the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
Pictured from left to right is me, Jennifer from Bake or Brake, Kita from Pass the Sushi and Russ from The Domestic Man. I loved the tour and meeting new food bloggers – the group was small which was perfect to watch the classes in progress without interfering too much.
Lucky for me, that day they happened to be making ceviche in their Americas cooking class and I got to eat it for lunch. I LOVE a good ceviche, and I order it any chance I get when I go out to eat, so I was excited that they shared this recipe with me.
The good news – this is really easy to make and it looks so impressive if you're having guests over. Their original recipe was made with scallops, but I opted for some fresh Striped Bass which I picked up at my local fish store. You can use any type of ocean fish or shellfish to make ceviche, the only rule of thumb is that it should be as fresh as possible, preferably caught the same day. This would make a wonderful appetizer for Christmas eve if your family likes to have fish. While you can prepare the cucumber cups and the vegetables for the ceviche a few hours ahead, ceviche tastes best when it marinates no more than an hour or two before you serve it.
Funny where life takes you, I went to art school and studied graphic design at Pratt in Manhattan which led me to become a graphic designer/digital photo-retoucher prior to Skinnytaste. I believe those experiences helped me and my love of food photography, but if I was to go back to school now, I would LOVE to attend the CIA or at least take some classes their. They are teaching our next generation of leaders – chefs such as Anthony Bourdain, Duff Goldman, Micheal Simon, Cat Cora, just to name a few are all CIA graduates. I mean, doesn't this chef jacket and hat belong on me?
What's really cool about the school is that all students work in 3-week course rotations, the senior class works at one of three CIA’s restaurants – both the front and back ends. So during our first night there we were served by the graduating students, with meals that the students prepared. We ate at the new French Bocuse Restaurant, and the food was phenominal. The highlight of my meal was watching the students make ice cream in 30 seconds with a hand cranked mixer and dry ice – amazing!
If you're ever in the Hudson Valley, you can go on a group tour and dine at one of their three award winning student-staffed restaurants. And if you're thinking about pursuing a career in the the culinary arts, or have kids that are trying to decide their future, check out the CIA . A 4 year degree is completed in 3 years, they have new classes starting every 3 weeks and offer classes in culinary arts, baking, nutrition, and culinary science. What's more, they boast about their 99% job rate in leadership positions after graduating which is unheard of these days!
Dec 4, 2013
This delicious, hearty lentil soup made with chicken, cilantro, cumin and spices is perfect for warming your belly on those cold winter nights. What's more, it's easy to make, economical and very satisfying.
I was in the mood for this last night so I thought it would be a great time to update the photos. I've slightly modified the original recipe which I posted back in 2009, but the results are just as good.
I've been making this soup for years, my family loves it – including my four year old (to my surprise)! It makes a big pot which means plenty of leftovers for lunch. It freezes well and can be reheated with a little water if it gets too thick.
Lentils were actually the first legumes I liked as a kid. My mom would me a similar soup with carrots and celery and since I was picky – she usually pureed mine. I love preparing them because they cook so much quicker than dried beans, and a small amount goes a long way. They are high in protein, Vitamin B, folate and soluble fiber and have twice as much iron as other legumes. You can easily cut this recipe in half or freeze left-overs for lunch which is what I like to do. Chicken breast would work in place of thighs if you prefer white meat. Ground annato (also known as achiote) is commonly used in Latin cuisine, it's used mostly to add color and adds a subtle flavor, but if you can't find it paprika would work instead.
Dec 3, 2013
If you're craving something decadent and delicious without overdoing the calories, you'll love these delicious spaghetti squash boats filled with everything you love about lasagna – chicken sausage, tomato sauce, ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
I even used whole milk mozzarella cheese because I wanted it to melt nice, I just used it in moderation. The whole thing is way under 300 calories and 8 points plus if you're on Weight Watchers, and it's filling! It's also gluten free – if you prefer to use part-skim mozzarella, the WW Points would be 7 pp.
Spaghetti squash when cooked has a lot of liquid, so I find it helpful to place it in a colander over paper towels to help get red of the excess moisture and it works perfectly.
You can prep this ahead of time, then put it on the oven just before you're ready to bake. If you happen to only find large spaghetti squash, you can place the mixture in a 9x9 baking dish instead of the shells. Enjoy!!
Dec 1, 2013
A blondie cookie bar with chunks of white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, topped with sweet cream cheese icing, tart dried cranberries and white chocolate drizzle – perfect for the holidays!
I got a request this year to lighten Starbuck's Cranberry Bliss Bars – this make-over turned out excellent! I was able to cut the fat and calories by more than HALF, yet they still taste indulgent. The original bar is 340 calories with 19 grams of fat; this lighter version is just 149 calories with 5 grams of fat (4 points plus).
Last year I attempted to make these light but didn't have much success. I had used whole wheat flour and I believe that was my demise – it gave the bars an unpleasant texture and scent that I really didn't enjoy.
This time I used Gold Metal all purpose flour and the results were excellent. This is dessert after all, and although I try to use whole grains in all my meals, it doesn't always work when baking. If you need a dessert for a holiday party, these are great. Leave them refrigerated until ready to serve.
Nov 26, 2013
These Santa Fe turkey lettuce wraps are SO good, you'll WANT to save some leftover turkey just to make them (or leftover chicken breast would work too)!
Have you ever had the Spinach Santa Fe Egg Rolls with the Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce from Chili's? They're dangerously good – I don't even want to know how many calories they are. That's where the inspiration for these lighter lettuce wraps came from. The lighting in these photos don't even do them justice.
I actually made my turkey breast in the crock pot last week just so I could have leftovers to create this recipe. I had one for lunch (only 4 WW pp) but since they are so light I think two would be perfect for dinner. If you want to make them Paleo, leave out the beans and add more spinach. I used my Avocado Cilantro Ranch Dressing as my sauce and it was perfect. If you're lazy, you can mash 1/4 avocado into 1/2 cup light ranch dressing instead.
This time of the year is so challenging to eat good. Holiday parties, staying over at relatives, Christmas cookies – I really need will power. So I wanted to create a leftover recipe for turkey that's not just delicious, but also light after a day of indulging on mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie.
Some of you were asking me on Instagram how I stay motivated and I thought I would share what I am doing this year to avoid the Holiday weight gain.
1) I just started tracking everything I eat on my Weight Watchers app to help keep me accountable for everything I eat, plus it reminds me to exercise more (such a great app). Some of you may be using My Fitness Pal, that would work too!
2) Yesterday while at the gym, I paid for 10 sessions of personal training. This was my Christmas present to myself, and it was not cheap. I know it will give me that extra push to make the most out of my workouts, especially since I am paying for them.
3) On days I'm too busy to head out to the gym, I started doing the Shrink Session Workout at home. I love Erin Stutland, I met her a few years ago at Fit Bloggin and instantly felt connected to her. She's a coach, fitness expert, former dancer and feels like your BEST friend all wrapped into one. It's different from your average workout (yes you'll tone your body and burn fat) but what it really does, is help you step into a more a confident, powerful, rock star part of yourself that you may not be in touch with on a daily basis. She's doing a free week long challenge called the Say it, Sweat it, Get it FREE Challenge. If it looks like something you could use, sign up and join me (it's free!)
If you have any tips to share on how you stay motivated, I would love to hear it!
Nov 25, 2013
Thanksgiving is at my Mom's house this year. She makes the turkey, stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes and we all bring the rest. I always bring a vegetable or two and some appetizers, my cousin brings dessert and my sister in law usually brings a salad.
Last year I made a cauliflower gratin that was a lot more complicated than this, but I wanted to test out an easier version knowing many of you will be looking for easy sides. This is super simple, all done in the oven so you don't need to dirty extra pots and pans. You can double this in a 9 x 12 baking dish if you want to feed more people. I used light Havarti cheese because I love the taste, but you can use Swiss, cheddar or whatever you wish. Each serving is under 100 calories or 2 points plus if you're doing WW.
And BTW, the serving spoon in the photo above and fork below is from Such A Time Designs. Beautiful, affordable silver plated one-of-a-kind hand stamped flatware that makes great gifts. This week I am running a giveaway on Skinny Bits – $100 worth of store credit to use on her Etsy shop. If you're interested click here for details.